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7/21/2019
Keeping the faith at St. Ann’s Novena
jlockwood@timesshamrock.com

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.
The 47-year-old Nanticoke man also has been volunteering for years during the annual novena at the grotto at St. Ann’s Monastery and Basilica.
The annual novena is where Cannon has spent his summer vacation from his factory job at Offset Paperback Manufacturing in Dallas. He’s worked at that factory for the past 20 years and wouldn’t 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. “I’ve 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. Ann’s 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 daily.
“We come willingly because it’s important to us,” Quigley said. “Faith is very important to me.”
Crowds come out no matter the weather, in heat waves and during thunderstorms.
Wednesday’s opener was marked by a thunderstorm, Cannon said. A Mass of the Anointing of the Sick held Friday and a Children’s 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 basilica grounds.

7/14/2019
Event breaks out the pucks to fight cancer
Marcella Kester - Times Leader

Hundreds 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.
“It helps their patients with copays, medication, transportation, utilities, bills, groceries, things like that,” she said.
The husband-and-wife team created the nonprofit after Shawn’s 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 it’s very possible,” Lauren said. “We’re looking forward to a really, really big crowd.”
Attendees didn’t seem to mind the heat as they enjoyed food, watched live entertainment, played games and more.
Getting 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.
“My mother herself has cancer, so I think it’s a very good cause,” she said. “I brought her with me and we come every year. It’s a great event.”
On 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 nonprofit’s events while sharing Shawn’s love for hockey.
Hockey fans can expect to see some new events on the roster, too.
“Next year in 2020 we’re actually looking to do our next arena takeover,” Shawn said of the special games, limited-edition jerseys and more. “We’re also looking to do some ice tournaments and things of that sort to branch out more.”
A first-time 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.
The Dallas resident has been battling the disease sine 2011, and is a patient at the Kingston treatment center. Looking around the crowd, he said it’s 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.

7/6/2019
Digital Exclusive: Our Town Nanticoke
by: Revathi Janaswamy - www.pahomepage.com

NANTICOKE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) —The Nanticoke Historical Society held an open house on Saturday to help it’s 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.
“Now 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 they’ve had requests from all over, including from Australia. The Historical Society has many resources to help track down people’s 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.
“Those days created memories for a lot of people, when those people were young and in school and small and all that. And now they’re looking to recreate those days. They want to go back,” he said.
“It’s all good memories. It’s 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.
Zaremba says the Nanticoke Historical Society is funded through various fundraisers and is run by volunteers.
“We’re glad to be a service to the community. We feel we’re an integral part of the community. And that’s what we’re here to do. You know, keep the memories alive.”
The Nanticoke Historical Society is open Monday through Friday, nine am to two pm.

7/4/2019
Nanticoke Area keeps same tax rate
Michael P. Buffer - Citizens Voice

The 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.
The board also approved an annual budget with nearly $31 million in expenditures and $31.1 million in revenue.

7/2/2019
New rules in Nanticoke, Forty Fort strive for fireworks safety
Eric Mark - Citizens Voice

Thursday will mark the second Fourth of July since changes to state law expanded the definition of consumer-grade fireworks.
In 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.
“If the 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 can’t discharge (fireworks) there,” Hazleton said.

That 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.
“It’s 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.”
Wilkes-Barre city council last year adopted an ordinance that prohibits setting off fireworks on any city street, sidewalk, park or other city-owned property.
City residents had complained that noise and disturbance from fireworks reached a new level last year, following the changes to state law.

6/30/2019
Socioeconomic status plays role in test results
mbuffer@citizensvoice.com

Hanover Area School Board President John Mahle is not happy with student scores on standardized tests.
“I am upset as a board member,” Mahle said. “Every year, I am told it’s improving. It doesn’t 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.
“Research indicates that a key factor in academic success is socioeconomic status,” Costello said.
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 Area’s 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 district’s annual budget is $126 million, and Costello said the district is $33 million dollars underfunded according to the state’s Basic Education Funding Formula.
The state’s 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, Costello said.
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 said.
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.
“Our first goal with those students is to meet their needs evident in their individual IEP’s,” Grevera said.
An Individualized Education Program is a plan to help special-needs students with learning disabilities and other challenges.
“We 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. It’s 18.9% in Wilkes-Barre Area and 18.6% in Hanover Area. The lowest in the county is 10.7% in Crestwood.
Scores 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.

