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Paul Golias - Citizens Voice

Mike Dziak, a humble son of a coal-mining family, can point to raw statistics as proof of the tremendous impact that Earth Conservancy has had on Northeastern Pennsylvania.
— 8,860 acres of former anthracite industry land, valued at $44.8 million, sold for many uses.
— 719 acres, valued at $3.5 million, donated.
— 5,919 acres remaining for a variety of uses, including more open spaces.
To the acreage numbers can be added industrial, commercial and residential growth that adds or will add to tax bases; a major transportation initiative in the South Valley Parkway, and a successful yard waste composting facility serving 16 communities.
For most of Earth Conservancy’s 28-year history, Mike Dziak has been at the helm, guiding the non-profit corporation through development of land use plans and implementing those plans. Dziak has done it with a small staff (there are only seven EC employees, including two who run the composting site in Newport Twp.).
Dziak, who retired effective Jan. 31, says the credit starts with the vision of former Congressman Paul Kanjorski, and extends through some “great board members” over the years and supportive partners in the private and public sectors.
“Paul Kanjorski does not get enough credit for the creation of Earth Conservancy. This probably is his greatest accomplishment,’’ Dziak says.
As he transitioned into retirement, Dziak got his own high marks. John D. McCarthy Jr., chairman of the EC board, lauded Dziak’s “tireless work ethic’’ that “made Earth Conservancy what it is today.’’
“We are going to miss him. He’s fantastic,’’ McCarthy said.
Blue Coal Corporation, once the premier coal mining company in the region, went into bankruptcy in December 1976. It languished in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Middle District of Pennsylvania until 1992 when Kanjorski began engineering use of federal funds to buy 16,496 acres of land for $14.6 million.
There were others with eyes on the land and the entire story of how the sale came about to a non-profit has never been revealed. Dziak said even he does not know the story.
But, in 1994, as Earth Conservancy began operations in the former Blue Coal offices on South Main Street, Ashley, Dziak was hired and this vision statement was drafted: “EC will lead and partner with communities in the reclamation of mine-scarred land and streams, returning strong economic, environmental and social value by creating a well-planned vibrant valley, protected by green ridge tops.’’
The first land use plan was finalized in 1995; a Wyoming Valley open space master plan came out in 1999, followed by a plan that included the South Valley Parkway project; the Interstate 81/Exit 168 plan, a South Valley land use plan and Hanover Crossings plan, plus others.
The 200-acre Huber Colliery culm bank in the Preston section of Hanover Twp. was removed, and today, massive warehouses dot the landscape from Hanover south to Nanticoke. The parkway is open to Luzerne County Community College, and one day it will extend deep into land-rich Newport Twp.
Meanwhile, land reclamation continues and acid mine drainage woes are being attacked. Of the 16,496 acres purchased, EC has conveyed 7,813 acres to open space, including state forest land, game lands and trails.
“Our goal is 10,000 acres allocated to open space,’’ Dziak said. Creating and maintaining those “green ridge tops’’ mentioned in the vision statement is one of his proudest accomplishments.
The donated land includes parcels for baseball, football, soccer and all-purpose fields in Ashley and Hanover Twp.
Dziak did some behind-the-scenes work on behalf of the wider community. When Luzerne County could not get The Reading Company to cooperate on the Ashley Planes Heritage Park concept, Dziak tried to get the California-based firm to donate or sell land needed for the park. He and others that he enlisted in that effort were unsuccessful and the county later pulled out, killing the park and thwarting development of the Delaware & Lehigh Heritage Corridor trail down the planes into Ashley.
During his tenure, EC donated 3.1 acres just south of the EC building to allow creation of the Anthracite Miners’ Memorial Park.
Earth Conservancy has won many awards under Dziak’s leadership, including the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence (multiple times) and the North Branch Land Trust’s Community Stewardship Award.
Dziak is a native of Exeter Borough. Both grandfathers were coal miners, one in Jenkins Twp. and the other in Duryea. He was reared in a neighborhood rich in anthracite history with all of the social and ethnic flavors of that era.
He joined the Navy and had reported for training in January 1959 when word flashed nationwide of the Knox Mine Disaster in Jenkins Twp., across the river from his hometown. Dziak spent three of his four years in the Navy as an instructor at the U.S. Navy Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
Dziak then earned a degree in commerce and financing, with a minor in engineering, from Wilkes College. His work career included stints at American Chain & Cable Co., RCA Corporation and IBM Corporation.
When Earth Conservancy advertised for a president/chief executive officer, Dziak applied and won the job. Despite some negative vibes in the community, Dziak said he and the first board put a plan into place “to make it (the non-profit’s vision) happen. We felt EC’s success would speak for itself.”
Dziak married Kingston native Rae Phillips, who he met at Wilkes. The Dziaks have two sons, Todd, a Wilkes University grad who is a licensed nuclear operator, and David, a graduate of West Chester University and a contractor. Todd and his wife, Jackie, a teacher, have two children, Lindzay and Juliette, and David and his wife, Missy, an attorney, have two children, Michael and Tess.
Dziak, whose retirement was effective Jan. 31, is succeeded by Terry Ostrowski who comes to EC from Borton Lawson, an engineering and planning firm that has done extensive work for EC.
“Our staff is small but efficient. The people here are very skilled,’’ Dziak said.
Current projects include further reclamation work, creation of a new State Police facility near Exit 1 of the South Cross Valley Expressway and implementation of two master plans just completed, one from Alden Mountain Road north to Sugar Notch and another covering all of Newport Twp. The latter includes an all-terrain vehicle park initiative recently announced.
Dziak said Earth Conservancy has been a great asset to Luzerne County. “I was fortunate to have been present to steer the ship,’’ he said, again lauding past board chairs Dr. Christopher Breiseth of Wilkes University, Mark Dingman, Rhea Simms and current chair McCarthy.
Continuing to issue plaudits, Dziak cited state Sen. John Yudichak for his support of EC initiatives, including the parkway that will one day help open EC lands in Newport Twp. to development.
“There is more to come,’’ Dziak said.

