Area adds teachers to district's extra-help program
Greater Nanticoke Area School District is starting a new after-school program
to help kindergarten through fifth grade students who are struggling with math
The school board voted Thursday to post for five reading and five
math teachers for the extra-help program, which starts next month. The program
will provide an hour a week in reading help and an hour a week in math help, Superintendent
Ronald Grevera said.
The district will hire elementary school teachers who
are already on the district payroll for the extra-help program, Grevera said.
The district will spend federal funds on the program.
The program will help
12-15 students in each grade for math and 12-15 students in each grade in reading,
Grevera said. The program will end this school year in March.
Also at Thursday's
meeting, the school board filled the following vacant positions: Alicia Erwin
as elementary special education director; Kristen Nelson and Andrea Kordek as
special education teachers; Cody Wittick as an elementary teacher; and Anthony
Koval as a high school biology teacher.
16 Investigates: What Happened on Bus 24?
Dave Bohman - Newswatch
A 12-year-old softball player riding on her school's team bus after
a game fell on the floor after apparently suffering a seizure. Video from the
bus shows she lay on the floor for more than six minutes before anyone seemed
The girl has epilepsy and suffered what her doctor called as a grand
mal seizure on the bus ride with her teammates at Greater Nanticoke Area Middle
School in May.
Her mother is now coming forward with her story, which includes
video showing two adults on the bus doing nothing while the girl had her seizure.
mother doesn't want us using her first name because the Nanticoke Middle School
student is just starting to recover emotionally from what she went through, and
the girl doesn't want to ride the bus to away games.
"She is constantly
afraid that she is going to be somewhere and people aren't going to know what
to do," said the girl's mother Sharon Cullen.
Cullen is still jolted by
what happened on Bus 24 back in May.
Video from the bus shows her daughter,
who has epilepsy, sitting down during the ride home after a softball game.
then falls out of the seat, banging her head on the frame of the opposite seat,"
She suffered a concussion and bruises. Then she lay on the floor
of the bus for more than six minutes.
"She's completely helpless and alone
right now and no one has come to her aid," Cullen said.
Other girls on
the bus claimed they were looking out windows trying to get truckers to honk their
horns and did not notice their teammate on the floor.
During those six minutes,
video shows substitute coach Brian Stachak looking back eight times.
don't have an explanation for that. I don't," said Cullen.
The coach tells
Newswatch 16 by phone, he's a high school coach who was subbing for this one game.
He says no one told him about the girl's medical condition.
Cullen thinks someone
should have. That's because earlier, she filled out this a required of all student-athletes.
It noted her daughter had epilepsy.
After the bus pulled into Nanticoke Middle
School last May, an ambulance rushed the girl to the emergency room where she
was treated and spent the night.
The girl's own doctor wanted to see the bus
video to see if she had a seizure, how many, how long they lasted -- vital information
for diagnosing a problem. But Cullen says when she asked for the video, it took
the school system four days to produce it.
"I don't know why it wasn't
given to her right away," said Mary Loughlin.
Loughlin is the head of
the local chapter of the Epilepsy Foundation of Eastern Pennsylvania. She says
the bus video was vital to helping the girl's doctor diagnose a grand mal seizure.
can die from seizures. They can die if they're left untreated or helped,"
Loughlin says the coach should have ordered the bus driver to
pull off the highway and call 911 immediately.
In an email, Nanticoke school
solicitor Vito Deluca wrote that most questions about what happened cannot be
answered because of personnel or privacy concerns.
As to why the substitute
coach was not told of the girl's epilepsy, Deluca writes that since the incident,
the superintendent, "instituted a policy requiring the head coach to maintain
a binder containing important student medical information and advise all assistant
coaches of its content."
Cullen says that should have been done before
her daughter's seizure.
"The coach that was on the bus didn't even have
a roster," Cullen said. "Let alone, any medical information."
says the current policy is not working. She says when her daughter started volleyball
this fall, it took a week for the athletic department to notify the coach of the
Nanticoke's school solicitor writes that schools are not
required to notify coaches of a student athlete's medical conditions and that
Nanticoke schools continue to improve student safety.
property owners will fight
and Mary Lou Pomicter and Debbie Massaker don't want to lose their homes on East
Main Street in Nanticoke.
They have filed responses to eminent domain declarations
from the General Municipal Authority of the City of Nanticoke that would seize
their properties and others on the block for a development called the Nantego
In its declaration of taking, filed Aug. 28, the authority
said it plans to build a five-story mixed-use building on the site that will include
affordable housing for senior citizens, a Geisinger center for the elderly, a
parking garage and a bus station.
The General Municipal Authority filed for
eminent domain against five properties. The Pomicters and Massaker have filed
"These are all viable businesses. They are making money,"
said Clifford Pomicter.
A Sept. 27 response from attorneys on behalf of the
Pomicters and for Massaker argues that using eminent domain in this instance is
improper because the Municipal Authorities Act doesn't allow for eminent domain
to be used for what the city authority proposes.
The response also said that
the Nanticoke Housing Authority already provides adequate affordable housing for
That authority operates three facilities for seniors citizens, Park
Towers, Oplinger Towers and Nanticoke Towers.
There are several nearby vacant
lots that are suitable for the Nantego plan, and building there wouldn't displace
already established property owners and their tenants, the response said.
response also points to news articles, including a Sept. 26 article in The Citizens'
Voice, that mention the possibility of commercial space in the development. An
Aug. 17 press release from state Sen John Yudichak, D-14, Plymouth Twp. about
the Nantego project says it will include retail space below the senior housing,
which the response said is another reason not to allow eminent domain.
Pomicters have lived in their home at 135 E. Main St. for 18 years, and they own
two rental apartments, which are occupied, and two storefronts, which are unoccupied.
They estimate they've spent at least $100,000 on maintenance and renovations for
their property. The buildings are hooked up to utilities and have a new furnace.
not blighted. They may not be modern, but they're in very good shape," Mary
Lou Pomicter said.
After living in his home for years and pouring money into
renovations, Clifford Pomicter is worried he will lose it as he's getting ready
to retire, leaving him and the tenants on the block with few options.
want to kick the elderly out to build new buildings to bring in the elderly. It
makes no sense," he said.
Massaker has lived in her property, Nilved Apartments
at 143 E. Main St., for the last 20 years. She also owns 10 apartments and two
storefronts on the block and has five tenants on her property, she said.
people say these buildings are blighted, it really makes the owners and the tenants
mad, because people live here and people have their businesses here. (Nardozzo's
Pizzeria) next door is a three-generation business. People live in these buildings.
They're not vacant. They're not blighted," Massaker said.
Most of the
storefronts on the block are unoccupied, with the exception of Nardozzo's Pizzeria
and Reams Chiropractic Center. Mary Lou Pomicter has had interest from prospective
tenants, but no one has rented within the past year and a half. Massaker is talking
to some prospective commercial tenants who she said are waiting until utility
work on East Main Street is finished before possibly moving in.
purchases first parcel for 340-acre project in Hanover, Nanticoke
NorthPoint Development now officially owns part of a 340-acre tract that will
house its second project in Hanover Township and Nanticoke, according to a deed
The project will include three buildings, including one expected
to be 1.2 million to 1.4 million square feet, which would make it the largest
such structure in Northeastern Pennsylvania, a company representative told Luzerne
County Council members last month.
The developer paid the nonprofit Earth Conservancy
$2.83 million for an 85-acre parcel in both municipalities, or $33,333.33 per
acre, says the deed transferring ownership to NP Hanover Industrial II LLC.
Conservancy Executive Director Mike Dziak said Monday he expects to close on the
sale of the second 255-acre tract to NorthPoint in October.
Proceeds from the
sale will be spent on other projects in the nonprofit's mission to put former
Blue Coal land back into productive use, including mine reclamation and the construction
of roads linking some sites to the new South Valley Parkway, Dziak said.
officials approved a tax break for the NorthPoint project at the start of the
Known as "Hanover 9," this partially wooded land runs along
Route 29 on the east side and will be accessible from both the parkway and Kosciuszko
Street across from Luzerne County Community College, maps show.
will receive full real estate tax forgiveness on new construction for seven years,
90 percent exemption in the eighth year, 80 percent in the ninth and 70 percent
in the 10th and final year.
However, NorthPoint must pay taxes on the land
during the break, and the land has been tax exempt under Earth Conservancy ownership.
amount of taxes NorthPoint will pay on the land is unknown at this time because
the tract it has purchased has been subdivided and must be carved out separately
with new parcel identification numbers and assessments, county officials say.
85 acres covers parts of five existing parcels, the deed says.
Chewy.com, Adidas and Patagonia Inc. to its first 172-acre project, which also
was on former Earth Conservancy land in Hanover Township.
Miles told council he is in discussion with a "very well-known company"
to occupy the massive building at the second project site, predicting an executed
deal would attract national publicity due to the company's identity, capital investment
NorthPoint expects to begin construction shortly on that building
and a second smaller one on the Nanticoke portion that already has attracted an
unidentified tenant, he has said.
He had estimated 1,300 to 1,500 jobs would
be created at the site, possibly 2,000 to 3,000.
Dziak said Monday the new
property sale to NorthPoint will transform the blighted section and boost the
"It's a significant sale because NorthPoint already is
in the process of preparing the land to build a new building that will house another
company and provide more jobs," Dziak said. "It's a real positive thing
for the community."
Taxing bodies also recently granted a tax break for
NorthPoint's third project on 150 acres it plans to buy from Earth Conservancy
and the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce along Dundee Road in the township.
discuss possibility of 'mini transit hub' in Nanticoke
Nantego Development Project could be home to a "mini transit hub" in
downtown Nanticoke if it is built, said Norm Gavlick, Luzerne County Transportation
Authority executive director.
LCTA officials have met with the Nanticoke General
Municipal Authority to give their ideas about how the project could include public
Possible ideas include widening East Main Street to accommodate a
pull-off stop for buses and including an indoor waiting area for riders.
agreed to use it if they provide it," Gavlick said.
The $21.6 million
project at the 100 block of East Main Street would include 36 one-bedroom units
and four two-bedroom units for seniors citizens whose income is 60 percent of
the area's median income or lower, according to a grant submitted to the Department
of Community and Economic Development. It would also include commercial space
on the street level and a parking garage.
The grant application mentions a
LIFE Geisinger facility for senior citizens, but that might be replaced by a YMCA
program for older adults, wrote Mark S. Grochocki, the chief of staff for state
Sen. John Yudichak, D-14, Plymouth Twp. The project would demolish 13 "mostly
vacant and blighted" properties.
LCTA may also move an existing bus stop
around the corner from a Geisinger facility so as not to block traffic on Main
With a transit hub in downtown Nanticoke, LCTA would change some routes
to make travel more efficient for riders in the southern end of the Wyoming Valley.
Route 14, which includes Glen Lyon, Nanticoke, Hanover Twp. and Wilkes-Barre,
and Route 15, which includes Nanticoke, Hanover Twp. and Wilkes-Barre, would change.
Route 22, which runs from Plymouth to Wilkes-Barre, might also change.
could open up the lower end of the valley. There would be a lot of possibilities
for people who want to get around from Nanticoke without having to come back to
Wilkes-Barre first," Gavlick said.
explain $21 million Nantego development in Nanticoke
got their chance Monday to explain the controversial Nantego revitalization project
set for East Main Street.
And they revealed at least one tenant: the Luzerne
County Transportation Authority.
Since eminent domain papers were filed
which some residents said caught them by surprise the Nanticoke General
Municipal Authority became the legal owner of the properties pending just compensation,
which is required by the Fifth Amendment when private property is taken for public
use, according to Nanticoke City solicitor Luke Moran.
If the authority
didnt condemn those properties, PennDOT was going to, said Moran during
an authority meeting Monday. Eminent domain was done with the focus on public
He continued: We approached some property owners
and we realized that there were going to be quote on quote holdouts or property
owners who were going to be resistant and drop anchor and want more money than
what their properties were worth.
If the property owners did that, it
meant acquisition costs would be exceeded from a budgetary standpoint which means
that we would be held hostage and the project would probably not come to fruition.
did note the city is prepared to offer the newly ousted owners a sum of money
that correlates with the appraisal reports the authority received from a commissioned
The fair market value is close to the assessed values of Luzerne
County, he said. The last time that (an assessment) was done is in
The Nantego project, estimated at $21 million, would house residential
and commercial sites and be built once the current buildings are demolished. Affordable
senior living apartments would be available to citizens over 65 if they qualify
for a certain voucher. But not all the apartments would be reserved for seniors.
also tried to dismiss concerns the developer would receive tax-free status.
to our knowledge, he said. The reason we are doing this is to bolster
the tax rolls. No one has come to us about tax abatement.
He added: This
is not talk. Shovels are to be in the ground. This project is actually going to
We believe that whats best for the city is to invest dollars,
improve the real estate, the condition, create jobs, bring commercial businesses
here and attract family-sustaining jobs to create that economic public impact
in a reverberated way.
Moran does not believe there will be any more
eminent domain actions by the city for Nantego.
riders roll into Nanticoke
motorcycle club of current and former New York City firefighters rumbled into
town last week and surprised a retired member with a trip to a memorial to his
brother who was killed on Sept. 11.
The group visited a tribute at Luzerne
County Community College to fallen New York City firefighter Michael Carlo, 34,
who was killed at the World Trade Center. Carlo was born and raised in the Wanamie
section of Newport Twp.
His brother, Rob Carlo, was shocked when members
of his club - the New York City Fire Riders - brought him to his brother's memorial
at LCCC's Walk of Honor. The Nanticoke Fire Department was there to greet them.
was just told we were coming up for a ride. I had no idea you guys were meeting
us here," Rob Carlo said in an impromptu speech at the memorial. "My
family is going to be thrilled we did this here today."
which includes tributes to others killed on duty, was partially funded by the
Carlo family from money paid out to Sept. 11 victims.
"It's great. It
will be here for years to come. Hopefully it doesn't get filled with line of duty
deaths. It's a nice place to come and reflect," Rob Carlo said.
Carlo, who now lives in California, was visiting friends in New York when the
group decided to take the ride to Nanticoke. They told him they planned to visit
the Nanticoke Fire Department, which has a memorial to Sept. 11 outside made from
World Trade Center steel.
They also visited that memorial during their trip.
said so many of his colleagues are filled with anger, hate and depression 17 years
after the Sept. 11 terror attacks. He said this year instead of dreading the month
of September he tried to spend his days thinking of things he was thankful for.
refuse to let them win," Rob Carlo said of the terrorists. "Every day
we could be grateful."
Nanticoke Fire Chief Kevin Hazleton said
the department was happy to host the Fire Riders.
"What an honor
to have them come," Hazleton said.
presented to Habitat for Humanity project
Fargo recently presented Wyoming Valley Habitat for Humanity with a $35,000 grant
award. The charitable contribution will help fund Habitats Nanticoke home
build that will house a low-income family and help them achieve the dream of first
time home ownership. Along with the monetary support, Wells Fargo employees contributed
600 hours of volunteer labor at the Nanticoke project. Wyoming Valley Habitat
for Humanity is a non-profit organization that builds simple, decent homes to
sell to families in need. Habitat families are selected based on level of need,
willingness to become partners in the Habitat program, and ability to repay a
no-interest, 20-year mortgage.
worry about vacation properties in Carolinas
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens
Attorney Joe Iracki of Nanticoke was supposed to be heading to
his cottage in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, today for an annual homeowners association
gathering this weekend.
