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In the 1830s, the average manufacturing work week was 70 hours. Children of all ages were employed on farms, in factories, and in mines. If you haven’t been on the coal mine tour and Anthracite Heritage Museum at McDade Park in Scranton, do it. Learn about the working conditions of our ancestors.

Children toiled all day long under ground or in dress factories and silk mills. An injury or death at work meant no income for the family. There was no such thing as workman’s comp.

We know the stories. Our ancestors lived it, so it’s very alive to us in Wyoming Valley. How many of our grandfathers died from miner’s asthma? Or were killed in mine disasters? The story of labor organizing also has deep roots in our valley with miners organizing under the Knights of Labor and later, the dress factories joining the ILGWU. Union organizers aimed for an eight-hour day, more days off, and a six-day work week.

The idea for a parade to celebrate labor was conceived as a way to get a day off and bring workers together in a common cause, even though the workers were risking their employment by striking for the day. The first Labor Day parade took place in New York City on Sept. 5, 1882, followed by a big picnic in an uptown park.

The history of the labor movement in the United States is the story of a great struggle, often very violent, that led to the 40-hour work week, weekends off, child labor laws, and workplace safety protections. The many benefits we enjoy today are because of men and women who bravely stood up — and sometimes got their heads cracked open, or worse.

Most of us will enjoy the picnics and barbecues this weekend, but we’ll see it only as the last hurrah of summer. Let’s take a minute to think about the vital role labor has played in building our great nation and the benefits and protections gained for all of us by strong labor unions.

Battle of Wyoming tours

The Luzerne County Historical Society announces that its Battle of Wyoming walking tours will run Saturday, Sept. 14, and Sunday, Sept. 15. Join attorney Stephen B. Killian, Luzerne County Historical Society board member, for an account of the disastrous Battle of Wyoming and the massacre that followed.

Killian will lead the group through the battlefield and talk about the tactics, troops and equipment of the Americans, Tories and the Native Americans, as well as discussing, with an audience-driven demonstration, the infamous flanking maneuver and retreat that lead to the massacre. Insight about the area before and after the battle also is included.

This is a two-hour, two-mile outdoor walking tour that takes place rain or shine. Each day, the tour starts at 1 p.m. at Fourth Street and Susquehanna Avenue in Wyoming.

Cost is $7 for LCHS members, $10 for non-members and $5 for all children under 18. Each tour is limited to the first 45 reservations. Reservations are required. To make reservations, call 570-823-6244, ext. 3 or email

Wyoming Area Catholic School news

Wyoming Area Catholic announces its events for September: Wednesday, Sept. 18, Family Mass will be celebrated at 6 p.m. in the auditorium. Monday, Sept. 23, there is no school because of a Diocesan Teacher Institute. Also, at 7 p.m. Sept. 23, the Bishop’s Youth Award will be presented at St. Nicholas Church, Wilkes-Barre. Tuesday, Sept. 24, the Parent Teacher Guild will meet at 6 p.m. and the Booster Club meeting will follow at 7 p.m.

The Scholastic Book Fair also will be held at Wyoming Area Catholic School from Friday, Sept. 13, through Wednesday, Sept. 18. Special family events are scheduled as part of the book fair on Friday evening and at 6 p.m. Wednesday, following the Family Mass. The book fair theme for fall of 2019 is “Arctic Adventure Book Fair: Snow Much to Read.”

Wyoming Area Catholic is accepting donations of books to commemorate special events such as the birth of a child, a special anniversary, birthday, special achievement or as a memorial for a deceased loved one. Contact school librarian Theresa Sabetta at 570-654-7982.

Wyoming Area Catholic’s intramural sports program will begin the week of Sept. 9 and will run until Oct. 30. The programs offered beginning that week will be flag football with separate boys and girls teams, and volleyball. Intramural sports are not played on early dismissal days. Students in grades four through eight are eligible to participate. The parent’s release form and physician’s certificate sent in the July mailing must be in the school office prior to beginning any sport.

Jerry Renfer will be flag football coach for both boys and girls and Erin Weiss will be the coach for volleyball.

The schedule is as follows:

Boys flag football: 3 to 4 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. Final game is Tuesday, Oct. 29.

Girls flag football: 3 to 4 p.m. Monday. Final game is Monday, Oct. 28

Volleyball: 3 to 4 p.m. Wednesdays. Final game is Wednesday, Oct. 30.

Wyoming Area Catholic School announces Parent Teacher Guild Officers and Booster Club Officers for the 2019-20 school year.

Parent Teacher Guild Officers are Lisa Pribula, president; Allison Stanchak, vice president; Heather Contardi, secretary, and Karen Oncay, treasurer.

Booster Club officers are Christine Renfer, president; Tom Lasota, vice president and secretary, and Carl Rosencrance, treasurer.

Paper shredding in Wyoming

A community shredding day will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, at Pettibone Park on Monument Avenue, Wyoming. Bring any documents you no longer need that contain personal information, including Social Security numbers, credit card information, account numbers, etc.