6/28/2019
Nanticoke’s annual fireworks event moves to new spot this weekend
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens Voice

The city’s 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 year’s event is moving to the main campus of Luzerne County Community College due to some surface problems near the Greater Nanticoke Area High School’s football stadium that couldn’t 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 Wiaterowski’s death in December from leukemia. “For me, it’s 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 Daddy’s Fireworks, will be held at dusk.
Mackiewicz thanked Big Daddy’s for putting on the show, which she promises to be bigger and better than ever in memory of Wiaterowski.
She 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 can’t be more appreciative.”
In the event that bad weather cancels the celebration, the make up date is Sunday.

6/27/2019
Habitat for Humanity presents awards at home dedication
Submitted - Citizens Voice

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.
Jim 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.

6/26/2019
Nanticoke seniors graduate from nutrition program
mbiebel@timesleader.com

Nutrition 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 she’d decorated with a little toy pumpkin and cauliflower, an apple and the Penn State College of Agricultural Science’s 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 “It’s OK to toss something out” rather than eat food past its expiration date.
Zubris is based in Luzerne County’s Penn State Agricultural Extension Office in West Pittston and travels to Active Adult Centers and other settings to offer nutrition advice.
“It’s 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 extra special.
“I’m always looking for caps and gowns,” Zubris said, noting that many people have academic garb in the back of their closet. If you’d like to donate some that you’re not using, she said you can email her at kzz65@psu.edu.

6/15/2019
Over six decades in the making, 83-year-old receives high school diploma from Nanticoke
mguydish@timesleader.com

Ronald 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 company.
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.
"There 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 chicken market."
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.
Traveling "was good," he said, "Around every four years I was going someplace."
After 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.
"I 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.
"If anyone tells you when you leave school you're done, you're not."

6/15/2019
Veteran finally receives his Greater Nanticoke Area diploma
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens Voice

It was 65 years late, but Ronald Grabowski finally got his diploma from Greater Nanticoke Area High School on Friday night.
The 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.
"My 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.
Grabowski's son, Mark Grabowski, 57, traveled from Missouri to see his dad graduate.
He 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 Grabowski said.
Ronald Grabowski said after entering the military without a high school diploma, he got his GED. He also attended several years of college.
"It's 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."

6/6/2019
Warehouse project eyed for coal land near LCCC
By Borys Krawczeniuk - Citizens Voice

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 College.
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.
The New Jersey developer’s 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.
The company would likely develop the 130 acres in 2021. Plans call for multiple buildings, but could change.
“We’ll see how they configure it,” Dziak said. “A lot depends on the market. Right now, big buildings are in vogue.”
In 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.
“We won’t 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 developer’s 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 region’s 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.

6/1/2019
Nanticoke 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.
As part 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.
“It’s 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 didn’t 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 he’ll 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 didn’t just dress they part. He learned they jumped out of planes, too.
Sadowski soon 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 alive.
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.” He’s been a full-fledged member ever since.
He knows few experiences will be as memorable as the one he’s about to embark upon.
Sadowski leaves today for France, where he will join 70 other members of the World War II Airborne Demonstration Team. They’ll be meeting up with some Normandy survivors as well.
Not a bad way to spend his 53rd birthday.
“I 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.”

5/28/2019
Tax rate will remain unchanged at Greater Nanticoke Area

Michael P. Buffer - Citizens Voice

The Greater Nanticoke Area School Board has proposed a $30.9 million budget with no increase in the property tax rate.
The property 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.
The 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.
The 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.

