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4/16/2018
Nanticoke pulls together for leukemia-stricken mayor, Richie Wiaterowski
pkernan@timesleader.com

Nanticoke rallied for one of its own on Sunday.
Half a world away, another man is helping him out.
Since November, the city’s mayor, Richie Wiaterowski, has been battling acute myeloid leukemia or AML. The city gathered together at the Nanticoke Armory to raise money to help cover the costs of his medical bills.
Wiaterowski said the support was “overwhelming.”
“My doctors said I wasn’t even supposed to be here, but there was no way I could miss it,” he said, pulling aside the surgical mask covering his face.
Since his diagnosis in November, Wiaterowski said that he’s only been able to spend a total of 20 days at home. The rest of that time has been spent in and out of hospitals in Philadelphia.
But that hasn’t put a damper on the love he has for his town. Wiaterowski said that scenes like Sunday’s were what he wants people known Nanticoke for.
“These are Nanticoke people. They’re good people,” he said “When someone’s sick, they come out and pull together.”
And pull together they did.
Throughout the day, more than 1,000 people came in to support the mayor, according to his sister Nancy Potsko.
Residents of Nanticoke and others packed into the armory to try food and beer, listen to live music or simply to offer the mayor well. Many of those supporters donned bright orange t-shirts that read “The Mayor’s Battle Is My Battle.”
Potsko, who organized Sunday’s event, said she was thrilled by the turnout.
“It means a lot; it’s amazing, overwhelming and emotional all at once,” she said.
In addition to the other festivities, Potsko said attendees could have tried their hands at winning one of 137 raffle baskets or even a $1,000 door prize.
Wiaterowski’s wife, Wendy, expressed sincere thanks to everyone who took part on Sunday.
“Everyone in the state of PA is praying for us,” Wendy said.
According to Wendy, things have been progressing along well for her husband. The mayor received a perfect match for a marrow donor, a young man from Germany, and since the donation was made, things have been going well.
“The doctors say he’s doing amazing. I update everyone on Facebook about how he’s been doing, and lately it’s been boring; we like boring,” she said with a laugh.
For his part, Wiaterowski is looking forward to May 13. So far, it’s been 72 days since the marrow transplant.
“The magic day is 100,” he said, indicating that May 13 end date. “If we get there okay, I lose a lot of restrictions; I won’t need to wear this mask anymore.”

4/14/2018
Benefit planned for Nanticoke mayor recovering from cancer
bwellock@citizensvoice.com

May 13 is Day 100 for Rich Wiaterowski.
That Sunday will mark 100 days since the 44-year-old Nanticoke man, the city’s mayor, received a stem cell transplant that helped him recover from acute myeloid leukemia.
Life has changed dramatically for him and his family since his diagnosis in November 2017.
It kept him from the basketball gym where he loves to cheer for the Nanticoke Trojans and share in the camaraderie of his hometown. A weakened immune system meant most of the games were off-limits on doctors’ orders. He watched while his children shoveled the snow. His job site changed from a dusty construction site to light duty on a computer at home. Hunting and fishing had to wait while chemotherapy and total body irradiation prepared him to receive stem cells to replace his own.
The Wiaterowskis don’t know the donor, but his cells were an excellent match that helped save Rich’s life.
When Rich Wiaterowski first learned a transplant could come from an anonymous donor, not knowing the identity didn’t seem like a big deal. Then came the day a coordinator with Be The Match, an organization that helps arrange stem cell transplants, called their house to tell the Wiaterowskis they had a donor.
“Once I got home, I opened the email, and it said scroll down, keep going, then ‘Your donor is: (From) Germany, 28 years old, O-positive (blood type.)’ I got very emotional. I broke down and cried,” he said.
For now, that’s all he knows. The donor knows even less about him. A year after donation, the organization will ask both parties if they want to share their contact information.
In the meantime, Wiaterowski continues to recover.
This Sunday is day 72 post-transplant. His family, friends and supporters will gather for a benefit event to show their support and to gather funds to help the family with the thousands of dollars in medical bills that health insurance didn’t cover.
“It is crazy the way people in this town have come together,” he said. “When someone is sick, not just me, anybody that we’ve seen go through a sickness like this, the town pulls together.”
His son’s sixth grade class sent get-well cards. He’s gotten cards from friends and strangers. He’s kept every one.
“It’s overwhelming,” said his wife, Wendy Wiaterowski. “It’s amazing how much people care, genuinely care, and want to send love and prayers and warm wishes.”
Wiaterowski moved home from the hospital in the beginning of March, although he still travels to Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia for weekly follow-up appointments.
Recovery has been months in the making.
He realized something was amiss in November 2017. He was exhausted and his bones ached.
When his doctor called to say he was coming over to discuss the results of a blood test, he knew the diagnosis would be bad.
Tests at Fox Chase confirmed the news, and he started chemotherapy that day. More than two months later, he was receiving a stem cell transplant.
“Right now, he’s doing very well. In (the physicians’) eyes, he’s doing remarkable. There’s lot of positive with that. But there’s still a long road ahead,” Wendy Wiaterowski said.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Benefit for Rich Wiaterowksi
WHEN: 1 to 8 p.m., Sunday
WHERE: Nanticoke Armory, 490 E. Main St., Nanticoke
DETAILS: A $10 donation at the door includes entrance to the event, one soda/water ticket, food and entertainment.
Children 12 years old and younger are free.
Parking is available at the armory. Overflow parking is also available at Greater Nanticoke Area High School, and a shuttle will leave form the bus port next to the high school near Church Street.
There will be a cash bar, silent auction and other raffles.

Entertainment includes:
1 p.m.: Acousticstein
2 p.m.: Strawberry Jam Duo
3 p.m.: Doug and Sean Acoustic
5 p.m.: Ol’ Cabbage
6 p.m.: Rhythm and Booze
7 p.m.: 40 lb. Head

4/15/2018
A NEW KIND OF VIBE LOCAL FIRM PUTS THE ‘STORY’ BACK IN ‘HISTORY’ WITH UNIQUE, DIGITALLY-LAYERED APPROACH TO STORYTELLING
Lois A. Grimm - Citizens Voice

