family helped Canadian boys Christmas dreams come true 75 years ago
Christmas gifts to orphan recalled
Bill OBoyle firstname.lastname@example.org
75 years later, Mackie Scotts letter to Santa Claus is still a part of Christmas.
the Christmas season of 1939, Mackie, then an 11-year-old sixth grader in New
Brunswick, Canada, was worried that Santa may forget to visit his house.
the kid penned a letter to Santa, telling the jolly old elf of his situation.
Scott was living with his grandmother and they were poor. They needed stuff, and
Santa was his best chance of getting some of that stuff.
had died shortly after Mackie was born. His dad later remarried and left him with
So Mackie knew that if he could get his letter to Santa, a
Merry Christmas would happen for him and his grandma.
The letter was delivered
and Santa responded in a big way.
For those of you who dont believe
in Santa Claus, rest assured this story will convince you otherwise. For Santa
indeed lives, and is very real.
And if you dont believe that, look up
Don and Brigid Shappelle of South Wilkes-Barre
recently visited Jim Thorpe and they bought a used book at their favorite book
store, Sellers Used Books on Broadway. It was titled Big Christmas Book
and published by Good Old Days. The book was falling apart, but the Shappelles
decided they would add it to their collection.
While leafing through the book,
Don Shappelle found a story titled The True Spirit of Christmas. He
started reading and thats when he found the connection between Mackie Scott
and the Wyoming Valley.
In 1976, Oliver Ozzie Thomas, a native
of Plymouth and a nephew of Fred and Verna Boltz of Nanticoke, wrote the story
of Mackie Scott and that Christmas of 1939 for Good Old Days Magazine.. He put
into words how the 11-year-old Canadian boy influenced not just the Boltz family,
but the entire Wyoming Valley.
The Boltz family would purchase several fir
trees each year, stand them up in their yard and sell them to their neighbors.
In 1939, Mrs. Boltz noticed a small leather pouch hanging from one of the trees.
She removed it and opened the stitching to find Mackies letter to Santa
The story goes that Mrs. Boltz was moved to tears and told her
husband that they had to help this little boy in Canada.
So the letter was
sent to the Times Leader, and it ran in the Little Studies column that was featured
on the front page. The response was overwhelming. According to the story that
Thomas wrote in 1976, perhaps we see the first evidence of The Valley With
The good people of Wyoming Valley were real concerned
about Mackie Scott, Thomas wrote. One businessman sent him a warm
coat, cap, and a warm pair of shoes. A lot of people called up and wanted to know
if anyone was sending Mackie a Lone Ranger suit. They were told that Aunt Verna
and Uncle Fred were sending Mackie his Lone Ranger suit. People from all over
the valley sent Mackie warm stockings, underwear, games, toys and money for him
and his grandma.
It was a while, but Fred and Verna Boltz received a
thank you letter from Mackie. The young boy told them about the exciting Christmas
he had, thanks to all of the generous donations. Mackie vowed to send thank you
notes to all. Mackie followed up with a letter to the Times Leader that also appeared
in Little Studies.
This was the first real Christmas I ever had,
he wrote. I received more than 150 letters from children and older people.
thanked Mrs. Boltz, who he said must be a very nice lady. He said
he received sweaters, caps, gloves, mitts, underwear, pants, pajamas, socks, handkerchiefs,
ties, books, games and toys, of course.
It would not have seemed like
Christmas without a toy, Mackie wrote.
He said he received a lot of chocolates
learning the correct spelling of the word along the way.
he never received the Lone Ranger suit, but he took it in stride, thanking every
person known and anonymous for remembering him at Christmas.
again, grandma and I extend our sincere thanks to all the people of Pennsylvania,
Mackie closed his letter.
Thomas ended his account of Mackies story by
noting that it showed the true spirit of Christmas. He wrote, And
as the Bible tells us, it is much better to give than to receive.
then offered some moving words.
And remember, there is nothing wrong
with this world; its just the people who live in it, he wrote. If
we had more people like Uncle Fred and Aunt Verna and all the good people of Wyoming
Valley who pitched in to give a little orphan boy who they had never seen the
best Christmas he ever had, wouldnt it be wonderful?
75 years later, Mackie Scotts story has resurfaced, but it has lived on
every Christmas in the Boltz family. Even though Mackie Scott was never to be
heard from again, his name and his story have endured.
Carolyn Boltz Higgins
is the daughter of Fred and Verna Boltz. She lives in Alden and she has a clear
and vivid memory of Mackie Scotts story.
My parents talked about
Mackie all the time, she said. Every Christmas we would hear the story
of Mackie Scott and how our family and the people of Wyoming Valley helped make
a Merry Christmas for him and his grandmother.
Higgins, 78, has done
her part to keep the story alive. She has 9 children, 16 grandchildren and 10
great-grandchildren. There will be nearly 40 people at Higgins home on Christmas
And we will talk about Mackie Scott and my parents and this wonderful
story, Higgins said. I can still see that pouch and I can hear my
parents talking about finding it hanging on that tree and opening it and finding
Higgins said her brother, Henry, also recalled
the story for years with his family. But Higgins said she doesnt know what
became of the leather pouch and Mackies letter.
Lonnie Kreitzer, Mrs.
Higgins daughter, said she never gets tired of hearing the story.
grandparents liked to help people, she said. And my mother is the
same way. Mackie Scotts story affected us all that way.
said its good for the Wyoming Valley to hear the story again.
tells us how important it is to help people in need, Kreitzer said. And
not just at Christmas, but all year round. Life is about making memories.
daughter, Kelly, is 19 and attends Penn State University. She said the story is
still amazing to her.
Nanticoke is such a small area, she said.
Nobody really knows where Nanticoke is. But this story shows you that no
matter where youre from and no matter who you are, you can make a difference
in somebodys life.
hosts Christmas festival
The holiday season was in full swing at Patriot Square
in Nanticoke on Sunday afternoon, chock-full of festive music, holiday treats
and other entertainment.
This Christmas in the park event took place immediately
following the Santa parade that began at the Greater Nanticoke Area High School
parking lot and ended at the square.
Various community groups participated
in the parade including the Nanticoke Crime Watch, the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts,
the Greater Nanticoke Area High School homecoming court, the high school varsity
and junior varsity football teams and cheerleaders, the marching band and many
other local organizations.
Mayor Richie Wiaterowski decided that for his first
Christmas season in office, he wanted the city to sponsor its first annual Christmas
Its been mainly to get everyone together in the Christmas
spirit, Wiaterowski said. It was great seeing people come out on their
porches and cheering. One woman was yelling Merry Christmas and ringing
Entertainment at the square included pictures with Santa, horse-drawn
wagon rides around the square and dance routines performed by the Greater Nanticoke
Area High School cheerleaders.
Hot chocolate was donated by the Nanticoke Fire
Department, cookies were donated by the Luzerne County Community College culinary
school and hot dogs were cooked and handed out by the council and the mayor.
Washik and Marlene Hughes of Honey Pot Recreations in Nanticoke, have been handing
out hats and lollipops for the past four holiday seasons. Washik spends a couple
months prior to the event knitting the hats for the local children.
think its great that everyone comes together and the kids love (the event),
Another holiday event held in Nanticoke this season was a tree-decorating
competition in which six local organizations came to City Hall and decorated a
Christmas tree to display. On Tuesday, residents are invited to donate $1 to cast
their vote for their favorite tree. The money raised from this event will be donated
to Toys for Tots.
Councilwoman Nicole Mackiewicz said Nanticoke city has been
trying to hold more events throughout the year to bring out the community such
as a wing fest, an upcoming spring festival and a St. Patricks Day event.
were astonished with the outcome today, said Mackiewicz. Everything
was perfect. Its only going to be bigger and better next year.
gets festive with parade
Christmas in the Park was event
Susan Bettinger - Times Leader
in the Park was the theme as a holiday tradition wound through the streets
on Sunday, with the seasons parade ending in festive spirit at Patriot Square
This was the first year that Glen Lyon residents Kristina Mitchell and
her daughter, Victoria, 7, attended the parade. Victorias 10 year old sister,
Brianna, was a participant in the parade with the Greater Nanticoke Area cheerleaders.
Mitchells were accompanied by Kristinas father, Sean Fogarty, also of Glen
Lyon, and 5-year-old twin nieces, Jaylynn and Madison Fogarty, of Hazleton.
said that it was nice to see how many people came out for the traditional
parade. Fogarty added that he remembers 50 plus years ago, Nanticoke
held parades for everything.
He added that it is nice that they still
have parades to acknowledge the GNAs sports teams.
if it is not a victory parade, their efforts are celebrated Fogarty said.
Nash of West Nanticoke was in attendance for her fourth year. Her sons, Merrit
6, and 1-½-year-old Miles also were spectators. Their father, Merrit Nash,
line chief at the Plymouth Township/Tilbury Station, rode in the parade with his
Mary Nash said that she always enjoys the citys Christmas parade.
She added that their family tradition for the holidays is Christmas breakfast
together, due to the fact that both she and her husband often have work scheduled
on Christmas Day. The younger Merrit said that his favoritr part of the family
breakfast is the rolls.
The parade and days activities were sponsored
by the City of Nanticoke Events Committee.
City Council and the mayor, code
enforcement, Nanticoke Crime Watch, Nanticoke Historical Society, and the events
committee all took part in the event.
Junior Girl Scout Troop 30861, Boy Scouts
troop 418, GNAs sports teams, band, and cheerleaders represented the younger
participants. Fire and rescue trucks from Nanticoke, West Nanticoke, and Plymouth
Township/Tilbury Station fascinated the young spectators with their lights and
There was a special appearance by Elsa from Disneys Frozen
and of course, Santa, himself.
At Patriot Square, sleigh rides, a horse and
carriage ride, hot dogs, hot chocolate and cookies were available.
holiday festivities continue this evening, as Christmas carolers will gather at
the high school, to organize an old fashioned Christmas caroling event within
the community from 6 to 8 p.m. For more information or to participate with the
carolers contact Becky Seman at 570-793-7910.
will make accommodations for people displaced by projects
Bettinger - Times Leader
The city council adopted
a resolution at Wednesday nights meeting that ensures the city will make
accommodations for people displaced due to Community Development Block Grant projects.
council also voted to authorize city Manager Andrew Gegaris to execute any documents
associated with the 2014 Local Share Account Grant application. The $2.5 million
grant application will be used for acquisition and demolition in conjunction with
the upcoming Streetscape Project.
In another matter, the council voted to authorize
a placement of a stop sign on the West Field Street approach to the intersection
of Lincoln Avenue and West Field Street.
The Special Events Committee will
sponsor a Christmas parade at 1 p.m. Saturday. There will be a visit from Santa
and Elsa from Frozen, hot chocolate, hot dogs and a horse and carriage
ride. A photographer will be present, and photos will be available for $5.00.
Dec. 22, community caroling will run from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. The event will begin
at the high school and proceed through the east side of town.
Voting for the
Christmas tree decorating contest will end on Jan. 5. The trees are on display
at the Nanticoke City Building, 15 E. Ridge Street, and were decorated by Greater
Nanticoke Area Family Center, Nanticoke Junior Football, Girl Scout Troop 30829,
Nebo Baptist Church, NEPA in Need and Northeast Counseling Act Team. Voting costs
$1, all proceeds benefit Toys for Tots.
The next council meeting will be held
at 7 p.m. on Jan. 7.
Pittston students to represent Wilkes-Barre Area Career and Technical Center at
Janine Ungvarsky - Times Leader
Wilkes-Barre Area Career and Technical Center students will represent the school
at the state Skills USA competition, the schools joint operating committee
Four students from the Greater
Nanticoke Area School District and one from Pittston Area earned the right
to take part in the state competition by winning first place honors at local competitions
in November. A total of 21 tech school students placed at the local Skills contests,
but only first place winners move on to state level competition, according to
information presented by tech school Principal Frank Majikes.
Wolfinger, Dylan Eichorn, Kristen Meaney, and Melissa Svetovich from Nanticoke
Area and Bridgett Kinlaw from Pittston Area were district
winners, and will move on to states in the spring.
Nanticoke homes destroyed by fire last month to be razed
- Citizens Voice
Several properties in
Nanticoke ruined last month by a blaze that displaced six people will soon be
razed, city officials said.
The fire started at about 10 p.m. Nov. 7 in a vacant
double-block home at 311-313 Hanover St., near the corner of West Green Street,
then rapidly spread to two homes on West Green Street, firefighters said. The
Hanover Street properties and a single home on West Green Street will be demolished
within the next 30 to 60 days, said City Manager Andy Gegaris.
able to track down the owners, and were in the process of setting up escrow
accounts from their insurance funds to help us cover the demolition, he
said. Our goal is to get them down as quickly and expeditiously as possible.
said a code enforcement officer accessed the homes, determining the three homes
were a total loss. If the damaged homes posed any danger to the public, the city
could move forward immediately with demolition, then put a lien on the properties,
he said. But as of now, theres no threat, he said.
The citys department
of public works assisted investigators with a backhoe to rummage through the ruins
to help try to determine what caused the blaze, but Nanticoke Fire Chief Kevin
Hazleton said the damage was too extensive for a state police fire marshal to
determine what sparked the fire.
No one was injured, but six people from three
families were displaced from their homes, according to Nanticoke firefighters.
The American Red Cross provided food, clothing and lodging for them, said Red
Cross spokeswoman Sara Smith a day after the fire. Fast thinking and faster action
on the part of firefighters also saved a 4-year-old Jack Russell terrier.
passes budget without tax hike, refuse-fee increase
- Times Leader
The city council officially adopted
the 2015 budget, which includes no tax increase and no refuse fee increase.
total general fund budget is $5,157,936. Last years budget was $4,820,100.
council also approved the establishment of the millage rate of taxation as 4.8785.
A mill is $1 in tax for every $1,000 in assessed value.
Initially, the proposed
budget called for a sewer fee increase of $50 per household. The council voted
no to the increase, and only approved the budget upon the agreement that sewer
fee remains at $100 per year.
In other matters, the council voted to appoint
Pennoni Associates as city engineer.
The Special Events
Committee will sponsor a Christmas Parade on Dec. 21 at 1 p.m. The parade will
begin at the high school parking lot. It will feature a horse and carriage ride,
available to all spectators. Hot dogs, hot chocolate and cookies will be available,
and goodie bags will be furnished to all children. Visit the committees
Facebook page for further details.
On Dec. 22, a gathering of Christmas carolers
will meet at the high school, and will sing Christmas carols around the community
from 6 p.m. through 8 p.m. For more information contact, Becky Seman at (570)
The honey Pot Volunteer Firefighters are conducting a comedy night
fundraiser at the Mohegan Sun Casino on Dec. 6. The cost is $20 per ticket.To
purchase tickets or for more information, contact Linda Prushinski at (570) 735-0508.
council will meet next at 7 p.m. on Dec. 17.
re-elected as GNA board president
Susan Bettinger - Times Leader
Greater Nanticoke School Board held its reorganization meeting on Tuesday.
Verazin was re-elected president. Ken James was elected vice president, Tony Prushinski
secretary and Gary Smith treasurer.
Attorney Vito DeLuca was reappointed as
solicitor for the district for the year 2015 at a salary of $22,000 from December
2014 to December 2015.
The board voted to add an additional monthly meeting
to its schedule beginning with the 2015 calendar year. Previously, there had been
no meeting held during the month of July. The board unanimously voted to add such
The board also voted against a $12,000 settlement, regarding the
district and a special education student. DeLuca said that five votes were needed
to pass the motion. The vote was 4-3 in favor of the motion.
All members were
in attendance with the exception of Chet Beggs and Bob Raineri.
Ronald Grevera stated that the schools new Bullying and Wellness Committee
is in the works and the board is anticipating its first meeting after
the new year.
Ken James of the athletic department announced that sports passes
are available for the winter sports season. The passes are $30 for adults and
$10 per student. The passes are good for any combination of ten winter sporting
events at the school and can be purchased at the door or through the athletic
The boards next meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Jan. 15.
resident spearheads hockey rink fundraiser
Myers of Nantikoke already has everything he could ask for this holiday season.
A loving wife. A healthy, newborn daughter. A brand new job with Apple. The only
gift he is asking for this Christmas is a donation made toward a project he developed
to help his community thrive and steer todays youth from idle time that
could lead to poor decisions. Myers has launched a fundraising campaign to bring
a hockey rink to NEPA.
At some point, everyone questions the meaning
of life. They question the meaning of their life. Now that Im a father,
I believe that the meaning of life is leaving behind something to be remembered
for, Myers said.
The 26-year old is determined to carry on a legacy that
will be remembered by his daughter, and the community, just as Myers mother
did for him. Myers recalls his mother being involved with the community as far
back as he can remember.
She was always heavily involved with charity
events and fundraisers. She was one of those, What do you need me to do
because Ill do it type of people, whether it was cooking food for
a charity event or collecting toys for Toys for Tots. Even when she got sick,
she was still doing whatever she could to help the community, Myers said.
mother, Michelle, lost her fight with cancer in January, 2011.
loss of his mother, Myers found strength to carry on by remembering six simple
My mom used to tell me, Be something you love and understand.
Whenever I would try to achieve a goal or struggle to figure out what I wanted
to do in life, she would tell me that, Myers said.
Prior to her passing,
Myers asked his mother to write the phrasing on a piece of paper so he could have
the quote tattooed on his chest in her handwriting.
Now I am reminded
every day to be a person I want to see in the world and always be something I
am good at. After my mom passed, I knew one day I would stand by those words by
doing something great for the world and make her proud, Myers said.
didnt have to look far or wait long. While playing street hockey in the
basketball court of Quality Hill Playground in Nanticoke, a pastime for most of
his life, an idea came to mind. There should be a hockey rink at Quality Hill
Instead of feeling discouraged by the hard work the project would
require, including raising funds, maintaining unyielding determination and chasing
down approval, Myers felt calmed by remembering the advice his mother preached.
He wanted to see a hockey rink built and realized it was time to be the change
he wanted to see in the world.
My mother said I should be something I
loved and I love hockey. Plus, I firmly believe that having a place for kids to
play hockey for free would bring many advantages to the community. Our area has
a deep interest in hockey. Wilkes-Barre is home to the AHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh
Penguins and on the streets of NEPA youll see anything from Penguins
gold, Flyers orange to Devils red. Unfortunately, the area lacks a
place for kids to go play hockey without being charged just to skate or shoot
around, Myers said.
The hockey-enthusiast claims his concept for the
rink can provide a great game of hockey free of charge as well as provide a stream
of income to better the playground where the rink will be housed.
arent many options in this area to keep kids occupied and out of trouble.
I mean, yeah, there are two other rinks in the area. One is in Wright Township
and the other is all the way in Hazleton. I have played in both and had a fun
experience at both, but they charge. Having this rink could encourage young people
to play hockey because they could play often for free and take advantage of the
physical benefits, like improving coordination, flexibility, their reflexes and
agility, but it can teach life skills that will improve the quality of people
they grow up and become, Myers said.
Life skills that many people in
todays generation are lacking according to Myers can be developed once his
project reaches fruition.
Hockey players learn from a young age and carry
on well past their hockey playing careers to work as a team toward a common goal,
develop strong communication and listening skills and to have respect for authority
and rules. Not every player will become the next Sidney Crosby, but every player
will benefit from being part of the game, Myers said.
On the financial
front, the desired Nantikoke rink promises to bring forth revenue from organized
hockey leagues throughout the year, which will be put back in to the park for
Nanticoke mayor Rich Wiaterowski feels the hockey attraction
will help with local business.
I admire Shawns determination and
fully support his effort. His spirit reminds me of a younger version of myself.
Nanticoke is a great city with great local businesses including shops and restaurants.
Having a hockey rink could attract people from other parts of northeastern Pennsylvania
to our town and they could be visiting our local businesses, Wiaterowski
Myers also gained the support of Kenneth Gill, president of Quality Hill
Playground Association. The representative of the privately owned non-profit playground
said the park is always looking for new ways to improve the grounds and the neighborhood.
and his friends would play street hockey here for years. In fact, they still do
today. When he approached us with the idea of getting the hockey rink started
we said we would support him completely. We believe in him and we believe in the
popularity of hockey, Gill said.
Myers budgeted the cost to total $100,000.
The six-figure amount didnt stop him from raising funds. Through fundraisers,
Myers raised $1,095, but realizes he needs more help. He decided to look for support
on GoFundMe. The personal fundraising website allows people to petition for money
for anything from medical emergencies to travel expenses.
I know $100,000
seems like a lot of money to ask for, and it is, but I hope people will see the
good that this project will do for the community and donate something, Myers
Whether youre a hockey fan or not, Myers hopes people will be inspired
to be change they wish to see in the world by donating what they can and to ask
themselves what they would like to change about the world. Then, go out and be
IF YOU DONATE
What: Hockey rink at Quality Hill Playground,
How: Donations can be made online at www.GoFund.me/NanticokeHockey
Information on upcoming fundraisers can be found on the projects page at
remains president of Nanticoke Area board
Michael P. Buffer - Citizens
Nanticoke Area School Board voted to retain Ryan Verazin as board president
during a reorganization meeting Tuesday.
The board also voted to retain Ken
James as board vice president and kept Vito DeLuca as school district solicitor
for another year.
Also Tuesday, the board voted on monthly agenda items and
rejected a $12,000 settlement on a special-education matter with a student. The
vote was 4-3 in favor, but the board needed five votes to approve the settlement,
Verazin said. Two board members were absent from Tuesdays meeting.
avoids tax, refuse fee hikes
Susan Bettinger - Times Leader
a recent council meeting, it was announced that there will be no tax increase
and no refuse fee increase.
The proposed budget was approved, pending the amendment
to the sewer funds. The initial budget called for an increase of $50 per household
in sewer fee. Council voted no to the increase, and would only approve the budget
if the sewer fee remained at $100 per year.
The general fund balance as well
as the expenditures is $5,157,935.
Council also passed a motion to accept an
intergovernmental agreement between the City of Nanticoke and Hanover and Newport
townships for sharing of emergency response vehicles. Each township would be responsible
for a specific emergency response vehicle to be shared with the other townships.
The agreement befits the residents and saves the municipalities money.
6, a comedy night benefiting the Honey Pot Fire Department will be held at Wisecrackers
Comedy Club, located in the Mohegan Sun Casino. Tickets are $20 per person. For
more information, call Linda Prushinski at (570) 735-0508.
annual Christmas parade will take place on Dec. 21, starting at 1 p.m. Hot chocolate
and hot dogs will be served. The parade begins at the Greater Nanticoke Area High
School and ends at the park. Christmas in the Park is this years theme.
next meeting of council will be held at 7 p.m. on Dec. 3.
grieving family, a year without answers
Thanksgiving last year, Carol Belmont tried to convince her mother to come live
with her in Jackson Township for the winter or at least for the holidays.
Price didnt want to hear it.
The 97-year-old Nanticoke woman took pride
in living alone and taking care of herself. The conversation began with Price
asking for some rock salt to help combat the coming winter weather. Price said
she enjoyed being in her own home and sleeping in her own bed. She declined the
In hindsight, I would have insisted, Belmont said.
spending last Thanksgiving with family in Dallas, Price was beaten to death that
evening in a home invasion robbery inside 23 E. Grand St. in Nanticoke. The great-great-grandmother
endured such a pummeling, relatives say, that the right side of her face was crushed
Belmont and her husband, Richard, found Price dead the morning after Thanksgiving,
her battered body motionless in her bed.
It was a nightmare from then
on, Belmont said at her home in Jackson Township. I cant believe
someone could hit a 97-year-old woman in the face.
Plea for information
a year, Belmont and grieving relatives have wondered who that someone could be.
murder remains unsolved and no suspects have been publicly identified.
somewhere knows something. I just wish they would help the state police so we
could get some closure, Belmont said. I pray every night someone comes
forward with a piece of information.
There is an incentive for someone
to come forward: thousands of dollars in reward funds.
Local residents pledged
more than $10,000 in a fund set up at PNC Bank in Nanticoke and Pennsylvania Crime
Stoppers has also offered a reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
many other killings, police have said this one is different: it appears to have
been a random attack.
Belmont, 77, struggles to understand how someone who
lived such a long, healthy and productive life could be taken by such a senseless
act of violence.
My mother was 97. She had never been in the hospital.
She never had an operation. She never took a pill. She didnt know what it
was to have a headache, Belmont said. She took care of her own sidewalks,
her own house, her own lawn.
Nanticoke and state police continue to investigate
and Belmont said she is happy with how aggressively they have worked the case.
feel it when I talk to them, she said. They have taken this to heart.
Lt. Richard Krawetz, commanding officer of state police at
Wyoming, said investigators have taken the case to heart and continue to pursue
It was a heinous, senseless killing of a totally defenseless woman.
This was an individual who was able to live 97 years safe and sound within the
confines of the City of Nanticoke. Then, a perpetrator enters her home
her safe haven and kills her. She was laying in bed and was the victim
of a brutal attack, Krawetz said. We vowed to bring a successful conclusion
to this investigation.
The investigation remains a top priority and troopers
are still awaiting results from extensive forensic tests that were conducted at
the scene, he said.
We have worked hard and we continue to work hard,
While tracking down leads in Prices murder, state police
arrested two men they say committed another burglary in the city the same night.
said Earl Hoopingarner, 29, ransacked and looted his neighbors home at 201
Enterprise St. in Nanticoke while Shane Hempel, 26, served as a lookout. Weeks
after their arrests, they were hit with more charges related to the break-in and
bail was increased to $250,000 cash. The two men have been jailed since. Earlier
this month, Hoopingarner was hit with felony gun charges for allegedly stealing
a rifle during the Thanksgiving break-in on Enterprise Street. Hoopingarners
bail was increased to a total of $395,000 cash.
Authorities have never called
the duo suspects in Prices murder, only saying their arrests resulted from
the investigation into her death.
Her final hours
A day before Thanksgiving
last year, Belmonts aunt and Prices sister-in-law, Marie Hamilton
of Nanticoke, died at age 83. Belmont waited until Thanksgiving to tell her mother.
The family gathered at Belmonts sons house in Dallas, the annual gathering
spot for holidays for the past five years or so.
She kind of was depressed.
She wasnt herself, Belmont recalled. She was sad my aunt died.
dinner, Prices daughter drove her home to Nanticoke and escorted her inside.
It was about 6:30 p.m., just in time for Prices routine of watching television
in bed before sleep.
Investigators believe the killing occurred around 11 p.m.
Thanksgiving night because neighbors noticed lights on in the house at a time
Price normally sleeps. The killer or killers gained entry through a basement window
that was found busted open in the morning.
Family members sensed something
was wrong when Price didnt answer the phone the morning after Thanksgiving.
Belmont decided to go check.
She and her husband brought along bolt cutters
in case theyd have to cut through a chain lock Price always used to secure
her front door from the inside.
During the drive, they determined that the
first clue something was wrong would be if Prices newspaper was still outside
since she religiously retrieved it from her front porch each day at 6:30 a.m.
When they arrived just before 10 a.m., they found the newspaper laying on her
I knew we were in trouble, Belmont said.
immediately raced through Belmonts head. Did her mother have a medical emergency?
Did she fall in the bathtub? Did she trip down the steps? Someone causing harm
to her kind and gentle mother was not among those thoughts.
I think anything like this, she recalled.
When they got to the door,
it was unlocked. The chain lock was not in place, either. As they creaked open
the door, they saw the usually tidy place was a mess.
Still, Belmont didnt
want to think the worst. Maybe Price was traumatized about the news of Aunt Maries
death, she thought.
After going inside, she and her husband soon realized someone
else had been in the house and destroyed it. Whoever was inside the house
was there for a long time, they said.
There was stuff everywhere,
Belmont said. You couldnt walk.
Her husband took the lead
to go looking for Price, walking around, over and through the debris. Nearly every
drawer in the house was pulled out and the contents dumped. The drawers were smashed
to pieces, as if they had been violently thrown to the ground, he recalled.
ransacked the house, Mr. Belmont said.When I say trashed, they trashed
They found Price upstairs in her bed, with devastating wounds
to the face.
A forensic pathologist would later declare her death a homicide
due to blunt force trauma to the head.
The only things taken during the robbery
were multiple items of mostly inexpensive jewelry, Belmont said. If the suspects
were looking for prescription drugs, they didnt find any, because Price
wasnt taking any. She had hid $300 she took out of the bank earlier in the
week. The suspect or suspects didnt find the money.
The one stolen item
Belmont is determined to find is an antique piece of jewelry a cameo brooch
that Price had worn since she was a teenager. German relatives sent it
to her as a confirmation present when she was 13.
It means a lot to me,
Belmont said. Ive been to a few pawn shops with police looking for
Belmont and her husband found Prices body a
day before their 23rd wedding anniversary. They were supposed to leave that day
for a several-day visit to Mount Airy casino to celebrate.
will forever be entwined with each Thanksgiving and anniversary. But they are
used to somber holidays. Prices son, Randall, 45, died unexpectedly on Memorial
Day in 2011 due to an aneurysm.
Holidays are tough, Belmont said.
the family plans to repeat the tradition of gathering at Prices grandsons
home with the same people who were there last year.
The only one missing
this year will be mom, Belmont said. Its best that were
together. Family means everything.
beating death of Nanticoke woman, 97, remains unsolved
Police Chief William Shultz
stood on the sidewalk in front of the tiny home on East Grand Street, telling
a reporter a body had been found and the investigation was going to be a
That was one year ago this week on a blustery cold morning,
and the brutal beating death of 97-year-old Gertrude Price remains unsolved.
year has been a very difficult one, Prices daughter, Carol Belmont,
said during an interview Wednesday night. The first year is so hard
her birthday, holidays
Last Thanksgiving was the
final holiday the strong and independent Price would spend with her family. After
being dropped off home by her granddaughter on the evening of Nov. 28, 2013, Price
fell prey to a home invasion sometime after last speaking with family at about
When a family members calls when unanswered the next morning,
the relative looked in to check on Price and discovered the house had been ransacked.
lifelong Nanticoke resident was found dead in an upstairs bedroom.
showed Price died from blunt force trauma to her head, according to the Luzerne
County Coroners Office. Her death was ruled a homicide.
All I have
heard is that it is an open investigation, Belmont said Wednesday.
said state police at Wyoming are leading the investigation, which remains a priority.
police Lt. Richard Krawetz, commander of the criminal investigations unit, could
not be reached for comment this week. He said in October that the case remains
highly active, with evidence being analyzed at several state police crime labs.
do talk to the state police, and they have been very nice, Belmont added.
They say, dont ever think its not an open investigation.
Investigators have said the killer is believed to have entered
Prices home through a ground-level basement window sometime between 10:30
p.m. on Nov. 28, 2013 and 9:35 a.m. the next day. State police said neighbors
reported lights were turned on in Prices house at about 11 p.m., which they
said was not normal.
During the homicide investigation, authorities uncovered
a burglary several blocks away on Enterprise Street, arresting two men, Shane
Hempel and Earl Hoopingarner on Dec. 21.
Authorities have not said if there
is a connection between the Enterprise Street burglary and Prices death.
Prices death shocked the region and soon spurred a community
drive of monetary donations for a reward leading to the arrest of those responsible.
Grevera, owner of the Hunting Depot and a former Nanticoke police officer, initiated
the fund, starting with $1,000. Arica Grabowski, a Greater Nanticoke Area senior
who never knew Price, organized a charity Zumbathon with classmates Jessica Saraka
and Kara Voyton, pushing the fund above $10,000.
is offering a second reward of up to $2,500 for information that leads to an arrest.
in Nanticoke have been so caring and so concerned, Belmont said.
support has been much appreciated as Belmont waits for answers and justice.
still hoping, she said. I know things take time.
Bar moves and expands in Nanticoke area
Just a few weeks after opening, the
R Bar is hopping on a Friday night and now they have the space for it.
and co-owners Lauren Maga and Lindsey Temarantz zip around, seating customers
and checking in with staff at the Nanticoke area bar. The R Bar opened in its
new location, the former Alden Manor on Kirmar Avenue in Newport Township, at
the beginning of November after three and a half years of business on Union Street
Were the first building in Newport Township,
Half of our parking lot is in Nanticoke, Maga said.
move took them just a couple of miles, an easy transition for customers, though
the owners put a lot of work into getting the new business to have that signature
R Bar flair. Maga and Temarantz, who own the bar along with their father, Rick
Temarantz, decorated the bar in the same industrial style as the former location
on Middle Road in Nanticoke. They kept the emphasis on garage and vehicle decor,
inspired by Rick Temarantz, who owns a garage. Hes a collector, his daughters
said, and many customers also have given them items to hang up.
They did some
renovations to bring the place up to date, said Lindsey Temarantz, while showing
off the new place.
That was a salad bar, she said. So we
turned it into a bar. An upper bar.
They expanded some of the menu offerings,
adding in some new burgers and fried Sicilian pizza. They now serve fish dinners
every day, instead of just on Fridays, and also boast an extensive selection of
Were at over 70 flavors, Maga said, and Temarantz
added thats just their base flavors.
We can make more than 100
flavors by mixing them together, Maga said.
The sauces include many traditional
choices, as well as more adventurous selections like Vidalia onion, spicy jalapeño
ranch, Cajun caesar parmesan and broccoli cheddar.
The burgers include the
pepperoni pizza burger, buffalo mozzarella burger, and the rogi burger.
The latter is topped with a choice of cheese, tomato basil sour cream, grilled
onion and a buttery, fried potato pierogi on a toasted ciabatta bun.
dinners include crab cakes, a cod sandwich, and Yuengling Lager-battered haddock.
drink menu is also extensive, with featured seasonal beers, and their signature
fishbowl mixed drinks.
Above the main bar, The Alden Room is available for
private parties like showers, birthdays and other get-togethers.
is very hands-on at the R Bar, and Temarantz said theyre lucky to have a
great staff to help create a comfortable, friendly atmosphere for their customers.
of us is always here. Most of the time, its both of us, Maga said.
to conduct study on moving 8th grade
Michael P. Buffer - Citizens
The Greater Nanticoke Area School Board voted Thursday to approve
an internal administrative study on moving the eighth grade out of the high school.
study will look at the feasibility of moving the eighth grade into the educational
center with the sixth and seventh grades to create a middle school, Superintendent
Ronald Grevera said.
