12/26/2016 Nanticoke mans diagnosis leads to
new model hobby
Bill Wellock - Citizens Voice
The last time
Robert McCracken went fishing was about four years ago.
Kidney failure has
kept the 64-year-old off the lake and away from his rod and rifle since around
2012, two years before he was diagnosed with the condition, which he is now treating.
The last three months, however, have brought a new hobby into his life, one that
brings a miniature representation of the outdoors into his living room.
wanted to buy his fiance, Janetlee Holderman, a model train set, but only found
gifts out of his budget.
Then I told her, I have an idea,
he said, pointing to a table in the living room. This was the idea.
At Holdermans apartment on East Noble Street in Nanticoke are dozens of
small plastic farm animals and two replica barns arranged on a table, complete
with hay McCracken purchased at Tractor Supply Co. in Hanover Township and real
The replica ranch is his new hobby. It started as a few animals on
an end table and now takes up a folding table along one living room wall. A cowboy
hat hangs above the menagerie.
McCracken said he spends hours on the project
each day, adding details to make it his own, such as small yellow ropes tied around
the figurines necks, paper bearing his imaginary Circle Farms
logo on the roof of each miniature barn and cereal arranged in a container as
a substitute for feed. He has named his cattle and horses and even branded
his livestock with a red marker. The digit 1 inside a circle lets
visitors know the animals belong to McCrackens herd.
Holderman has contributed
some touches, such as three small statues that McCracken calls our watchmen
and a miniature wishing well.
What ranch doesnt need a wishing
well? she said.
McCracken is now addicted to the display
he has created. He sprays a fine mist of water on the grass and hay to keep it
moist, spends hours each day researching ranching and watches videos on YouTube
of rodeos and ranchers bringing in a herd of cattle. He is filling a notebook
with his agricultural education.
He recently called The Lands at Hillside
Farms so he could talk to a staff member there to learn more about the cows on
that farm. McCracken and Lindsey Sutton, the organizations director of education,
chatted for about a half hour about topics such as the breeds at the farm, their
diet and how much milk they produce.
He really had an appreciation for
what our farmers and our cows do. It was definitely unique, but very welcome,
Last Tuesday, the staff from Hillside Farms even surprised McCracken
with a visit from a live calf.
I walked out there and there she was,
McCracken said. She was adorable.
While growing up in New Jersey,
McCracken bagged feed at an agriculture store and bought a horse when he was 15.
He eventually came to own five horses, rented space at a barn to house the animals
and rode them in parades. He later sold the horses and moved to Pennsylvania after
his parents died.
Besides providing a welcome pastime, the display is a source
You might laugh at this, but even though theyre fake,
its like theyre our kids, McCracken said of his dozens of plastic
cows and horses. In the morning, I cant wait to come out here.
I never thought to do something like this. I like coming out at night when
were relaxing and looking at it, Holderman said.
lives in the same building as McCracken and Holderman and has seen the display
Every couple days, hell have me come over. Theres
always something new to see, she said.
Her daughter, four-year-old Hannah
Whitmire, has seen living horses and cows near her fathers home in Berwick.
She gave McCrackens likenesses a thumbs-up, and explained her two-year-old
sisters thoughts on the ranch.
Shes likes it, Whitmire said.
McCracken and Holderman plan to continue the display. The ranchs future
includes a possible expansion to other parts of the living room, perhaps requiring
a dip into the capital expenditures budget for another table.
At least one
lifestyle change has taken hold of this replica urban rancher that is probably
rare in the real profession.
Now, I feel funny eating steak, McCracken
Nanticoke dancer brings smile
to hospice patients face
It wasnt Santa or Christmas carols that brightened the holiday of one area
nursing home resident Friday.
It was a Nanticoke dancer.
Mackenzie Casey found out about Louise Jacksons holiday wish, she didnt
hesitate to say yes.
The Joan Harris Center dancer performed a private
ballet routine to I Believe for Jackson.
I had no thought
about it, Casey said. It was automatic.
Jackson, 90, is
frail and a patient at Hampton House on the Sans Souci Parkway.
to Heather Cicini, Jacksons social worker, her wish was to see a professional
dance somewhere, possibly Broadway. However, due to Jacksons deteriorating
condition, that wasnt possible.
So Cicini asked Casey to perform, and
she said yes.
It took two days for Cicini to put everything together. The
performance was a surprise for Jackson, who was a dancer in her younger days.
Jackson always talks about dancing in New York City, Cicini said.
I love it so much. I would do it for free, Jackson said, recalling
her memories of doing the jitterbug at clubs. They named me LouLou the go-go
Jackson said her passion for dancing, though she never studied
professionally, was inspired by watching ice skaters on television.
performed the dance during a recent production, but she had to modify her routine
for Jackson due to the limited space at the nursing home.
Still, the dance
and the dancer impressed Jackson.
Jackson said of the teenager in a pink dress. Very mature.
has been dancing since she was 4 years old. And she also has a penchant for giving
back to her community.
I love it, Casey said. Look how happy
And Casey was right the smile on Jacksons face
couldnt have been brighter.
After the performance, Cicini presented
Jackson with a baby doll because she had heard of Jackson playing with another
I love her, said Jackson.
never too late to make a memory, Cicini noted.
spread some holiday cheer
Seth Lakso - Citizens Voice
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins spent the little off time they had this week
theyre in the midst of a stretch where they play six games in nine days
wandering through local toy stores in search of gifts.
For the second
year in a row, the Penguins have a commnunity partnership with the Commission
on Economic Opportunity to help make sure local children have a happy holiday
After donating gifts in Pittston last year, the Penguins headed to
Nanticoke to spread some cheer this time around.
Its a great charity
and its awesome for our guys to be involved in stuff like that, Penguins
coach Clark Donatelli said. Its great to see. All the guys care and
its that time of year, to give back. Its awesome.
each Penguins player was assigned a child and given a wish list with three options.
Shavertown native Patrick McGrath picked up some Pokémon Cards and a toy
pony set, while Dominik Simon went hunting for Barbie Dolls with the help of his
Before the players handed out their gifts, team captain Tom Kostopoulos
gave a speech introducing the players and explaining why theyd come.
Just as Kostopoulos finished, a little girl brought a smile to the room, loudly
proclaiming: Merry Christmas!
The players then presented their
gifts to the children with the help of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton mascot, Tux.
Its amazing, said Tiffany Tryba, who runs the Nanticoke site
for the CEO. Its that time of year and sometimes people do struggle
and we do have a lot of kids that come here and Im glad these kids were
chosen. I think (some new Penguins fans were created today). I heard one of the
little ones yell, Go Penguins!
awards recreation grants to projects in county
Nearly $2.3 million in recreation grants will fund
projects in Luzerne County, state Sen. John Yudichak, D-Plymouth Township, said
in a press release Tuesday.
The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and
Natural Resources Community Conservation Partnership Program awarded $2,263,000
in funds to Luzerne County projects.
The grants include:
$115,000 for the rehabilitation and further development of Altmiller Park.
Jenkins Township: $100,000 for the development of Riverfront Park.
Larksville Borough: $40,000 for the rehabilitation and further development
of Washington Street Park.
Nanticoke: $250,000 for the further development
of Lower Broadway Recreation Complex.
North Branch Land Trust:
$498,000 for the development of the D&L Trail in Plains, Wilkes-Barre Townships
and Laurel Run Borough.
North Branch Land Trust: $1,000,000 toward
the acquisition of approximately 822 acres on Penobscot Mountain in Slocum and
Pittston City: $260,000 for the rehabilitation and
further development of Sullivan Park.
continues on South Valley Parkway
Work on the South Valley Parkway
On Dec. 2, officials opened the roundabout at Espy Street and
Middle Road in Nanticoke.
Work crews will be excavating and doing other work
this winter in preparation for spring construction, said Pennsylvania Department
of Transportation spokesman Michael Taluto.
The $83.4 million project will
create a two-lane road running from Middle Road and Kosciuszko Street in Nanticoke
to South Main Road, east of state Route 29, in Hanover Township. The new road
will bypass the Askam section of Hanover Township, where drivers use South Main
Street and Middle Road to travel now. It also adds six roundabouts, three replacing
intersections on Middle Road and three new roundabouts on or next to the planned
The project started in January 2016. PennDOT expects the work to
be finished in 2020.
2 rules Nanticoke Area softball player eligible
A surefire contender in the softball season still months away
Nanticoke Area appears back on track following an eligibility hearing Tuesday.
The District 2 athletic committee voted 7-0, reinstating Morgan Briggs eligibility
to play her senior season, which was nearly derailed because she played one inning
of a senior all-star game.
There was no intent on the girls part
to violate any rule or get around any rule, said District 2 athletic committee
chairman Frank Majikes. She was totally unaware of it and, obviously, it
wasnt done intentionally.
The event in question was the 37th Annual
Robert L. Dolbear Senior All-Star Softball Game, played June 26 at W.W. Kubis
Memorial Field in Dallas.
Briggs attended the game to support her friends,
having no intention of playing in the all-star game intended only for seniors.
But the teams were shorthanded, leaving the West without a catcher.
coaches Heather Dale (Hazleton Area head coach), Bob Hegedty (Tunkhannock head
coach) and Ron Hampsey (Tunkhannock assistant coach) approached then-junior Briggs,
who volunteered to play upon request.
At least one other underclassmen was
asked to play, but Briggs was the only one who could, because she had catching
equipment in her vehicle.
Shes always willing to participate,
and I think she was just trying to do what was in the best interest of everybody,
said Nanticoke Area head coach Ryan Stetz.
Briggs played one inning behind
the plate and had an at-bat before it was brought to the coaches attention
that Briggs was violating PIAA bylaws, punishable by a loss of eligibility for
one year in that sport.
According to Stetz, Briggs was immediately pulled
from the game, where coaches sought clarification from Majikes via telephone.
Majikes did not pick up, though, and the possible violation was eventually reported
by Nanticoke Area athletic director Ken Bartuska to the PIAA.
Stetz said the
30-minute testimony at Tuesdays hearing revolved around Briggs having no
intention of playing in the all-star game, while having only good intentions
so it would not be forfeited when she did enter the game.
showed Briggs at the game in street clothes, alongside Nanticoke Area senior Rachel
Roccograndi, who was in uniform.
Stetz said the Hazleton Area and Tunkhannock
coaches took responsibility for playing Briggs, saying they did not know they
were breaking the rules.
Its a credit to all involved, as far
as the Hazleton coaches and Tunkhannock coaches and even the committee,
Stetz said. It was great that everybody came forward with an honest description
of what took place in the act of fairness. In this case, the PIAA committee really
got it right.
The East won the all-star game, 15-2, in a contest that
featured individuals playing defense for both teams, as well as pitchers and catchers
that hadnt played those positions in years.
Briggs hit about .400 last
season and was selected by Wyoming Valley Conference coaches as a second-team
all-star in Division 2. She figures to be a key player this year for the Trojanettes,
who went 13-5 in 2015.
projects receive nearly $2 million in state funds
Top Stories - Times Leader
Several projects in Luzerne County will receive
nearly $2 million in funding through the states Multimodal Transportation
State Sen. John Yudichak, D-Plymouth Township, announced the
news via a press release Tuesday
Market Square Redevelopment: $430,000 for
Market Square Properties Development LLC for roadway and sidewalk work in the
city of Wilkes-Barre as part of the Market Street Redevelopment project.
Avenue Streetscape: $600,000 to complete a pedestrian safety streetscape on George
Avenue in the city of Wilkes-Barre. The project will help the city transform the
smaller business districts that are not located in the immediate downtown business
The projects will improve both downtown Wilkes-Barre and George
Avenue, which is the main thoroughfare of the Parsons neighborhood. It is vital
that we invest in both our downtown commercial district as well as our neighborhood
business districts to create prosperity in the entire city, said Wilkes-Barre
Mayor Tony George via the press release.
The City of Nanticoke also received
$463,742 for intersection improvements at Broadway and East Main streets. The
project will create a safer intersection for both motorists and pedestrians and
will provide multimodal access to the city through multiple parking facilities
and spacious lighted sidewalks.
Other local projects that received funding
Ashley Borough Infrastructure Improvements: $100,000 to assist with
infrastructure repairs throughout Ashley Borough.
Old East End Boulevard Road
Reconstruction: $100,000 for the reconstruction of Old East End and Pittston Boulevards
located in Bear Creek Township.
River Road and Market Street Intersection
Improvements: $82,000 to widen the roadway at the intersection of River Road and
Market Street in Jenkins Township.
of Bethlehem performances draw hundreds to Nanticoke
Admittedly, Jim Botsko once had second
thoughts of portraying Jesus in the annual showing of Miracle of Bethlehem
at the Cultural Centre of St. Faustina.
But that was six years ago,
Botsko said with a chuckle Friday, before the first of three scheduled weekend
Botsko believed back then he was too old to portray Jesus. But
Father Nash told me Jesus was ageless, Botsko recalled. It was meant
So Botsko, of Hanover Township, offered to stand in until they
found a younger man. That never happened.
I still get goosebumps, even
at practice, Botsko said, adding it was an honor and privilege
to portray the man whom Christians consider the son of God.
Judy Minsavage said the cast, with 62 people this year, started practicing in
July. Participants range from children as young as 7 to adults of 70. The Miracle
of Bethlehem spotlights the birth of Jesus, but also touches upon the story
of his life, death and resurrection.
They spend hundreds of countless
hours practicing, said Minsavage, an employee of Times Leader Media Group.
The show held at the centre, 38 W. Church St. runs for 45 minutes.
It features well-known holiday tunes, such as Mary, Did You Know?
and O Come, All Ye Faithful, but also Minsavage-written pieces.
Fridays showing attracted a standing-room-only audience, and Minsavage said
the performance will bring in an estimated 800 people during the weekend as area
residents kick off their holiday season.
It helps you get into the spirit
of Christmas, cast member Charlie Marcella said.
Marcella, of Sheatown,
has returned each year, portraying one of the three kings. Its also a family
affair for Marcella, as his wife Mary Ann is part of the sewing committee. We
enjoy it, Charlie Marcella said.
After the show, 11-year-old Brooke
Bau and her brother, Garrett, both of Shickshinny, said they enjoyed the show.
Before coming to see the play, they were decorating their tree.
said the performance was really good, and he enjoyed the lights illuminating
Jesus at the shows conclusion.
The show also features live animals from
Endless Dreams Animals, in Benton. The menagerie includes two goats, sheep, a
duck, two chickens and an alpaca, as well as Mistletoe, a donkey. Mistletoe is
a third-generation donkey for the show, said Jess Exley, of Endless Dreams.
Anything we do, we put our heart and soul into, Exley said of the
animals. But this (Miracle of Bethlehem program) is our favorite
Going round and round
Sean McKeag | Times Leader
of Dickson City, puts the final touches on the first of six roundabouts in the
Nanticoke/Hanover Township area. At 5 p.m. Friday, PennDOT opened the roundabout,
which is at the intersection of Espy Street and Middle Road, to local traffic.
The roundabout will be opened to thru-traffic by next weekend, Nanticokes
interim city Manager Donna a Wall confirmed. Construction on the roundabouts is
part of the South Valley Parkway project. The final parkway project will be completed
in 2020. According to Michael Taluto, a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
spokesman, said work on the next roundabout at the intersection of Prospect Street
and Middle Road, will continue throughout the winter. The second roundabout is
scheduled to be open in late 2017. Residents in the Hanover section of Nanticoke
used a two-mile detour to Clarks Cross Road.
of man who died after dog attack sues canines owners
Halpin - Citizens Voice
The family of a Nanticoke man who
died shortly after having a finger amputated because his hands were mangled in
a dog attack sued the owners on Wednesday, alleging they knew the pit bull was
dangerous and failed to protect the public.
Donald E. Cox, 79, died Feb. 26,
2015, less than two weeks after an unmuzzled pit bull bit his hands as he sat
on his front porch, according to the complaint filed by attorney Katie Nealon
of Munley Law.
According to the complaint, Cox was sitting on the porch of
his home at 1224 S. Hanover St. on Feb. 15, 2015, as Jeffrey Seiwell, 33, of 1218
New Grant St., walked by with George, a white and brown pit bull.
had a history of vicious propensities, having previously attacked
people or animals, and Seiwell initially had a muzzle on it, the complaint says.
But Seiwell later admitted removing the muzzle, thinking no one was in the area,
according to the complaint.
The dog suddenly and without warning
came onto Coxs property and bit his hand, causing severe bite wounds and
fracturing bones in his hand and fingers, the complaint says.
When the attack
was over, Seiwell told Cox he would come back with the dogs paperwork, but
never followed through, showing his consciousness of guilt, the complaint
Only later, when city police publicized the case, did officials learn
who owned the dog, the complaint says.
The lawsuit says that Seiwells
mother told police the dog had been seen at two veterinary clinics, but when police
checked it out there was no record of vet visits or rabies shots.
was in great pain, agony and suffering, underwent surgery the day
of the attack to be treated for severe dog bites to the right hand and forearm,
as well as to the left hand, the complaint says. His left hand sustained massive
loss of soft tissue and had broken bones, according to the complaint.
The left hand was so badly damaged Cox required a skin graft and needed to have
his index finger amputated, resulting in a shock to his nerves and nervous
system that led to his death eight hours after returning from the hospital
from the amputation procedure, according to the complaint.
His obituary identifies
him as a U.S. Air Force veteran who served in the Vietnam War, Korea and elsewhere
around the world before retiring in 1974.
Court records show that Seiwell
was found guilty at trial in August 2015 of a summary offense of harboring a dangerous
dog. Magisterial District Judge Donald L. Whittaker fined him $272, according
to court records.
In addition to Seiwell, the lawsuit names as co-defendants
his mother, Suzanne Savitski, of 1218 New Grant St., and dog co-owner Lezah Lynn
Davis, 28, of Hanover Township, who was also found guilty of a summary offense
and fined $194 in the case.
The complaint also targets the owners of the New
Grant Street home, Brian S. and Kimberly Kaminski, of 46 Dale Drive, Fairview
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages in excess of $50,000.
Postal carrier honored for service
Lloyds one missed day of work came in 1983, when he injured his leg in a
carrier Joseph Lloyd is to the U.S. Postal Service what Baltimore Orioles legend
Cal Ripken Jr. was to professional baseball: an ironman who could be counted on
to show up for work day in and day out.
Lloyd called off only one time in
his career after a bicycle mishap when the chain snapped and lacerated his leg.
That was in 1983.
The 68-year-old was recently honored for 45 years of dedicated
service delivering mail, most of that time in Nanticoke and the West Nanticoke
section of Plymouth Township.
Thats a lot of mileage on the body.
A lot of the guys burn themselves out bad knees, bad hips. Not Joe,
said Frank Rafalko, postmaster for the Nanticoke Post Office. He learned
how to pace himself.
Lloyd recently joked his streak might be more impressive
| A first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee, Ripken played
in 2,632 consecutive games over 16 seasons before finally missing a game in September
Lloyds current streak is at 33 years. And he had 12 years of perfect
attendance before that.
Im better than Cal, Lloyd said with
a laugh. Put that as the headline: Mailman beats Cal Ripken.
Lloyd, a widower who lives on Tilbury Terrace in West Nanticoke, could have retired
years ago. But he continues to work because he likes it and because hes
Once the legs go, its over, Lloyd said. Most
carriers retire after 30, 35 years, but I still feel good.
job comes with certain healthy benefits, Lloyd said.
This is the only
job where you get paid to exercise you know, walking all day.
Nanticoke Area's Casey set for final game
The excitement of winning the final game
of the regular season, along with the fact it was against rival Hanover Area,
continued well after the Nanticoke Area football players exited the stadium.
Finishing the regular season 5-5, just the third time since the 2002 season when
a Nanticoke Area team won five or more games in a season, had the Trojans thinking
But first, players and coaches alike needed to see results from
other games. As the final scores game came pouring in things seemed to be falling
in Nanticoke Areas favor.
Most of the Trojans faithful were thinking
Turns out they were wrong. Nanticoke Area did just enough
to qualify for the District 2 playoffs for the first time since 1999, and were
in the postseason for the second time since the 2013 season.
we left the locker room coach Bruza told us we might be in the district playoffs,
said Nanticoke Area defensive end/tight end Justin Casey, who will suit up for
the Pioneers in the 66th annual UNICO Game on Saturday.
When we actually
found out we were in the district playoffs I was so excited I almost cried,
Casey said. I was celebrating with some of my friends, we were all together
when we found out. We were more excited than you can possibly imagine. Even though
we were playing the No. 1 seed, I was never more excited to play in a game in
my entire life.
Though the Trojans lost to the Cavaliers, who are still
alive in the PIAA Class 3A playoffs, Casey believes that just being able to get
that far could be viewed as a stepping stone for future Nanticoke Area teams to
I think we started something, I can feel confident that the
junior class will do a great job carrying the tradition my class set, Casey
said. We are all such a tight-knit group, something Nanticoke Area hasnt
seen for a long time. We didnt want to leave a mark, we wanted to leave
a message. No matter what you do you have to be a team and good things will happen.
Casey is one of four players from Nanticoke Area selected to play in the UNICO
game which features the top senior players from the WVC.
Players from GAR,
Berwick, Coughlin, Meyers, Lake-Lehman, Northwest and Holy Redeemer are also on
the team which will be coached by GARs Paul Wiedlich Jr., who led the Grenadiers
to the District 2 Class 3A championship game.
This is really just an
honor and great experience to meet all the players you have been playing against
all year, Casey said. Everyone got along really well. To be honest,
when I got here I figured half the team was going to hate me. But they welcomed
everyone with open arms, so I was like lets get it.
While the game is expected to be a fun experience, and the practices are far from
the ones Casey experienced during the regular season, there has been one particular
part of the week that he has enjoyed the most. That is the annual exchanging of
helmet stickers between the players on the team.
is the greatest experience, Casey said. I love the Lake-Lehman sticker.
That is the first one I got. I have been hearing about this since I was a sophomore.
I never expected to love it so much. This is all kind of like new eyes for me.
Dont get me wrong, I want to win. Most importantly it is an all-star game.
I want to have fun and make some memories with the new friends I am making now
and the old friends I have been playing with since I was small.
Family of Nanticoke man who died in W-B General Hospital
James Halpin - Citizens Voice
The family of
a Nanticoke man who died in the care of Wilkes-Barre General Hospital filed suit
this week alleging a doctor broke his neck, causing partial paralysis, during
an unnecessary intubation.
The lawsuit alleges Bernard Joseph Ford III, 62,
asked to be removed from life support after learning he would be permanently paralyzed
as the result of the neck fracture Dr. Noel Estioko caused while inserting a breathing
tube without consulting Ford or his wife.
The complaint, filed by Wilkes-Barre
attorneys Patrick J. Doyle Jr. and Kelly M. Ciravolo, accuses the hospital as
well as Estioko of negligence in causing Fords death on April 6.
said the hospital does not comment on pending litigation.
According to the
complaint, Ford arrived at the hospital in March to be treated for shortness of
breath. Hospital records show Ford was confused and in moderate distress with
Ford, who had a history of rheumatoid arthritis and musculoskeletal
disorder, received a drug to help increase air flow to his lungs, resulting in
his condition improving, according to the complaint. And although there was no
indication Ford was crashing, Estioko decided to perform an emergency intubation
because of increased levels of carbon dioxide in his blood, the suit says.
Estioko never talked to Fords wife about his pre-existing conditions and
performed the procedure with what he deemed the implied consent of
Ford even though Ford was coherent and stable and his wife
Joan was at his bedside, the complaint says.
During the procedure, Estioko
broke Fords spine, the complaint alleges. On April 4, Ford learned that
the best-case scenario involved him being a paraplegic requiring total care, including
a feeding tube, the attorneys wrote.