For anyone whose had to sit through a history class filled with dates, obscure names and nebulous references to laws, social movements and events, the word ‘exciting’ rarely enters the picture. According to a 2003 Gallup Poll, only 10 percent of responding teens named history as one of their favorite classes.
Conversely, popular media derived from historical events has long been popular among book and movie audiences. Books such as “The Other Boleyn Girl,” “The Help,” and “Cold Mountain” were wildly popular bestsellers. Moviegoers couldn’t get enough of “Glory,” “Saving Private Ryan” or “Schindler’s List.”
So what gives? Why do people hate history class but love books based on historical figures and events?|
The founders of VizVibe, a transmedia company in Nanticoke, think they have the answer.
“History can be dry. What we are doing is engaging,” Vic Deluca, director of sales and marketing of the fledgling tech media company said recently.
Combining media of all types from video to mobile apps to photographs and everything in between, VizVibe seeks to make history come alive for current and future students. Their inaugural project, and the catalyst for the existence of the company itself, depicts the Selma marches of March 1965. The idea took hold after Kevin Jones, one of the founders of VizVibe, and Jim Gavenus, a self-described photo storyteller, threw around the idea of a documentary on the Selma marches.
Gavenus, who is a photography professor at Luzerne County Community College, has been documenting individuals involved in the Civil Rights movement for the past 15 years. He routinely traveled to Alabama to photograph and hear the stories of Americans who not only participated in the marches but in other aspects of the movement. Recently, Gavenus’ work was shown in the “Selma to Montgomery” exhibit at the college, along with the work of Spider Martin, the prolific photojournalist who covered the marches in 1965. The exhibit will be traveling nationally.
While the idea of a documentary on Martin’s work was appealing, both Gavenus and Jones expressed concern that the length and breadth of the Martin collection couldn’t be accurately portrayed in that type of format.
“When you make a documentary, there are budget and time constraints,” Jones said.
Gavenus’s approach to storytelling helped propel VizVibe’s products.
“If I’m going to tell a story, I have to experience it. It makes it real for me. I think you need to be a participant,” Gavenus said of his work.
With VizVibe’s approach to education, anyone with access to a tablet or smartphone can experience history and all that goes into it.
Tentatively titled Selma AR (augmented reality), the transmedia experience will allow students to not only view a photo of Alabama state troopers advancing on a group of marchers, they’ll be able to see video of the incident. Then, using AR cards, students can view 3D representations of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, which marchers crossed on their way to the state capitol.
VizVibe has access to Spider Martin’s collection of photos, many of which have never been seen by the general public and which number more than 3,000, as well as the entire collection of the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute in Selma, Ala.
Many of the photographs in the collection have notes written on the back of them by Martin himself and detail the experiences he had while documenting the marches. As Gavenus put it, these notes are “ultra first-person history” and provide another lens through which to view the iconic marches.
“This is going to be a multiple platform way to tell stories. It’s a totally immersive interactive experience,” Deluca said.
While there are some apps available that are based on history and other educational subjects, they are often lacking in content, Jones said. They only go so far. VizVibe believes learning about any subject, not just history, is a multilayered experience.
“Being accurate is key. The content is limited right now (in existing apps) and there is nothing linking the learner to additional sources,” Jones said.
What Jones, Deluca and their coworkers, Jeremy Stair and Eric Thomas, seek to do is bring all of the story telling elements together to form a cohesive experience for learners.
Humble beginnings
In February 2017, when VizVibe was founded, they opened shop in an unassuming building with a space over Hands on Learning Daycare and Preschool on South Walnut Street, Nanticoke.
The growth of VizVibe has been completely self-funded by the four men and each brings a unique skill set to the business. Jones, who is the owner, is also a professor, and coordinator of the communication arts department at Luzerne County Community College. He has an extensive background in multimedia and interactive design including broadcasting, advertising, television, and radio experience.
Thomas has previous experience with web and app design, 2D/3D animation, and audio production while Deluca utilizes his commercial photography and printing background to round out the team’s expertise.
All four say they believe the business has the opportunity to change the way teachers present information to students ... and not just from a historical perspective.
“I hated school but I would have loved to have VizVibe,” Stair said. Stair is in charge of user interface design and development. He emphasized that the app part of the transmedia package is a tool to get to other content.
Jones agreed, saying VizVibe is a full-service shop for any educational organization - schools, museums, etc. They are currently working on a space package which will allow students to use AR cards to travel to different planets, see Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin descend from Apollo 11 and take their first lunar steps and hear the audio between the astronauts and mission control.
“The possibilities are really endless,” Jones said. “Take the Selma project. That’s just one part of the Civil Rights movement. There are so many directions you can go with it,” he added.
Part of their business plan includes helping struggling school districts access their products through the use of preloaded smart devices which would include “bundles” depending on what the schools were looking for. According to Jones, education bundles could be made for just about any topic you can imagine.
The founders of VizVibe are not only excited about the opportunities their products will provide to students but to the local economy as well. They want to bring more tech jobs to the area and plan on staying in Nanticoke. Their first app, Solar Space AR, is now available on the Apple store and should be available for Android within the next few weeks. VizVibe is beginning work on a Gettysburg project, too.
“Between the college and VizVibe, this is the most excited I’ve been in years to come to work,” Jones said. Thomas, Deluca, and Stair agreed, noting the time and money they’ve invested has been well worth it.
Thomas, the “mad scientist” of the group, is in charge of coding and animation, though he says each member of the foursome delves into all parts of the business.
“We’re a family and a team,” Thomas said.
Jones envisions schools using VizVibe to encourage their students to explore, learn and grow ... which just happens to be the company’s motto.

4/14/2018
Greater Nanticoke Area approves plan to reconfigure grades next year
mbuffer@citizensvoice.com

The Greater Nanticoke Area School Board voted Thursday to approve a plan to reconfigure grades in school district buildings next year.
The district plans to close K.M. Smith Elementary School, the only school not located on the district campus off Kosciuszko Street, after the current school year, and open a $9 million addition to Kennedy Elementary School when the 2018-19 school year starts.
K.M. Smith Elementary School is currently for pre-K, kindergarten and first graders. Next year, students in pre-K through second grade will go to the Kennedy Early Childhood Center.
Students in the third through fifth grade will go to the Elementary Center.
The Educational Center will become a middle school for sixth through eighth grades. The high school, which had started with eighth grade, will start with ninth grade next year.
Superintendent Ronald Grevera said the reconfiguration is “a big step” and it will help principals “focus on student achievement.” Grevera thanked board member Tony Prushinski, chairman of the education committee, for his work developing the reconfiguration plan.