The change also could give the high school space for a
cyber lab and STEM science, technology, engineering and mathematics
courses, Grevera said. The study should be done by March, Grevera said.
football players raise $9,000 for charity
Susan Bettinger - Times
Four Nanticoke football players raised over
$9,000 to aid cancer patients, Coach Ron Bruza announced at Thursdays school
The money will benefit the Dr. David Greenwald Prescription
Plan. The Kingston Oncologists plan helps patients who are in need of financial
assistance for prescriptions and other treatment supplements.
The four players
Michael Rasario-Clark, Ronald Kotz, Tyler Hanna and Robert Burke
held fundraisers, such as T-shirt sales, to raise the money.
Bruza said that
this was the first year that the group of students participated in the fundraiser,
but it was the fourth year that the football program has been involved. During
the four-year period, players have raised over $20,000 for the cause. Approximately
$16,000 was donated to Greenwalds fund, and $4,000 to the American Cancer
The board approved a motion to authorize Superintendent Ronald Grevera
and the administration to conduct a study to examine a sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade
configuration. Grevera said that the study will look at possibilities such as
the eighth grade moving to the Educational Center and forming a Middle School
with the sixth and seventh grades.
Grevera added that the study will review
the social, emotional and psychological aspects of such a change, as well as if
the move would be financially feasible.
Grevera also announced that Frank Grevera,
director of the buildings and grounds department, saved the school district $30,000
by renovating the swimming pools existing starting blocks, making the pool
safe for the swim team.
Ken James, of the athletic department, announced that
he was pleased with the increased participation and academic progress
of the schools sports teams. The fall sports teams had a GPA total of 92.8.
board will meet next at 6 p.m. on Dec. 2 for a reorganization meeting.
to return to Nanticoke to sign copies of Bilko book
- Citizens Voice
The first time California native
Gaylon White visited Nanticoke, it was Oct. 2, 1976. He was a 30-year-old author
starting to put together a book on players who were big stars in the minor leagues
but never captured the spotlight in the majors.
The project grew and changed
over the years until it became The Bilko Athletic Club: The Story of the 1956
Los Angeles Angels, a book that details the life, times and exploits of larger-than-life
Nanticoke slugger Steve Bilko.
Now, on Saturday, White will return to Nanticoke
to sign books and greet fans from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Nanticoke Historical
Society in the Samantha Mill House on 495 East Main Street, next to the Mill Memorial
On his first visit to town, White spent a day with Bilko, having lunch
at his Honey Pot home, stopping at Yeagers for a drink and visiting the
Dana Perfume Company in Mountain Top, where the ballplayer worked after his playing
days were through.
It was initially the Bilko story that led me down
this path, and then that story led me to some other wonderful stories, White
said last summer.
On this visit to Nanticoke, Steve Bilko Jr. is scheduled
to attend and baseball cards and photos from Bilkos career will be on display.
recently wrote about one of the photos in the collection on his blog at bilkoathleticclub.com.
It shows Bilko, who was listed at 6-foot-1, 240 pounds, standing side by side
with 5-5, 140-pound outfielder Albie Pearson. The contrast makes Pearson look
like a Little Leaguer.
He was one of the biggest boned men Ive
seen, Pearson said on the blog. His legs you could put mine
together and make one of his.
Pearsons recollections of Bilkos
power at the plate are typical of the sentiments White documented in the book.
the (Pacific) Coast League he was King Kong, Pearson said. I tell
you, if you didnt get the ball in on his hands, hed just kill you.
help neighbors after Nanticoke fire
Bob Kalinowski, staff writer,
contributed to this report.
out those in need comes naturally to Joshua and Melissa Gyle. They have been there
As soon as they heard about Friday nights fierce fire in
Nanticoke, the Hanover Township couple rushed to organize donations to help the
six people from three families displaced by the blaze.
By dinner time Saturday
evening, donated clothing, furniture and other supplies filled one end of the
Pope John Paul II School gymnasium, on West Church Street near Maple Street, the
headquarters for the donation drive.
Joshua Gyle said he and his wife know
what the fire victims are going through, even if they do not know them personally.
hits home, especially with the holidays coming, Gyle said.
He said he
knows first-hand what its like to lose a home to a fire, while Melissa Gyles
mother, Joelle Smith of Nanticoke, lost everything in the 2011 flood.
media helped spread the word.
The Gyles credited a vigorous Facebook campaign
with multiple shares of their original post for the steady stream
of donated items brought in on Saturday. Nebo Baptist Church in Nanticoke also
contributed generously, Joshua Gyle said. The Rev. James Nash, of St. Faustina
Kowalska Parish, literally opened the doors of the gym, which is affiliated with
the parish, for their use, Joshua Gyle added.
Anyone who wants to help the
fire victims can bring clothing or other items to the gym any time today, the
Gyles said. Officials had not released the ages and genders of those in need as
of Saturday night, but Melissa Gyle said she had heard that a 2-year-old boy and
a 12-year-old girl were among the displaced.
Among items requested were clothing,
bedding, smaller furniture and grooming and personal care supplies. However, the
Gyles and their fellow volunteers will take whatever people contribute.
matter what it is, we will take it, Joshua Gyles said.
Any donated items
not need by the fire victims will be given to charity, he added.
go to whoever needs it, he said.
displaced after Nanticoke blaze tears through three homes
raging fire in Nanticoke destroyed three homes and damaged others Friday night.
one was injured, but six people were displaced from their homes, according to
Nanticoke firefighters. The American Red Cross is providing food, clothing and
lodging for a total of six people from three families, Red Cross spokeswoman Sara
Smith said Saturday night.
The fire started at about 9:50 p.m. Friday in a
vacant double-block home at 311-313 Hanover St., near the corner of West Green
Street, then rapidly spread to two homes on West Green Street, firefighters said.
Gacek was among a throng of neighbors who stood behind yellow emergency tape and
watched as dozens of firefighters from Nanticoke and surrounding fire companies
battled the flames and smoke as midnight neared Friday night.
I was sitting
in the living room getting the kids ready for bed, when I saw firemen dragging
hose through my yard, said Gacek, who lives about five houses from the fire
Fast thinking and faster action on the part of firefighters saved at
least one pet.
Kyle Makavensky lives next door to the house where the fire
started. He was driving home from the movies with his fiancee, when they saw smoke
spiral high in the sky near their home.
All we could think of was our
dog in there, he said, referring to Pup, his 4-year-old Jack Russell terrier.
they neared their home and saw the extent of the fire, Makavensky ran toward his
house to check on Pup. Firefighters warned him not to go into the home.
Nanticoke firefighter Jeff Grzymski rushed into the house himself.
later, he came out with Pup in his arms.
He came out so fast with that
dog I couldnt believe it, Makavensky said. It was a great scene.
said his house has smoke, water and heat damage, with soot everywhere,
but is not a total loss. He and his fiancee will stay elsewhere for about a week
as the home is repaired, he said.
The house where the fire started has been
vacant for about six to eight months, Makavensky said.
The fire appears to
have started in the rear of the vacant house, Nanticoke police Chief William Shultz
The fire is under investigation and a state police fire marshal was at
the scene Saturday, Shultz said, adding that the fire marshal spent a lot
of time here.
Among the fire companies who responded were Nanticoke,
Plymouth Township, Hanover Township, Kingston, Ashley and Honey Pot.
resident pleased with citys response
Susan Bettinger - Times
Resident Ed Topper said he was grateful to
the city administration for addressing a problem at his Orchard Street home that
had become a bit of a controversy.
Before last weeks meeting began, Topper
said the city responded in a timely fashion to the issue. Some residents at last
weeks council meeting had questioned the citys response time.
explained that at Octobers meeting he told council and city Manager Andrew
Gegaris that the basement of the home he shares with his 85-year-old grandmother,
Rose Rittenhouse, was filling with water.
Topper, a pilot for American Airlines,
said that he noticed the water was rising in his basement after a substantial
He said that at 9 a.m. the morning after the meeting , Gegaris, city
Engineer Daryl Pawlush and numerous public works employees (arrived at his
home) to access the situation.
He said that the Wyoming Valley Sanitary
Authority found a two-by-four causing an obstruction in a pipes. Once WVSA also
checked the sewer lines and cleaned out the manholes, water holes are flowing
again, he added.
Gegaris also said that he is proud of the responses
by the Fire Department, WVSA, consultant engineer and the street department.
said that city and Topper are working together to find a permanent solution to
the situation, but if the same amount of rain falls again, the home will not experience
the same degree of problems. Topper said that he is grateful for the immediate
In other matters: Stanley Cardinale stated that he was a victim
of a phone scam where someone called him and told him his grandson needed to be
bailed out of jail. He was instructed to deliver the money to a Kingston address,
which was actually in Edwardsville. The police departments in both municipalities
said that it is a common scam in that area.
Council President William Brown
urged all residents, especially senior citizens to be aware that these scams are
Council will meet next on at 7 p.m. on Nov. 19.
homes damaged in Nanticoke blaze
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens Voice
homes were damaged Friday night in a massive two-alarm blaze at the corner of
Hanover and Green streets in Nanticoke.
Fire departments from throughout the
area were on the scene assisting the Nanticoke Fire Department. A suspected cause
for the fire, which started around 10 p.m., was not immediately released.
Wielgosz was babysitting her grandchildren Friday at one of the homes when one
of the children said they smelled something. She said it smelled like sulfur and
the next thing she knew there were firefighters pounding on her door telling her
to get out.
Two houses on Green Street and a double-block home on Hanover Street
were involved in the blaze.
man sniffs out phone scam from phony cop
Eric Mark - Citizens Voice
police say a man posed as a police officer in an attempted phone scam earlier
A Nanticoke resident told police that he received a phone call at
about 11:15 a.m. on Monday from a man who said he was a Kingston police officer.
The caller said he had arrested the residents grandson in a drug bust, and
had drug-tested and then arraigned him. The alleged officer, who had a Spanish
accent, identified the residents grandson only by first name, police said.
The caller asked the resident if he wanted to bail his grandson out of jail. He
said it would take $2,000 to do so and asked for MoneyPak vouchers of $500 each
to be brought to Roosevelt Street, where he said his office was located, police
said. The resident figured out he was being scammed and contacted Nanticoke police,
who notified police in Kingston and Edwardsville.
Anyone with information about
the suspect or the scam is asked to call Nanticoke police at 570-735-2200 or contact
the Kingston or Edwardsville police departments.
Nanticoke Area elementary school receives state grant
October 22. 2014 11:47PM - 988 Views
Mash played the guitar and students in the K.M. Elementary Schools early
education program sang their favorite Halloween songs.
It was sort of a celebration
of the school being one of 12 statewide selected to receive an Early Childhood
Education Community Innovation Zone grant that will be used to connect early childhood
providers, families and schools.
The Early Childhood Education Community Innovation
Zone Grants, awarded by the state to expand local programs that bridge the achievement
gap for at-risk young children. Barbara G. Minzenberg, Ph.D., deputy secretary
at the state Department of Education and Public Welfare, was at the school Wednesday
to announce the grant award.
Minzenberg said the K.M. Smith school program
will receive $27,738 over three years. She said the grant will provide communities
with much-needed funding to expand the program and ensure children are entering
kindergarten ready to learn.
She said preparing students for school success
requires collaboration of the family, school and community.
State Rep. Gerald
Mullery, D-Newport Township, is a graduate of Greater Nanticoke Area and he attended
K.M. Smith Elementary School.
There is not a dollar spent in this commonwealth
that brings a better return than those dollars spent on early education,
Mullery said. We have seen such great outcomes. Students do better throughout
their school years, getting better grades.
Mullery said the Early Childhood
Education Community Innovation Zone Grant is a wise investment.
a great amount of research about the benefits of early childhood education,
he said. Conservatively, it shows that every dollar invested in early childhood
education and care returns $10. The return on investment comes when children who
are in danger of failing or getting into trouble succeed in school and become
healthy, productive citizens.
GNA Superintendent Ron Grevera said the
grant will better prepare pre-kindergarten students.
The earlier we can
expose children to early education, the better they will be in their development
and the better they will achieve, Grevera said.
Minzenberg said the Early
Childhood Education Community Innovation Zone Grants are part of Pennsylvanias
Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant.
She said in December 2013,
Pennsylvania was awarded the $51.7 million grant from the federal government.
She said the grant builds upon Pennsylvanias successes to provide high-quality
early learning opportunities to close the achievement gap for at-risk children
such as those in low-income families, English language learners, children with
disabilities and developmental delays, and children experiencing homelessness.
said there are 38 children in the program and 50 families participating in the
Parents As Teachers program. She said the pre-K students and their
families will participate in educational, social, athletic and recreational events.
are honored to have been selected for this grant, Mash said. We will
offer well-rounded experiences for the children and their families, encouraging
family engagement and community connections.
Area will receive state grant
Michael P. Buffer - Citizens Voice
Greater Nanticoke Area School District will receive $27,738 from a state grant
to expand its early childhood education program, according to a news release from
state Rep. Gerald Mullery.
Theres a great amount of research about
the benefits of early childhood education, said Mullery, D-Newport Township.
Conservatively, it shows that every dollar invested in early childhood education
and care returns $10. The return on investment comes when children who are in
danger of failing or getting into trouble succeed in school and become healthy,
The grant will help the school district ensure that
at-risk young children starting kindergarten at the K.M. Smith and Kennedy elementary
schools are ready to learn. The Greater Nanticoke Area School District was just
one of 12 recipients of these grants.
The Early Childhood Education Community
Innovation Zone Grants are part of Pennsylvanias Race to the Top Early Learning
Challenge Grant. In December 2013, Pennsylvania was awarded a $51.7 million grant
to close the achievement gap for at-risk children, such as those in low-income
families, English language learners and children with disabilities and developmental
awards contract for fire station repairs
Bettinger - Times Leader
The city council approved
a contract with Multiscape, of Pittston, for exterior repair work at Nanticoke
Fire Station No. 4 at Wednesday nights meeting.
The contract, which is
for $41,448, will include work on upgrading to the telephone poles, handicapped
parking accessibility, concrete landscaping for the front and asphalt for back
of the building at the Epsy Street station.
City Manager Andrew Gegaris said
the Multiscape contract was the most affordable, while remaining ADA compliant.
also awarded supplementary snow plowing contracts to Voyton ($69 per hour), Zoltewicz
($70 per hour), Owazany ($77 per hour) and Capozzi ($70 per hour). All subcontractors
are pending solicitor review.
Mayor Richard Wiaterowski administered oaths
to three career firefighters who have recently received promotions. Rich Bohan
has been promoted to assistant chief, Mark Boncal to captain and John Polifka
Boy Scouts Troop 418 attended the meeting with proposal for
potential community projects.
A Family Fall Festival is being planned
from noon to 6 p.m. on Nov. 1 in Patriot Park. Entertainment, vendors and a costume
parade, including prizes, will be part of the festival. Visit the City of Nanticoke
Event Committee Facebook page for additional information.
The council will
meet next at 7 p.m. on Nov. 5.
superintendent pleased with safety conference
Susan Bettinger -
Greater Nanticoke Area School District
Superintendent Ronald Grevera announced at Thursdays board meeting that
the Safe Schools Conference that he and police officer Mike Wisnieski recently
attended has very informative.
The conference focused on such issues as how
the school can handle incidents of bullying, emergency management plans, hazards
Grevera also said that all grade levels of the school system have
been and will continue participating in emergency preparation practices, such
as school lock downs, bus and fire evacuations and shelter in place drills.
Dr. Mariellen Scott of the GNA Education Center was pleased with the turn out
for the recent Positive Behavior Family Night. Scott said that 120 families attended
The board unanimously voted to appoint Susan Lipsey as supervisor
of Special Education at a salary of $83,500, under Act 93. All members of the
board were present for the voting, with the exception of Tony Prushinski and Frank
Shepanski, both of whom were absent.
The board also accepted the first reading
of policy changes regarding Pupils, Promotion and Retention. The new policy will
provide for parents being notified by May 15 if their child is in jeopardy of
failing to pass their grade level.
Four letters of citation have already been
sent out for the new school year regarding students who have missed more than
13 days of class. The action is in accordance with the new attendance guidelines.
next school board meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Nov. 13.
Area OKs severance for supervisor
Greater Nanticoke Area School Board voted Thursday to hire a new special education
supervisor and approved a severance agreement for the districts former supervisor
of special education.
The board hired Susan Lipsey to be the new supervisor
at $83,500 year. She is director of special education for Wyalusing Area School
District in Bradford County.
Board President Ryan Verazin and solicitor Vito
DeLuca said they could not comment on the severance agreement for Daniel Burkholder
because it involved private personnel matters.
Burkholder agreed to resign
as an administrator and swimming coach and is entitled to three months of his
base salary as severance pay and any pay from unused time off, according to the
Burkholders salary amount was not available. He agreed he
will not file a lawsuit against the school district and is prohibited from future
employment with the district.
Signatures on the agreement were dated Sept.
25. At the Sept. 11 meeting, the school board postponed a vote on the severance
agreement and hired Judith Lapinski as interim special education supervisor at
$325 a day, retroactive to Aug. 26.
At Thursdays meeting, the board hired
Jeff Katra as interim special education supervisor at $325 a day, effective Oct.
7 until Lipsey starts.
The Wyalusing Area School District has an option to
keep Lipsey there another 60 days, Greater Nanticoke Area Superintendent Ronald
grant will aid early childhood education in Nanticoke
Nanticoke Area School District will receive more than $27,000 in early childhood
education grant money, state officials announced today.
The cash comes as part
of a statewide series of awards under which nearly $2.7 million in Early Childhood
Education Community Innovation Zone Grants to will be distributed to 12 communities
to expand local programs that help bridge the achievement gap for at-risk young
children, according to the states Public Welfare and Education departments.
grants cover the period of Oct. 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015.
the only recipient in Luzerne County.
This grant will provide communities
with much-needed funding to expand their successes and ensure children are entering
kindergarten ready to learn, Acting Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq
said. Preparing students for school success requires collaboration of the
family, school and community. We all want our children to succeed, and we all
can play a part in building a bright future for our students.
will target innovations on individual at-risk communities serving select elementary
Grantees include school districts, nonprofit organizations, universities,
social services agencies, foundations and early childhood education programs.
unique about these grants is their laser focus on individual at-risk elementary
schools, DPW Secretary Bev Mackereth said. Grantees can intensify
and expand their successful programs and receive more intensive state supports
and assistance. These grants are almost incubators to learn more about whats
working and how we can make these successes a reality for similar communities
throughout the commonwealth.
The Early Childhood Education Community
Innovation Zone Grants are part of Pennsylvanias Race to the Top Early Learning
Challenge Grant. In December 2013, Pennsylvania was awarded the $51.7 million
grant. This grant builds upon Pennsylvanias successes to provide high-quality
early learning opportunities to close the achievement gap for at-risk children
such as those in low-income families, English language learners, children with
disabilities and developmental delays, and children experiencing homelessness.|
state will award 38 additional three-year grants in 2015-16.
Crime Watch plans Night Out
Neighborhood Crime Watch will hold its first Night Out from 4 to 8 p.m. Oct. 18
at Quality Hill Park playground, Nanticoke. Free hamburgers and hot dogs will
be served from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. or while supplies last. Vendors are welcome.
Cost is $5 for up to two tables. Three or more tables are $10. Nanticoke Police
Department will offer fingerprinting for children. Nanticoke Fire Department will
display a truck. Guardian Angels will demonstrate self defense. A walk patrol
around the city will be held for approximately one hour.
apparently counts in Nanticoke
Quoit Club members love their horseshoes
Oravic - Times Leader
Since the days of the Great
Depression, quoits has been the name of the game for one Nanticoke club.
the game was played with two five-pound metal rings. The object was to toss the
rings around a peg planted in a box of soft clay. Today, the metal rings have
been played with horseshoes, giving the game its current name.
the Nanticoke Quoit Club is for those who enjoy tossing a few shoes.
play every Wednesday evening outside a barn tucked behind the armory on Railroad
We used to have the old quoits in a dirt pit inside the club
near the bar, Karen Kryzanski, a member of the Nanticoke Quoit Club for
22 years, said.
Quoits or horseshoes, its all good fun.
a good group. Were quiet and no one causes any trouble. Everyones
there to have a great time, Sue Russell, a member of the club from Nanticoke,
The Nanticoke Quoit Club reaches back to the early days of the city of
Nanticoke itself. Originally chartered in June 1933, the club began with 69 members,
all male. A close-knit club at the beginning, members wives became involved
in club events, though it remained a mens club.
The wives of club members
soon formed their own organization, the Ladies Auxiliary Club, which helped
organize many club events. However, tensions began to rise.
club changed hands numerous times, some for the good and some for the not so good,
Kellie Conti Havey, a member of the club from Nanticoke, said. People have
stolen money from the club, people that were supposed to help better the organization
and not themselves.
In 2005, the Ladies Auxiliary Club was disbanded
and the Nanticoke Quoit Club opened its membership to women. Membership has grown,
and recently the club took occupancy in the barn on Railroad Street. In the past,
members held tournaments in different bars around the community.
works together now. We all cut the grass, clean the place and just generally pitch
in, Kryzanski said.
The club often donates its building and surrounding
lands for community use from private parties to events, including a fundraiser
organized by the Valley with a Heart Benefit.
Members also help tend the community
garden nearby, which produces fresh tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables. They
often use the produce for club cookouts, dances and parties.
Today the club
remains an indepedent, non-profit organization with 42 regular members and 104
social members. Social members pay less club dues than regular members, but regulars
are allowed to vote in meetings held once a month, during which the clubs
board of directors discuss any issues as well as suggestions to raise money and
bring new members.
New members are signed in by current members, who can only
invite three members each.
Kryzanski remembers when she was first invited into
the club in the early 90s.
I remember joining with a few friends, and
I found the atmosphere to be very relaxed, Kryzanski said. We actually
knew a lot of each others parents.
Kryzanski, Russell and Havey
agree that the club has became an extended family, bonded by dedication. Members
commonly attend each others weddings and Christmas and New Years Eve
parties. The club looks forward to a big Halloween bash this October.
like to thank all of our new and old members who stop in to chit chat and laugh.
We wouldnt be here without them, Havey said.
The Nanticoke Quoit
Club is nonprofit and all offices are volunteer. New members pay $15, with regular
and social members paying yearly club fees of $12 and $10, respectively.
Area sign change criticized
Greater Nanticoke Area School Board secretly
decided to scrub the name of former superintendent Anthony P. Perrone from the
entrance sign to the school districts campus, a former board member said
at Thursdays board meeting.
Jeff Kozlofski also accused the board of
violating the state Sunshine Act, which requires public votes on board decisions.
The name was removed in July, shortly after Ronald Grevera became superintendent.
Solicitor Vito DeLuca told Kozlofski removing Perrones name didnt
cost the district any money. DeLuca added it was done in response to an administrative
decision and noted the board never voted to put Perrones name on the sign
in the first place.
Kozlofski said the board voted to approve the bill covering
the cost to put Perrones name on the sign. The cost was $4,347, and his
name was placed on the sign in 2011.
Perrone retired in January. In July, board
President Ryan Verazin said Perrones name was removed from the sign because
it created divisiveness and wasnt done the right way from
Also at Thursdays meeting, Grevera announced district
is imposing stricter requirements to reduce student absences. After a tenth absence,
students will need a doctors note for an excused absence, Grevera said.
injured in Nanticoke rollover wreck
Bill Wellock - Citizens Voice
people were hospitalized after a rollover crash around 11:40 a.m. Thursday in
John D. Herb, 18, of Nanticoke was speeding his Jeep across the
West Nanticoke bridge into the city when he lost control of his vehicle near Lower
Broadway, police said. The Jeep went off the road, then swerved back onto the
road and through traffic, almost hitting another vehicle, before leaving the road
again and rolling several times into a grassy field.
Herb was partially ejected
from the Jeep. Four juvenile passengers were wearing their seat belts and were
able to leave the vehicle. They all went to Geisinger South Wilkes-Barre for treatment.
went to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Plains Township and was in
critical condition at 6:15 p.m., spokesman Matt Van Stone said.
Herbs Jeep was not registered and was not insured.
A Pennsylvania State
Police R&I team and the Nanticoke fire department assisted Nanticoke police
at the scene.
Police are still investigating the accident.
and the Coal Miners continue to mine success
Stanky continues Coal Miner Tradition
In an igloo in Alaska, John Stanky played his accordion
for a Alaskan native, when the man became frantic.
Stanky asked the interpreter
what was wrong.
The interpreter said, He thinks you are playing too loud,
and he is afraid the walls of the igloo are going to crack.
was born John Stankovic, still wholeheartedly thrusts himself into his music.
Stanky and The Coal Miners will play from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at The Mohegan Sun Pocono
Downs Casino on Sept. 13.
He said there is a correlation between the distinct
sound of polka music and dancing.
Stankovic has been all over the world, including,
New Zealand, Australia, Sweden, Germany, and New England.
The difference between
playing in the states and playing abroad is how quickly people respond to the
It takes a while for an American audience to get into the music, he
However, once they do, the personal walls and self-consciousness that
people have fall. What emerges is a celebration of life and music.
soon as the audience hears the first lyric in Europe they are already up and dancing.
In America, it usually takes the audience one or two songs from the set list before
they get moving, Stankovic said.
Overall, The effect that our music
has is that it makes our fans happy. As soon as we start to play people get up
and dance, Stankovic said.
We have a fan base of over 2,000 people
that come out and join us, he said. We have been playing for years
Stankovic, a Nanticoke native, began playing in 1945. His
father was from Czechoslovakia and played both the accordion and the violin. In
1949, Stankovic used to play at weddings with his father. In 1951, he started
John Stanky and the Tip Toppers. It was not until 1960 that he went by Stanky
and The Coal Miners.
In those days, people used to take the furniture
out of the house. There would be an empty room. Everyone would dance, drink a
few beers and eat. There would also be tents in the backyard. So, the wedding
would be going on inside and outside of the house. Thats what we did in
the 50s, Stankovic said.
He produced Pennsylvania Polka. His wife,
Dottie hosted the show. It has been 35 years since its conception.
re-runs six days a week.
John Stanky and The Coal Miners have about 25 albums,
60 songs, and a book titled, Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie: The Story of
Stanky and the Coal Miners, which outlines stories of the bands experiences.
Stankeys fondest memories include when he played with the band on airplanes.
China, we played on an airplane and Billy Joel was there with his now ex-wife
Christie Brinkley, as we were walking around playing he said. We also
made commercials with Robert Kline.
The music has become a family tradition.
two daughters play in The Coal Miners. Kim Bukuwski, plays the saxaphone and clarinet
and Debra Horoschock, plays the trumpet.
My father made me practice for
1 hour every day. He also used to say, If you learn five songs you will
never starve. I learned 10. Stankovic laughed.
a joke, by the way.
projects receive $12.4M in slots money
BY ROBERT SWIFT, HARRISBURG
A state authority Tuesday approved the distribution of $12.4
million in slot machine revenue from Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs to help fund
local projects in Luzerne County.
A total of 46 projects will receive funding
through the annual local share distribution approved by the Commonwealth Financing
Authority. They include $250,000 to renovate the former Ramada Hotel in downtown
Wilkes-Barre for use by Kings College, $500,000 to improve flood protection
along Solomon Creek in Wilkes-Barre and $600,000 to upgrade surveillance cameras
Funding has also been approved for projects in other municipalities
in Luzerne County, including:Interstate Window and Door will receive $350,000
to expand its manufacturing operations and create 25 new, full-time jobs in Pittston
Finch Technology in West Pittston will receive $300,000 for improvements
and training necessary to apply for certification necessary to provide services
to drillers in the Marcellus Shale industry.
The city of Pittston will receive
$450,000 to complete the third phase of their Main Street Revitalization plan.
Pathway to Recovery Counseling and Educational Services will receive $244,678
to upgrade their counseling facilities and expand their services offered in the
city of Hazleton.
DHD Realty Holding will receive $500,000 to convert the
Hazleton National Bank Building into office space in downtown Hazleton that is
expected to generate 160 new jobs.
The city of Nanticoke
will receive $500,000 for the final component of the downtown revitalization plan.
The funds will also match a federal earmark for the initiative.
The Greater Pittston Memorial Library will receive $500,000 for the construction
of a 5,175 sq. ft. addition that will facilitate a new childrens wing and
a community conference room.
Valley View Estates in Larksville will receive
$400,000 to install a sewage treatment facility within the estates to correct
a Clean Streams Law violation and solve the long-standing sewage problem for current
residents. The facility will also open the area up for additional development.
The West Side COG will receive $800,000 for the purchase of specialized public
safety and public works equipment that will be shared by the twelve member municipalities.
Ashley Borough will receive $300,000 for the acquisition and renovation of a building
that will serve as the new municipal building and replace their existing 100 year
old, partially condemned facility.
Exeter Borough will receive $200,000 to
complete phase 2 of their storm water improvement project.
will receive $150,000 for the construction of roadways, shoulders and a storm
water management system in the AgMar Estates residential development.
Borough will receive $300,000 to complete Phase 2 of the streetscape improvement
project in their central business district that includes Centre Street and South
The Freeland YMCA will receive $77,678 to renovate the historic Freeland
Hazleton City will receive $100,000 to repair and replace the
roof on the citys municipal garage. The city will also receive $350,000
for the preservation and improvement of City Hall.
Plymouth Township will
receive $275,000 for the replacement of the Coal Street Bridge that was severely
damaged by tropical storms in 2011.
West Hazleton Borough will receive $200,000
to complete the renovation of the police station and allow the annex to house
the West Hazleton Fire Department.
The Hazleton Little League Association
will receive $25,487 to assist with the renovation and rehabilitation of the little
league complex located in the city of Hazleton and Hazle Township.
Borough will receive $250,000 for the resurfacing of multiple roadways throughout
Bear Creek Township will receive $225,000 to assist with the
purchase of a pre-engineered insulated metal building with 7 bay doors to house
the townships public works maintenance operations.
will receive $75,000 for the purchase of a new municipal street sweeper.
Township will receive $100,000 to assist with the purchase of new municipal vehicles
and maintenance equipment for the public works department.
The demand for project
funding far exceeded the amount of slots revenue available, said CFA official
The authority also approved a $950,000 grant for an alternative
energy heat and power project by Mohegan Sun.
parking ban in effect for Nanticoke street
police are warning of a temporary parking ban this week for road construction.
will be no parking on East Church Street, between College and Chestnut streets,
between the hours 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., starting Monday and ending Friday evening.
vehicles parked in this area during that time frame will be towed at the owners
expense, police said..
to look at cutting energy costs
Susan Bettinger - Times Leader
Manager Andrew Gegaris said at Thursday nights council meeting that representatives
from Smart Watt Energy will be attending the Sept. 17 meeting to discuss a proposed
Custom Incentive Plan for the city.
Gegaris said that Smart Watt Energy is
a sole-source contractor for UGI and that their purpose is to make
energy costs more effective.
Gegaris added that the company will also
do a survey and assessment of the citys traffic lights and street lights.
The assessment comes at no risk (financially) to the city, he said.
adopted an ordinance which provides for additional mandatory recycling requirements.
The ordinance includes only minor changes, for example the requirement of mandatory
yard-waste containers at all public events, according to solicitor William T.
Gegaris said that the ordinance is favorable because it will affect
the recycling practices of commercial properties, who sometimes disregard the
voluntary recycling methods, leaving city with a reduction in credit for recyclable
The ordinance is a requirement for the city to become eligible for a
902 Grant, which Gegaris has applied for. The grant would provide for more recycling
containers for residents.
Also announced at the meeting:
Pot Volunteer Fire Department will host wing night on Saturday, beginning at 5
p.m. Wings are $8 per order. Contact Linda Prushinski at (570) 735-0508 for more
The Hanover section of Nanticoke Block Party will be held
from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday in the vicinity of Center Street and Front
Street to the first alley. Contact Emalie or Leonard at Front and Center Music
at (570) 740-2009 for more information.
The citywide yard sale will
be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 13. The rain date is Sept. 14. The deadline
to register is Monday. For more information, call (570) 735-2800 ext. 101.
clerk Mary Beth Cheshinski said that the citys first wing festival was a
success and commended Becky Seman for her organization of the event.
next meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Sept. 17.
remnants of Perrone name gone from GNA
Mark Guydish - email@example.com
looks clean and unaltered, almost as if nothing was missing. The last remnants
of former Superintendent Tony Perrones name have been removed from a sign
outside the high school, and the school board president said he feels the controversy
is behind them.
Perrone, of Pittston, began working in the district full-time
in 1966 and became superintendent in 1996. He was credited with helping pull the
district from the brink of bankruptcy and overseeing new construction. Perhaps
most notably, he retired in 2003 but stayed on, unpaid, until stepping down abruptly
in January, citing health problems.
A sign that read Greater Nanticoke
Area Tony Perrone Educational Campus was set up outside the main district
buildings in his last years, but controversy erupted in April 2013 when seven
of nine board members claimed they had been misled as to where money for the sign
$4,346 came from, believing it had been private donations. The head
of district grounds said the money came from the general fund.
Only board members
Cindy Donlin and Jeff Kozlofski seemed to know where the money had come from,
and both denied misleading other members about the source. The pair lost their
bid for reelection that year, but controversy about the sign continued.
the new board agreed to remove Perrones name. It disappeared in July, leaving
tell tale signs where the letters had been.
Drive by the sign these days and
those scars are gone. It looks as though nothing was ever there. In a brief interview
Board President Ryan Verazin said the board had agreed to the move to end the
the 109th Field Artillery
The Citizens' Voice
109th Field Artillery must be saved.
The National Guard units importance
to the Wyoming Valley during natural disasters is reason enough to preserve and
protect this vital community resource.
