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  • NYC Smile 4 Me Team

Around Town (The Times Leader)

Original article from The Times Leader's Mike McGinley found HERE

Around Town: Regional mixer, Tomato Festival reasons to smile

Stepping into the Woodlands from the side parking lot near the entrance to Club Evolution, I saw some folks I didn’t recognize.

They had nametags neatly displayed on their business-like attire, though, so surely they were there for the same reason I was: a Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce mixer on the SKYY Vu Deck Bar and inside the Executive Lounge on Wednesday night.

I peered around, then realized that not only was this a Wilkes-Barre Chamber event, but the Scranton Chamber was there too.


It was a regional mixer. Even better. I knew this weeks ago, but admittedly forgot in the hustle and bustle of the work week.

There were the usual suspects, like Lindsay, Ben, Meghan, Ahmad, Lauren and all of the Wilkes-Barre Chamber team that are always fun.

There were other notables like Dr. Joseph Grilli, the director of corporate and institutional recruitment at Misericordia University who’s often in attendance at community events. He was accompanied by Dr. Charles Richardson, Dean of the College of Business, who is new to the area and already getting involved where he can.

There was friend Maggie Farrell, the associate director of admission from King’s College, who is always keeping me up to date on the wonderful things King’s is doing.

And there was Michelle Valenti, the general manager of the Woodlands, who is doing a fabulous job keeping the place busy and lively as it nears 50 years in operation.

I also met a gentleman named Chris Bohinski who, if you haven’t heard, is a force behind the 2nd Annual Smile Day coming up at the Wyoming Valley Catholic Youth Center on Oct. 20. Smile Day is an all-inclusive event with carnival games, sporting activities, raffles, arts and crafts and more that anyone can attend.

Chris told me since it’s free to smile, the day is free for everyone to attend.


It relies on donations in the form of donated goods, time, services and dollars. If you’d like to help make people smile on Oct. 20, contact Chris at

While Smile Day is two months away, I have something more immediate to keep you occupied today.

If you haven’t made it to the 2018 Pittston Tomato Festival this weekend, there’s still a full schedule of events to partake in today, including shows and performances:

10:45 a.m. – Little Miss and Little Mr. Tomato Contest

1 p.m. – Perfect Harmony Performing Arts

2 p.m. – Danny Argo

3:15 p.m. – MIZ

4:30 p.m. – 3 Imaginary Boys

6:15 p.m. – Tony’s Jam Band

8:00 p.m. – Dani-elle

I was able to make it there yesterday during the morning parade but scooted out early to attend the Wyoming Valley Challengers’ 2018 Cornhole Tournament at Susquehanna Brewing Company.

This project was spearheaded by the Boylan Foundation, run by local community leader Joe Boylan of Argent Eagle and his family (dad Kevin is best-known for owning Boylan’s in Swoyersville, Thirty-One Lake Street restaurant in Dallas and Kevin’s Bar and Restaurant in Kingston).

Proceeds raised from the second annual event go towards children with physical and mental disabilities, allowing them access to the game of baseball. This year’s event was significant because the Wyoming Valley Challengers finally found a home at the former Miners Mills Little League complex in Wilkes-Barre.

The space works well for the Challengers, but it still requires community support to keep it going. To get involved, contact

If you can’t participate in any of the above, no worries. At least remember to smile today.

Mike McGinley is the Times Leader Media Group’s major accounts executive. Reach him at or 570-704-3945.

#SmileStory #BohtheSmileGuy #ChrisBohinski #Happiness #Joy #NYCSmile4Me #Positivity

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