interested in West Side COG
By Paul Golias - Citizens Voice
West Side Council of Governments could soon expand into a dramatically different
Luzerne County and the City of Nanticoke have voiced interest
in joining the COG that was created by 12 West Side communities.
COG president, said COG members have agreed to allow Nanticoke to join the police
equipment project and the COG will vote on the membership request at the next
Robert Lawton, county manager, attended the recent meeting held at
Kingston fire headquarters and said he would like to look for ways for the county
to work with the COG. He expressed interest in the county joining the COG.
said COG delegates discussed ways for the county and the COG to work together
such as purchasing, administrative assistance and use of the county DPW equipment.
Public works equipment was the focus of the initial West Side COG grant of $475,000
obtained earlier this year from the state gaming funds program. That money was
used to buy public works equipment that the towns can share.
Meeting last week,
the COG approved its 2014 gaming funds grant application in the amount of $1.27
million. COG communities hope to obtain police cruisers and more public works
vehicles and equipment.
Cipriani said the grant seeks funds for 12 mobile data
terminals, 12 thermal imaging cameras, 12 dash camera and 12 CAD software packages,
one for each town.
"We are working toward improving communication and
coordination among the municipal police departments," she said. "The
county purchased the CAD system, but many towns have not been able to purchase
the software and the associated equipment to use it. This will greatly improve
Gary Mack, an Edwardsville councilman and COG delegate,
said he held a public safety meeting and discussed ambulance service responses.
Another session will be held in January. Ambulance response times and the great
variation of basic life support versus advanced life support capabilities has
been a topic at COG meetings.
The COG decided to hold quarterly meetings of
DPW department heads and bring in speakers on topics of interest.
meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Jan. 23 at Kingston fire headquarters, 600 Wyoming
Towns represented at the last meeting were West Wyoming, Wyoming,
Edwardsville, Kingston, Forty Fort, West Pittston, Plymouth, Luzerne and Larksville.
Swoyersville and Exeter also are members.
Nanticoke would give the COG a presence
on the east side of the Susquehanna River. Despite the success of the West Side
COG to date, there has been no movement toward a COG on the east side. The Back
Mountain and Hazleton areas also have cooperative groups.
says Nanticokes finances in order
SUSAN BETTINGER Times Leader
Joe Alicieni, a CPA from an independent
firm, on Wednesday gave the citys finances a lean bill of health.
reported on the citys single audit. He said the citys finances are
in compliance with all laws, regulations and grant agreements. Alcieni said Nanticoke
has a good report and is going in the right direction.
matter, council gave approval to submit an Local Share Account grant from state
gaming funds, which would fund three specific projects. The grant would go toward
the streetscape downtown revitalization program and make improvements to City
Hall, specifically an American Disabilities Act access ramp, along with partially
funding a new fire truck.
Council President Steve Duda thanked Council Vice
President Jim Litchkofski for his eight years of service on council. Duda also
thanked Mayor Joseph Dougherty for his service to the city.
Dougherty will be leaving the current positions as of the new year.
Chamber of Commerce Vice President Jerry Hudak said the recent Nanticoke Santa
Parade and party was the most successful of in the area. More than 500 people
attended, and 282 children received gifts from Santa.
Hudak said many of the
items for the party were donated by businesses from Nanticoke and the South Valley
area. As well, Linda Prushinski put a tremendous amount of time and effort into
the event, and was one reason that it was so successful, he said.
said that he alone cooked 382 hot dogs for the children.
The R Bar and Grill
held an Operation Santa charity event for the third year. The event benefited
The next meeting will be Jan. 6 at 7 p.m. and will be a combined
reorganization and regular council meeting.
launched a search for a missing Nanticoke man Wednesday morning but called it
off without finding him.
on foot and ATVs searched near the Broadway Street bridge for Gregory Wiepa, 61,
who was last seen Monday.
Wiepa, whose home was destroyed in a fire on Nov.
29, hadn't been to work and hasn't contacted a close friend since Monday, firefighters
said. After his car was found by some railroad tracks near Broadway Bridge, police
searched the area.
The search included the area from the railroad tracks to
the Honey Pot section and the wooded area around the river. But after several
hours of searching, firefighters were unable to locate Wiepa and the search was
Wiepa is described as a white male, 6 feet tall, 210 pounds with
black hair, hazel eyes and a medium build. He was last seen wearing a navy blue
and white jacket, blue jeans, a snow camouflage T-shirt and white sneakers.
with information on Wiepa's whereabouts is asked to call 911.
upholds LCB's ruling to deny liquor license to former bar
A Luzerne County judge has upheld a ruling by the Pennsylvania Liquor
Control Board that denied a liquor license renewal to the former Prospect Street
Cafe in Nanticoke.
In May, the LCB voted not to renew the liquor license of
the bar, which closed down in March. The LCB cited a lengthy citation history
and the bar's dubious past, which included the Jan. 1, 2012 slashing of a woman,
for not renewing the license. The bar's owner, Paul Halliday, 38, of West Ridge
Street, Nanticoke, also was arrested several times in 2013.
Attorneys for Halliday
filed an appeal of the LCB's ruling. Luzerne County Judge Richard Hughes on Monday
affirmed the LCB's ruling.
"The licensee has a long history of sixteen
adjudicated citations over a period of ten years and has failed to point to a
single operational change to address those citations," Hughes wrote. "Furthermore,
the owner of the liquor license has demonstrated personal incompetence in managing
the licensed premises."
The building that housed the bar subsequently
has changed hands and now is a gun store.
for info in Nanticoke woman's murder rises
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens
The reward for information in the
beating death of a 97-year-old Nanticoke woman now stands at $7,500, according
to the retired police officer who started the reward fund.
Kevin Grevera, who
now runs a firearms and precious metals store in the city, said the fund at PNC
Bank continues to grow due to contributions by residents and business owners.
reward will be paid to anyone who provides information leading to the arrest and
conviction of the killer of Gertrude Price, who police say was fatally beaten
inside her 23 E. Grand St. home on Thanksgiving night.
reward has been offered by Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers in conjunction with the
Anyone with information is asked to call state police at Wyoming
considers rules for sale of city-owned property
- Times Leader
City Council is considering a resolution
that will set restrictions on the purchase of city-owned property and the securing
of grant monies from the city.
If approved, individuals who wish to purchase
city property or receive grant money will have to be in good financial standing
with the city, officials said. All debts, such as liens, fines and taxes, will
have to be settled prior to purchasing property.
In other matters, Kosciusko
Street resident Steve Zaricki asked council if anything could be done about vehicles
making left turns into the CVS parking lot. The vehicles are coming from Main
Street and are a safety hazard to the surrounding traffic, he said.
Hank Marks said that in the past there were double lines on the road making such
Penn Eastern engineer Daryl Pawlush said one possible solution
would be to make the parking lot accessible through one-way signs.
William Shultz said that the city will need to look into all options.
agreed and will seek to find a legal solution to the problem.
The city has
posted four 25-mph speed limit signs on Prospect Road near the Middle Road intersection.
Santa parade will take place on Saturday. The parade will begin at the Nanticoke
Area High School at 4 p.m. The schools marching band will lead off the event,
which is sponsored by the South Valley Chamber of Commerce. Free hot dogs, hot
chocolate, cookies, candy and gifts for the children will be available.
will meet next at 7 p.m. on Dec. 18.
Screw was in Nanticoke mans snack
Nanticoke man and his wife are suing the Kellogg Company after he allegedly swallowed
a screw contained in a package of Kelloggs Rice Krispies Treats purchased
at a Scranton-area convenience store.
According to a suit filed Thursday in
Lackawanna County Court, William Grabowski, of 109 Loomis St., had to have the
screw surgically removed after it became lodged inside him.
|A call to a corporate
spokeswoman for Kellogg Company, whose headquarters are in Michigan, was not immediately
returned on Thursday.
William and Lynn Grabowski are represented by Cefalo
and Associates of West Pittston.
In court papers, William Grabowski maintains
he bought the wrapped snack on Aug. 20 at a Sunoco convenience store on Northern
Boulevard in South Abington Township.
According to the suit, Grabowski Swallowed
the hidden screw embedded in the Rice Krispies Treat Bar. It then became
lodged in his esophagus, moved into his stomach and then moved into his duodenum,
The duodenum is the upper section of the small intestine.
required emergency room treatment and surgery to remove the screw, according to
Court documents do not indicate how large the screw was.
does not indicate how much Grabowski, a truck driver, is seeking, but says he
did lose some income due to the incident.
Crime Stoppers offers new reward in Nanticoke murder case
- Citizens Voice
A second reward is being
offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the murder of 97-year-old
Nanticoke resident Gertrude Price.
Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers on Wednesday
offered an unspecified reward as state police continue to search for clues in
the Thanksgiving night killing of Price, the great-great-grandmother beaten to
death inside her 23 E. Grand St. home.
Meanwhile, another reward in the case,
established at PNC Bank by a Nanticoke civic group, has grown to $5,000 thanks
to contributions from businesses and residents.
Crime Stoppers is a volunteer
organization of local businesses and community members that gather funds to reward
individuals who provide information anonymously to assist law enforcement agencies
with unsolved crimes, according to its website. The organization works in conjunction
with state police on such cases.
State police say any information provided
will be kept confidential.
Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-4-PA-TIPS
or state police at Wyoming at 570-697-2000.
members celebrate murder victim's life
At the funeral for 97-year-old
murder victim Gertrude Price, family members didn't want to dwell too much on
the brutal way she died, but instead the way she lived.
She was kind and gentle.
She remained strong and independent until the end. And she never let hate or anger
enter her heart, loved ones said.
As hard as it may be to do, Price's family
members said Wednesday they will not let anger for the killer consume them. That
would sink them down to the murderer's level, they said.
Police say an intruder
beat the great-great-grandmother to death on Thanksgiving night during a home
invasion robbery at her 23 E. Grand St. home, where she lived alone.
I learned of her death on Black Friday, of course we were all so shocked about
the horrible way she died," Price's granddaughter, Debbie Piper, 56, said
during services at the Davis-Dinelli Funeral Home in Nanticoke. "The question
that kept going through my mind over and over again was, 'How could this happen
to our family or someone that was so loved and so wonderful.'"
said the deeply religious family soon accepted the fact that evil exists and,
in the end, it's up to God to judge.
"It's hard for us who are left back
here to have to remember the way she left and the violence that she saw, but I
think the harder part for us is that we have to have forgiveness in our heart,
because if we don't we can only spread the evil that we saw happen to her. And
that's not what she would have wanted," Piper said. "I'm not saying
I don't want justice, I do want justice. But there is no better, sweeter justice
than the justice that is provided by God."
People can ask why this happened
to an innocent woman inside her own home, but there are really few answers except
that "we live in a fallen, broken world that desperately needs to be redeemed,"
the family's pastor, Eric Miller, of the Bloomsburg Christian Church, said.
lived "97 beautiful years" and remained "strong and independent"
until her final day, great-grandson Keifer Moskaluk said. He called her the "rock
of the family."
While family doesn't know all the details of the attack,
Piper said the family has reason to believe Price stood up to her killer.
believe she was strong in the end and she was able to stand up to what she came
against and go out with dignity," Piper said.
Now, it's time to carry
on the way Price lived for nearly a century, Piper said.
"My grandma taught
me by example. One of her greatest legacies was that she could forgive her worst
offenders. She experienced violence and anger a lot in her life, and she repaid
it with kindness and forgiveness and love," Piper said. "If she were
here today, I'm sure she would be showing us by her example to forgive and not
let the evil overtake us and not let it overpower our joy for her life."
board swears in new members
SUSAN BETTINGER - Times Leader
Greater Nanticoke Area School Board held its re-organization meeting Tuesday night
with District Judge Donald Whittaker swearing in Wendy Kotsko-Wiaterowski and
Megan Tennesen as its newest members.
The two replace Cindy Donlin and Jeff
Kozlofski. Chet Beggs, Robert Raineri and Frank Shepanski Jr. remain as board
members, along with Ryan Verazin, president; Ken James, vice president; Gary Smith,
treasurer, and Tony Prushinski, secretary.
Vito DeLuca was re-appointed as
the boards solicitor from December 2013 to December 2014 at an annual salary
of $20,000 per year.
During the regular school board meeting, Superintendent
Anthony Perrone announced the senior high schools annual Christmas drive
is in process and any donations would be appreciated.
that many of the districts students are from low-income households, and
there is a great need for donations from the community.
Board member Chet Beggs
highlighted the schools Nov. 25 blood drive that was held in conjunction
with Geisinger. Beggs said 72 students, faculty members and staff donated a total
of 58 units of blood. The blood will be used to treat 174 sick or injured individuals.
reward in hunt for 97-year-old Nanticoke woman's killer
By Bob Kalinowski
- Citizens Voice
Gertrude Price, 97, was
beaten to death Thanksgiving night in an apparent home invasion.
Crime Stoppers will be offering a reward for information leading to an arrest
in the murder of 97-year-old Nanticoke resident Gertrude Price, according to state
police at Wyoming.
The unspecified reward comes as state police continue to
search for clues in the murder of Price, the great-great-grandmother beaten to
death on Thanksgiving night inside her 23 E. Grand St. home.
It's the second
reward posted in the case and more than $3,000 has been pledged to a reward fund
established at PNC Bank.
Crime Stoppers is a volunteer organization of local
business that gather funds to reward individuals who provide information anonymously
to assist law enforcement agencies with unsolved crime, according to its website.
State police say any information provided will be kept confidential.
with information is asked to call 1-800-4-PA-TIPS or the state police Wyoming
barracks at 570-697-2000.
remains president of Greater
Nanticoke Area board
Buffer - Citizens Voice
Two new members joined the Greater Nanticoke Area
School Board on Tuesday, and Ryan Verazin will remain board president.
board also chose Ken James to remain vice president. Tony Prushinski will serve
as board secretary, and Gary Smith will be board treasurer.
The board representative
on the Luzerne Intermediate Unit board will be Chet Beggs. The LIU provides various
services to area schools, including special education, and has a board of representatives
from the school boards of the 12 member districts.
New Greater Nanticoke Area
School Board members Megan Tennesen and Wendy Kotsko Wiaerowski won four-year
terms in the November election. Smith, Bob Raineri and Fred Shepanski Jr. were
re-elected last month. Verazin, James, Prushinski and Beggs won four-year terms
established for reward in beating death of 97-year-old Nanticoke woman
A fund has been established
at a local bank so residents can contribute to a reward being offered for information
regarding the Thanksgiving night beating death of a 97-year-old Nanticoke woman.
reward stands at $3,000 for anyone who provides information leading to the arrest
and conviction of the killer of Gertrude Price, according to the organizer of
the reward fund, retired Nanticoke police officer Kevin Grevera.
the first $1,000 hours after news broke Friday of Prices killing and others
pledged contributions in the following days, he said.
The reward fund, set
up at PNC Bank, is being administered by the Nanticoke non-profit group, Fraternal
Order of Eagles.
Donations can be sent to:
FOE Just Rewards Fund
600 S. Market St.
Nanticoke, PA 18634
PNC bank can accept cash and checks for the reward fund, Grevera said.
who now runs a firearms and precious metals business in the city, said the community
has rallied around the idea of a reward.
I think we all have a sense
of pride in the fact Mrs. Price was able to live in Nanticoke all those years
and work hard and contribute as a taxpaying resident. She should have been able
to enjoy that liberty and peace until God chose to call her home, Grevera
said. Nanticoke is a community that cares about its residents and doesnt
tolerate this type of behavior.
Price's great-grandson, Jason Piper,
said the family was appreciative of the reward effort.
"The family heard
about it. We were surprised," Piper said. "It's good people are pulling
together for that."
Investigators say an intruder beat Price to death
at 23 E. Grand St. in what investigators are calling a random home invasion robbery.
It appears the killer entered the house through a basement window that had been
broken out, police said.
Family members found Price dead inside her home just
before 10 a.m. Friday, about 12 hours after they last knew she was alive. Investigators
believe the killing occurred around 11 p.m. Thanksgiving night because
lights were on in the house at a time she would be sleeping.
of this fund is to honor her memory, organize a community effort to show a zero
tolerance for violent crimes perpetrated against our residents, and primarily
is an effort to help provide information to investigating law enforcement officials
concerning this crime, Grevera said.
Anyone with information especially
anyone who saw something between 10 p.m. Thursday, November 28, 2013 and 10 a.m.
Friday. November 29, 2013 is asked to call state police at Wyoming at 570-697-2000.
within sight of the holidays
1885 Nanticoke cave-in entombed 26 just days before
Friday, Dec. 18, 1885, scores of men and boys went to work just as they did every
other day at Nanticokes Susquehanna No. 1 slope mine.
were surely focused on the duties of the day in the deep coal mine, as well as
Christmas, which was a week away. Twenty-six of them would not live to celebrate
A mine cave-in quickly filled the mine with quicksand and water,
and The Wilkes-Barre Record reported on Dec. 21 that 26 of the workers were entombed
500 feet below the ground.
Up to 7 p.m. last evening, not a trace of
the imprisoned men, not a sign or sound to indicate that they were still alive,
the newspaper reported.
Chester Zaremba, founder of the Nanticoke Historical
Society, said tragedies in mines were common. The deep mines were not regulated,
and were worked despite the danger.
That was the nature of the work,
Zaremba said. The mine workforce at the time numbered in the thousands, so
the odds were that somebody was going to get hurt real bad or get killed,
Despite the odds, John Hepp, associate professor of history at Wilkes
University, said the tragedy was not all that unusual. Like Zaremba, he said mining
for anthracite coal was extremely dangerous, and workers and communites alike
knew about the risks.
The Wilkes-Barre Record described
the towns distress as such that cannot be described with the pen.
The paper reported that one young woman, Maggie Sarver, had two brothers, Isaac
and John, who perished in the cave in. She became extremely weak after the incident,
and died on Dec. 19, 1885.
Of the dead, many were fathers and sons of families
One family lost three sons in the disaster, with the
fourth being rescued with difficulty, according to the Wilkes-Barre
Their parents, an aged couple, are nearly frenzied with grief,
the newspaper reported.
The stakes were high for the families if men did not
come out alive. The dynamics of families were similar to a business in those days,
according to Hepp. Each member of the family contributed in some way. If something
happened to one or two members of the family, he said, it was often devastating
for the family economically.
Zaremba said many families were housed in company-owned
housing. If the breadwinner of the family died in the mines, the family would
then have no choice but to leave. That is why so many boys and young men took
jobs in the mines, Zaremba said to protect the familys home.
coal companies also had a stake in disasters. They had to replace workers. Zaremba
said the companies often sought workers that knew the trade well, so they often
brought workers in from England and Whales. Mining was also popular among the
Irish, who sought a new life away from the potato famine.
Zaremba called it
a win-win situation immigrants needed somewhere to go to start
a new life, and coal companies needed workers.
Retrieving the bodies
Wilkes-Barre Record reported on Dec. 22, 1885 that rescue operations stopped when
a sudden rush of culm (coal waste) and dirt partially overwhelmed some of the
rescuers. On Dec. 26, the bodies would be reached through the gangway from Slope
2. But the threat of additional sand coming down over rescuers thwarted any rescue
or recovery attempts.
The company is very anxious to recover the bodies,
but shrinks from sacrificing any more of the men, the Wilkes-Barre Record
reported on Dec. 28.
Zaremba said rescues were often called off if conditions
proved to be too dangerous or if the bodies were unreachable.
point, somebody makes the call and thats terrible as far as the families
are concerned, Zaremba said.
The bodies remain somewhere underground
at the site of the mine to this day. Among the 26 that The Wilkes-Barre Record
listed as lost in the cave in was a Hungarian worker whose name could not be confirmed.
Zaremba said the cave in could have been the result of workers hitting
an unknown danger, or the barrier wall protecting them from dangers not being
wide enough. Zaremba said the engineering documents the miners had at the time
were surprisingly advanced.
Hepp, however, said the cave in was the result
of the miners hitting an underground stream, according to a report by the Pennsylvania
Mine Commission in 1891.
Sadly, this strikes me as just a tragic mistake,
he said. In this case, I honestly dont think
that anyone knew
that this submerged creek was there.
Despite the tragedy, workers were
once again mining for coal on Dec. 23 according to The Wilkes-Barre Record. It
was business as usual for an industry with high demand for its product. The work
did little to dissuade men from returning to work, Zaremba said, as they had no
alternatives for employment.
As a result of the disaster, Hepp and Zaremba
said, miners were better prepared on how to approach similar situations form then
on. An example Zaremba gave was how valuable rats were to miners if miners
saw mice scurrying out of the mine, they knew a cave-in was imminent.
also said miners began to trace where the underground streams were after the cave-in.
incident, as tragic as it was, also serves as a benchmark in the communitys
I think every place and its people are sort of defined in some
way by its history, Hepp said.
THE TOLL IN NANTICOKE
is a list of the deceased in the December 1885 Nanticoke mine disaster:
Thomas Clifford, 14, doorboy
William Delaney, 14, driverboy
William Elkie, 19, runner
Edward Hargraves, 21, miner
Hawk, 30, laborer
Wadislaw Jelgoshinski, 23, laborer
Kivler, 27, miner
William Kivler, 17, laborer
Maux Longolki, 17, driver
Abram Lewis, 42, miner
Andrew Lowe, 25
Vincent Luke, age unknown, laborer
Mathews, 20, laborer
August Matule, 45, miner
age unknown, laborer
Joseph McCarty, 23, miner
age unknown, laborer
Abram Rubinski, age unknown, laborer
Isaac Sarver, 28, miner
John Sarver, 21, laborer
Thomas Williams, 21, laborer
fire caused by careless smoking
Matt Bufano - Citizens Voice
smoking is the cause of a blaze that ripped through a Nanticoke home Friday night,
according to Nanticoke Fire Department officials.
Nanticoke lieutenant firefighter
Mark Boncal said an occupant of 42 W. Field St. was smoking a cigarette when he
fell asleep and an ashtray spilled on a mattress.
Boncal said the man then
found the mattress on fire and instead of calling the fire department, the resident
attempted to put the fire out himself.
Boncal said the resident removed the
mattress from the home and left bedsheets in a bag, along with a smoldering cigarette
that the man assumed was out, on the front porch. The blaze then reignited on
the front porch, according to Boncal.
The fire has been ruled accidental and
damage to the home is categorized as "extensive," Boncal said.The American
Red Cross Wyoming Valley chapter provided food, seasonal clothing, shoes and lodging
for one individual living in the residence, according to a news release.
firefighters were injured at the scene, as one was treated at the scene and the
other was taken to the hospital with a shoulder injury, according to Boncal.
police officer sets up $1,000 reward in case
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens
A retired Nanticoke police officer is offering
a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person
responsible for the killing of a 97-year-old Nanticoke woman.
who now runs a firearms and precious metals business in the city, said he plans
to open a bank account for the reward so local merchants and residents could add
to the bounty.
Grevera, a lifelong Nanticoke resident and owner of The Hunting
Depot, said the apparent robbery and killing of Gertrude Price at 23 E. Grand
St. drew parallels to a case years ago when his 93-year-old grandfather was beaten
and robbed in a home invasion on Noble Street. That crime was never solved.
a Nanticoke resident, I'm a retired policeman, I own a business here and my grandfather
was beaten and robbed years ago. I wasn't in position then to offer a reward,
and the person was never caught," Grevera said.
Grevera said he's putting
up the initial $1,000 and will release details about how others could contribute
when he starts the fund at a local bank.
In the event the crime should not
be solved, the fund shall serve as a permanent one for use at discretion of the
police for victims of violent crime in Nanticoke, Grevera said.
captain of detectives when he retired in 2010, Grevera said he felt compelled
to do something after hearing Price was killed in an apparent random home invasion
robbery on Thanksgiving night.
"This is my hometown," he said. "I
don't have words to express how I felt. Law enforcement only has so many tools
and sometimes the people have to come together and help."
information is asked to call state police at Wyoming at 570-697-2000 or Nanticoke
police at 570-735-2200.
rip through homes in Nanticoke
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens Voice
blaze consumed a home on West Field Street in Nanticoke on Friday evening, then
spread to a residence next door as fire fighters battled flames in frigid temperatures.
heavily damaged a home at 42 W. Field St. and also spread to a neighboring home
at 44 W. Field St.
J.D. Verazin, who lives next to the homes, said he was driving
to his house when he spotted flames at 42 W. Field St.
"I was driving
up the street, the porch was on fire and no one was around," Verazin said,
noting he flames were getting close to him. "I was rapping on the door and
they finally came out."
Verazin said the family who lives there got out
safely, but a family dog was unaccounted for.
Tom Vitale, who lives across
the street, said his family was sitting in his living room watching television
when his dog climbed on the couch and started barked out the window.
I saw was a ball of orange," Vitale said.
Fire crews arrived quickly but
the fire moved fast, he said.
"They came here in force," he said.
damages two Nanticoke homes
tore through a home on West Field Street Friday night and scorched a neighboring
Neighbors at the scene said they believed everyone safely escaped the
homes at 42 and 44 W. Field, but police and firefighters at the scene said no
information was available prior to press time.
Crews from multiple departments
were dispatched before 9 p.m. to a call in which multiple homes were initially
thought have been ablaze. The worst damage appeared to be at 42 W. Field, with
the front porch and windows badly charred as thick black smoke continued to billow
from the structure more than an hour after firefighters arrived.
The home next
door at 44 W. Field appeared to have sustained damage to its porch and siding.
A home on the other side of 42, with more distance between the two, did not appear
to have been affected.
Firefighters also had to contend with freezing temperatures,
with streams of icy water flowing down West Field Street as neighbors gathered
around the police tape to observe the scene.
The Red Cross was being called
in to assist the affected families.
of Watch glasses filled at Nanticoke bar
Pints recall slain corrections
officer Eric J. Williams
pint-sized glasses making the rounds at Tommyboys Bar & Grill pay tribute
to a corrections officer killed in the line of duty.
The commemorative End
of Watch glasses honor officer Eric J. Williams, who worked at U.S. Penitentiary,
Canaan, in Wayne County.
Williams, 34, formerly of Nanticoke, had been a customer
at the bar on North Market Street, said co-owner Adeline Cookie Smith.
was very, very nice, said Smith. He was so happy when he got the job.
fellow federal corrections officers still frequent the bar Smith has owned with
her husband, Steve, for more than four years. Its a family affair and their
daughters, Stephani and Jillena, also work there.
Smith bought a case of the
glasses imprinted with U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons emblem
banded by a black bar above Williams name and last day on duty, Feb. 25.
They were made up by AFGE Local 3003, the union representing the officers, she
My customers are asking to buy them, Smith said. Theyre
not for sale at the bar, though shes planning on ordering more due to their
Smith said theyve been circulating at the bar for about two
weeks and customers have taken to them. A few have been given away to friends,
Everyone has a comment, she said. They love them.
had been working at the prison since September 2011. In June a federal grand jury
indicted inmate Jessie Con-ui on a charge of first-degree murder and possessing
contraband. The indictment alleged Con-ui repeatedly stabbed Williams with a sharpened
weapon in a premeditated attack.
Con-ui has been transferred to the Administrative
Maximum Facility in Florence, Colo., a supermax prison housing the most dangerous
inmates under the tightest controls. Con-ui has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting
trial in U.S. District Court, Wilkes-Barre.
forward Samantha Littleford (Nanticoke Area) was recently named to the
Capital One Academic All-District IV team.
|She became the first student-athlete
in Keystone history to earn the honor and is eligible to be named an Academic
Littleford, a psychology major, carries a 3.87 GPA. The first-team
All-CSAC selection led the conference with 19 goals 44 points. She led the CSAC
with six game-winning goals.
Brittany Sugalski (Nanticoke Area) was
named honorable mention All-CSAC and Ashley Smith (Meyers) was named to the sportsmanship
Sugalski, a freshman mid, started all 16 games and was third on the team
with 14 points. She had three game-winning goals.
Smith helped the Keystone
defense post a 1.75 goals-against average and five shutouts.
Zoning Board OKs variance for planned apartments
Times Leader Correspondent
The Nanticoke Zoning Board
on Thursday night approved an application for use and height variances to a parcel
of property on Kosciuszko Street.
The request for variance was made by Lexington
Associates II LP in connection the establishment of two three-story, 24-unit apartment
buildings it wants to build. The development will add 48 additional units to Lexington
The variance approval will entail changing the property from its current
R2 status to R3. The R2 status limits structures to 35 feet in height. The three-story
buildings will be 48 feet high.
Lexington Associates was represented by acquisition
analyst Paul Mizack, who said the units will only be available for rent to applicants
who meet the firms relatively strict criteria.
the applicants must pass a credit and criminal check, have no prior evictions
and meet income guidelines. The monthly household income must be three times the
amount of monthly rent for one person or a combined income for related persons
who live in the unit.
The income must be at least four times the monthly rent
for roommates or unrelated tenants.
Rents will be approximately $900 per month
for a one-bedroom unit, and $1,200 per month for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit.
voiced concerns the property would possibly be sold in the future and turned into
subsidized housing units.
Mark P. McNealis, solicitor for the Zoning Hearing
Board, added an amendment to the approval that stated the current and subsequent
owners will not include subsidized or tax credit housing in the development.
added the only way the amendment could be changed is with the Zoning Boards
Mizack willingly accepted the amendment.
The land development
plans will now have to go before the city Planning Commission and City Council.
budget would raise property tax
SUSAN BETTINGER - Times Leader Correspondent
City Council on Wednesday unveiled a proposed budget for 2014 that includes a
The spending plan proposes a millage rate of 4.8785 (4.2514 mills
for general purposes, .6077 mills for debt service, .0194 mills for the library).
There is a property tax increase of .8191 mills.
A mill is a $1 tax on every
$1,000 of assessed valuation. A resident with a $50,000 property who paid $202.97
in 2013 would pay $243.93 in 2014, for an increase of $40.96.
the city will be involved with several improvement projects throughout the new
year. The increased tax rate will help to offset some of the associated costs
not covered by grants. Also, residents will be paying $15 per year less for refuse.
Council gave approval for the administration to begin sending the sewer bills
to residents twice per year, instead of the current quarterly bills. The sewer
fee will remain the same at $100 per year.
In another matter, Jerry Hudak,
vice president of the South Valley Chamber of Commerce, told council the city
has been selected as one of 10 communities in the state to be in the CGI Communications
The Community Video Showcase Program, a video marketing
effort, works in partnership with the National League of Cities and U.S. Conference
of Mayors. Participation in the program is free, and the video will be viewed
by businesses that are searching for a suitable location.
