My Corner, Your Corner: Stephanie Jallen’s quest to be the best has begun

My Corner, - Your Corner - Tony Callaio

This weekend begins the quest to be the best for Stephanie Jallen, of Harding. She’s competing against the world’s best in PyeongChang, South Korea for her second go-around at the Paralympic Games. Stephanie grabbed two bronze medals at the Games at Sochi, Russia, four years ago.

The 22-year-old has been training and living for this week of skiing for the last four years. To be one of the world’s best takes a lot of time and effort. Stephanie wanted to make sure she was able to do her best so she took this past year of college off to compete at her optimum.

Going into the Games in Russia four years ago, she didn’t think she had a chance to medal; in fact, her coach didn’t think she was ready to succeed at medaling, either. It wasn’t the fact that he didn’t have faith in her; it was because she was fairly new to international competition.

Stephanie not only shocked herself and her coach, but she opened a lot of eyes in the Paralympic community.

She really thought she was going to be a one-and-done competitor for the Paralympics and, when the competition was over in 2014, she would retire and focus on college. The success she had at the Games only fueled the fire to look towards another four years of training and competition to compete in the 2018 Paralympic Games from March 9-18.

Stephanie will compete in all five disciplines of Alpine skiing. If you’re interested in following her, tune into any of the NBC family networks. There will be three channels to watch: the Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA; NBCSN and NBC. The majority of skiing will be shown on the NBCSN channel this coming Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

You may catch a glimpse of Stephanie during the closing ceremony at 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 18. Set your DVRs now

St. Patty’s Parade

Last week, downtown Pittston was the site of the annual St. Patrick’s Parade and, as usual, the event didn’t disappoint.

What was disappointing was the massive snowfall the day before that blanketed Greater Pittston. Sarah Donahue, Pittston’s Special Events Coordinator, along with the City of Pittston officials and tons of volunteers forged forward and had Main Street cleaned up and ready to go by parade time.

There was plenty of festive green everywhere and the chilly temperatures didn’t seem to bother parade-goers. The parade was led by Pittston’s Knights of Columbus.

I believe there were three sets of pipe and drum organizations in the parade, including the New York Police Dept. Emerald Society Bagpipe and Drum Corp.

Pittston’s Friendly Sons of St. Patrick were out in force as they escorted dignitaries like Cong. Matt Cartwright, PA State Rep. Michael Carroll, Luzerne County Community College President Tom Leary, and Pittston’s immediate past mayor Jason Klush.

I didn’t get a chance to partake in festivities after the parade at The Tomato Bar or Cooper’s and other establishments, but from what I’m told and saw from video clips posted on Facebook, it was a great time for all.

Now that the St. Patrick’s Parade is in the books, we can look towards the next event in Greater Pittston, the West Pittston Cherry Blossom Festival.

This year’s Cherry Blossom Festival will be May 5 and 6.

Things change

We all like things to be just so, the same, everything copacetic.

We like to buy our groceries at the same place, we like to read our favorite newspaper in the morning, we love our TV shows, our place of worship and to see the same familiar faces every day.

Unfortunately, things do change and more often than we like.

Over the years in West Pittston, Insalaco’s grocery store was taken over by Gerrity’s, the Sunday Independent newspaper closed and the number of pages in daily newspapers decreased, shows like “Seinfel” and “Friends” ended, churches closed their doors or consolidated with other churches and family members and friends passed away.

This past week, two of my classmates lost parents. It’s always sad to lose a parent and, even when it’s a friend’s parent, it’s still a bit painful.

The Players and Rizzo families, both anchored from West Pittston, lost their matriarchs, their lifeblood, the glue that kept their families together. Clara Players and Florence Rizzo were rocks and had a strong female presence.

Our parents became our first teachers, our first mentors, our first experience of unconditional love, our first advisors, doctors and friends.

These two women and many others won’t be forgotten anytime soon.

Another storm coming

That darn groundhog just might be right this year. We luckily escaped a second nor’easter last week but another one looms in the next few days. Let’s hope it passes us by or creates little havoc. We’ll move our clocks forward Sunday night and spring will soon be upon us.

Quote of the week

“The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart.” – Robert Green Ingersoll, American lawyer

Thought of the week

Fear cannot be banished, but it can be calm and without panic; it can be mitigated by reason and evaluation.” – Vannevar Bush, American engineer

Bumper sticker

“Let your tongue speak what your heart thinks.” – Davy Crock

My Corner,

Your Corner

Tony Callaio

Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at

Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at