Leg lamp stands ground in Nanticoke home
Moran / The Citizens' Voice Jim Bartuska has a leg lamp glowing in the center
of his Christmas decor inside his Nanticoke home. Bartuska, who has another lamp
in his furniture store, is a big fan of the holiday classic 'A Christmas Story.'
If you're flipping through channels today, you'll
likely come across it: the iconic leg lamp from "A Christmas Story,"
which plays continually on TBS through this evening.Those
passing by Jim Bartuska's home in Nanticoke see it all the time.
"major award" featured in the 1983 classic film has been part of Bartuska's
Christmas display for the past 10 years at his West Main Street home. It's perched
on the ledge of his picture window in front of his Christmas tree.
admits the lamp, adorned with a stiletto heel, fishnet stocking and silk shade,
doesn't exactly fit his Victorian home.
else is pretty much traditional. It probably couldn't be more out of place,"
Bartuska said. "But that's why I like it so much. It's perfect."
Bartuska, co-owner of Bartuska's Furniture on East Main Street
in Nanticoke, also has a leg lamp on display in the front window of the furniture
store. Curious shoppers often ask where they could get one, thinking they're on
sale. He points them to where he bought his, eBay.
declined to say how much he paid on the online auction site, but an Internet search
indicates they sell for about $150 each.
can't believe how many people stop by the store and want to buy one. But I doubt
I could sell that many for the price," Bartuska said.
mystique behind the leg lamp is evidenced by the amount of passersby over the
years who have been intrigued, knocked on his door, and asked where he bought
it, Bartuska said.
"I had no idea what to expect.
I was like, 'Why are these people at my door at nighttime?'" Bartuska recalled.
"Everybody seems to enjoy the novelty and oddity of it. As the film gains
in notoriety, it's more popular."
he is a big fan of "A Christmas Story." He has a DVD collection and
even some figurines from the film.
"It was kind
of off-beat and I enjoy that kind of humor," he said. "The movie struck
a chord. At this point, I could pretty much quote the lines from the movie."
The leg lamp was introduced as one of the most notable
subplots in "A Christmas Story," a fictional story of a family's Christmas
holiday in the 1940s. Mr. Parker won a newspaper trivia contest, and cherished
the fact he won a "major award." Then, one day, the large crate arrived,
stamped with the word FRAGILE, pronounced "Fra-gee-lay" by Mr. Parker.
Upon opening the crate, Mr. Parker relished his prize and placed the leg lamp
in his front window for his neighbors to see. "It's a major award. I won
it," he tells neighbors.
The lamp and the phrase
have been part of American Christmas lore ever since.
said the leg lamp will continue to be a tradition in his holiday display.
"Originally, it was to see what people's reactions
were. Now, it's just out for fun each year."
Volunteers help Nanticoke with fire truck
6 volunteer fire companies each are contributing $5K a year.
Volunteers are vital to any fire department as
extra manpower is always welcomed when battling blazes. Nanticokes six volunteer
fire companies also showed how valuable they can be in the financial department.
In the middle of 2008 the citys 1977 Hahn fire engine
broke and became too expensive to repair. This left the city vulnerable, Bohan
said at the time.
The city borrowed two fire trucks
from two different communities, Hanover Township and Milton, over the past 18
months until its new 2009 4-wheel drive fire truck mini-pumper engine arrived
earlier this month from Carbon County.
citys limited finances, the citys six volunteer fire departments combined
resources to provide the majority of the funding to purchase the $230,000 apparatus.
Each fire department will give $5,000 a year for a total of $30,000 per year for
four years to help pay for the unit, Bohan said.
volunteer departments are using the money they receive annually from their state
We had members of each company on a committee,
and we decided what we wanted to do with it. It is not everything everybody wanted
it to be, but it was what we could afford, Bohan said.
financially distressed city will contribute $7,000 a year over a period of seven
years in the lease-to-own agreement to purchase the vehicle. The city will own
the vehicle after it is paid off.
The truck has six
color-coded water hoses that will save firefighters valuable time when they arrive
on the scene.
It also has more storage space, holds
400 gallons of water, a deck gun, and a 1,250-gallon per minute pump.
Long, a Times Leader staff writer, may be reached at 829-7159.
Nanticoke says goodbye to Bushko
Council on Wednesday approved the final reading
of the 2010 budget with no property tax increases as Mayor John Bushko presided
over his last council meeting.
The $3.94 million spending
plan includes no change in the earned income tax rate, and there will no commuter
tax assessed for 2010. Property tax millage remains at 1.45.
members praised Bushko for his dedication to the city. He has served as mayor
for four years and as a council member for 16 years previously.
think one of the saddest things is a lot of the projects that are going to come
to fruition in the next couple of years really came together under your leadership,
your guidance. I really hope when these roads are taken care of, the downtown
is redeveloped and Nanticoke has a new shine to it, I hope people do remember
that John Bushko played a big role, council member James Litchkofski said.
Incoming mayor, now council member, Joe Dougherty announced
the city will be accepting letters from people interested in filling his seat
on council. People must turn in the letters by Jan. 15.
will take the oath of office as the citys newest mayor at a special meeting
at 10 a.m. Jan. 4.
Wednesdays meeting was also
the last for council member Brent Makarczyk, who has served one term of four years.
Makarczyk was commended for being the citys liaison
during the contract negotiations with the police and fire departments.
other matters, city engineer Daryl Pawlush updated the council on various projects
The paving of streets in town, including
East Noble and East Church, are complete. Paving of East Ridge Street will be
done in the spring, but the handicap-accessible ramps have been finished.
Pawlush anticipated the city would have a hectic year in
2010 as the downtown streetscape project moves forward.
members learned the city paid back its $300,000 tax anticipation note that was
taken out earlier this year to help with cash flow issues. Officials originally
planned to take out another $300,000 loan for 2010, but after reviewing city finances
they determined they needed to borrow only $250,000.
city will borrow the money from Manufacturers and Trust Trading Co. at an interest
rate of 4.5 percent.
As we get closer to years
end, we know more and more certainly what our expenses may be, fiscal manager
Pamela Heard said.
City Administrator Holly Quinn said
the fact that the city needs to borrow less is a positive sign that the city is
back on the road to financial recovery.
The city was
declared a financially distressed city under Act 47 by the state in 2006.
New faces, no new taxes greet Nanticoke next year
residents won't see a tax increase in 2010, but will see some new faces on the
city council and in the mayor's seat.
the final reading of the $3,958,223 budget for 2010, which keeps the real estate
tax rate remains at 1.4573 mills. A mill is $1 for every $1,000 of assessed property
Council also set the earned income tax rate
at 2 percent for residents, 5 percent of which goes to Greater Nanticoke Area
School District. The city can seek court approval to collect the EIT at a higher
rate than average since Nanticoke was declared financially distressed.
city dropped a 0.33 percent earned income tax for non-residents, which has been
in place since May 2007.
City officials thanked outgoing
council member Brent Makarczyk and outgoing Mayor John Bushko for their service.
Makarczyk, who did not run for re-election, will be replaced by Margaret Haydock
Current councilman and incoming Mayor Joe
Dougherty presented Bushko with a gavel commemorating his years of service to
Bushko thanked all those he has worked with
while serving the city for the past 20 years.
riding off into the sunset, but I'll be around," he said.
will appoint a replacement for Dougherty once he assumes his position as mayor.
Those interested in the position can send letters of interest to Dougherty's attention
at Nanticoke city hall by Jan.15.
In other matters,
the city is applying for a gaming grant in conjunction with Luzerne County Community
College for improvements to the LCCC Health Sciences Center. Officials are also
applying for a gaming grant in conjunction with Hanover Township and LCCC to fund
culinary arts center on track for fall semester
Technologically enhanced kitchen labs,
a television studio and even a chocolate room will sweeten instruction for students
at Luzerne County Community College's new Culinary Arts Center.
is getting under way on the 22,000 square-foot building, which is being developed
by Scranton-based Mark Construction Services at the corner of Market and Main
streets in downtown Nanticoke. When the center is complete, LCCC will purchase
it for $3.1 million.
It's on track to be finished and
turned over to the college by Aug. 15, and the culinary arts department plans
to be ready to move in just in time for the fall semester, says Dr. Gary Mrozinski,
LCCC's dean of business and technologies.
plan is to start next school year in our facility," he said. "So far,
everything's been on schedule."
will only be two weeks until the start of the semester, moving shouldn't take
long: the older equipment from the existing facility will be left behind, according
The latest culinary equipment to furnish
the new state-of-the-art building is being purchased through a bond issue. The
center will have three kitchen labs instead of two, and one of them will have
individual work stations, Mrozinski said. In that lab, a video camera will capture
what the teacher is doing while the students watch on a flat-screen monitor so
they won't even have to leave their workstation, he said.
pastry arts department will have its own chocolate room, a cooler environment
for storing and preparing chocolates and making desserts, Mrozinski said.
On the first floor, there will be a 75-seat auditorium
with theater seating and a demonstration kitchen on the stage, a mini-TV studio
with built-in cameras, a lighting grid for the stage and a control room.
will give us opportunities for collaboration between the broadcasting department
and the culinary arts department," Mrozinski noted. "We can have broadcasting
students filming something we're doing in there."
will be a small dining room on the second floor where students will be able to
learn the service aspect of the hospitality industry, he said. And there are going
to be four classrooms, one of which will be a computer lab so students don't have
to go to the LCCC campus.
"Because it is going
to be separated from our main campus, we had to really think about what our culinary
students will need in this building," Mrozinski said.
was designed by the Scranton firm of Scott Douglas Allen, SDA Architects, which
will also be the construction manager.
had a very close working relationship with the architect, meeting almost weekly
with the design," Mrozinski said. "We really had the opportunity for
the faculty to give input in the project. It was their idea, the layout of the
three kitchens, to have the one kitchen with workstations. That's going to be
really beneficial to the students not to have to be sharing equipment like they
do in other kitchen labs."
The reason for the
expansion is the growth since the culinary arts program was started in the 1970s.
Mrozinski said this year there was a 12-percent increase in enrollment in the
department, and in 2008-09 there was a 14-percent increase.
going to have what amounts to almost twice as much floor space," he said.
"The capacity of our existing facility is limited, and that was the main
driver for this project."
LCCC offers three degrees
in the program: culinary arts, pastry arts management and hospitality business
management, formerly known as hotel and restaurant management. Many young people
are expected to go on to higher education in what is a growing field, and LCCC
Mrozinski said the college has a relationship
with the West Side and Wilkes-Barre career and technical centers - West Side Career
and Technical Center recently enlarged and updated its own culinary arts department
- as well as the Hazleton Area Career Center and vocational-technical schools
in Susquehanna, Wallenpaupack and Lackawanna County. Students who complete their
program on the secondary-school level can attend LCCC with credits towards their
degrees, he said.
The culinary arts program also attracts
adult learners, including people who might want to take a course or two but not
necessarily earn a degree. Mrozinski said he would like to see an expansion of
the continuing education programs.
He sees the new
culinary arts center as being a resource for the community, as well.
haven't explored that yet, but we're sure there will be opportunities," he
Christmas in the Park a festive Sunday in
Businesses and organizations kick in with all of the trimmings
Camille Fioti - Times Leader
the relentless rain, excited children waited in a long line to see Santa in the
citys Patriot Park on Sunday.
Huddled under umbrellas,
hundreds celebrated the 12th annual Christmas in the Park. Judge-elect
Tina Polachek Gartley was the Grand Marshal of the parade, which opened the festivities.
Fire departments from the city and surrounding communities, local Scouts and a
number of businesses and organizations participated in the parade.
high schools marching band had to cancel because of the weather, said organizer
Linda Prushinski, The director lives in Mountain Top and it was a sheet
of ice up there, she said. He said he wasnt going to take a
chance and I dont blame him.
who is also the secretary for the citys Chamber of Commerce, said the event,
which usually draws 200 to 300 people each year, was never cancelled due to the
Nearly 20 local businesses and organizations
provided volunteers, homemade food, money, raffle prizes and gifts for the children.
Ill be honest, said a shivering Mike
Gryskevicz, 15, as he and his brother Tony, 17, munched on chocolate chip cookies
made by Luzerne County Community Colleges culinary students. I came
here for the food. The boys, who both live in Plains Township, said they
also came to watch their dad, Bernard, a city firefighter, in the parade.
Bye-bye Santa, said 6-year-old Henry Sedorchuk
IV, waving as he hurried to get a hot dog under a tent, while his mom, Annie,
held his hot cocoa and his dad, Henry III, held his bag of toys and gloves from
Santa. Little Henry, who is a Tiger Scout, walked in the parade with the rest
of his den from Cub Scout Pack 415.
Despite the weather,
the turnout was great, said Jerry Hudak, president of the Chamber of Commerce,
in the shadow of a gigantic 30-foot fiberglass snowman. It might be a little
damp, he said. But it just goes to show you, that when everyone comes
together, we can pull off something very successful, regardless of what obstacles
are thrown our way.
Free swine flu clinic at GNA School District
Greater Nanticoke Area School District is doubling as a health clinic
Tuesday as free swine flu shots will be distributed.
nurses and area paramedics will be distributing 400 swine flu shots from 1 to
6 p.m. in the high school auditorium.
within the district boundaries needs to bring an ID and utility bill or other
proof of residency within the district.
Tony Perrone has been a huge proponent of providing swine flu vaccines because
of the early warnings from the national and state health departments about the
possibility of a pandemic. He believes the more people who get vaccinated the
safer everyone will be.
I was a nervous wreck
worrying about kids and what we would ever do if we had an epidemic. I am so glad
so far there isnt any. I am glad so far people are getting shots, too. It
is better to be safe than sorry, Perrone said.
County Community College offered swine flu vaccines to its students and families
of students on Thursday and Friday at its Public Safety Training Institute. There
are no more vaccine clinics scheduled at the college at this time.
Troops honored at Freedom Salute
Two area guardsmen are the first in Pennsylvania
to receive Keystone Freedom Medals.13
For Staff Sgt. John Edwards of the 109th National
Guard Field Artillery, going overseas was a matter of duty.
something you just feel you are supposed to do, the Harveys Lake resident
said as to why he volunteered to serve in Iraq for a third tour of duty.
34, and Sgt. Richard Smith received the Keystone Freedom Medal during the Freedom
Salute presentation Saturday morning at the 109th Bravo Batterys armory
on Main Street in Nanticoke.
They were the first National
Guardsmen in Pennsylvania to receive the award during a Freedom Salute Ceremony,
said unit spokesman Sgt. John Paul Karpovich.
was recently established by state National Guard leadership officers to honor
soldiers who have served three tours of duty as a National Guard soldier.
We need to do something to show that these guys are
going above and beyond, and we are going to recognize them for doing that. They
have served their country honorably, Karpovich said.
previously served in Germany from 2002-03 and in Afghanistan from 2007-08.
Deputy Commanding General of the 28th Infantry Division,
Col. Walt Lord, told the 109th troops that they are ordinary Americans doing
extraordinary things, just as militia members did in during the Revolutionary
Lord said all soldiers realize when they sign
up to serve in the Guard, they may be called to serve abroad. But the soldiers
that serve two or three tours of duty usually volunteer, and their dedication
to the America needs to be recognized, he said.
Sept. 11, 2001, more than 17,000 National Guardsmen, some of whom have served
multiple tours, served overseas, Lord said.
extensive overseas experience, many of the younger troops turned to him as a mentor
as they prepared with a few months of training in Mississippi and Louisiana before
arriving in Kuwait last January and then moving into Iraq.
in a leadership position, you share your experiences with the younger guys. They
ask. Everyones curious, just like I was the first time. You want to know
what is going on, he said. It kind of sets their mind at ease. They
kinda get a good idea of what they are going to see before they see it, so they
are very appreciative when you share that information with them.
and his 88 comrades came home in September.
that deployed overseas with the National Guard for the first time were presented
a wood display case, commemorative coin and a Defender of Freedom
Several soldiers were deployed for a second
time. Those soldiers will receive a custom-made ring and those with multiple tours
that are married were awarded a mantel clock.
Homecoming held for the 109th
Field artillery unit
nominated for best artillery battery award in National Guard.
The 109th Pennsylvania National Guard Field Artillery
welcomed back 89 of its own Friday night during a homecoming ceremony at the armory.
Members from Battery B in Nanticoke who deployed to Iraq
as part of the 109th Field Artillery 56th Stryker Brigade made history three times
during the tour.
They were the first National Guard
unit equipped with the M777A2 howitzer to destroy an enemy target on April 15.
Also, the unit was honored for two other historic firsts:
Firing artillery in Kuwait and firing artillery in Iraq.
109th Field Artillery has been nominated for the Hamilton Award to recognize the
best artillery battery in the U.S. Army National Guard.
guardsmen arrived in Kuwait in late January, after being in Camp Shelby, Miss.,
and Fort Polk, La., in the latter par of 2008. The unit arrived home three months
Unit commander Lt. Col. Kevin Miller praised the
soldiers for their service at Friday nights ceremony.
was extraordinary. It is historic. It is a piece of our history, a piece of who
we are and something we will always be proud of, Miller said.
reminded them that the unit is not yet whole because six members are still in
Luzerne County Commissioner Stephen A.
Urban, who is a retired Army lieutenant colonel, commended the soldiers for going
You sacrificed a great deal
while serving in Iraq
for the freedom of children to walk the streets safely
and the freedom for people to open businesses, he said.
unit members also were recognized for heroic efforts to save three people from
a two-vehicle crash in a construction zone on Interstate 81 near the Minersville
exit on Sept. 16, 2008.
Capt. Joseph Ruotolo, Capt.
Jason Grentus, 1st Sgt. Jamie Sorber, Staff Sgt. William Dutzar and Sgt. Christopher
Keen were presented the Pennsylvania Distinguished Service Medal.
swift, courageous and selfless actions of these magnificent citizen-soldiers most
likely saved the lives of both occupants of the overturned vehicle and certainly
prevented other accidents along the heavily traveled interstate, Sgt. John
Karpovich said as the men received their medals.
wives were also recognized with the Artillery Order of Molly Pitcher Award for
their support, dedication and service to the 109th. They were: Karen Bigos, Amanda
Lukashewski, Kirsten Macking, Lisa McMichael and Janet Wegryznowicz.
Congratulations 109th..You make us all proud!!
J.D. Verazin - Nanticoke City
Webdesign and an alumnus of Nanticoke's own 109th! 1970-1977
GNA chooses Kozlofski as head of school board
new president took office during the Greater Nanticoke Area School Boards
annual reorganization meeting Monday, but things will remain largely consistent,
which is exactly the way the board wants it.
a 12-year board member, was voted in as president, while the vice presidential
position was voted again to Kenny James. Vito DeLuca was reapproved as the boards
Kozlofski said he agreed to be president
because he can be available often. With my schedule, I can come down here
on a minutes notice, he said.
Many of the
board members have been there for years, he said, and they all agree to switch
We like to rotate it all
the time, to give everyone another chance, he said. We all work together.
We work as a team, so its a lot easier.
said he planned during his tenure to continue the boards emphasis on increasing
educational success, particularly test scores. The education is the main
thing, he said. Its all good things for a change.
In other business, the board hired attorney Jack Dean at
$165 per hour as the chief negotiator for contract talks with the teachers union.
It also voted to post for applicants for several positions: a cafeteria worker
for six hours daily, a head football coach for the 2010 season and a special education
teacher to replace Barbara Wynn, who retired in October.
Beggs, a sports coach, was hired as the head of the Electives Department for 2009-10
after Deborah Krupinski, another athletic coach, resigned, citing insufficient
The board accepted a letter of intent from Barbara
Zaborney to retire in June at the end of the school year.
Christmas in the Park
McGinley - Times Leader
When asked if children like
Christmas in the Park in the city of Nanticoke, event chairperson
Linda Prushinski laughs because the turnout is so overwhelming.
year, the line for Santa Claus went halfway around the park, she said.
Fortunately, the Irem Temple Clowns will be on hand to
mingle in the crowd. That should help keep the kids occupied, she
Children get the chance to meet Santa Claus after
the annual parade, which begins at 2 p.m. Sunday at Greater Nanticoke Area High
School on Kosciuszko Street, processes down Green Street and ends at Patriot Square
I would say we get between 200 and 300
people, Prushinski, 55, of Nanticoke, said. Last year, it was 50 degrees
and gorgeous so everybody was there.
might not recognize Patriot Square Park on Sunday.
wont look like it normally does, Prushinski teased. I can guarantee
The chairperson said itll be transformed
into a winter wonderland thanks to a plethora of decorations like
colored snowflakes, old-fashioned paper chains hanging from trees and a 30-foot-
high snowman that volunteers will try to put over the statue in the middle of
Were going to try to go on Saturday
to start decorating, Prushinski said.
the decorations in the park, the parade and a visit from Santa, families can listen
to music thanks to the Greater Nanticoke Area High School Chorus and John Stanky
Last year (Stankovic) played while
the kids sang Christmas Carols, Prushinski recalled.
Tree at Nanticoke city building has special story
Rob Olsen covers Newport and Hanover townships. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
beginning to look a lot like Christmas ... thanks to the Greater Nanticoke Area's
Dads' Group. For the second year in a row, the group has supplied and trimmed
a tree in the meeting room of the Nanticoke municipal building.
the nine dads and 16 children that make up the group spread the holiday cheer
by decorating the seven-foot tree, donated by The Home Depot, with lights, garland,
and hand-made ornaments created by the children.
Several women from the municipal
building, including Betsy Cheshinski, Donna Wall, Veronica Navroth, Pam Heard
and Holly Quinn, volunteered to stay late to assist. They also provided goodie
bags for the children as well as cookies and juice.
Several members of Junior
Girl Scout Troop 3318 also participated in the evening's festivities, assisting
the children in craft making activities and story-time. Scouts Mallory Dixon,
Emily Lehman, Alyson Muse and Sara Desino helped the children make snowflakes
and paint ceramic decorations for the tree.
The group soon will be participating
in other events such as a night at Chuck E. Cheese, a roller skating night, and
a night at the movies. All events are paid for by a grant the Family Center receives
to run the group.
For information on the group or to become a member, contact
GNA Family Center Director Diane Klish at 735-0935. The group is open to all dads,
including expectant and stay-at-home, in Luzerne County and meets once a week
at the Family Center in Sheatown, Newport Township.
Nanticoke cash surplus evaporates
The citys property tax will hold steady under the proposed 2010 budget.
City Council members unanimously approved the first reading
of the $3.94 million 2010 budget Wednesday evening.
a previous presentation of the 2010 preliminary budget late last month, council
members learned the city was expected to have a $45,000 extra cushion
with which to end the year. Council did not vote on the budget then because the
mayor wanted time for elected officials to review it. Although the cushion is
gone, council members are not considering raising taxes.
citys property tax rate in 2010 will remain the same as 2009s rate
of 1.45 mills. A mill is a $1 tax on every $1,000 of assessed property value.
The citys earned income tax rate will remain at 2
percent, as approved a few days ago by a Luzerne County judge. There will be no
commuter tax in Nanticoke in 2010.
City Treasurer Al
Wytoshek asked City Finance Director Pamela Heard during Wednesdays meeting
what happened to the surplus amount the city thought it was originally going to
have at the end of 2010.
Heard said that a combination
of lower-than-expected property values from the county and higher expenses in
workers compensation expenses depleted the excess funds.
originally believed the city would receive $541,087 in real estate tax revenues
based on an assessed property value of $3.73 million. Updated figures show the
city should receive approximately $489,679 in real estate taxes.
Administrator Holly Quinn said the citys insurance broker is attempting
to get quotes from other workers compensation insurance firms to get a lower
price on its insurance costs.
The workers compensation
fees are highest in the police department at $102,526, and for paid and volunteer
members of the fire department at $76,485, according to the updated budget. Workers
compensation expenses for the street department total $41,845. Other departments
workers compensation fees are less than $1,100 for each department.
Wytoshek has been critical of the salaries and benefit
packages for Heard and Quinn because he says he believes they do not have enough
experience and have not proven themselves on the job yet. He said this is not
a personal attack against the women, but rather he is worried about the citys
Council members have repeatedly defended
Heard and Quinns job qualifications, saying they are well worth what they
Since Act 47 has been in place and
weve had the administrator and financial person, weve probably paid
off $3.5 million of debt, but because it was close to $5 million on old debt,
Mayor John Bushko said.
Council members did not give
Heard a raise in 2010 because she had just started in mid-August. She currently
makes $45,000 per year, plus benefits. Other employees will receive raises as
stipulated in their union contracts.
Nanticoke townhouse developer files complaint against
developer of a city townhouse complex and its new owner met in magistrate's court
Wednesday in an attempt to settle unfinished business.
Ortolani, developer of Lexington Village on Kosciuszko Street, filed a civil complaint
against Narberth Property Acquisition LLC, which holds the mortgage on the property
from Philadelphia-based Royal Bank America.
wants to retrieve his possessions - furniture and tools - from the model home
being used to show prospective tenants, the community center and one of the garages.
He also wants to charge $6,500 rent for use of his property.
District Judge Donald Whittaker allowed Ortolani and attorneys David Schwager
of Wilkes-Barre and Nancy Glidden of West Chester, representing Narberth Property
Acquisitions, and Tim Bricker, senior vice president of Portfolio Work for Royal
Bank America to settle the matter amicably.
alleged that since late spring, he has been trying to remove his property, but
the owners have not responded.
"I thought this
was just another game they were playing," he said.
owners wanted Ortolani to submit a list of his belongings to ensure he wasn't
taking anything of theirs. Bricker said he never received a list; Whittaker made
Bricker told Ortolani he had no problem returning
his furniture, and if Ortolani would pick a date to get everything out, he would
come up from the Philadelphia area. They agreed to do so. Whittaker said if any
of Ortolani's property is missing or damaged, he can file another civil complaint.
Lexington Village was originally envisioned as a 55-unit
senior independent living complex. A proposed 66-bed Alzheimer's facility was
A $260,000 grant from state Rep. John
Yudichak, D-Nanticoke, and state Sen. Raphael Musto, D-Pittston Township, was
used to reclaim the 12.5 acres of former strip mine land for the project.
State and city officials were optimistic about the project,
which they hoped was a sign of Nanticoke's revitalization.
matters soon soured: contractors sued Lexington Village LP, of which Ortolani
was principal, for unpaid bills. Through its attorneys, Royal Bank America filed
a civil complaint against Ortolani in Luzerne County Court on July 9, 2008. It
alleged Ortolani owed $7,272,210 for defaulting on three loans the bank issued
in 2005 and 2007.
The Lexington Village property was
put up for sheriff's sale in October 2008, December 2008, February 2009 and on
April 3, 2009. The claim on the property was $5,723,528. Lexington Village LP
filed for bankruptcy on April 2, 2009.
Acquisition LLC, which was assigned the Lexington Village mortgage by Royal Bank
America, purchased the property at a Luzerne County sheriff's sale on June 12.
On June 16, Lexington Village LP petitioned federal court
to dismiss the case "due to the fact this bankruptcy matter involves a single
asset and the debtor's largest secured creditor, Narberth Property Acquisitions,
has obtained relief from the automatic stay, and took back the property."
It was dismissed on July 17.
Nanticoke considers home rule
Voters will decide
in May whether to have commission study the citys government.
Officials are contemplating whether the city should
adopt a home rule form of government.
Last month, council
members adopted an ordinance to let voters decide in May whether a government
study commission should be formed with seven members to review the existing third-class
city form of government.
The panel would decide if
it would be in the citys best interest to become home rule like four other
This will be the first time Nanticoke
voters will consider creating a government study commission.
Wilkes-Barre Township, Kingston and Kingston Township already are home rule communities
in Luzerne County.
City officials must at least explore
other options on how to properly run city government by adopting a home rule charter
or an optional plan of government, as stipulated in the citys original financial
recovery plan by the Pennsylvania Economy League.
league was hired by the state as the citys financial recovery coordinator.
The May election will not determine whether the city becomes
home rule or adopts another form of government, but rather, voters will decide
if they want a commission formed to review how the city government works and elect
seven members to serve on the board.
Even if voters
want to vote against the commission, they can still vote for seven people to serve
on the board, Luzerne County Elections Bureau Director Leonard Piazza said.
If voters approve a commission, it will begin meeting to
conduct an in-depth study of the city government, look into the procedures of
the government to determine its weaknesses or defects and look at how other municipalities
The commissioners must be aware their
work is likely to have a long-term influence on the affairs of their community,
states the Home Rule Handbook distributed by the state Department of Community
and Economic Development.
After government study commissioners
meet for several months, they will either decide that there are no changes that
need to be made or they will draft a charter detailing how the new government
will operate. That charter would then be presented to Nanticoke voters to be approved
City officials say they believe it would
be in the communitys best interest to at least form a commission.
third-class city code is archaic. It hasnt been changed in 30 or 40 years.
We can go up so high with our taxes. You are limited on what you can do,
said Mayor John Bushko.
Currently, as officials of
an Act 47 distressed municipality, they must go before a county judge every year
to request the earned income tax remain at 2 percent for residents working in
Nanticoke or another community.
People who live outside
the city but work within the city limits pay a 1.33 percent commuter tax if approved
annually by the judge.
Under a home rule or other government
plan, the city could establish the earned income tax and commuter tax as standard
Bushko also noted that becoming home rule would
also give the city more control over other government functions, including allowing
a strong-mayor system of government to give future mayors veto power.
the mayor has only a single vote like council members.
Wilkes-Barre Township, Kingston and Kingston Township are home rule communities.
rights supporters protest at Nanticoke furrier
Voice of the Animals members
target RK Furs, the regions last furrier, in a demonstration held across
from the Kirmar Street store.
Seven animal rights proponents eschewed shopping
on Black Friday to instead deter the purchase of fur, but the impact of their
protest was open to interpretation.
On one side, a
variety of motorists passing on Kirmar Street, including the driver of a Newport
Township ambulance, honked their approval of the Voice of the Animals members.
Several people even pulled up to give up fur coats, which the group will be donating
to orphaned and rehabilitating wildlife.
On the other
side, some primarily men in pickup trucks offered only derogatory
gestures or suggestions that the protesters should get a life.
One gentleman even drove by twice, honking to attract attention
to furs lying across the bow of the fishing boat he was towing.
it all, the employees and the few visitors across the street at RK Furs, the regions
last furrier and the target of the protest, seemed to disregard the clamor. A
few faces appeared at the door to observe the protesters, but no one engaged them.
Either way, the group felt it had imparted its message:
While its members have been focusing on other cruelty issues in recent years,
they hadnt forgotten about fur.
almost succeeded in closing all of the local furriers in the 1990s, Melinda
Dugan said. Guess what? We didnt go anywhere. Here we are 20
The protesters are particularly
concerned about the methods used to procure the fur. From anal electrocution to
trapping and clubbing, the animals often die in gruesome ways, they said. In countries
such as China, where animals are strangled, strung up and skinned, they arent
always dead before their skins are removed.
squirm around on the hooks, so theyre alive, said Jessyca Horst.
Theres very little oversight.
would be treated humanely, said Karen Kepic, there would be no problem.
She cited as an example of smaller farms, where animals
see daylight, are raised kindly and are slaughtered quickly with as little discomfort
to the animal as possible.
China is also notorious
for obscuring the origin of its fur. Even if it says its man-made
fur, if its from China, its questionable, Dugan said. The members
noted two bills being considered by federal legislators that would require accurate
labeling of fur items.
She also questioned why, in
an age of constant technological advancements in fabrics and resource procurement,
steel traps are still used to capture animals.
Scores go to Patton viewing
Burial services for Navy
Petty Officer Brian M. Patton of Nanticoke will be today at Corpus Christi Parish.
Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer David Kinnaird lost not only one of his best leaders,
but also a personal friend on Nov. 19 when Petty Officer 2nd Class Brian M. Patton
The Brian M. Patton Memorial Fund to benefit
Pattons two sons, Nicholas, 8, and Brian James, 19, and his wife has been
set up at PNC Bank, his wife confirmed.
funeral will be at 10 a.m. today at Corpus Christi Parish, formerly St. Adalberts
Church, 31 S. Market St., in the Glen Lyon section of Newport Township.
will then be laid to rest in the churchs cemetery.
was a go-to guy. He was a natural leader. People would follow him. Definitely
a wonderful sailor, one of my best sailors
He always got the job done,
Kinnaird, stationed overseas with Patton
and other deployed sailors, escorted his friends body home.
joined hundreds of other friends, family, co-workers and fellow Navy personnel
who filtered into Greater Nanticoke Area High Schools gym Friday night to
pay respects to Patton.
Patton, 37, died Nov. 19 in
northern Kuwait in an automobile crash shortly after calling his wife, Amy Hynoski
Patton, to wish her a happy anniversary. They were married for nine years.
Two flags an American and Alabama state flag that
flew over Camp Buehring, Kuwait, the day he died were hung in the gym to
honor the fallen sailor. The draped flags were stationed on the ends of a table
where photos of Patton and his family were displayed.
flags were a gift from the Alabama-based unit that is deployed at Buehring, where
Patton was stationed.
