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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2020:03:17 15:00:47

Locals named Knights of the Year Art Bobbouine, left, district deputy and member of Knights of Columbus Council 16071, Pittston, and Robert Ryzner, right, deputy grand knight, Knights of Columbus Council 5940, Old Forge, were named 2019 Knights of the Year by the members of their respective councils. Both received their awards at the inaugural combined Knights of Columbus, Assemblies and Columbinettes Christmas party at Queen of the Apostles Parish Hall, Avoca.

As a global community working together to fight the coronavirus, we have learned many lessons. While proper hygiene and monitoring our health is an important one, gaining an appreciation of the risks our first responders, nurses, doctors and countless other health professionals face each day has been an invaluable one. Never knowing what they will encounter at the start of their shift, healthcare professionals must be prepared to face a variety of situations.

One of those groups that face the unknown each day is our Avoca Ambulance Association. This dedicated group of men and women is not only excellent in providing top-notch care, but also in knowing the people in their service communities. While those are obvious assets, I know from first-hand experience how comforting it is to know the first-responder walking through the front door of your home, providing you with care on your journey to the hospital and then placing you into the capable hands of doctors and nurses who can heal you more swiftly thanks to the quick and quality care the Avoca Ambulance Association provided for you.

By now, you should have received the Avoca Ambulance Association’s 2020 subscription membership packet in the mail. Your membership protects you and your family members from out-of-pocket expenses for ambulance services that insurance may not cover. The membership subscription price, which remains the same as last year, is $40 and $35 for senior citizens. This is a very reasonable price considering how much money it can save you in co-pays, deductibles and the host of other charges you can incur from insurance companies. And, your membership also maintains the viability of the Avoca Ambulance Association, making 24-hour, 7-day-a-week emergency care by paid, professional emergency medical providers possible.

State of emergency

Avoca Borough is operating under a state of emergency. The declaration restricts public access to the Avoca Municipal Building and Avoca Municipal Garage. It also states the Avoca Community Center and the Plane Street Park and Memorial Park will be closed until further notice.

Anyone who needs to do business with the borough should call the municipal building at 570-457-4947 or the street department at 570-451-0625. General correspondence can be mailed to Avoca Municipal Building, 950 Main St., Avoca, PA 18641.

For non-emergency police department issues, please call 570-457-4011.

For emergencies, always dial 911.

Tax and refuse payments

Residents cannot pay their Luzerne County and Avoca Borough tax bills or refuse fee at the Avoca Municipal Building until further notice.

Residents may mail tax and refuse payments to Tax Collector Therese Wrubel, 129 Factory St., Avoca, PA 18641 or place them in the envelope outside of her home office at the above address. If you need a receipt, please include the complete bill and a self addressed, stamped envelope with your payment. Please be sure to issue separate checks for tax and refuse payments and that all checks are dated correctly and signed.

Refuse fee for 2020 to have up to three bags collected weekly is as follows: $175 if purchased by April 20; $185 if purchased between April 21 and May 20, and $195 if purchased between May 21 and June 21. After June 21, all unpaid bills will be turned over to a magistrate.

For information, please call Wrubel at 570-457-4891.

Queen of the Apostles news

Following a directive by the Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, bishop of the Diocese of Scranton, due to growing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, Queen of the Apostles has canceled the following events: spring chicken dinner, all advance ticket purchases will be honored when the event is rescheduled; building and grounds committee meeting, Monday, March 30; finance council meeting, Tuesday, March 31; Road to Resurrection on Wednesday, April 1; the weekly Light is on for You Sacrament of Reconciliation program on Mondays and Stations of the Cross on Fridays.

Also, there will not be any public daily or weekend Masses or religious education classes. The Rev. Phil Sladicka, pastor, will celebrate Mass privately each day and honor all of the intentions people have requested for Masses.

Sacramental celebrations, including weddings, baptisms and funerals, will continue with attendance limited to immediate family members.

Anyone who wants to receive the sacraments of reconciliation or anointing of the sick or has any other questions should call the parish office at 570-457-3412.

Updates will be posted on the Queen of the Apostles Parish, Avoca, PA Facebook page.

VFW auxiliary news

Avoca Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary Post 8335 has canceled its April meeting.

Ministerium events cancelled

Four Boro Ministerium of Avoca, Duryea, Moosic and Old Forge has canceled its remaining weekly ecumenical Lenten services. The group’s Good Friday service at Langcliffe Presbyterian Church, Avoca, is scheduled to take place as planned.

Knights blood drive

Knights of Columbus Council 5940 will host an American Red Cross blood drive from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 24, in the Queen of the Apostles Parish Hall, 742 Spring St.

Little League news

Due to growing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, Greater Pittston Area Little League has adopted Little League International’s request to implement a temporary suspension of all activities through at least April 6. Therefore, the league’s monthly board meeting, which was scheduled for March 24, is canceled. The Night at the Races on Friday, March 27, has been postponed. A new date will be announced.

Food pantry open

Avoca Food Pantry will be open at 4 p.m. Thursdays, April 2 and 16, at Bethel United Methodist Church, 532 Main St. Food can be picked up in the rear entry of the building. Volunteers are needed to unload and distribute food at 1:30 p.m.

Bar hop

Avoca Community Committee will host a Decades Bar Hop beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 16. Patrons are encouraged to wear attire from the 1950s to the 2000s. The best-dressed from each decade will receive a prize.

The cost is $25, which includes transportation, entertainment, a T-shirt, drink specials, raffles and prizes.

To register, contact Holly Homschek, Kelly O’Brien, Colleen Velehoski or the Avoca CC via Facebook messenger. There also will be in-person registration sessions. The dates and times will be posted on the Avoca CC Facebook page. Anyone who registers will be entered to win a weekly prize drawing taking place now through May 9. Winners will be announced on the Facebook page.

Proceeds will benefit the Avoca Borough’s 150th anniversary celebration fund.

Touch a Truck

Avoca Fire Department will host its annual Touch a Truck from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, May 16, in the parking area of 824 McAlpine St. Admission is $5 per person. All proceeds will benefit the fire department.

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. Use the sunroom entrance.

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

Thanks for reading, and have a great week!

Jackie Borthwick-Galvin writes about Avoca. To list an item, email jborthwickgalvin@pittstonprogress.com or call 570-301-2171 by 5 p.m. Monday.