closing gives Luzerne County an economic 'death penalty'
Using Department of Corrections terminology, state Sen. John Yudichak on Thursday
at a public hearing accused Gov. Tom Wolfs administration of ordering the
economic death penalty for Luzerne County with plans to close State
Correctional Institution at Retreat in Newport Twp.
Yudichak, D-14, Plymouth
Twp., said hes watched Luzerne County rise from the ashes of anthracite
coal mining during his 20 years in the state legislature, but the area still struggles
economically compared to other regions of the state.
Closing SCI-Retreat, in
addition to the proposed closure of the White Haven Center for the intellectually
disabled in White Haven, would amount to a catastrophic loss of over
850 family-sustaining jobs for Luzerne County, Yudichak warned during the hearing
at Greater Nanticoke Area High School chaired by Department of Corrections Secretary
After decades of working to dig ourselves out of the mine
hole, why would state government kick Luzerne County back down the mine shaft?
Yudichak asked. This is more than cruel and unusual punishment. It is the
potential death penalty.
Hundreds of people in attendance, mostly SCI-Retreat
workers, loudly applauded following Yudichaks comments.
constraints and a shrinking prison population, the Wolf administration has proposed
closing SCI-Retreat and sending its 1,000 inmates to other prisons in the state.
The administration has said 400-plus employees would be offered jobs at one of
six other DOC facilities in Northeast Pennsylvania SCIs Coal Twp., Dallas,
Frackville, Mahanoy, Muncy and Waymart all within 65 miles of SCI-Retreat.
hearing began with DOC officials reading a statement from Wolf.
not take the decision to close a prison lightly, Wolf said.
to work with staff members, the union and legislators and review all the testimony
presented before making a final decision. But he noted DOC needs cant be
dictated only by the impacts on communities where prisons currently exist.
community should rely solely on a prison for economic viability, Wolf said
in his statement.
SCI-Retreat, which sits between the Susquehanna River and
a Newport Twp. mountainside, is by far the largest employer in the municipality.
Twp. manager Peter Wanchisen told the DOC panel leading the hearing that the closing
would devastate the township, which contains the downtrodden Glen Lyon, a section
of the township has been classified as the most distressed place in Pennsylvania.
are not looking for a handout from Harrisburg. We are looking for a helping hand.
Please do not close this facility, Wanchisen pleaded.
the superintendent of SCI-Retreat, asked DOC officials and the governor to reconsider
I am here to humbly ask that every effort be made to allow
for the facility to stay open, Mason said. To the staff of SCI-Retreat,
we are one family, brothers and sisters who stick together. I am with you every
step of the way.
During his comments, Yudichak noted the closure would
be felt far beyond Newport Twp. to the tunes of millions of dollars per year.
SCI-Retreat is only accessible by using a bridge from Route 11 in Hunlock Twp.,
businesses along Route 11 like Stookeys Bar-B-Que and Morris Family
Restaurant in Plymouth Twp. would see a big loss of business, Yudichak
Sen. Lisa Baker, R-20, Lehman Twp., asked Wetzel not to endorse a foreclosure
on our future.
She noted the state, in recent years, spent $1 million
for a new natural gas hook up at SCI-Retreat and wondered what the state will
still owe to the gas company.
Additionally, the prison is by far the largest
customer of the Shickshinny Sanitary Sewer Authority, which also serves the residents
of Shickshinny, Conyngham Twp. and Salem Twp.
Baker noted the authority has
an outstanding loan through 2036 to pay for upgrades, which were designed assuming
SCI-Retreat would continue to be a customer.
The senator warned that the average
ratepayer in those three municipalities who now pays $60 a quarter might see their
bill skyrocket to $500 every three months, or $2,000 a year, if SCI-Retreat is
Baker said the authority already has a 30 percent delinquency rate
To pile on a big rate increase, the delinquencies will rise
and soar, Baker said.
Prior to Bakers testimony, DOC officials
said the department has agreed to continue paying its $37,000 quarterly sewer
bill for five years.
Don Williams, a prison safety advocate from Nanticoke,
told Wetzel about how his son Eric, 34, was murdered by an inmate while working
in federal prison after cost cutting measures reduced staff.
To try and
fix a budget problem by putting all these officers lives in danger is very ill
advised, Williams said. I hope something doesnt result like
what happened to my son.
The crowd, some with tears in their eyes, gave
Williams a standing ovation.
Dave McElwee, a retired SCI-Retreat captain from
Bloomsburg, said he wants an investigation launched to see if partisan political
motivations were behind Wolf, a Democrat, trying to close two state facilities
in Luzerne County.
Its a retaliation on Luzerne County for voting
for Donald Trump, McElwee said.
His comment drew the loudest applause
of the night.
Trump, a Republican, routed former Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton in Luzerne County in the 2016 presidential election, despite a nearly
two-to-one registration advantage for Democrats.
Several people who asked questions
wondered why Wetzel in his budget request before the state legislature indicated
a prison closure wasnt likely but now seems to support one.
Gov. Tom Wolf targeted five prisons for possible closure, including SCI-Retreat.
Following meetings, protests and public outcry, the governor opted to just to
After Wolf tried to close SCI-Retreat in 2017, the state
legislature passed the Public Safety Facilities Act, which required a public hearing
before state facilities could be closed and a 90-day notice.
Wolf first proposed
closing SCI-Retreat on Aug. 29, so the earliest a decision could be made is Nov.
29, Wetzel said.
He said a decision will likely be announced the first week
This isnt just an exercise, Wetzel said. This
is a difficult decision. We are going to take all due caution.
for SCI-Retreat overflows at hearing
in the auditorium of the Greater Nanticoke Area High School, state officials,
employees of the State Correctional Institute Retreat and others came out
in an attempt to convince the state Department of Corrections to keep the state
But as corrections officials tried to assurance the hundreds in
attendance Thursday evening about the possible prison closure, one state senator
likened it giving Luzerne County the death penalty.
hearing was necessitated by Act 133 of 2018 passed in part due to a previous
attempt to close the prison in 2017 which requires closures of public institutions
like correctional facilities to come after a period of public comment and investigation
into the economic impact of the closure. Gov. Tom Wolfs administration and
the corrections department announced their plans to close the Newport Township-based
prison in August.
Overseen by Corrections Secretary John Wetzel, the hearing
began with assurances form the department that, despite the difficulty of the
potential closure, the state would be taking all necessary precautions to ensure
the local economy and prison employees would be impacted in the least negative
Paul Macnowsky, regional director of the Department of Community
and Economic Development, said that the economic effects of a closure could be
tough, but added that he believed the troubles could be surmounted with the right
kind of help from the state.
Macnowsky specifically highlighted a potential
loss of $1,300 in taxes each year from any employees of the prison who move out
of the county for work, should they be placed at a prison outside the county.
also said it was estimated that slightly more than 50% of the employees would
be relocated to correctional facilities that would, on average, decrease the length
of their commute, as the state has guaranteed all employees would be placed at
a prison within 65 miles of SCI-Retreat.
A hiring freeze has been placed at
the six correctional institutions within that radius in order to make room for
the 409 employees who would be affected by the closure, said another official.
was repeatedly said throughout the night by state officials that the decision
to close the prison does not come lightly, with a statement from Wolf being read
saying the governor wants to provide a system that is more fair, but
also fiscally responsible.
However, during the period of public comment, criticism
of the plans was sharp, drawing the ire prison employees and elected officials,
including state Sens. Lisa Baker, R-Lehman Township, and John Yudichak, D-Plymouth
Yudichaks comments were particularly impassioned, saying the
closure of the prison, when coupled with the White Haven State Center, would be
disastrous to the local community, saying the two closures would result in a loss
of 800 total jobs locally.
In a fiery speech, Yudichak spoke about how proud
he was of the Luzerne County community for rising from the ashes of anthracite.
after decades of digging out of that mine hole, why at this time, why at this
time would the Wolf administration and the Department of Corrections kick Luzerne
County back down the mine shaft? Yudichak asked. Its more than
cruel and unusual punishment; it is the possible death penalty of Luzerne County
shaking its status of having the highest unemployment rate in the state.
thunderous applause from the nearly 300 people gathered in support of the prison,
Yudichak asked the department to actually take the public comments into consideration.
up to the spirit of Act 133 and keep SCI-Retreat open, he said.
an employee at the prison, also spoke heatedly, saying that the prison is needed
to not only keep the community safe, but to help rehabilitate prisoners.
the prison) inherently increases the possibility that, when reentrants come home,
theyll remember that the Department of Corrections treated them as a number,
he said, saying shipping inmates to other prisons would only increase overcrowding.
These people will become our neighbors again.
Kaskel said hes
not worried about the employees he said theyre tough; he knows
Im worried about what we are saying as a
commonwealth when we are taking away another property, another asset from our
citizens for budgetary reasons, he said, with emotion in his voice. We
can do better than this. This is not an opportunity to reduce our footprint, but
to improve our footing.
A spokesperson from the Department of Corrections
said the states decision about the prison could come in 60 to 90 days.
Conservancy president will retire early next year
serving as president and CEO of the Earth Conservancy for 25 years, Mike Dziak
said Thursday he is retiring early next year.
He will be replaced by Terence
J. Ostrowski, a senior civil engineer employed by Borton-Lawson Engineering.
78, a Harveys Lake resident, previously worked for IBM for 27 years and returned
to the area in 1994 to lead the Earth Conservancy in acquiring 16,000 acres of
former Blue Coal Land and putting the property back into productive use.
said he has been trying to retire for more than a year but was seeking a good
replacement to finish the Earth Conservancys mission. About 6,000 acres
still needs to be addressed, he said.
He and the board of directors, chaired
by John McCarthy Jr., concluded that Ostrowski is the guy for the job,
Ostrowski has worked at Borton-Lawson in Wilkes-Barre since 1998
and has provided engineering and planning expertise on several Earth Conservancy
Terry is a good replacement, Dziak said. Ive
known him for 15-plus years and hes very capable. I think he will be an
excellent leader for the organization going into the next decade.
said he will remain at the Earth Conservancy until the end of January next year
and will be available after that to answer questions throughout 2020 to ensure
a smooth transition.
Dziak said some of the Earth Conservancys recent
success stories include NorthPoint Development bringing Chewy.com, Adidas and
Patagonia to Hanover Twp. on what was once mine-scarred land.
also is constructing a 2.4-million-square-foot business park that spreads through
Hanover Twp. and Nanticoke with three large warehouses.
True Value Company
is occupying about 1 million square feet of warehouse space and plans to create
hundreds of jobs and e-commerce company Spreetail has opened in a 610,000-square-foot
fulfillment center. NorthPoint Development also plans to construct a third warehouse
on the site and in all, the project called Hanover 9 is expected to create more
than 1,500 jobs.
The Earth Conservancy also is working with a New Jersey-based
developer who wants to purchase a parcel of land in Nanticoke and Newport
Dziak said since the $90 million South Valley Parkway project is finally
getting done, it has sparked economic development on all this land.
took a long time to get there, he said. It took many, many years.
There were some projects that we worked on that took close to 10 years. When things
come together like they have over the last year and a half, it is really neat
for the region.
10/18/2019Mike Dziak retiring
as Earth Conservancy head
Dziak is retiring as president/CEO of Earth Conservancy after 25 years and will
be replaced by Terence J. Ostrowski, the nonprofit announced Thursday.
nonprofit was created in 1994 to acquire 16,000 acres of former Blue Coal Land,
much of it mine-scarred, and put the property back into productive use.
been a good run, said Dziak, 78, of Harveys Lake. Its always
hard to leave something that youve worked at for 25 years, but its
time to move on.
About 6,000 acres remains, and Dziak estimated it will
take another 10 to 15 years to address the rest.
Of the 10,000 acres already
processed, 8,000 acres will remain green space or undeveloped forever, Dziak said.
remaining 2,000 acres now houses residences and businesses, including the Chewy.com,
Adidas and Patagonia Inc. structures visible from Interstate 81 at a Hanover Township
site once containing an unsightly giant pit and other black remains from past
In a release, Earth Conservancy Board of Directors Chairman John
McCarthy Jr. said Dziak has been a tireless leader and a passionate
advocate for preserving open space, protecting critical water resources
and reclaiming and repurposing mine-scarred land in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
dedication has made a profound impact on our region, and hes made an indelible
mark on those he has worked with, McCarthy said.
Ostrowski, a professional
engineer, will take over as head of the nonprofit when Dziaks retirement
takes effect Jan. 31, the release said. Ostrowski has worked at Borton-Lawson
in Wilkes-Barre since 1998 and has provided engineering and planning expertise
on several Earth Conservancy projects.
His deep knowledge of the region
and his engineering talents will prove invaluable as Earth Conservancy moves forward
with its mission in the years to come, the release said of Ostrowski.
said he will share his extensive institutional knowledge of coal land history
during the transition and after retirement, if needed. He plans to pursue other
interests and spend more time with family, including four grandchildren.
Conservancy has spent nearly $50 million reclaiming more than 2,000 acres, largely
aided by government grants and land sales, Dziak said last year.
Much of Earth
Conservancys focus is now on a 2,200-acre swath known as the Bliss/Truesdale
site located primarily in Hanover and Newport townships. This project will create
a mix of residential, industrial and public open space after it is cleaned up,
Dziak has said. Between 400 and 500 acres must be reclaimed, he said.
said Thursday a developer has expressed interest in 130 acres of the first 200-acre
section that Earth Conservancy is working to reclaim.
on SCI-Retreat closure expected to draw large crowd
- Citizens Voice
Union leaders representing the workers of the embattled
State Correctional Institution at Retreat say they have yet to see an agenda for
this weeks public hearing about the proposed closure of the prison.
One thing certainly on the agenda, they say, will be a huge crowd of the prisons
workers, their families and friends who are faced with an uncertain future.
The public hearing, which local lawmakers have said appears to be a mere formality
since the decision has already been made, is slated for 7 p.m. Thursday at Greater
Nanticoke Area High School.
I would like to think its going to
be packed, said Larry Blackwell, president of the Pennsylvania State Corrections
Officers Association. Were hoping to fill the place and let the decision
makers know how its going to affect people.
about 400 people and local lawmakers say the loss of that many family-sustaining
jobs will devastate the local economy.
The prison, on a hill along the Susquehanna
River in Newport Twp. that is only accessible by crossing a bridge from Route
11 in Hunlock Creek, has survived closure talk before.
In 2017, the prison,
the largest employer by far in Newport Twp., was one of five state prisons being
considered for closure by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf. In the end, the governor only
shut down SCI-Pittsburgh.
Now, its the lone target.
While some lawmakers
have signaled that the Wolf administration has already finalized its decision,
the union plans to keep fighting.
We are holding out hope, Blackwell
State officials say the 400 workers will be offered jobs within the
Department of Corrections and have often noted there are six other facilities
located within 65 miles of SCI-Retreat SCIs Coal Twp., Dallas, Frackville,
Mahanoy, Muncy and Waymart.
Citing a shrinking prison population, the administration
says the 1,000 inmates at SCI-Retreat will be absorbed in the states other
Blackwell said the shrinking population is the result of more
lenient parole standards that are letting inmates out from their sentences sooner.
People in this administration want more prisons closed and inmates out in
the community, but in the last several months, we saw six murders by five parolees
in Pennsylvania, Blackwell said. I dont think its time to be
closing prisons when the parole murder numbers are as high as theyve been
that I have ever known of. The budget cuts cant put public safety in jeopardy.
Hank McNair, the statewide unions vice president, spent 12 years of his
career working at SCI-Retreat and knows many of the workers who will be affected.
This one I have a personal interest in. This is the jail I was associated
with, McNair said.
McNair, of Hanover Twp., said if Retreat closes there
will be a lot of people who have to make a lot of tough decisions here.
Theres people who just started. Some said they are probably going
to leave and get a new job because they dont want to commute. Theres
a couple who are just going to retire and hang it up, McNair said. The
sad thing is there is a lot of employees scared, not knowing whats going
on with their future.
which sits between the Susquehanna River and a mountainside, first opened as a
county-owned home for the poor.
It later became a state-run mental health
hospital until 1981, when it closed. The facility reopened as a state prison in
The prison is in Newport Twp., but it is only accessible from
U.S. Route 11 in Hunlock Creek.
A distinctive feature of the complex is a
bridge that spans the river. Staff and visitors have to cross the bridge, from
Hunlock Creek to Newport Twp., to get to the prison.
In 2017, the state Department
of Corrections listed the pros and cons for each of the five prisons
that were being considered for closure in an internal report of recommendations
for possible prison closures.
The limited access to the prison was cited by
the department as one reason the prison was a candidate for closure.
access road is a problem because during bad floods, like in 2011, the prison is
left in complete isolation because flooding shuts down Route 11 in
both directions, according to a memo released by the department.
A hearing about the proposed closure of State Correctional Institution
at Retreat in Newport Twp. will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at Greater Nanticoke
Area High School, 425 Kosciuszko St., Nanticoke.
of former Nanticoke school in the works
Michael P. Buffer - Citizens
The Greater Nanticoke Area School Board voted Thursday to approve
an agreement to sell the vacant K.M. Elementary Smith school building in Newport
Twp. for $400,000.
The buyer is Jay Naparlo. He plans to use the building
and area for apartment buildings, Superintendent Ronald Grevera said.
school at 25 Robert St. was closed after the 2017-18 school year. In August 2018,
the school district opened the new Kennedy Early Childhood Center, and since then,
all Greater Nanticoke Area schools have been located on one campus off Kosciuszko
Street in Nanticoke.
The K.M. Smith building dates back to 1930. It was last
used for pre-K, kindergarten and first graders.
The school board also approved
a plan to refinance old debt from 2015, and it could save $500,000 and $800,000
in reduced debt payments, Grevera said. The board agreed to borrow $9.3 million
in 2015 to fund the project to build the Kennedy Early Childhood Center.
Woman sues Boscovs over escalator mishap
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens Voice
A Nanticoke woman is suing Boscovs
Department Store in Wilkes-Barre, claiming she was severely injured during a mishap
on the stores escalator in November 2018.
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday,
Viola Shemanski claims she was riding an escalator in the store when it violently
sped up and jerked her.
Shemanski fell down, hitting her head and ribcage,
causing severe and serious injuries, the lawsuit says.
incident, Shemanskis jacket became entangled and was ripped off, the lawsuit
According to the suit, filed by the Zola Law Offices in West Hazleton,
Boscovs had crews doing maintenance on another escalator at the time of
The lawsuit accuses Boscovs of failing to discover
what a reasonable inspection of the escalator would have discovered, that the
escalator was existing in a dangerous condition, which constituted a hazard to
Efforts to reach officials with Boscovs were not immediately
Area looking to float bonds to refinance debt
Greater Nanticoke Area School District has posted a legal notice of plans
to float bonds in an amount not to exceed $17.5 million, to be used
for advanced refunding of the school districts outstanding general
obligation bond. The move is projected to save about $600,000.
plan was proposed at the Sept. 14 monthly school board meeting by financial consultant
Mike Vind of FSL Financial Solutions. Vind said current interest rates were low
enough to make the savings worth the effort. The bond being refinanced was issued
in 2015 at 3.2%, and Vind said the new rate would be a bit above 3%, though the
plan would be to make the transaction when rates were at their lowest over the
next month or two.
Vind had talked about refinancing about $9 million. The
classified ad amount Not to exceed $17.5 million is considerably higher,
but it is not uncommon for districts to seek more than they actually settle for
when making such large financial moves.