5/26/2019
Nanticoke market makes spot on nightly news
Bob 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.
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.

5/26/2019
Unions still play vital role in region
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens Voice

Two nights a week, dozens of electricians-in-trai­ning meet in a former parochial school in Nanticoke to learn the trade inside classrooms.
During the week, they work in the field alongside veteran electricians.
The schooling 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 doesn’t 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 163.
“It’s not a job. It’s a career. You can earn a livable wage, buy a house, have a family and get an excellent retirement,” Nadolny said.
While the union workforce isn’t as prominent in Northeast Pennsylvania as it was during the heyday of coal mining and the garment industry, unions are still vital to the region’s 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 there’s 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, that’s 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.
One 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 region’s 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 region’s 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.
The 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 said.
At peak employment, about 120 boilermakers were working in Jessup and about 100 were on site in Salem Twp., he said.
“We’re 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 construction.
“During major maintenance periods, work will be completed primarily by union labor as well,” spokesman Steve Kratz said.
William 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 them.”
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.
Cockerill 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.
That’s down from a 20.1 percent union membership rate in 1983, the first year comparable data was available, the report said.
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.
One 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.
It’s important for unions to support each other, he said.
“We wouldn’t be able to have any power at all without our sisters and brothers in the labor movement,” Schwartz said.

5/24/2019
Local businesses struggle as pork prices soar
dallabaugh@citizensvoice.com

At 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.
For 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.
"Right 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."
If the 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."
The Gerritys get their processing pork from the Midwest and pork chops from Hatfield in Pennsylvania.
The 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 said.
"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."
African swine 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.

5/21/2019
Local Veterans of Vietnam War post closes after national group shutters
Paul 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.
In 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.
“We 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.

5/10/2019
No tax hike in Greater Nanticoke Area budget
mguydish@timesleader.com

Greater 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.
On Monday, 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 own.
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.
The board 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.
Solicitor 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."
Appointments 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.
The 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

5/7/2019
Bureau of Forestry probes wildfires around Nanticoke
Staff Report - Citizens Voice

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:
Several wildfires were set the evening of April 3 in Newport Twp. and Hanover Twp. outside of Nanticoke.
At 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 danger.
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 terrsmith@pa.gov. Anonymous tips also will be accepted but do not qualify for the reward.

4/5/2019
Banko's restaurant heads to sheriff's sale
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens Voice

J.J. Banko’s 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 sheriff’s sale.
The mortgage lender for Banko’s 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.
“There’s basically no assets in the estate. There’s mortgages. There’s liens against the property. It’s unfortunate what happened,” said Kingston attorney Thomas O’Connor, who was appointed by the county Register of Wills Office to administer Bankovich’s 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 Banko’s will be when the property is auctioned during the June 7 sheriff’s 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.
The Luzerne County Tax Claim Bureau has also sought to auction other properties Bankovich owned due his and his estate’s 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. Banko’s on U.S. Route 11 near the intersection with state Route 29.
Bankovich bought the family business, then known as Banko’s, from a realtor in 1999. He renamed it J.J. Banko’s.
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 couldn’t 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.

4/4/2019
E-commerce company coming to Nanticoke
dallabaugh@citizensvoice.com

National 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 Northeast.
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.
In 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.
"If you're on the job three years, you get a beach vacation," Yudichak said.
Spreetail's decision to invest in Nanticoke "continues to build upon an unprecedented surge in economic growth" along the new South Valley Parkway, Yudichak said.
"Today, 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."
The announcement follows a previous announcement in February that True Value Company would occupy another distribution center under construction in the business park.
True 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
Development. 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.
NorthPoint 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 year.
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.
"We 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 site.
In all, NorthPoint Development has invested more than $393 million in capital investment in the South Valley Corridor, creating more than 4,600 new jobs.
Spreetail received support from leaders of Luzerne County, Hanover Twp., Nanticoke, school districts, Luzerne County Community College and the Earth Conservancy.
Nanticoke 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."

