The News-Item will present its annual top 10 news stories of the year in Monday and Tuesday’s editions. You might guess that many are of a tragic or controversial nature.
The list below, meanwhile, is derived from a look back at 2018 through rose-colored glasses instead. Indeed, there was much to celebrate.
• Good times in Shamokin: We could have produced a good news top 10 list from the new and continuing community events in Shamokin alone. The city had a new feel for fun through the Food Truck Frenzy, Downtown Doo Wop, expanded Halloween events, community fun at the public pool, Taking it to the Streets and the suspenseful opening of the former Masonic building time capsule. Also of note was completion of the former J.H. and C.K. Eagle Silk Mill bell pedestal and relocation of the Witmer Memorial that further enhance what has become a stunning display of community pride and patriotism along Lincoln Street.
• Magic in Mount Carmel: A new website and new downtown banners were among the highlights in a revival year for Mount Carmel Downtown Inc., which also hosted its new “Christmas on Oak” holiday celebration. Also of note is the reopening of the community pool after it was closed for three years, and the 500th “Changing of the Colors” flag-raising and lowering ceremony that is likely among the longest such military traditions celebrated anywhere in the country.
• ThinkingBIG-ger: The annual ThinkBIG Dance Marathon at Mount Carmel Area Junior-Senior High School remains one of our favorite local events, not just because it raises money for such a good cause — to help pediatric cancer patients and their families — but because it is a youth-focused event that teaches the virtues of giving while also encouraging exercise. Oh, yes, and it’s raised more than $184,000 in six years — all from one of the state’s smaller school districts!
• One hundred points of light: Right, “one thousand points of light” is the phrase coined by former President George H.W. Bush, but we dropped a zero to pay tribute to Kulpmont100, the nonprofit that formed in 2016 in the wake of the borough’s 100th anniversary celebration with a goal of organizing 100 days of community activities in Kulpmont over five years. Among its new events in 2018 was the First Responders Parade on Sept. 8. We’re not sure where the 100 countdown stands, but suffice it to say the borough was a fun and active place in 2018, with much credit given to Kulpmont100.
• “Abbyton” for a day: Trevorton, where there’s been a resurgence of community pride and activity not unlike in Kulpmont, changed its name for a day on July 8 to salute Abby Menko, the local athlete who won four silver medals at the National Special Olympics USA Games a week prior. To achieve in sports is a great feeling, but to earn praise from the community at-large likely produces pride that will endure even longer.
• Red carpet event: Oct. 6 was an exciting night for Shamokin with the career and arts center auditorium filled for the world premiere of “Vanished.” The red carpet was rolled out for local folks who had roles in city native Matt Spade’s thriller, 90 percent of which was shot in the city and Coal Township. We’re not aware of any Hollywood deals having materialized from “Vanished,” but we’d give it an Oscar for best way to bring a community together.
We move on to 2019 knowing that there will be more bad news to report, but also inspired by these positive stories and the promise of more to come.
Happy New Year.