It is also possible FSL determined
more savings were possible by refinancing more of the districts existing
debt. According to state-mandated documents drawn up for this years budget,
Greater Nanticoke Area has about $25.5 million in bonds payable.
The ad notes
the board will consider a resolution authorizing the move at a meeting to
be held not more than 30 days nor less than three days from the date of advertisement
of this notice. The next School Board meeting is scheduled for Oct. 10.
School bus, Jeep involved in Nanticoke crash
Staff Report - Times Leader
City police are investigating a two-vehicle
crash involving a school bus that occurred at 3:25 p.m. Tuesday on Garfield Street.
The school bus was carrying 19 children, all of whom came away from the crash
uninjured and were released on scene to their parents. The drivers of both the
school bus and the other vehicle, a Jeep Wrangler, were transported by ambulance
to a local hospital for minor injuries.
Anyone who witnessed the crash
is asked to contact the Nanticoke Police Department at 570-735-2200.
voicing concerns of bullying, racism at Greater Nanticoke Area
number of students who contend school bullying and racism are being ignored have
formed a group dubbed the Stop the Hate Project, sophomore Cydnee
We feel the complaints are being neglected by the administration,
Dingman said. We hear stories of being bullied and nothing is done about
Dingman said a group of about eight students trade stories both via
social media and in person during morning gatherings at the school. She posted
screenshots of some of those comments on her Facebook page, with stories of hands
being slammed in the door of a locker, a threat to kill a student, and suicidal
We are hoping to change the way people are seeing these things,
Dingman said. We dont like the hate going around in our school.
about the student concerns and postings, Superintendent Ron Grevera said in an
email that all reports of bullying and harassment are investigated by the building
principal, and that some of it starts outside the schools but is continued in
them. He also noted much of the bullying occurs on social media.
it does come into the school and reports of bullying are substantiated, Grevera
said, Students receive progressive discipline, but that discipline
is not made public, and therefore I can see how sometimes students may perceive
that nothing is being done. Students who are bullied may be referred to
the guidance department for counseling, he added.
wrote, the district is waiting for state approval of an in-school
based counseling service through Northeast Counseling whereby students can receive
counseling during the school day rather than having to rely on parents or guardians
to drive them to appointments.
Dingman said students started noticing
the problems about a month ago but the group only started almost two weeks
We want schools that feel safe, she said,Not to
feel like were not worth anything
entrepreneur debuts food truck
Greater Nanticoke Area homecoming pep rally was a showcase for a Trojan alumnus
Brandon Murtha started a business selling cupcakes from a
colorful camp trailer when he was in high school.
Hes 19 now, and his
business is growing.
Thursdays pep rally was the grand opening for his
new food truck, Murts Mobile Diner.
The menu included diner staples like
fries, hamburgers and cheeseburgers, hot dogs and grilled cheese. He also had
a few Polish specialties, such as pierogi, potato pancake and haluski, as well
as a chicken wing ravioli.
The Nanticoke native has been interested in business
for several years.
When I started this one, he said, pointing to
the cupcake camper, I didnt really know what I was in for. But as
I started to do it more and go to different events, I saw how much people really
enjoy food trucks and how big its starting to get and starting to expand
in the area. Building on that, I didnt just want to stay with that. I just
wanted to move up.
FASTSIGNS of Wilkes-Barre completed the brightly colored
decals on his truck which advertise Homemade classics served with a smile.
and equipping a food truck is no small task. Murtha created the logos and menus,
purchasing, learning the recipes and serving it at events.
Rosie Hish, a family
friend, helped him develop the recipes, and was helping Thursday along with his
parents and another friend, Sarah Bonk.
Its a big accomplishment
for a young man whos 19, to have two businesses on his own, said his
mom, Debbie Murtha.
He served cupcakes from his other venture, Murts
Desserts, at last years homecoming, and the large crowd cleaned out his
stock. Thats why he came back again this year with something more.
firefighters visit LCCC tribute to 9/11 victims
motorcycle group of New York City firefighters rumbled into Nanticoke on Wednesday
to visit Luzerne County Community Colleges Walk of Honor, a memorial that
has a tribute to the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
whose family is from Newport Twp., came to honor his brother, Michael, a fellow
firefighter who was killed on Sept. 11 at the World Trade Center.
has a plaque dedicated to Michael Carlo. Robert Carlo laid flowers nearby during
The pilgrimage has become an annual tradition for the
current and retired FDNY members who comprised the group known as the Fire Riders.
a lot of sadness thats associated with the month of September. For years,
I dreaded the month of September. It created a lot of anxiety and sadness,
Michael Carlo, who retired from the FDNY in 2005, said during a speech at the
He challenged his brothers and sisters to turn that sadness into
positivity rather than let the terrorists accomplish their goal.
go around saying you hate the month of September, thats one-twelfth of the
year. Youre going to hate one-twelfth of you life because something they
wanted? Im not giving it to them. If you dread the month of September, they
win, Michael Carlo said.
Michael Carlo, who still has family in Nanticoke
and Newport Twp., told the crowd about visiting his Luzerne County relatives every
holiday and summer when he was a kid. He recalled riding his bicycle all over.
said he didnt get into riding motorcycles under after Sept. 11. After buying
a motorcycle, he started riding with the Fire Riders.
The rest is history
450,000 miles later, here we are today, Michael Carlo said. I
never personally worked with any of these guys I rode up with today but our common
bond is the love of riding motorcycles.
Michael Carlo thanked the Nanticoke
Fire Department for the warm welcome, as fire trucks escorted the riders through
town. The bikers then visited city fire headquarters.
We really got to
know the guys in Nanticoke, Michael Carlo said. Its a great
thing to continue the brotherhood across state lines.
brings Italian fine dining to Nanticoke
Patrice Wilding - Citizens
Joseph Ginthner Jr. worked in the food service industry for 30
years, watching trends come and go and observing what worked in the local foodscape.
2018, he teamed up with his brother, David, and business partner Steve Smith to
initiate a plan for Giuseppes, a pasta, seafood and steakhouse serving authentic,
homemade Italian fine dining in Luzerne County.
When it opened on March 19,
Giuseppes found a welcoming home in Nanticoke, which Ginthner, a
native, described as a historic city on the brink of greatness.
that downtown Nanticoke needed a restaurant of this caliber to show off the foods
we have, Ginthner said. Were here at the perfect time, and were
excited to see the city grow around us.
Situated on North Market Street,
Giuseppes has an unassuming exterior that belies the atmosphere found within,
where the voices of classic Italian crooners such as Dean Martin, Tony Bennett
and Frank Sinatra fill the air with love songs, and low, moody lighting creates
a cozy ambience.
With seating for about 150, Giuseppes offers a variety
of table choices for guests, from high-tops to booths to the fine dining room
and outdoor patio area. The bar can accommodate 32 and is the perfect spot for
enjoying cocktails and appetizers while watching the action unfold
in the rest of the restaurant, Ginthner said. The private Brody Room can seat
between 14 and 20 people.
As executive chef, Ginthner said his menu reflects
the merging of several influences over his years of experience.
able to grow the recipes and adapted to the area, he explained. Some
are family recipes, some are from creativity, but theyre all things I thought
people wanted to see.
Top sellers include the Homemade Short Rib Ravioli,
comprised of ribs that have been braised for up to 12 hours until they are fork-tender,
then stuffed into raviolis with a blend of ricotta cheese and herbs and topped
with a peppercorn cream sauce and additional pieces of short rib on the plate.
The restaurant also is noted for its premium steaks, which are all hand-cut on
the property and never pre-fabricated.
Our white marble pork chop is
a cut above what everyone else serves, and because of that, we offer quality thats
unbeaten, Ginthner said.
Giuseppes also carries a range of pasta
and seafood staples, such as the Fra Diavolo and Homemade Lasagna, all composed
of the right product, he added.
Meals are complemented by a robust menu
of wines available by the glass or bottle, all of which have been hand-selected
to pair perfectly with the food, and a diverse collection of after-dinner drinks,
such as the popular Root Beer Float, Caramel Truffle Latte and Salted Caramel
Catering is available on- or off-premises for everything from
showers to corporate meetings to family functions, and the restaurant can be booked
for private events on Sundays and Mondays when it is closed to the public.
devotion to quality of experience at every step of the meal or night out has been
met with positive feedback, which he hopes will drive more customer traffic into
Nanticoke for his brand of authentic fine dining.
Word of mouth and the
response on social media has been unbelievable, he said.
Address: 14 N. Market St., Nanticoke
March 19, 2019
Owners: Steve Smith and Joseph Jr. and David Ginthner
Tuesdays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m.
to 11 p.m.
Cuisine: Authentic, homemade Italian fine dining
the restaurant’s Facebook page or giuseppe-restaurant.com.
mold problem causes delay, additional expense
Repair work to fix mold and water damage to the Educational Conference Center
on Luzerne County Community Colleges main campus will continue through December
and cost an additional $834,631, officials said
Tuesday at a board of trustees
The facility has been closed since Nov. 1 after air-quality testing
was conducted in response to musty odors and the appearance of mold on pipe insulation
in the mechanical room.
In June, the board of trustees approved contracts totaling
$784,730 to repair water infiltration damage, and officials then expected the
building to reopen before the start of the fall semester Sept. 3.
the summer, workers discovered more damage to exterior sheathing. The board on
Tuesday approved a change order with Champion Builders to replace most of the
The repair work will now cost more than $1.6 million.
At Tuesdays meeting, architect Brian Doran and college Vice President of
Operation Don Nelson defended the step-by-step approach to try to repair the water
You dont take a sledgehammer to kill the fly,
The cost to repair the building will still be much less the $6
million estimate to replace the building with a new one, Nelson said. The building
opened in 1982 on the Nanticoke campus and has two auditoriums, several multi-functional
classrooms and a full-service dining room.
Doran is with the Scranton firm
hemmler + camayd architects. The firm worked with Cocciardi and Associates Inc.
to prepare bid documents for renovations from January through March. Cocciardi
and Associates Inc. will prepare air-quality testing as the project moves forward.
Nanticoke police chiefs future in mayors hands
A decision on how to deal with a state Supreme Court ruling that said police Chief
Thomas Wall was hired illegally rests with the mayor, the solicitor said Wednesday
Attorney William Finnegan met with city council behind closed doors
in executive session before the start of its work session and meeting to discuss
the case. There was no public discussion on the ruling that came down earlier
this week and Mayor Nicole Colatosti-Mackiewicz did not attend the meeting.
only thing that I can say for the record is our labor counsel Jack Dean has briefed
the mayor with regard to options and the mayors gotta make a decision in
the next couple days as to how shes gonna proceed, Finnegan said after
the meeting. There should be a decision one way or the other as to which
way were going with it in the next couple days.
Finnegan did not
go into detail about the options, but summed up the situation that the city must
deal with. This is an issue under the home rule charter where its
an interpretation of what the mayors powers are with regard to the police
chief, he said.
Colatosti-Mackiewiczs predecessor, the late Richard
Wiaterowski named Wall, a retired state trooper, chief in 2016, prompting the
Nanticoke Police Officers Association to legally challenge the appointment.
its lawsuit, the police union claimed the hiring violated state law which said
the chief must be chosen from within the ranks of the department, but if no suitable
candidate could be found internally, then the city could look outside. The union
maintained the internal search was skipped even though Lt. Michael Roke expressed
an interest in the spot left vacant with the death of Chief William Shultz in
The union also raised Walls position on the citys
Police Civil Service Commission as a possible conflict of interest. Walls
wife, Donna, was interim city manager at the time of her husbands appointment.
She remains in that position and was excused from Wednesday nights council
In August 2018, Luzerne County Judge William Amesbury sided with the
union in the suit and directed the city to name a new chief by Oct. 1, 2018. However,
Wall remained on the job while the city appealed the judges ruling. The
states highest court Tuesday affirmed Amesburys order.
court finds Nanticoke police chief hired illegally
- Citizens Voice
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a
Luzerne County judges decision that the chief of the Nanticoke City Police
Department was hired illegally.
In a one-page order, the states high
court allowed Judge William H. Amesburys decision to stand, deeming Chief
Thomas Wall was hired illegally under state law. The order does not provide an
Wall, a retired state trooper, was appointed in September 2016,
with then-Mayor Richard Wiaterowski citing his 25 years of experience with the
state police, his proven leadership ability and record of community service.
City of Nanticoke Police Officers Association responded with a lawsuit alleging
an internal candidate was improperly passed over to fill a vacancy created by
former Chief William Shultzs death. The suit 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 a ruling
filed last August, Amesbury found Wiaterowski and the city appointed Wall as police
chief without seeking applications or interviewing anyone within the police department,
despite the fact that Lt. Michael Roke had expressed interest in the job.
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.
Amesbury, however, agreed with the union
that state law prohibits the city from making such a change to regulations that
affect employee rights.
The judges order allowed Wall to remain in his
post pending the outcome of the citys appeal. It was not immediately clear
how long Wall would be permitted to remain in his post as a result of the Supreme
Union President Brian Kivler declined to comment on the high
store for schools in county
M. Buffer _ Citizens Voice
The Greater Nanticoke Area School District is trying something
new this year to help kindergarten students and their parents adjust to being
Each student and parents get to meet with their teacher for 30 minutes
during kindergarten transition days on Aug. 28, 29 and 30. The first day of school
for kindergarten students is Sept. 2, and the first day for all other grades is
Coming to kindergarten is a huge transition for kids. Sometimes
its a bigger transition for the parents, Superintendent Ronald Grevera
Greater Nanticoke Area students at the Educational Center in the sixth,
seventh and eight grades will be required to use clear backpacks this year. Its
a safety measure, and it was required in the high school in 2018-19.
is also shifting a Title I reading teacher to math in grades 3-5 and is also expanding
Title IV remediation from grades 1-5 to grades 1-8, Grevera said. Title I and
Title IV are federal programs.
Nanticoke introducing kindergarten transition, math help in early grades
Greater Nanticoke Area School Board approved
a string of hires and contracts for the start of the school year, but some of
the biggest news may have been changes Superintendent Ron Grevera announced, including
a first-ever kindergarten transition Aug. 28-30 and more help in math for the
Elementary Center students.
Grevera has been implementing transition programs
for students shifting from one school to the next, particularly since completion
of the new Kennedy Early Childhood Center last year and the realignment of grades
K-8 in each school (K-2, 3-5, 6-8). This is the first year for kindergarten transition,
letting each student and their parents meet with the teacher for 30 minutes.
new transition program means the first day of kindergarten will be Sept. 2, but
the first day for all other grades is still Aug. 28.
The district is also shifting
a Title I reading teacher to math in the Elementary Center (Grades 3-5). Title
I is a federal program providing money for education in schools with high poverty
rates. Grevera said the district gets a bit more than $1 million annually in Title
I money and uses it to pay eight Title I teachers. There is no new money or new
hires this year, he added, but student assessments suggest they will do better
with more math help in the lower grades.
The district is also expanding remediation
help paid for with Title IV grant money, from grades 1-5 to grades 1-8. Title
IV is a much smaller federal program that nets Greater Nanticoke about $80,000
a year, Grevera said.
And the district is expanding the requirement for clear
backpacks from the high school into the Education Center (grades 6-8).
agenda included a vote to authorize Grevera to submit intent to utilize
flexible instructional days to the state, but the motion was tabled. The
option is new this year in Pennsylvania. Some have dubbed it cyber snow
days, because it allows the district to fulfill up to five of the required
180 school days through alternative teaching methods including computer-based
programs at home.
After the meeting, Grevera said he had decided against implementing
the idea because there were still too many questions about how it would work and
any potential downsides. He said he was particularly concerned about the impact
on special education students who might need the in-person instruction and more
help than regular students.
The deadline for submitting paperwork to the state
is Sept. 1, and Grevera said he does not intend to pursue the idea further this
year, though he is open to reconsidering it next year.
Nanticoke Area wont use cyber snow days
Greater Nanticoke Area School District will not use flexible instruction days
this school year when bad weather prevents students from coming to school.
school board tabled a vote at Thursdays meeting on a motion submitting to
the state the districts intent to use the new option. Superintendent Ronald
Grevera said he had operational concerns about implementing flexible days, explaining
the state wanted a response by Sept. 1.
In July, Gov. Tom Wolf signed legislation
allowing cyber snow days, and it required the state Department of
Education to determine specific protocols. The legislation allows
flexible instruction days that will count toward the state requirement of having
at least 180 instruction days during the school year.
That could help school
districts avoid the task of adding school days to the school calendar when snow
days pile up during the school year. The legislation also requires school districts
who use technology for flexible instruction days to accommodate students who dont
have internet access.
School districts in the area typically expect a few snow
days a year and schedule additional instruction days. But when the number of snow
days exceeds the number of extra days, districts will have to reschedule school
on holidays or off days or theyll extend the school calendar.
Thursdays meeting, board President Tony Prushinski commended E.J. Gill for
criticizing some aspects of the high school yearbook. Gill, who graduated high
school in June, said the yearbooks were issued last week.
The yearbook only
used some submitted quotations from students and didnt include a photo of
student council members, Gill said.
Pot Club ready to resume operations
months after discovering a former officer had been draining its coffers, the Honey
Pot Club is preparing to resume operations.
Ill do a happy dance,
said board member Julianna Kobylarz, 72, of the re-opening. It was so stressful
not sleeping, my mind was spinning: Oh my God, how could somebody
The club closed down in February after members discovered
the former treasurer had allegedly embezzled tens of thousands of dollars from
club bank accounts.
In court documents, police said former board member and
treasurer Daniel Wozniak admitted to stealing from the club for years to support
a gambling habit. He admitting to taking money from nightly cash deposits until
there wasnt enough money left to pay bills, court papers say.
have been filed in the case.
But Kobylarz said the club is ready to reopen
Friday, and will resume its monthly bingo game Aug. 24. The club plays 10 regular
games, one special game and ends the night with coverall.
Cards are $1 each
and doors open at 6 p.m.
We know were not going to recoup all this
money, Kobylarz said of the embezzled funds. We just want to start
Stankovic to be inducted into international polka hall of fame
in his Polka bands heyday, John Stanky Stankovic once had a
globe-crossing marathon weekend by playing in England on Friday, at the Bloomsburg
Fair on Saturday and in Switzerland on Sunday.
How we did that? I dont
know. But we did it, Stankovic, 83, said.
From playing at church bazaars
in Northeast Pennsylvania to performing in front of one million people at a festival
in Tiananmen Square in China, his band Stanky and the Coal Miners
has been a world traveler.
Thats always been the plan.
was a boy, his coal miner father who urged him to learn to play the accordion
instead of focusing on baseball told him if he learned 10 songs he could
make a living for himself.
I told him, Ill learn 11 and see
the world. And I did, Stankovic said.
74-year career will soon be feted when he is inducted into the International Polka
Associations Hall of Fame. Hell be inducted Aug. 31 during the organizations
51st annual convention in Buffalo.
I feel happy about that. Its
a wonderful thing after all these years and its a great honor, Stankovic
Stankovic, who grew up in the Hanover section of Nanticoke, where he
still lives, started taking accordion lessons in 1942 and formed his first band
in 1945 when he was 9. They started by playing at weddings.
played weddings, you played at houses. You didnt go to ballrooms. Back in
those days, weddings lasted for three days Friday, Saturday and Sunday,
Stankovic said. How you made money was when people were walking in the door,
you held a basket out. At that time, everybody would give you a quarter, half
dollar or dollar. Sometimes that would add up to $20 a guy. At that time, that
was a hell of a lot of money.
