The LuLac Edition #3387, December 27th, 2016
As the year winds down, we continue with our year end features. “Women We Love” is something we kind of, sort of ripped off from Esquire Magazine a few years back. Each year we get nominees for outstanding women locally, statewide, nationally and internationally. The criteria is simple, quality of work, recognition of community activities, challenging positions that give them a profile both good or bad. Also, if there is a “buzz” about the type of year they are having and how that impacts on themselves as well as the community. Nominations come in via the LuLac E Mail box and a certain number is needed to make the cut. After that cut is dwindled, we choose the winners. This year was a bit different and all over the map. Of course there were the expected nominees from the Presidential race but we had a few surprises from the non secular side of the spectrum. Here are the LuLac 2016 “Women We Love”.
This woman has been a presence across the United States via Cable TV for ages. Her nominations came in the year of her death. Mother Angelica can be seen to this day on the EWTN Network which she was instrumental in founding. Her down to earth presentation has attracted many Catholics among the rank and file. However her very existence has sometimes rankled the church hierarchy. Here’s her incredible story:
Mother Angelica was born Rita Antoinette Rizzo on April 20, 1923, in Canton, Ohio. Of Italian American background, she was an only child. Her father, a tailor by trade, abandoned the family when she was only five.
Her only achievement in her young life was to be the first Majorette at her Canton, Ohio high school. She moved to Philadelphia and had tremendous stomach pain and went underwent various treatments to no avail. She went to a Novena and claimed that after the last day of the religious service she had no stomach pain and was cured.
One evening in 1944, Rizzo stopped at a church to pray and felt that God was calling her to be a nun. She sought guidance from a local parish priest who encouraged her to begin visiting convents. She visited Saint Paul's Shrine of Perpetual Adoration, a facility operated by an order of cloistered contemplative nuns, located in Cleveland, Ohio. When visiting this order, she felt as if she were at home. The order accepted her as a postulant, asking her to enter on August 15, 1944. She was 21 years old.
She received a new name, which her mother had chosen for her, and title, "Sister Mary Angelica of the Annunciation".
In 1962, Mother Angelica began a series of community discussion meetings on matters relevant to Catholicism and also began recording her talks for sale. Bishop Joseph Vath noticed her talent for communicating with the lay public and encouraged her to continue; she began taping a radio show for broadcast on Sunday mornings and published her first book in 1972. In the late 1970s she began video-taping her talks for television, which were broadcast on the satellite Christian Broadcasting Network. In 1981, after visiting a Chicago television studio and being impressed by its capability, she formed the non-profit EWTN corporation. Initially, she recorded her shows in a converted garage at the monastery's property.
EWTN became a voice for American conservative and traditional Catholics, with its position on religious and social issues often mirroring that of Pope John Paul II. With the emphasis on tradition, Angelica had feuds with some members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. Most famous is the feud over a pastoral letter written by Cardinal Roger Mahony of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles over teachings surrounding the Eucharist and the liturgy. After this dispute, EWTN added a theology department with priests, theologians, deacons, and lay people to make sure EWTN was in line with the teachings of the magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. [
According to EWTN, the network's channels currently reach 264 million households glob
Mother Angelica stepped down from control of EWTN in 2000 and handed control to a board of lay people. In 2001, just after the September 11 terrorist attacks, she had one of several strokes. In response to the terrorist attacks, Mother Angelica made a statement expressing sympathy for the victims, praising President Bush's speech to the U.S. Congress and calling for justice on the conspirators. She went on identifying "pornography, abortion, child prostitution, the spread of drugs, the destruction of youth by an immoral media and the suppression of religious expression in public places as 'other' terrorist threats that must be addressed.
Mother Angelica held the Catholic belief in Redemptive suffering— that human suffering can become meritorious if offered to Jesus and mystically united with His suffering. Because of this belief, in her period of declining health, Mother Angelica "instructed her nuns to do everything to keep her alive, no matter how much she suffered, because every day she suffered, she suffered for God."