The same day, Ford told doctors he wanted
to be removed from life support. Doctors gave him drugs to keep him comfortable
until he died two days later, the complaint says.
Fords cause of death
was listed as cervical spine fracture, traumatic, according to the
The lawsuit alleges Estioko was negligent in performing the intubation
despite knowing about Fords medical history, causing the father of three
to endure severe pain and suffering prior to his death.
seeks unspecified damages to be determined at trial.
Nanticoke policeunion files complaint over chiefs
City Police Association has filed a complaint alleging that an internal candidate
was improperly passed over when retired state Trooper Thomas Wall was hired as
city police chief in September.
The police union, in a complaint filed Tuesday
in Luzerne County court, claims the state Third Class City Code requires that
a city mayor appoint a member of the city police force, if that force includes
qualified candidates, to fill an opening for the chiefs position.
complaint alleges that Wall had two conflicts of interest at the time he was appointed:
He was a member of the citys police civil service commission and he is married
to Nanticoke interim city Manager Donna Wall.
Nanticokes police chief
slot fell vacant after former Chief William Shultz died in August.
Mayor Richard Wiaterowski appointed Wall, a Nanticoke resident, as city police
chief on Sept. 21. Wiaterowski cited Walls 25 years of experience with the
state police, his proven leadership ability and record of community service.
Wall, 57, retired from the state police as a corporal in 2012. He never served
as a Nanticoke police officer prior to his appointment as chief.
filed by police union President Brian Kivler through Harrisburg attorney James
McAneny, states that Nanticoke police Lt. Michael Roke was qualified to be chief
and was interested in applying for the position.
The complaint asks the court
to direct Wiaterowski to appoint a chief, if at all, from the ranks of the
duly appointed members of the Nanticoke police department, and direct that
Thomas and Donna Wall recuse themselves from any participation in that process.
The complaint names Thomas Wall and Wiaterowski as defendants.
Both men said
Wednesday they were not aware the complaint had been filed prior to being asked
about it by a reporter.
Wiaterowski, at a city council meeting Wednesday night,
said he would comment after he sees a copy of the complaint.
by phone, said he could not comment about the specifics of the complaint before
he saw it.
He said things have gone well overall since he took command of
the department, which employs 14 full-time officers, including the chief, and
two part-time officers.
Ive been following the contract, trying
to make things better for the officers, Wall said.
He said there have
been a few complaints, but that is to be expected whenever a new chief
takes the reins of a police department.
He said the police union is within
its rights to file a complaint if its members feel it is necessary.
part of the system, Wall said.
However he also noted that if they
want to live by the letter of the law, they live by the letter of the law. It
works both ways.
Nanticoke city solicitor William Finnegan, speaking
prior to Wednesdays city council meeting, said he also has not seen the
complaint. He said he is confident that Walls hiring was legal, based on
prior case law.
Nanticoke operates under a home rule charter, unlike most
third-class cities in the state, and the provisions of the city charter support
Walls appointment as chief, Finnegan said.
Wiaterowski, in an interview
on Sept. 21 hours before he appointed Wall as chief, said he had interviewed four
external candidates, including Wall, and one member of the city police department
for the vacant chiefs position.
their own cafe is a dream come true for Nanticoke couple
When the Grateful Roast Cafe and Coffee Roaster first opened in June, the
owners didnt even turn on their Open sign.
really easy to get a bad rep, its hard to keep a good rep and even harder
to make a good rep out of a bad rep, owner Brian Williams said. Neither
of us had ever run a restaurant or cafe before so we didnt want to be overwhelmed
by it at first. We let it grow organically. Let it do what its going to
And nearly five months later, business is seemingly booming.
Williams and his wife, Sarah Kratz, held a grand opening for the Nanticoke cafe
in September after years of planning and wanting to own their own coffee joint
and cafe. It was in 2006 that the idea for Grateful Roast was really born, according
to Williams, when he began roasting coffee on his sun porch in Nanticoke for his
friends and a handful of clients. His small business was quickly shut down by
the city for not having the proper permits, but the dream didnt die.
I was doing it to learn how to roast and it grew into more, Williams
said. Were not rich people, so we couldnt make it happen right
away. But I knew I wanted a roastery. This has been a long time in the making.
Weve been saving, wishing and dreaming for this.
In March, the
couple signed a lease on the space at the corner of Kosciuszko Street and Middle
Road that previously housed Grave 74 Tattoo Studio. They immediately began renovations
on the building, which used to have a large garage door where the coffee station
The name, Grateful Roast stems from the couples
love for the Grateful Dead, combined with the reminder to have gratitude for the
little things like coffee.
Both owners have their specialties in the
cafe Williams roasts the coffee, makes drinks and bakes bagels, while Kratz
is the master in the kitchen, cooking daily soup specials, sandwiches, salads
and even baked goods.
The interior of the cafe is cozy and inviting with teal-painted
walls, neon-colored artwork on the walls and a bar counter full of delectable
baked goods. Artist Stephanie Boback, known for her chalk drawings at the F.M.
Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, designed the chalkboard menu on the wall
by the front door.
Next to the menu sits a large coffee bean roaster and dozens
of bags of roasted and unroasted coffee beans. Williams roasts all of the beans
in-house and said it takes an average of 15 minutes to roast a batch of beans.
The coffee beans hail from countries around the world, including Mexico, Guatemala,
Honduras, Kenya, Ethiopia and Indonesia.
T-shirts hang near the saloon doors
to the kitchen reading, Because lifes too short to drink bad coffee.
And each coffee cup and take-out bag is hand-stamped with intricately designed
We wanted to do something great for the
community because its a great community, Williams said. So we
wanted to give them something to get out of the house for. We wanted to give back
and add something positive to the area.
In the future, Williams said
he would like to see the coffee side of the business expand so that they could
sell bags of their beans to other cafes and retail stores. At some point, the
couple said they would also like to open for a Sunday brunch.
coffee, love the industry, Williams said. Specialty coffee is such
a niche market. I love being able to become an intimate contact between where
the coffee is coming from and where its going. Its an industry with
a positive impact on the farmers and the world around us.
Location: 400 Middle Road, Bdg. C, Nanticoke
through Friday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Online: gratefulroast.com, Grateful Roast Cafe and Coffee Roaster on Facebook
Don Williams advocates for prison
guard safety after sons death
While returning soldiers
from other wars were treated like heroes, Army veteran Don Williams said this
was not the case when he and others returned home from the Vietnam War.
71, a Nanticoke resident, served in the Vietnam War from 1966 to 1967.
remembers a very unwelcome reception when he came back to America.
so happy for the guys coming back today from Iraq and Afghanistan because people
welcome them back, Williams said. We came back to a country that kind
of abandoned us emotionally over there and took a very negative perception of
us, so when we returned, we were not welcomed back. Often times, we found ourselves
getting into arguments with people. We were just soldiers returning from a war.
Its not like we caused it.
Williams served as a helicopter gunner
in Vietnam and received an award for his combat missions.
He is the father
of the late Eric Williams, a 34-year-old correctional officer who was killed by
an inmate on Feb. 25, 2013, while working in a housing unit at U.S. Penitentiary
Canaan in Wayne County.
His son was beaten and repeatedly stabbed. He was
only equipped with handcuffs, keys and a radio.
Since his sons death,
Williams started and is now president of the political advocacy group Voices of
JOE, whose mission is to address safety concerns of corrections officers, to promote
and support legislation pertaining to safety of corrections workers, and to raise
awareness of the dangers encountered in working within prison systems.
of JOE is named for three fallen correctional officers, including his son and
two others killed by inmates Jose Rivera and Osvaldo Albarati.
involved with the advocacy group when he learned there were a number of things
lacking that could have saved his sons life.
I did it because
you cant kill my son and Im just going to sit back. I cant let
that go, Williams said. Were still fighting almost four years
to get a trial. It keeps getting put off and put off. I just think theres
a lot of problems in the system. I cant get my son back but I will not be
a person who will sit in the house and do nothing about it.
helped to get legislation passed to protect federal correctional officers.
The Eric Williams Correctional Officers Protection Act, introduced by U.S. Senators
Pat Toomey and Bob Casey, provides that the federal Bureau of Prisons must give
non-lethal pepper spray to guards in medium and high-security prisons so they
have some means of self-defense.
He also started the Eric Williams Race for
Justice and a scholarship fund created in his memory for criminal justice and
law enforcement students.
For 33 years, Williams worked at Clearbrook Lodge
in Shickshinny, helping adolescents with drug and alcohol addictions. He was a
counselor and when he left, he was vice president of adolescent treatment. He
still serves as a consultant.
He said its difficult to track success
rates but he said he is satisfied with what he has accomplished.
the seed that we planted in them there would start to blossom after a while,
he said. They would realize what we told them was true.
Current town: Nanticoke
Branch of service: Army
Where he served:
Community service: Founder and president of the advocacy group Voices
of JOE, to address safety concerns of corrections officers.
school districts get a total of $82,129 in state safety grants
Four Luzerne County School Districts got Pennsylvania
School Safety grants for a combined total of $82,128, according to information
released by the state Department of Education Friday afternoon.
It was a small
slice of $6.5 million in competitive Safe Schools Initiative Targeted Grants
awarded for training and pay of school resource officers and school police officers,
and to purchase equipment or fund programs intended to help prevent and reduce
The four local grants were not for officers. Three were
for equipment: Luzerne Intermediate Unit got $25,000, Dallas School District got
$24,899, and Wilkes-Barre Area got $18,230. The fourth local grant was
$14,000 to Greater Nanticoke Area School District
to fund a program.
The grants for training and compensation of officers
run for two years. First-year applicants can get up to $60,000 for a school resource
officer and $40,000 for a school police officer, while second-year officers can
get $30,000 and $20,000, respectively.
The difference is subtle. Generally,
an school resource officer is an officer in a municipal police force with extra
training in school policing and working with students who is contracted to work
in district schools part of the year. A school police officer is usually employed
directly by the district.
budget holds line on taxes
council of Nanticoke will have a budget hearing 6:30 p.m. Nov. 16 in the council
chambers, 15 E. Ridge St.
Mayor Richard Wiaterowski released a $5.5 million
general fund budget proposal on Wednesday that has no tax hikes and a 1 percent
increase in revenue.
The mayors proposed budget for 2017 is $5,576,602
compared to $5,537,427 in 2016.
Wiaterowskis proposal would keep the
millage rate at 5.93. A mill is a $1 tax for every $1,000 of assessed value. The
breakdown of millage includes general purpose millage at 4.75, debt services at
1.15 and .0194 for the library.
The council and department heads had input
on the budget, according to Wiaterowski.
Wiaterowski noted that the city,
which has a population of 10,465, is seeing a decline in assessed property values
because of tax appeals, with a $2.333 million decline in this years assessed
Earned income taxes contribute to 43 percent of the budgets revenue
or $2,397,938.86 of the budget.
Higher wages and a lower unemployment
rate are resulting in a slight increase in tax income on earnings, Wiaterowskis
The general fund contributes to 32 percent or $1,784,512.64
to the budget and the final 25 percent or $1,394,150.50 comes from code department
revenue and miscellaneous reimbursements.
Expenses for the city continue to
rise, the mayor noted. Per contractual agreements, salaries are increasing $54,017,
which is down from previous years because the reduction of the police chief and
code officers salaries as well as promoting from within to the city managers
The salary of the police chief, upon the death of William Schultz
and the hiring of Tom Wall, went from $81,867 to $65,000, a savings of $16,867.
The proposed budget reflects interim city Manager Donna Walls $4,000 health
insurance buyout because she will be on her husbands health insurance. She
is married to Wall. Her buyout will save the city over $22,000 for the course
of the year.
Wiaterowski expects the code enforcement office to have a difference
in the favor of the city close $27,000 from 2016. The biggest chunk of savings
is the salary for Code Enforcement department. There will be two people in the
department forming the $36,000 salary which will save the city $10,600.
council will have a first vote on the budget after a budget hearing 6:30 p.m.
Nov. 16 is held in the council chambers. The second and final vote will come during
the Dec. 7 council meeting.
to participate in Liberty Bowl halftime show and parade
Rose Grohowski, a student at Wilkes University and former Miss GNA at Greater
Nanticoke Area, was recently selected to take part in the Autozone Liberty Bowl
Halftime Show and Parade in Memphis, Tennessee on Dec. 30 as part of being a state
finalist in the Americas Homecoming Pageant which was held in October. She
will spend three days touring the city and volunteering at the St. Jude Research
Hospital before taking part in the Autozone Liberty Bowl Parade on Beale Street
and participating in the half time show during the bowl game. Amber Rose is the
daughter of Eric and Diane Grohowski of Nanticoke. She has two brothers, Trevor
Grohowski, and Dr. Deric Grohowski.
and Champ show students how to get along with each other, despite differences
Kilee Favors thinks bullying is an issue that
needs to be addressed.
The seventh-grader who attended an anti-bullying event
at the Greater Nanticoke Area Elementary School sponsored by the United Way of
Wyoming Valley, said bullying makes life worse not just for the victim, but for
other people, as well.
Bullying can lead to things like suicide,
she said. It has an effect on the person bullied, on their parents and on
Casandra Cerulli, Miss Luzerne County, addressed those
gathered at the event, reminding them that almost everyone has been bullied.
Believe it or not, she said, I have been bullied.
Cerulli invited Champ, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees mascot, and Tux, the
Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton Penguins mascot, to join her in the front of the auditorium
to make a point.
Although Champ is blue, with a striped shirt and large eyes,
and Tux is black, with a team jersey, and a yellow beak, she said, there is no
reason for them to not get along.
Illustrating the importance of respecting
other people, the two mascots playfully shared the stage, highlighting their ability
to be friends in spite of their differences.
Rocky from WKRZ told
young people gathered that, although bullying might have been accepted in previous
generations, it is not okay to put other people down and make them feel bad about
Participants watched a video in which a young person collected
negative comments about herself on sticky notes as she made her way through the
day. At the end of the video, classmates threw the comments in the garbage and
invited her to sit at their table.
Rocky told students they could
do just that help classmates to set aside the negative things said about
them and help them work to be their best selves.
Alan Stout from Catholic
Social Services Big Brothers/Big Sisters program, said he will visit the
school on a weekly basis to reinforce anti-bullying topics, including diversity,
empathy and reporting.
Stout said there are five types of bullying: physical,
verbal, cyber, property and exclusion.
All, he said, have a marked impact
on their targets.
For example, in exclusion, when a person is not invited
to have lunch with his classmates, that really hurts people, he said.
Stout will work with grade school students in the district through the end of
Friday also happened to be the schools annual Pink Out
Day where students wore pink to show support for those with breast cancer.
Favors thought both the event and the willingness for her classmates to support
a worthy cause underscored the positive attitude of the staff and her classmates.
She looks forward, she said, to learning how to prevent bullying and to help those
around her from understanding that bullying is not alright.
Victims mother meets leader of rescue attempt
Mandy Powell waited outside in a chill breeze
for a man she had never met but considers an angel.
As children living in
Apollo Circle drew on the sidewalk and rode their bikes around the development,
she watched as a car turned the corner and parked in front of the picnic table
where she sat.
John Cramsey, the Emmaus man who was arrested near the Holland
Tunnel while trying to rescue a 17-year-old Wilkes-Barre girl and Powells
daughter from an alleged drug den in New York City, emerged from the car. He carried
an assortment of yellow flowers in a glass vase. Cramsey and Powell embraced immediately.
Cramsey was only sorry he could not have brought Powells daughter, Sierra
Schmitt, with him.
Cramsey, recently released from prison, wanted a chance
to meet Powell as a parent who also lost a daughter to a drug overdose.
been successful every time Ive been called to go and help somebody,
he said. This is the one time I didnt get where I was going.
Cramsey and two others were arrested on June 21 while en route to Brooklyn, New
York, where he says Jenea Patterson, the Wilkes-Barre teen, called for help in
the middle of the night after she awoke to find her friend, Schmitt, dead from
a suspected heroin overdose.
The 20-year-old Schmitts death remains
under investigation, a spokeswoman for the New York Police Department said.
Powell said she has been taking it day by day since her daughters
death. She wanted to meet Cramsey because even though her daughter did not make
it back from New York City, she thinks of him as a superhero doing
a job no one else would do.
I just think its awesome that a man
can go out there and save children he doesnt even know, she said.
I just think that hes an angel.
Powell and Cramsey sat together
at a picnic table and discussed his background. He talked about losing his own
daughter to an overdose in February and since then working to help total
strangers get treatment for addiction.
Im a man against
the world with what Im doing, he said.
Powell showed him voicemail
messages she said Patterson left on her cellphone that day. The messages would
not play on Sunday afternoon, but Cramsey noticed a timestamp of 7:23 a.m.
just before he, 29-year old Kimberly Arendt of Lehighton and 53-year-old Dean
Smith of Zionsville were arrested.
I gave up my life at that time exactly,
Cramsey said, his voice thick.
Police said officers pulled Cramseys
truck over for a broken windshield and ordered the suspects out of the car when
an officer spotted a loaded magazine of bullets. Officers found a loaded .45 caliber
semiautomatic handgun in the front seat, police said.
Police then raided the
vehicle to find five pistols, an AR-15 rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun, 2,000 rounds
of ammunition and body armor as well as marijuana, a marijuana pipe and several
Cramsey spent three months in prison and still faces weapons
charges. Smith and Arendt remained jailed in Hudson County, New Jersey, as of
Friday afternoon. Cramsey was bailed out Sept. 8 with the financial help of supporters.
Powell counts herself among Cramseys supporters and said on Sunday she would
do what she could to help him as his case proceeds.
Personally I dont
think you should be under investigation, she told Cramsey. Youre
losing everything over this, God bless you.
duo pens a book about a curious boy and a magical leprechaun
residents Fran and Sean Patrick Spencer wrote a book about a mischievous leprechaun.
firstname.lastname@example.org - @@TL_MMizenko - 570-991-6116
grandmother and her grandson spent the better part of the past year seeing a dream
come to life in the form of a book. Fran and Sean Patrick Spencers
book Ian-John and the Leprechaun came to life recently when the Spencers
had the first shipment of their hard cover childrens mystery books came
Fran said she had gotten the idea to write a book at a childs birthday
party almost two years ago, where she told a haunted ghost story. A year later,
she had enlisted some help of her grandson, Sean Patrick, 14, a freshman at Greater
Nanticoke Area, and the book came to life.
I was like oh my god,
Sean Patrick said of the moment his grandmother came to him with the idea.
He couldnt believe it, Fran countered with a laugh.
in an Irish accent Thursday, the duo gave the Times Leader a sneak peek of their
The premise of the book takes place in an imagined forest in Ballyshannon,
I just closed my eyes and pointed to a map, Fran admits
of how she picked the name.
Ian-John, a curious young boy goes off in the
forest, defying his mothers wishes, to find a lost sheep.
He comes upon
a leprechaun and gets into some hijinx, which include going into a mysterious
Theres nothing more magical than a leprechaun, Fran
The illustrations in the book are soft yet bright.
And even though Sean Patrick didnt color the drawings himself, he was able
to help out in the design. His influence is seen throughout the pages including
what kind of house the leprechaun lived in.
He has a vivid imagination,
Fran said, noting the book was a way to have Sean Patrick channel his artistic
The book is filled with names close to the family and coincidentally,
the leprechaun is named Sean Patrick.
Because the book ends with a bit of
friendship between the leprechaun and the boy, the pair hopes to continue writing
about the adventures of Ian-John for some time to come. It definitely doesnt
hurt that Sean Patrick wants to be a writer, and as they admitted, has wanted
to be a writer since pre-school.
Sean Patrick also likes to be creative and
do graphics; Fran hopes one day their books will become animated shorts or audiobooks.
The duo is having a book reading 2 p.m. Saturday at the Barnes & Noble in
the Wilkes-Barre Township Marketplace.
Retired state trooper sworn in as Nanticokes new
A lifelong city resident
and retired state trooper will start work as Nanticokes new police chief
Thomas Wall, who retired in 2012 after 25 years as a state police
officer, was sworn in at Wednesdays city council meeting by Mayor Richard
Wall will succeed the late William Shultz, the longtime Nanticoke
police chief who died last month. His first day on the job will be Monday.
Wiaterowski said he chose Wall based on his qualifications, experience and
Wall, 57, demonstrated those qualities through
his police work, his service with the city fire company as a young man, a long
stint on the city zoning board more recently and other civic and volunteer work,
Wall credited his family with helping to convince him to
return to law enforcement.
When I retired from the state police I thought
it was over, he said.
But once the police chiefs spot in his home
city fell vacant, Wall said he felt the call to apply for the position. In a phone
interview Wednesday afternoon he said he views police work as more of a
vocation than an occupation.
In remarks soon after being sworn in, Wall
said his children told him he always seemed happiest when he was on his way to
work as a police officer. They urged him to go for it, he said.
Wall is married to Nanticoke interim city Manager Donna Wall. He will report to
Wiaterowski and will not interact on-the-job with his wife, Wiaterowski said Wednesday.
Wiaterowski, who supervises the city police department according to Nanticokes
city charter, said he interviewed four external candidates, including Wall, and
one member of the city police department for the vacant chiefs position.
Hiring a new chief from outside the city police force
did not sit well with some officers though they declined to expand on their
objections on Wednesday.
The Nanticoke City Police Association is considering
filing a grievance, according to Detective Sgt. Joseph Guydish. He declined to
discuss the basis of the grievance and deferred further comment to Officer Brian
Kivler, the union president.
Kivler declined to comment, saying the unions
attorney had advised him to keep quiet for now.
Wiaterowski said police union
representatives told him last week they planned to file a grievance if he named
Wall as chief instead of an internal candidate. The officers cited provisions
of the city code which they said mandated the police chief be hired from within
if possible, the mayor said.
Wiaterowski said he consulted with city solicitor
William Finnegan and stands by his choice of Wall to be the citys top cop.
We looked into all that, he said. I am confident in my decision
and we are going to move forward.
Wall said he holds no animosity toward
officers who feel the need to file a grievance over his hiring.
are unhappy, thats their prerogative, he said. I dont
hold anything against anybody.
Walls hiring will save taxpayer
money, according to Wiaterowski.
He will earn $65,000 per year, with no benefits
or pension plan. That is much less than the city would have paid any other candidate
as chief and represents a savings of about $60,000 per year over the total compensation
Shultz earned, including the cost of benefits, Wiaterowski said.
several times that change is inevitable and that he will institute changes in
the police department once he gets a chance to speak with all officers on the
force and get their input.
The new chief said he looks forward to improving
communication between the police force and the community.
I will make
it known to officers they are there to be of service to the citizens of Nanticoke,
Wall said he plans to meet with city residents, business owners and
officials from the city fire department and Greater Nanticoke Area School District
to discuss ways to keep Nanticoke a safe place.
residents to take an active role in their community, noting that Nanticoke needs
more people getting involved.
Wall graduated from Nanticoke High
School in 1977, earned an associates degree from Luzerne County Community College,
then graduated from Kings College in 1981 with a bachelors degree
in criminal justice. He retired as a corporal stationed at the Wyoming state police
station. For the past four years, he worked as transportation director for Wilkes-Barre
Area School District.
Nanticoke employs 14 full-time police officers, including
the chief, and two part-time officers, Wiaterowski said.
state policeman Tom Wall is Nanticokes new top cop
Wall, husband of interim city manager, takes over post
Meet Tom Wall
Children: Jamie Krestes and Tyler Wall
Son-in-law: Tim Krestes
Grandchildren: Charleigh, 6 months
Pennsylvania State Trooper has been hired as the citys top cop.
Wall, a lifelong Nanticoke resident, was sworn in as police chief by Mayor Richard
Wiaterowski Wednesday at the council work session. His appointment comes after
the death of William Shultz, who battled cancer for almost two years, earlier
The salary of the chief, who starts Monday, will be $65,000 a year.