But beyond that, we absolutely must
have an appreciation for history and recognize that the soldiers of the 109th
have and could continue to play roles in the national defense of our nation. The
new terror threats emerging in the Middle East provide ample proof that unknown
dangers lay ahead. It is not wise to dismantle reserve or Guard units in Hometown
The unit has an economic impact. Its 600 or so members in batteries
in Wilkes-Barre, Nanticoke and Plymouth contribute to the regions economic
base. There are full-time jobs involved also, the men and women who keep the batteries
functioning between drills.
The importance of the National Guard units on the
chopping block nationwide is indicated in the bi-partisan opposition of legislators
at the state and federal levels, including the governors of all 50 states.
109th dates to Oct. 17, 1775 when it was formed as the 24th Regiment of the Connecticut
Militia. Connecticut and Pennsylvania fought over the land and eventually the
dispute was settled, and to this date the 109th, successor to the 24th through
a colorful and complex history, carries flags of both states. Those flags were
on the train when 33 Guardsmen were killed en route to training at the outset
of the Korean War in 1950.
In an area where we tear down historic coal breakers,
hotels and train stations, we should halt this desecration of our history. Area
citizens should scream out, Enough! and join with legislators to save
and protect the 109th and its historic armory, the base of local Guard operations.
who recall the 109th Jeeps patrolling the dikes in June 1972 will never forget
that image. It is the image that should drive the community to demand retention
of the 109th.
targeted for elimination
A plan to slash national military spending
could hit home in a big way as the historic 109th Field Artillery in Wilkes-Barre
is slated for elimination.
An Army proposal for a nationwide slimdown in forces
calls for the local National Guard unit to shutter, the states top National
Guard officer said last week.
But a bipartisan group of lawmakers has vowed
to make sure that doesnt happen.
Founded in 1775, prior to the Unites
States itself, the 109th has armories in Wilkes-Barre, Nanticoke and Plymouth.
The unit currently boasts a compliment of 320 soldiers and recently was authorized
to add another combat unit of 90 soldiers.
Asked about the fate of the unit,
the 109ths commanding officer, Maj. Gerard Wrazien, said it was too
early to tell.
The unit goes back to the founding of our country,
Wrazien said, describing how the 109th fought alongside the Connecticut Militia
during the Battle of Wyoming during the American Revolution.
The 109th is one
of five battalions in the National Guards 55th Armored Brigade Combat Team,
which is headquartered in Scranton. Under the current proposal, three of the five
battalions the 109th, along with units in Philadelphia and Sellersville
would be eliminated. That would leave battalions in Scranton and Lewisburg.
Armys proposal to eliminate the National Guards 55th Armored Brigade
Combat Team is the wrong approach, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat, said
in a statement. The 55th plays a vital role in contributing to our national
defense and helping Pennsylvanians recover from natural disasters.
drawdown plan is part of a federal effort to shrink the Department of Defense
budget by at least $75 billion over the next two years. Under the proposal, the
nations current compliment of 350,000 National Guard soldiers would be reduced
to 315,000 by 2016.
Pennsylvanias top National Guard official Maj. Gen.
Wesley E. Craig last week said 1,400 soldiers from Pennsylvania must be eliminated
as part of the plan and he identified the 109th as being one of the battalions
eyed for closure.
Nationwide, lawmakers are working to stop the National Guard
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators, including Casey, have organized
a commission to analyze the proposed changes included in President Barack Obamas
2015 budget and force the president and military officials to justify the cuts.
A U.S. House of Representatives bill, which has 217 cosponsors from both political
parties, would prohibit any funds in the 2015 budget to be used to shrink the
National Guard below current levels.
The National Governors Association wrote
a letter to Obama, signed by the governors of all 50 states, saying, the
nations governors strongly oppose the potential cuts to the Army National
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett has vowed he can and will block
the proposed cuts. Corbett recently sent a letter to Secretary of the Army John
M. McHugh, claiming federal law prevents such reductions without his approval.
am confident that the Department of the Army will comply with federal law, and
I urge you to cancel this ill-advised reduction in force structure, Corbett
wrote in a recent letter.
Should the reduction plan be successful despite the
opposition, its too soon to speculate on what that would mean
for local 109th soldiers or the armories in Wilkes-Barre, Nanticoke and Plymouth,
One thing, he said, is certain: the National Guard will always
be available to protect and serve local citizens in time of need.
109th Field Artillery has always been a part of the community here, Wrazien
said. The National Guard will always have a presence in the community because
we have an obligation to the citizens of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
nation and region has relied heavily on the 109th in modern times, especially
since Sept. 11, 2001.
Troops were called to fight in the wars in Afghanistan
and Iraq, where Sgt. Sherwood Baker, 30, of Plymouth, was killed in the line of
duty. Theyve been sent on other missions to Germany, Egypt, Kuwait, the
Sinai Peninsula and Qatar. Theyve been dispatched to guard the U.S./Mexico
border in Arizona.
On the homefront, theyve guarded the nuclear power
plant in Salem Township after the 2001 terror attacks and were mobilized to help
stranded motorists following the Valentines Day blizzard of 2007. More recently,
they were called to duty twice in 2011 following Hurricane Irene and then Tropical
Storm Lee, which led to record flooding of the Susquehanna River.
over military funding comes as the 109th is poised to add another combat unit.
the 109th houses Headquarters Battery in Wilkes-Barre, often referred to as the
Kingston Armory. Alpha Battery is in Plymouth and Bravo Battery is in Nanticoke.
A new Charlie Battery is coming to Wilkes-Barre and 109th officials will soon
be recruiting the 90 soldiers they need to fill the battery, Wrazien said.|
worries that national military leaders number crunching while looking at
troop staffing might see the 109th as expendable because of so many open
spots in the brand new unit.
This is a critical time because as the Department
of Defense looks at reducing force structure, they look at how units are maintaining
their strength, Wrazien said. We are looking for soldiers. Im
gaining a whole new battery and I have to man it.
GNA worker honored
Sen. John T. Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) recently presented a Pennsylvania Senate
citation to Frank A. Wolfe of Nanticoke. Wolfe retired from the Nanticoke
Area School District earlier this summer after 40 years of service. A
member of the maintenance department, Wolfe was one the longest tenured employees
in the district and well known for his work behind the scenes preparing the athletic
fields for competitions.
1st annual Wingfest brings camaraderie, greasy fingers
and lips dripping with ghost pepper sauce, Mendel Fernandes and Kristopher Tagnani
threw up their hands and backed away from the table leaving a few uneaten chicken
A crowd of more than 100 moaned at their defeat.
The two had
succumbed to the blistering heat of their Jolokia Heat Wave Ghost Pepper wings
from Nanticokes The Parkway Inn. Meanwhile, their competitors in speed eating
continued to chow down hoping to finish their own portions of wings in the shortest
The wing-eating contest, featuring seven contestants from Nanticoke,
was the grand finale Sunday for the first annual Wingfest on Patriot Square.
few moments before the wing-scarfing commenced, organizer Rebecca Seman, 30, made
rounds visiting vendor stands. She stopped for a moment to explain her vision
for Nanticoke with a stronger sense of community something, she said, that
takes a little effort.
Money paid by the 34 vendors as entry fees will help
pay for future community events, Seman said.
Its just a way to
bring Nanticoke together, Seman said. To get everyone out talking
and getting to know each other.
Maryann Olver and Jonathan Lang of Nanticoke
sat at a table with their friends Lisa and Scott Percevault of Mountain Top. A
paper wing boat containing only sauce from The Parkway Inns Chipotle Ranch
wings sat on the table between them.
They were taking their time, savoring
thoughtful selections of the deep-fried morsels to build a consensus on which
area restaurant brought the best.
Admittedly, Uncle Bucks Sweet and Tangy
wings were pretty good they said, and a close competitor. But the spicy, yet savory
fare from The Parkway brought complexity that was hard to beat.
havent even gotten to the R Bar (& Grill) yet, Scott Percevault
After Fernandes and Tagnani backed out, the remaining five speed eaters
were in to the end. Faces turned red, eyes and noses started to run while spent
chicken bones piled up on the table.
John Bugdonovitch of Nanticoke took first
place consuming his dozen in 3 minutes and 5 seconds, a record he aspires to beat
With red-stained fingers and a little wing sauce persistently stuck
to his goatee, Bugdonovitch said it was his technique pulling the meat
off the bone in one swipe, not gnawing it off that gave him an edge.
thinking about how hot it is, just chewing and swallowing, he said.
the day was winding down, the Percevaults, Olver and Lang had reached their consensus
they said. They had sampled wings from the R Bar & Grill, but agreed The Parkways
Chipotle Ranch had earned a unanimous sauce-covered thumbs-up from all of them.
implement changes at schools
Michael P. Buffer - Citizens Voice
new school year brings a variety of changes in districts across Luzerne County.
Ronald Grevera has taken over as superintendent of the Greater
Nanticoke Area School District. He had been superintendent of the Northwest Area
School District until July.
The district has made some other administrative
changes, Grevera said. John Gorham is the principal at K.M. Smith Elementary School
for pre-kindergrarten through first grade and Kennedy Elementary School for second
Maryellen Scott is the principal of the Elementary Center for grades
three to seven. Joseph Long is the high school principal.
The district is building
a locking vestibule by the high school to restrict access to district facilities,
I will be leading a committee of teachers to conduct a
safety audit of each building, reporting needs back to the board to increase school
safety district wide in each building, Grevera said.
The district also
will operate its own cyber program to bring students back to the district, Grevera
to use tax collection service
Susan Bettinger - Times Leader
council voted unanimously at Wednesdays meeting to enter into a contract
with e-Collect Plus, a Pittsburgh-based
tax collection service.
The service makes sure that all fees, permits
and taxes owed to the city are collected and that there is no cost
to the city or the tax payers, City Manager Andrew Gegaris said at a meeting
earlier this month.
Gegaris also said that many times there are wrong
records, wrong millages and various other mistakes that are keeping the city from
obtaining the money which is owed. The e-Collect firm audits Berkeimer to make
sure that it is correct.
The contract agreement states that no fee will
be charged if less than $25,000 in taxes is recovered. Upon reaching the $25,000
minimum, e-Collect will charge 15 percent fee. The company is examining the past
three years and is estimating a projected collection of $169,000 and $206,000.
contract is subject to solicitor approval.
Gegaris has also applied for a 902
Grant, which would provide for more recycling containers for residents.
Richard Wiaterowski swore in Firefighter Justin Gildea. Gildea will replace Firefighter
Travis Temarantz, who resigned last month to join the Wilkes-Barre Fire Department.
Honey Pot Volunteer Fire Department will host wing night on Sept. 6, beginning
at 5 p.m. Wings will be $8 per order. Contact Linda Prushinski at (570) 735-0508
for more information.
The Hanover Section of Nanticoke Block Party will be
held Sept. 6 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the vicinity of Center Street and Front
Street to the first alley. For more information, contact Emalie or Leonard at
Front and Center Music (570) 740-2009.
tot gets new lease on life
Mihalos celebrated her second birthday on July 8, 2014, but to members of her
family, the celebration was a rebirth because of everything the little girl has
been through over the past two years.
Born with narrow nasal passages which
impaired her breathing, Alexa has spent a large portion of her young life in a
hospital and connected to a tracheostomy (trach) tube undergoing numerous medical
procedures to correct the problem.
And even though she received numerous presents
for the occasion, the Nanticoke tot was on the giving end of her birthday by letting
her parents Jeanna and Manny and grandparents hear her laugh and talk for the
By all accounts when Alexa was born, everything seemed fine. Her
maternal grandfather Ron Bau of Hunlock Creek recalls getting the call that he
had a healthy granddaughter. But minutes later, that changed.
The doctors noticed
that tiny Alexa was having trouble breathing and suspected that there was trouble
with swelling in her nasal passages but later they realized it was much more than
just swelling. She was sent to Moses Taylor Hospital, Scranton.
Mihalos held her for the first time two days after she was born. Four days later,
Alexa was lifeflighted to Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia. Jeanna didnt
hold her child again until six weeks later.
While at Childrens Hospital
of Philadelphia, Alexa had two operations on her nose for pyriform aperture stenosis,
a rare anomaly where the anterior opening of the nose is narrow and there is overgrowth
of the maxillary bone. The time she was recovering from these surgeries she kept
taking her breathing tube out which caused a build up of scar tissue and an inflammation
in her trachea, which brought about the necessity for having a trach tube inserted
to help her breathe.
I remember the day that she got the trach,
Jeanna said. My husband and I had mixed emotions over seeing her with the
trach but we said maybe this will help her get home faster. Then she gave us a
big smile as if to say, Finally, I can breathe on my own.
that was just the beginning of her battle. Since Alexa was a baby, she often dislodged
the trach tube by sheer movement or by trying to pull it out. Her parents were
unable to be away from her side. She needed eyes on her 24/7 to make sure she
didnt block her trach. Jeanna quit her job at the Red Cross and became a
full-time stay-at-home mother and caretaker.
Jeanna and Manny stayed at a hotel
for two weeks before they were able to get a room at the Ronald McDonald House,
where they lived for 2-1/2 months, while Alexa was hospitalized in Philadelphia.
Staying in the city proved costly for the couple.
Her mother and father had
to be certified in trach CPR and emergency procedures before Alexa was discharged
so that they could come to her assistance should something happen.
4, 2012, Alexa was finally able to come home, but it wasnt the homecoming
they had hoped for. Bringing a new baby home was overwhelming enough,
Jeanna said. But we had tons of medical equipment, boxes everywhere and
there were strangers in my house.\
There were several times in the hospital
that Alexa coded, needed resusitation, and once at home.
During one of those
times, Jeanna had to resuscitate her daughter when a night nurse neglected to
notice the baby pulled out her trach tube. After that experience, the family let
that nurse go and Jeanna often slept on the floor near her daughters crib
while her father stood guard to wake her should something happen. After two months
without night nursing, the couple signed on with another nursing agency and received
three nurses Alexa loves.
But through it all, Alexa was determined. She
was always the happiest baby, her mother said.
Although Alexa couldnt
speak, her progression in other ways, such as walking, was right on par with other
children her age. When Alexa was just a few months old, her mother began teaching
her sign language. It was a big way for her to communicate with us,
Jeanna said. She could tell us she was hungry or tired. She also learned
signs for animals that she saw.
Last November was a major step forward
for Alexa when she had double stage larynotracheal reconstruction. Cartilage from
her rib was used to expand the airways in order to widen the trachea. A follow-up
single stage surgery was conducted in June. Her surgeon Dr. Ian Jacobs proclaimed
her diagnosis stellar. Dr. Jacobs said she has a better trachea than all
of us, and she exceeded all my expectations.
Jeanna got a major surprise
in the middle of the night, days after surgery, when she awakened to the sound
of a cry. It took her a minute, and then she realized the babys crying was
her own daughter marking the very first time she ever heard Alexa cry. Then she
and Alexa cried together.
Things are changing at the Mihalos household and
slowly getting back to the normal of what it would be to have a 2-year-old child.
Alexa can take regular baths now as opposed to sponge baths. A suction machine
and emergency trach bag doesnt have to be carried everywhere that Alexa
goes. Alexa visited Knoebels Amusement Park as part of a trach-free celebration
planned for her.
The things you didnt think of before, you take
for granted, Jeanna said. Its so freeing. I couldnt drive
for the longest time because I had to always sit next to her. Now Alexa and I
can go for rides together. I couldnt wear perfume because she couldnt
be around strong smells.
Jeanna still has to thicken all of her liquids
because Alexa still aspirates them. She has a large scar on her neck from the
trach tube and two scars on her chest from the rib graft surgeries. She also lost
some of her hair, which the doctors diagnosed as alopecia attributed to stress.
Alexa still has night nursing to monitor her oxygen levels with a pulse ox and
hopefully nursing will be discontinued after her bronchoscopy in September.
has been talking now and can say mama, dada and two.
She is receiving speech therapy and doctors are sure that she will catch up to
her peers before she enters preschool.
Caring for her daughter over the past
two years provided the impetus for Jeanna to begin a rebirth of her own. She plans
on studying surgical technology at Luzerne County Community College this fall
since she saw first hand how successful Alexas surgeries were.
had been born in the early 90s she would have probably had her trach into
her 20s. Dr. Jacobs gave Alexa something we couldnt give her,
her mother said. He gave her the gift of breathing.
never remember any of this but her parents will tell her all about it and she
has the scars and pictures to prove it.
The past two years were draining
and exhausting, but I dont even see that now, Jeanna said. This
is an exciting time for us.
bidding over Nanticoke property in tax sale
former Nanticoke bowling alley fetched the highest bid $70,000 in
this weeks free-and-clear Luzerne County back-tax auction.
Pasquale Scalleat acquired the 1.6-acre property on Washington Street after fending
off intense competition from three men Jignesh, Bhikhabhai and Anup Patel.
started at $856.
Attorney John Rodgers, who ran the auction, quickly snapped
his head back and forth numerous times between the competing bidders seated on
opposite sides of the county courthouse rotunda Thursday to see if they were willing
to go higher.
Scalleat said he didnt expect bidding to exceed $30,000
to $40,000 but was willing to pay more because he operates a demolition and salvage
company and wont have to pay someone else to remove the deteriorating 121,556-square-foot
structure. He expects to recoup much of his investment from scrap value.
very interested in buying up these dilapidated eyesores in our area and getting
them back on the tax rolls, Scalleat said. The building is a liability,
and if kids get hurt, its a bad situation.
The former L.S. Bowl-A-Rama
was owned by Ellis Investment Inc. Bowling alley owner George Ellis, of Conyngham
Township, pleaded guilty in May 2010 to possessing more than 1,100 marijuana plants
and money laundering. The plants were discovered during a raid at the bowling
alley in November 2009, police said.
Jignesh Patel said he owns two businesses
near the bowling alley site Ruminskis Market and the Beer Stop Deli
and wanted to replace the rundown, vacant Ellis property with a new commercial
and residential plaza.
We are trying to make a better city. We love Nanticoke,
Scalleat said he has no specific development plans for the parcel
and is willing to meet with the Patels and others to explore options.
purchased 67 of the 137 properties listed for sale Thursday, paying a combined
$420,750, according to Sean Shamany, of Northeast Revenue Service LLC, the countys
Eight properties were removed from the sale because the
owners filed for bankruptcy protection. Another 146 properties eligible for sale
were postponed to a special free-and-clear auction Oct. 16, largely because Northeast
Revenue wanted to ensure all lien holders were sufficiently notified of the sale.
70 properties that did not sell Thursday will go into a repository and may be
purchased at any time with approval from taxing bodies.
One of the largest
properties on the auction roster was removed the morning of the sale: a retail
structure at 259 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre, owned by Igor Kleyman and Then You
Win Inc. The property, which once housed the Rides & Rhythms auto parts store,
includes three parcels with a combined assessment of $480,000.
owner convinced a judge to delay its auction listing until Oct. 16 after filing
a petition promising to pay the back-tax debt now that a commercial tenant has
been secured for the building.
Jasmine Rodriquez bought her first home at the
sale a half-double on Regent Street in Wilkes-Barre for $2,000.
She and her cousin, Christina Davis, discussed plans for the property, which is
assessed at $38,000, as they waited in line to pay after the sale.
exciting. It needs work, but I plan to do most of it myself with the help of family,
said the 32-year-old Back Mountain renter.
makes security changes for school year
Susan Bettinger - Times Leader
Recently appointed Greater Nanticoke Area Superintendent
Ron Grevera announced several changes to increase safety at the high school that
will be implemented this school year at Thursdays school board meeting.
new policies include:
All staff will now be required to wear ID badges
at all times while on the schools premises.
Visitors to the school
will no longer have access to roam freely around the campus.
will have to sign in and wear visitors badges.
Parents or others
wishing to enter any of the offices will be escorted by a member of staff.
There will be locking vestibule in the high school lobby.
is also asking for parents cooperation with the new safety and security
measures. He is also hoping to get approval for the installation of additional
cameras and door alarms.
Grevera also discussed the inclusion of classroom
diagnostic tools being incorporated into the curriculum. The tests are a way of
identifying issues and problems at an early stage and are in correlation with
the PSSA tests.
I know that our kids can do better stated Grevera.
The board approved the establishment of a Policy Committee
within the school board. The committee is comprised of Wendy Kotsko-Wiaterowski,
Megan Tennesen and Chairperson Tony Prushinski. The committee replaces the Planning
Committee and will make decisions on matters such as safety, education and athletics
The bus stops for the 2014-2015 school year are listed on
the schools website http://www.gnasd.com.
The first day of classes
will be Aug. 25.
The next school board meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Sept. 11.
ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS PLAN BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHTS
Greater Nanticoke Area elementary schools are planning Back to School nights.
The events will offer parents and guardians opportunities to meet their childs
teacher. Students may accompany their parents/guardians to the program. Each teacher
will present an overview of the school year. The evening is not for individual
conferences. K.M. Smith Elementary School will hold its Back to School Night from
5 to 7 p.m. Monday. Kennedy Elementary and the GNA Elementary Center will hold
a Back to School Night Aug. 26. There will be three identical presentations from
6 to 6:15 p.m., 6:25 to 6:40 p.m. and 6:50 to 7:05 p.m. On the first day of school,
Aug. 25, only students will be allowed in the buildings. No parents or guardians
will be allowed to enter the school buildings. Packets of information and forms
that must be completed by the parents/guardians will be distributed that night.
Dr. Mariellen Scott is principal of the GNA Elementary Center and John Gorham
is principal of K.M. Smith Elementary School and the Kennedy Elementary School.
council hears benefits of auditing service
Susan Bettinger - Times
City Manager Andy Gegaris pitched the benefits
of the city using an auditing service agency to make sure the city is collecting
all the taxes and fees it should at Aug. 6s council meeting.
explained that e-Collect Plus makes sure that all fees, permits and taxes
owed to the city are collected and that there is no cost to the city
if less than $50,000 is collected.
In the event that more than $50,000
is collected, e-Collect Plus charges 15 percent of the collected fees.
added that many times there are wrong records, wrong millages and various
other mistakes that are keeping the city from obtaining the money which
it is owed.
The e-Collect firm audits Berkeimer to make sure that it
is correct, Gegaris said.
Gegaris also said that the city doesnt
have the resources to double check all businesses, and that Hanover Township is
using e-Collects services.
The council will vote on whether to approve
e-Collects proposal during a future meeting.
Gegaris also answered some
of the negative comments regarding a proposal to bring an inter-modal transportation
center to the city.
Gegaris detailed the benefits of an inter-modal for LCTA
buses, LCCC vans and taxis. He said the inter-modal will not only compliment
the street-scape project by enhancing the citys appearance
but will also revitalize the city by bringing in new businesses and jobs.
also said the intermodal would increase public safety as the buses
would have a central location, eliminating the need to stop in the middle of the
street for passengers.
The council will meet next at 7 p.m. on Aug. 20.
nursing home will close in October
A personal care home in Nanticoke with a history of health
violations will close in October.
Nanticoke State, formerly known as Nanticoke
Villa under previous ownership, will close Oct. 6, or when all of its residents
have found alternative facilities, according to a state Department of Public Welfare
Nanticoke States owner, Constantinos Mallios, notified the
department Wednesday that he would be closing the facility, leaving its 47 residents
in search of new living facilities.
Obviously closing the facility is
the last thing that we want to do, Matthew J. Jones, director of human services
licensing, said Friday. The situation is very serious, and Mr. Mallios has
also come to the conclusion that the facility has to close.
to close Nanticoke State, Mallios in July had appealed the departments decision
to revoke his license based on repeated violations that risked exposing residents
to hepatitis B, according to the departments violations history report on
The personal care home was sold to Mallios on May 12, after the
Bureau of Human Services refused to renew the license of the previous owner, Ron
Halko. Under Halkos ownership, a Department of Public Welfare inspection
found that several Nanticoke Villa residents had been infected with hepatitis
B after health-care personnel used the same blood glucose equipment to treat several
patients. Jones said no more than 10 people were infected with hepatitis B.
the result of those findings, we non-renewed Mr. Halkos license, Jones
said, adding that the license was essentially revoked.
Halko was notified of
the non-renewal on March 18, and sold the personal care home to Mallios after
appealing the bureaus decision.
During a June 17 inspection, the Department
of Public Welfare found that workers under Mallioss ownership continued
sharing blood glucose equipment with numerous patients, according to the departments
violations history report on the property.
This, of course, we considered
to be extremely serious because of the known presence of hepatitis B in the facility,
In a letter dated July 15, the Bureau of Human Services Licensing
notified Mallios that it was revoking his license, based on gross incompetence,
negligence or misconduct in operating the facility, citing multiple
and repeated violations including unsanitary conditions related to infection control
and fire safety. In a May 22 inspection, a code enforcement officer found
that Nanticoke States fire alarm and sprinkler systems did not comply with
the 2009 International Fire code.
Mallios appealed the bureaus decision
to revoke his license on July 22, but notified officials Wednesday that he would
instead close the personal care facility, Jones said. The state Department of
Health, Jones said, is looking into whether any additional patients were infected
with hepatitis B under Mallioss ownership.
Nanticoke State personnel
were contacted, but refused to comment on Friday.
While Nanticoke State remains
open, a relocation team assisted by Luzerne County Human Services will work with
the 47 residents to help them find new living facilities.
do our best to keep them as close to the Nanticoke area as we can, Jones
said, adding that their medical needs will take priority in the relocation process.
Well look at all options available for these folks.
wants to bring back Nanticoke pride
Lou Gianuzzi has spent more
than 100 hours beautifying Patriot Square Park
Susan Bettinger -
As a city resident for 23 years, Lou
Gianuzzi wants to bring back Nanticoke pride.
Thats why Gianuzzi
has volunteered nearly 100 hours of his time beautifying Patriot Square Park,
an effort that was completed on July 8.
I just want the families and
citizens of the community to have a nice place to relax and enjoy themselves
Gianuzzi said that the idea to renovate Patriot Square came
on May 10, while he was helping out with another community project.
Seman, founder of the Nanticoke Community Garden, members of her organization
and members of city council all gathered together in an effort to clean up the
park and plant flowers in the flower box that surrounds the parks display
of the American flag. Gianuzzi said that on the day of the cleanup, he decided
to start early, at 9:30 a.m., in preparation for the project.
to get a head start and have everything ready for when the volunteers arrived.
I pulled up weeds and small trees, raked, and dug up the ground, which took
four hours, Gianuzzi explained.
After the flowers had been planted, the
idea came to me; I would sand and paint the outside of the (10-by-20 foot) flower
box Gianuzzi continued.
A few days later, while looking at the box and
watering the newly planted flowers, Gianuzzi thought: this needs something
He then decided to paint Welcome To Patriot Square
on both sides of the flower box.
A few days later, I was sitting in the
park, and I decided to repair and paint all 10 benches. The benches were in poor
condition; some were broken and some had paint peeling off. It took seven days
because of the rain, he said.
I sat there and saw how nice everything
looked. Patriot Square was glowing! Three days later, again I thought about what
else I could do to make it look even nicer, so I painted the words Patriot Square
on each bench. This took four days.
Gianuzzi and Walter Pavelick, who
is the head of the citys Public Works/Street Department, posted signs on
the trees and throughout the square stating which actions were prohibited in the
park, such as no smoking, no drinking, no littering, in accordance with local
The city paid for most of the expenses associated with the renovation.
Gianuzzi said that he paid for a few supplies out of his own pocket without asking
ends for Nanticoke
By Nicholas Gill - Citizens Voice
scored 32 runs in its first three games of the Pennsylvania 10-11 Little League
On Tuesday night, Nanticoke ran into a buzzsaw named Lexi
Rogers, whose no-hitter propelled Nittany Valley to a 5-0 win in an elimination
Rogers was masterful changing speeds and using her funky, but effective
delivery to keep the Nanticoke hitters off balance all night.
six innings, allowed zero hits, walked five and struck out 12.
is different and throws people off,Nittany Valley coach Chris Morelli said.
Lexi is a gamer. She has done this all tournament, not no-hitters, but she
has thrown strikes and mixed up her pitches which you dont see at this level.
Valley broke a scoreless tie in the second inning when Molly Richendefer brought
home Alyssa Bickle on a ball that got past first base. The team extended the lead
in the third when Jaelyn Smith singled home Rogers to make it 2-0.
worked a few very tough at-bats to draw walks and put runners on base. The team
was aggressive trying to manufacture runs because of how dominate Rogers was on
the mound. Nanticoke was thrown out trying to steal third and left a runner on
third in their best scoring chances.
Once we got on base, we took chances,
Nanticoke manager Colleen Baird said. The pitchers windup threw them
off. They have faced that speed before, but the windup got them.
Valley continued to manufacture runs in the later innings. Richendefer singled
home an RBI in the third to make it 3-0.
Rogers brought Lily Gardner home with
an RBI ground out and Makenna Port hit a bloop single to centerfield to plate
the final run.
Nanticoke rallied in previous games in the late innings, but
could not get Rogers timing down on Tuesday.
Nanticoke ended the year
with a third-place finish in the state tournament.
It has been a great
season, Baird said. Im proud of these girls. We were third in
the state and there is not much more you can ask for.
will play West Point at 2 today for the state title. If Nittany Valley, wins the
two teams will meet again at 5.
Wolfe retires from GNA School District
Wolfe III, Honey Pot section of Nanticoke, retired recently after a four-decade
career with the Greater Nanticoke Area School District.
Wolfe was employed
in the maintenance department at GNA for 40 years and was one of the longest-tenured
employees in the district. He retired effective June 27.
As a member of the
maintenance department at GNA, Wolfe lined the fields for football games, soccer
and baseball games and was well known for his work behind the scenes to prepare
the facilities for athletic competitions.
On the occasion of his retirement,
he was featured in the GNA Insider, the school districts internal publication,
in an article headlined GNA says goodbye to a legend.
Director of Buildings and Grounds Frank Grevera in that article described Wolfe
as an icon to anybody who was involved with sports at GNA.
is the son of Alice Wolfe, Nanticoke. He and his late wife, Patricia, have two
victim Jennifer Mieczkowski still on mend
Nanticoke woman slowly getting back
what was taken away
Jerry Lynott - firstname.lastname@example.org
the stroke of a finger Jennifer Mieczkowski slides across the screen of her cellphone
color photographs of her face stitched together with thick black sutures.
kept them as reminders of the box cutter attack early New Years Day 2012
inside a Nanticoke bar and how far away shes come from the slashing and
the plastic surgery to hide the wounds.
It doesnt go away. I know
it looks good, but I can still see it, Mieczkowski said Saturday.
still ground to make up, trust to be regained and life to be lived for Mieczkowski,
33, the mother of a 9-year-old daughter, Gabbie. The guilty plea last week to
simple assault by the woman whom Mieczkowski identified as the attacker has helped,
but charging her with the slashing would have helped get back so much of whats
been taken away.
Mieczkowski said that on the urging of the Luzerne County
District Attorneys office she kept quiet in order not to jeopardize the
case. She decided to open up after Melanie Figueroa entered her plea July 21.
happy its over, Mieczkowski said.
Still she faulted the district
attorney and police for a lackluster investigation. She said they questioned her
recollection of events that morning inside the former Prospect Street Cafe, going
so far as to say it was affected by the trauma and the blood in her eyes that
Shes started to prepare a victims impact statement for the
court and planned on attending Figueroas sentencing on Sept. 9.
dont want her to have house arrest, Mieczkowski said, adding Figueroa
should serve time in prison, even if she has a young son.
life hasnt changed, Mieczkowski said. My daughter has gone through
more than any normal child her age has gone through.
As for Mieczkowski,
her life had been upended. She tried to go back to work at her hair salon after
the attack, but shut it down in April 2012.
A new customer came in and while
doing her hair, Mieczkowski said, she looked in the mirror and saw the womans
eyes shifting from scar to scar.
How do you go to work and make somebody
feel beautiful when you dont? she asked.
For two years she wouldnt
shop, she said, for fear of people recognizing her as that girl from
the slashing. Just a month ago she went to the Wyoming Valley Mall with her mother,
Family has been a unwavering source of support. My mom didnt
leave my side, Mieczkowski said of being with her after plastic surgeon
Dr. George Speace restored her face. Her younger sister, Ashlee, has provided
help and encouragement. Shes just been such a big part of me getting
over it, Mieczkowski said.
Mieczkowski suffered a loss earlier this month
when her father, Walter, died from cancer at the age of 53. He used to own Peoples
Food Market in Nanticoke.
Shes not worked since she closed her salon.
She s been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. Shes without
health insurance and has medical bills to pay. She hopes that the lawsuit she
filed against the bar will pay for the bills. The case is still pending in Luzerne
Her goal is to reopen her salon and put as much distance as possible
between herself and the attack. Its a slow process.
coming back to who I was, she said.
But there are moments when she catches
herself playing what if, she said, asking what if she didnt
go into the bar with a friend to buy a 12-pack of beer for take out. She also
asked what if she wasnt charged with resisting arrest in February for an
early morning incident at J. P. Mascaro & Sons in Hanover Township. The criminal
case has nothing to do with the bar attack and in no way portrays her as someone
who looks for trouble, she said.
Instead Mieczkowskis tattoos speak for
her. Beautifully Broken in cursive script bows from right to left
under her neck. A macabre portrait of Marilyn Monroe covers her right arm from
shoulder to just above her elbow. Part of the movie stars skull is exposed
under her sculpted hair. Wounds sutured together mar her face and a spider web
tattoo graces her neck.
The blonde Mieczkowski explained that the tattoo shows
inner and outer beauty. We put my scars on her, she said of the actress
shes enamored with
discusses storm water grant
Susan Bettinger - Times Leader Correspondent
the July 16 meeting of Nanticoke City Council, Robert Hughes, a representative
from Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition of Abandoned Mine Reclamation, discussed a
grant application that the city has applied for.