Hudak told City Council
that the program will promote the community and the good things that are
going on in it.
There will be a Christmas parade at 4 p.m. on Dec. 7,
starting at the Greater Nanticoke Area High School. Santa will bring gifts for
the children. Hot dogs and hot chocolate will also be provided.
be a single stream recycling education program at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Dec.
4 at City Hall. The program will inform residents about the requirements of the
citys new recycling program.
Also, the Crime Watch meeting will be held
at 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.
Council will meet next at 7 p.m. on Dec. 4.
Samantha Littleford (Nanticoke) was named the Colonial States Athletic Conference
first team in womens soccer after a standout season. The 5-foot-8 midfielder
led the conference in scoring with 44 points (19 goals and six assists) and had
a conference-high six game-winning goals.
Sam was tremendous for us the
whole season, coach Noel Cox said. She proved to be a very dangerous
scoring threat but it was her ability to make the other players around her better
that carried the Keystone program to its best record (10-5-1) since becoming a
Division III member.
Freshman Brittany Sugalski (Nanticoke) earned honorable
mention honors while senior Ashley Smith (Meyers) was Keystones Sportsmanship
recycling plan to save Nanticoke residents money
- Times Leader
Residents can expect to see approximately a $15 reduction
in their monthly refuse bill beginning next year, thanks to an ordinance passed
at Wednesday night's council meeting.
The ordinance establishes a mandatory
single-stream recycling program, which will result in the savings.
passed another ordinance, which authorizes the purchase of 319 E. State St. from
Luzerne County's tax claim repository for $500. The price covers the cost of the
The property will be demolished as part of Nanticoke's
effort to eliminate blighted properties within the city.
City Council also
approved for St. Stanislau Catholic Congregation a revised tax assessment in the
amount of $100,000. The reduction has been approved by Luzerne County and the
Greater Nanticoke Area School District.
Mayor Joseph Dougherty proclaimed Nov.
16 as "Race for the Readers Day." High school students Kayla Gronkowski
and Rebecca Morgis are organizing a 5k run/walk, which will benefit the Mill Memorial
An ordinance is being worked on that will establish rules and regulations
for the use of parks and recreation areas, prohibiting certain conducts. Smoking
and skateboarding are among the issues that will be addressed.
Stephen Duda said that the rules will be "good for the city and the youth."
Vice President Jim Litchkofski suggested looking into security cameras as a way
to further deter crime and make the areas more family friendly.
meet next at 7 p.m. Nov. 20.
are playoff bound
Steve Bennett - Citizens Voice
the time Nanticoke Area's Blake Balderrama
took the handoff, blasted through a hole created by his offensive line and landed
in the end zone, he did more than just help the Trojans win a football game.
helped erase the memory of 10 consecutive losing seasons and, by all accounts,
may have clinched a berth in the postseason, a place the Trojans have not been
to since 1999.
Balderamma's 3-yard run with 11 seconds left in the game gave
the Trojans a 29-26 victory over Hanover Area in the regular season finale for
both teams. The Trojans improved to 5-5 while Hanover Area ends its season at
According to the Eastern Conference standings released earlier this week,
the winner of Friday night's game would clinch a spot in the tournament.
Trojans overcame a 19-7 deficit with 5:25 left in the third quarter when Hanover
Area's Isaiah Taylor took a draw play 72 yards for a touchdown.
responded on the ensuing drive when Pat Hempel took a fourth down screen play
17 yards for a touchdown to get the Trojans within five.|
After Kyle Gavrish
picked off a Hanover Area pass, J.T. Levandowski capped a four-play 24-yard drive
with a 2-yard run to give Nanticoke Area its first lead of the night.
kids showed great character," Nanticoke Area coach Ron Bruza said.
really wanted this one. It was an all around great win for the program."
a Ya'Sir Jones 25-yard touchdown run put the Hawks back on top, by four, the Trojans
went 58 yards in 11 plays with Balderrama delivering the game-winner with 11 seconds
"It was designed for him, he is our power back in short yardage,"
Bruza said. "He is a strong kid and we knew he would put it in."
rushed for 160 yards on the night giving him 1,091 for the season.
Conference standings are expected to be finalized Sunday afteroon.
buildings force businesses to exit
downtown business owners are forced to close their doors thanks to decaying, city-owned
Two engineering firms recommended this week that four vacant buildings
on South Main Street be demolished immediately, calling them an "imminent
threat to public health and safety." The firms blamed extensive stormwater
damage for the buildings' condition, which Mayor Tom Leighton called "dangerous
City officials condemned the buildings on Friday and notified
the owners of Place One at Hollywood, 67 S. Main St., and Frank Clark Jewelers,
63 S. Main St., they had five days to vacate their stores. Those buildings are
in good condition, according to the reports, but the city wants the area clear
while it razes the surrounding buildings.
"They want me to vacate and
move 22 years in five days," said Place One at Hollywood owner Michaelene
Coffee, who has run the downtown dress shop for more than two decades. "They
let their building go into disrepair, and I'm paying the price for it. Why should
I pay the price?"
Leighton held a press conference at City Hall on Friday
afternoon and said he didn't know how much the demolition would cost taxpayers.
He said the city will do whatever it can to keep the business intact.
has marketed the properties as residential and commercial spaces for years. A
developer recently expressed interest in the properties, so the city hired the
engineering firms to assess the condition of the buildings. The reports found
the properties in extreme disrepair, collapsing in some portions, and concluded
they needed to be demolished as soon as possible.
Leighton said the developer,
who he wouldn't name, was probably no longer interested in the deal.
the city owns the buildings, Leighton refused to admit fault for their condition.
He also said it was "speculative" to suggest their unsafe conditions
would have gone unnoticed if a developer didn't come forward and spur a comprehensive
"We have somebody looking at them, making sure they're no
homeless in there," Leighton said. "Quite honestly, we've been trying
to develop those properties since 2004," Leighton said.
Coffee said Leighton
personally told her the news Thursday. She said the visit followed years of ignored
"I have been calling the city for the past five years or more
because their shingles would blow off the roof and ripped my awning," Coffee
Coffee recently closed a store she owned in Scranton and wanted to expand
her business to a second floor. She said it was frustrating to be forced to leave
after committing herself to the downtown, which Leighton has long cited as his
crowning achievement as mayor.
"I've been one of the only businesses that
has stayed down here at my choosing," Coffee said. "Now, the City of
Wilkes-Barre is throwing me out," she said.
Nanticoke couple Ilona and
Michael Taylor just reopened the historic Frank Clark Jeweler building as a new
jewelry store in May. Ilona Taylor said city officials also told her that she
needs to vacate in five days, right before the holiday shopping season.
trying to figure out what I'm going to do and how I'm going to do this without
losing business," Taylor said. "I didn't expect the signs to be in the
dead center of my windows."
Coffee said the city told her it would be
too expensive to save her building because they share a common wall. One engineering
report listed several alternatives to demolishing her building, but said razing
everything was the cheapest solution with regard to construction costs.
said the city's attorneys would figure out how to repay the business owners for
their losses and said it would "probably be figured out in the legal system."
Coffee said she has contacted a lawyer.
The Frank Clark Jeweler building is
a free-standing building, and engineers found it structurally sound.
purchased 71-75 S. Main St. in 2011 from a county tax upset sale for $16,500,
according to assessment records. It purchased 69 S. Main St. in 1996 for $50,000.
The city's Redevelopment Authority purchased 61 S. Main St. for $50,000 in 1997.
will be placed around the properties Saturday morning, Leighton said. He said
he didn't know when the demolitions would begin, how long they'd take or and when
the business owners could return.
Nanticoke Area: Six candidates compete for 5 slots
- Citizens Voice
Six candidates are running for
five spots on the Greater Nanticoke Area School Board.
The candidates who responded
to The Citizens' Voice said they're satisfied with the district's property tax
rate - 10.177 mills - and last year's percentage of students who went from high
school to a four-year college - 69 percent.
Candidates Cindy Donlin, Bob Raineri
and Gary Smith said the district should maintain its budget and avoid raising
or lowering taxes. Fred Shepanski Jr., Megan Tennesen and Wendy Kotsko Wiaerowski
could not be reached for comment.
The school district kept property taxes the
same for 2013-14 school year after raising the rate by about 2.5 percent the previous
Board president Ryan Verazin - who is not up for re-election - has said
that a dearth of commercial properties in the district means a property tax increase
does not raise much money for the schools.
Donlin, Raineri and Smith also said
the percentage of Nanticoke students who matriculated to a four-year college was
Not every student may see their future in a four-year college,
"I believe a better assessment of our educational system
would be to ask graduating students if they feel their education has prepared
them for their future endeavors," he wrote in The Citizens' Voice online
A big task for any school board is already finished: The current
board and the teachers union agreed in September to a five-year contract.
new contract will see teachers begin paying part of the premium for health insurance.
The school district will pay all health-care premiums for the next two years,
but teachers will pay 1.5 percent of the premium in the 2015-16 school year and
2 percent in the last two years of the agreement.
Teachers will also see a
pay increase. Teachers will remain at current pay steps for the next two years,
but salaries on each pay step will increase by $1,260. Teachers will advance pay
steps in the final three years, and wages in the those years will increase 2.99
percent a year.
companies are feeling the heat
Nanticoke Volunteer Fire Company Chief Michael Bohan became a fire fighter in
1976, the citys many departments each had a waiting list of those wanting
to be members. Today the help wanted sign is up in each of those departments as
membership has dwindled and the time constraints on existing members has increased.
banging down our doors right now, Bohan said. And those that do show
up and they hear what they have to do, theyre not so sure.
the 168 hours of training, fundraising, equipment and vehicle maintenance and
actual fire duties, the job is not an easy one and its time consuming.
guys have jobs, kids, wives, family obligations, Bohan said. He understands
that life is more hectic than days of yore and the volunteer organizations including
fire companies suffer.
We used to respond to fires and volunteers would
line the street and watch because there wasnt a job for them to do. Today,
everybody that shows up has a job to do and we could use more help, Bohan
said on Friday.
A middle of the night fire this July at Reilly Finishing Technologies
on Alden Road was contained by the nine firefighters that responded to the alarm.
Decades ago four or five times that number would have been the average response
Nuangola Volunteer Fire Department Chief Anthony Wilczynski has
been on the (unpaid) job since 1964. He said when he started, there were 25 active
members who would respond to any given call. That number is down to about 10 today.
just dont think the people have the time for it, Wilczynski said.
And though there are some junior members that sign up, retaining them isnt
They get older, get married, move away from here and then we
have to replace them with someone else, the chief said. The inability to
do too much fundraising because of lack of time also impacts the operating budget
and since Nuangola Borough donates about $1,200 per year less than the
cost of gas for the trucks, the chief notes its a tough situation.
annual bazaar the company held had to be scrapped five years ago because of a
lack of men to staff it. In its place a Crab Fest was established each August.
The one-day fundraiser requires less man power to staff it and is the largest
annual generator of funds for the department.
The number of hours spent fundraising
is a drag on members and something Pennsylvania Fire Commissioner Edward Mann
said hes heard as a key reason why volunteers quit.
In all honesty,
I never had a former volunteer firefighter tell me they quit because there was
too much training. I hear one of the following reasons why people leave: They
grew tired of the lack of leadership in the firehouse or they spent more time
doing work to raise funds to support the fire company then the time actually responding
to emergencies, Mann said.
Our firefighters have been sounding
the alarm for years: they are running on fumes. Their volunteer pool is dwindling,
and they have literally burnt through their funds. Chicken barbecues, pancake
breakfast and sportsmens raffles just arent raising enough revenue
to keep the lights on and engines running. Equipment and training costs have skyrocketed,
state Sen. Lisa Baker, R-Lehman Township said.
But its been the manpower
issue that is perhaps having the most impact.
In Luzerne County, multiple departments
have signed mutual aid agreements and some have signed formal merger agreements
including those in the Back Mountain and Mountain Top. Rice Township decertified
its volunteer department this year and supervisors there signed a 10-year-deal
with neighboring Wright Township to provide fire services.
Support Professionals thank board, superintendent
want to thank the Greater Nanticoke Area School Board and Superintendent Anthony
Perrone for the finalization of our 2012-2016 contract.
During our negotiations
we sometimes agree to disagree, but always come to an agreeable solution.
support professionals, in a unanimous vote supported this contract after almost
two years, and we believe it was a fair offer to both the union and the school
district. Our support staff have always given back to our school district. Over
eight years ago our staff agreed to help pay for our healthcare, and we were one
of the first that did it. This contract for the 2012-2016 school year we agreed
to go one year without back pay.
Once again, I want to thank the GNA School
Board, Mr. Perrone, our negotiating team and all of the members of the Greater
Nanticoke Area Support Professionals for a job well done.
GNA Support Professionals
remembered as 'born leader'
Steve Bennett - Citizens Voice
situation was looking pretty bleak for the 1961 Nanticoke boys basketball team.
the Trojans down five in the Eastern final against Reading High School, fans started
to leave the Harrisburg Farm Show.
Legendary head coach Syl Bozinski figured
he would put on the press, something Nanticoke Area didn't need to do in its regular
season games because the margin of victory was so large. However, the press led
to an easy bucket for Reading and a seven-point deficit for Nanticoke Area with
under two minutes left to play.
But, all of a sudden, Reading began to throw
the ball away and Nanticoke started coming back. With about 30 seconds left in
the game and the score tied, the Trojans needed a big basket.
on the floor knew where the ball was going.
Ken Legins made the shot that gave
Nanticoke the lead and the victory in the Eastern final. The Trojans went on to
win their next game, 56-46 over Hickory Township, to win the state championship.
only did the fade-away jumper by Legins put the Trojans in the state championship
game, but it put Nanticoke basketball on the map.
Legins died Saturday at the
Tufts Medical Center in Boston from complications due to a stem cell transplant
for leukemia. He was 70.
"I remember Kenny. He played varsity and in those
days freshmen didn't play varsity," said Rich Rutkowski, a 1957 Nanticoke
graduate. "They had an outstanding record when he was playing. He was strong
mentally and physically, a very tough player. He was a great rebounder and a great
A 6-foot-4 post player, Legins was a four-year starter
for the Trojans and played on Pennsylvania's Big 15 basketball team.
a scholarship from George Washington University where he went on to be named team
captain his senior year and was selected to the All Southern Conference team.
size made him an intimidating presence on the floor and his leadership helped
carry the team on and off the court through the good times and the rough ones.
sixth man on the 1961 team, Jack Dudrick, recalled a time when Legins got the
team together after a loss to Sharon in the first round of a tournament in Johnstown.
was a born leader," Dudrick said. "He was like having a coach on the
floor. When he saw the team going south he let us know. One of the turning points
in the 1961 season was when we lost to Sharon. We had a meeting and talked about
a lot of things and Kenny was the main contributor to that meeting. We went out
and beat Chester by 10 points. Kenny always came up with the clutch shot. He was
an excellent player and a great communicator. He worked hard on his game and kept
the team together."
Legins's intimidating presence made it difficult for
anybody to want to take the ball down low. He was athletic enough to grab a rebound
and instead of hitting the outlet man, he could run the break himself. His unselfish
nature often led him to dishing the ball off rather than just taking the shot
"It was rough in practice, rarely did you feel like going underneath
the basket, but he could run the floor," Dudrick said. "Everyone had
nothing but respect for Kenny. With basketball and his work ethic, we felt confident
with him in the game. In the state final, Kenny was in foul trouble so I got in
the game for him. We had the lead when I got in and we were able to maintain it.
I felt good about that."
In 2005, The Citizens' Voice selected the top
100 athletes in the Wyoming Valley. Legins was No. 91.
In 2012, Legins was
inducted into the Luzerne County Sports Hall of Fame.
Twp. severs ties with ambulance
Nov. 1, Newport Township Fireman's Community Ambulance will no longer answer calls
in its own hometown.
The five-man township board of commissioners voted unanimously
to make neighboring Nanticoke Ambulance Association its full-time provider at
its meeting last week.
"(Newport Township Fireman's Community Ambulance)
could obviously continue to operate independently, but they're not going to operate
in the township," Commissioner Michael Roke said.
Jason Kowalski, an ambulance
captain in Newport Township, said the vote was "demeaning" to community
members who had volunteered and that it would "put us right out of business,"
because the company will no longer be able to earn money by billing residents
for answering emergency calls.
Currently, Newport Township only has an ambulance
for basic emergencies, while an advanced life support ambulance - carrying a paramedic
who can administer drugs - from Nanticoke must be summoned alongside the township
truck for more serious calls. Also, ambulances from Nanticoke, which are staffed
24 hours a day, already cover the township in the evenings and nights for the
most part, Roke said, because Newport Township only staffs an ambulance crew from
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The change, Roke said, was spurred by a letter from the Nanticoke
Ambulance Association telling the township it was canceling its mutual billing
agreement with its ambulance company, which would result in residents receiving
bills from both organizations, leading to higher costs.
The canceled agreement
stems from a financial dispute between the two ambulance organizations, which
has mushroomed into a lawsuit. The two organizations split the payment from bills
on advanced calls, and the Nanticoke association has accused the Newport Township
company of owing it more than $30,000.
The spat nearly led to disaster in January,
when a little girl suffering a seizure had to wait for an advanced life support
ambulance to arrive from more than 10 miles away in Shickshinny, because the Newport
Township Fireman's Community Ambulance had decided to bypass the much closer unit
based in Nanticoke, less than 2 miles away.
The debacle made headlines and
embarrassed the commissioners, who quickly switched back to the ambulance in Nanticoke.
Roke and Commissioner John Wilkes Jr. sidestepped questions asking if the change
was related to that incident, saying Nanticoke's ambulances would provide the
township with better service.
But some argue against that stance. Dan Kowalski,
the father of Jason Kowalski and a longtime member of the Newport Township Fireman's
Community Ambulance, warned that response times to emergencies in the township
would increase due to the other responsibilities of the Nanticoke ambulances,
which serve as the backup for several other communities. He noted that ambulances
from the township often answer calls in Nanticoke because of those other commitments.
commissioners and Nanticoke ambulance officials responded that the ambulance in
Newport Township often isn't able to answer calls even during its staffed day
shift, while Nanticoke will provide 24/7 service.
The township does not supply
any funding to either ambulance organization, but does currently give Newport
Township Fireman's Community Ambulance space in the administration building for
its trucks and offices. As it stands now, they will be getting an eviction notice
in a few weeks.
Jason Kowalski, who admitted the organization has been struggling
with the county-wide problem of a lack of volunteers, said it may be forced to
sell its trucks to pay off its outstanding debts.
Ambulance companies make
money through billable calls, state grants and community fundraising, such as
As a result of the change, individual ambulance memberships,
which protect residents from out-of-pocket fees not covered by insurance on ambulance
bills, will increase from $35 to $45, and family memberships will go from $45
to $75, but the Nanticoke Ambulance Association will honor valid memberships from
Newport Township, President Bernie Norieka said.
realize recycling savings
City Manager Pam Heard looked around the sprawling Northeast Cartage & Recycling
Solutions plant site, with trucks coming and going and the constant rumble of
"I didn't realize all of this was here," she said before
starting a tour of the facility.
On Wednesday, Nanticoke council plans a vote
to make single-stream recycling, where residents can put all their recyclables
in one bin for collection, mandatory.
The city is the latest local community
to adopt the procedure, which municipal officials say saves money and is more
convenient for residents.
Northeast Cartage, part of longtime metal recycler
Louis Cohen & Sons located off Fellows Road in Hanover Township, was developed
in 2005 as a way to process recyclables including plastics, cardboard and paper,
aluminum and steel cans.
The company has 25 full-time employees who receive
benefits including health care and retirement plans, Nockley said.
there's a fleet of 30 trailers, a fleet of tractors and hundreds of recycling
collection containers - Northeast Cartage will transport recyclables, but won't
do curbside collection routes.
"This plant has the capacity to serve every
municipality in Luzerne and Lackawanna counties," said the plant's co-owner,
Frank Nockley Jr.
Some communities, like Butler, Dorrance and Jenkins townships,
collect the recyclables in containers, which Northeast Cartage drops off and picks
up. Other municipalities, like Old Forge, Edwardsville and Wilkes-Barre, bring
their recyclables in. Wright Township started single-stream recycling a year ago.
So did Black Creek Township.
Northeast Cartage also works with school districts,
including Dallas, Pittston Area and Wyoming Valley West. The company provides
the school buildings with wheeled totes and collects them when they're full, he
Businesses also use the facility's service. "With our private fleet,
we bring in commingled recycling from almost every industrial park around here,"
The communities all have one thing in common, according to Nockley:
they all say within a 12-month period they're sending more to be recycled and
less to the landfill.
"To me, that was the biggest compliment - that we
made recycling more accessible."
Dallas Area Municipal
Authority, which provides refuse collection services to about 6,850 Dallas Borough,
Dallas Township and Kingston Township residents, was the first in the area to
start single-stream recycling.
"For us it's been working really, really
well, and we're thrilled with it," DAMA Executive Director Larry Spaciano
The state Department of Environmental Protection is trying to get municipalities
to recycle 25 percent of the total refuse they collect. DAMA members averaged
more than 40 percent last year, Spaciano said.
The higher the volume of recyclables,
the larger the DEP recycling performance grant municipalities are eligible for.
Kingston, the first West Side municipality to go single-stream, recycling is also
up, by 10 percent, and garbage being landfilled is down 7 percent, Administrator
Paul Keating said.
"I think it's an overwhelming success with the residents.
I've had nothing but positive feedback since its implementation," he said,
noting that it's a "big success and improvement in terms of convenience and
quality of service to residents."
Single-stream recycling has freed up
public works employees for other projects and resulted in some fuel savings by
going to Hanover Township instead of the landfill, Keating said.
The only drawback
is, "it beats the hell out of our equipment," he said. The truck is
used harder, so has more wear and tear due to the increased quantities of material.
Keating hopes the municipality will get a DEP grant for new collection equipment.
Nanticoke residents have recycling each week, but one week is cardboard pickup,
the next is plastics.
Seeing how single-stream recycling worked for DAMA and
Kingston gave Heard the idea of trying it in the city.
And when Nanticoke officials
found out they could get money - at least $25 per ton of recyclables, depending
on market value - by switching, they opted to put out a request for proposals.
hauler J.P. Mascaro & Sons will collect the recyclables and drop them off
at Northeast Cartage. In September, council awarded Mascaro a new contract starting
at $843,678 the first year, saving the city $104,178.
Nanticoke officials hope
to be able to make $50,000 to $60,000 through the new commingled recycling, which
will not only help cover the cost, but Heard believes it will enable the city
to knock at least $10 off residents' annual refuse collection fees. These start
Not only is it better for the environment, it's cheaper for municipalities
to send recyclables to be reprocessed than to a landfill.
more than 25,000 households first began single-stream recycling a year ago, there
were a few bugs and glitches, Director of Operations Butch Frati admitted.
things are running smoothly now.
"We're very pleased with the way it's
been going so far," Frati said.
Sales of Wilkes-Barre's distinctive blue
garbage bags are down, and the amount of recycling the Department of Public Works
is delivering to Northeast Cartage in Hanover Township has increased, while the
city is saving on tipping fees at the landfill, Frati said.
"I think the
more communities that sign up for this, the better for everybody," he said.
the facility works
Appropriately, the recycling business, which represents
a $6 million investment, grew on recycled land: The Earth Conservancy sold Northeast
Cartage a parcel of reclaimed coal mining property, Nockley said.
a very noisy, very dirty place," Director of Operations Al Gulitis told Heard
on the tour. "However, we're proud of it and we love what we do here."
trucks come in, they are weighed before being sent down to the tipping floor to
unload. This floor is covered to keep the recyclables as clean and dry as possible,
Nockley said. They don't stay in there long enough to freeze, according to Gulitis.
of the sorting is done manually, part automatically.
Front-end loaders move
the recyclables into a drum feeder, which spreads them on a conveyor belt so hand-pickers
at the pre-sort station can go through it to see what's in there, Gulitis said.
Plastic bags are fed into a vacuum and sucked into a container for a different
From there, cardboard, paper and glass are sorted automatically.
Cardboard goes to a holding bunker for baling, Gulitis said. Plastic drops to
a second conveyor belt for the colored, high-density plastic - such as laundry
detergent bottles - to be manually separated from the lighter, more "natural"
plastic like water bottles.
A powerful magnet carries off the steel food cans.
A machine creates a negative charge that pulls out the aluminum, Gulitis said.
the recyclables are processed, Gulitis said there are seven or eight different
For example, the paper is used for such things as insulation,
sheetrock and hand towels, he said. The bales are ready to ship for domestic sale,
and the export paper market is also very good, Gulitis said.
Heard left the
facility impressed. She said Nanticoke will probably have public meetings to educate
people about the new recycling procedure, and order refrigerator magnets that
list what can be recycled.
Since garbage and recycling are on the same day,
it will make it even easier for residents, she said.
"If people get into
this and comply, in three years, we could see more savings," she said.
Area superintendent will continue to serve unpaid
Anthony Perrone, superintendent of the Greater Nanticoke Area
School District, turns 72 in December and is putting retirement off at least another
The school board voted Thursday to appoint Perrone to a three-year
term that ends June 30, 2016. Perrone will continue to work without receiving
any pay, and the district will continue to provide his health benefits, school
board President Ryan Verazin said.
"He puts the district first. This is
his life here," Verazin said.
The salaries of other school superintendents
in Luzerne County last year ranged from $92,000 to $150,000, records show. Perrone
has been the Greater Nanticoke Area superintendent since 1996.
Chet Beggs was
the only school board member to vote against Perrone. Beggs didn't comment at
the meeting on his vote and could not be reached for comment later.
this year, board members got in a dispute over spending roughly $4,300 on a brick
sign dedicated to Perrone. The superintendent was honored in 2011 when the district
named the entire school campus after him and renovated a large brick sign to reflect
the change. Some board members said they were led to believe private donations
funded the sign renovations.
Also at Thursday's meeting,
the school board approved a four-year labor agreement with the union that represents
The union represents about 100 employees, including custodians,
cafeteria workers and secretaries.
The union's last agreement expired in July
2012. Union members will not get a retroactive pay increase for the 2012-13 school
Raises kick in this year, retroactive to July 1. Pay rates will increase
40 cents this year, 45 cents next year and 50 cents in 2015-16, Verazin said.
alum Myers shining with Mansfield squad
For The Times Leader
Linebacker Jake Myers is having
a great senior season playing for the Mansfield sprint football team.
(Nanticoke) leads the 1-3 Mountaineers in tackles with 40. He also has a forced
fumble and has two pass breakups. He had a game-high 15 tackles in a 41-0 loss
to powerful Navy. A two-time Collegiate Sprint Football League second team selection,
Myers entered this season with 148 tackles, including 65 solos.
dedicated himself to come back and assert himself as a defensive force in our
league, head coach Graham Johnson said. He is one of our four captains
and is the vocal leader of the group. He works hard both on the field and off.
coach believes that Myers is a great role model for the younger players on the
Jake pushes and demands effort out of his teammates, Johnson
said. He works hard in the weight room. He expects much of his teammates
while demanding more of himself.
Myers is also
a key performer on special teams.
Jake is always ready to step up whenever
and wherever we need him to, the coach said.
gets ready for winter
Susan Bettinger - Times Leader
Council on Wednesday night passed a motion to hire contractors for snow plowing.
hired and their hourly rates are: Voyton Contractors, Nanticoke, $65/hour; Paul
Zoltewicz, Nanticoke, $70/hour; and Matt Owzany, $77/hour.
in the hourly rates are due to the type of equipment the company uses, council
Vice President Jim Litchkofski said. Specific types of equipment are required
for the heavier work.
In the event of a snowstorm, the lowest bidders will
be called out first.
Separately, the Engineering Department reported there
are eight construction projects on the agenda. One is the Lower Broadway Recreation
Project, which is being funded by a Community Development Block grant.
to the state funding, the city is trying to get the federal government to match
the grant, so that the project can be completed. So far, the soccer field has
In other matters:
The Hanover Recreation Club will
meet in the Club Room at 7 p.m. Monday. The club is a community group that hosts
activities for children such as soccer, football and various playground activities.
The Honey Pot Fire Department will host Wing Night from noon to 5
p.m. Oct. 13. Proceeds will benefit the volunteer fire department.
council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 16.
in Tyme: Cover band sticks to '70s, '80s hits
Cecilia Baress - Citizens
Don't expect to hear any Lady Gaga at a
Tyme Band show.
It's not that lead singer J.D. Verazin of Nanticoke doubts
his ability to hit the high notes. He used to perform Donna Summer songs during
disco's reign, after all. And he's quit smoking since then.
"I feel like
I could hit higher now than I did back then," he said.
Members of the
band, comprised of Verazin on lead vocals, Tom Cipriani of Ashley on bass and
vocals, Rick Wells of Mountain Top on lead guitar and Steve Cipriani of Plymouth
on drums, prefer to stick to the classic rock hits they started playing the year
they formed, 1979 - before the songs were classics. Their setlists followed the
music charts, from Springsteen to Devo to The Doors. They wrote one or two original
songs, but never released them.
"We would go with the flow," Verazin
said. "Whatever was popular at the time, we did."
the band in 1988 to devote more time to his business, a video store in Nanticoke.
More than two decades later, the band is back together playing the same old songs
for their loyal fan base, called the Tyme Travelers.
"We feel like there's
a need for classic rock out there," Verazin said. "Everybody appreciates
The band was busy in its heyday, playing three nights a week
in bars and booking as many as 15 bazaars during the summer. Members had separate
songs lists for every place they played, and carted special effects equipment
like gigantic speakers and a fog machine to larger venues.
These days they
still play bazaars and weddings, but limit their bar gigs to two a month. They're
currently booked through the end of the year and accepting 2014 bookings, Verazin
The current band features original members Verazin, Wells and Tom Cipriani.
Tom's son Steve Cipriani, who grew up listening to the original band play backyard
parties, fits in well as the group's new drummer.
The group reformed a few
years ago, after an ex sound guy suggested a reunion at a pig roast in Mountain
Top, Verazin said. After that show, the members decided to reunite annually. The
following year, they decided to get the band back together. They may be drinking
water instead of beer, but they're still having a good time.
a mesh of music, and everybody enjoys each other. We're as one," Verazin
said. "It's pretty cool when we get together because it's just like a family."
their first practice, they knew the same old songs right away and decided to continue
performing their favorite rock tunes from the '70s and '80s , now classics. Their
repertoire includes more than 70 cover tunes, and they rotate four, 15-song sets
during live performances. If it's not a song people can dance to, they won't play
"When we play, it's danceable music," Verazin said. "It's
very rare that you see people sitting when we're playing."