4/4/2019
Officials hail announcment of e-commerce tenant for Nanticoke site
jandes@timesleader.com

Lincoln, 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 Wednesday afternoon.
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.
NorthPoint 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."
'Unprecedented development'
Standing 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 construction.
"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 Road.
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.
Chicago-based 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.
Colatosti-Mackiewicz 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.

4/2/2019
Pharmacy, therapy center set for closed personal care home in Nanticoke
bkalinowski@citizensvoice.com

A 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.
Nockley 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 therapy pool.
Additional retail space will be available.
"Good things 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 First.
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.
"We've 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.
The development is the latest in downtown Nanticoke in recent years.
Luzerne County 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 St.
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.

4/2/2019
Nanticoke to sell former personal care home; new tenants already lined up
pkernan@timesleader.com

The 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 center.
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.
The Villa 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."

4/1/2019
Pharmacy, physical therapy center to open in former Nanticoke personal care home
|Bob Kalinowski - Citizens Voice

A former personal care home in downtown Nanticoke will see new life as a pharmacy and physical therapy center.
The 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.
Additional 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 Development’s Pennsylvania First.
The Municipal Authority voted to see the property last Monday. The sale is still pending. Proceeds will be used to find other projects in the downtown.
“We’ve 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.

3/24/2019
Nanticoke Fire Department shows off new engine at open house
Marcella Kester - 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 department’s 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 process.
“It’s been many, many years in the making. We’ve 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.
Saturday’s open house also showcased a new rescue engine that was obtained for the department in October through the Nanticoke Firemen’s Relief Association.
Before 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.
‘Deserves recognition’
Pausing mid-run 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 community.
Not only does the department help keep residents safe, but it also assists with education in schools and elsewhere, said Bruza.
“Our fire department definitely deserves a lot of support and recognition,” she said. “Plus, my daughter loves fire trucks, so we thought it’d definitely be something she’d 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.
“It’s about 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.

3/24/2019
Nanticoke café set to open second location
Staff reports - Citizens Voice

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.
Along with 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.
The Hazleton café is Grateful Roast’s 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.
“I 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 community.
“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.”
In Hazleton, Grateful Roast Coffee already is working with Brandon’s Forever Home by roasting Brandon’s Brew. When someone purchases a bag of Brandon’s Brew from the foundation, $5 is donated to Brandon’s Forever Home.
The coffee is roasted in-house, and that the menu items feature high-quality, locally sourced ingredients.
“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 beans roasting.
“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 we’re doing. It’s very important to support local because we’re all in this together.”
Williams said the spirit of Grateful Roast Coffee seems to fit with the downtown revitalization Hazleton is experiencing, Williams said.
“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. It’s things like this that really show a city’s 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 DO’s coordinator of entrepreneurial services, assisted Williams in navigating the licensing and permitting process, leaning on the relationships developed with the city.
“Working 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. “I’m 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.”
Williams said Sterenchock’s 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 can’t say enough about how awesome she’s 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.”

3/22/2019
Nanticoke Fire Department set to unveil new fire truck
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens Voice

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.
Engine 3, 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 city’s 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

3/19/2019
Nanticoke’s oldest tree coming down
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens Voice

The 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.
“It’s 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.
“It’s full of cavities,” he said.
Arnott and workers spent Monday sawing brush and branches off the tree, leaving being the bulkier trunk and some bigger branches.
Main Street 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.
“Once it was determined it was an unsafe tree, if we didn’t do anything, we obviously would have been liable if something happened,” Wall said.

3/18/2019
Look Back: Nanticoke evacuated in 1987 due to poisonous fumes from blaze
elewis@timesleader.com

Nearly 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.
A poisonous 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.
“In 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.
A 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.
Cleanup at the Spencer site took several months.
Nanticoke Webdesign Info: Read more about the fire here.

3/15/2019
GNA ramps up security
mbuffer@citizensvoice.com

The Greater Nanticoke Area School Board voted Thursday for a policy to enhance security and enact tougher disciplinary actions at the Educational Center.
The Educational 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.
The 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.
“Students 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.”
The 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, Grevera said.
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.