Officials ‘aggressively’ enforce city codes to improve Nanticoke

The house at 126 W. Washington St. boasts peeling paint, broken windows and warped wooden posts. Inside, trash and dog feces cover the rotting floor.
On Jan. 31, Nanticoke Code Enforcement officials, police officers and public works employees finished the look by boarding up entrances and slapping a pink condemned sign on the door.
“To have to live next to that,” Mayor Kevin Coughlin said, “it’s uncalled for.”
Since taking office in January, Coughlin and police Chief Michael Roke have worked closely with 11-year veteran code enforcement officer Jack Minsavage to crack down on code violations in Nanticoke. Their biggest victory was getting a rotting building on East Main Street demolished.
“We’ve done a lot in the past. We have done things, we’ve made a lot of changes,” Minsavage said. “But I don’t think there was anything as aggressive. That, to me, was the biggest thing that I’ve seen in all my years of doing anything.”
As Nanticoke residents, Minsavage, Coughlin and Roke were tired of driving down their streets and seeing property maintenance go by the wayside.
Roke cited former New York prosecutor and mayor Rudy Guiliani’s “Broken Windows” theory: If you’re living around a bunch of broken windows, then it’s going to facilitate more broken windows. All three have noticed a positive ripple effect since their “aggressive” enforcement of city codes, including residents calling in violators and street workers updating stop signs.
The city created a landlord’s association to inform landlords of the city’s code so they can make sure their properties are in compliance. These meetings are closed to the public.
Minsavage is one of two code enforcers and having Roke and his officers trained in spotting violations allows Minsavage to prioritize and follow up faster. In turn, Minsavage tells Roke around which properties he should increase patrols to deter trespassing and illegal activities, like drug dealing.
Coughlin’s role is to make sure Minsavage and Roke have the things they need to do their jobs. This includes funds, setting up code training for the officers and working with council to update Nanticoke’s codes and ordinances.
The city budgeted $30,000 for building repairs, so it can’t fix up all the condemned properties itself — even the historical ones. Roke said the process can be slow because, when citations get into the courts, there are time allowances and rulings that dictate what the city legally can and cannot do.
For the condemned buildings, Roke said following up with the property owners is the hardest part. While it’s easy to spot a problem, Roke said, making sure the owners are bringing them into compliance is another.
“You can’t just put a sticker on a building and think it’s going to make a difference,” Roke said. “You have to go and make sure you have cooperation from the property owners.”
Another problem in Nanticoke has been abandoned vehicles. Roke said so far this year, at least 42 cars that meet the requirements of being “abandoned vehicles” have been towed with cooperation from the property owner.
Although it will be a slow process, as Coughlin said the city didn’t get like this “overnight,” they want to make Nanticoke a better city to live in.
“People don’t need to look out their backyard and see a junkyard that the neighbor has compiled within their yard,” Roke said. “That is our goal. To enforce those ordinances to have a better quality of life for the people who do the right thing.”

