Shickshinny Residents: We’re Forgotten

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Of all the communities affected by the September flooding, Shickshinny in Luzerne County was among the hardest hit.

Now there is word that the only bank in town will not reopen and residents worry about the future of their community.

Nearly four months after the Susquehanna River flowed into the borough of Shickshinny, some parts still look as if the water had just receded.

Nearly a quarter of the borough's 900 residents fled the ravaged community.

Arline Welch is one who stayed.

"There`ll probably be more that leaves since there`s nothing here. Nothing at all," said Welch.

The grocery store is gone and the owner is not coming back. The post office is abandoned with no signs of any work. The Wells Fargo Bank moved to Plymouth and the damaged building is scheduled for demolition.

Anna Grover, 91, served as mayor of Shickshinny in the mid 1980s.

"We had everything we needed here. People lived together. Yes, we are forgotten, but we are hanging together. We are together here in this building," said Grover.

Helen Siesko reopened her beauty salon on Main Street a month ago. She said her phone hardly ever rings because after the flood. There is no reason for people to come to Shickshinny.

"People would come from the country. They would go to the bank, get their hair done, go grocery shopping, to the post office and that was their day. Then they would go home," said Siesko.

What used to be a simple trip to the grocery store for residents in Shickshinny has now turned into a 15 minute drive to the closest store in Nanticoke. Some senior citizens said they have a hard time getting there.

"A lot of people don`t drive. They have to depend on someone else and that`s hard on families, working families and they don`t have the time to do that," added Welch.

Some signs of life have returned. The Subway and CVS drugstore have reopened. Current mayor Beverly Moore vows Shickshinny will rebuild.

"We are involved with FEMA in the long term plan and we have guidance where we should be doing it and who should be involved in it," said Moore.

For Arline Welch, nothing will stop her from staying in the borough she calls home.

"I`ll tell you one thing, if there are only two houses here I`ll stay. I`ve always been here and I`ll stay regardless," said Welch.

Next Tuesday night borough officials along with representatives from FEMA will sit down at the Northwest Area High School to discuss Shickshinny's rebuilding plan.

That meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. and is open to the public.