Instead, hes stuck here to worry about what Hurricane
Florence will do to the property his family has owned since 1995.
worried about the wind picking something up and smashing the windows or shingles
being ripped off the roof, Iracki said.
Iracki said he and his wife werent
able to get a flight down to board up the windows of the property or move their
car out of the driveway.
Their vacation home, located in the Shore Drive area
of Myrtle Beach, is about 500 yards from the beach.
The property has survived
three other hurricanes since theyve owned it, but none as powerful as this
one is expected to be.
Since their property is tiered, they are hoping the
storm surge does not reach the second-floor living quarters. Their car in the
driveway likely will be flooded if the storm surge is around 15 feet, he said.
Hazleton, a Nanticoke-based accountant, said her vacation home south of Myrtle
Beach in Surfside Beach is in jeopardy.
We are just expecting the worst,
Her home, which is also tiered, is about 150 yards from the beach.
She hopes its high enough that the storm surge doesnt hit the living
Most houses around her are ground level, she said.
fully expect my neighbors are going to get decimated, she said.
and her husband had a contractor board up the windows of the property.
caravan and a golf cart in the garage under their home are likely goners, Hazleton
Thats why I have insurance, she said.
Area may reprint yearbooks after graduating senior left out
P. Buffer - Citizens Voice
The Greater Nanticoke Area School Board approved
some administrative changes at Thursdays meeting, and officials said the
district may print new 2017-18 yearbooks to correct mistakes.
The cost to print
new yearbooks has not been determined, Superintendent Ronald Grevera said. A parent
told the board that her son, a graduating senior, was omitted from the yearbook,
and board member Tony Prushinski said the district should pay to print 180 new
The board on Thursday approved the motion to appoint Jessica Fletcher
as an elementary school principal retroactive to Aug. 20. She had been an elementary
school teacher for the district, and her salary as an administrator will be $70,000
The board also accepted the resignation of John Gorham as an elementary
school principal. The Crestwood School District hired Gorham as principal at Rice
Elementary School, and he will start that job sometime in October.
also accepted the resignation of Susan Lipsey as special education director. She
accepted a job with another school district, and her last day working for Greater
Nanticoke Area has not been determined, Grevera said. The board approved a motion
to advertise for new special education director.
owners upset over Nanticoke eminent domain filings
By Jennifer Learn-Andes
and Dan Stokes - firstname.lastname@example.org
At 63, Clifford and Mary Lou Pomicter
feel very much at home on East Main Street in the city.
Their residence, located
above a commercial space in a building they own, has four bedrooms and one bath.
It's spacious and comfortable, it's in walking distance of everything they might
And it's facing the wrecking ball.
The Pomicters say they were shocked
and upset when they received official notice a few days ago that a city authority
plans to take their properties through eminent domain for a revitalization project.
are close to retirement. We don't want to move," Clifford Pomicter said.
"Had the (city) come to us and told us its intentions, we probably could
have worked something out."
The city's General Municipal Authority filed
declarations of taking in the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas on Aug. 28,
informing five property owners their structures will be condemned to construct
a new five-story, mixed use structure, court records show.
Attempts to reach
city representatives, including the authority solicitor, about the eminent domain
action were unsuccessful Tuesday.
The condemnation notices, which are dated
Aug. 30, say the property owners must file preliminary objections within 30 days
after being served notice if they want to challenge the authority's right to take
the action, the sufficiency of a security bond posted by the authority or the
procedures followed by the authority.
According to court
filings, the authority board unanimously voted to acquire the properties through
eminent domain May 21 for the proposed housing and public transportation project
benefiting the elderly.
State and city officials celebrated the awarding of
a $1 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant last month to help
pay for the project, which is estimated at $21 million and called the "Nantego
The project will be on the south side of East Main Street,
starting in the 100 block at the intersection of South Prospect Street and extending
to the area of 6 S. Walnut St.
Officials have said it will create approximately
40 affordable senior housing units that will include 36 one-bedroom and four two-bedroom
units for seniors at or below 60 percent of median income. Retail spaces are planned
below the housing units.
In addition to apartments, the building will house
a Living Independently For Elders (LIFE) Center on the ground floor, in partnership
with LIFE Geisinger to provide eligible older adults with the support they may
need to continue living independently.
A parking structure will also be built
into the building that will serve building residents as well as the business district
of Nanticoke, officials said.
Eminent domain declarations were filed on these
properties and owners, according to the filings and county assessment data:
A four-story apartment building with commercial space on the first floor at 143
E. Main St. owned by Nilved Apartments LLC, which bought the property for $150,000
in May 2011.
o A residential structure at 6 S. Walnut St. purchased by Michael
and Gloria Mooney for $31,500 in July 2016.
o A mixed residential and commercial
building at 129 E. Main St. acquired by Dale R. Reams for $50,000 in August 2016.
The former Bartuska's Furniture Store at 147 E. Main St., owned by Denis and James
o A commercial/residential building at 133 E. Main St. owned by the
'Very mad, very bitter'
The owner of a century-old apartment
building in the condemnation zone, who asked not to be identified, said she and
the Pomicters are planning to retain a lawyer to challenge the eminent domain.
woman said she and her recently deceased husband invested their life savings on
purchasing and restoring the structure, which was built in 1915 and still contains
many original architectural details.
She noted the Nanticoke Historical Society
website included her apartment building as one of the most recognizable city buildings,
indicating it was built by Frank E. Devlin as the first "regulation apartment
house" in the city. The Nilved name - Devlin spelled backwards - still appears
on the structure.
Like the Pomicters, she resides in one of the apartments
and said renters both young and old occupy apartments in her building and some
"I'm very mad, very bitter, that they they're forcing me to spend
my money to fight this," the woman said.
Clifford Pomicter questioned
why officials want to create additional senior housing when there are vacancies
in several other existing facilities.
"I can't understand why they want
to build another one," he said.
Pomicter estimated he has invested at
least $100,000 in his property and has complied with code enforcement requirements,
even though he argues two buildings in the block already owned by the authority
have not been maintained.
The Nilved Apartments owner also complained about
high weeds, an exterior pile of discarded furniture and a broken, street-level
window at an authority-owned structure at the end of her block where it intersects
with Shea Street.
Mary Lou Pomicter said she believes city officials have discouraged
prospective commercial tenants at the authority building and others nearby.
think the (city) is telling the people interested in leasing or renting from us
that they are going to buy it, so they don't bother with us," she said.
way, she and her husband worry about the future.
"We aren't going to get
a place as big as the one we have now," said Mary Lou. "What are we
going to do with all of the stuff we have?"
Her husband also worries about
the impact relocation would have on her. He suffered two strokes earlier this
"Where we live now, if something were to happen to me, my wife is
at least in walking distance to everything," he said. "That's one of
my biggest fears with all of this."
to be featured in WVIA series
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens Voice
public broadcasting company is seeking Nanticoke residents to take part in a video
it is making on the city.
Nanticoke will be featured on WVIAs Our
Town series, a day-in-the-life program that will include people, places
and happenings of the city.
The first meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept.
13 at Nanticoke City Hall, 15 E. Ridge St. Residents will discuss which landmarks,
events and local stories they think should be included in the program.
meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20 at city hall. During that
meeting, those in attendance will determine what stories should be told. Up to
25 volunteers with personal camcorders will be assigned video to shoot to be included
in the television program.
Anyone interested in being a videographer or storyteller
for the program should contact WVIA Our Town producer Lisa Mazzarella
at 570-602-1164 or by emailing email@example.com.
Our Town Nanticoke
will debut at 8 p.m. Dec. 3 on WVIA-TV.
Knoebels excitement goes viral
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens Voice
of a little Nanticoke girls excitement upon arriving at Knoebels Amusement
Resort is getting a lot of attention online.
The mother of McKinley Gleco,
2, posted the video to Facebook on Sunday, with a caption of ... And the
rollercoaster! I freaked out! the girls final words in the funny 28-second
clip as the familys car passed a coaster.
Officials with Knoebels quickly
reached out, asking for the video so they could post to their page.
This two-year-old is talking about Knoebels, then realizes shes AT Knoebels!,
the amusement park posted.
The video had amassed more than 58,000 views by
McKinleys mother Melissa Roberts said she knew the
video was cute. But she thinks all her daughters videos are cute. She didnt
expect all the attention the video is getting.
Im her mom. So Im
biased, she said.
But people started to tell her this one had viral potential.
knew the family was going to Knoebels and excitedly was talking about her plans
as the car neared the park. Then Roberts stepmother started filming on her
Were gonna go on the rollercoaster and the slide and
the boats and the horsies. Neigh, McKinley said.
The girls father,
Brynton Gleco, then asked, Whats that?
The father and daughter talk for a bit more about where they
are, then McKinley sees a ride.
And the rollercoaster! I freaked out!
Roberts said they once took the girl near one of the smaller
roller coasters to see if she was big enough to ride. Then the coaster raced by.
kinda tensed up when it came by, Roberts recalled.
visit to Knoebels, McKinley asked her parents if they were going again on Sunday.
asks to go everyday, Roberts said.
A spokeswoman for the company said
the family-owned business enjoyed watching and sharing the video.
parks mascot, sent McKinley a letter with a book of ride tickets for her
|Its so heartwarming to see how much she loves Knoebels,
said Stacy Ososkie, public relations director. We hope Knoebels always brings
her that much happiness and excitement. What a beautiful memory captured on video
that her family will look back on fondly for years to come.
with a Heart Benefits event raises funds to help sick children
Kalinowski - Citizens Voice
As a mother, Lauren Browns biggest concern
right now is saving her baby girls life.
She had to quit her job so she
and her fiance could take 17-month-old Scarlett Rose to frequent doctor appointments
in Danville and Philadelphia.
Scarlett is suffering from Stage 3 bladder cancer.
of the charity group, Valley with a Heart Benefits, have been helping Scarletts
family pay bills and have provided them with gas cards for their frequent travels.
was the organizations special guest Sunday at the 18th annual Valley with
a Heart Benefits motorcycle ride and festival to raise money for sick kids.
amazing, Brown, 30, said. I started crying when I saw all the bikes
coming up the road.
Scarlett was one of three poster children selected
to receive proceeds from this years event.
Hundreds of motorcyclists
participated in the ride and hundreds of other people attended the event, an all-day
party with 15 bands playing on two stages.
Brown, of Nanticoke, is hoping Scarlett
is cured and that her family could help the group with next years event.
is undergoing chemotherapy. Doctors are trying to remove the tumor instead of
removing her bladder, which would force her to rely on a catheter for life.
are trying to save her bladder, Brown said.
The other poster children
this year were Keira Thomas and Damion Dorshefski.
Kim Knight of Hanover Twp., said the boy has been hospitalized with heart problems
almost every day since being born in August 2017. He has had three open-heart
surgeries in his young life, she said.
Valley with a Heart has helped big
time with gas cards and money for bills, she said.
It killed me
to have to ask them for help, Knight said. They said they would do
anything they could to help.
Deb Kunec was there to remember her daughter,
Amanda Sod Braley, 28, who died in March from sarcoma cancer. Amanda was the second-ever
Valley with a Heart poster child in 2002 and battled cancer multiple times prior
to her death.
Sunday marked six months since Amanda died and one year since
Kunecs father died unexpectedly.
They were best friends,
Kunec said. He did all his bucket list items with Amanda and she did the
same with him.
Kunec said shell never miss a Valley with a Heart
Its always great to be with this group, she said.
Everyone is telling me Amanda is here, that you could feel her spirit.
with a Heart continues to help families of seriously ill children
Kester - For Times Leader
Lauren Brown said she knew something was wrong
when her 17-month-old daughter wouldnt sleep through the night.
They did the ultrasound, thats when they found the mass
inside her bladder, a teary-eyed Brown said of a hospital trip to Danville.
After more testing, we found out that it was a tumor.
Scarlett Frankowski, was diagnosed with stage III rhabdomyosarcoma a pediatric
form of bladder cancer.
Scarlett was one of three children all 3 years
old or younger selected to be the beneficiaries of the 18th annual Valley
With a Heart ride and benefit Sunday.
Now under the care of Childrens
Hospital of Philadelphia, Scarlett is undergoing chemotherapy along with repeated
surgeries to try to remove the tumor in the hopes of saving her bladder.
said she first heard about Valley With a Heart through individuals associated
with the nonprofit. After filling out an application for assistance, the family
has received $2,000 worth of gift cards to help with gas, food, bills and more
something Brown said she is thankful for since she was forced to leave
Ever since she got diagnosed, Ive been out of work, and
going from two incomes to one isnt really the greatest, she said.
roughly 300 bikers returned to St. Faustina Grove following the ride, organization
president Rick Temarantz explained how this years benefit is not only aiding
seriously ill children and their families in the area, but also memorializing
former benefit poster-child Amanda Sod Braley and two others close to the group
who lost their lives this past year.
Braley, Temarants said, was the organizations
second-ever poster child. Diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma, Barley was able
to beat the cancer four times throughout her her life, growing a close relationship
with members of Valley With a Heart in the process.
But when it returned again,
organization members said Braley made the announcement that she was done fighting,
and officially lost her battle this past March.
She was definitely an
inspiration to us all, Temarantz said, noting that despite recurring cancer
Braley was always upbeat and known as a fighter. Battling cancer
and beating it for as many times as she did I mean I dont know if
I could have done that.
While the organization president admitted that
there is no monetary goal the group is trying to reach, he did acknowledge the
optimistic turnout for this years benefit while praising sunny skies above.
the majority of event funds will go benefit the three poster-children, some funds
will be set aside for the group to assist other families throughout the year.
be more than willing and more than able to help, he added, prompting families
with seriously ill children to visit the Valley With a Heart website.
the area filled with attendees buying foods, indulging in raffle baskets and playing
games, Victoria Stash was busy watching her son finish his set on stage. Her son
and other family members are a part of Breakdown Jimmy, just one of 15 bands to
fill the venue with live music on two stages during the event.
out every year to support Valley With a Heart because we think its a great
cause, she said. I dont ride unfortunately
always lots of music, games, foods and its just such a worthy cause.
for Brown, she said she plans on using the funds from the benefit to help catch
up on bills while also setting some aside for Scarletts future medical expenses,
including another surgery shes scheduled to have next week.
family surrounding her, Brown said she was overwhelmed at the amount of support
from the community to help her and the other families.
my 30th birthday, so I couldnt have asked for a better present, she
For more information, visit ValleyWithAHeart.com.
Valley Parkway stretch near Nanticoke opens today
more miles of the South Valley Parkway the last stretch connecting to Luzerne
County Community College are open to traffic.
The latest section of
the ongoing road construction project opened today.
Motorists coming from Wilkes-Barre
can now reach Kosciuszko Street on the parkway, bypassing the stretch of South
Main Street known as Middle Road that ran through the Askam section
of Hanover Twp. and is next to homes in that area.
A motorist traveling from
Wilkes-Barre on South Main Street continues onto the parkway after passing the
Hanover Industrial Estates. He goes through three roundabouts and crosses over
the South Cross Valley Expressway before reaching the section that opened today.
Following that takes motorists to Kosciuszko Street and an already-opened roundabout.
A road leading to the community college is about a quarter-mile away.
stage of the project will build a roundabout at Propsect Street and Middle Road.
That will begin in spring 2019.
Besides offering a faster connection between
Wilkes-Barre and Nanticoke that avoids a residential neighborhood, the $89 million
project also opens land to potential development.