Mother Angelica remained living at the monastery until her death on March 27, 2016 (Easter Sunday), at the age of 92 from complications of the stroke she had had 14 years prior . Mother Angelica's death was announced by EWTN. All the funeral rites were televised on EWTN.
Her impact on broadcasting, religious fundraising, on Catholics as well as her large following are just a few reasons that Mother Angelica is one of the 2016 LuLac Women We love. Posthumously.
At the start of the voting Brittany Boyer was nowhere to be found on the WEL ’16 nomination ballots. But when it was announced that she was leaving WNEP for greener pastures the votes came pouring in. Talk about taking someone for granted when you think they will always be there. But when the class act is going away, well that’s another story. As a follower of fashion, I always looked forward to what the stylish Boyer would wear every time she was on the air. Even though she was a flawless, accurate and competent presenter, you couldn’t help but notice the way she put herself together on TV. Here’s a bit about Boyer from the WNEP TV website:
Meteorologist Brittany Boyer joined WNEP in July 2013. Brittany has always had a passion for news and meteorology. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Penn State University. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Operational Meteorology from Mississippi State University.
While at Penn State, Brittany began working at AccuWeather in State College. While there she presented weather forecasts across North America.
From there, she took her next leap to a local television station as a news reporter. Brittany worked for WJAC-TV in DuBois, Pa. for two years as the stations northern tier reporter and fill-in weather anchor.
Coming to WNEP-TV was an opportunity for Brittany to continue her career in news and weather, while being closer to family.
Brittany is an avid skier and fitness enthusiast. She also enjoys traveling, cooking and spending time outdoors.
Boyer returned to Acu Weather after leaving WNEP and currently serves as a On-air Meteorologist providing forecasts for the Accuweather Network on Verizon Fios along with forecasts to clients all over the world.
Through three decades, Marisa Burke has been part of our lives in LuLac land as well as Northeastern and Northcentral Pennsylvania as a TV co anchor on WNEP TV News. Burke had the distinction of being on the highest rated TV station in America and did not take that responsibility lightly. Her presentation was always informative, detailed but also appropriate to the style of the story she was presenting. As a viewer, I can tell you I never witnessed a tone deaf moment (and it does happen in broadcasting now and then) in her career. From the WNEP TV website, here’s a bit about Marisa Burke:
Burke, a native of central Pennsylvania, was born and raised in Danville, Pennsylvania. She graduated in 1982 from Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Radio and Television Communications.
Marisa began her broadcasting career in June of 1980, as an anchor, reporter, and producer for WHLM AM/FM radio in Bloomsburg. Later that summer, Marisa accepted a position as a reporter for WSLS-TV in Roanoke, Virginia and worked there for two years. She was quickly promoted to weekend anchor/producer and then to weekday co-anchor of the 6 and 11 pm newscasts.
Marisa joined WNEP-TV in April, 1984 as an anchor/reporter of the morning and midday newscasts. She is now producer and co-anchor of Newswatch 16 at 6.
Marisa is involved in all kinds of station-sponsored charity events including St. Joseph’s Telethon, the Race-for-the-Cure, Feed-a-Friend, Toys-for-Tots, and Coats-for-Kids. She is also host for the Greater Scranton Jaycee’s Santa Parade.
Marisa left the station because WNEP TV’s parent company offered her a buy out. It was a good offer but it was done to save money. As far as Channel TV viewers were concerned, Burke could have stayed until they turned the lights out at WNEP. But she accepted the offer to start a new chapter with her daughters Rachael and Sarah. Her easy manner but steady presentation of reporting the news of the day made her an easy choice. When you add that to the way Burke exited on the air in such a classy manner, that is just one of the many reasons why Marisa Burke is one of the Women We Love this year.
