Banko's restaurant heads to sheriff's
- Citizens Voice
J.J. Bankos seafood restaurant, a popular
venue that abruptly closed after the 2017 death of its owner, is slated to be
sold in June at a Luzerne County sheriffs sale.
The mortgage lender for
Bankos filed foreclosure proceedings against the estate of Jeff Bankovich
following his death in October 2017.
A judgement for $903,555 was recently
awarded to the mortgage lender, which included $384,671 in principal balance plus
daily interest and other fees that accrued since his death.
basically no assets in the estate. Theres mortgages. Theres liens
against the property. Its unfortunate what happened, said Kingston
attorney Thomas OConnor, who was appointed by the county Register of Wills
Office to administer Bankovichs estate.
In August 2017, two months before
his death, Bankovich took out a two-year, $402,000 mortgage on the restaurant
along Route 11 that required daily payments of $1,492.99 to New Jersey-based World
Business Lenders, court records show.
Bankovich, 44, who had been recovering
from several strokes, died Oct. 19, 2017.
It was not immediately clear what
the starting bid for Bankos will be when the property is auctioned during
the June 7 sheriffs sale, starting at 10:30 a.m. at the Luzerne County Courthouse.
The property is assessed at $328,700 for tax purposes, according to county records.
Luzerne County Tax Claim Bureau has also sought to auction other properties Bankovich
owned due his and his estates failure to pay back taxes. They include lots
and property adjoining the restaurant, 821 Beverly Drive in Plymouth Twp. and
68 Park Ridge Road in Hunlock Twp.
State and federal tax liens also remain
against the business, totaling at least $98,733.
Longtime friends say Bankovich
was a visionary businessman who developed a cult following of customers who loyally
flocked to J.J. Bankos on U.S. Route 11 near the intersection with state
Bankovich bought the family business, then known as Bankos,
from a realtor in 1999. He renamed it J.J. Bankos.
Since that time, the
restaurant was flooded four times. Each time, Bankovich bounced back quickly,
with an army of friends volunteering to do the work. Because the business was
located in the floodplain, near Harveys Creek and the Susquehanna River, he couldnt
get flood insurance and funded renovations out of pocket.
Bankovich liked to
have a little fun with his battles with flooding.
Located along (and
sometimes in) the water on Route 11 in West Nanticoke, read advertisements
he placed in The Citizens Voice.
company coming to Nanticoke
e-commerce company Spreetail will occupy the second warehouse in the Hanover 9
project near Luzerne County Community College and plans to hire dozens of workers
at a starting wage of $16.50 per hour.
Spreetail will move into a 610,000-square-foot
fulfillment center in Missouri-based NorthPoint Development's 2.4 million-square-foot
business park being built in Nanticoke and Hanover Twp.
State Sen. John Yudichak,
D-14, Plymouth Twp., said Spreetail's investment in the $40 million facility in
Nanticoke is the largest economic development project that the city has seen in
the last four decades.
Yudichak joined NorthPoint Development, state and local
officials to announce the new tenant at a press conference late Wednesday afternoon
at the site.
Spreetail, established in 2006 in Lincoln, Nebraska, sells home,
garden and backyard products online. Over the last 13 years, the company has grown
and expanded across the country with offices in eight cities and six states with
more than 650 employees. The fulfillment center is tentatively expected to open
on June 1.
This year, Spreetail will employ 50 people at the Hanover 9 site
and company officials expect to employ 120 by 2021.
"We are very excited
to open our new, state-of-the-art facility in Luzerne County," said Bret
Naugle, regional fulfillment manager for Spreetail.
Naugle said the location
in Nanticoke offers logistical advantages to satisfy customers who reside in the
He encouraged interested job candidates to look at open positions
and apply at the company's website at Spreetail.com. He said applicants are already
rolling in and the company has hired some community residents for full-time positions.
The business focuses on delivering products in one to two days, he said.
addition to paying $16.50 an hour, Spreetail offers other perks such as paying
employees on the job for two years $5,000 toward a home purchase.
you're on the job three years, you get a beach vacation," Yudichak said.
decision to invest in Nanticoke "continues to build upon an unprecedented
surge in economic growth" along the new South Valley Parkway, Yudichak said.
with our great partner, NorthPoint Development, we welcome Spreetail to a growing
list of global companies that are investing hundreds of millions of dollars and
creating thousands of jobs in the South Valley/I-81 corridor," Yudichak said.
"If you are looking to do business as an e-commerce company, a manufacturing
company or a logistics company, the South Valley is the place to do business."
announcement follows a previous announcement in February that True Value Company
would occupy another distribution center under construction in the business park.
Value Company, expected to open in the fall, plans to create hundreds of jobs
at the site and is investing more than $150 million in the project. It plans to
occupy 1 million square feet of space in a more than 1.3 million square-foot distribution
center being built next to the warehouse for Spreetail.
Nearly 400,000 square
feet is left for another business in the warehouse True Value is occupying, said
Brent Miles, vice president of economic development for NorthPoint
A third warehouse measuring more than 300,000 square feet is coming soon to the
Hanover 9 site and Miles said there may be a possibility for a fourth warehouse.
Development bought the mine-scarred Hanover 9 site from the Earth Conservancy
for nearly $10 million last year.
Elected officials approved a tax break on
the construction site under the state's Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance
program that calls for full real estate tax forgiveness for seven years, 90 percent
exemption in the eighth year, 80 percent in the ninth and 70 percent in the 10th
NorthPoint Development also brought huge warehouses for Chewy, Adidas
and Patagonia to a 172-acre parcel in another part of Hanover Twp. Chewy opened
in 2017 and Adidas and Patagonia are hiring and close to opening, Miles said.
are pleased they (Spreetail) will join the names of Chewy.com, Adidas, Patagonia
and True Value as great tenants NorthPoint has been able to secure for Northeast
Pennsylvania," Miles said. "We are proud of the public-private partnership
we have built with the city of Nanticoke, Luzerne County, the Earth Conservancy,
the school districts and the community college as we continue to invest in the
area and keep the momentum to an all time high with capital investment and jobs
for the area."
