Are we ready for flying cars? I think not, but there are more and more inventors out there trying their darnedest to make them.

The drone craze has spurned a bevy of companies attempting to create drones for people. That might be the easiest way of cracking the flying car market.

I’d be curious if there would be “highways” or travel lanes for flying vehicles. And how would a flying car be policed? Like I said, we’re not ready for that.

In 1967, The Futurist magazine predicted apes would be chauffeuring our vehicles. I guess they missed that one.

Popular Mechanics predicted we’d be traveling in tubes in 1957. The closest tube I know of is the northbound tunnel on the Northeast Extension of the PA Turnpike.

Thomas Edison was a pretty good inventor, but in 1911 he predicted houses and contents would be made from steel. Holy moly, that’s a lot of Rustoleum.

Not too long ago, Wired magazine predicted we would have reached Mars by 2020. There are a few space agencies predicting a Mars launch between 2021 and 2024.

In 1950, Associate Press writer Dorothy Roe said all women would be more than six feet tall with a shoe size of 11 and have shoulders and arms of a truck driver. Nope.

Way back in 1943, the president of IBM predicted there would not be very much use for computers. As of 2014, an estimated 2 billion personal computers were in use.Who would have bought stock from that guy?

Famous sci-fi writer Arthur C. Clarke predicted in 1966 the house of the future would fly by the year 2020. I’m still pushing the flying car, let alone a flying house. Then again, if I had a flying house, I’d fly away from paying property taxes.

Inventor Nikola Tesla should have kept his predictions to electric power because, in 1937, he predicted coffee, tea and tobacco would be no longer used widely and alcohol would still be used. I’ll have a double, please.

You’ve heard of blood banks, no doubt. Modern Mechanix, in a 1940s article, predicted tooth banks would be widespread. I hope Drs. Anthony Polit and John Costello aren’t reading this.

Ladies Home Journal predicted in a 1900 edition that, by 2020, the letters C, X and Q would no longer exist in the English language. So how would Frank Colella and Vito Quaglia sign their checks? Can you say Tony Allaio?

I guess there’s hope for all of us. In 1913, a New York Times reporter predicted we’d all be vegetarians by now. Ron D’Eliseo, you better tell Brenda no lasagna for the family next New Year’s Eve.

In 1951, Popular Mechanics predicted every household would have a personal helicopter. I’d go for that.

Here’s a crazy prediction. Back in 1911, the Royal College of Surgeons of England said that, by 2020, a human’s foot would have morphed into one big toe. Can you say Crocs?

Again, Popular Mechanics predicted in 1950 that, by the year 2020, we would be cleaning our houses with, not a nuclear vacuum, but a garden hose. Move over, Fred and Wilma Flintstone.

Here’s one too good to be true. In 1966, Time magazine article predicted that, by 2020, everything would be automized by machines, nobody will work and everyone will be rich. Where do I sign up for that?

I believe more and more consumers will cut the cord and watch TV with an antenna or a streaming device. Streaming is gaining market share with Apple, Disney, SlingTV, YouTube TV and others making their mark.

Internet providers like Verizon will have to step up their game with speeds. I’ve been suffering and paying for 1/3 of the speed that I had until I discovered a problem, not with my house, but lines all over the place. Two reasons: 1. Technology is getting older and needs to be revamped. 2. Squirrels are a big issue as they chew from pole to pole.

I would love for all home computers to go wireless, getting service from cell towers instead of telephone poles. There aren’t many squirrels in space.

We won’t see gasoline priced at $3 a gallon as more oil is being produced all over the globe. I’d love to pay between $1 and $1.50 per gallon but that won’t happen, either.

Flat screen TVs will probably not get much better for now. QLED and OLED sets are top of the line, all in 4K. It seems 8K is taking a peek but that won’t happen, either. Look for prices to continue to dip for larger screens.

Cameras will inch closer and closer to being mirrorless. I’m not saying DSLR or film cameras will go away, but the future of photography will move further away from the latter.

“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.” – Benjamin Franklin

Comedian Larry David of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Seinfeld” told Stephen Colbert on the “Late Show” his resolution is to not swing his arm violently in the air to wave down a waiter or waitress.