Nanticoke Planters retiree revels in Mr. Peanut lore
Roger DuPuis

For David Reese, Mr. Peanut is practically part of the family.
Reese worked for Planters Peanuts in Wilkes-Barre and its successors for decades. He and daughter Cheryl both collect Planters memorabilia, especially anything having to do with the famed peanut mascot with his signature top hat, monocle and cane.
So they were shocked and saddened last week to learn that Planters had decided to kill off the 104-year-old character who has been part of their lives for decades.
“I’m really disappointed with what happened to Mr. Peanut, given the fact that I worked for him for 30 years,” said Reese, who ended his career as a senior manager for facilities and administration.
“I couldn’t believe they did that, but hopefully it’s just an advertising gimmick,” Cheryl Reese added, noting that she has received messages of condolences from friends and family because of how avidly she has collected Mr. Peanut items over the years.
Planters has said a funeral for Mr. Peanut will be broadcast during the Super Bowl next Sunday, after the character crashed his NUTmobile off a cliff when he swerved to avoid an armadillo, a violent ending which the brand publicized in a video released last week.
David Reese is optimistic that this is not, in fact, the end.
“Of course, knowing marketing people the way I do, they come off with weird ideas,” the Nanticoke resident said.
“My take on it is this: When you drop a peanut off the second floor roof, it doesn’t break,” he said. It floats down, because the density is such that it’s not that heavy, and the outer shell protects it anyway.”
“I have a feeling that he’s going to be able to bounce back,” he added with a smile.
Either way, Mr. Peanut will live on through the Reese family.
Cheryl’s Planters collection fills an entire room — and then some — including everything and anything related to the mascot, from vintage packaging and advertisements to cups, salt and pepper shakers, matches, lapel pins, ties, posters, model railroad cars and more.
It also includes one of the distinctive Mr. Peanut costumes that once were a familiar sight here in Wilkes-Barre and outside Planters’ retail stores around the country.
Local history
For David Reese, Mr. Peanut’s “demise” also offered a chance to talk about his time with the company, and its presence here in the Wyoming Valley.
Reese, a Plymouth native, started working at Planters’ former South Main Street offices in Wilkes-Barre in 1959, when he was 24.
“I had come out of the Navy and had another job that didn’t pan out and I started working at Planters,” Reese said. “And I met a bunch of guys who were vets from World War II. I was a rookie kid. I didn’t say much at first but I listened.”
By listening he learned a lot about the company and its history.
Planters Nut and Chocolate Co. was founded in Wilkes-Barre in 1906 by an Italian immigrant named Amadeo Obici and his future brother-in-law, Mario Peruzzi.
There was some manufacturing in Wilkes-Barre in the early years, but Reese noted that the South Main Street site was not a manufacturing facility, as some previous media reports had stated. Planters had other sites in the city that had been used for that purpose, he said. The only thing Reese ever knew to be manufactured there was carmel-covered popcorn for the retail stores, which was made in a stainless-steel room in the basement.
While Obici soon opened a processing plant in Suffolk, Virginia in the early 1900s, the corporate headquarters remained here for decades.
Reese also saw big changes before too many years had passed in his career: The company was acquired by Standard Brands in the early 1960s.
“There were 160 people at the South Main Street address. There were marketing people there, advertising. The company sent them down to Madison Avenue in New York, along with data processing. The 160 people that I started with was now down to about 40 to 45 guys,” Reese said.
He wasn’t sure what would come next, but he held on.
“I had only been with the company for a couple years, and figured I would stick around and maybe get a couple weeks severance pay if it came to that,” Reese said.
As it turned out, Standard Brands would find reasons to re-invest in Wilkes-Barre.
A stabbing incident at one of the New York facilities, combined with increasing mechanization of data processing, caused the company to look at how many properties it needed and where they should be, he recalled.
Reese was involved in transitioning work done around the country to the South Main Street offices, where staff he supervised were turning out more work than any other office in the U.S., and typically for less.
“You could hire clerical people in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, a heck a lot cheaper than you could in New York City,” Reese said.
He would come to wear many hats.
“I worked in virtually every department in the building except cost accounting and payroll. When I was in the Navy I was the paymaster on a destroyer. I knew payroll but they never put me there,” he joked.
“I ended up being the facilities manager, running the mailroom, running what we called grocery accounting — processing of orders — with an IBM computer that filled a room the size of this, but you have more power on your desktop than that whole computer did.”
So between 1964 and 1970, more jobs were created at the facility, and part of its warehouse was remodeled for office space, he added.
“We were growing so fast,” Reese said. “By 1980 we were bulging at the seems. We just didn’t have enough room there.”
His superiors — by then the company was part of Nabisco — tasked him with finding room to grow within the region.
“They pulled me off of all my jobs in 1984 and said, quietly, go find us a spot,” Reese recalled.
There was space in a former junkyard adjacent to the South Main property, but the soil was too contaminated, he said. And Scranton was lobbying hard, but a proposed site on the north side of the city was more than 25 miles away and would have required paying relocation expenses to employees.
The solution was much closer to home, in Hanover Township, where the new Nabisco building — now part of Mondelez International — was built.
“That was my project. We started putting footers in March 11, 1985 and had the dedication Dec. 11,” Reese said. “We didn’t miss a deadline and we moved all of these departments without losing a phone call or a data transmission or anything.
Operations at South Main Street were phased out around 1990, said Reese, adding that he is sad to see the state of the building today. The warehouse is gone, with only the two-story administrative building remaining, albeit in a forlorn state. Preservation groups have called for its restoration and re-use.
Change was coming for Reese, however.
“I went through a number of mergers from Planters to Standard Brands to Nabisco to KKR, which was Kohlberg Kravis Roberts,” he said.
The investment firm “didn’t want the high-priced managers and directors around,” as Reese recalled it. So in 1989 he retired.
“They offered me a retirement package at 53 that I couldn’t turn down, so I became a professional golf bum,” he said with a chuckle.
Nevertheless, he remembers his time with Planters very fondly.
“I loved every minute of the day when I was at work,” Reese said.
The collection
One of those fond memories has to do with Mr. Peanut himself. Among Reese’s many jobs was running the premium department, which was in charge of branded items.
“You sent in product labels — send two in and 50 cents and you get a Mr. Peanut cup or bank,” he said. “I started to buy them for my children and bring them home.”
The collections put together by himself and Cheryl go way beyond, however, including one of the famous iron statues once displayed on the South Main Street building.
David Reese sat around the table at his Nanticoke home displaying a Planters nut tin from the 1910s, from which small retailers would dole out peanuts with a little scoop, selling them in glassine bags for a nickel a piece.
Reese also pointed out that the popular Planter retail stores with which the costumed mascots were associated were separate from the manufacturing operations.
“There were two companies: The Planters Nut and Chocolate Co., and National Peanut Co. They were responsible for the running of the retail stores as far west as San Francisco,” Reese said. “When Standard Brands bought the company they did not want to be in the retail sales business. They sold them or auctioned them off.”
That initially worked well, because “most of the buyers were the managers and people who ran the stores in the first place,” Reese added. “The controller of the company bought six of them up in New England, and he became a multi-millionaire.”
The original store was on Public Square in Wilkes-Barre, around the corner from what is now the F.M. Kirby Center, he added, while was another in the West Side Mall in Edwardsville.
It was outside those stores that many Americans saw Mr. Peanut for the first times, including here on Public Square.
Reese was quick to point out that the costumed Mr. Peanut characters did not walk the streets handing out peanuts, as a previous news story maintained.
“He had no pockets, a big mask, and a cane in one hand,” Reese said.
Mr. Peanut did, however, sometimes hand out small lapel pins, he added.