An honor guard team from the
State Correctional Institution at Dallas, where Patton had worked, stood guard
in front of Pattons casket. Team members rotated out every 15 minutes.
People could reflect on the good times as they viewed a
collage of several pictures of Patton at events, including his wedding.
friend Cathy Sadowski of Nanticoke recalled that Patton liked to laugh and have
a good time. She and her friends came out to show support for his wife and two
sons, 8-year old Nicholas and 19-year old Brian James. Patton also has a 12-year
old stepson, Tyler Kozlofski.
Several fellow Navy Reserve
members drove four hours from their base headquarters in Rochester, N.Y., to say
goodbye to their friend, who they said always brought a smile to their faces with
He was very funny. He liked to joke
around all the time. He took the pressures off training. He was a good guy,
said Petty Officer 1st Class Marlin Angelo.
was proud and eager to serve his country again because he volunteered to be deployed
to Kuwait, said Angelo, of Williamsport.
deployed to the Middle East in June with the Naval Security Force from Rochester,
N.Y., to support Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom. It was his
second tour in the region.
He also served during Operation
Desert Storm in the early 1990s.
While any deployment
entails danger, Pattons fellow sailors said they never expected anything
to happen to him.
He had a real love for life,
so it was shocking, one sailor said when he learned of the vehicle crash.
Elected officials, such as state Rep. John Yudichak, U.S.
Rep. Paul Kanjorski and several Nanticoke city officials came out as a way to
thank Patton for his service.
Kanjorski presented the
family with an American flag that was specifically flown over the U.S. Capitol
in the last few days in Pattons honor.
mayor-elect Joe Dougherty did not know Patton but said he was honored to know
that such a great man and patriot called the city home.
are grateful for what he did and what men and women like him do by going out serving
the country and doing what they have to do to protect us, Dougherty said.
As SCI-Dallas Superintendent Jerome Walsh and Deputy Superintendent
Vince Mooney left the wake Friday, they vowed to provide as much support
as we can to Pattons family, Mooney said.
added that the prison, where Patton worked as a correctional officer, was also
reeling from the news that fellow sailor and correctional officer David Morgan
was seriously wounded in the crash. Hes still recovering at the Bethesda
Naval Hospital in Maryland.
Our thoughts and
prayers are with both men and their families right now, Walsh said.
A fallen serviceman
Pattons body back home
Residents express their
is taking on a new whole meaning for some in the wake of the death last week of
U.S. Naval Petty Officer 2nd Class Brian M. Patton.
The Brian M. Patton Memorial Fund
to benefit Pattons two sons, Nicholas, 8, and Brian James, 19, and his wife
has been set up at PNC Bank, his wife confirmed.
wake will be from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday in the Nanticoke
Area High School gym. His funeral will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at
St. Adalberts Church, 31 S. Market St., in the Glen Lyon section of Newport
He will then be laid to rest in the churchs
The 37-year-old Nanticoke resident died Nov.
19 in northern Kuwait after a vehicle crash that seriously injured his friend
and colleague David Morgan, who was still at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland
on Wednesday afternoon.
Feels like your heart
is broken, said Joe Weiss.
Calling it just
tragic, he expressed how sad it was that Patton had died, especially around
the holidays and being so far from home and his family.
who said he doesnt know the Patton family, retired from the U.S. Army in
1995 after more than 24 years of service.
body was returned to Nanticoke on Wednesday morning at about 11:30 after a state
police escort to the Stegura Funeral Home in Nanticoke. He will be laid to rest
at a funeral at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Adalberts Church in Newport Township.
Pattons death hit home for Donna Shook of Hanover
Township. Although she said she doesnt know the Patton family personally,
she feels a bond with them because her 19-year-old nephew is in the U.S. Navy
and currently stationed in San Diego, Calif.
feel for the family more than anything. I cant imagine the heartache that
the family feels. My heart goes out to the family, Shook said, adding that
Pattons death reminds her to be thankful for what her family has and be
thankful for what all military personnel do to keep America safe.
is a hero in my eyes even though I didnt know him, she said.
was deployed to the Middle East in June with the Naval Security Force from Rochester,
N.Y., to support Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom. It was his
second tour in the region. He served during Operation Desert Storm in the early
escort to bring fallen soldier home
Services for Petty Officer Brian M. Patton
set for this weekend in Nanticoke area.
A fallen Navy reservist who died in Kuwait will
be returned home to Nanticoke today from Delaware with a state police escort,
his wife, Amy Hynoski Patton, confirmed.
is expected to arrive at the Stegura Funeral Home in Nanticoke at about 11 a.m.
Wake and funeral services for U.S. Naval Petty Officer 2nd Class Brian M. Patton
will be held this weekend.
Patton, a military police
officer, died Thursday in an automobile crash in northern Kuwait. Pattons
law enforcement experience also included his job as a prison guard at State Correctional
Institution at Dallas.
Pattons wake will be held
from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday in the Nanticoke
Area High School gym. His funeral will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at St.
Adalberts Church on 31 S. Market St. in the Glen Lyon section of Newport
He will then be laid to rest in the churchs
The Brian M. Patton Memorial Fund to benefit
Pattons two sons, Nicholas, 8, and Brian James, 19, and his wife has been
set up at PNC Bank, his wife confirmed.
37, was deployed to the Middle East in June to serve with the Naval Security Force
from Rochester, N.Y., to support Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom.
His body was returned stateside Friday night at Dover Air Force Base in Dover,
Pattons friend and colleague at SCI-Dallas
and in Kuwait, David Morgan, was injured in the crash. Morgan is in the intensive
care unit at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland as of Tuesday afternoon.
Brian Patton, killed in the Middle East, to be honored
A final salute for
a war hero
His buddy said you always knew when Brian Patton walked
into the room.
Man, he was loud and full of fun,
recalled Vince McClosky of Wilkes-Barre. He was outgoing and always wanted
to be the center of attention; he was the life of the party. You always knew he
On Friday, Pattons casket
will be at the Greater Nanticoke
Area High School gymnasium so that family and friends can pay respects
to the fallen hero. He is expected to be buried on Saturday, according to Jonathon
Stegura of Stegura Funeral Home in Nanticoke.
died Thursday morning in an automobile crash in Kuwait. A military police officer
with the Naval Security Force from Rochester, N.Y., he was stationed in June in
northern Kuwait, where he was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring
You wont ever find a guy like
that again, McClosky said. He cant be replaced.
worked with Patton at the State Correctional Institution at Dallas, along with
fellow sailor David Morgan, who was critically injured in the crash.
came home for leave last month and was scheduled to end his tour in late February
or early March. McClosky and Morgan lived with Patton in Kuwait and the three
became good friends.
We got to be pretty close,
McClosky said. We first met in 2007, and we hit it off immediately.
Stegura said he is awaiting release of Pattons body
from the Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland. He said funeral arrangements will
be finalized once he knows when Pattons body will be returned home.
McClosky said he, Patton and Morgan were individual
augmentees, part of the Law and Order Detachment.
three of us decided to be deployed together, McClosky said. We were
part of the same group in Rochester and then we were tagged for mobilization.
McClosky returned home last week. His first day back he
heard the news about his friend.
I just got home
and I was told Brian was killed, McClosky said.
23, said Patton, 37, was in a vehicle that was struck head-on by another vehicle
on a paved road between Camp Buehring and Camp Virginia in Kuwait.
were on a police call, he said. I was told a car was passing a convoy
at a high rate of speed when they came to a hill and there was a blind spot.
McClosky said he knows Pattons wife and two children.
He said the next few days will be difficult to get through.
lost a friend, a co-worker and a father figure, McClosky said. Brian
knew my dad too; my dad works at SCID too. He told me to make sure I brought Brian
back and Brian always had my back, too.
said he feels a sense of guilt that he wasnt there when Patton was killed.
He took his job and his duty to his country very
serious, McClosky said. He often gave me advice about life and everything.
McClosky said hes still in shock over Pattons
Everybody tells me not to feel guilty,
but I cant help it, he said. Every day it seems to get better,
but then I lose it again. I just cant believe it.
said Morgan is still in critical condition at Bethesda Hospital. He said he hopes
to get there to visit his friend this week.
just turned 35 the other day, McClosky said of Morgan. When you train
as a soldier, you prepare for losses in war and casualties; but youre never
prepared for friends to go this way.
Local serviceman killed in Kuwait
A U.S. Navy reservist from Nanticoke
died Thursday in Kuwait as a result of a head-on crash with a civilian vehicle,
his family said.Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class Brian Patton,
37, was traveling in a Dodge Durango when a civilian contractor in a pick-up truck
crashed into his vehicle while trying to pass a military convoy, according to
Amy Hynoski Patton said her husband called
around 11:47 p.m. Wednesday, their ninth wedding anniversary, and the two spoke
about an upcoming trip they were planning to Hawaii.The
crash occurred a little after midnight, the military told her.
guy behind didnt want to wait for the convoy, got in the other lane and
hit him head-on," Hynoski Patton said in a cell phone call on her way to
Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Del., where her husbands body will arrive
Hynoski Patton and Pattons two brothers
will be on hand for the arrival ceremony.
so surreal. It hasnt hit me. Im sure it will tonight. I keep waiting
for him to call," Hynoski Patton said.
a veteran of the first Gulf War, is a member of a Naval Reserve unit based in
Binghamton, N.Y. He volunteered for the Operation Iraqi Freedom deployment to
Kuwait to serve as a military police officer, his wife said. The unit left in
Patton was home on leave between Oct. 13 and
Oct. 30. The highlight of his visit home was a trip to South Bend, Ind. with his
wife and youngest son to see a Notre Dame Fighting Irish football game.
was a big Notre Dame fan, and he was never at Notre Dame," Hynoski Patton
In addition to Notre Dame, Patton was a big fan
of the Chicago Cubs and North Carolina Tar Heels, she said.
leaves behind two sons, Brian, 19, and Nicholas, 8, along with stepson, Tyler,
"My youngest son idolized him. He was attached
to him at the hip," Hynoski Patton said.
Patton left, he gave his wife a gold necklace with a Jesus charm and said, "Make
sure you give this to Nicholas if I dont come back," Hynoski Patton
Nicholas is now wearing the necklace.
was a prison guard at State Correctional Institution at Dallas, which released
"Acting Superintendent Jerome Walsh
and the entire staff at SCI-Dallas send their sincere condolences to the family
and friends of fallen sailor Brian Patton. His passing will be deeply felt among
the staff at our facility. He was employed as a corrections officer for four years
at SCI-Dallas, and had touched the lives of many. He will be sorely missed by
all his friends and fellow workers."
the funeral likely will be next week from the Stanley Stegura Funeral Home in
City holds line on taxes for 2010
The proposed spending
plan is only slightly larger than this years and lower than 2008s.
taxes in the city will not increase under a $3.9 million 2010 budget, city council
members learned at Wednesdays meeting.
was presented with the 2010 spending plan that showed the real estate tax rate
will remain 1.4573 mills. A mill rate is $1 for every $1,000 assessed tax value.
The citys Earned Income Tax rate is expected to remain
at 1.5 percent if approved by a Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas judge early
The general fund budget for 2010 is greater
that 2009s by $26,365, but it is $254,288 less than the 2008 budget.
Workers compensation expenses were one of the biggest
percentage increases in the 2010, Finance Director Pamela Heard told council members.
The workers compensation fees, paid to the State Workers Insurance Fund
through the Department of Labor, are based on how many employees are injured and
the extent of their injuries.
City Administrator Holly
Quinn said the city still has its safety committee and is working to find other
ways to trim the workers compensation bill.
health care costs and pay raises as stipulated in union contracts are other increased
expenses, Heard said.
Council members did not vote
on the budget because Mayor John Bushko said he just received his packet shortly
before the meeting and wanted to review it. The council must vote on the budget
twice before the end of December for it to be approved.
other business, council approved an agreement with the Fraternal Order of Police
and Nanticoke Police Officers Association for extra compensation for Officer Brian
Kivler, who is the handler for Vice, the citys K9 dog.
said under the federal Labor Standards Act the city must pay Kivler a minimum
wage rate for a 14 hours a week for caring for Vice. Kivler will receive approximately
$5,300 per year to care for the dog that lives with him.
is basically minimal, but we are required to pay this young man for the handling
and care of this dog outside city time, Quinn said.
wage is $ 7.25 per hour, according to the state Department of Labor and Industry.
The city received a $250,000 Conservation Works grant from
the state Department of Environmental Protection to replace the municipal buildings
25-year old HVAC air-conditioning and heating system. The city spent $20,000 this
summer to fix the unit when it quit cooling the building.
believes the city could save at least $15,000 in energy costs because the new
unit is energy-efficient and will feature new duct work and a zone control system.
She also reported the sale of two city vehicles was successful
through an auction Web site, municibid.com.
Hahn fire truck sold for a $1,000 and a former street department snow plow pickup
sold for $3,060. The fire truck was advertised for one week and the pickup truck
was advertised for roughly 10 days.
the city sought to sell the vehicles, no bids were received.
Byorick sidelined by knee injury
Aly Byoricks college basketball career is
on hold again.
The former Nanticoke great, who plays
for Lehigh University, suffered a torn ACL two weeks ago and will be sidelined
for the entire season.
Byorick, who had to sit out
last year after transferring to Lehigh from Xavier at the end of the 2007 season,
was expected to be a key member the Mountain Hawks team this year. But as fate
would have it, she was hurt just a few days from the season opener.
were scrimmaging in practice, said Byorick, a 6-foot sophomore guard. I
went to box someone out and another player came and fell right on top of my knee.
It turned the wrong way and gave out.
a devastating blow emotionally for Byorick.
was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I knew right away it was a torn ACL
because I heard my knee pop. I was screaming and crying, but I knew what happened.
Byorick said she is scheduled to undergo knee surgery the
second week in December. It will be performed by the team doctor.
there its going to be a slow process, she said. Its going
to take a long time to get my knee in shape to play Division I basketball, but
I know I can do it.
Byorick was a two-time All-American
at Nanticoke, where she became the schools all-time leading scorer with
2,271 points. She signed with Division I Xavier, but transferred to Lehigh after
seeing limited playing time at the Ohio school.
still trying to deal with the disappointment of having to miss another season.
She plans to petition the NCAA for an extra year of eligibility due to medical
reasons, which would give her three years of eligibility if granted.
have my moments, Byorick said. On the outside Im fine, but sometimes
I crumble on the inside. I have to stay strong. Its unfortunate, but Im
not going to get anywhere by feeling sorry for myself.
Support professionals called unsung heroes
Times Leader - Mailbag letters from readers
professionals in the Greater Nanticoke Area School District and in schools across
the nation will be in the spotlight Wednesday, as students, parents, administrators
and the community celebrate the National Education Associations annual Educational
Support Professionals Day.
Education support professionals
are equal and essential partners in the education process. They include office
employees, cafeteria workers, custodians, maintenance workers, hall monitors and
computer and technical aides.
Often, educational support
professionals are the first people our children encounter each day. They are the
unsung heroes who keep our schools going, and it is time that we recognize their
hard work and expertise by telling them thank you.
jobs are very rewarding and very often thankless. But we get a great feeling knowing
we helped to instill the character values that help children become lifelong learners,
responsible adults and kind, caring people.
Support Professionals Day to all!
J.D. Verazin President,
Nanticoke Area Educational Support Professionals
Nanticoke man lends time, talents to veterans
Shonk isn't a veteran, but when the members of the American Legion Post 463 in
Plymouth needed a new roof, he took care of them as if they were family.
really got hit hard," Shonk said. "They needed a roof, their air conditioning
and heating system blew up, and then their sewer line clogged. We figured we'd
help them out with a free roof."
Nanticoke man owns Shonk Roofing and Construction, also in Nanticoke. He lived
in New Jersey for 14 years, but spent most of his life in the Wyoming Valley.
Shonk, a Plymouth native and Larksville High School graduate, started his career
as a roofer when he was 24 years old.
hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of roofs since then, and repaired more,"
The old American Legion roof was at least
30 years old, and the building, located on Center Avenue, is 10 to 20 years older,
Shonk said. He offered his time and crew at no cost, as long as the legion members
could pick up the cost of materials.
needed a new roof," he said. "No doubt about it."
estimated the roof's cost at $20,000, including the cost of two weeks' labor,
but that is a small amount compared to the sacrifices the veterans of Post 463
made, he said.
Shonk's efforts did not go unnoticed
by the legion members.
"With the economy being
that it is, Bob is struggling to stay afloat himself, yet he donated his time
to help the veterans," said Clarence Hopkins, a Post 463 member and Vietnam
War veteran. "He is married and has a family to feed and provide for. Bob
is not a veteran, but cares about us that served."
said he just saw an opportunity to help the veterans, although he refers to them
as his "good friends."
"Oh, they were
up against it, with their heat and air conditioning gone and their sewer line
clogged," Shonk said. "Who wouldn't help their friends? We figured we
School Board selects new member
Ryan Verazin will be sworn in today or Saturday as the Greater Nanticoke Area
School Board's newest member after he was unanimously appointed Thursday to fill
the remaining two years of Pattie Bieski's term.
resigned Oct. 15, and the board had 30 days to fill the seat. Seven people submitted
applications. Board President Bob Raineri said the decision was extremely difficult
and hoped there would be no hard feelings.
28, who will have his first meeting as a board member in December, has until Nov.
15 to be sworn in.
"I'm very honored and very
humbled you all put your faith in me," he said.
member Cindy Donlin nominated Verazin; Jeff Kozlofski seconded the nomination.
Board member Gary Smith was absent. Raineri and Smith were reappointed to three
more years on the joint operating committee that governs the Wilkes-Barre Area
Career and Technical Center.
Albert B. Melone Co.,
of Pittston, was reappointed as the district's business consultants for the next
three years, with a base fee of $72,930 that will increase annually according
to the cost of living index provided by the state.
Nanticoke will be updating the computers in the Elementary Center by paying a
buyout of $3,000 to keep some equipment, and will enter a three-year contract
with HP/Compaq worth $136,000 to purchase 160 machines.
in third, fourth and fifth grades will have the opportunity to receive a free
H1N1 vaccine tomorrow as the district continues to give out vaccines it received
from the state. Younger students were vaccinated last week and early this week.
The vaccines are voluntary.
Attendance rates, which
are one way for school officials to gauge if H1N1 or another illness is spreading
through the district, are improving. Superintendent Tony Perrone said 95 percent
of students were in class Thursday.
New hires include
Geraldine Hill as a seven-hour cafeteria worker and Eugene Labenski and Scott
Granoski as crossing guards.
The district is also collecting
for its annual holiday drive, which Perrone said is going well. The district received
an unexpected $500 anonymous donation on top of other fundraising efforts. The
money goes toward providing toys and food to district families during the holidays.
gives nod to 28-year-old
Ryan Verazin, a district graduate, will serve as
school board member through 2011.
District alumnus Ryan Verazin has been chosen to
become the newest member of the Greater Nanticoke Area School Board.
was appointed Thursday night during a monthly board meeting after Director Cindy
Donlin made the nomination and it was seconded by Director Jeff Kozlofski. The
board vote was unanimous with member Gary Smith absent.
President Bob Raineri told those attending the meeting the board had seven qualified,
good applicants from which to choose.
very difficult to pick. We know everyone. There are no hard feelings from anyone
on this board to those that werent chosen. It was very difficult,
Verazin, 28, is filling the unexpired
term of former Director Patti Bieski, who resigned Oct. 15 because she moved out
of the district. His term will run through December 2011.
applicants considered were Betsy Cheshinski, Marilyn Collacchi, Dave Hornlein
Jr., Karen Metta, Sandy Sadowski and James Samselski.
a 1999 GNA graduate who went on to earn a degree from Kings College in 2003,
accepted the appointment with his wife, Elizabeth, and 4-month-old daughter, Haley,
at his side. He was not sworn-in Thursday but will be within the next few days.
I am very honored and humbled that you put your faith
in me. I will not let any of you down. I will not let the students down. I will
not let the taxpayers down and I will not let the teachers down as much as I possibly
can, he said.
Verazins appointment will
continue helping the district move in a new direction, Director Frank Vandermark
We are trying to move forward and get a
new, younger modern voice on the board. We are trying to get some fresh faces
and new ideas, Vandermark said.
echoed what Raineri said earlier in the evening that all the candidates were excellent
choices, making the decision hard, but he felt Verazins youth worked to
Verazin will be the youngest member
of the board.
He thinks his youth will work to the
entire districts benefit.
I am thinking
my age will possibly help keep the board a little bit more up to date on what
is really going on in the colleges. I know what the colleges are expecting of
students. I know what corporate America is expecting of the students, so I think
I can give them some younger insight of what is going on now, Verazin said.
Verazin loves biology and the sciences.
Nanticoke goes online to sell
The city is getting innovative in selling surplus
vehicles and other equipment by taking it all online.
city joined Municibid,
an eBay style auction Web site, less than a month ago to sell a fire truck and
snow plow/street department truck that the city no longer needs.
Administrator Holly Quinn said utilizing the Internet to sell extra equipment
just makes sense because the site will reach people across the nation and possibly
the world, instead of reaching just a local readership asking for bidders in a
newspaper ad. The city paid a flat fee of $200 for an annual membership.
really cost-effective. It is just as much as one advertisement in the newspaper
and it will give us a year of service, Quinn said.
on Municibid work a lot like an eBay account, Quinn said. She can post details
of the products and pictures, give as much of a description as needed and set
a minimum amount for the bids.
The citys previous
snow plow truck, a 1995 Chevrolet 4x4 pickup, was posted online on Nov. 3. There
have been no bids received yet.
Street Department Supervisor
Wally Pavelitz has received several calls from people interested in inspecting
Its been viewed 353 times and
I know Wally has been making appointments for people to come down and check out
the vehicle, Quinn said.
The 1977 Hahn Fire Truck
was posted on the auction site Wednesday afternoon and will run for seven days.
The city is asking for at least a $1,000 for the truck.
Quinn expressed expectations that the city will have a
much better chance to sell the fire truck than when the city requested bids in
May. There were no bids received at that time.
city purchased another pickup earlier this year to replace the 1995 Chevy and
the volunteer fire companies are donating money to purchase a new fire engine.
All proceeds from the sales on the Web site will go directly
into the citys capital projects fund to make improvements or purchase future
equipment, Quinn said.
Seven seeking appointment to Nanticoke Area School Board
School directors are expected to make decision tonight
Seven people, including two candidates from the
May primaries, are vying for an open seat on the Greater Nanticoke Area School
Board after a board member resigned last month.
Cheshinski, Marilyn Collacchi, Dave Hornlein Jr., Karen Metta, Sandy Sadowski,
James Samselski and Ryan Verazin all submitted letters of intent to fill former
board member Patti Bieskis seat, which runs through December 2011.
President Bob Raineri confirmed all seven applicants submitted letters of intent,
and he expected the school board to vote on selecting a new board member during
One candidate served on the
board previously. Two other candidates sought seats earlier this year, and there
is also a community advocate looking for his first elected seat.
a retired teacher and Sadowski, a community watchdog, ran unsuccessfully in the
Metta, 61, retired in 2005 after 34
years in the district, where she worked primarily as an art teacher. She said
her experience and familiarity with the district will help her serve the residents,
as she feels the board is moving in the right direction.
praised the current board for keeping the district financially sound, making process
on course selections, technology offerings.
running well and I would like to help keep it running that way, said Metta,
whose husband, Jon, is a city council member and previously worked for the district
as a grants coordinator. They have two children who have graduated from Greater
Nanticoke Area already and their youngest child is a sophomore.
think all the children in Nanticoke should get an education just like my grandchildren
are getting (in Maryland), Sadowski said. Nanticoke has a lot of problems
and is not willing to face up to it, she said.
66, believes Metta should get the seat because she ran and she was the next highest
vote getter not to get elected.
Hornlein, 41, thinks
his previous experience as a school board member from 2004-07 will benefit him
if he is selected to serve again. He said he enjoyed serving on the board and
would like to help lead the district again.
a board member you cant just have one goal. You need to take in everything
that is going on around you and adjust with the times, said Hornlein, who
also serves on the board of directors for the New Horizons Development Foundation,
an affiliate of the Nanticoke Housing Authority.
a community advocate, routinely attends city council and school board meetings.
All of Samselskis children have graduated, but he
remains an active community advocate who works with children as vice-president
of the citys recreation board.
I could help out being that I am around the kids. I know their concerns, needs
and abilities and how to play on things like that. When you know what is going
on in town, it is easier to help out, said Samselski, 47.
28, considered running for a seat on the board during the May primaries, but then
changed his plans after his wife became pregnant.
works in the pharmaceutical industry in vaccine development and wants to use this
background to help increase offerings in the districts biological and health
I would like to jump on their
team and get my feet wet and possibly look into increasing the health sciences
area, he said.
Collacchis love of children
prompted her to seek a seat on the board, as she is a Sunday school teacher at
Holy Trinity in Nanticoke.
Collacchi, 61, knows the
district is on the right track and says if selected she wants to help fellow board
members continue offering the gifted programs, special SAT and PSSA tutoring sessions
and special programs to help special needs children.
just felt like being part of the team for school directors to continue helping
them. I was interested in working with the children and for the taxpayers to make
sure the taxes dont go sky high, said Collacchi, who ran against Al
Wytoshek for city treasurer many years ago. She lost that election.
who is the sister of Jean Ditzler, a member and acting executive director of the
Nanticoke Housing Authority, also teaches Sunday school at Holy Trinity Church.
Cheshinski, 52, works for the city of Nanticoke and has
served as city clerk for the council for the last year. She said shes learned
a lot as city clerk and now wants to have a voice to communicate with district
I just feel the school is the childrens
second home. I think a lot of that is lost that we even have to teach parents
to get more active in their childs education, Cheshinski said.
If you go:
Greater Nanticoke Area School Board meeting
at 7 tonight at Nanticoke Area High School, 425 Kosciuszko St.
Nanticoke ordinance to muzzle bothersome pets
Loud animals in the city now could cost their owners
An ordinance passed last week will penalize
pet owners if their non-human friends are excessively loud and disturb other resident.
Any pet owner whose animal violates the ordinance will
be subject to a fine of up to $1,000.
Joe Dougherty said he and his colleagues began discussing ideas for such an ordinance
after receiving complaints from residents throughout the city.
ordinance enables city officials to better provide for the greater control
and more effective regulation of excessive sound and the sources of excessive
sound, according to the ordinance text.
regardless of type, will be considered a nuisance if it makes unreasonable noise
continuously for 30 minutes or for every few minutes for an hour or more.
There are exceptions to the ordinance, though.
disturbance will not be considered a nuisance if the animal is making noise to
protect private property or itself from someone who might be provoking the animal,
the ordinance states.
This ordinance will not apply
to farms with farm animals.
Nanticoke Area offers vaccine
The district wants
to protect students from a swine flu epidemic in its schools.
Greater Nanticoke Area School District began providing free H1N1 vaccine
Friday to its students in an attempt to ward off a major swine flu outbreak.
In other countries we see people with masks on and
we are wondering, is it really that bad? I really dont know. I hope Americans
arent taking this lightly. Experts say the real season is supposed to come
in November and December. All we can do is make it available and then it is up
to parents, Superintendent Tony Perrone said as he explained what prompted
him to work with district Head Nurse Sandy Najaka to offer these free clinics.
Shots and nasal spray vaccines were given to 200 out of
the districts 370 pre-schoolers, kindergarteners and first graders at the
districts K.M. Smith Elementary School in Sheatown, Perrone said.
expects students in the second grade to get the vaccine on either Monday or Tuesday.
Students in the higher grades will get the vaccine as more doses arrive. All students
are eligible to receive the vaccine if their parents sign an authorization form.
Earlier this week, thousands of swine flu vaccines had
to be discarded by the Stroudsburg Area School District in Monroe County when
they were stored at too cold of a temperature. That caused the vaccines to become
Vaccines administered by the Nanticoke
Areas nurses arrived eight days ago. The first batch of 600 vaccines were
stored at the proper temperature until they could be given, Perrone said.
More vaccine is expected to arrive within the next week.
Nanticoke Area appears to be the only district in Luzerne
County currently offering swine flu vaccines.
were lucky. The first time we applied for it, we got it. I dont think any
of the other schools are doing it right now, Perrone said.
Dallas School District submitted paperwork earlier this week to the states
Department of Health to apply to become a certified vaccination site, district
Nurse Laura OMalley said. It is unknown when it will learn a decision will
Pittston Area, which was hit heavy by a swine
flu outbreak earlier this fall, is not applying to become a vaccine site. Other
district superintendents could not be reached for comment.
of Health spokeswoman Stacy Kriedeman could not confirm which districts have been
designated as vaccine sites, but said 150 districts statewide have received vaccine
State statistics show 171 Luzerne County residents
are confirmed to have contracted the swine flu as of Friday morning, according
to the Department of Healths Web site. State officials said no one locally
has died from swine flu.
Lou Cella wont be back to coach in 2010
Nanticoke Area football coach Lou Cella
announced Friday that he will not return as coach for the 2010 season.
did not coach the Trojans this season after suffering a heart attack during the
I have discussed my recent health
issues with my physicians and have decided not to return as head varsity football
coach at Greater Nanticoke Area High School in 2010, Cella said in an e-mail
sent to the media Friday night.
I have always
stressed to my students and athletes that it is important to invest 100 percent
into everything that is important to them, Cella continued in the e-mail.
Due to my involvement in cardiac rehabilitation, vascular education classes,
and nutritional meetings, I now have to dedicate substantial time to my health.
Cella coached Nanticoke for one season 2008. He
was replaced on the sidelines this season by his brother, Mario.
may put own home rule study to vote
Robert Olsen - Citizens' Voice
Council members discussed a proposed ordinance Wednesday
that would place a question on the May 2010 ballot regarding the formation of
a government study commission to explore the adoption of a city home rule charter.
"Why do we need a commission for that?" Nanticoke
Mayor John Bushko asked Solicitor William T. Finnegan. "(Home Rule) is already
"It's the law," Finnegan
said. "There are certain steps you have to go through (when exploring the
adoption of home rule) and this is one of the steps."
to Finnegan, the study commission can be comprised of seven, nine or 11 members.
Finnegan suggested selecting a board of seven members.
asked what qualifications a person must have to be on the commission.
could run," Finnegan said. "You have to run to be on the commission."
According to Finnegan, to run for the commission, a resident
must be a registered voter. Party affiliation is not a consideration.
said he would begin working on the ordinance and advertising for it.
other business, council approved a motion to submit an application for the municipal
building to act as a designated Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling
for the Elderly program site.
Pam Heard, the city's
new finance director, will oversee the program as well as the recruitment of volunteers.
According to Heard, she has years of tax preparation experience
and is excited to have the opportunity to help the city's elderly residents.
Bushko said all of Heard's time working on the project
would not be on the city clock.
According to Heard,
those who meet certain conditions will be eligible for free tax return preparation.
More details will be available at upcoming council meetings.
also approved a motion to pay city bills totaling $286,410.96.
On the left:
A demolition project is under way
in downtown Nanticoke. The old Susquehanna Coal Co. office and former senior center
are being razed this week to make way for LCCC's new culinary arts center.
Nanticoke defends managers
Mayor said finance director,
city administrator are doing good job balancing budget.
City council members had just barely a quorum Wednesday
night, yet they had a lively meeting that centered on money and employment issues.
Council members unanimously approved an employment agreement
with city Finance Director Pamela Heard after city Treasurer Al Wytoshek asked
a series of questions regarding Heards salary and benefits.
our money, and I just want to know how it is being spent. I think the salaries
and benefits are excessive. We are spending this type of money, but I dont
see us getting anything in return, Wytoshek said.
John Bushko sarcastically asked him if he thought it was a waste of money.
Wytoshek said he wasnt against Heard personally,
but he wanted to know exactly how the citys money was being spent.
look at what she does in the office. &hellip. They (Heard and City Administrator
Holly Quinn) are balancing the budget, doing everything to cut costs and bring
everything down to where we can afford to have police officers and fire (fighters).
What do you want us to do? What are we missing?
Wytoshek did not offer any specifics.
Bushko went on to point out the city interviewed other
less qualified candidates for the finance director job, who wanted $50,000 or
more to perform the job.
Heard works as an adjunct
faculty member at the Luzerne County Community College and previously worked for
the Al Melone CPA firm.
Councilman Jon Metta, who oversees
the finance department, believes Heard has proven she is worth the salary and
benefits she is paid.
She is getting her feet
wet. She is getting a lot of things under her belt and I see very good progress,
Heard works under an employment agreement
because she is not a member of a union, so she is not covered under a contract.
The agreement states Heard, who started on Aug. 5, will
be paid $45,000 per year with the eligibility to receive future pay raises based
She receives health benefits, paid holidays,
10 paid vacation days a year, has a 35-hour work week including attending
If she works more than 35 hours in
a week, she is entitled to compensatory time.
is enrolled in the citys non-uniform city retirement plan, in which she
will be vested after 10 years of service. If she or the city terminate her employment,
there must be a 15-day notice.