Recently, NorthPoint recently purchased another 173 acres
from Earth Conservancy and the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce for another
development called the "Chamber Loomis" project along Dundee Road in
Hanover Twp. which also received a LERTA tax break. Work also has begun at that
In all, NorthPoint Development has invested more than $393 million in
capital investment in the South Valley Corridor, creating more than 4,600 new
Spreetail received support from leaders of Luzerne County, Hanover Twp.,
Nanticoke, school districts, Luzerne County Community College and the Earth Conservancy.
Mayor Nicole Colatosti-Mackiewicz said Spreetail has a long history of community
involvement and she is thrilled to welcome the company to Nanticoke. She said
the announcement is special to Nanticoke because it's the largest jobs announcement
for the city in decades.
"The jobs being created by Spreetail are good-paying,
family-sustaining jobs that will benefit our residents," said Luzerne County
Manager David Pedri. "We look forward to continuing a partnership that will
pay dividends for the South Valley Corridor for years to come."
hail announcment of e-commerce tenant for Nanticoke site
Nebraska-based e-commerce company Spreetail.com will occupy a new 610,000 square-foot
building along Kosciuszko Street across from Luzerne County Community College,
with plans to start fulfillment team members at $16.50 per hour, officials announced
Established in 2006, the company will hire 50 employees
this year and expects to employ 120 by 2021. Spreetail.com offers a "simple
and enjoyable way" to shop online for home, garden and backyard products,
a release said.
The new $40 million fulfillment center is tentatively expected
to open June 1.
It's the second tenant announced for Missouri-based NorthPoint
Development's 322-acre Hanover 9 Industrial Park, which falls in both the city
and Hanover Township. Chicago-based True Value Company said in February it will
occupy most of a 1.4 million square-foot distribution center also under construction
and set to open this fall. Two more buildings are planned at the site, which has
become accessible due to the new South Valley Parkway, officials said.
also brought Chewy.com, Adidas and Patagonia Inc. to its first 172-acre project
in Hanover Township known as the Hanover Ridge Trade Center, and it is working
on a third development with three structures planned on 173 acres it purchased
along Dundee Road in the township.
Spreetail.com has grown and expanded across
the country over the past 13 years, with offices now located in six states employing
more than 650, a release said.
The Nanticoke site offers "logistical advantages"
to continue that growth and create new opportunities in this region, said Bret
Naugle, Spreetail.com's regional fulfillment manager.
In an announcement event
Wednesday attended by a contingent of area legislators and elected officials,
Naugle said he can already tell the company selected the right location for its
latest facility because local employees hired to date meet its search for "hardworking
and humble team members."
In the announcement release, county Manager
C. David Pedri described the company's new positions as "good-paying, family-sustaining
jobs that will benefit our residents."
in the cavernous structure during Wednesday's event, state Sen. John Yudichak,
D-Nanticoke, said Spreetail.com's investment is the largest single economic development
project in the city in four decades, noting the last was the community college
"Welcome to the Hanover 9 business site, where an unprecedented
economic development story is unfolding at a breathtaking pace right before our
eyes," Yudichak said.
In addition to creating jobs, Spreetail.com will
benefit the community because it donates 5 percent of every purchase to charity,
which has added up to more than $1 million to date helping other areas where it
has facilities, Yudichak said. The company also provides attractive benefits,
including vacations and money toward home purchases after employees have reached
certain tenure milestones, he said.
Brent Miles, NorthPoint's economic development
vice president, said his company is proud of its public-private partnership with
taxing bodies, the community college and Earth Conservancy, which is the nonprofit
that originally owned two of the sites and much of the third tract along Dundee
More than $400 million has been invested in NorthPoint projects to date,
Miles said, promising to continue the momentum.
"Thank you for believing
in us," Miles told the group, repeating his mantra that capital goes where
it is welcomed.
The Hanover 9 park received a tax break on new development
but not the land, which was exempt under Earth Conservancy. Spreetail.com and
True Value will receive full real estate tax forgiveness on new buildings for
seven years, 90 percent exemption in the eighth year, 80 percent in the ninth
and 70 percent in the 10th and final year, officials have said.
Clayco constructed the first three NorthPoint buildings and also is handling the
True Value and Spreetail.com structures.
Nanticoke Mayor Nicole Colatosti-Mackiewicz
and county Council Chairman Tim McGinley also spoke during the announcement.
praised her predecessor, the late Rich Wiaterowski, for putting in long hours
to secure the project.
McGinley said many people worked together to make the
Spreetail.com and other NorthPoint projects a reality.
"I think it's just
terrific what's happened here," McGinley said.
therapy center set for closed personal care home in Nanticoke
former personal care home in downtown Nanticoke will see new life as a pharmacy
and physical therapy center.
The city's General Municipal Authority has agreed
to sell the former Villa Personal Care Home to FCLN Real Estate LLC for $450,000,
according to a real estate consulting firm handling public relations on the project.
Family Pharmacy, which has locations in Hanover Twp. and Scranton, plans to open
its third location at the property.
Cawley Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation
plans to use part of the building to relocate and grow its Nanticoke practice.
The business has five locations including the Nanticoke facility. The move will
allow Cawley to increase available services in Nanticoke by adding an aquatics
Additional retail space will be available.
are happening," City Manager Donna Wall said.
The Municipal Authority
bought the property at East Main and Walnut streets for $825,000 after the personal
care home closed in 2014. The purchase was made through a $1 million grant from
the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development's Pennsylvania
The Municipal Authority voted to sell the property last Monday. The
sale is still pending. Proceeds will be used to fund other projects in the downtown.
been a quiet partner in Nanticoke's economic development for a long time and now
our efforts are starting to show. We look forward to continuing to support the
City of Nanticoke in its revitalization efforts so that the whole community can
benefit," said John Nadolny, chairman of the municipal authority.
development is the latest in downtown Nanticoke in recent years.
Community College opened its culinary arts center in a new building at Market
and Main streets and moved its health and sciences center to the former Kanjorski
Center at 38 E. Main St.
Geisinger Health System built a clinic at 128 E. Main
On the other side of East Main Street, a $21 million project is planned
after existing properties are claimed through the eminent domain process. The
proposed five-story property will include dozens of affordable housing units,
retail space and a transit hub.
to sell former personal care home; new tenants already lined up
city of Nanticoke will be selling a former personal care home that's sat empty
since 2014, and it will be revitalized to include a family pharmacy and rehabilitation
The announcement came Monday in a press release from the General Municipal
Authority of the City of Nanticoke, which said the former Nanticoke Villa Personal
Care Home would be sold to FCLN Real Estate LLC.