The MS4 Public Education and
Outreach grant would focus on storm water and environmental problems within the
Nanticoke Creek would be a particular issue of interest. The
creek is on the federal list of impaired waters, said Hughes.
a Nanticoke resident, said that the grant has been beneficial to areas such as
Scranton, and the Mid Valley regions when dealing with similar problems with the
Nanticoke City Manager Andrew Gegaris said he will get
in touch with other municipalities (who are involved) and their leaders
to try to find solutions to the problems associated with the creek. Gegaris as
well as Earth Conservancy have written letters in support of the grant.
Council awarded engineering contract to Penn Eastern
for the Forge Creek Dredging project in the amount of 12,190,000.
Gianuzzi and Becky Seman, coordinators of the Nanticoke Patriot Square Activity
Committee, are hoping to continue bringing new events to the park.
said that about 200 people turned out for the July 12 event at the square. Over
20 vendors participated, and most said that they would return, Gianuzzi
Gianuzzi also stated that almost every resident who I asked, said
that they want to see more events like this in Patriot Square.
Council president Bill Brown announced that about 3,000 people attended Nanticokes
Big Bang Independence Day celebration. The celebration and fireworks
display was put together within a month by the mayor Brown said. Mayor
Richard Wiaterowski planned and organized the citys 4th of July event.
The Luzerne County District Attorneys Office will be hosting a concealed
Carry Law and Castle Doctrine seminar at the Nanticoke Municipal Building, on
Monday, July 28 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Space is limited. Those interested may call
Marilyn at 570-825-1714 to reserve a seat.
The next council meeting will be
held on Aug. 6 at 7 p.m.
swears in newest firefighter at City Hall ceremony
Travis Temarantz, 25, started
firefighting at 14
Bill OBoyle email@example.com
Praise from the mayor and the fire chief highlighted Tuesdays swearing in
of the citys newest firefighter/EMT, Travis Temarantz.
I have heard
nothing but outstanding compliments about Travis, Mayor Tom Leighton said.
He comes to the city with great credentials and experience and we are very
fortunate to have him in our fire department.
Temarantz, 25 of Plymouth
Township, started firefighting at age 14 and his most recent job was with the
Nanticoke City Fire Department. His hiring brings the citys complement
to 70 firefighters and eight paramedics, said Fire Chief Jay Delaney.
worked for the city fire department as a per diem paramedic, Delaney said.
As you can see by the number of our firefighters here today, Travis is well
thought of by his peers and he will be on the fire engine starting Sunday.
son of Joseph and Renee Temarantz of Hanover Township, is the first of 12 new
hires for the fire department. On Monday, Luzerne County Community College hosted
a graduation ceremony for 11 city fire department cadet trainees who successfully
completed their initial fire academy training at the Public Safety Training Institute
at the college in Nanticoke. Cadets received more than 500 hours of classroom,
fitness and tactical training over three months.
Delaney said the city received
a $1.2 million grant through the Federal Emergency Management Agency that will
pay for the firefighters for their first two years on the job. Delaney said the
department was hit with a lot of retirements recently.
Temarantz said he was
excited to join the city fire department that Leighton called the largest paid
fire department in Luzerne County.
Im thrilled to be a part of
a great fire department, Temarantz said. Ill keep my head down
and work hard.
On Monday, Delaney said city firefighters have well over
1,000 years of experience.|
Liza Prokop, city spokeswoman, said there are 70
firefighters, eight paramedics and 83 police officers in the city.
city, the administration and council are committed to public safety, Leighton
Prokop said in 2014, Leighton hired 10 new police officers and with the
assistance of the FEMA grant, he was able to hire 11 firefighters in April. Prokop
said staffing levels were fairly consistent over the past five years for both
departments until the 2014 increases. The fire department did experience a decrease
in 2012 due to layoffs and retirement incentives.
wins Section 5 softball championship
Michael Cignoli - Citizens
Kasidy Slusser struck out eight in a complete-game
shutout and Alison Keener went 3 for 3 with an RBI as Nanticoke won the Section
5 10-11 softball championship with a 4-0 victory over West Side on Sunday.
Nice and Nina Zendarski added hits for Nanticoke, while Zendarski and Kyrstin
Montgomery drove in runs.
Sarah Hoskins struck out six for West Side.
native remembered as baseball superstar
Book calls Steve Bilko Babe Ruth
of West Coast
Bill OBoyle firstname.lastname@example.org
seemed normal for Steve and Tom Bilko when they would travel each summer from
their Nanticoke home to southern California to visit their dad in the 1950s.
normal as those visits seemed, there was nothing normal about their dad, Steve
Bilko, who played for many baseball teams, most notably the Los Angeles Angels
of the Pacific Coast League.
Bilko, who died in 1978 at the age of 49, was,
according to the author of a new book, the Babe Ruth of the West Coast. Gaylon
White has chronicled the amazing 1956 season of the L.A. Angels, and Bilko is
the focal point of much of the book.
Titled The Bilko Athletic Club,
a picture of the Nanticoke native adorns the cover of the book and one look at
it tells you that this was one imposing slugger.
White grew up in Los Angeles
and often attended games in Wrigley Field not the one in Chicago, the one
in Los Angeles, which was patterned after the home of the Cubs.
He and thousands
of others were Angels fans. The minor league team was their major league
team. There was no major league baseball west of St. Louis at the time. The Dodgers
and Giants didnt move to the West Coast until 1958.
arrived, we all became instant fans, White said. He was Babe Ruth
White said he remembers Bilko hitting tape-measure shots out of
the park on a daily basis, it seemed. He said Bilko was considerably bigger
than other players not fat, but solid and big-boned.
In 1956, Bilko
won the PCL Triple Crown highest batting average, most home runs and most
runs batted in the same year Mickey Mantle of the Yankees accomplished
the feat in the major leagues.
Bilko was our boyhood hero, White
White said no baseball player from the Sandy
Koufax era through the Nolan Ryan era was ever as popular as Bilko.
Bilko name was magic, he said. There was Bilko-mania long before Beatlemania.
More people in L.A. knew who Bilko was than Marilyn Monroe.
Phil Silvers named his television character, Sgt. Bilko, after the slugger.
said the Pacific Coast League Historical Society meets once a year. At a recent
meeting in northern California, he asked how many in the room had seen a Bilko
Almost everybody raised there hands, White said.
there was something about Bilko, White said, that drew everyone to him.
last home run came off of Jim Mudcat Grant, who had faced him in the
PCL and in the big leagues.
Mudcat referred to Bilko as a Santa Claus
type of guy, White said. He told me guys didnt mind giving up
home runs to Bilko because he hit them so far. He said it was a badge of honor
to have Bilko hit one a country mile off of you.
White said George Genovese,
a 90-year-old baseball scout who signed Dave Kingman, Bobby Bonds and Gary Matthews,
said he once saw Bilko and Frank Howard, a 6-foot-7 slugger who played in the
major leagues for years, hit back to back homers.
Genovese swears those
two home runs were the furthest he had ever seen, White said. He said
they traveled about a mile and a half.
Bilko was the kind of guy everybody could relate to.
He was introverted
and shy, but he would stay at the park until he signed every autograph,
White said. Gene Mauch (former Phillies manager) once told me you will never
find anyone to say anything bad about Bilko. And he was absolutely right.
Bilko enjoyed celebrity status on the west coast, his family and friend back east,
in Honey Pot and Wyoming Valley, were somewhat oblivious to his success.
called him Bilko the Great, White said. His name and picture were
in the paper every day. He was idolized, and people were in awe of him.
said players who played with him and against him still talk with great reverence
of Bilko. He said if Bilko were playing today, he would be one of if not the best
power hitter in baseball.
And he wouldnt need steroids, White
White said Bilko made $15,000 in 1956, his best year ever, and another
$15,000 in endorsements. Mantle made $35,000 that year for the Yankees.
came to the Honey Pot section of Nanticoke to interview Bilko in 1976, two years
before his death. He said Bilko told him there was one guy he did enjoy hanging
around with legendary actor John Duke Wayne.
told me he and John Wayne got along because Wayne was most like the folks in Nanticoke,
White said. Bilko was a regular guy who preferred watching Lawrence Welk
to the Hollywood fast living. He was just a very likeable guy.
Steve, 63, and Tom, 62, Bilko remember their father as the man
White described and how everybody, apparently, felt about him.
go out to California every summer and we would meet all the players, Steve
said. When we came back, we wouldnt tell anybody much about who we
met because they wouldnt have believed us anyway. My dad was the same way.
He kept most of California out of Nanticoke.
Steve said he remembers
a story his dad told him about a wealthy man he met in a bar in L.A. He said the
man bought Bilko a drink and Bilko bought him one back.
This rich guy
came over and asked my dad what he was doing, Steve said. My dad told
him that where he comes from, if a man buys you a drink, you buy him one back.
said the man gave Bilko a Cadillac to use when he was in California.
said years after his dad retired, Gene Autry, owner of the Angels, invited Bilko
to an old-timers game after the team became a Major League Baseball team.
Autry told my dad that he could bring his whole family and he did, Steve
Steve said the Bilko clan was treated like royalty by the Angels and
the fans. He said when his dad was introduced at the game, there was thunderous
I think that was the moment we all realized how popular my
dad was out there, Steve said.
When Bilko retired he returned to Honey
Pot and worked briefly for Woodlawn Dairy and later at Dana Perfume in Mountain
Top. Bilkos widow, Mary, lives in Honey Pot and currently is staying in
Allentown with her daughter, Sharon.
Steve said the book makes him appreciate
his father even more. Prior to Steve Bilkos death he had one grandson, Steves
son, Stephen, who Bilko idolized. And now Bilkos grandson has a son, Stephen,
who is 3 years old.
Hes my dad, Steve said of his grandson.
He looks like him, hes built like him and even at 3, he has athletic
Tom Bilko is an orthopedic surgeon in Chicago, and he said he
will never forget the memories of his father playing in California.
really didnt realize what a big deal it was, Tom said. It was
so routine to go out to the ballpark, into the locker room. We took it for granted,
but always felt it was a privilege for us.
Escaped the mines
his grandfather worked in the coal mines and his father was very appreciative
that he never had to do that.
My father appreciated the fact that he
could make a living playing baseball rather than working in the mines or some
other job, Tom said.
Tom said he remembers seeing pictures of his dad
with President Dwight Eisenhower and visiting at actor Chuck Connors house
Dad never forgot his home, Tom said. He would
tell us how when he visited different cities across the country, he would always
try to make a connection with somebody from back home. He liked it when somebody
with a Wyoming Valley connection was at one of his games.
Bilko Athletic Club
Gaylon White said the book reveals Stout Steve
as larger than life, just as he was in 1956 when it was suggested that Mickey
Mantle and Bilko run for president and vice president in that years U.S.
presidential election. A vote against Mantle and Bilko is a vote against
home, mother and bottled beer, one Los Angeles columnist wrote.
to the book, in 1956 Bilko paced the PCL in eight categories: home runs (55),
batting average (.360), runs batted in (164), hits (215), runs scored (163), walks
(104), total bases (410) and slugging percentage (.683).
In the books
introduction, it reads:
With Bilko as King Kong, the Angels piled up
107 wins to finish 16 games ahead of their closest competitor. They belted 202
home runs, two shy of the league record; posted a team batting average of .297;
and scored 1,000 runs in 168 games or nearly six runs a game. Six players belted
twenty or more home runs and had batting averages of .300 or higher. Four players
batted in 100 or more runs. Six players, including the entire infield, were named
to Look magazines PCL all-star team for 1956.
To read about the
career of Steve Bilko and to review his statistics, go to:
For more on The Bilko Athletic Club, by Gaylon White, go to:
superintendents name removed from GNA school sign
- Citizens Voice
Where there once was honor is now a stripped facade.
Greater Nanticoke Area School District board recently ordered the name of former
superintendent Anthony P. Perrone removed from the sign on its campus, leaving
behind torn patches of paint where gold letters were once affixed.
and unceremonious removal took place just about six months after Perrone retired
at age 72 due to congestive heart problems. He had 51 years of service with the
Its just created divisiveness in this entire community,
and it wasnt done the right way from the beginning, board President
Ryan Verazin said. There have been many great employees and leaders go through
this district over many decades, and they all deserve to be thanked for their
tremendous contributions to the district.
|Perrone, who had been superintendent
since 1996, worked for a decade without receiving any salary or benefits, saving
the district more than $1 million. He began his career with the district as a
school psychologist who taught Spanish and psychology. The district honored him
in 2011 with the dedication of the entire school campus in his name.
didnt want that, Perrone said at the time. I hate being the
center of attention.
The dedication, however, soon became the topic of
heated debate, with school board members clashing during an April 2013 meeting
at which Verazin accused fellow members Cindy Donlin and Jeff Kozlofski of using
$4,347 in public funds to pay for the sign and lying about it to the rest of the
Donlin and Kozlofski denied lying about where the funds came from, saying
board members never asked. Both have since lost their seats.
Verazin said Friday
that the board wants to bring a renewed sense of unity and trust between
the community and district by giving the community involvement in such matters,
rather than having it done behind the scenes by two board members
without community input or a public vote.
The time has come at GNA to
hit the refresh button, he said. We want to give the community and
the district a blank slate to move forward together.
When Perrone retired
in January, the board expressed gratitude for his service, with Verazin saying
he will be greatly missed. School Board member Frank A. Shepanski
Jr. said that sentiment hasnt changed.
Were not saying were
not satisfied with the service, Shepanski said.
Mr. Perrone has
a lot of respect from a lot of people. This is a sensitive subject, Verazin
said. Anytime you dedicate an entire campus to one individual, I think theres
people that are for it and theres people that are against it just like anything
Perrone did not immediately return a message seeking comment Friday.
district intends to clean up the sign to make it more presentable, and will be
seeking a more public way to revise it, Verazin said. One possibility is coming
up with several designs that could be voted on at the school districts website,
People are very passionate about the school district,
Verazin said. Things need to be handled a certain way so that you try not
to step on everybodys toes.
wins 9-10 title
Logan Godfrey - Citizens Voice
After an explosive
first inning, defense played a large role in Wednesday nights District 16
9-10 Little League championship game.
At the games end, members of the
Nanticoke squad were exuberant, running around the field with their newly acquired
championship banner thanks to a 4-3 win over Mountain Top.
The winning teams
head coach, Eric Spencer, who was drenched in Gatorade, knew the hard work the
kids put into practice after practice finally paid off.
It feels great.
They work hard in practice every single day and it pays off, said Spencer.
I love these guys. These guys are awesome. They are a good group of kids
to be around.
In the first inning, Nanticoke shortstop Derek Cease slammed
the ball into right field to score two runs for a 2-0 lead.
Mountain Top answered
in the bottom of the first, when first baseman Colin Williams hit a three-run
When the first inning concluded, the game took a defensive turn. Neither
team was able to score for the next few innings due to great pitching performances
from Nanticokes Nick Matson and Mountain Tops Adam Litchkofski, who
had two hits.
With defense being a major factor throughout the game, outfielder
Bryant Keegan made a game-changing catch near the fence to end the inning.
the fourth inning, Nanticokes Devyn Sura and Charlie Casey both scored by
stealing bases to make it 4-3.
In Suras case, he scored from first base.
Top was unable to score any runs in its last three at bats.
Matson and Justin
Spencer combined on a six-hitter and struck out six.
After the game, the winning
team had a parade through Nanticoke.
The team advances to the Section 5 tournament,
which begins Monday at the Newport Little League field.
win softball championships
Nanticoke 12 Mountain Top 2 (4)
Slusser struck out four batters and had an RBI double and Jenna Baron had two
hits and three RBIs to lead host Nanticoke to the District 31 championship.
Nice had a two-run single and both Ali Keener and Myla Vnuk added run-scoring
Kelsey Caladice had an RBI single for Mountain Top.
play in the Section 5 Tournament, which begins next Thursday.
wins D16 title
District 16 9-10
Nanticoke 10 Duryea/Pittston Twp.
Elizabeth Mendrzycki pitched a one-hitter and struck out 10 to lead Nanticoke
to the District 16 9-10 softball title on Tuesday.
Tiffany Brogan 2 for 2 with
a triple, double and three RBIs. Mendrzycki drove in two runs for the winners.
Atkins, Amanda Cheslaw, Cameron Turak, Xandra Thomas, Rachel Goss and Sophia Lukowski
also helped Nanticokes offense.
Samantha Quinn singled for Duryea/Pittston
Nanticoke opens Section 5 play Monday.
to the Editor: GNA retiree Frank Wolfe lauded for 40 years of service
For 40 years, Frank Wolfe had been on the
maintenance crew for the Greater Nanticoke Area School District.
On June 29,
Wolfe hung up his large set of keys to retire.
As president of the Greater
Nanticoke Area Educational Support Professionals, I congratulate Frank on his
40 years of service to our school district. It is not very often that you see
or hear of someone who dedicated 40 years of their life to one job.
as president, I wanted to write this. Not only for myself, but to everyone who
came in contact with Wolfie. He will be missed by all of us at the
Wolfie has shown everyone the meaning of dedication, humor and
spirit, and his was a voice that everyone knew.
We at GNA wish
him all the happiness and health in his retirement.
Nanticoke Area Educational Support Professionals
applies for $1 million grant
Susan Bettinger - Times Leader
Council last week approved an application for a Multimodal Transportation Fund
grant for $1 million from the Commonwealth Financing Authority.
The vote was
4 to 1 in favor of the application with Steve Duda voting against.
about the proposed use for the grant, City Manager Andrew Gegaris stated there
is reason to believe that a property on Main Street across from the old Bartuska
warehouse is going to be put up for sale. The purchase of the property, near Walnut
and Arch Streets, would be in the citys best interest, Gegaris said.
said that the city would be able to mold the streetscape around it.
Gegaris said project would provide a common entrance and exit for mass transportation
and that it would be safer for pedestrians.
Gegaris said that once
the traffic study is complete, the city will have more details and that safety
is the goal of the project. Buses and LCCC vans would utilize the project.
- Council awarded the demolition contract for 127 E. Union St.
to low bidder Stell Enterprises in the amount of $12,840.
- The Farmers
Market will be held on Saturday, July 12, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Patriots Square.
The list of vendors for the Farmers Market/ Community Garden includes: First National
Community Bank of Nanticoke, Scentsy Products, Pink Zebra, Origami Owl Jewelry,
Wyoming Valley Dog Squad, Apollo Circle Resident Council, GNA Family Center, Wyoming
Valley Children Association, Tarnowskis Kielbasa, Avon, Thirty One Gifts,
Just Crazy Face Art and DJ Mendel G. Fernandez Jr. Entertainment.
Lou Gianuzzi has been volunteering his time and services to painting the benches
and the flower box in Patriots Square, in preparation for the event.
next council meeting will on July 16 at 7 p.m.
rallies to win District 16 Majors title
Nicholas Gill - Citizens
Being down late in a championship game might rattle some Little League
teams, but not Nanticoke.
Nanticoke showed it has championship poise, rallying
from a two-run deficit to tie the game, then adding three runs in the top of the
seventh inning to capture the District 16 Majors title with an 8-5 win over Plains
on Saturday afternoon.
Austin Norton blasted a three-run home run and notched
five RBIs in the victory.
Our kids are always up for the game,
Nanticoke manager Pat Heffron said. They dont hang their heads. They
get back in the game. This was a great game. We could not have asked for a better
Nanticoke struck first in the opening inning. Norton smashed
a three-run home run over the wall in dead center to put his team up 3-0.
rallied right back in the bottom of the second inning. Josh Rhodes slapped a solo
home run to cut the deficit. After two more singles, Kyle Costello belted a monster
home run that landed in the trees in center field to give Plains a 4-3 lead.
allowing the home run in the first, Costello hit his pitching groove for Plains.
He retired nine straight Nanticoke hitters, six by strikeout, to preserve the
lead into the fifth inning. Tanner Smith provided insurance with an RBI single
in the fourth.
But Nanticoke rallied in the fifth to tie the game at 5-5.
struck again with a two-run double to plate his fourth and fifth RBIs of the afternoon.
pressure mounted with the score tied in the fifth. Devland Heffron came into the
game to pitch for Nanticoke and loaded the bases.
With two outs and the ever-dangerous
Costello at the plate, Heffron forced a pop out to preserve the tie and end the
There are lots of nerves in those spots, Heffron
said. We have been in that position quite a bit this season. Our guys go
in and keep calm.
The game remained tied into extra innings, where Nanticoke
showed its championship form. Heffron led off the inning with a triple. Jayden
Heald and Colby Butczynski both walked to load the bases.
Chris Ormes worked
a terrific at bat from an 0-2 count to draw a walk and give Nanticoke a 6-5 lead.
batter later, Jake Krupinski ripped a two-run double to extend the lead to 8-5.
worked a clean bottom of the seventh inning to give Nanticoke the District 16
championship and send them to sectionals.
You get chills when the game
ends and the reason is for the kids, Heffron said. They are great
ball players who will remember this for the rest of their lives.
to hold 4th of July fireworks display
will host Independence Day celebrations, including a fireworks display sponsored
by local community groups. The festivities will run from 6 to 10 p.m. today on
the football field and parking lot behind Greater Nanticoke Area High School.
is free. A hot dog eating contest is scheduled for 8 p.m. The celebration will
also feature face painting, rides, food vendors and live music.
display will be the first time the city has organized one, said Mayor Rich Wiaterowski.
weather forecast calls for rain. Should that happen, the festivities would move
to Sunday. Wiaterowski said local community groups and vendors donated funds.
Bilko was king of the PCL in the 1950s
Jonathan Bombulie - Citizens
Nanticoke natives of a certain age will
never forget his long-ball exploits. Southern Californians who saw his titanic
blasts in person will always remember too.
But theres a whole country
full of baseball fans whether due to their age or point of origin
who have forgotten or never knew the story of legendary slugger Steve Bilko.
Gaylon White would like to change that.
White was an enthusiastic 9-year-old
when Bilko came to his hometown as a member of the Pacific Coast Leagues
Los Angeles Angels in 1955 and made an indelible impression.
Unwilling to let
to the accomplishments of the team and its star player fade into the cobwebs of
baseball history, he wrote a book that was published this year, almost six decades
later, entitled The Bilko Athletic Club: The Story of the 1956 Los Angeles
After doing about 200 interviews with players, managers, umpires,
sports writers and fans, White tells the story of a dominant team that ran away
with the PCL championship thanks in large part to Bilko, who won the Triple Crown
with a .360 batting average, 55 home runs and 164 RBIs.
Not one person
had a negative word to say about Steve Bilko. He was a genuinely lovable individual,
White said. People liked him. It always conjured up fond memories when I
would say the name Steve Bilko.
The book details just how big a star
Bilko was in Southern California, perhaps a bigger star than anyone back home
in Nanticoke even realized.
The PCL was a minor league, for sure, but not a
minor league in the sense that the term is used today. Fans didnt go to
Los Angeles Wrigley Field to collect a bobblehead, buy the kids some ice
cream and head home in the sixth inning unless a fireworks display was scheduled
for after the final out.
There was no major-league team west of Kansas
City in 56, White said. There was no ESPN. You had the game
of the week come on on Saturday, but all we had, when it came to major-league
sports, was the Los Angeles Rams. There were no Kings, Lakers, Dodgers or major
league Angels. All we had was the Pacific Coast League.
As such, Bilko
grabbed his share of headlines.
Phil Silvers named the lead character on popular
CBS sitcom Sgt. Bilko after the Nanticoke slugger.
He was our Babe Ruth,
Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams all rolled into one, the book quotes former
all-star second baseman Bobby Grich as saying. Grich was a 7-year-old in nearby
Long Beach during Bilkos Triple Crown season.
wasnt necessarily a perfect fit in Southern California, but somehow, it
He preferred beer over wine. He preferred roller derby over the
kind of parties they threw in Hollywood, White said. He said he had
a couple of celebrities he hung out with. He mentioned John Wayne. But I loved
what he said about that. He said they were more like the people in Nanticoke.
highlight of the book is the chapter that details Whites visit to Nanticoke
in October of 1976, less than two years before Bilko died of a heart attack at
age 49. Bilkos wife, Mary, made them lunch in their Honey Pot home before
they headed out to Yeagers for a drink and a visit to the Dana Perfume Company
in Mountain Top, where the ballplayer worked as an inspector of raw materials
after his playing days were through.
White asked many of the 200 people he
interviewed why they thought Bilko didnt stick in the major leagues, despite
his dominance in the PCL, and their replies represent a thread that runs throughout
Most colorfully, one theory says that when Bilko went to the majors,
he didnt have future Philadelphia Phillies manager Gene Mauch as a teammate
to, ahem, help him out like he did when they played together with the Angels.
stole a lot of the signs and fed the signals to Bilko, White said. Bilko
knew what was coming that year.
There are plenty of other theories too.
Hitting a high fastball that minor-league pitchers leave out over the plate was,
still is and will always be, easier than hitting the one major leaguers paint
the corner with. Or Bilko didnt have the Reggie Jackson-style cockiness
required to be a major-league power hitter. Or because he was making nearly $30,000,
counting endorsements, while playing in the minors by comparison, Mantle
made $35,000 in 1956 playing for the Yankees Bilko simply preferred being
a PCL star to scratching out a roster spot for himself on a major-league roster.
interestingly, perhaps, White notes that the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs
tried to change Bilko in the early days of his career, perhaps doing him more
harm than good. They wanted him to give up on his natural gap-to-gap power and
become a pull hitter. They demanded he slim down his 6-foot-1, 260-pound frame.
build was more Jason Giambi than Prince Fielder, but it was an issue that nagged
him throughout his career anyway. He tried to lose weight, but an obstacle got
in the way. In addition to being a legendary slugger, he was also a legendary
In the book, White recounts a story of the general manager of
a team that Bilko played for in the Dominican Republic offering $1,000 if he could
down two quarts of beer in an hour, drinking out of a shot glass at one-minute
intervals. Bilko turned down the bet, but having been tutored in the fine art
of beer drinking by fellow Nanticoke major leaguer Johnny Grodzicki, sucked down
the two quarts in 60 minutes anyway.
If they had left him alone in the
majors like they left him alone L.A., Bilko would have been the star that Tommy
Lasorda said, if he played today, would have hit 60 home runs easily, White
Ultimately, White disputes the premise that Bilko was a big-league flop
in the first place.
The one year he was a full-time regular in a major-league
lineup, in 1953 with a Cardinals team that included Stan Musial, Red Schoendienst
and Enos Slaughter, Bilko hit .251 with 21 home runs and 84 RBIs. Today, that
would make him a millionaire several times over.
He played parts of 10
seasons. He hit 76 home runs. He had a .249 batting average, White said.
While those werent the kind of numbers he had in the minors
he hit 313 home runs in the minors he had a decent major-league career,
certainly by todays standards.
For a generation of baseball fans
in Nanticoke and Southern California, of course, Bilkos career was always
more than decent. He was larger than life, and the story of his days on the diamond
bring back floods of warm memories.
With The Bilko Athletic Club,
White lets everyone else get a little taste of those memories too.
Nanticoke Area raises taxes 3.1 percent
Susan Bettinger - Times
Greater Nanticoke Area School District on
Thursday night adopted a final budget for the 2014-15 school year that increases
real estate taxes by 3.1 percent.
The budget includes expenditures of $25,793,630
and revenues of $25, 570,269. The tax rate was set at 10.4932 mills. GNA School
District is comprised of Nanticoke City and Plymouth, Newport, and Conyngham townships.
within the district that are valued at $78,000 will see an approx.tax increase
of $24 per year, whereas a $150,000 home will see a $47 increase. All board members
voted in favor of the budget, with the exception of Robert Raineri, who voted
against it, and Chet Beggs and Ken James, who were not in attendance.
has also approved Matt Foster Associates for auditing services for the fiscal
years ending June 30, 2014, June 30, 2015, and June 30, 2016.
the board has approved the following administrative assignments effective Tuesday
for the 2014-15 school year: John Gorham, pre K to second grade principal; Dr.
Mariellen Scott, third to seventh grade principal, and Joe Long, eighth to 12th
Denise Manganello, coordinator for the Seneca Valley Cyber
School gave a presentation on the benefits of the program.
cost effectiveness to the district, monthly webinars, wide variety of courses,
and greater teacher involvement.
The program helps special and general
education students according to Manganello. The school board has approved
the contract with the Seneca Valley Cyber School for the next two school years.
Mariellen Scott reported that 20 staff members have completed CPR, AED, and seizure
management courses, along with an Act 126 course on child abuse.
The next school
board meeting will be held next at 7 p.m. Aug. 14.
school board approves $25.8M budget
Michael P. Buffer - Citizens
The Greater Nanticoke Area School Board
voted Thursday for a $25.8 million budget with a 3.1 percent increase to the property
The rate is now 10.4932 mills. A mill is $1 on every $1,000 in property
The board voted 6-1 to approve the budget, and two members did
not attend Thursdays meeting, board President board President Ryan Verazin
Robert Raineri opposed the budget, and Ken James and Chet Beggs were
absent, Verazin said.
The following members voted for the budget: Verazin,
Frank Shepanski Jr., Wendy Kotsko Wiaterowski, Megan Tennesen, Tony Prushinski
and Gary Smith.
authorizes transfer of land parcels
Susan Bettinger - Times Leader
City Council on Wednesday authorized the transfer
of two parcels of land.
One of the parcels is 30 feet by 100 feet, located
at Market and Spring streets, and is appraised at $12,000. The other parcel, which
faces Market Street, is a bit larger and is appraised at $11,000.
Wiaterowski said the city is looking for a developer to purchase the parcels.
developer will have 18 months to pay the appraised value of the parcels to the
city. If the value is not paid in full, the developer will have to return the
In another matter, Hank Marks, president of the Taxpayers Association,
asked about the status of the Downtown Streetscape Project.
City Manager Andrew
Gegaris said the city has to pay close attention as to how the $7 million grant,
which was awarded for the project, will be used.
Gegaris said the first step
will be the traffic study. He added that council and the mayor are anxious to
see the projects completion.
Also, Gegaris publicly thanked residents
Lou Gianuzzi and Rebecca Seman for their work on beautifying Patriot Square.
painted the flower bed in the park and posted signs on the trees announcing some
actions prohibited in the park, such as smoking and consuming alcoholic beverages.
is now in the process of painting the 11 benches located within the park.
founder of the Community Garden, is looking for farmers for the Farmers
Market, which will be held on Saturday July 12, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Patriot Square.
Seaman can be reached at 570-793-7910 for further information.
The next Crime
Watch meeting will be at the Municipal Building on June 25 at 7 p.m.
fireworks display will be on July 3, starting at 6 p.m. at the Greater Nanticoke
Area High School football field.
In addition to the fireworks, the event, which
is sponsored by the city, will feature music, food, face painting, a hot dog eating
contest and a dunk tank.
The next council meeting will be on July 2 at 7 p.m.
graduate accompanied by service dog
Michael P. Buffer - Citizens
When Courtney Whitmire's name was called
during the Greater Nanticoke Area High School commencement, she walked on the
auditorium stage with a friend - a four-legged friend.
Whitmire walked with
her service dog, Cassie, on a leash across the stage to get her diploma. Both
were wearing white gowns.
Cassie, a St. Bernard-Chow mix, was very willing
to get dressed up for the big event, Whitmire said prior to start of the ceremony.
The gown on Cassie came from a friend, who was unable to
attend Monday's ceremony.
got this from Party City," Whitmire said holding a small graduation cap.
18, said she has a service dog because of a medical condition. She is going to
Misericordia University to study medical imaging.
"I can't wait to go
to college," she said.
A total of 138 seniors officially became Greater
Nanticoke Area High School graduates at Monday's ceremony.
but I'm scared," said Amanda Edwards, 18, a Plymouth resident who plans to
attend Luzerne County Community College and hasn't decided what to study.
Treasurer Michael Condoluci, 18, of Warrior Run, said he felt nervous before the
commencement. He plans to attend Luzerne County Community College to study about
"It's a cliche, but it's the first step of the rest
of your life," he said.
Class President Jordan Williams addressed graduates
and ceremony attendees.
"I can't believe! We made it! We all made it!"
Williams enthusiastically said.
School Board President Ryan Verazin noted that
2014 Valedictorian Evan Saunders was the third valedictorian from his family.
Schinski inspires many while fighting stage 4 pancreatic cancer
Moran - CitizensVoice
Karen Schinski, of Honey
Pot, is an inspiration to many. The pretty, blonde 45 year old is a devoted wife
to her husband, Kevin, and a loving mother to her four children: Kevin, 25, Kayley,
19, Kendell, 18, and Kassie, 16. Karen's family, along with her friends and neighbors,
witnessed first-hand the strength and courage she displayed while battling stage
4 pancreatic cancer.
In June 2009, Karen noticed that she had lost a little
bit of weight, along with her appetite, and, in general, wasn't feeling well.
Karen already had an established relationship with Hershey Medical Center because
she had been treated there for ulcerative colitis since she was 11 years old.
At her yearly check-up in Hershey, doctors ran special blood work. Results showed
that one particular reading, CA 19 - 9, came back extremely high. Karen spent
the whole summer going back and forth to Hershey to get diagnosed. On Sept. 12,
2009, Karen received the news: she had stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Karen's particular
cancer type, squamous cell, was extremely rare.
"Of course I wanted a
second opinion," stated Karen. "I went to the University of Pennsylvania,
but both Hershey and the University of Penn told me that even if I got chemo,
I would have six to 12 months, hopefully, because it was stage 4 already, and
it was two tumors. They told me to go home and get my affairs in order."
brother, Jimmy, told me to go to Dr. Greenwald, since he heard very good things
about him," continued Karen. "I was like, 'Oh, a third opinion, Jim?'
My husband and I were so upset because we already heard two diagnoses. But we
went to see Dr. Greenwald and he was great. I'll never forget what he told me.
He told me that there's no expiration date stamped on the bottom of my foot."
began chemotherapy with Dr. David Greenwald at Medical Oncology Associates in
October of 2009. Karen's "cocktail" of medications included Zeloda,
Gemzar and Taxotere.