Early in his career, Stankovics band
was a side gig, though they played as many as five nights a week.
job was as a rag man, essentially a junk collector who drove the streets
looking for unwanted items he could sell. Later, he worked as a garbage man for
Nanticokes Public Works Department. After that, he worked several other
manual labor jobs until music became full time.
Stankovics band name
was originally the Tip Toppers until he changed it to Stanky
and the Coal Miners.
While the name paid tribute to the areas coal
mining roots, for him it was literal.
Stankovics early band mates were
all coal miners and he picked them up directly from the mines to go on gigs.
used to pick them up and their faces were black, their clothes were black. We
used to get to a job and they would wash their faces off in the restroom and then
come out to play, Stankovic recalled.
Stankovics biggest supporter
for most of his career has been his wife of 57 years, Dottie, who is well known
for being Luzerne Countys long-time elected register of wills. She often
took the stage with the band to sing, ring bells and play the violin.
the couple hosted the Pennsylvania Polka show on WVIA public television,
a show which televised people dancing to Polka music.
Polka music allowed Stankovic
and his wife to travel the world together. Theyve been to five continents
where Stanky and the Coal Miners performed. Sometimes as many as 100
fans from Northeastern Pennsylvania would join them.
Stankovic said his band
performed on nearly 60 cruises, including 25 to Alaska. One cruise liner, he said,
offered his band the opportunity to be the performers for a 100-day cruise around
the world, but he had to decline.
If we did take that, we would have
lost our day jobs, Stankovic said.
During the bands peak, they
were booked two years in advance.
As the older generation has passed away,
the demand for Polka music has diminished, Stankovic said.
But he still plays
at festivals and nursing homes.
Stankovic continues to play annually at Knoebels
Amusement Resort and this year will mark his 45th consecutive year playing at
the Bloomsburg Fair. Most recently, Stanky and the Coal Miners performed
Friday at the Plymouth Alive Kielbasa Festival.
At 83, Stankovic still plays
the accordion flawlessly and his voice is still sharp. He just uses a lighter
accordion than the one he used for most of his career. And instead of standing
during performances, he sits on a stool.
But retirement from Polka isnt
even an option, he said.
If people keep calling, Im going to keep
playing, Stankovic said.
commercial project could be coming to Nanticoke region
The Luzerne County Planning Commission on Thursday approved the Earth Conservancys
request to subdivide a parcel in and near Nanticoke that the conservancy intends
to sell to a private developer.
The nonprofit conservancy, dedicated to the
reclamation of mine-scarred land, has sold several properties it owned in the
countys South Valley region to commercial developers. It appears the subdivided
parcel could become another commercial project, though few details have been released
The conservancy is working with a New Jersey-based developer that wants
to purchase the parcel but no deal has been finalized, according to Michael Dziak,
the conservancys president.
Dziak declined to name the developer or speculate
on the developers plans for the land, which he said is near the site of
a planned NorthPoint Development commercial project, not far from Luzerne County
I cant comment on that, he said. Its
still ongoing. I dont know what they are going to develop there so I dont
want to speculate.
The northern boundary of the subdivided parcel will
be a roundabout on Prospect Street, according to Heath Eddy, the county executive
director of planning and zoning.
The conservancys plans call for creating
a two-lot subdivision on 130.1 acres and a road easement on 5.52 acres.
larger lot of the subdivision includes 121.8 acres, mostly in Newport Twp. just
outside of Nanticoke, Eddy said. Small portions of that lot are in Nanticoke and
Hanover Twp. The smaller lot, of 8.3 acres, is entirely in Hanover Twp. and will
be used as a stormwater basin, Eddy said.
The proposed road would lead from
the Prospect Street roundabout into the site of the development, Eddy said. The
road would essentially be the southern leg of that roundabout, he
Most of the larger lot is in a zoning district classified as Mining,
or M-1, according to Eddy. Permitted uses in M-1 zoning districts are limited,
The county planning commissions approval was needed since the
county handles zoning and planning for Newport Twp. Officials in Nanticoke and
Hanover Twp. already approved the subdivision request, Eddy said.
say Nanticoke land can be transformed if bill passes
A contaminated tract of land in the city could be transformed into a 10-acre
recreation complex if a proposed severance tax on the natural gas is finally passed,
state officials said Monday.
Officials gathered at the site of a former junkyard
along Lower Broadway Street to tout the Restore Pennsylvania proposal, which they
say would generate $4.5 billion over four years that would be invested back in
the states communities.
Restore Pennsylvania is a bold, bipartisan
proposal that will help our cities and communities tackle significant projects
that improve public safety and set the stage for greater economic growth,
Sen. John Yudichak, D-14, of Plymouth Twp., said. Projects like the Lower
Broadway Recreation Complex cannot be completed with local resources alone.
said the tax on gas drillers should be a no brainer. About 83 percent of tax will
be paid by out-of-state energy consumers, he said.
The proposed recreation
complex in Nanticoke would include athletic fields, walking and bike trails, a
skate park, a playground and nature areas.
While the tract of land near the
Nanticoke-West Nanticoke Bridge used to be a junkyard and heavy equipment center
years ago, it was most recently used as a youth soccer field.
Soil tests taken
in the summer of 2018 determined the site is contaminated with various harmful
chemicals, such as polychlorinated biphenyls, arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury,
pesticides and more, according to a press release by the state Department of Environmental
This project is a unique example of how Restore Pennsylvania
can eliminate the hazards associated with blighted properties while creating recreational
opportunities in the community, DEP secretary Patrick McDonnell said.
DEP secretary tout severance tax proposal to aid Nanticoke park plan
before a chain link fence barring entrance to an overgrown field and rundown shed,
State Sen. John Yudichak and State Department of Environmental Protection Secretary
Patrick McDonnell pushed the value of Gov. Tom Wolfs proposed Restore Pennsylvania
plan and how it would help turn an old scrapyard into a recreation area.
communities work hard but dont have the resources to tackle these sites,
Yudichak, a Democrat from Nanticoke, said. The Restore Pennsylvania plan, embodied
in a Senate Bill Yudichak co-sponsored along with Sen. Tom Killion (R-Delaware
County), would levy a severance tax on natural gas production to generate about
$300 million annually.
That money would be used to support floating a bond
for some $4.5 billion, Yudichak said, which in turn would be spent on a wide range
of infrastructure and land reclamation projects. In this case, Yudichak said,
$3 million to $5 million would be used to reclaim 10 acres on the edge of Nanticoke
near Lower Broadway Road, right before the bridge across the Susquehanna.
said the site had been used for various industrial purposes, most recently a scrapyard,
and has multiple contaminants including arsenic, lead, chromium and Selenium.
city acquired the property following the Agnes Flood of 1972, and stored equipment
on it, building a soccer field with plans to turn it into a municipal park. But
the clean up has proven too costly. The Restore Pennsylvania plan could provide
the money to move forward.
McDonnell said the land would likely be restored
to a partly marshy area with recreation fields and a trail, though the final decisions
would be made after the money was available.
Yudichak noted that the severance
tax levied on the energy companies extracting natural gas in Pennsylvania would
ultimately be passed on to mostly out-of-state residents because so much gas is
sold across state lines. About 80 percent would be paid from out of state
energy users, he said.
Wolf, a Democrat, has been pushing the Restore
Pennsylvania idea throughout the commonwealth either by traveling to areas it
would target or by sending his cabinet and other officials to events like this.
Judy Endo writes about pets - Citizens Voice
I had mentioned in a previous column, my childhood was spent in the woods near
my house, enjoying hours of bird watching. My mother would buy me a bird book,
and I would read it cover-to-cover, repeatedly, to learn about the various birds,
their habitat, etc. It was my passion. What a wonderful way to spend your childhood
I love all creatures great and small, and I do continue to have a love
of birds. My little lovebird, Kiwi, is a constant source of joy and entertainment
for me. So when I had an invitation to meet the magnificent Macaw, Cocomo, who
lives in nearby Nanticoke, I literally jumped at the chance.
Off I went on
a very warm Sunday morning to meet Cocomo. As I entered his house I was greeted
by Loretta Chmura, his loving owner. As we exchanged greetings, Cocomo was actively
giving me the once over from his cage. Loretta and I went into her outside patio
to chat before having Cocomo join us.
Like myself, Loretta is an active senior
who continues to work full time. She is currently employed at Wesley Village as
a service assistant. Loretta is also extremely active in many community groups,
and was voted Woman Of The Year in 2016 by the Wyoming Valley Womans Club.
Quite an honor!
Loretta told me that she had always wanted a parrot. I asked
her if she had done her homework about their care (high maintenance, very messy,
need much attention). She was aware of some, but not all, of a parrots requirements.
These beautiful birds do not simply sit on a perch all day quietly. They need
stimulation and social interaction to lead a healthy and happy life.
neighbor, who owns several birds, mentioned that she had seen baby parrots for
sale from a Florida parrot farm, priced affordably at $500. Loretta immediately
ordered a Blue and Gold Macaw, to be flown into Pennsylvania. When Loretta picked
up her little parrot at the airport in Avoca, she was astonished to see this baby
bird, approximately the size of an orange. At about two months old, he had no
feathers, was wobbly, and had little head control, comparable to a human infant.
Loretta was alarmed because she had no knowledge of how to care for a bird so
young. However, her neighbor came to her aid and coached her on the feeding regime,
keeping the wee one warm, etc. And soon, Loretta had the syringe feedings mastered,
knowing how much and how quickly to administer the formula. Baby Cocomo began
to grow stronger and sprout feathers.
I then asked Loretta when Cocomo became
weaned off being bottle fed, and how she knew it was time to introduce solid foods.
Loretta was guided by her veterinarian, Dr. Mark Stair, who told her that Cocomo
would resist being bottle fed, which he did at approximately nine months of age.
is currently 27 years old and three and a half pounds, a beautiful adult who is
living large in Nanticoke with Loretta and her husband Joe. Loretta takes Cocomo
on many excursions where he has a multitude of fans. Cocomo is a very popular
sight as the school bus passes near his residence and he is out for his daily
walk with Loretta. Cocomos wings have been clipped to prevent him from taking
flight. Cocomo routinely visits Wesley Village, where Loretta works, and is also
a customer at Tractor Supply Co. Cocomos beauty and quiet demeanor are a
But parrots are not always quiet, as was demonstrated by Cocomo
during my interview. We were sitting and, during the interview, Cocomo erupted
into some panicked ear-shattering shrieks, obviously upset and distressed. Loretta
told me that Cocomo has an intense fear of cats (for obvious reasons) and that
she could guarantee that the parrot had caught the scent of a nearby feline.
has a delightful trick of waving when Loretta asks him to say hello.
He raises his foot and holds it in the air. Cocomo obviously enjoys this trick
because during my interview he repeatedly said hi by raising his little
foot, and I in turn had to stop and say hi back. Who could resist
all of that cuteness?
Loretta said that Macaws do not have the vocabulary as
that of African Gray Parrots, but Cocomo did have a few phrases such as Loretta,
Where You Going, What Are You Doing, and I Love You. When Loretta had some
workmen at her house, they would be preparing to depart to pick up supplies and
Cocomo would ask Where Are You Going? And they would explain! Another
day, Loretta was in her backyard, and Cocomo began shouting from inside the house
Loretta! Loretta! She rushed inside and saw a delivery man at the
door. He asked if that was her husband who had been shouting for her, a bit astonished
at the tone, and Loretta replied You would not believe who it was.
I was very relaxed while chatting with Loretta and admiring this beautiful
parrot. As Loretta was answering my questions and providing information, Cocomo
suddenly shouted LORETTA! I laughed out loud. It was so clear, and
human-like. You could never recognize that this was a bird shouting her name.
Then again, LORETTA! At this point, I knew that Cocomo was really
putting it on for his interview. It reminded me of Marlon Brandos STELLA!
Different name, same tone.
Parrots are very bonded to their owner, and Loretta
is wisely aware of the damage that this birds powerful beak can inflict.
She is obviously an expert at handling Cocomo, but she recognizes and respects
how he might react if he becomes stressed, frightened, or angry. As with any pet,
it is the owners job to ensure their safety and security, first and foremost.
favorite nut is pistachios, and he will reject other offerings. Loretta stated
she spends about $1,000 a year buying his food of choice. But Cocomo also loves
mashed potatoes, potato salad and pizza (and I do not like pizza!). You can have
my share, Cocomo.
Through her will, Loretta has made arrangements as to who
the caregiver will be for Cocomo upon her passing. This is something that all
parrot owners must consider since their bird will most likely outlive them. It
was through a chance meeting on Halloween that Loretta met and chose the woman
who would care for her beloved Cocomo when she was no longer able to. The woman
also owns a Macaw and has a strong knowledge of their care and needs.
delightful to meet Loretta and Cocomo and to see the strong bond and love that
they share. Loretta said that Cocomo had awakened her at 2 a.m., throwing empty
pistachio shells on the floor, obviously wanting his supply replenished. And she
was happy to oblige, being the dutiful parrot mama. Arent we all too happy
to oblige our fur and feather kids? But remember to do your homework before you
make that very important decision to add a pet to your household. Rock on Cocomo.
See you out and about!
Nanticoke singer-songwriter begins recording debut project
Kernan - firstname.lastname@example.org via The Weekender
Channeling the sultry sounds
of soulful singers like Amy Winehouse, a Nanticoke residents musical career
is just beginning after being signed to a local record label.
26, was recently picked up by RWE Studios, a label also based in Nanticoke. Belle,
along with RWE Studios lead engineer and producer Reginald DeVaughn, spoke
with a Weekender reporter recently, as the songstress recently completed her first
EP, which will be entitled Love Sick.
According to Belle, her songs
come from a deeply personal place, saying that much of them are inspired by her
own experience with depression.
When I create music, I feel it,
she said. It comes bursting out of me.
Belle said that shes
working to craft her own unique style, but she said shes inspired by soulful
singers like Winehouse, to whom DeVaughn directly compared her.
to stick out; I want to bring back that jazzy feel, she said. I make
music that I want people to feel.
According to DeVaughn, Belle is a signee
who he really believes in.
He said they met through mutual friends
at a local bar.
I knew she was a singer and she knew I worked in a recording
studio, he said of that first meeting, but he said nothing much came of
But the next time they met, DeVaughn said he had Belle sing for him.
knew she had it, he said simply. After that, it was only a short amount
of time until she ended up in the studio with DeVaughn.
Belle said that shell
be releasing her first single in August to promote the EP. Until then, those who
are interested in the soulful singers work can check out her Facebook page,
located at www.facebook.com/thegirlwithsunflowereyes. She said shes been
performing in numerous bars around the area, and you can keep up with her schedule
While her dream is only just starting, Belle described just working
in the studio as being a dream come true.
I always sang in the shower,
but I never really chased that, she said. Its a really surreal
Nanticoke cop again
files suit against city
Police Officer Kara Kroll now has two pending federal lawsuits against the City
For the second time in as many years, a Nanticoke police officer
has filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Nanticoke.
Kara Kroll alleges
in a complaint filed Wednesday that she has faced gender discrimination and a
hostile work environment since being hired in June 2015.
According to the lawsuit,
male officers in the department have access to a private bathroom for changing,
but Kroll, as the departments only female officer, must do so in a public
The complaint also alleges police Chief Thomas Wall investigated
Kroll after she was injured while on duty on Oct. 7, 2016, but that other male
officers were not similarly investigated after being injured.
a sprained neck caused when Kroll hit her head on a staircase platform
was also the basis of the previous federal lawsuit she filed against the city
in May 2018.
That case, which is still pending, alleges a violation of the
Fair Labor Standards Act by the city for failing to pay Kroll for 15 hours of
overtime she said she is owed because officials would not let her go to physical
therapy during work.
The new lawsuit goes on to allege that male police officers
in the department are permitted to part-time second jobs, but when Kroll was hired
to work for the Harveys Lake Police Department city officials rescinded approval
for her to take the post.
Kroll was discriminated against because of
her gender since her male counterparts have received preferential treatment,
Pittston attorney Cynthia L. Pollick wrote in the complaint.
The lawsuit seeks
unspecified damages as well as permission for Kroll to work a second job.
declined to comment on the lawsuit other than to say the matter has been referred
to the citys attorneys.
Tabbed As New Women's Hoops Assistant
via: Kings Monarchs website
the 2019-20 season approaches for head coach Caitlin Hadzimichalis and the King's
College women's basketball team, the coaching staff continued to round out on
Thursday as Alan Yendrzeiwski was named as assistant coach for the upcoming campaign.
have always had a huge amount of respect for Alan's coaching abilities since the
day I met him," said Hadzimichalis. "He has a genuine passion for the
game, plus he knows what it takes to build and maintain success within a program.
All of his knowledge and experiences will translate well into our league. I'm
so eager to learn from him and to have our players learn from him."
am thrilled to join the King's College Women's Basketball program and the Monarch
community as an assistant coach," said Yendrzeiwski. "I have always
been intrigued by the challenge of coaching at the collegiate level and I am thankful
for the opportunity to do so with the coaches and players here at King's."
stranger to the Northeast Pennsylvania corridor, Yendrzeiwski has 20 years of
prep basketball coaching experience in the area as he comes to King's. Most recently,
Yendrzeiwski was the head girl's basketball coach at Greater Nanticoke Area High
School in Nanticoke, PA from 2009-18, amassing a 179-57 (.758) record through
his nine seasons. He was the Wyoming Valley Conference Coach of the Year four
seasons, while leading the team to four WVC Championships and four state playoff
Before his tenure as the girl's coach, Yendrzeiwski was the assistant
varsity boy's coach from 2001-09 following a one-year stint as the 9th grade boys
head coach at Delaware Valley High School in Milford, PA.
A graduate of GHAHS
in 1996, Yendrzeiwski graduated from local Wilkes University in 2000 with a bachelors
in mathematics and secondary education, while completing his Masters Degree in
Classroom Technology from Wilkes in 2009. He has served as a math teacher at GNA
for the last 18 years.
"Alan has a great basketball mind, especially on
the defensive end," said Hadzimichalis. "We've always shared similar
philosophies so it was a no brainer when it came to adding him to our staff. His
ability to analyze and teach the game will make an instant impact within our program."
have a tremendous amount of respect for student-athletes and the high level they
are challenged to perform both on the basketball court and in the classroom,"
said Yendrzeiwski. "I hope to offer my 20 years experience as a coach and
an educator to the program and I am looking forward to assisting Coach Hadzimichalis
and her players in any way that I can."
Alan and his wife Candice reside
in Nanticoke with their sons Lucas, Ethan, and Owen.
building: Conservation club project draws PFBC boss to area
Venesky - Citizens Voice is a freelance outdoors writer. He can be reached at
As members of the Nanticoke Conservation Club worked
in unison assembling 2-inch strips of hemlock into fish habitat structures, they
were being watched.
For the last 15 years, the club has been meeting each July
at Frances Slocum State Park to build porcupine cribs pyramid-shaped wooden
structures and deposit them at the bottom of the lake to provide habitat
for aquatic life.
Its become an annual tradition for the club, which
partners with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission on the project, and on
July 11 they built 20 porcupine cribs for the lake.
As club members popped
nails into boards and methodically assembled several structures in unison, PFBC
executive director Tim Schaeffer watched in amazement.
Schaeffer drove from
Harrisburg earlier in the day to see the unique partnership between his agency
and the Nanticoke club in action.