Pioneering Nanticoke doctor laid to rest

Dr. Stanley Dudrick, known worldwide as “the father of intravenous feeding,” was remembered by his namesake as genuine, sincere, passionate and determined at a funeral Mass celebrated in his memory Saturday in his hometown.
Dudrick’s son Stanley eulogized his father near the end of the Mass at St. Faustina Parish on South Hanover Street.
Dudrick, 84, died last weekend at his home in Eaton, New Hampshire, following an illness. When news of his death spread, friends, colleagues and admirers took to social media to offer condolences and heap praise on a man credited for saving countless lives around the world.
He developed total parenteral nutrition while he was serving as a surgical resident at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital from 1961 to 1966.
Dudrick’s son said his father “worked diligently, tirelessly,” yet he was “always caring and loving.”
“A popular phrase to describe my father is that he touched so many people. Indeed he did, from all walks of life, every gender, race, creed and color,” Dudrick said. “He had … a keen perceptiveness, where he could find a connection with anyone and everyone.”
The Rev. James Nash, pastor of St. Faustina Parish, celebrated the Mass of Christian Burial. In his homily, he focused on a passage from the Gospel of Luke in which Christ told his disciple Simon to take their boat out deeper into the sea to catch fish after an unsuccessful night of fishing.
“That’s what Dr. Dudrick did all of his life. He was never satisfied with just what he had, he wanted to go deeper and deeper and deeper,” Nash said after Mass, explaining the theme of his homily.
“One of his greatest accomplishments was inventing the feeding tube. Before that, people were coming out of successful surgery and dying because they didn’t have nutrition. So he went out on a limb, went out deeper, and developed this process. And it’s considered to be one of the greatest developments in the medical field,” he said.
Nash said Dudrick could have spent the rest of his life basking in fame and sitting on his laurels after his accomplishment, but he didn’t.
“He didn’t even go for a patent. He went on with his life. One of the things he did later was directing the physician’s assistant program at Misericordia University. After that, he was a professor at the (Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine). So he always kept on going out deeper and deeper and deeper. His love for his medical profession was a dedication through his whole life,” Nash said.
Nash described Dudrick as somebody who knew everybody.
“He reached out to everyone,” Nash said. “He knew the name of the elevator operator in medical school, he’d know the names of the maintenance staff guys. He was a people person, and all he wanted to do was bring comfort to people’s lives.”
Nash noted that Dudrick was content living a “simple life. He could have been a billionaire if he wanted to be, but he was more just dedicated to his profession. And here in Nanticoke, he’s kind of like one of our legends.”
In July 2017, city and state officials honored Dudrick and placed an historical marker outside his childhood home on West Union Street to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his invention.
“He always lived a very simple, humble life,” Nash said. “It never went to his head.”