Wytoshek does not get
to vote on any council issues.
In other business, Bushko
made a motion to reappoint Ron Kile to the Nanticoke Recreation Board. His term
will run from this year to June 2013.
Authority member Hank Marks asked the council to consider appointing a new member
to the municipal authority after another recent resignation.
members Brent Makarczyk and James Litchkofski were absent from Wednesdays
the old for a new Nanticoke
Downtown buildings begin to fall to make room
for LCCCs Culinary Arts Institute.
The citys downtown is undergoing a major transformation
one that has been in the planning stages for at least the last three years.
The former Nanticoke Senior Citizens building is torn down
on the corner of Market and Main streets in Nanticoke on Monday morning. The former
Susquehanna Coal building is also slated to be razed
john wilkin/the times leader
Select images available for purchase in the
Leader Photo Store
iconic buildings began to fall Monday morning as demolition employees from Grinnell
Recycling of Sparta, N.J., arrived to begin making room for the Luzerne County
Community Colleges Culinary Arts Institute.
Mark Construction of Moosic will build the nearly 22,000-square-foot building
and then the college will purchase the building for $3.128 million.
crews started tearing down the former Senior Citizens Center, once owned by the
city, on the corner of Main and Market streets. Construction crews will also tear
down the Susquehanna Coal Building once owned by the Nanticoke Housing Authority,
on West Main Street and Nanticoke Avenue.
are surrounded by a chain-link fence to keep onlookers from getting too close.
Nanticoke Avenue has been cordoned off for about one block behind the old coal
company headquarters to Nanticoke Avenue and Coal Street.
this work is seen as a positive step to state, LCCC and city officials because
to them it signals that Nanticoke is heading toward a rebirth.
Rep. John Yudichak, D-Nanticoke, has long been a proponent and driving force to
get two of the colleges major programs into the downtown. LCCCs Health
Sciences Program is slated to move into the former Kanjorski Center on Main Street
in the spring of 2011. Internal demolition of that building will begin soon, because
a contract was awarded last week to Empire Services for $122,300.
feel inspired by the residents of the South Valley and all the community leaders
who shared our vision for a new downtown Nanticoke, he said.
projects did not come without their hurdles. Announcements for LCCCs move
into downtown were made more than two years ago, with the original time frame
of starting classes this fall.
Projects of this
magnitude, nearly a $30 million investment in Nanticoke, always face certain challenges.
No hurdle proved insurmountable and the progress we planned for is being
delivered, Yudichak said.
As vice president of
LCCCs training institutes, external affairs and planning, Joe Grilli oversees
all the colleges renovation, expansion and new construction projects.
Echoing Yudichaks comments, he said he never doubted
the project would move forward.
The Culinary Arts Institute
will be constructed to strict Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification
guidelines to make the two-story building as energy efficient as possible.
The Culinary Institute will not be on the tax rolls, but
City Administrator Holly Quinn said the city will gain something even better after
the building opens for classes in the fall of 2010.
Culinary Arts Institute is going to host approximately, every day, 250 staff members,
faculty and students when they open. That is 250 more people that will be walking
around downtown Nanticoke every day. They are going to be eating in our restaurants
and shopping in downtown.
She said she doesnt
know exactly what the economic impact will be, but noted it will represent an
best friend a future crime-fighter
Vice in training to detect illegal drugs
The citys newest officer has biting abilities, four legs and a tail.
Officer Brian Kivler and his new K-9 partner, Vice, of the Nanticoke
Police Department. Vice will be used to detect illegal substances and track missing
Don Carey/The Times Leader
available for purchase in the
But dont let that fool you
Vice, a 20-month-old German Shepherd, is not a warm and cuddly puppy.
four-legged furry officer arrived Oct. 20 and immediately began training locally
with his human partner so that they can work together.
is being put through his paces with his handler, Nanticoke police officer Brian
Kivler, to learn to detect illegal drugs, track a lost person, search properties
and do routine patrol work.
The dogs status in
the police department is no tall tale, either. He is a full-time officer, with
his own badge -- number 9072 ?. If anyone attempts to harm or kill Vice, they
can be prosecuted on a felony charge, Kivler said.
and school district officials hope Vice will deter drug dealers from entering
town and discourage residents from using or purchasing illegal substances.
The Greater Nanticoke Area School District paid $5,500
to purchase the dog for the department, with the understanding that the dog will
be brought onto campuses to do occasional locker searches.
Nanticoke Housing Authority gave the district a $500 check as a contribution toward
the K9 units cost, interim executive director and board member Jean Ditzler
said. The city is covering Vices food costs.
Superintendent Tony Perrone said the district and the police department have a
great working relationship and he believes Vice could just be an added deterrent
to students thinking about bringing drugs on campus.
school and every community has a need for something like that.
We are going
to make sure he is present here at least once a week. Kids will not know when
he is coming and we will hopefully be able to keep drugs out of the school,
Vice and Kivler will not patrol the schools
alone. A district or school administrator will accompany the duo. If Vice alerts
to a particular area noting drugs might be present, the school official will be
able to open lockers so officers can search for any narcotics.
said he also thinks its important for the younger students to be exposed
to Vice, adding that he will be serving the community for up to 10 years.
But the department is going to wait until training is fully
completed, which might take about two months, before deciding on whether to expose
Vice to the districts younger students, Nanticoke Detective Bill Shultz
Kivler said he anticipates that after training
Vice could perform demonstrations for the younger students.
and Shultz emphasize Vice is not being trained to act as a therapy dog, but rather
to protect Kivler and track drugs and missing people. The officers want people
to know that when they see Vice they should not run up to pet or try to play with
him because Vice could interpret that as a threat.
Mayor John Bushko said that Vice, with his superior sense of smell, will be a
vital part of police drug busts.
I think the
dog is a big asset. Hell sniff it out in a minute. It will help make the
cops job much easier, Bushko said.
with Nanticokes large population of older adults, with three nursing homes
inside the city limits, Vices ability to track a lost person will come in
handy if someone with Alzheimers wanders away and becomes lost.
Nanticoke revitalization effort officially under way
months of planning and preparing, downtown Nanticoke's transformation begins Monday.
The key to the more than $24 million revitalization plan
is Luzerne County Community College's growth and expansion onto Main Street, with
a new health sciences center to be housed in the former Kanjorski Center and a
Culinary Arts Institute to be built at Market and Main. LCCC officials' goal is
to have both facilities ready for classes by January 2011.
make way for the culinary school, the former Susquehanna Coal Co. office and the
old senior center are scheduled to be torn down starting at 9 a.m. Monday.
Joe Boylan, chief of staff for state Rep. John Yudichak,
D-Nanticoke, has good news for those who don't want to see the historic building
completely demolished: he said the facade and main entrance will be spared and
incorporated into the new culinary arts facility.
least there will be some remembrance of the building," Boylan said.
said work on the health sciences center should also begin any day. LCCC's board
of trustees recently awarded a $122,300 bid to Empire Services to prepare the
interior of the Kanjorski Center for remodeling.
the beginning of a new era for Nanticoke's downtown," Councilman Joseph Dougherty
The transformation is expected to get another
bump in the spring, with the start of the other major downtown improvements: streetscaping
of Main, Market, and Prospect streets, creation of the Lower Broadway Park, and
the facade program.
Last week, Nanticoke council held
a special session for business owners and residents to give input on a program
that would allow Main Street property owners to fix up their buildings, and have
the state pay for at least half. Eligible improvements include signs, painting
and storefront renovations.
"I've been getting
phone calls all week. I was so excited at the response to our public meeting,"
city Administrator Holly Quinn said. "We want to create a new image for the
city's commercial district."
She is currently
working on obtaining a grant of $30,000 from the state, to be matched with $30,000
from the city, which came from the sale of the former senior center to the culinary
arts institute developer, William Rinaldi of Scranton.
$5.6 million streetscaping project is in the engineering phase, Quinn said. It
will include new streetlights, sidewalks and greenery.
the street improvements are being made in the spring, if a grant from the Department
of Conservation and Natural Resources comes through as expected, work should also
begin on the Lower Broadway Park at North Market and Lower Broadway streets, Boylan
The first phase of the park would include cleaning
and greening up the property and taking care of stormwater runoff issues, he said.
And - if the funding can be obtained - construction of the long-awaited skateboard
park can start, too.
"We want to see, within the
next 12 months, all construction done down there," Boylan said, noting that
it is good to see the projects come to fruition.
looks like we're getting there. It's exciting," he said.
Greater Nanticoke Area pegged for H1N1 vaccination site
H1N1 vaccines will be available at Greater
Nanticoke Area, a school district official said Tuesday.
is not yet known when the vaccines will arrive and be given out, Superintendent
Tony Perrone said, but phone messages and information packets for parents are
being prepared and will be sent out this week.
guess it's for the kids and staff that are directly working with the kids - like
the nurses," he said.
Perrone would not say how
many vaccines the district has requested from the state. They requested some live-virus
nasal vaccines, but mostly shot vaccines.
like all other schools following state orders, is monitoring absentee rates. As
of Tuesday, 12 percent to 13 percent of students were not in class, Perrone said.
As many doctors, hospitals, the Pennsylvania Department
of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta are not
testing all patients who demonstrate flu-like symptoms for H1N1, schools are advised
to use absentee rates as an indication of overall student body health.
rates at Pittston Area School District are returning to normal after H1N1 illness
and fears kept a quarter of students out of class and shut down the school almost
three weeks ago.
District-wide Tuesday, Superintendent
George Cosgrove reported 5.9 percent of students did not attend class. Typical
absentee rates range from 4 percent to 6 percent.
Hanover Area School District, where absentee rates hovered near 20 percent last
week, 11 percent of students were absent Tuesday, Superintendent Anthony Podczasy
Similarly, absenteeism appears to be decreasing
at Wilkes-Barre Area School District. Absences peaked around Oct. 19, and as of
Tuesday were down to about 770 students, or about 12 percent of the population.
However, the number of students leaving school early because of illness is increasing
slightly, Superintendent Jeffrey Namey said.
reported approximately 10 percent of students were absent Friday. Superintendent
Frank Galicki said the school district, like Greater Nanticoke Area, has applied
to be a vaccination site but has not yet heard from the Department of Health.
Crestwood's attendance rate ranged from 95 percent to 80
percent so far this week, Superintendent Dave McLaughlin-Smith said.
1,200 students stayed home from school in the Hazleton Area School District last
Friday, according to attendance numbers provided by Superintendent Sam Marolo.
Attendance has been up and down, he said, and absenteeism
is holding at about 8 percent, a number far below the 30 percent that would cause
And there have been no confirmed cases of
swine flu, Marolo said.
"The Department of Health
is treating all flu cases as if it's the H1N1," he said, adding that the
district is taking precautions, such as wiping down classrooms and buses to control
the spread of the flu.
Nanticoke finances are improving
Audit shows that
fund balance is going in the right direction, accountant says.
citys finances are steadily improving, city council members learned during
Wednesday nights council meeting.
It was just
one of the many topics discussed.
Accountant Joe Aliciene
Jr. presented his findings of the 2008 city audit, stating the fund balance
is going in the right direction.
The city showed
in paperwork presented to Alicienes firm that the citys assets exceeded
the liabilities by $1.1 million in 2007, compared to $1.97 million in 2008. That
was substantially more than the same time frame between 2006 and 2007 when the
assets exceeded liabilities by only $170,000.
also learned that work should begin on paving three streets West Church,
West Ridge and West Noble within the next two weeks, according to engineer
Darryl Pawlush of the Pasonick Engineering firm.
will meet with the company officials in a pre-work conference on Oct. 29 to go
over any final project details.
of Laflin was awarded the bid when it submitted the lowest bid of $294,343. Three
other companies submitted bids.
Other companies that
submitted the proposals were Pikes Creek Site Contractors with a bid of $349,330,
Slusser Brothers of Harrisburg with a bid of $321,924 and Robert Young Inc. with
a bid of $355,843.
This project is being paid using
$280,000 the city received from the states Community Development Block Grants
and $90,000 from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.
Work must be completed by Dec. 1 per the agreement the
city issued in the bids.
Pawlush said since there will
be money left over additional portions of West Church or West Ridge streets can
be paved now or the money can be used next year on another street.
council unanimously also approved hiring the bidders that submitted proposals
for snow plow work. Bids were received from Doug Sorber of Shickshinny at $60
per hour, Paul Zaltewiz of Nanticoke for $65 per hour and CPS Direct of Nanticoke
for $80 per hour. This work would be paid on an as-needed basis and all three
would be called on a rotating basis. Last winter, the city also used CPS Direct,
which uses a dump truck to plow the streets.
- Citizens Voice
to vie for face-lift funds
The owners of Main Street businesses may soon be sprucing
up their properties, with a little help from the city and the state.
council on Wednesday authorized a funding proposal to the state Department of
Community and Economic Development for $30,000 to assist in facade improvements
to the businesses on Main Street.
Once the funding
is secured, business owners will be able to apply to a design committee and, upon
approval, will receive matching grants to enhance their storefronts, said City
Administrator Holly Quinn.
"(The project) would
foster an attractive shopping environment and walking district throughout the
city," Quinn said.
The six-member design committee
will include city representatives, business and property owners and concerned
citizens, and work directly with the Main Street business owners. If a project
is approved, the property owners would receive matching funds from the city and
Eligible costs for reimbursement will include
sign and paint programs, design assistance and storefront facades, city officials
Quinn said the facade improvements would start
early next year, once funding is approved. If there is money left over, city officials
may make funding available to businesses on other streets, she said.
project will tie into the city's streetscape revitalization project on Main Street,
scheduled to start in the spring. The city received a $5.6 million grant for downtown
In other matters, city auditor Joseph
R. Aliciene Jr. presented the 2008 single audit report. He said the city decreased
its general fund deficit from about $503,000 at the beginning of 2008 to $154,149
at the end of the fiscal year.
"The fund balance
seems to be going in the right direction," Aliciene said.
other business, council:
n Awarded a $294,342.60 contract
to Popple Construction to pave West Church, West Ridge and West Noble streets.
The city received about $370,000 in stimulus funding and a Community Development
Block Grant. The paving project is expected to begin as early as next week and
should be completed by Dec. 1.
n Is considering selling
a city-owned vacant lot at 415 E. Washington St., pending an appraisal. Solicitor
William T. Finnegan Jr. said a neighbor of the property is interested in purchasing
n Approved a pay rate of $10 per hour for newly
hired part-time officers. The city is looking to hire both part-time and full-time
officers, Quinn said.
about swine flu leads to restrictions
Hospitals tighten visitation policies
area hospitals are tightening visitation policies in an effort to keep patients
from contracting the H1N1 virus, also referred to as swine flu, from visitors.
The Wyoming Valley Health Care System and Mercy Special
Care Hospital in Nanticoke have implemented strict policies to be in force throughout
the flu season. The policies are effective immediately.
Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center have
not changed their visitation criteria but are monitoring issues closely.
systems new visitation policies will be in effect at all its facilities
Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, First Hospital Wyoming Valley and Heritage
House, a nursing care facility, on Northampton Street in Wilkes-Barre.
new visitation policy prohibits anyone under the age of 18 or anyone suffering
from a cold, fever or respiratory illness from visiting any patients. Only immediate
family will be allowed to see patients in the obstetrics, pediatric or certain
care units critical care unit, surgical intensive care unit, cardiac-thoracic
intensive care unit and cardiac step-down unit.
systems Chief Executive Officer Cornelio Catena said he realized this might
cause an inconvenience for some families, but the health of the patients is the
systems primary concern.
however, its our responsibility to protect our patients and advocate for
their safety while theyre in our care, Catena said.
Special Care Hospital Chief Executive Officer Bob Williams said his facility had
similar guidelines: No one under 18 or people suffering from flu-like symptoms
will be allowed to visit.
VA Executive Director Vince
Riccardo said swine flu is a very sensitive and concerning issue thats
of late firefighter creates scholarship
H. Robert "Moe" Bray
was a fixture in the Nanticoke Fire Department for nearly six decades until his
death earlier this year at age 86.
His family wants
his legacy to live on through a permanent scholarship in his name.
his death in February, Bray's family directed contributions to a memorial account
and enough generous donations were made to create a scholarship fund. Each year,
the scholarship will be awarded to a volunteer Nanticoke firefighter who is in
The first scholarship of $500 was handed out
in September to Kevin Hazleton Jr., whose father is also a Nanticoke firefighter.
Hazleton Jr. is a third-year student at Penn State University, studying nuclear
"Volunteers don't get compensated.
There's a lot of time and energy they put in. Our family is just trying to be
a small part in assisting them," said Bray's son, Bob Bray. "It's the
intent of the family to keep this going indefinitely. We want to perpetuate his
memory for as long as we can. It helps our family by keeping his memory alive."
Bray served the city fire department for 57 years, with
37 years of them as a paid union driver. He retired from full-time, paid service
in 1987, but continued to support the department through volunteer and administrative
duties for years to come.
"His passion, other
than his family, was the fire department," Bob Bray said.
fire Chief Mike Bohan saluted Bray's service and said the scholarship is a good
way to reward and attract volunteers.
see years of service like that anymore," Bohan said of Bray's time in the
Bray's family wanted to make the public
aware of the scholarship in hopes donations could keep the scholarship fund healthy
for years to come. They would like to either increase the amount or issue multiple
scholarships for future years.
"The more money
we get, the more we can give out," Bob Bray said.
scholarship is not given as a check to the firefighters, but is sent directly
to the educational institution of the recipient, Bob Bray said.
Bray said the family is committed to the long-term existence of the fund.
"As long we can continue to do it, we will. We're
looking at this as a win-win situation to memorialize our father and also give
something back to the community," he said.
may be sent to:
The H. Robert Bray Memorial Scholarship
c/o Bill Jenkins
672 N. River
Patti Bieski resigns seat on GNA School Board
leaves post after moving out of districts boundaries.
Patti Bieski, a Greater Nanticoke Area School Board
member, resigned from her post Thursday night during the monthly school board
meeting with a heavy heart.
She said it was hard to
leave, but she has to follow the law that states board members must live within
the districts boundaries.
Bieski recently moved
out of the district, so that makes her ineligible to continue serving on the board
as she has done for the last 12 years.
sorrow at leaving because her heart remains with the students, staff members and
fellow board members. Bieskis current term will end in December 2011.
I ran because of the kids. My first thing is the
kids. I wish I still lived in the district cause I know I was just a little tiny,
tiny piece, a small, small part, but I care so much about Nanticoke, Bieski
told the crowd.
None of the other board members wanted
to approve her resignation, but they all admitted they knew they had to.
was approved unanimously.
She was an advocate for all
the districts children and always tried to see the most optimistic view.
She had three children who graduated from Nanticoke Area.
believes in praising people especially children who might need an
extra push along the way.
A lot of kids have
a lot of problems, but there is very few kids, very few that dont
have good hearts. Even kids who are troubled, she said.
Democrat admitted the district was facing tough times when she was first elected
to the board. The board had to shutdown programs, she recalled. Now she is pleased
to have been what she calls a small part of the board that helped
make policies to turn the district around. The district now has a $4 million fund
balance, its test scores are rising and the district is working to implement programs
to help students achieve even more.
The board has 30
days to name her replacement.
Anyone interested in
serving on the board is asked to submit a letter of interest to Superintendent
Tony Perrones office. Letters should be submitted within a week, to allow
board members to review them and select a new member.
did not recommend anyone to replace her. She does hope the next board member will
keep their focus on the children, too.
It is not supposed
to be about the power&hellipI have said it many times we are here first for
the kids. Second is the taxpayer we have to be responsible to you guys, but not
at the sake of the children, Bieski said.
At least five probable H1N1 cases reported in Greater
Nanticoke Area schools
Elizabeth Skrapits - Citizens' Voice
Although its cases are unconfirmed, Greater Nanticoke Area
might be the second Luzerne County school district hit with swine flu.
Anthony Perrone said Tuesday he is aware of five or six potential cases of H1N1
virus, one from each school in the district.
didn't see any papers that it was confirmed or anything, but several parents called
and said they think their kids have the swine flu," he said.
said the Greater Nanticoke Area district will not be closed, because students
can be exposed to the H1N1 virus anywhere, not just in the schools.
shut down Pittston Area schools on Friday after 20 percent of students were absent
on Thursday. There were 12 to 15 doctor-confirmed cases of swine flu in the district.
Two cases have also been confirmed at Wyoming Seminary's Lower School, according
to President Kip Nygren, who sent an e-mail to parents.
believe we are appropriately handling these occurrences of flu in the school and
attempting to limit the spread of the flu virus. Both of our nurses, Beth Blaum
and Maria Coons, and other medical authorities agree that H1N1 flu is to be treated
as any type of flu should be treated," Nygren stated in the e-mail.
County Community College and Misericordia University have also had H1N1 cases.
The latest Pennsylvania Department of Health figures show one probable and 56
confirmed cases of swine flu in Luzerne County. So far there have been no fatalities.
Greater Nanticoke Area "has not reached out to the
Department of Health that we know of at this time," said Holly Senior, deputy
press secretary for the state agency.
But the district
has been proactive, according to Perrone. From the beginning, GNA officials put
H1N1 information on the district's Web site, www.gnasd.com, and posted signs in
the schools, he said. Officials also sent letters home to parents and asked students
to bring their own hand sanitizer to supplement that which is provided by the
district, he said.
Perrone said GNA officials are telling
parents to keep their children home if they are sick.
got a letter from Geisinger today asking that we should not demand excuses from
kids with swine flu, because it takes their doctors away from their work,"
he said. "I think the doctors at this point will have their hands full, and
if they can see more patients and help more people, that's what it's all about."
Seven Geisinger Health System pediatric clinics in Northeastern
Pennsylvania now have the H1N1 vaccine available, spokeswoman Amy Lingobardo said.
These include the Kistler Clinic in Wilkes-Barre as well as locations in South
Wilkes-Barre, Mountain Top, Hazleton, Nanticoke, Forty Fort and Carbondale.
School districts, including Greater Nanticoke Area, are
waiting for some, too.
"We signed up for vaccines.
We're willing to offer it in our schools if they choose us," Perrone said.
Denise Allabaugh, staff writer, contributed to this report.
PM - 10/13/2009
GNA has a handful of students confirmed
with swine flu
Greater Nanticoke Area School District has between five to six kids absent with
the swine flu, according to superintendent Tony Perrone.
said he got information from the parents this morning and they informed him the
children tested positive for H1N1. He has not seen any confirmed reports from
the Department of Health.
For more information, read
Wednesday's The Times Leader.
may lose some Act 47 funds
Janine Ungvarsky - Times Leader
The most important discussion of the evening came even
before Nanticoke City Council held its meeting Wednesday night, as city officials
learned they may soon lose some of the benefits of Act 47 status.
a short information session before its regular meeting, council heard an update
on the status of the state Act 47 financial recovery plan and were informed that
state officials intend to phase all cities out of Act 47 within the next two to
The city could lose the ability to levy
the 1.5 percent earned income tax (EIT), allowed under Act 47, as soon as next
year, officials were told. Options to replace the money that it brought would
include increasing property taxes or moving to home rule.
members said they hope to know more about the Act 47 phase-out plan within the
month and will start investigating options over the next few months.
the regular meeting, council approved a 90-day experimental parking regulation
on Lincoln Street, where parking will be allowed on the east side of the street
Council was told the street is so narrow that
two cars legally parked on opposite sides of the street effectively block the
street. If the temporary regulation works, council said it would consider making
In other business, council approved the
first reading of an ordinance to vacate part of Arch Street behind the Kanjorski
Center to allow for parking. It also awarded the bid for police station driveway
rehabilitation to low bidder Lake Construction in the amount of $57,222 and approved
advertising for bids for snowplowing and salting.
Firehouse dalmatian teaches kids about safety
Stop, drop and
It's National Fire Prevention Week and the
Nanticoke Fire Department has a four-legged friend who will help them spread safety
tips to hundreds of youngsters in visits to schools.
name is Ember, a 7-year-old dalmatian who lives at the firehouse. Upon command,
Ember demonstrates the most basic fire safety technique taught to children: stop,
drop and roll.
Throughout this week and the weeks to
come, area fire departments will visit local schools to put on fire safety presentations
that firefighters hope will result in fewer fires and less injuries or deaths.
Nanticoke firefighters say having a lovable mascot like
Ember for assemblies captures the children's attention and makes their message
"You bring a dog on stage and they remember
everything," said veteran firefighter Chet Prymowicz.
a firefighter tells Ember "your fur's on fire," she drops, rolls on
her back, and then springs back up on her paws.
credit the stop, drop and roll message with saving an 8-year-old city boy's life
years ago. The boy lit himself on fire while playing with matches. He rolled on
the ground and escaped with moderate injuries.
boy later told firefighters, "Steamer taught me how to stop, drop and roll,"
referring to the department's former dalmatian who previously was the main attraction
during fire prevention week.
"We were choked up,"
With a little encouragement, Ember
will also demonstrate how to crawl low to the ground. In fires, people are advised
to stay low to the ground to consume the cleanest air.
addition to Ember, the department uses a fire safety house to teach youngsters
about fire prevention. It's basically a miniature mobile home trailer that could
be filled with simulated smoke to show children what visibility is like in a fire.
The trailer will be on hand at all the school events.
an instructional period inside the school, firefighters will set up fire hazards
in the trailer and allow children inside to find them. They include paper towels
located centimeters from stove burners, a newspaper laying by the active fireplace,
an extension cord running underneath a carpet and more.
the students get in the upstairs bedroom, firefighters release the simulated smoke.
At first, smoke billows from under a door. Shortly, the room is filled. After
experiencing what it is like, the children are led to a back porch of the trailer
and get to use an escape ladder to get to the ground.
not big advocates of just taking them to show them the fire trucks because that's
all they'll remember," said fire Chief Mike Bohan. "The kids retain
what they learn. You go back year after year to quiz them. We believe the kids
are the biggest messengers to parents."
department bought the trailer for $25,000 years ago with the help of the Kiwanis
clubs in Nanticoke, Swoyersville and Tunkhannock. The city fire department's union
recently spent $10,000 in renovations.
hope children will remember what they are taught and apply the lessons in their
Firefighter John Polifka said, in addition to
the stop, drop and roll message, they will instruct children about the need for
fire alarms in every room and that batteries should be checked twice a year. They
will be advised about the danger of lighters and matches. He said another important
tip for children is to not hide under their beds if a fire breaks out. They should
hang a sheet out their window if possible to alert firefighters of a person in
the room, Polifka said.
"If one kid's life is
saved because of what we teach it's worth it," Prymowicz said.
said firefighters in Nanticoke care deeply about the fire prevention cause. A
fatal fire in 1984 placed fire prevention at the forefront, he said.
6-year-old girl, a 12-year-old boy and their grandmother perished in a blaze on
East Ridge Street and they felt compelled to act. Before that fire, the extent
of fire education was a poster contest school children were asked to do, Prymowicz
"A couple of us got together afterward and
said something needs to be done. That was our wake-up call. We had to do something,"
Two buildings sold for LCCC project
Nanticoke a financial boost; sale clears way for culinary arts building
The sale of two buildings in the southern end of
the citys downtown marks progress in the effort to make the Luzerne County
Community Colleges Culinary Arts Institute a reality.
also brings revenue to two government entities.
received $250,000 for its Senior Citizens Building at the corner of Main and Market
streets and the Nanticoke Housing Authority got $85,000 for the Susquehanna Coal
Building on Main Street from Mark Construction when the sale was concluded Friday
The construction firm was hired in mid-September
to build the state-of-the art, two-story, 22,000-square-foot building with a cost
$7.5 million. LCCC will pay only $3,128,000, and the remainder will come from
state grant money secured by the developer.
Tom Leary expressed his pleasure at seeing the project that has been in the planning
stages for more than two years take another step forward.
new facility will be an asset to the college as we continue to prepare our students
for careers that have been recognized as high demand, both regionally and nationally,
He said he expects the Culinary Institute
to be ready for classes in the fall of 2010. Another project located just blocks
away, the proposed Health Sciences Center, is slated to open in spring 2011 at
the former Kanjorski Center.
While increased tax revenue
has helped the city with its cash flow in recent months, the proceeds from the
sale of the building is a nice amount to add to the city coffers to help fund
other projects, city Administrator Holly Quinn said. The money hasnt been
earmarked to any particular project.
be used for capital improvements throughout the town, whether its infrastructure
or equipment. &hellipWe need to review our capital plan and we do have a 20
percent match for (sewer and road improvements) and streetscape. A portion of
this money may be spent on those projects, Quinn said.
said she also believes this project will help spur additional growth in the downtown
and throughout Nanticoke, giving the city a revival.
housing authority is being reimbursed for the funds it spent when the New Horizons
Development Corp., a nonprofit agency founded under the authoritys umbrella,
sought to turn the former coal company building into apartments, authority solicitor
Vito De Luca said.
The funds the housing authority
spent came from its operating budget and the money its receiving from the
construction company will be deposited back into the same account, De Luca said.
The money is not earmarked for any particular project,
State Rep. John Yudichak, D-Nanticoke, has
been a longtime supporter of the downtowns revitalization.
doesnt have an exact date for when the buildings will be demolished, but
he expects it to happen within the next month.
are getting to work on building a brand new future for the city of Nanticoke and
Luzerne County Community College that will be solidify two projects in our downtown.
It will create new jobs and create a new fabric in our downtown, Yudichak
father, like son: two houses, two sparkling overhauls
If Kevin Charnetski wants to see his father, Tony,
he doesnt have to go too far.
Once Kevin Charnetski moved into the house
next door to his father on East Main Street in Nanticoke, he hired Belles Construction
to update it with new siding, pillars and windows. Now the Charnetskis think the
home looks more pleasing to the eye.
Thats because the men live right
next door to each other on East Main Street in Nanticoke after Kevin recently
bought a neighboring property one in which renovation already has been
Everything on the outside of the
house, except for six windows, is new, Kevin, 34, said.
Construction Company of Wilkes-Barre remodeled the outside of the home, which
was built in 1929, by installing new pillars, energy-efficient windows, light-gray
siding and a roof.
The idea was to fix it up
for the community, Kevin, a father of one, said.
with new energy-efficient windows hes hoping to cut down his monthly heating
With homes like this, theres no insulation,
Belles also replaced previously decrepit gutters
and resurfaced the foundation.
There was lots
of cracking, said Kevin, who estimates the entire process took about two
Kevin went with vinyl siding, he said, because
its easy to maintain.
Its the most
practical, Bob Belles Jr. said. You get the most bang for your buck.
It holds its color more than the aluminum,
He knows a thing or two about that because
Belles remodeled the exterior of his home in 2001, expanding the car port, which
can cover two cars if appropriately parked, and installing new windows, a roof
and white siding.
One thing Tony left the same was
the stone on the front of his house.
with the home when we bought it, he said.
a drastic difference, Tony, 70, said, admitting that we knew basically
what we wanted. We havent had any problems.
expects most of his work this fall to be exterior remodeling, such as windows,
siding and roofs, which are especially important to replace when the time comes.
Sometimes they dont want it, but it has to
get done, Belles said.
Fortunately, all Tony
expects to do anytime soon is repaint the wrought-iron fence in front of his house.
Were good for a few more years, he said.
Keeping his homes exterior in tip-top shape is especially
important to Tony in part due to a life-size wooden bear that stands in front
of the home greeting visitors and catching the eyes of passing drivers.
has become a landmark for Nanticoke, Tony said.
Nanticoke approves paving, sewer plans
acts on payments for the three public employee pension funds.
City Councils meeting started off on a somber
note Wednesday night when Mayor John Bushko asked for a moment of silence for
a Nanticoke Housing Authority member who passed away last week.
Authority Commissioner Christina Buttrick died early Saturday after an illness,
the mayor said.
During the meeting, Councilman James
Litchkofski praised Plymouth Township for its street crews help in helping
the city street crew to repave the extremely bumpy North Market Street going into
Honey Pot section of town.
The citys engineer,
Darryl Pawlush, of Pasonick Engineering, updated council members on several long-running
street improvement projects.
The long-anticipated K-route
project, which has been reviewed numerous times over the last four years, will
finally move forward as Pennsylvania Department of Transportation approved all
plans and will advertise for bids this Friday or by next week at the latest, Pawlush
The K-route is a federally funded program because
the roads, Alden, Union and Prospect streets, are federal emergency routes out
of town. Some of the sewers on the three streets will be replaced and all three
will be repaved and resurfaced, City Administrator Holly Quinn said.
a big project and we dont want to jeopardize the project by getting it done
too soon. We have worked on it too hard and too long to get it properly engineered
and to get it done right, Quinn said as to why the construction will probably
not begin until next spring because the city wants to have it done all at the
Other streets that will be repaved include
parts of West Noble, West Church and Union using federal stimulus package money.