Sure, he grabbed a laugh out of that but, truth is, at least it’s a resolution that isn’t all that bad and one he could definitely achieve.

This is the time of year we put too many expectations on ourselves, thinking, if we achieve them, we’d be happier. Possibly.

Hopefully, your resolutions are reasonable where you have that chance to attain your goal. More times than not, after a few weeks into the new year, you realize you don’t have the energy to lose those extra pounds or you have too many bills to start putting money in the bank.

Start out slow with your resolutions and see where it goes. Make more realistic goals, have patience and maybe you’ll just meet your target.

About four weeks ago, we rounded the Thanksgiving corner and headed towards the holiday season. Because Thanksgiving was later than usual this year, shopping time was cut and the need to speed shop was necessary.

The Wyoming Area football team was about to accomplish the impossible in the run of a lifetime at a state championship.

The feeling going into the holidays is euphoric; there’s something therapeutic about spending money on gifts and the actual giving of gifts.

Driving about Greater Pittston, you see folks still have holiday lights lit and many celebrate or honor Russian Christmas and New Year’s.

It’s sad when decorations come down, the tree is tossed or put away and the last strand of tinsel packed away for another year – everything is bare and the streets are dark and dull.

The website actually pinpoints the most depressive day in January is the 24th. Not for my cousin John and my friend Joann Anzalone Alu who both celebrate birthdays that day.

The reason Jan. 24 has that distinction is because it’s the end of the month and all the Christmas bills show up in the mailbox. That’s probably the number reason your New Year’s resolution about saving money kicks you in the pants.

Other reasons for January depression are obvious – it’s cold, dark and dreary. The trees, bushes and landscape are gray.

Perhaps you can attempt one or all of those suggested tips to get you out of the doldrums of January and the grip of winter.

Depression is a real thing. If you or someone you know suffers with depression, call the national help hotline – 800-662-HELP (4357). The lines are open 24/7, 365 days a year.

The call is free and, although people on the other end of the phone do not provide counseling, the specialist will transfer you to appropriate call centers.

Two other numbers you can reach out to: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 800-273-8255 or The Samaritans – 877-870-HOPE.

Since I’m on a roll with the month of January, here are some fun facts about the first month of the year.

This month is International Creativity Month, National Birth Defects Prevention Month, National Book Month, National Hobby Month, National Soup Month, Pop Culture History Month, as well as Reference Book Month.

While January is our winter in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s the seasonal equivalent to July in the Southern Hemisphere.

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.” – Albert Einstein

“Nothing in life is to be feared; it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” – Marie Curie

It is the new year. Take time to learn new cooking methods to celebrate the new year. Cooking is an art. It combines ingredients with cooking methods. Learn two new cooking methods, sautéing and braising.

Sautéing and braising are both considered to be “skillet cooking.” Using a skillet is a great way to create quick and healthy meals. A good pan will last a lifetime, if you take care of it.

There are a few things to consider when selecting a skillet. The 8 to 12-inch skillet with lid is the most versatile and easy to handle. Stainless steel is the best all-around choice. They are durable and easy to clean. Look for a heavy pan, preferably with a copper or aluminum bottom. This will allow for even heating. Also, you can finish off the cooking in the oven.

Cast iron skillets can be heavy to lift and requires extra care to keep seasoned. They are great for non-stick cooking and can be used in the oven as well as the stove top.

Teflon is also great for non-stick cooking but be careful not to scratch it. It also doesn’t work well with high heat cooking.

Once you have selected the skillet, then you are ready to learn these two cooking methods which use a skillet.

Sauté means cooking foods rapidly in a small amount of oil in an open pan and stirring constantly. We can sauté vegetables as well as small amounts of meat. Sautéed foods should never be immersed in oil. Some may call sautéing pan-frying as well.

Braising means cooking slowly in a small amount of liquid in a covered pan. The liquid can be chicken stock, water, apple juice or cider. We mostly braise meats or poultry but can also braise hard vegetables like cabbage or carrots. Meats may not be browned in a small amount of fat before braising.