Their dedication is impressive,
he said. We wouldnt be able to do a project like this without the
club, and its a partnership thats never been stronger.
the structures were assembled on the boat launch, a loader provided by the state
Department of Conservation and Natural Resources lifted them onto a PFBC boat.
Concrete blocks fastened inside each structure allowed them to sink to the bottom
at various points throughout the lake.
And it doesnt take long for the
benefits to surface.
Panfish and smaller fish love the cover these structures
provide, and when they congregate there it also attracts larger predatory fish,
like bass and musky, said Ben Page, a biologist with the PFBC.
fish are attracted to the narrow openings in the cribs, Page said, and they are
part of an entire food chain that quickly forms around each structure. Thats
why the cribs are intentionally placed in areas of the lake that are devoid of
Its basically a mud flat on the bottom. After these
wood structures go in, a layer of algae will soon grow over it. That brings macroinvertebrates,
which attracts minnows and then young bass and panfish, followed by the larger
predator fish, Page said. Its similar to the food chain you
see develop around a beaver hut in a pond.
In addition to the cribs,
Page also cut several trees around the edge of the lake, allowing them to fall
into the water and create additional habitat. The trees provide instant cover,
he said, as fish seek refuge in the submerged leaves and branches. In several
years, the branches decompose and a log remains, which is often used by turtles
to bask in the sun.
The cribs, however, have a long lifespan as long as they
are submerged. Page said structures deposited in other lakes as far back as 1988
have yet to decompose.
As an added benefit, the location of each structure
is marked on a map, which the PFBC makes available to anglers on its website.
said the locations are hotspots for anglers, and making the locations available
is part of the agencys mission.
We work on behalf of the anglers,
and its their license dollars that fund projects like this, he said.
Its important to make it accessible to them.
And for the
members of the Nanticoke Conservation Club, it was important that the top PFBC
official stopped by to see their dedication firsthand. To date, the club has built
and deposited more than 100 fish habitat structures in the lake, and they plan
on doing more next summer.
It meant a lot to us that (Schaeffer) came
here to witness what we do and see the benefits it provides to the lake,
said club member Joe Rutchauskas. The fishing has improved and anglers are
coming out here specifically targeting the cribs. Were helping the fishery
and fishing itself, and thats why we do this work.
and round they go
in Hanover Twp. and Nanticoke should get ready to travel in more circles.
roundabouts have been constructed in the areas as part of the $90 million South
Valley Parkway project, a sixth one is expected to open in Nanticoke later this
year and a seventh roundabout is coming.
Missouri-based NorthPoint Development
received a permit to construct a new access road to the Hanover 9 site being developed
near Luzerne County Community College and the new road will connect to another
roundabout, said James May, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.
the South Valley Parkway will include six roundabouts, May said the seventh roundabout
will stick with similar traffic patterns.
Efforts to reach Brent Miles, vice
president of economic development for NorthPoint Development, were unsuccessful
The company is constructing a 2.4-million-square-foot business park
that spreads through Hanover Twp. and Nanticoke with three large warehouses.
Value Company is occupying about 1 million square feet of warehouse space and
plans to create hundreds of jobs. It is expected to open in the fall, a company
E-commerce company Spreetail has opened in a 610,000-square-foot
fulfillment center. Bret Naugle, regional fulfillment manager for Spreetail, said
the company is doing receiving and shipping there now and will continue to ramp
up their production into the fall.
NorthPoint Development also plans to construct
a third warehouse on the site and in all, Hanover 9 is expected to create more
than 1,500 jobs.
Hanover Twp. manager Sam Guesto said the township received
a $1 million gaming grant on behalf of the Lower South Valley Council of Governments
that includes Hanover Twp., Nanticoke, Ashley, Sugar Notch, Newport Township,
Plymouth and the Earth Conservancy. He expects the new road will be put out for
bid by September.
With the hundreds of employees who will be entering the new
warehouses, Guesto said the new road will take traffic off Kosciuszko Street in
Nanticoke where Luzerne County Community College and Greater Nanticoke Area schools
A sixth roundabout being constructed on Prospect Street in Nanticoke
should be completed by the end of 2019 paving season on Oct. 31, said PennDOT
spokesman Michael Taluto.
Construction of the new road and roundabouts has
led to detours and road closures. Signs have been posted throughout Nanticoke
and Hanover Twp. to navigate people.
Guesto said people keep knocking over
the signs and they are often found laying on the sides of the roads.
Temarantz, who co-owns R Bar and Grill on Middle Road in Nanticoke, said construction
of the roundabouts, road closures and detours have negatively impacted her business.
of Middle Road that leads to her business was shut down three times for several
weeks to construct roundabouts.
The road reopened July 3 but will shut down
again in August to construct the roundabout on Prospect Street, said Cody Forgach,
chief of staff for state Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-119, Newport Twp.
road closed, Temarantz said, Its much harder to get to us.
have to go completely out of your way to get to us, she said. A lot
of people come from I-81 and they have detours. If youre not familiar with
Nanticoke, the side streets get confusing.
R Bar and Grill formerly was
located on Union Street in Nanticoke and opened in the bigger location on Middle
Road in 2014.
Temarantz said the new warehouses likely will bring in more business.
With road closures hurting business in the meantime, however, she wonders if its
worth the wait.
A lot of our customers comment about how long it took
them to get here, she said. A lot of our customers come from outside
of Nanticoke and theyre not familiar with Nanticoke and it creates frustrations.
said he recently met with Rich Roman, acting PennDOT District 4 executive, in
an effort to keep part of Middle Road open until mid to late August. He also vehemently
objected to any possibility that the seventh roundabout would delay the roundabout
on Prospect Street from opening.
I totally understand the need for a
seventh roundabout but to be bluntly honest, the small family-owned businesses
in Nanticoke and Newport Twp. are being negatively impacted by all of this construction.
They cant take another delay or another six months for a project to be completed
when theyre relying on every day and every week for their business to stay
afloat, Mullery said. I feel for all the small businesses who have
been who have been affected by this. It has gone on too long and a lot of it was
mark against global competition
Aaron Miller - Citizens Voice
Redeemer senior Jared Piontkowski competed in an international tournament earlier
this week. After the tournament and on his birthday Piontkowski
earned all-state honors to cap an exciting week for the Ohio State commit.
and the Keystone Region Volleyball Association team finished fourth in the gold
bracket of the 2019 USA Volleyball High Performance Championship in Fort Lauderdale,
Florida, which took place last week and earlier this week.
Volleyball Coaches Association named Piontkowski to the Class 2A All-State Team
shortly after the tournament. Piontkowski and Holy Redeemer teammate George Beck
were the only two athletes from the Wyoming Valley Conference named to the 11-player
The 2019 USA Volleyball Coaches Association included the top teams in
each region of the U.S. and the best youth teams from countries around the world.
Games began on Thursday, July 18 and the championship game concluded Monday.
said KRVA head coach Joshua Brenneman invited him to try out for the team in the
A few days later, Brenneman asked Piontkowski to join the team as a
middle-hitter on the 12-player roster.
Coach Josh reached out to me and
invited me to try out, Piontkowski said. I was in basketball mode
and after the first tryout practice, I didnt feel like I was going to make
it. After that first practice, I was told by my parents that Coach Josh told them
I made the team.
Piontkowski said Brenneman contacted the Ohio State
head coach after tryouts and told him that he would be a great fit for the Division
I team. The Ohio State coach took Brennemans advice and Piontkowski committed
to the program earlier this summer.
Before competing for KRVA, Piontkowski
said he had never played volleyball for a team other than his high school team,
but that did not stop him from showcasing his talents at the highest level.
practices (for KRVA) were totally different (than high school), Piontkowski
said. When I got down there, those kids loved volleyball and everyone was
Piontkowski said the team only practiced four times before
the tournament began, while most other teams practiced for two weeks, but the
teams bond made it successful.
KRVA opened the tournament with force
last Friday, defeating Puerto Ricos youth team 3-0, Youth USA High Performance
3-1, and Northern California Volleyball Association 3-2.
The teams momentum
on Friday carried over into Saturdays matches, with KRVA commanding 3-0
victories over both Northwest Region Youth team and USA Youth A1.
Piontkowski led KRVA to a 3-1 win over the No. 1 ranked team in the tournament
Canadas youth team. With that win, KRVA advanced directly to the semifinals
of the gold bracket and knocked Canadas youth team down to the silver bracket.
the game, we said to each other, Canada is nothing special and you should
never look up to a team like that, Piontkowski said. Good things
happen when you work together.
However, the teams bond could not
withstand the offensive power of USA Youth A1 Selects team in the semifinals
of the gold bracket. KRVA lost to Youth A1 Select 3-0, which knocked the team
down to the third place match.
I was focused during that game, but we
didnt show up to play, Piontkowski said. We shot ourselves in
KRVA lost to Southern California Volleyball Association 3-0
and ended the tournament with a fourth place finish.
SCVA was a really
great team, and we gave our best, but we fell short, Piontkowski said.
Ohio State teammates Jacob Pasteur and Nathanial Wilson competed alongside Piontkowski
on the KRVA team.
The chemistry was great, Piontkowski said. I
got really close with (Nate Wilson) and (Jacob Pasteur). When high school is over,
you have to make friends as quickly as possible and I already started.
Gets Shout-out in Late Night Movie
Posted 5:19 pm, July
24, 2019, by Chelsea Strub = WNEPTV
NANTICOKE, Pa. -- You may remember
actress Mindy Kaling from the show "The Office" set in Scranton. She's
making an appearance on the big screen and it seems our area also has a connection
to her latest character.
In Mindy Kaling's latest movie, "Late Night,"
she plays alongside Emma Thompson as a comedy writer who finds herself in the
right place at the right time.
Audiences find out in the movie that her character
Molly Patel is from Scranton and learned about chemistry at Luzerne County Community
"Shortly after the movie came out, we started getting phone calls
and emails and Facebook posts. 'Hey, we heard your name Luzerne County Community
College on a movie called 'Late Night.'' And I said, 'Wow, this is amazing.' We've
never seen that happen before," said Robert Bogdon, director of marketing
"You never really hear about community colleges. You hear about
more along the lines of a four-year university as opposed to your local community
college," said LCCC student Brian Guerrero.
Students and staff at LCCC
say it's validating to see community colleges represented on the big screen.
just fantastic in the movie and it was good to hear that we're getting national
recognition for a community college," Bogdon said.
the value and the merit in a community college where it's more real," Guerrero
"It's the changing face of our population. People have to go where
it's affordable," said Bonnie Lauer of LCCC alumni relations. "She came
here, and then I understand she went through the technology programs and then
got a job in a manufacturing plant."
If you'd like to see what Mindy Kaling's
character does after her time in the manufacturing plant, check your local listings
and see "Late Night" at a theater near you.
the faith at St. Anns Novena
Pat Cannon has been faithfully attending the Solemn Novena to St. Ann in West
Scranton every year since childhood, first coming with his parents and grandparents.
47-year-old Nanticoke man also has been volunteering for years during the annual
novena at the grotto at St. Anns Monastery and Basilica.
The annual novena
is where Cannon has spent his summer vacation from his factory job at Offset Paperback
Manufacturing in Dallas. Hes worked at that factory for the past 20 years
and wouldnt think of going anywhere else on vacation.
This is my
two-week vacation. I come here, Cannon said Saturday while helping staff
a table at the candle grotto. Ive been doing this all my life. I love
it up here.
The 95th Solemn Novena to St. Ann began Wednesday and will
conclude with the Feast of St. Ann on Friday.
The annual devotion began as
a prayer session in the early 1900s to stop a rock slide that threatened to destroy
the church at 1239 St. Anns St. The next day, church officials discovered
the slide had stopped and two boulders had locked, creating a stronger foundation,
according to a history published by the basilica.
For many, attending the novena
daily is not a burden, but rather a blessing, said Ken Quigley, 77, of Dunmore,
He also has been attending the annual novena for many years and tries to get there
We come willingly because its important to us, Quigley
said. Faith is very important to me.
Crowds come out no matter
the weather, in heat waves and during thunderstorms.
was marked by a thunderstorm, Cannon said. A Mass of the Anointing of the Sick
held Friday and a Childrens Mass on Saturday both drew large crowds, as
usual, Cannon noted, despite temperatures in the 90s.
By the time the novena
concludes, tens of thousands of Christians will have made the pilgrimage to the
Event breaks out
the pucks to fight cancer
Marcella Kester - Times Leader
came out to Quality Hill Park Saturday to raise money and have some fun at the
7th annual Puck Cancer Festival.
Founded by Lauren and Shawn Myers, Puck Cancer
NEPA is a local nonprofit whose mission is to raise money for the Prescription
Fund at Medical Oncology Associates of Kingston.
Headed by Dr. David Greenwald
and Dr. Bruce Saidman, the goal of the fund is to help ease some of the many financial
burdens cancer patients face while receiving treatment, Lauren explained.
helps their patients with copays, medication, transportation, utilities, bills,
groceries, things like that, she said.
The husband-and-wife team created
the nonprofit after Shawns mother passed from cancer in 2011. Puck Cancer
NEPA has steadily grown, raising over $45,000 to date.
Last year we ended
up donating $20,000, so we are hoping and praying to of course go over that, and
its very possible, Lauren said. Were looking forward to
a really, really big crowd.
Attendees didnt seem to mind the heat
as they enjoyed food, watched live entertainment, played games and more.
ready to take her chance at some of the raffles, Wyoming resident Lisa Yurek said
she was excited to see what the event had to offer this year.
herself has cancer, so I think its a very good cause, she said. I
brought her with me and we come every year. Its a great event.
the other side of the park several teams were taking turns during a hockey tournament.
From the cheeky, pun-filled name to a working relationship with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Penguins, the sport plays a major role in several of the nonprofits events
while sharing Shawns love for hockey.
Hockey fans can expect to see some
new events on the roster, too.
Next year in 2020 were actually
looking to do our next arena takeover, Shawn said of the special games,
limited-edition jerseys and more. Were also looking to do some ice
tournaments and things of that sort to branch out more.
attendee of the event, Scott Arellano talked about the importance of the treatment
center and Puck Cancer.
I lost my wife to cancer back in 2014,
he said while praising both the treatment center and nonprofit. They actually
helped us out a lot.
Enjoying his time in the sun, Jeff Thomas hopes
more cancer patients and survivors will attend event such as the Puck Cancer Festival.
Dallas resident has been battling the disease sine 2011, and is a patient at the
Kingston treatment center. Looking around the crowd, he said its both gratifying
and inspiring to see the support of the community.
I encourage other
survivors to go out and get involved in this kind of thing. It does make the journey
less lonely, he explained.
Visit Puck Cancer NEPA on Facebook to learn
more about the organization and see upcoming events.
Exclusive: Our Town Nanticoke
by: Revathi Janaswamy - www.pahomepage.com
LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) The Nanticoke Historical Society held an open
house on Saturday to help its community reconnect with their history. Chester
Zaremba, the Vice President and founding member of the Nanticoke Historical Society,
says the group tries to hold the open house once a year to educate people on how
to use the society as a resource.
So we usually try to do this once a
year. Let the people come in to see what we have. Try to let them be aware of
the history of Nanticoke, he said.
Zaremba says that coal mining originally
put Nanticoke on the map. Most of the mining industry is gone now, and people
moved away. But Zaremba says people still return to learn about their history.
they want to come back, they want to find out where their ancestors were from,
their grandparents were from, what the town was like then, and we certainly provide
that information, he said.
The Nanticoke Historical Society does genealogy
work as well. Zaremba says theyve had requests from all over, including
from Australia. The Historical Society has many resources to help track down peoples
ancestry, including photo library with about eleven thousand photographs, twenty
thousand obituaries, a photograph of every building in the area, archival video,
and an almost complete set of Nanticoke year books. Zaremba says that the memories
of how Nanticoke used to be are important as people return.
created memories for a lot of people, when those people were young and in school
and small and all that. And now theyre looking to recreate those days. They
want to go back, he said.
Its all good memories. Its
all good memories. And that draws them in here a lot of times too. The good their
they want to show their children or their grandchildren about, he said.
says the Nanticoke Historical Society is funded through various fundraisers and
is run by volunteers.
Were glad to be a service to the community.
We feel were an integral part of the community. And thats what were
here to do. You know, keep the memories alive.
The Nanticoke Historical
Society is open Monday through Friday, nine am to two pm.
Area keeps same tax rate
Michael P. Buffer - Citizens Voice
Greater Nanticoke Area District is maintaining
the same property tax rate for another year.
The school board voted to keep
the tax rate at 11.9113 mills. A mill is $1 on every $1,000 in property assessment.
board also approved an annual budget with nearly $31 million in expenditures and
$31.1 million in revenue.
in Nanticoke, Forty Fort strive for fireworks safety
Mark - Citizens Voice
Thursday will mark the second Fourth of July since
changes to state law expanded the definition of consumer-grade fireworks.
response, some local municipalities have amended fireworks regulations to include
restrictions on when and where fireworks may be set off.
The changes will protect
public safety, officials say.
We really hope people have a safe happy
Fourth of July, and they wake up with all the fingers and toes they had the night
before, said Forty Fort Mayor Andy Tuzinski.
Forty Fort adopted an amended
fireworks ordinance earlier this year. It sets a 10 p.m. curfew for setting off
fireworks throughout the borough. Violators will be fined $100.
police department receives any complaints, this curfew will be strictly enforced,
states a post at the Forty Fort police website.
The post reminds residents
that state law prohibits setting off fireworks within 150 feet of an occupied
structure. That regulation applies even when no one is at home at an occupied
structure, Tuzinski said.
Nanticoke also adopted a
new fireworks ordinance this year.
It prohibits setting off fireworks on public
property anywhere in the city, including public parks, according to Nanticoke
fire Chief Kevin Hazleton.
Basically anything the city owns you cant
discharge (fireworks) there, Hazleton said.
change was driven by people who would ignite fireworks in parks or open areas
that met the state-mandated minimum of 150 feet away from an occupied structure,
but still close enough to pose a fire hazard if the ignited fireworks landed on
a nearby home, he said.
City officials want residents to enjoy the holiday
but to focus on safety first, according to Hazleton.
Its just trying
to prevent a potential disaster, he said.
Tuzinski said Forty
Fort officials also want residents to have a fun Fourth of July and hope they
will comply with the 10 p.m. curfew voluntarily.
The police do not want
to be the fireworks Gestapo, he said. It comes down to quality of
life and safety. Having a good time means having a safe time.
city council last year adopted an ordinance that prohibits setting off fireworks
on any city street, sidewalk, park or other city-owned property.
had complained that noise and disturbance from fireworks reached a new level last
year, following the changes to state law.
status plays role in test results
Area School Board President John Mahle is not happy with student scores on standardized
I am upset as a board member, Mahle said. Every year,
I am told its improving. It doesnt show.
Mahle said he wants
the next superintendent to focus on improving test scores. Applications for the
job are due Wednesday.
The board appointed elementary school principal Terry
Schnee as acting superintendent after the discovery of transportation overpayments
and the suspension of Superintendent William Jones. Last month, the board approved
a separation agreement with Jones.
Hanover Area, Wilkes-Barre Area and Greater
Nanticoke Area failed to meet state averages on 17 standardized exams and the
SAT in Times-Shamrock Newspapers annual report.
The Wilkes-Barre Area
School District has made progress toward increasing standardized test scores,
Superintendent Brian Costello said. The district also performs well above average
when compared to similar school districts, Costello said, noting 77.5% of the
Wilkes-Barre Area student population is considered economically disadvantaged.
indicates that a key factor in academic success is socioeconomic status,
The economically disadvantaged population is 57.5% in Hanover
Area and 66.7% in Greater Nanticoke Area. The lowest percentage in Luzerne County
is 7.1% in the Crestwood School District.