Walls wife, Donna, is the interim city manager, following the January resignation
of Andy Gegaris.
The new chief wants to wait until the dust settles
and then sit down with force and go over plans. He said he recognizes that change
is hard and notes there will be no time period for change to happen.
Give me a month or two (to make changes), Wall asked the roughly two
dozen in attendance.
Wall retired in 2012 after 25 years as a state police
officer. He has been in public service for 40 years, boasting credentials which
include being corporal at the state police Tunkhannock barracks and an instructor
for the state police.
When I retired from the state police, I thought
it was over, he said, then joking about his family warning him he already
had a retirement party and he wont get another.
One person critical
of the mayors decisions over the past few years has been Hank Marks. He
wanted Wiaterowski to hire the best. And Marks, who is president of
the Nanticoke Area Taxpayers Association, said Wall was the best.
Anyone with better credentials, Marks said, Id like to
Wall wont be taking the citys benefits, thus saving
the city close to $60,000 a year, something Marks lauded.
telling the mayor to save money, Marks said.
The mayor has heard rumors
of the police force filing a grievance. Wiaterowski said the city crossed
their Ts and dotted their Is when it came to hiring Wall.
never easy (to make a decision), Wiaterowski said, when you know the
Donna Wall said her husband will report to the mayor.
will be an asset to the city, she said.
Chief Wall said he knew he was
human and Im going to make mistakes, but he promised to be the
hardest-working chief aside from former chief Chet Zaremba, who was
in the audience to support Wall.
Also on hand to see Wall sworn in was Walls
daughter and son-in-law, Jamie and Tim Krestes, and son, Tyler.
The next city
council meeting will be 7 p.m. Oct. 5 at the municipal building, 15 E. Ridge St.
Nanticoke native wins Emmy award
Under normal circumstances, people dont want to miss a chance to
see Morgan Freeman speak in person. Natalie Thimm, however, had something better
The Nanticoke native was picking up her first Emmy when she missed
Freeman speaking on Sunday at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards. Thimm was part of
the five-person team that won for Outstanding Makeup for its work on Comedy Centrals
Key and Peele.
Its exciting, Thimm said. After
all those years of working so hard, it paid off.
Shes come a long
way from working at the cosmetic counter at J.C. Pennys in the Wyoming Valley
Mall in the 1980s.
Thimm laid the groundwork for her career locally, taking
classes at Wilkes-Barre Vocational Technical School and Empire Beauty School.
After graduating, she moved to Philadelphia and worked in a costume store. But
her heart was out west.
I knew I was going to come out to L.A.,
By 1993, she was there. After spending seven years in Hollywood,
she returned back east for a bit, but made her way back.
Since her return,
Thimm has worked on shows like CSI: NY, Ugly Betty, Dollhouse,
Americas Next Top Model, Parks and Recreation and
more. Shes also worked on movies such as Furious 7 and Neighbors
2: Sorority Rising.
Thimm said she still makes her way back home for
the holidays and the occasional summer visit.
She was part of the makeup team
for the Key and Peele episode, Yall Ready for This.
The sketch comedy series, which finished its fifth and final season this year,
has been nominated for the makeup award before, but never won.
one of the best moments of my life, Thimm said.
Shes keeping busy,
with a schedule that includes work on TV shows Jane the Virgin, Pitch,
Since winning the Emmy, she might be getting more
Over the last couple days my phone has been ringing, she
Nanticoke school board
again rejects construction bids
For the second time this year, the Greater Nanticoke Area School Board rejected
construction bids for the expansion of Kennedy Elementary School.
base bids opened last month for the project totaled more than $8.8 million. They
were about $1.4 million less than bids rejected in May, but were still too costly.
The district now plans to open bids in December or January and then start the
project in the spring, Superintendent Ronald Grevera said.
look at possibly adjusting the project and changing bid specifications to reduce
the cost, Grevera added.
In May, the school district was considering a motion
to seek new bids without the districts project labor agreement, but the
school board rejected that option. The districts project labor agreement
provides collective bargaining terms for building project workers hired by district
contractors and subcontractors and includes a preference for Nanticoke Area residents
to work on the project.
In August, Boyle Construction of Allentown submitted
the low base bid for general contract work at $5.9 million. Scranton Electric
Heating & Cooling submitted the low base bid for heat, ventilation and air
conditioning at $1.3 million. Bognet of Hazleton submitted the low base bid for
plumbing at $548,776. Apollo Group of Kingston submitted the low base bid for
electrical work at almost $1.1 million.
cover story: Nanticoke Area's Walters tackles the odds
to talk to Sharon Walters during a Nanticoke Area football game is pointless.
Shes not trying to ignore anyone. Its just that her attention is focused
solely on her son Mark Walters, who is a junior defensive back, returns kicks
and gets some reps at running back for the Trojans (2-1).
The fact that she
is sitting in the stands watching her son play is a blessing and a miracle.
Mark wasnt supposed to play football. In fact, he wasnt even supposed
I was born a couple months premature, he said. I
had a lot of problems. One of the first things the doctors and nurses said was
that I would never walk.
Despite what they were told, Marks parents
were determined to make sure he walked.
Walters was born nine weeks early
on July 24, 1999 at CMC in Scranton. He was supposed to be born in October. He
weighed 3 pounds, 9.5 ounces and his weight dropped to two pounds, eight ounces
while in the hospital.
Walters spent about two months in the Neonatal Intensive
Care Unit. He was hooked up to a ventilator for the first few days of his life
because he wasnt able to breath on his own. He was on feeding tubes and
had an IV hooked up to his head.
Needless to say it was a terrifying experience
for all involved.
They told us he was going to have setbacks,
Sharon said. They said there will be delays but they would be minor. When
he got out of the hospital he had to see a cardiologist, neurologist, audiologist
It was when the family visited the neurologist that
they received the devastating news. The muscle tone in Marks legs was weak,
if there was any at all.
The doctor was very blunt, Sharon said.
The first thing that came to my mind was that Im not going to let
this happen and I will do anything I can to help him along.
thing Sharon did when she returned home from the appointment was call the family
pediatrician. From there, she received tips and resources on how to attack the
We had a physical therapist come to the house, Sharon
said. He (John McGurk) came in and examined him and told us he would try
his hardest to get Mark walking. He said it will be hardcore, and that if Mark
is a fighter he would get him walking.
There was no timetable, just
a lot of hard work ahead. When the physical therapist wasnt at the house,
Marks mother and father would work with him.
It was the most terrifying
time in my life, Sharon said. My pregnancy was going normal. There
was nothing wrong. I can remember one day going into the hospital and walking
into the NIC Unit and seeing tubes and needles that were not previously there.
I just lost it.
While in the hospital, Mark developed an infection in
his intestines because of the feeding tubes. He developed jaundice from being
under the lights, and when he was home from the hospital for just two days, he
had to return because he turned blue.
He underwent tests and it was discovered
he would stop breathing in his sleep. He was placed on a heart monitor until he
was one and saw a physical therapist until he was in eighth grade.
all the hard work and dedication, Mark made improvements.
Everyone could see
it. Mark was getting stronger and was showing hints that he was going to start
At first, he would pull himself up with the help of a couch and walk
I cried, Sharon said seeing it. It was like he
never gave up. Nobody ever gave up on him. Hes not big, but he is a fighter.
Hes determined to do what he wants to do and hes going to do it.
After those first steps, the magical day arrived in the kitchen.
got himself up by a chair and turned, Sharon recalled as if it happened
yesterday. He turned and when he turned he fell down. He pulled himself
back up on the chair and took two steps. He fell down again, but that was when
he actually walked without holding on.
Now, Mark, who is 5-foot-6, 155
pounds, is moving all over the place.
Hes just a great kid with
a great work ethic, Nanticoke Area coach Ron Bruza said of Walters. Hes
the spark on the team. When we are down in the trenches and things arent
going our way, he gives us a spark. All the kids take to him.
he plans on going out for the track and field team in the spring.
purely a miracle for me, Mark said. I dont know where I would
be if I couldnt walk. I wouldnt be playing football or hanging out
with my friends.
an Emmy: Nanticoke native proves dreams do come true
see Natalie Thimm receive her Emmy award, watch the 2016 Creative Arts Emmy Awards
at 8 p.m. Saturday on FXX Channel.
From catering the Emmys to winning an Emmy,
Nanticoke native Natalie Thimm is living her dream. Thimm won a 2016 Creative
Arts Emmy for her work on an episode of Comedy Central hit show Key &
Peele at an awards show Sept. 18 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
The winning episode Yall Ready for This? was up against ABCs
Dancing with the Stars episode Halloween Night, Foxs
Grease: Live, the Ryan Gosling-hosted episode of NBCs Saturday
Night Live and NBCs live production of The Wiz.
the show was announced as winner, Thimm said it took her longer to get to the
stage because she was wearing a long gown and spiked heels. Right before her category
was announced, she had thought about taking the heels off.
jumped up faster (than me), she joked about the moment she and her co-workers
were announced as winners. I still made it up in time.
to the Emmy website, Creative Arts Emmys honor artistic and technical achievement
in a variety of television program genres, guest performances in weekly series,
as well as exceptional work in the animation, reality and documentary categories.
A daughter of Frank and Diane Thimm, who still live in the area, Thimms
journey began in the 1980s as a graphic design student at Wilkes-Barre Vo-Tech.
After graduation, she took her talents to Empire Beauty School.
to Los Angeles for a time after her beauty school graduation, then moved to Philadelphia.
After realizing the East Coast is not where she belongs, Thimm moved back west
and has been in the Los Angeles area for the past 20 years.
I had to
get out (of Philadelphia), she said about why she chose to go back. It was
then she started working a second job as a caterer to pay rent.
she works on the CWs Jane the Virgin and is gearing up to work
on a Netflix original series.
Thimm has only been starstruck once, she said,
when she was working with Eddie Cibrian.
During one of her catering stints,
she met him as he walked up to her bar, she recalled. A few years later, he was
working on Ugly Betty as Coach Diaz, and Thimm was part of the shows
makeup crew. Upon seeing him come into the trailer, she asked her boss if she
could work on him. The boss agreed and each time Cibrian needed makeup, Thimm
went to his rescue.
I love his dimples. She said. He was
During the interview with the Times Leader, Thimm became emotional.
She said she studied the laws of attraction and believes if you want something
to happen, it will. She prayed to her late grandmother and best friend as her
category was announced at the show. Ironically, Thimm said she had a picture of
an Emmy on her dream board a collage of images, pictures of dreams, which
serves as motivation which she made several years ago.
nice to be in this category (of winners), she said. I have a feeling
UGI to restore
manufactured gas plant in Nanticoke
The area around a former manufactured gas plant will have new life by the
beginning of next year, officials say.
UGI Utilities is restoring a site at
the intersection of North Walnut and Arch streets. It should take about four months
to fully complete, according to UGI officials.
The project is not the first
of its kind for UGI, Joseph Swope, UGIs communications manager, said in
an email. There are multi-site agreements between the state Department of Environmental
Protection and UGI which address environmental conditions at 20 manufactured gas
plant sites as well as completing gas well plugging.
UGI works closely
with the PA Department of Environmental Protection and attempts to restore properties
for a beneficial reuse under Pennsylvanias Act 2 Program, Swope wrote.
According to the DEPs website, Act 2 is a land recycling program enacted
in 1995. The land recycling program offers companies and individuals set standards
for cleanup, set timelines for restoration, liability aid in the event of issues
and financial help for those who wish to clean up marred land.
Swope, the downtown will have more parking and a greenway, including planting
new trees and grass.
It will take a site that is currently not available
for use and turn it into a benefit for the entire community, he said.
Manufactured gas plants transformed coal or oil to gas, according to the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency. The gas manufacturing and purification processes
produced products and residues that include tars and light oils.
because of the processes formerly conducted on the plant grounds, UGI conducted
soil and water testing to determine the scope of restoration work to be performed.
He is confident there will be no impact to water or residents health based
on the testing.
Brewing company eyes
October opening in Hanover Twp.
Ben Schonfeld started making beer at home 14 years ago and has since become a
brewmaster who is close to opening his own company and restaurant.
36, of Nanticoke, expects to open Benny Brewing Company in late October at 1429
Sans Souci Parkway in Hanover Township.
Seman Tire was demolished to make
way for the 6,000-square-foot Benny Brewing Company, which will include a 10-barrel
brewing system that can be viewed from a restaurant and brew pub. It will also
include an outdoor patio with tables from Munich, Germany, and a beer garden with
hops and vines.
I went from brewing beer commercially on a half-barrel
brewing system to moving up to a 10-barrel brewing system, Schonfeld said,
while showing four 20-barrel conical fermenters and two 10-barrel fermenters that
he purchased from Alpha Brewing in Nebraska.
Schonfeld declined to say how
much money was invested in the new business.
He is currently distributing
beer to 45 restaurants and bars throughout Luzerne and Lackawanna counties.
Within the next two months, his beer also will be available in Northampton, Lehigh,
Berks and Lancaster counties.
People could come into the brewery and buy beer
by sixtel kegs which hold just over five gallons, or half barrel kegs.
They also could buy cases of beer, he said.
Were going to be canning
beer, Schonfeld said. Cans probably will be available by the end of
Schonfeld said he is waiting for a company to come in from
Canada to set up the canning line and get it ready.
Hopefully, the beer
will be in production and out to the local places by the end of September in cans,
Four core brands and four rotating seasonal brands of beer will be
available in cans, he said.
His four core brands are 570 Amber Lager, Wit
Belgian Style Wheat Beer, American Pale Ale and Hopenstein India Pale Ale. His
four seasonal brands are Sippin Time, BennyFest, Dunkel and Oatmeal Chocolate
He also has a One & Done series that he said are ever
revolving recipes that are just made once and never made again.
kind of keeps it fun instead of making the same beer over and over again,
he said. It keeps the creativity in the brewery going.
new business opens, people can watch beer being brewed from the restaurant or
they can watch sports on eight big-screen televisions under unique bucket light
The menu will focus on barbecue recipes and will include sandwiches
and burgers with a little bit of a twist, he said. Other beer will
be available in addition to his brands as well as liquor and wine, he said.
Outside, Schonfeld said people could pull hops off of vines to give their beer
a different flavor. Catering events could be held outside, he said.
to employ about 25 full- and part-time workers.
Opening Benny Brewing Company
is a dream come true for Schonfeld.
Its awesome, he said.
I dont go to work. I go to do what I want to do. This isnt work.
Valley with a Heart benefit brings out motorcyclists,
Another large turnout for Valley with a Heart event
Anthony Conklin smiled as he sat near the concession
stand at the Valley with a Heart benefit at St. Faustina Grove on Sunday.
It was hard to believe that Conklin, 4 months old, was not expected to live through
the first hours of his life.
Now, the little guy with the big grin and two
other sick children are being assisted by the nonprofit that seeks to better the
lives of children and their families challenged by illness.
The benefit, which
included a motorcycle run and a festival, is in its 16th year, and many members
of Valley with a Heart have been there from the beginning.
“In 2001, a group
of concerned friends got together with an idea to raise funds for a young cancer
patient,” said Rick Temarantz, president of Valley with a Heart. “We were motorcyclists,
so we decided to hold a benefit ride.”
Anthony’s mother, Samantha Suchoski,
said he will be having the first of three surgeries in the near future. Funds
are needed for necessary services and equipment to keep her son healthy.
family travels to Danville regularly to get treatment for Anthony. Temarantz said
the organization does not give out cash, but does such things as providing gift
cards for travel and paying bills.
“We do everything the right way,” he said.
“The bulk of the proceeds go to our poster children, but we also use some money
to assist sick kids throughout the year.”
The organization, he said, works
with the Luzerne Foundation in regard to distribution of funds.
provides the opportunity not to just raise money for a good cause, but to have
a lot of fun celebrating the Labor Day weekend and the end of summer.
event averages about 450 motorcycles and between 2,000 and 3,000 attendees.
“It’s a one-day event,” said Temarantz. “But we’re here for three days.”
Concert, Valley with a Heart board member, said the event has the feel of a family
reunion with many attendees coming back year after year.
This year, Concert
was providing a photo booth, complete with flowers, feathers and hats.
collected them from yards sales and stuff,” Concert said. “People are having a
lot of fun with it.”
Other vendors’ offered food, face painting, balloon animals,
home goods and even a bounce house.
“This isn’t just a motorcycle ride,” said
Temarantz. “It’s an event.”
Linda Armstrong, executive director of Dress for
Success Luzerne County, participated in the motorcycle ride as a show of support
for the organization and an opportunity to enjoy the wonderful weather.
organizations need to work together in spirit of service,” said Armstrong. “That’s
what makes it all work.”
For out more about Valley with a Heart, including
upcoming events and opportunities to donate, access their website at http://www.valleywithaheart.com
Long awaited Nanticoke sewer project begins
A suspended sewer project in the city has new
life, according to city officials.
The project, aimed at replacing old city
sewer lines, suspended in May, resumed earlier this week, according to Donna Wall,
interim city manager. Verizon cable lines lying close to the existing sewer lines
caused the delay.
Times Leader records from 2014 show when the Geisinger building
on Main Street joined the downtown landscape, its new sewer lines created an issue
when they were connected to the citys old, decrepit ones.
will replace sewer lines within three blocks on Main Street, between Walnut Street
and the Burger King on Market Street. It also will close a section of Main Street
during the day.
Funding for the sewer project has been in the citys
hands since 2014, Wall confirmed.
Wall said Locust and Main streets were closed
Tuesday and Wednesday, and the timeline for specific streets is day-by-day.
The crew arrives sometime in the 7 a.m. hour and works all day. The street is
opened when the crew leaves.
It was one of the conditions, Wall
said of the timeframe of the work. We want to have operations for businesses.
The detour, which Wall said she has traveled, is minor. Those travelling
into Nanticoke will now take North Market to behind the Weis market, to the light
at Burger King. Wall noted it is highly unlikely traffic coming from the Middle
Road detour will affect the Main Street detour.
As long as the weather cooperates,
traffic should return to normal by the end of October, Wall said.
optimistic, she said.
The paving of the road will not be completed until
the city begins its streetscape project, which will assist the city in becoming
Americans with Disability Act compliant.
begins at former manufactured gas plant
Denise Allabaugh - Citizens
UGI Utilities Inc. has begun work to restore the site of a former
manufactured gas plant and create a parking lot and greenway area in Nanticoke.
Over the last two weeks, UGI has prepared the site and is set to begin the restoration
phase of the project.
The site, located at North Walnut and Arch streets,
is being tested, cleaned and restored over the next four months.
UGI has been
working with representatives from Nanticoke and the Pennsylvania Department of
Environmental Protection to improve the site conditions and develop a beneficial
use for the property.
Manufactured gas plants were common through urban areas
of the United States from the late 19th Century through the middle of the 20th
Century. UGI has successfully restored several of these sites in the state. There
is no known impact to public water or health at this location, according to UGI.
In previous work at the site, UGI conducted soil and water testing and determined
the scope of restoration work to be performed.
Residents and drivers traveling
in area should note that lane restrictions may be in effect during the project
as equipment moves in and out of the work area. Motorists driving through the
construction zone are urged to watch for roadwork signs and to follow the directions
of flag personnel.
students upon start of new year
Scibek is leaving Wyoming Valley West as State Street Elementary School principal
to become principal at Greater Nanticoke Area High School. Also at Greater Nanticoke
Area, the district is temporarily closing Kennedy Elementary School this year
because of an upcoming construction and renovation project there.
Kennedy Elementary will be closed, second-grade students will attend the Elementary
Center and fifth-grade students will attend the Educational Center. Both schools
are at the Kosciuszko Street campus in Nanticoke.
Elementary school students
will be getting new Google Chromebook computers to use in their classrooms, and
teachers in grades K-7 will use a new mathematics program called Go Math,
Superintendent Ronald Grevera said. The new series provides teachers with a variety
of Common Core-aligned materials, and officials hope it increases math achievement
in the district.
As the new high school principal, Scibek will be examining
the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum, Grevera said.
The district is adding a new high school course Scientific Research and
Design. Its intended to introduce students to the skills needed for technical
careers such as engineering and scientific research, Grevera said.
DAY OF SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS
Wednesday, Aug. 31 Greater Nanticoke Area
Nanticoke chief remembered as a humble cops cop
Shultz was a cops cop.
Speaker after speaker made that point on Friday
at a memorial service for Shultz, the Nanticoke police chief who died on Aug.
17 at 61 after a battle with cancer.
I consider myself fortunate to
have been a part of his career, said Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie
Salavantis, the first of seven speakers to share memories of Shultz with his family,
friends and law enforcement colleagues in the auditorium of Nanticoke High School.
Shultz made it his personal mission to protect and serve the residents
of Nanticoke, Salavantis said.
Shultz found that mission early. He became
a police officer in Plymouth Township at 18, the youngest age possible, and when
he took the reins of that department Shultz was one of the youngest police chiefs
in Pennsylvania at 25. He served as Plymouth Townships chief for more than
10 years, then left to join the Nanticoke police force in 1990.
strange to some that Shultz gave up a chiefs position to become a patrolman
with a new department, said Tony George, former Wilkes-Barre police chief and
the citys current mayor.
He said I need to do more,
Shultz gave young cops one piece of priceless advice, according
to George. While it is important for police officers to study and train hard,
situations will arise on the streets where you will have to play it by ear
and officers need to be ready for that, George said.
Shultz as one of the rare people he considers to be irreplaceable.
State Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Newport Township, grew up in Plymouth Township. He
recalled Shultz as a local legend during his boyhood in the 70s and 80s.
Shultz was ahead of the curve when it came to the concept of community policing,
according to Mullery.
We played in the street, Mullery said. He
would stop and talk to us. He knew our names, our parents, what sports we played.
He knew us, he cared about us, we knew him.
Others spoke of Shultzs
humility and reluctance to take credit for his many achievements.
He was all
about the work, said Chester Zaremba, a former Nanticoke police chief and state
Shultz immersed himself in the job as no one else could,
said Zaremba, who was Shultzs boss as Shultz worked his way up the ranks
in the Nanticoke police force to detective sergeant and later captain.
worked so hard, in fact, that Zaremba began to worry he might burn out.
Zaremba said, he talked to another veteran officer who knew Shultz well.
told me to imagine someone who has a hobby he enjoys to the maximum, Zaremba
Shultz could be tough when needed but he had a passion for helping those
in need, said Michael McGuire of the state Attorney Generals Office.
We always said Bill is the guy you want to show up if one of your family
members needed help, McGuire said.
For Shultz, family his wife
Anne Marie, his son William Jr. and his grandchildren was the only thing
even more important than his passion for police work, McGuire said.
officers would ask Shultz to go out for food and beer after a long day, McGuire
According to McGuire, Shultz would decline politely and reply:
Im going home to see the most beautiful girl in the world.
police chief William Shultz remembered at memorial service
Police officers and officials from across
the county came to honor William Shultz, the Nanticoke police chief from 2012
until his death on Aug. 17, Friday at a memorial service at the Greater Nanticoke
High School auditorium.
Officers from neighboring Newport Township to Dallas
Township turned out to honor a man many knew as an advocate and friend.
Mayor Richard Wiatrowski said Shultz, who died at the age of 61, was private
man who devoted his life to being a police officer.
A slideshow of memories
was shown as Shultzs wife, Anne Marie, and family stood by a photo of the
During the service, several speakers commemorated the life of
a man many called dedicated. At the end of the service, members of nearly 15 agencies
processed through the streets of Nanticoke to the Nanticoke fire station, where
Nanticoke and Hanover Township ladder trucks held a flag for the last call.