The road and its roundabouts
in Hanover Twp. will connect the highway to about 2,000 acres of land for potential
The opening of yet another segment of the South
Valley Parkway ahead of schedule signals we are nearing the completion of this
transformational infrastructure project, said state Sen. John Yudichak,
D-14, Plymouth Twp in a press release. South Valley communities are already
seeing a quick return on the Commonwealths $89 million infrastructure investment
with the creation of thousands of jobs and the leveraging of over $500 million
in private investment made by local companies, like Colours, and national companies,
like NorthPoint, Chewy.com, Adidas, and Patagonia.
phase of South Valley Parkway opens today
next phase of the South Valley Parkway project opens today, marking completion
of the entire expressway save for the final roundabout at Prospect Street, state
Department of Transportation officials said.
That new, 2-mile segment of highway
runs between an existing roundabout off the South Cross Valley Expressway (Route
29) and Kosciuszko Street.
The $58.7 million addition is part of an overall
3.6-mile roadway providing a faster route between Nanticoke, Hanover Township
and Wilkes-Barre, diverting traffic from busy Middle Road. Overall state investment
in the project is $89 million.|
The opening of yet another segment of
the South Valley Parkway ahead of schedule signals we are nearing the completion
of this transformational infrastructure project, said state Senator John
Yudichak, D-Plymouth Township.
PennDOT broke ground on the South Valley Parkway
in January 2016, and it has an official scheduled completion date of Aug. 1, 2020.
But progress has been swift, and officials expect the work could be done next
year, with the opening of the Prospect Street roundabout.
Included in the project
are six roundabouts three in Hanover Township and three in Nanticoke.
Yudichak and others pointed out, the new road has inspired more than $500 million
in private investment nearby, including projects by local companies, such as Colours,
and national companies, like NorthPoint, Chewy.com, Adidas, and Patagonia.
came following the 2016 purchase by NorthPoint Development of 172 acres of reclaimed
land along the South Valley Parkway from the Earth Conservancy. More than 2 million
square feet of prime logistics space has been erected on the site where online
pet-product retailer Chewy became the first tenant resulting in more than
1,000 people hired at its fulfillment center.
The highway also brings a new
acronym to the local lingo: SVP. The new road also has an official state route
The SVP will increase safety, provide a quicker route to
students travelling to Luzerne County Community College and open up the area for
economic development and job creation, said state Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski,
Im thrilled the project is nearly
100 percent complete and congratulations to Sen. Yudichak and all involved over
the past decade in bringing together this valuable infrastructure project,
LCCC President Thomas P. Leary said the opening of this major
segment comes just in time for the new fall semester.
of visitors to the campus almost daily, the new roadway creates a more direct
link to LCCC from the surrounding area, he said.
benefit will honor Nanticoke womans memory
- Citizens Voice
Nearly 17 years ago, a fledgling charity group offered
to help the family of 11-year-old Amanda Sod after she was diagnosed with cancer.
became the second-ever poster child for the annual Valley with a Heart Benefit,
a motorcycle ride and day-long festival to raise money for sick kids.
several more bouts with sarcoma cancer over the years, Amanda died in March. She
The 18th annual Valley with a Heart Benefit scheduled for Sunday
is being held in Amandas honor.
They helped her with so
much over the last 16 years, Amandas mother, Deb Kunec said. She
was like their kid, too. They kept in touch with me. Shed keep in touch
with them. A lot of people followed her story over the years.
organizations motto is, We do it for kids.
The poster children
who will receive the proceeds of this years event are Keira Thomas, Damion
Dorshefski, and Scarlett Rose Frankowski. All are under age 3 and are battling
Over the years, the Valley with a Heart Benefit has grown
to be a popular and successful fundraiser, with around 400 motorcyclists participating.
Thousands of others attend the gathering at the St. Faustina Grove in Newport
Twp.s Sheatown section. The event includes food stands, vendors, kids games,
15 bands on two stages and a fireworks show.
One hundred percent of the
proceeds go back to the children of Luzerne County. Our pie chart is one color,
said Rick Temarantz, president of Valley with a Heart. This isnt just
a motorcycle ride. This is an event.
Temarantz said the group was saddened
by Amandas death in March.
She was a fighter, he said.
the organization began in 2001, the founders knew some of their poster children
would eventually pass away. Thats the reason why they try to do as much
as they can to help.
We try to focus on what we do good and how we helped
them when they were on this earth, Temarantz said. I cannot imagine
what its like to have a sick child.
around the area making changes as students head back to class
P. Buffer - Citizens Voice
The Greater Nanticoke Area School District
celebrated the new Kennedy Early Childhood Center with a public ribbon-cutting
ceremony and an open house Sunday.
Students in pre-K through second grade will
start learning in the new building on Sept. 4. Many students in northern and central
Luzerne County go back to school today.
All Greater Nanticoke Area schools
are now going to be on one campus off Kosciuszko Street in Nanticoke. The district
closed K.M. Smith Elementary School at the end of the last school year. K.M. Smith
was used for pre-K, kindergarten and first graders and is located on Robert Street
in the Sheatown section of Nanticoke.
The new building is an addition to the
original Kennedy Elementary School, which opened in 1964. It has 30 classrooms,
a nurses suite, principals office, conference room, two pre-K classrooms,
a full service cafeteria, and a large group instruction room. The project began
in April 2017 and cost more than $8 million. The entire building is equipped with
air-conditioning, and the new building is LEED Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design Silver Certified. That means it is energy efficient
and building materials used are friendly to the environment, Superintendent Ronald
Take a tour of Greater
Nanticoke Areas renovated school
were still spreading topsoil and planting hydrangea outside, and the automatic
doors and lights werent always quite as responsive as they should be, but
Greater Nanticoke Area Superintendent Ron Grevera couldnt stop smiling as
he showed off Luzerne Countys newest school Friday.
This is the
large group instruction area, Grevera said of an open space full of padded,
movable seating boxy enough to double as fort walls in a childs
imagination. They can have lessons here, or bring in an outside speaker,
or if a class is misbehaving maybe sit them down to talk.
The new Kennedy
Early Childhood Center gets officially unveiled at a public ribbon cutting Sunday
at 2 p.m., but Grevera gave enthusiastic tours Friday, showing off a mix of new
addition and old space thoroughly revamped in most cases, the only clue
youve entered the older section is the original terrazzo tile flooring.
room has the latest technological version of the old chalkboard: Promethean interactive
displays, giant flat touch-screens with computer capabilities. Rooms have
their own sinks that double as drinking fountains. The cafeteria has indentations
in the walls where combo seat-table furniture fits when folded, leaving more floor
room for other activities.
The building is part of a grade-restructuring that
Grevera believes will make it easier for teachers to keep track of and
improve academic achievement. Previously, K. M. Smith housed kindergarten
and first grade, Kennedy Elementary had only second grade, the Elementary Center
had grades 3-5, the Education Center had 6-7 and the high school had 8-12. Expanding
and renovating Kennedy turned it into a facility for pre-kindergarten through
second grade. The Elementary Center remains the same, while eighth grade is moving
to the Education Center. K.M. Smith is closed.
Ive always been
a proponent of the middle school concept, Grevera said. It helps you
cater better to the needs of adolescents.
The expansion of Kennedy literally
connects it to the Education Center a former outside wall of the latter
is now an inside wall of the former. Sometime in the future, Grevera said, he
hopes to create a door between the two.
The Kennedy Early Childhood Center
will offer all-day kindergarten and half-day pre-K in two sessions, one morning
and one afternoon. The new pre-K section is two rooms stocked full of educational
toys and play areas, with a teacher office in between. Bathrooms are part of the
deal, sporting low, to-size toilets and sinks.
The renovations took three years
from the start of planning to Sundays ribbon cutting, and cost $9 million.
The district will be getting about $3 million in state reimbursements, and
this is another fact that makes Grevera smile another $300,000 for making
the school LEED (Leading in Energy and Environmental Design) certified.
the new material is environmentally friendly, he said. The building is climate
controlled, with lights designed to shut off automatically and efficiency is built
into the heating, air conditioning, insulation and plumbing.
And though school
doesnt start until Sept. 4, and workers are still scrambling throughout
the building doing final touches, most of the classrooms look invitingly student-ready.
One second-grade room had books and folders with student names resting neatly
next to a glue stick, eraser and box of crayons on each desk.
had tennis balls on the feet of the little chairs to make it easier for the youngsters
to push them around without scuffing the floor.
to host open house at new school
Michael Buffer _ Citizens Voice
Greater Nanticoke Area School District is planning a public ribbon-cutting ceremony
and open house for the new Kennedy Early Childhood Center at 2 p.m. Sunday.
project was a renovation and addition to the original Kennedy Elementary School,
which opened in 1964. Students in pre-K through second grade will be educated
in the new facility, bringing all schools to one campus off Kosciuszko Street
Judge orders Nanticoke
police chief to be removed
James Halpin - Citizens Voice
Luzerne County judge on Friday ordered the city police chief removed from office,
finding his hiring nearly two years ago was illegal.
Chief Thomas Wall, a retired
state trooper, will be relieved of his post Oct. 1 if the city does not appeal
the ruling by Judge William H. Amesbury, who also ordered Mayor Richard Wiaterowski
to legally appoint a new chief.
Reached Friday, Wiaterowski said the city plans
to appeal. Wall echoed that sentiment, describing the ruling as a minor
Just as sure as the nose on your face, we are ready to
appeal, Wall said. We were waiting for this. We kind of knew how it
was going to go, and now well appeal it.
Wall, a Nanticoke resident, as chief in September 2016, citing his 25 years of
experience with the state police, his proven leadership ability and record of
But the City of Nanticoke Police Officers Association soon
filed suit against the city, arguing an internal candidate was improperly passed
over to fill a vacancy created by former Chief William Shultzs death.
complaint also alleged Wall had conflicts of interest because he was a member
of the citys police civil service commission and he is married to Nanticoke
interim city Manager Donna Wall.
In his ruling Friday, Amesbury found Wiaterowski
and the city appointed Wall as police chief without seeking applications or interviewing
anyone within the police department, although Lt. Michael Roke had expressed interest
in the job.
While state law requires a police chief to be hired from
within the ranks, the city maintained expanded powers granted by its home-rule
charter supported an outsider being appointed chief.
However, Amesbury sided
with the union and agreed state law prohibits the city from making such a change
to regulations that affect employee rights.
His order directs Wiaterowski to
appoint a police chief from within the ranks and removes Wall as chief
effective Oct. 1, unless the city files its appeal.
Union President Brian Kivler
did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
says Nanticoke police chief hired illegally; mayor promises appeal
A Luzerne County judge has determined that Nanticoke
Police Chief Thomas Wall was hired illegally.
If the order stands, the city
would have to have a new chief by Oct. 1.
But the mayor is promising to appeal
this weeks ruling.
Judge William H. Amesburys order comes in the
wake of a suit that was filed shortly after Walls 2016 hiring. The suit,
filed by the City of Nanticoke Police Officers Association, alleges that the city
violated state law in hiring Wall.
Wall, a retired state trooper, was appointed
by Mayor Richard Wiaterowski. But state law requires that a candidate for chief
must be chosen from within the ranks of the police department. If a suitable candidate
cannot be found within the ranks, only then can an outsider be appointed.
union alleged that this step was skipped, despite Lieutenant Michael Roke expressing
interest in the position after it opened following the 2016 death of Chief William
The union also suggested a conflict of interest, given Walls
position on the Police Civil Service Commission. The union also pointed out Walls
wife, Donna, is the interim city manager.
Judge Amesburys decision affirms
a motion filed by the union in May 2017, which asked for an order removing Wall
This weeks order does just that. It states that Wiaterowski
will have to appoint a new chief Oct. 1 unless the city appeals the ruling.
mayor said an appeal will happen.
The city respectfully disagrees with
the Courts opinion and will be appealing this decision to a higher court,
Wiaterowski said in a statement sent to a Times Leader reporter Friday. We
are confident that this appointment was proper and in accordance with my powers
as Mayor of the City of Nanticoke.
General looking to open in Nanticoke
Bill Wellock - Citizens Voice
Dollar General could be coming to Nanticoke.
The citys zoning board will
hold a hearing to consider a variance being requested by the companies behind
a project to build a Dollar General at 443 W. Main St. and West Church Street,
on the western end of the city.
The hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. Aug. 30
in the municipal building, 15 E. Ridge St., Nanticoke.
There are already several
Dollar General stores in the region. A shop at that location would add to two
dozen within 20 miles of the city, according to dollargeneral.com.
existing store to Nanticoke is at 2280 Sans Souci Parkway, Hanover Twp.
Send Request releases album under SharpTone Records
Jacobson - Citizens Voice
Hometown pride means a lot to Nanticoke-based
band Send Request.
Images of parks, ice cream shops, diners and schools from
across the Luzerne County town appear in the bands most recent music video,
Falling to Pieces.
We wanted this video to showcase the places
and people who made us who we are today, the band wrote on its Facebook
page. This is where we call home.
The pop-punk outfit comprised
of Andrew Blank, vocals and guitar; Derek Holminski, guitar and vocals; bassist
Aron Wood and drummer Jonathon Labenski, recently signed to SharpTone Records,
which produces popular bands such as We Came As Romans and Miss May I.
quartet recently went On the Record to discuss how the band came to fruition and
its new album, Perspectives, which hits record stores Friday, Aug.
Q: How did you choose your band name, Send Request?
Holminski: I was
on Internet Explorer downloading Google Chrome, and in the bottom left corner
it said sending request. I just dropped the ing. We ended
up using the name by all of us writing five band names and mixing them up in a
salad bowl. We drew each name and pinned them against each other tournament style,
until Send Request won.
Q: What was the path that lead to the creation of Send
Request, and how long have you been working together as a group?
all went to the same high school. I was 16 and doing this cover band with Jon
at the time but also sharing an interest with Derek about writing songs and touring.
Ultimately, the cover band came to an end, and Send Request was created not long
after that. Derek got in touch with Aron, and I got back in touch with Jon, and
five years later here we are still riding the same wave. I can solidly say we
have no plans to stop. Music is our passion.
Q: Do you perform outside of NEPA?
If so, where have you toured, and how often?
Labenski: We make our way out
of the Northeast occasionally. We have done a few shows in the Philadelphia area
and the Allentown area. We have also had the pleasure of building a fan base in
the Williamsport area. Throughout the years, we have also done shows in New Jersey
and New York.
Q: Describe a Send Request live show. What do you hope for your
audiences to experience while seeing you perform?
Wood: A Send Request live
show in its purest form is best described as hitting up all your friends and just
hanging out and having the best time you possibly can. As a band, we try to connect
with our fans both on and offstage and are happy to say that we are friends with
all of our fans new and old. Connecting through music is what we live for, and
being able to meet all the amazing people we have through it makes it that much
Q: What do you enjoy about performing in and around NEPA? Has the music
scene here affected your sound as a band?
Holminski: I mean, its always
awesome to play in our home. Getting to see all the friends we have made over
the years jam out with us is something extremely special. There isnt much
pop-punk in the area, so that is something we are definitely trying to change.
Your album, Perspectives is coming out this month. What was the songwriting
process like for this record? Do you have a favorite song on the album?