Here is one way to cook cabbage using both sautéing and braising cooking methods. Cabbage is a member of the cruciferous vegetable group and is available year-round. It stores well in the refrigerator in a loosely sealed plastic bag.

Cruciferous vegetables are known for their protective phytochemical sulforaphane. This may help with getting rid of harmful substances in the body by activation genes that make detoxifying enzymes. Sulforaphane promotes removing toxic substances from the body.

Wash hands. Rinse cabbage. Remove any outer leaves that are wilted or brown. Place on cutting board. Cut in half. Place flat side down on board. Continue to cut with downward strokes. Turn and cut slices in half or leave as long slices.

Add a small amount of oil to the pan. Add onions, apples and or garlic. Sauté on low heat for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add sliced cabbage and braising liquid on high heat, bring to a boil. Cover the pan and lower to medium high heat. Cook 5 minutes until cabbage is wilted. Enjoy!

Mary R. Ehret, M.S.,R.D.,L.D.N., is the Nutrition Links Supervisor in Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Carbon, Schuylkill, Sullivan and Bradford Counties for the Penn State Extension.

Are we ready for flying cars? I think not, but there are more and more inventors out there trying their darnedest to make them.

The drone craze has spurned a bevy of companies attempting to create drones for people. That might be the easiest way of cracking the flying car market.

I’d be curious if there would be “highways” or travel lanes for flying vehicles. And how would a flying car be policed? Like I said, we’re not ready for that.

In 1967, The Futurist magazine predicted apes would be chauffeuring our vehicles. I guess they missed that one.

Popular Mechanics predicted we’d be traveling in tubes in 1957. The closest tube I know of is the northbound tunnel on the Northeast Extension of the PA Turnpike.

Thomas Edison was a pretty good inventor, but in 1911 he predicted houses and contents would be made from steel. Holy moly, that’s a lot of Rustoleum.

Not too long ago, Wired magazine predicted we would have reached Mars by 2020. There are a few space agencies predicting a Mars launch between 2021 and 2024.

In 1950, Associate Press writer Dorothy Roe said all women would be more than six feet tall with a shoe size of 11 and have shoulders and arms of a truck driver. Nope.

Way back in 1943, the president of IBM predicted there would not be very much use for computers. As of 2014, an estimated 2 billion personal computers were in use.Who would have bought stock from that guy?

Famous sci-fi writer Arthur C. Clarke predicted in 1966 the house of the future would fly by the year 2020. I’m still pushing the flying car, let alone a flying house. Then again, if I had a flying house, I’d fly away from paying property taxes.

Inventor Nikola Tesla should have kept his predictions to electric power because, in 1937, he predicted coffee, tea and tobacco would be no longer used widely and alcohol would still be used. I’ll have a double, please.

You’ve heard of blood banks, no doubt. Modern Mechanix, in a 1940s article, predicted tooth banks would be widespread. I hope Drs. Anthony Polit and John Costello aren’t reading this.

Ladies Home Journal predicted in a 1900 edition that, by 2020, the letters C, X and Q would no longer exist in the English language. So how would Frank Colella and Vito Quaglia sign their checks? Can you say Tony Allaio?

I guess there’s hope for all of us. In 1913, a New York Times reporter predicted we’d all be vegetarians by now. Ron D’Eliseo, you better tell Brenda no lasagna for the family next New Year’s Eve.

In 1951, Popular Mechanics predicted every household would have a personal helicopter. I’d go for that.

Here’s a crazy prediction. Back in 1911, the Royal College of Surgeons of England said that, by 2020, a human’s foot would have morphed into one big toe. Can you say Crocs?

Again, Popular Mechanics predicted in 1950 that, by the year 2020, we would be cleaning our houses with, not a nuclear vacuum, but a garden hose. Move over, Fred and Wilma Flintstone.

Here’s one too good to be true. In 1966, Time magazine article predicted that, by 2020, everything would be automized by machines, nobody will work and everyone will be rich. Where do I sign up for that?

I believe more and more consumers will cut the cord and watch TV with an antenna or a streaming device. Streaming is gaining market share with Apple, Disney, SlingTV, YouTube TV and others making their mark.