The word multi tasking is a requirement when anyone refers to WBRE/WYOU’s Kelly Choate. Choate has been the Multi media, (I like to call it Night side ) Reporter at the station the past year and has covered a variety of stories that were both informative and entertaining. Her straight forward style as well as her competitive compassion is one of the hallmarks of her style. Choate is a member of the station’s I-Team and has done some pretty compelling stories. Plus her coverage of the 2016 campaign aided by her fellow traveler and intrepid videographer Tony Ingargiola has given her the reputation as a go to local journalist. Choate has gone behind the headlines to bring out stories that no one knew existed. It was Kelly Choate who first broke the Baby Trump story before anyone else had it.
Kelly is a Penn State graduate with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism and a minor in Spanish. While at Penn State, she worked as an executive producer, anchor and reporter for the Centre County Report on WPSU. Her stories were recognized by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation and the Society of Professional Journalists.
Kelly has a passion for news and sports. She participated in the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism at Penn State.
A native of the Philadelphia area, Kelly interned at Sports Radio 610 WIP and NBC 10.
In her free time, Kelly enjoys cheering for the Eagles and Nittany Lions, playing fantasy football, in addition to visiting family and friends. This year Kelly also won a Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters Award as well as getting married. This busy reporter has touched the lives of so many this year with her stories, some happy, some tragic but all hopeful. That’s the main reason why Kelly Choate is one of the Women We Love in 2016.
Wilkes Barre City Councilwoman Beth Gilbert did not run for the office to be the first, the youngest or the anything of just anything. This young politico ran to make an impact. When the young Gilbert was in college she announced her candidacy for City Council and immediately was pitted against a former veteran Police Officer. Gilbert won that primary convincingly by peppering the district with signs, visiting voters door to door, holding successful and well attended events throughout the city and being omnipresent at other candidates events.
When Gilbert won, it was no surprise. It was expected that Gilbert would settle in as a newly minted council member and just take things in as most rookie Council members tend to do.
Instead Gilbert took things on.
Gilbert became a vociferous force against new Mayor Tony’s George’s budget and with the help of the other two newcomers Tony Brooks and Mike Belusko on Council, the budget was not passed. For years Wilkes Barre voters had seen a rubber stamp Council voting 5-0. Not this time.
Then Gilbert took on a very big issue involving equal rights for the LGBT community in Wilkes Barre. She offered an Amendment to Council that added provisions for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. That legislation later signed by Mayor Tony George put in legal writing that all residents of the city were afforded equal opportunity for employment, housing, and the use of public accommodations, and have equal access to post secondary educational institutions.
While on the surface this seemed to be a no brainer, Gilbert took some heavy artillery on this especially on her Facebook page. But she took the slings and arrows in stride and moved forward. It was voted into law this year because of her efforts.
Now let me put this in perspective. This ordinance put Wilkes Barre in step with what was going on nationally. During the Vietnam War, when young people protested on campuses in 1967 and ’68, there was none of that here. Wilkes Barre’s first protest against the war came in 1970 or 71. Three years after everyone else was doing it. Gilbert’s ordinance not only put us on the right side of history but also in step with the news cycles in America.
Gilbert also voiced her opposition to the City's check accounting practices with an area bank.
Gilbert is the daughter of Damien and Susan Gilbert. She is pursuing a political science and international studies double major, a Wilkes-Barre native and G.A.R. graduate. At Wilkes she has involvements in Pi Sigma, Political Science Honor Society; Alpha Sigma Pi, National Society of Leadership and Success and the International Studies Club and active volunteer with Valley Santa, Key Club, Building Bridges and Wilkes-Barre city clean up days. Beth was officially accepted into George Washington University and will be pursuing a Master's of Professional Studies in Political Management beginning in January.
Beth Gilbert’s ability to take on issues, bring up viable solutions to concerns by her constituency as well as her passion for the way government works makes her one of the most hopeful Women We Love winners in its history. While 2016 politically may not have been ceiling shattering at the top level, we’re doing pretty well here in little old Wilkes Barre with the likes of Ms. Gilbert.