Wilkes-Barre Areas economically
disadvantaged population, along with a transient population, presents our
district with one of its greatest challenges in bringing up the proficiency levels
of all our students, and those challenges are compounded by
state underfunding, Costello said. The districts annual budget is $126 million,
and Costello said the district is $33 million dollars underfunded according to
the states Basic Education Funding Formula.
The states academic-growth
measurement shows Wilkes-Barre Area ranked first in Luzerne County and 24th in
the state on the Keystone Literature Exam and fourth in the county and 66th in
the state on the PSSA English Language Arts test for students in grades 3 to 8,
Recent high school graduates in Wilkes-Barre Area accepted more
than $10 million in scholarship money, and 88% of the 510 graduates will attend
post-secondary institutions, enter the military or join the workforce, Costello
Greater Nanticoke Area is also showing growth when student progress is
examined, and the district has the highest percentage of special education students
in Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties, Superintendent Ronald Grevera said.
first goal with those students is to meet their needs evident in their individual
IEPs, Grevera said.
An Individualized Education Program is a plan
to help special-needs students with learning disabilities and other challenges.
expose those students to the standards as much as possible through ensuring they
are being taught in their least restrictive environment, but the scores of these
students is secondary as we are looking at individual progress rather than making
the state benchmark, Grevera said.
The population of special-education
students is 22.7% at Greater Nanticoke Area. Its 18.9% in Wilkes-Barre Area
and 18.6% in Hanover Area. The lowest in the county is 10.7% in Crestwood.
for sixth and seventh grade students at the Greater Nanticoke Area Educational
Center improved dramatically, Grevera said. The score that measures academic growth
at that school was significantly above the state averages on both the PSSA English
Language Arts test and math test.
Greater Nanticoke Area has also increased
opportunities for Advanced Placement courses in the high school and provides students
opportunities to retake Keystone Exams, and next year, high school students will
receive remedial help during the school day to better prepare for the Keystone
exams, Grevera said.
annual fireworks event moves to new spot this weekend
- Citizens Voice
The citys annual fireworks display, the Big Bang,
is slated to be held Saturday in memory of late Mayor Rich Wiaterowski, who first
organized the event six years ago.
However, this years event is moving
to the main campus of Luzerne County Community College due to some surface problems
near the Greater Nanticoke Area High Schools football stadium that couldnt
be repaired in time.
We are doing it in memory of Richie. This was his
favorite event he held in the city, said Nanticoke Mayor Nicole Mackiewicz,
who was appointed to the position after Wiaterowskis death in December from
leukemia. For me, its a different experience. I was always his second
in command planning the event.
The event kicks off at 4 p.m., featuring
food vendors, food trucks, games, raffles, activities and other events along the
Prospect Street side of LCCC. A fireworks display, by Big Daddys Fireworks,
will be held at dusk.
Mackiewicz thanked Big Daddys for putting on the
show, which she promises to be bigger and better than ever in memory of Wiaterowski.
also thanked LCCC for saving the event.
I would like to extend a huge
thank you to LCCC for holding the event there on such short notice. I cant
be more appreciative.
In the event that bad weather cancels the celebration,
the make up date is Sunday.
for Humanity presents awards at home dedication
Submitted - Citizens
Wyoming Valley Habitat for Humanity recently presented awards
at the dedication of a home in Nanticoke to honor those who have made significant
contributions to the build over the past year.
Kathleen Nestorick received
the Golden Hammer award. Wyoming Valley Habitat for Humanity gives this honor
to a person who has shown exceptional commitment to help further the mission of
Habitat. Nestorick donated the property on which Habitat built the house in Nanticoke.
Zarra received the Herm Shiplett Award. Wyoming Valley Habitat for Humanity gives
this honor to a volunteer who has demonstrated an outstanding level of commitment
and support to Wyoming Valley Habitat for Humanity.
Attorney David Harris received
the Gottfreid Csala Award. Harris received this award for providing professional
expertise and knowledge to further the mission of Habitat.
seniors graduate from nutrition program
education advisor Karel Zubris brought only one graduation cap to the Rose Tucker
Active Adult Center on Tuesday morning, but what a cap it was one shed
decorated with a little toy pumpkin and cauliflower, an apple and the Penn State
College of Agricultural Sciences owl mascot.
Everybody took turns
wearing it and having their picture taken, Zubris said after she held a
graduation ceremony for the 15 senior citizens who had attended a four-part, educational
nutrition program she had taught at the center.
During the Penn State Nutrition
Links lessons, sponsored by the Department of Agriculture and Penn State Extension,
Zubris talked about reading labels while grocery shopping, eating fresh foods
when they are in season and making smart beverage choices, such as opting for
water instead of soda.
Today we made fruit smoothies, she said.
Every time I have a food demonstration, I get lots of volunteers to help
me in the kitchen and help me clean up.
Participants learned about the
importance of keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold and learned that Its
OK to toss something out rather than eat food past its expiration date.
is based in Luzerne Countys Penn State Agricultural Extension Office in
West Pittston and travels to Active Adult Centers and other settings to offer
Its like I operate a home-ec class out of my
car, she said.
In the near future she expects to teach similar Penn State
Nutrition Links classes at the senior centers in Edwardsville and Shickshinny,
among other locations.
Nutrition Links is designed to help people of limited
income make healthful food choices. It is supported by funds from the Expanded
Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance
Program Education (SNAP-Ed), known in PA as PA TRACKS.
Because Tuesday was
the last class at the Rose Tucker Center, Zubris gave the program grads a cookbook
as well as a certificate of professional development, and brought graduation gowns
for them to wear plus that one, fancy mortarboard to make the day
Im always looking for caps and gowns, Zubris
said, noting that many people have academic garb in the back of their closet.
If youd like to donate some that youre not using, she said you can
email her at email@example.com.
six decades in the making, 83-year-old receives high school diploma from Nanticoke
Grabowski got his high school diploma with a little more experience under his
belt than any of his fellow grads. There's the 21 years in the Air Force, for
example, and 10 years as a manager for a company that sells money counters and
ATMs, and the 26 years driving a school bus. Oh, and a stint with an insurance
If you're grappling with the math here's the answer: Grabowski is
83. He dropped out of school in Nanticoke as a sophomore to help his financially
strapped parents support the family, a move that allowed two siblings to finish
high school. And while he got his GED high school equivalency by the time he was
20, he had to wait another six decades to actually hold a diploma in his hand.
were complications at home," Grabowski said as he recounted the decision
to drop out. "My dad wasn't making the money and my mother had to work, and
she was making minimum wage. I had to supplement the income for the family, so
I went to work at a gas station with my uncle, then got a job with a Nanticoke
From there it was into the Army National Guard for about
18 months before enlisting with the U.S. Air Force in 1955. Within a year after
that, he notched two other experiences: Get that GED, and come home long enough
to marry his sweetheart, now his wife for 63 years.
"They've been great
years," he added.
An actual high school degree? Well, clearly that was
on the back burner - the way, way, way back burner.
The military service took
him to - among other places - Thailand, Alaska, Hawaii, Indiana, California and
Africa. "My one son was born in Morocco," he noted.
good," he said, "Around every four years I was going someplace."
the military, Grabowski did a pretty wide variety of work: 10 years as a manager
with Cummins Allison, a corporation known for automated coin and bill counters
and other related equipment. He did about a year and a half in the insurance industry.
And he drove that school bus.
While one son died eight years ago following
medical complications, his daughter is teaching in Berwick, where Grabowski now
lives, while his other son "is in charge of security and safety at a college
out in Missouri." Both came to town to attend his graduation, made possible,
he said, by said son.
"He called the school and they said they had some
kind of program that they were able to do this."
In a rare reversal of
the usual order, it was the son, Mark, flying in to see his dad graduate from
high school Friday - two days before Father's Day.
But Grabowski points out
graduation isn't really the end of anything important, other than high school.
had more schooling after I left high school than before." Since dropping
out, he learned numerous skills. "In the Air Force I had many different jobs,
with electronics, computers, radio and radar. I went to many schools and got many
certificates." Oh, and he took some of those quaint "correspondence
courses" colleges offered before online learning was a thing.
anyone tells you when you leave school you're done, you're not."
finally receives his Greater Nanticoke Area diploma
- Citizens Voice
It was 65 years late, but Ronald Grabowski finally
got his diploma from Greater Nanticoke Area High School on Friday night.
83-year-old ended up being the star of the school's graduation ceremony, receiving
probably the loudest and longest ovation after his name was called as the school's
final graduate of the Class of 2019.
"It's great. It's a dream I had
for years," Grabowski said.
Grabowski was supposed to graduate from Nanticoke
High School in 1954, but he had to drop out of school to support his family.
dad wasn't working and my mom was hardly making ends meet. We had to supplement
the income and I needed to go work," Grabowski said.
Grabowski later served
in the Army Reserves for a 1 1/2 years before enlisting in the Air Force. He spent
more than 20 years in the Air Force and served in the Vietnam War.
son, Mark Grabowski, 57, traveled from Missouri to see his dad graduate.
said it was beautiful to see a Vietnam War veteran being saluted by so many since
they were not saluted when they returned home from the war.
"To see a
Vietnam War veteran get recognized, it's great. When they came back they didn't
get any recognition," Mark Grabowski said.
Mark Grabowski said he heard
about a Vietnam War veteran who graduated many years later at a Missouri high
school and contacted Greater Nanticoke Area's superintendent to see if they could
do the same for his father.
"He said 'Yeah, we do that here,'" Mark
Ronald Grabowski said after entering the military without a
high school diploma, he got his GED. He also attended several years of college.
not like I stopped," he said.
After retiring from the military, Ronald
Grabowski returned to the area and became a school bus driver for 26 years for
the Millville Area School District in Columbia County. He and his wife, Carol,
now live in Berwick.
Greater Nanticoke Area Superintendent Ronald Grevara said
Ronald Grabowski was an example of "servant leadership," the theme of
his speech to the 2019 graduates.
"Mr. Grabowski was unable to complete
his education at Nanticoke High School. He was unable because of servant leadership.
He had to put his family first. He had to quit school to work 40 hour weeks to
take care of his family. Additionally he practiced servant leadership by serving
in the military," Grevara said. "It gives us great pleasure as school
district for him to join us tonight and for us to give him his diploma. He's waited
a long time for this."
project eyed for coal land near LCCC
By Borys Krawczeniuk - Citizens
A New Jersey developer has plans for up to 1.5 million square feet
of new warehousing on reclaimed former coal mining land near Luzerne County Community
Earth Conservancy President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Dziak
revealed the project after a news conference in downtown Scranton where a federal
Environmental Protection Agency official announced another $500,000 grant to help
the conservancy clean up more abandoned mine land near the college.
Jersey developers warehouse project would sit on about 130 acres in Nanticoke
and Newport and Hanover townships. It is separate but not far from several warehouses
built in the neighborhood by Missouri-based NorthPoint Development, Dziak said.
Dziak declined to name the New Jersey developer because the deal remains incomplete.
company would likely develop the 130 acres in 2021. Plans call for multiple buildings,
but could change.
Well see how they configure it, Dziak said.
A lot depends on the market. Right now, big buildings are in vogue.
the last few years, NorthPoint has developed warehouses in the same neighborhood
for Spreetail, an online home and garden products retailer; Chewy.com, a pet products
manufacturer; Adidas, the sneaker company; Patagonia, a clothing retailer; and
True Value, the hardware retailer.
Reclaiming the 130 acres will cost about
$7 million by the time the land is ready for development, Dziak said. The project
will include a roundabout at Middle Road and Prospect Street that feeds an access
road to the land, he said.
He has no estimate of the number of jobs the project
will create because its nature remains so uncertain, he said.
know that for a long time, Dziak said.
The $500,000 grant will help pay
for the design of a $3 million project to clean up another 50 acres unrelated
to the New Jersey developers project, Dziak said.
EPA has awarded the
conservancy about $4 million over the years to clean up rocky and scarred abandoned
mine land, a remnant of the regions long-gone coal mining era. In all, the
conservancy has cleaned up more than half the more than 16,000 acres of former
Blue Coal Co. land in Luzerne County that it acquired in August 1994 for about
$12.5 million. Former U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski helped obtain the land with a special
$20 million federal budget earmark.
firefighter headed to Normandy
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens Voice
Born 22 years after D-Day on June 6, 1966, Nanticoke firefighter Tom
Sadowski always wanted to spend a birthday in Normandy, France, to pay respects
to all of the men killed on the day he was born.
This year he will.
of a World War II airborne reenactment group, Sadowski will jump out of a C-47
plane over the sacred beachhead as part of the 75th anniversary ceremony of that
fateful day that changed the course of the war.
Its going to be
emotional for me. I was born 22 years after D-Day, but I was born on D-Day, so
I always knew what D-Day was my whole life, Sadowski said. To picture
in my mind what they went through and the sheer volume of people who didnt
make it through, I kind of look at it personally like they did that for me. I
almost am dreading going to the cemetery because I know I am going to bawl my
eyes out there.
D-Day launched the battle of Normandy, the massive invasion
by air, land and sea that helped lead to the liberation of Europe and the end
of World War II.
Sadowski, 52, served two years in the U.S. Army with the 101st
Airborne Division the unit hell be representing in his reenactment
next week in France. He continued his service to his community and country by
becoming a Nanticoke firefighter 33 years ago.
After the Sept. 11 terror attacks,
he enlisted in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard for four years and deployed
as an infantry soldier in Iraq during the war.
A little over a year ago, Sadowski
met a group of World War II re-enactors at an air show in Reading. But they didnt
just dress they part. He learned they jumped out of planes, too.
signed up to be part of the World War II Airborne Demonstration Team, a group
of 200 volunteers who train to keep the legacy of World War II airborne units
From the mechanics to the pilots to the paratroopers, no one gets paid.
The nonprofit organization relies entirely on donations. The volunteers pay their
own way to events and for their own training.
Sadowski, who never jumped out
of a plane before joining the group, trained for nine days in Frederick, Oklahoma
before gaining his wings. Hes been a full-fledged member ever
He knows few experiences will be as memorable as the one hes about
to embark upon.
Sadowski leaves today for France, where he will join 70 other
members of the World War II Airborne Demonstration Team. Theyll be meeting
up with some Normandy survivors as well.
Not a bad way to spend his 53rd birthday.
always said I wanted to be in Normandy some year for my birthday, Sadowski
said. Now I get to be in Normandy and jump out of an airplane.
rate will remain unchanged at Greater Nanticoke Area
Buffer - Citizens Voice
The Greater Nanticoke Area School Board has proposed
a $30.9 million budget with no increase in the property tax rate.
tax rate would remain 11.9113 mills under the budget proposal. A mill is $1 on
every $1,000 in property assessment.
The board is required to adopt a final
budget by June 30 for the 2018-19 fiscal year. The fiscal year starts July 1.
school district projects $31 million in revenue with $19.3 from the state, nearly
$9.9 million from local sources and nearly $1.9 from federal sources. Property
taxes for the upcoming year are expected to generate $6.6 million in local revenue.
budget would allocate $20 million for instruction, nearly $1.7 million for debt
payments, nearly $2 million for transportation and nearly $2.3 million for the
operation and maintenance of plant services.
market makes spot on nightly news
Kalinowski - Citizens voice
A Nanticoke meat market was featured
on NBC Nightly News on Saturday for a report about how swine flu in
China is causing global pork prices to surge.5/26/2019
A crew from NBC spent hours at
Jerry & Son Market a day after a Citizens Voice report on the topic
also featured the sixth-generation business.
While the dramatic rise in pork
prices is hurting the business bottom line, owners John and Joanne Gerrity
said they are resisting raising prices for customers.
still play vital role in region
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens Voice
nights a week, dozens of electricians-in-training meet in a former parochial
school in Nanticoke to learn the trade inside classrooms.
week, they work in the field alongside veteran electricians.
is free. They get paid for their work. Immediately, they have health care benefits
and union protection.
After five years and 8,000 hours of on-the-job training,
they become journeymen electricians without the thousands of dollars in loans
most college students accumulate.
School is free. It doesnt cost
anything. Then you get paid to go to work, said John Nadolny, director of
the training center for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local
Its not a job. Its a career. You can earn a livable
wage, buy a house, have a family and get an excellent retirement, Nadolny
While the union workforce isnt as prominent in Northeast Pennsylvania
as it was during the heyday of coal mining and the garment industry, unions are
still vital to the regions employment landscape.
Most building trade
unions, from ironworkers to carpenters, offer similar apprenticeships that lead
to full-time work and a chance at a good living.
There are about 300 union
electricians working for IBEW 163.
Often theres not enough workers to
keep up with the demand, Nadolny said.
Last year, we were so busy, we
had full employment and we could have used some more people. All across the country,
thats the way it is, Nadolny said.
The union, which has a meeting
hall on the Sans Souci Parkway in Hanover Twp., trains and organizes workers in
Luzerne, Wyoming, Sullivan and Bradford counties.
Meanwhile, the next-door
chapter, IBEW Local 81, the Scranton Electricians, has a similar training program
that covers Lackawanna, Monroe, Wayne, Susquehanna and Bradford counties.
of the biggest regional unions is the American Federation of State, County, and
Municipal Employees. AFSCME Council 87, based in Dunmore, which represents more
than 5,000 government employees in Northeast Pennsylvania.
The American Federation
of Government Employees, Local 1647, represents more than 1,000 employees at the
Tobyhanna Army Depot, the regions largest employer. Other AFGE unions represent
hundreds of workers at the Social Security Administration facility and the Department
of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, both in Plains Twp.
Unions played major
roles in two of the biggest construction projects in regions modern history:
the Lackawanna Energy Center power plant in Jessup and the Moxie Cathiness Freedom
power plant in Salem Twp.
Hundreds of union workers took part in the construction.
Salem Twp. project primarily used union labor, while the Jessup project used nearly
100 percent union labor, according to Martin Williams, business manager for the
International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Local Union No. 13.
The union boilermakers
built and maintained pressure vessels on both job sites during construction, he
At peak employment, about 120 boilermakers were working in Jessup and
about 100 were on site in Salem Twp., he said.
Were always thankful
for the work. We know on those projects we have to perform at the highest level
every time and consistently show our values, Williams said. In addition
to the work we performed, the other building trades greatly contributed. We are
proud to have played a role.
A spokesman for the Moxie Cathiness Freedom
plant said about 500 union workers were employed during the peak of the two-year
During major maintenance periods, work will be completed
primarily by union labor as well, spokesman Steve Kratz said.
E. Cockerill Jr. of the Scranton Central Labor Union said the building trades
are doing well in recruiting new members, but the region is lacking new people
to fill the ranks of industrial apprenticeships.
These workers fill jobs at
places like General Dynamics in Scranton, Schott Glass in Duryea and Intermetro
Industries in Wilkes-Barre, he said.
We are trying to reestablish the
industrial apprenticeships. There are so many jobs open because there are not
enough people training, Cockerill said. The workforce has aged and
there is no backfill. The guys are aged and there is no one coming up to replace
A union member for more than 45 years, Cockerill is an official
with the AFL-CIO, which has a partnership with the United Way of Lackawanna County.
belongs to the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, often called
the stagehands union. He works at the Scranton Cultural Center and the Pavilion
at Montage Mountain.