The city is waiting for the state to release the funding.
are well prepared. If the governor says spend the funds, we can pave next week,
Bids will be put out Friday to replace
the storm water drains on the ramp that leads to police department in the basement.
The drains are not working properly and the ramp is flooding, causing some officers
to be injured when tripping due to the flooding or broken pavement around the
drains, Quinn said.
It does pose a danger, especially
with winter coming. It is even more dangerous if a vehicle is trying to exit,
especially in an emergency, Quinn said. This is a planned budgeted item
that will be paid from the citys general fund, she said.
city also approved its minimum municipal obligation to pay into the citys
three pension plans non-uniform, police and fire. The city will pay $126,948
in total into the funds to ensure all the citys retirees will be paid properly.
The city also receives some state money to pay into the
pension funds, but because of the state budget impasse the city has not received
its state share of the pension funding.
Nanticoke mulls LED technology
Olsen - Citizens' Voice
technology, according to Nanticoke resident Mark Grabowski, could put the city
at the forefront of green technology.
council members Wednesday about the possibility of using LED technology in the
city's planned downtown streetscaping projects.
"would probably be the first city in Pennsylvania to use the technology,"
Grabowski said. "Probably even in the Northeast."
said he is familiar with the technology from working with it in new flashlights.
"It's very green," Grabowski said. "It also
has the potential to be solar."
Mayor John Bushko
said all streetscaping plans already incorporate green technology, but that he
was interested in more information on the LED technology.
other business, council members were briefed by Daryl Pawlush of Pasonick Engineering
on the status of the anticipated paving of the city's emergency routes, including
Alden Road and Union and Prospect streets.
for the paving project have been approved and are waiting to be bid out by the
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Pawlush said, with bid documentation
being prepared sometime next week.
Bushko said the
paper work has been in the possession of the state Department of Transportation
for almost three months.
Council approved the minimum
municipal obligation worksheets for the city's non-uniform, police and fire pension
plans in the amount of $126,947.60.
LCCC tentatively OKs culinary arts deal
details need ironing out before deal finalized for firm to build institute.
Tuesday, the Luzerne County Community College Board of Trustees approved a tentative
agreement with developer Mark Construction Services of Moosic to build the Culinary
The contract is pending approval by LCCC President Tom Leary
and college solicitor Joe Kluger once an additional clause clarifying some of
the contract language is added. Specifics of the wording were not available. William
Rinaldi is president of Mark Construction Services. Rinaldi of Scranton did not
attend the meeting.
Leary is excited the project is finally moving forward
more than two years after the college publicly announced its plans to open the
institute in downtown Nanticoke, along with a Health Sciences Center to be housed
in the former Kanjorski Center.
It is one of the most exciting opportunities
we have for expansion of a program that is one of our fastest growing programs.
According to all projections the second greatest demand in the region is in the
hospitality industry, Leary said.
The state-of-the art, two-story, roughly
22,000-square-foot building will cost $7.5 million, but LCCC will only pay $3,128,000,
including a $100,000 deposit, to build it, according to the contract. The remainder
of the money will come from grant money the developer has secured from the state.|
According to the contract: the construction company is
scheduled to receive $1.5 million from the Local Share Gaming grant, $1 million
from the Growing Greener II grant and $2 million from the Pennsylvania Redevelopment
Assistance Capital grant.
Even if the construction
firm does not receive the grant money, the college shall be permitted to
remain in occupancy of the property prior to receiving the title of the property.
Leary expects the building to be ready for classes in the
fall of 2010. LCCC should take full control of the building by Aug. 31, 2010.
If Mark Construction Services is late in delivering the building, the college
can penalize the company by requiring $2,380 per day be paid to LCCC if the facility
or a portion of it is not completed by the end of August. If the facility is still
not 100 percent completed by Sept. 21, 2010, the college can require an additional
$423,476 from the construction company.
If the college
defaults on its terms and agreements with the developer, LCCC could be forced
to pay financial penalties, including the $7.5 million price of the property with
a daily liquidated sum of $2,380 per day.
City yard sale brings in shoppers despite rain
than 160 sellers and hundreds of bargain hunters participate in Nanticokes
Ralph Nardone - Times Leader
Weekend yard sales are a mainstay of life in Northeastern
The City of Nanticoke officials coordinated
one on Saturday that tied together more than 160 sellers in one large scale yard
sale. Organizers estimated several hundred shoppers from local communities and
from as far away as Allentown, Berwick and Bloomsburg passed through during the
J.D. Verazin, organizer and member of the citys
yard sale committee, said the fourth annual Trash to Treasure Citywide Yard
Sale spread out to include all of Nanticoke, Honey Pot and parts of Hanover
Verazin said most sellers, who essentially
line the streets with items for sale from their front yards or porches, do it
for the heck of it.
The citywide yard sale
is a fun thing where people can socialize, talk to old friends and
maybe make a few dollars, he added.
display sat under a makeshift rain cover. Despite the wet morning, he estimated
about 150 cars drove past his house when about three would on a typical day. Across
the town, similar auto and foot traffic paraded through the streets, he said.
The visitors from outside the immediate area got to see what a nice city
Nanticoke is by visiting local merchants and patronizing area restaurants, Verazin
Of course, there were some economies of scale
for both buyers and sellers, he said. Putting one big yard sale together at one
time gave the sellers more traffic and potential sales as well as gave shoppers
more bargains to choose from, he said.
president of the Historical Society of Nanticoke, said she set up a display to
sell off excess inventory of Christmas decorations, books, calendars, glassware,
etc. The sale also helped raise the always necessary funds and draw in potential
history buffs who could consider becoming members or who may have heirlooms
or old photos to contribute.
A steady flow
of shoppers visited the display, she said. About half of them were from out-of-town,
Yvonne Bozinski, director of special events
for the City of Nanticoke, spent most of the morning handing out directories to
passersby that mapped out where the 160-plus sellers were located. The streets
were backed up early in the morning as the shoppers rushed in, she
She handed out her entire inventory of 210 directories
from Patriot Park. The city helped the event by making it easy for
everyone to participate. They put together the directories and covered the cost
Bozinski said many of the sellers who
participated were not registered and just set up displays to take part in the
People love yard sales, she said.
Some sellers made out very well, and some buyers found great bargains,
Verazin said the yard sale committee and
the city officials are committed to the annual event. Anyone interested in next
years event or any other upcoming events in the city can visit www.nanticokecity.com.
The citywide yard sale is a fun thing where
people can socialize, talk to old friends and maybe make a few dollars.
Putting the super in superintendent for free
Perrone loves school. More importantly, he loves children.
years after retiring from Greater Nanticoke Area as superintendent, he returns
to the halls daily, starting his 47th school year of teaching, inspiring and guiding
students and staff.
Kids are where the action
is. The future of the world we will never see. They are the future, Perrone
said when asked what keeps him coming back.
receiving a salary and benefits from the district when he retired in June 2003,
but that hasnt kept him from continuing to lead the district as superintendent.
Perrone, a Pittston native, receives pension and health benefits from the Pennsylvania
Public School Employees Retirement System, not the school district.
Perrone, 67, is the districts top administrator, he still remains a true
friend to the students he serves, school board President Bob Raineri said.
Raineri recalled that during his high school years in the
early 1970s, students could always go to Perrone, who was the guidance counselor,
to get advice on what courses to take or just to talk about issues affecting their
Even if you didnt have a problem
you could go down and talk to him. He was always cheerful, easygoing. He would
never turn you away. To this day you never see him without a smile, Raineri
Perrone began working for the district as a high
school Spanish teacher in 1963 after the self-professed high school bookworm graduated
from Kings College. Over the years, Perrone has been involved in every aspect
of education also serving as a school psychologist and director of pupil
and personnel services.
GNA and Kennedy elementary
schools Principal Mariellen Scott looks up to Perrone, believing he is a
great example of how to lead a district while keeping the children first.
He is a caring, fair superintendent, she said,
adding that Perrone still ventures into the classroom to teach.
year he presented a lesson to a third-grade class on Spanish language and culture.
In a recent interview, he acknowledged he enjoyed being
superintendent, but his real passion is teaching.
who really has a love for teaching wants to be in a classroom, he said.
When Perrone retired, he originally told the board he would
work at least one additional year without pay.
they had not had the financial crisis, I probably would have retired and moved
on, he said last week.
That one year without
pay has now turned into six.
Perrone was named full-time
permanent superintendent in June 1996, just four months after starting his second
term as acting superintendent after the board bought out the remainder of Superintendent
Anthony Trosans contract. Perrone first served as acting superintendent
for about 18 months starting in 1990 when former Superintendent D. Charles Davis
When Perrone took the reins of the district
in 1996, the system suffered from severe financial problems that nearly led to
a state takeover.
Board member Sylvia Mizdail recalled
that during that time, when she was school board president, she and Perrone traveled
to the state capital many times to work with state officials to get the district
back on a firm financial footing.
He was very
good. We made many, many trips to Harrisburg and we got it all straightened out.
It was almost like a full-time job going to Harrisburg all the time, she
Mizdail, who served on the board for 26 years,
praised Perrone, saying he has been a pleasure to work with as hes helped
the district in numerous ways.
Perrone not only led
the district away from financial destruction, he continues to look out for the
districts financial well-being, Raineri said.
the salary savings, which is a huge savings for us, he scrutinizes the budget
very closely with (business manager) Al Melone and he makes the cuts where he
has to. No matter where it is or who it is. He does scrutinize every item on the
Under Perrones leadership, the
district has undertaken several capital projects, upgrading the windows at Kennedy
Elementary and the high school. Air conditioning units were installed at Kennedy
and the high schools air conditioning and lighting systems were upgraded.
All the projects have been paid from the districts existing fund balance.
A new elementary and middle school have been built under
Perrones administration. The $9.4 million middle school was constructed
in the late 1990s using a $10 million bond. The $10.6 million elementary school
was constructed in the early part of this century to replace the decades-old original
Kennedy School by using an $8 million loan and money from the districts
This year the district carried over a
fund balance of nearly $4 million. That doesnt include an additional $1.7
million in GNAs reserve account for capital projects.
Nanticoke Area Taxpayers Forum President Hank Marks attends school board
meetings regularly, letting board members and Perrone know hes watching
their moves. Hes not afraid to tell district administrators when he believes
theyve messed up. At the same time hes quick to praise them for the
Marks, who has been a district
watchdog for nearly 20 years, acknowledges the district under Perrones leadership
has kept control of its funds.
Nanticoke is one
of the better school districts as far as finances is concerned, Marks said.
The district is now starting to rebound from several years
of low scores on state and federal mandated standardized testing.
is hard for any educator to get the educational quality up to where it should
be. With the results we are seeing, it is getting better, Marks said.
This spring Perrone considered again retiring in a few
months, but that idea quickly faded.
he keeps a positive outlook by choosing to always look forward, not backward.
Your outlook is so different around kids. You cant
live in the past. You have to adapt to what is here, he said.
Nanticoke ends losing streak at 22 games
Oliveri - Times Leader
At 9:03 p.m. Friday night,
there was an unfamiliar cheering sound coming from the Nanticoke sidelines.
The teams 22-game losing streak had ended.
Trojans broke the longest active streak in District 2, defeating the Columbia-Montour
Vo-Tech Rams, 25-8.
The last time the Trojans
sidelines celebrated after a game was Oct. 27, 2006 with a 24-19 win over Lake
I cant describe it, said
assistant head coach Mario Cella, who is filling in for his brother, Lou. The
head coach, 31, had a heart attack last month and has been asked by doctors to
stay away from football until his health improves.
had envisioned the win with my brother here. This is his life. This is his team,
said an emotional Mario. Im just keeping it on ice for him.
The Trojans (1-1) ran for a total of 262 yards on 59 carries
against the Rams. Nanticoke sophomore running back Brian Maslowski led the way
with 32 carries for 152 yards.
The teams ability
to develop the run allowed it to control the clock, which helped notch the win.
We wanted to follow our bread and butter, which is
our O-line, Cella said. They couldnt stop our run so we were
going to stick with it until they could stop it.
quarterback Zak Matuleski gave the Trojans a 7-0 lead on their first drive of
the game when he capped a 17-play, 69-yard drive with a 1-yard sneak with 4:05
remaining in the first quarter.
After the first of
five fumbles lost by the Rams (1-1) gave the Trojans the ball back after just
one play, Nanticoke scored again.
off his first of two touchdowns in the contest, an 11-yard TD run on the second
play of the second quarter to give his team a 13-0 lead with 11:33 left in the
The Trojans went up 19-0 in the third on a
4-yard TD run by Edwin Agosto. Maslowskis second TD came with 8:56 remaining
in the game and pushed the lead to 25-0.
The Rams ruined
Nanticokes bid for a shutout when they got on the board with 6:56 left in
the fourth quarter. After scoring a touchdown on a 13-yard pass from Devante King
to Michael Eaton, and a two-point conversion, the Rams recovered an onside kick.
Their momentum was short-lived though, when CMVT lost its
fifth fumble of the game and Nanticoke senior Jake Meyers emerged from the pile
with the ball raised in the air with 4:08 left in the game.
the drive, Tom Vitale, a Trojan sophomore, managed to pull off a 30-yard run,
which clinched the victory. As the seconds rolled by, the crowd began to cheer
with excitement, knowing that their streak had finally come to an end.
Citywide Yard Sale
The city is hosting its third annual Trash to Treasures
citywide yard sale from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
are encouraged to come to Nanticoke to find their own treasures at yard sales
happening throughout the city. People can pick up directory maps at Patriot Park,
between South Market and Prospect streets, to find the homes participating in
this years event.
GNA may have vacant seat to fill
Board member Pattie
Bieski not at session, but hinted at resignation due to moving.
The Greater Nanticoke Area School Board might have
a seat to fill soon.
Board member Patti Bieski did
not attend Thursday nights monthly meeting, but has in the past couple of
months said she might have to resign from the board because she thought she would
be moving out of town.
Board members must live within
the district limits.
Board President Bob Raineri said
he didnt know if Bieski has moved out of town yet. Raineri and Superintendent
Tony Perrone said they have not received a resignation letter from Bieski.
Taxpayer advocate and Nanticoke resident Henry Marks told
board members that if Bieski does resign, they will need to appoint a candidate
to fill Bieskis seat who will not practice nepotism on the board.
said the district has been affected by nepotism, the practice of hiring relatives,
several times in the past.
Board member Tony Prushinski
said he is against nepotism, but he noted the district should always hire the
best candidate for a particular job, even if that candidate is related to a board
I think we would be harming the district
if we didnt select the best candidate, Prushinski said.
informed Marks that all employment candidates are thoroughly interviewed, and
teaching candidates must give a lesson.
not reached Thursday night.
In other business, Perrone
noted this years kindergarten class, with 192 students, was the largest
in the districts history.
Also the district has
received information from the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Ga., and
state health authorities regarding swine flu.
have been getting more information that this could be something very serious,
Perrone told board members. After meeting with the districts nursing staff,
Perrone is taking a proactive approach by sending a letter to parents asking them
to send hand sanitizer to the schools for students use during the day to
remember Jolly Joe
Red Hat Society honors late polka band leader in Nanticoke
for his concerts to cheer up nursing home patients.
Jolly Joe and the Bavarians used to bring smiles
to residents at the Guardian Health Care in Nanticokes Sheatown neighborhood
when the group played monthly polka shows.
music could be heard once again in Guardian Health Care on Tuesday afternoon as
the Red Hat Sweeties, a division of the Red Hat Society, honored the late Jolly
Joe for his years of dedication and service to the center and its elderly residents
by hosting a tribute concert during the societys monthly meeting.
Jolly Joe Truszkowski, bandleader of the famous polka band, died in
Another legendary polka entertainer and Jolly
Joes friend, Jan Lewan, performed at the meeting, singing Czarna Madonna,
which was Jolly Joes favorite song, according to his wife.
Joes widow, Bernadette, and his brother, Peter Truszkowski, attended the
meeting and participated in the hour-long festivities that included singing and
dancing The Chicken Dance and Polka tunes.
was very dear to my heart. It was very touching, especially to have my brother-in-law
Peter there, Bernadette said, explaining how Peter would fill in for Jolly
Joe when he became ill.
She was also extremely happy
that Lewan performed because he and her husband were friends. Al Truszkowski visited
Lewan in prison after he pleaded guilty to a racketeering charge in 2004. At Al
Truszkowskis request, Lewan sang at his funeral, just shortly after being
released from prison.
Bernadette Truszkowski said her
husbands band was the most requested band to play at the center.
especially loved the nursing home residents. He not only played Guardian, he played
all over the county, outside the Valley. The nursing home residents were very
dear to his heart.
When people come and perform and there is music, they
really liven up. He saw how smiles would come on their face when there was music,
good way to help sick kids
Hundreds of motorcyclists ride in memory of A.J.
Novitski of Mountain Top.
- Times Leader
Well over 400 bikers took off from
Holy Child Grove Sunday morning to ride more than 40 miles in the ninth annual
Valley with a Heart Ride.
Thanks to the (Luzerne
County) Sheriffs Department, who did a wonderful job, we had a nice safe
ride down to Mocanaqua, said event President Rick Temerantz.
bikers cycled through Shickshinny, Harveysville and Hunlock Creek before returning
to the grove for a family picnic. Dozens of volunteers served food and manned
booths selling T-shirts, instant bingo and silent auction chances to hundreds
of people who paid $5 each for entry to the picnic. The event benefits seriously
ill children, especially Robert Drummonds, 2, of Hughestown and Justin Burns,
6, of Avoca. This years ride was dedicated to the memory of Anthony John
A.J. Novitski, 18, of Mountain Top, who passed away in June.
said the event began as a one-time event to help the daughter of a friend. We
raised thousands of dollars, but besides the money, that day meant so much to
that little girl. It helped her spirit so much that she wrote about it in her
diary and came out to help the next year, he said. Shes since
passed but knowing what it meant still chokes me up. These people need help with
all kinds of things gas cards, help paying bills, helping paying the mortgage.
Someone has to care and thats what Valley with a Heart is about.
For Tony Novitski, father of A.J. Novitski, it was a bittersweet
day. Its sad but its also happy because I know what Valley with
a Heart does for kids and the needs theyve blessed, Novitski said.
When Temerantzs committee learned that A.J.s
condition had worsened, they arranged a special surprise. On very short
notice, they got more than 100 riders for a ride for A.J., Novitski said.
When we pulled into the parking lot and he saw them, he was grinning ear
to ear. To see that smile, thats what they did for him and no money could
ever replace that. The spiritual energy they create with what they do, there arent
words for it. Its a God thing.
vendors and participants all claim they are the ones who benefit from the event.
Theres nothing like helping a child in need, said Kingston resident
Francine Harrison, who rode as a passenger in the motorcycle ride. Its
like the ultimate thing a person can do.
said she has a grandchild with cerebral palsy. I know what its like.
If more people did stuff like this the world would be a better place.
Newport Township vendor Phyllis Stamile was selling chocolate
motorcycles and The Candy Shacks special peanut butter silk candies, with
a portion of the proceeds going to Valley with a Heart. She also donated several
silent auction baskets. It breaks my heart when I see a sick child and this
is a marvelous thing that they do, she said.
this was Stamiles first year with the event, her granddaughter, Jaclyn Olshefski,
has volunteered for four years. I get back when I do this, she said.
I love it all, but I especially love helping the kids. When (Justin) was
on stage this morning he was so excited, it was just great.
mother, Maria Burns, said the event means more than just financial help. This
is just so wonderful, she said as she looked around the packed picnic grounds.
She said her son has Down syndrome and was recently diagnosed
with leukemia and didnt realize the day was a fundraiser to help him. He
was in awe of the motorcycles and loves dancing to the music, she said,
noting that Justin starts a new and difficult round of chemotherapy on Tuesday.
This is a great thing for him to have today, she said.
Nanticoke may put limits on number of pets allowed
City says current animal ordinance needs updating; revised law not ready yet.
Ian Campbell - Times Leader
Wednesday discussed a potential animal ordinance that could see limits on the
numbers of animals allowed on a property.
is at least a month from completion, according to solicitor William Finnegan,
but when it comes up for a vote it should include the suggestions of city police
and code enforcement officers.
Recent changes included
setting an hour as the earliest time a barking dog could be classed as a violation,
The citys current ordinance needs
to be strengthened, council was told.
gave a second reading to an underage drinking ordinance designed to dissuade property
owners from allowing underage drinking parties to be held on their properties.
It also imposes penalties for noise and behavior issues.
other business, council was asked to look into moving the city sign to a location
actually within the city.
The current Nanticoke City
sign on Sans Souci Parkway is located in Hanover Township, and moving it would
also give the city the opportunity to replace it with one in better condition,
according to Councilman James Litchkofski.
A key issue
could be finding a location inside the city line that would be available for the
city to use, either on city property or on privately owned property, that did
not obstruct vehicle lines of sight, council noted.
also said plans have been made with the state Department of Transportation to
repave roads leaving and entering the Honey Pot section. The work will start Oct.
Council was also asked to look into an issue of
private use of city land on Lower Broadway. Council was told that a preliminary
study by city staff had revealed at least four owners are questionable, but that
a full report would probably be ready by the next meeting.
85 NEPA soldiers returning from Iraq with brigade soon
Pa. National Guard members to land at Fort Dix, N.J. Local celebration set for
About 85 Pennsylvania National Guard soldiers from the
Wyoming Valley are set to return from Iraq in the next couple of weeks.
75 members of the 109th Field Artillery and 10 members of the 228th G Support
Battalion are a part of the 56th Stryker Brigade of 4,000 soldiers who are returning
from Iraq, according to National Guard spokesman Sgt 1st Class John Paul Karpovich.
Field Artillery Battalion Commander Kevin Miller praised
the soldiers for their service.
Members of the field
artillery worked on missions firing artillery shells, and two medics were assigned
to units in the field. In addition, 228th members provided logistical support
in the maintenance, supply and culinary departments.
performed brilliantly. They accomplished every mission and task to the highest
standard and continued to enhance the great reputation of the 109th, Miller
The exact date the soldiers will land at Fort
Dix, N.J., is unknown, but Karpovich is confident it will be within the first
week of September. The soldiers will remain at the New Jersey Army base for a
few days for debriefings before they can return home.
of the soldiers will be picked up by their families after their yearlong tour
is complete. There are about 20 scheduled to travel back together as a group to
the Nanticoke Armory after wrapping up at Fort Dix, Karpovich said.
deployment last September, they traveled to Fort Indiantown Gap and then Camp
Shelby in Mississippi for training before deploying to Iraq in January.
the soldiers are returning to the Wyoming Valley individually, National Guard
officials will be scheduling a welcome home ceremony Dec. 11 to honor the men
and their families of the 109th and 228th for their service.
Nanticoke/Newport eight at Junior World Series
- Please read down the page for more information
Nanticoke/Newport softball team finished eighth followint ist 3-2 loss to Santa
Clara, Utah, on Saturday in the Junior League World Series in Kirkland, Washington.
Gabby Grabowski went 1 for 1 and Maggie Gola doubled for Nanticoke/Newport.
Nanticoke/Newport went 3-3 overall in the tournament.
Puerto Rico won the
championship with a 2-1 win over Elyria, Ohio.
Free chess lessons prove popular
For his first time playing chess,
Tyler Zaremba felt he didn't do too badly Thursday during the two games he played
at the West Side Playground in Nanticoke.
first time I almost won," he said.
Greater Nanticoke Area student was one of the participants for the day at the
Nanticoke Recreation Board-sponsored free chess lessons for all Nanticoke residents.
Zaremba, of Nanticoke, said his grandfather signed him
up for the lessons after hearing he wanted to learn how to play. He said he enjoys
the game and wants to sign up for the chess club at school when he enters fourth
grade in the fall.
"It's fun. Since I'm a really
good thinker, chess would be a good game for me, since chess takes a lot of thinking,"
Frank Procopio of Wilkes-Barre, a certified
chess coach by the U.S. Chess Federation, conducted the lessons Thursday. He's
taught scholastic chess for the past 21 years and had a hand in starting several
clubs at schools throughout the area. Students in those groups usually start out
learning strategy, such as opening moves, and playing informal games before playing
in a chess tournament in the second half of the school year, he said.
though it's not a physical contact sport, there's an element of teaching them
sportsmanship, how to win gracefully, how to lose gracefully, and how to be a
team player," Procopio said.
Sarah Cragle, 10,
of Nanticoke has been playing chess for three years, and won the game she played
Thursday. She belonged to the chess club overseen by Procopio at Ss. Peter and
Paul's Elementary School, which closed in June, and she will join the new one
he starts at Wyoming Area Catholic in the fall.
really like the strategy. I like the feeling when you win, you learn when you
lose," she said of her attraction to the game.
playing chess is mostly a pastime at the moment, Cragle said she hasn't ruled
out competing officially. But for now, she'll just keep playing for fun.
chess lessons are held at the West Side Playground in Nanticoke. For information
on future lessons, call Betsey or Patti at Nanticoke City Hall at 735-2800.
liven up Nanticoke Fairgrounds
2nd annual Sk8tacular event to raise awareness
for permanent skate park draws more than 100.
Ron Wolfe of Glen Lyon sometimes gets in trouble
when he wants to go skateboarding because there is not a legal public place in
the Wyoming Valley for him to practice.
and at least 100 other skateboarders and BMX riders from throughout Luzerne County
hit slider rails and quarter pipes with their boards and bikes at old Nanticoke
Fairgrounds Saturday without getting in trouble with police because they were
participating in the 2nd annual Sk8tacular event. It was hosted by James Gidosh,
31, and Kevin Pizzano, 28, of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Skate Park Alliance.
As Wolfe and others swirled around the parking lot listening
to live bands, they helped raise awareness of the need for a permanent skateboard
park in Luzerne County and money to help build it. State Rep. John Yudichaks
office is working to secure state funding to help build a multi-purpose park at
Wolfe supports the idea of establishing
a skate and bike park in Nanticoke because it keeps you out of trouble and
it brings communities together, he said.
event wont raise a great deal of money, but Gidosh said it helps raise awareness
for the need for such a facility.
Pizzano said there
arent enough activities for youths in Luzerne County, and building skateboard
parks would give them a place to stay out of trouble, socialize with friends and
practice their sport.
We are doing this for the
kids. You have to start doing things for the younger people and not tell they
cant do things. This is exercise and this is what they love. You are supposed
to support this kind of stuff, Pizzano said.
and Gidosh are just two members of the Lower Broadway Park Project that is teaming
with state and city officials to develop 134.5 acres into a park to include a
skate board park, BMX bike park, walking trails, benches and picnic areas.
The park will be constructed in phases with plans for it
to eventually include a natural area, canoe launch, soccer fields, football practice
field and environmental education area.
will be the only one of its kind in a 100-mile radius, Pizzano said. Often
skateboarders must travel to Philadelphia or Binghamton, N.Y., for the closest
quality skateboard park, Pizzano said, noting a 15,000-square-foot facility was
being built in York.
Riders all revved up for Nanticoke races
A New Zealand
teen takes first in the featured $1,000 race on 10-event program.
Jablonski For The Times Leader
The first Nanticoke
Criterium Bicycle Race finally found a home and took place as scheduled Saturday.
Originally to be held at the Greater Nanticoke Area High
School, complaints about blocked traffic and relocation of cars forced the event
to be moved. Luzerne County Community College stepped in and opened their gates
on short notice.
Were very gracious to
LCCC President Tom Leary to let us hold the event here, said Phil Cable,
the promoter of the annual race. We had two days to set this up. It turned
out pretty well.
More than 60 riders registered
for the 10 races, with some coming from Virginia, New York and a team of five
from New Zealand.
The feature race was a 35-mile trek
for category one, two and three riders with a total purse of $1,000. It was won
by Jason Christie, 18, from New Zealand.
were for beginners up to experienced amateurs, ranging in age from 10 to adult
and distances from one to 25 miles.
a different style of racing over here, said Christie, referring to the stiffer
competition in the United States. Its good experience for all of us.
The New Zealand team is racing in America hoping to prepare
itself for the 2012 Olympics in London.
The idea for
the racing event came from Gene Ditzler, the acting executive director for the
Nanticoke Housing Authority.
I wanted to give
the kids something to do to help push them in the right direction, Ditzler
said in her front-row seat by the finish line. I think everything went great
and am looking forward to an even better one next year.
said she began thinking about this cycling event two years ago and called Mark
Sickler of Sicklers Bike Shop to get the process going.
told me he had the perfect guy for me, Ditzler said. Hes the
one who got me in touch with Phil.
been great. None of this would have been possible without him.
Wilkes-Barre Pro-Am Twilight Criterium is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 4, starting
at 5:30 p.m. The start and finish for the five races are at Public Square.
14 and under, 1mile: Youth Development team (name unavailable)
15-18, 2 miles: Michael Havard, Pa.
Junior 10-14, 10
miles: Christopher Baranoski, Chester County Cycling Foundation, Pa.
Cat. 4, 15 miles: Nadia Latzgo, Lehigh Wheelmen Association, Pa.
15-18, 14 miles: John Novak; Sicklers Racing/Upstate Villa, Pa.
4-5 Men, 17 miles: Edward Ellard; Hot Tamales, Pa.
Open, 17 miles: Dale Tye; Attarium Womens Cycling
45-older, 17 miles: Phillip Laskaris, unattached, Pa.
3-4 Men, 25 miles: Dayle Chentley; New Zealand National
Get well Lou
best wishes for a speedy recovery go out to Nanticoke Head Football Coach Lou
Cella. Cella is recovering from a heart attack suffered about a month ago.
A former Blue Devils lineman, Cella was ready to begin
his second year at the helm of the Trojans.
are not yet ready to clear the OFHS Class of 1997 grad to even attend practice
as Cella is known as a tireless worker when it comes to coaching and is sure to
be chomping at the bit to get back to teaching the sport he loves.
Coach Lou at home recovering, the Trojans needed to look no further for an interim
head coach, and literally stayed in the family when they tabbed Lous brother
Mario to lead the squad.
This is Marios first
head coaching gig after spending time as an assistant last year on his brothers
staff, and at Pittston Area for a few seasons before that.
Locals post another victory
Having lost their first two games and being essentially
eliminated from championship contention, the players on the Nanticoke/Newport
softball team could have easily turned their attention to the rest of the summer
and the start of the new school year.
continued to focus on softball.
Pitchers Brooke Chapin
and Hannah Rubasky combined on a four-hit shutout to lead Nanticoke/Newport to
a 5-0 win against the host team from Sammamish, Wash. at the Junior League Softball
World Series in Kirkland, Wash. on Friday.
win, Nanticoke/Newport representing U.S. East will play U.S. West
at 12:30 p.m. today in the fifth/sixth-place game. The win was the three in a
row for Nanticoke/Newport following the two losses.
have a chance to go 4-2. You cant ask for much better than that, said
manager Bill Rubasky. The girls are looking forward to the game. After the
losses, they could have laid down and got beat up. Instead, they won three in
a row. Theyre practicing hard and having fun.
game will be a rematch of a third-round pool play game, which was won by Nanticoke/Newport,
8-1. U.S. West a team representing Santa Clara, Utah defeated U.S
Southwest (La Grange, Texas) on Friday. The West entered that game with a 1-3
record, while the Southwest was 3-1.
The 10-team international
tournament was divided into two five-team pools, with the top two teams from each
pool advancing to the championship semifinals. The rest of the teams were seeded
according to the records in their respective pools. At press time, Pool B
which included Nanticoke/Newport had a 3-0 record against the teams in
I think it shows how strong our pool
was, said Bill Rubasky, whose team lost to U.S. Central and Asia-Pacific.
At press time, it appeared as though those two teams would advance to todays
championship game. Our kids feel we can play with any team here.
Nanticoke/Newport had just four hits but took advantage
of them as well as several walks and errors by the host team, which earned
an automatic berth in the tournament for being the host.
took a 1-0 lead in the second inning and increased the advantage to 3-0 with a
pair of runs in the fourth. The team sealed the win with two runs in the bottom
of the fifth.
Sarah Higgins and Gabby Kowalski each
had hits to give Nanticoke/Newport its early lead. Later in the game, Maggie Gola
and Ashley Horoshock each had a hit.
the first four innings and picked up the win. She struck out three and allowed
two hits. Hannah Rubasky finished things off with three shutout innings, allowing
two hits while striking out two.
We played a
good game, said Bill Rubasky. We got some good pitching and we played
really good defense again. We only had four hits, but we bunted people over and
were able to drive them in. The girls keep playing hard. They know (today) is
their last game of the season. It would be great finish with four straight wins.
Local team victorious, gets shot at fifth
KIRKLAND, Wash. The longer the
Junior League Softball World Series goes, the better Nanticoke/Newport is hitting.
The local team which is representing U.S. East
banged out more than 10 hits en route to an 8-4 win against Europe/Middle East/Africa
in the fourth, and final, round of pool play at the international tournament.