4/4/2018
Nanticoke nurse to stand trial over patient death
James Halpin - Citizens Voice

A registered nurse whose patient died under her care on Wednesday waived her right to a preliminary hearing, allowing a felony count of neglect of care to move forward to trial.
Kelly E. Levandowski, 39, of Nanticoke, is accused of “intentionally, knowingly or negligently” failing to provide sufficient care to Melvin Johnson, 72, who died after going into cardiac arrest at the Guardian Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center at 147 Old Newport St., on June 20, 2013.
As she left central court Wednesday morning, Levandowski declined to comment. Waiving the charge forward will allow the defense to get discovery in the case and determine how to proceed, defense attorney John Pike said.
According to charges the state Attorney General’s Office filed against Levandowski, the criminal investigation began after the state Department of Health cited Guardian in 2013 for failing to provide adequate monitoring over the incident.
The charges say Johnson had suffered from a ruptured aneurism and subsequent bleeding of the brain prior to being admitted at Guardian on the day of her death. She had been on a ventilator, but was weened off of it prior to admission, according to the charges.
According to prosecutors, at least four staff members told Levandowski, a shift supervisor, that they were concerned about Johnson pulling on a breathing tube. Levandowski, however, stayed seated at the nursing station, according to the charges.
Shortly after 7 p.m., Johnson pulled the tube out and Levandowski reinserted it herself, but did not call 911 as required by facility policy, the complaint says. Levandowski also wrote in her notes that 15-minute checks were to continue, although prosecutors say there is no evidence that they had started previously.
About a half-hour later, another nurse discovered that Johnson had again removed the tube and was unresponsive, prosecutors said.
Levandowski claimed to have performed CPR until medics arrived on scene, but no other staff members were able to vouch for her life-saving efforts, according to prosecutors. In fact, one nurse aide told investigators that after Johnson died, Levandowski directed her to fill out a form indicating 15-minute checks had been performed on Johnson since 3 p.m., even though they had not been.
Levandowski has been free on $25,000 unsecured bail since her arrest in January. She is due back in court for a dispositional hearing on May 24.
Pennsylvania Department of State records show Levandowski remains a registered nurse with a license that expires Oct. 31. Online records show no disciplinary actions against her.

4/1/2018
Ex-Penn State star Hamilton accused of assaulting son, blasts authorities
psokoloski@timesleader.com

A perplexed Harry Hamilton lashed out at authorities this week, accusing investigators of enabling drug sales, embellishing facts and manufacturing evidence against him during a preliminary hearing in Centre County Court.
The former Nanticoke Area, Penn State and NFL star defense back swatted away at charges brought by State College police that accuse him of assaulting his teenage son during an attempt to intervene in a situation Hamilton fears could lead the high school student into the world of drugs.
Hamilton believes the boy, a track and field standout who lives in Centre County but is not in Hamilton’s custody, is being influenced by a reputed marijuana dealer who has access to the track team. Hamilton admits to scolding, but not striking, them both.
“You’re talking to a man who is capable of hitting, and has hit, somebody so hard they never played football again,” Hamilton said of a tackle he made during his NFL days with the New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “If I hit someone, there would be hospital reports, emergency reports. You don’t have that. Did I hit the (other) kid? No. Did I scare the (other) kid like I scared my kid? Yeah.”
State College police charged Hamilton with felony counts of burglary and criminal trespassing, a misdemeanor count of simple assault and two summary offenses of harassment following an incident at his son’s State College residence March 3.
Police say Hamilton, a New Jersey attorney who is defending himself in the case, punched his son and threw a second person to the ground after damaging a front door frame that reportedly had been locked and screen door at the residence before accusing his son of using drugs.
“Interesting,” said Hamilton, who maintains homes in New Jersey, State College and Wilkes-Barre. “They have to embellish it in a way that simply didn’t happen. They (investigators) told the (son’s) mom, ‘We don’t know how he got in, you better get a new lock.’ Meanwhile, the original lock — which was undamaged — gets lost. Nobody can find it.
“There was no proof of a punch — not a picture, not even a mark — except for the kid’s statement,” Hamilton continued, suggesting that statement may have been coerced. “If I hit him, where is the bruise? Where is the proof?
“That’s the embellishment I’m talking about. That’s this case.”
His preliminary hearing began March 28 and was continued to this Wednesday, although Hamilton will be back in court at 10:30 a.m. Monday for a protection from abuse hearing.
‘I grabbed him’
From Hamilton’s standpoint, the police reports are inaccurate.
He said he arrived at his son’s residence March 3 to check on the welfare of the boy and his mother and knocked on the front door, only to find it unlocked — which Hamilton called a rarity that raised his suspicion.
Once inside, Hamilton said he smelled marijuana coming from an upstairs room as his son came down the steps. After the two exchanged an extended greeting, Hamilton continued, he tried to pull his son out the door and away from what he believed to be an illegal situation with one hand while attempting to open the door with the other.
“When he refuses, that’s when I grab him,” Hamilton said. “I grabbed him as if I was tackling him to get him outside and away from what was going on inside. He’s almost 6-3, weighs as much as some of those lanky receivers I used to cover. He was able to escape the grasp, partially. I got turned around toward the stairs. At this point, I’m hearing, not seeing, there were other people in the house.”
Hamilton said he then received a blow to the back of the head that was sufficient enough to knock him down.
“When I turned to identify the assailant, I believed I was looking into the face of a 6-foot-6 drug dealer who, it looked like, had something in his pants, had his hand in his pants,” Hamilton said. “I grabbed him instantly — there was no way he was getting out of my grasp — and threw him outside.”
Hamilton said he also injured his knee in the process and went to a hospital afterward to receive treatment.
During the altercation, police said, Hamilton punched his son several times and threw him to the ground — a statement Hamilton vigorously disputes.
He said he pushed his son toward the doorway with a short, quick shove that is commonly known as a “punch” in football jargon — similar to an open-handed chuck a defensive back would give to a receiver coming off the line of scrimmage.
“Punch, to me, is to extend a hand with the front part of your hand open,” Hamilton said. “I’m not a boxer. I don’t punch people with a closed hand, you’ll break your knuckles.”
He said he later left through the building’s back door when he noticed the alleged assailant waiting in a car and feared the boy may be carrying a weapon.
“I didn’t want to get shot,” Hamilton said.
‘Being demonized’
Most troubling to Hamilton, he said, is the resistance he’s faced from authorities over the past two years while trying to alert them about what he claims is a serious drug trade in the State College area.
“Where is the investigation into that? The police decided to pass,” said Hamilton, who was a star safety on Penn State’s 1982 national championship team and made 23 interceptions as a defensive back during his eight NFL seasons. “You have a drug war. There is a major cover-up with the Centre County police department. Who’s being protected? Who are they covering up for? It greatly disturbs me.
“They want the headlines,” continued Hamilton, a son of the late and iconic Wyoming Valley community activist and humanitarian Stan Hamilton. “They want the professional football player. You have a man with an impeccable background. If I went into a burning building to save somebody from a fire, would the thinking be different? Somehow, now I try to save somebody from the gateway drug of marijuana, I have been charged criminally.
“They should be thanking me for exposing a major drug operation.”
Hamilton, who joined the Army after retiring from the NFL, was a spokesman for a drug rehabilitation clinic while playing for the Jets.
“This is a message for any kid,” Hamilton said. “… I took an oath, as an attorney, as a military officer. It would be my civic duty — almost a direct order — to do something about illicit activity if I encounter it. And then I am in trouble. Big trouble. Because I step in to curtail any possible activity where my son is concerned. Unfortunately, my actions and my efforts are being demonized.”