I consider him a dear friend, a visibly upset Luzerne County District
Attorney Stefanie Salavantis said, remembering her time working on cases with
Shultz. He was one of the first law enforcement (officers) who came to me.
Salavantis said Shultz went through deceit, lies, harm and death daily.
She also mentioned that Shultz, though private, would want the couple dozen civilians
and multiple law enforcement officers on hand to celebrate and carry on
A fight that began in the 1980s when Shultz was called to
be on the state attorney generals Mid Valley Task Force. He was police chief
of Plymouth Township at the time.
He was then hired by the Nanticoke Police
Department in 1990 and appointed chief in August 2012.
According to Nanticokes
Municipal Police Cooperative Agreement, the Mid Valley Task Force enhances the
coordination of drug investigations in the Luzerne County area and provides mutual
police aid to more effectively enforce the provisions of narcotics and drug laws,
preserving the safety and welfare of the entire area.
Hanover Township Police
Chief Albert Walker said Shultz was a giant in local law enforcement
because of his longevity in the profession over 40 years and his
I had the pleasure to work side by side with him on cases
that overlapped our jurisdictions, and he was a wealth of information, Walker
Not only did law enforcement officers attend the service but area lawmakers
were also on hand.
State Sen. John T. Yudichak, D-Plymouth Township, and State
Rep. Gerald J. Mullery, D-Newport Township, spoke during the service. They both
hold a connection with Shultz as they grew up in Plymouth Township, while the
late leader was the top cop there.
Yudichak told a story of Shultz pulling
him over on Route 11, and Mullery talked of life lessons.
taught me there are consequences for my actions, Mullery said, recalling
a time when he was growing up and broke some glass. The chief spoke to Mullerys
mother and then made the now-state representative and friends shovel out a snow
filled gravel lot.
Former Wilkes-Barre police chief and current Mayor Tony
George spoke of a time in the police academy, which is when he met a then-Sargent
Everyone is replaceable, George said, except
police say departments K-9 died unexpectedly
The Nanticoke Police Department is mourning the loss of its K-9, Vice.
The department announced Tuesday on its Facebook page that Vice had died.
He will be truely (sic) missed by all, the post read.
to Nanticoke Police Capt. Robert Lehman, Vice died Monday night of complications
from an unspecified cancer.
He was very close with us, Lehman
The department was already mourning the death
of Police Chief William Shultz, who passed away last week at the age of 61. Shultz
was hired by Nanticoke in 1990 and was appointed chief in August of 2012.
Vice was born Feb. 14, 2008, and had been with the department and K-9 handler
Brian Kivler since October 2009. Times Leader records show Vice was considered
a full-time officer, with his own badge No. 9072½.
sniffing out marijuana and cocaine, Vice was able to track fleeing suspects.
Lehman said criminals shouldnt expect the Nanticoke departments war
on drugs to cease just because Vice is gone.
The efforts will continue,
State law specifies that if someone had attempted to harm or kill
Vice, they could have been prosecuted on a felony charge.
The career life
of a drug dog runs on the average of 10 years, according to Lehman.
almost met his career expectancy, he said.
Vice was purchased by the
Greater Nanticoke Area School District, and Lehman said the city was very
fortunate to have had the help in obtaining him.
According to a November
2009 Times Leader article, the school district paid $5,500 to purchase the dog
for the department, with the understanding that Vice would be brought onto school
campuses to do occasional locker searches. Also contributing to the cost was the
Nanticoke Housing Authority, which gave the district a $500 check.
said drug dogs can cost municipalities upwards of $10,000, but that the department
was hopeful about getting another dog, if the budget dictates.
Thats something for the city to consider, he said.
said Vice was the second K-9 in the history of the department, which previously
had a dog the late 1980s.
Nanticoke City Police Department
It is with deep regret that the members of the Nanticoke
City Police Department announce the unexpected passing of our K-9 partner Vice.
He will be truely missed by all.
Nanticoke native, PA Gov. John S. Fine honored by Nanticoke
It was a speechless
day Friday for the family of former Pennsylvania governor John Sydney Fine, as
he was honored with a Pennsylvania historical marker.
The Nanticoke Historical
Society and the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission honored the 35th
governor of Pennsylvania with the iconic blue and yellow marker outside the Greater
Nanticoke Area education complex.
Helene Fine Rubin, Fines granddaughter,
said she was speechless after she helped Chet Zaremba, president of
the historical society, unveil the marker in front of two dozen people.
who grew up in Dallas, and currently lives near Philadelphia, was joined by other
family members for the day.
Im just sad my mom and dad arent
able to be here to see this, she said.
Fine was born on April 10, 1893,
in the Alden section of Newport Township to Jacob and Margaret Fine. The family
then moved to Nanticoke, where Fine completed high school.
Fine was secretary
of the Luzerne County Republic Committee from 1920 to 1922 when he was promoted
to chairman of the committee.
Fine was elected to a permanent term on Pennsylvanias
Superior Court in 1947 but resigned during his campaign for governor.
Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Wilkes-Barre, who represented state Sen. John Yudichak,
D-Plymouth Township, and state Rep. Gerald Mullery D-Nanticoke, said during his
remarks Friday, Fines inauguration was the first in the state to be televised.
He also created the first state sales tax, but it was only 1 percent,
Jacob Rubin, 15, a great-grandson of Fine, said he was really
touched that the people of Nanticoke would want to honor his great-grandfather
in a special way.
I hope this marker inspires the students of Nanticoke,
Pashinski agreed with Jacob, calling Fine an inspiration
for the students who walk to school via Kosciuszko Street.
Dr. William Lewis,
of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, said the unveiling was a
personally exciting day for him.
The educational value (of
the markers) is enormous, Lewis noted.
Markers cost thousands of dollars
and there arent any state grants to help defray the cost.
that the commission gets several calls a day from people who are looking
to visit each of the 2,600 markers throughout the state.
The marker is the
second for the society as it placed a historical marker for the former Concrete
City an abandoned Lackawanna, Delaware and Western Railroad housing complex
several years ago on Front Street in the Hanover Section of Nanticoke.
These (markers) commemorate people, places, events that make Pennsylvania
so unique, Lewis said.
City Police Department & City Council
It is with deep regret that Mayor Richard Wiaterowski and the members of the Nanticoke
City Police Department announce the untimely passing of
Chief of Police
William A. Shultz.
Chief Shultz has been a police officer since 1974 where
he began his life long career in Plymouth Township. He was appointed to Police
Chief in1981,and was one if the youngest Chief's of Police in Luzerne County,
where he served in that position until his hire in Nanticoke City in 1990. He
was one of the first members of the Attorney General's Mid Valley Task Force and
a past president of the Luzerne County Chief's of Police Association. He quickly
moved up in rank to Detective Sergeant and then to Detective Captain. He was appointed
to the Chief's position in August 2012 after the untimely passing of then Chief
James Cheshinski. Chief Shultz' dedication to his job, family and friends was
beyond reproach. He will be deeply missed by all who had the honor to know
GNA opens new construction bids
for elementary expansion project
The Greater Nanticoke Area School District opened new construction bids Friday
for the expansion of Kennedy Elementary School, and the low base bids for the
project total more than $8.8 million.
The new bids came in about $1.4 million
less than bids rejected in May for being too costly. District officials will review
the new bids and decide whether to accept any alternatives to the base bids and
whether the low bids meet the specifications for the project.
In May, the
school district was considering a motion to seek new bids without the districts
project labor agreement, but the school board rejected that option. The districts
project labor agreement provides collective bargaining terms for building project
workers hired by district contractors and subcontractors and includes a preference
for Nanticoke Area residents to work on the project.z
Officials hoped changing
bid specifications and projects plans such as redesigning the courtyard,
changing window sizes and reducing the height of the building would reduce
the cost of the project.z
Boyle Construction of Allentown submitted the low
base bid for general contract work at $5.9 million. Scranton Electric Heating
& Cooling Inc. submitted the low base bid for heat, ventilation and air conditioning
at $1.3 million. Bognet Inc. of Hazleton submitted the low base bid for plumbing
at $548,776. Apollo Group Inc. of Kingston submitted the low base bid for electrical
work at almost $1.1 million.
superintendent signs five-year contract; board approves new hires
Greater Nanticoke Area School District Superintendent
Ronald Grevera resigned at Thursdays school board meeting so he could accept
a new five-year appointment with the district.
School districts in Pennsylvania
can appoint superintendents for three to five years. Grevera is in his third year
at Greater Nanticoke Area.
His annual salary is $126,690, and his new contract
expires June 30, 2021. He said his contract provides him annual pay increases
of 2 percent.
Also at Thursdays meeting, the school board appointed
Amy Scibek as high school principal with a salary of $88,500 this year.
had worked for the Wyoming Valley West School District as principal of State Street
Elementary School since 2008 and also as an assistant high school principal for
two years, Grevera said.
She replaces Matthew Schwenk as the Greater Nanticoke
Area High School principal. He started in January and resigned to take another
job, Grevera said.
The board also appointed Jenette Stapert as special education
teacher and Tammy Boyd as a long-term substitute teacher for speech and language.
More liquor stores to be open Sundays, expanded hours
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens Voice
Need to buy a bottle of booze
on a Sunday?
Thats soon going to become easier.
Liquor Control Board is poised to announce new and expanded Sunday hours for liquor
stores around the state.
Currently, the law permits only 25 percent of the
states 600-plus liquor stores to open on Sunday between noon and 5 p.m.
A new law passed in June, aimed at chipping away at the states Prohibition-era
alcohol regulations, allows for more stores to be open on Sunday and for expanded
In Luzerne County, only five of the 19 state-run Fine Wine and
Good Spirits stores now open on Sundays the locations in Dallas,
Pittston, Hazleton, Wilkes-Barre and Wright Township.
One new location
that will now be open on Sundays is the Nanticoke store at 13 Weis Plaza, in the
Weis supermarket complex.
A sign on the front door advertises New Sunday
store hours coming in mid-August. The store will be open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
on Sundays, the sign says.
It was not immediately clear what other stores
would be open on Sundays as a result of the law, known as Act 39, which is ushering
in various other liquor law changes, such as wine sales in supermarkets.
Kelly, a spokesman for the state Liquor Control Board, declined to reveal other
changes to the liquor store system.
We will announce the locations and
hours next week after Act 39 takes effect, Kelly said.
Dozens gather to support law enforcement at Nanticoke vigil
As the sun began to set, it came time to light
the candles on Patriot Square.
Dozens of people attending a vigil for fallen
police officers Sunday night set to work as a slow song played. Some produced
lighters from their pockets and helped those around them light thin white candles
protected by cups encircled with a blue and black ribbon.
The pinpricks of
flame spread around the square as those gathered shared a moment of silence at
a vigil organized to honor fallen officers in the local area and around the country
in recent months.
Im so glad theyre having this, said
92-year-old Nanticoke resident Doris Merrill. Its really needed.
Nanticoke resident Meagan Walters organized the vigil because she wanted to give
the community a chance to show their support of their police departments and officers.
Right now our police officers are very down on themselves, she said.
They needed positive reinforcement.
Walters said interest in the
vigil grew as soon as the community got wind of what she was planning.
the community found out, everybody got behind it, she said.
people made their way to Patriot Square to stand with their neighbors and hold
a candle while local church leaders led prayers for law enforcement.
Sopko of Nanticoke came to the vigil to support the officers she said she sees
in the Nanticoke community every day.
Its about community,
she said. Without a police department, we dont have a community ...
we have a great team here.
Rebecca Seman of Nanticoke hoped Sundays
vigil, with city residents rallying around law enforcement, would set an example
for other communities.
Just look at this place, she said, gesturing
toward the crowd.
honor law enforcement
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens Voice
After seeing cops shot dead amid anti-police protests around the country, local
nurse Meagan Walters became disgusted.
She and some family members decided
to do something to show their support for the men and women in blue.
planned a candlelight vigil for 8 p.m. Sunday on Patriot Square in Nanticoke to
honor law enforcement officers.
We all feel this world is upside down
right now. People think the good guys are bad and the bad guys are good,
Walters said. We want the good guys to know that they have the support of
the people they are trying to protect that not everyone is against them.
From cops to prison workers, law enforcement officers risk their lives daily to
protect every citizen and rarely get any credit, Walters said.
have people willing to lay their lives down for somebody they dont know,
they deserve the utmost respect, Walters said.
The 28-year-old from
Newport Township is hoping the event will help unify people during a divisive
time in the country
Im hoping people will come and show their
support and show their love. We really need positivity. We, as a nation, lost
respect for each other. We need to end this division. And we all need to love
each other for being Americans, Walters said.
Walters reached out to
the Rev. James Nash of St. Faustina Parish, who will offer some prayers during
the vigil. Others will be invited to speak. Organizers are still looking for a
microphone and speaker system to use, but will use a bullhorn if necessary, depending
on the size of the crowd.
The group will provide the first 100 candles to
be used at the vigil, but attendees should attempt to bring their own.
and family members reached out to Nanticoke and Newport police on Thursday to
tell them about their plans.
Kingston police Sgt. Sam Blaski, president of
the Fraternal Order of Police, Wyoming Valley Lodge, said it was great to hear
private citizens doing something to honor law enforcement.
It made me
feel good and put me in a good mood. It brightened my day, Blaski said,
describing his reaction to the planned event to honor police. For these
people in Nanticoke coming together to show their support, thats just great.
Blaski said he was good friends with Correctional Officer Kristopher Moules, who
was killed last week on duty, and the outpouring of support from the community
helped deal with the tragedy.
Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis
also saluted the vigil idea.
Im thrilled people want to come out
and say they are supportive of law enforcement, Salavantis said. Every
day, law enforcement puts their lives on the line. Typically they do it without
a pat on the back. Its important to respect and appreciate what law enforcement
does to keep us safe.
For information about the event, contact Meagan
Walters at email@example.com
WHAT: Vigil in support of law
WHEN: Sunday, 8 p.m.
WHERE: Patriot Square, Broad and Market
Organizers will provide the first 100 candles, but attendees
should attempt to bring their own.
For information, contact Meagan Walters
Bowl-a-Rama still standing after demolition date passes
- @@TL_MMizenko - 570-991-6116
A Nanticoke landmark scheduled to be
razed is still standing.
The former L.S. Bowl-A-Rama was purchased by Pasquale
Scalleat under the name PS Capital Ventures. Scalleat has told Nanticoke officials
several times this year he would have the building razed by the end of May.
Nanticoke solicitor William Finnegan told the Times Leader several weeks ago a
time frame was negotiated between all parties that concluded with demolition of
the building commencing July 5.
As of Monday, the building still stands, run-down
and rotted out, on the corner of Washington and Prospect streets.
to draft minutes from the July 6 meeting of the Nanticoke City Council, Finnegan
said the grass and weeds were cut and open areas on the building secured but demolition
had not been done.
The cost of the demolition, according to Finnegan, could
cost taxpayers upwards of $250,000.
Finnegan asked that residents realize
the council and officials are doing all they can to resolve the issue but because
its a big problem, not easily resolved, it may take time.
In order to have the building demolished, a 10-day notice of demolition and an
asbestos abatement form with the Air Quality department at the local Department
of Environmental Protection offices must be filed.
Colleen Connolly, community
relations coordinator for DEP, confirmed neither have been filed.
is done without filing, DEP could take several courses of action, according to
If they do begin work with no notice or forms sent in, DEP
could issue a Notice of Violation, we could issue a stop work order
and we could, at some point after the matter is settled, issue a civil penalty,
which could include a fine, Connolly wrote in an email.
the warrants previously issued were held off but will be reinstated soon if they
havent been already. Scalleat can be incarcerated if he continually ignores
the fines and warrants.
As of Monday, county records show PS Capital Ventures
owes $9,361.21 in back taxes for the year 2015 on L.S. Bowl-a-Rama.
to reach Scalleat or his local attorney, Jonathon Comitz, were unsuccessful.
Historical marker to Gov. John S. Fine to be dedicated
The Nanticoke Historical Society met recently to finalize plans for the upcoming
dedication of the Governor John S. Fine Historical Marker to be held at 11 a.m.
Friday, Aug. 19, at the site of the former junior high school, 400 block of Kosciuszko
Street, Nanticoke. The marker obtained through the Pennsylvania Historical and
Museum Commission will be installed on the Greater Nanticoke Area High School
campus and was made possible through the cooperative efforts of Dr. Ronald Grevera,
superintendent of schools and school board members Ryan Verazin, president; Ken
James, vice president; Gary Smith, Tony Prushinski, Megan Tennesen, Wendy Kotsko
Wiaterowski, Matthew Landmesser, Frank Shepanski Jr. and Len Olzinski. For information
and to donate to the marker fund call 570-258-1367.
Tournament Aids Cancer Fight
Nanticoke community rallies around
firstname.lastname@example.org - @@TL_MMizenko - 570-991-6116
A community in lower Luzerne County is banding together to lift the spirits
of a 27-year-old cancer patient.
In early June, Richard Laury, of Nanticoke,
found out he had advanced glioblastoma brain cancer.
It was like
an out of body experience, Laury said about the day he found out.
also said he went totally pale and thought it was a dream. Unfortunately,
He is currently two weeks into six weeks of chemotherapy and
radiation. He has 42 chemo tablets left to take one daily before bed
and 30 radiation treatments left to undergo.
His friend Bill Borysewicz created
a Strength4Richard GoFundMe page to help Laury with treatment costs. Within 36
hours, Borysewicz said, the page had reached its goal of $10,000. The total as
of Friday afternoon is $13,436.
Its overwhelming, Laury
The community didnt stop there. There are two upcoming events
to help Laury and his family during this time.
A benefit concert will be held
at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at St. Faustina Cultural Center, 38 W. Church St. Borysewicz
wanted to do a small concert, but it blossomed into an hour-and-a-half benefit.
There will also be a raffle with nearly 70 prizes ranging from gift cards to baskets.
A spaghetti dinner will be hosted by the Knights of Columbus Council 10676, Glen
Lyon, from noon to 3 p.m. July 17 at St. Marys School Hall, 1010 S. Hanover
A hundred percent of the proceeds will go to Richard,
Knights of Columbus member V.J. George said.
Laury is a member of the Knights.
George said the group will do as much as we can.
that Laury is liked and loved within his church.
The Rev. James Nash, pastor
of St. Faustina Parish, has known Richard for years and said it was surprising
to hear about the news.
Its the last thing we expected to hear,
Nash said. I asked him to repeat it.
Laury said the support has
been great. Hes received cards from people he doesnt even know.
They put them in the collection basket at church marked For Richard,
The one thing he misses most, and hopes he can do soon, is drive.
He had surgery in mid-May, to remove a tumor that was pressing on his brain. Because
hes on medication for seizures, he isnt allowed to get behind the
wheel of a car.
Its for the birds, Laury joked. I
feel like a prisoner.
Mike Frantz, a friend of Laurys, said Laury
was always there when we needed him and these fundraisers are their
way of saying thank you.
Roast Cafe brings a unique coffee shop to Nanticoke
email@example.com - @@TL_MMizenko - 570-991-6116
Roast Cafe and Coffee Roaster opened naturally last week, bringing
with it a twist of the Pacific Northwest to Northeastern Pennsylvania
didnt even put the open sign on, owner Brian Williams admitted about
the first day of the shop, located on Middle Road. Since then business has been
slowly picking up, especially through word of mouth and social media.
who grew up in the Pacific Northwest, came to Nanticoke for his wife, Sarah Kratz
. They have been roasting coffee beans since 2006.
because I enjoy the craft, Brian admits, noting he is still learning the
In March, the couple signed a lease on the building at the corner
of Kosciuszko Street and Middle Road that formerly housed Grave 74 Tattoo Studio.
Sarah designed the interior of the building, including the teal walls and red
and blue chairs.
She would have a vision and her dad (Dennis Nealon)
would build it, Brian said. He considers the shop cozy and inviting.
The name, Grateful Roast, spreads from the couples love for the Grateful
Dead as well as the reminder to appreciate farmers and see a bigger picture, Brian
Christy Emelett has gone to the cafe several times since the opening
and calls the place super fresh.
I have found when you get
a latte, cappuccino or anything thats not just coffee, with the chains it
all tends to taste the same, Emelett said. Here, you can taste the
Emelett, who usually gets lattes, is currently on a coconut
iced coffee kick and likes the choices Grateful Roast provides.
shop has everything you would expect and want from a coffee shop, Emelett
Along with pastries from local vendors, the business offers a small
menu after 10 a.m., which includes paninis and melts.
Brian said, though the
couple wants their business to grow organically, hes having
a hard time keeping the shop stocked with roasted beans.
The shop is open
6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday but Brian
said the customer base and their needs will dictate the hours as the shop grows.
Grateful Roast Cafe and Coffee Roaster
Hours: 6 a.m.
to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday
Address: 400 Middle
Online: Grateful Roast Cafe and Coffee Roaster on Facebook.
Nanticoke sewer, street projects set to move forward
Two sections of Nanticoke will see improvements
made to streets, according to city officials.
After being stalled in May,
the Main Street sewer project will begin as soon as the contractor, Anrich Inc.,
of Wayne, can move a team back to Nanticoke.
Donna Wall, the interim city
manager, said because the project was stalled, Anrich Inc.s workers were
moved to another construction site outside of Nanticoke. Though she confirmed
Anrich Inc. was up last week to dig up soft test pits.
was suspended because of nearby fiber optic cables. When Verizon laid cables for
their service in the city, they were run near the outdated sewer lines. Verizon
quickly remedied the situation.
Main Street is a state road, and the city
needed the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to approve the project again.
(Because of the cables) we had to come up with a whole new plan, Wall
The project will replace sewer lines on Main Street, between Walnut
and Market streets. When the Geisinger building came into the downtown in 2014,
it was hooked up to the older sewer line, creating an issue when its new lines
connected to the citys old lines.
Times Leader records show the project
is a federal earmark. Last year, Wall said, the city also received a Local Share
Sccount grant of $500,000 for the project.
The Main Street sewer project should
be done within two months.
In another part of the city, several streets will
begin to be improved thanks to Nanticoke taking out a $3 million Pennsylvania
Infrastructure Bank loan in April. The loan will help the city become compliant
with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The city will make four payments
a year over a 10-year period on the loan, which carries 1.75 percent interest
Wall said several streets in the Honey Pot section of the city, including
Access Road and Hanover Street, are marked for that project.
for the project will be Stell Enterprises.
seeks delinquent garbage fees
Sarah Scinto - Citizens Voice
Over the past 10 years, the city of Nanticoke has lost about $83,000 due
to delinquent garbage fees, City Administrator Donna Wall said.
the city cited more than 190 property owners in district court who did not pay
their 2016 garbage collection fees and warned of its intentions to vigorously
pursue collection of these accounts.
Its the same people
... who just year after year, theyve failed to pay, Wall said.
Wall said the city typically collects refuse fees at a good rate: 96 percent of
property owners paid their fees in 2015, according to the citys release.
The city charges $220 per year for all garbage and single stream recycling collection.
The city allows residents to have up to four, 30 gallon bags of trash picked up
One homeowner, Wall said, neglected to pay any garbage fees between
2006 and 2009 and still owes the city $3,900.
We dont even think
he owns the property anymore, she said.
On top of the 195 citations
filed Tuesday, Magisterial District Judge Donald Whittaker said his office has
more than 300 unpaid or unsettled cases of delinquent fees on file from past years.
Every year they just file against the same individuals, Whittaker
said. Its a large volume of work.
Whittaker estimated about
$79,000 in fees remain uncollected by the city and the court. He said a portion
of the delinquent accounts come from out-of-state or absentee landlords,
and law enforcement often cannot justify the cost of travel to serve warrants
or collect the unpaid fees.
Theyre not going to send two policemen
out to, say, Syracuse, to get $300, Whittaker said. Its just
not financially feasible for us to go out and collect it.
release from the city came as a notice to homeowners with delinquent fees.