The property, located at the
corner of East Main and Walnut streets, will be sold for $450,000.
closed in October 2014, and has sat vacant since then. According to the release,
the property has since become "dilapidated," leading to numerous calls
for fire and police crews.
According to the release, the building will become
a new home to the third location of Nockley Family Pharmacy. The company already
has locations in Hanover Township and Scranton.
Cawley Physical Therapy and
Rehabilitation will also relocate its Nanticoke practice into the building, pursuing
a plan to add an aquatics therapy pool to its practice.
The release has said
additional retail space is still available.
The chair of the municipal authority,
John Nadolny, said in the release that improvements like these are showing off
the authority's work in the city.
"We've been a quiet partner in Nanticoke's
economic development for a long time and now our efforts are starting to show,"
he said. "We look forward to continuing to support the City of Nanticoke
in its revitalization efforts so that the whole community can benefit."
physical therapy center to open in former Nanticoke personal care home
Kalinowski - Citizens Voice
A former personal care home in downtown
Nanticoke will see new life as a pharmacy and physical therapy center.
General Municipal Authority has agreed to sell the former Villa Personal Care
home to FCLN Real Estate LLC for $450,000, according to a real estate consulting
firm handling public relations on the project.
Nockley Family Pharmacy, which
has locations in Hanover Township and Scranton, plans to open their third location
at the property.
Cawley Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, plans to use part
of the building to relocate and grow their Nanticoke practice. The business has
five locations including the Nanticoke facility. This move will allow Cawley to
increase available services in Nanticoke by adding an aquatics therapy pool.
retail space will be available.
Good things are happening, said
City Manager Donna Wall.
The Nanticoke Municipal Authority bought the property
at East Main and Walnut Streets for $825,000 after the personal care home closed.
The purchase was made through a $1 million grant from the Pennsylvania Department
of Community and Economic Developments Pennsylvania First.
Authority voted to see the property last Monday. The sale is still pending. Proceeds
will be used to find other projects in the downtown.
a quiet partner in Nanticokes economic development for a long time and now
our efforts are starting to show. We look forward to continuing to support the
City of Nanticoke in its revitalization efforts so that the whole community can
benefit, said John Nadolny, chairman of the municipal authority.
Fire Department shows off new engine at open house
- Times Leader
Children happily ran around a shiny red fire truck inside
the Nanticoke Fire Department on Saturday, occasionally stopping to examine all
the buttons and levers on display.
Several apparatuses were available for public
inspection as a big crowd came out to celebrate the addition of a new fire engine
to the departments fleet.
Donning a sleek red paint job and an image
of the American flag emblazoned on its grille, Engine 3 made its official debut
something Nanticoke Fire Chief Kevin Hazleton said culminated a 10-year
Its been many, many years in the making. Weve been
trying to get the grant for over 10 years, he said of efforts to acquire
the new engine. At the end of the day, this is $438,000. So you can understand
why you only get them every so often.
The 2019 Pierce Saber can hold
500 gallons of water; uses a 1,500 gallon per-minute pump; and carries the Jaws
of Life, a hydraulic rescue tool that can help free people from small places such
as a crushed passenger compartment after a vehicle crash.
The engine will be
replacing a 45-year-old truck.
It was financed through a collaborative effort
that involved the city, a community development block grant and volunteer donations.
open house also showcased a new rescue engine that was obtained for the department
in October through the Nanticoke Firemens Relief Association.
Engine 3 received an official blessing by Father James Nash, Chief Hazleton took
a moment to point out a very important message that has been placed on both sides
of the engine.
Growing emotional, Hazleton pointed to a memorial patch honoring
late Nanticoke Mayor Richie Wiaterowski, who was instrumental in the effort to
obtain the fire truck.
to stop and stare into the glimmering metal bumper before running her hands across
an array of attachments, 2-year-old Teagan Bruza was just one of many children
fascinated by the apparatus.
Her mother, Nanticoke resident Amanda Bruza, said
she wanted to come out and support the fire department for all it does for the
Not only does the department help keep residents safe, but it also
assists with education in schools and elsewhere, said Bruza.
department definitely deserves a lot of support and recognition, she said.
Plus, my daughter loves fire trucks, so we thought itd definitely
be something shed enjoy seeing.
Another person who enjoyed the
open house was new Mayor Nicole Colatosti-Mackiewicz, who also took a moment to
congratulate firefighters on their much-needed addition.
time we got a new engine. Engine 4 is older than me, she said, drawing chuckles
from the audience.
It is imperative that we continue to support 24/7
fire department services that keep our community safe, she added.
café set to open second location
Staff reports - Citizens
A new specialty café is moving into downtown Hazleton where
a former restaurant operated.
Grateful Roast Coffee, a café featuring
specialty coffees made with an in-house coffee roaster, is set to open in April
at 9 E. Broad St., previously occupied by Dragonfly Café.
its signature coffee, Grateful Roast also will have a menu including pastries
and breakfast and lunch items.
It is the latest new business in the downtown,
about a block away from the recently reopened Dragon Chinese restaurant.
Hazleton café is Grateful Roasts second location, following the opening
of its first in Nanticoke three years ago. Owners Brian Williams and Sarah Kratz
expect the hours to be the same as the Nanticoke location: Monday through Friday
from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
As a native of Portland,
Oregon, Williams grew up in the coffee culture of the Pacific Northwest area.
When he and Kratz moved to Northeast Pennsylvania to be closer to her family,
they quickly realized the region needed a quality coffee alternative to what was
being served at chain coffee and donut shops.
Williams began studying coffee
roasting, building a business idea and making plans to open a café.
knew pretty early on that if we really wanted a coffee culture, we needed to build
it ourselves, Williams said. I took whatever start-up money we had
saved and purchased a little 2-kilo (4-pound maximum batch size) coffee roaster.
I put that on my sun porch, purchased a few delicious coffees and taught myself
how to roast.
When asked what makes Grateful Roast stand out from the
competition, he said rather than its coffee and unique food items, is the local
We stay mindful of our place in a community, he said.