The win raised Nanticoke/Newports record to 2-2 in
pool play. Although that record isnt good enough to qualify the team for
the championship semifinals which feature the top two teams in each of
the two pools Nanticoke/Newport has an opportunity to finish fifth in the
U.S. East will play the host team
from Sammamish, Wash., at 4:45 p.m. (EDT) today with a berth in Saturdays
fifth/sixth-place game at stake. The loser will play in the seventh/eighth-place
game Saturday. The team from Washington received a spot in the tournament for
being the host. The team will take a 1-3 record into the game against Nanticoke/Newport.
EMEA, which finished pool play without a win in four games,
took a 1-0 lead against Nanticoke/Newport in the first inning. East responded
with a double by Gabby Grabowski, a sacrifice bunt by Hannah Rubasky and a run-scoring
fielders choice by Brooke Chapin to tie the game 1-1 in the second inning.
Then the offensive floodgates opened for Nanticoke/Newport.
The team scored four runs in the third inning Sammy
Gow, Sarah Higgins and Maggie Gola each had key hits to take a 5-1 lead
and scored three runs in the top of the fourth to make it 8-1. Katie Kowalski
had the big hit of the inning, a two-out solo home run.
picked up the win, allowing no hits in four innings while striking out five. The
only run she allowed was unearned. Chapin pitched the final three innings, giving
up just three hits while striking out two. EMEA scored one run in the fifth and
two in the sixth to account for the final score.
championship semifinals will feature U.S. Central (Iowa) vs. U.S. Southeast (Texas)
and Asia-Pacific (Philippines) vs. Latin America (Puerto Rico). Nanticoke/Newports
losses came against Asia-Pacific (5-4) and Central (4-0). In both games, one bad
inning led to the opponent scoring all of its runs.
kids are upbeat. We know were just as good as any team here, said
Nanticoke/Newport manager Bill Rubasky. We had two real tough losses. Were
hoping to finish with two more wins.
Skaters ready to roll at new park
NANTICOKE Area skateboarders are tuning up their
wheels in anticipation of a concrete skate park to be built in Nanticoke.
Banned from public parks just about everywhere, the skateboarders
are working hard to help raise money to build a venue for the thousands of local
James Gidosh and Kevin Pizzano of NEPA
Skate Park Alliance are more than hopeful that Nanticoke, with the help of state
Rep. John Yudichak, D-Nanticoke, will finally give them their skate park.
It really seems to be coming together finally,
Gidosh said Thursday. The city and Rep. Yudichak are trying to get grant
money to make it happen.
And the skaters arent
just sitting by and waiting. Gidosh said the alliance has raised around $5,000
to help with the financing and he and Pizzano expect to raise another $2,000 or
$3,000 this weekend.
NEPA Skate Park Alliance is sponsoring
Sk8tacular a daylong event featuring more than 15 local bands.
The event will start at noon Saturday at the proposed site of the new skate park,
Lower Broadway Street in Nanticoke across from the Weis Markets store.
is $10 and proceeds benefit the future skate park, Gidosh said.
temporary skate park will be set up at the site Saturday to offer boarders the
chance to display their talents.
Our market research
shows there are thousands of skateboarders in the area, Gidosh said. We
have been banned from everywhere, but nobody has ever offered us a solution. Nanticoke
and Representative Yudichak are working very hard to give us that solution.
Joe Boylan of Yudichaks district staff said the park
plans call for much more than a skate park. Boylan said the proposed park is scheduled
to be developed on 134.58 acres of land on either side of the northern end of
Lower Broadway Street between the Susquehanna River and the downtown Nanticoke
Boylan said the Lower Broadway Park
Project will be divided into three phases. Phase 1 will feature the skate board
park, a BMX bike park, walking trails, a gateway garden and benches; Phase 2 will
add a natural area, canoe launch and trail connectivity; Phase 3 will bring soccer
fields, a practice football field, an environmental education area and a multi-use
open lawn area.
We have encountered many challenges
in the course of this project, but we are charging ahead with the park,
Yudichak said. It is another important piece to our efforts to transform
the economic, residential and recreational landscape of the south valley.
Boylan said he is awaiting approval of two grants: one
for $162,000 from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources,
and the other for $100,000 from the state Department of Community and Economic
Junior Softball World Series
emotions for Nanticoke team
The Nanticoke/Newport Junior League softball team
has played almost two dozen games and more than 140 innings since beginning its
postseason run at the District 16 tournament last month.
all of that competition, it appears as though one bad inning will keep the team
from possibly playing for a World Series championship.
rolled to an 8-1 win against a team from Santa Clara, Utah, in the third game
of pool play at the Junior League Softball World Series in Kirkland, Wash., on
Wednesday afternoon. The win raised Nanticoke/Newports record to 1-2 in
Pool B play, which concludes today.
But just a few
hours following their first win of the tournament, the local team was eliminated
from championship contention when Asia-Pacific defeated EMEA (Europe, Middle East,
Africa) to remain unbeaten in pool play.
will join fellow unbeaten U.S. Central (Elyria, Ohio) in the championship semifinals
against the top two teams from Pool A.
opportunity to play for a championship is no longer a reality, manager Bill Rubasky
says his team will continue to play hard.
want to win the next three games. Our goal right now is to finish 4-2, he
said. Its a very positive group. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience
and theyre taking it all in. Theyre really enjoying it.
In the first round of pool play earlier this week, Nanticoke/Newport
held a 4-0 lead with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning against Asia-Pacific.
The team from the Philippines rallied for five runs in a 5-4 win.
Nanticoke/Newport had held on for the win, it would have needed only a win at
5:45 p.m. (EDT) today against winless EMEA a team from Milan, Italy
to join U.S. Central in the championship semifinals.
also gave up four runs in one inning in a 4-0 loss to U.S. Central on Tuesday.
Despite the 0-2 record, Nanticoke/Newport continued to
play hard and posted an impressive win against U.S. West (Santa Clara, Utah) on
Heather Perkowski belted a bases-loaded
single to highlight a five-run fifth inning for Nanticoke/Newport, which banged
out 14 hits in the game. All nine starters had at least one hit.
Gola led the team with three singles, while Sammy Gow added a pair of doubles.
Katie Kowalski and Perkowski also finished with two hits each. Nanticoke/Newport
trailed 1-0 before tying the game at 1-1 in the top of the third inning and grabbing
a 2-1 lead in the fourth.
Brooke Chapin picked up the
pitching win for Nanticoke/Newport, allowing one run on four hits in four innings.
Hannah Rubasky pitched three scoreless innings, striking out two and allowing
just two hits.
Im proud of the girls,
said Bill Rubasky, whose team has posted a combined 20-3 record in district, sectional,
state, regional and World Series play. They were a little down after those
two tough losses. But we hit the ball well today and we played very good defense.
The 10-team tournament features six teams from the United
States and four international teams. The tournament is divided into two five-team
pools, with each team playing the other four teams in their respective pools.
The top two teams in each pool advance to a championship
semifinals, while the other teams are seeded for play to determine fifth through
Despite being 2,288 miles from Nanticoke,
the players can feel the support from their hometown, Rubasky said.
very fortunate to have fans back home who are following this team and supporting
us, he said. I cant thank them enough and the team thanks them.
Its been a great experience.
Nanticoke clamping down on partying
OKs first reading of ordinance designed to cut down on noisy parties.
After a brief discussion Wednesday, city council
approved the first reading of the proposed Social Host Accountability Ordinance,
although two elected officials were absent.
Bushko and Councilman Jon Metta did not attend the meeting. Councilman Joe Dougherty
presided with Councilmen Jim Litchkofski and Brent Makarczyk present.
proposal is designed to ensure peace and tranquility in the community,
city solicitor William Finnegan explained.
property owners to be fined for excessive loud parties where alcohol is served
to underage people. Owners could be charged for expenses if city workers or city-paid
emergency response personnel must respond to the scene more than once.
asked Finnegan how the ordinance would affect property owners if they were landlords.
Finnegan said in that case it would be the tenants
responsibility and they would be held liable for the fines. Landlords could still
be held responsible, though, if the landlord knows the tenants are holding parties
that become excessively loud and unruly with alcohol being served to minors.
Resident Dennis Butler said he supported such an ordinance,
but he said he felt the city needed to strengthen its wording to specifically
state the circumstance under which landlords would be held liable.
ordinance must be approved one more time before it becomes law.
other business, Dougherty advised council that the street departments pickup
truck was beyond repair and a new one was needed before winter.
city received a quote of $36,587 for a 2010 Ford F350 equipped with a snow plow
and salt spreader, Dougherty said. The city did not put out a bid for the truck
itself, but can purchase the vehicle using a state cooperative bidding process,
known as Costars, City Administrator Holly Quinn said.
normal price for the truck without the winter weather attachments was $41,215,
In other business, City Treasurer Al Wytoshek
asked if the city was going to repay a $300,000 tax anticipation note earlier
than the Dec. 31 deadline. He thought the city might save up to $50,000 on the
3.15 percent interest rate if it did.
Quinn said she
checked with the lender, PNC Bank, and discovered the city would only save between
$1,000 and $2,000 on the interest if it was paid off now. The total interest expected
to be paid on the loan is roughly $10,000, she said.
said Metta told her it would be best if the money was kept in accounts in case
unforeseen problems arise.
Déjà vu in loss for Nanticoke/Newport
One bad inning. One tough loss.
For the second consecutive
night, Nanticoke/Newport played well with the exception of one inning Monday night
at the Junior League Softball World Series, this time giving up four unearned
runs in the fourth inning in a 4-0 loss to U.S. Central (Elyria, Ohio).
loss gives Nanticoke/Newport an 0-2 record after two games in pool play. The team
gets the day off today before playing Wednesday and Thursday. Central, which won
by the 10-run rule in the first round, improved to 2-0.
10 teams in the tourney are divided into two five-team pools, with each team playing
the other four teams in their pools. Following pool play, which concludes Thursday,
the top two teams from each pool will play in a single-elimination tournament.
Were not out of it, said Nanticoke/Newport
manager Bill Rubasky. But were going to need some help. We need three
teams to finish 2-2 and the (top) team to finish 4-0. Its possible. I think
weve played the toughest two teams.
broke a scoreless tie with four unearned runs in the fourth inning off Nanticoke/Newport
pitcher Hannah Rubasky. The pitcher allowed just two hits in four innings while
striking out seven and walking none. Brooke Chapin replaced Rubasky on the mound
and allowed no runs on one hit in two innings.
5-4 loss to Asia-Pacific in the first round of pool play on Sunday afternoon,
Nanticoke/Newport gave up all five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Monday
night, it was déjà vu.
We had one
bad inning again, said Bill Rubasky. Only this time, the runs were
scored on errors. We played good in the field except for that one inning.
Nanticoke/Newport banged out four hits including
a double and single by Hannah Rubasky but wasnt able to score against
the Central pitcher. A play by the Central left fielder just a few pitches into
the game set the tone for the rest of the contest, said Bill Rubasky.
Gow smacked a line drive down the left-field line that was caught by the diving
left-fielder. The leadoff batter had one of her teams four hits later in
It was an amazing catch, said
Rubasky. She sold out. If she doesnt catch that ball, its a
triple. They made some amazing plays in the field. We hit the ball hard, but they
made all of the plays. They played well defensively.
teams six from the United States and four international squads are
competing that the Junior League Softball World Series. Almost all of the players
will be high school sophomores or freshmen in the fall.
10 teams are divided into two five-team pools, with each team playing the other
four teams in their pools. Following pool play, which concludes Thursday, the
top two teams from each pool will play in a single-elimination tournament.
Nanticoke/Newport is representing the U.S. East in Pool
B. Other teams in Pool B are U.S. Central (Ohio), U.S. West (Santa Clara, Utah),
EMEA (Milan, Italy) and Asia-Pacific (Mataki City).
Rubasky said his team will enjoy the off-day before playing a team representing
Snow Canyon Little League in Santa Clara, Utah at 5 p.m. EDT Wednesday.
going to have a practice and then do some things with the girls, see some of the
sights, he said. We need to win (Wednesday). I think the girls will
Bad inning proves costly
after team from Philippines scores five runs in sixth inning.
Just as it had done through the district, sectional, state and regional tournaments,
Nanticoke/Newport was cruising along at the Junior League Softball World Series
on Sunday afternoon.
Only this time, the outcome was
Makati City (Philippines) scored five runs
in the bottom of the sixth inning to post a 5-4 come-from-behind win against Nanticoke/Newport
in the opening round of pool play. Nanticoke/Newport will play a team from Elyria,
Ohio at 8 p.m. (EDT) today as pool play continues.
teams six from the United States and four international squads are
competing that the Junior League Softball World Series. Almost all of the players
will be high school sophomores or freshmen in the fall.
10 teams are divided into two five-team pools, with each team playing the other
four teams in their pools. Following pool play, which concludes Thursday, the
top two teams from each pool will play in a single-elimination tournament.
Nanticoke/Newport is representing the U.S. East in Pool
B. Other teams in Pool B are U.S. Central (Ohio), U.S. West (Santa Clara, Utah),
EMEA (Milan, Italy) and Asia-Pacific (Mataki City).
starting pitcher Brooke Chapin threw the first four innings without allowing any
Asia-Pacific batters to reach base. Chapin struck out five before being replaced
by Hannah Rubasky, who kept the perfect game going with a 1-2-3 inning in the
bottom of the fifth.
Trailing 4-0, Asia-Pacific scored
two runs with one out in the bottom of the sixth and added three more with two
outs to take a 5-4 lead.
Weve done it in
the past, said Nanticoke/Newport manager Bill Rubasky, referring to the
use of two pitchers. Its been working for us. It just didnt
work out today.
Katie Kowalski drove in a run
in the top of the first with the first of her two hits as Nanticoke/Newport grabbed
an early 1-0 lead. Sammy Gow led off the game with a double and scored on Kowalskis
In the top of the third inning, Sara Higgins
singled and advanced to third when Kowalski reached on an error. Hannah Rubasky
followed with a fielders choice groundout, scoring Higgins to make it 2-0.
Nanticoke/Newport doubled its lead in the top of the sixth
inning. Kowalski started things off with a double and scored when Rubasky reached
on an error. Gabby Grabowski followed with an RBI single to score Rubasky and
give Nanticoke/Newport a 5-4 lead.
play our best game, but we battled, said Bill Rubasky. We told the
girls we had one bad inning. Otherwise, I thought we were the better team. We
struck out a little more than we usually do, but we didnt make an error.
(Today) is another game. The big thing is getting to the final four.
The Nanticoke/Newport manager expects his team to bounce
back from the loss.
They girls were a little
down after the game, he said. But I think well be ready (today).
After todays game, the girls know they can compete with the teams that are
Races scheduled to rev up more interest in cycling
Nanticoke and W-B events
set for kids, newcomers to sport as well as professionals.
racing is getting more and more popular and Phil Cable wants to help young people
learn the right way.
Cable said there will be opportunities
for kids and new-to-racing cyclists as well as experienced racers at the First
Nanticoke Criterium Bike Race on Saturday at John S. Fine High School, Kosciusko
Registration begins at 8 a.m. and racing starts
at 9. All the participants get a T-shirt and medal, Cable said.
is working hard to promote cycling in the area. He also has organized a pro-am
race for the evening of Sept. 4 in downtown Wilkes-Barre.
are kicking off the evening with kids races and a celebrity race for charity,
The goal is to help kids get involved
in cycling, Cable said. I coach and promote races. The Nanticoke event
will consist of youth development races sanctioned by the USA Cycling Federation,
an affiliate of the U.S. Olympic program.
said he feels its important to hold this event because of the increased
interest locally in bicycling.
for the community, Cable said. Cycling is a passion for me and its
really taking off in the area; you see more and more people out there with gear
Cable said bicycling is an addictive
sport that requires endurance. He said as cyclists get more fit, they want
to do it more.
People have helped me in my life
and so has cycling, Cable said. I want to give back to the community
and help grow the sport.
On Sept. 4, Cable will
hold the Wilkes-Barre Pro-Am Twilight Criterium. Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania
has signed on as a sponsor and Jack Williams Tire is sponsoring the youth races.
The youth events will feature three age groups: 6 and under;
7 to 10; and 11 to 14. The pre-registration deadline is Aug. 25. More information
can be obtained by calling Cable at 570-814-5326, or e-mailing him at email@example.com.
The main event will be a 50-mile race through downtown
Wilkes-Barre. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. Cash prizes will be awarded with
the top payout $800. Start and finish will be on Public Square.
Coal miners remembered
Honoring the industry and
its workers the theme of Nanticokes annual festival.
Nardone - Times Leader
Patriot Park came alive with
musical entertainment, arts and crafts, and a homemade pierogie eating contest
this past weekend during the fifth annual Coal Miners Heritage Festival.
theme of the three day get-together, sponsored by the South Valley Chamber of
Commerce, centered around honoring the coal industry and the people who worked
Jerry Hudak, president of the chamber, said
that the approximately 4,000 people who visited the festival helped raise an estimated
$5,000 for local businesses. He said the highlight was a religious
service on Sunday afternoon commemorating the miners and their families. Several
hundred people attended, he said.
Barbara Kosek, owner
of Lighten Up, a fitness and comfort center for women on North Market
Street in Nanticoke, said the chamber helped her get the business started. She
operated a booth at the festival to attract new customers and show her wares.
She said the festival allows local residents to appreciate
the good traits of Nanticoke and surrounding communities. I believe in Nanticoke.
I think its beautiful, she said.
the food and festivities, coal history devotees staged presentations. Karen Dougherty
from the Huber Breaker Preservation Society solicited support for its Buy-a-Brick
program. Interested donators can purchase bricks made from recycled mine material
to help pay for the $10,000 construction of the Huber Breaker Northern Anthracite
Coal Field Miners Memorial.
She also invited the public
to participate in several events scheduled for next month that honor the miners
killed in the Avondale disaster in 1869 and the Exeter Shaft disaster of 1898.
She and other members of the preservation society do not want miners to become
forgotten, she said.
Gene Gomolka, author of Coal
Crackers Son, sold copies of his book based on the life of a local
Polish coal-mining family. The story line centers on Nanticoke and the intrinsic
dangers of working in local mines, he said.
Orechovsky showed historical reports from his new Web site, www.oldforgecoalmine.com.
The site shows photos and official documents including state mine inspector reports,
bulletins from the U.S. Bureau of Mines, and papers pertaining to anthracite coal,
Orechovsky said young people are becoming
increasingly interested in the coal mining industry and how it helped build a
nation. He added that a lot of unmined anthracite coal still exists locally.
In addition to the coal-related memorabilia, festival attendees
enjoyed homemade Yogis Pierogies, face painting, music from
polka bands Joe Stanky and the Cadets and Eddie Derwin and the Polka Naturals,
a tribute to Elvis by Josh Slosky, and a chance to win prizes by guessing the
weight of coal.
One display provided by festival sponsor
Casey-Kassa coal company drew interest from young people who were familiarizing
themselves with the coal industry, said John Yogi Jagodzinski. The
display showcased various types of equipment used in the mines and different types
of locally mined coal.
Jagodzinski said the chamber
decided to add the coal mining theme five years ago to enhance the festival and
keep the memory of an important industry alive.
Nanticoke/Newport aims for world
By Tom Brolle - Citizens' Voice
Bob Adams / The Sunday Voice The Nanticoke/Newport junior softball team begins
play today in the World Series at 5:45 p.m in Kirkland, Wash
Nanticoke/Newport junior league softball team was greeted with cheers and congratulatory
signs as it was escorted through the streets of the two boroughs in a victory
parade on Thursday night.
Just hours before, the girls
made easy work in their semifinal and championship games in West Haven, Conn.,
to claim the East Regional title.
With a title after
a week of softball in Connecticut, even a little rain couldn't damper the parade.
"They were really happy that they could come home
for a day," coach Bill Rubasky said.
But the celebrations
were short lived as Nanticoke/Newport quickly focused its attention to its next
task: winning the World Series.
that journey today as it opens pool play at 5:45 against the Asia-Pacific winner,
Makati City, Philippines, in Kirkland Wash.
of every World Series game will be aired on youthsportslive.com.
performance at the East Regional has given it plenty of confidence to go against
the other best teams on the globe.
finished 8-0 at the East Regional behind strong pitching from Hannah Rubasky and
The team outscored its opponents 71-4
from big hits from players like Katie Kowalski, Maggie Gola and Sammy Gow.
"I expect us to do well," Bill Rubasky said.
"They never quit, they work hard and they can do it."
Thursday's celebration, the team had a quick turnaround as they headed back to
Connecticut late Friday to catch their early Saturday morning flight out of Hartford.
Even after winning four tournaments - districts, sectionals,
states and regionals - and another week of games in the Pacific time zone ahead,
Rubasky isn't worried about his team slowing down.
use to playing a lot and they've been playing a long time," he said. "Because
they played high school ball and all the Little League games, I don't think that
will bother them, the fatigue."
Rubasky said most
of the girls have been playing softball since they were seven or eight years old.
The girls have been playing together for the last couple
of years on the Little League and at Nanticoke Area, where the girls will be freshmen
and sophomores this fall.
"They're very close.
You have to be when you spend six days on the road together," Rubasky said.
"The one thing about them is that most of them are honor students. They're
just a great group of kids."
Rubasky said he realized
the team could make a run to the World Series after the team beat West Point,
1-0, in state championship.
Just two years earlier,
West Point beat a Nanticoke/Newport team with many of the same players for the
And last year, West Point made it all
the way to the World Series.
After getting over the
hump against West Point and its dominate showing at the East Regional, Nanticoke/Newport
isn't ruling out anything at the World Series.
really think we can win because we play good defense, they get timely hits when
we need them and they never give up," Rubasky said. "So yeah, I think
we have a chance."
Changes at GNA aim to improve academics
in fourth and fifth grades to switch classes for core subjects this year.
less than three weeks before the new school year starts, Greater Nanticoke Area
School Board members learned Thursday night about measures being taken to help
the students do better when classes resume Sept. 2.
board member and Education Committee Chairman Tony Prushinski decided to change
the way fourth- and fifth-graders learn their core subjects.
this year, students at those two grade levels will have different teachers for
core subjects, including English, math and reading.
also updated fellow board members on progress made in the Pennsylvania System
of School Assessment program and the No Child Left Behind program.
districts Elementary Education Center might be removed from the School Improvement
I category under No Child Left Behind if children in grades two through five continue
to improve their test scores during the 2009-10 school year, Prushinski said.
The Elementary Education Center was classified this year
as making adequate yearly progress based on their PSSA scores, Prushinski said.
The districts Educational Center, with grades six
and seven, was close behind as Prushinski said there was a technicality
preventing that school from making adequate yearly progress under the No Child
Left Behind mandate. This past year students in grades fourth through seventh
improved their test scores in the PSSA tests.
does seem that things are improving much faster than I ever thought they could
be, said Prushinski, who himself is a teacher in the Dallas School District.
Prushinski has been on the board for two years and has
been critical of the schools previous test scores. Hes worked with
faculty and school administrators to find ways to improve scores.
year, many parents with children in the gifted program expressed frustration at
the district not providing what they believed to be adequate academic challenges
for their children.
Up until now the district has had
teachers working with gifted program students only on a part-time basis.
Kearney, 24, of Archbald, was introduced as the full-time gifted teacher for students
in grades two through six. Filomena Mancuso will continue teaching the talented
students in grades seven through 10, in addition to her home economics classes.
Kearney was a substitute teacher in the district last spring
after graduating from college.
The district wants to
continue helping students excel academically, so eight math and eight English
SAT classes will be offered for high school juniors to help prepare them, Superintendent
Tony Perrone said. The classes will be offered after school.
much attention was given to academics during Thursdays meeting, board members
also expressed their delight and offered congratulations to the Nanticoke-Newport
Township softball girls that will play in the Little League Junior Softball World
Series this weekend in Washington state.
This is the
first time any of the districts softball teams have played in the World
Series, said board member Kenny James, who oversees the sports department. The
girls play a team from the Philippines on Sunday.
In Nanticoke, miners legacy honored
When some of the older
attendees at last years Coal Miners Heritage Festival saw coal cars
on display in Patriot Park, many had tears in their eyes.
impersonator Josh Slaski will perform from 4-6 p.m. Saturday at Patriot Park as
part of Coal Miners Heritage Days.
of our granddads worked in the mines, explained John Yogi Jagodzinski,
one of the event organizers for this weekends festival, which runs from
4:15 to 10:30 tonight, 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday and 2 to 9 p.m. Sunday in Patriot
Jagodzinskis father and uncle
worked in the mines, and he can recall his uncle telling him all about it.
He used to crawl for coal on his hands and knees,
What began five years ago as a heritage festival
is today dedicated specifically to coal miners.
had a festival like that around here to honor them, Jagodzinski, of Wilkes-Barre
One special part of this years
event is a Polka Mass at 3 p.m. Sunday that will not only honor coal miners but
also Al Jolly Joe Truszkowski, known locally for leading polka group
Jolly Joe and the Bavarians.
who was a fixture at the Nanticoke event each year, died in April, just days before
he was expected to perform at the Cherry Blossom Festival in Kirby Park.
did a lot for the old-timers, Jagodzinski said. I used to go to nursing
homes with him. We used to sing (to the residents).
mini-procession during the Mass will include women dressed in old Polish outfits,
guys dressed as coal miners and members of the Knights of Columbus.
day visitors choose, Jagodzinski, a member of the South Valley Chamber of Commerce,
which is sponsoring the event, said its a celebration for all ages.
While last year, Jagodzinski recalled, mostly older men
and women attended, he thinks the festival is a great way for younger generations
to learn about the past.
They can do so by checking
out the heritage tent and seeing the old artifacts: helmets, lights, pieces of
coal and other relics from the mines.
One of the best
parts of the weekend is the coal-miner contest, in which the oldest coal miner
will receive a trophy and a cash prize.
winner, then 94-year-old John Oshirak, has since died, so Jagodzinski cant
anticipate who might win this year.
worked in the mines 30-35 years, he said.
15 people competed in the 2008 contest.
the heritage information, artifacts and the contest, plenty of entertainment and
food are promised.
We have polka on Friday and
Sunday, then country rock on Saturday, the organizer explained.
group of female dancers on Sunday will be dressed in clothing from the Gone
with the Wind era, Jagodzinski said.
As for the
food, nine vendors are expected to bring funnel cakes, sausage-and-pepper sandwiches,
cheesesteaks, pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers, gyros, Belgian waffles, ice-cream sandwiches
and root-beer floats.
Or, the binge eater can always
take part in the pierogi-eating contest. About seven people gave it a go last
year. The winner will get a cash prize.
one to finish 18 gets the money, Jagodzinski said.
If you go
Coal Miners Heritage Festival
Park, Broad and Market Streets, Nanticoke
tonight; 4-10 p.m. Saturday; 2-9 p.m. Sunday
family thanks all who aided Chase's recovery
Recently, our newborn son Chase needed care at Hershey Medical Center. By the
grace of God and the medical staff, Chase made a full recovery. During these seven
weeks the Ronald McDonald House opened their doors with kindness and compassion.
The students, faculty and administration of the Greater Nanticoke Area School
District sent numerous donations. These efforts will be used towards the new expansion
of the house and will help families in times of great need.
We would like
to thank the many family, friends, co-workers and students who sent cards, prayers
and support on a daily basis.
Also, a welcome-back party was organized by
Lydia Brill and members of the G.N.A. faculty. This event displayed the true spirit
of our home town and the people who make it so special. The Parkway Inn and its
staff did a fantastic job.
In addition, we would like to express our gratitude
to CVS, Paston Kyle Gildner, First Primitive Methodist Church, our neighbors on
Grand Street, 20 lb. Head, John and Amanda, Bonk's Bar, Green Street's, and those
who attended, donated and volunteered at the benefit. Thank you for your kindness
Ryan, Erika and Chase Stetz
Nanticoke proposes host ordinance
considered to hold older adults responsible for underage drinking at parties.
officials are considering an ordinance that would hold older adults responsible
if underage young adults are allowed to drink at parties.
hosting the parties whether theyre parents allowing a party in their
own home or adults renting an apartment or commercial space could face
fines starting at $300 for the first offense and $1,000 for three or more violations
if the parties get loud, unruly or out of control.
such a party is hosted by someone under 21 years old, the parents or guardians
of that person can be held responsible for the fines and fees associated with
this Social Host Accountability Ordinance.
proposed ordinance, which will not become law until the city council passes it
twice, defines loud or unruly gatherings as parties with two or more
people gathering with excessive noise, excessive traffic, obstruction of public
streets with crowds that are occupying the streets, public drunkenness, assaults,
vandalism, littering or any other conduct that is a threat to public health and
If police or other emergency service personnel
are called to the scene, the appropriate adult could be also be required to pay
a civil recovery fee to cover the expense of the emergency personnel responding
if the personnel must respond to the property two or more times, the ordinance
The civil recovery fee will not be imposed
if the situation requires an actual emergency response, according
to the ordinance.
This proposed law could come up for
a vote during the councils next meeting on Aug. 19. Council could still
revise some of the wording in the ordinance.
Joe Dougherty presented the proposed ordinance during the councils first
meeting in early August after he heard about a similar ordinance when visiting
family in Rhode Island last month.
I just thought
it would be a good way to make the community safer to protect the public health,
safety and general welfare, Dougherty said.
solicitor William Finnegan discovered another similar ordinance in California
that the Nanticoke ordinance was modeled after. Finnegan was unaware of any other
community in Luzerne County with a similar ordinance or with plans to implement
such an ordinance.
District Attorney Jackie Musto-Carroll
declined to speak about this specific proposed ordinance, but noted any law designed
to assist in keeping alcohol out of the hands of people under 21 years old should
Any ordinance that promotes and
reduces underage drinking is a step in the right direction, she said.
Nanticoke council is expected to discuss this ordinance
during its Aug. 19 meeting at City Hall, 15 E. Ridge St. The council might vote
on this ordinance for the first time during that meeting. The ordinance must be
read and approved twice before it becomes law.
Nanticoke considers law to curb underage drinking
By Robert Olsen - Citizens' Voice
ordinance by city Councilman Joe Dougherty on Wednesday will target property owners
and parents in an effort to curb underage drinking, drinking parties and binge
The Social Host Accountability Ordinance
is currently in draft format, Dougherty said, but is expected to be ready for
a final vote at council's next regular meeting.
said he first became aware of such an ordinance while out-of-state on vacation
and, upon arriving home, spoke to Solicitor William Finnegan Jr. who then found
another version of the ordinance with "more teeth."
the ordinance, property owners and/or parents will be fined but will also be charged
for the use of any municipal services, such as police or fire, whose resources
were called upon to handle the complaint.
where a residence is rented, Finnegan believes the renter, not the actual property
owner, would be the person responsible for all fines and charges, but said a more
in-depth review of the ordinance is needed before anything can be finalized.
In cases where a minor hosts a drinking party it would
be the parent or guardian who would be held liable for all fines and charges.
California already has a Social Host Ordinance in place
in some districts. Under a Mariposa, Calif., ordinance, "whenever a person
having control of the residence or premises is present at that residence or premises
at the time that a minor obtains, possesses, or consumes any alcoholic beverage,
it shall be prima facie evidence that such person had the knowledge or should
have had the knowledge, that the minor obtained, possessed, or consumed an alcoholic
beverage at the party."
Dougherty believes if
the ordinance passes it would be the first of its kind in the state.
also approved the hiring of Pam Heard as the city's full-time finance director
at a yearly salary of $45,000. The position also comes with full benefits and
Heard, a public accountant, has
worked with the city in the past.
"I'm very excited
to be joining the city," Heard said.
reduction in city real estate taxes was approved by council for the Tree of Life
Christian Fellowship parsonage.
According to city treasurer
Albert Wytoshek, the reduction is similar to the one received by all of the churches
within the city.
"We granted it to them last year
too," Wytoshek said, "and they deserve it."
reduction, which is actually a repayment, is equal to $290.
Nanticoke hires a finance director
Pamela Heard was hired Wednesday night as the
citys newest finance director after a unanimous vote by City Council.
Heard, a certified public accountant, previously worked
with the city as a contractor when it was considering whether to enter into the
Act 47, financially distressed city status about three years ago.
am really excited. I think they (Nanticoke residents) have a great future and
I am glad to be a part of it, Heard said.
was chosen over two other candidates who were interviewed, Mayor John Bushko said.
He said her previous experience working with the citys finances helped him
decide she was the best candidate.
I think she
is an excellent candidate. She knows whats in those files, Bushko
Heard is taking over a job previously held by
current City Administrator Holly Quinn, who worked under former city administrator
Kenneth Johnson until he took another job last September.
was hired as city administrator last month by council.
will be responsible for preparing and interpreting the financial reports, presenting
those to council as needed, paying bills, writing applications for grants and
preparing budgets, Quinn said.
Heard has been working
the Albert B. Melone Co., a finance firm that works with several cities and school
districts throughout the county. In her new role, she will earn $45,000 a year
as a full-time finance director with full medical benefits and two weeks paid
In other business, resident Carl Larson asked
council members to form a resident review board that can investigate complaints
about police officers. Lawson said he had been having problems with one officer.
