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AROUND TOWN: Notari’s Legacy Still Swinging

May 26, 2019

Just a flip wedge from Old Forge High School, where he taught mathematics for more than three decades, coaching golf and serving as the school’s athletic director along his 31-year journey, a wood frame waits the finishing touches — the sign that will officially designate the area at the Marion Street Community Park as the Rich Notari Golf Center. Four permanent golf cages were dedicated a little more than a week ago in memory of Notari, who died eight years ago of pancreatic cancer, but whose rich legacy continues to thrive in the borough and beyond. “We were looking to do something besides the scholarship and came up with the idea that it would be kind of neat to put some golf cages up for the people in the community to hit some balls,” said Notari’s oldest son, Rick. “Not everybody has the opportunity to hit balls in their yard, or has an opportunity to go to the range before playing some golf. “I thought it might be a good thing to do for the community. We had some space in a park which just happens to be right next to the school, so the golf team will also be able to use it.” It’s an idea that went from conceptualization to reality in four years. That’s because there was the process of going through the red tape from when Lackawanna County offered re-invest grants to nonprofit organizations throughout the county, to completing the grant paperwork to actually getting the check. And then there was the weather. Last year’s seemingly endless monsoon season didn’t leave a window to construct the cages. But thanks to the borough’s public works and rec maintenance staffs, the area is now in full swing. It’s just BYOB. Bring Your Own Balls. “Dad gave back to the community throughout his entire educational career, and we kind of look at it as he’s still giving back, whether it be through the scholarships and now these golf cages,” Rick said. “Also with the trophy between Old Forge and Riverside, The Big Cup, along with (former Riverside) coach Jack Helcoski, to remember those guys for all they did for golf in the triboro area.” There could be more coming for the park in the future, too. “This isn’t the end,” Rick said. “There’s still some space over there. My brother Rob said this might be a good area where we can put a chipping green or putting area. Maybe we can get a green-like area once we figure things out. “We think it’s a one of a kind. I don’t know of any other parks in Lackawanna County that have a facility like this, and of course it’s free and open to the public.” Rich was president of the Lackawanna Golf League, so the center and the Big Blue Devil Golf Tournament, which wrapped up its eighth event last weekend, are perfect remembrances. And when presented Tuesday night, the total monies given away in Notari scholarships, funded by the tournament, will top $35,000. That’s thanks in large part to the 212 golfers who keep the event going strong. “That’s just a testament to all the guys and players — and my dad — all the people he’s touched, and they feel the need to continue to give back,” Rick said. “And they know where the money is going and I think that’s part of it. They’re very willing to make donations and continue to play.” Memorial fishing derby One week from today is the annual fishing derby for kids at Stone Hedge Country Club, this year honoring the memory of Bill Longstreet. Part of Bill’s legacy will always be his love of the outdoors, and teaching kids how to fish and enjoy the outdoors. The fishing derby is open to all kids ages 13 and under, and the cost is $5 per child, with all proceeds going to Kevin Kitchnefsky Foundation for Spinal Cord Research. Registration starts at 2 p.m. and the derby begins at 3. Prizes will be awarded for the three largest fish, with a small gift for every child that participates. Call 570-836-5108 for information. Too soon Our condolences to Mid Valley athletic director Tom Nowakowski and his family on the untimely passing of his mother, Deborah, who died May 16 of an apparent heart attack. There has been an outpouring of love and support to Tom, but just wanted to let one of the really good guys we deal with know that we’re sharing in his sorrow. MARTY MYERS is a Times-Tribune sports writer. His Around Town column appears on Sundays. To contact him, email mmyers@timesshamrock.com, call 570-348-9100, ext. 5437 or follow him on Twitter @mmyersTT.

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