We feel that we have a responsibility to give back to the community we serve
in and we can use our coffee as a vehicle for change, so we do. We often host
events aimed at raising funds or awareness for various local causes.
Hazleton, Grateful Roast Coffee already is working with Brandons Forever
Home by roasting Brandons Brew. When someone purchases a bag of Brandons
Brew from the foundation, $5 is donated to Brandons Forever Home.
coffee is roasted in-house, and that the menu items feature high-quality, locally
We are the only place in Luzerne County that actually
roasts our own coffee locally, in our own café, Williams said. You
can come into the café and actually see the coffee roaster and smell the
We place an emphasis on high-quality and locally sourced
whole foods. We use local artisans, bakers and farms to produce the foods that
we offer. The more local foods we can offer, the better we feel about the business
were doing. Its very important to support local because were
all in this together.
Williams said the spirit of Grateful Roast Coffee
seems to fit with the downtown revitalization Hazleton is experiencing, Williams
I love what Hazleton and the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress
are doing, he said. The downtown looks great and is only getting better.
One night after visiting the space, before we signed the lease, we were driving
down Broad Street heading to Interstate 81 and I noticed how all the trees were
lit up with lights; not even just downtown, but all down the street. Its
things like this that really show a citys pride. I am very proud to be a
new business in this revitalizing city.
Turning the thought of a second
Grateful Roast Coffee location in Hazleton from an idea to reality was a team
effort involving the city of Hazleton, the downtown alliance, CAN DO and other
organizations supporting downtown.
Jocelyn Sterenchock, CAN DOs coordinator
of entrepreneurial services, assisted Williams in navigating the licensing and
permitting process, leaning on the relationships developed with the city.
to bring this business to downtown Hazleton took a lot of teamwork and it could
not have been done without the support of those partnerships we rely so heavily
upon, she said. Im passionate about having new and young businesses
in downtown Hazleton. I think Grateful Roast Coffee will be a complement to the
many long-established restaurants that are already in our community.
said Sterenchocks assistance throughout the entire process had an integral
role launching the second location.
Jocelyn is amazing, Williams
said. She kept us informed throughout the entire process and spearheaded
everything from start to acceptance. I cant say enough about how awesome
shes been. Running a cafe is crazy enough, and trying to open a second is
insane, but she made it happen and, for that, we are truly grateful.
Fire Department set to unveil new fire truck
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens
The Nanticoke City Fire Department is hosting an open house from
1 to 4 p.m. Saturday to unveil its new fire truck to the public.
a 2019 custom-built Pierce Saber, will be blessed at the event by the Rev. James
Nash of St. Faustina Parish in Nanticoke.
City officials will offer comments
during the open house.
The City of Nanticoke purchased the new engine with
funds from a DCED grant and state grant money allocated to the volunteer hose
companies that support the citys full-time department.
This new engine
is equipped with a 500 gallon water tank and can deliver 1500 gallons per minute
with its pump. It was designed with a short wheel base and an overall length of
28 feet, four inches to navigate through tight streets and alleys in the city.
The truck has a
oldest tree coming down
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens Voice
oldest tree in the city is coming down.
Work began Monday to cut down a hulking
maple tree that towered and leaned over East Main Street in Nanticoke, a landmark
estimated by an arborist to be nearly 250 years old.
The last of the tree should
be ground down to nothing by Wednesday, said Jeff Arnott, owner of Arnott Tree
Service of Hanover Twp.
Its all rotted, dead. It was falling on
the road, Arnott said.
After a recent inspection, it was determined the
tree was too much of a possible hazard to remain standing, Arnott said. Much of
the tree was hollowed out, he said.
Its full of cavities,
Arnott and workers spent Monday sawing brush and branches off the
tree, leaving being the bulkier trunk and some bigger branches.
was closed to traffic in both directions.
Nanticoke police Chief Tom Wall,
who monitored the operation on Monday, said the city had little choice but to
have the tree cut down when an arborist gave the opinion it was a safety hazard.
it was determined it was an unsafe tree, if we didnt do anything, we obviously
would have been liable if something happened, Wall said.
Back: Nanticoke evacuated in 1987 due to poisonous fumes from blaze
18,000 people in Nanticoke fled their homes under a mandatory evacuation ordered
by then Mayor John Haydock early in the morning of March 24, 1987.
acidic cloud settled over the city due to a blaze, which erupted at 12:30 a.m.,
inside the Spencer Metal Processing Plant on Alden Road. Six 55-gallon drums of
sulfuric acid and nine other chemicals were inside the building, the Times Leader
on March 25, 1987.
The combination of heat from the fire and water from fire
hoses caused a poisonous cloud to hover over the city, Haydock told
the Times Leader on March 24, 1987. Then Gov. Robert P. Casey signed a proclamation
declaring a disaster emergency.
Luzerne County Emergency Management Director
Jim Siracuse expanded the evacuation to include residents in the Sheatown section
of Newport Township and parts of West Nanticoke in Plymouth Township. Approximately
127 patients from Nanticoke State Hospital were transported to other hospitals,
and residents at Birchwood Nursing Center and St. Sanislaus Medical Center were
sent to other nursing home facilities.
Ambulances poured into Nanticoke to
transport patients as firefighters and police officers went door-to-door to rattle
people awake instructing them to get out.
Most residents said the first
frightening sound they heard was the pounding of a stranger at the door
and their first thought was that something had happened at the Susquehanna Nuclear
Power Plant, located less than 20 miles away near Berwick, the Times Leader
reported March 25, 1987.
Evacuation shelters were set up at high schools at
Hanover Area, Wyoming Valley West and Crestwood, Kistler Elementary School in
Wilkes-Barre, the U.S. Army Reserve Center in Hanover Township and the Italian
American Sports Club in Glen Lyon, Newport Township, the Times Leader reported
March 25, 1987.
Evacuees described a disoriented, nighttime flight from
their homes into streets filled with bumper-to-bumper traffic and a sky suffused
with the red glow of fire, the Times Leader reported.
The National Guard
blocked roads leading into Nanticoke at 8 a.m., as traffic jammed on Sans Souci
Parkway, Middle Road and state Route 29 leading out of the Trojan city.
the main corridor at Hanover Area before dawn, a crowd stood shoulder-to-shoulder.