Internet providers like Verizon will have to step up their game with speeds. I’ve been suffering and paying for 1/3 of the speed that I had until I discovered a problem, not with my house, but lines all over the place. Two reasons: 1. Technology is getting older and needs to be revamped. 2. Squirrels are a big issue as they chew from pole to pole.

I would love for all home computers to go wireless, getting service from cell towers instead of telephone poles. There aren’t many squirrels in space.

We won’t see gasoline priced at $3 a gallon as more oil is being produced all over the globe. I’d love to pay between $1 and $1.50 per gallon but that won’t happen, either.

Flat screen TVs will probably not get much better for now. QLED and OLED sets are top of the line, all in 4K. It seems 8K is taking a peek but that won’t happen, either. Look for prices to continue to dip for larger screens.

Cameras will inch closer and closer to being mirrorless. I’m not saying DSLR or film cameras will go away, but the future of photography will move further away from the latter.

“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.” – Benjamin Franklin

Sunday Dispatch photographer Tony Callaio has selected his favorite news photos of 2019. Here, Tony not only identifies what’s happening in the photo but gives the readers his reasons for choosing the photo as a favorite of his.

Looking to boost your nutrition in 2020? Oats are a great way to boost your nutrition. They are a whole grain, low cost and can be more than a breakfast food.

Whole grains have value because they contain the bran, endosperm and germ. When put together, they have a synergistic effect, meaning that each part by itself doesn’t have the whole value when put together.

Here are the benefits of whole grains. They help to reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering “bad” cholesterol. Bad cholesterol can lead to heart problems when elevated. They act as antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the body from damage. They help to control weight by increasing the feeling of fullness and therefore helps decrease the amount of food eaten. They help to reduce the risk of diabetes by helping to regulate the insulin in the blood.

Soluble fibers are mostly beta glucan and pectin. They are found in beans, psyllium, oats, flaxseed and oat bran. Oats are a soluble fiber, which means that they act like a sponge and absorb the lousy, or LDL cholesterol which are attached to bile acids, and escort it out of the body.

How much soluble fiber like oats should we eat in a day? Research shows that in order to have the lowering cholesterol effect it takes about 3.6 to 10 grams of beta glucan a day. One- half cup (40 grams) of oatmeal contains 2 grams of beta – glucan; one cup (30 grams) of oat circles contains one gram of beta glucan.

Also, as a hot cereal, in pancakes, breads, cookies and muffins. Here is a variation of a family favorite to try. Enjoy!

Wash hands. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Stir in milk and oats. Let sit 5 minutes. Add oil. In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Stir into rolled oats mixture just until mixed. Spray frypan with non-stick spray. Cook pancakes on heated, fry pan until covered with bubbles. Turn pancakes and brown the other side. Makes 24 small or 12 medium pancakes.

Calories per 1 small pancake 60; Fat 3 grams, Sodium 200 milligrams, Carbohydrates 7 grams, Protein 2 grams.

Mary R. Ehret, M.S.,R.D.,L.D.N., is the Nutrition Links Supervisor in Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Carbon, Schuylkill, Sullivan and Bradford Counties for the Penn State Extension.

Another year down, another decade down. When I graduated high school in the mid-70s, the year 2020 felt like a million miles away and yet, here it is.

The year flew by for me as each year passes; they go by faster and faster. I was told when I was younger that time accelerates as you age, boy am I starting to believe that.

This year marked my 20th year of penning this column. If you’re keeping score, that’s 1,040 columns or over 1.15 million words. Now that the end of the year is here, I can recap some of those columns.

In January, Warrior Nation lost a long time hero when Bobby Langan passed away on Jan. 3 as well as my old friend Missy Newcomb. Both passed away on that day and both were in their 60s.

The Knox Mine Disaster feature length film has a screening at Wyoming Seminary. The film was a production of David Brocca and his cousin Albert Brocca.

In February, we lost two legendary figures in Dr. Joseph Lombardo and Harry Giacometti. Both men were pillars in their community that were civic minded, family men and were highly successful in their careers.

In March, another successful St. Patrick’s Day Parade was held in Pittston to seasonal weather with a slight wind. PJ Melvin was the Grand Marshal of the parade in typical PJ style, dressing up for the occasion.