"The Gemzar was rough; I remember losing my fingernails
and toenails, besides my hair," said Karen. "I lost 35 pounds off my
frame. I was really thin with the treatment. I remember the one day, I had started
my treatment and I was getting out of the shower. I looked into the mirror and
wondered, 'When did I lose all of this weight?' You don't realize you are actually
going through it when you are. And now that I look back, I realize that when I
first started treatment, I was really sick. That was hard."
my course of treatment, I was sent for a PET Scan at Christmas time of 2009,"
said Karen. "I remember on New Year's Eve, after my husband called for the
results, he came back into the room, crying. I thought, 'Oh my God, I am dying.'
He said that they found that the tumors were gone! That was a great New Year's
Karen continued chemotherapy treatments until September 2013.
Greenwald would tell me that, with cancer, there's a book to show him when things
go bad, but there isn't a book to tell him when things are going good," explained
Karen. "There wasn't a lot known about my type of cancer, and, after five
years, we had to stop at some point because you don't want to keep doing chemo
if you don't have to."
Medical Oncology Associates not only treated Karen's
physical needs, but assisted her emotionally as well. Carol Greenwald, a licensed
professional counselor, introduced her to a
support group which she runs for
cancer patients, and also counseled Karen's children when they were told about
their mother's diagnosis.
Family means everything to Karen, and her family
was the first thing she thought of when she was diagnosed with cancer.
biggest thing that went through my head was not being there for my husband and
kids," said Karen. "I think that when you are a mom, you just want to
take care of your kids. That's the
most important thing in life - not money,
but your family."
"My son took it very, very badly," said Karen.
"Kayley was 13 and the other girls were a little younger. It was hard to
sit down and tell them that. You have to kind of give them the bad news, yet say
that we are going to hope for the best."
Karen's journey included meeting
some very special friends at Medical Oncology Associates. Her "chemo click"
included herself and three other women, Donna, Roz and Carol. The four women went
through chemotherapy together and developed a strong, supportive bond with each
other. The four would meet for breakfast or lunch every Friday, and shared both
laughter and tears with one another. Karen tears up when recalling these wonderful
friends who have since passed away, and holds their memories dear to her heart.
greatly appreciates all of the support she received throughout her recovery. Her
community, doctors and family helped her remain strong.
A benefit was held
for Karen at the Tillbury Hose Company, organized by her best friend, Sue Phillips.
This event put Karen's mind at ease by helping her pay a number of bills while
focusing on getting better. Friends and neighbors prepared food for her family
and assisted her in countless other ways. Karen is also thankful for all of the
support from her children's sports
community and Nanticoke Area High School.
doctors were amazing," recalled Karen. "It's a big adjustment: the medicines,
treatments, tests you have to get. It's a lot. When being diagnosed, it's tough.
Dr. Greenwald and Dr. Saidman were such a support to me, and Dr. Gary Verazin,
who put in my portacath, was fantastic, too."
"My husband was so
wonderful," added Karen. "He would cook for me and run for anything
for me because he wanted me to gain the weight back."
Karen feels very
grateful that she has such a close, loving family. Her parents, Jim and Dorothy
McDermott and siblings Jimmy, Doreen, Jason and John were always there for her.
advice for others who are faced with a cancer diagnosis is to stay positive. She
would also tell them to trust their doctor, and if they are not comfortable with
their doctor, they should find someone whom they are comfortable with.
think all of the support that I had helped me be positive throughout my recovery,"
stated Karen. "And just knowing that I had my kids' lives to look forward
to has allowed me to remain so positive."
families awarded additional $400k
families of two naval reservists who died from injuries suffered in a car crash
in Kuwait were each awarded more than $400,000 in interest, bringing their total
recovery to more than $4 million each.
A federal judge last week awarded the
additional damages to Amy Patton, widow of Brian Patton of Nanticoke, and Margaret
and Charles Morgan, parents of David Morgan of Wilkes-Barre.
Patton and Morgans
parents sued Combat Support Associates in connection with a 2009 crash caused
when the companys employee, Morgan Lee Hanks, passed a convoy of military
vehicles and hit a vehicle driven by Patton head-on. Patton died at the scene.
Morgan, who suffered severe brain damage, lived for several years before he succumbed
to complications from his injuries.
A federal jury heard the case in March
and awarded Patton $3,875,000 and the Morgans $3,750,000.
Senior Judge Edwin Kosik on Wednesday awarded Patton an additional $411,137 in
interest, bringing the total verdict to $4,286,127. The Morgans were awarded an
additional $441,342, bringing their total verdict to $4,191,342.
rejects bid for Stickney Fire Company
Susan Bettinger - Times Leader
City Council President Bill Brown said Tuesday night
that council has turned down a $47,000 bid for the purchase of the Stickney Volunteer
Brown also said the $2,500 deposit check was returned to the
City Solicitor William Finnegan said the fire companys building
was appraised at more than $100,000. He said there are other considerations that
have to be taken into account with the sale of such a property.
it cannot proceed as if it were a private sale.
In another matter, Rebecca
Seman of the Community Garden announced that the city will present The GNA Community
Garden Farmers Market on July 12 at Patriot Square.
The event will take place
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will feature music, food, fruits, vegetables, arts and crafts
and more. Vendors interested in renting a 10-foot-by-10-foot space for $20 may
call Seman at 570-793-7910.
The Honey Pot Volunteer Fire Department will host
wing night on Saturday June 14, 2014 beginning at 5 p.m. Wings are $8 per order.
Contact Linda Prushinski at 570-735-0508 for more information.
Crime Watch meeting will be on June 18 at 7 p.m. at the Municipal Building on
The next council meeting will be on June 18 at 7 p.m.
cut above: On the job at 100
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens Voice
Zelino Vici opened his barber shop in Nanticoke, the United States president was
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, baseball legend Babe Ruth was about to embark on the
final year of his Hall of Fame career and canned beer was just hitting the market.
charged 25 cents for haircuts and competed against dozens of other local barbers
struggling to survive during the Great Depression.
All these years later, Vici
is still at it.
Vici turned 100 years old on Wednesday and spent his birthday
cutting hair for loyal customers who popped in to deliver well wishes and get
What was I going to do, sit around and do nothing? Vici
said when asked about working a full day on his milestone birthday. I work
because I like to do it, not because I have to.
Born on May 28, 1914
to Italian immigrants, Vici said he grew up amid the Great Depression and hopes
of going to college were bleak. In the early 1930s, he found a job as a lather
boy, preparing customers faces for their shave.
He opened his own barber
shop next to his familys Prospect Street homestead in January 1935, months
before the Social Security retirement program became law and years before the
country was thrust into World War II.
Vici has been cutting hair on Prospect
Street in Nanticoke ever since, though he moved several doors down to his current
location at 412 S. Prospect St. in 1956. At 79 years of service and counting,
Vici vows to keep working for as long as he can.
What could I do if I
retire, just sit on the couch all day? Vici said. You cant do
much when youre 100 years old.
Ken Turley, 73, a Nanticoke native
now from Lake Silkworth, stopped in to get his hair cut Wednesday, not knowing
it was Vicis 100th birthday.
His customers wont let him retire,
Turley has been getting his hair cut by Vici since he was 6 years
old. At age 100, Vici hasnt missed a beat, he said.
steady his hand was when hes cutting, Turley said. It helps
keep him alive what hes doing here.
Vici credits good doctors
for his longevity. He had triple bypass heart surgery when he was 78 and survived
bladder cancer several years ago. He also has diabetes.
These days, Vici averages
six to eight haircuts a day, opening daily 6 a.m. to noon.
enough for me, Vici said. Enough to keep me occupied for a while.
Waitkus, 64, of Dorrance Township, stopped in Wednesday for a haircut and brought
Vici a bag of nectarines as a gift. Waitkus said he moved to the area decades
ago to take a job at a local state prison, but continued seeing his longtime barber
during occasional trips back to western Pennsylvania. About three years ago, shortly
after his 86-year-old barber retired, he read a Citizens Voice profile of
Vici and started getting haircuts from him.
These guys are old masters,
Waitkus said. Hes quite the artist.
Walking into Vicis
barber shop is like stepping back in time a handwritten sign of the prices
($12 for a standard cut), Frank Sinatra (almost always) playing on the radio,
and a set of 1927-made barber chairs. But first youd have to find the place.
Theres no red, white and blue barber pole, or much of anything indicating
theres an active business in the lower level of his home. Theres just
a tiny, handwritten cardboard sign that reads Barber shop tucked in
the corner of a window.
I never had a sign. I never needed one,
Vici said. My customers have been quite faithful.
But Vici isnt
totally stuck in his old-school ways.
Asked what the widower does after work,
he responded, I like to work on my computer all afternoon. Yes, you
can be friends with this 100-year-old barber on Facebook.
Yeah, I check
that out, he said.
takes over at Northwest
Steve Bennett - Citizens Voice
Guffrovich wont need a history lesson on the tradition of Northwest Area
basketball before he conducts his first team meeting or holds his initial offseason
workout as the programs new head coach.
Thanks to his father, Emory,
who went to Newport High School with Northwest legendary basketball coach Eddie
Gayeski, Guffrovich has first-hand knowledge of the Northwest tradition.
I got into high school, my father used to take me to watch Northwest when they
had their state championship teams, Guffrovich said. I knew about
Northwest and the tradition for a long time. When I heard the job was open I thought
it would be kind of cool. It will be a nice challenge.
over for Jerry Blazick who stepped down following the end of the 2013-2014 season.
a high school player at Nanticoke Area, Guffrovich was one of the best to ever
play in the WVC. He scored 2,271 points thanks to a jumper that extended anywhere
from 20 to 25 feet, and that was before the PIAA adopted the 3-point shot.
graduating from Nanticoke Area, Guffrovich played at Wichita State where he still
ranks fifth all-time in career 3-point field goals and 3-point field goal percentage.
His team went to the NCAA tournament during his freshman year.
as a point guard with the Shockers should allow him to make a smooth transition
Being a point guard, especially at the Division I level you
are a coach, Guffrovich said.
Guffrovich will bring his experience at
Wichita State to Northwest and will begin getting to know the players on an individual
basis and working with them one-on-one over the summer.
welcomes White Haven man as new city manager
Susan Bettinger - Times
Mayor Richard Wiaterowski on Wednesday night
appointed Andrew Gegaris as Nanticokes new city manager.
raised in Sugar Notch and at present resides in White Haven. He will relocate
to Nanticoke within the coming year, in accordance with the citys Home Rule
Gegaris said he is excited to work with the mayor
and council. He added that he see a bright future for Nanticoke.
also commented on how council and the mayor constantly make references to we
and not I, showing the groups concern for what is best for the
city as a whole, rather than focusing on the leaders individual preferences.
welcomed Gegaris to his new position, and said that he is confident that Gegaris
will move the city forward.
The mayor also said that Gegaris attended
PennDOTs streetscape project meeting and drove around the city in to prepare
himself for his new position, which will begin today.
His starting salary is
Wiaterowski also thanked acting City Manager Donna Wall for the outstanding
job that she did by taking on the responsibilities of the position until a permanent
manager was appointed.
The person who previously was given the city managers
job, Jay Zupa, who was supposed to report for his first day of work on March 24,
wound up declining the position in order to take advantage of a new opportunity.
He officially became city manager on March 5.
In another matter, Assistant
Fire Chief Chester Prymowicz will retire from the Nanticoke Fire Department on
May 30 after 25 years of service. Wiaterowski thanked Prymowicz for his dedication
to the city and for his commitment to serving the fire department.
approved the purchase of two police department vehicles, and one street department
vehicle. The money will come out of the police equipment fund and the highway
aid fund, respectively, and will not cost the city taxpayers any money.
Seman of the Nanticoke Community Garden organization has been granted approval
to use the parking lot space behind Luzerne County Community Colleges parking
lot for the garden.
Seman also asked that all residents take just one hour
per day to do something to improve the city, and to come together as a community.
Lou Gianuzzi has been volunteering his services by painting the benches in the
garden. Anyone who is interested in the organization can contact Seman at 570-793-7910.
next council meeting will be on June 4 at 7 p.m.
proposed final budget raises taxes
Susan Bettinger - Times Leader
The Greater Nanticoke
Area School Board has approved a proposed $25.77 million final budget for
the 2014-2015 fiscal year that would raise property taxes $20-$25 per household.
anticipated expenditures are $25,770,598 and estimated revenue figures of $25,760,704.
property tax will be 10.4932 mills. A mill is a $1 tax on each $1,000 of assessed
The district consists of the the city of Nanticoke and Plymouth,
Newport and Conyngham townships.
Albert Melone, of Melone Associates, said
the figures are preliminary and non-binding.
He added that all
is tentative and that there should be changes in June.
emphasized that This is not a spending problem; we have a revenue problem.
final budget has to be approved by June 30.
The board also approved the updating
of the CFF computers from 2009 by leasing 180HP notebooks with carts, at a total
cost of $101,478 to be divided over a three-year period. All funding for the project
is included in the 2013-2014 technology budget, and there will be no additional
costs to the district.
Also, the board approved the renovation of the baseball
field and surrounding grounds area at a maximum cost of $806,386. The funds will
come from a maintenance reserve fund that was set up in 1996, with money set aside
for projects such as the baseball field renovation.
The field is anticipated
to be ready for use before September 2015.
Ken James, of the sports department,
said that approximately 200 athletic award letters will be sent to high school
students participating in any of the 18 varsity sports. Plaques will be awarded
to the athletes who will be graduating in June.
The next board meeting will
be on June 19 at 7 p.m.
has new accounting director
Susan Bettinger - Times Leader
Mayor Richard Wiaterowski has appointed Jennifer Polito as Nanticokes accounting
Polito, of Roaring Brook Township, is a graduate of the University
of Scranton, and a previous employee of Melone Co. She has been a public accountant
for more than 22 years, and is currently working toward becoming a CPA.
said she applied for the city position of while working for Melone, where she
had been employed for the past seven years.
"I feel that my experience
and education will guide council (in the right direction) Polito said.
has also proclaimed May 17 Kids to Park Day, in Nanticoke. The city will participate
in the National Kids to Park Day during which children and families are encouraged
to attend outdoor activities such as visiting a neighborhood, county or state
The goal of Kids to Park Day is to promote outdoor activities which will
be beneficial for health, as well as to call awareness to the natural beauty seen
while visiting a park.
The appointments of Planning Commission Board members
Stephen Buchinski and Theodore Katra have been confirmed.
The Arch Street Demolition
Project has been awarded to low bidder Brdaric Excavating for $19,874.
Seman, founder of the Community Garden, said she is hoping to get a farmers
market together in July, as well as other community orientated events. For further
information on the organization, Seman can be reached at 570-793-7910.
Daryl Pawlush said the downtown Streetscape Project is moving along quickly
and that the water, gas, and electric companies are relocating their facilities
Pawlush added that it is taking longer to complete the project
to ensure that it is done right.
It will be a project that everyone
in Nanticoke will be proud of, said Pawlush.
The citywide yard sale will
be held on Saturday.
The next council meeting will be Wednesday at 7 p.m.
steps for little lifes
March for Babies gives the most vulnerable infants a
What: March of Dimes March for Babies Northeast
College Betzler Field, 221 Highland Park Blvd., Wilkes-Barre
When: 9:30 a.m.
registration Sunday; 10:30 a.m. walk
Admission: Team pledges; donations accepted
Little Bryce Cunningham loves
to listen to the lullaby Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, but the tiny
tot, who has survived despite all odds, doesnt realize he is a star.
Exeter toddler, 1, is the ambassador for this years March for Babies walk,
sponsored by the March of Dimes Northeast, which helps mothers have healthy babies.
was born 13 weeks early, weighed in at 1 lb. 9 oz. and was 12.5 inches long. He
suffered from respiratory issues due to underdeveloped lungs and spent his first
92 days fighting for his life in a newborn intensive care unit.
doing well and will attend the march, which is the largest annual fundraising
event for March of Dimes, at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at Betzler Field, Wilkes-Barre.
Registration is at 9:30 a.m.
His family will participate in the event organized
as Team Bryce. His mother, Kristen, also raised money at a Zumbathon in his honor.
one-mile walk consists of eight laps around the track. Additionally, look for
a T-shirt contest, games and refreshments.
Before the walk begins, the group
will assemble at the starting line in front of the track entrance for some inspirational
words from chairman Jerry Palmaioli.
The atmosphere will be festive, thanks
to music provided by 97 BHT as well as costumed characters roaming about and face
Bryce was supposed to arrive on June 17, 2013, but instead was born
on Feb. 28, after 24 weeks and four days. He was finally brought home 17 days
before he should have been born. Although he is still on oxygen today, he is a
happy and healthy baby, who loves playing with his light-up turtle toy.
cant tell you how difficult it was, seeing our own little boy, lying in
the NICU, fighting for life, Kristen said. All our hopes and dreams
for him hung in the balance. We felt so frightened. But thanks to the care Bryce
received and the support of the March of Dimes for research and treatment, now
we know the relief and joy parents feel when their child survives and becomes
healthy enough to leave the NICU and go home.
His father, Jason, is proud
of the fact that Bryce has become a success story.
Serving as the Northeast
Pennsylvania Ambassador family is a way for us to show our appreciation for our
childs good health and serve as advocates for life-saving March of Dimes
programs, he said. My son is a perfect example of what March of Dime
efforts have accomplished.
The money raised supports area programs that
help moms have healthy, full-term pregnancies, community director Ashley Fulmer
said. And it funds research to find answers to problems that threaten babies.
Premature births affect nearly half a million babies and their families each year.
goal of the march is $171,500, Fulmer said.
Area to move quickly in replacing Superintendent Ronald Grevera
about Superintendent Ronald Greveras decision to take a job with another
district, Northwest Area School Board President Randy Tomasacci first made light
of the loss.
Were going to make him stay, Tomasacci quipped.
while heaping praise on Greveras three-year tenure at Northwest, Tomasacci
said he expects the board to move quickly to find a replacement.
tabbed by the Greater Nanticoke Area School Board on Tuesday to replace retired
Superintendent Anthony Perrone. After that meeting he said the decision to leave
Northwest, where hes held the top job since 2011, was difficult, and that
he had notified the board there of his likely departure.
On Wednesday, Tomasacci
confirmed Grevera had told the board he was in the running for the GNA post, but
added that the rumor mill at Northwest had already churned out that secret.
knew he was leaving before he told us, Tomasacci said.
the board will receive and accept Greveras formal resignation at the monthly
meeting May 21, and then vote to authorize the start of a search process.
sure well go through the PSBA, he said, referring to a search service
provided by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association. This is not new
ground for us.
While Tomasacci said he believes one person on staff has
obtained the state-required letter of eligibility to be a superintendent,
he also said the choice is open at this time. Nobody is on the fast track.
is set to move to GNA at the end of July, which Tomasacci said should be enough
time to find the right person to fill the slot. But it depends on the candidates
and who is the best fit. We dont want to get someone and jam them in place
saying youre our superintendent, here are the keys.
the full board needs to discuss what qualities they would prize most in a candidate,
Tomasacci said hed be looking for someone forward thinking. Education
is changing so rapidly, and the finances are getting tougher and tougher. The
old models just arent working. We cant just do what we did in the
One of Greveras strengths was his ability to move the district
forward smoothly, Tomasacci said. The board had a great relationship with
him. I can tell you our executive sessions were shorter and shorter, and thats
a reflection of the leadership style of your superintendent.
it easy to be a school director.
superintendent takes job at GNA
Area School District Superintendent Ronald Grevera is getting a new superintendent's
job at a neighboring district.
The Greater Nanticoke Area School Board unanimously
approved a five-year deal with Grevera to be superintendent, starting July 1 at
$120,000 a year. Grevera, 40, of Mountain Top, had been Northwest's top administrator
since 2011 and had two years left on his Northwest contract.
Grevera said Tuesday
he had informed Northwest Area officials of his decision and has to give at least
60 days notice. Leaving Northwest Area was "a difficult decision," Grevera
His salary will increase about $20,000, he said. The Greater Nanticoke
Area School Board received 14 applications for superintendent, board President
Ryan Verazin said. Grevera and three other applicants advanced to a second round
"We are looking forward to working with him," Verazin
Longtime superintendent Anthony Perrone resigned Jan. 28 due to health
problems. Acting Superintendent Mariellen Scott will go back to being elementary
Perrone had been superintendent since 1996. In October, the
school board voted to appoint Perrone to a three-year term that was set to end
June 30, 2016. He continued to work without receiving pay, and the district continued
to provide his health benefits.
Grevera grew up in Edwardsville and went to
Bishop O'Reilly High School in Kingston. Grevera was principal at Fairview Elementary
School in the Crestwood School District from 2004 to 2011 and principal at Panther
Valley Middle School from 2002 to 2004.
He received bachelor's and master's
degrees from Wilkes University. He has a doctoral degree from Indiana University
Grevera, Northwest Area superintendent, to move to Greater Nanticoke Area
will replace longtime super Perrone
Nanticoke Area School Board appointed a new superintendent Tuesday: Northwest
Area School District Superintendent Ronald Grevera. The board gave Grevera a five-year
contract at a starting salary of $120,000.
Grevera said the Northwest Area
board is aware of the move and that he will submit his resignation now that his
appointment in Nanticoke is approved.
Grevera replaces Anthony Perrone, who
resigned abruptly as superintendent Jan. 28 after 17 years on the job, including
working without pay since 2003.
The departure from Northwest Area, where he
was made superintendent in 2011, was not made lightly, Grevera said after the
meeting. Ive been crying all weekend, he said.
But he felt
the move was a good opportunity to work the new faces and staff here, to
increase student achievement. Grevera will be moving from Luzerne Countys
most rural district with the smallest enrollment, about 1,200 students, to one
with roughly double that count occupying one of the countys four cities.
He said the salary offer at GNA is about $20,000 more than he is currently paid
at Northwest Area.
Board President Ryan Verazin said the board received 14
applicants, including one from within the district and five total from the area.
Three women applied and two were offered interviews, but one didnt show
up, he said.
Verazin will get the same health insurance benefits provided to
other administrators in a five-year deal that requires they start paying part
of the premium, 1.5 percent, in 2015-16, Verazin said.
Grevera was the top
choice in a strong field of candidates because his background really suits
us, Verazin said, citing improved student outcomes wherever he has
Perrone, who had been with the district more than 40 years, cited
health problems as one reason for his unexpected departure.
with helping steer the district back from the brink of bankruptcy in the late
1990s, Perrone was originally from Pittston and graduated from Kings College
in 1963. By 1966, he had a full-time teaching job in Greater Nanticoke Area.
became superintendent in 1996 and retired in 2003, but agreed to stay in the post,
unpaid, for at least a year.
Asked at the time why he decided to stay without
pay, Perrone quoted poet Robert Frosts Stopping by Woods on a Snowy
Evening: I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.
School Board appointed Elementary Principal Maryellen Scott as interim superintendent
until the search for a permanent replacement was completed. She will return to
that position at the end of July, when Grevera officially moves in.
who grew up in Edwardsville, and earned degrees from Wilkes University, Marywood
University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania, is 40 and remains the youngest
superintendent in Luzerne County, a title he took when by landing the job at Northwest
at the age of 38.
Creek dredge project in Nanticoke will move forward
is coming for residents of West Union Street in Nanticoke who are affected by
repeat flooding, as soon as Luzerne County gets promised money to dredge Forge
Nanticoke received a $205,350 state Department of Community and Economic
Development disaster relief grant, which is administered through the county Office
of Community Development.
Interim City Manager Donna Wall said the county anticipates
the money any day.
"It is a priority; the project is a go," she said.
the money is released, an engineer will do the scope of work for the project,
then a request for proposals will be put out for a contractor to do the dredging.
said city officials are looking into another grant to expand the scope of work.
other business, Mayor Richard Wiaterowski hired Jennifer Polito as accounting
director at a salary of $45,000. Polito, who has a master's degree in accounting
from the University of Scranton, was chosen from 18 people who applied.
had a good pool of applicants," Wall said.
Council awarded the demolition
of a flood-damaged property on Arch Street to Brdaric Excavation for $19,874.
Work should be done by the end of the month, Wall said.
resident plans community garden
Seman wants to see the Nanticoke area community growing.
but she'd like to see people grow some flowers, too.
About a month ago, Seman
started the Greater Nanticoke Area Community Garden initiative with the idea of
getting area residents interested in sustainable farming. She also wants to organize
events to improve the community, including a cleanup and flower-planting at Patriot
Square Park this Saturday.
"It's just something I've kind of always wanted
to do," Seman said. "Lately I've seen a lot of places around the country
are trying to become more sustainable. I'd like to see that in Nanticoke."
Vitale is allowing the use of four acres of his land in the Plymouth Flats in
Plymouth Township for creating garden plots. The garden hasn't been set up yet
because of the rain, but it should be in another two weeks, Seman said.
said there are about 25 plots reserved for families and community groups, including
the Plymouth Crime Watch. Everyone gets their own plot to plant and tend, and
it's free to participate, she said.
Seman said the farming will be done without
pesticides and, when possible, using heirloom seeds. She said group members are
touring an organic farm in Noxen next week to learn more.
A few weeks ago,
Seman's group had a table at the grand reopening of Nanticoke's Burger King, where
they held a raffle. With the money they earned, the plan is to buy some extra
plants and donate the produce to the food bank, seniors in the high rises and
local day care centers. Seman also wants to hold a farmer's market in July.
said she has always grown her own flowers and used to garden with her mother when
she was younger. She'd like to see her own three children - Bridget, 7, Alex,
6, and Rose, 7 months - learn to grow things, too.
In fact, it was Alex who
got Seman interested in organics. He has had severe asthma since he was born,
and had to be hospitalized as a baby, Seman said. She started researching holistic
medicine, and with organic food and vitamins, Alex hasn't had problems since.
wants people to take pride in the community. The Patriot Park cleanup - scheduled
to start around 1 p.m. on Saturday - came about because it was something residents
wanted to do, she said.
"We're trying to get it across to a lot of people
that the more activity we have in town, the more pride we show in it, the less
people are going to want to sneak around, drug activity, things like that,"
she said. "People don't realize that the more you focus on the positive,
those things can be little steps to changing the big things."
A goal is
to have a garden in town that people can tend every year, Seman said.
I want to get across to the community, no matter what little space you have, you
can always grow food," she said.
Seman would also like to encourage local
businesses and restaurants to have their own gardens or plots to grow their own
"There's so many things you can do with a garden, you know?
It's good for everybody," she said.
The cleanup of Patriot Park will take
place starting at 1 p.m. Saturday. Anyone interested in helping out can stop by.
information about the Greater Nanticoke Area Community Garden initiative, visit
their Facebook page.
nursing home evacuated for fire
JacobSeibel - Citizens Voice
50 nursing home occupants in Nanticoke were evacuated after a fire started in
a second floor apartment early Tuesday morning.
Forty-seven residents at the
Nanticoke Villa, a three-story assisted living facility on Walnut Street, were
evacuated from the building and transported to the Greater Nanticoke High School
gymnasium after the fire started around 2 a.m., said Nanticoke fire Capt. Richard
Bohan said the fire was contained to the second-floor apartment where
it started and caused minimal damage. He said it was mainly the second-floor apartment
and the one below it that had most of the damage, which was caused by smoke and
Code enforcement officials have yet to determine when occupants can
go back to their apartments, Bohan said. Those who didnt have family to
stay with remain housed at the high school Tuesday.
A state police fire marshal
on scene later Tuesday morning said the cause of fire was accidental and started
when an air conditioning unit overheated.
About 40 firefighters responded from
Nanticoke, Hanover Township, Kingston and Newport Township and were cleared by
No injuries were reported.
boy named 2014 local March of Dimes ambassador
Lois Grimm - Citizens
Before Bryce Cunningham, the 2014 Ambassador
for the Northeast Pennsylvania chapter of the March of Dimes, was born, he kicked
all the time. His development was completely normal. His heart rate was good and
he was growing as he should.
The signs of a normally progressing pregnancy
should have been happy news for Exeter residents Kristen and Jason Cunningham,
Bryce's parents. Instead, with each kick, Kristen felt helpless.
second grade teacher at Greater Nanticoke Area, was at the Lehigh Valley Cedar
Crest Center for Mother Baby Care when her world turned upside down. Her body
was trying to go into labor even though she was only 22 weeks pregnant. Her cervix,
which should have been measuring about 4 cm was instead .6 cm.
part was feeling him kick. There was nothing wrong with Bryce. He was perfectly
healthy, perfect size, everything fine. Nothing wrong with him inside. But my
body was trying to get him out. It would kill me every time he kicked because
I knew he was fine but if he was born that day he doesn't make it," said
Two weeks before her trip to Lehigh Valley Cedar Crest, Kristen was
preparing for a routine first time pregnancy.
"We decided we wanted to
have a baby and I got pregnant almost right away," said Kristen.
what she believed to be normal morning sickness and pressure, her pregnancy up
to her fifth month was uneventful.
"It is not normal to feel like you
are nine months pregnant when you are only four or five months along," said
After a routine ultrasound showed there might be fluid in her cervix,
doctors sent Kristen and Jason to the Maternal Fetal Medicine Montage Center in
Moosic the next day. Throughout the night, Kristen tried to research what might
"I was just very uncomfortable the whole pregnancy but again
this was my first pregnancy so I had no idea that it wasn't normal," said
Jason and Kristen remained optimistic on their way to Moosic the following
"I was just thinking everything was going to be ok," said Jason.
the ultrasound showed an abnormality of Bryce's position within the womb a specialist
was brought in to speak with the Cunninghams. When the doctor began to cry with
Kristen, Jason knew the situation was more serious than he had imagined.
doctor came in and everything changed," said Jason.
From her research
and talking with the doctor, Kristen knew a 22-week fetus had very little chance
of survival and even if they do survive, the prognosis is often bleak. Babies
born before 26 weeks gestation or weighing 1lb 12oz or less are called micro preemies.
They can face many short or long-term health issues such as cerebral palsy, blindness,
cognitive problems like learning and behavior problems, chronic lung disease and
"We were given goals. One of the goals, the first goal, was viability,
which is 24 weeks. It doesn't mean he would be out of the woods, but he could
survive," said Kristen.
According to the March of Dimes Foundation, a
nonprofit organization focused on the health of mothers and babies, the likelihood
of survival nearly triples from 22 weeks, when approximately 10 percent of babies
survive, to 24 weeks, when 50 to 60 percent of babies survive.
For two weeks,
Kristen stayed at Lehigh Valley Cedar Crest. Jason stayed with her as much as
his job would allow. Every three days, Kristen's cervix was checked to see if
it had dilated more. It hadn't. The Cunninghams grew more optimistic with each
"I planned on being on complete bed rest when I came home. I really
thought I would be going home once I hit 24 weeks," said Kristen.
28, 2013, the day Kristen thought she would be going home, Bryce was born. The
doctor wanted to check Kristen one more time before discharging her. She was 1.5
cm dilated externally.
"It was just a rush. I called Jason and told him
Bryce was coming today. All the doctors scrubbed up, I was prepped and out the
door," said Kristen.
Bryce weighed 1.9 pounds and measured 12.5 inches
in length when he was born. He weighed approximately the same as an average carton
of eggs and slightly longer than a piece of computer paper.
For the next three
months, the Cunninghams helped Bryce fight his way to health. He suffered through
episodes of apnea, had two blood transfusions and a bout of sepsis. He also needed
artificial surfactant, a lubricating agent to keep his lungs from sticking together
as they expanded and contracted.
Today, Bryce is 14 months old though his milestones
are measured by his adjusted age of 10 months. So far, he has no long term complications.
were so lucky. Everything that could go wrong for a preemie didn't happen to him.
We feel good now and we are hoping for the best," said Kristen.
18, the Cunninghams will participate in the local March for Babies walk at King's
College Betzler Field in Wilkes-Barre. Anyone can participate by signing up at
Harnischfeger set for swan song
Jill Snowdon - Citizens Voice
they were 9, Amanda Cardone and Jenn Harnischfeger have spent their summers together,
playing softball and riding bikes. It's nothing for either of them to walk into
the other's house and sit down for a family dinner. And they've already discussed
being in each other's weddings.
The best friends, who share fond memories of
leading Nanticoke Area's softball team to a PIAA championship in 2009, are enjoying
their final season at King's College and are set to help the Monarchs make a run
in this weekend's Freedom Conference Tournament at Delaware Valley College in
The Monarchs (26-8) are making their 15th straight appearance in
the conference playoffs and take on FDU-Florham at 1. Only the champion earns
an automatic berth in the NCAA Division III Championships.
to believe that this could be it," Harnischfeger said. "It's the first
time ever that we won't be talking about our next season. That definitely hasn't
sunk in with me yet."
The pair were instrumental in guiding Nanticoke
Area's program to success and they transferred their efforts to the collegiate
level with instant results. In fact, on Thursday, Cardone and Harnischfeger were
selected first-team All-Freedom Conference for the fourth straight season. Other
Monarchs honored were Brittany Haight and Nanticoke Area graduate Maggie Gola
to the second team, while Erin Beane and Nicolette Pizzo were honorable mention
"I'm so proud of us," Cardone said. "Jenn and I
came out of high school on such a high note with winning the state title and it
ended up being a stepping stone for us with college. I think all of our accomplishments
have gone beyond my expectations."
Cardone is a four-year starter at catcher,
has played in 137 games and has a .409 career batting average, which includes
21 home runs. 41 doubles and a 143 RBIs.
In the classroom, Cardone carries
a 3.5 grade point average and will continue her academic career in medical school.
is a also a four-year starter in the infield. She has a .390 career batting average
with 35 doubles, 10 triples, six home runs and 70 RBIs.
She too is an excellent
student with a 3.3 GPA as an English major and she will begin student teaching
in the fall.
Since they were little girls, the softball diamond has been the
focus for Cardone and Harnischfeger. But another special diamond brought the friends
even closer together this past winter.
"I was working on a project for
school and Jenn sent me a text with a picture of this huge rock on her finger,"
Cardone said. "I called her screaming!"