People across the globe pay tribute to Nanticoke native, renowned physician

Tributes to the late Dr. Stanley Dudrick are pouring in from all over the world following the death of the Nanticoke native who revolutionized medicine in the 1960s.
Dudrick, who invented the intravenous feeding method known as total parenteral nutrition (TPN), is considered one of the most influential doctors in world history, credited with saving millions of lives.
Colleagues, friends and admirers from all over the globe have taken to social media to mourn his loss.
“Sad to hear the news out of the U.S. of the passing of Dr. Stanley Dudrick, the father of parenteral nutrition,” Dr. Peter Collins, a dietician and professor from Brisbane, Australia, wrote on Twitter. “A giant in the field of clinical nutrition and who would have contributed to saving countless lives.”
Dr. Paul Wischmeyer, an anesthesiologist at Duke University, on Twitter called Dudrick “one of my true heroes.”
“I was honored to call him a mentor and friend,” Wischmeyer wrote. “I will never forget our talks and wise advice. His life should be celebrated and never forgotten.”
Last year, Wischmeyer was named an honorary fellow for the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN), one of its biggest honors. Dudrick was a co-founder of ASPEN and served as its first president.
“With the passing of Dr. Dudrick, medicine has lost one of its most inspirational leaders,” ASPEN President Lingtak-Neander Chan said. “Dr. Dudrick will be remembered as a healer and visionary, whose kindness has deeply touched many people.”
Dudrick, the descendant of Nanticoke coal miners, invented TPN at age 32 while a surgical resident at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia — a medical advancement on par with open heart surgery and organ transplantation.
The school’s department of surgery posted on Twitter that it “mourns the passing of ‘The Father of Intravenous Feeding’ Dr. Stanley Dudrick.”
“He is ranked among the most influential doctors in world history for inventing TPN as a surgical resident here @PennMedicine. He is credited with saving millions of lives,” the Twitter post said.
A search of Twitter tributes to Dudrick yields results in various languages.
“We regret the loss of this great professional and human being,” the Colombian Association of Clinical Nutrition wrote in Spanish.
A medical student posted a tribute in Arabic with a meme saying Dudrick was “the man who fed starving patients when no one else could.”
Alberto Gonzalez Chavez, chief surgical resident at Hospital Español de México in Mexico City, praised Dudrick as “surgeon of the century.”
Dudrick, always proud of his Nanticoke roots, intended to return to the Wyoming Valley to practice medicine after school, but after his invention, his skill level was too far advanced for local hospitals.
After his storied medical career, Dudrick returned to the area in 2011. Dudrick became director of the physician assistant program at Misericordia University and was hired as a professor of surgery at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine.
“Stan Dudrick was internationally known as a physician who changed the lives of countless people through his pioneering work,” Misericordia University President Thomas J. Botzman said. “Moreover, he was a lifelong teacher of others as he sought to share his excitement and enthusiasm for bettering the lives of others. He was an incredible friend to all at Misericordia University and will fondly be remembered as a humble physician from Nanticoke who changed the world to be a better place.”

Nanticoke native, one of most influential physicians in history, dies at 84

Dr. Stanley Dudrick, a Nanticoke native who went on to become one of the most influential physicians in the world, has died. He was 84.
Dudrick invented the intravenous feeding method known as total parenteral nutrition — credited with saving millions of lives — as a young doctor.
He died over the weekend at his home in Eaton, New Hampshire, following an illness, according to his cousin Jack Dudrick, of Nanticoke.
“When you were in his presence, you felt like you were in the presence of greatness,” Jack Dudrick said Sunday.
The descendant of Nanticoke coal miners, Dudrick never forgot his roots — having grown up in a double-block home his father built on West Union Street.
“He was very proud of being from Nanticoke,” Jack Dudrick said. “We were obviously thrilled every time he came back to Nanticoke. Everyone would make sure they made it a point to see him.”
Stanley Dudrick last visited in May, he said.
Known as the “father of intravenous feeding,” Dudrick is constantly ranked among the most influential doctors in world history for his pioneering work, which he unveiled in July 1967 at age 32.
Dudrick invented TPN while a surgical resident at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia.
Colleagues have said Dudrick’s contribution to medicine ranks in importance with the development of open heart surgery and organ transplantation.
In a 2017 article describing Dudrick’s place among the 50 most influential doctors in history, Dr. Robert Jarrett wrote: “Before Dr. Dudrick’s work there were many infants and children who we had to watch literally starve to death because something was preventing their bowels from absorbing nutrition.”
Dudrick believed in his work so much he decided not to patent it — which might have made him a billionaire.
“Like Jonas Salk, (the inventor of the polio vaccine), he didn’t patent anything,” Jack Dudrick said. “He said he created over 200 millionaires because of his invention.”
Coming home
Dudrick became a professor of surgery at Penn. He helped launch the surgery department of the University of Texas Medical School and became chief of surgery at the university’s hospital. He was named chairman of the surgery department at Pennsylvania Hospital, the oldest in the nation. Later, he was tapped as surgery department chairman at the Yale University School of Medicine.
But Dudrick always longed to come back home. And in 2011, he did.
Dudrick became director of the physician assistant program at Misericordia University and was hired as a professor of surgery at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine.
In July 2017, to mark the 50th anniversary of Dudrick’s life-saving invention, Nanticoke officials recognized a “Dr. Dudrick Day” in the city and unveiled a historical marker outside his childhood home.
Dudrick inspired his students, said Ida Castro, Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine’s vice president of community engagement.
“Even though he might have been ill, he might have been weak, he would come and dedicate so many hours to their development and nurture their curiosity,” she said.
Alan Goldstein, a Clarks Summit real estate developer, met Dudrick at the medical school, where Goldstein was a volunteer and donor.
They became fast friends.
“Stan was known throughout the world,” Goldstein said. “He developed procedures all the doctors said could not be developed.”
Goldstein described Dudrick as humble.
“You would think he was a regular guy off the street,” Goldstein said. “He was never impressed with himself. He was down to earth. His death is a loss to the whole world.”
State Sen. John Yudichak, I-14, Plymouth Twp., praised Dudrick for the millions of lives he saved.
“Few in the annals of medical history have contributed more to the preservation of life through research and medical advancements than Dr. Dudrick,” Yudichak said.
Nanticoke City Manager Donna Wall said she was “deeply saddened” to hear of Dudrick’s death.
“He was a very special, humble man who never forgot his roots in Nanticoke,” Wall said. “I feel fortunate to have known him. He surely will be missed.”
ERIC MARK and JON O’CONNELL, staff writers, contributed to this report.