Some people cradled babies, dogs or cats in their arms, reported the Times
Leader, noting the cafeteria and gymnasium were completely filled with evacuees.
decade before cellphones, a long line formed waiting to use the lone pay phone
inside the corridor at the Hanover high school.
More than 100 firefighters
battled the blaze that destroyed the building.
A ring formed around the
entire city. The smoke was very heavy and very irritant, Nanticoke Fire
Commissioner Mark Yeager told the Times Leader.
Hours after the blaze was extinguished
and the state Department of Environmental Protection conducted air tests, residents
were permitted to return home.
A state police deputy fire marshal determined
the fire was caused by an electrical malfunction and ruled it an accident.
at the Spencer site took several months.
Webdesign Info: Read more about the fire here.
ramps up security
Nanticoke Area School Board voted Thursday for a policy to enhance security
and enact tougher disciplinary actions at the Educational Center.
Center this year became a middle school for sixth through eighth grades. The new
policy is a reflection of that change, Superintendent Ronald Grevera said.
school district is installing a metal detector at the facility, and next year,
students will be required to use clear backpacks, Grevera said. The district also
is imposing a restricted movement plan for students outside classrooms
and is hiring two part-time hall monitors for the school, Grevera said.
at the Educational Center must learn appropriate behavior and how to interact
appropriately with peers, Grevera said. They also have to realize
that when they do things, there are consequences for their actions.
school board also approved an agreement with Franklin and Marshall College to
participate in the College Advising Corps. in 2019-20. The district will pay $25,000
of the $50,000 cost to participate in the program, which provides a full-time
advisor at the high school to help students with the college-admission process,
Next year will be the fourth year the district has participated
in the program, and Greater Nanticoke Area is the only district in Luzerne County
that participates, Grevera said.
Stanley Grohowski receives Eagle Scout Award
Citizens Voice Submitted
Stanley Grohowski, a member of the Boy Scout Troop No. 418, sponsored by the American
Legion Post 395, and a resident of Nanticoke City, has earned the honor of Eagle
Scout, the highest rank that the Boy Scouts offers.
Grohowski, 18, a honor
student at John S. Fine High School, part of the Greater Nanticoke Area School
District, achieved the 21 merit badges required to receive the Eagle Scout award.
For his service project, he designed and constructed a toddler area for the Hanover
Recreation Association in the Hanover section of Nanticoke.
A ceremony honoring
Grohowski took place on Oct. 28, 2018, at the Party Place, Nanticoke. At the ceremony,
he was also honored with citations from former U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, state Sen.
John Yudichak, and state Rep. Jerry Mullery for his accomplishment.
in the Hanover section of Nanticoke with his parents, Diane and Eric Grohowski
and siblings, Dr. Deric Grohowski, and Amber Grohowski.
rush to local favorites for Fat Tuesday desserts
- Citizens Voice
As people rushed to his Nanticoke bakery for their Fat
Tuesday fix, Joe Kowalski of Sanitary
Bakery revealed the secrets behind a good paczki.
A paczki to me
is a high-performance doughnut, Kowalski said. Its a doughnut
with extra sugar, extra eggs and mashed potatoes, believe it or not. Thats
what makes the doughnut so rich. The mashed potatoes on the inside give it a good
texture compared to a regular doughnut.
Paczkis, pronounced poonch-keys
and sometimes spelled ponczkis, are a traditional Polish treat that
are a staple on Fat Tuesday, the day before Catholics begin fasting for Lent.
Legend has it the extra-rich pastry got its start in Poland centuries ago when
families were encouraged to use up all their eggs, butter, sugar and fruits before
fasting for Lent.
Sanitary Bakery on Tuesday offered apple, blueberry, prune
and black raspberry paczkis.
Kowalski and his co-owner brother, Ed, worked
16-hour days getting ready for Fat Tuesday. They started at 1 a.m. Tuesday, expecting
to sell around 400 dozen paczkis and fasnachts, the German cousin of the paczki.
and Marion Viercinski traveled from Old Forge, the self-proclaimed pizza
capital of the world, to Sanitary Bakery in Nanticoke on Tuesday to buy
paczkis for their neighborhood.
This is the paczki capital of the world,
Stanley Viercinski said with a laugh.
Asked if they were giving up anything
for Lent, Marion Viercinski was quick to answer:
Not giving up paczkis,
Residents from throughout the area also descended on Bakery Delite
in Plains Twp. for paczkis, fasnachts and king cakes.
Staff started working
around 10 p.m. Monday to prepare for the big day. The owners prepared to sell
up to 10,000 paczkis and fasnachts.
George Blom, a co-owner, defined a paczki
as an extra rich-doughnut.
Its really a fried pastry,
Fat Tuesday is one of the busiest days of the year, ranking with
Christmas Eve and the day before Thanksgiving, he said.
busy since 4 or 5 oclock in the morning, Blom said Tuesday afternoon.
We were open all night, really.
man quits day job, starts urban farm
After battling melanoma, Yale Wolfe wanted to adopt a healthier lifestyle
and grow some of his own food.
Wolfe, 41, grows unconventional things like
broccoli and green pea shoots, red amaranth, popcorn shoots and purple rambo radish
sprouts in his Nanticoke home. He said these microgreens are packed
with nutrients and have many nutritional benefits.
Microgreens are the seedlings
of vegetables and herbs harvested after sprouting as shoots. They have more nutrients
than full-grown vegetables and Wolfe said he could just harvest them and eat them.
take seven to eight days to grow. The best way to eat microgreens is raw like
a salad, he said.
Its really considered a superfood, he said.
Eating a small amount of this is like eating a big bushel of broccoli as
far as the nutrients.
Wolfe likes gardening and he said he started growing
microgreens in his quest for better health after battling melanoma and undergoing
I had to start living a more healthy lifestyle,
he said. I really had to make some changes.
Later, Wolfe grew his
urban farm into a business. He transformed his former music studio into a business
that he calls Wolfepack Urban Farm where he grows racks of microgreens.
formerly worked as a sales manager in the wireless industry and decided to quit
his day job to operate his urban farm.