The union movement, not as strong as it once was, is holding
our own in the area, he said.
Holding our own is a big thing right
now, Cockerill said.
In 2018, 10.5 percent of workers in the United States
belonged to a union, down from 10.7 percent in 2017, according to a report released
by the U.S. Department of Labor in January.
Thats down from a 20.1 percent
union membership rate in 1983, the first year comparable data was available, the
Pennsylvania was one of 24 states that saw an increase in union
membership from 2017 to 2018. The percentage of union workers in Pennsylvania
rose from 12 percent to 12.6 percent, for a total of 5,575,000 workers.
regional union frequently in the news is the Pennsylvania Association of Staff
Nurses and Allied Professionals, which represents 600 registered nurses at Geisinger
Community Medical Center in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre General Hospital in Wilkes-Barre.
The nursing union remains united and strong, said PASNAP Vice President Roben
Schwartz, who works at Geisinger CMC.
While more nurses and health care
workers are in unions now than ever, the decline of manufacturing has meant that
we have fewer and fewer union brothers and sisters in the private sector to build
with, Schwartz said.
Its important for unions to support each other,
We wouldnt be able to have any power at all without our
sisters and brothers in the labor movement, Schwartz said.
businesses struggle as pork prices soar
small butcher shop Jerry & Son Market in Nanticoke, owners John Gerrity Jr.
and his wife Joanne started to see the price of pork increase before Easter and
it hasn't come back down.
"It should be down by now but it isn't. For
how high it is right now, it's going to go up again because the Fourth of July
is hot dog season," John Gerrity said, while cutting porterhouse steaks Thursday.
"We're losing money."
Pork prices have increased up to 40 percent
as China struggles with a deadly swine disease that has sent shockwaves through
global meat markets.
China produces and consumes two-thirds of the world's
pork, but output is plunging as Beijing destroys herds and blocks shipments to
stop African swine fever. Importers are filling the gap by buying pork as far
away as Europe, boosting prices and causing shortages in other markets.
the most part, the Gerritys have not yet passed the price increase onto customers
at the sixth-generation family meat market, except for the price of scrapple going
up 30 cents a pound. They sell about 12 pounds of scrapple a week.
now, we're trying to hold steady. We don't try to take anybody over. When suppliers
gouge us right before the holidays, we just swallow it and then we pray it comes
down," John Gerrity said. "We've been waiting for it to come down for
a while. Usually, the week before Easter, people are done processing stuff for
the holidays so pork starts coming down. It continued to rise."
price of pork continues to go up, he said they will have no choice but to raise
prices for customers.
"We are held hostage," Joanne Gerrity said.
"The good thing on our part is that swine flu isn't here."
get their processing pork from the Midwest and pork chops from Hatfield in Pennsylvania.
U.S. supplies China with pork all the time. Now that China's suppliers can't sell
pork because of the swine disease, the country is buying more pork from the U.S.,
"They are buying more now because where they were buying from
has that swine flu," John Gerrity said. "They're not letting any pork
products back in the country from China. If you have American-made pork and it
goes to China and gets processed into something, they won't let that come back
in. Normally they would have but they won't because of the disease. Our government
is stopping everything from coming in so we don't get it."
fever doesn't harm humans but is fatal and spreads quickly among pigs. It was
first reported in August in China's northeast. Since then, 1 million pigs have
died and the disease has spread to 31 of China's 34 provinces, according to the
U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.
"The disadvantage is a higher
price for us but not the disease for the U.S.," Joanne Gerrity said, emphasizing
they will continue to sell quality meat. "Maybe we have to pay more but we're
not going to be subjected to the disease."
Rising pork prices also have
impacted Stookey's Famous Bar-B-Que in West Nanticoke, a local staple that has
been in business for 93 years.
Owner Ralph Frank said he has seen the price
of pork increase by a dime a pound. Selling pork is
the core of his business
and he buys about 1,000 pounds of pork a week. Seventy-five percent of his business
consists of selling the popular pork BBQ sandwiches.
Frank also has not yet
increased prices for customers but he said he may be forced to if the cost of
pork continues to go up.
"I've looked at some of the news stories about
pork prices and it does not look good," he said.
Veterans of Vietnam War post closes after national group shutters
Golias, Correspondent - Citizens Voice
A national Vietnam War veterans
organization has closed up shop and its former posts are doing the same, leading
to a spate of donations to other nonprofit organizations.
Post 56 of the Veterans
of the Vietnam War, Nanticoke, has donated a new American flag to the Hanover
Green Cemetery, Hanover Twp. A ceremony will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday to
raise the flag.
Frank Park, of Hunlock Creek, the last commander of Post 56,
said declining membership prompted the national organization to shut down a few
weeks ago and Post 56 followed.
We had 60 to 65 members at our peak,
Park said, representing all branches of the U.S. military. Park was an Army ranger
who, like his comrades in arms, saw action in Vietnam.
The organization used
acronym the VVNW, Park said. The group was organized in Pittston, which hosted
Post 1, and the national organization had several commanders over the years.
shutdown mode, Post 56 has donated to the bingo project at the Department of Veterans
Affairs Medical Center, Plains Twp.; to the Eagles Aerie in Nanticoke, where the
Vietnam vets met for many years, and to other charities.
Even though defunct,
Post 56 will have a presence at five cemeteries as they prepare for Memorial Day
this year. The vets helped place flags on graves of veterans, Park said.
also take care of a small cemetery at Sweet Valley, Park said. The
vets began cutting grass and resetting toppled tombstones several years ago, he
said. The cemetery is unnamed, he said, but six to eight Vietnam War vets are
dedicated to maintaining the 100 graves on the site.
Len Luba, president of
the Hanover Green Cemetery Association, said AMVETS Post 59 of Hanover Twp. will
assist in the flag ceremony. The old flag will be lowered and the new flag will
be presented by Post 56 members and then hoisted. The AMVETS, formed in December
1944, accepts members from all wars.
Luba said the Hanover Twp. Community Ambulance
Association will be on hand. Its new headquarters is on the site of the former
Hanover Green fire station just north of the cemetery. The public is welcome to
attend, he said.
Another Vietnam vets organization, the National Vietnam
Veterans of America, lists a membership of approximately 65,000, with 617 chapters
throughout the United States and its possessions, according to its website. The
closest chapter listed is in Thornhurst, Lackawanna County.
tax hike in Greater Nanticoke Area budget
Nanticoke Area became the second local school board in three days to pass a "proposed
final budget" with no tax increase for the 2019-20 school year.
the Dallas School Board pulled a similar feat. Both must pass the final budget
by the end of June.
GNA Superintendent Ron Grevera cited two unexpected savings:
Health insurance premiums had been expected to increase by 8.2 percent, but the
district recently learned it would only increase 5 percent. And the district got
a break on the monthly premium it pays for one month.
The district is a member
of the Northeast Pennsylvania School District Health Trust, a consortium of area
districts formed to save money by combining buying power. The Trust gave districts
a one-half credit for for one month recently, something it has done in the past
if the Trust surplus gets above a set point.
The Trust had issues more than
a decade ago with surpluses so large districts complained, prompting several district
to withdraw from the consortium in the belief they could save more money on their
The budget calls for total expenditures of $30.9 million and revenue a
bit more than $31 million. Business Consultant Al Melone said the budget shows
a surplus of about $120,000, which - if it materializes - would increase the district
fund balance at the end of the upcoming fiscal year to $4.4 million.
voted on a list of athletic appointments, but ran into snag in hiring Ed Grant
as girls basketball head coach. With Board Member Matthew Landmesser absent, three
members - Len Olzinski, Wendy Kotsko Wiaterowski and Mark Cardone voted against
the appointment, while Erika Jacobs abstained from all the coach hirings.
Vito Deluca noted the abstention was essentially a "no," splitting the
board 4-4, which meant the motion to hire Grant failed. Board President Tony Prushinski
said he felt any concerns about the appointment should have been brought up in
executive session prior to the regular board meeting, but Deluca suggested there
should be no discussion of hiring in privacy other than talk related to disciplining
employees. Deluca then suggested "further conversation here is not advisable."
that were approved included boys basketball head coach John Beggs and assistants
Ed Lukowski, Zach Pientka and Matt Meade. The board also accepted the resignation
of Marnie Kusakavitch as field hockey head coach and voted to advertise the post.
board accepted the resignation of Grevera's executive secretary Carol Kelly. Grevera
praised her decades of service and extensive knowledge of the district thanks
to serving in multiple departments. The boar appointed Sarah Engle as secretary
to the superintendent at a salary of $35,000.
And the board approved a string
of bill payments, all below $17,000 except for a new high school alarm system
recently installed at a cost of $178,542. Grevera said the new system id primarily
hazard detection, with heat, smoke and carbon monoxide
of Forestry probes wildfires around Nanticoke
Staff Report - Citizens
The Bureau of Forestry is investigating wildfires that were intentionally
set around Nanticoke.
The bureau is offering a $1,500 reward for information
that leads to an arrest.
According to a news release:
were set the evening of April 3 in Newport Twp. and Hanover Twp. outside of Nanticoke.
the time the fires were set, eastern Pennsylvania was under a "red flag warning,"
a warning issued by the National Weather Service to indicate increased wildfire
The fires burned dozens of acres.
"Circumstances around all
of these fires have led us to the conclusion that the fires have been intentionally
set. Some of the fires have put public and firefighter lives and property at risk,
which is of great concern," said Michael Kern, chief of the bureau's Division
of Forest Fire Protection, in the press release. "Intentionally setting a
wildfire is arson and we take that very seriously. We are asking for anyone who
may have information to come forward."
Information can be forwarded to
bureau Special Investigator Terry Smith at 717-362-1472 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anonymous tips also will be accepted but do not qualify for the reward.
restaurant heads to sheriff's sale
Kalinowski - Citizens Voice
J.J. Bankos seafood restaurant,
a popular venue that abruptly closed after the 2017 death of its owner, is slated
to be sold in June at a Luzerne County sheriffs sale.
The mortgage lender
for Bankos filed foreclosure proceedings against the estate of Jeff Bankovich
following his death in October 2017.
A judgement for $903,555 was recently
awarded to the mortgage lender, which included $384,671 in principal balance plus
daily interest and other fees that accrued since his death.
basically no assets in the estate. Theres mortgages. Theres liens
against the property. Its unfortunate what happened, said Kingston
attorney Thomas OConnor, who was appointed by the county Register of Wills
Office to administer Bankovichs estate.
In August 2017, two months before
his death, Bankovich took out a two-year, $402,000 mortgage on the restaurant
along Route 11 that required daily payments of $1,492.99 to New Jersey-based World
Business Lenders, court records show.
Bankovich, 44, who had been recovering
from several strokes, died Oct. 19, 2017.
It was not immediately clear what
the starting bid for Bankos will be when the property is auctioned during
the June 7 sheriffs sale, starting at 10:30 a.m. at the Luzerne County Courthouse.
The property is assessed at $328,700 for tax purposes, according to county records.
Luzerne County Tax Claim Bureau has also sought to auction other properties Bankovich
owned due his and his estates failure to pay back taxes. They include lots
and property adjoining the restaurant, 821 Beverly Drive in Plymouth Twp. and
68 Park Ridge Road in Hunlock Twp.
State and federal tax liens also remain
against the business, totaling at least $98,733.
Longtime friends say Bankovich
was a visionary businessman who developed a cult following of customers who loyally
flocked to J.J. Bankos on U.S. Route 11 near the intersection with state
Bankovich bought the family business, then known as Bankos,
from a realtor in 1999. He renamed it J.J. Bankos.
Since that time, the
restaurant was flooded four times. Each time, Bankovich bounced back quickly,
with an army of friends volunteering to do the work. Because the business was
located in the floodplain, near Harveys Creek and the Susquehanna River, he couldnt
get flood insurance and funded renovations out of pocket.
Bankovich liked to
have a little fun with his battles with flooding.
Located along (and
sometimes in) the water on Route 11 in West Nanticoke, read advertisements
he placed in The Citizens Voice.
company coming to Nanticoke
e-commerce company Spreetail will occupy the second warehouse in the Hanover 9
project near Luzerne County Community College and plans to hire dozens of workers
at a starting wage of $16.50 per hour.
Spreetail will move into a 610,000-square-foot
fulfillment center in Missouri-based NorthPoint Development's 2.4 million-square-foot
business park being built in Nanticoke and Hanover Twp.
State Sen. John Yudichak,
D-14, Plymouth Twp., said Spreetail's investment in the $40 million facility in
Nanticoke is the largest economic development project that the city has seen in
the last four decades.
Yudichak joined NorthPoint Development, state and local
officials to announce the new tenant at a press conference late Wednesday afternoon
at the site.
Spreetail, established in 2006 in Lincoln, Nebraska, sells home,
garden and backyard products online. Over the last 13 years, the company has grown
and expanded across the country with offices in eight cities and six states with
more than 650 employees. The fulfillment center is tentatively expected to open
on June 1.
This year, Spreetail will employ 50 people at the Hanover 9 site
and company officials expect to employ 120 by 2021.
"We are very excited
to open our new, state-of-the-art facility in Luzerne County," said Bret
Naugle, regional fulfillment manager for Spreetail.
Naugle said the location
in Nanticoke offers logistical advantages to satisfy customers who reside in the
He encouraged interested job candidates to look at open positions
and apply at the company's website at Spreetail.com. He said applicants are already
rolling in and the company has hired some community residents for full-time positions.
The business focuses on delivering products in one to two days, he said.
addition to paying $16.50 an hour, Spreetail offers other perks such as paying
employees on the job for two years $5,000 toward a home purchase.
you're on the job three years, you get a beach vacation," Yudichak said.
decision to invest in Nanticoke "continues to build upon an unprecedented
surge in economic growth" along the new South Valley Parkway, Yudichak said.
with our great partner, NorthPoint Development, we welcome Spreetail to a growing
list of global companies that are investing hundreds of millions of dollars and
creating thousands of jobs in the South Valley/I-81 corridor," Yudichak said.
"If you are looking to do business as an e-commerce company, a manufacturing
company or a logistics company, the South Valley is the place to do business."
announcement follows a previous announcement in February that True Value Company
would occupy another distribution center under construction in the business park.
Value Company, expected to open in the fall, plans to create hundreds of jobs
at the site and is investing more than $150 million in the project. It plans to
occupy 1 million square feet of space in a more than 1.3 million square-foot distribution
center being built next to the warehouse for Spreetail.
Nearly 400,000 square
feet is left for another business in the warehouse True Value is occupying, said
Brent Miles, vice president of economic development for NorthPoint
A third warehouse measuring more than 300,000 square feet is coming soon to the
Hanover 9 site and Miles said there may be a possibility for a fourth warehouse.
Development bought the mine-scarred Hanover 9 site from the Earth Conservancy
for nearly $10 million last year.
Elected officials approved a tax break on
the construction site under the state's Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance
program that calls for full real estate tax forgiveness for seven years, 90 percent
exemption in the eighth year, 80 percent in the ninth and 70 percent in the 10th
NorthPoint Development also brought huge warehouses for Chewy, Adidas
and Patagonia to a 172-acre parcel in another part of Hanover Twp. Chewy opened
in 2017 and Adidas and Patagonia are hiring and close to opening, Miles said.
are pleased they (Spreetail) will join the names of Chewy.com, Adidas, Patagonia
and True Value as great tenants NorthPoint has been able to secure for Northeast
Pennsylvania," Miles said. "We are proud of the public-private partnership
we have built with the city of Nanticoke, Luzerne County, the Earth Conservancy,
the school districts and the community college as we continue to invest in the
area and keep the momentum to an all time high with capital investment and jobs
for the area."
Recently, NorthPoint recently purchased another 173 acres
from Earth Conservancy and the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce for another
development called the "Chamber Loomis" project along Dundee Road in
Hanover Twp. which also received a LERTA tax break. Work also has begun at that
In all, NorthPoint Development has invested more than $393 million in
capital investment in the South Valley Corridor, creating more than 4,600 new
Spreetail received support from leaders of Luzerne County, Hanover Twp.,
Nanticoke, school districts, Luzerne County Community College and the Earth Conservancy.
Mayor Nicole Colatosti-Mackiewicz said Spreetail has a long history of community
involvement and she is thrilled to welcome the company to Nanticoke. She said
the announcement is special to Nanticoke because it's the largest jobs announcement
for the city in decades.
"The jobs being created by Spreetail are good-paying,
family-sustaining jobs that will benefit our residents," said Luzerne County
Manager David Pedri. "We look forward to continuing a partnership that will
pay dividends for the South Valley Corridor for years to come."
hail announcment of e-commerce tenant for Nanticoke site
Nebraska-based e-commerce company Spreetail.com will occupy a new 610,000 square-foot
building along Kosciuszko Street across from Luzerne County Community College,
with plans to start fulfillment team members at $16.50 per hour, officials announced
Established in 2006, the company will hire 50 employees
this year and expects to employ 120 by 2021. Spreetail.com offers a "simple
and enjoyable way" to shop online for home, garden and backyard products,
a release said.
The new $40 million fulfillment center is tentatively expected
to open June 1.
It's the second tenant announced for Missouri-based NorthPoint
Development's 322-acre Hanover 9 Industrial Park, which falls in both the city
and Hanover Township. Chicago-based True Value Company said in February it will
occupy most of a 1.4 million square-foot distribution center also under construction
and set to open this fall. Two more buildings are planned at the site, which has
become accessible due to the new South Valley Parkway, officials said.
also brought Chewy.com, Adidas and Patagonia Inc. to its first 172-acre project
in Hanover Township known as the Hanover Ridge Trade Center, and it is working
on a third development with three structures planned on 173 acres it purchased
along Dundee Road in the township.
Spreetail.com has grown and expanded across
the country over the past 13 years, with offices now located in six states employing
more than 650, a release said.
The Nanticoke site offers "logistical advantages"
to continue that growth and create new opportunities in this region, said Bret
Naugle, Spreetail.com's regional fulfillment manager.
In an announcement event
Wednesday attended by a contingent of area legislators and elected officials,
Naugle said he can already tell the company selected the right location for its
latest facility because local employees hired to date meet its search for "hardworking
and humble team members."
In the announcement release, county Manager
C. David Pedri described the company's new positions as "good-paying, family-sustaining
jobs that will benefit our residents."
in the cavernous structure during Wednesday's event, state Sen. John Yudichak,
D-Nanticoke, said Spreetail.com's investment is the largest single economic development
project in the city in four decades, noting the last was the community college
"Welcome to the Hanover 9 business site, where an unprecedented
economic development story is unfolding at a breathtaking pace right before our
eyes," Yudichak said.
In addition to creating jobs, Spreetail.com will
benefit the community because it donates 5 percent of every purchase to charity,
which has added up to more than $1 million to date helping other areas where it
has facilities, Yudichak said. The company also provides attractive benefits,
including vacations and money toward home purchases after employees have reached
certain tenure milestones, he said.
Brent Miles, NorthPoint's economic development
vice president, said his company is proud of its public-private partnership with
taxing bodies, the community college and Earth Conservancy, which is the nonprofit
that originally owned two of the sites and much of the third tract along Dundee
More than $400 million has been invested in NorthPoint projects to date,
Miles said, promising to continue the momentum.
"Thank you for believing
in us," Miles told the group, repeating his mantra that capital goes where
it is welcomed.
The Hanover 9 park received a tax break on new development
but not the land, which was exempt under Earth Conservancy. Spreetail.com and
True Value will receive full real estate tax forgiveness on new buildings for
seven years, 90 percent exemption in the eighth year, 80 percent in the ninth
and 70 percent in the 10th and final year, officials have said.