3/30/2018
Harry Hamilton, local football legend, accused of attacking son
Bret Pallott, Centre Daily Times

Nanticoke Area graduate and former Penn State football player Harry Hamilton is charged with two felonies after allegedly punching his son several times and throwing another individual to the ground.
Hamilton, 55, starred on offense and defense for the Trojans in 1979. He was an Academic All-American and played for the Nittany Lions from 1981-1983. He was drafted by the New York Jets in the seventh round of the 1984 NFL draft and intercepted 23 passes in his eight-year career.
Hamilton’s son heard loud banging noises coming from the front door of his State College residence on March 3 and went downstairs to find Hamilton just inside the front door.
After exchanging a greeting, Hamilton accused his son of using drugs and started a physical altercation with him, according to State College police.
Hamilton placed his son in a headlock, pulled him off the stairs and banged his son’s head off the steps. Hamilton also punched his son several times in the head and neck before throwing him to the ground, according to police.
A second person came downstairs after hearing the altercation and began to argue with Hamilton outside the front door. Hamilton allegedly picked the person up and threw them to the ground. Hamilton was last seen leaving the residence on foot.
Further investigation showed the front door was locked before Hamilton entered. A picture frame, front door frame and rear screen door had all been damaged.
Hamilton was charged with felony counts of burglary and criminal trespassing. He was also charged with a misdemeanor count of simple assault and two summary counts of harassment.
Hamilton was arraigned before District Judge Thomas Jordan, who set bail at $25,000 unsecured.
Hamilton’s preliminary hearing was continued to April 4.
According to Sports Illustrated, Hamilton sued the NFL for $5 million in 2014. He claimed he was not made fully aware of the dangers associated with football-related head injuries.
At the time of the lawsuit, Hamilton said he has memory issues, headaches, anger management issues and occasionally relies on painkillers.
The SI article said Hamilton was one of more than 200 players to opt out of the $765 million class action settlement between the NFL and thousands of former players.
The settlement came after retired NFL players accused the league of being aware of the evidence and risks associated with repetitive traumatic brain injuries, but failing to warn and protect players against those risks.

3/21/2018
TheGNAInsider.com: ‘The sky’s the limit’
By Aaron Miller, Newspaper In Education student columnist / Published: March 21, 2018

The 2017-18 school year marked the beginning of a new era for The GNA Insider, the student newspaper at Greater Nanticoke Area High School. For many years, the paper had been published as a quarterly account of life at GNA, ranging from sporting events, award ceremonies and other honorable distinctions. The creativity of the journalists was limited by the printing costs and time restraints of the school day. On top of that, each paper had a given limit of 30 to 35 pages, so when it came time for printing, a lot of great ideas had to be cut to fit in our given restrictions.
Prior to my senior year, I had discussed transitioning our newspaper from solely a traditional one to an online paper with Sean Carey, our journalism adviser. Our dream and expectations of how the finished product would transpire were extremely high, leading us to be reluctant in finally suggesting the idea to the administration of our school. That all changed two weeks prior to the first day of my senior year when my adviser had messaged me saying that we were approved for our website and would begin working on it the very first day of school.
With the support of Dr. Grevera, the district’s superintendent, we received the funding and began working with the program used by many distinguished schools and organizations, including: American University, New York University, Emerson College, Misericordia University, Wilkes University, Marywood University, University of Pittsburgh, and many, many more. The program is School Newspapers Online Sites (SNO), a subset of Wordpress. The features provided by the site allow our journalists to bring up-to-date information to all GNA students, faculty, staff and community members alike within a variety of mediums in real-time.
Our newspaper has multiple sections that help organize all of our articles and reporting. The most viewed sections include: sports, campus life, alumni, and multimedia. Sports is the most developed of the four because of the student body’s enthusiasm at all sporting events. Campus life incorporates everything that happens on campus, including teacher profiles and college advisement updates. Our Alumni section is devoted to former students and also includes a “Where Are They Now?” section, which recounts the accomplishments and goals achieved by individual alumni of the district. This section was even featured in an issue of The Citizens’ Voice last year. Finally, our multimedia category attracts the most viewers because of the vast selection of photos. The various sections of our newspaper allow for current and future students alike to gain access to the happenings of GNA.
Our main priority here at The GNA Insider is to keep readers current with the affairs of the school and surrounding area, and now we can successfully achieve that. Without the help of entire 2017-18 Journalism Class, none of this would be possible. Student journalists include: Seniors — Eric Jeffries, Dawson Hughes, Derek Kurkoski, Taylor Zabrenski, Mark Walters, Destiny Geahr, Aaron Miller: Juniors — Nate Kreitzer, Brianna Stritzinger, Harley LaRue, EJ Gill, Liam Carcieri, Elias Miller, Madelyn Bugdonovitch, Haileigh Hendricks, Allison Williams, and Sophomore, Kimberly Smith.
To expand our horizons, we have recently begun to venture out into the social media realm. Twitter, along with Facebook and Snapchat, allow our writers to receive feedback. It also expands our typical viewership from just people in the district to parents and community members interested in what their children and teachers have accomplished.
My senior year of high school has been lighted with the success of a dream becoming reality and building a foundation for something even greater. Even though I am graduating in a few short months, I plan to continue my commitment to The GNA Insider, no matter where my future endeavors lead me. I will always be grateful for the opportunity my school and adviser provided me, and I know the same goes for them. Writing is my passion and helping pour the cement for something that will last a lifetime is mesmerizing. The experience I obtained from this project encouraged me to apply to Emerson College, in Boston, Massachusetts, the number one rated journalism school in the country. I was recently accepted with one of the college’s most prestigious merit awards and will be fully committing soon. This transition from a traditional paper not only was a great way to bring our school into the 21st century, but it was also a way to gain exposure to the real world of journalism and will provide a stepping stone into my future career.
Yet, I am only one piece to the puzzle. There have been leaders before me and there will be leaders after me, but if I make only the slightest impact upon the way things are executed, I consider my work as an accomplishment. With our step into the future of reporting, the sky’s the limit to the possibilities of what future students can do. I hope future students can take the advice of their teachers and strive for greatness, because it has been proven by this year’s success that anything is possible.
Visit us at thegnainsider.com!
Aaron Miller is a senior at Greater Nanticoke Area High School. Student columns are published Wednesdays during the school year.