Perspectives is a conglomerate of different emotions all bundled into
10 tracks. Each song lyrically has a story that comes from personal experience,
so the record almost feels like a diary to me. The songwriting process was slow,
but I wanted everything to feel as natural and as relatable as it could be, and
Ive learned things like that take time, so I was patient and really let
the songs write themselves in a way. I can honestly say Im really happy
with the album as a whole, so I cant pick favorites when the whole thing
is just that good.
Q: Has being signed with SharpTone Records affected your
outlook for the future of the band?
Blank: If anything, its made us buckle
down more. We want to be the best we can be, so well just keep grinding.
Is there anything else youd like to add that you think people should know
about Send Request or your upcoming record release?
Labenski: This new record
is gonna hit really hard. All of it is emotionally driven, and that is definitely
a different speed for this band. It is this bands best work to date.
Based in: Nanticoke
Members: Andrew Blank
and Derek Holminski, guitar and vocals; Aron Wood, bass; and Jonathon Labenski,
Upcoming: Friday, Sept. 14, Electric City Music Conference,
the Keys Beer & Spirits, Scranton
Online: Find Send Request on Facebook,
Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and at www.sendrequestband.com.
project receives $1M grant
Citizens Voice - Staff Report
grant for $1 million will help fund a multi-million dollar senior-living project
in Nanticoke, state officials announced Friday.
The grant will go toward the
Nantego Development Project in downtown Nanticoke, State Sen. John Yudichak, D-14,
Plymouth Twp., and State Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-119, Newport Twp. announced.
Nantego Development Project is an estimated $21 million project that will create
approximately 40 affordable senior housing units that will include 36 one-bedroom
and four two-bedroom units. The project will also include retail spaces below
the senior housing units.
The project is part of a host of projects that are
focused on revitalizing Nanticokes downtown by improving the infrastructure,
streetscape, pedestrian safety, and economic development.
strategic support of Nanticoke, through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program,
will enable the Nantego Developmemt Project to bring new housing and retail opportunities
to downtown Nanticoke, continuing the citys revitalization and spurring
additional economic development throughout the South Valley, said Yudichak.
no doubt that downtown Nanticoke needs to be revitalized and this funding is a
big step in the right direction, said Mullery. Todays grant
announcement can attract further public and private investment, which will help
to complete the project, bringing jobs and businesses back to the downtown.
Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program is a Commonwealth grant program administered
by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic,
cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects.
Mullery announce $1M grant for Nanticoke revitalization
ongoing revitalization of Nanticokes downtown received good news Friday
in the form of a $1 million grant.
State Sen. John Yudichak, D-Plymouth Township,
and state Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Newport Township, announced the Redevelopment
Assistance Capitol Program grant will help pay for the estimated $21 million Nantego
The project will create approximately 40 affordable senior
housing units that will include 36 one-bedroom and four two-bedroom units. Retail
spaces are planned below the housing units.
Yudichak and Mullery said the Nantego
undertaking is part of a host of projects that are focused on revitalizing Nanticokes
Gov. Wolfs strategic support of Nanticoke, through the
Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, will enable the Nantego Development
Project to bring new housing and retail opportunities to downtown Nanticoke, continuing
the citys revitalization and spurring additional economic development throughout
the South Valley, Yudichak said.
Mullery added: Theres no
doubt that downtown Nanticoke needs to be revitalized and this funding is a big
step in the right direction. Todays grant announcement can attract further
public and private investment, which will help to complete the project, bringing
jobs and businesses back to the downtown.
The Redevelopment Assistance
Capital Program provides funding for economic, cultural, civic, recreational,
and historical improvement projects.
Providing homes for our seniors
to live comfortably in their communities is vitally important to their quality
of life and Im pleased this grant will help in such a significant way,
Gov. Wolf said in a press release. Removing blighted buildings and replacing
them with affordable housing is a win for residents and a boost to economic development
in the region.
About the project
New Horizons Development Corporation
was approved for the $1 million grant to revitalize a portion of East Main Street.
buildings will be demolished and reconstructed into 40 affordable housing units
for seniors at or below 60 percent of area median income.
In addition to the
housing, the building will house a LIFE program on the ground floor in partnership
with LIFE Geisinger to provide eligible older adults with the support they may
need to continue living independently. A parking structure will also be built
into the building that will serve as parking for the housing as well as the business
district of Nanticoke.
With a growing aging population, this collaborative
revitalization investment demonstrates a shared desire to create an age-friendly
future for all our residents, said Department of Aging Secretary Teresa
Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller echoed that sentiment.
Pennsylvanians deserve the opportunity to age safely in place and live in their
community and near their family and friends, Miller said. This development
will make that possible for more Pennsylvanians.
Wolf to Eliminate Blight, Develop Affordable Senior Housing in Nanticoke
PA Today, Governor Tom Wolf helped move forward efforts to eliminate blighted
buildings and construct 40 affordable housing units for seniors on a two-block
portion of downtown Nanticoke, Luzerne County by awarding a $1 million grant to
Providing homes for our seniors to live comfortably
in their communities is vitally important to their quality of life and Im
pleased this grant will help in such a significant way, Governor Wolf said.
Removing blighted buildings and replacing them with affordable housing is
a win for residents and a boost to economic development in the region.
Horizons Development Corporation was approved for the $1 million grant to revitalize
a portion of East Main Street in the downtown area of Nanticoke. Blighted buildings
will be demolished and reconstructed into 40 affordable housing units for seniors
at or below 60 percent of area median income. In addition to the housing, the
building will house a LIFE program on the ground floor in partnership with LIFE
Geisinger to provide eligible older adults with the support they may need to continue
living independently. A parking structure will also be built into the building
that will serve as parking for the housing as well as the business district of
Governor Wolfs strategic support of Nanticoke, through
the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, will enable the Nantego Development
Project to bring new housing and retail opportunities to downtown Nanticoke continuing
the citys revitalization and spurring additional economic development throughout
the South Valley, said State Senator John Yudichak.
of downtown Nanticoke will get a boost thanks to this funding obtained in partnership
with Governor Wolf, Senator Yudichak, and city officials, said Rep. Gerald
Mullery. Older residents will welcome the new affordable housing options
and local businesses and customers will benefit from the additional parking.
efforts put forth by New Horizons Development Corporation to work collaboratively
with local community leaders, including LIFE Geisinger, to identify a creative
housing option that will preserve and improve the quality of life for residents
of the City of Nanticoke mirrors the Wolf Administrations commitment to
ensure that older Pennsylvanians can live and age well in the setting of their
choice for as long as possible, said Department of Aging Secretary Teresa
Osborne. With a growing aging population, this collaborative revitalization
investment demonstrates a shared desire to create an age-friendly future for all
Aging brings changes that affect individuals
physical health, but living apart from their family and community can affect their
mental health by leading to feelings of isolation and depression, said Department
of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller. Older Pennsylvanians deserve
the opportunity to age safely in place and live in their community and near their
family and friends. This development will make that possible for more Pennsylvanians.
through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) program, funding will
support critical expansion projects, some of which will provide opportunities
for additional economic development.
native graduates Valley Forge Military Academy
Rusin of Nanticoke has graduated from Valley Forge Military Academy (VFMA), a
private, independent, college preparatory school.
Rusin graduated at the top
of Valley Forge Military Academys Class of 2018, where he was honored as
Previous honors include his selection to attend the Duke of
Yorks Royal Military School in Dover, England for the first semester of
his junior year.
Rusin will begin studying bio-medical engineering next year
at Drexel University in Philadelphia, in the fall.
in reactors radius to get potassium iodide tablets
The state Department of Health will offer free potassium iodide tablets
on Aug. 9 to Pennsylvanians who live or work within 10 miles of the states
five nuclear power plants, including the Susquehanna Steam Electric Station facility
in Salem Twp.
The tablets can protect the thyroid gland from harmful radiation
if there is a nuclear emergency.
Because there are health risks associated
with taking potassium iodide, people should only take it on the advice of public
health or emergency management officials, according to the Centers for Disease
People picking up tablets will receive specific instructions from
community health nurses on-site about how to use the pills.
preparedness is an important aspect of public health, and having potassium iodide
tablets for residents who live or work within 10 miles of a nuclear facility is
an essential preparedness action in the case of a radiological emergency,
said Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine.
No appointments are necessary
to pick up the tablets. They will be distributed from 2 to 7 p.m. on Aug. 9 at
the following locations:
Butler Township Community Center, 411
W. Butler Drive, Drums.
Luzerne County Community College Public
Safety Center, 1333 S. Prospect St., Nanticoke.
Community Corps Building, 320 W. 2nd St., Berwick.
The tablets are also
available year-round at county and municipal health departments or state health
centers for those who live or work near a nuclear power plant. The Luzerne County
facility is located at 665 Carey Ave., Suite 2, Wilkes-Barre and the Wilkes-Barre
Health Department is located in the Kirby Health Center, 71 N. Franklin St., Wilkes-Barre.
The Columbia County facility is located at 327 Columbia Blvd, Suite 2, Bloomsburg.
post: Nanticoke mayors cancer returns
July 23, 2018 timesleader
Local, News 2
Despite a positive prognosis not
long ago, Nanticoke Mayor Rich Wiaterowskis leukemia has come back.
unfortunate news comes from the Facebook page for the mayors supporters,
This is one post I didnt expect to make and wish
I didnt have to. Please keep Richie and his family in your prayers,
the post from Friday evening reads. Unfortunately, his leukemia has returned
and he will be returning to Fox Chase (Cancer Center) on Monday.
mayor has been battling acute myeloid leukemia, or AML, since last November. Efforts
to reach him for comment were not immediately successful.
a bone marrow transplant earlier this year from a donor in Germany. At a benefit
for the mayor held in April, Wiaterowski said things were progressing positively.
the time, Wiaterowski said things would be going really well if he could make
it to day 100 after his marrow transplant without issue. Day 100 was May 13.
day 105, May 18, Wiaterowski posted on Facebook, saying he got a call from his
doctor, saying that results came back showing he is 100 percent cancer free.
Fridays post does not detail exactly what led to the discovery of the cancer
returning, it did say Wiaterowskis battle wasnt done yet.
all know how hard he has fought and he will continue fight!! You got this Richie!
Know that we are all here for you!!!
the stigma of addiction
Matthew Swiderski died at 29 from an overdose Nov. 1, his family had a choice
when writing his obituary.
His struggles with addiction could have remained
a private family matter, but they chose to help remove the stigma around addiction
by being forthcoming.
We decided we were going to put it in, said
his sister, Jenny Swiderski Yonick. I was adamant about that because I didnt
want another died at home or died unexpectedly. People need
We take comfort in the knowledge that our beloved son,
brother, grandson, nephew and friend is at peace. Another gifted and much-beloved
person was stolen from this world due to the devastating effects of heroin,
the obituary said, adding Swiderski was freed from his struggles Nov.
Were of the belief that the stigma needs to go away and now
more than ever it is clearly an epidemic. Addiction doesnt discriminate.
Its almost as if every person has somebody thats going through what
we went through as a family, Yonick said. I just want people to know
there is a living, breathing side to addicts. Its not just these deadbeat
people that are junkies. They are real people who have so many people who love
Yonick, 31, said she isnt sure exactly how and when her brother
became addicted to heroin. She suspects his struggle with depression and anxiety
led to his addiction.
My brother, he was a person who struggled with
depression, ever since he was a teenager. He felt that people couldnt understand
him. He just couldnt get out of his darkness, Yonick said.
thing with this is we dont even know the half of what went on, just by the
nature of how addiction is. We dont really even know where he got it or
how he got it. He talked to another family member and said if he had known the
half of what this does, what heroin does, he would have never ever decided to
start it and he wished he had the hindsight to not.
Yonick and her brother
grew up in Nanticoke. They both graduated from Bishop Hoban High School in Wilkes-Barre.
were both on the swim team together, she said. I was a senior when
Matthew was a freshman.
After graduating from Hoban in 2007, he earned
a degree in creative writing and literature from Burlington College.
was hard for him with his depression and anxiety to go through the interview process
and things like that, so at the time of his death he was not working, Yonick
said. Our whole point of view was he needs to get better. He cant
focus on getting employment when he is struggling with so much. My parents literally
did everything they possibly could.
He was living with his parents
Dee and Ken Swiderski in Nanticoke.
My parents went to the end
of the earth to help him, Yonick said. They did everything they absolutely
could to help him. If love were enough, he would still be here because thats
how our family is.
He enjoyed spending time with his maternal grandmother
Dolores Evans and paternal grandparents, Victor Speedy and Dorothy
He would spend a crazy amount of time with his grandparents,
provide them company, help them get their food ready, Yonick said. My
90-year old Pop Pop would make my brother go to the gym with him and do work outs.
He loved his grandparents. He would literally do anything for them.
and her husband live in the Harrisburg area. Shes an elementary school teacher
for the Cumberland Valley School District.
We feel like this fall
before he passed away was like his gift to us because he was not doing
anything, Yonick said. He was not doing heroin this fall. He went
to multiple Penn State games with us. He went camping. He was going camping with
us. He was spending all this time with us, which he was not able to in years.
It was a blessing because of all the wonderful memories we have this fall.
memories from the fall helped her family deal with his death.
trying to live in the positive because weve been through the worst. ...
It was a long, long struggle, and it impacts the families as much if not more
than the addict. You fear phone calls that come at a wrong time, fearful of the
other shoe dropping, Yonick said.
It isnt just the addict
thats going through the darkness. Our entire family was right there with
him. The one thing I could say about our family is no matter what we loved him.
He knew, the Matthew that is my brother and not the addict, I know deep down inside
he knew he was loved by his family.
Toxicology testing shows he died
from an overdose of fentanyl.
It wasnt heroin laced with fentanyl.
It was pure fentanyl. Our opinions are how could somebody sell somebody this knowing
it will kill them? Yonick asked.
The crazy thing in is Ive
done so much reading and research since this has happened, and it could be anyone.
It could honestly stem from your doctor gave you a pill for your ankle injury.
It can just blow out of control. And its so important for our younger generation.
Im a teacher, and I look at these kids. These kids need to know, and they
need to know now because it could be anyone, she said. Its a
crapshoot if you have that addictive personality. What causes somebody to like
that feeling of getting high is horrifying to other people. I had gall blader
surgery, and they were shooting me up with all crazy stuff. And I was like
I hate how this makes me feel. I feel like Im going to die. This is terrible.
But you dont know how that would impact somebody else.
business designs truck for promotion honoring Eagles
- Citizens Voice
It was a big deal for a small business in Luzerne
Eclipse Fleet Service in Nanticoke was commissioned by Penn Beer, Bud
Light, the NFL and the Philadelphia Eagles to design a truck with a decal for
the Philly Philly commemorative pack that will be in stores starting
As the finished truck pulled in Thursday, Eclipse Fleet Service employees
in matching shirts cheered and later chanted E-A-G-L-E-S, Eagles!
Light changed its famous Dilly Dilly catchphrase to Philly Philly
to celebrate the Eagles Super Bowl win.
Joel Garnick, president of Eclipse
Fleet Service, said customer Penn Beer in Manayunk is the wholesaler for Anheuser-Busch
and its brand Bud Light in Philadelphia County and is putting together the commemorative
pack this weekend.
The truck will head to Penn Beer near Philadelphia on Friday
and Philadelphia Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson will be in a photo shoot and
video with it Monday.
Our driver is taking it down the Northeast Extension,
going down the Schuylkill Expressway midday and its going to raise a lot
of buzz, Garnick said. Everybody is Philadelphia proud and its
definitely going to turn a few heads.