He has a background in graphic arts
and social media marketing and a computer in his growing room. He promotes his
microgreens on a Facebook page and an Instagram account for Wolfepack Urban Farm.
took that scary plunge of quitting my day job to pursue this because it was something
I was passionate about, he said. Some of my friends who are chefs
were really encouraging me to do this.
Wolfe sells his microgreens to
customers, including chefs who like to use them to enhance dishes with their aroma,
texture and visual appeal. Chefs like red amaranth because the vibrant color pops
on their plate, Wolfe said. He also grows and sells cilantro and basil.
Beer Deli in Forty Fort sells 2-ounce packages of Wolfes microgreens for
$5 each and chef William Kuchta said he adds them to food like soups and salads
and as sandwich toppers.
Kuchta has seen a big demand for microgreens at the
Everything has gotten great reviews and its been a great
success so far, Kuchta said. Theyre a good thing because they
dont just add a wonderful color and aroma but they pack such a punch with
flavor. Based on reports going back to 2012, their nutritional value is 40 times
greater than their mature counterparts. If you eat a pea shoot, it has more nutrients
than a pea.
Wolfes customers also include chef Jeff Kochanski of
Bettellis Villa in Wilkes-Barre, who is part of a group called NEPA Chefs
Kochanski has used microgreens Wolfe grows like red amaranth
to garnish dishes. He purchases microgreens from Wolfe for $3 to $5 for 2-ounce
containers that he said last for two or three days.
We like buying small
and local, Kochanski said. Its the small local guys helping
the small local guys.
Wolfe recently donated spicy mixed microgreens
and green pea tendrils for an eight-course dinner chefs held at Bettellis
Villa to benefit Four Seasons Farm in Meshoppen.
Kochanski said he has garnished
pork with broccoli microgreens, which have more nutrients than full-grown broccoli.
When people find their food aesthetically pleasing, he said they will reap benefits
from eating more nutrients.
Wolfe spends extra money to buy high-quality organic
seeds. He delivers the microgreens he grows. He has met chefs like Kochanski through
photos he has posted on Instagram.
All the business I have so far is
people reaching out to me through my Instagram, he said. Instagram
is huge because thats where all the chefs are. Chefs are taking cool pictures
of their food and posting that on Instagram.
Wolfe has seen a demand
for microgreens and in the future, he plans to expand by growing more in his garage
and adding a greenhouse in his yard. His goal is for more people to order boxes
of microgreens that could be delivered to their homes.
up quickly, he said.
cause damage to building in Nanticoke
Bill Wellock - Citizens Voice
winds damaged a building that was once home to a beer distributor in downtown
Winds pulled down part of the roof on the Nanticoke Beer Distributors
building at 201 Arch St.
After winds pulled down the material under the buildings
eaves known as a soffit bricks on the wall started falling
where the soffit had blow off.
City employees put fencing around the building
to keep passersby away from the hazard of falling debris.
At some point, the
building will likely have to be demolished, said city manager Donna Wall.
Construction Services of Moosic have said in the past that they could demolish
the structure to make space for a parking lot that would complement a planned
development project at the nearby site of the now-closed Nanticoke Villa, an assisted
living facility that closed in October 2014.
Pot Club members trying to move past theft
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens
The Honey Pot Club has been a part of Angela Sullivans life
since she was a kid. Her grandfather would walk her down to the social hall to
buy a candy bar and talk to the neighborhood elders.
As an adult, shed
visit to have some drinks with friends and share some laughs.
has been saddened to drive by in recent weeks to see the building sit empty and
idle, the result of the buildings utilities being shut off due to a large
Its dark and cold when you drive by now, Sullivan
said. Its sad.
Sullivan is among the clubs board members
who are leading the effort to reopen the club under new leadership. First, they
need to raise money to pay off nearly $13,000 in bills and taxes that racked up
while the clubs former treasurer allegedly embezzled tens of thousands of
The club is selling Save the Honey Pot Club T-shirts and
is hosting a craft fair on March 10 at the 400 Club in Nanticoke.
goal remains to open the doors and become operational again, Sullivan said.
abrupt shuttering of the club also forced the Honey Pot Volunteer Fire Department
out of service because it shared the building with the club. The department on
Feb. 6 said it was operating under limited service. Three days later, the department
announced it was completely out of service until further notice.
In court documents,
police said former board member and treasurer Daniel Wozniak admitted to stealing
from the club for years to support a gambling habit. He admitting to taking money
from nightly cash deposits until there wasnt enough money left to pay bills,
court papers say.
Since the theft came to light, Wozniak and three of his family
members left the clubs board.
Four new members were appointed at an emergency
meeting held Thursday, Sullivan said.
Sullivan, her husband and her mother
are the other three board members.
Sullivan said better systems
will be in place to track finances. She noted that financial reports presented
at meetings were not accurate.
Some former board members have stepped
up in leadership roles to help, Sullivan said.
They know the checks and
balances that need to be in place, she said.
fight continues over eminent domain issue in Nanticoke
- Citizens Voice
An eminent domain dispute in Nanticoke is still working
through county court.
The General Municipal Authority of the City of Nanticoke
filed a declaration of taking for properties along the 100 block of East Main
Street on Aug. 28, 2018.
On Jan. 28, attorneys for the municipal authority
filed the latest motion in the ongoing dispute.
The purpose of the project
is to provide affordable senior housing and public transportation, as well as
to improve the infrastructure, streetscape, pedestrian safety and economic development
in the city, and those are valid purposes for using eminent domain, attorneys
argued. The fact that private interests may also benefit is immaterial.
taking should not be considered excessive, attorneys argue, because it fulfills
a need in the city.
In its declaration of taking, the authority said it plans
to build a five-story mixed-use building on the site that will include affordable
housing for senior citizens, a Geisinger center for the elderly, a parking garage
and a bus station.
But Nilved Apartments, LLC, owned by Debbie Massaker, and
Clifford and Mary Lou Pomicter objected to the project.
Among the complaints
raised by the Pomicters and Nilved Apartments are beliefs that the project will
include additional commercial space and that some of the apartments will not be
used for senior citizens. There is already enough affordable housing for senior
citizens in the city, their motions contend.
The motions also say they believe
an older adult center could be replaced by a YMCA and that plans for an intermodal
center are not finalized, and that the possibility of those changes means the
project does not have a definitive plan. The basis for that belief is a news article
published in The Citizens Voice in 2018 about the project, which quotes
state and local officials.