Owners will be given 15 days from today to satisfy their financial obligations
to the city, the notice states. For those who fail to do so, the city,
through its police department, will proceed to serve these warrants on offending
property owners and they will be brought before the court where the city will
seek financial penalties and/or incarceration for failure to pay for this important
Wall noted that even when property owners dont pay the
yearly fee, the city still has to collect garbage from the delinquent properties,
which shifts the cost of the service onto residents who pay their bills.
said each citation filed will have a time and date for a hearing. If the defendant
appears at the hearing, they can plead guilty or not guilty; but if they do not
show up they are automatically found guilty by the court. The court then sends
a notice to the homeowner of the result and the homeowner has 30 days to appeal
the verdict. If they do not appeal, Whittaker said the homeowner receives a notice
indicating what they owe in fines. If the homeowner still does not take action,
the court will generate a warrant to be given to a constable or police officers.
Wall hoped to see repeat offenders among the 2016 delinquent accounts start to
pay back the fees they owe.
Every year its always the same people,
Greater Nanticoke Area
budget calls for 5.5 percent tax hike
Taxpayers in the Greater Nanticoke Area School District will see their
taxes go up 5.5 percent next year.
The school board passed an approximately
$28 million budget for the 2016-2017 school year unanimously Monday night during
a special meeting.
The tax rate will jump from 10.4932 mills to 11.0765 mills.
A mill is $1 in tax on every $1,000 of assessed property value. A homeowner with
a home assessed at $100,000 will pay $1,107.65 in school taxes.
At the May
board meeting, the needed tax increase was estimated to be 8 percent. However,
board Business Manager Al Melone said that was because the district still didnt
have financial numbers from the state.
The budget has $28,221,743 in expenditures
and shows revenue of $28,132,570.
Melone said the district virtually
(had) no choice but to increase the millage.
in a box, Melone said.
Superintendent Ronald Grevera said the increase
is needed because the pension payment increase for the school year is $326,000.
Also, a 2.1 percent increase in health care costs for employees and worries that
state revenue may be late caused the district to raise the taxes.
Melone also said Luzerne Countys assessment values contributed to the tax
Enrollment is up, but the assessment went down, Melone
Melone, whose company also does the Pittston Area and Dallas school
districts budgets, said Nanticoke would be in the 4 percent tax hike range,
if the assessed values didnt go down.
Melone apologized for the need
for increased funding falling on the taxpayers backs.
Hank Marks, a
city tax watchdog, begrudgingly agreed with Melone.
If he said we need
it, we need it, Marks said.
The increase is the highest since the district
increased taxes 6 mills in 2008.
In other business, the board also:
Unanimously rejected the revised Wilkes-Barre Area Career and Technical Center
Budget for the 2016-2017 school year.
Board President Ryan Verazin said the
district would owe a 2 percent increase to the center under the budget and the
board didnt feel comfortable paying.
raising taxes, Verazin said.
Approved teachers Dawn Marshall
and Linda Kelchner to form GO, GNA. GO stands for Global Opportunities. It will
be no extra cost to the district. The mission of the new club is to expose students
to a wider world.
board increases property taxes
Michael P. Buffer - Citizens Voice
The Greater Nanticoke Area School budget for the next school year includes
$28.2 million in expenses and a 5-percent increase in the property tax rate, Board
President Ryan Verazin said.
The vote at Mondays meeting was unanimous.
The tax increase boosts the tax rate from 10.4932 mills to 11.0765 mills. A mill
is $1 on every $1,000 in property assessment. Revenue for the next school year
is projected at $28.1 million.
cracking down on residents not paying refuse fees
The annual fee is $220.
Residents who pay on a payment plan, pay $120 twice a year.
The city is ramping up efforts to force delinquent refuse fee homeowners
to pay their bills.
According to the mayors office, starting Tuesday
delinquent accounts will be given 15 days July 6 to pay their city
refuse bills. City Manager Donna Wall said the city is missing $86,000 in fees
unpaid since 2005. There are some homeowners who owe up to $2,000.
Its the same people (who dont pay), Wall said.
media reports had said only 40 percent of residents are paying their annual trash
fees. Mayor Richard Wiatrowski said that is wrong, and the city has a high
collection rate. Wall said the correct collection rate is 96 percent.
Wall said health concerns and legal mandates require the city to still pick up
delinquent homeowners garbage.
After the citys refuse office sends letters
to delinquent accounts holders, complaints are forwarded to District Judge Donald
Whittakers office. For this year alone, Whittakers office has 195
complaints to be filed by his office for no payment of fees.
the repeat offenders have had written correspondence from his office a minimum
For years they havent been acted upon, Whittaker
said defending his office from criticism that its his office that lets residents
fall through the cracks.
Some residents will come to court and pay their fees
after receiving their letters, but most dont. After being found guilty in
absentia, the constable or Nanticoke police will be tasked with serving an arrest
warrant to the homeowner.
Homeowners arent jailed for not paying their
refuse fee, but if the case makes it to a payment determination hearing, residents
can be jailed for failing to pay court costs and fees.
its a city issue, it doesnt get forwarded to Luzerne County Court,
like criminal cases. To have the case seen by Luzerne County court, residents
have to file an appeal on Whittakers judgment.
When residents fail to
pay, garbage collection is on homeowners who pay their bills, Wall said.
is enough, Wall said.
Those with active arrest warrants, Wiatrowski
noted, can be taken in on a simple speeding ticket.
When they run the
name, they can be jailed for not paying refuse fees, the Mayor said.
Nanticoke amends Radiological Emergency Response Plan
The next council meeting will be held 7 p.m.
July 6 in the council chambers, 15 E. Ridge St., Nanticoke.
council unanimously approved a new Radiological Emergency Response Plan at Wednesday
Every city within a 10-mile radius of a nuclear power
plant is required by federal law to update its plan every two years. The Honey
Pot section of Nanticoke falls within that radius for Talen Energys Susquehanna
nuclear power plant in Salem Township.
The citys deputy director for
emergency management, Chet Prymowicz, said the only change typically made to the
plan is to update it with the names of newly elected officials. However, this
year, changes were made in the wording of the document due to the citys
home rule charter.
We now have a strong mayor who makes the call to
evacuate, Prymowicz said.
Prymowicz said he doesnt believe the
city will ever need to use the plan.
If it does, however, there will be route
management teams assembled to help evacuees on their way to a reception center,
which would be located at the Big Lots Shopping Center in Dunmore.
last update, Nanticoke lost four medical centers, which means the city needs fewer
ambulances to transport patients, Prymowicz said. The closing of the centers also
benefits the city given that the city has fewer volunteer first responders, who
would be needed to assist patient evacuations.|
The city also removed two
traffic control points from the plan. The ongoing construction of new roundabouts
on Middle Road, Prymowicz said, will drastically change the routes
out of the city in case of radioactive emergencies. The roundabout changes wont
be added to the plan until 2018.
It will change for the better,
Newport Township approved its plan last week, and Prymowicz
said every plan is different based on where they are in the radius. The Luzerne
County Emergency Management Agency also has a plan in case of emergency.
other business, the council read an executive order from Mayor Richard Wiaterowski
hiring Dane Aukstankalnis as a full-time firefighter. Resident Hank Marks asked
why the hiring wasnt on the agenda and why Wiaterowski hired him.
city is budgeted for 10 (firefighters) and the chief, Council President
William Brown said in response. We dont decide (who) to hire.
Marks asked what the salary was and if Aukstankalnis had benefits.
interim city manager, didnt quote a figure because she didnt have
the contract in hand.
They taxpayers deserve to know, Marks said.
Nanticoke receives state DEP grant for new recycling
A recently awarded
grant will allow the city to buy and distribute recycling containers to residents.
Nanticoke was one of six Luzerne County municipalities awarded a Department of
Environmental Protection grant for its recycling collection and education programs.
The DEP awarded $16.7 million in grants to 120 municipalities in the Commonwealth.
The grant allots up to 90 percent of recycling program costs to municipalities
and counties, whereas distressed municipalities are eligible for up to 100-percent
Its actually for containers, Donna Wall,
interim city manager for Nanticoke, said noting the city will be able to buy 5,000
high containers with the money.
Wall explained that a few years ago
the city went single-stream recycling all recyclables can be mixed in one
container and since some residents moved out or died, the city doesnt
have containers in stock for new residents. The decision to go single-stream was
a way to get people to recycle.
One rule of single-stream recycling,
Wall said, is to rinse out jars before recycling them.
When you eat
spaghetti, youre suppose to wash out the heavy stuff, she said.
The city council will have to decide whether to bid the containers out or go through
the state funded COSTARS program.
Theyre (the containers) very
expensive, she said.
Wall expects the city to have the containers by
The second part of the grant allots money to educate the public
on how to recycle, the details of which Wall said she has to get creative
with. She wasnt the city manager at the time the grant application was submitted,
so she isnt sure of the wording of the grants educational requirements,
We could put it on our yearly newsletter, Wall said
with a chuckle.
Nanticoke Area graduates
urged to live life of service
Dr. Ronald Grevera, the superintendent of Greater Nanticoke Area, invoked
the words of President John F. Kennedy on Wednesday in challenging the Class of
2016 graduates to live a life of service.
He told them to look no further
than the 65-year-old man on stage, dressed in a blue cap and gown.
Horwath quit school early at age 17 to fight in the Vietnam war and never returned
to school. He later served 20 years in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. After
the Sept. 11 attacks, he tried to reenlist, but was told he was too old.
the epitome of service, Grevera said.
The superintendent read excerpts of
JFK's 1961 inaugural address, including the "ask not" portion where
he challenged Americans to serve the country.
"It's my hope you live
your life in such a manner you practice servant leadership," Grevera said.
Jennifer Lopez, salutatorian and class secretary, reminded the class of all the
memorable things they did together. That bond will always be even as they grow
apart and embark on different careers, she said.
"We are a close-knit
family who will always be together in spirit," she said.
And, of course,
graduates of the technology era have an easier time keeping in touch than graduates
in the past, Lopez said.
"Thank goodness for social media," she
Vietnam veteran will receive
diploma today at GNA commencement
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens Voice
Dennis Horwath was dropped off at a Newport Township orphanage in 1950 when
he was two months old. He was raised by strict Catholic nuns he doesn't have the
kindest words for. At age 17, the rebellious orphan quit school to fight on the
front lines of the Vietnam war.
Today, Horwath finally returns to school to
get his diploma.
The 65-year-old has been invited to take part in Greater
Nanticoke Area High School's graduation ceremony. He's expected to sit center
stage next to the superintendent.
"It's a long time coming. I'm kind
of getting a kick out of it. I'm glad they're going to honor me," Horwath
said Tuesday. "I just keep thinking of the other guys that never had a chance
to come back and graduate. I thank God every day that I'm still here."
After the war, Horwarth served 20 years in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard
and worked for two decades in the kitchen of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center
in Plains Township.
During that time, Horwath never saw the need to get his
high school degree, figuring he learned enough from his life lessons.
no dummy," he said.
These days, in retirement, Horwath once again lives
in the building where he spent his youth.
The orphanage, known as St. Stanislaus
Institute, closed in 1972, but the building - on the National Register of Historic
Places - was renovated into apartments in recent years.
He ended up back at
the old orphanage "by chance," he said.
A fire tore through his
family's Wilkes-Barre apartment last June, forcing them to find a new place to
live. Horwath figured they'd start over in the place where his difficult life
In October 1950, Horwath was placed in the orphanage after his mother,
suffering from postpartum depression, tried to harm him. He only met his biological
parents a handful of times.
Despite the strict upbringing by the nuns, Horwath
said he always found trouble and did poorly in school. At age 17, he was still
When he had the chance to quit school for good, he took the opportunity.
He soon visited an Army recruiting office in Wilkes-Barre. Within days, he left
for boot camp.
Despite the ongoing war, his first deployment was supposed
to be in Germany.
"I really didn't want to go there," he recalled.
"They asked for volunteers for service in Vietnam and I volunteered."
Horwath served in a front-lines infantry unit that saw constant combat. He now
suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
"I have nightmares about
different things I'd rather not discuss. I saw a lot of stuff and did a lot of
stuff," Horwath said.
After returning home from Vietnam, Horwath performed
various jobs, including a stint as a nurse's aide at Wesley Village in Jenkins
Township. That's where he met his wife.
They've been married 34 years, and
have one daughter and two grandchildren who live with them.
as a National Guardsman with the 109th Field Artillery in Wilkes-Barre from 1976
to 1996. He worked at the VA hospital for 20 years before retiring in 2010.
Just recently, he heard about a program for veterans who never graduated and got
in touch with Greater Nanticoke Area's Superintendent Ronald Grevera, who helped
Horwath with the process.
"This is a big deal," Grevera said. "He
has an amazing story."
Horwath said his graduation is a classic case
of "better late than never."
"It's going to be quite different,
so I'm kind of looking forward to it. I'm kind of nervous," Horwath said.
"It's going to be something to remember."
Nanticoke Area conducts graduation walk as a new tradition
One area school started a new tradition that the
administration hopes will inspire younger students to stay in school a
Students, who were already in caps and gowns at the Greater
Nanticoke Area High School for graduation practice, took 20 minutes from their
day on Wednesday to walk the halls of three of the districts buildings. They walked
through the educational center (grades six and seven), elementary center (grades
three, four and five) and Kennedy Elementary (grade two).
Dr. Ronald Grevera said the students didnt walk in the K.M. Smith building
because the building isnt part of education center.
Grevera said board
member Wendy Wiaterowski brought the idea to Greveras attention after seeing
the tradition on social media about a high school in Texas.
a nice little tradition; great idea, Grevera said. Its surprising
that nobody really thought of it before.
Grevera hopes the walk will
show the importance of education to the younger kids.
18, president of the senior class, agreed with Grevera.
see us and want to work to be like us, Selli said.
principal of Greater Nanticoke Area High School, said he was at the end
of the (senior) line and saw that the younger kids were just as inspired
as the older kids were.
It was a win-win Schwenk said noting that
the younger kids were motivated to stay in school and the older kids were recognized
by adults and former teachers. Schwenk called the atmosphere similar to a pep
I saw young kids clapping, hands outstretched for high-fives,
The kids faces light up, Selli remembered.
was the first person in line while walking though the halls. She said the seniors
were so happy they received the approval from the administration to
Its not an option (to not continue), Selli said.
Selli called the graduation walk one of her fondest memories
of high school that shell take with her to the University of Florida.
Nanticoke will graduate 141 graduates Wednesday with 58 students reporting that
they will be attending two-year schools and technical institutes and 61 students
reporting they will be attending four-year colleges or universities.
Nanticoke Farmers Market opens Saturday
Theres only one farmer at the Greater
Nanticoke Area Community Garden Farmers Market but several direct sales vendors,
crafts and community groups come out once a month to bring together the community
and small businesses around Patriot Square.
Rebecca Seman, organizer of the
market now in its third year, said J&A Farms brings produce and flowers each
He does well for our small market, Seman said.
(the market) brings things to them that we dont have here in town like a
sense of community and getting together to communicate outside of Internet and
phones, Seman noted.
When the market idea started in 2014, it was held
for just one day, with around 20 vendors and 150 people throughout the day. Last
year, it was expanded to one day each month from June through September with a
fall festival in October. Seman noticed attendance grew throughout the summer
as the idea caught on.
(More people came) with each day we had it,
The market runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day June 4, July
9, Aug. 6, Sept. 10 and Oct. 15.
Seman said the farmers market will feature
theme days this year.
The August market will be childrens day. According
to Seman, Endless Mountain animals, entertainment by Mary, Kate and Christine
Nash, a magician and a childrens art exhibit and contest will be offered.
A decades day will be held in September with entertainment by Dave and Elaine,
a Scranton-based duo.
(Dave and Elaine) will be bringing us grooves
from the 60s on up, Seman said.
The market will turn into a fall festival
in October when its hours change from 1 to 5 p.m. and a pie and chili contest
will be held.
Seman, who is also coordinator for the GNA Community Garden,
says the farmers market is overwhelming but positive for
For information on the market or to be a vendor, call Seman
Work continues on
South Valley Parkway
is underway on a project state and local official say will have a big impact on
the southern end of the Wyoming Valley.
Crews from Kriger Construction of
Dickson City are working on what will become the South Valley Parkway, a two-lane
road through Hanover Township into Nanticoke.
The Pennsylvania Department
of Transportation held a press conference at a work site on Thursday to talk about
Standing on land that will one day be part of the road, officials
from PennDOT, the state legislature and Luzerne County Community College praised
the $83.4 million project, saying it will bring benefits for travel, safety and
The construction will create a two-lane road running
from Middle Road and Kosciuszko Street in Nanticoke to South Main Road, east of
state route 29, in Hanover Township.
The new road will bypass the Askam section
of Hanover Township, where drivers use South Main Street and Middle Road to travel
It also adds six roundabouts, three replacing intersections on Middle
Road and three new roundabouts on or next to the planned parkway. PennDOT Secretary
Leslie Richards said roundabouts are safer than traditional intersections with
crossing roads because they reduce fatal car crashes and speeding.
started in January of this year. PennDOT expects it will finish by August 2020,
said spokesman Mike Taluto.
The road and its roundabouts in Hanover Township
will connect the highway to about 2,000 acres of land for potential industrial
development, said state Sen. John Yudichak, D-Plymouth Township. Another 5,000
acres of land in Newport Township that is open for development and connected by
railroads could also benefit from the roadway, he said.
I think youre
going to see an uptick in the entire footprint, Yudichak said.
speech, he predicted the area could become a center for shipping and commerce
in the eastern United States with links to interstates 80 and 81, the Pennsylvania
Turnpike, and proximity to major urban areas like Newark, New Jersey, New
York City and Philadelphia all contributing to development.
cant develop the land without infrastructure, Yudichak said.
Dziak, the president of Earth Conservancy, made his sales pitch, mentioning the
land for sale behind him. The organization donated 70 acres of land for the road,
said Kriger Construction project manager Mike Chorba.
Luzerne County Community
College President Thomas Leary said the new road would make travel to the colleges
campus easier. All of the schools students commute, and many use South Main
Street and Middle Road. Residents there have complained about the amount of traffic
and speed of vehicles on the narrow street.
Complaints about speeding and
safety put the project on the states transportation improvement plan, an
outline of planned upgrades to transportation infrastructure, back in the 1990s.
The plan stalled until state government passed the transportation funding bill
called Act 89 of 2013, Yudichak said.
will buy police vehicle for Nanticoke
Bill Wellock - Citizens Voice
The United States Department of Agriculture is buying a police vehicle
USDA Rural Development, which works to improve the economy
and quality of life in rural America, is providing a Rural Development Community
Facility Grant for $35,200.
Nanticoke is contributing $28,877 toward the vehicle.
The grant will purchase a new utility police interceptor vehicle, equipped with
an automatic license plate scanning system and two automatic external defibrillators.
USDA Rural Development is proud to fund law enforcement vehicles such as
the one being purchased for the city of Nanticoke, said Rural Development
State Director Tom Williams in a press release. Funding projects like this
ensures that the law enforcement of Nanticoke will continue to respond to emergency
calls quickly and efficiently.
City Council announces change in real estate tax collectors
The city council unanimously agreed to release Luzerne County as the citys
tax collector during its meeting Wednesday.
Berkheimer will take over as the
citys real estate tax collector, effective Jan. 15, 2017. The $2.25 rate
per bill and $1.25 reminder mailings saves the city 25 cents per bill.
Finance Director Jennifer Polito said having Berkheimer take over the real estate
portion of the tax is good for residents because the real estate tax and school
tax will be on separate bills.
We asked them (Luzerne County) to split
the bill, Polito said. But county Budget/Finance Division Head Brian Swetz
said, All or none.
School taxes, which will continue to be handled
by the county, are mailed in February while real estate taxes are mailed in March.
Polito said since Nanticokes real estate tax is higher than the school tax
and the splitting of the taxes is better for us (the city) because
of the savings to the residents and the chance the pay both bills at rebate value.
City tax watchdog Hank Marks praised the citys decision to change tax companies.
I think if we save money, its good, he said.
Polito, the city has a positive fund balance so waiting a month to begin collecting
taxes wont hurt.
In other business, the council:
a bid to Stell Enterprise Inc. as part of Phase I of the Pennsylvania
Infrastructure Bank road improvement loan the city took out in April.
city manager Donna Wall said Stell will start paving roads within the next few
read a proclamation from Mayor Richard Wiaterowski proclaiming
Saturday as the sixth Kids to Park Day where children are encouraged
to get out to a neighborhood, state or national park.
council meeting will be held 7 p.m. June 1 in council chambers, 15 E. Ridge St.
GNA board rejects Kennedy expansion bids
Michael P. Buffer - Citizens Voice
Nanticoke Area School Board voted Thursday to reject construction bids for
the expansion of Kennedy Elementary School because the cost of the bids exceeded
the districts $7.5 million budget for the project by $2.7 million.
district officials hope new bids will not exceed the projects budget.
The board on Thursday also rejected a motion to seek new bids without the districts
project labor agreement after hearing from two union leaders.
About 30 trade
union members attended the meeting to oppose the motion rescinding the project
labor agreement for the project. The districts project labor agreement provides
collective bargaining terms for building project workers hired by district contractors
and subcontractors and includes a preference for Nanticoke Area residents to work
on the project.
Tony Seiwell, a Nanticoke resident and official with Laborers
International Union of North America, said the cost of the bids should go down
when the district obtains new bids.
Warren Faust, president of the Northeast
Pennsylvania Building and Construction Trades Council, said the project engineer
can help reduce costs by adjusting bid specs on architectural-design and material
requirements. Faust also said the cost of labor was not the reason the bids went
over budget, noting labor typically is responsible for about 20 percent of a building
Also at Thursdays meeting, the board approved a proposed budget
that would spend
$28 million and increase the property tax rate by 5.56 percent.
The board must adopt a final budget for 2016-17 before the next fiscal year starts
Race in honor of fallen correctional
officer set for Saturday
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens Voice
race for justice has changed, but the mission remains the same: honor slain Correctional
Officer Eric Williams and raise scholarship money in his name.
run will be a 5K, a change from last year's relay format.
The Eric J. Williams
Memorial 5K Race kicks off Saturday at 10 a.m. at Luzerne County Community College
Williams, 34, a Nanticoke native, was murdered by an inmate
Feb. 25, 2013, while working at U.S. Penitentiary at Canaan in Wayne County.
The race's goal is to raise money in Williams' name, but also to raise awareness
of working conditions in prisons, Jeremy Dominick, the union vice president at
Canaan, wrote in a letter promoting the race.
"People frequently picture
a prison as a place where, once arrested and convicted, a criminal is tucked away
in a cell for most of the day, and is guarded by multiple, highly armed officers.
Nothing could be further from the truth," Dominick wrote. "Our prison
systems are highly overcrowded, usually alarmingly understaffed, (places) where
officers working alone and unarmed have to manage as many as 120 dangerous inmates
in an open housing unit by themselves. With the increased numbers of violent inmates,
there has been an increase in the number of officers injured, with some killed.
This needs to change, and soon."
May 11, 2016
Bowl-a-Rama in Nanticoke building to come down
A former Nanticoke landmark is scheduled to be coming down within
The former L.S. Bowl-A-Rama on the corner of Washington and Prospect
streets, was bought in 2014 by Pasquale Scalleat at a free-and-clear Luzerne County
back-tax auction. The deed on the property shows Scalleat bought the property
under PS Capital Ventures Inc., of Hazleton.
Interim city manager Donna Wall
said she met with Scalleat, Mayor Richard Wiaterowski and zoning officer Joe Kordek.
At the meeting Scalleat promised to have the building down sometime this month.