Historic Nanticoke building condemned, will be razed

City officials on Friday condemned a historic building on East Main Street that already was being eyed for demolition to make way for a downtown redevelopment project.
The dilapidated property at 101-107 E. Main St. sustained a roof collapse and the side of the building facing Shea Street started to crumble, City Manager Donna Wall said.
Barricades have been placed around the building and Shea Street, which leads to East Main Street, is closed until the building can be razed.
The Nanticoke City Municipal Authority, which purchased the property last month for $200,000 from Relic Rack Inc., sought emergency bids for demolition and the work could begin as soon as Tuesday.
“The building is in rough condition and the city wants it taken down and the municipal authority will comply,” said Sara Hailstone, a consultant for the authority.
Hailstone said the municipal authority purchased the building because members “considered it a key location in the city and important for the revitalization of the downtown.”
An old bank building next to the property is not part of the demolition.
The property to be razed was built in 1902 and was first home to the Jacob A. Morgan Hotel and Saloon, according to Chet Zaremba, vice president of the Nanticoke Historical Society.
“That would make it one of the oldest buildings in the city,” Zaremba said.
Over the years, the building housed various others businesses, such as Harry Gottlieb’s Modern Emporium, the William Janowicz Hotel, Sam Weisberger’s Leader Store, the Stauss Million Dollar Store, Gem Furniture, Joseph’s Furniture and Geri’s Draperies, Zaremba said.
“That building has been there forever,” Zaremba said. “It’s a shame to see it go.”

Roke sworn in as new Nanticoke police chief

With his wife Kelly holding the Bible, and family, friends and coworkers watching from around the Nanticoke Municipal Building, Michael Roke was sworn in as the new police chief Wednesday night.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. That’s for sure,” Roke said. “We’ve been speaking about this now for a few months, and it’s great to get to the point where we can start implementing some of our plans.”
Kevin Coughlin, Nanticoke’s newly inaugurated mayor, said Roke — previously a lieutenant — has almost 25 years of experience on the job. Although Robert Lehman has served as the interim chief since the end of August, Coughlin said Lehman’s detective skills were too valuable.
Coughlin said Lehman and Roke were the only two who applied for the position.
“He is a terrific detective,” Coughlin said of Lehman. “I’d rather have someone like that out on the streets doing work for the citizens of the city.”
Coughlin said Roke brings “a lot of energy to the job” and, as the city is going to be “coming down” on dilapidated properties, he said Roke has a lot of good ideas. Coughlin added that Roke was “assertive” and will get the job done.
Roke’s first act as police chief was taking care of a parking violation issue right in the municipal meeting room. A concerned citizen brought up multiple parking violations in front of his home, and Roke responded by assuring the Nanticoke resident the cars would be taken care of.
Coughlin said watching Roke handle the issue strengthened his faith in Roke.
“It’s one of our goals to go forward with the junk vehicles that are on properties that are problematic,” Roke said. “I’ve spoken with the mayor since he’s been inaugurated, and that’s one of the things that we did do to forward the agenda.”
Roke said there are plans set up to work hand-in-hand with code enforcement to address the status of properties, and he also plans to tackle the drug problem in Nanticoke.
“I appreciate the confidence the mayor and council have for me,” Roke said. “We’re certainly going to try to move the city forward.”