The municipal authority denies those contentions,
saying the project does not include additional retail or commercial space. The
authority also denies that any housing wont be for senior citizens in Nanticoke
and says there are not adequate vacancies at three other senior housing facilities
in the city, Oplinger Towers, Nanticoke Towers and Park Towers.
WB group aims to improve Nanticokes Quality Hill Park
Leadership Wilkes-Barre project committee is looking to restore and beautify Quality
Hill Park on Hill Street in Nanticoke.
The committee said the public park is
a destination for many local families to host parties and gatherings. The project
consists of various renovations and upgrades throughout the park, including:
Replacing or repairing an existing fence that was damaged during a recent storm
Painting of existing facilities throughout the park
Upgrades and renovations
to the community center and public restrooms
Landscape upgrades such
as shrubs, perennials, mulch and trees
Pavement repairs for the existing
The committee will be holding a fundraiser Thursday, Feb.
21, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Sabatinis Pizza in Exeter. Cost is $25 and
includes all-you-can-eat pizza and up to three drinks. There will be raffle baskets
and a 50/50 raffle with a $100 minimum guaranteed.
Tickets can be purchased
prior to the event by contacting Jeff Kiluk at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at the door
the day of the event.
The committees goal is to raise $5,000. Every dollar
that is raised will be invested in the park and will help pay for the materials
needed to complete the renovations.
Donations to help support the project can
be made by contacting Matt Daube at email@example.com.
includes basketball courts, tennis courts, swing sets, a merry-go-round, slides,
a community center with restroom facilities, picnic tables and benches.
Kiluk and Daube, committee members include:
Candice Dutko firstname.lastname@example.org
Dawn Gilliland email@example.com
Tyler Salerno firstname.lastname@example.org
Deb Telesz email@example.com
school districts tightened security in Parkland massacres wake
P. Buffer 0 Citizens Voice
Note: This excerpt was taken from full article
Greater Nanticoke Area School District has
been very proactive in safety and security since the Parkland shooting,
Superintendent Ronald Grevera said. Greater Nanticoke hired a full-time school
police officer this year, and the $39,000 cost was covered by a Safe Schools Grant.
district added two walk-through metal detectors and metal detector wands at the
high school, and they have also been used for sporting events, Grevera said. Clear
backpacks are required in the high school, and they will be used at the Educational
Center beginning in the 2019-20 school year, Grevera said.
in the district now have locking vestibules, which we did not have a year ago,
Visitors must now present a valid ID for a check on whether
they are on the list of registered sex offenders. The district also plans to use
a $7,000 grant to add communication systems to the district through walkie-talkies
and a repeater for a district frequency through the FCC, Grevera said.
begins at shuttered St. Joseph Church in Nanticoke
Report - Citizens Voice
Demolition began on the former St. Joseph
Church in Nanticoke on Monday.
The church and an adjoining rectory at 107 E.
Noble St., closed in May 2010 as part of the Catholic church consolidation.
is being done by Brdaric Excavating, Inc.
The Diocese of Scranton will try
to find a buyer for the property once demolition is complete, according to diocese
spokesman Eric Deabill.
volunteers for Our Town Nanticoke segment
Report - Citizens Voice
Nanticoke will be featured in WVIAs
Our Town series.
Our Town Nanticoke will be a day-in-the-life
one-hour video scrapbook focusing on the people, places and happenings of Nanticoke,
as seen through the eyes of its residents.
Nanticoke residents are invited
to attend the first Our Town Nanticoke community/volunteer meeting
at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 31 at the Nanticoke City Municipal Building.
discuss which landmarks, events and local stories the program should tell about
A second community/volunteer meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 7 at the same location.
During this meeting volunteers will participate
in a whiteboard session to determine the stories to be told in the program and
which stories each volunteer will videotape to create the show.
to recruit 20 to 25 area residents with personal camcorders.
in being a videographer and/or storyteller for the program should contact Lisa
Mazzarella at 570-602-1164 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nanticoke will debut April 25.
people displaced after fire in Nanticoke
people have been displaced due to a fire at an apartment building on East Washington
Avenue that could have been much worse early Wednesday morning.
Kevin Hazleton said a woman was awake in her second floor apartment at 5 E. Washington
Ave. when she smelled smoke just before 5:30 a.m.
The woman grabbed her son
and called 911 while escaping the building.
Hazleton said the woman did the
right thing by closing doors, which prevented the fire from spreading.
her way out, she closed the bedroom door and closed the apartment door,
Hazleton said. It starved the fire of oxygen and kept the fire to the bedroom.
We ran a line and nailed this fire. She did the right thing by closing the doors.
said the fire was extinguished within 10 minutes. No injuries were reported.
people in a first floor apartment were displaced due to water damage.
said the second floor apartment sustained fire damage to the bedroom and smoke
Smoke alarms were activated alerting other tenants, Hazleton said.
said there were no issues with the cold temperatures that was around 25 degrees
at the time of the fire.
We did have the street department come up and
spread salt around, Hazleton said.
Fire departments in Hanover Township
and Kingston assisted at the scene.
of slain correctional officer pens historical novel
Williams of Nanticoke has written a historical novel dedicated to his son Eric,
a correctional officer killed nearly six years ago in a federal prison.
the novel is based on a real event at the end of the Revolutionary War in 1782,
a common theme of the book deals with a topic hes thought a lot about in
recent years: revenge.
It mostly surrounds revenge for the murder of
family members, Williams said.
Williams, who advocated for the death
penalty for the inmate who killed his son, said the book is based on a little-known
event at the end of the war, the Gnadenhutten massacre, also known as the Moravian
Its an occurrence very few people know about, Williams
said. It was an unbelievable tragedy.
The massacre was the killing
of 96 Christian Moravian Indians by a colonial white American militia from Washington
County, Pennsylvania on March 8, 1782. Survivors of the dead vowed revenge.
summary of Williams book, Eighteen for Mercy, says he knows the topic well,
following the death of his son. His sons killer was convicted of murder,
but spared from getting the death penalty.
He understands being compelled
to seek revenge and didnt just write about those things; he lived them,
the summary says. As the characters in his book had to do, Donald also had
to move forward and continue to live this life and hopefully experience some joy
here and there among the struggles.