3/17/2018
Gaming grants pump $6M into Luzerne County
Citizens Voice

Wilkes-Barre City is getting $1.14 million in grant funding, including $220,000 to help restore the Irem Temple on North Franklin Street.
Nanticoke City has $700,000 coming to acquire properties on Market Street for a streetscape project and to fund a stadium project for the school district.
Pittston City has been allocated $695,000 to expand its public works garage and to help pay for the replacement bleacher at the school district’s stadium.
In all, more than $6 million will be infused into Luzerne County for projects through money generated by the gaming industry, state officials announced Friday.
The office of state Sen. John Yudichak, D-Plymouth Twp., announced the list of projects in a press release. He said the Commonwealth Financing Authority approved over $6 million in grants from the Luzerne County’s Local Share Account, which is funded by tax revenue generated by the state’s casinos, including Mohegan Sun Pocono.
“The broad scope of the LSA grant program allows Pennsylvania to invest in creating jobs and building better communities throughout Luzerne County,” Yudichak said.
The largest total award in the Wyoming Valley was $450,000 for Nantcoke’s Market Street project.
“I am so excited to hear of the two LSA grant awards to the city of Nanticoke,” Nanticoke Mayor Rich Wiatrowski said. “The city is pleased to know that the state considered these projects viable for continued revitalization for our downtown and for the schools district athletic field improvements.”
Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tony George said each project the city sought funded for was successful, but more funding is needed.
“All of them were, I think, given grant money — not nearly as much as needed, but I think it was fair across the board. Everyone got a percentage (of the amount requested),” George said.

2/12/2018
Some optimism displayed at vigil for Phylicia Thomas
boboyle@timesleader.com

It's been 14 years since Phylicia Thomas went missing -14 years that her mother, family and friends have grieved as they wait for a resolution of the case.
On Sunday night at Patriot Square in Nanticoke, a slight breeze of optimism blew through the crowd of about 50 people gathered to sing Phylicia's favorite song and light a candle in her memory.
Pauline Bailey, Phylicia's mother, and family friend and advocate Judy Fisher announced to the crowd that they have been contacted by Pennsylvania State Police and told there will be a meeting soon to review the case, opening a door that appeared to be closed for a long time.
Bailey believes her daughter, then 22, was killed Feb. 11, 2004, while attending a party inside a house trailer and dismembered in a barn on Timber Lane in Hunlock Township. That belief is based on what Bailey and her friends were told by some people who attended the party. There have been no arrests in the case.
"We received a call from the state police informing us that they will meet with us soon to discuss the case," Fisher said. "All we want is to work as a team so we can bring Phylicia home and solve this case."
"Let's hope this is the last year for us to have this vigil," Bailey said as she opened the ceremony. "In recent weeks, some people have called us, some to just talk and console us, some to share information. All we ask is that anybody with any information about what happened to Phylicia come forward and tell us. We won't reveal your name. We just want you to tell us what you know."
A sign on a table nearby read, "Phylicia Thomas - her life mattered." The attendees sang Phylicia's favorite song - "Wish You Were Here" - Pink Floyd's 1975 hit. The crowd also joined in saying "The Lord's Prayer."
Pauline Bailey has six other children: Todd, Jesse, Jared, Wyatt, Jocelyn and Wade. Most of them attended the vigil with their children. Jocelyn's oldest daughter is named in memory of Phylicia.
"Just the thought that those responsible for Phylicia's death are still out there is unbelievable," Jocelyn said. "They could do the same thing to somebody else's child."
Jocelyn said the last 14 years have been difficult on her family, especially her mother.
"It's been beyond frustrating," she said. "But it's important that we come to remember Phylicia and keep her name alive."
Bailey said she is determined to bring her daughter home.
"Nobody will stop us," she said. "We know what happened. We will find her. We won't stop until we do."
Fisher said the main goal has always been to bring Phylicia home to allow her family to bury her so she can rest in peace.
"This is about telling the truth," Fisher said. "And it's about bringing closure to the family."
Bailey and Fisher believe Thomas' remains may have been buried in a vegetable garden or burned and disposed of somewhere on a 25-acre site where the trailer once stood along Golf Course Road and Timber Lane in Hunlock Township.
The site was sold in December 2015, a house trailer was razed and debris removed. Following the sale, the new property owners allowed Bailey to search the area. In 2016, separate searches were conducted on the property using animals from Malvern-based Search and Rescue Dogs of Pennsylvania: one on behalf of Bailey, a second for state police.
During the first search, cadaver dogs gave indications at certain areas of the property, suggesting they may have detected decomposing human remains. State police took one of the same dogs back to the site two weeks later and no hits were recorded. The dog's handler said he couldn't explain why no hits were recorded on the second search.
Bailey expressed disappointment that the 14-year investigation has not been successful in finding Phylicia, nor those responsible for her disappearance and presumed murder.
"We want to see the people responsible brought to justice," Fisher said. "We believe some of the people involved are still out there."
As Bailey was walking to the center of Patriot Square, she was struggling with the fact that 14 years have passed with no resolution to the case.
"I woke up this morning sick to my stomach," she said. "This is like going to a funeral every year."

2/12/2018
Hope rules at vigil for missing woman
Eric Mark - Citizens Voice

Hope was the theme of Sunday night's vigil for Phylicia Thomas, who has been missing for 14 years.
"We are bringing my daughter home and no one is going to stop us," Pauline Bailey told dozens of people gathered in Nanticoke's Patriot Square Park.
Bailey said that Sunday's vigil - the 14th consecutive gathering on the anniversary of Thomas's disappearance on Feb. 11, 2004 - will be the last before her daughter's case is solved.
"We know what happened," Bailey said. "We're not going to stop. ... We just want to bring her home."
Thomas, of Lake Twp., was 22 when she disappeared. Her family and friends have searched to find out what happened to her ever since.
They gather each year to honor Thomas, who was remembered Sunday as a young woman with a big heart who would do anything to help anyone in need.
Some stood in snow and slush, held lighted candles and sang Thomas's favorite song, Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here."
Bailey and Judy Fisher, a family friend and community activist, said they will soon have closure - and the answer to what happened to Thomas.
Bailey said that over the past year she has spoken with people who said they saw Thomas at a house party in Hunlock Twp. the night she disappeared. Thomas was sexually assaulted at that party, then killed and her remains were disposed of nearby, according to the witnesses, Bailey and Fisher said.
The only person ever named as a person of interest in the case was Steve Martin, an acquaintance of Thomas's. Martin committed suicide in state prison in 2005, while serving a sentence for causing a fatal automobile accident in Wilkes-Barre.
Bailey criticized the police investigation into her daughter's disappearance, but said new investigators have been assigned to the case.
Fisher said Thomas's family and friends would like to hear from anyone who attended the party at which she was allegedly assaulted and later killed. Witnesses may remain anonymous and need not fear for their safety, she said.
As more people come forward, the answer to what happened to Thomas becomes clear, according to Bailey.
"We have hope again," she said. "We have a pretty good idea where she is. We had people tell us things."
Anyone with information about Thomas or her disappearance may call Fisher at 570-328-4957 or send an email to: findphylicia@gmail.com.

