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As I was walking into my office on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, I noticed quite a few people huddled around a small television. Due to the size of the group, my line of vision to the TV screen was blocked partially, and I could only see billows of smoke. Obviously, I knew something was on fire, but I was shocked to learn it was the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.

Shortly after I turned on my computer and learned more about what was happening, a plane struck the south tower. At this point, I called my mom to see if she had any more details since I knew she’d be watching the TV before she left for work. As we were talking, another plane crashed, this time emblazoning a portion of The Pentagon just outside of Washington, D.C. I was starting to get very scared at this point. These targets were not that far from home. Who was to say a plane wouldn’t crash in our area? And then, the final crash of that fateful day did take place in our commonwealth, claiming the lives of all of the passengers on board, but sparing the lives of many more at its intended target thanks to the bravery of the passengers fighting and overtaking the hijackers.

As you can see in my recollection of the events of that sunny September day 16 years ago, I can remember them with great detail as I know many of you can, too. It was one of those moments in our nation’s history that is painful to recall, but must never be forgotten. Thanks to efforts of Queen of the Apostles Parish and Avoca’s first responders, the nearly 3,000 souls who perished that day have certainly not been forgotten, and they will continue to be remembered at the organizations’ co-sponsored annual 9/11 Memorial Mass.

The annual 9/11 Memorial Mass will take place at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 11, at Queen of the Apostles Parish, 715 Hawthorne St. Prior to the Mass, there will be a procession from the Avoca Fire Department, 740 Main St., to the church. The procession will include first responders, borough officials, police departments, fire companies, ambulance and rescue squads, fire police, military personnel, veterans, civic organizations and members of several Scout troops.

Following the Mass, there will be a refreshment reception in the parish hall, 742 Spring St.

Thanks, grandparents

Happy Grandparents Day! I hope all of the grandmothers, grandfathers, grandmas, grandpas, nanas and papas have a wonderful day! I’d like to extend a special Happy Grandparents Day to my mom, Lorraine. She certainly is a wonderful Nana to my J.J., and it is such a gift to me to watch them love and enjoy one another’s company. We love you!

VFW barbecue

Avoca Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8335 will host its annual chicken barbecue dinner from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, at the post home. 915 Main St.

Tickets for the barbecue are $10 and can be purchased at the door. Takeouts will be available, too.

Queen of the Apostles news

Queen of the Apostles Parish social concerns/respect life ministry will host a fall craft fair from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, in the parish hall, 742 Spring St. In addition to the fair, there will be a raffle and breakfast and lunch available. Crafters are welcome to participate in the event for $25 and by donating an item for the raffle. The display space is 8 feet. A limited number of tables are available on a first come, first served basis.

Setup will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, or beginning at 7 a.m. on the event date. To reserve a space, call Jane Maxwell at 570-457-1107.

Faith formation registration forms for 2017-18 have been mailed. Anyone who did not receive one or who wants to enroll their child in classes should call Debbie Yuschovitz at 570-457-1284 or the parish office at 570-457-3412. Classes, which are open to students entering kindergarten through seventh grade, will begin Sunday, Sept. 17, with class from 9 to 10:15 a.m. in the former St. Mary’s School, 742 Spring St., followed by the Back to School Mass and Catechetical Sunday at 10:30 a.m. at the church, 715 Hawthorne St. Completed registration forms and payment are due by Sunday, Sept. 10.

The program is seeking co-teachers, substitutes and general helpers to assist with the program. If interested, call the parish office.

The community coordinating committee will host a meet-and-greet at noon Sunday, Sept. 17, in the parish hall, 742 Spring St. The purpose of the event is to formally welcome people who have joined the parish since August 2016 and to make them aware of all of the parish’s programs. Refreshments and light snacks will be served. Call the parish office by Thursday, Sept. 14, with the number of people in your party. All are welcome.

Every Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., the parish has Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. At the present time, the parish is in need of a Eucharistic Adorer for the 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. hours. Anyone who can commit to one of these hours should call Ann Jake at 570-457-3521 or the parish office.

The parish announces the following meetings: Tuesday, Sept. 12, women’s guild committee, rectory; 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 18, pastoral council, rectory; 6:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 25, building and grounds committee, rectory, and 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 26, finance committee, rectory.