It's also rare
to see Verazin remain on stage for an entire song. He'd rather be in the crowd.
have a wireless mic, I'm out there all the time," he said.
The band doesn't
travel too far from its home base for shows. Members don't feel like they have
to go far - they know their fans are here. They maintain steady interaction with
the Tyme Travelers by posting on Facebook.
Founded: 1979; reformed 2009
Genre: Classic rock
Members: Tom Cipriani,
bass and vocals; Rick Wells, lead guitar and vocals; J.D. Verazin, lead vocals;
Steve Cipriani, drums
For fans of: Talking Heads, The Cars, Bruce Springsteen,
Online: tymeband.net, facebook.com/tymeband
next: Saturday, October 5th 7-10 p.m., at Cooper's Cabana, 304 Kennedy Blvd.,
Pittston and Oct. 19, 8-11 p.m., at King's Restaurant, S. Mountain Blvd., Mountain
bar owner no fan of drink tax
R Bar on Union Street, owner Lauren Maga was preparing for Thursday night.
a plan floated by a government task force becomes law, Thursdays could be quieter
at her neighborhood bar.
A drink tax of up to 10 percent is one of the proposals
from a group examining legislation designed to help cash-strapped municipalities
improve their finances.
Maga thinks her business would suffer if every drink
were 10 percent more expensive.
"Ten dollars on a hundred bucks, if you
think about it that way," she said, "it adds up."
more than 20 municipalities are "financially distressed," meaning they
are under the jurisdiction of a law called Act 47. A 20-person group made up of
state lawmakers and representatives from various statewide government associations
is drafting recommendations for changing the law.
The changes could affect
three municipalities in Luzerne County: Nanticoke, Plymouth Township and West
"I hope they don't do it," Maga said of a potential drink
tax. "It would be good for the community to get us to become more financially
stable in Nanticoke, but I think maybe they could find other ways instead of doing
it to little businesses like us."
Maga said it wouldn't be difficult for
her bar to comply with the new rules. That's a matter of doing a simple equation.
more (about) people wanting to pay it," she said.
The Act 47 study group
is proposing recommendations that would be the first major rewrite of the law
since it was enacted in 1987. One proposal is imposing a deadline on municipalities
in financially distressed status.
An eight-year timetable would govern municipalities
that enter the program. Nanticoke entered Act 47 status in 2006, Plymouth Township
in 2004; and West Hazleton in 2003. Scranton, one of the largest cities in Act
47, has been in the program since 1992.
Under proposed changes to the law,
Act 47 towns could ask county court for permission to levy a higher earned income
tax, or they could ask to enact one of three options: the drink tax, a higher
local services tax or a payroll preparation tax for businesses.
had a commuter tax, but that was difficult to collect and didn't bring in much
revenue, said city administrator Pamela Heard. A local services tax collects a
dollar every week from everyone who works in the city and earns more than $12,000
per year. That tax brings in about $100,000 a year to the city, according to Heard.
all the tax options proposed, an increase of the local services tax would be the
most palatable, she said.
"We consider all sources of revenue. (A drink
tax) would be up to the mayor and council when they pass a budget, if such a tax
became available, if they want to levy it or not," Heard said. "You
could be getting tax revenue, but then you could also be putting a stumbling block
in front of your economic recovery. It's a tough call. I can't say yes, I can't
say no, but it'd be something we'd consider if this law passes."
said Nanticoke is home to 20 bars and restaurants that would be subject to a drink
Heard and Plymouth Township Secretary Steve Grzymski said they don't know
how much money bars and restaurants earn through alcohol sales and don't know
how much revenue a potential drink tax would collect.
Larry Karnes, the owner
of Larry's Pizzeria in Nanticoke, estimates he brings in about $1,000 to $2,000
a week in alcohol sales, but said pizza brings in the bulk of his business. He's
not in favor of the drink tax proposal.
"I call it a sin tax," Karnes
said. "Why are they singling out alcohol?"
Frank Kotz, 46, of Nanticoke
was in R Bar on Thursday afternoon to pick up some cheesesteaks. Kotz said he
visits for dinner about twice a month and would still patronize the bar if it
were subject to a drink tax.
He thinks other people might drive elsewhere to
avoid the tax. Kotz remembers driving down to the Vanity Fair outlets in Reading
with his parents to take advantage of lower prices for school clothes. In an area
where people aren't making a lot of money, that's the mentality, he said.
still come here. I like this place. I like the bartenders. But I think a lot of
people would think the opposite," he said. "Why pay more?"
awards recycling contract
Susan Bettinger - Times Leader
Council on Wednesday night approved the awarding of a three-year recycling contract
with two one-year extensions to Northeast Recycling Solutions.
the city a guaranteed floor price of $25 per ton and current average pricing of
$35.78 per ton. This price is for the single-stream contract in which all recyclable
materials are placed in one bin.
Council also awarded a contract for demolition
of 45-47 W. Grand St. to Brdaric Excavation of Luzerne, which submitted the lowest
bid of $14,900.
In other matters:
- Council has approved the construction
of a salt shed by Green Tree Pole Buildings at a price of $15,950. City Manager
Pamela Heard said the shed is necessary to cover the citys winter road salt
supply, after the tarp blew off and walls were damaged at the previous road salt
shelter during a recent storm.
The state Department of Environmental Protection
recommended that the city purchase a new structure before the start of winter.
also said the city will receive approximately $13,000 from the insurance claim
resulting from the damage to the previous shelter. With the insurance money applied
to the cost of the new shed, the balance to be paid by the city will be minimal,
- Officials said Comcast cable has informed the city that it has
it will provide broadband service to Nanticoke as a courtesy for the citys
business. The value of the broadband is approximately $3,000.
Cable has stated that it is not interested in expanding its services to the city.
The Nanticoke Crime Watch meeting will be held Sept. 25 at 7 p.m.
City Council meeting will be Oct. 2 at 7 p.m.
native on mend after NYC assault
James Halpin - Citizens Voice
New York radio personality originally from Nanticoke who was severely beaten earlier
this month was released from the hospital Wednesday and is in his hometown recovering,
his brother said.
Brian Carey, 52, a news anchor on CBS station 1010 WINS,
was found semi-conscious in the lobby of his apartment building at East 61st Street
on Sept. 9, police said. According to police, an acquaintance of Carey's attacked
him in his apartment and Carey was able to get down to the lobby for help.
York media reported an acquaintance of Carey's, Anthony Elton, 48, was charged
with second-degree assault in the case.
Carey was taken to New York Presbyterian
Hospital and initially required a ventilator due to the severity of his injuries.
underwent operations to repair his eye socket and jaw on Monday evening, getting
eight screws in his jaw, which is wired shut, said Carey's brother, Jim Carey
Brian Carey is now back in Nanticoke for a recovery expected
to last several months, he said.
"He wants to go back," Jim Carey
said. "He expressed the sooner the better."
Carey is a Nanticoke
native and award-winning journalist who joined 1010 WINS in 2000 and anchors afternoon
newscasts during the weekday commute.
wellness center aims to shake up diets
into the rear of the Bicentennial Buildings first floor is a new wellness
center that opened this week. However, patrons wont find pieces of exercise
equipment, yoga mats or workout videos for sale; the business centers on drinks
three to be exact.
A three-pronged diet of aloe, green tea and a shake
are touted as viable breakfast and lunch options for those people looking to avoid
poor food choices while not finding themselves hungry between meals.
by Dennis Machuca and his fiancee, Christina Caraballo, of Nanticoke, the business
is called Nutrition Made Easy and its part of the retail operations of the
Herbalife brand of products.
John Prokopovich, of Butler Township, has operated
a Nutrition Made Easy in Hazleton and had been searching for more than a year
for someone to set up shop in Wilkes-Barre. We didnt want to find
just anyone, we wanted to find the right people, Prokopovich said.
Machuca and Caraballo he believes he found the perfect people to pitch what he
calls a lifestyle, not a diet.
|Caraballo has been using the system
for six months and said she loves how its impacted her life.
of energy and lack of hunger are selling points, Caraballo said, noting that the
location on Public Square was chosen because of the nearby foot traffic: a large
number of college students, on-the-go-workers and people who use the nearby YMCA.
Already this week, with no advertising other than word of mouth, Caraballo said
business has been good and theres already a small group of regulars who
have been in each day.
The cost is $5 per visit, and there are take-home products
available if customers choose to make their own products and use it on the weekends.
said she sees a bright future with Herbalife, a global nutrition and weight management
company thats already selling in 89 countries. By entering the Wilkes-Barre
market, she believes there is a big potential to not only make money but also
The store, across from Jordan Shoes inside the building at 15
Public Square, is open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
teachers agree to new five-year contract
Greater Nanticoke Area School District
teachers agreed to start paying a portion of premiums for health insurance, according
a new collective bargaining agreement for Greater Nanticoke Area School District.
a five-year agreement, and the school district will continue to pay all health-care
premiums this year and next year, officials said.
Teachers will pay 1.5 percent
of health-care premium in the 2015-16 school year, and 2 percent in the last two
years of the agreement, said attorney and district negotiator Jack Dean.
school board and teachers union approved the new agreement Thursday. The previous
agreement with the teachers union expired Aug. 31.
"It's fair and reasonable,
and everybody benefits," school board President Ryan Verazin said.
district employed 116 teachers last year at an average salary of $56,832.63, according
to the state Department of Education. Teachers will remain at current pay steps
for the next two years, but salaries on each pay step will increase by $1,260,
The district's pay scale has 20 steps, and each step has a salary
range based on education credits. Teachers will advance pay steps in the final
three years, and wages in the those years will increase 2.99 percent a year, Dean
"It was a nice job coming to this agreement," Dean said. "They
gave a little. We gave a little."
Administrators and teachers in the district
"have good labor relations" and "work together well," said
Virginia Cowley, a negotiator with the Pennsylvania State Education Association.
fair to our teachers and the taxpayers," Cowley said of the new five-year
premium sharing included in new Greater Nanticoke Area teacher contract
Nanticoke Area teachers and the School Board quietly hammered out and approved
a new, five year contract that will have teachers paying a percentage of their
health insurance premiums in 2015-16, District negotiator Attorney Jack Dean said.
contract also keeps teachers at their current step for the first two
years, denying many of them raises built into the contract annually for the first
19 years with the district. Dean said the average step raise is 1.5 percent. In
exchange for the step freeze, teachers will get flat raises of $1,260
each of the first two years.
The contract calls for total raises the remaining
three years of 2.99 percent each year, Dean said, noting that half of that is
already built into the step system, so the deal essentially gives an additional
raise of almost 1.5 percent above the existing pay matrix.
Teachers are paid
in a step/column system, getting raises every year for a set number
of years and for increased education beyond a bachelors degree based on
number of credits earned. Greater Nanticokes matrix has a total of 20 steps
and nine columns.
The premium sharing, still a rarity in local teacher contracts,
begins with teachers paying 1.5 percent of their premium in 2014-16. The rate
goes up to 2 percent for the last two years of the contract.
Teachers had already
agreed to increased deductibles and co-pays in the last contract, which ran from
2010 through this summer.
Dean said the two sides approved the contract last
night and minor wording is still being worked out, so the documents are not yet
Negotiations were primarily done directly between teams set up by the
board and the union, Dean said. The two sides would come to an agreement and then
ask Dean and his union counterpart, Virginia Cawley of the Pennsylvania State
Education Association Northeast Region office, to hammer out language details.
board committee and the professional staff committee were really the driving forces,
Dean said. They did a nice job.
cheese: Johnny D's makes cheesesteaks specialty
By Kristen Gaydos
- Citizens Voice
When they set out to open a
restaurant, the owners of Johnny D's South Philly Steaks knew they wanted to stand
Owners Jonathan and Heather Dinstel chose their speciality - cheesesteaks
- and quickly found customers of the Nanticoke restaurant appreciated their take
on the sandwiches, potato pancakes and more.
"We try to be creative,"
Jonathan Dinstel said. "Every pizza place does a cheesesteak, but doesn't
specialize in it. We wanted it to be our specialty."
The couple recently
reopened the restaurant after taking a summer vacation to welcome their second
son. They originally opened the restaurant in 2008. Jonathan, who spent much of
his career in the restaurant business and pursued culinary arts in college, had
been working for Chef Boyardee outside Williamsport.
"They were moving
to Omaha," he said, "and I didn't want to go to Omaha."
also spent time in the restaurant business as a server at a Times Square chain
restaurant. When they returned to the area, the couple lived down the street from
their future business, a former hoagie shop.
When they decided to open their
own place, they updated the decor and turned the wall above the counter into a
huge blackboard. The chalk-written menu sometimes includes specials like a Jack
Daniels burger or Italian chicken sub.
"We can change it up and add new
things," Heather said. "Add a little variety."
Their core menu
highlights their namesake - cheesesteaks, roasted and sliced in house and served
with a choice of American, provolone, swiss and, of course, cheese sauce for that
true, South Philadelphia taste.
Want more? Try the Mighty Mighty, Jonathan
"It's steak, buffalo bites, Cheez Whiz and french fries," he
They make their burger patties by hand for selections like Mamas Burger,
topped with barbecue sauce, bacon, cheese sauce and onion straws. They hand-bread
their chicken for buffalo bites and make homemade beef jerky. They also developed
their own potato pancake recipe.\
"Since we started the homemade potato
pancakes, they've been really popular," Heather said.
They also experiment
with sauces for the buffalo bites, offering traditional hot and mild alongside
choices like mild Cajun blue cheese or salt and vinegar.
"We just experiment
and find combinations and flavors that work," Jonathan said.
with the bites? They throw them in and call it a Mess.
"You eat that with
a fork," Heather said.
personality found beaten in NYC
well-known radio personality originally from Nanticoke was severely beaten by
an acquaintance at his New York City apartment, according to the New York City
Brian Carey, 52, a news anchor on CBS station 1010 WINS,
was found semi-conscious in the lobby of his apartment building on East 61st Street
about 10:30 p.m. Monday, police said.
Carey sustained facial injuries including
a possible fractured jaw and left eye socket, according to police. He was taken
to New York Presbyterian Hospital in stable condition.
Carey's brother, Jim
Carey of Nanticoke, confirmed his brother had a broken jaw and said that he had
been on a ventilator for about 15 hours but he was again breathing on his own
Brian Carey may need several surgeries in coming days, but he is
expected to survive, his brother said.
"He's had a number of injuries
to the head and face, and he's looking at quite an extensive rehab, I believe,"
Jim Carey said.
Brian Carey is able to communicate very little, and while he
is able to recognize family members, a nurse told his brother he has impaired
short-term memory, Jim Carey said. He doesn't remember anything about the attack,
According to police, the assault took place in Carey's apartment,
but he was able to get himself down to the lobby before being found.
said Carey's cellphone was missing but that his wallet had not been taken, as
reported in other media outlets. Police had not made any arrests as of Wednesday
but said the investigation was continuing.
"It seems he got into an argument
with someone that he knows, it got physical and he sustained some injuries and
went to the hospital," NYPD Sgt. Lee Jones said.
Carey is a Nanticoke
native who got his first job at WNAK "not so much because of his talent but
rather because he agreed to also cut the grass," according to his profile
on 1010 WINS' website.
He got a part-time job with WBRE while attending King's
College and became the news director at WILK Radio in his 20s, the profile says.
became anchor of an hour-long evening newscast for WARM Radio and was the morning
anchor for Magic 93 FM before moving on to anchoring jobs in Philadelphia, according
to the site.
Carey went to New York in 1996 and joined 1010 WINS in 2000, his
profile says. He currently anchors afternoon newscasts during the weekday commute.
has a long way to go but he is making remarkable progress and we expect that he
will make a full recovery," said Ben Mevorach, 1010 WINS director of news
and programming, in an email. "He is aware of all of the love and support
that has been pouring in from around the country. He was deeply moved and deeply
grateful. It has lifted his spirits immeasurably."
Brian Carey's profile
says he anchors news nationwide on ABC Radio. He is the recipient of several awards,
including the Achievement in Radio award for best news anchor in New York City
in 2005 and the Associated Press Award for best regularly scheduled newscast.
College in 2006 gave him an award for outstanding professional achievement, the
Jim Carey said his brother's colleagues at CBS have been supportive,
the police have been very good and hospital workers have been like an "all-star
"We have so many calls and well-wishers," Jim Carey said.
"He's getting great care and we've had a lot of support, so we're encouraged.
There's a silver lining in every cloud, I guess."
Memorial service at Luzerne County Community College's Walk of Honor at the Regional
Public Safety Training Center in Nanticoke.
tells of bullyings deadly toll
GNA students hear about tragic consequences
of physical, online taunting
before hundreds of Greater Nanticoke Area students in eighth through 12th grades,
John Halligan emotionally told the story of his son, Ryan, who committed suicide
in 2003 at the age of 13.
He detailed the story of physical and cyber-bullying
his son went through that ultimately led to him taking his own life.
cant fix everything with a speech, said Halligan, a nationally touring
speaker. But my hope is I can help at least one of you.
a few problems with the sound system, Halligans message seemingly came through
loud and clear to the students. Many asked questions after the presentation and
several remained to have one-on-one teary conversations with him.
and his wife, Kelly, have a website ryansstory.org
and they personally respond to emails to try to help wherever they can.
community, this school, has lost a few kids in recent years, Halligan said
after his presentation. A lot of the students are having a difficult time
finding their way through the experience of losing a friend. They asked me for
advice on how to move on after the loss of somebody.
Halligan will be
in Luzerne County for three weeks speaking to students in all its school districts
and to parents groups. The former IBM worker from New York has dedicated his life
to trying to eradicate bullying and to prevent suicide, especially among young
Personal story shared
Standing alone on stage, Halligan relates
Ryans story as pictures of his son and family flash on a screen behind him.
Halligan then tells the story of his sons tragic journey that began in the
fifth grade and ended at the start of eighth grade.
Halligan talks about the
his sons innocence his autism, his awkwardness, his failure in athletics
and his struggle to fit in with the cool kids. The hour-long presentation
takes viewers through the familys attempts to resolve the conflicts in Ryans
life, the guilt that followed his death and the forgiveness of those who directly
impacted Ryan and influenced his decision to end his life.
Beginning with the
frantic phone call Halligan received from his wife informing him that Ryan committed
suicide to struggling to answer the question, Why? Halligan painted
a clear picture of his son. There was the difficulty in accepting what had happened
and the self-blame for not being able to do whatever it would have taken to prevent
Among their considerations: self-defense lessons, possible home-schooling,
counseling, confrontation and computer safeguards.
Halligan said one his sons
supposed friends proved to be untrue she led Ryan to believe she cared
about him as a friend, when in reality she was talking behind his back. When she
called Ryan a loser in front of her friends, Ryan was distraught,
That and an untrue rumor Ryan was gay that
spread like wildfire in school, and on the Internet, eventually pushed Ryan to
his unfortunate end.
There is no greater pain than that of a parent who
has lost a child, Halligan said. All of you are loved beyond belief.
Dont ever believe for a second that you dont matter.
said there are no perfect families; that there are people in everybodys
life who truly care.
Ryans death was the result of a disease called
depression, Halligan said.
After Ryans death, the boy who was the
main bully was still spreading untruths about his son, Halligan said. He went
to the boys home and sat with him and his parents. I looked at him
and told him he had no idea the amount of pain he had brought into my sons
life, Halligan said. I told him there is no do-over here; my son is
Halligan said he hasnt spoken to the bully since
that day and he just wants to tell Ryans story to as many people as he can
with the hope that some will listen and change their ways or their intentions.
be a bystander, he said. Be an up-stander. This is not about throwing
punches; its about throwing words. Be a friend.
Halligan said he
and his wife still struggle with Ryans death, as do their two other children:
Megan, now 27, and Conor, who is in the 11th grade.
Halligan, who has spoken
at hundreds of high schools across the U.S., said telling Ryans story takes
its toll on him. By the end of the school year, Im physically and
emotionally exhausted, he said. Sometimes I wonder how much longer
I can do this.
For now, his mission to prevent further family and community
tragedies continues. These are all good kids, he said. They
just need to have the courage to talk to somebody.
blowin in the wind
Banner towing a high-flying art for family
Pilot Joe Scrobola banked over the Susquehanna River, turning back toward the
See those two posts? Were going to have to get right between
them, he crackled over his headset.
He tossed a grappling hook from the
cockpit and started a steep descent toward the grassy field, only to shoot skyward
after passing over the posts.
A gentle tug on the 1995 Husky aircraft let him
know his first attempt at catching a banner advertisement from its docking posts
"We got it, he said with an air of satisfaction.
Aviation at the Wyoming Valley Airport offers aerial advertising, towing banners
with messages up to 50 characters long.
They charge $350 per hour with discounts
for longer flights. They also fly graphic banners on request.
make running the county-owned airport a family affair. Just about everyone prepping
for Saturdays banner flight had the same last name.
Assembling the banner
took four young pilots about 25 minutes.
They fly a lot of personal messages,
happy-birthday wishes, congratulatory messages for college graduates and an occasional
Dorothy Scrobola, who is known around the tarmac as Gram,
said one such customer was successful in winning his bride.
over the exclusive advertising avenues response, said Jim Scrobola, the
airports caretaker. Luzerne Bank noted a rise in new customers in the days
after they flew a banner past Mohegan Sun Casinos Party on the Patio, Jim
Commercial pilot Ed Topper of Nanticoke got the Scrobolas
banner-towing enterprise off the ground.
Topper earned his pilots license
towing ads along the Jersey Shore and got to know the business.
He taught the
Scrobolas how to set up the banners, what kind of plane was best for pulling them
and, most important, how to catch them with a grappling hook.
He was always
friends with the Scrobola family and now he offers guidance for Valley Aviations
We started the operation last June and it really
took off, Topper said. No pun intended.
awarded Nanticoke trash collection contract
Ryan Klubeck - Citizens
Council members approved the city's new refuse
and recycling contract Wednesday, awarding it to J.P. Mascaro & Sons.
family-owned waste management company was one of two firms to submit bids for
Mascaro served as Nanticoke's previous trash collector, and the
new contract will allow it to stay on from 2014 to 2016. The contract also includes
a two-year renewal option.
The city's current collection and disposal costs
total $947,856. The new contract will reduce those costs to $843,678 in the first
year, saving the city $104,178.
"In the worst-case scenario, residents
should not see an increase of a penny in the next five years," Solicitor
William T. Finnegan Jr. said.
In conjunction with the Mascaro contract, the
city approved a single-stream recycling contract with Municipal Recovery, which
will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014. It will allow residents to put all of their
recyclables out together.
Under this contract, Mascaro will pick up residents'
recycling and deliver it to Municipal Recovery.
Finnegan said that if residents
obey the law and all goes well with the single stream, the city may be able to
reduce costs even more during the second year.
mayor eyes new fire engine for city
Ryan Klubeck - Citizens Voice
Mayor Joseph Dougherty and members of the city council will request specifications
for a new engine for the city's fire department.
According to Dougherty, the
city is in possession of a fire engine that is about 40 years old but whose life
expectancy is only 20 years.
"It's an antique," Dougherty said. "What
we'd like to do is replace that engine and the rescue truck with one vehicle."
city has approximately $100,000 set aside for the purchase. It would also like
to sell the engine and rescue truck and put the money from each sale toward the
Dougherty estimated that it would take a little over one year
to get the vehicle if the city can fund it.
historic Mill House focus of preservation societies
Jerry Hudak, vice president of the South
Valley Chamber of Commerce, announced at Wednesdays City Council meeting
that the three local preservation societies will make a joint effort to begin
repairs to the historical Mill House.
The building houses the offices for the
Nanticoke Historical Society and the South Valley Chamber of Commerce. The two
organizations, along with the Mill Memorial Library will begin to refurbish the
historical Mill House within the next few months.
Hudak said the preservation
societies also would like to collect some additional historical items to keep
on display at the Mill House.
Also, Hudak said that once the building is renovated,
it just may attract possible business to the area, as outsiders will
see that Nanticoke has something of historical importance to offer, and that it
is a good way to promote the city.
Interested citizens may call
the chamber 570- 735-6990.
In other matters, council approved awarding the
demolition contract for Arch Street to Stell Enterprises in the amount of $23,000
contingent upon the solicitors approval.
Council also approved a motion
for the HUD Home Program 2009 grant extension request. City Clerk Mary Beth Cheshinski
said there is more than $23,000 left of the grant that must be used by the Oct.
25 deadline if an extension was not granted.
Cheshinski said seven projects
have been completed and that there an additional seven that are underway. She
said several of the applications were not able to be used due to factors such
as income ineligibility or incomplete information.
The citys crime watch
meeting will take place on Aug. 28 at 7 p.m. at the Municipal Building.
next City Council meeting will be on Sept. 4 at 7 p.m.
Nanticoke Area picks Metz for food service
Students and parents will be able
to access menus online @ www.gnasd.com
Bettinger - Times Leader
Metz Culinary Management
will take over the Greater Nanticoke Area School Districts cafeteria menu
beginning this September, with no change to the current staff members.8/16/2013
Anthony Perrone said at Thursday nights school board meeting that Metz is
probably the best (food service company) on the East Coast.
at every grade level will have a variety of meal choices from sandwiches to full
meals, he said, and students will be able to access the menu online.
said last month that contracting Metz wont cost the district money because
the company guaranteed a minimum $100,000 profit from cafeteria sales.
matters, Perrone announced that the Life Skills Program was a success over the
summer school session, and that students learned basic life skills such
as cooking and supermarket shopping.
He said the program is working
The School Board approved the following appointments
for the 2013-2014 school year: Sean Carey, English teacher; Joshua Manley, physical
education/health teacher; Jessica Marusco, music teacher; Matthew Meade, physical
education/health teacher; and Ellen Rutkowski, high school chorus director.
also was given to appoint Eric Speece as high school dean of students. Christine
Matthews elementary secretary job has been changed from a 10-month position
to a 12-month position.
The board also approved the posting of bus numbers/stops
and pick-up times on the district website. This information will be removed after
the start of school.
Half Act 80 days for the 2013-2014 school year are as
follows: Sept. 15, Oct. 31 and Jan. 29.
The next board meeting will be at 7
p.m. Sept. 12.
Area adds to students' lunch options
Ryan Klubeck - Citizens Voice
August 16, 2013
Greater Nanticoke Area students will
have more lunch options this school year thanks to the district's new partnership
with Metz Culinary Management.
According to board member Jeff Kozloski, high
school students will have about seven lunch choices a day. Superintendent Anthony
Perrone said these choices will include various sandwiches and regular meals.
school students will have four to five lunch choices.
"Even the elementary
kids are going to have at least three or four choices to make," Perrone said.
district will retain its cafeteria employees under the new partnership.
steak entree tops billl at Madison's in Nanticoke
- Citizens Voice
Bar and Steakhouse in Nanticoke offers a cool refuge from the summer heat. Drinks
and dinner are available at the interior bar and polished dining room. For those
who would rather sit outside, owner Tony Graham recently opened a patio, converting
a garage into a covered retreat.
The restaurant lives
up to its name with a vast selection of vodka flavors. While they have several
summertime speciality drinks, the pineapple sunrise cocktail always satisfies
customers, Graham said.
When it comes to appetizers, the restaurant's
version of a margherita pizza is a standout, Graham said. It is made with fresh
mozzarella, fresh tomato and fresh basil, he added - they use as many fresh ingredients
as possible in all their dishes.
Customers who love to customize
their meal will love the steakhouse entrée selection at Madison's. First,
choose a cut, like the Delmonico. Next, pick from several types of toppers such
as dry rubs, cheeses, veggies and seafood - the Cajun crawfish is an excellent
choice, Graham said. Finish it with a demiglace or sauce.
comes with two side dishes, picked from about 15 choices including asparagus,
roasted garlic mashed potatoes and orzo pilaf. All sides except the french fries
are made fresh, though the french fries are still a top choice.
get a better french fry,' Graham said. "And everything else is made to order."
many choices keep the staff hopping in the kitchen, but they are more than willing
to do it so every customer gets exactly what they want.
"I could have
16 pans on the stove for one fourtop table," he said.
it comes to dessert, Graham knows the folks at Sanitary
Bakery in Nanticoke make the best. So, he partnered with them to bring in
some sweet delights for Madison's dessert list.
"I can't make a cake as
good as theirs," Graham said, adding their peanut butter mousse cake is a
In addition to mixed drinks like the white peach sangria
cocktail, the restaurant serves several beers on tap.
Madison's also features
seafood entrees like lump crab cakes topped with chipotle aioli and chicken dishes
like saltimbucco, topped with prosciutto ham and provolone cheese, finished with
a marsala wine sauce, among others. It offers a line of sandwiches and soups,
and appetizers including Mexican selections and pierogies. Wednesday is Buffalo
Night and Thursday is Polish Night.
Sanitary also makes seasonal baked goods
for the restaurant throughout the year.
"Their fresh strawberry pie is
amazing," Graham said. "They do something special every season."
Theater, a monthly feature, explores what's on the menu at local restaurants.
Send suggestions to email@example.com.
E. Washington St., Nanticoke
Hours: Mondays-Thursdays, 3 p.m. to midnight;
Fridays, 3 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Saturdays, 1 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Sundays, 4-10 p.m.
Online: Madison's Vodka Bar and Steakhouse on Facebook and Google
ages 14-19 will vie for the title of Miss Pittston Tomato Festival Queen at the
2013 Miss Tomato Festival Queen Scholarship Pageant, held Saturday at 1 p.m
Scoring is based on an on-stage interview,
talent performance, personality, poise and appearance. The winner receives a $500
scholarship, and the runner-up receives a $250 scholarship. All participants will
Contestants will also participate in the festival parade, which
takes place Saturday at 10:30 a.m.
Winner's duties include greeting festival
guests through its conclusion Sunday night. Past winners have also engaged in
volunteer service throughout the year. Contestants are not required to be from
the Pittston area.
Pageant coordinators are former Tomato Festival Queens Angel
Noone and Jessica Linskey. Dr. Joseph Lombardo will emcee the event. Contestants
Residence: West Pittston
School: Senior, Wyoming
Area High School
Favorite subjects: Math and physics
band and Girl Scouts
Talent: Tap dancing
School: Junior, Holy Redeemer High School
Favorite subjects: Science
Interests: Dancing, modeling and cheerleading
School: Freshman, Misericordia
Interests: Singing, Youth Group and working
School: Freshman, Wyoming
Favorite subjects: English, language arts, orchestra, social studies
Interests: Singing, violin and orchestra
coal miners get a stamp of approval
Berlot and Julia Vengien sat in the front row and gleamed as they listened to
the speeches about the U.S. postage stamp they and many others fought hard for
over the last 25 years.