To demolish the building, Department of Environmental Protection Community Relations
Coordinator Colleen Connolly said Scalleat or the demolition contractor would
have to file a 10-day notice of demolition in Harrisburg and an asbestos abatement
form with the Air Quality department at the local DEP offices.
knowledge, they haven't," Connolly said.
Recently, Scalleat finished
demolition on Flemington, New Jersey, Cut Glass building. Flemington Mayor Phil
Greiner said the demolition "went well."
"From a town perspective,
they (the owner and Scalleat) had no issues," Greiner said.
Philadelphia-based business Paselo Logistics LLC, owns the Huber Breaker property
in Ashley. According to Wall, Scalleat said during the meeting that he would demolish
the building because he needed fill for the clean up of his Huber Breaker property.
The Department of Environmental Protection recently found that property to be
out of compliance.
County records show that PS Capital Ventures owes $9,243.30
in back taxes for the year 2015 on L.S. Bowl-a-Rama. The same records show Paselo
Logistics LLC is delinquent $47,140.30 in back taxes for 2014 and 2015 on the
Huber Breaker property.
When called for comment Wednesday afternoon, neither
Scalleat nor his lawyer, Johnathon Comitz of Comitz Law Firm were available.
Nanticoke sewer project on hold
A sewer project a year-and-a-half in the making
has been stalled because of nearby fiber optic cables. The city's sewer plan was
supposed to begin in late April and has now been suspended.
The project was
supposed to replace sewer lines in three blocks on Main Street, between Walnut
Street and the Burger King on Market Street, as part of the city's streetscape
The streetscape project is a federal earmark, which the city has had
for "years" but the sewer line update has pushed the project back to
When the Geisinger building on Main Street came into the downtown
in 2014, it was hooked up to the sewer line, creating an issue with the lines
when its new lines connected to the old lines of the city.
According to Donna
Wall, interm city manager for Nanticoke, when Verizon came into the city to lay
cables, it ran them on top of or in the immediate proximity of existing sewer
"We want to rebuild the downtown and we have old lines,"
Wall said. "We had to do something."
Last year, the city received
a local share account grant of $500,000 to update its "over 100-year-old"
If the city has to move sewer lines and subsequently, storm drains,
Wall said, the "cost will go up." Wall hopes Verizon could do a "soft
dig" to find out exactly where the cables are but cautioned a permit from
the state may be needed for the construction.
Verizon spokesman John O'Malley
said he would look into the issue.
Wall said Verizon was on Main Street May
6 redoing its street markings.
Conservancy receives land reclamation grant
Earth Conservancy has received a $734,600 Growing Greener grant for a project
called Bliss Bank in Nanticoke.
The grant will allow the Earth
Conservancy to continue a second phase of restoring mine-scarred land on Prospect
Street across from Luzerne County Community College, said Michael Dziak, president
and CEO of the Earth Conservancy.
This will provide land for future
development and save our green area for conservation and open space, Dziak
The money will be used for Bliss Bank Phase II, a 54-acre reclamation
project that is part of a larger 200-acre tract known as Bliss Bank Phase I.
State Sen. John Yudichak, D-Plymouth Township, and state Rep. Gerald Mullery,
D-Newport Township, announced the grant Friday.
Creating economic opportunities
while cleaning up the environment is a great use of state resources, Yudichak
said. The Earth Conservancy has proven it has the ability to effectively
manage grant dollars to reclaim mine scarred land and make it available for development.
Mullery said the environmental benefits of the cleanup are important, but it will
also have an economic benefit.
The project will allow the property to
be used for mixed use development that could someday support economic initiatives,
Growing Greener grants are used for a variety of projects that
include helping communities address land use and provide new and upgraded water
and sewer systems.
agrees to take out $3M loan
council unanimously voted to take out a $3 million loan through the Pennsylvania
Infrastructure Bank Wednesday night during a city council meeting.
will be used for street reconstruction and to help the city become compliant with
the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to the meeting agenda. The city
will make four payments a year over a 10-year period on the loan, which carries
.75 percent interest rate.
Also during the meeting, Hank Marks asked when
the Nanticoke streetscape project is expected to begin.
Interim City Manager
Donna Wall said she has a meeting Thursday to get a concrete date.
expect the middle of next week, Wall said.
The project will begin with
the sewers on Main Street.
Both Wall and Mayor Richard Wiaterowski stressed
the detours for the project wont be as intense as the detours for the Nanticoke
One we can control, one we cant, Wiaterowski
According to Wall, a portion Main Street will be closed 8 a.m. to 4
p.m. Monday through Friday but will remain open at night and during the weekends.
In other business:
Council approved an application to be put in for
a Department of Community Natural Resources grant for approximately $500,000.
Council addressed the safety of the Ellis Building on Washington Street,
owned by Pasquale Scalleat, who also owns the Huber Breaker. Scalleat told council
that it should be torn down by the middle of May.
steps down as Nanticoke Area field hockey coach
Matt Bufano - Citizens
The head coach of Nanticoke Area field hockey since 2008, Lori
Dennis recently submitted her letter of resignation to the schools administration.
I just wanted to move on to do something different, Dennis, who does
not plan on coaching field hockey anywhere else, said Friday.
a field hockey official for 10 years prior to coaching Nanticoke Area, Dennis
said she plans on going back to the refereeing side of the game. She is also the
junior high coach for Crestwood softball.
Lori did a great job for us,
said Nanticoke Area athletic director Ken Bartuska. Were sorry to
lose her, and we certainly wish her well.
Several players have gone
on to play collegiately in the Dennis era, including Kati Nearhouse (Old Dominion/Syracuse)
and Kayla Gronkowski (Lock Haven). The Nanticoke Area Class of 2016 also boasts
a few players verbally committed to play, Krystal Daniele (Kings) and Amber
Grohowski (Wilkes), Dennis said.
Its not about my accomplishments,
its about the girls accomplishments, Dennis said. Its
about them learning the game and having fun. Im proud of the fact that,
despite wins and losses, we had a lot of girls that went on to play in college.
Im very proud of that.
Among the highlights this past season was
an early-season win at Holy Redeemer. Nanticoke Area finished the year 6-9, good
for fourth place of six teams in WVC Division 3.
baseball coach Dean Myers steps down
Dean Myers resigned as the Trojans baseball coach on Friday morning, choosing
to step down rather than extend a dispute.
Nobody forced me out,
Myers said. I went out on my terms and the kids can get the support they
need from the administration and the staff.
Myers said he had been upset
over an issue at the teams new field at the high school. There was confusion
over whether it would be playable for a game that was ultimately postponed at
the end of last weeks rainy spell.
With he and his staff leaving their
day jobs early to get to the game on time, Myers said he texted (his) displeasure
that he had been told the field was ready before the game was called off instead.
Myers said he spoke with district superintendent Ronald Grevera on Friday and
was asked to write a letter of apology for his reaction. He declined.
said there was no assurance that he would be the coach for the program in the
long term and that he did not want to be a distraction for the players.
Im in the way of getting what they need, then its best for me to go,
Myers said. I love those kids. When adults cant see eye-to-eye, it
shouldnt affect the kids. They shouldnt wonder who their coach is
going to be.
Once it starts to affect the players, I just said, Forget
The rest of Myers staff, including long-time area coaches
Joe Yudichak and Kevin Ward, remained with the team, which played later in the
day at Northwest. Myers said he encouraged all of his assistants to stay on.
The staff does a great job, Myers said. Really, they did all
of the work.
Yudichak has been with the program for several years and
has also been the head coach of the successful Nanticoke legion squad, which won
the Wyoming Valley title last summer and reached the state tournament.
improved in the five-plus years Myers and his coaches were together, particularly
after the program was reclassified as 2A and began play in Division 3 of the Wyoming
Valley Conference. The Trojans went 25-13 in the last three seasons, finishing
second in the division the last two years.
Last spring, Nanticoke knocked
off defending champion Lakeland in the District 2 Class 2A tournament before bowing
out in the semifinals to eventual winner Montrose.
But the Trojans had opened
the 2016 season 1-3 in league play, losing three straight before Friday.
scored twice in the top of the first on Friday against Northwest but gave up seven
in the second and lost 7-2. The Trojans will get another crack at the Rangers
on Monday at home.
as Nanticoke baseball coach
Steve Bennett - Citizens Voice
Citing philosophical differences between himself and administration within
the Nanticoke Area School District, Trojans baseball coach Dean Myers resigned
Joe Yudichak, an assistant coach with the team, was immiediately
named interim head coach for the remainder of the season. The teams other
assistants, Kevin Ward and John Ivan, also remained with the program.
was in the middle of his sixth season with the Trojans, and the team was off to
a 1-3 start at the time Myers resigned.
Yudichak is also the manager for the
Nanticoke American Legion baseball team and has been with the program for 10 years,
spending the last five as an assistant coach under Myers.
knows me understands that I am not about the wins and losses, Myers said.
It is about how the players conduct themselves. I love to watch baseball.
I love to see good plays, whether they are from my team or the other one.
Yudichak led the Nanticoke legion team to a league and Region 5 championship last
summer. That earned the team a trip to the state tournament, where it finished
I am familiar with the guys. The reason I stayed on through this
is because of the kids, Yudichak said. Just going to try and keep
the program going.
Nanticoke Area School District superintendent Dr.
Ronald Grevera did not return a message left Friday afternoon seeking comment.
Shredding event a hit with area residents
Carl Coates only expected the line to take 15 minutes
to get through.
He was wrong. It took 45 minutes.
Coates, of Plymouth,
was one of an expected 300 to 400 people who lined up at Greater Nanticoke
Area High School for a free shredding event State Rep. Jerry Mullery, D-Nanticoke,
and his office held Saturday morning.
Its pretty popular,
Mullery said of the event. People lined up about 9:30 a.m. for the 10 a.m.
He was at the front of the line helping dump papers into large
bins. Those bins were then shredded in a truck outside the high school.
has been sponsoring the shredding event for the past four years.
two events each year, one in the spring and one in the fall, Mullery said
in an email to the Times Leader late last week.
Constituents of Mullerys
braved the snow and mid-20 degree temperatures for a chance to have their personal
To be here (under cover) is pretty good, Mullery
joked. Were usually in a parking lot.
Coates called the
line a wind tunnel.
Mullerys staff gave individuals in line
an option for those who didnt want to wait to drop off the papers and go.
You cant cut the grass today, Coates said about why he stayed
When Coates joined the line there were roughly 50 people in front
of him. To get from one end of the line to Mullery, people were kicking boxes
full of papers or carrying garbage bags full. Some even had large Tupperware containers.
When Coates was finished, there were roughly 50 people waiting for their turn.
The quickest part of the event for Coates was dumping his papers into the bin.
No problem, Coates said.
We, as a state, should be providing
(this event) for residents, Mullery said.
People, though cold, wore
smiles, which Mullery appreciated.
They dont mind waiting in line,
Mullery said. They all have good attitudes when they come to me.
Theres no use getting aggravated, Coates shrugged.
Some Luzerne County school districts hit crisis
mode with lack of funding due to state budget battle
Officials, parents from
throughout area send message to legislators
TWP. Luzerne County schools arent standing alone against Gov. Tom
Wolf in a budget battle that threatens their closure because of a funding crunch.
Hanover Area Junior/Senior High Schools auditorium was standing room only
on Monday as representatives from several school districts as well as government
officials came together to address rumors of school closings circulating throughout
the schools as well as in social media.
Randy Tomasacci, representing the
Northwest Area School District, called the impasse trying times, but
said the school will make it to the end of June.
Northwest took out a $2.8 million tax anticipation note to get through the
crisis but he noted the district is not purchasing anything and delaying
payments to vendors as a way to crunch numbers to keep students in school.
We can tell Harrisburg we arent going to fight alone, Tomasacci
said to the crowd. We stand together with Hanover.
Those at the
meeting blamed officials in the state capitol, namely Wolf, Speaker of the House
Mike Turzai and Majority Leader Dave L. Reed.
State Rep. Gerald J. Mullery,
D-Newport Township, told those in attendance that Turzai and Reed are the only
two who can call a bill to a vote.
We need you to make your position
known, State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Wilkes-Barre, said during the meeting.
If Wolf takes no action on the budget bill by March 27, it becomes law, Mullery
After the meeting, senior Heather Evan asked Hanover
Area Superintendent Andrew Kuhl if seniors will be able to graduate on time because
the rumor around the halls of the San Souci Parkway building is that the school
can only sustain one more pay period or April 15.
The school is not
closing, Kuhl responded to the senior. We intend on the original graduation
Aside from Northwest and Hanover Area, Greater Nanticoke Area
also will be able to stay open through the end of the school year but barely.
GNA Superintendent Ronald Grevera told the plight of his district 55.5
percent of state revenue (about $6 million) has not come in from the state.
We rely very heavily upon the commonwealth to give us our revenue,
Wilkes-Barre Area Superintendent Bernard S. Prevuznak said
his schools may close sometime in May because of the impasse.
Its not fair to the children we love so much, Preveuznak emotionally
Prevuznak said the impasse has made him direct the financial advisor
to prioritize bill paying.
Hanover Area Business Manager Thomas
Cipriano Jr. said final payment date of the six-month TAN the district took out
has been pushed back from late January to June 30.
The interest and
fees on this borrowing translates to $167 a school day, Cipriano said.
Another option school districts have had during the impasse was to take deferments
on payments. Hanover Area took a two-month deferment on paying health care premiums
totalling $580,000, thanks to the Northeast Pennsylvania Health Trust. Greater
Nanticoke Area also has taken advantage of delaying payments to the trust.
It was a relatively quiet meeting until Pashinski told the audience
that Harrisburg saw the battle up to four and a half years ago.
timeframe, if various changes changes had been made state laws such as school
subsidy distribution formulas and taxation of Marcellus shale gas, it could have
meant an additional $2 billion to $3 billion dollars in the state treasury, Pashinski
Visibly upset, Wilkes-Barre Area parent Jeri Sue Pierce, a military
veteran who just moved to the area, called Pashinski, who was speaking at the
time, and others at the table disgraces.
I moved my entire
family here not knowing what I was moving my family into, Pierce said. A
senior (her son)
may not graduate for something you guys have known for
Hanover Area taxpayer Cindy Dinoski had a simple idea based
on other states models.
Make marijuana legal and tax it, Dinoski
Lauren Austra, of the Wyoming Valley West School District, pointed out
her Facebook group Luzerne County Unified Parents for Education
has over 1,000 signatures on an online petition imploring Wolf to sign a budget.
We need a budget, and we need a budget now, Grevera implored.
Districts consider closing schools as money runs out
Michael Buffer - Citizens Voice
Area school districts are preparing
plans to address running out of money and could close schools in May, weeks before
most are scheduled to close for the summer.
State funds due to school districts
have not been released because of the ongoing state budget impasse.
the Greater Nanticoke and Hanover area school boards voted to give administrators
the authority to take action in response to the states failure to adopt
a budget for the fiscal year that began last July.
The Wyoming Valley West
School Board could vote today to give employees 60 days notice that schools will
close. The Pittston Area School Board is expected to address the budget crisis
at tonights meeting.
Informational meetings for taxpayers and parents
are scheduled to take place in the Wyoming Valley West School District at 7 p.m.
tonight and in the Wyoming Area School District at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Wyoming Valley West meeting is at the middle school in Kingston. The Hanover Area
School District is hosting a meeting for all stakeholders of district in
Luzerne County in its high school auditorium at 6:30 p.m. this Monday, Hanover
Area Superintendent Andrew Kuhl said in a letter posted on the districts
There is fear that school districts will not be able to continue
operations, the Wyoming Area School District said in a release about Wednesdays
meeting at the secondary center cafeteria. The consequences grow serious
as many are depleting savings, making cuts and holding off on purchases and payments,
or borrowing to meet expenses.
In January, school districts received
about six months worth of 2015-16 funding from the state after Gov. Tom Wolf unlocked
emergency funding to school districts with partial vetoes of a $30.3 billion budget
from the Republican-controlled state legislature.
Our goal is to provide
uninterrupted, full service to the students of Hanover Area School District. Unfortunately
this may not be possible, Kuhl said.
At the Wilkes-Barre Area School
Board meeting on Monday, board member Christine Katsock urged district residents
to contact state legislators.
Apply the heat, ladies and gentlemen,
because we are in dire straits, Katsock said.
Wilkes-Barre Area Superintendent
Bernard Prevuznak said he is meeting with district teachers and employees on Wednesday
to discuss the budget situation.
Teachers may not get a paycheck,
The district will run out of money in mid-May without state funding
and then will have to decide whether to close schools or borrow money, Prevuznak
This is an apocalyptic crisis, he said. We need your
help. We need to come together as a district.
Dallas Business Manager
Grant Palfey said he has been getting a lot of questions about whether the district
will end the school year early, like other local districts are considering.
Were not in that boat, thank goodness, he said.
Dallas can make it through the rest of the school year, Palfey said the district
has a $1.1 million budget deficit to deal with, and committees are looking at
ways to cut costs or otherwise get hold of the money.
Greater Nanticoke Area School District will start paying bills from its reserve
fund in the next few weeks, Superintendent Ronald Grevera said.
that stated, with no end to the impasse in sight, we will need to cease operations
at the end of May, Grevera said, adding the district will need to give employees
60 days notice that the district will close.
In a how-to memo on closing a
school district for lack of funds, the state Department of Education mentioned
providing 60 days notice to employees, Kuhl said.
The notice is a requirement
in the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act), but
it may not apply to a school district that has run out of money, he said. The
act is often associated with mass layoffs from plant closings.
From Facebook to storefront: New Nanticoke business opens
The song goes "it's a small world after
all," and for businesswomen Tammy Rynkiewicz and Tracy Fritz, Facebook was
that small world.
Both Rynkiewicz and Fritz, Facebook businesswomen have joined
together to open TnT Subs and More, 235 W. Main St., Nanticoke. Rynkiewicz, owner
of Facebook-based Rynkiewicz Dips and Mixes, teamed up with Fritz, owner of Facebook's
Mrs. Fritz's Homemade, "just over a year ago."
Both admit it was
a chance meeting as they used Facebook to connect for something other than food
and they "connected."
According to the women, the "opportunity
(to own a storefront) just came up really fast."
"We already had
our ServSafe certifications," Rynkiewicz said. "We just had to clean
up and have the code (officer) approve."
If the address sounds familiar,
it's the old Geroch's Hoagies storefront. They're keeping the original design
and fixtures from Geroch's.
"(It's) got a corner-store charm," Fritz
They also recently completed a commercial kitchen spot, in Ashley, and
during the renovations on that building, the Nanticoke storefront chance happened.
"We had expressed interest (on the storefront)," Rynkiewicz said.
Rynkiewicz and Fritz won't stop their separate businesses, but having a storefront
will allow them to "not to have to meet at a parking lot" to service
their customers. They will serve, in addition to Rynkiewicz's dry mixes and Fritz's
homemade goods, take out hoagies, box lunches and other foods. Fritz said they
went to a bakery in Old Forge for the breads and have "several different
suppliers" when it comes to their deli meats.
Both women also want to
get involved with their communities, translating Facebook fundraising efforts
- Rynkiewicz sells dip mixes for $5 and the selling organization profit is $2.50
- to the new store in the near future.
It will be a family affair for the
duo, their husbands "don't want to get involved (washing dishes)" but
their children are more than willing to help.
"She (Rynkiewicz's daughter)
has a job for everyone," Rynkiewicz said. "My brother is our delivery
During the lunch rush, they will deliver to businesses around the
The name TnT comes from a combination of their first names.
can call it Tammy and Tracey," Rynkiewicz said. "Tracy can call it Tracy
Fritz said both women will still continue to be "out
there" at fairs, farmers markets and other community events.
one of us will be here (during store hours)," Fritz said.
They will be
open six days a week, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2
Pittston to receive development grants
Bill Wellock - Citizens
Nearly $550,000 in state development funds is coming to two Luzerne
The state Department of Community and Economic Development
is distributing funding through its Community Development Block Grant program.
The cities of Nanticoke and Pittston are recipients.
DCED Secretary Dennis
Davin announced the grants Monday.
Nanticoke will receive $274,500 for ramp
installation and accessibility modifications to increase accessibility citywide.
Pittston will receive $274,500 for several projects including building an elevator
at the firehouse on Kennedy Street, rehabilitation of Jefferson Park, rehabilitation
of homes and supporting the St. Marys Housing project to convert a former
school to senior housing.
native named among top influential physicians
Bob Kalinowski -
Dr. Stanley Dudrick, the Nanticoke native known as the
father of intravenous feeding, was recently named one of the 50 most influential
physicians in world history by a respected online resource dedicated to the medical
Dudrick, a pioneer of medicine who invented intravenous feeding of
patients, ranks 42nd of all time, according to the website Medscape.com, which
is owned by the better-known WebMD.com.
After a successful career changing
the world of medicine, Dudrick returned to the area in 2012 to take over Misericordias
start-up physicians assistant program. He also became professor of surgery
at The Commonwealth Medical College in Scranton.
Dudrick was out of town last
week and wasnt immediately available for an interview to talk about the
honor, a school spokesman said. The doctor has spoken about his illustrious career
in previous interviews with The Citizens Voice.
After his 1953 graduation
from Nanticoke High School, Dudrick planned to become a doctor and come home to
practice. He received his bachelors degree in biology from Franklin &
Marshall College and obtained his medical degree at the University of Pennsylvania
School of Medicine. After his residency training, he joined the faculty at Penn
and ascended from instructor to professor of surgery in five years.
wanted to return to the area, but he was doing stuff that hadnt advanced
out of the universities yet, he said in a previous interview. Dudrick noted
his speciality heart surgery wasnt even practiced in the Wyoming
Valley at the time.
In 1972, Dudrick was recruited to be the first professor
and founding chair of the Department of Surgery at the then new University of
Texas Medical School. He later served as chairman of the Department of Surgery
at Pennsylvania Hospital, the nations oldest hospital, founded in Philadelphia
in 1751 by Ben Franklin.
Dudrick then went to work at Yale University in 1994.
Dudrick was professor of surgery at Yale University School of Medicine and chairman
emeritus of its Department of Surgery immediately prior to returning to the Wyoming
Nanticoke adopts Luzerne County
2014s Hazard Mitigation Plan Update
city council voted to adopt the Luzerne Countys 2014 Hazard Mitigation Plan
update at its monthly meeting Wednesday.
The plan allows municipalities to
receive federal funds in the event of a natural disaster. The plan is mandated
and required by the county and interim City Manager Donna Wall said she
and another employee found the letter advising of the county update dated from
last year while transitioning to a new office.
According to Wall, letting
the protocol lapse a year wont affect current or future coverage for the
During the work session, held before the council meeting, the council
agreed to having bike racks put in Patriot Square. The racks will be built as
an Eagle Scout project by Justin Skoniecki from Troop 418.
to have the racks built and installed by late spring.
The next meeting will
be 7 p.m. March 16 in council chambers at City Hall, 15 E. Ridge St., Nanticoke.
Yudichak: South Valley Parkway project is part of larger
Paul Golias - Citizens Voice
on the South Valley Parkway and beyond is expected to drive bigger development
plans in the region.
Current work on the South Valley Parkway from Hanover
Township into Nanticoke, and plans for the expressway to someday reach into land-rich
Newport Township, are just part of a larger development picture according to state
Sen. John Yudichak, D-Plymouth Township.
This project is going to be
critical to economic development in the South Valley, said Yudichak.
Yudichak said approximately 5,000 acres exist in the South Valley. Earth Conservancy
and the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce own more than 1,000 acres. Additional
land is privately owned. Many areas are now state forest or Game Commission lands
set aside as green spaces.