Bushko asked if Larson had talked to police Chief James
Cheshinski about a complaint. Larson said he had.
was unavailable for comment Wednesday night.
business, Councilman Joe Dougherty introduced a proposed ordinance that would
hold people responsible if someone hosts an underage drinking party.
asked fellow council members to review the draft of the Social Host Accountability
Ordinance so it could be discussed at a future meeting.
Best in class: Nanticoke/Newport
Matt Van Stone - Citizens' Voice
" CONGRATULATIONS FROM
/ The Citizens' Voice
Winning pitcher Hannah Rubasky (00) celebrates with
teammates after win over West Point for the state championship.
the sun goes down and the lights come on, the stars shine the brightest. Tuesday
night at Kubis Field was no exception as Nanticoke/Newport defeated West Point
1-0 to capture the Pennsylvania Junior League softball championship.
was the closest call Nanticoke-Newport had in the tournament. In fact, prior to
a 7-3 win over Radnor in its opener on Tuesday, Nanticoke Newport had scored double
digits in all of its games.
"I wish we could have
had a couple runs from some of the other games," Nanticoke/Newport coach
Bill Rubasky joked.
Pitching and defense took over
in the championship.
Hannah Rubasky threw a complete
game, two-hitter while Katie Kawalski drove in the game's lone run and made two
spectacular diving catches in left field.
week we had a couple muffs every game," coach Rubasky said. "Tonight
they just outdid themselves. It was the time we needed it."
scored the game's only run in the top of the first when Sammy Gow singled to left
and was bunted to second by Ari Grabowski. Katie Kowalski followed with a triple
to deep right, adding to an already productive tournament.
feels really good," Kawlaski said. "I was slumping for a bit there but
I was able to break out of it - and in a big game."
first-inning run was all Hannah Rubasky needed as she baffled West Point hitters
all night. West Point was only able to muster first and third-inning singles off
the Nanticoke/Newport righty, who faced just three batters over the minimum.
"My curveball and my screwball worked really well
for me today," Hannah Rubasky said. "The team did really well and we
didn't make a single error today."
It wasn't all
smooth sailing for Nanticoke/Newport, though. Juystne Falbo singled to lead off
the West Point half of the first and was bunted over to second by Maddie Knitzer.
With a runner in scoring position, Kowalski made a shoestring,
sliding grab to keep the runner at bay.
even know what to say about Katie," coach Rubasky said. "She's like
Superwoman out there."
another scare with one out in the seventh when Lizzy Dougherty tracked down a
fly ball from Hope Pehrson at the center field warning track.
was the hard-luck loser for West Point, hurling six innings, allowing five hits
with seven strikeouts.
Rubasky fanned Marisa Larkin
to end the game and the celebratory dogpile followed-it was just the beginning
The town of Nanticoke will hold a parade today
at 6 in honor of the state champs, who will regroup and begin regional play Friday
in West Haven, Conn.
Planning board OKs LCCC building plans
likely to begin within month for long-awaited culinary arts institute.
An agreement to allow Mark Construction Services
to build the Culinary Arts Institute for Luzerne County Community College moved
forward Tuesday when two members of the Nanticoke Planning Commission approved
the engineering plans.
The approval was conditional,
based on the development company receiving letters from the Wyoming Valley Sanitary
Authority noting it would provide sewage treatment.
the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection must approve WVSA as the
treatment facility, officials said.
Mark McNealis went over questions raised in a letter from Leonard Engineering,
which the city hired to review the construction companys engineering work.
Pasonick Engineering is the citys engineer and under
most cases would have also served as the commissions engineer, but could
not in this instance because Pasonick was hired by Mark Construction Services
to serve as its engineer.
Most of the questions raised
by Leonard Engineering were typographical fixes, including adding a symbol noting
the northern direction on one page of the architectural plans.
Commission Chairman John Grontkowski and member Steve Wanchisen asked a few other
questions regarding parking and water flow and water pressure during the 30-minute
William Rinaldi, president of Mark Construction
Services, did not attend the meeting. Architect Scott Douglas Allen of SDA Architects
in Scranton and Pasonick Engineer Thomas Barna attended the meeting on Rinaldis
behalf to answer the board members questions.
told Grontkowski the site contained adequate storm water drains and fire hydrants.
The storm water drains are tied into the citys existing
pipes to prevent any possible flooding issues.
hydrants are within 50 feet of the building and would provide enough
water pressure if the fire department needed to tap into those lines, Barna said.
Wanchisen expressed concern over the lack of parking spaces
for the facility.
There would be no parking at the
site, so people entering the institute will have to use other parking lots in
Wanchisen pointed out there is not much parking
available in the Weis Grocery store parking lot down the street.
explained the planning board approves engineering plans to make sure there is
adequate sewer, water and other utilities to service the building.
commission does not have the power to address parking issues. Those issues must
be decided by the zoning board and city council. McNealis said he will make note
in his letter of approval that the commission strongly urged the city to review
the parking situation for this site.
he didnt want anyone in the future to think they had not considered all
possible issues and scenarios for the location.
guys always raise good issues, but sometimes it must be handled by others,
Barna said the plans will be submitted
to Nanticoke Fire Chief Michael Bohan for his approval before any work begins
on the site.
The institute, which will include a clock
tower, will sit on the corner of Main and Market streets after the former Nanticoke
Senior Citizens Center and the Susquehanna Coal Company building are torn down.
Allen said they hope to begin tearing down the buildings
and start construction within the next month.
it will typically take nine to 12 months to finish the building before the college
can move in, he said.
advances to state semifinals
By Jill Snowdon - Citizens' Voice
Nanticoke/Newport's junior softball team gave
up three runs and a little momentum in the bottom of the second inning against
Radnor on Monday, but it made enough of a recovery to advance to the semifinals
of the Junior State Tournament.
Radnor scoreless through the remaining five innings, regained the lead and advanced
with a 7-3 win at Kubis Field.
With a 3-0 record, Nanticoke/Newport
will play at 4 today against the loser of the Greenville/Warrior Run contest.
The winner advances to the state title game, which will be held tomorrow at 8.
"We held together after that bad inning," Nanticoke/Newport
coach Bill Rubasky said. "We didn't play perfect softball, but they are playing
together and they did a nice job of regrouping and refocusing."
took an early 1-0 lead in the first. Sammy Gow led off the game with a triple
and scored on a wild pitch. In the top of the second Nanticoke/Newport grabbed
a 3-0 lead with Gabby Grabowski and Sarah Higgins scoring runs.
scored three runs with two outs in the bottom of the inning to even the score
Nanticoke/Newport, however, quickly regained
control. Lizzy Dougherty singled and Heather Perkowski made good on her first
at-bat as she drove in Dougherty for the go-ahead run.
Hannah Rubasky and Brooke Chapin split time on the mound and kept things in order.
Rubasky faced just four batters in the third and fourth innings, while Chapin
entered in the fifth and struck out four, while walking just one.
also turned in a fine defensive effort, in addition to her two hits on offense.
She had a pair of back-to-back putouts in the fifth inning and tossed a quick
throw to third baseman Maggie Gold to prevent Radnor from getting in scoring position
in the seventh.
"We make mistakes but we always
pick each other up," Gow said. "We've been playing together for so long
now that we know we can count on each other for support. And we're going to do
whatever it takes to win a title."
went up 5-3 in the fifth with Gola leading off with a single and scoring on an
error. Ashley Horashock scored on Katie Kowalski's bunt single in the sixth inning
and Kowalski came in on Gola's double for a 7-3 advantage.
LCCCs downtown expansion hits snag
moving forward, but its taking longer than officials expected.
Luzerne County Community College officials originally
dreamed that students would be attending classes in downtown Nanticoke this year.
Well, that date has been pushed back a little bit. The
proposed Health Sciences Center is slated to open in spring 2011 at the former
Kanjorski Center on East Main Street, and the proposed Culinary Arts Institute
is slated to open next fall just blocks away at the corner of Main and Market
The latest delays are the result of contract
negotiations and questions regarding the coal company buildings historical
When plans for the college expanding into downtown
were originally announced in September 2007, the Health Sciences Center was to
be opened this January and the Culinary Arts Institute was to be opened this fall.
Culinary, Nursing and Health Sciences students will continue
attending classes in their current facilities on the main campus until the new
buildings are opened, LCCC President Tom Leary said.
is not disappointed in the time delay because he wants to ensure these projects
are done right to fit the colleges future needs.
time you are engaged in something that is this important, it is vital to get it
right, not just get it done quickly. We have spent time with faculty and staff
meeting with architects to make sure the design (of both buildings) is in the
best interests of the students, Leary said.
staffs from the college and the developer, Mark Construction Company, are hammering
out the remaining details of a contract that calls for the college to construct
the institute. Leary hopes the contract will be ready for the Board of Trustees
The building projects, which are in the
final design phase, are now moving forward as expected, said Joe Grilli, LCCCs
vice president charged with external affairs and planning.
on the inside of the Kanjorski Center should begin in three weeks, with the work
taking up to three months as the office building is transformed into a new home
for the colleges Nursing and Health Sciences Department, Grilli said.
During that time, engineering on the renovation will be
completed, so workers then can move forward in renovating the building to create
a 24-seat dental clinic, classrooms, simulation bays, respiratory therapy lab,
lung function lab and other programs.
The college is
leasing the building from the Nanticoke Municipal Authority for about $290,000
a year for seven years. Board members have the option to purchase the building
at the end of the lease.
Once the former Nanticoke
Senior Citizens Center and the Susquehanna Coal Company building are demolished,
the Culinary Arts Institute will be built on the site.
state-of-the-art culinary institute is scheduled have a demonstration kitchen,
two modern kitchen labs with individualized work stations and a pastry arts lab.
There is not a demolition date for the former senior citizens
center or coal building because Mark Construction Company has not yet purchased
William Rinaldi, the construction companys
chief executive officer, did not return calls seeking comment.
sale of both buildings was supposed to be completed on July 10.
Mayor John Bushko has been supportive of the projects, but notes he is a little
frustrated that it is taking so long to come to fruition.
said he thought both projects would be under construction by now and now hes
worried the cash-strapped city might have to renew its liability insurance policy
on the senior citizens center if it is not sold and demolished soon.
officials signed an agreement last July to sell the 6,650-square-foot building
to Rinaldis company for $250,000.
Administrator Holly Quinn said once the money is received, it will be earmarked
for the citys capital projects.
Housing Authority is expecting to receive about $80,000 for the coal building
after the authority agreed to sell the property to Rinaldi for the development.
Authority solicitor Vito DeLuca said the board doesnt
expect to make any money on the sale, but rather recoup the expenses it incurred
when the authority tried to acquire grant money to renovate the historic building
After reviewing the coal building
property, which was once home to the Susquehanna Coal Companys corporate
offices, it would be eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic
Places, said Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission spokesman Kirk Wilson.
State Rep. John Yudichaks office has been working
with the state historical commission to resolve any possible issues that might
arise because of the buildings demolition.
commissions first inclination is for preservation, but because the coal
building has sustained damage from a fire in addition to water and pigeon
damage over the years it is beyond rehabilitation, Yudichak said.
want to preserve the coal building history the best we can, while we build a new
history for the city of Nanticoke. We always intended to reflect the architectural
motif in the new culinary arts building, he said.
commission knows not all historic buildings can be saved, so the commissions
Bureau of Historic Preservation has been in contact with the developer to ask
that the building be photographed and a description of the building be written
to preserve the memory of the building for future generations, Wilson
Sometimes we realize that is financially
impossible to restore a facility. So if it is demolished there would still be
proof it existed and information for the future, Wilson said.
is confident the documents and photographs detailing the building will be in capable
hands at the Nanticoke Historical Society, and there will be a chance to display
some artifacts from the coal building in the new culinary arts building.
building projects, which are in the final design phase, are now moving forward
as expected, said Joe Grilli, LCCCs vice president charged with external
affairs and planning. Demolition on the inside of the Kanjorski Center should
begin in three weeks.
Nanticoke municipal workers sweltering, but cool relief
is on way
City officials are awaiting the arrival of parts to repair
the municipal buildings three-decade-old air-conditioning unit.
unit has been out for a couple of weeks, making the early 1970s-era glass-sheathed
building uncomfortable on days when the sun beats into the two-story facility.
The city is using a fan to keep everyone cool until the
repair is made, City Administrator Holly Quinn said.
city hired Penn State Mechanical of Wilkes-Barre to fix the problems in the HVAC
system, which have affected the main floor of the building, which includes District
Judge Donald Whitakers office, city offices and the police department in
the buildings basement.
Penn State Mechanical
quoted the city a cost of $4,994. Thats a savings of roughly $1,000, Public
Works Foreman Walter Pavelitz said, after two other contractors offered higher
quotes to fix the two separate HVAC units.
parts for the unit that is original to the building is sometimes a problem because
the unit is so old.
The city also hired Rite Temp Mechanical
Contractors of Dalton as part of an annual maintenance program for $1,596 to inspect
the HVAC unit twice a year, clean the coils and replace belts as necessary.
Even if we have breakdowns, maybe it wont be
as costly, Pavelitz said, comparing this to a person having medical check-ups
to spot illnesses before they become serious.
the city was declared an Act 47 financially distressed city in May 2006, officials
have been watching how much they spend as they try to increase revenue.
said he couldnt begin to guess the cost of replacing the entire air-conditioning
hospital toasts 100 years
First opened to serve coal miners, facility evolved
as communitys needs changed.
Medical services in Nanticoke have come a long
way since 1905 when a makeshift hospital began operating out of the old city hall
at Broad and Walnut streets during a typhoid epidemic.
years later the Nanticoke Hospital opened its doors to care for coal miners and
their families; 100 years later a hospital continues to provide medical coverage
on the same plot of land.
To commemorate the centennial,
hospital administrators, staff and former workers will gather for a Mass at 2
p.m. Sunday at St. Stanislaus Church in Nanticoke and immediately after attend
a sold-out dinner reception at Luzerne County Community Colleges Educational
Over the past century the hospital
has dealt with overcrowding, a drop in the number of admissions, financial struggles
and faced possible permanent closure in 1989.
state worked to find a private health care company to run the hospital, which
had a $3.5 million deficit and only served a handful of patients. Mercy Health
Partners and Catholic Healthcare Partners began leasing the facility from the
State Department of Public Welfare on July 1, 1990.
hospital now runs on a nearly $16 million annual budget and about an 80 percent
of its 40 beds are typically occupied. Current Hospital Administrator Bob Williams
said the hospital plans to continue providing health coverage in the community
for years to come.
As the need changes in the
community, we will change with the needs of the public. It is a testimony to the
people who have worked in this facility since it opened. A dedicated staff, devoted
physicians and the support of the community made it possible, Williams said.
The hospital began as a way to provide emergency health
care to the men who worked in six collieries in the region. Several men
four of them from the coal miner unions and three coal mining bosses met
in F.H. Kohlbrakers office in May 1907 to form the Nanticoke Hospital Association,
according to historical documents from the Nanticoke Historical Society.
worked as superintendent of the Susquehanna Coal Company and his firm donated
about three acres for the hospital to be built upon. A dedication program and
parade was held on Oct. 12, 1909 as the city and its residents celebrated the
opening of the $70,000, three-story brick hospital that boasted 20 beds in the
male ward, 10 beds in the female ward, eight beds in a special burn ward and seven
The hospital became the
Nanticoke State General Hospital in 1912 after Pennsylvania state Rep. W. Bruce
Good wrote a bill directing Gov. John K. Tener to appoint a commission to consider
running the hospital.
Within a few years of its opening,
the hospital was experiencing severe overcrowding with 35 patients turned away
in July and August 1914.
One hundred patients could
be cared for at the hospital after several additions were completed in the 1910s
Anne Rushin, 98, worked as a nurse for 28
years after graduating from the hospitals nursing school program in 1933.
She vividly remembered her work serving mostly in the outpatient department and
having to be on call to help prep patients for surgery.
enjoyed it. I had a variety of duties in the outpatient department, Rushin
said, noting that in 1934 nurses worked 12-hour days with a three-hour break and
were paid $5 daily plus room and board. She lived with other nurses in dormitory-style
housing on the grounds, so they could be there quickly in case of an emergency.
Rushin recalled how a few years after graduating, she was
called to Hunlock Creek to help care for adults and children when a bridge collapsed,
sending 10 people to the hospital.
Rushin retired from
the hospital in 1962 and went to work at Valley Crest nursing home where she worked
in the admissions department for 18 years until 1979.
the 1950s, the hospital began offering services for mental health and mental retardation
through the Nanticoke-Hazleton Mental Health/Mental Retardation Center. Now Northeast
Counseling Services provides inpatient and outpatient behavioral health programs.
The hospital operated an emergency room, had a maternity ward and opened an eight-bed
intensive care unit in the 1970s.
When Mercy Hospital
took over operations it removed the ER, maternity ward and ICU, but made other
substantial improvements to improve acute health care.
The hospital became Northeastern Pennsylvanias first
acute-care hospital, in the mid-1990s to care for patients in a more extended
stay setting. Many patients now spend an average of 25 days in Mercy Special Care
Hospital utilizing the inpatient and outpatient services of wound care, rehabilitation,
behavioral health, physical therapy, respiratory therapy, lab work and x-rays,
Mercy continues to stay on top of innovative
health care, Williams said as he proudly pointed out the hospital was the first
in Luzerne County to install a hyperbaric chamber.
with wounds that wont heal are enclosed in a chamber that bathes them in
pure oxygen to promote healing.
Within the last year
the hospital has renovated its basement, moving the rehabilitation services center
to the first floor as room was made for the Nanticoke senior center, the Rose
Tucker Center at Mercy.
In yet another first for the
hospital, this is the first senior citizen center in Northeastern Pennsylvania
to enter into a health-based partnership with a hospital, according to Luzerne
County Bureau of Aging Director Mary Beth Farrell.
100 years of serving
May 1907: Nanticoke Hospital Association
April 1908: Association accepted plans for new
September 1908: Ground broken for
Oct. 12, 1909: Grand opening of Nanticoke
Hospital a celebration and parade were held
21, 1909: First patient, Alfred Inoscenti, was released after being treated for
a brain concussion.
Oct. 22, 1909: First operation
performed on Mrs. Sura Allen of Glen Lyon for a stomach condition. Allen, 21,
died Oct. 24 from complications.
May 1912: State of
Pennsylvania takes over control and ownership of hospital
$1.25 million renovation at hospital included a three-story wing and basement.
Other additions included a laundry center, boiler room and a mental health unit
on the south side of the building
1970s: An eight-bed
Intensive Care Unit is added
June 30, 1990: Nanticoke
State General Hospital closed its doors
July 1, 1990:
Mercy Hospital Nanticoke opens
1994: Emergency room
2004: Hospital installs first hyperbaric chamber
in Luzerne County used for wound treatment
rehabilitation center was moved from the basement to the first floor during renovations
to make room for Nanticokes Senior Citizens Center in the hospitals
March: Grand opening of Rose Tucker Center
at Mercy in honor of late county Commissioner Rose Tucker.
Nanticoke Historical Society, Mercy Special Care Hospital
Official: Nanticokes finances looking good
With only two council members and the mayor present, city council had a quick
31-minute meeting Wednesday night in which officials were updated on the citys
finances and two street projects.
Presenting the financial report, City Administrator
Holly Quinn noted the city is pretty much on target with financial matters, so
far this year.
Most of our income is in good
shape, she told Mayor John Bushko and council members Joe Dougherty and
By the end of June, the city had received
$1,220,614 in earned income tax revenue or 63.57 percent of the estimated total
for 2009. This is important for the Act 47 city because it struggled with income
tax revenue coming in last year.
Fines and forfeitures
fees were a little low, with the city generating only 2,097 or 34.97 percent of
the total budgeted amount.
Quinn believes that later
this year the city will generate more money, which will be a shot in the
arm, from permit fees and the landlord license fee.
city has generated $2,395,123 in revenues, spent about 50 percent of that or $1,546,234,
and has an income of $830,888, of as June 30, Quinn said.
also reported that the city also has $760,637 in its general fund balance as of
The council voted unanimously to hire Michael
J. Pasonick Jr. and Associates of Wilkes-Barre as the citys engineer for
its downtown streetscape project. Mayor Bushko has a vote on council and voted
along with the two attending council members.
members Brent Makarczyk and Jim Litchkofski and City Treasurer Al Wytoshek were
Engineer Daryl Pawlush of Pasonick informed
council that he, Quinn and Dougherty met Tuesday with Pennsylvania Department
of Transportation officials to get the K-routes street project and the downtown
streetscape project moving forward.
The K-route project
is scheduled to receive a final review by PennDOT on Monday, Pawlush said. He
added that his firm would have a representative at the state offices to answer
any questions and make any changes deemed necessary by PennDOT to move the project
The project using federal funds has already
been on hold for five years because of changes in the engineering work, Bushko
said. Construction on the streetscape project is supposed to happen next year.
Grant enables Mercy to upgrade
Special Care Hospital
in Nanticoke gets $381,000 from federal government.
Mercy Special Care Hospital will use a $381,000
grant from the federal government to fund a portion of the hospitals capital
upgrades in Nanticoke and at its satellite hospital in Scranton.
this grant money allows us to purchase the equipment we need and that our patients
and staff need to provide safety, quality in-patient care, said Bob Williams,
The planned purchases include
67 state-of-the art computerized beds, wheelchairs, tables and chairs to be used
in the rooms to ensure the safety of patients and staff. After the money was secured
in mid-March, the hospital purchased 20 of the beds and plans to purchase the
The Nanticoke hospital can accommodate
47 patients for short-term rehabilitation and Scranton has 20 beds.
will also be added to some rooms to provide extra storage for equipment and supplies.
Williams said the beds are a great investment because patients
can be weighed without getting out of bed and be lowered to help patients get
out of the bed, reducing the number of falls. The beds also will benefit the nursing
staff because they can be moved more easily and allow patients to be repositioned
with less difficulty during medical treatments.
Special Care is the only hospital in Luzerne County to receive this much funding
this year from the federal government, said U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Nanticoke.
He said federal awards were based on what agencies need assistance the most to
improve the communitys life.
it was determined to improve the quality of life by improving the place that most
patients spend the most time the bed by making it more comfortable for
them and more useful, Kanjorski said.
Partners President and Chief Operating Officer Kevin Cook said this project is
part of the hospitals ongoing commitment to Nanticoke as it continues to
renovate the hospital.
We understand that for
a community to care about a hospital, the hospital has to demonstrate its care
for the community one patient at a time, one day at a time, one interaction at
a time, Cook said.
The Nanticoke hospital has
been run and operated by Mercy Health Partners since 1994. For 75 years prior
to that, the hospital was a state-run facility created to care for coal miners.
Nanticoke OKs police contract
Council also appoints
new city administrator, hires six part-time employees.
Council members were busy but swift during Wednesday
nights meeting, at which they approved the police officers contract,
appointed a new permanent city administrator and hired six part-time employees.
Council unanimously approved a collective bargaining agreement
with the police department.
Under the contract, officers
will receive nine paid holidays instead of 13, start paying a portion of their
health care premiums next year, and the city will offer incentive bonuses for
officers who do not use sick days, said Councilman Brent Makarczyk, who served
as the citys negotiator.
Police officers will
also receive a slight pay raise every year during the next four years that the
contract is in effect.
There are some burdens
on the police department, but I dont think it is overbearing. I believe
it is something they can live with on a rising scale. There is also compensation
in place to keep up with that expense. The city is not paying for everything 100
percent; they are paying for some of the costs, Makarczyk said, calling
the contract fair and a good compromise. He thanked the officers for recognizing
the city is in a deep financial crisis that its trying to work itself out
Immediate copies of the contract were not available
for review because lawyers for both sides have to finish up the paperwork, which
could take a few days. Once the paperwork is finished, the contract will be made
available to the public.
The previous police officers
contract expired at the end of December 2008.
Director Holly Quinn was named full-time permanent city administrator after Mayor
John Bushko made a motion to hire her.
the great work Quinn has done as interim city administrator since last September,
when former City Administrator Kenneth Johnson resigned to take a position closer
to his home in Northumberland County. Since Johnsons resignation, the city
has interviewed several applicants for the jobs.
new salary is not yet known. The council unanimously approved her appointment.
She said she will start working on an advertisement to
fill her former finance director position.
five in the public works department and one in the clerical department
were unanimously hired as part-time employees.
Pepon will work from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. five days a week in the code enforcement
office as a clerk. Sean Kearny, Kevin Zwotek, Robert Marr, Judith Zaykoski and
Mike Swicklick will work about five hours a day, three days a week as needed in
the public works department, cutting grass and clearing debris around town.
All six will earn $8 per hour and will not be eligible
to receive any health or vacation benefits because of their part-time status.
Bishop announces priest changes
Guydish - Times Leader
Bishop Joseph Martino announced
extensive appointments of clergy throughout the diocese, with substantial shuffling
in Luzerne County. Here is how the changes affect area churches.
William Langan will leave his post as pastor at St. Francis of Assisi and St.
Joseph, Nanticoke, to be pastor at St. John the Evangelist and St. Mary Magdalen,
Honesdale. Rev. James Nash, current pastor of four other Nanticoke Parishes, will
add St. Francis and St. Joseph to his list.
diocesan list of changes is here.
Nanticoke schools do not hike taxes
Board hires gifted-education
teacher; to check information regarding football coach.
In a long and busy meeting Wednesday, the Greater
Nanticoke Area School Board approved a budget with no tax increase, hired a gifted-education
teacher who board members promised would improve a program one parent criticized,
and promised to arrange a meeting to check allegations from another parent contending
the head football coach gave false information on his resume.
Consultant Al Melone said the budget for 2009-10 would spend about $25 million
while keeping property taxes at the same rate as this year, though the countywide
reassessment will make bills look different.
the first in four decades dramatically increased the market value
of properties throughout the county. As a result, the millage rate, or the amount
of taxes paid for every $1,000 of assessed value, dropped sharply in every district.
In Greater Nanticoke Area, the millage rate under the old
assessment was 255. Under the new assessment it will be 9.9295.
noted the district recently learned a former special-education student was returning
to the district and required education while hospitalized. By law, the district
must provide the services, and Melone estimated the cost for one year at $183,000.
While the state and other sources would offset that, the
district will probably end up paying about $125,000.
board also hired a full-time gifted teacher, and told one parent who rose to criticize
the program that the new employee coupled with new training for administrators
and teachers should improve the program substantially.
the board heard allegations from parent David Kotz regarding football coach Lou
Cella. Kotz and other parents criticized Cellas treatment of students last
year, and Kotz had previously claimed Cella had put false information on his resume,
but had been reassured the information had been checked.
told the board Wednesday he had called schools where Cella claimed to have coached,
and had been told the claim was inaccurate. Kotz also said the people he talked
to said no one from Greater Nanticoke Area had called them regarding Cella.
Cella was not at the meeting.
President Bob Ranieri said he would arrange a meeting with Cella, Kotz and the
boards athletic committee to review the allegations.
Local ghost-hunting group shares investigations
live on the Web
From the comfort of their home, people all over the world can watch David
Conklin Jr. and the group he and his brothers founded, Pennsylvania Valley Paranormal
Whenever the ghost-hunting club searches
for spirits that haunt Northeastern Pennsylvania, Conklin sets up a Web cam, and
streams the adventure over the Internet for anybody logging on to the groups
Web site to see. Saturday night, the group was set to do a live investigation
and use a web cam to capture their findings.
wanted to bring people into what we do, to share our experience with people outside
of the group, said Conklin, 37, of Nanticoke.
Pennsylvania Valley Paranormal Association started about a year ago, after Conklin
and his brothers were inspired by the TV show Ghost Hunters, to look
for paranormal activity on their own. Conklin and his brothers, Eric and Jeff,
visited the Avondale Historical Site, where 110 men and boys were killed in a
1869 mining accident.
Conklin remembers doubting the
group would find evidence of paranormal activity, until he heard a loud bark in
his ear at the Avondale Mine Site. Conklin couldnt believe it, so he checked
the audio recorder when he got home. He didnt hear the bark on the audio
recording. But from the video recording, it was undeniable. The noise was there,
without an easy explanation.
Next, the group investigated
a hair salon in Wilkes-Barre. There, they encountered a high reading on the groups
Electromagnetic Field reader. When Conklin asked if anyone wanted to say a hello,
a brief no, answered him back. Skeptical at first about the existence
of ghosts, Conklin has come to believe they may exist.
believe there are sources of energy. Energy can never die, Conklin said.
Maybe they are trying to contact lost family members.
during investigations, the group looks for any evidence that might prove ghosts
do not exist. This is called debunking. For instance, an unexplained
door slamming shut could be caused by a worn-out hinge; creaking floorboards might
be to blame for mysterious sounds, said Eric Conklin, 30, of Nanticoke.
groups in paranormal societies look to debunk evidence before claiming
that it is a ghost.
Right now, Im somewhat
on the fence whether (paranormal activity) does or doesnt exist. Im
hoping there is something else out there, Eric Conklin said.
this year, Conklin had the idea to broadcast his groups investigations over
the Internet. He found two web sites, Ustream (www.ustream.tv) and JustinTV (www.justin.tv),
that anybody can use for free to stream live video. After a period of trial and
error, Conklin got the live video to work with help from his brothers.
far, the most viewers their live show had was 23, when the Pennsylvania Valley
Paranormal Association paired up with Bob Christopher and NEPA Paranormal to examine
the Cliff Park Inn in Milford. Conklin has seen the number of viewers increase
each subsequent time, and theyve had viewers from as faraway as Florida
and North Carolina.
I try to educate people as
were doing our investigations, Conklin said. There are some
people who believe and some people who are entirely skeptical. But I feel there
is something else out there we cant explain.
Internet has served as a valuable tool for those researching paranormal activity.
Conklin and the Pennsylvania Valley Paranormal Association have gotten in touch
with other paranormal groups through the Web, allowing them to look at each others
work and sometimes meet up and work together. Pennsylvania Valley Paranormal Association
hunted ghosts with groups from as close by as Wilkes-Barre and Hazleton to as
faraway as Ohio.
Northeastern Pennsylvania seems to
be a hot bed for paranormal groups. Paranormal research groups in the area include
Pennsylvania Valley Paranormal Association, NEPA Paranormal, Hazleton Paranormal
Society and Luzerne County Ghost Hunters. Conklin doesnt see the groups
as competing. He hopes they can work together as much as possible to find hauntings
in the Wyoming Valley and beyond.
Music Fest kicks off this weekend
The 2009 Nanticoke Music Fest will take place two days this
year instead of the normal three.
But that doesnt
mean there will be any less fun for the kids or good time rock n roll
for people of all ages.
Though in years past
the Music Fest had a theme, in 2009 the organizing committee was just looking
to feature music in the park for everyone to enjoy.
Verazin said the committee will bring back a few bands that were big hits last
year Elvis tribute artist Brad Crum, the Cadillacs and Eddie Day and the
Starfires, featuring state Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski.
Music Fest 2009 will take place tonight and Saturday at Patriot Park in Nanticoke.
Performances tonight start at 5 p.m. with Nanticokes
own, The Nameless, followed by Crum at 6 p.m. and the Cadillacs at 8 p.m. On Saturday,
the winners of Ed Center Idol will perform from 4 to 5p.m., followed
by country act Farmers Daughter from 5to 8 p.m. Eddie Day and the Starfires
will headline on Saturday with a performance from 8 to 11 p.m. The events are
free to the public.
Verazin usually books the bands
for the Nanticoke Music Fest. He said this year the committee decided to cut back
because of the economy. They thought they might not get as much money from sponsors
this year, and the committee wants to offer the event at no cost.
picking the bands, Verazin tried to focus on crowd-pleasers and old favorites,
so the two day event will still draw people to Nanticoke. In addition to the music,
there will be food, kiddie rides, games and a dunk tank, where kids can soak their
teachers or the soon-to-be mayor of Nanticoke Joe Dougherty.
is just for people getting together to have fun. The reason we have it is to show
people we have a nice town, and to bring people in from other places, Verazin
One highlight of the event will be the performances
by the 12 winners of Ed Center Idol, which was held at the Greater
Nanticoke Area Educational Center this past winter. Verazin served as a judge
for the American Idol-inspired event, and he promises talented performances
from Greater Nanticoke Area sixth- and seventh-graders.
though the economy cut the third day from Nanticoke Music Fest 2009, the organizers
still expect people to come to the city and have a great time.
enjoy it. They look forward to it every year, Verazin said.
Take note: Music Fest is coming to Nanticoke
For Yvonne Bozinski, its about seeing the
expressions on the faces in the crowd.
A lot of people bring their own
chairs and sit there and enjoy the music, Bozinski said. Every year
people come up and say, This is the best music festival weve ever
Tonight and tomorrow, Patriot Park in Nanticoke will be
filled with music, games and food (everything from hot dogs and french fries to
pierogies and steak sandwiches), as part of the 12th annual Nanticoke Music Fest.
