Namedropper 4/16/2019

April 16, 2019 GMT

High notes

Mary Belin Rhodes was named the William W. Scranton Library Laureate by the Lackawanna County Library System.

Rhodes, of Waverly, is a community leader and volunteer. She was an Abington Heights math teacher for more than 40 years and now devotes time to teaching basic math skills to people incarcerated at the Lackawanna County Prison.

An active community volunteer throughout her life, Rhodes is involved in therapy dog training, the Abington Heights Educational Improvement Organization and the Abington Heights Student Aid Fund. She is a former member of the Wilkes University board and the Waverly Community House and is a current member of the outreach board.

The award honors the memory of the late Gov. William W. Scranton, a man well-known for his love of libraries and reading, according to the library.

Rhodes knew Gov. Scranton well, said Mary Garm, system administrator.

“In fact, as a little girl, along with her parents, she attended the 1942 wedding of Bill and Mary Scranton. She describes the former governor as one of her heroes,” Garm said, adding that Rhodes has a deep commitment to the community and dedication to lectures presented by the library system.

Rhodes is the third person to receive the award, along with attorneys James W. Reid and Brian Cali.

The award will be presented Thursday at 7 p.m. during the library system’s American Masters Lecture at the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple.

Colson Whitehead, the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning author of “The Underground Railroad,” will deliver the American Masters Lecture after the presentation ceremony.

Tickets are available at any Lackawanna County Library or online at www.lclshome.org.


kicks off

Eight local community members have begun competing for the Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s prestigious Man & Woman of the Year titles.

The 2019 Northeast PA candidates include Tom DePietro, owner of DePietro’s Pharmacy in Dunmore; Kevin Harchar, attorney at Pond Lehocky Stern Giordano in Scranton; Dave Kuharchik, local media personality and director of strategic development for Discover NEPA; Alpesh Patel, owner of Al’s Quick Stops with 10 locations throughout Northeast Pennsylvania; local real estate agent Laura Boyle; Michele Casey, CFO of Casey Dental in Pittston; Sara Merritt, owner of Sugar Creative Agency in Sugarloaf Twp.; and Casey Tighe, universal banker at Fidelity Bank.

The candidates are attempting to raise $60,000 during their 10-week campaigns. They will not only raise funds for lifesaving blood cancer research but will also raise awareness for LLS’s mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

Only two can win the official title of Man and Woman of the Year.

The candidates compete in honor of children who are local blood cancer survivors — the Boy and Girl of the Year. This year’s fundraising is in honor of two blood cancer patient heroes: Matthew Siegler and Kaidence O’Donnell both of South Abington Twp.

The campaign kicked off on April 8 at Cooper’s Seafood House and will conclude with the Grand Finale Celebration on June 20.

For details, visit www.mwoy.org.

NEPA native


Jim May won first place in the Capistrano International One Act Play Contest.

May, a Scranton native who now lives in Southern California, was honored for his one-act play with local roots: “Bless Me Father. Have I Sinned?”

The contest was held in San Juan Capistrano, California, and May’s play was selected from 236 entries from around the world.

Inspiration for the play came from his early days as an altar boy and parishioner at Nativity of Our Lord Parish in South Scranton. The piece focuses on a grouchy old Irish parish pastor who is left to hear confessions of “modern sinners” on a Saturday morning while his two younger priests are away.

Jim and his wife, Ann May, return to the area in the summers to “retain our grounding back here in Scranton,” said Jim.

The play: “Bless Me Father. Have I Sinned?” can be found on YouTube.