Eclipse Fleet Service worked together
with Ted Reidler, president of Reidler Decal Corp. and Focus Fulfillment, on the
Bud Light sent us the design with a power point presentation which
we then had to reconfigure so we could produce it, Reidler said.
Serafin, a subcontractor, worked with Eclipse Fleet Service to install the decal.
The panels came in sections so he said he paid extra attention to make sure everything
lined up right.
There was a lot of extra care with this one because its
a big project for everybody, Serafin said. The fenders were a lot
of work with the Eagles wings on them but all in all, I think it was a good
Eclipse Fleet Service also worked with Sherman-Williams to match
the Philadelphia Eagles green paint color with the decal.
The back of the truck
features Eagles quarterback Nick Foles play that helped him win an ESPY
award Wednesday for his performance in the Super Bowl.
In all, Eclipse Fleet
Service had about two weeks to complete the Philly Philly truck.
was a lot of concentration from our 23 employees to get this ready, especially
on such a large scale, Garnick said. This is going to be national
news for Penn Beer, Philadelphia Eagles and Bud Light.
Service has been in business for 12 years, opening in 2006 in just 2,000 square
feet of space and later expanding and moving to its current 64,000-square foot
location on 52 acres at 375 W. Union St.
The business refurbishes trucks and
has completed other jobs for businesses from Virginia to Maine to Ohio. Jobs are
typically for one unit like the Philly Philly truck, Garnick said.
NEPA proud to be able to do what we do, Garnick said. Some of these
units are from corporate America. We deal with corporate Coca-Cola, corporate
Anheuser-Busch, corporate Pepsi.
Chuck Saypack, vice president for Eclipse
Fleet Service, said getting the deal for the Philly Philly truck was
like small town pride goes big time.
There was a lot of hard
work and dedication from our employees who chipped in and worked together to get
it done well, Saypack said.
Big Bang draws thousands for fun, fireworks
Geri Gibbons - For Times
For a fifth year, Nanticokes annual Big Bang celebration
drew more than 2,000 to the fields behind the high school for food, friendly competitions
and, of course, fireworks.
Besides the aerial entertainment, the event provides
a chance for Greater Nanticoke Area sports teams and the student council to raise
money while connecting with fellow students for a bit of summertime fun.
member Nicole Mackiewicz said funds raised at the event go toward community gatherings
throughout the year.
The event committee sponsors the Halloween parade
and the Christmas parade, she said. And we will also put money toward
next years Fourth of July celebration.
Mackiewicz lauded the citys
fire and police departments for their help throughout the day.
when the weathers so hot, she said. We want to make sure that
everyone stays safe and healthy.
Junior Zack Pelton, a member of the
high schools wrestling team, and mother Shaunah worked side-by-side making
sales and providing information about the event to those entering the field area.
behind an arrangement of colorful glow sticks and funky sunglasses, Pelton encouraged
patrons to make a purchase, saying, You want people to know youre
His mother was also quick to suggest a spicy food item to those
who approached the stand.
Try this hot sauce. Its homemade,
she told one attendee. But make sure you have water to go with it.
the way, Ken Kasprzyk was serving up hotdogs, hamburgers, kielbasa and kabobs
to raise money for the football team.
Kasprzyk enjoyed time spent behind the
grill for a good cause.
I think were also selling salads and sides,
he said. But my spot is behind the grill.
Cow Pie Bingo was an
event favorite featuring a drawn-out grid on the football field with letter/number
combinations. Winners were determined by the area of the grid where the cow
um did his business.
For a second year, Whistle the cow was selected
to determine the winners.
She seemed to relish her role as she made her way
onto the field, accompanied by owners Jennifer and Aaron Zylo.
Saturday was marked by stifling heat, attendees seemed to take it in stride.
making the most of the day, said student council secretary Liz Redenski.
Were selling Kool-Aid and water bottles, so were helping people
Nanticoke Area class to celebrate 50th reunion
Bob Kalinowski- Citizens
Former bitter rivals, the Nanticoke and Newport Twp. school districts
merged for the 1968 campaign, but students still went to high school in different
Though they didnt interact during the school day, they played
sports and cheered under the same banner as Nanticoke Trojans and
immediately became an athletic powerhouse.
Nearly 300 students from Nanticoke
City and Newport Twp. graduated together in June 1968 as the first-ever class
of Greater Nanticoke Area, but they remained divided.
They even published separate
yearbooks and ordered different class rings.
For decades, they continued the
segregation by holding separate reunions. But that changed 10 years ago when,
faced with dwindling participation, the two factions of Greater Nanticoke Areas
Class of 1968 held a joint 40th reunion.
Class members are now busy planning
their 50th reunion the first group from the school district to reach that
mark. To be inclusive, they are calling it the Nanticoke/Newport High School
It was like the North and South, some people still fighting
the Civil War. It was the same thing with the rivalry between Nanticoke and Newport.
Fifty years later, you got to give it up, said Kline Searfoss, who was class
president of the Nanticoke faction of the Class of 1968.
Becoming the Trojans
students attended the high school formerly located at Main and Kosciuszko streets
in Nanticoke City, where a CVS pharmacy now stands.
Students from Newport Twp.
attended half-day morning sessions at the Pulaski school on Market Street in Glen
Lyon, sharing the building with junior high students who took classes there during
afternoons. They had their own class officers, as well.
It was pretty
dysfunctional. The people at Nanticoke didnt know the people in Newport
and the people at Newport didnt know the people in Nanticoke. The only thing
that united us was the fact we played sports together. Other than that, we were
completely separated, recalled Searfoss, who shared quarterback duties on
the football team and went on to become a nuclear engineer.
students in both towns celebrated the heated football rivalry between the Nanticoke
Rams and the Newport Nutcrackers and their annual Thanksgiving game. Suddenly,
the Class of 1968 became the Trojans for their senior year.
In the inaugural
year of the Greater Nanticoke Area Trojans, the boys sports teams won the elusive
triple crown, winning league championships in football, basketball
The 1968 Nannual the yearbook published for Nanticoke
students documents the domination on the sports fields, but makes no mention
of it being the first combined year with Newport.
That years Newportrait
published for the Newport students mentions the consolidation under
a photograph of the basketball team, which completed its regular season without
MERGER PAYS OFF!, screamed a headline about the league
Both yearbooks lament it would be their last. A new combined
yearbook The Trojanaire was to be published in the future. However,
separate yearbooks continued to be published the next two years until students
started attending the same building for the 1970-71 school year.
officers at Newport Twp. summarized the year of change in the 1968 Newportrait.
have been effected by a great number of changes in our school system this year.
We have witnessed the combining of our football, baseball, and basketball teams
and also the band. Our colors have been changed to blue and white with a new title
of Trojans ... Although the jointure has created some problems, we have overcome
most of these and continue on our road to success.
The United States
was embroiled in turmoil in 1968 as well.
Protests raged against the Vietnam
War and civil rights demonstrations gripped the country. Civil rights leader Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in April 1968 right before the senior
class trip to Washington, D.C. Students were in the nations capital as riots
erupted around them in response to Kings murder.
Right after they graduated,
presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated, too.
Nanticoke/Newport consolidation was finally solidified in September 1970 when
Greater Nanticoke Area opened its current facility on Kosciuszko Street, originally
called John S. Fine High School in honor of the former Pennsylvania governor who
hailed from Nanticoke.
For the Newport students of 1968, schooling had already
been chaotic for years prior to the merger with Nanticoke.
In December 1963,
the Newport Twp. High School in Wanamie burned down.
Newport students were
then forced to do half-day split sessions at Pulaski Junior High in Glen Lyon
grades 10 through 12 during the day and grades seven through nine in the
To get ready for the 1967-68 merger, the Nanticoke and Newport school
districts planned to hold a combined graduation in June 1967, which sparked controversy.
A letter to the editor published in a local newspaper at the time urged against
such a plan.
This is to the disgusted seniors who spoke out about the
combined graduations of Newport and Nanticoke High Schools. I, too, would feel
the same way if I were graduating. All these years, there was nothing about Newport
and Nanticoke doing things together. Now all of a sudden they want to combine
graduation, wrote a former Newport graduate. When the two schools
become one, Nanticoke will have its say. You can bet on it!
In the years
prior, Nanticoke and Newport students had often clashed, usually before their
rivalry football game. Perhaps the most notable incident came in October 1965
when vandals splashed red paint one of Newports colors all
around Nanticoke, targeting City Hall, Nanticoke High School and Nanticokes
football stadium. At the time, Nanticokes lone police car was out of service
due to a crash.
Vandals Paint Nanticoke Red While Cops Await Cruiser
to Pursue Them, read a headline in a local newspaper.
The story goes
on to note Nanticoke police, using private vehicles, caught the vandals in the
act at the football stadium and fired a gunshot toward them to get them to flee.
the merger, next-door Hanover became the new arch rival and target of pranks,
class members say.
GNA at 50
While sports was a source of the heated rivalry,
they also helped the two towns come together.
Caroline Pawlush Brozena, a reunion
committee member from Newport Twp. who was voted most likely to succeed, said
extracurricular activities like sports, cheerleading and the band
helped during the merger year. She was a cheerleader and was proud to root for
the Trojans her senior year.
It didnt matter if I was a Newport
Nutcracker or a Nanticoke Trojan, I had a great time in high school, Brozena
said. I had no problems because I was involved as a cheerleader. We practiced
with the Nanticoke kids. We went to games with them. We all had to get along.
most of the two factions didnt know each other, Newport and Nanticoke held
separate reunions for decades. Due to shrinking turnout, they sought to host a
joint venture to mark their 40th reunion. They hosted a clambake at the grove
of the former Centre Inn on Old Newport Street in Newport Twp.
great. We had a blast, Brozena said.
The class of 1968 had 214 graduates
from Nanticoke and 81 graduates from Newport. Most of them are 68-years-old.
organizers said they hope as many as possible turn out for this historic 50th
reunion, to be held Sept. 8 at the Wyoming Valley Country Club in Hanover Twp.
years is a milestone, a big milestone, Brozena said. Im hoping
for a good turnout. But well see. There was some animosity and Im
sure there still is.
50th reunion of the Nanticoke/Newport Class
WHEN: 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sept. 8
WHERE: Wyoming Valley Country Club,
COST: $55 per person
CONTACT: Kline Searfoss at 570-436-1969
or Beverly Howell 570-735-8487.
Icebreaker to be held 7 p.m. Sept. 7 at R Bar
and Grill in Newport Twp.
SEEKING CLASS MEMBERS:
The committee planning
the 50th reunion of the Nanticoke/Newport Class of 1968 are trying to contact
the following classmates.
From Nanticoke: Ronald Butka, Stephen Buchinski,
William Crigas, Frank Demski, Arthur Houck, Robert Hoover, Thomas Jenkins, John
Neidzwski, Donald Stofko, Joseph Stoker, Kenneth Thompson, Robert Wodarczyk, John
Wozniak, Linda Bethel Baker, Sally Reese Swan, Linda Rinehamer Lehet, Donna Shedlock
Werkheiser, Linda Siko Hewitt, Theresa Yatsko Burgess.
From Newport: Arnold
Fiorani, Gary Kichner, Anthony Sklaney, Barry Varchimak, Patsy Faux Waltman, Catherine
Graves, Grace Kreitzer, Sarah Shank.
Anyone with questions about the reunion
can call Kline Searfoss at 570-436-1969.
IN THEIR WORDS:
thing was you didnt know these people unless you played athletics. You have
been rivals so long and all of a sudden youre classmates and teammates.
I enjoyed high school, had a great time and absolutely loved it. To me, Im
a history buff, it was historic year. Martin Luther King was shot earlier that
year. When we went to D.C. for our senior trip, you saw all the burned out buildings
from the riots. After we graduated, you go home and watch the news, Robert F.
Kennedy got shot. It was a tumultuous year.
JOSEPH IRACKI, Nanticoke
1967-68 school year was a beginning and an end. The initial shock of the jointure
began in our sophomore year with the vote on the GNA mascot. 1968 Newport Township
grads would become the first GNA Trojans and 50 years later they would celebrate
that prestigious experience. We would retain a portion of our Nutcracker identity
by retaining our Newport ring and yearbook. It would be a bittersweet year full
of anticipation and uncertainty shaped by world events. Little did we know then
the notoriety that would be associated with this beginning. It is one of the many
reasons to celebrate.
DAVE GUZOFSKY, Newport
I remember most actually how well the jointure went considering Newport was our
arch rival. All sports teams joined, cheerleading squads, all of it and it worked.
Our senior class trip I will never forget. We raised money to go to Washington
D.C. for 3 days My dad did not want to let me go because at that time the riots
in D.C. and burning of buildings was going on. But I begged and I was able to
go. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be working there some
day. I think the most exciting part was winning triple crown championships
in football, basketball and baseball. It was a great time to be in high school
at Nanticoke Area.
MARGE DAVISON MATISKO, Nanticoke
was my senior year and after attending Newport Township schools my whole life,
it was, as a teenager, an absolutely devastating time. We were ready to embark
on our greatest accomplishment our senior year by joining our rival
high school, our nemesis. We remained completely separated from Nanticoke High
School with the exception of sports. We had no contact whatsoever personally,
socially or academically together. In a way, we were thankful for this situation
because we were not fully combined. In our hearts, we remained Newport High School
as signified by our senior yearbook, our class rings, and our diplomas. We felt
we were the last class to graduate from Newport Township High School. Now, as
time has gone by, we can appreciate our time together planning our 50th class
reunion. I feel I have formed new friendships and I have a great feeling of camaraderie.
We have all come together as one to enjoy one of their greatest milestones of
our lives, Our 50th Class Reunion!
September 1967 to June 1968
Here are some things that happened during
the Class of 1968s school year:
Sept. 11: The Carol Burnett Show
premieres on CBS
Oct. 2: Thurgood Marshall is sworn in as the first black justice
of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Oct. 27: Several thousand people advance to the
Pentagon to protest against the Vietnam War.
Nov. 9: First issue of the magazine
Rolling Stone is published in San Francisco.
Dec. 8: Magical Mystery Tour is
released by The Beatles as an eleven-song album in the U.S.
The Viet Cong and North Vietnam launch the Tet Offensive against South Vietnam,
the United States, and allies.
February: Civil rights protests and disturbances
occur in Orangeburg, South Carolina and Memphis, Tennessee, and on the campuses
of the University of WisconsinMadison and the University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill.
March 31: U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson announces he will
not seek re-election.
April 4: Martin Luther King Jr. is shot dead at the Lorraine
Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. Riots erupt in major American cities, lasting for
several days afterwards.
April 11: President Johnson signs the Civil Rights
Act of 1968.
June 5: U.S. presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy is shot
at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California. Kennedy dies from his injuries
the next day.
NEPA Sharks: TNT Subs
owner has passion for food
Marcella Kester - For Times Leader
Rynkiewicz is a self-starter.
While the Nanticoke resident has been an independent
saleswoman for multiple companies, she admitted her true passion has always been
in the kitchen.
So Rynkiewicz combined her experience in sales and love of
food and created her own business: TNT Subs & More.
I left my job
in 2015 to pursue my homemade dip mix business, she said, noting the thought
of opening a deli was never far from her mind. I started looking and talking
to a friend and we decided to start TNT and the opportunity came about.
was one of the contestants at The Woodlands Inn last Friday evening, battling
it out in the areas first-ever NEPA Sharks event for a chance to win $5,000
for their businesses.