Williams said he wrote the book previously,
but it ended up like a history book. This time, he wrote it as a novel and he
thinks its more compelling.
The fighting described in the book wasnt
just imagined, according to Williams website. He was able to describe some
scenes from what he experienced during the Vietnam War.
the thick gunpowder and smelling feces and blood, which he described in a battle
scene in his novel, Eighteen For Mercy, wasnt something he read somewhere,
the book summary says. The smells, the confusion, dryness in the mouth,
and the inability to swallow experienced in battle, was something Donald had experience
during his time in Vietnam.
BUY THE BOOK
You can purchase Eighteen
for Mercy at donaldwilliamsjr.com
or by going to Amazon.com.
Nanticoke Area votes to limit taxes, narrow kindergarten registration window
The Greater Nanticoke Area School Board voted
Thursday on several major issues:
To limit any potential tax increase
in 2019-20 to a state maximum of 3.5 percent;
To classify e-cigarettes
and vaping equipment under the districts tobacco policy (thus
banning them on school grounds);
And to limit kindergarten registration
to no later than Sept. 30 unless a child is transferring from kindergarten in
The tax-limit vote will be common among school boards this
month. Under the state law known as Act 1, which legalized gambling, some money
from that gambling is used to reduce school property taxes. But districts are
restricted in how much they can raise taxes without a voter referendum or state
approval under a limited number of exemptions.
If districts vote to stay within
the limit this month, they need not approve a preliminary budget until the end
of May. If they dont vote to stay in the limit, they must prepare a preliminary
budget in February. The limit, known as the Act 1 Index, can vary
year to year and district to district. This year, Greater Nanticoke Areas
index is the highest among Luzerne Countys 11 school districts.
if the vote meant the board would raise taxes, President Tony Prushinski said
it does not, and that under state law a final decision on any increase doesnt
have to be made until June 30.
Superintendent Ronald Grevera
said the change in kindergarten registration policy was aimed at those who register
children later in the year for kindergarten when they were not attending school
anywhere else. He said teachers cant cover all the lessons a student missed
if they dont start school until, say, November. Those who are transferring
from another district can still register mid-year because they were getting their
lessons at the other district.
Grevera also praised high school administration
and teachers for getting the district on the 9th annual Advanced Placement
Honor Roll. The title is given by the College Board which oversees
the AP program to districts in the United States and Canada that increase
access to AP courses while maintaining or improving the rate of students scoring
3 or higher on AP exams, which are scored on a scale of 1 to 5. Some 373 districts
made the honor roll this year.
The board also voted to terminate
a paraprofessional, or teacher aide, identified only by employee number. The vote
apparently prompted a person to leave the room, which in turn prompted Prushinski
to make a criticism he said he has done in the past: Urging people to stay for
the whole meeting.
Noting the board takes actions based on the advice of Grevera
and Solicitor Vito Deluca, Prushinski said all were present for the students
and the taxpayers, and that while he wont attempt to stop people
from leaving, he will continue to comment when it happens.
Do they have
a right to walk out? Absolutely, he said. But it is rude.
after the meeting about the person who walked out, Grevera said only that it is
a personnel matter.
swears in first female mayor
Nicole Colatosti-Mackiewicz takes the
place of Rich Wiaterowski
Kelly Choate - pahomepage.com
The City of Nanticoke has a new mayor.
Nicole Colatosti-Mackiewicz was sworn in Thursday night as the city's first female
mayor during a special ceremony at the Nanticoke Municipal Building.
taking the place of Rich Wiaterowski, who died last month after a battle with
Wiaterowski dedicated his life to this community. He also served
as a volunteer firefighter in the city for 25 years.
she was fortunate to call Wiaterowski her close friend.
"We did a lot
of things together besides the political things in the town," said Colatosti-Mackiewicz.
"We had a great time, and I love every memory of it."
said she'll pick up where Wiaterowski left off, attracting more businesses to
the city, paving streets, and planning more events in Nanticoke.
will serve as mayor until the end of the year, but she already plans to run for
the position after that.
selected to serve as Nanticoke's mayor
A Nanticoke councilwoman will be the citys
New Year 2019!
Council chose to take the seat at a meeting Wednesday. She is the
first woman to serve as mayor in Nanticoke, solicitor William Finnegan said.
fills a seat previously held by Rich Wiaterowski, who died Dec. 9 after a battle
with acute myeloid leukemia. Along with his duties as mayor, Wiaterowski served
as a volunteer firefighter in the city. He worked for Laborers International Union
of North America before his illness.
They are big shoes to fill, for
sure, Colatosti-Mackiewicz said.
The citys charter allows her to
serve through 2019. Voters will choose a mayor in November to serve the remaining
two years of Wiaterowskis term. Colatosti-Mackiewicz said she planned to
run for the position.
In the meantime, she wants to continue work from Wiaterowskis
time as mayor, such as paving projects and redevelopment in the citys downtown.
like to continue with his legacy and see everything that he wished and wanted
to go through, she said.
Among those projects is the ongoing development
of the Hanover 9 industrial site in Nanticoke and Hanover Twp., the
Nantego Development Project along East Main Street, and infrastructure improvements
she hopes will attract more business to the city.
one of six people who submitted an application ahead of the deadline. Council
received another application at the meeting. The council members reviewed each
application and were able to have one-on-one conversations with each other about
It is great to see this many people have an interest
in Nanticoke to make this city better than what it is right now, council
President William Brown said.
The vote for her nomination passed with three
yes votes and two abstentions. Colatosti-Mackiewicz and council vice president
Kevin Coughlin abstained.
Colatosti-Mackiewicz is a human resources director
at Guardian Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Newport Twp. She was the only
council member to apply for the seat. Because she had to resign in order to become
mayor, council will now have to fill her seat. They will advertise the position,
collect applications then vote on someone to fill the seat, Finnegan said.
business of choosing a mayor to fill a vacant seat is the kind of housekeeping
municipalities everywhere must complete from time to time.
But this time, in
Nanticoke, it meant much more.
Replacing a beloved mayor is not how council
expected to start the new year, Finnegan said.
(Wiaterowski) was my friend
and he was a remarkable man, Colatosti-Mackiewicz said. I sure am
going to miss him and so is this city.