Berlots father was killed from injuries suffered
in a coal mining accident, and Vengien, with her late husband John, sent hundreds
of letters and petitions to elected officials and the U.S. Postal Service to convince
it to issue the stamp.
Friday, under a tent placed along South Main Street
next to the city post office, Berlot and Vengien sat wide-eyed as the stamps commemorating
the hard work of coal miners and 11 other trades were unveiled.
Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Wilkes-Barre, was joined by other elected officials or
their representatives to reveal the USPS stamps titled: Made in America:
Building a Nation.
This is fantastic, Vengien said. I
Im excited, said Berlot, of Nanticoke.
I almost started crying.
The issuance of the stamps especially
the one showing a coal miner wearing a lantern cap and holding a pick brought
out a lot of emotion in those people who have strong ties to the industry credited
with fueling the Industrial Revolution.
Wayne Namey of Wilkes-Barre, a longtime
advocate of the stamp, said he never thought the day would come when he would
see mining commemorated on a stamp. One of Nameys grandfathers was killed
in the anthracite mines and the other died of black lung disease. On a day of
celebration and thanks, Namey spoke from his heart.
When I was a kid
I tendered my neighbors coal furnace, he said. Ive heard
so many stories about coal miners and the conditions they worked under in the
mines. This day is for all of them and their families.
said he fought for the stamps issuance for nearly two decades, and he said
he was told that only heroes are put on stamps. Namey said his grandfathers
and all coal miners who struggled to build a region and a country are heroes to
him and many others.
I never worked in the coal mines, he said,
but I am proud of all who did and I am extremely happy to see them honored
Former U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski said he got involved with the
campaign to get a coal mining stamp issued in 1986 when constituents came to his
office to ask for his help. It became a political battle, he said.
But the stamp has finally been issued.
The collection consists
of 12 stamps in three rows of four. Individual stamps feature an airplane maker,
a derrick man on the Empire State Building, a millinery apprentice, a man on a
hoisting ball on the Empire State Building, a linotyper in a publishing house,
a welder on the Empire State Building, a coal miner, riveters on the Empire State
Building, a powerhouse mechanic, a railroad track walker, a textile worker and
a man guiding a beam on the Empire State Building.
Eleven of the 12 stamps
are images of photographs taken by photographer Lewis Hine, a chronicler of early
20th-century industry. The coal miner image is the only one not taken by Hine.
The image was provided to the USPS by the Kansas Historical Society.
Bobbie Athon, public information officer at the Kansas Historical
Society, said the photo was taken of a southeast Kansas coal miner in the 1940s
or 1950s. The photo was donated to the historical society in 1966, she said.
said coal is in the blood of nearly everyone in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Because
of the blood, sweat and tears of the regions forefathers, he
said, a great country was built.
This is a great day, Pashinski
said. And this day would not be possible without the effort of so many people
who for literally decades signed petitions, made calls, visited elected officials,
demanding this stamp be issued. It took a team effort and the team is you.
Mayor Tom Leighton said coal built and powered the country. We owe a debt
of gratitude to these men and boys, he said.
Vengien, of Plymouth,
said she felt her late husbands presence at the ceremony.
so many, John had something to do with this, she said. This day will
be remembered forever.
Berlot, 75, remembered her father Edward
John Salvadore a parent of five who left early one morning for his job
in the Glen Lyon coal mines. On that day in November 1955, said Berlot, there
was an explosion. Her father, 42, helped rescue three men who were injured. On
his fourth return to the mines, Salvadore was injured and taken to the hospital
where he later died.
My one brother never knew our father, she
said. I wish my fathers picture was on that stamp.
approves Nanticoke disaster relief
Ryan Klubeck - Citizens Voice
August 9, 2013
For years, West Union Street residents
have dealt with flooding resulting from the overflow of Forge Creek. Now, help
has arrived in the form of a $205,350 grant from Luzerne County.
The West Union
Street Bridge Rehabilitation Grant will be used to dredge the creek in hopes of
keeping nearby homes flood free. The county approved the grant after much consideration.
Manager Pamela Heard and residents affected by the flooding attended the county's
July 23 meeting to voice their concerns. Heard believes that their attendance
worked in the city's favor.
Heard previously said that the city would begin
securing the necessary permits from the Department of Environmental Protection
once the grant was approved but could not estimate how long the process would
come all for this suppertime
and Sean set the table, Emily and Zoe mixed the salad, and soon 10 children were
sitting down to supper in a tidy home on Church Street in Nanticoke.
everybody wash their hands? Fran Spencer asked her gang, whom she affectionately
calls The Church Street Chilipeppers.
Hearing a chorus of yeses,
the motherly retiree began to dish out pasta and meatballs for her husband, Steve,
and grandchildren Emily, 13, Sean, 11 and Ethan, 7, as well as seven other young
friends from the neighborhood.
It was just another typical summer weekday at
the Spencer household, where next-door neighbors Lillian Galazin, 11, Evelyn Bassett,
5, Lucas Jaskulski, 6, and Aidan Jaskulski, 9, were visiting, along with 10-year-old
Alexis Rhodes, who came from across the street, 10-year-old Sydney Zaykoski, who
came from down the street, and 11-year-old Zoe Coble, who came from a little farther
We have rotating kids, Fran Spencer said with a smile, explaining
she often doesnt know exactly which of her grandchildrens friends
will stay for supper.
But those who do get to practice the art of conversation.
have a rule: no cell phones, no iPhones, no computers, Spencer said. I
try not to answer the phone myself.
Instead of staring at little screens,
the Church Street Chilipeppers talk to each other, taking turns around the table
telling each other their favorite and least favorite parts of the day.
favorite part? Playing with everybody. Her least favorite part? I
didnt have one, the 11-year-old reported.
part? Playing with everybody. Least favorite part? When Ashley
had to go home, she said, naming yet another friend who had stayed for a
sleepover the night before but left before this nights supper.
Ethan said the best part of his day was playing with Lucas. The worst part, he
added, was when Evelyn said mean things.
No, I didnt,
the little girl protested. Yes, she did, someone interjected.
only 5, 10-year-old Sydney Zaykoski pointed out.
Sharing food and banter
reminds Fran and Steve Spencer of their own youthful suppertimes. She grew up
as one of seven siblings; he was one of nine, so meals were lively.
grandchildren and all the other children go back to school, Itll just
be the two of us, Fran Spencer said. And, maybe that will be too quiet.
large flock around their table grew gradually, they said. Steve retired in 2005,
and Fran retired in 2010, both from the U.S. Postal Service. They liked to have
their grandchildren, who live about two blocks away, come over. And it was fun
to have their young friends join them.
When its time for supper,
Steve Spencer said, you cant tell the other kids no. Whats
one more anyway?
I dont mind at all. Im happy to do
it, Fran Spencer said. You just split everything up.
the meal ended, the Spencers suggested Emily go next door and bring back
the baby, who is a younger sister to Evelyn and Lillian. Emily came back
with 10-month-old Katelyn, whom Steve Spencer held and fed a bit of rice pudding.
so enjoys children, Fran Spencer said. Its a good thing, or
we couldnt do this.
underway in Nanticoke
Coffee's dream is to see more businesses downtown and have people filling the
city's streets - a return to the Nanticoke her grandparents used to talk about,
the one depicted in the vintage postcards her father collects.
Nanticoke becomes like Pittston. Pittston's downtown is absolutely beautiful now,"
It's getting there: After more than a decade of false starts, failed
plans and frustration, downtown Nanticoke's revitalization is finally underway.
still a long way to go, but I'm quite happy with what's happening," Mayor
Joe Dougherty said.
"People are starting to look around because they're
seeing things getting done," he said. "They're not just driving by any
There was a setback with the closure of a Main Street fixture,
78-year-old Bartuska's Furniture, in June 2012. But new businesses are starting
open, a few are getting facelifts - including Coffee's own, Coffee's Coffee
on Main Street - and a new medical facility is under construction.
been moving forward," City Administrator Pam Heard said. "I can't say
we're moving fast, but it takes a long time (to get all the approvals)."
of the business owners showing faith in Nanticoke is John Vishnefski, who is poised
to open his new shop, Tarnowski's Kielbasa, this week. It's just off Main Street
on Lower Broadway, between Broadway Jewelers and Tommyboy's restaurant, across
from Weis Markets.
"This is going to be awesome. It's right by the grocery
store," Vishnefski said on Tuesday as he paused in his work of getting the
shop ready. "People are beeping and honking and knocking."
has been running the business, started by his grandfather 65 years ago and named
after him, for two years. Although he's going to continue to make the kielbasa
- using an old family recipe - in Glen Lyon, he thought Nanticoke was the perfect
location to sell it.
"I'm psyched," he said. "Nanticoke's a
kielbasa town, too."
New buildings, new looks
For businesses in older
buildings on Main Street, city officials encourage participation in the façade
grant, which allows owners up to $5,000 - half of which is covered by the state
- to rehab their exteriors.
"We really would like Main Street businesses
to take advantage of it," Heard said.
Allied Services-John Heinz Rehab
got a new coat of plaster and paint through the program. Coffee was another who
took the opportunity to get a new look.
"I'm actually kind of surprised
that nobody else took advantage of the facade grant," Coffee said. "I
was happy to get the free money. Of course I had to put up some of my own money,
but they gave me more."
She says the new canopy she installed as part
of the makeover is an asset. It catches the eye and has attracted people who never
knew the cafe existed.
"I have people telling me, 'how long have you been
here?' I say it's been a year in March," Coffee said.
who missed the boat the last time have a new chance to sign up: The city just
got another facade grant for $30,000 from the Keystone Communities Program, Dougherty
"All they have to do is go see Pam Heard," he said.
Street is even seeing new life, with JoAnn Bierdziewski opening the Styles and
Smiles boutique and the old Peoples' Market falling to the wrecking ball.
fact, as new businesses come in, some old fixtures have gone out: The former CVS
building and Bartuska's furniture warehouse on Main Street are both down, and
in their place, Geisinger Health System is erecting a new $3.8 million, 12,000-square-foot
facility that is scheduled to be complete in November.
"I'm looking forward
to Geisinger opening their doors. They're moving pretty quickly down there,"
Dougherty said. "Geisinger will be a good partner for our community."
stone's throw down Main Street, Luzerne County Community College's Francis S.
and Mary Gill Carrozza Health Sciences Center opened for classes in September
2011. Besides labs, classrooms and faculty offices, the 51,000-square-foot facility
is home to the Benco Dental Clinic. Its building sat vacant for years as the Kanjorski
LCCC locating its Health Sciences Center and the Joseph A. Paglianite
Culinary Arts Center - where the Susquehanna Coal Co. offices once stood - downtown
has acted as a catalyst and increased traffic, Heard said.
going to add Geisinger to that," she said.
Coffee said she already owned
the building on Main Street, but when she heard LCCC was moving downtown, it prompted
her to open the cafe. It's "consistently busy" when classes are in session,
mainly with customers from the Health Sciences Center, but Coffee said she also
gets some from the Culinary Arts Center and even the main campus. Coffee provides
them with healthy alternatives to fast food, free WiFi and, when some students
expressed interest in having outdoor tables, she added them.
so many of them say they're so happy we're here," she said.
Coffee said she's building up her local customer base, including from the senior
high rise down the street.
"It's growing; I see it growing every day,"
More to come
One hurdle still to clear is the long-awaited, much-belated
streetscaping. The city has grant funding for new streetlights, sidewalks, and
other improvements for Main Street, but the project is still in the design phase,
according to Heard.
There's still a lack of parking downtown, but some help
is on the way. City officials used federal funding to buy an old house and former
ice making plant on Arch Street, which will be demolished and replaced by a parking
UGI owns a former manufactured gas plant next to the site at Arch and
Walnut streets, and has an agreement with the state Department of Environmental
Protection to remediate the site.
"The goal is to return these sites to
something functional," UGI spokesman Joe Swope said in an email. "A
number of these sites in other locations have been used for parking, parks, etc."
believes the city's downtown will continue to evolve.
there," he said.
to attend unveiling of coal miners stamp
Berlot remembers her father.
Wayne Namey remembers his grandfather.
other Northeastern Pennsylvania residents have their own memories of loved ones
working in the region's many coal mines when the industry was booming in this
corner of the state.
Berlot, Namey and others tried to honor the coal miner
on a postage stamp, but were unsuccessful for years. Now that the U.S. Postal
Service is recognizing coal mining with a stamp due out this month, they say they're
happy they were able to see their goal realized.
They'll be in the crowd Aug.
9 to see the stamp recognized at a ceremony at the Wilkes-Barre Post Office. The
coal miner is one of 12 occupations honored in a soon-to-be-released series called
"Made in America." The image of a miner provided by the Kansas State
Historical Society shares the glory with a mechanic, textile worker, linotyper,
derrick man and other workers who labored in 20th-century America.
bring a coal miner memorial to her hometown of Nanticoke and said the stamp is
an overdue tribute to men like her father who worked and sometimes died in the
She said her own father always came home happy and singing until one
day in 1953 when he rushed back into the mines after an explosion to help rescue
people. Berlot said he helped bring out three people before he was injured and
taken to a hospital, where he died at age 42.
"Our children don't know
anything about coal miners. They know about the iPod, they know about Facebook,"
she said. "Now with the stamp coming out, they'll say, 'Who is this? What
did he do?'"
Some of the people who pushed for the recognition aren't
around to see the stamp finally available, said Namey of Wilkes-Barre. He plans
to go to the post office ceremony and buy plenty of stamps, some for mailing and
others to frame as a collector's item.
For all the men and women who labored
in the Wyoming Valley - as miners, textile workers and everything else - and their
descendents, it will be a special honor, he said.
WHAT: Ceremony for United States Postal Service stamp series "Made
in America: Building a Nation"
WHEN: 9 a.m. Aug. 9
Post Office, 300 S. Main St.
School Board awards bus contract
Greater Nanticoke Area School Board met Monday evening to discuss bids for
the districts bus service for the upcoming school year and wound up awarding
the contract to a longtime provider, White Transit.
Keystone Bus Service withdrew
its bid proposal during the meeting. A representative for Keystone stated it would
not be fair for the parties involved, and the company did not feel it would be
in a position to effectively take over the districtsl transportation program
with less than 3 1/2 weeks before the beginning of the new school year.
representative added Keystone and the district have been in discussion since May
17, and the matter could have been resolved at an earlier date.
which has served the district for the past 25 years, was the remaining bidder.
After a lengthy conference, White Transit and the board came to an agreement.
board approved Whites five-year contract at the cost of $1,115,977 for the
first year, followed by a 3 percent annual increase for the remainder of the contract
Also, White will provide 10 new buses. The district will have to reimburse
the company for any fuel over the cost of $4 per gallon. \
The existing cameras
will remain on the buses, but any new cameras will have to be paid for by grants
given to the school district.
Secretary Cindy Donlin said she took a survey
of some of the surrounding school districts on their satisfaction with their transportation
company on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest score. In her findings,
none of the companies received a score greater than 7.
Donlin took the same
survey with families in the GNA District, and 7 was the lowest score given to
White Transit, by any of the participants.
veteran brings home gold from National Veterans Wheelchair Games
Doris Merrill, Nanticoke, the oldest participant
in the Wheelchair Games, won three gold medals and one silver medal in the competition,
held earlier this month in Tampa, Fla.
A Navy WWII veteran arrived home to
Nanticoke with three gold medals and one silver medal from the 33rd National Veterans
Wheelchair Games held in Tampa, Fla. July 13-18. Doris Merrill, the oldest participant
at the Wheelchair Games, participated in swimming, bowling, motorized rally and
the motorized slalom.
Nearly 600 athletes came from the United States, Great
Britain and Puerto Rico to compete in the world's largest annual multi-sport wheelchair
event for military service veterans who use wheelchairs for sports competition
due to spinal cord injuries, amputations or neurological problems.
has been participating in the Wheelchair Games since 1999, when they were located
in Puerto Rico. Each year, she returns to enjoy the positive atmosphere and competition.
"You feel the camaraderie," she said. Merrill plans to participate again
next year, when the games will be held in Philadelphia.
The competition featured
18 different medal-awards events and two exhibition events with athletes competing
against their peers according to wheelchair sports experience and agility. The
event is held with a goal to improve the quality of life for veterans with disabilities
and foster better health through sports competition. The games produce national
and world-class athletes and provide opportunities for newly disabled veterans
to gain sports skills and be exposed to other wheelchair athletes.
are presented by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Paralyzed Veterans
of America. The James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital and the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter
of Paralyzed Veterans of America co-hosted the 2013 event.
or contact Jordan Schupbach, (202) 664-3733 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For information
about the Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center, contact Gail Ziegler at (570) 830-7086
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of National
Veterans Sports Programs and Special Events is the recognized world leader in
rehabilitative and recreational therapies for disabled veterans. For information
on VA's adaptive sports programs and partnerships, visit www.va.gov/adaptivesports.
Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center (WBVAMC) is a 173-bed, teaching facility located
in Luzerne County. Each year, WBVAMC serves more than 40,000 veterans in approximately
18 counties in Pennsylvania and New York with more than 378,000 outpatient visits.
In addition to the main facility, the facility operates five community based outpatient
clinics which are located in Allentown, Williamsport, Sayre, Bangor and Tobyhanna.
residents seek creek flooding fix
By Ryan Klubeck - Citizens Voice
Joe Hrobak stands outside his West Union Street home, wondering how much longer
he will have to deal with the muck that rises from nearby Forge Creek whenever
The creek, whose waters were barely visible last week amid the vegetation
growing within it, has been flooding nearby homes on West Union Street for years.
home and the garage where he runs his automobile business felt the creek's wrath
during a recent storm.
"The house had 5 inches (of water) in it, and the
garage had 8," Hrobak said.
Since speaking out at a city council meeting
on July 3, Hrobak and other residents have waited for a solution to the flooding.
there may be an answer on the horizon, as Luzerne County tonight will consider
Nanticoke's application for a grant to dredge the creek.
"That (is) a
positive sign," said Hrobak, who plans to attend the meeting.
has asked for a $205,350 grant, which it would use to dredge 3,000 cubic yards
of the creek.
"We are very hopeful that the grant will be approved so
that our residents won't have to suffer flooding during severe weather,"
city Manager Pamela Heard said.
If the grant is approved, the city will begin
securing permits from the Department of Environmental Protection, Heard said.
She could not estimate how long the process would take.
"The south branch
of the creek is completely choked with vegetation and sediment," said Andrew
Reilly, executive director of the Luzerne County Office of Community Development.
"Storm events cause the creek to not only overflow but flow over the surface
of the bridge."
Since dredging the creek would only solve the problem
temporarily, the city has looked for other solutions for residents, including
relocation packages from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
of Hrobak's garage bears a mark indicating a previous water level of 2 feet, which
occurred before he moved in more than five years ago. Hrobak said that in the
past five years, his home has flooded once, and his garage has flooded twice.
like other creek-affected residents, was not interested in a government buyout.
"Is someone (going to) benefit from our loss?" Hrobak said.
also values the proximity of his business to his home. "I have a good thing
going here, and (relocating) would just make things more difficult," he said.
Tolodzieski, whose house is adjacent to the creek, has felt its effects for 11
years. The city has not offered any long-term solution to the flooding during
that time, she said.
Heard said that in addition to relocating, residents can
apply for funding to elevate their houses, and firefighters will continue to pump
residents' basements for free in the event of flooding.
Luzerne County Council
meets tonight at 6:01 p.m. at the county courthouse.
prison guard honored
place where Eric Williams is memorialized is a spot he must have passed by frequently.
up in Nanticoke, he would have been close every time he drove down South Prospect
Street. He wouldn't have been far away during his time as a student at Luzerne
County Community College.
|A plaque commemorating Williams, who died after
an attack while he was on duty at the U.S. Penitentiary at Canaan, now hangs in
the college's Walk of Honor. Family, friends, fellow correctional officers and
government officials gathered Saturday to remember him.
"It's nice to
know that there's a plaque in his honor in the town he grew up in and the school
he attended," said Donald Williams, Eric's father. "That's particularly
Williams, 34, grew up in Nanticoke, graduated from Greater
Nanticoke Area High School and attended Luzerne County Community College and King's
College, where he earned a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. He worked as
a security guard and police officer before becoming a prison guard.
he was the only guard on patrol at the federal prison when police say an inmate
attacked and killed him. That inmate, Jessie Con-ui, was a member of an Arizona
gang serving an 11-year sentence for his part in a drug trafficking operation.
He was scheduled to complete that sentence in September and return to Arizona
to serve another prison sentence for murdering another gang member in 2002.
pleaded not guilty Tuesday to Williams' murder.
The death prompted an outpouring
of support from government, law enforcement officials and the community that had
known Williams since he was a young boy. On Saturday, they gathered again to remember
the man who died in the line of duty.
Two fire truck ladders hung a large American
flag above the road in front of the memorial while bagpipers led a procession
to the site. State Sens. John Yudichak and Lisa Baker spoke about Williams' sacrifice
before family members unveiled a plaque reminding future visitors that it was
not how Williams died that made him a hero, but how he lived.
The support after
his son's death has been a comfort to the family, Donald Williams said.
just have a lot of gratitude for that," he said "I think the word 'gratitude'
is the main thing. People have been wonderful. It's helped us move forward."
Peggy and Dainty June visit Nanticoke
By Jan Souther (special to
the sunday voice)
reader John D. Sherrick checked in with news from the Nanticoke Armory and the
State Theater. Here's what he has to say:
"I was surprised to see your
article on the forgotten Baby Peggy in The Citizens' Voice Sunday edition of July
7. The actress made a couple of appearances in the area in 1923 when she was on
the verge of becoming a star in Hollywood.
"According to the Wilkes-Barre
Record of Nov. 12, 1923, 'the 5-year old dancing doll will appear at the Nanticoke
Armory tonight. She is the same person who entertained at Governor Pinchot's reception
and dinner held at Wilkes-Barre recently.'
"This was the old Nanticoke
Armory on Broadway, which was also called the Broadway Opera House for many years
and hosted local talent and road shows. The building was demolished decades ago.
State Theatre, which was constructed as a vaudeville house in 1922, also had its
share of visiting actors who later became famous. In 1923, Dainty June, The World
Famous Hollywood Baby, made her first appearance at the State, then returned in
1926 and 1927 as Dainty June and Her Newsboy Songsters.
"Dainty June was
June Havoc (Hovick), later a noted Hollywood actress, and her sister was Rose
Louise Hovick, who later became Gypsy Rose Lee. Their story was told in the Broadway
and Hollywood musical drama, 'Gypsy.' It's always a pleasure to re-discover local
history that has been lost and forgotten."
Thanks, John; it's also a pleasure
to hear about a few forgotten people (or those who later became stars) who made
their way through Our Fair City. I don't want to turn this into a memory lane
column, as its main focus is on music, but a friend mentioned Baby Peggy and asked
me what I could find.
Speaking of Dainty June, here's something I took directly
from "cemeteryguide.com." Normally, I'd paraphrase it or do a complete
re-write, but this is too good. It's about Louise, June and Mama Rose:
Louise was 7 and June was 5, Rose put together an act with her daughters and six
young chorus boys called 'Baby June and her Farmboys,' which was moderately successful
on the vaudeville circuit. June was the star, and Louise played one of the farmboys.
After performing for nearly 10 years, June was getting a little old to be called
'Baby June,' so she became 'Dainty June,' and the act continued as 'Dainty June
and her Newsboy Songsters,' with Louise as one of the newsboys. But June was getting
tired of performing, so she ran off with one of the chorus boys from the act when
she was 13 and they got married."
Life was different in those days. Rose
Louise (later Gypsy Rose) had a striptease act at 15. At first, she sort of danced
around and only later took it off - took it all off - as the drunks in the audience
would shout. Or maybe she didn't; the best in the business left them guessing
and that's what the smart strippers did.
It was definitely lowbrow, but fun
(they tell me) and occasionally the cops would raid the joint just when things
resident appeals for right-of-way map
John Newman, of the Hanover section
of Nanticoke, on Wednesday night voiced his frustration that the city apparently
does not have a street map displaying who has the legal right of way on any given
street within the citys boundaries.
Newman began searching for a map
with this information on Aug. 19, 2011, when, he says, he spoke with former City
Manager Holly Cirko. He was told the citys engineer would contact him, but
never received a phone call, he said.
City Engineer Daryl Pawlush, who was
in attendance at Wednesdays council meeting, said he had no knowledge of
Pawlush gave Newman his cellphone number, but Newman
said he wanted to discuss the matter after the meeting. Pawlush agreed with the
request. Pawlush added that of the 40 municipalities he is in contact with as
an engineer, none has a street map of rights of way.
In other matters:
Council approved a resolution that authorizes the filing of a proposal for funds
for the Downtown Street Facade grant program.
A resident expressed concern
that the property at 681 E. Main St. might be being used as a group home. The
property is maintained by a Step by Step family and will be checked by code enforcement
to determine whether the property is actually being used as a group home, said
Council President Steven Duda.
Safety day will be held at Luzerne County
Community Colleges Public Safety Institute 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.
The Nanticoke Crime Watch will meet at 7 p.m. July 31 in City Hall.
The next council meeting will be at 7 p.m. Aug. 7.
restores trimmed programs
Physical education, library services, music and art
classes will be back this fall.
Greater Nanticoke Area School Board voted unanimously
Wednesday to restore physical education, library services, music and art classes
in elementary grades, to resume an old practice of contributing $5,000 annually
to the Mill Memorial Library, and to revise the dress
code to allow jeans and collarless shirts as long as they are clean.
a special meeting the board also voted to contract cafeteria services out for
the first time in the districts history, hiring Metz Culinary Management,
one of two companies that handle most cafeteria contracts in Luzerne County school
This is like a new beginning for the district, board
member Tony Prushinski said of the decision to bring back programs cut two years
ago after the state slashed public education funding under Gov. Tom Corbett.
said the education committee, which he chairs, had pushed for the restorations
and figured most of the cost can be covered the first year at least by savings
realized when the district brought two classes in-house that were being handled
contractually by the Luzerne Intermediate Unit. The LIU provides a variety of
services to area districts, primarily special education.
We saved between
$250,000 and $300,000, Prushinski said, which should cover 90 percent or
more of the cost of bringing back three workers furloughed two years ago: physical
education teacher Eric Speece, music teacher Ellen Rutkowski, and part-time library
aide Monica Kochanski. Any additional cost can be covered using money from the
district fund balance, a reserve built up over years that currently stands at
about $7 million.
The board also voted to post for three positions, another
physical education teacher, an English as Second Language teacher, and a high
school assistant principal. Prushinski said the ESL teacher is needed because
a current teacher, Michelle Kordeck, will switch to the elementary art position
and will have to be replaced.
Superintendent Tony Perrone said contracting
Metz wont cost the district money because the company guaranteed a minimum
$100,000 profit from cafeteria sales. He also noted the workers remain under district
Long-time board watchdog Hank Marks questioned the wisdom of restoring
the programs when the district still has $22 million in debt from massive construction
and renovation projects done years ago, but both Prushinski and board President
Ryan Verazin defended the decision.
This is personal for me, Verazin
said. Im not going to deprive kids in this district.
fear was that we would have a child come to kindergarten and they would have no
art or music until sixth or seventh grade, Prushinski said.
the board decided to loosen the dress code because of the high percentage of low-income
student enrollment. Some of these families have jeans and cant afford
anything else, Perrone said, stressing the clothes still had to be neat
music, gym returning to Nanticoke elementary schools
- Citizens Voice
Tony Prushinski was obviously
The Greater Nanticoke Area School Board member reminded reporters
that it was the board's education committee that pushed for a change to the district's
curriculum coming this fall: Bringing art, music and physical education classes
back to elementary school students after a two-year hiatus.
The board voted
unanimously to bring back from furloughs a physical education teacher, music teacher
and part-time library aide who will teach students from kindergarten to fifth
grade. A high school English as a Second Language teacher will move to the elementary
school to teach art classes.
"My fear was that there would be no music,
art or phys ed for students until seventh grade," Prushinski said during
the brief board meeting Wednesday, and for two years, those fears were realized.
The board cut those programs, laid off 11 employees and furloughed ten teachers
when it passed its budget for 2011-2012.
At the time, business manager Tom
Melone said the state provided about 60 percent - $14.6 million that year - of
the district budget, and the state funding had decreased by about $1.7 million
that year. Board members said they were forced to make cuts. That year's budget
did not raise taxes and made up a $300,000 deficit with the district's fund balance,
which stood at $6.2 million after the dust settled.
In the years since then,
the district moved some classes from the Luzerne Intermediate Unit back to its
campus, which allowed it to save about $250,000 that will help pay for the reinstated
The district will also advertise for a new physical education teacher,
an English as a Second Language and assistant high school principal, and the board
hired Kristy Guastella as a special education teacher.
In other business:
The district is contracting out its food service for the first time. Metz Culinary
Management will take over cafeteria service in the fall. The company will pay
the district $100,000 for the first year of the contract, and the district's cafeteria
staff will keep its jobs. Superintendent Anthony Perrone said the move will make
money for the district compared to the last several years of self-management,
when revenue from the program was flat.
n The board approved a dress code that
now allows jeans and collarless shirts.
rain, Nanticoke residents concerned about creek flooding
- Citizens Voice
Residents pleaded with city council members Wednesday
to take action to prevent the overflow of Forge Creek, which has caused flooding
in nearby homes for some time.
Residents felt the effects again after a rain-heavy
"Every time it rains, I get water," Nanticoke resident Don
Albertson said. "I had 3½ (feet) of water in my garage last Thursday."
said the creek situation has worsened because it takes less rainfall than usual
to trigger an overflow.
Council members and city officials were sympathetic
to the residents' plight.
"We have a grant application in with the county
(to dredge the creek)," city Manager Pamela Heard said.
Heard said the
county is still considering the application and the outlook is positive. However,
she noted that dredging the creek would only solve the problem temporarily.
resident and business owner Joe Hrobak suggested setting up an annual fund for
dredging the creek in the future.
"Who can put a price on our health?"
Council members offered to schedule a meeting with the county
to discuss the creek issue further. Residents will be given advance notice so
they can attend the meeting and voice their concerns.