Joe Curry, the longtime starter for the Leprechaun Loop 5K race handed the starter’s gun to Joe Heffers. What would St. Patty’s Day be like without a Pittston party? There were plenty of establishments open to celebrate.

Wyoming Area grad Lexi Crossley had a nasty bought of Guillain-Barre Syndrome paralyzing her, temporarily, thank goodness, before bouncing back with therapy.

Two students from Pittston Area – Kyle Breymeirer and Caroline Hintze, went to the National Spelling Bee Contest in Chicago.

April saw the Pittston Area Federation of Teachers donate adaptive bicycles. Each bike costs $1,800. I covered Media Day at the Railriders for the first time. It was a great event and I got to meet several of the ballplayers.

I also had another first in my life; I got to drive my car at the Watkins Glen racecourse for three laps.

The 48th annual West Pittston Cherry Blossom Festival took place in early May and had a bit of rain, as usual.

Tim Tebow hit me with a baseball as I covered his appearance for the Times Leader at a Railriders’ game. Yep, he hit me right in the leg as he was warming up playing catch with a teammate.

The Goodyear Blimp made the first of its two stops during the year in May. The Memorial Day Parades good off without a hitch in West Pittston/Exeter and Wyoming/West Wyoming. The later saw local educator Debbie Przybyla as the guest speaker.

Chester Monante, Bill Hastie, and Michael Augello all noted their 100th birthday while John Markarian marked his 102nd.

In June, Pittston Area held graduation ceremonies on the visitor’s side of the field because of new bleachers being installed.

The Battle of Wyoming ceremony was held to extreme temperatures in July as I got to cover the event for the first time. It was outstanding and if you’ve never been there, you should go.

I wrote a column about the 50th anniversary of the year 1969, which for many was a pivotal, momentous year with so much going on including the moon landing, Woodstock, the death of Mary Jo Kopechne.

In August, we geared up for the Pittston Tomato Festival and back to school time. The fest added the long-awaited third tier and longtime fest coordinator, Lori Nocito, stepped down for the first time after 22 years.

The 2019 football campaign got underway with Wyoming Area head coach Randy Spencer coaching from the press box as he recovered from heart surgery.

In September, we learned about native son Jimmy Cefalo’s battle with smoldering multiple myeloma. He’s being responding to a clinical trial for two-years now and continues to work daily.

The Duffy family ended the fundraiser for the late Jimmy Duffy who passed away from ALS. Over time they raised over $25,000.

Former Exeter Mayor Cassandra Coleman was named Executive Director of Pennsylvania Commission for the U.S. Semiquincentennial in 2026.

October saw the wind-down of the Paint Pittston Pink fundraiser. This year’s effort was record-breaking. Pittston Twp. will be moving their fire hall with the purchase of the former Borino Tire & Auto.

In November, Gary Dziak held a program at the Pittston Memorial Library on the book he wrote on the Battle of Wyoming.

Wyoming Area football charged through the playoffs on their way to a state title. We celebrated Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.

In December, we geared up for Christmas and Wyoming Area Warriors gets through playoffs and plays for the state title taking home the big prize – PIAA 3A state champions.

“Is it better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.” – Andre Gide

The holy season begins tonight as our Jewish friends mark the beginning of Hanukkah while our Christian friends will celebrate Christmas in just a few days. Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas to all.

Growing up Christian and doing the Christmas thing was unique for two reasons: celebrating the birth of Christ and believing in jolly old St. Nick.

It’s been many, many years since I had the spirit of Christmas in my heart. No, not the birth of Christ part, but the Santa part.

When my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the holidays lost a little bit of zest and, certainly over time, losing other family members has taken me in a different direction. Losing my mom in 2006 didn’t help.

As I’ve been healing from my mother’s loss over the last three years, I feel like I’m coming out of the holiday funk.

Watching young children get excited about sitting on Santa’s lap, offering their Christmas wishes and covering a bunch of holiday season parties has lifted my spirits.

Can you recall waiting for “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Frosty the Snowman,” “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” or a “Charlie Brown Christmas” to air on TV?