The event was put on by Golden Mile Funding LLC as well
as the Times Leader Media Group.
TNT Subs & More, of Nanticoke, creates
various homemade foods, specializing in pierogi and various other ethnic dishes.
the business has become mobile.
We teamed up with another food truck
who sells ethnic foods and we go to events together, offering the public full
Polish cuisine, said Rynkiewicz.
She found out about the competition
through the Times Leader, and was planning on using the prize money to further
advertising initiatives and purchase more equipment.
The Baut Studios was announced
the winner of the competition Friday, earning the $5,000 grand prize.
not winning, Rynkiewicz said she will continue to do what she loves regardless
of the challenges that come with being a business owner.
a lot of hard work. A lot of unpaid, hard work, she said. The best
part is giving back. I found that giving back to the community is very rewarding.
out more about TNT Subs at its Facebook page.
drive-through coffee shop opens in Nanticoke
A grand opening was held Monday for a new drive-through
coffee shop at 443 W. Main St., Nanticoke. Donna Dougherty opened the new coffee
shop, called Dragons Brew, in the parking lot of Nanticoke Fitness. The
shop will serve brewed coffee, espresso, protein shakes and blended drinks.
with a Heart donates toys to area police departments
One local organization is trying to help area
police departments develop better relations with the children in the communities
On Sunday, the Valley with a Heart volunteer organization delivered
toys to area police departments during an event at West Side Park in Nanticoke.
The departments will keep the toys in their cars and hand them out to children
they come across.
Having a 7-year-old daughter, I think its very
important to have the community and little kids reach out, Allison Barletta,
vice president of the Hazleton City Council, said. Seeing the police, they
see the lights and the uniform can be intimidating. But having officers reach
out give them a toy and speak with them will really help our kids out.
with a Heart President Rick Temerantz agreed.
This is our fourth year
holding this event, Temerantz said. The goal of this is if an officer
encounters a child in need, and hands the child a toy it tends to calm them down
These toys also serve as a form of public relations for the
In todays age, the cops dont get the
respect they deserve, Temerantz said. They are fathers and mothers.
They know what its like to see a crying child and how to comfort that child.
Maybe they wont see a cop as a threat, and they will remember later in life
when a cop helped them out.
The Valley with a Hearts main focus
is raising money to help families of sick children in the Wyoming Valley.
the 18 years weve been doing this, weve raised over half a million
dollars for families with sick children, Temerantz said. Whether it
be gas cards, medical bills or anything to make a familys life easier.
encourages people to check out www.valleywithaheart.com or check the groups
Facebook page for updates.
We are always looking for corporate sponsors
or donations, Temerantz said. Most importantly, 100 percent of the
money raised by his organization is given back to families in need.
from the Pennsylvania State Police, Hazleton City Police and Swoyersville were
in attendance at the event.
Toys were also delivered to departments from Wilkes-Barre,
Edwardsville, Larksville and the Pennsylvania State Police Hazleton barracks.
am honored that Valley with a Heart reached out to us and the kids in Hazleton
City, Barletta said. Right now we are a distressed city, so we benefit
from having them reach out to us, and the police can hold these toys in their
car and distribute them to a kid in need.
attending their events for the past three years, and I truly appreciate what they
do for the surrounding communities and Luzerne County.
Chris Concert echoed Barletta when it came to the importance of Valley with a
Not only am I the mayor but Im also a member
of Valley with a Heart, Concert said. Its really important to
foster a great relationship between children and police.
playground seeks help to make storm repairs
Rossi - Citizens Voice
The Quality Hill Playground, a staple in the
Nanticoke community, is in need of repairs.
The park was severely damaged when
a May 15 storm decimated several trees, ripped the roofing off the parks
two buildings and destroyed parts of the chain-link fence. Because the park is
privately owned, repairs are not covered by the city of Nanticoke and must be
paid out of pocket.
Kenny Gill, president of the nonprofit Quality Hill Playground
Association, said they need to raise money to get the park back to its former
One of the first things I noticed, when I got here after the storm,
were all the trees knocked down and the fences they took down with it, Gill
said. Five years ago, we spent anywhere between $24,000 to $32,000 putting
the fences around the park, and now most of it needs to be repaired or replaced.
to Gill, the storm caused about $16,000 in damage. The associations insurance
covered the new roofing, estimated at $6,500, but does not cover any tree removal
Once we learned the insurance was only covering the damage
to the building and not anything else on the property, such as the trees or the
fence, thats when we knew we had to do something, Gill said.
Tree Service of Wapwallopen removed seven downed pine trees and shrubs, and cleaned
up all of the brush and debris. According to Gill, the estimated cost to repair
the fences is $9,500.
Anyone wishing to donate material or funds for the repairs
may visit www.gofundme.com/qhpafencerepair or send a check payable to Quality
Hill Playground Association to 78 Hill St., Nanticoke, PA 18634.
visit the parks Facebook page, Quality Hill Playground Association-Nanticoke,
We are looking for all the help we can get, Gill said. Hopefully
we can raise the money and within two or three months have this park back up and
Habitat for Humanity
seeks family for project in Nanticoke
Bill Wellock - Citizens Voice
Valley Habitat for Humanity is looking for a family that needs a home.
organization is soliciting applications for a partner family that
will help build a home on what is currently a vacant lot in Nanticoke.
building process should take about a year, but families need to invest their own
sweat equity in the construction to qualify, so the organization is
looking for a partner now.
To qualify for the program, a family must meet several
criteria. Applicants must be living in inadequate housing, which could include
problems with water, electricity, sewage, heating or a landlord who doesnt
maintain the property or neighborhood safety. Another requirement is that a family
earns between 30 and 60 percent of the local median family income. For a family
of four in Luzerne County seeking to partner with Habitat for Humanity, thats
between $17,850 and $35,700.
Applicants go through an interview process that
looks at their financial history and other information. They buy the home from
Habit for Humanity, so they need to be able to afford the mortgage on the property.
They must also have lived in the area for at least one year.
all these strict standards so that when we partner, hopefully were assured
of success for both them and us, said executive director Karen Kaufer.
organization seeks potential partners through many avenues. It advertises and
sends out information to local social service agencies and businesses to gather
Kaufer has seen many families move in to Habitat homes in the
past 11 years. Some of those clients children are now graduating high school
and heading to college.
I think they would not have had the opportunity
to do that had they not had this hand-up in the community, she said.
Reflections on a Life Well-Lived
Bohman - WNEP-TV
Doris Merrill of Nanticoke spent much of World War II
at the Christian Admiral Hotel in Cape May, New Jersey.
The beachfront resort
also housed a Naval Intelligence Unit that tried to crack enemy codes.
was the only woman in a group of older officers, all of whom were men.
learned so much from those men," said Merrill. "Oh, they weren't happy
at the idea of a woman coming in to work with them but then, in about a week,
they treated me like I was their daughter."
Right after the war, she
met a Marine from Maine. She fell in love and married her husband Paul in a full
She accumulated roughly 70 medals but not from the military.
Shortly after leaving the military and eventually becoming a teacher in Nanticoke,
Doris Merrill was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and began a new kind of service
as an advocate for people with disabilities.
16 years ago, President George
W. Bush recognized her contributions to the military and the disabled.
has been so good and being in the service was part of it," said Merrill.
At 94, Doris has outlived her husband and her son.
On Memorial Day she gives
thanks to those who fought and died in war but being one of the few women in the
military in World War II, she also reflects on how women who followed in her footsteps
have become Admirals and Generals.
"It's about time," said Merril.
Nanticoke cop sues city over pay for doctor visits
Kara Kroll is suing the City of Nanticoke
for overtime pay she says she is due for time spent going to physical therapy
due to a work-related neck injury.
James Halpin - Citizens Voice
A police officer has filed a federal labor lawsuit against the City of
Nanticoke over 15 hours of overtime pay she says she is owed because officials
would not let her go to physical therapy during work.
Kara Kroll, who was
hired in 2015, alleges in the lawsuit that she missed a week of work after suffering
a sprained neck while on duty on Oct. 7, 2016. The complaint does not specify
the exact nature of the injury, but a grievance Kroll previously filed over the
issue says she hit her head on a staircase platform in a backyard, resulting in
a diagnosis of whiplash and neck strain.
When Kroll returned to duty, she
needed continuing treatment, but Nanticoke officials refused to give her time
off during her shifts to go to the doctor, the complaint says.
The city required
Kroll to schedule the doctor appointments outside of her normal eight-hour shift,
according to the complaint.
Consequently, (Kroll) incurred overtime
for having to go to (the citys) doctor after or before her scheduled shift,
Pittston attorney Cynthia L. Pollick wrote in the complaint. (Krolls) treatment
was necessary and for the benefit of (the city) since she was treating for a work-related
The complaint asserts that Kroll racked up an hour of overtime
on each of 15 days. Kroll is paid about $20 an hour and is entitled to time-and-a-half
pay after working 40 hours in one week, the complaint says.
The lawsuit alleges
a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act by the city for failing to pay Kroll
for time spent attending and traveling to her medical treatments.
Kroll is seeking payment of the unpaid overtime as well as attorneys fees and
costs. She is also seeking an order barring the city from denying her overtime
for future medical treatment.
Nanticoke Mayor Rich Wiaterowski said he had
not yet seen the lawsuit but added that an arbitrator sided with the city in April
regarding a grievance about Krolls overtime request.
won that case, Wiaterowski said.
According to the arbitrators
opinion, there was no dispute that the city paid Krolls full salary and
medical costs while she was out of work for the week.
When Kroll returned
to duty, Police Chief Thomas Wall told her to try and schedule her physical therapy
appointments outside of work hours, and he subsequently denied Krolls requests
for overtime pay, the opinion says.
Arbitrator James M. Darby, who is the
chairman of the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, denied the grievance, finding
that the city did not violate the collective bargaining agreement by denying the
The evidence shows that the city has never paid officers overtime
to attend rehabilitation sessions during non-work hours, Darby wrote.
The Fab Four and so much more
Jack Smiles - Citizens' Voice
The Grammys Salute to the Beatles
aired on CBS in February 2014, the 50th anniversary of the Beatles introduction
to America on the Ed Sullivan Show on Feb. 9, 1964. The Grammys Salute was billed
as The Night That Changed America.
It was certainly a night that
changed Edd Raineri, who was 11 at the time and living in Nanticoke where his
family ran a fruit and produce business. As he watched and listened to the long
haired John, Paul, George and Ringo perform live on a black and white antenna
TV that night, he was transfixed.
As he put it, Later that night, I
remember going upstairs to the bathroom mirror and combing my hair down over my
forehead. They were like nothing I had ever seen or heard before. There was no
turning back after that.
Indeed he went on a journey deep into world
of Beatlemania and 1960s pop culture and never turned back.
Today, he has his own radio show The Beatledd Fab Four Hour. The weekly
program airs live at 7 p.m. Fridays on Kings College radio WRKC-FM 88.5
and streams live online at wrkc.kings.edu. The eighth anniversary of the show
is this month and to commemorate the shows success, he took some questions
from Public Square.
Q. What are your earliest memories of being a music fan?
A. I think the first record I ever bought was Conscience by James
Darren in 1962. I met him a few years ago and have a photo of he and I holding
up that record. But it was certainly The Beatles who impacted me the most in many
Q. Were your parents into music?
A. My parents were not into music.
In fact, I dont think my father ever turned on the radio in his car. And
he disliked the Beatles his entire life.
Q. How many Beatlefests have you
A. I started going to Beatlefests in 1995 and have been to many over
the years, including fests in England and Amsterdam. Ive always been
thrilled to meet personalities who historically brushed up against The Beatles.
Their stories fascinate me.
Q. How many Beatles connected people have
A. Ive met dozens and dozens of Beatles connected people
... family members, musicians, recording engineers, business associates. Our special
guest list at The Beatledd Fab Four Hour over the last eight years is a Whos
Who of the 60s. I also did the very last interview with Davy Jones
of The Monkees. He died four days later.
Q. Your most memorable episodes and
A. My interview with Spanky McFarlane of Spanky & Our Gang
comes to mind. She had recently lost her son and she broke down during the interview.
All of a sudden, it became a Barbara Walters type interview and I had to edit
out a lot of silence so she could compose herself. Ive also had wonderful
radio chats with Gary Lewis, Tommy James, Pete Best, Brian Ray from Paul McCartneys
band, May Pang, Chad & Jeremy, Mike Pender of The Searchers, Dawn Wells from
Gilligans Island, Butch Patrick from The Munsters.
There are so many on the list.
Q. How many solo shows by Beatles have you
A. Ive seen McCartney perform many times, including in his hometown
of Liverpool. Ringo, a few times. I never got to see George perform live. I never
saw John Lennon but Im pretty good friends with his sister, Julia, and Gary
Van Scyoc of Elephants Memory, who was Johns bass player in the early
70s. Ive actually stood in Lennons bedroom in Liverpool where
he lived during the onset of Beatlemania. He could never have imagined, looking
out the window there, the impact he and the Beatles would have around the world.
Q. How many rock shows do you estimate youve seen and which one stand out
besides McCartney and Ringo?
A. Well over 100. Ive been going to rock
shows since Joe Nardone first started putting on shows here in Wilkes-Barre well
over 40 years ago. I remember, as a teenager, interviewing Bob Seger backstage
at the old Comerford Theater on Public Square. And Delaney & Bonnie and Ian
Anderson of Jethro Tull. I always enjoyed seeing The Stones, The Who and David
Bowie as well.
Q. Before your radio show, how did your music interest manifest?
A. When I was a kid, my parents made me take accordion lessons. I was a pretty
good accordion player in my time. But guitars were on the way in and I missed
the boat. In the late 70s, I was a pop songwriter and signed a lot of material
to music publishers in New York City, including Screen Gems-EMI. And all of the
songs were written on my accordion. That used to freak out the A&R reps. In
1983, as Eric Rain & The Altar Boys, I released a single, Sorry/T.J.,
on my own record label, Micki McBozzer Records.
Q. How did you
get the idea for the radio show?
A. I had been a guest on The Sue Henry Show
on WILK as a kind of Beatles expert. In fact, I arranged for three Beatles
related personalities to join me: Sid Bernstein, the promoter who brought The
Beatles to Shea Stadium; Alf Bicknell, who had been The Beatles limo driver;
and Sam Leach, a Liverpool dance hall promoter who had worked with The Beatles
before they were famous. Anyway, Sue eventually asked me if I wanted to do my
own Beatles radio show on WRKC, Radio Kings College, where she is general
manager. And so The Beatledd Fab Four Hour was born. The first show aired on May
Q. How did it grow?
A. The show has grown on its own merit. Were
not afraid to color outside the lines and do not limit the music to classic Beatles
recordings. The goal is to entertain Beatles fans and those who loved the
60s era. Weve had over 200 special guests on the program. Its
just amazing what you can do on college radio vs. cookie cutter corporate
commercial radio. And because of Facebook, we have listeners all over the world.
I was once at a McCartney concert in Washington D.C. and a fan from Japan recognized
Q. How much prep goes into a show? How much off the cuff?
to week. Sometimes 90 minutes or so, when I know exactly where I want to go with
it that week. Sometimes three hours. There are two separate pieces to each show
that require attention: the music play list and the dialogue, which may include
some research and guests.
I like to work from a script. Each show is broadcast
live. We only have one hour to make it happen, with a guy on the air before me,
and a guy coming on after me. So each show has a well-planned hour. Each show
has a distinct choreographed beginning, middle and end. There certainly is spontaneity
during the show but I always know where Im going next. We generally nail
it within 60 minutes.