Council talks Tar Pond remediation
from UGI gave a presentation Wednesday night to City Council on the remediation
of Tar Pond and the surrounding area.
Coal tar and petroleum are two of the
bi-products from the MGP (manufactured gas product) site, which is located behind
Weis Markets. UGI is working with the state Department of Environmental Protecton,
and has been successful in the past with cleaning the waste from these sites in
communities such as Wilkes Barre, Scranton, Carbondale and Williamsport, the representatives
said.The remediation process is beneficial to the community in addition to improving
UGI is looking to begin the first phase of the process in the
The phase will include the Main Replacement Project, Interim Remedial
Action, Supplemental Site Investigation and Off-Site Site Investigation, the representatives
In other matters:
City Manager Pamela Heard said the Streetscape Project
approval is in its final, final stages and it should be going
out to bid soon.
Heard said PennDOT as the final approval
and that there is no hold up on the citys end.
Steven Duda said there will be a meeting at 7 p.m. June 26 in City Hall to start
a Crime Watch.
The next council meeting will be at 7 p.m. July 3.
beats out Guffrovich for boys basketball job at Nanticoke Area
Bennett - Citizens Voice
The board room inside the Greater Nanticoke Area
High School was filled to capacity, just like the gymnasiums Paul Guffrovich played
in on his way to becoming one of the best basketball players to come out of the
Wyoming Valley Conference.
Despite scoring 2,271 points during his high school
career and playing at Wichita State University, Guffrovich did not have the credentials
to be named the basketball coach at his alma mater.
The Nanticoke Area school
board voted 8-0 Thursday night to hire assistant coach John Beggs to take over
for Ken Bartuska after his position as head basketball coach was opened. Bartuska
will remain the athletic director at the school. Board member Chet Beggs, a cousin
of the newly appointed coach, was out of town and did not attend the meeting.
my whole goal when I came back here and started teaching in the district nine
years ago was to eventually be a head coach," Beggs said. "I wasn't
sure when it would happen or how it would happen. I'm proud to continue the tradition.
I'm only the fifth head coach in the last 50 years. That's something I take very
Bartuska was an assistant coach for three years before becoming
the head coach for the last 19. The Trojans won four district titles, three conference
championships and finished second in the district twice during his tenure. Nanticoke
Area finished the 2012-13 season 11-12.
"I think the program is in very
good hands. John has been an assistant and friend of mine for a long time,"
said Bartuska, who will focus more of his time on administrative responsibilities.
"Having somebody in the building who knows the kids and administrators will
make the transition seamless and that is the most important thing."
James, head of the athletic committee at Nanticoke Area, said the decision to
pass on Guffrovich was a difficult one, but he's confident Beggs will help the
program get back on track.
"It was a very tough decision. Paul has a great
pedigree and a great name in Nanticoke," James said. "There was questions
about the transition and how he would take over the program in the summer. We
weren't sure that would be done smoothly. Assistants were a question. He had one
name. He had a short list but really didn't have names."
Area keeps taxes steady
Nanticoke Area is holding the line on taxes.
School property taxes in the district
will stay the same in 2013-2014. The school board adopted the $24.9 million budget
by a unanimous vote at a meeting Thursday.
The millage rate will stay at 10.177
mills. The rate translates to a bill of $1,017.70 for a property assessed at $100,000.
The school district raised taxes by about 2.5 percent last year.
has a deficit of about $127,000. Business consultant Al Melone said the district
is still finalizing a transportation budget for next year and expects that costs
will go down when that is finished.
Had Nanticoke raised its taxes by the index
- the amount allowed before the district needs permission from the state or from
voters - it would not have raised much money, said board president Ryan Verazin.
have no commercial taxes in here. We don't get the big commercial parks,"
he said. "I just didn't feel that it was necessary this year."
Board passes $24.9 million budget
The Greater Nanticoke
Area School Board on Thursday night adopted a final budget for the 2013-2014 school
year of $24.9 million with a property tax millage rate of 10.177.
A mill is
a $1 tax on each $1,000 of assessed valuation.
The board also authorized that
any person whose yearly income from all sources is less than $4,000 shall be exempt
from Act 511 LST (local services tax). Any person whose yearly income from all
sources is less than $2,500 shall be exempt from the Section 679 per capita tax.
another matter, Superintendent Anthony Perrone said the new school dress code
is being worked on. Perrone said some of the changes are more liberal and
some are not.
A parent in attendance asked why the school district is
behind in SAT score averages. GNAs average is 964, while state wide average
Perrone said that changes have been made. He also pointed
out that GNA had the highest jump in scores of any school in Luzerne County
up by 18 percent.
The board has approved the hiring of John Beggs as head boys
basketball coach for the 2013-2014 school year. The board has also given approval
for the Frank Novakowski Driving School to serve as its third party testing group.
board also accepted the resignation of Dean Meyers, football assistant III coach,
for the 2013 season.
The next meeting will on Aug. 15 at 7 p.m.
are moved after pipe bursts
Residents of Nanticoke Villa are moved temporarily
to Greater Nanticoke High School.
email@example.com - (570)
A broken water pipe damaged the Nanticoke
Villa personal care home on Main Street on Sunday afternoon, temporarily displacing
it 63 residents.
Ambulances transported them a short distance away to the Greater
Nanticoke Area High School cafeteria, where they were provided meals by the American
Red Cross. The last residents left the personal care home shortly after 7 p.m.
County and Nanticoke emergency management agencies as well as public and private
emergency medical services assisted in the evacuation.
Ambulances and vans
lined North Walnut Street outside the entrance to the building. Emergency medical
services personnel wheeled residents on gurneys to ambulances and lifted them
Others in wheelchairs were taken to awaiting vans with power lifts.
Residents who were able to walk boarded a school bus. Firefighters and EMS personnel
loaded boxes of binders, supplies and movable cabinets onto pickup trucks.
were no injuries, said Chester Prymowicz, Nanticoke assistant fire chief.
this point everythings going real smooth, Prymowicz said.
dispatch for a water leak came around 4:30 p.m. A pipe on the third floor broke
sending water to the lower floors. Code enforcement shut down the building because
there was no electricity and the fire alarms and sprinkler system were inoperable.
was unsure when the damage would be repaired and the residents would be allowed
Similar evacuations prepared emergency management personnel to handle
this one, said Stephen Bekanich, the countys emergency management director.
were being brought to the high school for residents. If the stay was going to
be longer than 12 to 18 hours, he said, were going to make arrangements
to get these folks into a more comfortable facility.
Efforts were underway
to relocate some residents sooner to facilities where there was space available.
members of some residents were being contacted as well to see if they could take
them for a couple of days, Bekanich said.
Itll be more beneficial
to them, he said.
Village expansion planned
Nanticoke council also talks about meeting this month
to establish a crime watch.
Paul Mizak, an acquisition analyst for Rodman Properties Inc., on Wednesday presented
City Council with a preliminary sketch displaying the potential plans to add 48
units to Lexington Village.
The units would be divided between two, three-story
buildings and available to renters at the market rate. The apartments will not
be subsidized nor will they be age-restricted. Garbage fees, snow removal, water,
sewer, landscaping and maintenance will be included in the monthly rent.
currently are only three vacancies among the 55 Lexington Village units. The proposed
construction of the units would be funded by a construction loan and not tax money,
In other matters, City Manager Pamela Heard has been designated
as the agent authorized to execute documents on behalf of the city for the Pennsylvania
Emergency Management Agency.
There will be a meeting at 7 p.m. June 26 at City
Hall for the purpose of starting a crime watch in Nanticoke. The meeting will
be led by crime prevention specialist Charles Balogh.
union: Compromise too costly
Contract proposed for support staff rejected,
meaning its back to the bargaining table.
The Greater Nanticoke Area School
District support-staff union rejected a fact-finders proposed compromise
in stalled contract talks because, in the end, it actually took money out
of their pockets, union lead negotiator Virginia Cowley said.
staff cafeteria workers, custodians and others who dont fall under
the teacher or administration contracts have worked under the terms of
a contract that expired last summer.
The two sides have been negotiating since
the beginning of last year. Earlier this year the union asked for fact-finding,
in which a third party hears from both sides and crafts a proposal.
rejected the proposal while the school board voted to accept it last week, making
the report public record. The state Department of Labor and Industry posted it
online. The report outlines the issues from both sides.
both sides had reached tentative agreements on longevity pay, life insurance,
unused sick-time pay, personal leave, bereavement leave and use of seniority in
filling vacancies. Both also agreed the new contract should run from July 1, 2012,
through June 2016.
But the two sides differ substantially on two issues that
have become chronic sticking points in most school-district contract talks: pay
and health insurance.
According to the report, the district proposed a pay
freeze for hourly employees in the first two years of the new contract, with hourly
pay rising 25 cents the third year and 50 cents the fourth. The union sought a
25-cent increase the first year and a 50-cent increase in each of the remaining
Fact-finder Robert Gifford cited financial data from the past
five years showing the district has kept spending relatively stable while increasing
the fund balance money received but not spent and thus set aside as a reserve
from $5.13 million in 2007-08 to $7.68 million this year. He also noted
decreased federal funding, increased pension payments and the fact that Superintendent
Tony Perrone retired years ago but stayed on the job with no salary.
recommended a compromise of a pay freeze the first year followed by hourly wage
increases of 30 cents, 40 cents and 50 cents, respectively, in the following three
In health-insurance coverage, the district wants to shift support staff
from the two plans they currently can choose from to the two plans offered to
teachers. The district also wants to increase the amount the support staff pays
toward insurance premiums from 1 percent of gross wages paid now to 1.75 percent
in 2014-15 and 2 percent in 2015-16. The union wants no changes.
switching support staff to the teacher plans but rejected the increase in premium
sharing. Cowley said that proposal was a big reason the union rejected the report.
are currently the only employees in the district paying anything toward health
insurance, and they are the lowest-paid of anyone, Cowley said. Even
though the fact-finder kept the premium contribution the same, the change in the
plan means changes in the deductible and co-pays, and the cost was significant.
fact that the wage proposal was low, combined with the insurance-plan changes,
means the proposal actually took money out of their pockets.
rejection of the proposal made any decision by the school board symbolic. Fact-finding
is non binding, and rejection by either side kills the proposal, though negotiators
often cite the process as helpful even when rejected. Both sides will now return
to the bargaining table.
board hires independent mediator for talks with support staff
Voice Staff Report
The Greater Nanticoke Area
School Board unanimously decided to hire an independent fact-finder to mediate
its negotiations with one of its labor unions at a special meeting Wednesday.
President Ken James was absent.
Board President Ryan Verazin said the state
fact-finder was requested by the support staff union, a group which represents
positions like teacher aides. That group has been working without a contract -
and the annual raises that usually come with it - since its previous agreement
expired last summer.
Verazin said unions often request fact-finders when they
think districts are trying to "lowball" them.
As part of larger negotiations
for a new agreement, union representative Virginia Cowley said the district is
discussing with its approximately 30 unionized teacher aides the prospect of dropping
hours to 28.5 per week while raising wages to make up the difference. The Affordable
Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare, requires all employers to offer health
insurance to all employees who work 30 hours. The district, like many others,
is trying avoid that mandate.
DEP to clean up property in Nanticoke
Former site of a gas manufacturing plant
contains contaminated groundwater, soil.
Sheena DeLazio - firstname.lastname@example.org
Nanticoke recently acquired
three flood-damaged properties along Arch Street after delinquent taxes were forgiven
and the Federal Emergency Management Agency approved the purchase.
In a May
22 filing in Luzerne County, solicitors for the city asked for a real estate tax
abatement on three parcels belonging to Edward and Elaine Rasmus and Jean Kotsko.
William Finnegan said the properties were purchased by the city through FEMA after
the September 2011 flood.
The properties received extensive damage, Finnegan
said. According to the court filing, the three parcels of land had combined unpaid
and delinquent city taxes of $1,758.
In the court filing, Finnegan asked that
the delinquent taxes be satisfied, which was ultimately granted by county Judge
Finnegan said that as of last week, the city now owns the three
parcels of land, but he said the city is unsure what will be done with the properties.
buildings located on the properties will most likely be razed, he said.
the September 2011 flood, water from the Susquehanna River flooded the nearby
Weis Market parking lot, located near the Arch Street properties.
site of a gas manufacturing plant in the city where soil and groundwater are contaminated
will soon be cleaned up by UGI Penn Natural Gas with oversight from the state
Department of Environmental Protection.
The site, located at the intersection
of Walnut and Arch streets, will take between two and three years to clean up
and is one of 11 similar properties in Pennsylvania.
Its a multiyear
project to get all these sites remediated and returned to some sort of functional
site, said Joseph Swope, a communications director for UGI.
the work at the 11 properties is due to an agreement with the state DEP dating
back to March 2004.
He said soil at each property is tested for contaminants
and then a plan is developed to clean each site. That may include removal of soil
to return the property back to a functional state.
Swope said adjoining properties
also are tested for contaminants .
He said gas used in homes was once manufactured
in plants that havent been functioning since the 1950s. The Nanticoke plant
has since been demolished.
Unfortunately, the manufactured gas process
did leave some contaminated soil, Swope said.
UGI and the DEP recently
cleaned a site in Scranton, and another exists on Water Street in Wilkes-Barre,
Swope said. Other sites are in Columbia, Montour and Lycoming counties.
process of cleaning up the site begins with a legal notice published in local
newspapers, followed by a 30-day public comment period.
Nanticoke has until
June 21 to submit a request to UGI for development of a public involvement plan.
said sites of former gas manufacturing plants have previously been turned into
parking lots or parks in several areas.
He said it is not known yet what the
site in Nanticoke will be used for, if anything.
Area students earn green thumbs thanks to grant
not yet summer, but some students from Greater Nanticoke Area High School are
already out working the fields.
Thanks to a $1,500 "farm to school"
grant from the state, the school now has a 100-square-foot vegetable plot on its
grounds for students to learn to garden. They have planted a wide variety of crops
and eventually the mini-farm will contain everything from tomatoes and garlic
to broccoli and spaghetti squash.
Frank Grevera, building and grounds director
in the school district, is overseeing the project, which included the planting
of about 2,000 seeds and the resulting crops in the middle school's greenhouse.
With a garden that can hold only about a tenth of those, the rest have been sent
home with students, and some of the flowers have been planted on school grounds.
students have signed on to tend the garden, including those from environment science
class who tested the pH and fertility of the soil outside the school and then
added the appropriate nutrients. Others are participating as part of their senior
project and have a variety of motivations for doing so, including juniors Joseph
Zielinski ("It's something different") and Mike Stephanick ("It's
On Wednesday, students watered the rows of small
crops and pounded 5-foot stakes, nearly as tall as themselves, into the ground
next to tomato seedlings, just a few inches off the ground.
to grow to the top of that, I promise â?¦" Grevera said. "They
will hit the top."
Students will continue to tend the crops over the summer
and the resulting produce will be donated to the local family center, and may
be used for projects in home economics class as well as go toward improving the
quality of school lunches.
"Hopefully they'll use some of this food in
there, because some of the lettuce we get isn't the best," junior Jordan
Williams said with a smile.
native part of WWII mystery
morning of Jan. 30, 1944, a Sunday, the 718th Squadron of the 449th Bomb Group
took off from its base in Grottaglie, a small village on the heel of Italys
boot, on a mission to bomb an airfield in Udine, site of a Nazi base near Trieste
on the Adriatic Sea.
It was Second Lt. Pershing Hills 18th mission since
being deployed to the airfield just a month before. He was a bombardier on a B-24,
perched in the Plexiglas-encased nose of the heavy bomber. The B-24 had a couple
of nicknames The Flying Boxcar, for its boxy shape, and The
Flying Coffin, for the probability that the aircraft could become the crews
final resting place should it meet enemy resistance. The aircraft had only one
exit, in the rear of the fuselage at the end of a 9-inch-wide catwalk, making
it nearly impossible for the flight crew to escape if the plane were hit.
was one of a crew of 10. The pilot was a young first lieutenant from Colorado
named Ben Kendall. Fletcher Porter, a 22-year-old from Lexington, Ky., was in
the co-pilots seat. Staff Sgt. Harvey Gann, from Travis County, Texas, was
The squadron descended on the German airbase at high noon on
a cold, clear day. The moment they dropped their bombs, they were attacked by
a brace of German fighters. One witness told an Italian researcher later, From
the sky began to drop everything. A young woman, walking home from Mass,
saw the body of one airman hit the ground near her church. He was badly burnt.
Another body, about 20 meters away, was draped over a fence.
One of the B-24s
went down in flames, two of its crew bailing out, hitting the ground before their
parachutes could open. Another, called Sinners Dream and piloted
by a 22-year-old lieutenant from Memphis named Thomas Chandler, exploded in flight
after being rammed by a German Messerschmitt.
Hills plane took heavy
fire. Flak had ripped through its wings, causing two of its four engines to burst
into flames. A fighter strafed the aircraft, piercing its aluminum fuselage with
a barrage of 7.92 mm rounds. The plane was going down, and since B-24s werent
built for gliding, it dropped like a stone.
Kendall signaled Gann, seated in
the aircrafts top turret, to bail and he did. He landed on a beach. Nearby,
he saw Kendalls body, his parachute tangled in a large scrap of aluminum.
Porter also bailed, but his chute didnt open.
Gann was captured by the
Germans and sent to a POW camp.
He never did see what happened to his plane.
was always a mystery to Hills family.
What happened to Pershing?
was from Nanticoke, a small town west of Wilkes-Barre, best known as the hometown
of Jerry Orbach, Lenny on the TV show Law & Order. During the
war, his family had moved to Maryland, finding work at the Glenn L. Martin aircraft
plant in Middle River.
He was born on Nov. 11, 1918 Armistice Day
named for Gen. John Black Jack Pershing.
He was 19 years older
than his niece, Mary Maust. She remembers the last time she saw her uncle. It
was Christmas 1943 and he was home on leave before shipping out for Italy. She
remembers seeing a family photo from that gathering. Nobody was smiling in it.
They all looked worried, she recalled.
A little more than a month later, the
family learned that Hill had been killed in action in northern Italy. His airplane
hadnt been found. His body wasnt recovered.
For years decades
the family wondered what happened to Hill. There was some speculation that
he had merely been wounded and was suffering from amnesia, wandering around Europe
believing he was another man.
We never knew, Maust, 76, who lived
in Glen Rock until a recent move to the retirement village in Cross Keys, said.
Thats what bothered us. We never knew.
Harvey Gann thought
he knew. He thought his aircraft exploded in fight shortly after he bailed. He
thought thats how the piece of aluminum got tangled in Kendalls chute.
He thought that the earthly remains of his crewmates were scattered over the frozen
ground of a seaside resort called Isola del Sole Sunny Island on
the Adriatic Sea.
Gann was imprisoned in Stalag Luft VI near the old Prussian-Lithuania
border. He escaped, but was recaptured when he and another POW made camp on top
of a German underground gun position. He was sent to another POW camp and, again,
he escaped and was recaptured. The third time, it stuck. He escaped and made his
way to the Russian front and freedom.
After the war, he returned home and joined
the Austin police department, retiring after 38 years on the force. He lives just
outside of Austin and at 92, still thinks often about that day over Udine.
was just one of those bad days, he said, just a bad day.
wrote a book about his war experience titled Escape I Must!
and his recollections of the mission and subsequent air battle, recounted
in vivid detail. In his PostScript, he wondered about the fate of Pershing Hill
and the six other men who died in his aircraft that day..
Freddy Furlan is
an archeologist living in the village of Romans dIsonzo. He grew up listening
to his father and many others tell the story of that beautiful Sunday when an
American airplane fell from the sky a short distance from the village. The story
always intrigued him, and in 2005, he set out to find out exactly what happened
that day, conducting dozens of interviews with surviving witnesses, scouring accounts
from that time and collecting crash reports and other documents.
He also read
Harvey Ganns book.
He was able to recreate a detailed account of that
And he was able to figure out what happened to Pershing Hills aircraft.
knew that one aircraft had exploded in the sky over his village. And he knew that
another made a belly landing in a field outside of Campolongo al Torre, near Udine,
after being ripped apart by flak. None of the crew survived. Their bodies were
recovered. One witness told the story of a villager who took a watch from the
body of an American airman, a shameful act, he said.
And a third
plane crashed into a swampy lagoon called Grado on a small, unpopulated barrier
island called Morgo.
Witnesses told him the plane was on fire when it hit the
bog, the water and mud extinguished the flames and the aircraft sank into the
For years, Furlan wrote, fishermen knew the B-24 was in the lagoon, but
were afraid to approach it, believing it may still contain unexploded bombs. It
remained buried a mud.
Furlans detailed report of his research made its
way to the Defense Departments POW/Missing Personnel Office. The DPMO sent
two investigators to Italy in February 2009 and they were able to identify the
plane. They didnt notify the families of the airmen; the Defense Department
doesnt do that until the bodies have been positively identified.
defense department reviewed their findings and approval was given to recover the
remains of the airmen who may be interred in the fuselage of the downed aircraft.
it hasnt happened yet. It may take some time. The plane is under 16 feet
of viscous mud and a foot and a half of water, according to the DPMO. Complicating
matters is its in a wildlife sanctuary on private land. And the plane is
believed to contain unexploded bombs.
Part of the process to speed the recovery
of the bodies of the airmen was being able to find a means to positively identify
them. And thats where DNA comes in, specifically maternal DNA.
to Mary Crowley, secretary of the 449th Bombardment Group Association, to seek
out next-of-kin, specifically next-of-kin who could provide maternal DNA. She
did some genealogical research on Ancestry.com. and found Mary Maust. Mausts
mother, Margaret, was Hills older sister.
She tracked Maust to Glen Rock,
but soon found that she had recently moved. She called Mausts neighbors
and one of them told her had recently moved to Cross Keys.
So in the middle
of May, about the 15th, Maust, still unpacking from her move, spoke with Crowley.
soon as she mentioned Uncle Persh, Maust recalled, I could feel the
tears welling up.
She called her sister and went to pieces on the phone.
been so long, she said. And now, to think we might get an answer.
may finally be able to have a burial for Pershing Hill.
on a decade on the beat
Bob Kalinowski, staff writer since May 25,
2003, loves being a storyteller. He can be reached at email@example.com
or 570-821-2055. Follow on Twitter at @cvbobkal.
dear friend recently surprised me with a wonderful professional compliment, saying
I have the job I was born to do.
Never really thought about it that way - because
it sure wasn't my plan to be a newspaper reporter. It kind of just happened.
when I became interested in the field, I didn't think I'd want to work at some
small-town paper like The Citizens' Voice. Even after taking the job on May 25,
2003, I had no intention of staying. I was later focused on entering the U.S.
Navy's Officer Candidate School.
Well, here I am 10 years later.
a decade working at the paper. And I would not have had it any other way. I'm
glad I stayed. It's the best job in the world.
I document the life and times
of the people I know and love in the place I know and love.
The daily challenge
to best the competition down the street keeps me motivated. It's quite unique
to be a foot soldier in one of the nation's few remaining newspaper wars.
been no shortage of big stories along the way - historic floods, corruption scandals,
presidential candidate visits, blockbuster criminal trials and unspeakable crimes.
the police beat has been my main job, chasing breaking news from the moment I
wake up until I go to bed. It's a rush like no other racing to a major breaking
news scene. On the reporting end, it's not easy getting cops to like you, trust
you and tell you things. It has been my goal to be the most honest, fair and accurate
person in the local news business.
As the grandson of two World War II veterans,
writing about the military is another passion. I've been there when soldiers left
for war and watched as they triumphantly returned home. But some of them didn't
and I was tasked with the incredible responsibility of telling the stories of
men who gave their lives for the country.
Most recently, my main mission has
been to surface details about the murder of a federal correctional officer from
my hometown of Nanticoke.
Some call me a journalist. Or a reporter. Or a writer.
All those labels fit, but I think storyteller fits the best.
The archives indicate
I've penned thousands of stories over these 10 years. My contact list is 50 pages,
containing hundreds of names and phones numbers. All those people - all of you
- brought those stories to life and made my job one I love.
So how did I end
Like anyone else trying to plan their future, I guess it started in
high school when it came time to decide what I wanted to do in life. I wasn't
really preparing for a challenging career. While fellow seniors were taking courses
like AP English, calculus, and physics, I created a cruise control final year
with classes like home economics, art, woodworking and probability and statistics,
where we did tasks like count the color ratio of candies in a pack of M&Ms.
chose to major in mass communications on a whim. A friend's aunt told me one day
she did public relations for NASCAR - and I loved NASCAR. I wanted to go to Penn
State, mostly to enjoy the party scene, but went to King's College here in Wilkes-Barre
because it offered the most financial aid.
At King's, I decided to finally
start trying. I studied my tail off for four years in a variety of media classes,
always earning Dean's List status, including one perfect 4.0 semester. I interned
with U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski and then at ABC News Radio in New York City. It
was glamorous, meeting celebrities and rubbing elbows with all the ABC stars,
but I really didn't do much hands-on work to build any useful skills.
my final college semester arrived, I still had no clue what I wanted to do in
life. Following a trip to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point for a video
shoot, I was pretty set on becoming a military officer even as the Iraq war raged.
was considering another fun-filled internship in New York, but one of my college
buddies led me on to a big secret: The Citizens' Voice let you write stories AND
paid interns $25 a day. We quickly applied and were accepted. As our internship
came to a close, a job opened up to write the obituaries - a foot in the door
for a possible reporting position. We both applied, but my friend got the job.
With few options, I soon accepted a job at our sister paper in Towanda, Bradford
County. A Voice editor warned me all I would write about was "rocks, rattlesnakes
and Republicans" - never envisioning the natural gas boom the area now experiences.
immediately after that, my friend backed out of the Voice offer to take a job
in Ohio. "You're staying," the editor told me. I guess I was. He quickly
called the Towanda editor to tell him I wasn't coming.
That was followed, of
course, by a call from the Towanda editor who reminded me "burning bridges"
isn't a wise first career move.
So that's how I ended up at The Citizens' Voice.
How I stayed was fate.
Unhappy with typing obituaries and feeling little passion
for the business, I followed through with my plans to apply for Officer Candidate
School. It was not easy. The academic and physical requirements were grueling.
But I was accepted into the elite program for the nation's future military leaders
and swore in at a Wilkes-Barre recruiting center. For months and months, I studied
and trained for my report date in Pensacola, Fla., on Feb. 26, 2005. But the push-ups
got to me. I traumatized my wrist, was medically disqualified and received an
So I remained at the Voice. I'm glad I stayed.
pedestrian journalism skills, I learned how to be a reporter from on-the-job training.
Editors dispatched me to every story imaginable - from boring budget hearings
and contentious council meetings to raging fires and unfolding crime scenes. It
was my duty to reel in a good story. As the months and years went by, I fell in
love with the job.
I get a front-row seat to the day's most important news
and have the awesome responsibility to tell the folks why it matters. And it's
a whole lot of fun to craft stories in a creative, compelling way.
been a day I dreaded going to work. In fact, I get jealous when news breaks on
my days off.
Ten years later, I love what I do. I'm sure glad I stayed.
friend's right. This must be what I was born to do.
students raise $4K for family affected by fire
one hour, students at Greater Area Nanticoke High School raised more than $4,000
Monday for the family of sophomores Jessica and Nicole Delos Santos, whose Nanticoke
home was destroyed in a fire last week.
By donating a minimum of $5 to the
family, students received a ticket allowing them to "dress down" from
the normal dress code of dress pants and collared shirts to wear blue jeans, T-shirts
and shorts for the remainder of the school year, principal John Gorham said. The
last day of school in the Greater Nanticoke Area School District is June 11.
among students, teachers and other employees was nearly 100 percent and someone
even donated $100, Gorham said.
learns possible water rate changes
Pennsylvania American Water has proposed
increases to take effect this summer.
meeting is set for 7 p.m. June 5.
city has received notice of Pennsylvania American Waters proposed rate increases
for residents beginning June 29.
If approved, heres how the rates would
impact the average customers water bill: Residential customers using 3,960
gallons a month would increase from $52.51 to $58.63 per month. Commercial customers
using 22,000 gallons a month would increase from $231.57 to $254.10 per month.
Industrial customers using 475,600 gallons a month would increase from $3,602.78
to $3,840.67 per month.
PA American Water is requesting the increase to help
cover the cost of improving sewer reliability, water quality and fire protection
for about 390 communities across the state.
Residents who want to present their
views at a Public Utility Commission public meeting can obtain information by
Separately, the city has received an $80,000 check
from Benecon for the first-year health care plan savings. Benecon is a government
consortium chosen as the health care plan for the citys employees.
* Joe Kordek has been appointed Americans with Disabilities
Act complaint coordinator.
* The citywide yard sale will be held on Saturday,
* The third annual Relay for Life of South Valley will be held on June
1 and 2 at Luzerne County Community College beginning at 10 a.m. The survivor
reception will take place at 1 p.m. on June 1, and the luminaria ceremony
will be held at 8:30 p.m. For further details, call Maureen Ryneski at 570-740-0490
or James Kane at 570-562-9749.
are still raw
Slashing victim says her life hasnt been same since attack
firstname.lastname@example.org - (570) 829-7237
external and internal still remain apparent to Jennifer Mieczkowski,
the 31-year-old slashing victim of New Years 2012.
who lives with her 8-year-old daughter, Gabby, in the townships Sheatown
section, said she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and is in therapy
as a result of the attack. She suffered multiple cuts to her face and neck, some
of which nearly sliced her carotid artery on Jan. 1, 2012 in a Nanticoke bar,
She isnt working and said all she wants is some justice
in the case.
Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis said Wednesday
the case is not closed, but its not likely charges of aggravated assault
will be filed. Simple assault charges probably will be filed, she said, but she
and Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Roberts will meet to discuss the case
Mieczkowski is dismayed about lesser charges being considered,
given the circumstances of what she says happened at the now-closed Prospect Street
In a civil lawsuit filed 13 months ago against the bar and its owner,
Mieczkowski identified Melanie Figueroa, who was 20 at the time, as her assailant.
Figueroa has denied any involvement.
Mieczkowski alleges in the civil suit
Figueroa slashed her face after Mieczkowski went to the aid of a friend who fell
off a bar stool.
At first, Mieczkowski was unwilling to testify if the District
Attorneys Office was going to file simple assault charges, she said. That
was six months ago; Mieczkowski called the office Tuesday to ask for an update.
She was told the case had been closed because she wouldnt testify, Mieczkowski
Salavantis said that is not the case. We will
meet today or tomorrow to discuss where we are going with charges, she said.