Huber Breaker film draws large crowd to world premiere

As footage of the Huber Breaker crashing down on demolition day played on a screen Tuesday night, some in the audience gasped. Some even cried.
A short documentary film about the former coal breaker in Ashley, the last to remain standing in the Wyoming Valley, made its debut at the St. Faustina Cultural Center, drawing a large crowd of people proud of the region’s anthracite heritage.
Organizers set up 200 chairs for the event. All seats were filled and dozens of others stood for the 28-minute film, entitled “Beyond the Breaker.”
“Wow, what a crowd. Thanks for coming everybody,” said Chet Zaremba, vice president of the Nanticoke Historical Society, which hosted the event. “We didn’t anticipate anything like this. We are honored to host this world premiere.”
Zaremba said there was a certain irony in the film debuting at the cultural center, the former St. Stanislaus Church on Church Street.
St. Stanislaus was the first Polish Catholic church in Luzerne County, built in 1886 by Nanticoke coal miners, Zaremba said.
Mining historian Bob Wolensky, who was featured in the film, said the film drew a “stupendous turnout.”
The film includes some history of the breaker, but mainly focuses on local people lamenting the fact the breaker could not be saved prior to its demolition for scrap metal in April 2014.
Philadelphia photographer John Welsh and fellow filmmaker, Alana Mauger of Gilbertsville in Montgomery County, spent nearly eight years making the film.
“We’re not from here. We came here and everyone was so kind and welcoming,” Mauger said. “Now it feels like a second home.”
The film features extensive amounts of drone footage from around the breaker in the years before it was torn down.
Welsh and Mauger plan to enter the documentary in several film festivals over the next year before they will be able to make it available to the public online or on DVD.
One of the most notable characters in the film is Ray Clarke, chairman of the Huber Breaker Preservation Society.
He is a part of one of the most dramatic parts of the film when heavy equipment helps bring the breaker to the ground, causing a plume of smoke to rise into the Ashley sky.
Clarke was filming at the time.
He soon called the filmmakers and the audio of the call was played during the film.
“It’s all under rubble,” Clarke told them. “The sad part about it is my camera was on.”
Another person featured prominently in the film is Back Mountain artist Sue Hand, who has created nearly 90 pieces of art about coal breakers in the region, including some of the Huber Breaker.
“When they tore the Huber down, it was like watching someone get killed,” Hand said in the film. “How can you be so insensitive to the past?”
Welsh said the film took so long to complete because they were looking for a good ending.
Then, last year, Hand hosted a gallery of her work on coal breakers at King’s College.
The film ended with interviews taken while the gallery was at King’s.
“There wasn’t a preservation of the breaker, but there sort of was in that gallery that night,” Welsh said.

New film explores Huber Breaker’s role in history

While searching the internet years ago about coal mining, Philadelphia photographer John Welsh came across a photo of the Huber Breaker in Ashley.
He didn’t know the significance of the coal mining facility that once dotted Northeastern Pennsylvania’s landscape, but was still intrigued enough to make a visit.
After the visit in 2012, he decided to make a documentary about the breaker — the last one standing in the Wyoming Valley prior to its demolition in 2014 for scrap metal.
“That’s how it got started. It was kind of random,” Welsh said. “I know my grandmother had coal in her house, but that was all I knew about coal.”
Welsh and fellow filmmaker, Alana Mauger of Gilbertsville in Montgomery County, are set to debut their film “Beyond the Breaker” next week in Nanticoke — once a thriving hub of coal mining.
The film, which is free and open to the public, will debut at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the St. Faustina Cultural Center at 38 W. Church St. in Nanticoke — the former St. Stanislaus Church.
“I’m hoping people are going to appreciate the time we took to tell the story,” Welsh said. “It represents a culture that’s being lost.”
The film is 28 minutes and contains interviews with about 30 people.
It took this long to complete the project because the filmmakers wanted the perfect ending to the story, Welsh said.
Welsh said the ending will be a secret until the film debuts.
“I don’t want to give away the ending. It took us until 2019 to find a natural end to the story — and we got lucky. We wanted to make sure it was the right ending,” Welsh said.
The filmmakers used a drone camera to fly inside the breaker to get never before seen video.
Bob Wolensky, a local anthracite mining historian, consulted the filmmakers on the project and appears in the documentary.
“I encouraged them to think about the Huber as more than just a physical plant. The breaker was a real important symbol of community, people, work and the anthracite industry. It was bigger than a coal processing plant,” Wolensky said. “They have been working on this for 10 years. They really stayed with it.”
The film is one of 17 local events to commemorate January as Anthracite Mining Heritage Month.
For years, the Huber Breaker Preservation Society tried to save the breaker and make it a museum. But the property eventually was sold for scrap metal 2014 when efforts failed. Now, a memorial park is on site.
Chet Zaremba of the Nanticoke Historical Society will serve as emcee of Tuesday’s event. He used to work at the breaker in the billing office before joining the Pennsylvania State Police.
He remembers the breaker as a huge hub of activity.
“The coal industry, even in the latter days, was still an intricate organization to get everything going — from the mining to the processing to the shipping to the billing,” Zaremba said. “It’s very interesting to me, having been there to see the operation.”

IF YOU GO: The documentary film “Beyond the Breaker” about the former Huber Breaker in Ashley will debut at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the St. Faustina Cultural Center at 38 W. Church St., Nanticoke - the former St. Stanislaus Church. The event is free and open to the public.