Cardone was one of the first
people Harnischfeger broke the news of her engagement to high school sweetheart
Josh Olzinski. The newly engaged couple are taking their time with the wedding
plans, but big decisions have already been made.
"She is absolutely going
to be in my wedding," Harnischfeger said proudly. "I couldn't imagine
it without her and we've already been talking about dresses."
of how far the King's softball team goes this season, the end of exceptional careers
is near for Cardone and Harnischfeger.
But both are adamant that they won't
give up softball just yet.
"We are already talking about which rec leagues
we are going to play in," Harnischfeger said. "And when we aren't playing
softball, we love to ride bikes together. It's one of our favorite things to do
"I'm sad softball at King's is almost over for us,"
added Cardone. "But we have so many other things to look forward to together
scholarly man of letters
Frank Mrufchinski tells you he feeds the birds in his backyard and has given a
home to four cats, you might start to think of the Nanticoke man as a modern-day
St. Francis of Assisi.
But his love for animals is only one dimension of this
80-year-old retired teacher.
A writer of frequent letters to the editor
often regarding spiritual topics Mrufchinski also attends weekly Bible
discussions at the Berean Baptist Church, prays a daily series of traditional
Catholic prayers called the Liturgy of the Hours and treasures the memory of the
occasion when he exchanged a few words with Karol Wojtyla, who later became Pope
John Paul II.
If his life is really starting to sound theologically oriented,
perhaps thats not surprising.
I wanted to be a priest, he
said. But I was so concerned about my parents, I didnt want to go
far away. I had my mother until she was 94, and I spent 24 hours a day taking
care of her. My father had died years earlier from miners asthma.
of studying for the priesthood, Mrufchinski joined the Order of Secular Franciscans
as a layperson devoted to prayer, charity and peace-making.
He also became
a teacher and worked for years in Potter County and, later, for the Lake-Lehman
School District in Luzerne County.
Coaching basketball and directing school
plays, he took pride in his students accomplishments.
Decades later he
still can recite some of them from memory.
Lois Carpenter from Potter County
won a Daughters of the American Revolution essay contest, he said, beaming like
a proud dad, and Joe Dempsey won a state contest for his essay on Milton Hershey.
former student, Earl Cunningham, received a state honor as a volunteer firefighter,
based on his work and my letter of recommendation, Mrufchinski said.
precious to the former teacher are the letter from Susann Salansky Apgar thanking
him for being a positive influence in her life and the note from Shannon Klemunes,
who thanked him for teaching her to be polite and considerate of others.
prolific writer himself in old-fashioned longhand Mrufchinski has
penned letters to the editor on a variety of topics. He has thanked retired pastor
Monsignor Thomas Banick for his work at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Wilkes-Barre,
expressed gratitude to Kings College for helping him attend the annual Century
Club party and lauded former Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow for praying
on the football field.
Thats the heart of a newspaper, the editorial
page, Mrufchinski said, explaining why he likes to share his thoughts. I
just want to make the community a better place.
On Sunday the late Pope
John Paul II was canonized St. John Paul, and Mrufchinski happily recalls a time
he met the former Karol Wojtyla, then cardinal of Krakow, at the Academy of Music
in Philadelphia and exchanged a sentence or two in Polish.
We are overjoyed,
Mrufchinski said last week, speaking for his twin sister, Teresa, and other people
of Polish heritage. One of us is in heaven. I believe hes there with
my mother and father and all my relatives.
contamination puts Nanticoke skate park in limbo
years after helping convince city council to move ahead with building a park for
skateboarders, Bill Borowski came back to city hall to find out what happened.
2005, the South Valley Partnership presented plans for a 140-acre park along the
Susquehanna River in Nanticoke, and it included soccer and baseball fields, hiking
trails, a boat launch and a skate park.
City officials were still promoting
the plan in 2011 when the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
announced a $60,400 grant for the first phase of the project.
But at Wednesday's
city council meeting, officials said the project is in limbo because of soil contamination
at the site of the skate park. A soccer field at the site was closed several years
ago, officials said.
Last October, the city submitted a notice of intent to
remediate the former soccer field off Lower Broadway Street due to soil contaminated
from an automotive junkyard and landfill/scrap yard. Donna Wall has been interim
city manager since Pamela Heard was forced out as manager in January, and Wall
said she has been busy researching and learning details about the remediation
About 20 skate park supporters attended Wednesday's meeting to hear Borowski
question city officials about the skate park project. He is 27 and was 14 when
he and others promoted the idea for a skate park.
The cost of the skate park
was tagged at $250,000 in 2005 by the South Valley Partnership.
trees don't have money growing on the them," Councilwoman Lesley Butczynski
said at Wednesday's meeting, noting trees outside the windows of city hall.
at the meeting were uncertain of the status of the South Valley Partnership, whether
the organization represented the city and how much money it had spent on the park
Former Mayor John Bushko said the South Valley Partnership was a nonprofit
organization formed to represent the city, Newport Township and Plymouth Township
on regional projects. He said the city should have a representative on the South
Wall also said the city will seek an extension to avoid losing
grant money from state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
2008, city officials said the park project had been delayed by legal issues. The
city had to secure ownership of the land, roughly 140 acres of former residential
properties torn down in a hazard mitigation project after the Tropical Storm Agnes
flood of 1972. The city owned the land, which is part of the Susquehanna River
flood plain, but didn't have clear title to it because deeds were either lost
or improperly filed.
council tables vote on liquor license
Susan Bettinger - Times Leader
City Council earlier this month tabled a vote to
allow the Park Market, located at 30 E. Broad St., to apply for the transfer of
a Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board restaurant liquor license.4/13/2014
is needed for the establishment to sell six packs of beer to go.
Rodgers, representing the business owner, stated the premises would be divided
into two sections: the grocery store area, and a section where 30 seats would
be available to sit down and eat prepared food or sandwiches. The area would have
a separate entrance.
There would be no music or live entertainment, Rodgers
added, and the business would have to follow all state Liquor Board rules and
Several residents disapproved of the proposal, saying that it
would increase litter, public drunkenness and underage drinking in the Patriot
Square area. Council will vote on the issue at the April 16 meeting.
president of the taxpayers association, said the 20 percent property tax increase
is in violation of Nanticokes home-rule charter. Marks said the home rule
charter allows for an increase of only 8 percent.
Hanks said that in
2013 there was no property tax increase from the previous year. He said
the millage was 4.0594, and in 2014 the budget increased property taxes by 4.8785
Hanks suggested that council hire an accountant to declare whether or
not the increase is within the home rule charter guidelines.
But Donna Wall,
acting city manager, responded by saying that she used former City Manager Pam
Heards worksheet and that the increase is under the 8 percent limit.
Chester Prymowicz has submitted his letter of retirement as of May 31, the council
learned earlier this month. Prymowicz has served the fire department for the past
In another matter, Mary Grobinski of East Grand Street asked what
could be done about the excessive noise and fumes coming from a home located at
the rear of Union Street, adjacent to Grobinskis home.
that noise from a stereo system, as well as the fumes and excessive noises from
the hot rods located at the home, make it impossible for her to sit on her porch
or to function normally in her own home.
She said the noise in continuous,
all day into the night, seven days a week. Grobinski also said she has tried speaking
with her neighbor, but he has an uncaring and defiant attitude about the situation.
said the neighbor quieted down for a brief period after the police got involved,
but it was short lived and he returned to the noise making within a short period
Mayor Richard Wiaterowski assured Grobowski that Code Enforcer Joe
Kordek would look into the situation.
The next council meeting will be on April
16 at 7 p.m.
teachers hospital program a success
Susan Bettinger - Times
Greater Nanticoke Area fifth-grade teachers Jennifer
Ferro and Karie Yefko coordinated an event to bring Jared boxes to the pediatric
department of Geisinger Hospital, it was announced the school boards meeting
The plastic boxes were filled with donated toys and games to
make the young patients hospital stay a little more pleasant. Ferro and
Yefko were hoping to donate 25 boxes to the units patients, but the response
from the students, parents and GNA staff was so overwhelming that the end result
was 118 donated boxes.
Second-grade teacher Lauren Dembowski will take her
class to visit Guardian Elder Center on Wednesday. Guardian has requested visits
from the students.
In other business:
The board voted not to renew
the contract with VLN Cyber School for the 2014-2015 school year.
Popyk, Samantha Russin, Alexis Seery and Joanna Tushinski were selected to join
Junior Leadership in Wilkes Barre.
It was announced that on April 30
the district will hold a mock accident in preparation for the prom with the hopes
of promoting safe driving.
The next board meeting will be on May 15.
5-sport standout heading to Lock Haven
Tom Fox - Times Leader
you just know.
The minute Kayla Gronkowski walked on the campus of Lock Haven
University, the Nanticoke field hockey standout knew she might have found her
It was just the feeling she had, and one she's sticking with.
a five-sport letterman at the school, recently signed a letter of intent to play
for the Division I Lady Eagles and head coach Pat Rudy.
"I love it there.
To be honest, it feels like Nanticoke," she said. "The campus is really
nice, and I'm just excited to continue my career there.
Drive and dedication.
Those are the two assets Gronkowski followed her entire career
Drive to be
the best she could. Dedication to her sport
"I spent a lot of time in
the summer at camps to improve my skills and become the best player that I could
be," she said. "I knew that my coaches always rewarded hard work and
dedication, and I knew that all my hard work would pay off.
through the rigors of a brutal Wyoming Valley Conference schedule, the senior
found herself among the best in the league and an all-conference selection.
was happy with my season, but you always want to see the team win more,"
she said. "We play in a really tough conference against teams that have a
great level of success in the state. Honestly, I think we do pretty good against
The choice to attend Lock Haven was pretty simple.
It's an opportunity
to play at the Division I level. The Lady Eagles, a former national champ at Division
II, recently moved up and are members of the Atlantic 10 Conference. Even in non-league
action, Lock Haven has squared up with national powers like Penn State and North
More importantly, the Clinton County school just felt like home.
the kind of place that made me feel like Nanticoke," she said. "I loved
it when I first went there, and after I attended a camp, it pretty much sealed
the deal for me. I knew it was the right place for me. I felt a good connection
with Pat Rudy. I met her, and it was like eight months before I saw her again,
and she still remembered my name. That meant a lot because she remembered who
I was. That made a real good impression on me.
"It's going to be a big
change, but I would love to play early in my career. I know that I have to catch
up on some things, but I think I can do that."
If her high school career
is any indication, expect her to accomplish any goals.
She's a five-sport standout
- cross country, field hockey, swimming, track and softball.
And that's not
counting the numerous school clubs and activities she has her hand in.
manage it," she said. "I'm pretty dedicated with every activity that
I participate in. I've always taken the role that I wanted to be involved. I've
always been involved in whatever I could. Sometimes, Nanticoke gets a bad rap,
and people say things. I've always been a person that's taken an active role and
tried to show everything Nanticoke has to offer."
At Lock Haven, Gronkowski
plans to major in physics and engineering.
tours schools to study education
State treasurer, a Democratic gubernatorial
hopeful, chats with students, administrators
State Treasurer Rob McCord was impressed Friday when one young student at Greater
Nanticoke Area Elementary Center said of a recent PSSA test: The only thing
I liked about the test is all the hard questions.
McCord, who is hoping
to win the Democratic nomination in his bid for governor, was visiting with students
in the school library. Later he toured classrooms in that school, where third-,
fourth- and fifth-graders attend, and at neighboring Kennedy Elementary, which
is for second-graders.
It was a campaign stop on his tour of schools across
the commonwealth to talk about his plan to invest $1.3 billion in early childhood
education and kindergarten-through-12th-grade classrooms, funds he plans to raise
with a 10 percent natural gas drillers tax. Those plans encompass two criticisms
he has of Gov. Tom Corbett, whom McCord accuses of making disastrous education
cuts and who has refused to tax drillers.
McCord, of Montgomery County,
who is backed by the Pennsylvania State Education Association, toured the schools
and met with administrators to learn their concerns. Acting district Superintendent
Mariellen Scott, Ed.D., led the tour, joined by state Sen. John Yudichak, D-Plymouth
Township; Nanticoke Mayor Richard Wiaterowski and his wife, Wendy, a school board
member; fellow school board member Megan Tenessen, and interim city administrator
McCord clearly enjoyed himself as he met and chatted with students,
teachers and school officials and talked with students about his struggles with
reading as a child. He sat in a tiny chair at a student desk among second-graders
in Leslie Ginocchiettis classroom in Kennedy Elementary and pulled up a
yoga ball in Ed Grants fifth grade at the elementary center to interact
with students and learn what the teachers were teaching.
There, the candidate
was even more impressed by a question from a girl who asked if he had plans to
increase state funding for education. McCord then explained his position that
he plans to restore funding that Gov. Corbett reduced for investing in education.
also explained to the class how his mother went through a tough divorce when he
was young and how he was in a slow reading group when his mother moved to Pennsylvania
for a job and a good school district.
In teacher Kelly McCabes fourth-grade
classroom next door, he told his background, but with the additional detail that
his dyslexia was not diagnosed when he was 8. But, he said, to encourage students
in the class who have trouble with reading, he got help and eventually went on
to Harvard and success in business.
Later, he and Yudichak met with Scott,
District Principal Mary Ann Jarolen, Special Education Director Dan Burkholder
and Educational Center Principal Joe Long to talk about what educators and the
Jarolen expressed concerns that the district receives nothing
in return for payments made toward charter schools. McCord suggested cyber and
charter schools should have massive re-certification requirements to make
sure they are not a scam.
The group talked about after school and summer
programs, and the fact that many students dont take part in after-school
activities because they ride the bus.
Later, McCord told reporters he didnt
want to over-promise on property tax reform, but, I think we can reduce
property tax and offer rebates for seniors.
McCord is facing York businessman
Tom Wolf, U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz and former Environmental Protection Secretary
Katie McGinty in the May 20 primary.
makes campaign stop at Nanticoke school
state Treasurer Rob McCord learned some fifth-grade students at Greater Nanticoke
Elementary Center were sitting on yoga balls in class, he became eager to join
Some students in Ed Grant's class use the balls because it helps them
focus, Acting Superintendent Mariellen Scott explained. With McCord atop one of
the big bouncy balls, a student in the class later asked the Democratic candidate
for governor if he wanted to restore state funding cuts in education.
said he wants to do just that on "day one, year one, budget one." He
said he wants to impose a 10 percent tax on natural gas drilling to generate an
additional $1.3 billion in annual revenue.
Political ally state Sen. John Yudichak,
D-Plymouth Township, accompanied McCord on the elementary center tour. They later
met with school administrators and talked about issues concerning special education,
cyber-charter schools and after-school programs.
McCord told students in several
classes his personal story about having "undiagnosed dyslexia" and going
to Harvard University thanks to his public school education in the Philadelphia
"What's Harvard?" a student in Kelly McCabe's fourth-grade
"It's the second best college in the world, second to Penn
State," McCord replied, looking over at Yudichak, a Penn State alum and former
Greater Nanticoke Area School District student.
Also on the tour were: Nanticoke
Mayor Richard Wiaterowski; his wife and school board member Wendy Kotsko Wiaterowski;
Donna Wall, Nanticoke's acting city manager and benefits and finance coordinator;
and school board member Megan Tennesen.
Wiaterowski's son, Ryan, is a student
in Leslie Ginocchetti's second-grade class.
"When you go home, do you
call your dad Mr. Mayor?" McCord joked when visiting the class.
board to interview six superintendent candidates
Greater Nanticoke Area School Board plans to interview six applicants for superintendent,
school board members said.
Board members Megan Tennesen and Wendy Kotsko Wiaterowski
talked about the search for a new superintendent during Treasurer Rob McCord's
tour of the elementary center. A total of 12 applied to succeed Anthony Perrone,
who resigned Jan. 28 as superintendent due to health problems.
The school board
wants a new superintendent on board by June 30. Acting Superintendent Mariellen
Scott wants to return to working as elementary school principal.
been superintendent since 1996. In October, the school board voted to appoint
Perrone to a three-year term that was set to end June 30, 2016. He continued to
work without receiving pay, and the district continued to provide his health benefits.
over Nanticoke tax hike persists
taxpayer advocate says Nanticoke's property tax hike for 2014 is 20 percent, but
the city's home rule charter limits tax increases to 8 percent.
city's financial recovery coordinator is confident the increase does not violate
Turns out, they're both right.
In 2013, property tax millage
was 4.0594, and in the 2014 budget it is 4.8785 mills, which resident and taxpayer
advocate Hank Marks points out is an increase of more than 20 percent.
true, says Joe Boyle of Pennsylvania Economy League.
He confirmed the charter
is clear on the fact that taxes cannot be raised more than 8 percent above the
previous year's revenue.
But that means total revenue, not just from one source.
The city's 1.5 percent earned income tax brings in 43 percent of the city's revenue,
about $2.1 million a year, and 29 percent is from the property tax, or about $1.4
million, Boyle said. The rest of the general fund income comes from other sources
including the local services tax, the mercantile tax and code enforcement revenue.
total 2014 revenue from all the sources, including the increased property tax,
is 7.46 percent more than 2013 revenue - just under the 8 percent limit set by
the home rule charter. The adopted budget for 2013 had $4,485,950 in general fund
revenues, and for 2014 it has $4,820,486.
Marks isn't convinced.
voodoo accounting, to try to circumvent what they did by raising taxes 20 percent,"
he said. "That still doesn't change the fact that we're paying 20 percent
more on our taxes."
The property tax increase amounts to $81.91 more per
year on a house assessed at $100,000, Marks said.
Before the reassessment,
Nanticoke's property tax was 60 mills. But since then, the city has probably lost
about $5 million in assessed valuation, Boyle said.
since reassessment is its assessed value is declining each year as people appeal,"
As a result, the real estate tax becomes less productive, but Boyle
said it is the only vehicle the city has to meet increasing expenses: Nanticoke
gets very little non-tax revenue. As an Act 47 or financially distressed community
- also through having a home rule charter - city officials could raise the earned
income tax. But it's already at 2 percent, counting the 0.5 percent that goes
to Greater Nanticoke Area school district.
City officials didn't raise taxes
in 2012 and 2013, Boyle pointed out.
"They held the tax line for two years
and had to raise it. That raise is not unusual for municipalities," he said.
is running a full-service city with full-time municipal services - police, fire
and code enforcement - across the board, Boyle said.
Due to contractual obligations,
the tax increase was necessary to "Fund the level of services the residents
consistently ask for," he said.
But Marks thinks the 8 percent increase
is too much. He would like to see a 4-percent limit on taxes and will try to get
that provision in the charter changed.
If not, he wants to try to get the whole
charter thrown out.
"I was an advocate for home rule, but I wouldn't be
any more," Marks said.
hospital will be vacant by fall
Kindred employees eyed for jobs
deal between Commonwealth Health and a Camp Hill company to manage its post-acute
care services at two local hospitals will leave the Special Care Hospital building
vacant this fall for the first time in more than a century.
Post Acute Medical
LLC, a provider of post-acute care at more than 20 hospitals and facilities nationwide,
wanted to expand its footprint in its home state and eyed Northeastern Pennsylvania
as a place to start.
But rather than operating in the facility on South Washington
Street that opened as a state hospital in 1909, it opted to use space inside Wilkes-Barre
General Hospital and the Regional Hospital in Scranton.
Anne Leon, a spokeswoman
for Post Acute Medical, said the company sees this market as a good place to do
business. Being located inside existing hospitals presents a good opportunity
for itself and its patients, she said.
The company signed an agreement to lease
the seventh floor of Wilkes-Barre General starting in mid-September.
the number of employees it will need hasnt been determined, its likely
that the dozens at Kindred Hospital Wyoming Valley who currently work on that
floor will be viewed as potential Post Acute employees.
doing it. Theyve been doing it for 12 years, Leon said of Kindred
Kindred Healthcare has operated the hospital
within a hospital on the seventh floor of Wilkes-Barre General Hospital since
2002. The company did not renew its contract with Wilkes-Barre General for the
36-bed long-term acute care facility and will exit on or before Sept. 16. Post
Acute will move right in.
Continuing to have an outside company providing post
acute care was something Commonwealth Health, Wilkes-Barre Generals parent
company, viewed as the best option.
Annmarie Poslock, a Commonwealth Health
spokeswoman, issued a statement confirming the Post Acute Medical agreement: Selling
LTAC (long-term acute care) operations to a single specialty organization would
support quality of care for patients and keep the systems resources focused
on other hospital services. As we developed our strategy and contemplated this
transaction, we had discussions with multiple LTAC service companies, including
She said Post Acute Medical will continue to operate within
these hospitals as independent providers and offer services to patients who require
additional resources for recovery.
Leon said Post Acute Medical operates
the bulk of its facilities in Texas with additional ones in Wisconsin, Louisiana
and Oklahoma, but we were looking to start growing in Pennsylvania.
And having a facility inside Wilkes-Barre General, as Kindred learned, just made
Theres access to diagnostic equipment, facilities, physicians.
You can serve your patients much better, Leon said.
Part of the
companys agreement with Commonwealth Health was to retain as many of the
companys employees working in its Special Care Hospital in Nanticoke.
Acute Medical will operate long-term acute care units at Regional Hospital of
Scranton and Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, and inpatient operations at Special
Care Hospital will end. The units will function as independent providers located
within the hospitals, which will help in patient transitions between levels.
With just two units Wilkes-Barre General Hospital and Regional
Hospital of Scranton there will be sufficient beds to accommodate long-term
acute care patients in the region based on patient volumes of the past four years,
The land and building occupied by Special Care Hospital are owned
by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Poslock said.
Troy Thompson, a Pennsylvania
Department of General Services spokesman, said the news came unexpectedly and
since the state considers that building surplus property it will entertain
When Commonwealth Health, a for-profit company, purchased
the Special Care Hospital from a non-profit company, the Pennsylvania Department
of General Services negotiated a four-year lease for $2,000 per month, with a
$500,000 option to buy. The lease expires in June 2014 on the 81,839-square-foot
building situated on 3.9 acres.
new city manager quits
Jay Zupa was scheduled to take over position on March
tenure as Nanticokes city manager was short-lived.
Zupa was initially
supposed to report for his first day of work on March 24.
A new opportunity,
however, resulted in Zupa declining the job and leaving Nanticoke without a city
Zupa was present at the city council meeting on March 5, where he
officially became the city manager.
Interim City Manager Donna Wall said he
was not present at the meeting on March 19.
She said he received an opportunity
to further himself even better, and ultimately turned down the position
before his initial start date.
Wall said she heard that he took a position
for a realty company in Boston.
Another opportunity came, and he felt
that he couldnt pass it up, she said.
Wall admitted that Zupas
departure put the city in a spot, but the search for a new city manager
will be on hold temporarily.
Wall said the city has advertised for a new financial
manager, and interviews for that position are expected to be held sometime next
Wall explained that the position took priority as the city works to close
finances for 2013 and begin the audit process.
That position (financial
manager) was really more important at this time, Wall said.
Once a financial
manager is hired, the search for a new city manager will begin.
not by any means standing still here, Wall said.
Zupa previously worked
as the benefits coordinator for Luzerne County.
Zupa could not be reached Wednesday
advocate: Nanticoke tax hike violates charter
A taxpayer advocate said residents are
being overtaxed with a 20 percent property tax hike that violates Nanticoke's
But city officials say the increase is acceptable under
In 2013, there was no property tax increase from the previous
year; millage was 4.0594. But the 2014 budget increased property taxes by 4.8785
mills, which means $81.91 more per year on a house assessed at $100,000.
raised our tax more than anybody around, and we were the highest to begin with,"
resident and taxpayer advocate Hank Marks said.
He pointed out the home-rule
charter does not allow for a tax increase of more than 8 percent, but the property
tax hike comes out to 20 percent. He took council to task on that point during
"Did you hire an accountant yet?" Marks asked.
we? No, not yet," council President Bill Brown said.
"Well, I think
you're going to need an accountant to look into this and see where you stand on
that 8 percent restriction with income sources," Marks said. "Because
if you're not following under the regulations that limit this right now, you just
raised them 20 percent, and I know a lot of people paid their taxes, including
me, with that 20 percent. What's going to happen if you find out that you exceeded
the limits on that income requirement in the home-rule charter?"
City Administrator Donna Wall said she used a worksheet from former city Administrator
Pam Heard, and it was "below 8 percent, definitely."
Joe Boyle of
Pennsylvania Economy League, the city's financial recovery coordinator, said the
increase was within the charter limits.
Marks said the city has a lot of low-income
people, the county raised taxes 8 percent, "and then we have a sewer tax,
a garbage tax, other taxes people have to pay," including a 1.5 percent earned
In response to Marks' comparison to neighboring Newport Township,
Wall said Nanticoke provides more services, including a fully paid fire department.
Lou Gianuzzi asked why, if city officials were going by numbers provided by Heard,
she wasn't there.
"Who is our manager now, being that the guy quit the
first day?" Gianuzzi asked.
Heard was put on administrative leave in January.
Council recently hired Jay Zupa, who worked as Luzerne County's benefits coordinator
for 18 years, as Nanticoke's new manager, but he is moving to Boston.
weren't aware and neither was he of the fact that he had a better opportunity
in life," Councilwoman Lesley Butczynski said. "Good for him. That's
Asked after the meeting why Heard was no longer with the city,
Mayor Richard Wiaterowski replied, "Different direction."
the city hopes to have a financial administrator by the end of the month, and
then officials will do a manager search.
In other business, council tabled
a vote until April 16 on whether to allow Rashimikaben Patel to transfer a liquor
license from Freeland Borough to the Park Market at 30 E. Broad St. Patel, who
has owned the market for about a year and a half, plans to renovate the store
and sell beer six-packs, his attorney John P. Rodgers said.
Rodgers said the
store would be partitioned off, with 30 seats where people can sit and eat, like
any restaurant. He said Patel would follow state Liquor Control Board regulations.
some residents expressed concerns about increased public drunkenness in Patriot
Square Park, the potential for underage sales and competition with mom-and-pop
big leaguer, college coach Cihocki dies
a plug of tobacco in his cheek and a pair of shiny, white metal spikes on his
feet, Al Cihocki would sit on the bench in the first base dugout at the baseball
field at Luzerne County Community College and tell stories.
He would talk about
managing and playing in Puerto Rico. He would tell stories about Tommy Lasorda
and his time spent playing with the Cleveland Indians. Cihocki could tell a story
and 99 percent of those stories revolved around baseball.
Cihocki, who was
born in Nanticoke, died on Thursday at the age of 89. His obituary appears on
page B13 of today's edition of The Citizens' Voice.
Mostly known as "Doc"
around the Wyoming Valley, Cihocki played in 92 games as a 21-year-old infielder
for the Cleveland Indians in 1945. One of his most memorable games from that season
came on Aug. 24, where he was the starting shortstop in a game pitched by Bob
Feller. It was Feller's first game back since returning from World War II.
was a baseball treasure of baseball stories," said former longtime Nanticoke
Area baseball coach John Kashatus. "He always kept the game interesting.
He loved to try to identify talent in a player. Doc was tough. If some guys didn't
have it, they knew it. He wouldn't hold back. His wife was always proud that he
was one of three guys from Honey Pot to make it to the major leagues."
played for the Baltimore Orioles of the International League from 1946-1952. He
was known as Baltimore's first Ironman, playing in the most games in Class AAA
Oriole history, 850 in all. In 1946, he played every inning of all 154 games.
He also played for the 1954 Wilkes-Barre Barons, an affiliate of the Detroit Tigers.
took Cihocki all over the world from Batavia, N.Y., to Puerto Rico, Venezuela
and the Dominican Republic.
After retiring from baseball in 1955, Cihocki worked
at Chase Prison in Dallas. He also was an assistant coach at King's before moving
on to coach at LCCC for 22 seasons.
"I worked with him at the prison,"
said Coughlin coach Moe Rodzinak. "When he was coaching at LCC he would call
me down on the block and tell me to get him players. He was a great guy. A couple
of guys from work went to a ballgame with him. He took them right down along the
field and all the players came running up to him. He knew everybody. They all
knew him. He was a great guy."
to recognize Nanticoke Eagle Scout
Prymowicz , an Eagle Scout with Troop 418 sponsored by the Nanticoke American
Legion, will be recognized on the House and Senate floors in Harrisburg on April
7 for earning all 137 Boy Scout merit badges. This includes the four Heritage
merit badges that were only available for one year during the BSA Bicentennial
Chandler, 18, has been pursuing his Boy Scout career since he joined
Troop 418 on May 8, 2006. As he worked through the years, he achieved all Boy
Scout ranks tenderfoot, second class, first class, star and life
by March 2010. In the meantime, Chandler achieved additional honors, including
membership in the Order of the Arrow, designated as the honor society of Scouting,
on June 1, 2008; Great Expectation Leadership training on Nov. 15, 2008; and his
Brotherhood Membership on March 28, 2009. Chandler earned his Eagle Scout rank
on Nov. 17, 2010. Thereafter, he continued earning merit badges and completed
the last one on Oct. 28, 2013.
County trooper hurt in crash
state trooper from Luzerne County was among four people injured in a head-on crash
early Sunday in Monroe County.
Troopers Jeffrey J. Kowalski, 32, a Nanticoke
native who now lives in Drums, and Gary J. Fedorczyk, 38, were driving a marked
state police car on Route 115 in Chestnuthill Township when another vehicle hit
them head on.
The crash occurred around 12:39 a.m. on Route 115 just south
of Weir Lake Road, according to police.
Jean A. Fonte, 25, of Kunkletown, and
Erin C. Dooner, 30, of Effort, were traveling southbound on 115 in a 2004 Dodge
Stratus. For unknown reasons, the car crossed over into the northbound lane, striking
the troopers' 2011 Ford Crown Victoria head-on.
All four were all transported
to area hospitals with what police describe as moderate injuries.
said they are still investigating the crash and will release more information
as it becomes available. Kowalski and Fedorczyk worked out of the Fern Ridge barracks.
Care Hospital in Nanticoke closing
Commonwealth Health selling facility
will unload one of its eight member hospitals later this year, leaving the livelihoods
of some employees at the Nanticoke facility in question.
The company has reached
a definitive agreement to sell Special Care Hospital and its satellite operations
to a subsidiary of Post Acute Medical LLC, Commonwealth Health announced in a
news release on Monday.
Financial terms of the transaction are not being released,
said Annmarie Poslock, vice president of marketing for Commonwealth Health.
in Camp Hill, Cumberland County, Post Acute Medical is a specialty health care
company focused on providing post-acute care through a multistate system that
includes specialty hospitals and inpatient rehab facilities.
Special Care Hospital
is referred to in the medical community as an L-TAC because it provides
long-term acute care services for seriously ill patients with complicated medical
needs. The hospital has about 130 employees, about 110 of whom are clinical and
will be hired by Post Acute Medical, Poslock said.
Over the coming months
until the transaction closes, we will work with the 20 employees in dietary, housekeeping
and maintenance to identify opportunities within the other Commonwealth Health
facilities. Should any employees not be placed, severance will be provided for
those who qualify, Poslock said.
Work will be done to retain as many
employees not hired by Post Acute Medical as possible to staff outpatient services
in Nanticoke and redeploy others to positions at Commonwealth Health facilities,
Outplacement services will be offered to prepare affected staff for
the job-search process, and job fairs will be held to share other open positions
available within the network.
After the close of the
transaction later this year, Post Acute Medical will operate long-term acute care
units at Regional Hospital of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, and
inpatient operations at Special Care Hospital will end. The units will function
as independent providers located within the hospitals, which will help in patient
transitions between levels.
Special Care Hospital has been a facility
dedicated to providing patients with quality, personalized care, Bob Williams,
chief executive officer of Special Care Hospital, said in a news release. We
have a compassionate, skilled team of physicians and employees who have served
our patients and community well. Their professionalism is appreciated and we thank
them for their years of service.
As part of a regular assessment of services,
Commonwealth Health identified that selling long-term acute care operations to
a single specialty organization would support the highest quality of care for
With just two units Wilkes-Barre General Hospital and Regional
Hospital of Scranton there will be sufficient beds to accommodate L-TAC
patients in the region based on patient volumes of the past four years, Poslock
L-TACs admit complicated, seriously ill patients, generally from critical
care areas of acute care hospitals. Many physicians favor an L-TAC within a hospital
versus a free-standing L-TAC such as Special Care because of the depth and breadth
of resources available within an acute care hospital, Poslock noted.
welcome the opportunity to work with the hospitals of Commonwealth Health and
their network of providers in the community, says Anthony Misitano, president
and CEO of Post Acute Medical. At the same time, these long-term acute care
units bring us close to home in Pennsylvania, providing a foothold as we look
to expand our operations here and in other areas within the Mid-Atlantic region.
The land and building occupied by Special Care Hospital are owned
by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Poslock said.
Previously known as Mercy
Special Care Hospital, the property was leased from the state by Mercy Health
Partners until it was sold to Community Health Systems in 2011. Special Care Hospital
then merged with seven other area hospitals to form Commonwealth Health in February
Mercy had been leasing the hospital property from the state for $1 per
month for 20 years. When Mercy decided to sell the hospital, the Pennsylvania
Department of General Services negotiated a new two-year lease with Nanticoke
Hospital Co., a subsidiary of Community Health Systems, for $2,000 per month,
with a $500,000 option to buy.
The option to buy was pending legislative approval,
because all sales of state-owned property must be approved by the General Assembly.
The status of the lease could not be ascertained Monday. Any state plans for the
fate of the building could not be ascertained on Monday.
will continue to have a presence in Nanticoke through expansion of the outpatient
services center in downtown Nanticoke at the corner of East Main and North Market,
Those services most used by the Nanticoke community will be offered
there, including diagnostic imaging, EKG testing and lab draws. Renovations of
the facility will provide more clinic space for primary care physicians.
Care Hospital in Nanticoke sold to Post Acute Medical LLC
Health has reached an agreement to sell Special Care Hospital in Nanticoke and
its satellite operations to a subsidiary of specialty health care company Post
Acute Medical LLC based in Camp Hill.