Now that Mieczkowski has decided to testify, we will go forward.
said her office has conducted extensive interviews and gathered considerable evidence.
We know certain details of what happened that night, she said. Aggravated
assault, while a possibility, is not likely.
Mieczkowski said some level
of justice needs to be served, so she will participate in any prosecution.
investigation, in my opinion, was not done well, she said. The district
attorney should understand why I want aggravated assault charges filed.
said she was only out for an enjoyable evening on the night in question. She and
her boyfriend had stopped to pick up beer when she met a friend who, said Mieczkowski,
would later get involved in a fight with Figueroa.
Mieczkowski said she was
assaulted and her life hasnt been the same since.
When I was told
the case had been closed, I was shocked, she said. How can you close
tears through Nanticoke home
fire raged from the attic window of 186 W. Broad St. on Tuesday morning, friends
consoled Robin Delos Santos as she looked on from across the street.
of the blaze while running errands. Her twin daughters were at school. Her husband
was at work.
The family would eventually unite at the fire scene - shaken and
saddened, but thankful none of them were hurt. A responding police officer rescued
the family's two dogs.
"When they say horrible things happen to the best
people, it's the truth," said family friend Julia Robins, 33, who lives a
few blocks away and rushed to the scene in her pajamas.
Sharon Hitzner, 56,
of Alden, said she saw smoke while driving in the Sheatown section of Newport
Township around 9 a.m. As she drove closer, she noticed the smoke was coming from
186 W. Broad St., out of the eaves and near a second-floor air conditioner. She
rushed to the nearby doctor's office where she works to call 911.
was no fire at the time," Hitzner said. "There was just a lot of smoke."
Deputy Fire Chief Tom Sadowski said much of the fire was hidden in the walls of
the home due to the construction of the property. He said crews almost immediately
triggered a third-alarm, which dispatched fire companies from surrounding towns
"Being that it was daytime, we were at a premium for volunteers,
so we went to a third alarm quickly to get more manpower," Sadowski said.
twin girls who live at the home, Jessica and Nicole Delos Santos, were in class
at Greater Nanticoke Area High School when the fire broke out. School officials,
including Superintendent Anthony Perrone and Principal John Gorham, accompanied
them to the scene of the fire to meet their mother.
Their father, Eduardo Delos
Santos, arrived on the scene in his uniform from the Brink's armored car company.
A co-worker, who drove him to the fire scene, sat in an idling armored car down
The family is being assisted by the American Red Cross and staying
with relatives in Wilkes-Barre.
Robins said she and other friends will organize
a clothing drive and open a fire fund at a local bank Wednesday.
a tragedy. So much was lost," Robins said. "They are a very hard-working
family. Unfortunately, they are going to have to work even harder to gain everything
saved, but fire badly damages Nanticoke house
Fire tore through the roof and
windows on the second floor and attic of the home.
Two dogs were saved from a West Broad
Street house that was heavily damaged by a fire Tuesday morning.
from Nanticoke, Hanover Township, Ashley, Sugar Notch, Plymouth, Newport Township
and Edwardsville responded to 186 W. Broad St. at about 9 a.m.
through the roof and windows on the second floor and attic. Adjacent homes at
184 and 188 W. Broad St. were evacuated.
Officer Joseph Kosch said no one was
home when he ran onto the porch and banged on the door. Kosch said he was able
to open the door and remove two dogs that were ready to get out, he
Luzerne County property records list the homeowners as Robin and Eduardo
Delos Santos. Their two daughters were at school at Greater Nanticoke Area High
School at the time of the fire.
A neighbor said firefighters removed an urn
from the burning house and gave it to one of the daughters, who had been released
Firefighters used two aerial ladder trucks to reach the flames
on the upper floors of the wood-frame house. Most of the fire damage was to the
front of the house.
There were no reported injuries.
A state police deputy
fire marshal is investigating the cause.
prison guard honored in Harrisburg
email@example.com - (570)
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives
on Monday honored the life of Eric Williams, a federal corrections guard from
Nanticoke who was killed by an inmate at the United States Penitentiary in Canaan
Township in February.
Williams parents, Donald and Jean, and his sister,
Lauren, were in the House chamber for the vote and received an ovation after they
were recognized by Speaker Sam Smith.
House Resolution 177, which was introduced
by state Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Newport Township, received unanimous approval.
cowardly act committed upon Eric nearly three months ago robbed his family of
a son and brother, Mullery said during his remarks in the House chamber.
It robbed the city of Nanticoke and the 119th District of a dedicated and
loyal public servant.
Williams, 34, was killed by an inmate who assaulted
him with a homemade weapon. The attack happened as Williams was preparing to lock
inmates in their cells for a nightly head count. A federal judge has identified
Jessie Con-ui, a gang member and convicted murderer from Arizona, as the suspect
in Williams death. No charges have been filed in his death at this time.
was one of seven people charged in 2003 in connection with a drug distribution
ring in Arizona. He was sentenced in June 2005 to 11 years, three months in prison
for his role that ring.
Mullery lamented the loss of one of his constituents.
we lose someone in Nanticoke, its not just a name. Its someone we
routinely see at St. Faustinas Parish on Sunday, someone we are not surprised
to see at a Trojan game or someone we see at Weis Markets. Its somebody
we know and care for.
Mullery described Williams as a kind person with
a great sense of humor. Williams, an avid outdoorsman, had bought a cottage on
Lilly Lake and dreamed of refurbishing it.
He was able to complete the
interior renovation, but was taken from us before he could complete the job,
Mullery said. In his honor and as a tribute to him, Mullery said Erics family
will complete the renovation.
board member: 'I didn't lie to anybody' about renovation money
Klubeck - Citizens Voice
The Greater Nanticoke Area School Board listened
intently Thursday as Jeff Kozlofski responded to allegations that he and fellow
board member Cindy Donlin lied to the board about spending public money on a brick
sign dedicated to longtime Superintendent Anthony Perrone.
The district honored
Perrone in 2011 by naming an area campus after him and changing its sign accordingly.
to Kozlofski, the board agreed to pay a series of bills in November 2011 by an
8-0 vote. Among them was the bill for metallic arts, which covered the renovation.
have been on the board for 16 years now, and I was always led to believe that
a majority vote was needed (to pay any bill)," Kozlofski said.
and Donlin were part of the committee in charge of the program to honor Perrone.
At the time, they conferred with business manager Albert Melone, who confirmed
that there were funds available for the project.
Some board members said they
did not know the source of the money, and others believed it came from private
"Not once at any time during the committee meetings were donations
for the sign discussed," Kozlofski said.
Kozlofski added that if board
president Ryan Verazin had been more involved with the program, he would have
known that donations did not fund the sign.
"The problem is we thought
(the money) was private," board member Tony Prushinski responded. "We
were told it was private by you and Mrs. Donlin."
Kozlofski was audibly
surprised by Prushinski's comment, but he did not address it. Donlin was absent
from the meeting.
Verazin said that Kozlofski told him the same over the phone.
not about the sign. It's not about the money. It's about us asking questions and
not being told things," Verazin said.
The board will hold its next meeting
preliminary budget holds line on taxes
Nanticoke Area Board of Directors has adopted the preliminary school district
budget for the fiscal year 2013-14.
The real estate tax rate will remain at
10.177 mills on each $1,000 of assessed real estate valuation of properties located
within the GNA school districts limits. The district is comprised of Nanticoke
City and the townships of Plymouth, Newport and Conyngham.
The board voted
7-1 not to increase the tax rate. Jeff Kozlofski was the only board member who
voted for an increase; Secretary Cindy Donlin was not in attendance for the meeting.
final budget will be voted on in June.
Superintendent Anthony Perrone reported
that attendance in all of the GNA schools was up. The attendance level is now
more than 90 percent, he said.
The board has accepted the resignations of Christine
Osmanski, Lori Ditzler, Barbara Paganucci and Jennifer Ruchinski.
school and middle school Life Skills classes will attend the following community-based
instruction: Luzerne Intermediate Unit field day at Wyoming Valley West Stadium
on May 23 and Luzerne County Transportation Authority bus instruction, followed
by a bus ride to the Farmers Market on Public Square, Wilkes-Barre, on May 28
adds live music
Restaurant in Nanticoke will celebrate its sixth year in business with some new
additions, said chef and owner Tosha Hardesty.
The restaurant will introduce
live, monthly entertainment in the banquet room, with a special bar menu and drink
specials for the no-cover shows. The first show takes place May 17 from 7:30-10:30
p.m. featuring Millennium. The Jeanne Zano Band will perform June 1 from 8:30-10:30
p.m. In addition to the specials, the regular menu will also be available, Hardesty
She is also expanding the restaurant's wine collection, providing more
than 40 varieties for patrons to choose.
The restaurant will host a Mother's
Day buffet from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.
For information and menus,
visit mapsrestaurant.net, Map's Restaurant on Facebook, or call 570-258-0140.
dorms planned for Nanticoke sites
for potential dorms for Luzerne County Community College at the 400 Club and Ellis
building parcels were recently discussed at a meeting between the city and a private
developer, it was announced at councils meeting Wednesday night.
plans include making a zoning change along with height variances. The developer
has informed the city that it would need to offer tax incentives as well as fee
waivers in order to make the project feasible.
In return, the developer is
willing to commit to a 25-year student housing agreement.
Also, City Engineer
Daryl Pawlush said the CVS demolition project is moving along slowly, but
steadily. Pawlush said $32,000 is being withheld until the project
is totally completed.
In other matters:
* Council has approved the
appointment of Donna Wall as chief administrative officer for the non-uniform
pension plan. City Manager and Finance Director Pam Heard said there is a pension
board that makes all decisions, as well as a regular audit of the non-union pension
Heard said the city needs someone to sign the paperwork,
which will be one of Walls duties.
* The deadline to register for the
citywide yard sale is May 27. The event will be on June 1 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
next meeting will be on May 15 at 7 p.m.
players team up for good cause
Celebrity basketball game filled Nanticoke Area
gym with goodwill and cheers in an effort to help MDA.
they arrived at Nanticoke High School, Will Johnson had never participated in
a charity basketball game while Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie played in plenty.
whether it was the first time or they do this all the time, those NFL players
found something extra special about Saturdays Clifton R. Lewis Good Life
Foundation Celebrity Basketball Game.
This is actually my first time,
said Johnson, who joined the Pittsburgh Steelers as an undrafted free agent and
became their starting fullback as a rookie last season. I thought it would
be good to support something like this. Its all for a good cause.
Good Life Foundation helps people afflicted with muscular distrophy -- including
former long-time Nanticoke baseball coach John Kashatus and Nick Mattey of Kingston
-- live the good life by providing assistance.
Much of that help
comes in the former of increased mobility (by donations of motorized scooters
and easily-accessible transportation) and for some children afflicted with MD,
a chance to meet players and attend games of their dreams.
just giving back to the community, said Rodgers-Cromartie, who left the
Philadelphia Eagles secondary during the offseason to sign as a free agent with
the Denver Broncos. And when I heard what it was about, you have to say
Rodgers-Cromartie knows all about struggles and dashed dreams in
a professional sense.
He played as a cornerback in the nickel package as a
rookie first-round draft choice of Arizona in 2008, helping the Cardinals upend
the Eagles in the NFC championship game to reach the Super Bowl that season. But
Arizona suffered a heartbreaking, last-minute loss to the Steelers, and never
made it as far during the following years.
Over the 2011 offseason, Rodgers-Cromartie
was traded to the Eagles.
That was the start of an offseason blitz by Philadelphia
during a strike-shortened offseason, when the Eagles added free agent Pro Bowlers
Vince Young (as a backup quarterback), cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and defensive
linemen Jason Babin and Cullen Jenkins - along with running back Ronnie Brown
and wide receiver Steve Smith.
They called it the Dream Team destined
to win the Super Bowl. But it turned into a nightmare as the Eagles started 4-8
that season and missed the playoffs with an 8-8 record. It got worse last season,
as the Eagles finished 4-12 - after a 3-1 start - while coaches were fired during
the season and head coach Andy Reid lost his job afterwards.
We had a
lot of new pieces, Rodgers-Cromartie said. Expectations were so high.
There was a lot of excitement around that Dream Team. You say something
like that, it puts a lot of pressure on you, and teams coming in, they played
harder against our team.
We just didnt jell.
off to a new Dream Team in Denver - where Peyton Manning came aboard
to lead the Broncos to the AFCs best regular season record before the Baltimore
Ravens upended them with a winning last-minute touchdown bomb. So the Broncos
brought in some big guns, adding Rodgers-Cromartie, defensive tackle Terrance
Knighton from Jacksonville, ex-Eagles linebacker Stewart Bradley and offensive
guard Louis Vasquez to fortify their Super Bowl hopes this season.
have to be careful when you say Dream Team, Rodgers-Cr0martie
said hes learned.
Still, he cant wait to try to turn this dream
Im very excited, he said. They have a
great team. What they have over there is just a blessing and an honor to be part
of. Im looking forward to it.
Johnson fully expects his Steelers
to be standing in the way.
The fierce blocker believes this weekends
NFL Draft should help the Steelers rebound from last years 8-8 finish and
get them back to their perennial position of postseason contenders. Especially
after Pittsburgh picked up more offensive weapons by selecting running back LeVeon
Bell and wide receivers Markus Wheaton and Justin Brown along with their first
pick - linebacker Jarvis Jones.
Im very impressed with our draft
choices, Johnson said. Im excited for what this season brings.
one night at the Nanticoke Area gym, though, Johnson and Rodgers-Cromartie seemed
delighted to bring joy to those less fortunate.
Its all about giving
back, Rodgers-Cromartie said, and remembering where you came from.
visit Nanticoke for good cause
Evan Korn - Citizens Voice
is not everyday that a pair of professional athletes make their way to Nanticoke.
Broncos cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and slam dunk specialist Gary Smith
spoke Friday afternoon at Nanticoke Area High School, preaching social responsibility
and fielding questions from students.
Rodgers-Cromartie and Smith are in Nanticoke
on behalf of the Clifton R. Lewis Good Life Foundation, which raises money for
those afflicted with muscular dystrophy. Lewis, a 1999 graduate of Nanticoke Area,
was diagnosed with Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy in 2006 and established his
foundation four years later.
Lewis' charity is hosting its thrid annual celebrity
Bbasketball game tonight in the high school's gymnasium. Rodgers-Cromartie, Smith
and a plethora of special guests will be attendance.
"We're ready to rock
and roll. We're ready to go," Lewis said. "We have some great athletes
coming in, 13 driving or flying in for the event. It's going to be just a phenomenal
Smith told the students about his difficult childhood in a rough-and-tumble
area of Phoenix.
"I was a little bit more focused on my social life,"
Smith said during his speech.
He proceeded to talk about an incident when he
was shot in the back while home in Phoenix on winter break during his freshman
year at Central Lakes College (Minn.).
"You definitely want to give the
crowd a certain type of emotion that they can identify with," Smith said.
"For me, that was tapping into my social life and keeping it authentic and
explaining to them my trials and tribulations while at the same time delivering
a positive message."
Rodgers-Cromartie detailed his unlikely path to the
NFL. Only one school, Tennessee State, offered him a scholarship, and he wound
being a first-round pick (16th overall) of the Arizona Cardinals in the 2008 NFL
A question and answer session, including some playful trash talk from
the students, followed the speeches. At one point, a group of students challenged
Smith to a basketball game. Smith accepted the challenge, even as the numbers
increased to five against one.
Said a grinning Smith: "If they show up
(Saturday evening) and show their faces, "I'll be ready to play."
gets DEP recycling grant
has received a $11,144 state Department of Environmental Protection recycling
grant, state Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Newport Township, announced Thursday.
grant is based on performance and population: last year the city recycled 1,055.1
tons of material. The money is to help continue and expand the recycling program.
congratulate Nanticoke for having such a successful recycling program," Mullery
said. "This grant program provides an incentive for municipalities to continue
their good work, and keep Pennsylvania a leader in recycling, which helps our
environment and our economy."
authority head's firing upheld
Housing Authority's former executive director alleged politics spurred the authority
board's decision to fire her and hire former Luzerne County Chief Clerk Doug Pape
in her place.
But the board indicated Jean Ditzler's termination stemmed from
gross negligence and conduct unbecoming a public official - including buying makeup
and other items for herself with the authority's credit card, using the authority's
vehicle for personal purposes and letting the board's insurance coverage lapse.
appealed her Jan. 20, 2012 firing to the state Civil Service Commission, alleging
she was discriminated against for political reasons - that her termination immediately
followed Pape losing his Luzerne County job on Jan. 2, 2012.
|In a detailed
66-page ruling, the commission dismissed Ditzler's appeal and sustained the authority's
decision to remove her as executive director.
Ditzler declined comment because
she said the matter is in litigation. Her attorney, Kimberly Borland, could not
Housing Authority Solicitor Vito DeLuca also stayed mum on the
He said no charges have been filed against Ditzler. The authority asked
the Luzerne County District Attorney's Office to investigate, and even had a thorough
forensic audit done, but hasn't heard anything lately, DeLuca said.
Attorney Stefanie Salavantis did not respond to messages left for comment.
had been on the board of the Nanticoke Housing Authority, which is responsible
for six high-rise apartment buildings in the city, for several years when its
director Perry Clay resigned in July 2007. The board put Ditzler in first as interim
director, then permanently on Nov. 18, 2010 at a salary of $78,000.
to the Civil Service Commission ruling:
Ditzler regularly charged personal
items including makeup and face cream from QVC on the authority's credit card.
When questioned by DeLuca about the purchases during a board executive session,
Ditzler denied making them until he produced credit card statements. Ditzler also
used the card to buy restaurant food, including $100 worth of shrimp for a vendor,
but "asserted that the purchases were appropriate."
She did pay the
authority back for the QVC purchases.
Ditzler attended a meeting of the Pennsylvania
Society in New York City on Dec. 11, 2010, and charged $635.47 to the authority
credit card for a room at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The nonprofit Pennsylvania
Society lists on its website that its mission is to "honor achievement, to
reward excellence, to promote goodwill and understanding and to celebrate service
to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and to humanity in general."
skepticism that the trip qualified as a legitimate authority expense, the board
reimbursed Ditzler. But when she went on the same trip in December 2011, Ditzler
had to pay the authority back for her stay at the Grand Hyatt hotel in New York.
January 2011, Ditzler had one of the Nanticoke Housing Authority maintenance employees
drive her to Harrisburg in an authority vehicle to attend the swearing-in of a
state senator, who is not named in the ruling. Ditzler continued to use the vehicle
to take friends and relatives for medical appointments and go out for meals.
were held on May 3 and May 23, 2012 in Harrisburg. In its March 31 ruling upholding
the authority's decision, the civil service commission stated that Ditzler "failed
to establish that her removal was in any way connected with a desire to provide
a position for Pape."
main, paving work set for Nanticoke streets
Pennsylvania-American Water Co. will start water main work and paving of the several
city streets within the next few months, it was announced at Wednesdays
City Council meeting.
The locations affected are as
follows:West Grand from Hanover to Line, Line Street from West Union to Grand,
Prospect from East Main to Broad, East Broad from Prospect to Walnut, Christian
from State to Green, East Broad from Christian to Chestnut, and Chestnut from
State to Alley.
City officials said parties have contacted the city interested
in constructing housing for students at Luzerne County Community College. The
possible locations are the 400 Club and Ellis building parcels. A zoning change,
as well as height variances would be required in order to fulfill the plans.
approved the installation of two no parking and two tow away
signs on Main and Lower Broadway streets. City Manager/ Finance Director Pam Heard
said Police Chief William Shultz asked for the signs because residents are parking
too close to the corner, causing problems for emergency vehicles.
matters, it was announced:
* Hanover Fire Co. No. 4 is having a ham-and-eggs
breakfast 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 28 at the Transfiguration Church Hall.
fundraising event for the Clifton R. Lewis Good Life Foundation will be held at
the High School at 6:30 p.m. April 27. NFL star Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will
be among those attending the event.
Decisions were made without us
Certain members claim they had no input on sign
payment, camera placement.
Seven out of the nine directors
of the Greater Nanticoke Area School Board apparently believed that a sign displaying
the name of Superintendent Anthony Perrone at the schools parking lot entrance
had been paid for through private donations.
Only two members of the board,
Cindy Donlin and Jeff Kozlofski, seemingly had knowledge that the sign, which
cost $4,346.72, actually had come from the school boards general funds,
according to accusations traded during Thursdays school board meeting.
directors who claim they had been kept in the dark until recently pressed for
information at the meeting.
The question of how the sign was paid for had been
raised last week to board President Ryan Verazin. He questioned the head of the
GNA school grounds, Frank Grevera, who stated that he was told that the money
had come from the general funds, Verazin said.
Verazin apologized to anyone
who he had unknowingly given false information to regarding the sign. Board member
Tony Prushinski said that he would have personally gone out to solicit donations
for the sign if he had known that the funds were coming from the taxpayers (through
the general funds).
In another disputed matter, during the previous wrestling
season, Donlin and Kozlofski purportedly had a camera installed in the wrestling
room without notifying the rest of the board members. Donlin stated that she was
concerned due to some alleged incidents in the room. An assistant coach found
the camera, and it was removed the next day. Board member Frank Shepanski Jr.
declared that Donlin and Kozlofski should resign from the board.
meets next at 7 p.m. on May 9.
school sign focus of members' ire
Perrone sat quietly between two school board members as they barked and bickered
angrily over a sign bearing his name.
Perrone, the longtime superintendent
of the Greater Nanticoke Area School District, was honored in 2011 when the district
named the entire school campus after him and renovated a large brick sign to reflect
But the issue of how it was paid for exploded at the school board
Board President Ryan Verazin accused his fellow members Cindy
Donlin and Jeff Kozlofski of using public funds to pay for the sign and lying
about it to the rest of the board. Kozlofski was board president last year.
also identified Donlin as the one who unilaterally, and without the rest of the
board's knowledge, ordered cameras installed in the high school wrestling room
in December, which led to a police investigation that eventually found no wrongdoing.|
officials had refused to name the individual who gave the command.
think this board has lacked some serious transparency the last couple of years,"
Saying he intended "no disrespect" to Perrone, the
board president produced an invoice to a company in Spokane, Wash., for $4,346.72,
paid from the district's general fund for repairs and renovations to the sign.
- seated between Verazin and Donlin at the table - has worked for the last decade
without receiving any salary or benefits, saving the district more than $1 million.
who left quickly after the meeting adjourned, and Kozlofski denied lying about
where the funds came from, saying they never asked.
"The purpose of this
board is for nine members to make decisions," board member Tony Prushinski
Frank Shepanski called the unilateral moves by Donlin
and Kozlofski "asinine" and asked the two members to resign.
and Kozlofski shot back, questioning the timing of allegations and accusing their
accusers of using the issues as political weapons.
The primary election for
school boards is May 21, and Shepanski, Donlin and Kozlofski are all up for re-election,
along with Robert Raineri and Gary Smith.
Verazin said he was airing the evidence
at the meeting because he discovered it this week.
While the argument raged,
Perrone quietly stood up and walked out of the room, not to return for the remainder
of the meeting.
teacher vying for space trip
Nanticoke Area High School science teacher Anthony Fleury is trying to win
an online contest that will send the winner on a trip into outer space, 64 miles
above the Earth. Fleury is currently sitting in 30th place
out of nearly 50,000 contest entrants.
Nanticoke Area High School science teacher Anthony Fleury is trying to win an
online contest that will send the winner on a trip into outer space, 64 miles
above the Earth. Fleury is currently sitting in 30th place out of nearly 50,000
It's probably fair to say that every student at one point
has a teacher they would like to blast into outer space.
Some students in the
Greater Nanticoke Area High School might actually get to do it.
science teacher and space exploration geek, is currently sitting in 30th place
out of nearly 50,000 in an online contest that could send someone 64 miles above
"If I could bring that experience back into the classroom,
how amazing would that be?" he said. "A part of all my students will
get the chance to see that, to feel that, to know what it's like."
by Axe - a company better known for body spray and provocative commercials - and
a private space travel firm, the top two vote getters from participating countries
will win a trip to space camp in Orlando. A panel of "space experts"
will then select those "worthy of a space trip," according to the rules
of the contest.
The approximate retail value of a commercial space flight,
according to Axe, is $86,000. The company also gives the winner a $25,000 stipend
to help pay the taxes on the prize.
Fleury's fiancee and fellow Greater Area
Nanticoke High School science teacher Amanda Schraeder said the possibility of
her future husband leaving the Earth was both scary and exciting, but she's confident
in the safety and professionalism of the mission because the couple has met the
pilot ("very, very experienced") and has been to the floor where the
firm is building the spacecraft.
Fleury, a 43-year-old Northumberland native,
is currently well behind the two leaders, both of whom are minor celebrities from
Internet videos with large followings, at least compared to a science teacher
from small-town Pennsylvania.
But while the odds of winning the trip may seem
as likely as getting hit by a meteor, the science instructor has already left
the Earth's field of gravity once in his life.
Fleury often participates in
teacher workshops and camps with NASA and private space contractors, one of which
flew him and fellow educators high enough to experience weightlessness several
times before returning to Earth.
On that flight, the teacher brought experiments
- a pendulum and a bouncing spring - to test the physical difference in zero gravity
and then shared that data with his students. As a more worldly example, he often
uses his beat-up Pontiac Sunfire and its frequent breakdowns to teach physics.
really consider myself a teacher who can bring all of my experiences into the
classroom, no matter how small," Fleury said.
To give his students another
whiff of the edges of the atmosphere, one of his classes launched a weather balloon
from Nanticoke that climbed 90,000 feet, snapping aerial photographs of the Chesapeake
Bay and Long Island, before landing on a guy's porch in New Jersey. Fleury was
able to recover the payload by placing a cellphone into the balloon and tracking
it on a website.
Now his pupils are taking control, spreading the word by mouth
and online to push to the top of the leader board a teacher who lives, breathes
and sleeps space travel.
"It's just in his being," said Deanna Dinelli,
a 17-year-old senior and student of Fleury's. "It's everything he does."
vote for Anthony Fleury, visit https://www2.axeapollo.com/en_US
before April 27.
Area teacher cleared of wrongdoing
Peter Cameron - Citizens Voice
male teacher at Greater Nanticoke Area High School who ordered three female students
to change clothes in a closet that may have been visible to the mixed-gender class
has been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing, Nanticoke Police Chief Bill Shultz
"The bottom line is, there was no contact or anything like that,"
The teacher, whom police and school officials are refusing to
name, was put on paid leave during the investigation. Solicitor Vito DeLuca said
the district suspends employees whenever there is a question of student safety.
He refused to comment on the situation specifically, including when the teacher
will return to work or if he will face punishment from the district.
occurred two weeks ago when the female students were in consumer science class
and needed to use the clothing they were wearing for a sewing project, Shultz
Nanticoke Area School District is conducting kindergarten registration for
the 2013-14 school term from 9 to 11 a.m. and 12:30 to 2 p.m. April 2-4 at K.M.
Smith Elementary School in Sheatown. The child must be present so various screenings
can be completed. To be eligible for kindergarten, a child must be 5 on or before
Sept. 1, 2013. Parents must bring the child's birth certificate and two proofs
of residency and provide health and immunization records. If there are legal documents,
(custody/foster forms) a copy should be provided. If an access card applies to
the child, bring it with all other necessary information. The parent/guardian
also must provide a picture identification the day of registration. Registration
for new first grade students will also be accepted. To be eligible for first grade,
a child must be 6 on or before Sept. 1, 2013. The same information listed above
must be provided.
lieutenant governor tours local development project sites
red brick Susquehanna Coal Company building stood on the hill above the intersection
of Main and Market streets for years, a symbol first of the town's industrial
strength and then its decay.
The building sat dormant for so long that a tree
grew out of its side as the once vibrant town of Nanticoke shriveled, along with
the rest of the region, from a vibrant town of 35,000 in the boom days of coal
mid-century to a sleepier community of 10,000.
On Wednesday, as part of a three-day
swing through the northeastern part of the state, Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley toured the
Joseph A. Paglianite Culinary Arts Institute, a Luzerne County Community College
facility opened in 2011 that now sits on the site of the old coal company building.
a third of the funds for the $7.6 million facility were provided by grants from
the state Department of Community and Economic Development.
Cawley said the
administration wanted to see firsthand where the state's money is going.
very important for us to make sure that we're getting value for every dollar that
we invest," he said.
Guided by deans from the college and state Sen. John
Yudichak, D-Plymouth Township, the lieutenant governor, a Republican, also explored
the site of what will be a $4 million Geisinger Health Center office and lab in
downtown Nanticoke as well as the college's Health Sciences Center, where future
nurses and dental hygienists learn their trade.
"It's really been the
foundation of what we hoped would be the turn-around of downtown Nanticoke,"
Yudichak said of the new buildings in Nanticoke.
With more than 8,000 workers,
the college is now the largest employer in the town, Yudichak said.
and an entourage of college officials and media walked through classrooms lined
with dental chairs and met a high-tech patient simulator, which lies open-mouthed
in a hospital bed and can moan, sweat and change colors. The $75,000 mannequin
is controlled from an adjacent room by a "wizard," which gives it various
symptoms but apparently does nothing about the dummy's unkempt head of thick hair.
no hairstylist here?" Yudichak asked.
"Obviously John and I couldn't
survive in this environment," Cawley joked, referring to their perfectly
In the culinary institute, the group zigzagged around flaming
grills and aspiring chefs and were tempted in the pastry kitchen by students applying
icing to cakes.
The group ended the downtown Nanticoke tour with a visit to
the institute's television studio and watched a short "sizzle reel,"
a preview of the college's own cooking show.
application for $250K in gaming funds denied
Anthony Melf - Citizens
The Commonwealth Financing Authority denied the city's application
for $250,000 in gaming funds toward the Nanticoke Streetscape Plan, a project
focused on downtown improvements including new sidewalks, street lights, shrubbery
and additional parking.
When the independent state agency released its list
awarding $12.5 million toward 37 projects in Luzerne County, Nanticoke was notably
missing as a recipient.
City Manager Pamela Heard said although the city was
not fortunate enough to receive funds, the Nanticoke Streetscape Plan is moving
forward in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and
the help of a federal earmark. She said the plan is undergoing final design and
should be going out to bid within the next couple of months.
Heard also noted
other projects that have received federal funding including money from the Hazard
Mitigation Grant Program to demolish two houses on Arch Street and a grant from
the U.S. Department of Justice to acquire bulletproof vests for city police officers.
