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Father of slain correctional officer pens historical novel

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.”
You can purchase Eighteen for Mercy at or by going to

Greater Nanticoke Area votes to limit taxes, narrow kindergarten registration window

The Greater Nanticoke Area School Board voted Thursday on several major issues:
• To limit any potential tax increase in 2019-20 to a state maximum of 3.5 percent;
• To classify e-cigarettes and “vaping” equipment under the 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.”

Nanticoke swears in first female mayor
Nicole Colatosti-Mackiewicz takes the place of Rich Wiaterowski
Kelly Choate -

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.

Councilwoman selected to serve as Nanticoke's mayor

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!