Hillary Clinton has always been always named for the LuLac Women We Love nominations but this year it was overwhelming. There is so much known about Clinton that it would be redundant to repeat it all. Plus the people who love her know her. They respect and pretty much revere the things she did for America. The people against her will only demonize it and revile it. Even after the election those same people posted hateful images and things about her on Social Media. So while they are not necessarily deplorable, I think some of them are pretty hopeless.
One word I’d like to clear up about the campaign. The use of the word “liar” was used numerous times about Clinton. But here is an independent rundown of just who lied during this race.
From Fact Check is how Donald Trump was rated on the facts:
True 4% )
Mostly True 11%
Half True 15%
Mostly False 19%
Pants on Fire 17%.
Mostly True (26%)
Half True (24%)
Mostly False (14%)
Pants on Fire (2%)
These percentages are based on statements made throughout the year.
It is just one snap shot into what type of campaign this was and how Clinton was misrepresented by Trump and the GOP attack machine.
But in the end, that didn’t matter because the American voters in their uh…..wisdom decided to vote for a misbehaved man child with no regard for the truth.
Her character was attacked ruthlessly. Her 30 year record of accomplishment on women’s and children’s rights was dishonored by a know nothing candidate who inspired his followers to disregard accomplishment and award out and out bullshit. This campaign as well as Hillary Clinton will be remembered as the last time a qualified candidate was proffered before the American people. Her rejection signals a new era. This country has always prided itself on always raising the bar. That’s done with now and Clinton will go into the history books as the last qualified candidate to ever run for President. She fought tooth and nail to not have that happen.
Her record and campaign though is part of the reason why she was chosen. The overwhelming response to her nomination though was the amount of opposition, true and false she had to deal with during this effort. Despite outlandish attacks, a boorish opponent, and outright lies Hillary Clinton faced it all with aplomb and grace. Whatever feelings of disgust and despair she had remained buried. She did not whine on Twitter. She didn’t give a shit if people were “not nice” to her. Hillary Clinton remained a strong woman even though she was opposed by misogynist women who knifed her in the back. (Maybe because they loved the misery of their own little lives and did not want to see a woman get ahead, who knows??!) In defeat Hillary Clinton acted more like a man than Mike Pence’s running mate. Given the entire field on both sides, it can be said she had more balls than any of them. It is for that reason and many others that Hillary Clinton is one of the Women We Love in 2016.
This nomination was a different type of one for LuLac. The NBC correspondent’s name was also linked with fellow reporters Kaci Hunt as well as Kristan Welker. All three women were front and center on the 2016 campaign trail but it was Tur’s reporting on the Trump campaign that gave her the edge over the other two. Now to be clear both Hunt and Welker were given credit for their work and advancing the work of young women in journalism. But essentially Tur was picked for the tumultuous path given her on the campaign of Mike Pence’s running mate.
A little bit first about Tur. Given the diversity of media today, even within organizations, Tur reports for all platforms of NBC News, including Early Today, Today, NBC Nightly News, Meet the Press, WNBC-TV, MSNBC, and The Weather Channel.
Tur has reported for WPIX-TV, News 12 Brooklyn, KTLA, and HD News/Cablevision.] Tur worked as a storm chaser for The Weather Channel on the network's VORTEX2 team. Being a storm chaser gave her the appropriate experience to be embedded in the campaign of Mike Pence’s running mate.
During the race, Tur was signaled out by the candidate as part of the crooked media. She was subject to taunts as well as horrific language and comments on Twitter. Yet all she did was report what Mike Pence’s running mate was saying on tape and into microphones. To say that Tur was not in danger would be a true fabrication. Through it all, Tur stood firm, did her job and gave Americans the story of this campaign. While she had less experience then others on the beat, Tur was both courageous and undaunted in the face of taunts from so called Christians in this country. While the work of Kaci Hunt, Kristen Wekler and other women journalists on the beat was also truly effective, Tur got the final vote for Women We Love in 2016 because of her ability to stand up to a bully running for President and just doing her job.
