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Riverfest Celebrates Recovery of Susquehanna

PITTSTON — A community event is making a comeback in Luzerne County a year after historic flooding forced organizers to cancel it. Pittston Riverfest is back, with fun and educational activities for the whole family.

For many people in Pittston and West Pittston, the Susquehanna River has become the enemy after last year’s flood.

“I’m afraid it might happen again and these poor people that are remodeling their homes now,” said Simone Karpavich of Pittston.

But this weekend, the river is being celebrated not as an enemy, but as a source of survival and piece of history at the Fourth Annual Pittston Riverfest. Riverfest is back after the September flood forced organizers to cancel it last year.

“The river isn’t our enemy. It is our friend, and people only remember the bad things about the river and not the good,” said Greater Pittston Cultural Coalition President Joe Savokinas.

Riverfest organizer Joe Savokinas said he sees more wildlife at the river these days, a sign that the Susquehanna is cleaning up and making a comeback, something that some people in West Pittston are trying to do too.

One woman spoke to us about her uncle’s road to recovery after the flood.

“He was out of his house for a whole year. He just finally moved back in, and he had to do a lot of remodeling. It was really devastating for him,” said Lauren Lakuta of Dupont.

Now more than a year after the flood, there are still signs offering services for people to rebuild their homes. There are also for sale signs for the homes of people who don’t want to or can’t afford to stay.

“”There’s also some of the few homes that you look at and it’s really sad to see. Like I said, a lot of people really can’t afford it with this economy,” said Emmett Fonte of Kunkletown.

People who have rebuilt here in West Pittston said they’ll be celebrating the benefits of the river this weekend to remember the happy times and get over the scars left behind.


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