Special Care Hospital, which provides
long-term acute care services to seriously ill patients with complicated medical
needs, employs approximately 130 people, according to Commonwealth Health spokeswoman
Commonwealth Health announced Monday, in a press release,
that substantially all Special Care Hospital employees "in good standing
at the time the transaction closes are expected to be offered employment by Post
Acute Medical, with the exception of employees in dietary, maintenance and housekeeping."
said Commonwealth Health officials will work with about 20 employees in dietary,
housekeeping and maintenance to identify job opportunities within other Commonwealth
"Should any employees not be placed, severance will
be provided for those who qualify," she said.
About 110 employees are
clinical and will be hired by Post Acute Medical, she said.
will be offered to prepare affected staff for the job search process, and job
fairs will be held to share other open positions available within the network,
according to the press release from Commonwealth Health,
Poslock would not
release financial terms of the transaction.
Following the close of the transaction
later this year, Post Acute Medical will operate long-term acute care units at
Regional Hospital of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre General Hospital and inpatient
operations at Special Care Hospital will end. The units will function as independent
providers located within the hospitals, facilitating patient transitions between
levels of care.
Commonwealth Health officials said with the two units, Wilkes-Barre
General Hospital and Regional Hospital of Scranton, there will be sufficient beds
to accommodate long-term acute care patients in the region based on patient volumes
of the last four years.
"Special Care Hospital has been a facility dedicated
to providing patients with quality, personalized care," Bob Williams, Chief
Executive Officer of Special Care Hospital, said in a statement. "We have
a compassionate, skilled team of physicians and employees who have served our
patients and community well. Their professionalism is appreciated and we thank
them for their years of service."
As part of a regular assessment of services,
Commonwealth Health identified that selling long-term acute care operations to
a single specialty organization would "support the highest quality of care
for patients," according to the press release.
"We welcome the opportunity
to work with the hospitals of Commonwealth Health and their network of providers
in the community," Anthony Misitano, President and CEO of Post Acute Medical,
said in a statement. "At the same time, these long-term acute care units
bring us close to home in Pennsylvania, providing a foothold as we look to expand
our operations here and in other areas within the Mid Atlantic region."
Health will continue to have a presence in Nanticoke through expansion of the
outpatient services center in downtown Nanticoke at East Main and North Market
streets. Services most utilized by the Nanticoke community will be offered including
diagnostic imaging, EKG testing and lab draws. Renovations of the facility will
provide more clinic space for primary care physicians, according to Commonwealth
served: $7M to families of late reservists
Rebekah Brown - Citizens
For the families of two late Naval Reservists, a jurys award
of more than $7 million Friday represented justice.
The two Luzerne County
men died following a crash in Kuwait in 2009. Morgan Lee Hanks, an employee of
civilian contractor Combat Support Associates at the time, was driving an SUV
on the two-laned Kuwaiti road, passing a convoy of military vehicles. His SUV
hit another, driven by Brian Patton, in a head-on crash.
Patton, 37, of Nanticoke,
died at the scene. His passenger, colleague and friend, David Morgan of Wilkes-Barre,
sustained a traumatic brain injury and succumbed to complications from his injury
in August 2013 at age 38.
Friday, families of the men heard the result of
a suit they filed in 2010. The jury deliberated for about 4½ hours following
the eight-day federal civil trial before returning a verdict, finding Hanks negligent
in the crash and Combat Support Associates liable. The unanimous verdict awarded
Pattons family $3.875 million and Morgans family $3.750 million in
When asked if he had anything to say leaving the courtroom, Hanks,
29, declined to comment.
I do, but under the advice of my attorney, not
right now, he said.
Amy Hynoski Patton turned to hug Morgans
parents, seated behind her in the courtroom, after the verdict was read. She looked
forward to sharing the news with her son Nicholas.
Hell be thrilled
to know his daddy won, Patton family attorney William Anzalone said.
He pointed out that the families had sat through a criminal trial in Virginia
where Hanks was acquitted of involuntary manslaughter charges.
hearts, they always knew Morgan Lee Hanks was responsible, Anzalone said.
Today in Scranton, the jury said Morgan Lee Hanks was responsible.
Attorneys for Hanks and Combat Support Associates declined to comment after
Morgans parents of Wilkes-Barre said the award would
provide for the families of both men.
Justice has been served,
Margaret Morgan said. Dave and Brian can rest in peace.
lauds students for fundraising
Susan Bettinger - Times Leader
Nanticoke Area acting Superintendent Dr. Mariellen Scott announced that kindergarten
through fifth-grade students raised $4,200 for the American Heart Association.
students participated in a jump rope for heart health fundraiser.
The event was held during the last week of February, which is National Heart Health
Scott also gave notice of the change in the PSSA testing dates.
new dates are as follows: Reading and math for grades three through eight will
begin on March 24; writing for grades five and eight will begin on April 7; and
science for grades four and eight will begin on April 28. Scott added that students
who arrive late will not be allowed in the class once the testing has begun.
Vice President Ken James announced that the PIAA will require mandatory coaching
education for all coaches. There will be two fundamental courses that coaches
will be required to pass. The new PIAA rule take effect as of July 1, 2016.|
board has given approval for the school district to authorize Professional Design
& Construction, Inc. to proceed with the necessary planning, design and cost
estimating for the baseball field and adjacent practice field renovations.
next board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on April 10.
resident questions lack of natural gas
David Guzofsky wants to know why UGI
hasnt run lines to his development
Guzofsky has noticed that houses around his home have access to natural gas and
wants to know why his development does not.
Guzofsky, 63, is a long-time resident
of the Kelfield Acres in Nanticoke, a development of about 140 homes. He said
that a natural gas line owned by UGI surrounds his development and provides natural
gas to surrounding houses.
Theres no availability of natural gas
here, Guzofsky said. Were surrounded by natural gas customers.
has a propane fireplace and an on-demand underground water heater, so he has managed
without natural gas, but he still would like access to natural gas.
pops into your head now and then, he said. Im surviving without
natural gas, but its just a courtesy that a company like that (UGI) should
He has also talked to some of is neighbors, and he said they
are not happy about not being able to use natural gas. Guzofsky also said a lot
of his neighbors have had to resort to propane gas, a more expensive alternative.
With those potential customers, Guzofsky did not understand why natural gas was
not available and that he cant seem to get an answer from UGI.
said he has tried contacting UGI before, and was told that a survey would be done.
He has not heard back since.
UGI spokesman Don Brominski said natural gas is,
in fact, available, but customers may have to bear some of the costs of installing
pipelines to homes.
We are required by law to provide service,
he said. However, we do not have an obligation to serve at no cost.
explained that once a request is made inside of a franchise territory, UGI evaluates
the cost to serve the customer compared to what the customer will use and the
UGI Penn Natural Gas tariff rates and rules state that the
companys investment in facilities is warranted by the anticipated
revenue to be derived from the extension. The costs of extending facilities beyond
that provided by the company shall be paid by the applicant.
If the cost
to serve will be greater than the revenue derived, Brominski said the difference
is asked for through a contribution for construction. If a number of people in
the same area expressed interest, Brominski said UGI would send letters out to
He also said any potential contribution for construction could
also be spread out and handled more like a larger project if several customers
These protections are in place so that we dont
make uneconomic investments that would cause us to raise our rates, Brominski
Brominski said request similar to Guzofskys can be made by visiting
UGIs website at www.UGI.com, or by calling (800) 276-2722.
selects a new city manager
Susan Bettinger - Times Leader
Zupa on Wednesday night became Nanticokes new city manager by appointment
of Mayor Richard Wiaterowski approved by City Council at an annual salary of $55,000.
will take over for acting City Manager Donna Wall. The previous city manager was
Pamela Heard, who reportedly was paid more than $68,000 a year.
As per home
rule charter, Zupa will have one year to become a resident of the city.
Council approved the appointments of Larry Butczynski and Gary Grodzicki to the
Municipal Authority to the unexpired terms of Stephen Duda and Richard Wiaterowski,
who have resigned from the authority.
The appointments will end in March 2016.
and those in attendance of the meeting stood for a moment of silence for former
Nanticoke Mayor Stanley Glazenski, who passed away on Thursday, Feb. 27, at the
age of 82.
A meeting with PennDOT and engineers Borton-Lawson concerning the
South Valley Parkway Roadway Project is scheduled for March 19 at 6 p.m. in Council
In other matters, the Honey Pot Volunteer Fire Co. is sponsoring
an all you can eat breakfast March 30, 7 a.m to noon. Tickets for adults are $8
per person and $4 per child. For more information, contact Linda Prushinski at
The Fraternal Order of Eagles has made a donation to the Police
Equipment Fund in the amount of $300.
The next council meeting will be March
19 at 7 p.m.
reservists' families seek damages
a case with millions of dollars at stake, the families of two Naval Reservists
who died from injuries in a grinding car crash in Kuwait in 2009 appeared in federal
court Wednesday for the civil trial against a civilian contractor accused of causing
Brian Patton, 37, of Nanticoke, died at the scene of Nov. 19,
2009 crash. His friend and co-worker, David Morgan of Wilkes-Barre, suffered a
traumatic brain injury and lived for several years before succumbing to complications
from his injury in August 2013 at age 38.
The Morgan and Patton families filed
suit in 2010 against Combat Support Associates, a private, California-based firm
that provides support services to the military, and its former employee, Morgan
Lee Hanks, who was driving an SUV that struck another SUV driven by Patton.
opening statements Wednesday, William Anzalone of Wilkes-Barre, the Patton family
attorney, said evidence will show Hanks acted recklessly when he veered into the
opposing lane of a two-lane road while attempting to pass a slow moving military
convoy of buses and SUVs as he crested a hill.
"The facts are not complicated.
The consequences were catastrophic," Anzalone said. "Mr. Hanks exhibited
a reckless pass that killed two American heroes."
Attorney Evan Eisner
of Philadelphia, who represents CSA, said evidence will show Hanks had a clear
view and was acting safely when he made the pass. The crash, he said, was caused
by the convoy bus drivers, who failed to keep a sufficient distance between the
buses to allow Hanks to pull back into the lane and avoid the collision.
and Morgan, who worked as prison guards at the State Correctional Institution
at Dallas, both served in the Naval Reserves and were on assignment in Kuwait
as military police officers. Then men were on their way to a police call when
the crash occurred on a paved supply road between military camps.
and David Pennington of Philadelphia, attorney for the Morgan family, are seeking
$2 million to $3 million in lost earning capacity each for Patton and Morgan.
The families are also seeking additional damages for pain and suffering of the
crash victims and compensation for the emotional harm caused to Patton's wife,
Amy, and their two children, and Morgan's daughter and parents.
and members of Morgan's family were present for opening statements. Speaking during
a recess, Amy Patton said it was difficult to relive the tragedy, but she felt
compelled to attend.
"It's important to us to be here to get justice,"
she said. "This has been going on for 4½ years and there's no closure."
trial, before Senior U.S. District Judge Edwin Kosik, is being heard by a jury
of six women and two men. Federal civil trials differ from those in state court,
which consist of 12 jurors.
Nanticoke mayor leaves behind legacy
Glazenski played many roles in Nanticoke.
He was an elected official, championship-winning
Little League coach, father, grandfather, husband and even a humanitarian, according
to his daughter.
Following Glazenski's death Thursday, his hometown paid homage
to the well-known community figure, as Nanticoke's city hall this weekend raised
its flags at half-staff in honor of the former mayor.
"I saw the flag
at half-staff and I knew right away what it was for," said Chester Zaremba,
vice president of the Nanticoke Historical Society. "That's the least we
Glazenski, 82, and a Korean War veteran, died Thursday, leaving
behind quite the legacy.
"He wasn't an elected public official that didn't
care about the community," said Glazenski's daughter, Ann Marie Coughlin.
"He cared about every single person in that community."
was elected into Nanticoke's City Council in 1971, where he held his post for
six years, before serving as the city's mayor for four years.
silent behind the scenes in getting the job done," Zaremba said of Glazenski
in his tenure as mayor. "I admire him. He would get the job done without
controversy or malarkey."
When asked about specific memories attached
to Glazenski's stint as mayor, Coughlin and Glazenski's best friend, George Zelenak,
mentioned the same thing: How he handled big snowstorms.
was really devastated with the snow storm and people couldn't move," Coughlin
said. "My father would get the bulldozers. He rode on the truck and made
sure the people were safe in case there was a problem."
Outside of politics,
Glazenski also led the Hanover Yanks to three Little League championships in consecutive
years, with Zelenak serving as an assistant coach.
Following his mayorial run,
Glazenski stayed involved in the community by way of the Little League and church
picnics, as well as being a member of the American Legion and the Lions Club.
recalled an occasion when Glazenski was several years out of politics, in which
Glazenski, out of the good of his heart, delivered an oxygen tank to the home
of a woman in need.
"He would just go and do what he could for anybody
that needed help," Zelenak said.
Coughlin remembers her father, who she
said was her best friend, in a way usually only seen in movies.
the kind of guy who would lend $5 to someone who needed it or pick up the bill
at a restaraunt for someone who looked down, Coughlin said.|
later years, Zelenak said the former mayor did not make it out of the house as
much as he used to - and people noticed.
"Until he got sick, we'd go out
for breakfast or go to the VA (Medical Center)," Zelenak said. "When
he ended up not going, people would always ask me, 'Where's your friend?' People
would wait for him to see him, even people at the cash register."
Glazenski's death, he leaves behind many family members, including his wife of
60 years, Nellie.
While having Nanticoke's flags fly at half-staff is among
the highest honors presented to a city resident, Coughlin said Glazenski, in his
humble nature, would probably brush the honor off.
"My father would probably
say, 'Why in the heck are you doing that? I don't deserve it,'" Coughlin
However, the surviving family members certainly appreciate the gesture,
as Coughlin remarked: "It meant the world to myself and my family to see
that." My father truly only saw the good in people."
invites West Side COG members to consider shared service agreements
Golias - Citizens Voice
The Pennsylvania Department
of Transportation has invited towns in the West Side Council of Governments to
consider shared service agreements that could trim or eliminate costs of municipal
Matt Lipka, of PennDOT's Luzerne County Maintenance Division,
based in Hanover Industrial Park, spoke at the COG meeting Thursday night at Kingston
Lipka said PennDOT does not share equipment or manpower, but
it can provide services.
"There is a lot of flexibility in the program,"
Winter programs can include snow plowing, he said.
expressed interest and said they would have someone contact Lipka.
officially withdrew its bid to join the COG. Donna Wall, the city's acting administrator,
thanked the COG for including Nanticoke in the current gaming funds grant application
which, if approved, will provide police communications equipment for the city
and member towns.
"We would love to share equipment, but we understand
the problems," Wall said.
COG delegates had questioned the possibility
of having disabled COG equipment in the East Side town, and Wall said Nanticoke
understands those concerns.
Mayor Richard Wiaterowski of Nanticoke said earlier
this week that he believes that a South Valley Council of Governments is feasible
and could mirror the success of the West Side Council of Governments. Wall said
Nanticoke and its neighbors "could get some pointers from the West Side COG,"
and she again thanked the COG "for letting us be part of the (police equipment)
Eileen Cipriani, COG president, said the concept of a COG
in the South Valley is "a great idea." The West Side group will offer
support and advice as requested, she said.
The COG approved purchase of insurance
on its new shared public works equipment, taking the low bid of $3,216 from Selenski
Insurance Agency, Wyoming. Attorney Jim Bobeck's quote of $85 an hour for legal
services also was approved.
Kevin Fulton of Larksville reported the equipment
committee continues to work on scheduling, storage, and repair and workmen's compensation
issues. The street sweeper should go into use in March and will be used through
mid-November, he said. Public works officials from the member towns will meet
again March 12, he said.
Gary Mack said the public safety committee will meet
March 5 and ambulance response issues will be discussed again.
He said there
have been preliminary talks of outright merger of some ambulance companies or
creation of a joint advanced life support service in several communities.
said the joint meeting of area police chiefs to hear a report on gang activity
will be rescheduled after weather forced postponement of the session.
mayor hopeful for South Valley cooperative
Paul Golias - Citizens
Nanticoke's new mayor said a South Valley
Council of Governments is feasible and could mirror the success of the West Side
Council of Governments.
The seed for a possible South Valley or East Side COG
was planted when West Side COG towns balked at including Nanticoke in the fledgling
West Side configuration.
"I would love to see towns here (in the South
Valley) try to form our own council," Mayor Richard Wiaterowski said Monday.
said he plans to call a meeting of area communities to discuss the concept. The
call could go out once Nanticoke hires a new city administrator, he said.
Nanticoke's acting administrator, Donna Wall, will attend the West Side Council
of Governments meeting at 7 p.m. today at Kingston fire headquarters on Wyoming
"She can clarify some issues that developed after we applied for
membership in the West Side COG," Wiaterowski said.
When it met in January,
the West Side COG aired the Nanticoke overture. Officials from Kingston and Swoyersville
were among those who questioned the feasibility of sending equipment to Nanticoke.
A street sweeper sent there, for example, would be far removed from upper West
Side towns. Should the sweeper break down, it could become a complicated matter
to get it back to the West Side, officials said.
Wiaterowski concurred and
said it appears to be more feasible for the South Valley towns to create their
own COG and to share equipment in that region. He listed Plymouth Township, Conyngham
Township, Newport Township, Hanover Township, Ashley, Sugar Notch and Warrior
Run as possible partners.
Plymouth Township attended some West Side COG organizational
meetings, but it is not a member. Because the township is in the Greater Nanticoke
Area School District, it might be a better fit in a South Valley COG.
Cipriani, president of West Wyoming Borough Council and West Side COG president,
said Mayor Wiaterowski's idea of starting a COG in the Greater Nanticoke area
is a logical choice for that region.
"It will give Nanticoke and its surrounding
municipalities the opportunity to work cooperatively and potentially improve services
and reduce costs for their residents," she said.
Although Nanticoke is
not a full-fledged member, its police department is in line to obtain a mobile
police data terminal through the West Side COG. Nanticoke was listed as a 12th
town in the COG's application for state gaming grant funds.
The West Side COG
received $460,000 in gaming grant funds for 2013-2014. The money purchased a street
sweeper, vacuum truck and hot box that public works departments will share. Meetings
are being held on the West Side to discuss scheduling and cooperative use of equipment
and manpower, according to Cipriani.
Meanwhile, the West Side COG has filed
for $1 million in 2014-2015 funds, hoping to buy dump trucks, police cruisers
and other equipment.
At the same time, the COG's safety committee, chaired
by Gary Mack of Edwardsville, is exploring joint purchase of ambulance supplies
and ways that emergency services can cooperate. A meeting of police chiefs is
planned to discuss gang and drug activity.
on many minds at festival
Myasopusna festival is always a big event for parishioners at Transfiguration
of Our Lord Ukrainian Catholic Church.
The pre-Lenten celebration features
signature Ukrainian dishes, and performances by dance groups and a choir. It has
happened every year since 2006.
But on Sunday, about 200 people flocked to
the church for the Myasopusna festival, which organizers said may be the largest
crowd for the event yet.
Christine Mash, a church school teacher at the parish,
chalked the big turnout up to three things: Warmer weather, people wanting to
return to the festival after their first visit and Ukraine being in the news.
said the revolution for independence happening in Ukraine, which has left at least
82 people dead, has made residents more mindful of what is going on in the country.
parish's pastor hails from Ukraine.
The Rev. Volodymyr Popyk, in his thick
Ukrainian accent, speaks pridefully of his former home, explaining the protestors
in Ukraine are fighting what we take for granted in America.
Ukraine want to live like we do here," Popyk said. "Because the United
States is good example of how to have a good democracy, how to free yourself,
how to be free."
According to Joanne Kawczenski, a council member at the
church, this year's Myasopusna festival had "extreme meaning" for members
of the church.
"We opened with a prayer for those that lost their lives
in Ukraine," Kawczenski said. "(The revolution) is really tied into
the festival this year."
Mash said she got choked up when reciting Ukraine's
national anthem, titled "Shche ne vmerla Ukraina," which translates
to "Ukraine Has Not Yet Died."
"(The song title) is so true,"
Mash said. "The whole history of Ukraine has been a struggle for independence."
line, which translates to "Our enemies will vanish, like dew in the sun,"
hits Mash particularly hard, she said.
While the revolution in Ukraine did
have an impact on Sunday's theme, Mash and Kawczenski said the event was not meant
to be political, but rather, an entertaining day out as the weather heats up.
like to bring the people out of their doldrums and we like to have a little bit
of a festival," Kawczenski said. "â?¦ The singing and the
dancing is really gorgeous. It just lifts everyone's spirits. In a way, we're
preparing for Lent."
By Popyk's account, the day was a success, saying
his favorite part of the meal was Ukrainian borshch, which is a soup-like dish
comprised of beets, meat and assorted vegetables.
But according to Popyk, Sunday
was "Meatfare Sunday," which means stricter fasting rules, including
eating no more meat until Easter.
Popyk said some of Sunday's attendees of
the celebration came from more than an hour away to experience the unique festival.
swears in new fire chief
Susan Bettinger - Times Leader
Hazleton was sworn in Wednesday night as the citys new fire chief, replacing
Michael Bohan, who submitted his letter of resignation effective Jan. 31.2/21/2014
had been the citys fire chief for the past 10 years. He cited health reasons
for his resignation.
Jay Munson will replace Hazleton on the Fire Civil Service
Also, council approved an ordinance for carbon monoxide monitoring
requirements within the city. The ordinance states that any new construction will
have to comply with the monitoring requirements and have the proper detectors
installed on the premises.
The ordinance does not provide for the inspection
of the current structures without cause. The ordinance does provide that in event
of an emergency such as fire, Code Enforcer Joe Kordek has the right to enforce
Council also passed an ordinance governing the establishment
of 30 minute parking limits where a business requests such. Any fees linked to
signs, labor and or advertisements associated with the limits will be paid for
by the business.
In addition, council has approved an ordinance prohibiting
the discharge of any gun or any fireman within the city. According to police Chief
William Schultz, the ordinance does not infringe on a citizens rights to
fire a gun within legal limits.
President of the Taxpayers Association Hank
Marks questioned whether the ordinance applies to target practice, as well. Schultz
replied that target practice can take place only in approved areas.
commented on Nanticokes 20 percent tax increase, saying that it is
the largest of any municipality in Luzerne County. Marks asked if council
would be able to rescind the large increase.
Council President William Brown
said that council would keep the issue in mind.
Benefits and Finance
Coordinator Donna Wall has been named as agent for the Hazard Mitigation Grant
The next Crime Watch meeting will be Feb. 26 at 7 p.m.
council meeting will be March 5 at 7 p.m.
announces interim superintendent
Susan Bettinger - Times Leader
The Greater Nanticoke Area School Board announced Thursday
night that Mariellen Scott was appointed as interim superintendent of district
effective Jan. 28.
The appointment came after the boards official acceptance
of longtime Superintendent Anthony Perrones letter of resignation, for health
reasons, also effective Jan. 28. The school is posting for the position of superintendent
for the new school year in August.
Scott praised the job that Frank Grevara
and the maintenance team did removing the snow, and making the school grounds
safe for the students, faculty and staff.
Scott also stated everyone worked
together during the recent power outage at K.M. Smith Elementary School, turning
the misfortune into a fun day for the students. Scott commented on
the transferring of the elementary school students to the High School, during
the Feb. 12 power outage. The younger students spent the day with the high school
students, who were very helpful throughout the occurrence.
The board approved
a resolution to contract with the ELA Group Inc. in the lump sum amount of $9,640
to conduct a topographical survey of approximately 16 acres of athletic fields
on the high school educational campus.
The survey work will occur under the
management of Professional Design and Construction Inc.
The next board meeting
will be on March 13 at 7 p.m.
hopes to hire new super by June
Greater Nanticoke Area School Board wants a new superintendent in place by June
30, board President Ryan Verazin said after Thursday's meeting.
Mariellen Scott wants to return to working as elementary school principal by then,
"She made that very clear," he added.
been acting superintendent since Anthony Perrone resigned Jan. 28 due to health
problems. Perrone had been superintendent since 1996.
Before Thursday's public
meeting, the board met in a closed session to discuss personnel matters and a
matter involving a student, district Solicitor Vito DeLuca said. At the meeting,
the board voted to officially accept Perron's resignation, appoint Scott as acting
superintendent and post the superintendent's position.
Scott will help with
the process to fill the position, and the board has not yet determined an application
deadline, Verazin said.
In October, the school board voted to appoint Perrone
to a three-year term that was set to end June 30, 2016. He continued to work without
receiving pay, and the district continued to provide his health benefits.
council approves agreement to pay city manager's health benefits until April
council voted Wednesday to approve a settlement agreement with former city manager
Under the agreement, Heard will receive pay and health benefits
until April, city solicitor William T. Finnegan Jr. said. Heard went on paid administrative
leave in January after Mayor Richard Wiaterowski decided to go in "a different
direction" with a new manager, Finnegan said.
Heard's salary was $68,500
a year, said Donna Wall, the city benefits and finance coordinator who has been
the acting manager. The city has advertised the manager's position, and the deadline
to apply is Friday, Wall said.
The city's new home-rule charter requires the
manager to be a city resident within a year after starting in the position, Wall
said. Wiaterowski was elected in November and began his first term as mayor in
Heard was not at Wednesday's meeting and could not be reached for
comment. She had been city manager since July 2012.
Hank Marks, president of
the Greater Nanticoke Area Taxpayers Forum, addressed council and criticized the
decision to replace Heard as manager.
"Council members, use your own heads,"
Marks said, complaining about decisions since William Brown became council president
"I didn't feel like I was being a rubber stamp at all, and
I really don't like that accusation," Councilwoman Lesley Butczynski replied.
later asked the mayor for a letter to Heard with complaints about her as manager.
Finnegan replied that correspondence with Heard involved personnel matters, adding
releasing that type of confidential information would "infringe on her privacy."
present winter hazard
common winter sight is of concern to many - icicles.
While these eye-catching
figures serve as decorative ornaments on houses and businesses, their beauty is
not without burden.
"If anyone walks by and one drops, it'll kill them,"
said Mike Dutzar, a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles club in Nanticoke.
stretch of sidewalk that runs along the right side of the club was blocked off
by caution tape on Tuesday. Directly above the sidewalk hangs a gutter with a
nearly 10-foot long row of icicles.
"We did it just for safety's sake,"
said Carole Duzinski, member and bartender of the Fraternal Order of Eagles club.
sidewalk is the property of the club, which the City of Nanticoke requires property
owners to maintain. The club did not see the conditions as safe and decided to
take precautionary measures - something Duzinski explained is done frequently.
end up doing this 98 percent of the time, depending on the size of the icicles,"
City hall in Wilkes-Barre called in the fire department on Tuesday
to assist in the removal of troublesome icicles. The department does not regularly
receive calls from the general public for assistance with icicle removal, and
they hope to keep it that way, said Wilkes-Barre Fire Department Assistant Chief
Edward Snarski. He said they don't normally remove icicles because they don't
want to be liable for structure damage.
But, he added, "If there's a danger
to the general public, of course we'll try to help."
The larger and thicker
the icicle becomes, the more likely it is for a problem to occur. Snarski urged
people to proceed with caution.
"Use good common sense," he said.
"If you have the ability to remove the icicle safely, then do so."
only are icicles a possible hazard to people, but also to the homes and buildings
they hang from. Dr. William Shergalis, a professor in the chemistry and physics
department at King's College, explained that icicles form as the result of a melting
and refreezing process. Heat escapes through the space above the living floors,
commonly the attic, he said. When that heat hits the snow packs that form on roofs,
it produces water. As the water runs off of the edges of the roof, it refreezes
due to the coldness of the edges, resulting in clogged gutters. From there, the
water drips and begins to form icicles.
Icicles can become heavy enough to
pull gutters downward and sometimes even off a building. Depending on the structure
of the house, rooftop damage can occur from fallen icicles. The more serious damage
that could occur is water leakage into the house.
Shergalis mentioned some
techniques for damage prevention, such as shoveling snow from the roof and installing
heating tape. Having a thoroughly insulated home is the most effective way to
prevent damage, he said.
When in doubt, "The best thing to do is to let
it be," Shergalis said. "If temperatures stay above freezing overnight,
they'll begin to disappear."
infant's death under investigation
County authorities are investigating the death of a 2½-month-old infant
at a Nanticoke home.
Nanticoke police say they were dispatched to a residence
at rear 340 E. Noble St. around 9:20 a.m. Friday to investigate the death of Jaxon
Eckrote, according to a press release sent Monday.
Authorities did not immediately
release information on how they think the baby boy died.
Dr. Gary Ross performed an autopsy at about 11 a.m. on Saturday at Wilkes-Barre
General Hospital, according to the release.
Both the cause and manner of Eckrote's
death are pending further investigation and toxicology reports, the release said.
County Coroner Bill Lisman said the death investigation is an open case, but wouldn't
On Friday, Nanticoke Police Capt. Robert Lehman, Luzerne County
Detective Charles Balogh and Luzerne County Assistant District Attorney Jenny
Roberts were seen filing a sealed search warrant at the Luzerne County Clerk of
Courts Office regarding the case.
What they were looking for, or what information
was obtained, was not immediately known.
Members of the Nanticoke Police Department,
Luzerne County District Attorney's Office, the Pennsylvania State Police forensic
unit and the Luzerne County Coroner's Office are investigating the death, the
Matt Bufano, staff writer, contributed to this report.
native back on air 5 months after beating
Brian Carey has returned to NYC radio
native Brian Carey has returned to the New York City airwaves after a five-month
recovery from a beating that nearly took his life.
Carey, 52, is the afternoon
drive news anchor at 1010 WINS in Manhattan, billed as one of the most listened
to radio station in the country. He was back on the air Wednesday.
took place on Sept. 9 in Careys Manhattan apartment. Elton Anthony, a man
Carey described as a person he trusted and who did errands for him, is facing
felony assault charges. His next scheduled court date is March 17.
feels wonderful to be back on the air, Carey said Thursday. They tell
me I almost died. I can say that the support of family, friends, colleagues and
listeners played a major role in my recovery.
Growing up in Nanticoke,
where he attended high school, Carey then went to Kings College, graduating
in 1983 with a degree in communications/English. Having cultivated many friendships
along the way, Carey never realized how important those people would be later
But as Carey said, during his five-month recovery, he discovered just
how many good people are out there. Because of the tremendous amount of support,
Carey is back in the job hes had for 14 years, broadcasting the news 3 p.m.
to 6 :30 p.m. every weekday.
All the time I was recovering, I looked
forward to getting back to my job, he said. I just felt like a fish
out of water.
His station, 1010 WINS, is where everybody looks
for news, Carey said. In New York when youre looking for news,
you turn to us, he said. And I enjoy letting people know whats
Carey has been doing just that for years, having started out
at WRKC, the Kings radio station, and then working at WBRE-TV for two years.
said he got his first real job at WNAK in Nanticoke, not so much because of his
talent, but rather because he agreed to also cut the grass. He worked as news
director at WILK Radio in Wilkes-Barre, then later at WARM Radio, where he anchored
the Five Oclock PM News Hour, and he was the morning anchor on MAGIC 93
His award-winning career has taken him to major markets in Philadelphia
and then to New York City.
Wont get over incident
doesnt like to talk about the attack that left him with bleeding on the
brain, a broken jaw and a shattered eye socket. He said its something he
doesnt expect to get over completely.
This was a person I completely
trusted, he said. One minute Im in my apartment about to eat
and two days later I awoke from a medically induced coma.
has Multiple Sclerosis, relied on Anthony for help. He had recently returned from
a trip to the shore and needed his apartment cleaned and some groceries.
person did those things for me, he said.
He said Anthony just lost
it. He said there was no arguing before the attack.
his hospitalization, Carey returned to Nanticoke to recover. His brother, James,
said family and friends visited Brian at home.
Its true, theres
a silver lining in everything, James Carey said. This was a terrible
situation that upset everybody. But the outpouring of support and compassion from
so many people really helped Brains rehab.
James Carey went to
his brothers side at First Presbyterian Hospital in New York. He said doctors
told him they were unsure Brian would live.
Brian has been through many
difficult bouts with the MS, James Carey said. But after the attack,
he didnt want to leave his job. The people at work were so supportive. And
Brian didnt want to go out this way. He could have filed for disability,
but thats not him. When he retires, he wants to do it on his terms.
Carey often comes home for visits. He has a home in the Nanticoke area. He keeps
in touch with many friends, like former WBRE colleagues Kevin Jordan and Kathy
Bozinski, and the Rev. Tom Carten, formerly of Kings College.
will always be a phenomenal place for me, he said. I learned so much
there that prepared me for the future. People there genuinely cared about me.
The attack has had deep effects on Carey.
It did change my
life, he said. The experience showed me how many good people are out
there. So many have been there for me.
Carey said he has heard from too
many people to ever be able to mention them all. He said that through Facebook,
phone calls and e-mails messages have come from high school and college friends
many he hadnt talked to in decades.
That made me feel really
good about people, Carey said. Yes, this was a terrible thing that
happened, but it showed me how good people can be. They really were a big part
of me getting through all of this.
Carey said he is much more careful
who he talks to and, especially, who he trusts.
Of course you have to
be careful who you talk to, he said. But Im a Christian and
Im a caring person and always will be.
restored to Nanticoke elementary school
Michael P. Buffer - Citizens
UGI Utilities worked into the night Wednesday
to restore power at K.M. Smith Elementary School in Nanticoke after an outage
forced the Greater Nanticoke Area School District to transfer students to the
nearby high school.
UGI restored power around 8:15 p.m., Wednesday, spokesman
Joseph Swope said. Crews ran a new transmission line to the school after an underground
cable failed, Swope said.
to thaw pipes sparks Nanticoke blaze
Jacob Seibel - Citizens Voice
Nanticoke couple was displaced Wednesday after an attempt to thaw pipes accidentally
started a fire in the basement that spread to the rest of the house.