Yudichak said Earth Conservancy and the chamber
have long-term development plans. Some of this development will hinge on extension
of the South Valley Parkway from Prospect Street in Nanticoke south into Newport
The tie-in of this land to the interstate highway system via
the parkway is crucial, Yudichak said.
He said he foresees extensive
residential, recreational, commercial and industrial development in the next decade.
More green spaces also will be created to enhance the quality of life in the region,
Expanded railroad service also is likely, Yudichak said.
Canadian Pacific Railway runs north-south along the Susquehanna River in Nanticoke,
and Hanover and Newport townships. It has a siding in the old Honey Pot rail yards
as a tie-in to Whitney Pointe Industrial Park. Yudichak said extension of a rail
line into the area would allow service to industries locating there.
said his vision is a completed parkway opening up the South Valley and utilizing
the existing highway-bridge infrastructure created in the last half of the 20th
The two-lane parkway will cost $84 million. Work began in January
and its various stages could extend construction until 2020.
Bill named after Nanticoke prison officer sent to Obama
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens Voice
named after slain correctional officer Eric Williams to arm federal prison workers
with pepper spray has been sent to President Barack Obama for approval.
U.S. House on Wednesday approved the Eric Williams Correctional Officers
Protection Act by a voice vote. The U.S. Senate had passed the measure by
unanimous consent in December.
The bill authorizes correctional officers,
and all other employees required to respond to inmate emergencies in federal medium-security
and higher prisons to carry pepper spray.
Williams, 34, of Nanticoke, was
working alone in a unit housing with about 130 inmates when he was attacked, beaten
and stabbed to death at nightly lockdown on Feb. 25, 2013, at U.S. Penitentiary
at Canaan in Wayne County. Prosecutors say an inmate, a gang assassin already
jailed for murder, stabbed Williams more than 125 times with a crude, hand-made
knife after ambushing the officer. Williams was equipped with just a radio, keys
Pennsylvanias senators, Democrat Bob Casey and Republican
Pat Toomey, worked with Williams family to introduce the legislation.
Every day, Americas law enforcement officers place their own lives
at risk to defend the rest of us. For this, they deserve our gratitude and our
support. Today, Congress acted to ensure that our correctional officers have a
basic tool to defend themselvesnon-lethal pepper spray, Toomey said.
This bipartisan effort was made possible by the tireless efforts of Eric
Williams parents, Don and Jean Williams, who turned their family tragedy
into a national effort to protect other officers.
We have an obligation
to keep safe the men and women who serve in our correctional facilities,
Casey said. The tragic murder of Eric Williams illustrates the risks they
take every day just by going to work. Its a service to the memory of C.O.
Williams and a tribute to the dedicated advocacy of his family that the House
acted today to ensure that staff in the most dangerous prisons will now have access
to a non-lethal means of self-protection.
Three days after the Williams
slaying, the federal Bureau of Prisons expanded a pilot program to include all
17 of the nations penitentiaries, which are the highest security level prisons
in the federal system, like USP Canaan.
After Williams murder, the bureau
continually expanded the program to include all staff exposed to inmates in all
high and medium security prisons, or 65 total facilities.
The bill passed
Wednesday will become law if signed by Obama.
shop fire ruled accidental
Jacob Seibel - Citizens Voice
A fire that caused significant damage to a hobby shop that caters to model train
and slot car enthusiasts was ruled accidental, according to fire officials.
The fire started around 5:30 p.m. Thursday at 32 S. Market St., a three-story
building with the hobby shop on the first floor.
A state police fire marshal
determined the fire was likely electrical, but could not pinpoint the exact location
where it started, according to Nanticoke Fire Chief Kevin Hazleton. Nothing about
the cause seems suspicious, he said.
Firefighters encountered heavy flames
when they arrived, and it took about 30 minutes to bring the fire under control,
Hazleton said. He credited firefighters from Nanticoke, Hanover Township and Kingston
with doing a great job to contain the fire. No one was hurt.
There was no
one in the building when the fire started and no one lives there, according to
Clem Ojevich, owner of the hobby store.
The shop contained model trains, slot
cars, train and car tracks and a workshop, according to Ojevich.
74, said his family has run businesses in Nanticoke since 1945.
Road closures for the South Valley Parkway in Nanticoke
and Hanover Township to begin in April
the new construction for the South Valley Parkway and the six roundabouts in the
Nanticoke/Hanover Township area, road closures and detours are to be expected.
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT)s traffic impact summary
from Jan. 29 shows Dundee Road, which links South Main Street to the Sans Souci
Parkway, will be closed from May 2016 to May 2019, accounting for the longest
of the closures anticipated by the agency.
According to Chris Tomaszewski,
assistant liaison engineer for PennDOT and the South Valley Parkway project manager,
the road will be used as a haul road a road used to carry trucks
to build the new roadway.
This is in the heart of the project,
said Sam Guesto, Hanover Township manager. The effect to our citizens that
use the road for travel may be moderate.
Guesto said the notice was
anticipated and the township was notified of the closing early last week.
Tomaszewski said drivers could use state Route 29 during the closure of the road.
A detour using the Sans Souci Parkway where drivers can take Ashley Street to
Main Street/Middle Road is in place. Using the Sans Souci Parkway, drivers can
take Ashley Street to Main Street/Middle Road.
The detour will be about
five miles (if you drive the detour from start to finish). Tomazewski noted.
Guesto was assured PennDOT will reconstruct the closed portion of the road when
the project is complete.
The summary states of other closures is:
Espy Street, closed from April to August 2016
Prospect Street, closed
from March to October 2017
Middle Road, west of Koscuizsko Street,
closed September 2017 to August 2019
Koscuizsko Street, closed from
March to June 2019
Middle Road, at exit 2 over state Route 29, closed
August to October 2019
Each of the aforementioned closures has its own separate
Nanticokes Interim City Manager Donna Wall said, It will
definitely be a big inconvenience for the people living in the Hanover section
of Nanticoke and for people traveling to that section of town.
are not set in stone and weather can be a factor in delays. The contractor
will do their best to meet those start dates, Tomazewski said.
explained, There are items in the contract that once an intersection is
closed, the contractor only has a certain amount of days to reopen or be assessed
liquidated damages, which is payment for breech of contract.
The Benco Dental Clinic in Nanticoke helps those insured
or uninsured obtain dental exams from Luzerne County Community College students
No insurance? No problem.
February is Childrens
Dental Health Month and, regardless of insurance status, young and old can benefit
from a dental clinic in the city. The Benco Dental Health Clinic makes it easier
and cheaper to obtain services, including x-rays, sealant, oral cancer exams and
other preventive procedures. Services are performed by dental students from Luzerne
County Community College.
The clinic charges $15 for adults, $10 for senior
citizens 62 and over and $5 for children under 18 but it does take up
to three hours for an appointment.
The drawback is the time,
said Julie Cleary, professor of dental health programs at LCCC. First-year students,
Cleary admitted, could take longer than normal but, for second-year students,
the time for an appointment is just about two hours.
It depends on the
amount of work being done, Cleary said.
The 24-chair clinic, first opened
in 2011, is located on the first floor of the Francis S. and Mary Gill Carrozza
Health Science Center, 42 E. Main St. Cleary said the new clinic is more
up-to-date than the former clinic which only housed 16 chairs.
can accept (a combined first and second year total of) 36 students, Cleary
The clinic requires the dental hygiene students to pass their boards
and boasts a 99 percent passing rate in the first exam.
student Caitlin McDermott knew I wanted to do it (become a dental hygienist)
and is grateful to have the opportunity close to home.
here, McDermott said. I want to stay around here.
who attend the clinic are asked to realize its a learning environment
and that includes stacks of paperwork and an evaluation of procedures done by
a licensed dentist and dental hygienists.
Though the students
perform digital x-rays and can email files to the patients dentist, by doing
a panoramic full mouth x-ray, students learn old and new techniques.
The clinic has a darkroom to teach students about traditional x-rays.
dentists, Cleary said the clinic doesnt do restorative work like
fixing cavities or root canals; it only offers preventive treatments.
requirement to pass their clinics, students need patients to sign up and go through
the full exam.
Take advantage (of the clinic), McDermott said.
Patients of all ages, as well as patients with or without teeth, can have a complete
exam with students and instructors.
Second-year students are in clinic 4 to
8 p.m. Monday, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday and 1:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Fridays; first-year students are in clinic starting at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday
and starting at 8:30 a.m. on Fridays. Make an appointment by calling 570-740-0446.
Greater Nanticoke Area approves moving fifth-grade students
Fifth-grade students in the Greater Nanticoke
School District will go to the education center with the sixth- and seventh-graders
in the next school year, but they will remain on an elementary-school schedule
and take buses with other elementary-school students, Superintendent Ronald Grevera
said at Thursdays school board meeting.
The change is the result of
the plan to close Kennedy Elementary School next year and begin a $9 million expansion.
Second-grade students will join the third- and fourth-graders at the elementary
center next year.
After the expansion at Kennedy is done, the district plans
to close K.M. Smith Elementary School, which currently is for kindergarten, pre-K
and the first grade.
Also at Thursdays meeting, the school board approved
a new four-year agreement with the union for support staff. Those employees will
get a pay increase of 60 cents an hour in July and then get 50-cent pay increases
for the subsequent three years.
The union represents roughly 115 school district
employees who work as secretaries, cafeteria workers, cleaners, aides, crossing
guards, maintenance workers and custodians. The agreement will increase costs
by a total of $300,000 over four years, Grevera said.
The board also approved
a resolution to increase interest fees and penalties for property owners with
delinquent taxes. Delinquent taxpayers owes $1.5 million to the district, solicitor
Vito DeLuca said.
Work begins on South
From his home on
South Main Street, Daniel Dennis can hear the scrapes.
A few times a week,
cars driving down the road nip the curb a few feet from his home.
one hit the wall outside his house.
Its too narrow for the amount
of traffic going down this road. Plus the speed they fly, he said.
Dennis neighbors Gary and Janelle Sirak remember another incident years
ago when a car went off the road, clipped their porch and hit the home Dennis
They are all looking forward to completion of a Pennsylvania
Department of Transportation project that will create a new road bypassing the
street where they live.
Work has begun on that project, the South Valley Parkway,
and PennDOT expects it to finish by August 2020. Kriger Construction of Dickson
City is completing the work.
If the Siraks need to stop in front of their
home, people in other cars honk their horns. To continue forward, they need to
swerve to the other lane. When Luzerne County Community College lets out, crossing
the street is very difficult, Gary Sirak said.
The new road, is a good
idea, he said.
The parkway will create a two-lane road between Hanover
Township and Nanticoke, bypassing the residential Askam section of Hanover Township.
The roadway will run from Middle Road and Kosciuszko Street in Nanticoke to South
Main Road, just east of State Route 29, in Hanover Township. It will include six
Complaints about speeding and safety put the project on the states
transportation improvement plan, an outline of planned upgrades to transportation
infrastructure, said Chris Tomaszewski, the project manager. That was back in
the 1990s, the beginning of a process with studies, changes to the project and
public meetings, he said.
The changes will put three roundabouts on Middle
Road and three on the new parkway. The new kind of intersections should improve
safety, allow more vehicles to travel through the intersection at a time, slow
down speeds and reduce crashes, Tomaszewski said.
looking at intersections, thats one of the first things we look at,
he said. All around, its a safer intersection type.
of those roundabouts will be at already existing intersections at Espy Street
and Middle Road, Prospect Street and Middle Road, and Kosciuszko Street and Middle
Road. PennDOT will complete one of those each year to mitigate detours and traffic
disruptions. The roundabouts will have crosswalks and islands for pedestrians
crossing the street.
The new road will also open more land for development,
said Hanover Township Manager Sam Guesto, possibly bringing in more businesses
and more residents to the township.
Although there are always some bumps
in any type of project, so we want to be mindful, he said, mentioning concerns
about the roundabouts and wanting to make sure all the stormwater and sewer infrastructure
would be replaced if moved.|
Lane closures have begun for the project. Last
week, PennDOT closed a single lane in both directions on state route 29 between
exits 2 and 3. Those lane closures are scheduled to last for the next year.
The Greater Nanticoke Area Family Center enrolling Pre-K
The Greater Nanticoke Area Family Center is enrolling
pre-kindergarten children and their parents for My School, My Community 2016,
a family-community engagement and school readiness program. The first in a series
of MSMC nights will be Monday at the K. M. Smith Elementary School. Parents are
encouraged to sign up as soon as possible. Each child receives a personalized
passport for fun and important activities and places for pre-kindergartners and
parents to enjoy. Visit the website at gnasd.com,
email the center at firstname.lastname@example.org,
or call 570-735-0935. Information needed is childs name and date of birth,
parent name(s), home address and a cell phone number.
Greater Nanticoke Area School District Now Has A Mobile App
Anyone with a web-enabled smartphone or mobile device can access the
HTML5 version of the mobile app by entering
on your smartphone, adroid pad, iphone pad or computer. When you see
the link, save it to the homepage on any of your devices.
Please be advised
that the adobe pdf reader is needs to be installed on your devices in order
to read some of the pdf documents.
Light agenda, heavy public comment at Nanticoke City
An otherwise light
agenda, issues of the roundabouts on Middle Road and taxes were at the center
of the city council meeting Wednesday night.
After John Telencho asked about
how the roundabouts project on Middle Road will impact traffic, Mayor Richard
Wiaterowski stood at the podium to relay information he had found.
said Kriger Construction Inc., of Dickson City, was awarded the construction bid
in October and hes sure that they will have people monitoring the
Wiaterowski noted Earth Conservancy and the Pennsylvania
Department of Transportation started planning the project in 1996 20 years
ago. The project was designed for development of mine land that Earth Conservancy
As for the three roundabouts Nanticoke is getting Middle
Road and Prospect Street, Middle Road and Espy Street, Middle Road and Kosciuszko
Street the mayor said, Dont believe in all three.
Its really out of our hands, Wiaterowski said.
tax increases were once again a topic brought up by Hank Marks, president of the
Nanticoke Area Taxpayers Association. Marks asked the council why Plymouth Township
was able to apply for leaving Act 47 financial distressed status
without having to raise taxes while Nanticoke has raised taxes twice in three
People cant afford it, Marks said about the 21. 5
percent tax increase in the 2016 budget. Isnt there enough empty houses?
Council President William Brown reminded Marks that .53 mills of the 1.3 mill
a mill is $1 in taxes for every $1,000 of assessed value increase
is going toward a loan to help with street work.
In other news, the council:
tabled the passage of minutes from the Jan. 20 meeting due to an error
by the city clerk.
passed bills for $482,875.72.
The next meeting
will be Feb. 17 in the council chambers at Nanticoke City Hall, 15 E. Ridge St.
Crews in Nanticoke are clearing trees, preparing to construct
six new roundabouts in and around Nanticoke. That number may seem daunting to
drivers who have never driven through any roundabouts.
Cocoa Hut, a gas station at Middle Road and Espy Street in Nanticoke, sits just
next to where one of the roundabouts will be built. Gas station workers fear construction
could impact business.
The business is definitely going to be impacted
for a while with the construction, said Bob Wren, a manager there.
too far away, at Middle Road and Kosciusko Street, where another roundabout will
be built, the owner of a building there is having problems finding a tenant. He
blames the upcoming construction.
But not all businesses will be impacted.
Many students get to Luzerne County Community College by driving on Middle Road
-- and it can get backed up quickly. But with the new roundabouts that are supposed
to be installed, they hope that it improves traffic and cuts down on their commute
I think it's a good idea! It'll really help speed up the traffic
and I think people will adjust to it after time, said Curtis Bates, a student
Eventually there will be an exit that will connect the highway
right to the campus. It's going to help thousands of students. It's going to get
them in and get them out faster, added Thomas Leary, LCCC president.
Work is expected to be completed for the first roundabout by the end of the year
and work on all six roundabouts should completed by 2020.
Details of Nanticoke managers agreement released
Eric Mark - Citizens Voice
Details of the separation agreement between
Nanticoke and City Manager Andy Gegaris were released this week.
placed on paid administrative leave on Jan. 4. It was announced at the Jan. 20
city council meeting that Gegaris and the city had reached an agreement for his
voluntary departure from the job he had held since May 2014.
specifies that Gegaris will be paid through Feb. 5, which will be his official
last day. The city will not contest his claim for unemployment benefits, should
he choose to apply for them. It also specifies that Gegaris waives any and
all claims or causes of action related to his employment or separation.
Further, it states Gegaris, waives any right to any monetary or economic
recovery or equitable relief against the city in any administrative proceeding
or in any action, lawsuit or other proceeding.
Also, city officials
will provide Gegaris with a positive recommendation letter and a positive
employment recommendation to prospective employers, the agreement states.
|Nanticoke city council named Donna Wall, the citys human resources director,
as acting city manager until a full-time manager is hired.
Nanticoke settlement agreement with manager released
Nanticoke Mayor Richard Wiaterowski planned to try
to have Andy Gegaris fired if he didnt agree to leave the city manager position
on his own, according to a newly released settlement agreement recently approved
by the city council.
Gegaris decided to resign, but he and the city entered
into the settlement agreement to amicably resolve any and all existing and/or
potential disputes associated with his employment and separation, it said.
Under the agreement, Gegaris, who was hired as city manager in May 2014, will
remain on paid administrative leave until Feb. 4. He has been on leave since Jan.
City officials have publicly indicated the position paid $65,000, but it
was budgeted at $62,000 in 2016, city records show.
The agreement also says:
Gegaris must be reimbursed for all accrued but unused vacation and personal
The city wont contest unemployment compensation benefits
sought by Gegaris.
Gegaris waives any right to sue over his city employment
The city will provide Gegaris with a positive recommendation
letter and provide a positive employment recommendation to any prospective employers
inquiring about his city employment.
Under the citys home rule charter,
the mayor cant simply fire the manager.
The charter says the mayor must
recommend termination to the council and submit the reasons for the proposed dismissal.
The manager has the opportunity to publicly address the council about the proposed
termination and respond to issues raised by the mayor, the charter says.
supermajority council vote four out of five is required
to terminate the manager under the charter.
The mayor selects the manager,
but his appointee is subject to council confirmation, the charter says. If the
council fails to act on a nominee within 30 days, the mayors nominee is
automatically hired, the charter says.
The manager must be a full-time employee
and report directly to the mayor.
City officials said human resources director
Donna Wall has been appointed as acting city manager for six months.
Luzerne County controller Walter Griffith, who owns an auto repair business in
the city, requested and released a copy of the settlement agreement Friday and
said hes frustrated officials have not provided specifics on the reason
for the personnel change.
There are still unanswered questions, but
they wont answer them, saying it is a confidential personnel matter,
Griffith said. None of this is transparent to the people of Nanticoke, and
I just dont think thats fair.
Griffith said he will continue
monitoring city matters, largely because the city had the highest overall real
estate tax millage increase among the countys 76 municipalities this year.
The citys millage went from 4.8885 to 5.9258. A mill is $1 tax for every
$1,000 in assessed property. That means the municipal tax bill on a $100,000 property
in Nanticoke will rise from $488.85 to $592.58 this year a $104 increase,
or 21 percent.
That was a heck of a high tax increase in a community
thats mostly senior citizens on fixed incomes, Griffith said.
Letter to the Editor
I am asking for help in locating a young girl, maybe 7 to
10, who was with her family on Dec. 19 around 8 p.m. at the Redbox by CVS in Nanticoke.
She was with two young boys, a woman, and two men.
About nine hours prior
to me going to Redbox to return a movie, I helped my beloved best friend of 17
years and eight months, my loving cat, Isabelle, cross over the Rainbow Bridge.
I will spare you the details of my overwhelming grief which is so profound I fear
that I may never find acceptance.
At 8 p.m., I was at Redbox with my hood
up to hide a swollen face and never-ending tears. The family I am looking for
was looking at the movies on the wall and the young girl came over to the Redbox
and it appeared as if she was looking to see what movie I was going to take, with
a look that said, Oh, I hope she is not taking the one I want.
Odd you might think, but I have been a mom for nearly 40 years, so I have seen
my share of communication without words.
Having no desire to even make eye
contact with a person, I simply could not bear to have this child wonder
if she was about to miss picking a movie that they walked all the way to the Redbox
So, I looked her in the eyes, and with the weakest of smiles, I told
her I was returning, not picking a movie.
She saw my tears at that moment,
and I saw sympathy from this little girl.
I rushed to my car, but remembered
being told by a sweet person years ago that when you are beyond sad, do what you
can to put a smile on the face of another.
I returned to where this family
was standing and handed the children a few dollars. And finally, this is where
I get to the point of my story. The children said thank you and I returned to
my car, putting my head on the steering wheel and the tears began again.
looked up while starting my car and there was this young girl, standing away from
her family; looking straight at me. Our eyes locked. She was dressed in a skirt
with tights, glasses and gloves on her little hands. She picked up her hand, which
was next to her head and she began to wave slowly. Ever so slowly.
able to see the gentle kindness and the concern she has for others in we wave.
In that moment, her gentleness surrounded my grief and for a split second, I felt
And I thought, truly, that of all of the gifts I could have received
on this night, the sweetness of this child was the perfect gift. As I drove away,
I felt that there is hope for the future of our young people; a concern that is
with me every day.
As long as I live, this memory will have a life in my heart.
That night a young girl gave me a gift of peace.
So, please ask anyone you
know; be it your family, your neighbors, anyone, please. I am desperate to find
this young girl and pay it forward in some way. She must know how she made a difference
by her gesture on that night without hope. Please help.
If this family reads
this, please contact me at 570-735-2774. Again, anyone with a young child, niece,
or friend, I would appreciate any help.
Greater Nanticoke Area officials look to switch vo-tech
By Michael P. Buffer - Citizens Voice
reeling from the loss of a seat on the Wilkes-Barre Area Career and Technical
Centers Joint Operating Committee, the Greater Nanticoke Area School District
is looking at possibly sending students to another vo-tech school.
is looking at the feasibility of sending students to the West Side Career and
Technology Center in Pringle, instead of the Wilkes-Barre Area career center in
School board member Tony Prushinski suggested making the
change at last weeks school board meeting.
Superintendent Ronald Grevera
said the district is only in the preliminary stages of looking at the feasibility
of withdrawing from the Wilkes-Barre Area career center.
center provides education that focuses on technology and skilled trades and is
governed by a joint-operating committee with 11 representatives from five area
Last month, Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Vough ruled the
Crestwood School District is entitled to an additional seat on Wilkes-Barres
governing board. As a result, Greater Nanticoke Area lost a seat and now only
has one seat on the board.
Crestwood officials argued they should have two
representatives due to population changes recorded in the 2010 U.S. Census.
Five of 11 seats on the board are held by the Wilkes-Barre Area School District,
two are held by the Pittston Area, and Hanover Area has one representative.
The Northwest Area, Lake-Lehman, Dallas, Wyoming Valley West and Wyoming Area
school districts are member districts of the West Side career center. Three representatives
from the five school boards serve on that schools joint-operating committee.
Greater Nanticoke Area sends 80 students to the Wilkes-Barre Area career center,
which has a half day program for students, Grevera said. A benefit to sending
students to the West Side school is they would remain at West Side for the
entire day avoiding the extra travel, Grevera said.
can withdraw from Wilkes-Barre Area career center at the end of a school year
if financial obligations are paid in full and if written notice of an intention
to withdraw is provided a year in advance, Grevera said.
area twin sisters Brianne and Brittany Dougherty make childhood care center prosper
Twins Brianne and Brittany Dougherty did almost
everything together while growing up. That hasnt changed in 27 years.
The Nanticoke natives recently took over ownership of Magic World Child Care Center,
14 W. Kirmar Parkway, a business they had managed for the past five years.
Ironically, the twins changed their college majors to elementary and special education
around the same time, within their second semester of college. Brianne went to
Bloomsburg University and Brittany went to Wilkes University.
recall who was first (changing their major), Brittany said.
the girls took jobs substituting within the Greater Nanticoke Area School District.