The new First Lady of the United States, Melania Trump was tabbed by LuLac readers for this recognition. The main reason was her ability to be thrown into a situation where she virtually had little or no experience. While some say her events were overly scripted, in my estimation they were flawless in execution. The kerfuffle over her keynote speech on behalf of her husband is overblown. It was a staff issue, certainly not hers. A little about Mike Pence’s running mate’s third wife:
Born in Slovenia, she became a permanent resident of the United States in 2001 and a citizen in 2006. She is to assume the role of First Lady of the United States on January 20, 2017. She will be the second foreign-born First Lady of the United States, following Louisa Adams in 1825, and the only First Lady to date not to have been born a citizen of the United States or in what would later become the United States.
While ironic that Melania wants to make cyber bullying her pet cause (perhaps she could start that effort at home) it is a worthy effort. Melania will be living in New York with her son until June to have him finish his schooling. There is great hope that Melania will be able to contribute her own style and beliefs in her role. Many say her potential in that role is unlimited. Her ability to operate in the shark tank that is a Presidential campaign with poise and her commitment to her son are just a few of the reasons Melania Trump was chosen to be one of the Women We Love in 2016.
This year the First Lady got many nominations. It could be that many of our readers are saying a fond farewell to Mrs. Barack Obama as a courtesy or half of them are hoping she starts a career of her own. Most of the kudos came for her political speeches made on behalf of the Democratic ticket.
Obama is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, and spent her early legal career working at the law firm Sidley Austin, where she met her husband. She subsequently worked as the Associate Dean of Student Services at the University of Chicago and the Vice President for Community and External Affairs of the University of Chicago Medical Center.
As First Lady, Obama has become a fashion icon, a role model for women, and an advocate for poverty awareness, nutrition, physical activity, and healthy eating.
Her family roots trace back to pre-Civil War African Americans in the American South. . Her paternal great-great grandfather, Jim Robinson, was a slave on Friendfield Plantation in South Carolina, the state where some of her paternal family still reside. Her religion is Methodist and her sense of social justice comes from her own experiences as a young woman of color trying to make her way in this country.
Obama campaigned for her husband's presidential bid throughout 2007 and 2008, delivering a keynote address at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. She returned to speak at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, and again during the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, where she delivered a speech in support of the Democratic Presidential nominee, and fellow First Lady, Hillary Clinton. That speech galvanized her selection this year. The response to her speeches on behalf of Hillary Clinton as well as her example and class as First Lady is just one of the many reasons why Michelle Obama is one of the Women We Love in 2016.
Who would have thought that two nuns would be LuLac’s Women We Love this year let alone a Saint! But in this topsy turvy year anything is possible. The story of Mother Teresa of Calcutta is well known. But her canonization this year as a Saint put her back to the forefront in the minds of the LuLac readers.
She was born in Skopje (now capital of the Republic of Macedonia), then part of the Kosovo Vilayet in the Ottoman Empire. After having lived in Macedonia for eighteen years, she moved to Ireland and then to India, where she lived for most of her life. Fluent in five languages – Bengali, Albanian, Serbian, English, and Hindi– she made occasional trips outside India for humanitarian efforts
In 1950, Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation, which in 2012 consisted of over 4,500 sisters and was active in 133 countries. They run homes for people dying of HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis; soup kitchens; dispensaries and mobile clinics; children's and family counseling programs; orphanages; and schools. Members must adhere to the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, as well as a fourth vow, to give "wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor".