Two towns, two mayors, two brothers: Coughlin siblings lead Nanticoke, Plymouth

On either side of the Susquehanna River in Luzerne County, there is now a mayor named Coughlin.
Kevin Coughlin was sworn in as the new mayor of Nanticoke City on Monday night while his brother Frank Coughlin watched on.
Frank is no stranger to such ceremonies — after all, he had just participated in one less than an hour earlier in Plymouth Borough, where he is the mayor.
“I don’t know how many areas have two brothers as mayor in a five- or six-mile radius,” said Frank before Plymouth’s council meeting and swearing-in ceremony.
Frank was appointed mayor back in October, filling the unexpired term of the late former mayor Thomas McTague.
“I didn’t want to become mayor under the circumstances with Mayor McTague passing away,” said Coughlin. “He’s sorely missed around this town.”
One of the big issues that Coughlin has undertaken as mayor is the revitalization of downtown Plymouth.
“We’re moving along,” Coughlin said. “We have a lot of things coming up.”
Monday’s meeting in Plymouth also saw the swearing-in of council members. The winners of three council seats in November’s election were incumbent Democrats Bill Dixon and John Thomas, with 18-year-old Republican Alec Ryncavage edging out Democrat Adam Morehart for the third seat.
Ryncavage is also focused on the future of downtown Plymouth.
“It’s going to be an effort from the entire council to revitalize downtown,” Ryncavage said. “The objective of the council and the town government as a whole is to make the town easier to live in and work in.”
Coughlin had praise for council’s newest addition.
“I see a lot of potential in him,” Coughlin said of Ryncavage.
Plymouth’s meeting went on after the swearing-in but Frank couldn’t stick around, as he had to get across the river to Nanticoke for his brother’s inauguration.
Kevin Coughlin, like his brother, served on the city council prior to becoming the mayor. He was Nanticoke City Council’s vice president, whereas Frank was the borough council president in Plymouth up until the time he was appointed mayor.
“I decided I wanted to be mayor last year,” said Kevin Coughlin after the meeting. “There were just a few things that I thought I could improve on.”
As his family looked on, including his brother, Coughlin took the oath of office and officially assumed the position of mayor, just three months after Frank took office in Plymouth. Kevin’s father-in-law, the late Stanley Glazenski, also served as mayor of Nanticoke City, and was sworn in on the same Bible that Kevin used.
“I feel proud,” Kevin Coughlin said. “I think if our dad were alive, he’d be really proud, too.”
“He’ll be good to Nanticoke,” said Frank Coughlin. “Hopefully the two towns could do some sort of partnership down the line.”

South Valley Parkway project delay frustrates business owners

Editor’s Note: As part of The Citizens’ Voice Ask the Voice feature, a reader asked when the South Valley Parkway project would be completed.
For months, Grateful Roast owners Brian Williams and Sarah Kratz said road closures as a result of the
$90 million South Valley Parkway project have negatively impacted their business.
The husband and wife own a cafe and specialty coffee roaster at 400 Middle Road in Nanticoke and are frustrated that road closures continue as another roundabout is still being constructed in Hanover Twp.
“It’s awful,” Kratz said. “On top of the fact that road is not open, the signs that the road is closed are not there and that makes it dangerous.”
The roundabout was projected to open in November, but Cody Forgach, chief of staff for State Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-119, Newport Twp., said he doesn’t expect it to open until late January depending on the weather.
The state Department of Transportation will not allow the roundabout to open without lighting and the lights were not shipped yet, Forgach said.
The manufacturer will release the light poles Jan. 10 to the contractor and then they will need an inspection, said PennDOT spokesman Michael Taluto.
Taluto said he is not sure yet when the roundabout will be completed but he should have a better idea after the inspection.
Kriger Construction of Scranton is building the roundabout, marking the seventh one to be constructed in the Hanover Twp. and Nanticoke areas.
It will connect to a new access road leading into warehouses for True Value and Spreetail in the Hanover 9 site across from Luzerne County Community College.
James Marzolino, vice president for Kriger Construction, said there are only two or three suppliers that PennDOT has approved to supply the lights so it took some time but he said the entire South Valley Parkway project is projected to be done “on time and on budget.” The estimated completion date for the entire project is August, he said.
Williams said he welcomes the South Valley Parkway project, the roundabouts and the new warehouses but he’s frustrated with how long it is taking to construct some of the roundabouts.
One of the reasons for the South Valley Parkway project was to take heavy traffic off Middle Road but as a result of the construction, traffic is forced back onto Middle Road, he said. People have been taking down signs that say “road closed,” he said.
Kratz said she also supports progress and having new jobs but she thinks the South Valley Parkway construction project has been “mismanaged” and she calls it a “nightmare.”
She said Grateful Roast is already off the beaten path in Nanticoke and the road closures have made it more difficult for customers to get to their business. People often stop in their business asking for directions, she said.
Kratz credited construction firm Clayco, which has been building warehouses, for sending employees to their business but she said the South Valley Parkway construction project is “something that should have gone much smoother.”
“It’s taking a very long time and it’s hurting our business,” she said. “Little people are struggling. We’re the little guys and it takes a toll on us when we don’t have traffic.”