And theres a wonderful ice-cream vendor whos usually very busy,
Bozinski, director of special events for the city of Nanticoke, said.
include the Star Fires, Brad Crum as Elvis, country band Farmers Daughter,
the Cadillacs and finalists from the Greater Nanticoke Area Educational Centers
Idol 2009 contest.
Last year, just as we were setting up, there was
a very strong, summer storm coming through town, and as we were setting up we
were inundated with wind, rain, you name it, said Roger Griffith, bassist
for the Star Fires, a band popular 40 years ago that resurfaced about five years
ago and plays 1950s and 60s rock.
It lasted an hour, so by the
time we started playing, everyone who had taken cover started coming back,
he said, noting his group typically brings out about 500 or more people.
played last year on a Saturday, and I just looked at the crowd singing and said
Isnt this nice? Bozinski said.
The Star Fires play
music from artists such as Elvis Presley, the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Mitch Rider,
Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry and Chubby Checker, just to name a few.
year there was a high demand for a country-western band so Farmers Daughter
was added to the bill, Bozinski said.
The event began as a way to attract
the community to Patriot Park, which, at the time, had recently been revitalized
thanks to efforts by the citys Civic Pride Organization.
money left over is used to put on a Halloween parade and party and have a Christmas-in-the-park
celebration with a special visit by Santa Claus.
Its nice to go
to Nanticoke because the people there are just very friendly and appreciate the
music fest so much, said Griffith, whose group regularly performs at the
Harveys Lake Fire Company Dance and the Luzerne County Fair.
If you go
What: 2009 Nanticoke Music Fest
Where: Patriot Park, Broad and Market streets,
When: 5-11 tonight; 4-11 p.m. Saturday
5 p.m.: opening ceremonies
6-8 p.m.: Brad Crum as Elvis
p.m.: Local Idol performers
p.m.: Farmers Daughter
8-11 p.m.: Star Fires
Contractors face test, fee in Nanticoke
Council passes ordinance requiring
tradespeople to pay for license, take exam before working in city.
Contractors wishing to do work in the city must
now pass a test proving they are qualified to perform the work they are hired
Council members unanimously approved a
tradesperson licensing ordinance during Wednesdays council meeting, with
Councilman Brent Makarczyk absent.
This ordinance applies
to workers in the construction or building improvement profession who work on
residences or commercial properties.
contractors, HVAC contractors, electricians and plumbers would be required to
apply for a license with the city building official, show proof of liability insurance
and then take the exam under this new ordinance.
contractors will be responsible for their own exam costs.
contractors, regardless of trade, must pay a first-time fee of $200 for a one-year
license. It is renewable every year thereafter for $150 annually. Contractors
who fail the exam can retake it after 30 days.
person caught performing work without a license or before passing the test can
be fined up to $300 per offense and spend up to 30 days in jail.
leaders hope this will cut down on shoddy work being performed by contractors
within the city limits.
You wont get any
fly-by-nighters coming in. They come in now. This way you see if they are knowledgeable
in their trade, Mayor John Bushko said.
contractors just show proof of insurance and pay for a license.
is just following the lead of other larger municipalities, such as Wilkes-Barre
and Kingston, that require contractors to pass a test before working in those
communities, he said.
Bushko said the city is debating
whether to outsource the testing to another nearby municipality.
Church closings create parking problems in Nanticoke
The citys Catholic churches
are already experiencing a collateral problem from the diocese-mandated closings:
a lack of parking.
The Diocese of Scranton has dictated
that Holy Trinity, St. Stanislaus, St. Mary Czestochowa, St. Francis, St. Joseph
(Slovak) and Holy Child in Sheatown must all be consolidated by July 2010 at the
Holy Trinity site. St. Francis had its final Mass on Sunday.
Millard Galat and James Samselski asked council on Wednesday to be able to close
West Ridge and West Noble streets from Hanover Street to the alley behind Holy
Trinity from 3:30-5 p.m. Saturdays and 9:30-11 a.m. Sundays until a better solution
The church needs more parking: the existing
lot only accommodates about 78 cars, and as the other four churches close, Holy
Trinitys membership could swell to 2,200 families, Samselski said.
said the temporary street closings had been discussed with police Chief James
Cheshinski and fire Chief Mike Bohan. Parishioners would take safety measures
and clear the streets of snow in winter, Galat said in response to Councilman
Jim Litchkofskis concerns.
But city officials
were hesitant, saying they needed more information before allowing the streets
to be closed. Mayor John Bushko said if it was allowed for Holy Trinity, the citys
other churches would have to be allowed to close streets off for parking if they
Attorney Jarrett Ferrentino, who was
filling in for Solicitor William Finnegan, said the diocese might have to add
the city to its insurance. Litchkofski said the issues such as snow removal and
insurance have to be settled before city officials can move forward.
Jon Metta asked to see a map of the proposed street closures, which Galat and
Samselski agreed to provide.
No KOZ vote
other business, council discussed but didnt vote on extending Keystone Opportunity
Zone status for two parcels of land belonging to Ken Pollocks Susquehanna
Coal Co. One of the parcels is in the Whitney Pointe Industrial Park; the other
is a piece of land on Lower Broadway that Pollock plans to donate as part of the
South Valley recreation park, according to Pollocks representative, Tom
The KOZ program, which allows businesses
to forego state and local taxes until 2011, can be extended for seven to 10 years
if the properties were not used and so did not reap the tax-free benefits.
Doughton said the Whitney Pointe parcel was never developed.
The Lower Broadway site is in a flood plain and cannot be developed, but since
Pollock plans to give it away, he would like the tax benefits, Doughton said.
Council also passed an ordinance requiring contractors
to take a test proving their qualifications before they can operate in Nanticoke.
Its a requirement under state law, city administrator Holly Quinn said.
The city will be reciprocal: if a contractor already passed the test in Pittston,
for example, he or she wont have to take it again in Nanticoke.
GNA fills district principal job
Michael Pawlik hired
for newly created position in areas of curriculum and instruction.
The Greater Nanticoke Area School Board voted unanimously
to hire Michael Pawlik as a district principal of curriculum and instruction during
a specially called board meeting Monday night.
will be paid $85,000 a year for the newly created administrative position. Pawlik
could begin work by July 1, Superintendent Tony Perrone said.
district principal of curriculum and instruction, Pawlik will work with the districts
principals to provide administrative direction for districtwide professional development
programs, coordinate academic testing, develop curriculum guidelines and continue
to improve the districts Pennsylvania System of School Assessment test scores.
He will report directly to Perrone.
a tremendous person,. very intelligent and certified all the way up (to superintendent
level), Perrone said.
Pawlik, the only applicant
for the 12-month position, worked for the district previously for five years overseeing
federal programs and the grant writing position.
said Pawlik worked at another district for one year and then decided to come back
Board member Cindy Donlin said she was
pleased with Pawliks hiring.
He knows what
he is doing. He is very knowledgeable in school and curriculum, she said.
St. Francis holds final Mass before
Bob Kalinowski, staff writer, contributed to this story.
than 500 parishioners gathered under the white tent set up next to their beloved
St. Francis Church on Sunday for one final service in honor of the parishs
137-year history of serving the community.
is a constant thing, said James Carey, who lives two blocks from St. Francis
and has attended since he was 2 years old. No one likes to see these things
happen, but I know if you keep St. Francis in your heart, like a lot of people
will, St. Francis will be here forever.
Mass was held outdoors because the church roof is damaged and potentially dangerous,
but it also meant the parishioners could take advantage of the sunshine and cool
breeze. Following the Mass, parishioners were invited to eat a meal that was catered.
St. Francis was one of the parishes targeted to close and
consolidate as part of the Called to Holiness and Mission project to consolidate
the Diocese of Scranton.
Louise Hudak joined St. Francis
about 38 years ago when she moved to Nanticoke, and said while she loves St. Francis,
she doesnt think they have a choice.
the population getting older, theres not too many people going anymore,
she said. Im so sad that this church is closing, but I dont
think we have a choice.
The Rev. Charles Connor,
diocesan historian and rector of the Cathedral of St. Peter in Scranton, gave
the homily, which focused on the history of St. Francis. Connor called the parishioners
real living monuments of St. Francis, and said the workings of the
Holy Spirit could be seen in them.
May the spirit,
legacy and Catholic faith of St. Francis permeate in this community for generations
to come, he said.
St. Francis will consolidate
with the other four Nanticoke Catholic parishes and Holy Child Parish in Sheatown
at the site of Holy Trinity Church. While St. Francis was directed to close by
July 2009, the parishes have until July 2010 to fully consolidate.
Mining exhibit brings back memories
Touring the coal mining exhibit at the Nanticoke
Historical Society brought back heartfelt memories for Marilyn Owazany.
Owazany, a Plymouth native, looked at the miners equipment displayed on
the table she recalled how her father took great pride in being a miner.
father, who set the charges to loosen the coal, wasnt forced to work in
the mines he liked his job, she said.
understood why some people seem to be ashamed of the coal miners in their families.
I think it is a heritage to be proud of. I was proud
that my dad was a miner. My parents worked hard to send us to college, the
66-year old said.
Her father worked in the mines until
the 1959 Knox Disaster destroyed the regions deep-mining industry.
husband, Dan Owazany, recalled how his father would come home from work in the
Wanamie coal mines and be black as coal after working deep in the
mines all day.
Barry Littleford has never worked in
the mines, yet he is fascinated by coal miners lives. Hes collected
safety lights, helmets, lunch pails and other equipment coal miners used on a
Miners worked hard for their minimal wages
in extremely dangerous conditions for low pay. Miners earned about $5 a day in
1923 and laborers were paid nearly half that for a full days work.
were a proud, hardworking and honest people who would always help their neighbors,
Littleford pointed out.
Back then people just
worked hard and appreciated everything they had and they wouldnt think about
taking it off their neighbor because if he had a little bit more than you, hed
share it, said Littleford, a member of the Nanticoke Historical Society.
As people toured the collection of artifacts, Littleford
explained how coal miners used some of the equipment. Miners used safety lights
to detect the level of oxygen and determine if methane gas was present in the
mines. Methane gas was signaled if the flame grew larger as the light was held
up high. If the flame went dim, there was a lack of oxygen underground.
Former Nanticoke State Hospital to celebrate 100th anniversary
to be a schoolteacher, but it was the Great Depression and Anne Rushins
family couldnt afford to send her to college.
98-year-old now lives in Kingston, but was born in the Alden section of Newport
Township. Her initial dream was to study at Bloomsburg University Bloomsburg
State Teachers College, then.
But Rushin was one of
10 siblings, her father had died, and her five brothers had to go to college.
Fortunately they got scholarships, she said. So in September 1930 Rushin started
nurses training at Nanticoke State Hospital, which provided her with room,
board, and $10 a month for expenses.
I had no
choice. I had to have a job, she explained. I kept at it.
Rushin is believed to be the last living graduate of the
Nanticoke State Hospital nursing program. The hospital, which started out as a
private institution in 1909, was taken over by the state in 1911, and has been
a part of the Mercy Health System since 1990, celebrates its 100th anniversary
A 1905 typhoid outbreak caused by Nanticokes
water supply made members of the community realize the city needed a hospital.
Doctors and officials of the Susquehanna Coal Co. formed the Nanticoke Hospital
Association with that goal in mind, according to research by members of the Nanticoke
The coal company donated a plot
of land, funds were raised, and the hospital was dedicated on Oct. 12, 1909.
The special purpose of the Nanticoke Hospital is
to care for the persons injured in and about the mines of Nanticoke and the surrounding
territory, a state government legal report from 1918 states. It became
a state institution by virtue of the act of June 14, 1911.
school of nursing at the State Hospital of Nanticoke was established by Director
of Nursing Margaret Leech in 1914, historical society records indicate.
earn a diploma, you needed one year of high school, according to a 1919 directory
of womens vocational training opportunities. The course lasted two and a
It was very strict, I will say,
Nurses lived on the hospital grounds.
Evelyn Reese remembers each two rooms shared a half bath, and there was a recreation
room with a ping pong table.
Reese, 94, received her
training at Wyoming Valley Homeopathic Hospital after graduating from Coughlin
High School in 1933, then worked as a registered nurse at Nanticoke Hospital in
the 1940s. She wanted to join the Womens Army Corps, but couldnt because
of a punctured eardrum.
Her son, Dr. Donald Reese,
also went into the medical profession and is familiar with the same hospital,
although it has changed since his mothers day. Hes a podiatrist, who
does consultant work at Mercy Special Care Hospital.
nurses reported for inspection at 6:30 a.m. and worked until 6:30 p.m., Rushin
said. They had three hours off in a 12-hour shift, she said. Nurses uniforms
had to be white, their shoes clean and their cuffs starched, Donald Reese
In those days it was harder just to get
ready for work, he said.
After they received
their certification, nurses earned $40 a month plus room and board, Rushin said.
They would be scheduled for different shifts and assigned to various departments,
she said. There were four collieries in the Nanticoke area, so the hospitals
busiest department was the one that handled mining accidents, Rushin said.
We treated every kind of patients. Mostly it was
the miners. They didnt have emergency rooms like we did now, Evelyn
Reese said. They would come in, dirty from the mines, and we would take
care of them.
Other duties included making the
beds the sheets had to have carefully folded hospital corners
working outpatient, putting on casts, helping in the emergency room, Rushin
said. There were 100 beds in the hospital, and they were mostly filled, especially
in the mens ward, she said. She believes a hospital stay cost $10 a day
in the 1930s, not counting extras like X-rays.
not like it is now. You were there for a long time and you didnt
get out of bed, either, Evelyn Reese said. Now you have to do this
and do that, and youre out the next day.
worked at Nanticoke State Hospital for 28 years before doing private duty nursing
for a while, then took a job with the admissions department of the former Valley
Crest nursing home. Her nurses training was a blessing to the family when
her mother became terminally ill.
I never regretted
being a nurse, Rushin said.
Evelyn Reese left
Nanticoke to work in other hospitals, but still remembers her time there fondly.
She always spoke highly of it. She said she liked
it there she had a lot of friends there, Dr. Donald Reese said. She
must have been a good nurse, because she had people keep in touch with her.
By 1987, the aging Nanticoke State General Hospital was
on life support. The acute-care facility was acutely in need of rehabilitation,
but it was chronically short of finances and the state was looking to shut it
down and/or get a private-sector suitor to take it over, according to The Citizens
Mercy Health System and Wilkes-Barre
General Hospital were both interested, but after three years of limbo, in which
South Valley residents rallied to save the hospital while the state planned its
closing, Mercy stepped in to assume operations. On July 1, 1990, the transition
from state to private ownership was completed.
then the hospital, now Mercy Special Care, has become an integral part of the
community in its own right. Most recently, it became the new home of the Nanticoke
area senior center, named after the late Rose Tucker, a former Luzerne County
Nanticoke will introduce licensing fees in July
IAN CAMPBELL Times Leader Correspondent
approved a plan Wednesday to introduce licensing fees for tradespeople in response
to a state law that takes effect in July.
regulation supersedes local regulations unless proper examination and certification
is offered, and the step taken by the city introduces those examinations and certifications.
The move will impact contractors offering general building
services, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, plumbing and electrical services.
It also sets standards for legal liabilities, penalties for violations and an
appeals process in case of a legal challenge.
John Bushko said the move should have been taken years ago to protect residents
from shoddy work.
Solicitor William Finnegan said the
language in the ordinance was legally acceptable, and the proposal did not conflict
with the state law due to take effect mid-year.
which will take place two or three times a year, will be conducted by a third
party, City Clerk Mary Cheshinski said after the meeting.
other business, council approved a request by the former parishioners of St. Francis
Church for an outdoor Mass to be held May 31 on Green Street.
council did not immediately accept a suggestion that parking problems at Holy
Trinity Church be eased by blocking off part of a street during the Saturday and
Sunday Masses and using the street for extra parking.
that adding parishioners from both St Francis and St Josephs to the Holy
Trinity lot would be difficult, the matter would still need to be addressed in
more depth before a decision could be made, council said.
closure of St Josephs is not scheduled until September, council noted, so
the city has until then to sort out the parking issue.
city also agreed to allow representatives of a consulting company to examine options
for getting the current Blue Cross health insurance coverage at a lower cost.
No tax increase in Nanticoke Area budget proposal
Robert Olsen - Citizens Voice
only good news at Wednesdays Greater Nanticoke Area School Board meeting
when Al Melone, business consultant to the district, announced a there would be
no tax increase in the proposed 2009-10 budget.
listed the districts total revenue at $25,060,597, including $8,003,793
from local sources and $14,622,547 from various state sources. Melone compared
the revenue to the proposed expenditures totaling $25,427,051, which technically
leaves a deficit of $366,454.
But that is because
Ive worked a buffer of $200,000 into the expenditures, Melone said.
Its a budgetary reserve
money that we dont even have
to use. And those numbers dont include any stimulus money.
to Melone, the district also may receive more than $1 million in additional stimulus
Were in really, really good shape,
Some of the major expenditures for the
district include: $10,518,772 for salaries, $5,135,315 for miscellaneous services
and $3,875,314 for benefits. The district also has a fund balance as of June 30
of $3,784,830 with an additional $1.7 million set aside for capital improvements.
Were alive and doing very well in Nanticoke,
Superintendent Anthony Perrone said.
spot for the district is the dramatic decrease in the number of student absences,
especially among graduating seniors.
According to Stu
Tripler, principal of the high school, approximately 189 students will graduate
this year with an estimated 170 of them showing 25 or fewer absences.
credited a more diligent support staff for the reduction as well as
the combined efforts of himself and assistant principal John Gorham.
see students in the hall that we knew were missing days and ask them whats
going on, Tripler said. Teachers would also supply us with the names
of students who may have been missing some classes. There was a lot of one-on-one
with some of the students. Its made a difference.
other business, board member Pattie Bieski announced that, in the near future,
due to a move, she would be leaving the board after 12 years of service.
applaud the current board members, as well as the previous board members from
1997 and on, from when I joined the board, for all of their commendable service,
she said. We have made some hard decisions
decisions we knew would
hurt some people
and we made them with dignity and integrity. We made those
decisions so the state wouldnt, and weve come a long way. If Nanticoke
can do it with barely any tax base and limited government funds, then any district
can do it.
tax hike in GNAs preliminary budget
Board could have raised taxes by
up to 10 percent, but felt funds were adequate.
The Greater Nanticoke Area School District has
enough incoming funds to allow them to not raise the tax millage for next school
year, according to business consultant Al Melone.
presented his findings for the 2009-2010 preliminary budget during Wednesdays
monthly school board meeting.
This will be the first
budget operating under the new millage rates for new market value assessments.
The school district market value is now $696,911,400.
districts former millage rate of 255 mills now equates to 9.9295 mills.
With the average property valued at $79,015, the average taxpayer would pay $785
in school taxes.
Board members could have raised taxes
by 10 percent, but they felt the anticipated $25,060,597 revenue expected for
next year would be enough to operate and still have a healthy fund balance.
We are in fantastic shape. This didnt happen
in one year, it occurred over several years, Melone said.
member Sylvia Mizdail, a board member since 1982, helped steer the district through
its toughest times in the 1990s when the district was facing bankruptcy. I
think we utilized the money in the proper way, Mizdail said.
will see a reduction of $145 on average in taxes they pay because the district
receives casino revenue money from the state, Melone said.
President Bob Raineri commended Superintendent Tony Perrone, Melone and fellow
board members for creating a budget that would not raise taxes.
district is expected to carry over a fund balance of $3.78 million into the 2009-2010
school year. Perrone pointed out this doesnt include an additional $1.7
million in the districts reserve account for capital projects.
Elementary will get new windows, new air conditioning units and an upgraded electrical
system this summer as part of the districts ongoing capital projects.
District officials are expected to approve the final budget
during their meeting next month.
In another matter,
board member Patty Bieski announced she will be leaving the board later this summer
because she will be moving out of the district boundaries. On the board since
1997, Bieski said while it wasnt always easy serving, it was worth it to
improve the district where her three children were educated.
also praised her fellow board members past and present for helping
turn the district around financially.
should really be proud of their school board. We have been able to go to where
we dont have any money to where we are now. If Nanticoke can do it, any
district can, Bieski said.
of the Year a woman of God
When Sister Miriam Stadulis discovered she was named Woman of the Year
for 2009 by the Womans Club of Wyoming Valley, she could only say, Grace
be to God.
This surprise and modesty characterize
Stadulis, who has dedicated her life to serving others. Stadulis accepted her
plaque in honor of the recognition Tuesday at the Womans Club of the Wyoming
Valleys luncheon at the Westmoreland Club in Wilkes-Barre.
Woman of the Year honor goes every year to a woman in the Wyoming
Valley who performs outstanding community service. Each of the women in the committee
voted for Stadulis, said Doris Merrill, chairwoman of the Woman of the Year
Its difficult to believe when
you get something like this, Stadulis said. Im humbled and grateful.
A Nanticoke native, Stadulis joined the Sisters of Mercy
in 1954. For more than 20 years, Stadulis has headed the McGlynn Learning Center
She helped to found the center in
the Wilkes-Barre Boulevard townhouses. The McGlynn Learning Center reaches out
to children who live in low-income housing and provides them with after-school
and summer programs. Each day Stadulis faces many challenges to assist the children,
but she finds the job rewarding.
I love interacting
with the children, Stadulis said. Many have finished or gone on to
college or vocational school. Its all worth it when you see a young person
Stadulis also spent the first part of
her life as an educator. She taught high school and elementary school and served
as principal and vice principal at various schools.
a child, she attended Nanticoke area schools, but graduated from St. Vincents
High School in Plymouth. Her teachers served as role models and influenced her
I just admired all the teachers
I had, Stadulis said. That inspired me to get into the teaching field.
During the luncheon, the Womans Club of Wyoming Valley
also awarded its annual scholarship of $1,000 to Coughlin High School senior Geralyn
Cross. Cross, 17, plans to study biology at the University of Scranton. Cross
is the vice president and valedictorian of her class. She was very excited to
receive the scholarship.
I felt honored because
I didnt think Id win anything like this, Cross said.
Tax collection is
on track in Nanticoke
The financially distressed city is where it should be
when it comes to tax collection, council learned Wednesday.
officials, particularly tax collector Al Wytoshek, had been concerned the city
wasnt getting all the 0.33 percent tax from people who work in Nanticoke
but dont live there.
But Jim Hunt, tax administrator
for Berkheimer Associates, told them collection of this commuter tax
is where it is supposed to be, based on projections.
state declared Nanticoke financially distressed in May 2006. A new earned income
tax rate of 2 percent for residents and 0.33 percent for non-residents took effect
in May 2007. The additional 0.33 percent was intended to bring in approximately
$225,000 per year, according to the citys financial recovery coordinator,
Pennsylvania Economy League.
People who work in Nanticoke
but live in municipalities that levy a 1-percent earned income tax pay 1.33 percent,
with 1 percent going to the home municipality and 0.33 percent to Nanticoke. They
are not eligible for a refund of the 0.33 percent, Hunt said.
said the tax collector or tax preparer is supposed to know people in Nanticoke
dont get that refund. The reference to check whether people are paying the
entire tax is the 1-2 form, and Berkheimer has the ability to look up state Department
of Revenue records to ensure they match local tax returns, Hunt said.
said earned income tax figures should be available to the city by July, so fiscal
administrator Holly Quinn can analyze them.
business, council approved an extension of Keystone Opportunity Zone status on
two parcels of land owned by Earth Conservancy, one on Kosciuzko Street and one
on Prospect Street, both near Luzerne County Community College.
Nanticoke commuter tax hits prediction
rep tells council 1.33 percent levy appears to be on target with projections.
Berkheimer representative told city council Wednesday that so far this year the
revenue from the citys 2008 commuter tax appears to be meeting expectations.
Jim Hunt, president of sales and client services for Berkheimer,
didnt have exact figures of how much in taxes the city has received so far
He attended the meeting to answer questions
about some people who were filing their local taxes and expecting money back because
they thought the city received only 1 percent in commuter taxes. The city adopted
a commuter tax rate of 1.33 percent in 2007.
city is due that whole percent because the city is a distressed municipality.
It is my understanding the city has received all the money it should from the
commuters, Hunt told the council.
Even if a person
files his or her local taxes using a 1 percent tax figure and anticipates receiving
a refund if an employer deducted 1.33 percent, the taxpayer will not receive a
refund. After the Berkheimer staff audits the tax paperwork, taxpayers will receive
a letter from Berkheimer informing them they are not due a refund.
also voted unanimously to approve extending the terms of the Keystone Opportunity
Zone designation to two parcels owned by the Earth Conservancy group. The state
and local government entities dont receive taxes on KOZ property.
City Administrator Holly Quinn advised the city to approve a 10-year KOZ term
for these properties, in part because Earth Conservancy is a tax-free entity.
She said she believes this will also help spur economic
development once the property is ready to be utilized.
is basically an economic development tool. We arent collecting any tax money
on it anyway, Holly said.
In another matter,
Mary Beth Cheshinski was unanimously approved as the permanent city clerk. She
has been serving as interim clerk for several months since former City Administrator
Kenneth Johnson resigned.
Nanticoke teen hits high note
Performing a solo can be an exciting and nervewracking
event in any persons life. Even more so if youre a high school student.
Quentin Karpowicz peforms his piano piece during the Greater Nanticoke
Spring Concert Thursday night in Nanticoke.
wilkin/the times leader
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purchase in the
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Some people would be affected by stage fright just having to perform
with a group but not 19-year-old Quentin Karpowicz. He just took it in
The Greater Nanticoke Area High School senior,
who is autistic, performed his first piano solo Thursday night at the high schools
auditorium in front of 200 people during the Spring Concert featuring the GNA
High School Chorus, GNA Jazz Band and GNA High School Concert Band.
a member of the chorus, he stepped down from his position on the risers to the
front center of the stage to play Swinging Along on the black piano.
He didnt appear nervous, and he said earlier in the
evening he was happy to show off his skills.
was doing what he loved and what came naturally to him hitting the ivory
and black keys.
His parents, Ed and Leonardia Lenny
Karpowicz, couldnt be more proud as they sat in the third row with their
older daughter, Amanda Karpowicz, 15-month-old grandson, Conner Karpowicz, and
two family friends.
His parents pointed out that Quentins
autism makes it awkward for him to interact with other people socially. So for
him to be able to sing and play the piano in front of a large audience is a major
His mom said she is amazed at her sons
musical talent, because no other family member has any musical abilities.
Its important to encourage autistic children to do
things on their own because that is how they learn, Lenny said.
diagnosed Quentin with autism when he was about 2? years old. His parents were
advised to have him institutionalized, his mother recalled.
we got through crying we decided we were going to do everything in our power to
help him, Lenny said.
So when he entered kindergarten
they enrolled him in a musical class offered to autistic young children by Adria
He is still taking weekly piano lessons
with Schumosic and devotes between 15 to 30 minutes daily practicing his piano
skills using a keyboard at home.
She acknowledges having
an autistic child does have its challenges. Autistic children can also make their
parents extremely proud of their achievements even the small ones.
If you are willing to put the work into it and the
patience, it can be done. You cant assume that they can never do anything.
You always give it a try. You might be surprised, she said.
joined the high school chorus this year and previously sang in the districts
Middle School Choir.
He attends chorus classes twice
a week and rehearses with his classmates on Monday nights, high school Chorus
Teacher Ellen Rutkowski said.
He loves to sing.
He really responds well to the music, Rutkowski said.
she first heard him play the piano she was very pleased with what she heard.
He has a basic grasp of the notes, the rhythms and
he has worked very hard with Ms. Schumosic. Its paid off, Rutkowski
Karpowiczs autism doesnt hinder his
musical ability, she said. He just occasionally needs more specific directions
than other students.
Another Nanticoke senior, Daryl
Widder, works with Karpowiczs as his music partner helping him in music
will fill in notorious strip-mining pit
On the five-year anniversary
of her sons funeral, Nanticoke resident Jackie Bertrand looked at his pictures,
volunteer firefighter helmet and pool cue with tearful eyes Wednesday.
30-year-old son James Bertrand drowned April 26, 2004, in a notorious strip-mining
pit filled with water in Newport Township. The 6-foot, 8-inch volunteer Nanticoke
firefighter was a passenger in a Jeep that plunged off an embankment into the
water. The Jeep was driven by Sally Jo Sanders, who escaped through an open window
and walked barefoot for hours until she made it out of the remote area to contact
When Bertrand spoke to her son the day prior
to his death, he told her he couldnt make it to dinner because he was a
finalist in a pool tournament. They had dinner together the next day after he
won. That was her last conversation with her son.
at work the next day, she was in shock after her daughter, son-in-law and a friend
told her that her son died.
It was like a nightmare,
Bertrand said. We were so close.
does not know why her son was at the strip-mining pit. She has never been to the
site, saying, I just cant bring myself to do it, not yet, anyway.
Earlier Wednesday, officials from the state Department
of Environmental Protection, Earth Conservancy, state police and the federal Mine
Safety and Health Administration drove trucks back to the strip-mining pit to
launch a public awareness campaign called Stay Out, Stay Alive to
warn people about the dangers of trespassing on abandoned mine sites.
Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger announced the site will be drained
and filled. Bertrand says its about time.
abandoned mine site has claimed six lives in the past 11 years. Before James Bertrands
death, five people drowned there when their Jeep slid into the icy water on Jan.
1, 1998. Jennifer Dragon, 18, of Plymouth; Richard Ammons, 42, of Berwick; Stephen
Nowak, 22, of Nanticoke; William Fishburn III, 25, of Lavelle; and William M.
Vincent Jr., 31, of Hunlock Creek, died. Joseph Ruse of Nanticoke was the lone
Six people died there. One was enough,
Knorr Contracting of Bloomsburg was
awarded the contract to remove dangerous mine features and restore the site to
pre-mining conditions. The $717,080 cost will be funded with Abandoned Mine Reclamation
Fund federal money administered to the state, Hanger said.
than 4,000 other abandoned mine sites in Pennsylvania also need similar work,
but Hanger said there is not enough money to fix all of them. According to the
state Department of Environmental Protection, Pennsylvania has the largest abandoned
mine land problem in the nation. Active mining operations are found in all but
one of the states 67 counties.
going about this critically important work returning sites like this to a safe
condition, what we need is public education about staying away from these sites,
Hanger said. One of the good things that could come out the horrible tragedies
here is this location can serve as a warning. Perhaps this location can help grab
peoples attention and then those lives would not have been lost without
helping some others. Were here to prevent future tragedies.
2000, 32 people have died trespassing in mines and quarries in 19 Pennsylvania
counties, Hanger said.
be trespassing. They need to be respectful of the law, he said. The
law is important for a whole set of reasons but in this instance, trespassing
laws are ultimately designed to protect their lives.
LCCC looks at ways to fund construction
Luzerne County Community Colleges Board of
Trustees is evaluating proposals from three banks for a commercial loan to construct
the new Culinary Arts Institute.
LCCC is looking to
borrow $3.15 million payable over 20 years to construct the institute in downtown
Nanticoke at Market and Main streets.
proposals from First Keystone National Bank, First National Community Bank and
PNC Bank during a meeting Tuesday night. The college advertised in late February
a request for proposals seeking information on commercial loan rates and banking
The requests, known as RFPs, were sent
to 22 banks, but only three banks responded with proposals for loans. A decision
could come in June.
First Keystone offered two rate
options 4.2 percent for 10 years and then adjusting the financing rate
for the remaining balance based on market conditions at that time for another
10 years, or a fixed rate of 4.59 percent for 20 years.
trustees select a loan from First Keystone, the college will pay about $21,454
a month, Keystone Senior Vice President Jim Gorman said.
offered three rate options. The first is a fixed rate of 3.99 percent for 20 years
with a total payment of $4,858,949, according to FNCB Senior Executive Vice-President
Another would allow the college to go
with a variable interest rate for 20 years. The rate quoted currently would be
3.25 percent, but could drop to 2.74 percent or could rise to 4.74 percent, Champi
said. The college would pay a total of $4,288,394 if the rate dropped to 2.74
FNCB also offered a 3.49 fixed percentage
rate for a five-year, interest-only loan. This would cost the college $3,710,614
at the end of the term. First Keystone and FNCB offered the loans as tax exempt.
PNC Senior Vice-President Mike Dennen said his bank does
not offer tax-exempt loans because it is not in its firms best interest.
He told board members a taxable loan can save the institution
money because there are fewer fees involved such as not needing to hire
a bond attorney and get a bond authority.
Nanticoke council fills vacancies, hires health inspector,
City council recently named volunteers to fill board vacancies and hired a health
inspector, engineering firm and custodian.
Anthony Saracino and Mike Bohan were appointed to the planning commission, and
Ed Janora was appointed to the zoning hearing board.