Lay Catholics and non-Catholics were enrolled in the Co-Workers of Mother Teresa, the Sick and Suffering Co-Workers, and the Lay Missionaries of Charity. In answer to the requests of many priests, in 1981 Mother Teresa also began the Corpus Christi Movement for Priests,] and in 1984 founded with Fr. Joseph Langford the Missionaries of Charity Fathers] to combine the vocational aims of the Missionaries of Charity with the resources of the ministerial priesthood. By 2007 the Missionaries of Charity numbered approximately 450 brothers and 5,000 sisters worldwide, operating 600 missions, schools and shelters in 120 countries.
Teresa was the recipient of numerous honors, including the 1962 Ramon Magsaysay Peace Prize and 1979 . The anniversary of her death, September 5th, was made her feast day.
Teresa once stated, "By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus." Those are more than enough reasons for Mother St. Teresa to be named one of the Women We love in 2016.
She is known as the daughter of the President Elect that is always in the background. Even political commentators on the national scene say “when the three adult Trump children” do this or that, Tiffany is never mentioned. Tiffany Trump is the product of the President Elect’s marriage with Marla Trump and was raised by her mother in California, where she lived until graduation from high school. She was educated at Viewpoint School in Calabasas, California. She is a 2016 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where she double-majored in sociology and urban studies.
She is said to be shopping around for law schools. She was recently spotted at Harvard.
She was named by her parents after Tiffany & Company (her father's purchase of the air rights above the store in the 1980s allowed him to build Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue). She was raised by her mother in California, where she lived until graduation from high school.
In 2014, while attending the University of Pennsylvania, Trump released a music single called "Like a Bird". She later told Oprah Winfrey that she was evaluating whether to take her music career "to the next level as a professional”. Trump has also worked as an intern at Vogue and modeled for a 2016 Andrew Warren fashion show during New York Fashion Week.
Registered to vote in Pennsylvania, Tiffany’s occupation is listed as Celebrity/Model. LuLac readers picked her for two reasons, the first was the feeling that this second daughter should be given more prominence. Plus readers wondered why the President Elect didn’t use her more on the campaign trail after her speech at the Convention. It is for those reasons that Tiffany Trump is one of the Women we Love in 2016.
If you looked into a dictionary for the word whirlwind, you’d most likely find a photo of Kathleen Smith from Ashley. Kathleen has been a passionate promoter of history in our region and is constantly in the forefront of any effort to enhance the support of our local history.
Smith organized the Shawnee Fort Chapter DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) in 2009, is a life member of the NEPAGS, life member of the Wyoming Monument Association, currently serves on the board of the Wilkes-Barre Preservation Society, and is a member of The 109th Heritage Association. Smith is currently serving on the Board of the Plymouth Historical Society, and is a past board member of the Luzerne County Historical Society. More importantly, the DAR Chapter has increased membership by 10% for 3 years under her leadership. The group received a national award for this as well as being active in the community for various projects. Smith is a newly elected member of the vestry at St Stephen's Episcopal Church and is also on the Wyoming Valley Veterans parade committee.
During this year’s release of the Florence Foster Jenkins movie starring Meryl Strep, Smith was instrumental, dare I say solely instrumental for obtaining the film maker Donald Collup to speak at an event shortly after the movie came to Wilkes Barre. The Director of the movie Nicholas Martin, told Collup the movie might not have been made had it not been for the documentary he made. Well Collup’s appearance might not have happened without the dogged determination of one Ms. Smith.
Smith had planned a ceremony this past September at the Foster family’s mausoleum.
During the service, the Daughters of the American Revolution honored both Jenkins and her mother, Mary Jane Hoagland Foster, by placing DAR insignia at their tomb. Both women had belonged to that organization.
Smith grew up in Schuylkill Haven, is a graduate of Grace Christian School. She lives in Ashley with her husband Frank and child Oliver.
The term living history has been around for a long time. But very few people really know, care or understand their roots. Unfortunately people have to be reminded of what rich and colorful history we have. That task, sometimes daunting, is in the competent hands and very passionate megaphone Ms. Smith wields on its behalf. It is for that reason that Kathleen Smith is one of the Women We Love in 2016.