Brittany was looking for a summer job and heard about the day care opening through
a fellow teacher. She started working there as a director in 2011. Within a few
weeks, she was looking for a partner enter Brianne.
ever done a good job at something and said I wish I could clone myself,
Brianne said, talking about what its like to work with her sister.
the years, the two have grown the business from two to four rooms and have gradually
accumulated 4,000 square feet of property inside and out. Theyve
been lucky with their landlord, who didnt hesitate to turn one apartment
into a room, as their business expanded.
When Brittany first started,
the center had a total of eight children. Now, their clientele totals 48 children
from 6 months old up to the first day of sixth grade, during school months. During
the summer months, they are filled to capacity at 57.
The twins held the titles
of director/teacher until June 2015 when they were financially stable
enough to purchase the business, adding owner to their resumes.
Families from Newport Township and Nanticoke as well as from as far away as Benton
24 miles have their children enrolled with Magic World.
amazing the progress you see in children, Brianne said of a child who has
been with them since day one and is now going to graduate from the program.
They attribute their success to being family-run and family-oriented.
is in the walls, Brianne said.
Inside the business
Magic World has
a staff of nine people, including the twins, all of whom are credentialed to work
in a daycare. Two staff members have bachelors degrees in education and
three more are going to school for elementary education. The state does regular
yearly checkups at the facility.
Brittany recalled the state coming in the
day before the opening.
We had to pass, she said. We told
people wed have care for the kids.
During state inspections, credentials
and paperwork are checked.
When you run the businesses the right way,
its like second nature, Brianne said.
The twins are currently
redoing their preschool curriculum to fall in line with the Keystone Stars
a Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning program that improves,
supports and recognizes improvement efforts of early learning programs. They are
also looking into a new state toddlers curriculum that starts at age 2.
in their preschool programs range from 3 to 5 years of age, split into two groups:
3- and 4-year-olds in preschool with 4- and 5-year-olds in pre-kindergarten.
Shying away from challenges doesnt scare the duo as they take the children,
age 3 and up, on field trips, the most recent to see Disney on Ice at the Mohegan
In the wintertime, they have Scranton-based TUMBLEBUS a
full-sized school bus transformed into a gymnasium visit the center.
Nanticoke Special Care Hospital is back on the commerical
real estate market
The former Nanticoke
State Hospital is still off the tax rolls and is back up for sale.
2015, the former Nanticoke Special Care Hospital at 128 W. Washington St. was
sold at auction for $100,000. The anonymous bidder agreed to 10 percent down and
the closing of the sale recorded within 45 days in this case, Dec. 24,
Now, an online listing for the property lists a sale price more than
four times its November price tag. A for sale sign on the property lists the broker
as Mericle Commercial Real Estate Vice President of Brokerage Albert Guari.
The Luzerne County Recorder of Deeds office confirmed Wednesday that the county
still had the property deed and assessment in the name Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
under care of the Department of General Services. Having the deed still in the
name of the Commonwealth as a hospital keeps the property from being on Nanticokes
We are not the owner, said Troy Thompson, press secretary
for the Department of General Services.
The building was taken over by the
state in 1911 after operating on donated land by Susquehanna Coal Co. for two
years. In 1990, the building was divested by the state to Mercy Health Partners,
who paid $1 for a 20-year lease. Community Health Systems subsequently bought
the building in 2011, when a new two-year lease was drawn up for $2,000 per month,
with a $500,000 option to buy.
Post Acute Medical, of Camp Hill, bought the
facility before moving within the Wilkes-Barre General Hospital. A clause in the
property deed required that ownership be given back to Susquehanna Coal Co.s
successor, Newport Aggregates, once hospital functions on the property cease.
Thompson said the state has no claim to the property, as of June 30, 2015 because
effective July 1, 2015, the deed was transferred back to Newport Aggregates.
Attempts to reach Guari and Newport Aggregates by phone Wednesday evening were
Nanticoke council approves
release agreement with city manager
Eric Mark - Citizens Voice
City council has approved a release agreement with embattled city Manager
Andy Gegaris, which will soon end his employment with Nanticoke.
who was hired as Nanticokes city manager in May 2014, has been on paid administrative
leave since Jan. 4. It would have taken a supermajority of four out of five council
members to terminate his employment at Wednesdays council meeting, as stipulated
in the citys home rule charter.
But hours before the council meeting,
Gegaris reached an agreement to leave voluntarily, city solicitor William T. Finnegan
Jr. said. His remarks came shortly before council voted unanimously, 5-0, to approve
Council also voted unanimously to name Nanticokes human
resources director Donna Wall as interim city manager until a full-time manager
is appointed. Wall will receive an extra $1,500 per month for her added duties.
Council members did not comment on the agreement, but Finnegan emphasized that
Gegaris is leaving voluntarily. His official last day will be Feb.
5 and he will be available to consult with city officials as needed until then,
The agreement between Gegaris and the city, including financial
details, will be available to the public once it is signed and recorded
which should be no later than Monday, according to Finnegan.
an opportunity to address the council and the public at Wednesdays meeting,
Mayor Richard Wiaterowski to whom the city manager reports,
as stipulated in the city charter read aloud a statement about Gegaris
and his impending departure.
As mayor I am responsible for evaluating
my staff, Wiaterowski said, adding that his goal as mayor is to make
the city a place where people are proud to work and live.
said that when he chose Gegaris as city manager, almost two years ago, he felt
Gegaris was the best person to meet our challenges.
made clear he thinks it is time for both Gegaris and the city to move on.
I feel there is a need to make a change in this position ... to meet the
citys goals, he said.
Gegariss 20-month tenure saw controversy
mix with celebration.
Last year, Nanticoke became the first city in Pennsylvania
to emerge from Act 47, the states program for financially distressed municipalities.
Just months after that, Gegaris drew criticism from some city residents during
the planning process for this years city budget, which includes a property
tax increase of about 21.5 percent.
He also was criticized for not moving
from his home near White Haven to within Nanticoke city limits, as stipulated
by the city charter. Last August, a Luzerne County judge ruled that provision
of the charter which applied only to the city manager and city clerk
to be unconstitutional, allowing Gegaris to keep his job in Nanticoke and his
home in Dennison Township.
That means Nanticokes next city manager will
not need to live in the city.
Our next manager could come from anywhere
around, said council President William Brown.
Specifics of the process
for choosing a new city manager will be at the discretion of Wiaterowski, Brown
said, in remarks after the meeting adjourned.
Nanticokes home rule charter,
approved by the citys voters in 2011, created a strong mayor/city manager/city
council government model, in which the mayor has control over city employees in
Gegaris was the third city manager since home rule took effect
Just like old times
Nanticoke downs GAR on night 1961 state champs honored
delved into its past Friday night, honoring the 1961 Nanticoke High boys basketball
team that won the PIAA Class A state championship.
It gave a glimpse of its
future by introducing youth players at halftime.
As for the present, well
that appears to be in good hands after a 51-40 victory over GAR vaulted Nanticoke
into sole possession of first place in Division 2 of the Wyoming Valley Conference.
It was a great environment for Nanticoke basketball, Nanticoke coach
John Beggs said. We had our youth basketball night, so thats the future.
We honored the past with the 1961 team. So our guys were really excited to play
in this environment. We were looking forward to it all week.
(4-0 Div. 2) also improved to 11-2 overall, the best mark in the WVC. GAR fell
to 3-1 in the division and 5-7 overall.
The packed gymnasium didnt faze
the Trojans too much. But a delay in the start because of a long junior varsity
game and the ceremonies for the 1961 team did.
It definitely brought
some nervousness when we came out after the jayvee game and saw everybody here
packed in on every side, Nanticoke guard Scott Stout said. But we
got a little edgy when we had to wait longer to play.
The Trojans took
a 15-13 lead at 5:26 of the second quarter on an inside basketball by Brent Piontkowski
to take the lead for good. But it wasnt until late in the third that Nanticoke
began to ease away.
A 29-20 lead entering the fourth quarter came via consecutive
3-pointers by Piontkowski and Stout.
When it was 26-20, Stout hit a
huge one on the wing, GAR senior Justin Crosby-Smith said. That gave
them momentum and riled them up. It was hard stopping them.
started the fourth with another 3-pointer for Nanticoke, starting a 9-2 run to
open the quarter. The Grenadiers didnt get their first field goal until
Marquan Kemp scored inside at 5:45. Kemps basket was GARs first since
the 6:28 mark of the third quarter.
GAR made a mild run at the deficit, managing
to get within 44-35 with about two minutes left. Nanticoke, though, shook off
the threat with four consecutive points.
While the 3-pointers were the catalyst
in the victory, defense also played a huge part. Nanticoke held GAR 3-point ace
Tino Altavilla to one basket from behind the arc.
And I was upset with
that shot, Beggs said. I think he is the best shooter in our conference.
I saw him make 23 straight threes once in warmups. So our goal was to give him
no shots because we knew any shot he took was going in. Him making one was enough
for us and we focused on not giving him any more shots.
a finger on his left hand midway through the third. He returned in the fourth,
but by that time Nanticoke had the game going its way because of the five second-half
We got out of what we were trying to do there, GAR
coach Jerry Altavilla said. We had to switch up the lineup and had to go
defensively. We had to take out some of our offensive players off. I dont
think we did a good job with the tempo, either.
Dajon Rush paced GAR
with 12 points. Piontkowski had 23 and Stout added 17 for Nanticoke. The teams
play again Feb. 2 at GAR.
Area limits tax increase to 8 percent
P. Buffer - - Citizens Voice
The Greater Nanticoke Area
School Board voted Thursday for a preliminary budget that would spend $28 million
during the next school year and limits a property tax increase to 8 percent.
The preliminary budget is non-binding but prevents the board from approving a
tax increase that exceeds 8 percent, Business Manager Al Melone said. Approving
a final budget is required by June 30, the last day of the current school year.
The tax-increase limit exceeds the index amount established by the state on tax
increases that dont need voter approval or state approval of referendum
exception amounts. The index amount for Greater Nanticoke Area is 3.6 percent.
The state will have to approve the districts request for exceptions on certain
expenditures that will allow a tax increase of up to 8 percent without a referendum.
District officials still hope to avoid a tax increase but want some flexibility
because the state still has not approved education funding amounts in a budget
for the current fiscal year, Melone said.
Two weeks ago, Gov. Tom Wolf unlocked
emergency funding to school districts with partial vetoes of a $30.3 billion budget
from the Legislature. Last week, the state released about six months worth of
2015-16 funding to school districts.
The current property tax rate in Greater
Nanticoke Area is 10.4932 mills. The preliminary budget prevents the rate from
exceeding 11.3327 mills. A mill is $1 on every $1,000 in property assessment.
In other business from Thursdays meeting, the Greater Nanticoke Area School
Board extended the contract for Superintendent Ronald Grevera through 2021. His
contract was due to expire in 2019 when the board hired Grevera two years ago.
His annual salary on July 1 will increase to $126,690.
The board also voted
to hire Matthew Schwenk as high school principal. He plans to start Jan. 25, and
his annual salary will be $90,000.
Schwenk has been the principal of a Central
Susquehanna Intermediate Unit program that provides educational services to adjudicated
juveniles in a facility in Danville.
memorable ride: Nanticoke High 1961 state champs to be honored
Nearly 55 years have past since that magical night
at the Harrisburg Farm Show Arena, but the memories remain strong and now theyll
The Nanticoke High School basketball team which won the 1961
PIAA Class A state title will be honored Friday prior to the game between Nanticoke
and GAR. The ceremonies will begin at 7 p.m. and a banner honoring the team will
Two of the five starters who defeated Hickory Township 56-46
will be present, Bill James and Rich Kiewlak. James lives in Jim Thorpe while
Kiewlak resides in the suburbs of Philadelphia.
Joe Shepela, who lives in
California, and George Yanchik, who lives in South Carolina, wont be attending.
Ken Legins, the fifth starter, died in 2013. Coach Syl Stretch Bozinski,
who finished with 616 career victories, died in 2001. Other players and some cheerleaders
are also expected to be there.
Never, never did we doubt our ability,
Shepela said. We worked as a team and were very well coached. At practice,
we went through the drills over and over and over. We were like a well-oiled machine.
When any team threw something at us different, we were able to change our tactics.
Maybe instead of hitting Kenny all the time, hit Billy. And then Richie would
hit some really long ones.
Thats why I feel we were adaptable
to changing situations.
And every player had their role and accepted
it. Yanchik didnt have any classes with the others and described himself
as a social outsider to that degree yet played a huge part in the
teams 26-1 record that season.
I wasnt a big part offensively,
Yanchik said. My area was playing defense and rebounding. We had plenty
All four of the surviving starters agreed Legins was the
star of the bunch. He scored 16 points in the championship game and went on to
play at George Washington University where he led the team in scoring for three
years and was All-Southern Conference as a senior.
he that got he earned it, said James, who was a co-captain with Legins.
I never had any jealousy toward him.
He was the kingpin,
Shepela said of Legins. He had the ability to overcome taller guys in the
post. He was only 6-4, 6-5 and he overcame great odds against taller guys in the
Nanticoke also overcame being a small school winning at the states
highest level. The PIAA had three classes in 1961, with Class A having the schools
with the largest enrollment. Nanticoke was grouped with the smallest teams in
Class C, but elected to play at Class A.
I dont think a lot of
people know that we are the only Class C team that took a Class A title in Pennsylvania,
Kwielak said. I dont think that will ever be done again with all the
A year before winning the 1961 championship, Nanticoke rode
a 26-0 record into the Eastern State Finals only to lose to York. The championship
season didnt start out well for the Rams, who were also called the Nans,
as they dropped an early season game to Sharon in a tournament in Johnstown.
Nanticoke never lost again that season.
James recalled a memorable game against
rival Newport Township during the championship run. The two high schools would
eventually merge with Harter High School, located across the Susquehanna River,
to form what is now Greater Nanticoke Area.
Newport was coached by Jim Davis,
who would later coach and become the athletic director at the new school. Word
got out that the Newport players were saying they were going to come to Nanticoke
and leave with a victory.
They were getting cocky and saying they were
going to come our place and they were going to beat us, James said. You
know what we beat them by? Fifty-five points. Thats how good this team was.
Every home game was packed. The gym at the high school which stood where
a CVS Pharmacy is now when entering the town via the Sans Souci Highway
held about 700-800 people. Sometimes twice as many would squeeze in to see the
As good as the Rams were, they once again ran into trouble in the Eastern
State Finals against Reading. Trailing by seven with barely two minutes left,
many fans began to leave. Nanticoke, though, went to a full-court press and pulled
out a 51-47 victory by scoring the games final 11 points.
as many dramatics in the championship game against Hickory Township. Legins scored
10 first-quarter points. James had 19 points and 12 rebounds. Except for a lull
in the third quarter, the Rams kept Hickory Township at arms length on the
way to a 56-46 victory. Nanticoke fans made up a large part of the 9,000 in attendance.
Id hate to think what would have happened if we lost, Yanchik
said. We certainly would have been disappointed. We had a good team and
in the game we were never really threatened I guess. We had the lead throughout
the game. I dont remember any specific times where the game was getting
away from us.
The game was played on a Saturday night, so the team stayed
over in Harrisburg. The next morning on the trip back, the Rams were met in Bloomsburg
by a fire truck on Route 11 and escorted to just outside of Nanticoke. There,
the team switched to convertibles and was escorted through town until reaching
Central Park where a ceremony was held. Various reports had the crowd at the park
estimated between 20,000-30,000.
There were 20,000-30,000 fans and there
are only 11,000 people in Nanticoke, James said. So we had a lot of
people rooting for us. And another thing, for months we ate for nothing. We were
in every restaurant from Nanticoke to Wilkes-Barre to Scranton. These are things
you never forget.
Shepela didnt want to forget the Nanticoke reserves,
who he called the best practice team the starting five could have. He was the
only starter to return for 1962 where the Rams season ended in the Eastern
Everybody on the team worked well, Shepela said.
Looking back at it, there wasnt any person who thought they were well
above anybody else on the team. We were five guys who worked hard.
Nanticoke city manager placed on administrative leave
Eric Mark - Citizens Voice
City Manager Andy Gegaris has been placed
on administrative leave, according to Nanticoke city officials.
As of Wednesday,
it was not clear why Gegaris had been placed on leave or how that would affect
his long-term job status.
Gegaris, who was hired as Nanticokes city
manager in May 2014, was not in the office Wednesday, according to Nanticoke business
manager Jennifer Polito and city human resources director Donna Wall.
have been told he is on administrative leave, Wall said.
to comment further since it is a personnel issue.
Polito confirmed that Gegaris
was on leave and not in his office. She also had no further comment on the matter,
Polito and Wall did not provide details of how Gegaris was placed
on leave, but the Nanticoke home rule charter, adopted in 2011, gives authority
over the city manager to the citys mayor, an office currently held by Richard
The charter created a strong mayor/city manager/city council
government model, in which the mayor has control over city employees in many cases.
However, it would require approval from at least four members of city council,
as well as the mayor, to terminate Gegariss employment and Gegaris
would have a chance to defend himself at a public meeting.
The city charter
stipulates that a supermajority of city council four of the five council
members must approve the mayors request to terminate the city manager.
The charter states that the city manager shall have the opportunity to address
city council at a public meeting and respond to the issues set forth for his/her
The next city council meeting is scheduled for Jan. 20.
No interim city manager has been appointed, said Wall, who noted she, Polito and
other city officials would handle whatever duties need to be attended to on a
temporary basis as long as Gegaris is on leave.
Gegaris and the elected leaders
who might soon decide the fate of his employment shed no light on the situation
Wiaterowski did not return multiple messages left on his office
phone number and with city staffers on Tuesday and Wednesday.
A listed home
phone number for Gegaris was out of service on Wednesday. Attempts to reach him
by cellphone and through social media proved unsuccessful.
to reach city council President William Brown and other council members also proved
Nanticoke no longer
accepting cash in new payment policy
Bill Wellock - Citizens Voice
Nanticoke is no longer accepting cash payments.
On Jan. 1, the city
began its new payment policy. Residents can no longer pay cash for various city
bills and fees, including refuse bills, police citations and fines, right-to-know
fees, permits and code violations.
The city will accept payment with checks,
money orders, debit and credit cards. Payment with credit and debit cards include
a processing fee.
The change will save city government up to $7,000 per year,
said Jennifer Polito, the citys accounting and finance director.
city employees who handle cash requires insurance costing between $5,000 and $6,000
per year, Polito said. Additionally, the city paid about $1,000 in mileage costs
each year for an employee to drive to the bank to deposit cash, she said. Now,
employees can scan in checks and money orders.
The change prompted some complaints
from residents concerned about the processing fee.
Some people said
they dont want to pay the fee, thats their choice. They paid by checks,
she said. For the most part, its gone well. There hasnt been
a lot of resistance.
The city is also looking into online payments for
some fees, Polito said.
The Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority already processes
sewer fees online.
Nanticoke is trying to update the city website to allow
residents to pay their refuse fee online by June, Polito said.
Murts Desserts brings cupcake camper to area
A bright pink and blue trailer in the driveway
is a sure sign youre at the right place for cupcakes and other desserts.
The visually pleasing camper belongs to 16-year-old Brandon Murtha, a 10th grader
at Greater Nanticoke Area High School. Brandon runs Murts Desserts and takes
the camper on the road to area craft fairs and vendor shows, selling cupcakes
and other sweet treats. He has been asked to do a few Sweet 16 parties, birthdays
and other personal events.
I always wanted to have some kind of business,
Brandon said. He admits he wanted an ice cream truck but, after deliberation with
his family, decided the cupcake camper was a better idea. Having never taken a
baking class, he watches Youtube tutorials and takes inspiration from The Cake
Boss, Buddy Valestro.
In 2014, Brandons parents bought the camper from
a family in the Poconos. The camper had to be completely remodeled from removing
the bunk beds to adding a large window to sell from, as well as replacing the
tires. In July 2015, Brandon completed and passed his opening food inspection.
Since baking in the camper is not a possibility, the Murtha house at 1664 S. Hanover
St. has become a home bakery. In doing so, Brandons parents had to have
the home rezoned by the city of Nanticoke. To pass inspection, it is required
that dessert ingredients are separated from regular, everyday baking items. There
is a separate cabinet inside the Murtha home and the refrigerator has a separate
shelf specifically for cakes, cookies and desserts.
Its a lot,
Debbie Murtha, Brandons mother, said.
There are times Brandon bakes
for hours, wakes up early and goes to bed long after the family has turned in
for the night. He takes roughly 10 dozen cupcakes to events, and even then, there
are times when he sells out of cupcakes before the end of the event.
required from order to table is about a week.
Brandon takes requests for different
flavors and cake ideas and tries to accommodate. The most unique flavor request
has been watermelon and the most requested is the chocolate peanut butter.
I have a basic vanilla recipe and add to it, Brandon said.
has an upcoming order of chocolate cake, strawberry filling and cream cheese icing.
He recently had a challenge when someone requested a Minion cake which he made
as six small cakes layered and iced with butter cream.
That cake was
hard, Brandon confessed.
He also accommodates when an allergy is made
Hard work and dedication pay off as Murts Desserts has
a five star rating on its Facebook page. Brandon hopes to one day stay in
Nanticoke by opening a store in the downtown area. The camper, he said,
To order, contact Brandon through Murts Desserts Facebook
page or by calling 570-735-3406.
cashless policy now in effect
innovations like Google Pay, Apple Wallet and Uber, cash-in-hand transactions
for everyday life are fading away.
In November, the Nanticoke City Council
voted on a cashless policy. The policy, voted on by city council, went into effect
on Jan. 1. According to the policy, the city no longer accepts cash as payment
for refuse bills, citations and fees, right-to-know fees and code violations and
For Nanticoke, going cashless means no bonding of employees handling
the bills, the ability to lower liability insurance and easier auditing of the
Its better for us all, Jennifer Polito, Nanticokes
accounting director, said.
It also eliminates an outside threat
of people who think about robbing the cash from the municipal building.
Manager Andy Gegaris said it took six months for them to research the process
and bring it in front of council.
It was a well-thought out process,
Gegaris said. It wasnt done haphazardly.
Both Polito and
Gegaris admit there was some hesitancy in the office for the new year, new
policy, but they both expect things to work out smoothly as time goes on.
The training (for employees) took 45 minutes, Polito said, noting
it took a day for her to do paperwork.
The city will now accept checks, money
orders and credit/debit card payments. If payment is made by credit or debit card,
a processing fee is added to the transaction. For every $100, a $3 fee is added
on for instance, if the bill is $260, the total bill, with the fee, is
$269 or if a bill is $500 or greater, three percent of the total is added
The percentage fee wouldnt necessarily be for refuse bills, citations
and fees, or right-to-know fees. Polito thinks the percentage would apply more
toward the zoning part of the city policy.
According to Polito and Gegaris,
the fee is not ideal and they hope it doesnt make people think less of the
new system, but they stress the city isnt making money on the fee.
the banks convenience fee, Polito said.
Due to the safety concerns
of residents, no over-the-phone payments are accepted.
We ask for identification
on all credit card transactions, she said.
Though its not up and
running yet, Polito said the city wants to have online payments by a secure
link by the beginning of June for the second half of the sewer payments.
The city had a payment drawer full of receipts by early afternoon.
Mary Grobinski were just one of many paying their sewer bill by check Monday at
the municipal building at 15 E. Ridge St. Though the couple have no desire
for the city to rely solely on credit or debit cards, they agree paying by check
or money order is safer.
We have records of payment (by
paying with check or money order), Mary said.
Cashless payments are
nothing new for Nanticoke residents. Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority has required
a cashless transaction for residents sewer bills since September.