3/14/2019
Trevor Stanley Grohowski receives Eagle Scout Award
Citizens Voice Submitted

Trevor 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.
He resides in the Hanover section of Nanticoke with his parents, Diane and Eric Grohowski and siblings, Dr. Deric Grohowski, and Amber Grohowski.

3/6/2019
Crowds rush to local favorites for Fat Tuesday desserts
Bob Kalinowski - 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. “It’s a doughnut with extra sugar, extra eggs and mashed potatoes, believe it or not. That’s 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.
Stanley 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, she said.
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.”
“It’s really a fried pastry,” Blom said.
Fat Tuesday is one of the busiest days of the year, ranking with Christmas Eve and the day before Thanksgiving, he said.
“It’s been busy since 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning,” Blom said Tuesday afternoon. “We were open all night, really.”

3/3/2019
Nanticoke man quits day job, starts urban farm
dallabaugh@citizensvoice.com

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.
Most take seven to eight days to grow. The best way to eat microgreens is raw like a salad, he said.
“It’s 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 three surgeries.
“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.
He 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.
“I 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.
The Beer Deli in Forty Fort sells 2-ounce packages of Wolfe’s 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 Beer Deli.
“Everything has gotten great reviews and it’s been a great success so far,” Kuchta said. “They’re a good thing because they don’t 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.”
Wolfe’s customers also include chef Jeff Kochanski of Bettelli’s Villa in Wilkes-Barre, who is part of a group called NEPA Chefs For Sustainability.
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. “It’s 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 Bettelli’s 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 that’s 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.
“I’m scaling up quickly,” he said.

2/26/2019
Heavy winds cause damage to building in Nanticoke
Bill Wellock - Citizens Voice

High winds damaged a building that was once home to a beer distributor in downtown Nanticoke.
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 building’s 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.
Mark 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.

2/25/2019
Honey Pot Club members trying to move past theft
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens Voice

The Honey Pot Club has been a part of Angela Sullivan’s 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, she’d visit to have some drinks with friends and share some laughs.
Sullivan, 42, has been saddened to drive by in recent weeks to see the building sit empty and idle, the result of the building’s utilities being shut off due to a large theft.
“It’s dark and cold when you drive by now,” Sullivan said. “It’s sad.”
Sullivan is among the club’s 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 club’s former treasurer allegedly embezzled tens of thousands of dollars.
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.
“The goal remains to open the doors and become operational again,” Sullivan said.
The 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 wasn’t enough money left to pay bills, court papers say.
Since the theft came to light, Wozniak and three of his family members left the club’s 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.

2/18/2019
Court fight continues over eminent domain issue in Nanticoke
Bill Wellock - 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.
The 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 won’t 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.

2/16/2018
Leadership WB group aims to improve Nanticoke’s Quality Hill Park
boboyle@timesleader.com

A 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 basketball court
The committee will be holding a fundraiser Thursday, Feb. 21, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Sabatini’s 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 jkiluk@sordoni.com, or at the door the day of the event.
The committee’s 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 mdaube@toyotasportsplex.com.
The park includes basketball courts, tennis courts, swing sets, a merry-go-round, slides, a community center with restroom facilities, picnic tables and benches.
Besides Kiluk and Daube, committee members include:
• Candice Dutko – cgdutko@geisinger.edu
• Dawn Gilliland – gillilandd@service1.org
• Christine Mackin – cmackin@wvcakids.org
• Tyler Salerno – tyler.salerno@assuredpartners.com
• Deb Telesz – deborah.telesz@prudential.com
• Desiree Voitek – desireevoitek@kings.edu

2/14/2019
Local school districts tightened security in Parkland massacre’s wake
Michael P. Buffer 0 Citizens Voice
Note: This excerpt was taken from full article

The 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.
The 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.
“All buildings in the district now have locking vestibules, which we did not have a year ago,” Grevera added.
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.