Clayco constructed the first three NorthPoint buildings and also is handling the
True Value and Spreetail.com structures.
Nanticoke Mayor Nicole Colatosti-Mackiewicz
and county Council Chairman Tim McGinley also spoke during the announcement.
praised her predecessor, the late Rich Wiaterowski, for putting in long hours
to secure the project.
McGinley said many people worked together to make the
Spreetail.com and other NorthPoint projects a reality.
"I think it's just
terrific what's happened here," McGinley said.
therapy center set for closed personal care home in Nanticoke
former personal care home in downtown Nanticoke will see new life as a pharmacy
and physical therapy center.
The city's General Municipal Authority has agreed
to sell the former Villa Personal Care Home to FCLN Real Estate LLC for $450,000,
according to a real estate consulting firm handling public relations on the project.
Family Pharmacy, which has locations in Hanover Twp. and Scranton, plans to open
its third location at the property.
Cawley Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation
plans to use part of the building to relocate and grow its Nanticoke practice.
The business has five locations including the Nanticoke facility. The move will
allow Cawley to increase available services in Nanticoke by adding an aquatics
Additional retail space will be available.
are happening," City Manager Donna Wall said.
The Municipal Authority
bought the property at East Main and Walnut streets for $825,000 after the personal
care home closed in 2014. The purchase was made through a $1 million grant from
the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development's Pennsylvania
The Municipal Authority voted to sell the property last Monday. The
sale is still pending. Proceeds will be used to fund other projects in the downtown.
been a quiet partner in Nanticoke's economic development for a long time and now
our efforts are starting to show. We look forward to continuing to support the
City of Nanticoke in its revitalization efforts so that the whole community can
benefit," said John Nadolny, chairman of the municipal authority.
development is the latest in downtown Nanticoke in recent years.
Community College opened its culinary arts center in a new building at Market
and Main streets and moved its health and sciences center to the former Kanjorski
Center at 38 E. Main St.
Geisinger Health System built a clinic at 128 E. Main
On the other side of East Main Street, a $21 million project is planned
after existing properties are claimed through the eminent domain process. The
proposed five-story property will include dozens of affordable housing units,
retail space and a transit hub.
to sell former personal care home; new tenants already lined up
city of Nanticoke will be selling a former personal care home that's sat empty
since 2014, and it will be revitalized to include a family pharmacy and rehabilitation
The announcement came Monday in a press release from the General Municipal
Authority of the City of Nanticoke, which said the former Nanticoke Villa Personal
Care Home would be sold to FCLN Real Estate LLC.
The property, located at the
corner of East Main and Walnut streets, will be sold for $450,000.
closed in October 2014, and has sat vacant since then. According to the release,
the property has since become "dilapidated," leading to numerous calls
for fire and police crews.
According to the release, the building will become
a new home to the third location of Nockley Family Pharmacy. The company already
has locations in Hanover Township and Scranton.
Cawley Physical Therapy and
Rehabilitation will also relocate its Nanticoke practice into the building, pursuing
a plan to add an aquatics therapy pool to its practice.
The release has said
additional retail space is still available.
The chair of the municipal authority,
John Nadolny, said in the release that improvements like these are showing off
the authority's work in the city.
"We've been a quiet partner in Nanticoke's
economic development for a long time and now our efforts are starting to show,"
he said. "We look forward to continuing to support the City of Nanticoke
in its revitalization efforts so that the whole community can benefit."
physical therapy center to open in former Nanticoke personal care home
Kalinowski - Citizens Voice
A former personal care home in downtown
Nanticoke will see new life as a pharmacy and physical therapy center.
General Municipal Authority has agreed to sell the former Villa Personal Care
home to FCLN Real Estate LLC for $450,000, according to a real estate consulting
firm handling public relations on the project.
Nockley Family Pharmacy, which
has locations in Hanover Township and Scranton, plans to open their third location
at the property.
Cawley Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, plans to use part
of the building to relocate and grow their Nanticoke practice. The business has
five locations including the Nanticoke facility. This move will allow Cawley to
increase available services in Nanticoke by adding an aquatics therapy pool.
retail space will be available.
Good things are happening, said
City Manager Donna Wall.
The Nanticoke Municipal Authority bought the property
at East Main and Walnut Streets for $825,000 after the personal care home closed.
The purchase was made through a $1 million grant from the Pennsylvania Department
of Community and Economic Developments Pennsylvania First.
Authority voted to see the property last Monday. The sale is still pending. Proceeds
will be used to find other projects in the downtown.
a quiet partner in Nanticokes economic development for a long time and now
our efforts are starting to show. We look forward to continuing to support the
City of Nanticoke in its revitalization efforts so that the whole community can
benefit, said John Nadolny, chairman of the municipal authority.
Fire Department shows off new engine at open house
- Times Leader
Children happily ran around a shiny red fire truck inside
the Nanticoke Fire Department on Saturday, occasionally stopping to examine all
the buttons and levers on display.
Several apparatuses were available for public
inspection as a big crowd came out to celebrate the addition of a new fire engine
to the departments fleet.
Donning a sleek red paint job and an image
of the American flag emblazoned on its grille, Engine 3 made its official debut
something Nanticoke Fire Chief Kevin Hazleton said culminated a 10-year
Its been many, many years in the making. Weve been
trying to get the grant for over 10 years, he said of efforts to acquire
the new engine. At the end of the day, this is $438,000. So you can understand
why you only get them every so often.
The 2019 Pierce Saber can hold
500 gallons of water; uses a 1,500 gallon per-minute pump; and carries the Jaws
of Life, a hydraulic rescue tool that can help free people from small places such
as a crushed passenger compartment after a vehicle crash.
The engine will be
replacing a 45-year-old truck.
It was financed through a collaborative effort
that involved the city, a community development block grant and volunteer donations.
open house also showcased a new rescue engine that was obtained for the department
in October through the Nanticoke Firemens Relief Association.
Engine 3 received an official blessing by Father James Nash, Chief Hazleton took
a moment to point out a very important message that has been placed on both sides
of the engine.
Growing emotional, Hazleton pointed to a memorial patch honoring
late Nanticoke Mayor Richie Wiaterowski, who was instrumental in the effort to
obtain the fire truck.
to stop and stare into the glimmering metal bumper before running her hands across
an array of attachments, 2-year-old Teagan Bruza was just one of many children
fascinated by the apparatus.
Her mother, Nanticoke resident Amanda Bruza, said
she wanted to come out and support the fire department for all it does for the
Not only does the department help keep residents safe, but it also
assists with education in schools and elsewhere, said Bruza.
department definitely deserves a lot of support and recognition, she said.
Plus, my daughter loves fire trucks, so we thought itd definitely
be something shed enjoy seeing.
Another person who enjoyed the
open house was new Mayor Nicole Colatosti-Mackiewicz, who also took a moment to
congratulate firefighters on their much-needed addition.
time we got a new engine. Engine 4 is older than me, she said, drawing chuckles
from the audience.
It is imperative that we continue to support 24/7
fire department services that keep our community safe, she added.
café set to open second location
Staff reports - Citizens
A new specialty café is moving into downtown Hazleton where
a former restaurant operated.
Grateful Roast Coffee, a café featuring
specialty coffees made with an in-house coffee roaster, is set to open in April
at 9 E. Broad St., previously occupied by Dragonfly Café.
its signature coffee, Grateful Roast also will have a menu including pastries
and breakfast and lunch items.
It is the latest new business in the downtown,
about a block away from the recently reopened Dragon Chinese restaurant.
Hazleton café is Grateful Roasts second location, following the opening
of its first in Nanticoke three years ago. Owners Brian Williams and Sarah Kratz
expect the hours to be the same as the Nanticoke location: Monday through Friday
from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
As a native of Portland,
Oregon, Williams grew up in the coffee culture of the Pacific Northwest area.
When he and Kratz moved to Northeast Pennsylvania to be closer to her family,
they quickly realized the region needed a quality coffee alternative to what was
being served at chain coffee and donut shops.
Williams began studying coffee
roasting, building a business idea and making plans to open a café.
knew pretty early on that if we really wanted a coffee culture, we needed to build
it ourselves, Williams said. I took whatever start-up money we had
saved and purchased a little 2-kilo (4-pound maximum batch size) coffee roaster.
I put that on my sun porch, purchased a few delicious coffees and taught myself
how to roast.
When asked what makes Grateful Roast stand out from the
competition, he said rather than its coffee and unique food items, is the local
We stay mindful of our place in a community, he said.
We feel that we have a responsibility to give back to the community we serve
in and we can use our coffee as a vehicle for change, so we do. We often host
events aimed at raising funds or awareness for various local causes.
Hazleton, Grateful Roast Coffee already is working with Brandons Forever
Home by roasting Brandons Brew. When someone purchases a bag of Brandons
Brew from the foundation, $5 is donated to Brandons Forever Home.
coffee is roasted in-house, and that the menu items feature high-quality, locally
We are the only place in Luzerne County that actually
roasts our own coffee locally, in our own café, Williams said. You
can come into the café and actually see the coffee roaster and smell the
We place an emphasis on high-quality and locally sourced
whole foods. We use local artisans, bakers and farms to produce the foods that
we offer. The more local foods we can offer, the better we feel about the business
were doing. Its very important to support local because were
all in this together.
Williams said the spirit of Grateful Roast Coffee
seems to fit with the downtown revitalization Hazleton is experiencing, Williams
I love what Hazleton and the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress
are doing, he said. The downtown looks great and is only getting better.
One night after visiting the space, before we signed the lease, we were driving
down Broad Street heading to Interstate 81 and I noticed how all the trees were
lit up with lights; not even just downtown, but all down the street. Its
things like this that really show a citys pride. I am very proud to be a
new business in this revitalizing city.
Turning the thought of a second
Grateful Roast Coffee location in Hazleton from an idea to reality was a team
effort involving the city of Hazleton, the downtown alliance, CAN DO and other
organizations supporting downtown.
Jocelyn Sterenchock, CAN DOs coordinator
of entrepreneurial services, assisted Williams in navigating the licensing and
permitting process, leaning on the relationships developed with the city.
to bring this business to downtown Hazleton took a lot of teamwork and it could
not have been done without the support of those partnerships we rely so heavily
upon, she said. Im passionate about having new and young businesses
in downtown Hazleton. I think Grateful Roast Coffee will be a complement to the
many long-established restaurants that are already in our community.
said Sterenchocks assistance throughout the entire process had an integral
role launching the second location.
Jocelyn is amazing, Williams
said. She kept us informed throughout the entire process and spearheaded
everything from start to acceptance. I cant say enough about how awesome
shes been. Running a cafe is crazy enough, and trying to open a second is
insane, but she made it happen and, for that, we are truly grateful.
Fire Department set to unveil new fire truck
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens
The Nanticoke City Fire Department is hosting an open house from
1 to 4 p.m. Saturday to unveil its new fire truck to the public.
a 2019 custom-built Pierce Saber, will be blessed at the event by the Rev. James
Nash of St. Faustina Parish in Nanticoke.
City officials will offer comments
during the open house.
The City of Nanticoke purchased the new engine with
funds from a DCED grant and state grant money allocated to the volunteer hose
companies that support the citys full-time department.
This new engine
is equipped with a 500 gallon water tank and can deliver 1500 gallons per minute
with its pump. It was designed with a short wheel base and an overall length of
28 feet, four inches to navigate through tight streets and alleys in the city.
The truck has a
oldest tree coming down
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens Voice
oldest tree in the city is coming down.
Work began Monday to cut down a hulking
maple tree that towered and leaned over East Main Street in Nanticoke, a landmark
estimated by an arborist to be nearly 250 years old.
The last of the tree should
be ground down to nothing by Wednesday, said Jeff Arnott, owner of Arnott Tree
Service of Hanover Twp.
Its all rotted, dead. It was falling on
the road, Arnott said.
After a recent inspection, it was determined the
tree was too much of a possible hazard to remain standing, Arnott said. Much of
the tree was hollowed out, he said.
Its full of cavities,
Arnott and workers spent Monday sawing brush and branches off the
tree, leaving being the bulkier trunk and some bigger branches.
was closed to traffic in both directions.
Nanticoke police Chief Tom Wall,
who monitored the operation on Monday, said the city had little choice but to
have the tree cut down when an arborist gave the opinion it was a safety hazard.
it was determined it was an unsafe tree, if we didnt do anything, we obviously
would have been liable if something happened, Wall said.
Back: Nanticoke evacuated in 1987 due to poisonous fumes from blaze
18,000 people in Nanticoke fled their homes under a mandatory evacuation ordered
by then Mayor John Haydock early in the morning of March 24, 1987.
acidic cloud settled over the city due to a blaze, which erupted at 12:30 a.m.,
inside the Spencer Metal Processing Plant on Alden Road. Six 55-gallon drums of
sulfuric acid and nine other chemicals were inside the building, the Times Leader
on March 25, 1987.
The combination of heat from the fire and water from fire
hoses caused a poisonous cloud to hover over the city, Haydock told
the Times Leader on March 24, 1987. Then Gov. Robert P. Casey signed a proclamation
declaring a disaster emergency.
Luzerne County Emergency Management Director
Jim Siracuse expanded the evacuation to include residents in the Sheatown section
of Newport Township and parts of West Nanticoke in Plymouth Township. Approximately
127 patients from Nanticoke State Hospital were transported to other hospitals,
and residents at Birchwood Nursing Center and St. Sanislaus Medical Center were
sent to other nursing home facilities.
Ambulances poured into Nanticoke to
transport patients as firefighters and police officers went door-to-door to rattle
people awake instructing them to get out.
Most residents said the first
frightening sound they heard was the pounding of a stranger at the door
and their first thought was that something had happened at the Susquehanna Nuclear
Power Plant, located less than 20 miles away near Berwick, the Times Leader
reported March 25, 1987.
Evacuation shelters were set up at high schools at
Hanover Area, Wyoming Valley West and Crestwood, Kistler Elementary School in
Wilkes-Barre, the U.S. Army Reserve Center in Hanover Township and the Italian
American Sports Club in Glen Lyon, Newport Township, the Times Leader reported
March 25, 1987.
Evacuees described a disoriented, nighttime flight from
their homes into streets filled with bumper-to-bumper traffic and a sky suffused
with the red glow of fire, the Times Leader reported.
The National Guard
blocked roads leading into Nanticoke at 8 a.m., as traffic jammed on Sans Souci
Parkway, Middle Road and state Route 29 leading out of the Trojan city.
the main corridor at Hanover Area before dawn, a crowd stood shoulder-to-shoulder.
Some people cradled babies, dogs or cats in their arms, reported the Times
Leader, noting the cafeteria and gymnasium were completely filled with evacuees.
decade before cellphones, a long line formed waiting to use the lone pay phone
inside the corridor at the Hanover high school.
More than 100 firefighters
battled the blaze that destroyed the building.
A ring formed around the
entire city. The smoke was very heavy and very irritant, Nanticoke Fire
Commissioner Mark Yeager told the Times Leader.
Hours after the blaze was extinguished
and the state Department of Environmental Protection conducted air tests, residents
were permitted to return home.
A state police deputy fire marshal determined
the fire was caused by an electrical malfunction and ruled it an accident.
at the Spencer site took several months.
Webdesign Info: Read more about the fire here.
ramps up security
Nanticoke Area School Board voted Thursday for a policy to enhance security
and enact tougher disciplinary actions at the Educational Center.
Center this year became a middle school for sixth through eighth grades. The new
policy is a reflection of that change, Superintendent Ronald Grevera said.
school district is installing a metal detector at the facility, and next year,
students will be required to use clear backpacks, Grevera said. The district also
is imposing a restricted movement plan for students outside classrooms
and is hiring two part-time hall monitors for the school, Grevera said.
at the Educational Center must learn appropriate behavior and how to interact
appropriately with peers, Grevera said. They also have to realize
that when they do things, there are consequences for their actions.
school board also approved an agreement with Franklin and Marshall College to
participate in the College Advising Corps. in 2019-20. The district will pay $25,000
of the $50,000 cost to participate in the program, which provides a full-time
advisor at the high school to help students with the college-admission process,
Next year will be the fourth year the district has participated
in the program, and Greater Nanticoke Area is the only district in Luzerne County
that participates, Grevera said.
Stanley Grohowski receives Eagle Scout Award
Citizens Voice Submitted
Stanley Grohowski, a member of the Boy Scout Troop No. 418, sponsored by the American
Legion Post 395, and a resident of Nanticoke City, has earned the honor of Eagle
Scout, the highest rank that the Boy Scouts offers.
Grohowski, 18, a honor
student at John S. Fine High School, part of the Greater Nanticoke Area School
District, achieved the 21 merit badges required to receive the Eagle Scout award.
For his service project, he designed and constructed a toddler area for the Hanover
Recreation Association in the Hanover section of Nanticoke.
A ceremony honoring
Grohowski took place on Oct. 28, 2018, at the Party Place, Nanticoke. At the ceremony,
he was also honored with citations from former U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, state Sen.
John Yudichak, and state Rep. Jerry Mullery for his accomplishment.
in the Hanover section of Nanticoke with his parents, Diane and Eric Grohowski
and siblings, Dr. Deric Grohowski, and Amber Grohowski.
rush to local favorites for Fat Tuesday desserts
- Citizens Voice
As people rushed to his Nanticoke bakery for their Fat
Tuesday fix, Joe Kowalski of Sanitary
Bakery revealed the secrets behind a good paczki.
A paczki to me
is a high-performance doughnut, Kowalski said. Its a doughnut
with extra sugar, extra eggs and mashed potatoes, believe it or not. Thats
what makes the doughnut so rich. The mashed potatoes on the inside give it a good
texture compared to a regular doughnut.
Paczkis, pronounced poonch-keys
and sometimes spelled ponczkis, are a traditional Polish treat that
are a staple on Fat Tuesday, the day before Catholics begin fasting for Lent.
Legend has it the extra-rich pastry got its start in Poland centuries ago when
families were encouraged to use up all their eggs, butter, sugar and fruits before
fasting for Lent.
Sanitary Bakery on Tuesday offered apple, blueberry, prune
and black raspberry paczkis.
Kowalski and his co-owner brother, Ed, worked
16-hour days getting ready for Fat Tuesday. They started at 1 a.m. Tuesday, expecting
to sell around 400 dozen paczkis and fasnachts, the German cousin of the paczki.
and Marion Viercinski traveled from Old Forge, the self-proclaimed pizza
capital of the world, to Sanitary Bakery in Nanticoke on Tuesday to buy
paczkis for their neighborhood.
This is the paczki capital of the world,
Stanley Viercinski said with a laugh.
Asked if they were giving up anything
for Lent, Marion Viercinski was quick to answer:
Not giving up paczkis,
Residents from throughout the area also descended on Bakery Delite
in Plains Twp. for paczkis, fasnachts and king cakes.
Staff started working
around 10 p.m. Monday to prepare for the big day. The owners prepared to sell
up to 10,000 paczkis and fasnachts.
George Blom, a co-owner, defined a paczki
as an extra rich-doughnut.
Its really a fried pastry,
Fat Tuesday is one of the busiest days of the year, ranking with
Christmas Eve and the day before Thanksgiving, he said.
busy since 4 or 5 oclock in the morning, Blom said Tuesday afternoon.
We were open all night, really.
man quits day job, starts urban farm
After battling melanoma, Yale Wolfe wanted to adopt a healthier lifestyle
and grow some of his own food.