Fire Capt. Steve Kotch said the male occupant was thawing pipes in the basement
of his home at 129 Loomis St. using a propane torch when he caught the insulation
on fire. The fire followed the framework of the home and spread upward behind
the walls to the first and second floors and the attic.
in with five fire trucks around 5 p.m.
They stopped the fire up to the second
floor, but Kotch said they had a difficult time getting to the fire behind the
walls of the attic because of the clutter in the room.
Kotch said the home
is likely salvageable because it was mostly damaged by smoke and water from the
No injuries were reported.
lingers in missing womans case
Jon OConnell email@example.com
Still without closure on Phylicia Thomas disappearance 10 years ago today,
loved ones are to gather again this year to keep her memory alive.
missing on Feb. 11, 2004, and, though her family presumes she has died, their
grief continues because investigators have not found any remains.
vigil is to take place at 6 p.m. today in the Nanticoke Town Square along East
Thomas was last seen at her Lake Township home. She would
have been 32 years old this year.
Its 10 years, and it feels like
it was yesterday, Thomas mother, Pauline Bailey, said. It just
affects everybody so bad.
Bailey, of Nanticoke, has not let her daughters
memory fade and still believes her remains will be found. She tucked a thick binder
cover worn off from age and use and filled with newspaper clippings, photographs
and other documents beneath her arm and said some of her friends and family
stand with her in hope.
They wont stop looking. Well never
stop looking, Bailey said.
She wears a knotted rope necklace around her
neck, one similar to the kind seen on Thomas in the old photographs.
after Thomas was reported missing, state police looked at one man, Steven Martin
of Ross Township, as a person of interest in the investigation and in the investigation
of another missing woman, Jennifer Barziloski, 18, who disappeared in 2001.
skull was found near Martins former residence. Martin, who is now deceased,
was known to both Thomas and Barziloski. He told police during an interview that
he had spoken with Thomas the night she disappeared when he called her home to
speak to her boyfriend, Ed Rudaski.
Though police searched Martins home,
he was never charged in the womens disappearances. However, Martin pleaded
guilty the following spring to involuntary manslaughter after killing a woman
in with his vehicle in Wilkes-Barre, according to arrest papers.
at a Hershey hospital after trying to hang himself in his jail cell.
skull found in 2012 near Alden Mountain Road, which is south of Nanticoke, was
tested and did not to belong to Thomas.
The annual vigil is to help memorialize
Thomas, but Bailey said she wants the community to be mindful.
never forget Phylicia. Lets never forget Jenn. And we cant let this
happen to other people, Bailey said.
Bailey has told The Times Leader
she believes investigators have given up the search after Martin committed suicide.
made to the district attorney and state police headquarters were not returned
In the last 10 years, Bailey has presented new information to investigators
but feels frustrated as it appears her leads are often dismissed. She would like
to see the Luzerne County District Attorneys Office pick up the trail, but
state police are handling the investigation, which remains open.
cave celebrates loyalty to Seahawks
Zaremba couldn't wait to buy his own house and turn his basement into a Seattle
Seahawks man cave.
When the time finally came to buy their Nanticoke home,
he didn't care what his wife Megan did to the upstairs.
"She could paint
the whole house pink if she wanted to," Zaremba said. "But the basement
His subterranean sanctuary leaves no question about which team
the Zaremba family is rooting for in today's NFL Super Bowl XLVIII. He has collected
Seahawks memorabilia since 1976, including at least one of every jersey style
the team has ever worn. The walls are covered with large posters, pennants and
towels. Even the pool table features a Seahawks lining.
Zaremba has been a
fan of the team since its inception in 1976. He picked the team over the Tampa
Bay Buccaneers based solely on its gray, white, green and blue color scheme.
describes himself as a diehard fan, and can rattle off player names from the past
four decades. During the course of five minutes, he mentioned Steve Largent, Isaiah
Kacyvenski, Shaun Alexander, Matt Hasselbeck and Richard Sherman. He even has
multiple life-size posters of Hasselbeck and Alexander on his basement wall. He
is also fond of Jim Zorn, the team's quarterback from its inaugural season.
favorite piece of memorabilia is a framed picture of the 2005 NFC Championship
Seahawks, which he had autographed by Kacyvenski.
Zaremba's two children, Braden
and Tyler, don't consider the Seahawks their favorite teams, but they will be
rooting for their dad's team today.
"Braden is a Packer backer and Tyler
is a Steelers fan, he loves Ben (Roethlisberger)," Zaremba said. "Figures
Braden has his cheese head on."
His wife became a Seahawks fan through
"We're going to go broke if they win the Super Bowl," she
said with a smile. "He's going to want to get anything that says Super Bowl
champions on it."
resigns as head of GNA
Longtime district employee had been working for a decade
After more than four decades with the district, including
being credited with helping avoid imminent bankruptcy in the late 1990s and working
since 2003 without pay, Anthony Perrone affectionately referred to as Sunny
by some resigned as Greater Nanticoke Area Superintendent on Tuesday evening.
at home Wednesday morning, Perrone declined comment other than to say he has had
health problems that contributed to his decision to leave the district for good
at the age of 72.
Board President Ryan Verazin said Perrone had contacted solicitor
Vito DeLuca on Tuesday evening to convey his resignation due to health reasons,
effective immediately, and that DeLuca then contacted board members. Verazin said
an executive session was held and elementary principal Maryellen Scott was appointed
Perrone, originally from Pittston, graduated from Kings
College in 1963 and by 1966 had a full-time teaching job in the district. He became
superintendent in 1996 and retired in 2003, but agreed to stay in the post, unpaid,
for at least a year.
Asked at the time why he decided to stay without pay,
Perrone quoted poet Robert Frosts Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening:
I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.
became a decade with no end in sight as the board repeatedly talked him into postponing
departure and staying on board. But while Perrone didnt voice retirement
plans in public, he would frequently talk of leaving during casual conversations,
acknowledging the job had grown harder and his health more frail.
as recently as this month, when asked if he was planning to step down, Perrone
replied, I wouldnt know what to do with myself if I left this job.
I have to keep busy.
Verazin said the board will launch a search for
a new superintendent, but that details have not been worked out. Were
in uncharted waters for this district, he said.
He did not expect to
call for a special meeting, saying the issue would likely wait until the next
regular meeting Feb. 13.
The district should run smoothly in the interim, Verazin
added. We have a well-rounded administrative staff, he said.
praised Perrones time with the district. Hes probably the best
leader the district has had, he said. I wish him nothing but the best,
and Im glad he is finally making time for himself.
Area School District Superintendent Bernard Prevuznak expressed surprise at the
Im shocked, but I wish him well, Prevuznak said. Tony
Perrone has been a friend of mine for the last several years. I always appreciated
his help and friendship in regard to my position here.
Frank Galicki lauded Perrones success in turning around one of the areas
Tony has done wonderful things here, Galicki
said. There was a point where Nanticoke Area had the potential of going
bankrupt, and he did some unique things to pull them out of the hole.
think he did an outstanding job, Galicki said. He will be sorely missed.
Perrones service at GNA
time line of Anthony Perrones employment at Greater Nanticoke Area School
1963: Graduates from Kings College.
Begins teaching Spanish full-time at GNA High School. Perrone goes on to work
as guidance counselor, home-and-school visitor, and school psychologist.
Named supervisor of pupil services.
1990: Perrone is named acting superintendent
when the man who had the job, Charles Davis, becomes ill.
February 1993: The
board hires a new superintendent, Anthony Trosan, to replace the retiring Davis.
Trosan, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction at the Westmont
Hilltop School District, was one of three finalists that included Perrone.
1995: The board publicly blames Trosan for not telling them about a letter from
the district architects citing safety concerns at the middle school, which is
February 1996: After months of tension, the board ousts
Trosan, agreeing to pay him through the remainder of his contract, which runs
through June. They appoint Perrone as acting superintendent, again.
Perrone is appointed superintendent.
April 1997: State Department of Education
financial advisor Ron Stainbrook finds that GNA is facing a $3 million deficit
and possible bankruptcy for the 1998-99 school year. The district undergoes a
series of cuts and tax hikes to stave off a state takeover.
May 1997: Perrone
investigates what he calls improper payments to teachers since 1992 for tuition
reimbursement. Perrone contends teachers were getting reimbursed for mail and
audio-visual courses that did not qualify for the payments. Perrone puts a stop
to the payments, and an effort to recoup about $300,000 goes to arbitration.
1997: The district unveils plans for $10 million in construction and renovation,
with a new middle school as the centerpiece.
March 1998: An arbitrator rules
the teachers get to keep the money because the reimbursements had been approved
by Perrones predecessors.
March 2001: With the financial crisis seemingly
settled, the district announces construction of a new elementary school should
begin in six months.
May 2003: Perrone announces his plan to retire at the
end of June, but agrees to stay on without pay.
April 2013: A sign bearing
Perrones name appears in the parking lot of the Nanticoke campus. Several
board members question where the money for the sign, which cost $4,347, came from,
and are told it came from the general fund.
Tuesday evening: Perrone unexpectedly
turns in his resignation, effective immediately, citing health reasons.
players raise $9k for cancer fund
Rush for the Cure a big winner
for 4 Nanticoke athletes
Jon OConnell firstname.lastname@example.org
Greater Nanticoke Area High School football players raised more than $9,000 selling
T-shirts, hats, socks, shoelaces and cupcakes, all part of their senior project,
and presented the check to Dr. Bruce Saidman and Dr. David Greenwald on Thursday
The Greater Nanticoke Area vs. Lake-Lehman
football game on Oct. 18 might have been a bust for the Trojans, but four GNA
players left the stadium victorious.
The game ended with Lake-Lehman winning
62-13, but Nanticoke seniors Joe Shimko, 17, Frank Marcinkowski, 17, Brad Yanus,
18, and Tyler Myers, 17, cleaned up that night by covering the stands with pink.
their senior-year projects the students pulled off a record-setting fundraiser
feat for their high school, collecting $9,181 selling T-shirts emblazoned with
sponsor names and the slogan Rush for the Cure.
The money they
raised was turned over Thursday to the Medical Oncology Associates Prescription
Assistance Fund. The fund is managed by the oncology clinic and assists cancer
patients in paying for prescriptions and nutritional supplements.
were carrying on a tradition that started two years ago when player Christian
Stevenson decided to raise money for cancer to cap his high school career, Shimko
Yanus said he never expected they would succeed like they did.
glad we did, Yanus said. And everyones pretty proud of us. We
thought we would make about $5,000, but no where near what we did.
guys solicited donations from past contributors in Nanticoke for seed money. They
printed a first round of T-shirts to sell in the school hallways and during football
games. Then they printed a second batch, then a third until they lost count of
just how many T-shirts they printed.
At one point, it was around 500,
Marcinkowski said. But Im sure it went farther than that.
sold pink shoelaces and pink ball caps, and during the pink-out game they had
pink-frosted cupcakes and cookies anything pink that they could swap for
a couple bucks.
Yanus said the selling started slowly, but the deadline approaching
started breaking down the inhibitions for hard selling.
In the beginning,
we had a little trouble selling, Yanus said. But once it came closer
to the deadline, we started selling them at the football games.
sold from September through October, but the blitz began just before the Lake-Lehman
game, Shimko said.
We really pushed it two weeks before the game,
Marcinkowski said that for him the fundraiser meant a little bit more
than earning credits for graduation.
After I agreed to doing it, my grandma
was diagnosed with breast cancer, Marcinkowski said. So it kind of
motivated me more to do it, because I knew how it felt.
Side COG tables vote to include Nanticoke
Paul Golias - Citizens
The City of Nanticoke's bid to join the
West Side Council of Governments, either as a full-fledged member or in some other
role, is on hold.
The COG, meeting Thursday night at the Kingston Fire Department,
tabled Nanticoke's application. The city will be asked to have representatives
at the February meeting to discuss the matter further.
Concerns were voiced
about the logistics of moving COG equipment to and from Nanticoke from West Side
communities. The 11 COG towns stretch from Plymouth Borough on the south to West
Pittston Borough on the north.
Paul Keating, administrator in Kingston, said
inclusion of Nanticoke could hurt COG membership continuity and "gets into
lots of gray areas." Swoyersville's Joe Onzik concurred, citing the upcoming
spring street sweeping season and planned use of a COG-purchased street sweeper
by all 11 member towns.
"I don't see the benefit if we go to another geographic
region," Keating said.
Nanticoke is included in the 2013-14 gaming grant
application. The city will get a mobile police data terminal if the grant is approved.
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.
COG president and president of West Wyoming Borough Council, suggested possible
associate member status, a move that would require amending COG bylaws. She also
noted that accepting a new member takes a unanimous vote and two towns (Exeter
and Wyoming) were absent. The issue was then tabled.
The COG allows member
towns to pick and choose what projects they wish to apply to their communities.
Seven towns are in the asphalt hot box project and eight will share a vacuum truck
used to clean storm drains.
There is no east side COG comparable to the West
In other business, the COG will schedule a meeting of public works
officials to set the street sweeper schedule and adopt rules for its use, similar
to the rules used by the West Side Composting Commission for its waste grinder.
Mack, chairman of the Public Safety Committee, said area police chiefs will be
invited to a meeting at 9 a.m. Feb. 18 at the fire station to hear a talk by Chris
Orozco of Hazleton Police Department on anti-gang efforts. Mack's committee continues
to explore ambulance response times and the potential for joint training and joint
purchase of ambulance supplies.
Cipriani said volunteer fire fighters have
asked the COG to assist in doing bulk purchases of bunker coats and fire hoses.
The COG can help facilitate such purchases, she said.
The COG is expected to
join the Pennsylvania Council of Governments in February and Karen Szwast of Exeter
will continue to gather data on liability and errors and omissions insurances.
suggested looking into bulk purchasing of gasoline and diesel fuels. Kingston
has two 3,000-gallon tanks, one for each type of fuel, and Keating said this would
not be adequate for 11 towns. However, if the tanks are replaced, it would be
possible to look into this major cooperative way to cut fuel costs, he said. Anthony
Gallagher of Key Energy Consulting, Blue Bell, PA, spoke on opportunities open
to communities to save on energy costs. He is working with Forty Fort Borough
which estimates it can save about $2,200 per year through competitive buying of
electricity, according to Barbara Fairchild, borough manager.
local districts get school safety funding
local school districts are among 81 across the state to receive part of $3.9 million
from the state Department of Education for school safety, state Sen. John Yudichak,
D-Plymouth Township, announced Thursday.
Wilkes-Barre Area and Hazleton Area
school districts are getting $40,000 each, Pittston Area will get $39,471 and
Greater Nanticoke Area will receive $36,224.
The grants are to help
districts hire and keep school resource officers and school police officers.
initiatives like Operation Gang Up and grant programs like this one - we have
made great strides in public safety and especially school safety across the region
in recent years," Yudichak stated.
Yudichak thanked Luzerne County state
Reps. Tarah Toohil, Gerald Mullery, Mike Carroll and Eddie Day Pashinski for their
help securing the funding.
murder case reward grows
By Edward Lewis - email@example.com
Nanticoke Area senior Arica Grabowski did not know 97-year-old Gertrude Price.
who lived alone in her tiny house on East Grand Street, was beaten to death in
a home invasion Thanksgiving night, state police at Wyoming said.
stunned the Nanticoke community prompting Kevin Grevera, owner of the Hunting
Depot and a former Nanticoke police officer, to initiate a reward fund starting
The fund has passed $10,000 thanks to the efforts of Grabowski
and her fellow classmates Jessica Saraka and Kara Voyton.
For their senior
class project Grabowski, Saraka and Voyton held a Zumbathon at the Nanticoke Fitness
Center and Training on Middle Road on Jan. 11. The event raised nearly $1,100
the three seniors donated to the Gertrude Price Reward Fund.
been wanting to do a Zumbathon for a while now and when this happened in Nanticoke,
we joined together and came up with ideas and held the Zumbathon, Grabowski
Attendees paid $10 to participate in the Zumbathon, and the seniors sold
T-shirts for $10. There was also a silent auction held at the fitness center for
the reward fund.
Zumbathon is a group of people that dance to music,
Grabowski said. You can burn up to 2,000 calories a day. Its that
Grabowski said she couldnt put a number on those to participated
in the event, noting it was packed.
I was surprised by the
number of those who came, she said.
Travis C. Buchanan, president of
the Nanticoke Crime Watch, said the reward fund is being managed by a committee
with the Fraternal Order of Eagles, of 48 E. Ridge St., Nanticoke.
the beginning when Kevin (Grevera) set up the reward, it is for the arrest and
conviction in Gertrude Prices murder, Buchanan said. The reward
has grown. We have not stopped talking about it or asking about it. Im hoping
someone will come forward, not for the money, but for the principle of it.
can be made at any PNC Bank in care of Gertrude Price Reward Fund.
Crime Stoppers is offering an unrelated reward of up to $2,500 for information
that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for Prices
State police said the assailant entered Prices residence by forcing
open a basement window. Prices home had been ransacked.
Price had last
spoken with family at about 10:20 p.m. on Nov. 28.
State police said lights
were turned on inside Prices house at about 11 p.m., which neighbors said
was unusual for that time of night.
An autopsy showed Price died from blunt
force trauma, according to the Luzerne County Coroners Office.
have been filed.
Side COG to vote on Nanticoke's inclusion
West Side Council of Governments will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday in the chief's room
at Kingston fire headquarters, 600 Wyoming Ave., Kingston.
The COG may vote
on approving Nanticoke as a member. Luzerne County also has expressed an interest
The COG, continuing the nuts-and-bolts work of building inter-governmental
cooperation projects, has secured a hot box that communities will share. The hot
box was one of the items purchased with the 2013 gaming funds grant. The COG has
filed an application for funds in 2014 with the goal of buying more public works
and public safety equipment.
The hot box can be used for any paving project,
from potholes to small and medium paving projects.
Nanticoke Housing Authority director says dismissal was political
The former head of the Nanticoke Housing
Authority is suing her former employer, stating her firing was politically motivated.
the suit filed in federal court this week, Jean Ditzler is asking for a jury trial
to get her $78,000-a-year job back from former Luzerne County Clerk Doug Pape,
who was given the job after she was terminated two years ago.
she was fired as housing authority executive director because she wasn't politically
aligned with authority solicitor Vito DeLuca, as she said Pape was.
department of Housing and Urban Development grants the Nanticoke Housing Authority
approximately $1 million a year to manage and operate six buildings containing
268 elderly high-rise apartments and 149 low-income family apartments.
who was on the authority board for many years, served as an unpaid volunteer in
the position of executive director starting in 2007, when the director quit. She
was named to the position permanently on Nov. 18, 2010 at a salary of $78,000.
after allegations including misuse of the authority's credit cards, failure to
follow purchasing policies and an unauthorized $26,000 payment to herself to compensate
for the time she was unpaid, the board terminated Ditzler on Jan. 20, 2012. To
replace her, the board hired Pape, who lost his job when home rule kicked in on
Jan. 30, 2012.
Ditzler unsuccessfully appealed her firing to the state Civil
Service Commission, but the commission upheld the housing authority board's decision
in a 66-page document on March 21, 2013.
"The issues were never resolved
to our satisfaction," Ditzler's attorney Kimberly Borland explained as the
reason for the new action. "The other avenues that we pursued didn't resolve
The suit filed Wednesday states that Ditzler never received a written
or oral warning, notice of correction or reprimand until the date of her termination.
Ditzler said she complied with every suggestion DeLuca made in a Dec. 14, 2011
The suit states that DeLuca, who was Luzerne County solicitor when Pape
was hired as chief clerk for the county in 2008, was "a close political affiliate
of Mr. Pape." It also states that Pape supported DeLuca's unsuccessful candidacy
for county judge in 2011; that Ditzler was better qualified for the position,
and that her constitutional rights were violated.
She is asking for her job
back, compensatory damages, back pay and attorneys' fees, among other relief.
think it's a joke, and I think it's laughable, and an utter waste of court time,"
DeLuca said of the suit. "But it is what it is. We'll defend it, like we
did with the other actions she filed."
He deferred further comment to
his statements in the decision by the civil service commission.
to the state commission was also that her firing was political. The housing authority
countered that she was terminated for charges of financial impropriety, conduct
unbecoming a public official, improper use of her position, gross negligence,
insubordination, lying to the solicitor during an investigation and unsatisfactory
These charges included:
n Using a housing authority vehicle
and employee to drive to Harrisburg for a state senator's swearing-in ceremony,
as well as using the vehicle to take friends and relatives to medical appointments
and to lunch.
n Buying $100 worth of shrimp for a vendor with authority funds.
Buying makeup, face cream and other personal items from QVC on the authority's
credit card and denying she did so until confronted with the credit card statements.
Charging a $635 room at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City on the authority
credit card to attend a vendor-sponsored event the board believed was unrelated
to authority business.
n Making purchases without board approval, and without
putting them out to bid.
n Allowing the board's liability insurance to lapse.
Moving her sister ahead on the list of people waiting for housing units.
about Ditzler's alleged misdeeds, Borland said, "Jean didn't do anything
fire chief to resign
Susan Bettinger - Times Leader
Chief Michael Bohan has submitted his letter of resignation effective Jan. 31,
it was revealed at Wednesday night's City Council meeting.
Bohan has been the
city's fire chief for the past 10 years. He cited health reasons for his resignation.
other matters, American Legion Post 350 has given a donation of $3,000 to the
Nanticoke Police Department to be used toward equipment for the department.
also OK"d a motion to approve contracts for grant procurement and grant compliance
with Ashburn Advisors for a state Local Share Account grant for the downtown streetscape
project, the purchase of a fire truck and for an Americans With Disabilities Ace
City Hall remodeling contigent upon the successful award of the grants.
makes changes to security procedures
Susan Bettinger Times Leader
The Greater Nanticoke Area School Board
announced changes in security procedures at Thursdays meeting in response
to an incident earlier this month at the high school.
The changes include limiting
the amount of hall traffic by requiring visitors to wait at the door until admitted
by school official.
The new rule comes in the aftermath of an incident where
a students mother and a several students became involved in an altercation.
President Ryan Verazin said that the situation is being taken very seriously.
The district is also hoping to secure a grant which would enable it to hire additional
police to patrol the school.
The board also made changes to the school calendar
to comply with Act 80. Jan. 20, Feb. 17 and April 17, all of which had previously
been scheduled days off, will now be full school days. Jan. 29 and Feb. 14, which
were originally scheduled as half days, will also be full school days. The changes
were necessary due to days missed because of weather.
In other matters:
Board Vice President Ken James announced that flex passes can still be purchased
at sporting events. The pass entitles the holder to discounted entry into boys
basketball, girls basketball and wrestling events.
Tara Ebert was appointed
as the Title I department head as required by the collective bargaining agreement.
The board accepted the resignation of Michelle Bednar, Conyngham Township tax
collector, as of Dec. 31, 2013.
Geisinger Careworks clinic opens in Nanticoke
Geisinger Careworks opened a walk-in
clinic Monday at 75 N. Market St. in Nanticoke.
The opening of the $175,000
facility follows Geisinger Health System's recent opening of a $3.8 million family
practice facility at 128 E. Main St. in downtown Nanticoke.
In the fall of
2012, Geisinger Health System announced it would opened 20 to 25 walk-in medical
clinics within the next two years and throughout the state, creating more than
100 jobs. Recently, Geisinger Careworks opened after-hours clinics in Tunkhannock
and West Hazleton.
The growing popularity of Careworks clinics among consumers
can be attributed to their convenience and affordability, said Careworks Chief
Executive Officer Ken Berndt.
"Careworks clinics do not require an appointment,
are conveniently located, involve only a short wait time, are open evenings and
weekends and most of all, they are affordable," Berndt said. "We bill
insurance and patients only pay an office visit co-pay."
visit Careworks facilities for basic health services related to colds, sore throats,
minor cuts, wounds and immunizations. Careworks also treats other health problems
such as allergies, asthma, infections and sprains. One of the most important aspects
of Careworks, Berndt said, is they help relieve overcrowding in hospital emergency
The new 1,000-square-foot Geisinger Careworks walk-in clinic in Nanticoke
will be staffed from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday with no appointment necessary.
The facility features a
reception area, exam rooms and an on-site laboratory. Its four-person staff includes
two family nurse practitioners and two certified medical assistants.
welcomes $3.8M Geisinger facility
Officials from Geisinger Health System
joined elected officials Thursday to celebrate the opening of a $3.8 million family
practice facility in downtown Nanticoke.
The 12,000-square-foot facility at
128 E. Main St., next to Luzerne County Community College's Health Sciences Center,
features pediatric and adult primary care services as well as laboratory services.
care providers Drs. Susan Werner and Jon Olenginski, physician assistant Lindsey
McGeehan and pediatricians Dr. Marie Grabowski and Shaifali Gupta recently started
seeing patients at the clinic. The facility employs 13 people, including providers,
nurses, a phlebotomist and administrative staff. Its opening marked the completion
of a year of construction.
"We are very proud to have Geisinger as part
of our downtown," said Nanticoke Mayor Rich Wiaterowski.
State Sen. John
Yudichak, D-Plymouth Township, remembered when the Nanticoke State Theatre, the
Cove and Broadway Lunch once were located at the site on East Main Street. He
said the opening of Geisinger's new health care facility "is one more step
in the revitalization of downtown Nanticoke."
Yudichak praised Geisinger
for its private investment dollars and for bringing jobs to downtown Nanticoke.
Praising developments such as Luzerne County Community College's Health Science
Center and Culinary Arts Institute, he said, "We've come a long, long way."
Health System has about 40 community practice sites throughout its 44-county coverage
area and has continued to expand its primary care services. The family practice
facility in Nanticoke is Geisinger's 11th such facility in Luzerne County, officials
Geisinger Careworks recently opened after-hours clinics in Tunkhannock
and West Hazleton and plans are underway for a new clinic on South Mountain Boulevard
in Fairview Township.
The planned 20,800-square-foot facility in Fairview Township
would consolidate three current Geisinger locations in the Mountain Top area,
including its pediatrics facility, a family practice on Kirby Avenue and an after-hours
clinic on South Mountain Boulevard. Geisinger officials hope to break ground for
the new facility in the spring, said Kathy Lloyd, associate vice president of
regional operations for community practice.
"We find there is more and
more need," said Dr. John Gardner, Luzerne County department medical director
of community practice for Geisinger Health System. "The demand continues
to rise and we want to be here to serve that demand."
gives Nanticoke $3M booster shot
East Main Street facility is 11th of its kind
Another Geisinger health care site in Luzerne County also is a shot in the arm
for Nanticokes revitalization.
Patients have been coming in to the Geisinger-Nanticoke
family practice center since late November. On Thursday, the health care system
and local officials made it official with speeches, a ribbon-cutting and an open
State Sen. John Yudichak, who was among the speakers during the brief
ceremony, characterized the nearly $4 million center at 128 E. Main St. as another
part of the plan to aid Nanticokes ailing downtown.
He said local officials
came together 10 years ago to put together a plan to revitalize the city. The
health care facility joins Luzerne County Community Colleges adjacent Health
Sciences Center and the nearby Joseph A. Paglianite Culinary Arts Institute in
the citys downtown.
This is what we dreamed of 10 years ago,
Yudichak, who is from Nanticoke, told the small crowd from behind a podium.
credited Nanticoke Mayor Rich Wiaterowski and other city officials, state Rep.
Gerald Mullery, as well as Geisinger President Dr. Glenn Steele and Lee Meyers,
Geisinger vice president for community practice, for making the center a reality.
$3.8 million clinic is the 11th such Geisinger clinic in Luzerne County. Dr. John
Gardner, Geisingers community practice director for Luzerne County, said
after the ceremony Geisinger plans to open a new family practice clinic in Mountain
Top in late spring.
He said enactment of the Affordable Care Act, which requires
everyone to have health insurance, has not led to opening more clinics than planned.
there will be more patients, he said, which could result in adding more
physicians at some future point.
Geisinger Health System broke ground in November
2012 for the 12,000-square-foot Nanticoke facility. It opened Nov. 25, 2013. It
features an adult primary care unit on the second floor and pediatric clinic on
the first, as well as on-site laboratory services. The center includes 11 adult
care examination rooms, six pediatric examination rooms and a procedure room.
center employs 13, including physicians Susan Werner, M.D., and Jon Olenginski,
D.O.; physician assistant Lindsey McGeehan; pediatricians Marie Grabowski, M.D.,
and Shaifali Gupta, M.D., as well as nurses, a phlebotomist and administrative
tap: Ben Schonfeld barrels ahead with homebrew operation in Nanticoke
Ben Schonfeld brews his own beer at
Marty's Blue Room in Nanticoke. He brews a barrel of beer at a time and uses four
converted refrigerators as fermenters.
View Image Gallery for On tap: Ben Schonfeld
barrels ahead with homebrew operation in Nanticoke Image Gallery for On tap: Ben
Schonfeld barrels ahead with homebrew operation in Nanticoke
Company Image Gallery for On tap: Ben Schonfeld barrels ahead with homebrew operation
Ben Schonfeld caught the homebrewing bug
about seven years ago.
"My family and friends thought
the beer was pretty good and it led to this," the 33-year-old Schonfeld said.
is Benny's Brewing Company located in the popular Marty's Blue Room restaurant
With each barrel of beer, Schonfeld proves
it doesn't take a big, fancy production facility to make good ales and lagers.
His work space is an old stairwell that he remodeled into a brewery. He brews
one barrel of beer at a time and uses four converted refrigerators as fermenters.
end result is a main line of beers that includes Amber Lager, Hopenstein (IPA)
and Wit - a Belgian-style wheat beer brewed with coriander and bitter orange peel.
Amber and Wit are the most popular," Schonfeld said.
typically has one rotating seasonal on tap. There's a Kolsch-style for the summer,
Benny's Oktoberfest, Dunkel (a dark German-style lager) and an oatmeal stout.
try to do as many styles as I can, but I have to be able to meet the demand of
the year-round beers," Schonfeld said. "I do different styles to appeal
to the entry level drinker to the craft beer expert."
is currently perfecting a recipe for a single-hop pale ale using the El Dorado
hop. The El Dorado is growing in popularity among brewers and provides a tropical
fruit or watermelon-like flavor similar to a Jolly Rancher.
lot of the beers I brew are based on styles that I like to drink," Schonfeld
said. "I research the recipe before making the physical batch of beer. Once
I start brewing there's going to be some trial and error until I get the beer
how I want it."
New to Benny's are the 32-ounce
growlers. Customers can get a 32-ounce growler - the equivalent of about two beers
- filled with their favorite beer to take home.
Session IPAs are a growing trend in the beer world.
Founders, Lagunitas and Boulevard are among the breweries releasing these hop-forward,
Lagunitas Brewing Company beers are tough
to find in Northeastern Pennsylvania, but I was able to pick up a six-pack of
their DayTime ale on a recent road trip.
is 4.65 percent ABV, pours a pale straw color. This dry-hopped ale has an intense
aroma of lemon, grapefruit and pine. The taste is all hops - fresh, citrusy, piney,
bitter. There's almost no malt sweetness.
decent beer, but it's not something I'll keep on hand.
We're No. 4! According to a recent Brewers Association
analysis, Pennsylvania is No. 4 in craft beer economy and contributed $2 billion
to the economy.
Nationwide, the craft beer industry
contributes almost $34 billion to the economy. Large corporate brewers are not
included in the totals. The amount is based on sales from craft brewers to distributors
and retailers and the sale of non-beer items at brewpubs.
tops the list at $4.7 billion. Texas ($2.3 billion) is second followed by New
York ($2.2 billion). Colorado is fifth ($1.6 billion).
craft beer news? Email to jreeser@citizensvoice .com or follow @CVJimReeser on
Meet Ben Schonfeld
of Benny's Brewing Company, located at Marty's Blue Room in Nanticoke
the first beer you ever brewed? "It was an ESB."
your favorite beer? "Whatever's new. I'm looking to try something new all
What styles of beer would you like to
try to brew? "Sour or barrel-aged beers."
the one ingredient you want to brew with? "Spruce tips."
you could brew a beer with anyone, who would it be? "John Kimmich of The
Alchemist." (Alchemist, located in Waterbury, Vt., brews Heady Topper, an
Imperial IPA considered the world's best beer by Beer Advocate.)
swears in a new mayor
Susan Bettinger - Times Leader Correspondent
Wiaterowski took the oath of office as the new mayor of the city at Monday evenings
reorganization/City Council meeting.
Wiaterowskis wife, Greater Nanticoke
Area school board member Wendy Kotsko-Wiaterowski, along with the couples
three children, stood next to Wiaterowski as he was administered the oath by outgoing
Mayor Joseph Dougherty.
District Judge Donald Whitaker administered oath to
newly elected council members William Brown and Nicole Colatosti-Mackiewicz, as
well as to returning council members Lesley Butczynski, and Kevin Coughlin.
was also elected council president, replacing Stephen Duda. Hank Marks, president
of the Nanticoke Taxpayers Association for the past 23 years, said that Duda did
a great job as president and always had the taxpayers
best interest in mind.
Marks added that the Greater Nanticoke Area School
District and the city as a whole have recently improved.
Coughlin was elected
vice president, replacing James Litchkofski, who has resigned from council.
William T. Finnegan Jr. will remain as the citys solicitor.
council meeting will be on Jan. 15 at 7 p.m.
investigate fight at Nanticoke high school
Matt Bufano - Citizens
Police and the Greater Nanticoke Area
School District are investigating a recent scuffle that reportedly involved students
and one mother.
Nanticoke police said Nanticoke high school officials are looking
into a Jan. 2 fight, which allegedly featured one mother traveling up the stairs
of the high school to apparently confront students.
There is little information
to release right now, as the school, in conjunction with the school police officer,
are still conducting interviews and investigating, said Nanticoke police Chief
According to Shultz, the parent was picking up her daughter
from the school. Shultz said the child went upstairs to her locker but along the
way got into a fight with other students. Shultz didn't know how the mother got
The extent and number of injuries resulting from the fight is unknown,
After the school district's investigation is complete, police
will determine whether to file charges or issue citations.
residents again warned of phone scammers