2/12/2019
Demolition begins at shuttered St. Joseph Church in Nanticoke
Staff 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.
Demolition 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.

1/26/2019
WVIA seeking volunteers for ‘Our Town Nanticoke’ segment
Staff Report - Citizens Voice

Nanticoke will be featured in WVIA’s “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.
Residents will discuss which landmarks, events and local stories the program should tell about their town.
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.
WVIA hopes to recruit 20 to 25 area residents with personal camcorders.
Anyone interested in being a videographer and/or storyteller for the program should contact Lisa Mazzarella at 570-602-1164 or email lisamazzarella@wvia.org.
“Our Town Nanticoke” will debut April 25.

1/23/2019
Five people displaced after fire in Nanticoke
elewis@timesleader.com

Five 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.
Fire Chief 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.
“On 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.”
Hazleton said the fire was extinguished within 10 minutes. No injuries were reported.
Three people in a first floor apartment were displaced due to water damage.
Hazleton said the second floor apartment sustained fire damage to the bedroom and smoke damage.
Smoke alarms were activated alerting other tenants, Hazleton said.
Hazleton 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.

1/15/2019
Father of slain correctional officer pens historical novel
bkalinowski@citizensvoice.com

Don 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.
While 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 he’s 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 massacre.
“It’s 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.
The summary of Williams’ book, Eighteen for Mercy, says he knows the topic well, following the death of his son. His son’s killer was convicted of murder, but spared from getting the death penalty.
“He understands being compelled to seek revenge and didn’t 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 it’s more compelling.
The fighting described in the book wasn’t just imagined, according to Williams’ website. He was able to describe some scenes from what he experienced during the Vietnam War.
“Breathing in the thick gunpowder and smelling feces and blood, which he described in a battle scene in his novel, Eighteen For Mercy, wasn’t 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.

1/11/2019
Greater Nanticoke Area votes to limit taxes, narrow kindergarten registration window
mguydish@timesleader.com

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 district’s 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 another district.
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 don’t 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 Area’s index is the highest among Luzerne County’s 11 school districts.
Asked 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 doesn’t have to be made until June 30.
K registration
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 can’t cover all the lessons a student missed if they don’t 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.
Aide terminated
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 won’t 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.”
Asked after the meeting about the person who walked out, Grevera said only that it “is a personnel matter.”

1/4/2019
Nanticoke swears in first female mayor
Nicole Colatosti-Mackiewicz takes the place of Rich Wiaterowski
Kelly Choate - pahomepage.com
NANTICOKE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)

The City of Nanticoke has a new mayor.
Councilwoman Nicole Colatosti-Mackiewicz was sworn in Thursday night as the city's first female mayor during a special ceremony at the Nanticoke Municipal Building.
She's taking the place of Rich Wiaterowski, who died last month after a battle with leukemia.
Wiaterowski dedicated his life to this community. He also served as a volunteer firefighter in the city for 25 years.
Colatosti-Mackiewicz said 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."
Colatosti-Mackiewicz said she'll pick up where Wiaterowski left off, attracting more businesses to the city, paving streets, and planning more events in Nanticoke.
Colatosti-Mackiewicz will serve as mayor until the end of the year, but she already plans to run for the position after that.

1/3/2019
Councilwoman selected to serve as Nanticoke's mayor
bwellock@citizensvoice.com

Nicole Colatosti-Mackiewicz

A Nanticoke councilwoman will be the city’s next mayor.
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.
Colatosti-Mackiewicz 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 city’s charter allows her to serve through 2019. Voters will choose a mayor in November to serve the remaining two years of Wiaterowski’s term. Colatosti-Mackiewicz said she planned to run for the position.
In the meantime, she wants to continue work from Wiaterowski’s time as mayor, such as paving projects and redevelopment in the city’s downtown.
“I’d 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.
Colatosti-Mackiewicz was 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 the applicants.
“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.
The 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.”

Happy New Year 2019!