She said she plans to put in another application for gaming funds next year.
resigns from municipal authority
Council President Stephen Duda resigned as
chairman and member of the municipal authority effective immediately.
said there's a lot going on in the city and it's difficult to be involved in both
the council and the board. He said he wanted to focus his energy on what the people
elected him to do as council president.
Mayor Joseph Dougherty is responsible
to appoint Duda's replacement with council's approval in accordance with the home-rule
charter, while the board will elect a new chairman.
New full-time police officer
hired Joseph Buchalski as a full-time police officer for the city as well as hired
three part-time police officers: Mark Icker, Justin St. Clair and Michael Derwin.
Sgt. Michael Roke was promoted to lieutenant and Sgt. Joseph Guydosh was promoted
to detective sergeant.
alert: Several NEPA cities struggle with debt
Jim Lockwood - Citizens
Nanticoke webdesign note: This article taken from a full article in Citizens
Voice Newspaper of 3/24/2013
has $2.6 million in city debt. An annual budget of $4.9 million includes $528,000
in debt service, or nearly 11 percent of the budget.
Financial problems for
Nanticoke began in 2004 when the city borrowed money simply to pay operating expenses.
city was already taxing property owners at the highest rate allowed by law.
you're borrowing just to keep up operations, you're on the road to being distressed,"
Outstanding debt once defined the city, which the state Department
of Community and Economic Development declared financially distressed under state
Act 47 in May 2006.
A recovery plan helped Nanticoke improve its financial
outlook to where it no longer borrows money to pay day-to-day expenses. It's one
reason why the city is expected to be released from distressed status by next
"Nanticoke made substantial progress and should be let out of Act
47 by 2014," Boyle said. ""We will do an amendment (to the recovery
plan) this year specifically showing how the city has made the progress they needed
This year, Nanticoke has a $4.9 million general fund budget, with
principle and interest payments toward debt accounting for $528,337. The city
owes $2.6 million through 2019, when its final annual debt payment will be only
According to Pam Heard, city manager, Nanticoke's problems with debt
began when it borrowed money to complete various sewer and road repairs, and then
to pay "operating expenses incurred during the periods prior to the city
going to Act 47."
"All of our debt is old debt. It has rolled over
so many times," Heard said.
Although its finances are improving, Nanticoke's
debt obligation could become prolonged if officials move forward with much-needed
capital projects, for which the city could borrow money in the future.
were not able to do capital projects because they were distressed financially,"
Otherwise, the city would have to complete projects such as roadwork
with state and federal grants that require a local match.
"It is very
difficult to pull the funds from interest," Boyle said. "It is difficult
for a municipality the size of Nanticoke to have money laying around to pay for
major road projects."
ambulance head: Nanticoke trying to 'bully us out'
president of the Newport Township ambulance service claims the medic company in
neighboring Nanticoke is trying to force it out of business.
they are trying to bully us out and take over our territory. That's what I think,"
Harold DeStefano, president of the Newport Township Firemen's Community Ambulance,
On paper, the two companies are supposed to be allies in responding
to medical emergencies in the adjoining municipalities. But an ongoing internal
feud reached a peak this week, as members of the Nanticoke Community Ambulance
filed a lawsuit against the Newport ambulance company.
The departments have
a contract in which Newport's basic life support ambulance company must reimburse
Nanticoke's department each time Nanticoke's paramedic unit is utilized for a
Newport emergency call. Nanticoke is entitled to receive 40 percent of the total
reimbursement of a call.
DeStefano does not dispute that his department owes
Nanticoke money, but says it is nowhere near the $30,000 claimed in the suit.
going to always owe them money. It's like the electric company: even though you
paid the bill for the money, you still owe," DeStefano said.
officials might not be taking into account that Newport does not get paid for
every call, particularly when the patient does not have insurance.
we get paid - if we get paid for it - they are entitled to 40 percent. Sometimes
we don't get paid. In the contract, it says if we don't get paid, they don't get
paid," DeStefano said.
Nanticoke's lawsuit claims it has not received
a reimbursement from Newport since June 2011.
Newport temporarily removed Nanticoke
as its first-due paramedic responder in late January because of the feud, instead
opting to use Berwick's Medic 95, which has an ambulance based farther away in
Shickshinny. Newport Township commissioners quickly changed the protocol back
to the way it was after residents complained.
DeStefano said the deal with
Berwick would have been better because a paramedic would have been stationed in
the Newport ambulance headquarters. The transition had not happened by the time
officials returned Nanticoke as the first-due medic, he said.
was missing calls. They weren't getting money. And they started screaming,"
DeStefano denied claims in the lawsuit that his department
refused to let Nanticoke officials review its financial reports.
reach Bernard Noreika, president of Nanticoke ambulance, were unsuccessful on
DeStefano said his company and Nanticoke ambulance officials had bickered
about overdue money in the past. They then reached a payment agreement, he said.
Soon after the agreement, Nanticoke immediately put another ambulance in service.
That hurt Newport financially because it significantly cut down on the amount
of times Newport was called into Nanticoke for basic life support calls, he said.
probably better to go through the courts this time than what happened last time,"
in tax revenue headed to municipalities, schools
$3.47 million is finally where it belongs.
Municipalities and school districts
that were still missing all their earned income tax revenue from the first half
of 2012 should be made whole by today, said John DeRemer, a vice president at
tax collection company H.A. Berkheimer.
Berkheimer has been in charge of distributing
that money to the correct towns and schools in Luzerne County after the old collector,
The Central Tax Bureau of Pennsylvania, better known as Centax or the Don Wilkinson
Agency, went out of business.M
Money that was supposed to be distributed months
ago was sitting in an account until a forensic accounting company determined where
it was supposed to go. Now, Berkheimer can distribute the funds - $3.47 million,
according to a document provided by Pamela Heard, secretary for the Luzerne County
Tax Collection Committee.
Money due to municipalities ranges from about $598,000
in Wilkes-Barre to about $530 for New Columbus Borough. Hazleton will receive
about $157,000, Kingston will receive about $106,000 and Nanticoke will receive
about $96,000. In total, $1.96 million is going to municipalities in the county.
amounts back to school districts range from about $640,000 for Hazleton Area to
about $18,000 for Northwest Area. The Wilkes-Barre Area school district will receive
about $198,000, Wyoming Valley West will receive about $137,000, Crestwood will
get about $113,000 and Dallas will get about $108,000. In total, $1.50 million
is headed to school districts.
The law firm appointed to handle Centax's accounts
is attempting to wind down the company's business, and filed a motion earlier
this month asking a judge to approve his plans.
The Luzerne County TCC money
was not addressed in the order because the committee instructed Centax to put
its money in a separate account, said solicitor Jeffrey Malak, which proved to
be a wise decision because when Centax unraveled, it couldn't touch the money
from Luzerne County.
Centax's new contract with Berkheimer does not include
a separate account for its money, but Malak said Berkheimer seems to work better
than Centax and has other protections in place.
DeRemer said the separate account
delayed disbursement of funds because it made the task more complicated.
municipal and school district money on the way out, Berkheimer is now auditing
individual tax refunds from 2011 processed by Centax. Some people got refunds
they weren't supposed to get, and others may not have received their refunds.
He asked that people give the company time to complete the work, which could take
until at least July.
ambulance company files lawsuit
ambulance wars continue in Nanticoke and Newport Township.
Weeks after it appeared
the two sides mended a highly publicized breakup, Nanticoke Community Ambulance
on Thursday filed a lawsuit against Newport Township Firemen's Community Ambulance.
ambulance officials say the neighboring ambulance unit in Newport owes them more
The suit, filed in Luzerne County Court, says the sides have
a contract in which Newport's basic life support ambulance company must reimburse
Nanticoke's department each time Nanticoke's paramedic unit is utilized for a
Newport emergency call.
Nanticoke is entitled to receive 40 percent of the
total reimbursement of a call, the suit says.
Officials with the Newport Township
Firemen's Community Ambulance have refused to reimburse Nanticoke for services
since June 21, 2011 and have refused Nanticoke's attempts to view the organization's
financial records, the suit says.
Nanticoke Community Ambulance is suing for
breach of contract and unjust enrichment, claiming Newport continues to use Nanticoke's
paramedic services, continues to collect fees for calls, but has failed to provide
Nanticoke with its reimbursements.
The two ambulance companies, both of which
are nonprofits not operated by the municipalities they serve, have been at odds
Newport temporarily removed Nanticoke as its first-due paramedic
responder in late January because of the feud, instead opting to use an ambulance
based farther away in Shickshinny. Nanticoke ambulance officials say they were
never notified of the change, and were only alerted to it during a tense emergency
call on Jan. 25 when a 3-year-old girl suffered a seizure at a Newport Township
day care. Despite the fact Nanticoke had a paramedic crew ready less than two
miles away, the first unit was dispatched from Shickshinny, about 10 miles away.
When that ambulance was forced to stop for another crash, Hanover Township medics
were the second called to take the girl to the hospital.
Newport Township commissioners
quickly changed the protocol back to the way it was after residents complained.
lawsuit is seeking to recoup reimbursements of more than $30,000, plus interest.
ambulance groups in legal dispute
Sheena Delazio - Times Leader
Community Ambulance has filed a lawsuit in county court against a neighboring
community ambulance, alleging it has refused to pay for paramedic services provided.
organization filed the suit through its attorney, John Dean, of Wilkes-Barre,
against Newport Township Firemans Community Ambulance, claiming it is owed
more than $30,000.
The suit says the two entities entered into a contract in
June 2007, whereby Nanticoke Community Ambulance would provide services to Newport
Township Firemans Community Ambulance and that the Nanticoke organization
would receive 40 percent of the total reimbursement for the services.
on June 21, 2011, the suit says, Newport Township Firemans Community Ambulance
refused to reimburse Nanticoke and to allow it to review financial records.
suit alleges a breach of contract and unjust enrichment in that the services provided
by Nanticoke Community Ambulance are of marketable value and that
Newport Township Firemans Community Ambulance has used and/or continues
to (use) service provided by (Nanticoke).
It is inequitable to permit
(Newport Township Firemans Community Ambulance) the continued use of the
services provided by (Nanticoke Community Ambulance) without having paid for said
services, the suit says.
approves police force appointments
Susan Bettinger - Times Leader
Joseph Dougherty has approved the hiring of Joseph Buchalski, of Shickshinny,
as a full-time city police officer.
In addition, Mark Ickler, of Sterling,
Justin St. Clair, of Berwick, and Michael Derwin, of Nanticoke, were hired as
reserve police officers.
Dougherty also authorized the promotions of two officers:
Michael Roke from sergeant to lieutenant, and Joseph Guydosh from sergeant to
detective sergeant. The swearing-in ceremonies took place at Wednesdays
Council Vice President James Litchkofski thanked the mayor
for hiring the officers, and said their presence will help to keep the city safe.
Councilman Stephen Duda announced his resignation from the Municipal
Authority effective immediately. Duda expressed his gratitude regarding former
Municipal Authority Chairman Hank Marks recommendation (of Duda) to the
authority. Duda will continue to serve as Nanticokes council president.
Mill Library is selling Penguins tickets for an April 6 game. The tickets can
be ordered at the library.
teacher: Pride in district is key
the Greater Nanticoke Area School Board meeting Thursday, Amanda Schraeder, an
eighth-grade science teacher in the district, read aloud an essay she wrote for
her graduate education class at Misericordia University.
In the essay, Schraeder
encourages GNA students to develop and foster a sense of pride in their district.
has heard people from outside of the area make demeaning comments regarding both
Nanticoke and its school system. Schraeder stated that the among the biggest
issue that my school faces is people in the district constantly putting themselves
and their community down.
Schraeder, who has been teaching at GNA for
five years, said that the community has a history of hardworking people who feel
that every job is important and necessary to make the community (as a whole).
She concluded by saying the students try to live up to the examples of the
good role models in our school buildings.
In other matters: the board
amended the Articles of Agreement, formalizing a school name change from Wilkes-Barre
Area Vocational Technical School to Wilkes-Barre Career and Technical Center.
Albert B. Melone Co., certified public accountants, has been appointed by the
board as the schools business consultants for a three-year contract term
from Dec. 1, 2012 to Dec. 1, 2015.
The board also has given approval for the
GNA School District to become part of the Virtual Learning Network at an annual
membership fee of $16,750.
The next school board meeting will be held at 7
p.m. April 11.
Nanticoke Area School Board hears mother's concerns at meeting
mom in the Greater Nanticoke Area School District is upset, saying a teacher called
her daughter a name.
Kellie Havey, whose second-grader is in a special needs
class, addressed the school board at the end of its meeting Thursday. She said
her daughter came home in winter 2012 with three detentions for swearing at a
teacher. When Havey asked her daughter what happened, she learned that the teacher
called her a "weirdo," she said.
"Kudos to my daughter for standing
up for herself," Havey said.
Havey also alleged that a note scheduling
an Individualized Education Program meeting went home in her daughter's backpack,
instead of through certified mail. She didn't know about the meeting, so she missed
the date, and now has to go through a legal process to schedule another one. Havey
said she thinks that was done out of spite.
Board President Ryan Verazin said
the board's solicitor instructed the board not to publicly comment on the matter
because it was a personnel issue and because it involved a special needs student.
The board's actions in the issue were limited to asking questions and monitoring
the situation, he said.
Havey said she took her concerns to the school board
meeting Thursday because she wanted to make them public. Havey asked other parents
with similar problems to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In other news, the
board eliminated a proposal to hire a special education aide. The district planned
to add a new aide position, but the idea fell through because of uncertainty with
the state budget and a teachers contract, Verazin said.
next year," he said. "It's always a goal to add personnel; whether or
not that happens, that's a whole different ball game."
The board also
renewed a contract with the Albert B. Melone Co. as the district's business consultants.
The new contract runs from Dec. 1, 2012, to Dec. 1, 2015, and has a base fee of
$75,945 per year.
budget cuts in education and the arts, senior Trent Gray of the Greater Nanticoke
Area School District took matters into his own hands to produce the school musical.
To celebrate an iconic figure, Dr. Seuss, Greater Nanticoke Area preformed "Seussical
the Musical" March 1-2 at the Greater Nanticoke Area High School.
has made it his senior project to bring awareness of how much the arts mean in
schools. He organized sets, costumes and playbills for the production. Trent also
interviewed and recommended a director for the musical.
In addition to the
musical, Trent also organized a pre-show which included Seuss based art exhibit,
a bake sale, and appearances by performers from "Seussical the Musical."
a senior at Greater Nanticoke Area, is a member of the Upward Bound program at
Wilkes University, a four year member of the Greater Nanticoke Area High School
chorus, a member of the jazz band and concert band, he held the roll of Oz in
Greater Nanticoke Area's 2011 production of "The Wizard of Oz." He is
student council president, a journalist for the school newspaper The Trojan Gazette,
and is member of the boys volleyball, swim, and soccer teams.
Trent plans to
attend college in the fall to major in music administration and liberal arts.
athletes were honored on Tuesday as Chris Sweeney and Maggie Gola were
named Freedom Conference Player of the Week for baseball and softball,
Sweeney, a senior, helped lead the Monarchs to a 4-1 record last
week, making some history in the process. The Crestwood grad became the first
Kings player in more than 20 years to hit for the cycle, accomplishing the
feat in a 16-5 win over Emerson on March 4.
For the week, Sweeney batted .619
with eight extra-base hits, including three doubles, three triples and two home
runs. He also had a 1.333 slugging percentage, seven RBI and seven runs scored.
meanwhile, hit three home runs to push the Lady Monarchs to a matching 4-1 record
on the week. She batted .500 with five extra-base hits and a 1.167 slugging percentage.
Nanticoke alum, Gola hit two of her three home runs in a 4-2 victory over York
College. In a game against Penn State Harrisburg, she added another homer and
a three-run double to lead the Lady Monarchs to a 14-0 win.
residents warned of phone scam
Prushinski, secretary of the South Valley Chamber of Commerce, said during Wednesdays
City Council meeting that that someone has been calling residents and asking for
donations on behalf of the chamber.
The South Valley Chamber of Commerce
is not soliciting one on one for donations, she said. If anyone is called
regarding the matter, he or she should call the police department immediately.
Council has voted to approve three new bank accounts
at M&T Bank. They are: the demolition account, fire truck account and façade
grant account. Also, the motion approved one new FNB account: the fire equipment
Natalie Staron, financial/contact associate of Luzerne County
Community College, announced the start of the American Cancer Societys 2013
Relay for Life of South Valley will be held at 10 a.m. June 1 at the college.
Formal opening ceremonies begin at noon. The fundraising event will continue through
6 p.m. June 2.
Chackos Bowling is holding a fundraiser for the event
from 3 to 5 p.m. March 16 ; the donation cost is $20. Another fundraiser will
be held on April 20 at the arena. The $19 donation includes a ticket to the hockey
game, hat and meal.
Sponsorship is welcomed and area businesses will be contacted,
Staron said. This is the third year that LCCC is hosting a Relay for Life.
next council meeting will be held 7 p.m. March 20.
council honors murdered prison guard
Anthony Melf - Citizens Voice
council paused for a moment of reflection Wednesday in memory of prison guard
The 34-year-old Nanticoke native was killed recently while on
duty by an inmate at U.S. Penitentiary at Canaan in Waymart. Federal and state
representatives came to the area to attend Williams' viewing and funeral last
"On behalf of the city, we express our appreciation of public safety
servants and the City was saddened by the loss of one of our own," city manager
Pamela Heard said.
In other business, South Cross Valley representative Natalie
Staron announced Luzerne County Community College would host the 2013 Relay for
Life, beginning with setup on the track the morning of Saturday, June 1 and closing
the following morning. The American Cancer Society sponsors the Relay for Life.
This year's goal is to raise $27,500 in the fight against cancer.
the event's overall theme, which is "Welcome to the Jungle," because
as she explained, "We are wild for life."
There will be two major
local fundraisers in support of this year's event. Chacko's will host a bowling
event on March 16 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. for $20 per person and a hockey game at
Mohegan Sun Arena on April 20 for $19 per ticket, which includes a hat and meal.
other business, the South Valley Chamber of Commerce warned local businesses about
a former member who they say is soliciting dues door to door under the name "South
Secretary Linda Prushinski emphasized the organization
collects dues via letters in the mail. If someone comes in person looking for
money, the individual or business should call the police, she said.
chef favors seasonal ingredients
Kristen Gaydos - Citizens Voice
native Chef Tosha Hardesty runs the kitchen at Map's Restaurant in her hometown,
where dishes and even a banquet room are named for favored customers. One friend
and frequent patron, the late Elaine Gregorowicz, once dubbed the restaurant "Nanticoke's
best kept secret."
Hardesty discusses the techniques and practices she's
honed over 15 years as a chef.
JS: What's your earliest memory involving food?
When we lived in Florida, my mother used to drive a breakfast/lunch truck. I remember
being in the truck with her and she gave me an egg to crack and I dropped it on
JS: How would you describe your cooking style?
but I like to experiment with all cultures.
JS: Where do you get ideas and
inspiration for new dishes, like the duck martini you recently featured?
I try to use things seasonally. I like to go to the farms and pick my own strawberries,
blueberries, apples, etc., when they are in season. I take my son with me and
we have a good time talking about the fruit, sounds and smells. I think it is
important to show your children fresh air and fresh, locally grown food.
for the duck martini, I thought it would be a cute way to serve duck for people
who hesitate to try duck.
JS: What culinary trend do you wish would go away?
I don't think there is a specific trend that needs to go away. I would like more
so for those who want to be chefs to take it seriously and realize that it's not
like you see on television. You have to work for it. Nothing is handed to you.
You have to start at the bottom and work your way up.
JS: What five ingredients
should everyone have in their home kitchen?
Hardesty: Salt, pepper, fresh garlic,
fresh onion and unsalted butter. Everything should be seasoned - that's why salt
and pepper is important. Most good sauces start with garlic, shallots and butter.
Name your most popular dish.
Hardesty: Our most popular items are the mushroom
strudel, chicken francaise, haddock a la guz, and the scallops Elaine (named for
Gregorowicz). Our newest favorite is John Veston, which is haddock with cheese,
spinach, tomatoes and garlic wrapped in a crispy phyllo dough.
JS: Which celebrity
chef do you most admire?
Hardesty: Anthony Bourdain. I think he is very real
and loves food. I have read several of his books, watched his shows and had the
pleasure of meeting him.
JS: What was your biggest kitchen disaster?
This would have to be the time I asked my cousin, Brandon, to shut the fryer off.
He pulled the lever to empty the oil rather than the knob to shut it off. Hot
oil came flying out. Luckily no one was hurt. Needless to say, he didn't touch
the lever again.
JS: Biggest triumph?
Hardesty: Making a four-tier wedding
cake by myself, in less then 24 hours, and having it turn out great.
Location: 15 W. Ridge St., Nanticoke
Hours: Opens Wednesdays-Fridays
at 5 p.m. and Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Contact: 258-0140, mapsrestaurant.net
and Map's Restaurant on Facebook
held for Williams
States Attorney General Eric Holder came to Nanticoke today to deliver the eulogy
for murdered federal corrections officer Eric Williams.
Holder praised Williams
as a dedicated member of the Department of Justice before reading a letter of
condolences from President Barack Obama.
"I want to assure you, all members
of law enforcement stand with you today and an entire nation mourns with you,"
Holder vowed that Williams' killer will be brought to justice.
34, of Nanticoke, was murdered by an inmate Monday while working at the U.S. Penitentiary
at Canaan in Wayne County.
Holder read from a letter written by President Barack
Michelle and I were saddened to learn of the passing of your son
Eric and we send our heartfelt condolences. As an officer of the Federal Bureau
of Prisons, Eric dedicated himself to the country and keeping us safe. Our nation
is forever indebted to the brave men and women who place themselves in harms
way to protect their fellow Americans, and we honor Eric for his dedicated service.
In the difficult days ahead, may you find solace in your cherished memories of
your times together and comfort in the support of family and friends. Please know
that you and his fellow officers are in my thoughts and prayers.
Slain guard honored
flag-draped casket was displayed on the gym floor of his high school alma mater,
as corrections officers from his prison stoically stood at each end to serve as
honor guards for their fallen brother.
Hundreds of fellow corrections officers
from his penitentiary and across the nation led the chain of mourners that flowed
out of the Greater Nanticoke Area gymnasium on Friday and snaked around the school's
They came to pay their respects to murdered Correctional Officer Eric
Williams, who was savagely attacked by an inmate Monday while working at U.S.
Penitentiary at Canaan in Wayne County.
The public viewing was an awe-inspiring
and fitting tribute to the 34-year-old Nanticoke man, said Todd Hrivnak, 35, Williams'
best friend since childhood.
"Right now, he's probably laughing and smiling
down on us. He knows this is his show - having everyone together," said Hrivnak,
a correctional officer for Luzerne County. "It's overwhelming. They said
this was going to be big. I didn't expect this big."
Hrivnak said it continues
to be difficult to grasp that a lifelong friendship ended in a flash.
amazing because usually you don't get to be that close with somebody for so long,"
he said, noting Williams was the godfather of his 8-year-old daughter.
nearly every one of the hundreds of correctional officers in attendance, Hrivnak
wore a black piece of tape over the embroidered badge on his prison shirt, a sign
of the prison community's collective mourning.
Among those who traveled to
the area to pay respects to Williams' family were U.S. Bureau of Prisons Director
Charles Samuels Jr. and U.S. Marshals Service Director Stacia Hylton, both based
in Washington, D.C.
"Any time we lose an officer, one of the greatest
respects we can show is to show up to honor them," said Hylton, who was accompanied
by U.S. Marshal for the Middle District Martin Pane. "It's good to see such
community support. It's heart-wrenching to see the loss the family has to experience."
so many mourners, people waited nearly two hours to greet Williams' family, with
many standing in line in frigid temperatures before even getting into the school.
Once inside, mourners passed by floral arrays and photo collages of Williams,
depicting him from childhood to his adult years.
"May the memory of our
fallen brother be eternal," said a placard attached to flowers sent by the
Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.
Another floral arrangement, shaped
like a police badge, was sent by the Jefferson Township Police Department, where
Williams worked before becoming a correctional officer in September 2011.
courageous service to the people of Jefferson Township will never be forgotten,"
read an attached card.
Other U.S. Department of Justice mementos, including
an encased, folded U.S. flag, sat on a table next to Williams' closed casket.
the other end of the gymnasium floor stood Williams' parents, Donald and Jean,
and his three siblings, Mark, Kyle and Lauren, who greeted the endless stream
It was a long, sad day for the close-knit family. Today will be
another, as Williams is laid to rest following a Funeral Mass.
beaten and stabbed repeatedly at U.S. Penitentiary at Canaan in Wayne County on
Monday night as he was preparing to lock inmates in their cells for a nightly
head count. Union officials say Williams - equipped with only a radio, keys and
handcuffs - was working alone in a unit housing about 130 inmates when he was
attacked by an inmate. No arrests have been made.
At Friday's public viewing,
the prison's human resource officer, Russ Reuthe, recalled Williams as a dedicated
officer who grew into the dangerous job.
"I knew Eric since day one, through
the hiring process and training process. Eric started out as a shrinking violet.
He was quiet, kept to himself. Within a short 17 months, he was a robust part
of the prison family," Reuthe said.
Reuthe said he ran into Williams at
the prison days just before the killing.
"When I saw him, as I always
say to the newer staff, I said, 'Are you still digging it?' He looked at me and
said, 'You know what Mr. Reuth, this is fun. I'm still digging it.'"
for Nanticoke hit-and-run driver continues
police are still searching for a vehicle that struck and injured a 16-year-old
boy riding a scooter Friday night, police Chief William Shultz said Tuesday.
vehicle, which is believed to be an older vehicle with four doors and dark paint,
struck the boy about 10:05 p.m. in the area of Alden Road and West Union Street,
police said. Witnesses say the vehicle was speeding when it struck the boy, and
it never stopped or braked after the impact, police said. The victim, Anthony
Molino, was treated and released from Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center,
Plains Township, police said.
The vehicle is believed to have passenger-side
front damage, with a broken headlight or marker light, police said.
with information is asked to call police at 570-735-2200.
corrections officer killed by inmate
Staff report - Citizens Voice
corrections officer from Nanticoke was killed by an inmate at a federal prison
in Wayne County last night, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
Williams, 34, was killed by an inmate who used a homemade weapon at the U.S. Penitentiary,
Canaan, a federal prison for male inmates. He was transported to a local hospital,
where he was pronounced dead about 11:30 p.m.
"This is clearly the darkest
day in our institution's short history, and we are in shock over this senseless
loss of a colleague and friend," Warden David Ebbert said in a statement.
of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke said the prison remains in lockdown and that
the FBI is investigating the attack. He referred comment on potential charges
to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Williams' family recalled him as a sports enthusiast
who had a made a career of serving his community and the law, having previously
worked in security and as a police officer. They said they never imagined his
life being cut short doing his job as a corrections officer a post he had
held since Sept. 11, 2011.
"He was proud to wear his uniform," Williams'
mother, Jean, 65, said at the family's Walnut Street, Nanticoke, home. "He
was a very cautious person. That's why I can't believe this happened to him. Senseless."
said they were told Williams was attacked around 10 p.m., near the end of his
shift. They said he hadn't said anything recently about any problems with inmates.
killer) is already in jail. So what's going to happen to him? No justice,"
said Williams' sister, Lauren.
While his family knew there were dangers, they
thought becoming a prison guard was safer for Williams than being a cop, along
with better financial stability.
Bureau of Prisons data show that serious assaults
by inmates on corrections officers are fairly common. According to its data, the
bureau, which employs some 38,600 people, experienced 97 serious assaults on staff
members in 2009 the most recent year available and 93 such assaults
Unfortunately corrections is an inherently dangerous field,
said Burke, the bureau spokesman. Staff safety is one of our biggest concerns,
if not the biggest.
But while assaults happen with some regularity, Burke
said it is much more rare for federal corrections officers to be killed in the
line of duty. Bureau of Prisons data show that only 24 corrections officers have
killed in the line of duty since 1901.
The most recent fatality was corrections
officer Jose V. Rivera, who was killed June 20, 2008, at U.S. Penitentiary Atwater
in California. Two inmates chased him until he tripped and fell, then fatally
stabbed him with a homemade knife, according to the bureau.
The only other
federal corrections officer ever killed in Pennsylvania was Robert F. Miller,
a senior officer at U.S. Penitentiary Lewisburg who was killed Oct. 12, 1987,
as he and three other officers were transporting an inmate to Geisinger Medical
Center to be treated for self-inflicted injuries. Two of the inmate's associates
ambushed the group in an attempt to free the inmate, shooting Miller five times
and also striking another officer who survived. Officers chased the inmate and
his accomplices for 11 miles before capturing them.
Williams' family is still
trying to grasp the fact that he is gone. He recently purchased a cottage at Lily
Lake in Conyngham Township, but visited his parents every day at their Nanticoke
home for lunch. While there, he would stop by his brother Mark's adjoining taxidermy
"It's the worst. I can't even grasp it," Mark, 38, said. "We
just talked about going fishing next week."
Mark said he just restored
a fish Williams had mounted in 1997 and showed it to him two days ago. Williams
planned to hang the prize catch at his cottage.
A 1996 graduate of Greater
Nanticoke Area High School, Williams studied criminal justice at King's College.
He worked in security for Wegmans Food Markets for more than a decade and also
served as a
police officer in Jefferson Township before becoming a prison guard.
want people to know who he was and that the young men who work for those prisons
put their lives on the line everyday," Jean said.
Family members say they
didn't get a lot of details about how Williams was killed. Three guards and the
prison warden came to the home to deliver the news to them early this morning,
They are anticipating holding a wake on Thursday and a funeral on
boy, 6, amasses aluminum tabs for charity
6-year-old Mason Gibson asked his neighbor why she was collecting aluminum tabs
in her front yard, she told him they "help people."
Nearly nine months
later, with the help of his classmates and teachers at Good Shepherd Academy,
Mason has collected countless tabs, potentially thousands, filling a 50-gallon
tub and more.
"I've never seen that many tabs in my life," Mason's
father, Steve Gibson, said, holding 50 tabs in the palm of his hand.
were trying to fill up this," Mason said, holding up a small box, "We
did, we really did!"
Mason started his collection before he knew its fate.
His parents, Steve and Mandy Gibson, helped their son choose the Ronald McDonald
House, an organization close to their hearts.
"When Mason's brother Bryce
was born, he was very sick," Steve Gibson said.