WNEP-TV used to have a 30-minute show where children would go to the station to sit on Santa’s lap and pass on their Christmas wish list to him.

Early on, I had a list, but when Santa didn’t bring me what I was hoping for, I stopped making a list. Instead, I just waited to be surprised at what he brought me.

Another thing that has helped me with my Christmas funk was seeing so much love with people and organizations giving back to the community.

The Greater Pittston Santa Squad, led by Anthony Marranca and his team, showed me how the spirit of Christmas is in everyone’s heart.

I recently covered a story about the Miss Nina Foundation where a Wyoming couple started a foundation but, a few years after the foundation was conceived, their son tragically died at the age of 32. Since then, the foundation has been rejuvenated; last week, the foundation gave 178 Wyoming Area third-graders each a $40 voucher for Burlington towards a coat or shoes.

For those keeping score, that’s over $7,100 donated in the name of Devon “The Defender” Silva, a 2004 Wyoming Area graduate.

Granted, the couple didn’t raise that much during the course of the year but they match donations. That’s one incredible gesture and one from the heart to keep their son’s memory alive.

This year, I even watched Christmas shows like Tim Allen’s “Santa Clause” movies … yes, all three of them.

Even though I am coming around, I still think spending tons of money on gifts to exchange is going overboard. I know so many people who go in serious debt at Christmas just to buy that perfect gift.

The saying goes, “Jesus is the reason for the season.” I’m not sure that means racking up charges on your Boscov’s card or having a personal friendship with local UPS delivery people because they drop off boxes on a daily basis.

I do enjoy the decorations. While I was growing up, Mom decorated our house like she was the holiday window dresser at Macy’s in New York City. She was darn good. She never scrimped on garland and lights, the Christmas tree never had a bare spot and it always rotated on its stand.

Mom was always very liberal with the cotton under the tree that was supposed to simulate snow. The Plasticville Village was placed meticulously within the confines of the Lionel train and the train itself was cared for each year and never abused. I loved when I would stop the train to unload the log car; that was so much fun.

I miss the train but it was never mine. It belonged to my older brother; he eventually took possession of it and I don’t blame him. To buy that exact set would set me back a handsome penny. Besides, does anyone still put up a tree/train platform?

I always wanted to try to colorize a black and white photo in Photoshop and I finally did it. I took one of my parents’ wedding photos and brought it to life – for me, anyway.

The longer I worked on the photo, the more I felt like I was there taking the photo. Eventually, that feeling turned into a bit of sadness. I really miss my folks and they were so young in the photo. I wish I knew them when they were sitting in a car holding hands.

Many people enjoy seafood this time of year. The term seafood includes fish, as well. It is a large category of marine animals that live both in the sea and freshwater, including fish such as salmon, tuna, trout and tilapia as well as shellfish such as shrimp crab and oysters.

Seafood can help prevent heart disease. It contains omega-3 fatty acids, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). It also is a good source of lean protein, vitamin B 12 and D.

Americans have increased their seafood consumption, but still are not meeting the recommended eight ounces per week. Children should consume smaller amounts. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should consume between 8 and 12 ounces of a variety of seafood per week from sources that are lower in mercury. They can eat light tuna, but should limit albacore and yellow fin tuna to 4 ounces per week because it is higher in methyl mercury. They should avoid king mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, shark, swordfish, tilefish (Gulf of Mexico), and bigeye tuna.

Seafood doesn’t need to break your budget. There are low-cost options. Buy fish in its simplest form such as canned, frozen fillets and or fresh.

Enjoy fish beyond the holidays. Try salmon patties, a shrimp stir-fry, grilled fish tacos, or clams with whole-wheat pasta. Try grilling, broiling, roasting, or baking. Use spices or herbs, such as dill, chili powder, paprika, or cumin and lemon or lime juice. These add flavor without adding salt.

Remember, cook seafood to 145°F and re heat leftover seafood to 165°F. To avoid foodborne infection, do not eat raw or undercooked fish, shellfish, or food containing raw or undercooked seafood.

Family members might not like the smell of fish when it’s cooking. Fresh fish should never have a fishy odor. If it does, throw it out. The odor is a sign of spoilage microorganisms which may also indicate the fish has not been handled properly.