Q. You also produce rock shows. Talk about that.
A. Doing the radio show has serendipitously led to putting on some fantastic shows
at The F.M. Kirby Center. In 2015, I brought 1964 The Tribute to the
Kirby and last year, brought Liverpool Legends and Shawn Klush
as Elvis. Im bringing a big 1960s icon to the Kirby Center Dec. 2
the legendary Johnny Rivers. The guy had nine Top Ten hits and 17 in the
Top 40. Gonna be a big show.
A. Favorite song?
Hmm ... Somewhere
Over The Rainbow by Judy Garland and Moon River by Henry Mancini
or Andy Williams. After those two, there are hundreds tied for third. My favorite
Beatle song is still She Loves You, but Beatledd knows
more than Beatles
Area Educational Center
from the Greater Nanticoke Area Educational Center were finalists in the annual
Fine Arts Fiesta Poetry Contest. They each received a certificate from The Wyoming
Valley Poetry Society and were invited to read their poems to the public on May
20 on Public Square. Their poems were submitted by their reading teachers, Lisa
Kapral and Carol Hromisin.
Finalists Sixth Grade: first place, My
Grandma by Jenna Thomas; second place, Teardrop by Rylie Lewis;
honorable mention, Family by Ryan Kenney; honorable mention, Try
by Kiersten Johnson.
Seventh Grade: first place, Along the Way
by Nicholas Neipert; honorable mention, Raindrops and Rose Petals
by Maura Jenceleski.
man files suit against county DA's office
James Halpin - Citizens
A Nanticoke man has filed a federal malicious prosecution lawsuit
against the Luzerne County District Attorney's Office, alleging he was arrested
on "trumped up charges" after splitting up with the niece of a county
Damian Caban alleges county Detective Charles Balogh "turned
a blind eye toward potentially exculpatory evidence" when his niece, Janelle
Everetts Skipalis raised allegations against Caban following their split on Dec.
"The defendant Balogh knew that (Caban) was the victim of false
statements by Janelle Everetts Skipalis, but because defendant Balogh intended
to protect and favor his niece, Skipalis, he instead used his position as a county
detective to charge (Caban) with trumped up charges, without probable cause,"
Wilkes-Barre attorney Andrew J. Katsock III wrote in the complaint.
names as defendants Balogh as well as the Luzerne County District Attorney's Office.
District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis declined to comment Wednesday.
to the complaint, Skipalis and Caban got engaged on Nov. 6, 2015. The couple planned
to move into a home in Hanover Twp., and Caban put $6,000 down toward the purchase
and spent another $5,000 on renovations, the lawsuit said.
But on Dec. 19,
2015, Skipalis told Caban she wouldn't marry him and that he could not stay in
the house, according to the complaint. The couple got into an argument and then
Skipalis, with the "help, advice and assistance" of Balogh, filed charges
against her former fiance, the lawsuit alleges.
Court documents show Hanover
Twp. police arrested Caban on charges of simple assault, harassment and trespassing
after Skipalis alleged he had forced his way into her home and grabbed her hair
during a struggle. The complaint alleged Caban injured Skipalis' head and face
during the altercation, and that he threatened to kill her.
The lawsuit alleges
that during a preliminary hearing, Assistant District Attorney Angela Sperrazza
threatened to file more charges against Caban unless he admitted guilt. Caban
refused, the complaint said.
Court records show the district attorney's office
subsequently added charges of making terroristic threats and reckless endangerment
"As was threatened and promised, the Luzerne County district
attorney charged (Caban) with additional criminal charges because he refused to
admit guilt," Katsock wrote.
The state Attorney General's Office later
took over the case and Caban, who maintained his innocence, was found not guilty
on all counts at trial.
The lawsuit alleges Caban was wrongfully accused and
that the DA's office "grossly over-charged him" solely because Skipalis'
uncle is a Luzerne County detective.
The suit alleges malicious prosecution,
false arrest, defamation and failure by the DA's office to adequately train and
Caban is seeking damages for humiliation, lost wages, legal
bills and other expenses, in addition to punitive damages against Balogh.
The lawsuit said Caban has also filed a state lawsuit against Skipalis over a
$26,000 diamond engagement ring and a $2,300 gold chain and charm that Balogh
has maintained possession of,despite the relationship's termination.
Storm leaves behind a big mess
Allabaugh - Citizens Voice
Cleanup was under way in Nanticoke on Wednesday
after a storm with high winds and heavy rains caused severe damage on Tuesday.
Nanticoke firefighters responded to more than 20 calls of trees, power lines and
street poles down.
Nanticoke Fire Lt. John Polifka said some properties were
damaged as well as a parked vehicle when a street light pole fell on it on Broad
Street near Patriot Square.
The storm's damaging winds toppled a tree in Nanticoke
Cemetery and caused damage at Patriot Square, where police tape surrounded an
area where a large tree snapped. Nanticoke public works employees were still cleaning
up downed trees Wednesday.
Trees were uprooted in Quality Hill Playground,
which is closed to the public for safety reasons until the damage is cleaned up.
In all, six trees in the playground were damaged, said Kenny Gill, president of
the Quality Hill Playground Association.
Conklin's Tree Service of Wapwallopen
removed three downed trees in the playground that blocked an alley.
Conklin, owner of Conklin's Tree Service, said in addition to removing downed
trees at the playground, he received more than 25 calls in three hours to remove
trees that fell on houses and vehicles in other areas from Hazleton to Hunlock
Many trees were uprooted as a result of the high winds and he was busy
Wednesday responding to emergencies. He plans to return to Quality Hill Playground
to remove the other downed trees.
About 30 feet of fencing in Quality Hill
Playground was gone from the trees falling on it, Gill said. Trees fell on fencing
that surrounds the basketball court and the tennis court.
Gill said Quality
Hill Playground Association officials are waiting to find out if insurance will
cover the damage or if it will be considered an "act of God."
a nonprofit organization, he said the association raises money to do park improvements
and not to respond to "Mother Nature's wrath."
If people have storm
damage to their homes, it could be covered under their homeowners' insurance policies
or if there is damage to their vehicles, it could be covered under their auto
insurance, said local insurance agent George Shadie.
Shadie recommended people
notify insurance agents of damage as soon as possible. He said to take pictures
immediately and press insurance companies about repairing and cleaning up the
"Confirm their conversations in writing," Shadie
said. "Either use insurance company recommended contractors or confirmed
Shadie said his Jaguar convertible was damaged by tree
limbs and flying debris in Butler Twp. from Tuesday's storm which he said is covered
under his auto comprehensive coverage. He said his deductible is zero and it's
important for people to know their deductibles on all their policies.
is money they'll have to pay," Shadie said. "For example, if you have
a $500 deductible and the agreed damages are $1,500, your insurance company will
only pay $1,000."
In addition to downed trees, the storm also left a
number of people throughout Luzerne County without power, including 397 PPL customers
by late Wednesday afternoon. PPL regional affairs
director Alana Roberts said
all power should be restored to customers in Luzerne County by 11 p.m. Thursday.
About 500 workers were working to restore power day and night "as quickly
and safely as possible" throughout PPL's service territory, Roberts said.
Crews were brought in from other states such as Tennessee, Kentucky and Illinois.
She said crews will move into Luzerne County after restoring power in the Lehigh
Valley area, Harrisburg and Lancaster.
By late Wednesday afternoon, nearly
all UGI customers in Luzerne County had their power restored, according to the
utility's online outage map.
The majority of UGI's power outages were in Union
Twp., Conyngham Twp., Ross Twp. and Hunlock Twp. Crews were working late in the
day to restore power to those areas. The remainder of UGI customers should have
their power restored Thursday, UGI spokesman Joe Swope said.
caused a lot of damage and the consistent rain slowed things up," Swope said.
If you have storm damage and need to file a claim, the Pennsylvania Insurance
Department offers these tips:
o Know your insurance policy, policy number
and the customer service line to file a claim.
o Read and understand what
your insurance policy states.
o Keep a record of everyone you spoke to on
the telephone, including names, dates and times of the conversations, as well
as any exchanges in writing.
o Ask questions if you do not understand something.
o Photograph and make a list of the damaged items.
o Save any receipts for
materials purchased for repairs.
o Do not throw away damaged property unless
a claims adjuster advises you to do so.
o Protect your property from further
damage by making temporary repairs until your insurance company is able to advise
o Do not have permanent repairs made until your insurance company has
inspected the property and you have reached an agreement on the cost of repairs.
If you make permanent repairs before the adjuster has seen the damage, your claim
could be denied.
o After you file a claim form and the insurance adjuster
has inspected the damage, the insurance company usually will respond in writing
within a week.
o If your claim is complicated or questionable, the company
may request additional time. If you don't hear from the insurance company, call
and ask for reason for the delay.
o Once you and your insurance company agree
on the terms of a settlement, the law requires you be sent payment promptly.
o If your claim is denied, make sure you obtain a letter explaining the reason.
o If you are not satisfied, call the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, 1-877-881-6388.
Girls basketball: Nanticoke Area finds head coach
Steve Bennett - Citizens Voice
While he was growing up in Nanticoke,
Ed Grant always made sure to get to as many Nanticoke Area basketball games as
he could. In fact, Alan Yendrzeiwski was his favorite player. And when Grant finally
was able to take the court as a seventh grader for the Trojans, Yendrzeiwski was
his first coach in the program.
The two continued to bond over the game of
basketball, and for seven out of the last nine seasons, Grant served as Yendrzeiwskis
assistant coach with the girls program at the school.
And when Yendrzeiwski
decided to step away from the job at the end of April, Grant thought it would
be the perfect opportunity for him to slide one seat over on the bench.
Thursday, the Nanticoke Area school board voted unanimously to name Grant the
new girls basketball coach at the school.Im just excited about it,
there is a lot of tradition, Grant said. Im proud to be the
coach. This is where I went to school. I came up through the program. It means
a lot to be among the coaches that have come through here. There have been a lot
of great ones.
During Yendrzeiwskis nine years with the program,
the Trojanettes won four Wyoming Valley Conference league titles and appeared
in three district championship games, winning one of them. The Trojanettes also
won four state playoff games.
Grant will inherit a program that will lose
three starters from last seasons squad that finished 22-6 and advanced to
the second round of the state tournament, where it was eliminated by Gwynedd-Mercy.
Coach Yendrzeiwski was my favorite player growing up, I was able to play
for him, Grant said. To be able to take over for him is very special.
I am going to keep everything flowing; the philosophy will be the same. We are
going to continue to do the things that we believe in with the tradition of the
Grant believes the transition will be a smooth one since he
is familiar with the girls and they are with him. By not changing the philosophy,
that means the Trojanettes will continue to use there pressuring defense to help
create turnovers and easy baskets on the offensive end. Although, Grant wont
be afraid to tweak a few things in terms of the scheme on the offensive end of
We lost three starters from last year, but there were many
other girls who contributed off the bench that we expect to flow into the scheme
of things, Grant said. It will be a little bit of a reboot for us.
Now that his hiring is official, Grants first order of business will be
to meet with the returning players and any newcomers as soon as possible. The
next step will be the get everything lined up for the summer league and off season
I always wanted to be a head coach at Nanticoke Area,
said Grant, who coached the Lake-Lehman boys basketball team for one season. You
cant beat the community following at all the games. The fans are there before
any of the games are ready to start. I cant thank the school board enough
for giving me this opportunity, and (Yendrzeiwski) for all he has done for me
over the years.
Matusek stepping down as Nanticoke Area coach
Back in the late 1980s, Mark Matusek hardly knew a thing
He knew who all-time great Pelé was, but had never played
or coached the game. By 1989, he had only a few years of youth coaching experience
to point to as his soccer background.
Thats not quite the resume of
an average high school coach nowadays, but Matusek remembers Wyoming Valley soccer
still in its early stages back then. In 1989, it was enough to make Matusek the
man to start Nanticoke Areas boys soccer program from scratch a position
hes finally ready to give up.
After 29 seasons, Matusek is stepping
down as the Trojans only boys soccer head coach to date.
thinking about it on and off for the past two seasons. I just think that 29 years
long time, Matusek said Thursday night. And I was thinking,
maybe its time to give someone else an opportunity to run the program.
Matusek called the move the toughest decision Ive ever had to make.
He had his resignation letter typed up and saved, but it took some time to finally
hit the send button and deliver it to athletic director Ken Bartuska.
Nearly three decades of coaching Trojans soccer would have never happened, though,
had it not been for a family friend.
Bartuska recalls his sisters neighbor
suggesting he head to a weekend clinic to learn how to coach soccer. Nanticoke
was starting a youth program and needed people to help run the team.
didnt know anything about it, so how can I coach? he figured.
Matusek gave it a shot, though, and a weekend at a Crestwood coaches clinic turned
into three years of youth experience, which turned into a job recommendation from
parents for the brand-new Trojans job. Then-AD Jim Davis gave him a call, and
Matusek, a substitute teacher at the time, figured it wouldnt hurt to start
It was rough at first.
Matuseks first team included
roughly 24 players, but just four freshmen with prior playing experience. Its
first game, a trip to Crestwood, resulted in a 19-0 loss.
The Trojans finally
won their first game in 1990 at Wyoming Area, the first of a three-win, two-tie
The bus driver drove around town blowing the horn (for the first
win), and people didnt know what was going on, Matusek said.
the time his four experienced freshmen in 89 became seniors, they
honestly got sick of losing, Matusek said, and the Trojans went undefeated
in league play and made it to the 1992 league title game.
That kicked off
a nice run of winning seasons throughout the decade.
But perhaps Matuseks
biggest career highlight came in 2003.
Nanticoke Area qualified for its first
District 2 title game after beating then-undefeated Dallas, 5-1, he said, and
it qualified for states despite losing in the title game. The Trojans opened their
first state tournament against defending state runner-up Eastern Lebanon Catholic
and held a second-half lead before falling, 3-2, to the eventual PIAA champs.
That was the only time as a coach that Ive lost a game and felt really
good about it, Matusek said.
Nanticoke Areas last season under
Martusek ended in the D2 Class 2A quarterfinals. Wherever the next coach takes
the Trojans in future seasons, Martusek hopes he or she can boost participation
numbers. Its been very difficult the past few years getting kids out,
Martusek said. Im hoping whoever comes in can get into the youth program
and help with the youth program.
Nanticoke boys soccer coach Matusek wont return for 30th season
Dave Rosengrant Times Leader
For nearly three decades, Nanticoke
boys soccer hasnt had a head coach besides Mark Matusek. That will come
to an end for the upcoming season as Matusek, the longest-tenured coach in the
Wyoming Valley Conference, informed Nanticoke Area athletic director Ken Bartuska
that he would not be returning for his 30th season as head coach of the Trojans.
Matusek, who couldnt be immediately reached for comment on Thursday, piled
up more than 250 wins since the programs inception in 1989.
racked up several division titles in his 29 seasons, with Meyers being runner-up
to the Trojans on a few occasions, and the Mohawks getting the best of Matusek
a few times as well.
Any time you have a coach with that kind of tenure,
you have a great coach, said Meyers coach Jack Nolan, now the longest-tenured
coach in Division 2 of the Wyoming Valley Conference. Any time you have
a coach thats been around a long time, he gets the best out of his kids.