The parish will have Bible study in the rectory from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on the following Thursday evenings: Sept. 14 and 28, and Oct. 12 and 26.

Paper shredding

Avoca Borough has partnered with Paper Eaters, Wilkes-Barre, to host a community paper shredding event from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, at the Avoca Municipal Garage, 1103 Plane St. This is a safe and secure way of destroying older, unwanted documents.

Paper Eaters will assist residents with loading their paper into provided containers which will be lifted into the shredding truck. Paper with staples and/or standard paper clips will be accepted to shred. Standard file folders and envelopes are also acceptable.

Larger binder clips, plastic protective sheet covers or plastic of any kind is not permitted in the shredding truck. Magazines, newspapers, binders and cardboard are also prohibited.

Residents will need to show proof of residency by showing their picture ID or driver’s license.

For more information, please contact Kelly at 570-457-4947.

Little League elections

Avoca/Dupont Little League will have its monthly meeting at 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 17, at the Avoca Municipal Building, 752 Main St.

League officers will be elected and fundraising will be discussed for next year. Anyone interested in the league is welcome to attend.

Crime Watch meeting

The Avoca Crime Watch will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19, at the Avoca Municipal Building, 952 Main St. The guest speaker will be Luzerne County Drug Task Force Coordinator Dan Mimnaugh from the county’s district attorney’s office. He will speak about the negative effect drugs are having on children and communities.

For information, call Jim at 570-457-8446, Gene at 570-313-3079 or Ned at 570-457-6109.

Bulk item collection

J.P. Mascaro & Sons will conduct a bulk item collection Monday, Sept. 25, open to all borough residents

who have paid their annual refuse fee.

Residents may put up to three items per household curbside the night before the pickup date.

Larger items should be broken down, if possible. Mattresses will be accepted, but should be wrapped in plastic, if possible. Carpeting must be rolled, tied and bundled no wider than 4 feet.

The following items will not be collected: freon containing items, tires, paint, stains, pesticides, hazardous type waste, construction materials, brick, block, concrete, car parts, electronics, TVs, computers, laptops, DVD players, VCRs, batteries and recyclables.

Tax reminder

Tax Collector Therese Wrubel announces the 2017 Pittston Area School District taxes have been mailed.

Payment can be made during Wrubel’s office hours at the Avoca Municipal Building, 952 Main St., from 5 to 6 p.m. Mondays and 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays. If you are sending your payment via mail, send the entire bill with a self-addressed, stamped envelope and mail it to Wrubel’s home at 129 Factory St., Avoca PA 18641.

The office will be closed the week of Sept. 25, but payment can be left at Wrubel’s home Tuesday, Sept. 26, the last day of the discount period.

If you did not receive your tax bill, call Wrubel at 570-457-4891.

West Side Club

golf tournament

The West Side Social Club will hold its second annual golf tournament Saturday, Sept. 30, at the Wemberly Hills Golf Course, Olyphant. All golfers who played in last year’s event are invited to participate.

The $40 entrance fee to play must be paid prior to the day of the golf tournament.

To make a reservation, contact Kevin McAndrew or Jim Gilhooley.

All proceeds from the golf tournament will be donated to Avoca families in need of financial or medical assistance.

Farmers market

Open from noon to 6 p.m. every Wednesday until mid-November on the grounds of 822 McAlpine St., the Avoca Farmers Market is a great place to purchase fresh food, drinks and crafts all offered by local vendors.

For information, visit the Avoca Farmer’s Market page Facebook.

Scouting news

Boy Scout Troop 316 is accepting new members. The troop meets at 7 p.m. Thursdays at Queen of the Apostles Parish hall, 742 Spring St. The troop participates in various types of fun activities.

For information, call Scoutmaster Matt Fino at 570-905-4001.

Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous meets at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays in the basement of the Queen of the Apostles Parish rectory, 715 Hawthorne St.

Please use the sunroom entrance.

Birthday wishes

Happy birthday to Jennifer Baker, who will celebrate her special day Saturday, Sept. 16.

That’s about it for this week, my friends.

Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Jackie Borthwick-Galvin writes about Avoca every week. To list a news item, email her at jborthwickgalvin@pittstonprogress.com or call 570-301-2171 by 5 p.m. Monday.