1/24/2018
County approves tax break for commercial project
emark@citizensvoice.com

Luzerne County Council on Tuesday approved a 10-year tax abatement for a proposed commercial project that the developer says could create thousands of jobs.
Council voted 7-3 to approve the tax abatement for NorthPoint Development, the Missouri-based firm that plans to build three large commercial structures on a 330-acre tract off state Route 29 in Hanover Twp. and Nanticoke.
Council voted to exempt new buildings on the site from property tax liability for 10 years. The exemption will be 100 percent for the first seven years, decreasing to 90 percent in year eight, 80 percent in year nine and 70 percent in year 10.
Hanover Twp., Nanticoke, Hanover Area School District and Greater Nanticoke Area School District have approved the tax abatement, through a program known as Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance, that allows local taxing authorities to exempt improvements to business properties located in "deteriorated" areas.
A council majority on Tuesday cited the benefits the project could bring to the county, especially the creation of 2,000 or more jobs, once the buildings are leased and fully operational.
"I can't see us turning it down," Councilwoman Sheila Saidman said.
The vote was not unanimous, though.
Councilmen Edward Brominski, Harry Haas and Stephen A. Urban voted against the tax abatement. Councilman Matthew Vough was absent.
Haas said he hoped to see the county obtain better terms on the tax deferral deal, such as limiting the 100 percent tax exemption to a shorter time frame.
County Manager David Pedri said he had discussions with NorthPoint Development officials and expects the firm to be a good corporate citizen, but that no other terms were presented for the tax abatement request.
Haas questioned whether the site is really "deteriorated," as required to qualify for the tax abatement program.
Brent Miles, NorthPoint Development's vice president of economic development, described the site as rugged and "very topographically challenged," with steep slopes that will require grading. He said he once rode in a vehicle that got stuck while driving around the site.
NorthPoint Development has reached a tentative agreement to purchase the tract from the nonprofit Earth Conservancy.
Council members encouraged Miles to hire local contractors and laborers to help construct the project, which NorthPoint Development estimates will cost $100 million.
Warren Faust, president of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Building and Construction Trades Council, raised the issue of local hiring during public comment.
"There are plenty of qualified contractors in this county who can work on this project," Faust said. "They are ready, willing and able to build this."
Faust criticized NorthPoint Development for using too many contractors from out of the county when the company built the 800,000-square-foot Chewy.com fulfillment center in Hanover Industrial Estates.
Miles said the company was under a very tight deadline for construction, so it hired firms with which it had previously contracted on other projects, to make sure the Chewy.com warehouse was finished on schedule.
He promised to work with Faust and county officials to make sure Luzerne County contractors are included on the project. Plans that NorthPoint submitted to the county include a proposed 1.3-million-square-foot commercial structure and two other large buildings.
Also on Tuesday, council approved a $25,000 settlement of a lawsuit filed against the county by Francis Lombardo, a former inmate at Luzerne County Correctional Facility. Lombardo alleged in the suit that officials of the jail abused him and violated his rights.

1/24/2018
Portion of South Valley Parkway opens
Citizens Voice

Part of the South Valley Parkway in Hanover Twp. opened to drivers Monday morning. The section of the $83 million road construction project that opened occupies a stretch of land northwest of the South Cross Valley Expressway/state Route 29. It runs from a connection off of South Main Street near Exit 2 of the expressway to a newly constructed roundabout west of there. Two ramps near that roundabout connect to the South Cross Valley Expressway between exits 2 and 3. Further west of that roundabout, one lane of traffic will be open on a bridge over the expressway and Dundee Road, leading to another roundabout. The planned roadway continues to Middle Road and Kosciuszko Street in Nanticoke, but that section remains under construction. It is scheduled to open sometime in 2019.

1/21/2018
Former school transformed into training center for electrical apprentices
Denise Allabaugh - Citizens Voice

Since he was young, Wilkes-Barre resident Mark Gatusky wanted to be an electrician.
Both his grandfathers, his father and uncles were electricians and part of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 163.
Gatusky, 37, said his family wanted him to try going to college first, however.
He went to the University of Scranton, earned a master’s degree in history and subsequently worked in the health insurance business for years. He often traveled, didn’t see his family enough and he said the return on his investment “just wasn’t there.”
Then, he decided to follow his dream to become an electrician.
Gatusky is in his final year of a five-year electrical apprenticeship where he gets on-the-job paid training as well as education at a training center that opened last year at 41 W. Church St., Nanticoke.
He has done electrical work for projects ranging from a water park to natural gas power plants to the PPL Center, an arena in Allentown.
Pointing out that he earns a higher salary with better benefits as an electrician, Gatusky said, “I found myself much happier doing this and working with my hands.”
“It’s a creative way to make a living. No day is the same,” he said. “You could use your mind, be creative and have a living that you could have pride in, not only from a paycheck perspective, but you could look at a building and say, ‘You know what? I did that.’ ”
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union 163 and Penn-Del-Jersey chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association turned the former St. Stanislaus Catholic School in Nanticoke into a training center for electricians.
Gatusky is one of 57 apprentices in the program.
Training director John T. Nadolny said there is no cost for a five-year electrical apprenticeship.
Prior to opening the new training center, they rented space from Luzerne County Community College, he said.
Apprentices in the program receive technical training on Monday and Wednesday nights for three hours and occasionally Saturdays from September to April as well on-the-job paid training with contractors.
Their starting pay is about $12 an hour plus benefits for the first 1,000 hours. Electricians have the potential to earn more than $34 an hour plus benefits for an entire family, he said.
“You earn while you learn and at the end, you get college credits,” Nadolny said. “You can go for an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree and get up to 60 credits for this five-year program.”
Over the five years of the program, Nadolny said apprentices receive 8,000 hours of on-the-job training.
“This isn’t a job. It’s a career,” he said. “It’s not for everybody. It’s hard work. It’s very dangerous work. We teach them how to be safe.”
Electricians do outside work and inside work ranging from wiring homes, schools, hospitals, arenas and commercial, industrial and manufacturing facilities to lighting protection.
The future for electricians is wired for growth.
Nadolny said there is a big demand for electricians. Good candidates have mechanical knowledge and are dependable, he said.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of electricians is projected to grow 9 percent over the next eight years. As homes and businesses require more wiring, more electricians will be needed.
Becoming an electrician is a good high-paying alternative for interested applicants who don’t want to take on the high debt of college, Nadolny said.
“Unfortunately, many of people who go to college end up with a quarter of a million dollars of debt when they’re done and they work at McDonald’s,” he said. “College isn’t for everybody. Maybe some would do better in the trades.”
Mountain Top resident Jillian Henderson, 31, is in her first year of the electrical apprenticeship.
While being an electrician is not a traditional career for women, Henderson said she loves to work with her hands.
“You get to use your hands and your brains. It’s the best of both worlds,” Henderson said. “My father is a contractor so it runs in the family.”
Wilkes-Barre resident Ernesto Tapia, 27, who also is in his first year of the apprenticeship, said he also loves working with his hands and doing something different every day.
“I can’t stay in one spot,” Tapia said. “I can’t sit inside. I’ve got to do different things, work inside and outside.”
People can apply for the apprenticeship on the first Monday of each month between 1 and 6 p.m. at 41 W. Church St., Nanticoke. Applicants must be 18, be a high school graduate or have a GED and receive a satisfactory score on a Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee test and resident in the Local 163 jurisdiction, which is mostly Luzerne County. For more information, call 570-258-2665
IBEW Local 81 has a training center with the same program in South Abington Twp. for Lackawanna County residents. For more information, call 570-319-1721.