I was actually a little upset because they are going up to Triple-A this
year and up to Division 1, and we wouldnt get to play them.
is going to be a big loss for the league and the program and the sport.
Even when the Trojans didnt have a division-winning team on the field, Matuseks
teams were always tough to beat.
Just a few years ago in 2016, the team finished
with just seven wins in the regular season but managed to win two matches as the
No. 9 seed in the District 2 Class 2A Tournament. That included ousting top-seeded
Blue Ridge to reach the semifinals before losing a one-goal game to Wyoming Seminary.
We all have those couple years when were rebuilding and you know its
going to be a struggle, but Mark was always competitive, Nolan said. And
you always had to have your team prepared because you knew it was going to be
a tough game.
Thats a testament to Mark and his knowledge of the
sport and how much he gets out of the kids. Hes put a lot of time and effort
into it and deserves all the accolades hes received, and the time off in
budget for Nanticoke Area includes tax hike
The tax rate on properties in the Greater Nanticoke Area
School District would increase 3.6 percent, according to a preliminary budget
The proposed budget would allocate nearly $30 million.
The school board voted 6-3 to propose the budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year and
is required to adopt a final budget by June 30. The fiscal year starts July 1.
The proposed tax hike would increase the property tax rate to 11.9113 mills. A
mill is $1 on every $1,000 in property assessment.
The tax increase also does
not exceed the state index, which is the maximum amount allowed without the approval
of a voter referendum or state exception amount.
Business Manager Al Melone
recommended raising the tax rate to the index because state funding is not going
We have to take care of ourselves, Melone said. GNA
takes care of GNA.
The district cut $1.1 million in expenses that were
in a rough and dirty version of the budget in January, Melone said.
The retirement of six employees helped reduce spending by about $500,000, Melone
National Nurses Week: Finding
her real role in life
With a mother
who taught high school music and a father who taught college theater, small wonder
Kyra Yezefski first appeared on stage when she was 6, and has been in "10
or 15" productions in her 28 years. The bigger question may be, how did she
end up not only working as a nurse, but being so good at it.
science and I love music," she explained. "Theater is a hard career
to make a living at, but I didn't have a clue what I wanted to do in science."
After graduating from Greater Nanticoke Area High School (where her mother taught)
in 2008, she tried going to Wilkes University (where her father taught) to study
biology. But something didn't quite click, until she decided to become a Certified
Nursing Assistant. She liked it so much she went back to school, this time in
the nursing program at Wilkes-Barre Area Career and Technical Center, and hasn't
"At Guardian Elder Care, a big part of my day is handling
the medicines, taking vital signs, assessing the residence day to day, doing any
kinds of treatment that needs to be done," she said. "But really, my
favorite part is just talking to them, spending time with them."
becoming a nurse meant she got less of that. "The hall was split between
three CNAs. As a nurse, you have responsibility for all 28 people. It can get
Yezefski said she enjoys hearing what the residents have
"A lot of times they want to tell you about what they did in
their lifetime. Sometimes they just want to talk about what's going on that day.
A lot of them don't have families that come around. The nurses and CNAs that work
there, they really look forward to seeing us."
Though she's only been
a nurse since December, Yezefski clearly feels the calling, and has no plans to
look for another career. She expects to advance her training and eventually become
a Registered Nurse. "Probably within the next year I'll get started,"
she said, "but right now I'm content where I am."
Of course, she
still loves music, and she still sings every chance she gets. "My favorite
Broadway show is Into the Woods, followed by Le Miz or maybe Wicked," she
said. "I also love Whitney Houston."
But she doesn't feel as strong
an urge to return to the stage as she does to help the people she now serves,
despite the fact that she started showing up in her father's productions of Shakespeare
plays when she was around 6 years old, albeit without any speaking part - or really
much of a part at all.
"I was shy as a young kid, I didn't want to talk.
Dad made these signs and I'd walk across the stage with them," announcing
the start of the next act, say.
Yezefski heaps high praise on her husband,
a high school sweetheart who shared the stage with her in productions of Carousel,
Into the Woods and Guys and Dolls. He now works as a lighting and sound designer
for Effects Unlimited in Pittston.
"He paid for my education, for all
the stuff I needed," she said. Which may be why her favorite Whitney Houston
tune is "I have nothing."
"Share my life, take me for what
I am, 'Cause I'll never change all my colors for you
School: Greater Nanticoke Area High School class
of 2008, Wilkes-Barre Area Career and Technical Center practical nursing program.
Became a nurse in December, previously worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant.
Works at Guardian Elder Care, Nanticoke.
sought on historical event
Letter to the Editor - Citizens Voice/
Published: May 5, 2018
Editor: A few weeks ago marked the 82nd Anniversary
of a very sad day in this areas history. On Good Friday, April 10, 1936,
a tragic series of events unfolded in the Wyoming Valley, which became known as
The Good Friday Bombings.
Six packages containing cigar box bombs were mailed
to Thomas Maloney, of Georgetown; Michael Gallagher, of Hanover Twp., Harry Goulstone,
of Kingston; Judge Benjamin Jones, of Wilkes-Barre; sheriff and funeral director
Luther Kniffen, of Wilkes-Barre; and James Gorman, of Hazleton. Sadly, on that
Good Friday, Thomas Maloney opened the first package, wounding him, his son and
daughter. He and his son died from their wounds, and his daughter survived.
Later in the day, Michael Gallagher also opened a package, which killed him instantly
and wounded his son-in-law, Clinton Lehman. Ultimately, Michael Fugmann, of Hanover
Twp., was arrested, tried, convicted and put to death for the crime. In Fugmanns
defense, the names of Big Joe Danowski and Big Tony Denovige were also mentioned.
I am a member of the local historical societies and am interested in researching
this historical event. If anyone has any information on the Good Friday Bombings
of 1936, any of the people involved, or are relatives of these people please contact
the Nanticoke Historical Society at Nanticokehistorical@yahoo.com or by calling
570-258-1367 or myself at 570-606-8443.
Mike Chmiola - Member - Nanticoke
stepping down at Nanticoke Area
Steve Bennett - Citizens Voice
Ever since he was 12 years old, all Alan Yendrzeiwski knew was Nanticoke
Area basketball. Whether it was a practice or a game for him at that young of
an age, he knew where he was going to spend his holiday weekends.
will be spending that time at home.
Yendrzeiwski announced that he is stepping
down as the head girls basketball coach at the school after a nine year run. He
plans on spending more time with his family, particularly with his children age
10, 8 and 6.
I talked to the girls on Friday, it is on my terms,
Yendrzeiwski said. Its just time to take a little break and recharge
the batteries. There is no reason. I do tell people that every Thanksgiving, Christmas
and New Years, I have been doing this since I was 12 years old. It is all
Ive known. Im looking forward to spending time with my kids. Im
going to get to see what it is like not having to go to practice the day after
Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Yendrzeiwski recently wrapped up his ninth
year with the Trojanettes, finishing 22-6 overall and losing to Gwynedd-Mercy
in the second round of the state tournament, for the second consecutive year.
Yendrzeiwski began his coaching career as an assistant with the boys program under
current Nanticoke Area athletic director Ken Bartuska, before moving on to become
the head coach of the girls program.
While the head coach of the Trojanettes,
Yendrzeiwski led the team to three district championship games, winning one of
them. He also won four league titles and four state playoff games.
was a tough decision, it was a proud nine years working with the kids, Yendrzeiwski
said. I am happy to have the opportunity to do that. I always respected
the tradition of the program, and in the meantime add to it. I think we have done
that during my time. I am just really proud of what we accomplished.
Nanticoke pulls together for leukemia-stricken mayor,
for one of its own on Sunday.
Half a world away, another man is helping him
Since November, the citys 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.
the support was overwhelming.
My doctors said I wasnt
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 hes 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
But that hasnt put a damper on the love he has for his
town. Wiaterowski said that scenes like Sundays were what he wants people
known Nanticoke for.
These are Nanticoke people. Theyre good people,
he said When someones 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.
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 Mayors Battle Is My Battle.
Potsko, who organized Sundays event, said she was thrilled by the turnout.
It means a lot; its amazing, overwhelming and emotional all at once,
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
Wiaterowskis 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
The doctors say hes doing amazing. I update everyone on
Facebook about how hes been doing, and lately its been boring; we
like boring, she said with a laugh.
For his part, Wiaterowski is looking
forward to May 13. So far, its 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 wont need to wear this
for Nanticoke mayor recovering from cancer
May 13 is Day 100 for Rich Wiaterowski.
That Sunday will mark
100 days since the 44-year-old Nanticoke man, the citys 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
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 dont know the donor, but his cells
were an excellent match that helped save Richs life.
When Rich Wiaterowski
first learned a transplant could come from an anonymous donor, not knowing the
identity didnt 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, thats 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 didnt cover.
It is crazy the way people
in this town have come together, he said. When someone is sick, not
just me, anybody that weve seen go through a sickness like this, the town
His sons sixth grade class sent get-well cards.
Hes gotten cards from friends and strangers. Hes kept every one.
Its overwhelming, said his wife, Wendy Wiaterowski. Its
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
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, hes doing very
well. In (the physicians) eyes, hes doing remarkable. Theres
lot of positive with that. But theres still a long road ahead, Wendy
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.
1 p.m.: Acousticstein
2 p.m.: Strawberry Jam Duo
3 p.m.: Doug and Sean Acoustic
5 p.m.: Ol
6 p.m.: Rhythm and Booze
7 p.m.: 40 lb. Head
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
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.
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
couldnt get enough of Glory, Saving Private Ryan
or Schindlers List.
So what gives? Why do people hate history
class but love books based on historical figures and events?|
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.
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 Martins work was appealing, both Gavenus and Jones expressed
concern that the length and breadth of the Martin collection couldnt be
accurately portrayed in that type of format.
When you make a documentary,
there are budget and time constraints, Jones said.
to storytelling helped propel VizVibes products.
If Im 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.
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, theyll 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
VizVibe has access to Spider Martins 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
This is going to be a multiple platform way to tell
stories. Its 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
Being accurate is key. The content is limited right now
(in existing apps) and there is nothing linking the learner to additional sources,
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.
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 teams 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. Thats 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,
Between the college and VizVibe, this is the most excited Ive
been in years to come to work, Jones said. Thomas, Deluca, and Stair agreed,
noting the time and money theyve invested has been well worth it.
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.
Were 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 companys motto.
Nanticoke Area approves plan to reconfigure grades next year
The Greater Nanticoke Area School Board
voted Thursday to approve a plan to reconfigure grades in school district buildings
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.
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.
nurse to stand trial over patient death
James Halpin - Citizens
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 Generals 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.
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.
Department of State records show Levandowski remains a registered nurse with a
license that expires Oct. 31. Online records show no disciplinary actions against
Ex-Penn State star Hamilton
accused of assaulting son, blasts authorities
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.
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 Hamiltons 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.
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 dont have that.
Did I hit the (other) kid? No. Did I scare the (other) kid like I scared my kid?
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 sons State College residence
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 didnt happen. They (investigators)
told the (sons) mom, We dont 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 kids statement,
Hamilton continued, suggesting that statement may have been coerced. If
I hit him, where is the bruise? Where is the proof?
embellishment Im talking about. Thats this case.
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 Hamiltons standpoint, the police reports
He said he arrived at his sons 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
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, thats 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. Hes 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, Im
hearing, not seeing, there were other people in the house.
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.
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. Im not a boxer. I dont punch people with a closed
hand, youll break your knuckles.
He said he later left through
the buildings back door when he noticed the alleged assailant waiting in
a car and feared the boy may be carrying a weapon.
I didnt want
to get shot, Hamilton said.
to Hamilton, he said, is the resistance hes 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 States 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. Whos being
protected? Who are they covering up for? It greatly disturbs me.
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
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.
Hamilton, local football legend, accused of attacking son
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.
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
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
sons 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
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.
Hamiltons 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
skys 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.
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 districts 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 bodys 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 colleges
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 skys 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 years 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.
grants pump $6M into Luzerne County
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 districts 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 Countys Local Share Account,
which is funded by tax revenue generated by the states 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 Nantcokes Market Street project.
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.
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.
Some optimism displayed at vigil for Phylicia Thomas
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
"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
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
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
"I woke up this morning sick to my stomach," she said. "This
is like going to a funeral every year."
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
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.
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,
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
approves tax break for commercial project
Luzerne County Council on Tuesday approved a 10-year tax abatement for a
proposed commercial project that the developer says could create thousands of
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.
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"
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.
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."
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.
of South Valley Parkway opens
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.
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
masters degree in history and subsequently worked in the health insurance
business for years. He often traveled, didnt see his family enough and he
said the return on his investment just wasnt there.
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
Its 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.
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.
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,
You earn while you learn and at the end, you get college credits,
Nadolny said. You can go for an associates degree, a bachelors
degree or a masters 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 isnt a job. Its a career,
he said. Its not for everybody. Its hard work. Its 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,
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
Becoming an electrician is a good high-paying alternative for interested
applicants who dont 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 theyre done and they work at McDonalds,
he said. College isnt for everybody. Maybe some would do better in
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. Its 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 cant stay in one spot, Tapia said.
I cant sit inside. Ive got to do different things, work inside
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,
IBEW Local 81 has a training center with the same program
in South Abington Twp. for Lackawanna County residents. For more information,
South Valley Parkway will open Monday
Bill Wellock - Citizens Voice
A section of an $83 million road construction project will be ready for
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.
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.
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.
and its roundabouts in the township will connect the highway to about 2,000 acres
of land for potential industrial development.
council set to vote on tax break request for project
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 firms 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 councils 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 NorthPoints 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 NorthPoints 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,
It is possible that county Manager David Pedri will negotiate better
terms on the countys behalf, or that a council member will make a motion
to amend the resolution to reflect better terms, Haas said.
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.
Search for fallen WWII soldiers family moves to
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens Voice - Note: partial article
The hunt for family of a World War II soldier missing since
October 1944 has shifted and appears to be over.
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
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.
Wilkes-Barre, Pittston, Hazleton, Nanticoke mull cooperation
The mayors of three
of Luzerne Countys 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
Tuesdays 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
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.
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.
we certainly have a lot of issues with housing, Cusat said. We found
one apartment where eight people were living in one room. Weve 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.
a group, we have a better chance at securing federal funding for certain projects,
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.
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.
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. Theyve 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.
the groups vice president, said hes been having little luck.
did live in Nanticoke at one time, so we owe him something, Zaremba said.
Theres lots of Laskowskis around here, but I cant make any connection.
Military officials have told Zaremba that Laskowskis 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.
missing persons website has Laskowski listed under those unaccounted for from
Military officials provided the historical society with a summary
about the incident that likely killed Laskowski.
Members of Laskowskis
unit the Armys 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
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 Armys
Past Conflict Repatriations Branch at 1-800-892-2490.
Missing in action
Name: Private Anthony Laskowski
Branch: U.S. Army
Missing since: Oct.
Location: Near Ajincourt, France
Unit: 35th Infantry Division,
60th Engineers Combat Battalion
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 Armys Past Conflict Repatriations Branch at 1-800-892-2490.
Winning lottery ticket sold in Nanticoke
will expire soon
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens Voice
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.
Zieglar, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Lottery, encouraged people to check
old tickets in hopes they have the winner. If its not claimed by next Friday,
the $50,000 will be returned to the lotterys fund that benefits older Pennsylvanians.
We want players to check every ticket every time. We dont want them
to miss out on a prize. Thats 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 its 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.