Around Town: Remembering ‘Little Eric’ at Wilkes-Barre POWER! mixer


Eric Speicher was a regular sixth-grade student at Wyoming Area in 2011.

He played sports, was involved in the community and loved life.

In the summer of that year, though, his life changed when doctors discovered he had ependymoma, a type of brain tumor. Despite surgeries and many radiation and chemotherapy treatments, he succumbed to the disease two days before Christmas in 2013.

His life is the impetus for Little Eric’s Foundation, a nonprofit that raises money for pediatric brain and childhood cancer research locally. To date, the foundation has given money to more than half a dozen families faced with the same ordeal as the Speichers.

His dad, Eric Sr., shared the family’s story on Thursday night at North Slope Brewing Company in Dallas during the August Wilkes-Barre POWER! mixer. He choked up telling the business professionals and community members in the room about his son’s passing and his family’s mission.

POWER! was able to donate a few hundred dollars that night to the foundation, and Speicher was able to tell guests about the upcoming Little Eric’s Game Night at the Holiday Inn, also referred to as the East Mountain Inn, on Saturday, Sept. 15.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and the foundation is promoting “going gold” for the month by displaying gold bows on your home or business.

If interested, I encourage you to visit

I unfortunately will be out of town for the game night, but plan to do my part to help Little Eric’s any way I can.

North Slop Brewing Company was a terrific spot for a mixer, since it was easy-to-find and a place where many guests had never been.

There’s a selection of craft beers and ciders brewed at the company, which is located just off Memorial Highway next to Gino’s Shoe Store in Dallas.

Since I’d never been there I didn’t realize they had a full dinner menu, too, which is apparently popular because I spied several families and groups of friends coming in for meals: burgers, sandwiches, snacks and starters, kid portions and more.

They also have live music on weekends.

It’s worth checking out if you haven’t.

Another music venue I stopped by during the week was Canteen Park on Market Street in Kingston, which is filling up on Wednesdays due to its partnership with Special Guest App and the booking of live entertainment.

On that night, singer and guitarist Dustin Drevitch was performing his musical catalog.

Both inside and outside were full.

Canteen Park is the offshoot cafe of the well-loved Canteen 900 in Forty Fort. It has a colorful menu with an array of cocktails: sweets, sours, juice-inspired, beers and wine. They also have a full food menu, which includes Sunday brunch, you should check out at It’s filled with quality appetizers, salads, sandwiches and plates you don’t see much locally (sides note: they take great care of vegans and vegetarians).

If you’ve driven over the Market Street Bridge in the last year you’ve likely noticed the hip garage-style structure with yellow, red and blue coloring across from Kirby Park.

Inside a fun, rustic appeal and a laid-back atmosphere awaits.

If you’re considering seeing for yourself, Wednesday night area singer and songwriter Christopher Kearney is performing bluegrass, country and blues at 7 p.m.

Do yourself a favor: get there a bit early, put your food order in and get comfortable for the night. You’ll probably stay longer than you expect.

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

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