My Corner, Your Corner: It was a banner week for city of Pittston

My Corner, - Your Corner - Tony Callaio

To say the City of Pittston had a banner week would be putting it mildly.

Mayor Michael Lombardo saw a 20-year dream turn into reality this past Thursday when the former M&T Bank was dedicated as a building of higher learning.

Luzerne County Community College, LCCC to most, held a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house for downtown Pittston’s latest success story.

It was a great day for the open house as the angry sky cleared and the sun shined again on Pittston. Dignitaries from state and local were on hand and news agencies covered the big event.

The building itself houses 10 classrooms, including a science lab and an elevator. The old bank vault is still intact.

What a triumph it is for Mayor Lombardo, former Mayor Jason Klush and every councilman and councilwoman over the last two decades to see this project through. It’s estimated as many as 200 students will utilize the facility each semester.

Downtown will be buzzing with students who will not only attend class, but also spend money at local merchants. The building promises to add to the resurgence of Main Street.

LCCC officials were thrilled with the prospect of having such a state-of-the-art satellite campus in their regiment. They now have satellite schools in cities all over the county.

The 35th annual Tomato Festival got underway late Thursday evening with opening ceremonies kicking off the four-day event at 6:30 p.m.

Except for a very brief afternoon shower in some parts of Greater Pittston, the rain never affected Pittston city. The skies remained rain-free for the rest of the night and the aroma of food was intoxicating.

Food vendors were going full blast offering everything from a bowl of gnocchi to flavored ice cream. This year there is extra seating under the big tent, adding comfort on the grounds for the foodies.

Of course, what would the festival be without some inclement weather? We live in an area where we are affected by so many variables that conditions can be crazy at times.

This summer we have been taking a beating with rain – probably the most rain I’ve ever seen in a summer, ever. To have four perfect days of dry weather, especially this summer, would be rare. I know the folklore is, “It’s Tomato Festival time, and it’s probably going to rain.”

Rain or shine, the show must go on as it has for 35 years and it continued this week, ending tonight. Hats off, once again, to the organizers for all the hard work that goes into putting on such an event. So many of those heading the event and many on the committee are friends of mine and they put their hearts and souls into presenting the best party ever.

I was taught by my father’s dad that, in life, there is balance. There is balance in everything from the climate to our personal lives.

He would tell me that nature has a way of evening things out and he was right. Of course with global warming, and I do believe there is global warming, that balance may not be as it once was.

The last four days have seen joy and happiness in Pittston but there has been sadness, as well. It’s that balance in life my grandfather spoke about.

My friend Annie Galli succumbed to cancer Friday morning, losing a fight she fought for 10 years. She was a few years behind me in high school when we first met. She had then, and throughout her life, an infectious smile that would melt your heart.

She was a good and kind person and one heck of an athlete while at Wyoming Area. She loved and was loved by so many who came into her life. Annie was the type of person who, if you became friends, she was a friend for life.

But there was one person in her life who topped all. Her partner Lynn was by her side for the entire cancer journey and battled Annie’s cancer as if she had cancer herself. Over the 10-year journey, Lynn never let Annie rest.

We’ve all heard the saying, “Going out with a bang.” Annie has been going out with a bang for many years. Her life has been celebrated month-after-month, year-after-year since her diagnosis and, just a few weeks ago, yet another party was held when she celebrated her final birthday.

Annie faced cancer and laughed in its face, always holding her head up high.

We both faced cancer at the same time and I’ve always felt a special bond with her because of it. Life is not fair as we all know and I’m still standing while Annie lost her fight. She was tired and it was time to go home — and home she went surrounded by all she loved – Lynn, her mother, brother, nieces and nephew, family and friends.

Annie, I believe you are resting easy, you deserve it and you … you, my dear Annie, are my hero.

Quote of the week

(This week’s quotes are dedicated to Annie Galli)

“Death is a challenge. It tells us not to waste time … it tells us to tell each other right now that we love each other.” – Dr. Leo Buscaglia, American advocate for love

Thought of the week

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” – Theodore Roosevelt, 26th American president

Bumper sticker

“Lord, let me live until I die.” – Will Rogers, American entertainer

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