1/20/2018
Section of South Valley Parkway will open Monday
Bill Wellock - Citizens Voice

A section of an $83 million road construction project will be ready for drivers soon.
Part of the South Valley Parkway in Hanover Twp. will open at 11 a.m. Monday.
The section to open occupies a stretch of land northwest of the South Cross Valley Expressway/state Route 29.
It runs from a connection off of South Main Street near Exit 2 of the expressway to a newly constructed roundabout west of there. Two ramps near that roundabout connect to the South Cross Valley Expressway between exits 2 and 3.
Further west of that roundabout, one lane of traffic will be open on a bridge over the expressway and Dundee Road, leading to another roundabout.
The planned roadway continues to Middle Road and Kosciuszko Street in Nanticoke, but that section remains under construction. It is scheduled to open sometime in 2019, spokesman Mike Taluto said.
The new parkway opens up land to potential development. Missouri-based NorthPoint Development is considering building there.
The company has already built a warehouse for Chewy.com, an online pet supply retailer, on another nearby section of land in Hanover Twp. Two other NorthPoint buildings near the Chewy.com warehouse will be homes for Adidas and Patagonia facilities.
Now, NorthPoint is considering constructing three new buildings on Earth Conservancy land next to the South Valley Parkway. Once occupied, the site could be home to 1,300 to 2,000 jobs.
The company is looking for tax breaks on the development. NorthPoint has already secured tax deals with Hanover Twp., Nanticoke, and those municipalities’ respective school districts. Luzerne County Council will vote on whether to extend that tax break to county taxes at a meeting Tuesday.
Development was part of the vision for the road construction project when it was conceived, along with alleviating traffic on Main Street through the Askam section of Hanover Twp.
The road and its roundabouts in the township will connect the highway to about 2,000 acres of land for potential industrial development.

1/20/2018
County council set to vote on tax break request for project
Eric Mark - Citizens Voice

County council could vote next week whether or not to grant a 10-year tax abatement for a proposed commercial development in Hanover Twp. and Nanticoke.
NorthPoint Development, a Missouri-based industrial development firm, plans to build three large commercial structures on the 330-acre parcel off state Route 29 and Kosciuszko Street, which the firm says would create 1,300 to 2,000 jobs. NorthPoint has reached a preliminary agreement to purchase the land from the nonprofit Earth Conservancy.NorthPoint has requested that Hanover Twp., Nanticoke, Hanover Area School District and Greater Nanticoke Area School District exempt new structures on the site from property taxation for a decade. The firm’s request falls under a tax abatement program known as Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance, or LERTA, that allows local taxing authorities to exempt improvements to business properties located in “deteriorated” areas.The two municipalities and two school districts already approved that request, according to county records.
At a Jan. 9 work session, county council members heard a NorthPoint executive extol the virtues of the project. On Tuesday, the issue reaches the agenda for council’s voting session.
Council will consider a resolution that would provide tax exemption for the NorthPoint project, with 100 percent tax abatement the first seven years, followed by 90 percent in year eight, 80 percent in year nine and 70 percent in year 10.
Those numbers could change, according to Councilman Harry Haas.
“I encourage the manager and council members to get a better deal for the county,” Haas said Friday.
Haas said he was impressed by NorthPoint’s presentation at the work session earlier this month. He is also impressed by the success NorthPoint had developing the parcel in Hanover Industrial Estates that houses the 800,000-square-foot Chewy.com warehouse, he said.
But NorthPoint’s argument that “it all comes down to nickels and dimes” for industrial development projects works both ways, Haas said.
“It also comes down to nickels and dimes for taxpayers,” he said.
It is possible that county Manager David Pedri will negotiate better terms on the county’s behalf, or that a council member will make a motion to amend the resolution to reflect better terms, Haas said.
Council Chairman Tim McGinley said he expects council to discuss the requested tax abatement in detail, then vote on the resolution that will determine its fate Tuesday.

1/18/2018
Search for fallen WWII soldier’s family moves to Moosic
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens Voice - Note: partial article from CV

The hunt for family of a World War II soldier missing since October 1944 has shifted — and appears to be over.
Military officials initially contacted the Nanticoke Historical Society, looking for family of Private Anthony Laskowski, believed to have been a Nanticoke native killed in a massive explosion near Agincourt, France.
But some Laskowskis in the Nanticoke area knew the military was on the wrong track — their Anthony Laskowski survived the war and died in the 1980s. After a recent story was published in The Citizens’ Voice, they eventually helped track down the right family, the Laskowskis originally from Moosic.
Delphine Krappa Mattei, 81, of Dupont, on Wednesday said the Laskowski the military is inquiring about is her uncle, Anthony A. Laskowski. He was the brother of her late mother, Laura Laskowski Gerlak.