Wolfe, 41, grows unconventional things like
broccoli and green pea shoots, red amaranth, popcorn shoots and purple rambo radish
sprouts in his Nanticoke home. He said these microgreens are packed
with nutrients and have many nutritional benefits.
Microgreens are the seedlings
of vegetables and herbs harvested after sprouting as shoots. They have more nutrients
than full-grown vegetables and Wolfe said he could just harvest them and eat them.
take seven to eight days to grow. The best way to eat microgreens is raw like
a salad, he said.
Its really considered a superfood, he said.
Eating a small amount of this is like eating a big bushel of broccoli as
far as the nutrients.
Wolfe likes gardening and he said he started growing
microgreens in his quest for better health after battling melanoma and undergoing
I had to start living a more healthy lifestyle,
he said. I really had to make some changes.
Later, Wolfe grew his
urban farm into a business. He transformed his former music studio into a business
that he calls Wolfepack Urban Farm where he grows racks of microgreens.
formerly worked as a sales manager in the wireless industry and decided to quit
his day job to operate his urban farm.
He has a background in graphic arts
and social media marketing and a computer in his growing room. He promotes his
microgreens on a Facebook page and an Instagram account for Wolfepack Urban Farm.
took that scary plunge of quitting my day job to pursue this because it was something
I was passionate about, he said. Some of my friends who are chefs
were really encouraging me to do this.
Wolfe sells his microgreens to
customers, including chefs who like to use them to enhance dishes with their aroma,
texture and visual appeal. Chefs like red amaranth because the vibrant color pops
on their plate, Wolfe said. He also grows and sells cilantro and basil.
Beer Deli in Forty Fort sells 2-ounce packages of Wolfes microgreens for
$5 each and chef William Kuchta said he adds them to food like soups and salads
and as sandwich toppers.
Kuchta has seen a big demand for microgreens at the
Everything has gotten great reviews and its been a great
success so far, Kuchta said. Theyre a good thing because they
dont just add a wonderful color and aroma but they pack such a punch with
flavor. Based on reports going back to 2012, their nutritional value is 40 times
greater than their mature counterparts. If you eat a pea shoot, it has more nutrients
than a pea.
Wolfes customers also include chef Jeff Kochanski of
Bettellis Villa in Wilkes-Barre, who is part of a group called NEPA Chefs
Kochanski has used microgreens Wolfe grows like red amaranth
to garnish dishes. He purchases microgreens from Wolfe for $3 to $5 for 2-ounce
containers that he said last for two or three days.
We like buying small
and local, Kochanski said. Its the small local guys helping
the small local guys.
Wolfe recently donated spicy mixed microgreens
and green pea tendrils for an eight-course dinner chefs held at Bettellis
Villa to benefit Four Seasons Farm in Meshoppen.
Kochanski said he has garnished
pork with broccoli microgreens, which have more nutrients than full-grown broccoli.
When people find their food aesthetically pleasing, he said they will reap benefits
from eating more nutrients.
Wolfe spends extra money to buy high-quality organic
seeds. He delivers the microgreens he grows. He has met chefs like Kochanski through
photos he has posted on Instagram.
All the business I have so far is
people reaching out to me through my Instagram, he said. Instagram
is huge because thats where all the chefs are. Chefs are taking cool pictures
of their food and posting that on Instagram.
Wolfe has seen a demand
for microgreens and in the future, he plans to expand by growing more in his garage
and adding a greenhouse in his yard. His goal is for more people to order boxes
of microgreens that could be delivered to their homes.
up quickly, he said.
cause damage to building in Nanticoke
Bill Wellock - Citizens Voice
winds damaged a building that was once home to a beer distributor in downtown
Winds pulled down part of the roof on the Nanticoke Beer Distributors
building at 201 Arch St.
After winds pulled down the material under the buildings
eaves known as a soffit bricks on the wall started falling
where the soffit had blow off.
City employees put fencing around the building
to keep passersby away from the hazard of falling debris.
At some point, the
building will likely have to be demolished, said city manager Donna Wall.
Construction Services of Moosic have said in the past that they could demolish
the structure to make space for a parking lot that would complement a planned
development project at the nearby site of the now-closed Nanticoke Villa, an assisted
living facility that closed in October 2014.
Pot Club members trying to move past theft
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens
The Honey Pot Club has been a part of Angela Sullivans life
since she was a kid. Her grandfather would walk her down to the social hall to
buy a candy bar and talk to the neighborhood elders.
As an adult, shed
visit to have some drinks with friends and share some laughs.
has been saddened to drive by in recent weeks to see the building sit empty and
idle, the result of the buildings utilities being shut off due to a large
Its dark and cold when you drive by now, Sullivan
said. Its sad.
Sullivan is among the clubs board members
who are leading the effort to reopen the club under new leadership. First, they
need to raise money to pay off nearly $13,000 in bills and taxes that racked up
while the clubs former treasurer allegedly embezzled tens of thousands of
The club is selling Save the Honey Pot Club T-shirts and
is hosting a craft fair on March 10 at the 400 Club in Nanticoke.
goal remains to open the doors and become operational again, Sullivan said.
abrupt shuttering of the club also forced the Honey Pot Volunteer Fire Department
out of service because it shared the building with the club. The department on
Feb. 6 said it was operating under limited service. Three days later, the department
announced it was completely out of service until further notice.
In court documents,
police said former board member and treasurer Daniel Wozniak admitted to stealing
from the club for years to support a gambling habit. He admitting to taking money
from nightly cash deposits until there wasnt enough money left to pay bills,
court papers say.
Since the theft came to light, Wozniak and three of his family
members left the clubs board.
Four new members were appointed at an emergency
meeting held Thursday, Sullivan said.
Sullivan, her husband and her mother
are the other three board members.
Sullivan said better systems
will be in place to track finances. She noted that financial reports presented
at meetings were not accurate.
Some former board members have stepped
up in leadership roles to help, Sullivan said.
They know the checks and
balances that need to be in place, she said.
fight continues over eminent domain issue in Nanticoke
- Citizens Voice
An eminent domain dispute in Nanticoke is still working
through county court.
The General Municipal Authority of the City of Nanticoke
filed a declaration of taking for properties along the 100 block of East Main
Street on Aug. 28, 2018.
On Jan. 28, attorneys for the municipal authority
filed the latest motion in the ongoing dispute.
The purpose of the project
is to provide affordable senior housing and public transportation, as well as
to improve the infrastructure, streetscape, pedestrian safety and economic development
in the city, and those are valid purposes for using eminent domain, attorneys
argued. The fact that private interests may also benefit is immaterial.
taking should not be considered excessive, attorneys argue, because it fulfills
a need in the city.
In its declaration of taking, 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.
But Nilved Apartments, LLC, owned by Debbie Massaker, and
Clifford and Mary Lou Pomicter objected to the project.
Among the complaints
raised by the Pomicters and Nilved Apartments are beliefs that the project will
include additional commercial space and that some of the apartments will not be
used for senior citizens. There is already enough affordable housing for senior
citizens in the city, their motions contend.
The motions also say they believe
an older adult center could be replaced by a YMCA and that plans for an intermodal
center are not finalized, and that the possibility of those changes means the
project does not have a definitive plan. The basis for that belief is a news article
published in The Citizens Voice in 2018 about the project, which quotes
state and local officials.
The municipal authority denies those contentions,
saying the project does not include additional retail or commercial space. The
authority also denies that any housing wont be for senior citizens in Nanticoke
and says there are not adequate vacancies at three other senior housing facilities
in the city, Oplinger Towers, Nanticoke Towers and Park Towers.
WB group aims to improve Nanticokes Quality Hill Park
Leadership Wilkes-Barre project committee is looking to restore and beautify Quality
Hill Park on Hill Street in Nanticoke.
The committee said the public park is
a destination for many local families to host parties and gatherings. The project
consists of various renovations and upgrades throughout the park, including:
Replacing or repairing an existing fence that was damaged during a recent storm
Painting of existing facilities throughout the park
Upgrades and renovations
to the community center and public restrooms
Landscape upgrades such
as shrubs, perennials, mulch and trees
Pavement repairs for the existing
The committee will be holding a fundraiser Thursday, Feb.
21, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Sabatinis Pizza in Exeter. Cost is $25 and
includes all-you-can-eat pizza and up to three drinks. There will be raffle baskets
and a 50/50 raffle with a $100 minimum guaranteed.
Tickets can be purchased
prior to the event by contacting Jeff Kiluk at email@example.com, or at the door
the day of the event.
The committees goal is to raise $5,000. Every dollar
that is raised will be invested in the park and will help pay for the materials
needed to complete the renovations.
Donations to help support the project can
be made by contacting Matt Daube at firstname.lastname@example.org.
includes basketball courts, tennis courts, swing sets, a merry-go-round, slides,
a community center with restroom facilities, picnic tables and benches.
Kiluk and Daube, committee members include:
Candice Dutko email@example.com
Dawn Gilliland firstname.lastname@example.org
Tyler Salerno email@example.com
Deb Telesz firstname.lastname@example.org
school districts tightened security in Parkland massacres wake
P. Buffer 0 Citizens Voice
Note: This excerpt was taken from full article
Greater Nanticoke Area School District has
been very proactive in safety and security since the Parkland shooting,
Superintendent Ronald Grevera said. Greater Nanticoke hired a full-time school
police officer this year, and the $39,000 cost was covered by a Safe Schools Grant.
district added two walk-through metal detectors and metal detector wands at the
high school, and they have also been used for sporting events, Grevera said. Clear
backpacks are required in the high school, and they will be used at the Educational
Center beginning in the 2019-20 school year, Grevera said.
in the district now have locking vestibules, which we did not have a year ago,
Visitors must now present a valid ID for a check on whether
they are on the list of registered sex offenders. The district also plans to use
a $7,000 grant to add communication systems to the district through walkie-talkies
and a repeater for a district frequency through the FCC, Grevera said.
begins at shuttered St. Joseph Church in Nanticoke
Report - Citizens Voice
Demolition began on the former St. Joseph
Church in Nanticoke on Monday.
The church and an adjoining rectory at 107 E.
Noble St., closed in May 2010 as part of the Catholic church consolidation.
is being done by Brdaric Excavating, Inc.
The Diocese of Scranton will try
to find a buyer for the property once demolition is complete, according to diocese
spokesman Eric Deabill.
volunteers for Our Town Nanticoke segment
Report - Citizens Voice
Nanticoke will be featured in WVIAs
Our Town series.
Our Town Nanticoke will be a day-in-the-life
one-hour video scrapbook focusing on the people, places and happenings of Nanticoke,
as seen through the eyes of its residents.
Nanticoke residents are invited
to attend the first Our Town Nanticoke community/volunteer meeting
at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 31 at the Nanticoke City Municipal Building.
discuss which landmarks, events and local stories the program should tell about
A second community/volunteer meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 7 at the same location.
During this meeting volunteers will participate
in a whiteboard session to determine the stories to be told in the program and
which stories each volunteer will videotape to create the show.
to recruit 20 to 25 area residents with personal camcorders.
in being a videographer and/or storyteller for the program should contact Lisa
Mazzarella at 570-602-1164 or email email@example.com.
Nanticoke will debut April 25.
people displaced after fire in Nanticoke
people have been displaced due to a fire at an apartment building on East Washington
Avenue that could have been much worse early Wednesday morning.
Kevin Hazleton said a woman was awake in her second floor apartment at 5 E. Washington
Ave. when she smelled smoke just before 5:30 a.m.
The woman grabbed her son
and called 911 while escaping the building.
Hazleton said the woman did the
right thing by closing doors, which prevented the fire from spreading.
her way out, she closed the bedroom door and closed the apartment door,
Hazleton said. It starved the fire of oxygen and kept the fire to the bedroom.
We ran a line and nailed this fire. She did the right thing by closing the doors.
said the fire was extinguished within 10 minutes. No injuries were reported.
people in a first floor apartment were displaced due to water damage.
said the second floor apartment sustained fire damage to the bedroom and smoke
Smoke alarms were activated alerting other tenants, Hazleton said.
said there were no issues with the cold temperatures that was around 25 degrees
at the time of the fire.
We did have the street department come up and
spread salt around, Hazleton said.
Fire departments in Hanover Township
and Kingston assisted at the scene.
of slain correctional officer pens historical novel
Williams of Nanticoke has written a historical novel dedicated to his son Eric,
a correctional officer killed nearly six years ago in a federal prison.
the novel is based on a real event at the end of the Revolutionary War in 1782,
a common theme of the book deals with a topic hes thought a lot about in
recent years: revenge.
It mostly surrounds revenge for the murder of
family members, Williams said.
Williams, who advocated for the death
penalty for the inmate who killed his son, said the book is based on a little-known
event at the end of the war, the Gnadenhutten massacre, also known as the Moravian
Its an occurrence very few people know about, Williams
said. It was an unbelievable tragedy.
The massacre was the killing
of 96 Christian Moravian Indians by a colonial white American militia from Washington
County, Pennsylvania on March 8, 1782. Survivors of the dead vowed revenge.
summary of Williams book, Eighteen for Mercy, says he knows the topic well,
following the death of his son. His sons killer was convicted of murder,
but spared from getting the death penalty.
He understands being compelled
to seek revenge and didnt just write about those things; he lived them,
the summary says. As the characters in his book had to do, Donald also had
to move forward and continue to live this life and hopefully experience some joy
here and there among the struggles.
Williams said he wrote the book previously,
but it ended up like a history book. This time, he wrote it as a novel and he
thinks its more compelling.
The fighting described in the book wasnt
just imagined, according to Williams website. He was able to describe some
scenes from what he experienced during the Vietnam War.
the thick gunpowder and smelling feces and blood, which he described in a battle
scene in his novel, Eighteen For Mercy, wasnt something he read somewhere,
the book summary says. The smells, the confusion, dryness in the mouth,
and the inability to swallow experienced in battle, was something Donald had experience
during his time in Vietnam.
BUY THE BOOK
You can purchase Eighteen
for Mercy at donaldwilliamsjr.com
or by going to Amazon.com.
Nanticoke Area votes to limit taxes, narrow kindergarten registration window
The Greater Nanticoke Area School Board voted
Thursday on several major issues:
To limit any potential tax increase
in 2019-20 to a state maximum of 3.5 percent;
To classify e-cigarettes
and vaping equipment under the districts tobacco policy (thus
banning them on school grounds);
And to limit kindergarten registration
to no later than Sept. 30 unless a child is transferring from kindergarten in
The tax-limit vote will be common among school boards this
month. Under the state law known as Act 1, which legalized gambling, some money
from that gambling is used to reduce school property taxes. But districts are
restricted in how much they can raise taxes without a voter referendum or state
approval under a limited number of exemptions.
If districts vote to stay within
the limit this month, they need not approve a preliminary budget until the end
of May. If they dont vote to stay in the limit, they must prepare a preliminary
budget in February. The limit, known as the Act 1 Index, can vary
year to year and district to district. This year, Greater Nanticoke Areas
index is the highest among Luzerne Countys 11 school districts.
if the vote meant the board would raise taxes, President Tony Prushinski said
it does not, and that under state law a final decision on any increase doesnt
have to be made until June 30.
Superintendent Ronald Grevera
said the change in kindergarten registration policy was aimed at those who register
children later in the year for kindergarten when they were not attending school
anywhere else. He said teachers cant cover all the lessons a student missed
if they dont start school until, say, November. Those who are transferring
from another district can still register mid-year because they were getting their
lessons at the other district.
Grevera also praised high school administration
and teachers for getting the district on the 9th annual Advanced Placement
Honor Roll. The title is given by the College Board which oversees
the AP program to districts in the United States and Canada that increase
access to AP courses while maintaining or improving the rate of students scoring
3 or higher on AP exams, which are scored on a scale of 1 to 5. Some 373 districts
made the honor roll this year.
The board also voted to terminate
a paraprofessional, or teacher aide, identified only by employee number. The vote
apparently prompted a person to leave the room, which in turn prompted Prushinski
to make a criticism he said he has done in the past: Urging people to stay for
the whole meeting.
Noting the board takes actions based on the advice of Grevera
and Solicitor Vito Deluca, Prushinski said all were present for the students
and the taxpayers, and that while he wont attempt to stop people
from leaving, he will continue to comment when it happens.
Do they have
a right to walk out? Absolutely, he said. But it is rude.
after the meeting about the person who walked out, Grevera said only that it is
a personnel matter.
swears in first female mayor
Nicole Colatosti-Mackiewicz takes the
place of Rich Wiaterowski
Kelly Choate - pahomepage.com
The City of Nanticoke has a new mayor.
Nicole Colatosti-Mackiewicz was sworn in Thursday night as the city's first female
mayor during a special ceremony at the Nanticoke Municipal Building.
taking the place of Rich Wiaterowski, who died last month after a battle with
Wiaterowski dedicated his life to this community. He also served
as a volunteer firefighter in the city for 25 years.
she was fortunate to call Wiaterowski her close friend.
"We did a lot
of things together besides the political things in the town," said Colatosti-Mackiewicz.
"We had a great time, and I love every memory of it."
said she'll pick up where Wiaterowski left off, attracting more businesses to
the city, paving streets, and planning more events in Nanticoke.
will serve as mayor until the end of the year, but she already plans to run for
the position after that.
selected to serve as Nanticoke's mayor
A Nanticoke councilwoman will be the citys
New Year 2019!
Council chose to take the seat at a meeting Wednesday. She is the
first woman to serve as mayor in Nanticoke, solicitor William Finnegan said.
fills a seat previously held by Rich Wiaterowski, who died Dec. 9 after a battle
with acute myeloid leukemia. Along with his duties as mayor, Wiaterowski served
as a volunteer firefighter in the city. He worked for Laborers International Union
of North America before his illness.
They are big shoes to fill, for
sure, Colatosti-Mackiewicz said.
The citys charter allows her to
serve through 2019. Voters will choose a mayor in November to serve the remaining
two years of Wiaterowskis term. Colatosti-Mackiewicz said she planned to
run for the position.
In the meantime, she wants to continue work from Wiaterowskis
time as mayor, such as paving projects and redevelopment in the citys downtown.
like to continue with his legacy and see everything that he wished and wanted
to go through, she said.
Among those projects is the ongoing development
of the Hanover 9 industrial site in Nanticoke and Hanover Twp., the
Nantego Development Project along East Main Street, and infrastructure improvements
she hopes will attract more business to the city.
one of six people who submitted an application ahead of the deadline. Council
received another application at the meeting. The council members reviewed each
application and were able to have one-on-one conversations with each other about
It is great to see this many people have an interest
in Nanticoke to make this city better than what it is right now, council
President William Brown said.
The vote for her nomination passed with three
yes votes and two abstentions. Colatosti-Mackiewicz and council vice president
Kevin Coughlin abstained.
Colatosti-Mackiewicz is a human resources director
at Guardian Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Newport Twp. She was the only
council member to apply for the seat. Because she had to resign in order to become
mayor, council will now have to fill her seat. They will advertise the position,
collect applications then vote on someone to fill the seat, Finnegan said.
business of choosing a mayor to fill a vacant seat is the kind of housekeeping
municipalities everywhere must complete from time to time.
But this time, in
Nanticoke, it meant much more.
Replacing a beloved mayor is not how council
expected to start the new year, Finnegan said.
(Wiaterowski) was my friend
and he was a remarkable man, Colatosti-Mackiewicz said. I sure am
going to miss him and so is this city.