When cooking fish, it’s a good idea to light a candle or put a slice of orange in the oven while the fish is baking or broiling. Or better yet, grill outdoors.

If you have young children you are cooking for during the holidays, here is a recipe for tuna burgers. You can substitute canned salmon.

Wash hands. Rinse the top of the tuna can. Open and drain tuna, separate into flakes using a fork. In a medium bowl, combine tuna, 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, cheese, egg, salad dressing and onion. Form six patties; coat each side with remaining 1/2 cup breadcrumbs. Spray non-stick skillet with cooking spray; heat to medium heat. Cook patties 3–5 minutes on each side until golden brown and internal temperature of each patty reaches 160°F. Makes 6 servings, one patty per serving.

Mary R. Ehret, M.S.,R.D.,L.D.N., is the Nutrition Links Supervisor in Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Carbon, Schuylkill, Sullivan and Bradford Counties for the Penn State Extension.

I know the title goes to Wyoming Area but I believe all people in Greater Pittston are happy. There are a lot of crossover families between the two school districts.

The DeLuca family is a perfect example where starting WA QB Dominick DeLuca’s dad Carl was a three-year starting QB for Pittston Area.

Not many newspaper photographers get the chance to cover a PIAA state final football game; in fact, it could be once in a lifetime thing. I was fortunate to shoot not only the Wyoming Area/Central Valley 3A title game at Hersheypark Stadium, but I covered the Dallas/Thomas Jefferson 4A championship game two days earlier.

Photographing a losing team in such a meaningful game was gut-wrenching. The last thing a player or coach wants to see is someone taking a photo after a big loss. I’ve known Bonny Mannello, wife of Rich Mannello, the Dallas head coach, for over 30 years, so I really felt their loss.

The WA game was totally different from the Dallas game for a few reasons. WA’s game was at noon while Dallas had a 7 p.m. start. It was extremely cold and windy Thursday night for the Dallas game while the sun blared brightly for the WA game on Saturday.

With a slight breeze and a bright sun shining, it was a few degrees warmer than two days earlier, making the weather more bearable for the WA game.

As a graduate of WA, I knew I had to do a job and keep my emotions in check. I had to focus and concentrate at all times because it was easy to go from photographer to fan and alum.

During the game, I thought of all the former football players and coaches who were a part of the previous 52 years of Warrior football. In a way, I felt the 2019 team members were playing for all of them as well as for themselves.

Great coaches such as Jack Henzes, the second all-time leader in victories in PA; Tom Vaxmonsky, a district title winning coach; and Paul Marranca, an Eastern Conference champion coach, have led the Warriors but never got to the big dance at Hersheypark Stadium.

State title games only go back to 1988 so neither Coach Henzes or Coach Vaxmonsky would have had the chance to play for a state title with the Warriors, but Henzes did win a state title with the Dunmore Bucks in 1989.

Current WA coach Randy Spencer, a former player at the school, assistant coach and finally head coach, did what seemingly is impossible – he took the Warriors to the title game – and won.

I got to be in the locker room prior to the start of the game to snap photos. I was really surprised to see how calm everyone was, as if it was just a routine game. Sure, everyone had their game face on, that was to be expected, but there was no pacing, no upset stomachs, nobody squirming like worms. Just calmness.

Eventually, someone blasted music after Coach Spencer went over last-minute directions and the team started to get into the moment. That’s when I knew it was game on.

From the standpoint of a photographer, there wasn’t much to shoot for the first three quarters, but man, the last quarter had me busy.

Down two touchdowns, the Warriors were in a bit of a hole but this team had been there before so nobody seemed to be worried. The composure of these young players was extraordinary. Then again, most of these players have played together for at least a decade from junior football through high school.

When WA removed the two touchdown deficit to tie the game and eventually go ahead with just a few minutes left on the clock, a lot of fans could breathe a bit easier. But the game was not over and there was still enough time for Central Valley to mount a strike. That, however, didn’t happen.

Many tears were shed after the game, including mine. I was happy and proud for my alma mater but, truth be known, if Pittston Area won the title, I would have gotten emotional. My philosophy has always been, Greater Pittston first and foremost. I’ve rooted for Pittston Area many, many times over the years.