1/17/2018
Wilkes-Barre, Pittston, Hazleton, Nanticoke mull cooperation on blight
boboyle@timesleader.com |

The mayors of three of Luzerne County’s four cities met Tuesday to discuss issues and possible partnerships to help ease some of the financial burdens each faces and ways to grow their communities.
Mayor Tony George of Wilkes-Barre, Mayor Mike Lombardo of Pittston and Mayor Jeff Cusat of Hazleton met for more than an hour in Wilkes-Barre City Hall to exchange ideas and to share experiences. Mayor Rich Wiaterowski of Nanticoke could not attend the meeting.
Lombardo said the group, for now, is called Council of Cities and the plan is to meet quarterly or more often, depending on issues.
Tuesday’s discussion centered on blighted properties and how to deal with absentee owners and overcrowded units with numerous code violations. The mayors’ goal is to find the best way to get the buildings rehabilitated and returned to the tax rolls as soon as possible.
There was extended conversation on Act 90 — the “Neighborhood Blight Reclamation and Revitalization Act” — which took effect in 2011.
Act 90 expands the powers that municipalities have to reduce blighted properties. Those in “serious code violation,” as determined by local zoning officers, can have several legal actions taken against them. Buildings that are determined to be a “public nuisance” also fall under the law.
A city may take action if after six months from the date of an order to correct violations there has been “no substantial step” to correct those violations.
Some of the options available:
• Liens can be placed against properties with code violations.
• Municipalities can take property owners to court to seek judgments against an owner’s assets.
• Municipalities may deny permits to owners of buildings who are in violation.
• Municipalities may deny permits to owners who are behind in taxes.
• Municipalities may deny permits to owners behind in other municipal accounts (water, sewage, refuse collection, etc.)
• Municipalities may deny these permits until all existing violations are remedied.
• Out-of-state property owners may be extradited to Pennsylvania to be charged with property-related violations.
• Magisterial districts may establish “housing courts” — additionally, judges are encouraged to attend training and education relating to new blight laws.
Housing help
George, Cusat and Lombardo will invite Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis to discuss what her office can do to assist the cities in addressing the issues covered by Act 90.
“In Pittston, our focus over the next four years will be on our housing stock,” said Lombardo, who returned to office this month. “All of our downtowns are growing or have the potential to grow and housing issues dictate where we go from here.”
Lombardo hopes the mayors can share issues each city is confronting and also discuss how they can join together to make purchases of items and materials they all use.
“In Hazleton, we certainly have a lot of issues with housing,” Cusat said. “We found one apartment where eight people were living in one room. We’ve also found people living in basements with no way out.”
George agreed the four cities together have the potential to present a stronger argument on issues.
“As a group, we have a better chance at securing federal funding for certain projects,” George said.
Lombardo and Cusat agreed, saying each city acting alone would not be as influential as a united effort by the four.|
The mayors also intend to find ways to attract developers to their cities to help eliminate blight.

1/16/2018
Family sought of Nanticoke soldier killed in France in World War II
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens Voice

After more than 73 years, there is renewed hope of determining the fate of a Nanticoke soldier believed to have been killed during World War II.
Private Anthony Laskowski and 32 other men were thought to have been killed in a horrific explosion and inferno on Oct. 10, 1944 near Ajincourt, France. But the remains of Laskowski and 12 others were never recovered. They’ve been considered missing in action ever since.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency recently recovered remains in that area and are trying to link them with the missing through family DNA testing.
The organization recently reached out to the Nanticoke Historical Society to help track down relatives of Laskowski.
Chet Zaremba, the group’s vice president, said he’s been having little luck.
“He did live in Nanticoke at one time, so we owe him something,” Zaremba said. “There’s lots of Laskowskis around here, but I can’t make any connection.”
Military officials have told Zaremba that Laskowski’s enlistment paperwork indicates he was from Nanticoke and his mother, Stefania, lived in the Sheatown section of Newport Twp.
News accounts from January 1945 reported on his suspected death and says he was the brother of Mrs. John Gerlak of Dupont and the husband of Evelyn Laskowski, of Center Avenue, Newark, New Jersey.
The military’s missing persons website has Laskowski listed under those unaccounted for from New Jersey.
Military officials provided the historical society with a summary about the incident that likely killed Laskowski.
Members of Laskowski’s unit — the Army’s 35th Infantry Division, 60th Engineers Combat Battalion — were laying anti-tank landmines at night on Oct. 10, 1944 during a period intermittent artillery and mortar fire. Truck after truck was loaded with fused mines.
A big explosion from the leading truck caused the systematic detonation of other trucks and mines on the ground, causing more than 1,500 mines to explode.
“The entire area immediately became an inferno of exploding mines, small arms ammunition and burning,” according to an after-action report by the 60th Engineers Combat Battalion. “The night was very dark and there was a heavy fog, which made rescue work most difficult ...”
Zaremba is hoping Laskowski still has some local relatives so the military can determine if his remains have been found.
“They are trying to identify them so they could bury them properly,” Zaremba said.
Relatives can contact the Army’s Past Conflict Repatriations Branch at 1-800-892-2490.
Missing in action
Name: Private Anthony Laskowski
Branch: U.S. Army
Missing since: Oct. 10, 1944
Location: Near Ajincourt, France
Unit: 35th Infantry Division, 60th Engineers Combat Battalion
Hometown: Nanticoke
Marital residence: Newark, N.J.
Are you a relative?
The military is seeking relatives of Private Anthony Laskowski in order to provide a DNA sample that could help identify remains found in the area where Laskowski went missing during World War II. Relatives can contact the Army’s Past Conflict Repatriations Branch at 1-800-892-2490.

1/5/2018
Winning lottery ticket sold in Nanticoke will expire soon
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens Voice

Time is running out for someone to claim a $50,000 winning lottery ticket purchased at a Nanticoke convenience store last year.
Someone correctly matched the “Pick 5” numbers the evening of Jan. 12, 2017 in a ticket purchased at Turkey Hill Minit Mart at 460 W. Main St.
The winnings will be forfeited if the ticket is not claimed by Friday, Jan. 12, as winning tickets expire after one year, lottery officials warn.
The winning numbers, in order, were “8-1-0-5-8.”
Turkey Hill in Nanticoke has a sign up near its lottery register advising residents to “Please check your tickets” as a big winner sold here is set to expire.
“This is a $50,000 winner and is unclaimed,” the sign reads.
Allen Zieglar, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Lottery, encouraged people to check old tickets in hopes they have the winner. If it’s not claimed by next Friday, the $50,000 will be returned to the lottery’s fund that benefits older Pennsylvanians.
“We want players to check every ticket every time. We don’t want them to miss out on a prize. That’s why we are here. We do our best to notify the public and players that there are winning tickets out there,” Zieglar said. “Unfortunately, if it’s not claimed in time, the money goes back to the lottery fund.”
While some state lotteries give players only 90 or 180 days to claim a prize, Pennsylvania Lottery prizes expire one year from the drawing date, Zieglar noted.
In the past year, $18.8 million in lottery prizes have gone unclaimed, he said.

Happy New Year 2018!

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