Bryce, 4, was born prematurely
and treated in the neonatal intensive care unit at Geisinger Community Medical
Center in Scranton, just "far enough" from the family's Nanticoke home
that they did not want to leave.
"I slept in a chair that turned out to
be in a Ronald McDonald room," Steve Gibson said, "They helped us even
though we didn't ask for it."
Mason will donate all of the tabs he has
collected to the Ronald McDonald House of Scranton, where his family spent nine
days as Bryce was treated. After recycling, the Ronald McDonald House will receive
40 cents for every 1,400 tabs Mason collected.
"They're getting a couple
bucks for that, that's heavy!" Steve Gibson joked, attempting to lift the
filled tubs taking up space in his family's living room.
Today, Mason will
present the tabs to Ronald McDonald, who will visit Good Shepherd Academy to give
a presentation on bullying.
"It was neat to see the whole school helping
out," Mandy Gibson said, "They really came together."
thought it was a worthwhile effort," said Good Shepherd Academy Principal
He said the students and staff, eager to support Mason and his
cause, would fill a container of tabs about every 10 days.
connection is the reason why it's doing so well," Jones said.
continue to collect tabs even after he has donated his current collection.
make money for kids in the hospital," he said, "I'm helping people.
I want to help people so I can protect them."
Mandy Gibson said, "To see a little person want to give back is amazing.
We're just proud."
teen injured by Daytona wreckage
Larry Spencer III of Nanticoke and his 15-year-old brother Derrick saw their seats
for Saturdays NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway
Campbell Box, Section H, Row 7, Seats 17 and 18 they were thrilled
to be so close to the action.
If they only knew.
A 12-car accident on the
races final lap sent rookie Kyle Larsons car into the catch-fencing
and sprayed debris into the grandstands, injuring at least 33, according to The
Derrick was among those hurt, suffering a cut on his cheek
that required three stitches, Spencer said.
It was as if a bomb went
off. There were pieces everywhere, Spencer, who was uninjured, told The
Times-Tribune in a phone interview late Saturday.
When Spencer, 20, saw Larsons
car hit the fence, he said his first instinct was to turn his back and shield
Derrick. Still, a piece of metal grazed Derricks shoulder and struck his
left cheek, cutting him.
Meanwhile, a tire and its assembly had flown over
the fence, over the Spencers heads and landed several rows behind them,
striking a fan.
Spencer described the scene as chaotic with people
running and yelling.
He noticed that Derricks cheek was bleeding. But
since his brothers injury wasnt as severe as others, he took Derrick
to the bathroom to clean the wound. The two then left the track and went to a
I figured let the medical personnel attend to the people who
needed it more, Spencer said. There were ambulances and sirens everywhere.
It was crazy.
Spencer said Derrick was doing fine and they will still
attend todays Daytona 500. This time their seats are in Row 50.
council, PennDOT to review $34.5M parkway project
- Citizens Voice
Council will meet with the Pennsylvania Department of
Transportation to review the South Valley Parkway project prior to the closing
of the public comment period in March.
The $34.5 million project aims to alleviate
traffic safety concerns on Middle Road in Hanover Township. The plan has been
in the works for almost 15 years.
The public is invited to review the project's
environmental impact assessment and provide their feedback for PennDOT on forms
located in the front office of the municipal building.
The city will be reallocating
leftover fire year funds to two small projects including disabled accessibility
and repairs to the Hanover firehouse as well as improvements to unnamed roadway
and parking area behind City Hall.
Also, Mayor Joseph Dougherty will be creating
a disabled accessibility committee for the city. The committee will be made up
of residents and city employees and will be responsible for advising council on
disabled accessibility issues, including ensuring that old construction in the
city will be in compliance with new laws. Code Enforcement Officer Joe Kordek
will lead the committee.
Currently, there are no issues with the collection
of property taxes at the county. The county has remitted $169,097 of property
taxes to the city.
Municipal authority looking ahead
Council President and
Municipal Authority Chairman Stephen Duda commented on former municipal authority
member Hank Marks, who resigned recently due to health issues.
Duda said his
absence at the meeting at which Marks resigned got misconstrued as a sign of the
two being at odd ends, which couldn't be further from the truth.
Marks gave his heart and soul to this city for decades," Duda said. "He
is a wonderful man and I'm going to miss him."
Duda also said he was proud
that Marks nominated him to take Marks' place as chairman of the municipal authority.
also described the municipal authority as the "economic arm of the city,"
citing their work in demolishing Bartuska's Warehouse and the old CVS building.
He emphasized the authority's focus on keeping the area attractive to promote
wants elderly excluded from Nanticoke per capita tax
- Times Leader
An elderly resident has asked that council consider changing
the per capita/residence tax to exonerate the citys elderly from having
The resident made this request through a correspondence to the city.
Joseph Dougherty said the $10-per-year tax brings in $50,000 for the city each
year. In addition, 20 percent of Nanticokes population is over the age of
65, and 20 percent is under age 18. If those over the age of 65 were to be exonerated
from the per capita/residence tax, the citys annual income would be significantly
In other business:
Council President Steven Duda said there
has been a misunderstanding regarding a statement by a council member that the
citys budget is nearly bankrupt. Former Municipal Authority Chairman Hank
Marks, who resigned from the authority as of Feb. 1, has previously stated that
a council member was spreading the rumor.
Duda said he is honored that
Marks has recommended him for Municipal Authority chairman. Marks also has recommended
Councilman Rich Wiaterowski for the position of Municipal Authority secretary.
According to a police department report, there were 39 criminal arrests in January
and police responded to 413 incidents.
The fire department responded to 73
calls in January.
The next council meeting will be at 7
p.m. March 6.
of bond saves $330,000 for district
Susan Bettinger - Times Leader
Greater Nanticoke Area School Board has saved the district $330,000 by refinancing
a bond from PNC Bank this past November, it was announced at Thursdays board
Also, the board has given approval to Berkheimer Associates to collect
the school property taxes from the residents of Nanticoke. The cost per bill is
approximately $2.25 plus postage. Berkheimer is also the current collector of
the per capita and earned income tax.
In other business:
The board has approved Nina Matzoni as head golf coach, Leah Lavelle as softball
assistant III, Michele Fadden as assistant band I, and Barbara Lach as volleyball
bookkeeper for the 2012-2013 season.
The board accepted the resignation
of Ralph Piontkowski as volunteer baseball coach.
The Educational Centers
Drama Club will hold its annual spring play on May 3 and 4.
will be in the Educational Centers gymnasium at 7 p.m. on both days.
The next board meeting will be on Thursday, March 14.
residents may see 2.5 percent tax hike
Elizabeth Skrapits - Citizens
Greater Nanticoke Area has positive news for taxpayers: there won't
be an extreme tax hike.
The state Department of Education calculations give
Greater Nanticoke Area the highest market value to income aid ratio in Luzerne
County, allowing a 2.5 percent real estate tax increase for the 2013-14 school
The board previously passed a resolution not to raise taxes above that
level, according to business manager Albert Melone.
There will be a new tax
collector as well. The board approved Berkheimer Associates, which already collects
the per capita and earned income taxes, to collect the district's real estate
taxes at a rate of $2.25 per bill plus postage.
Board member Ken James also
had good news for taxpayers, which he announced at Thursday's meeting: by refinancing
a bond, the district saved $330,000.
Due to four inclement weather days, school
will be held on June 7 and 10, and graduation will be on June 11.
in Nanticoke bar decision
Attorney: LCB wrongly dismissed citation against
Prospect Street Cafe
attorney for the Pennsylvania State Police has appealed a Liquor Control Board
ruling that dismissed one of the citations issued to a Nanticoke bar in connection
with a woman who was accused of slashing another woman in the face.
attorney for the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement, contends the LCB erred
when it dismissed a citation against the Prospect Street Café for allowing
a minor to frequent the establishment that was issued in connection with a Jan.
1, 2012 incident involving Melanie Figueroa.
Figueroa, who was 20 at the time,
was accused by Jennifer Mieczkowski of slashing Mieczkowski during an altercation
at the bar. Nanticoke police investigated, but no charges have been filed against
Figueroa, who has denied the allegations.
The appeal, filed Thursday in Luzerne
County Court, says the LCE cited the bars owner, Paul Halliday, in February
for several violations throughout the year. Two of the citations involved serving
Figueroa, who was under the legal drinking age, and allowing her to frequent the
An administrative law judge upheld the citation in November.
Halliday then appealed to the LCB board.
The board in January upheld the citation
for serving a minor, but dismissed the citation for allowing a minor to frequent
In dismissing the one count, the LCB found the LCE had presented
evidence that Figueroa was permitted to enter and stay in the bar on only one
occasion. The board said the law required it show evidence she was there habitually
or on more than one or two visits.
In his appeal, Strong claims the boards
interpretation of the law is in error. State police contend even one visit to
a licensed premise by a minor may be considered frequenting a bar.
girl's family searches for answers
Sarah Scinto - Citizens Voice
years of mystery and questions surround the disappearance of Phylicia Thomas,
but a recent discovery may lead to new answers as her family searches for closure
Thomas disappeared after leaving her Lake Township home around
midnight on Feb. 11, 2004. Since that night, her family, friends and investigators
have not stopped searching for signs that might lead them to the then 22-year-old
"Who wouldn't look?" Thomas's mother, Pauline Bailey, challenged.
"When you love somebody, you don't give up."
The Thomas family has
not given up, holding a vigil each year on the anniversary of Phylicia's disappearance,
ever hopeful for new information in the ongoing investigation. They plan to hold
a vigil today at 5 p.m. on Patriot Square in Nanticoke.
"I refuse to believe
that she's gone until it's proven," Jessie Thomas, Phylicia's brother said,
surrounded by photographs and signs bearing her face in the family's Nanticoke
This year, investigators may have unearthed a new piece of the puzzle.
A skull discovered in Newport Township during the summer of 2012 is currently
under DNA analysis at the University of North Texas, and state police say they
are hopeful it belongs to Phylicia Thomas.
Trooper Chris King, of state police
at Wyoming's Criminal Investigation Unit, said the case has been treated as equivalent
to a homicide due to the passage of time. When DNA results return on the discovered
skull, police will continue to investigate the case.
Even if lab results identify
the skull as Thomas's, her family says they will meet the discovery with mixed
"It won't be over until the rest of her is found," Jocelyn
Thomas, Phylicia's sister, said. "Hopefully this is the beginning of an end."
echoed Jocelyn Thomas's hopes.
"A positive ID does not end the investigation,"
King said, "Leads continually come in and we always follow them up."
the past nine years, King and other investigators have formed a picture of what
may have happened the night Thomas disappeared. Steve Martin of Ross Township
was connected to Phylicia Thomas and Jennifer Barziloski, another Lake Township
woman who disappeared in 2001 at the age of 18.
"These cases intertwine
themselves," said Trooper Stephen Polishan, another member of state police
at Wyoming's crime unit. "Steve Martin was a common denominator."
was never charged with the disappearance of either Thomas or Barziloski due to
a lack of substantial evidence despite multiple police searches of his home. Martin
denied any involvement in their disappearances, despite claims he was the last
person to see both women alive. He later hanged himself while serving time in
state prison for an unrelated vehicular homicide charge.
were discovered and identified in Hunlock Township in April 2010. Polishan said
remains that could belong to Thomas were discovered about 15 miles from that site.
have a couple of different scenarios but we are unable to substantiate them at
this point," Polishan said about the theories they have about what happened
to Phylicia. "We know how things start and how they unfortunately end. It's
the in-between that we have questions about."
Polishan and King both hope
to answer some of those questions when the DNA results come back, which could
take anywhere from three to six more months. Whether the results are positive
or negative, they will continue searching for justice for Phylicia Thomas.
somebody's daughter, somebody's child, somebody's sister," King said. "She's
a person, and she's a victim. We work for her."
The Thomas family continues
to keep Phylicia's memory alive, even as they too await the results of the DNA
"We do what we have to do to keep her in our hearts and to save
her from this horrible ending she had," Bailey said.
They will hold their
annual vigil tonight on Patriot Square in Nanticoke. As the mystery slowly unravels,
Thomas's family feels the support of their community as they strive to understand
the unsolved events of that chill night nine years ago.
"The more people
there (the vigil), the more people it proves she touched," Jessie Thomas
said, "Not one day goes by that she's not in our hearts and in our minds."
with information about the disappearance of Phylicia Thomas is asked to call state
police at Wyoming at 570-697-2000.
The Thomas family will hold a vigil today,
the anniversary of Phylicia's disappearance, at 5 p.m. on Patriot Square in Nanticoke.
officials fill two vacancies on city's municipal authority
Melf - Citizens Voice
Council approved Mayor Joseph Dougherty's motion
to appoint two men to the Nanticoke City Municipal Authority on Wednesday.
Kurowski and Brent Makarczyk will replace former authority members Jeff Lewis
and Hank Marks.
Kurowski, who replaces Lewis, will serve on the authority until
Dec. 31, 2015. Makarczyk, who replaces Marks, will serve until Dec. 31, 2014.
Marks resigned at last month's council meeting after criticizing an unnamed council
member for spreading false rumors regarding the authority's financial status.
also passed a resolution that outsources the city's tax collection. Instead, Luzerne
County will collect taxes, costing the city about $10,000. The Nanticoke Tax Department
cost the city $127,000 for salaries, benefits, equipment and supplies.
President Stephen Duda said the change saves the city a substantial amount of
money. He said the new policy is more convenient for residents, who will now only
have to send mail to one place. Council said no layoffs will result because of
the change; employees will be moved to other departments.
In other business:
Council authorized the city to foreclose on the municipal lien on 49 E. Grand
St. City solicitor William Finnegan says the resolution involves demolishing the
property, placing a lien on it, foreclosing on the lien and taking ownership of
n Council also approved the sale of the former Rentko property
to St. Faustina's Parish, contingent on legal approval, for about $9,000.
Council addressed public concerns over its ordinance establishing regulations
for open burning, as passed in late December. Center Street resident Richard Klepadlo
complained the ordinance enabled his neighbor to use a burning pit that emitted
smoke into his backyard and home. Duda emphasized that the ordinance was crafted
to serve the needs of the community and any violations of the ordinance could
be looked into by the city solicitor; however, any personal disputes were more
appropriate for a magistrate. Councilwoman Lesley Butczynski offered to meet with
and mediate between the feuding neighbors to find an amicable solution.
back: Pughs return saved Nanticoke program
Future teacher could face
decision between devoting time to studies or coaching.
- Times Leader
The waters rippled with uncertainty at Nanticoke High School,
and even from a distance, Stephanie Pugh grew troubled.
It seemed she had just
stepped out of the Nanticoke pool when her old high school took a dip into the
dilemma of trying to find a new leader.
I didnt want to see the
swim program collapse, with no head coach, Pugh said.
So she did something
She applied for the position.
And her decision may have been more
difficult than anyone knows.
When she was hired as Nanticokes head swim
coach for the 2011-12 season, Pugh was a sophomore at Misericordia University
where she spent her freshman year competing on the college swim team.
the daughter of Joseph and Alice Pugh of Nanticoke had an overwhelming workload
that forced her to choose between trying to race past opponents and instructing
other swimmers how to do it.
I swam most of my life, Pugh said.
I really did not know what to do if I wasnt swimming.
her head kept swimming with possibilities for her future.
Pugh is a history
and secondary education major at Misericordia with hopes of becoming a teacher.
she figured, why not get a head start working with students?
it would be a really good idea to work with high school kids, Pugh said,
since Im going to become a high school teacher.
implementing her lessons immediately, sending seven Nanticoke swimmers to the
District 2 Swimming and Diving Championships last year.
how I used to swim, Pugh said.
Interestingly, she had a lot of willing
listeners including girls she called teammates just two seasons before.
were on the same relay team (at Nanticoke), said current Trojans senior
Connie Madura, who helped grow the 2012-13 team to 18 swimmers nearly twice
as many as last seasons roster by running a swim recruiting program
in her school as her senior project. Steph was a really good swimmer back
in high school. We all respect whatever advice we get from her. She does a good
At least, the best she can.
Pugh admits this season, her second
season coaching the Trojans, has become more difficult.
First, she says, more
new faces on the team meant extra effort on her part.
Its a lot
tougher this year than last year, said Pugh, who will turn 21 in May. There
were a lot more kids who didnt know how to swim. And my school work went
She currently has a 40-page essay due by the end of this
semester at Misericordia, but thatll seem like a breeze to Pugh when she
begins student-teaching during her senior year in the fall.
be spending 40 hours a week at school, Pugh said.
Which is why she may
not last another season as Nanticokes coach.
But with Trojans girls swimmers
Madura, Sarah Crane and Katherine Marsh headed to district competition later this
month, along with Adam Ferrucci from the boys team, Pugh hopes to help them go
the distance as long as shes part of the program.
Pugh said of her ambitious endeavor, its paid off.
named to Nanticoke Municipal Authority
Neighbors complain that anothers
burning is causing problems for them.
Susan Bettinge - Times Leader
Council on Wednesday night approved Mayor Joseph Doughertys appointments
of John Kurowski and Brent Makarczyk to the Nanticoke Municipal Authority.
replaces Jeff Lewis, while Kurowski takes over Hank Marks position.
also approved the motion to pay the county a tax collection salary at $10,000
per year. This is a substantial savings to the city now that the county and city
bills are combined.
City Manager and Finance Director Pam Heard said that the
former cost per year was about $127,000 when the city was in charge of the collections
and the two bills were separate.
In other matters, Center Street resident Rich
Klepado asked council to reverse the recently passed burn ordinance. He expressed
his frustration regarding his neighbor Ken Herrings backyard burning.
said that he is unable to bring his mother-in-law (who suffers from COPD)
home from a nursing home facility because of the thick black smoke coming
from Herrings yard. Klepado added that he cant sit in his yard, open
his windows or put a fan or air conditioner in due to the smoke.
he is within the legal burn ordinance limits. He also said he is not burning garbage,
only a log or two.
Another of Herrings neighbors, Sheila Semon, added
she too can no longer sit in her yard due to the smoke. Semon brought in photographs
of the black smoke coming from Herrings yard, and said she can no
longer enjoy her property.
Council President Steve Duda acknowledged
the concerns of all parties involved, and said the ordinance was passed to
benefit the majority of the citizens of the city. Duda said he will check
the law to see if (Klepados) rights have been violated
Lesley Butczynski said she is willing to be the mediator so that the parties can
come to a conclusion that is agreeable to all who are involved.
next meeting will be on Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m.
to outsource tax collection to county
Elizabeth Skrapits - Citizens
Nanticoke officials decided to outsource
property tax collection to the Luzerne County Treasurer's Office, a move they
expect will save the city about $90,000.
Nanticoke Administrator Pam Heard
said city officials are looking for any way possible to cut expenses without cutting
services - and by reducing expenses, the city won't have to raise taxes.
addition, it will be more convenient for residents: "Now they can make one
trip and pay their county and city taxes, if they don't pay by mail," she
Heard said Nanticoke's earned income, mercantile and per capita taxes
are already collected by Berkheimer Associates, so it didn't make sense to keep
city property tax collection in-house. By outsourcing, the city won't have to
pay for separate bonding, computers and other expenses, and the employee who collected
property tax can be reassigned.
"It really wasn't cost-effective for us
to collect one tax when somebody else can do it for $2 per bill," Heard said.
voters approved the home-rule charter, Nanticoke had an elected tax collector.
the direction of Mayor Joseph Dougherty, who appoints the tax collector under
the charter, city officials put out a request for proposals. They decided to go
with the county's proposal, because of the central location, the price and the
service, Heard said.
"We have confidence in the county," she said.
"They're qualified; they've been doing it for years for themselves. â?¦
They have a good system."
Nanticoke may be ahead of the curve: Luzerne
County Manager Robert Lawton has proposed eliminating elected municipal tax collectors
and instead having county personnel collect county property tax revenue.
county council is divided on the idea, and plans to hold a special meeting for
further discussion Tuesday.
tax bills will be issued Jan. 31; discount period ends April 1.
County Treasurer's Office is located on the first floor of the courthouse, 200
N. River St., Wilkes-Barre; phone number is 570-830-5129.
Office hours are
9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Credit and debit cards are accepted
for payment, and taxes can be paid by phone. Payments may also be made online
at www.paylocalgov.com/luzernecounty-pa/SelectService.aspx starting Jan. 31.
squadron gets new leader
Posted to: Military Norfolk
Connors - The Virginian-Pilot
The Navy held a
change of command ceremony at Norfolk Naval Station last week.
D. Cardone relieved Cmdr. Timothy J. Slentz as command head of Carrier Airborne
Early Warning Squadron 121 on Friday, a Navy news release said.
" No commanding
officer succeeds alone, and I have been blessed with so many talented people who
make this squadron so successful with their daily contributions," Slentz
said in a news release.
Slentz's next assignment will be at Strike Force Training
Cardone, from Nanticoke, Pennsylvania., graduated from the
University of Wilkes-Barre in 1993 and received his commission from Officer Candidate
School in 1995. His previous assignments include serving as 121's executive officer
and on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations.Cmdr. Ryan J. Bryla assumed
duties as 121s executive officer.
2 denies transfer of Richardson to Nanticoke
Steve Bennett - Citizens
A six-member panel of the District 2 Committee denied athletic eligibility
to Maurice Richardson, saying his transfer from GAR to Nanticoke Area was athletically
motivated. The hearing was held Thursday afternoon at Wilkes-Barre CTC.
committee voted 5-1 to deny eligibility. Richardson and the Nanticoke Area school
district have the right to file an appeal to PIAA headquarters in Mechanicsburg
if they choose to.
According to GAR athletic director Simon Peter, Richardson
and GAR basketball coach Paul Brown engaged in a verbal altercation on Dec. 6
, the night before high school basketball exhibition season, which subsequently
led to Richardson's dismissal from the team.
From there Richardson, a 6-foot-4
senior, moved to Nanticoke in mid-December and began taking classes at Nanticoke
Area on Jan. 2. Richardson denied the move was for athletic purposes and was for
personal reasons. He did admit to having a verbal altercation with Brown but said
that it was not uncommon between the two and that usually after a day or two cooler
heads normally prevailed.
"I think the ultimate factor is that Maurice
has a lot on his plate and doesn't need basketball," Nanticoke Area principal
John Gorham said. "That shouldn't be the basis of (the committee's) decision
how much he has on his plate. I think they used that as a factor in deciding.
That is not their place to make that decision. Their decision is to decide whether
it was motivated by basketball. In our opinion it wasn't and we still believe
The hearing was necessary after GAR did not sign the principal-to-principal
waiver. Nanticoke Area did sign the waiver.
"In light of the facts it
had to be up to the PIAA to make the final determination," GAR principal
Colleen Robatin said. "They are the governing body. Anytime there is a question,
GAR will not sign and call upon them to listen to the facts and convene and make
authority chairman resigns, decries rumors
Hank Marks touts authoritys
solvency. Council members praise his service.
Susan Bettinger -
City Council on Wednesday night
accepted Municipal Authority Chairman Hank Marks resignation.
health issues as the reason for his resignation, which will become effective Feb.
1. Marks served with the municipal authority for the past seven years, including
the past four as its chairman.
In addition, Marks stated that a member of council
has been spreading vicious rumors regarding the budget, saying the
authority is near bankruptcy.
Marks said he has all financial records and bank
statements available for the past four years. He displayed the bank statements
to the council members, showing a balance of $711,501.40 as of Dec. 31, a
far cry from bankruptcy Marks added.
If the false accusations do
not cease and desist said Marks, he will file a civil lawsuit
against the council member who is making the accusations.
Council Vice President
James Litchkofski said he is saddened by Marks resignation,
and that Marks always fought for our town.
the accusations toward Marks by saying that it takes years to build your
name and reputation, and he advised Marks to do whatever you need
to do to guard your name. Litchkofski added that Marks dedication
over the years was amazing and that his heart is in the right place.
Lesley Butczynski and councilmen Rich Wiateroski and Kevin Coughlin each added
their own words of appreciation for the all of work that Marks has done for the
community, as well as expressing their sadness over his resignation. Council President
Steven Duda was not in attendance.
In other matters, the Comcast account is
being negotiated. City Manager Pam Heard said that any other service providers
are welcome in Nanticoke.
The next council meeting will be held at 7
p.m. Feb. 6.
authority member resigns after assailing council member
- Citizens Voice
A veteran member of the Nanticoke
General Municipal Authority resigned Wednesday night after blasting an unnamed
city council member for circulating "vicious, slanderous rumors" about
the authority's financial status.
Hank Marks, a former authority chairman,
said he will sue if the "blatant lies and untruths" continue.
81, a longtime taxpayer activist, said he has the records to prove the authority
is sound and he marched to the front of council chambers to hand over bank statements.
He said the statements show a money market balance of $711,501 as of Dec. 1, 2012,
and $14,323 in a checking account.
"This is pretty damn far from being
bankrupt," he said.
Marks listed the authority's accomplishments over
the years, including the location of Luzerne County Community College facilities
in the former Kanjorski Center; creation of the LCCC Culinary Arts center at Main
and Market streets and pending construction of a new Geisinger health facility.
chided council for failing to rezone land on Kosciuszko Street for proposed LCCC
student dormitories. Those dorms would have brought in thousands in tax income
to the city, he said. A private developer's request for approval of a 240-bed,
$15 million dormitory project was rejected in December because of neighbor concerns
and zoning limited to single- or two-family housing.
Marks lauded former Mayor
John Bushko, state Sen. John Yudichak and his former authority colleagues for
their work on behalf of the city over his seven years on the board.
health issues as another reason for his resignation and he promised to help with
any transition needs. The other current authority members are Thomas Selecky,
Jeff Lewis and Councilmen Stephen Duda and Richard Wiaterowski.
questioned the legality of council members serving on the authority. Solicitor
William Finnegan said it is legal under the home-rule charter.
Litchkofski said he was "saddened" by Marks' resignation.
dedication has been amazing," he said. "We didn't always agree but his
heart has been in the right place. You fought for your town."
meeting, Marks declined to identify the council member to whom he referred.
presided in Duda's absence.
In other business, council said negotiations are
ongoing with Comcast for a cable television contract. A resident asked if a competing
company could use Comcast's lines just as electric suppliers use UGI and PPL lines.
Finnegan said he would look into the matter.
Mayor Joseph Dougherty thanked
Gerald Hudak for his work over two years on the home-rule charter.
out: Larry's serves comfort food mash-up
Kristen Gaydos - Citizens
The owner of Larry's Pizza and Pub in Nanticoke
knows area residents love chicken wings and pierogies - so who wouldn't love a
combination of the two?
Larry Karnes concocted the chicken wing pierogi - available
with his signature wing sauces - for the bar and restaurant on Church Street,
just one of the newest offerings at the half-century-old family restaurant.
said he came across a similar dish while out and about in Scranton, and thought
he could make it even better.
"We brought them down here, and put on our
wing sauce on them, and we've never looked back," he said.
celebrate his family's 50 years in the restaurant business in March. Through the
decades, the business evolved from a humble pizza shop to a full-scale restaurant
and bar. It started with his father, the late Sgt. Lawrence Karnes Sr., who worked
as a Plymouth police officer for 30 years in addition to running the pizza shop.
The family moved the business to its current location at the corner of Church
and College streets in 1973. Karnes took over in 1998.
to get to 50 years," he said, adding the restaurant will offer special deals
to mark the occasion during March. "It's definitely a family milestone."
family added the bar to the eatery in February 2001, expanding into the property's
side yard. When it opened, the bar's theme was "The Nineteenth Hole,"
paying tribute to Karnes' passion for golf. Since then, the captain of the Nanticoke
City Volunteer Fire Department has added some firefighter touches, including a
refurbished fire call box.
"It's just short of 1,000 pounds," Karnes
said of the still-working antique, which would send a ticker-tape alert to the
While the most popular menu items are pizza and wings, the restaurant
offers pagach and many other dinners and salads, as well as a children's menu.
To warm up a cold winter night, the eatery serves soups like cream of potato and
ham, crab bisque or Kansas City steak soup.
The eatery also offers weekly food
and drink specials, including clam night and wings night. It serves about 12 different
wing sauces, like spicy red garlic, Cajun blue cheese and butter garlic. Another
sauce is in the works, Karnes said.
"We make all our own recipes,"
The restaurant also offers catering, and hosts private parties in
a separate dining area.
Larry's Pizza and Pub
Location: 400 E. Church St.,
Hours: Open Tuesdays-Sundays, kitchen 3-11 p.m., bar 5 p.m. to 1
to apply grant toward Broad St. paving
Susan Bettinger - Times Leader
The city has received a $300,000 Community Development Block Grant for
street paving, according to information presented at Wednesdays City Council
The grant allocation is being provided by the state Department of
Community and Economic Development and will be used to pave Broad Street, starting
at the park and extending to Green Street.
Also, the Public Works Department
has applied 7 tons of cold patch to repair potholes.
According to the police
report, there were 4,873 incidents in the city during 2012.
In other matters:
Resident Jim Samselski expressed frustration to council regarding the lack of
bids for the citys refuge collection. At the end of the year, the citys
present refuge contract will end. Samselski said that administration is responsible
to bring more than one company into the bidding process.
But council Vice President
James Litchkofski replied that if only one company bids, then only one company
bids. Council President Steve Duda added we do the best we can (with
what we have).
Samselski said he also was unhappy with the long-term
Comcast contract, saying it hurts citizens in Nanticoke to be locked in
to a contract. City Solicitor William Finnegan Jr. answered by explaining
that the city is in the middle of a re-negotiation process and is soliciting
input from the public.
Former Pennsylvania State Trooper Stanley Jezewski
has been appointed to the Police Civil Service Board. Jezewskis duties will
include administering tests and interviewing candidates seeking to fill the five
new openings for auxiliary police officers.
The next council meeting will be
held at 7 p.m. Jan. 16.
resident complains about garbage collection
Bill Wellock - Citizens
A city resident told council to solicit more options for its refuse
program when it puts the work out for bid, but city leaders said they can only
do so much.
After Jim Samselski, 50, of Nanticoke complained that the city
has only received a single bid for its garbage work in the past, he said council
should solicit bids for the work in the future.
Doing that would probably be
illegal and would definitely be improper, said Councilman Jim Litchkofski.
bid it out, as we're required by law. Those that respond, we can negotiate with
them," he said.
The city plans to bid its garbage collection service and
must run a public notice of the bid.
Nanticoke's contract with its current
garbage collector, J. P. Mascaro, runs through 2013.
In other news, council
also finalized a zoning ordinance that defines a section of land across from Luzerne
County Community College as a medium-density residential area.