Here’s an interesting fact — it was Team WA covering states. Times Leader’s sports writer John Erzar covered both Dallas and Wyoming Area games, journalist Kevin Carroll covered the WA’s homecoming parade and post-title game rally. Thursday evening, local sports writer Matt Bufano covered the Dallas game for another newspaper. Erzar, Carroll and Bufano are all WA graduates.

Last, but not least, Wyoming Area grad and Sunday Dispatch Editor Dotty Martin anxiously waited back home for my photos from Hersheypark Stadium for last Sunday’s edition, including the cover shot.

It may be a long time before a local team gets to states again but, in the meantime, many area residents will be talking about the sunny day in December 2019 when WA came from behind to win the school’s only state championship game.

“Cry. Forgive. Learn. Move on. Let your tears water the seeds of your future happiness.” – Steve Maraboli

Holidays are great for people getting together and sharing holiday foods. It’s also a time when germs can spread quickly. Norovirus is sometimes called the stomach flu or stomach bug. Here are a few facts about the “stomach flu” and how you can prevent you and your family from getting sick.

First, the norovirus group were first identified as the cause of a primary school outbreak of vomiting/diarrhea in Norwalk, Ohio during the early 1970s. The Noro virus group consists of related viruses that share similar symptoms and epidemiology. You may see both names, noro virus and Norwalk virus, to describe the same infection.

Noroviruses are the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis (infection of the stomach and intestines) in the United States. They spread easily and are often called stomach flu or viral gastroenteritis. Noro virus illness is not related to the flu, which is caused by influenza virus. The most common symptoms are diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach pain.

People who are infected can spread it directly to other people or can contaminate food or drinks they prepare for other people. The virus can also survive on surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus or be spread through contact with an infected person.

Norwalk Virus comes from transferring the virus to the mouth from the hands. Sharing food, water and/or utensils can transmit the virus. Touching a contaminated doorknob and/or stair railing and then touching your mouth is a possible way to get noro virus. It’s possible to get it airborne, as well. Only a few viruses can cause illness yet and infected person can shed billions of norovirus particles.

Other sources of norovirus are contaminated foods like ready-to-eat foods. Fruits, salad and shellfish can be contaminated by the infected individual or, in some cases, the water source. Wells and water sources need to be checked regularly before consuming the water.

Currently, there are no vaccines available for prevention of Norwalk or noro virus. It is a virus; therefore, antibiotics are ineffective against it. Also, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are ineffective against norovirus. Good hand washing with soap and water and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects are the two most effective practices to remove norovirus particles.

Wash your hands often with soap and water. Wash especially after using the toilet or changing a diaper. Wash always before eating, preparing or handling food and before giving yourself or someone else medicine.

To help make sure food is safe from norovirus, routinely clean and sanitize kitchen utensils, counters and surfaces before preparing food. Use a chlorine bleach solution of approximate 1 tablespoon per quart of water or 5 tablespoon per gallon of water to fight off noro virus.

Serious illness is rare and is usually associated with dehydration. Keep fluids up to replace lost fluids from vomiting or diarrhea. Drink plenty of water or water containing foods like soup. Here is a good recipe for chicken soup.

Place cooked chicken, rice, and broth into a large saucepan and cover. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat. Stir and simmer for 15 minutes. Add vegetables and seasonings. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until vegetables are tender.

Ideas — For vegetables, use any of the following: Canned vegetables such as green beans, Navy beans, tomatoes, or mushrooms; frozen vegetables such as peas, lima beans, corn, broccoli, or cauliflower; fresh vegetables such as potatoes, onions, carrots, celery, cabbage, or squash. Other seasonings you can use are bay leaf, thyme, oregano, and chili powder. Use beef broth and cooked beef, or turkey broth and cooked turkey, instead of chicken. Makes 8 -2 cup servings.

Mary R. Ehret, M.S.,R.D.,L.D.N., is the Nutrition Links Supervisor in Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Carbon, Schuylkill, Sullivan and Bradford Counties for the Penn State Extension.

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