Proof of residency is required. There is a limit of three boxes per resident. Shredding is limited to confidential and sensitive materials.

Wyoming Recreation Board events

Wyoming Recreation Board is back and in full swing planning great events for the town. Help out by participating in a fundraiser at Sabatini’s Bottle Shop from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3. Tickets cost $25 for three drinks (beer or soda) and all the pizza you can eat. There will be a basket raffle and a 50/50. Tickets go on sale Monday, Sept. 9, at the borough building. Call 570-693-0291 for information.

The recreation board is organizing a Trunk or Treat event for Saturday, Oct. 26, at Pettibone Park. If you would like to participate and decorate your trunk, you need to fill out a registration form available on Facebook or at the town hall.

Back to school safety

The 2019 school year has begun. Wyoming Borough asks everyone to be mindful when parking by the Tenth Street school. For the safety of the students and crossing guards, please refrain from blocking the crosswalks and intersections and from parking on lawns.

Wyoming ordinances

Wyoming Borough reminds residents of the following ordinances:

Responsibilities of Dog and Cat Owners — It’s unlawful for any person who owns or keeps cats or dogs to allow such cat or dog to run at large in the borough. It is unlawful to own or harbor any dog or cat or other domesticated animal whose barking, howling, yowling, purring or making other loud noises or any other act which causes annoyance, disturbs the peace and quiet enjoyment of persons in Wyoming.

Property Maintenance — No person, firm, or corporation owning or occupying any property within the Borough of Wyoming shall permit any grass or weeds or vegetation whatsoever to exceed a height of 8 inches. Alleyways behind properties also need to be maintained. Any property owner in violation of the borough ordinance will be cited by the Wyoming Borough Code Enforcement Officer.

Residents also are reminded to please rinse jars, bottles, and cans for recycling. Greasy cardboard like pizza boxes cannot be recycled. Please only put out clean, flat cardboard.

First United Presbyterian Church news

B.J. Ahearn, from the Center for Public Safety, will present information on first aid and bleeding control at First United Presbyterian Church from 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18. You can learn how to react in an emergency. The program offers instructions and practice for determining the best course of action until professional help is available.

The event is free and will be held at the Wyoming Institute, 40 Institute St. in Wyoming.

Wyoming United Methodist Church bus trip

Seats on the bus trip to Sights and Sound Theater in Lancaster are filling quickly. The show, “Queen Esther,” is a new production for the theater. The date is April 15, 2020, and already there are only a few seats left. The price is $121 and includes bus, show, dinner, and all gratuities. Gift certificates are available if you would like to give this as a birthday or Christmas present.

Library news

STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) Club Saturday is set to begin for the fall season. Session 1, on Sept. 28, will focus on engineering. The topic is Keva Planks and Marble Mazes. Oct. 26 will have a Halloween theme, Candy Structures and Puking Pumpkins. Nov. 30, the title is Legos. The club, open to all children ages 7 and up, meets at noon. Only 10 spots are available per session and registration is required.

Fill a bag book sale will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5. Books are $5 per bag; $10 for larger bags. Donations of books are being accepted now.

West Wyoming

paper shredding

West Wyoming Borough, in conjunction with the Luzerne County Recycling Office, will hold a document shredding event for West Wyoming residents only. Shredding will be conducted from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 21, in front of the Department of Public Works building, rear 926 Shoemaker Ave., West Wyoming. There is a three-box limit and proof of residency is required. Various confidential documents can be shredded free of charge, including old medical records, insurance records, bills, legal and tax documents, and other sensitive paper documents.

West Wyoming reminders

West Wyoming Borough reminds residents sanitation fees are now past due and the penalty fee of $300 is in effect.

Residents are reminded to please wash out containers before placing them in your recycling.

Exeter Fire Department chicken barbecue

Exeter Borough Fire Department will hold its annual chicken barbecue at 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, at the fire station, 1405 Susquehanna Ave.

Exeter trash reminders

Exeter Borough is now using Waste Management for garbage collection. Garbage still has to be placed curbside by 6 a.m. Wednesday morning. Trash can be placed curbside Tuesday night.

Missed garbage may not be picked up until the following week, depending on the circumstances.

Extra bag tags are $3.25 each. Bulk tags are $33 each. A list of acceptable bulk items suitable for collection is available at the Exeter Borough Building.

The penalty phase is now in effect for refuse stickers and the price is $250. Stickers can be purchased at the Exeter Borough Building from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Stickers also can be purchased by mail by sending a self addressed, stamped envelope to Exeter Borough Refuse Department, 1101 Wyoming Ave., Exeter, PA 18643. Please use a long business size envelope.

For information, call Lynda at 570-654-3001, ext. 2, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

State office hours

State Rep. Aaron Kaufer’s Exeter office, 1101 Wyoming Avenue, is open from noon to 2 p.m. the third Friday of the month.

Barbara Bullions writes about Exeter, Wyoming and West Wyoming every week. To list an item, email or call 570-301-2185 by Monday.