Radulski will be the citys new health inspector, a part-time position. He
will be paid half the fee for inspecting restaurants, bars, mini-markets and other
such establishments, Mayor John Bushko said. Council hired Alberta Miller as custodian
for city hall. City engineer Michael J. Pasonick Associates was rehired.
Nanticoke cant hire part-time officers, per police
Residents who wanted to know why part-time police officers
cant be hired to fight the citys increasing crime were told Wednesday
it is forbidden by the police contract.
brought up the need for city police to pass on more information.
have been four break-ins in the area of the Cherry Hill development, but police
havent been letting the public know, according to resident Maureen Mangino.
Residents Don Perkoski, Jerry Hudak and Linda Prushinski
spoke about kids vandalizing the statue in Patriot Square. If the city can get
a grant, officials will look into putting up cameras to monitor the downtown area
because the police are spread too thin, Councilman Brent Makarczyk said.
Hank Marks brought up some recent arson fires on Loomis Street and problems with
a property he said was a drug house. He asked if city officials had thought to
hire part-time officers.
Were trapped by
a binding contract, Makarczyk said.
are working under the contract which ran from Jan. 1, 2004 to Dec. 31, 2008. Former
council members admitted signing it without a public vote, according to The Citizens
Voice archives. Article 21, section 2 of the contract states: The City agrees
not to hire part-time police officers.
came up in the ongoing contract negotiations, but the officers dont want
to change it, Mayor John Bushko said. However, the distressed citys financial
recovery plan calls for allowing part-time officers, which is being discussed,
Councilman James Litchkofski said.
In related news,
the city has received a $25,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice as part
of the economic stimulus funding being dispensed, city Administrator Holly Quinn
OKs engineers, inspector
Also, city will apply for $25,000 stimulus grant
to buy police tactical gear.
City council members approved maintaining the citys
current engineering firm during Wednesdays meeting.
Engineering beat out two other firms to secure a five-year contract.
city requested that companies submit a statement of interest. Pasonick, Borton
Lawson and Quad 3 Group submitted the statements by Wednesdays deadline
and were judged on five criteria: professional qualifications, the amount of specialized
experience/technical competence, the capacity of employees to ensure work is completed
in pre-determined time frames, the location of the firm and its knowledge of Nanticoke
and specific experience or other qualifications that would make the firm stand
Now that the city has selected an engineering
firm using the statement of interest format, it has a greater chance of securing
federal funds to repair the citys infrastructure, interim City Administrator
Holly Quinn said.
In other business, Henry Radulski
was hired as the citys new health inspector. He replaces the former inspector
who resigned earlier this year.
Radulski will be responsible
for conducting annual health inspections at convenience stores, restaurants, gas
stations and bars. Each inspection costs $75 and Radulski will receive half of
that, or $37.50, for conducting the inspection, Quinn said.
got experience. He worked in Wilkes-Barre, Mayor John Bushko said.
was one of two people interviewed for the job. He will work as needed.
members also approved authorizing city officials to apply for a $25,000 U.S. Department
of Justice grant to secure tactical gear for the police department. The grant
is a portion of money available to police departments through the recently passed
federal economic stimulus package.
A preliminary request
form says the grant is needed to purchase eight sets of eye protection, elbow/knee
pads, bulletproof helmets, gloves, eye protection, tactical belt and gas masks.
Bushko said it was a no-brainer to apply for the money,
because if the city is awarded the grant, the department will purchase what the
city could not normally afford and the equipment will help keep the citizens safe.
If you are more prepared, you fight crime better,
gets new life as apartment complex
Their questions initially indicated apprehension, but when
it came down to a vote, township residents overwhelmingly approved plans to renovate
the former St. Stanislaus orphanage in Sheatown into a 30-unit apartment complex.
Catholic Social Services plans to remodel the interior
of the two historic buildings into 12 one-bedroom, 10 two-bedroom and eight three-bedroom
apartments renting from $450 to $650 a month, housing development consultant Graysha
Harris told the approximately 35 residents from Newport Township and Nanticoke
who overfilled the commissioners meeting room Wednesday.
approximately $7 million project, to be named after the orphanage, would be financed
in part by the Diocese of Scranton, and in part by private investors, mainly banks,
through a tax credit program.
I think its
great, exciting, said township resident Joe Karpinski, who was raised at
the St. Stanislaus orphanage from the time he was 2 until he was about 14. Its
In addition to the two buildings, there
is about 2.4 acres of land, where a playground will be added, and children can
also play in 20 acres of diocese-owned land behind the property, architect Ralph
We want to be a part of the community,
said Monsignor Joseph Kelly, secretary for human services in the Diocese of Scranton.
I find it hard to believe anyone would be against rehabbing these buildings.
Residents, worried about the possibility of drug activity
and other crime, wanted to know what type of tenants would be brought in.
I think people would not like to see another Sherman
Hills, resident Eugene Skordinski said. Thats the main concern.
Families earning from $15,000 to $35,000 a year are the
targeted tenants for the 800 square-foot to 1,500-square foot apartments, Harris
said. Tenants will go through a screening process, she added. Six units will be
specifically designated for veterans, said Steve Nocilla, CSS Executive Director
The diocese is not seeking Section 8 certification,
said Tom Cherry, director of the CSS Wyoming Valley office. And CSS will remain
responsible for the St. Stanislaus Apartments, with a manager and maintenance
staff to look after them, Harris said.
Holy Child Church,
located between the two orphanage buildings, has been scheduled to close in 2010
by Bishop Joseph Martino.
Resident Joseph Rynkiewicz
wanted to know if it would be used for more apartments. The church is too small,
Cherry said. CSS is looking to keep it open as an ecumenical chapel, he said.
Commissioner John Zyla pointed out that the St. Stanislaus
property could be used for something like a drug rehabilitation facility, or remain
When the commissioners took a
poll, 23 Newport Township residents favored the plans. Only three opposed.
Earlier Wednesday, some commissioners and residents toured
the 19-unit St. Vincents Apartments in Plymouth, which CSS created four
years ago from a former school, to get an idea of what the non-profit was proposing
for St. Stanislaus.
runner Gesecki helps Navy win
On CAMPUS BILL ARSENAULT
Navy defeated rival Army in womens track last Saturday
and senior Abby Gesecki played a big part in the victory.
(Nanticoke Area) captured the 400 meter run in 57.55 and bested Army standout
Ebony Thomas to get the victory as the Midshipmen won 116-87.
was focused against Army, coach Carla Criste said. She has been
looking tremendously strong the past few meets.
recently finished seventh in the 400 at the Colonial Relays in Williamsburg, VA
with a career-best 56.90. She also runs with the Navy 1,600 relay team.
will also be running in a few 800s, especially in the Penn Relays and the Patriot
League Championships, Criste said. She should easily make All-East
(ECAC) in either the 400 or 800 and will be a strong contender for a title in
either event at the league championships.
Penn Relays are April 23 in Philadelphia, the Patriot title meet May 1-2 at West
Point and the ECACs are May 15-16 in Princeton, N.J.
South Valley chamber urges release of funding
Members of the South Valley Chamber
of Commerce on Friday urged the Pennsylvania Stimulus Oversight Commission to
allocate funding for the South Valley Parkway, even though the state Department
of Transportation says the project is not shovel ready.
President Gerald Hudak said the availability of stimulus money for projects like
the parkway, which would alleviate traffic problems on Middle Road in Nanticoke
and Hanover Township, is an opportunity for PennDOT that may not appear again.
After years of study and engineering, PennDOT should
be capable of expediting the plan to the required status without much effort,
PennDOT representative Karen Dussinger said
last week the $54 million project does not meet federal economic stimulus guidelines
because it is still in the early engineering phase. The proposed highway would
run from state Route 29 to Kosciuszko Street.
from state Rep. Yudichak, D-Nanticoke, U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Nanticoke,
Luzerne County Community College and Earth Conservatory were present as Hudak
warned of the dangers of using the Sans Souci Parkway as the only evacuation route
from the area.
Trains that run along the Sans Souci
Parkway could be carrying hazardous materials, and a derailment could have serious
repercussions, Hudak said.
It is our objective
to save our community, save our industry, and save our children, he said.
Joe Boylan, chief of staff for Yudichak, said the project
has been a priority for many years, but the major deterrent now is PennDOTs
focus on repairing bridges throughout the state. Yudichak and his representatives
have meet with PennDOTs district engineer to make sure were
still on the right path and trying to get it done, he said.
definitely needed, he said. Were fighting every step of the
Hanover Township Commissioner Bob Burns
said the townships police department has tried to increase police patrols
on Middle Road, where excessive speeding has been a problem for years. He said
the parkway would cut about half of the traffic on Middle Road.
Nanticoke mans troubles mount
Section of house
collapses week after he lost his manufacturing job because of plant shutdown.
man who lost his job last week at a Mountain Top manufacturing plant has now lost
his Coal Street home, at least temporarily, after the rear addition collapsed
Richard Kasisky, 61, couldnt
even turn onto his street when he returned from a three-hour unemployment benefits
meeting for former HPG International employees because the one-way street was
blocked with fire trucks responding to his home at 18 Coal St.
plastic caution tape is wrapped around the front porch, front doors and the backyard
to prevent people and children from wandering around the property and possibly
getting hurt in the debris.
Two yellow posters issued
by Nanticoke Code Enforcement Officer Joe Kurdick condemned the house as dangerous
No one was hurt in the collapse.
wife, Irene, said she was in the kitchen cooking when she heard click-click-then
boom as the rear section, an add-on addition of their home, collapsed around
Looking out the kitchen window she could
no longer see the back portions roof, so she moved into the living room
It shook a little bit, but the main
house seems sound. We were in there and we were walking around, Richard
The family hopes to move back into their
home, but they must hire their own engineer to inspect the home to see if it is
structurally sound. They citys engineer inspected the home Thursday night,
The Kasiskys dont know if their
home insurance will cover the damage.
stayed with their daughter Thursday night, but dont know where they will
be living now.
The family used the rear portion, which
was on add-on addition to the former double-block, for storage of tools and a
deep freezer loaded with food that must now be thrown out, Richard Kasisky said.
Over the past several months he had been working to tear
down sections of the storage room because the room began pulling away from the
main structure, he said.
Snow and freezing cold temperatures
over the winter months delayed him in being able to remove the entire section,
The house, an original coal company house
was built around 1895 and was valued at $72,000 during the countys recent
property reassessment. After an informal review with the reassessment company,
21st Century Appraisals Inc., the homes value was increased $10,000 to a
total of $82,000.
Nanticoke gets set for Music Fest
The Nanticoke City Music Fest Committee will host the 2009
Music Fest June 5-6 at Patriots Park in Nanticoke. The Starfires
featuring Eddie Day and Brad Crum as Elvis, Farmers Daughter
and The Cadillacs Band will entertain. The Greater Nanticoke
Ed Center Idol 2009 top 12 finalists will also perform from 4-6 p.m.
Saturday. All vendors, crafters and people interested in sponsoring games can
call Betsey at 735-2800 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to participate.
From left, seated: Yvonne Bozinski and Theresa Sowa. Standing: Nanticoke Mayor
John Busko, Doc Holliday, J.D. Verazin and Joe Walters.
For more information
Education Center crowns its very own Idol
writes Nanticoke Area Notes every other Thursday. Story ideas and
news items can be e-mailed to her at email@example.com.
faculty and staff of the Greater Nanticoke Education Center recently presented
The center houses sixth and seventh grade students and
the event was organized by Frank Nutaitis, seventh grade English teacher, and
J.D. Verazin, custodian and web designer. Twenty-three students took part in the
competition. We have some really talented students. It was hard to pick
12 finalists from the original 23 students, said Nutaitis.
not a famous celebrity announcing and judging contestants, but some rather friendly
faces as 12 finalists took the stage, vying for the title of Ed Center Idol.
Verazin, Nutaitis and Nina Matzoni, school transportation assistant and attendance
officer, tried to calm nerves and add a little humor to the program as they portrayed
Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul, the original American Idol
We had a great time trying to act out parts of the television
judges, said Verazin.
Nutaitis and Verazin didnt stop at organizing
and judging. Each were guest performers in front of a standing-room-only crowd.
Verazin performed an energetic rendition of John Cougar Mellencamps Hurts
so Good, while Nutaitis sang Over the Rainbow, accompanying
himself on electric guitar.
I think we had more fun than the students.
This event wasnt only about who could sing the best, but it was an opportunity
for everyone at the center, adults and students, to come together to build relationships
that, in turn, can only make the school and education process top notch,
So who was named the GNA Ed Center Idol? It was Morgan Elmy,
a sixth-grade student captured first place. Mary Mash placed second and Jacyln
Victor finished third.
And the stage lights have not been dimmed yet for the
school year. The Ed Center Drama Club will take to the stage to perform Quicksand,
an original play written by Nutaitis. The play is filled with quirky characters,
humorous situations and endless satire aimed at todays society. It will
be held April 17-18 at 7 p.m. at the Ed Center.
Living Way of the Cross
High school students from the parish community of Holy Child, Holy Trinity, St.
Mary of Czestochowa and St. Stanislaus have been busy preparing for their third
annual Living Way of the Cross.
The event is a dramatic reenactment of Jesus
Christs last hours on earth. The evening also willbe filled with moving
music as choirs from all four churches perform. The Living Way of the Cross will
be held on Palm Sunday at 7 p.m. at Holy Trinity Church.
Bishop to lead
The Church of St. John the Evangelist, 231 E. State St., Nanticoke,
will welcome its former pastor and now Bishop Samuel R. Zeiser, bishop of the
Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America,
on Palm Sunday. Bishop Zeisler will lead the liturgy and celebrate Holy Communion
at 8 and 9:30 a.m.
Keep your property clean
Kordek, Nanticoke City code enforcement officer, announced the city property maintenance
code will be strictly enforced with routine property inspections. Property owners
are reminded to maintain their properties in a clean, safe and sanitary condition,
including cutting the grass, keeping property free of appliances, unregistered
vehicles, debris, rubbish and other inappropriate materials littering years.
Owners will be cited for failure to comply with the ordinance.
Any questions relating to enforcement actions or to report
unkempt properties, call the code enforcement officer at 735-2800, ext 104.
For those thinking of spring cleaning, employees of the
refuse department remind residents that a sticker is required for bulk item pickup.
Stickers may be purchased at city hall.
items are not to be placed curbside before a sticker is purchased.
Council OKs grant funds
Eileen Godin - Times
Council on Wednesday night approved two
resolutions allowing for the use of more than $1.9 million in grant funds for
Grant money totaling $1.5 million from
the states Department of Community and Economic Development has been allocated
for the Luzerne County Community College Culinary Arts Institute project.
Mark Construction Services Inc., of Scranton, will be building
the new 22,000-square-foot building on the corner of Main and Market streets.
Construction will begin as soon as possible, said Interim City Administrator Holly
The new LCCC facility will bring approximately
200 new jobs to the area and be a strong draw for new businesses, officials said.
Preparing for the future, council plans an overhaul of
roads in the areas of West Church, West Noble and West Ridge streets at a price
tag of $441,958.
The city will receive $348,008 from
a Community Development Block Grant and $93,950 in additional funds from the 2009
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the federal stimulus bill, for the projects.
A start date for the road construction was unavailable.
In other business, council members are looking into the
cost effectiveness of having an in-house cleaning employee instead of the current
commercial cleaning services used for the municipal building and police station.
The part-time employee would be paid $8.50 per hour. The
city would provide vacuums, supplies and floor polisher totaling about $1,000.
Total startup cost would be $8,000 the first year and result in a savings of $3,000
this year and $4,000 next year.
Mayor John Bushko agreed
it would be a good idea and council should look into it further.
approved the following reappointments to the Zoning Hearing Board for four-year
terms: Charles Alles, term ending Dec. 31, 2011; Jeff Grzymski, term ending Dec.
31, 2010; Michael Jezewski, term ending Dec. 31, 2011; and Thomas Wall, term ending
Dec. 31, 2012.
One seat remains empty with a term ending
on Dec. 31, 2013. Officials said that if any qualified person is interested, he
or she should contact the municipal building.
council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. April 15 in the municipal meeting room.
Skateboard group pitches fundraiser for proposed park
Plans for the Lower Broadway
Park include a much-anticipated 9,000-square-foot skateboard park, but the committee
working on it needs funds to build it.
Northeastern Pennsylvania Free Skate Park Alliance is already selling a CD of
22 songs by local artists at stores such as Gallery of Sound. To raise more money
for and awareness of the skate park, the alliances founders, Kevin Pizzano
and James Gidosh who are members of the Lower Broadway Park committee
asked council for their backing and support to hold a Sk8tacular at the site.
The event would include performances by local bands and
skateboarding, Pizzano said, noting that a similar one in Ashley raised $1,800
for the NEPA Free Skate Park Alliance. Gidosh assured council they had insurance
for the event, which he said would be held in late July or early August.
John Bushko said he didnt have a problem with the proposed Sk8tacular, but
told Pizzano and Gidosh to come back for official permission when they had a definite
In other business, council:
for $348,008 in federal Community Development Block Grant funds and possibly an
additional $93,950 in federal economic stimulus money to repave West Church Street
from Hanover Street to Market Street; West Noble Street from Hanover Street to
Line Street; and West Ridge Street from Hanover Street to Line Street.
a resolution that will allow officials to start drawing on $1.5 million in state
gaming money that will go toward the construction of Luzerne County Community
Colleges Culinary Arts Institute by Scranton-based Mark Development. Work
on the approximately $7.5 million, 20,000-square-foot building, which will be
built at Market and Main streets, is expected to start soon, but there isnt
a particular date set for the groundbreaking, city Administrator Holly Quinn said.
Set aside a motion to re-appoint Steve Buchinski to the
citys planning commission due to questions about his residency.
School districts make plans to spend federal stimulus funds
Luzerne County school districts
looking forward to receiving a chunk of the federal stimulus money arent
going to have to wait much longer, as $44 billion is now available.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced Wednesday the release of applications
and spending guidelines for $32.5 billion in State Fiscal Stabilization Funds
for saving jobs and reforming education, $6 billion for the Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act and $5 billion for Title I, Part A, which focuses on low-income
States like Pennsylvania can start applying
now and will receive the money two weeks after their applications are approved.
Local superintendents and school officials are thinking
about the best ways to use the money once it comes in. They have been directed
to spend it quickly and wisely. Duncan emphasized the importance of remembering
this is probably one-time money that shouldnt be counted on to pay for reoccurring
Some Pennsylvania legislators are cautioning
districts not to count too heavily on specific amounts of federal and state money
just yet. A letter from Sen. Robert J. Mellow, D-Peckville, sent out in mid-March,
urges school officials to be cautious and flexible when it comes to
The letter points out the state
has a projected budget shortfall of $2.3 billion, and goes on to say General Assembly
and governor are working on an exceptionally austere budget.
that message in mind, Dallas Superintendent Frank Galicki is being cautious about
discussing for what the district will use stimulus money until final amounts are
Its all about passing the plate around
the table and seeing what comes to us, he said.
Area Superintendent Ross Scarantino is also being cautious about talking about
specific projects, but said the district has a handful of ideas. Focus will probably
be on students in need, extended education, teacher development and technology.
I have the principals working with their teachers
on plans, identifying students who are in the most need and doing some tentative
plans in terms of expanding those programs, he said.
the district receives money for building renovations and upgrades, it could go
toward the Kindergarten Center, but Scarantino emphasized the district has no
solid figures how much money it would receive for which types of projects.
Greater Nanticoke Area would put renovation money toward
the already-planned upgrades at Kennedy Elementary School, Superintendent Tony
Perrone said. The cafeteria should be eligible for money, which will be used to
replace necessary equipment like hot water heaters and a dishwasher, he said.
In addition, Perrone wants to see part of the stimulus
money going toward the salary of a new gifted teacher and for retaining tutors
who were hired on a temporary basis. Despite cautions about using stimulus money
for a reoccurring expenses, Perrone said he feels comfortable using a portion
of it to hire a teacher.
We were going
to do that anyway, he said. When the two years area over, its
something that we will continue with anyway.
Business booms at the ReStore
offers home construction items to benefit Habitat for Humanity.
Youll find nails by the coffee can
heck, by the cardboard box bursting at the seams paint by gallons stacked
to the tipping point, and enough decorative molding to trim a Manhattan high-rise.
Theres a piano sitting among the numerous doors for
sale, an electric organ next to the bathtub, a washer, a dryer, a score or more
of toilets and at least as many sinks. Against one wall you can find sander belts
spilling off shelves like hundreds of escaping snakes and two slim artificial
Christmas trees poking up behind a ladder.
and ladder partially block the view through a window, and Paul Precht likes showing
off whats on the other side. Its 2,200 more square feet of space connected
to the building where all that stuff is stowed. Soon the extra space will be rented
for an expansion of the ReStore, a sort of low-budget home improvement center
selling new items donated by big businesses that had a bit too much of the wrong
stock and gently used goods from local do-it-yourselfers.
store opened in 2003 as a way to recycle home construction items while raising
money for Wyoming Valley Habitat for Humanity, a faith-based effort to provide
affordable housing through donations and lots of sweat equity. After four years
working part-time, Precht was named manager, and by coincidence or skill
or maybe a bit of both business at the store has been soaring since, according
to Habitat Executive Director Karen Evans Kaufer.
the last two weeks weve had individual days that have been the biggest sales
days ever, Kaufer said last week. Compared to the same stretch a year ago,
sales in the last six months are up about 20 percent, she added.
contrasts with industry trends. After years of growth, the home improvement retail
industry has hit a rough spot. The Associated Press recently reported, for example,
that Lowes expects this years first quarter sales to range between
a decline of 3 percent and an increase of 1 percent. Construction in general has
taken a big hit in the economic slide, although the U.S Department of Commerce
reported an increase in new home sales in February, hailed by some in news articles
as the possible beginning of the end of the downturn.
sales at the ReStore have been swimming against the business current, Kaufer feels
its partly because the place offers a cheaper alternative in a tightening
economy, and partly because of Precht. He made some good connections and
brought some good ideas, she said.
The man is
modestly straightforward about the success. He credits a lot of the up tick to
some big donations which it should be stressed, are tax deductible. Some
are recurring, like molding trim for walls, which has been donated by the pallet
from Alexandria Molding. The stuff usually has some technical imperfection only
noticeable to industry insiders. If youre buying a batch of one type from
the ReStore, Precht promised, it will look and work just fine.
comes in fits and starts, like the parking lot full of brick and decorative stone
that prompted him to push Habitat to buy a used forklift. We were renting
one for $360 a day as needed, he said. The alternative was for Precht and
volunteers to hoist the heavy stuff onto customers trucks by hand.
there were the 10 flatbed loads of sheetrock donated by an area business. With
no room inside to store it, he could only accept the delivery if he knew he would
sell it all in a day or two. It took a month to line everything up,
Precht said. He found people eager to buy the discounted wall material in quantities
of at least 200 sheets, and managed to move it all onto and off the lot across
the street during two chilly November days that, by good fortune, were dry. Rain
would have wrecked everything.
Precht once picked
up hundreds probably thousands of belts for power sanders when a
widow donated stock from her late husbands business. He got a forest full
of artificial Christmas trees from Lowes that sold quickly. The store has
received lighting and related equipment from companies like Friedman Electric,
paints from K-Mart and other stores (the ReStore has a mixer and can tint them
for you), and a lot of smaller household goods from Sears.
life story sounds a lot like the store he now runs: An eclectic collection of
experiences and events that somehow manage to work well in one person. Originally
from the Flatbush turf of Brooklyn, New York, he spent 17 years in New Hampshire,
and his accent seems a quirky blend of both call it, maybe, Brooklynshire,
or New Hamplyn. He came to Nanticoke through a fluke of friendships that connected
him, via New Jersey, to a woman who inherited a house here. Thats the house
he now lives in, and he swears he loves the area.
people are friendlier here than in any place Ive ever lived, he said.
And for those who grumble about bitter winters, he offers unsolicited perspective.
The weather is wonderful. After 17 years in New Hampshire, it always feels
like summer to me.
Precht ended up at the ReStore
pretty much the same way he ended up in Nanticoke. After careers as race car driver/mechanic,
band musician/sound technician, truck driver, machine shop worker/owner, freelance
writer of automotive tech articles and a few other jobs, he settled here planning
a quasi-retirement. I was about 50 with no job and no Pennsylvania drivers
license. I couldnt get a job anywhere but at Burger King, he said,
which was a bit too low-wage and unskilled to suit him. He drove by the ReStore,
saw a sign seeking a truck driver, and applied.
sales philosophy is simple: low prices and affable service. The first he accomplishes
partly by looking up what donated items are worth and marking them somewhere between
20 and 50 percent of that, depending on condition and likely demand. Hell
also work out reasonable deals buy one thing thats selling well and
another thats been on the shelf a while, and he may knock the cost down.
Hell set something aside if youre sure you want it but wont
have all the money for a day or three. And hell put you on a call list for
specific merchandise if you know what you want and its not there the day
you visit, but is likely to appear some time later.
is part of the second trick; friendly service. I think theres been
a change in the people who come through the door, he said, confident many
customers are getting to know him. Saturdays I can see 200, 300 people,
and half of them walk through the door and say Hi, Paul.
of customers during a recent stay seemed to bear out the claim. One woman meandered
through the store, bought some items and exited, only to return I left my
can of paint, she said with a smile.
did? Precht answered, Good, we get to see you again.
woman from an area school district stopped by for some small supplies. As she
headed out he offered a friendly, Hope to see you again. She laughed:
Oh, Im sure you will.|
rang. It was K-Mart, ready to contribute more than 100 cans of spray paint
if he could get to Hazleton to pick them up. Precht said he doesnt usually
travel that far, but something could probably be worked out.
the nature of the place. There is no effort nor could there be to
keep any items in stock. Quite the opposite. The goal is to find it and sell it.
It pays to visit often, since the merchandise can change dramatically from week
to week and even day to day (though from the looks of it, molding will be available
for quite a while). Donors are welcome, and Precht stressed that they have a truck
and will pick up. (Habitat reserves the right to reject items too worn or damaged
One more thing, he wants to stress. For
some reason, there are apparently people who remain convinced this isnt
a retail operation. Considering that word of mouth is usually the stores
only advertising, thats an idea he urgently wants to dispel.
everybody were open to the public, he said
smiling, of course.
BUY OR DONATE
The Wyoming Valley Habitat for
Humanity ReStore is at 421 W. Main St., Nanticoke. Regular store hours are 9 a.m.-5
p.m., Tues.-Sat. Call 258-0998 if you have questions or want to donate items that
need to be picked up.
Stanky family sees the world, creates lasting memories
playing in polka band
While their classmates were listening to the radio and
pondering the significance of the lyrics of Don McLeans American Pie,
the Stankovic sisters were playing Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie at
venues all across the country.
Instead of watching
John Travolta in a white polyester suit disco dance to Bee Gees tunes in the film
Saturday Night Fever, the teenagers spent their Saturday nights looking
across the stage as legions of devoted polka fans did the oberek, a lively hop
and turn step.
There was no time for school dances
or late-night snacks at the local Carrols (later Burger King) on weekends.
Debbie and her younger sister, Kim, were tossing duffle bags and musical instruments
into their parents van and traveling to polka gigs as part of Stanky and
the Coal Miners. Kim played the clarinet and saxophone and Debbie played the trumpet.
Their father, John Stanky Stankovic, sang and played accordion while
Dottie, their mother, harmonized with the band and organized bookings and schedules.
Almost 30 years later, Debbie Horoschock, 45, and Kim Bukowski,
41, still perform with their father and his band when their schedule permits and
often bring along their children Ashley Horoschock, 15; Alex Bukowski,
12, and Trevor Bukowski, 5 as a third generation carries on the family
And the girls cherish their own childhood
memories of traveling with their parents to perform in front of thousands of polka
fans at concerts and USO tours all over the world.
was often on the road via the familys old beat-up black Dodge van traveling
to the Bloomsburg Fair or the casinos in New Jersey. They also traveled by plane,
train and cruise ship to Alaska, Hawaii, China, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, South
Korea, Australia and Spain.
Polka is a type of
family music, said Stanky. The audience knows that.
addition to instilling a strong work ethic in their daughters, John and Dottie,
of Nanticoke, encouraged them to participate in extracurricular activities throughout
their school years. We wanted them to have friends and do all the things
that they should do as children and teenagers, said Dottie.
was a member of the band and played basketball. Kim was captain of the basketball
team. Kim attended her high school prom, but Debbie good-naturedly grumbles that
my prom was always held during cruise week.
more often than not to the dismay of the two sisters, school books and homework
accompanied them on many of the bands bookings. We all sat together
in the hotel room and did the homework, said Dottie. If we had to
pull them out of school, we asked the teachers to give us the homework, so they
wouldnt miss anything.
to us and asked if they could learn to play an instrument, said Dottie.
They said they wanted to get involved in music and be a part of the family
Music began early for the girls, who took
instrument lessons around age 7 and joined the band several years later before
junior high school. Stanky remembers Kim asking for a horse. I told her
that if she learned to play the polka on the clarinet, I would buy her a horse,
he said. One day, she comes downstairs with her clarinet and plays for me.
The next day, we were out buying her a horse.
polkas can also be credited with a little romance. Debbie first met her husband,
Vinny, when he began playing drums with the band at the age of 14. But, due to
the six-year age difference between them, it wasnt love at first sight.
I think I was about 8 years old, and he was just the kid who slept on our
couch at night after jobs with the band and wouldnt go home, she laughed.
The two started dating years later as Debbie toured more often with her family.
In the course of one week, Stanky and the Coal Miners performed
in South Korea, Bloomsburg and Spain.
entertains at area rest homes about twice a week as a tribute to his older fans
who cant attend his shows anymore. We never choose only the big jobs,
said Stanky. We can play at the Waldorf-Astoria one day or Trump Plaza and
Joes Bar the next day. I always told the girls, All jobs are big even
if we only play for 10 people. Whoever calls us first, thats where
we go. And I dont cancel a small job to play a larger one.
never remembers her father cancelling a job because he was sick. He said
you just play through having a sore throat or cold, she said. You
And weather wont even get
Stanky down. I remember being in the WVIA studios for our polka TV show
when the governor called a state of emergency because of a snowstorm, recalled
Debbie. And there were just four people in the audience, and I told him
I quit because we shouldnt play. But he wouldnt listen to me. He would
play in bad weather and even if only one person showed up.
is probably the only boss who will boast that hes gone through 750 musicians
in his more than 60-year career. But thats not because hes difficult
to work for; its probably just the opposite. I tell my band members
to live their own lives, he said. I always say that family comes first.
If you cant make a show because of a family obligation, dont worry,
Ill get someone else.
Now that his daughters
have careers and families of their own, the times they are all able to get together
on stage are that much more special. The family balances careers and only joins
the band occasionally for the annual Christmas TV show or special occasions. Debbie
works for the Department of Revenue and her husband, Vinny, is a Luzerne County
Prison guard. Kim is a software consultant, who often takes her laptop computer
with her on band gigs.
I play whenever my dad
asks me to, said Kim. Im honored to carry on his tradition.
Debbie agrees: Polkas got me to see the world.
Its hard to believe
Its hard to believe the first time Loretta Chmura
met her beloved pet macaw Cocomo 13 years ago was when she arrived at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
International Airport in Avoca to pick him up after his plane landed.
then only 3 months old, had traveled in a box with two other parrots from a farm
The Nanticoke woman, who purchased the
macaw by mail order, didnt even get to name her own pet. She kept the name
he was given at birth.
Surprisingly, it wasnt
exactly love at first sight. Chmura admits that although she had birds as pets
before, she was a little overwhelmed in the beginning caring for the macaw. She
credits her neighbors, Pat and Debby Rentko, with helping her feed him with a
syringe to pump formula into his beak for the first two weeks.
years later, Chmura doesnt know what she would do without Cocomo in her
life. He accompanies her on visits to Wesley Village in Jenkins Township, where
she works as an activity aide. When I first got him, I thought hed
just sit on a pole in his cage, she said. I never really thought that
a bird could bring so much joy and love. You may think that about a dog, but never
Cocomo has a social calendar that is
booked solid, entertaining residents and veterans groups at area rest homes several
times a week. He is so well-known in Nanticoke that his trips outdoors with his
owner (his wings are clipped so he wont fly away) literally cause traffic
I must have had more than a hundred trick-or-treaters
at Halloween this past year, said Chmura. But the kids didnt
care that I was giving out candy and money. They just wanted to come in to see
The macaw loves the attention. He often
lifts his foot to wave to his admirers. And he acknowledges his owner by name,
calling out Loretta throughout the day and alerting her when the UPS
deliveryman is at the door. And just like his owner, he enjoys polka music. The
bird will move his body up and down to the beat.
over his vast array of toys, ranging in cost from $5 to $75, Chmura admits the
macaw is spoiled. Or, as she prefers to tell it: Hes just treated
good like an animal should be treated.
any person in the Wyoming Valley, Cocomo enjoys a slice of pizza on Fridays. He
also feasts on mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs and spaghetti and meatballs.
Chmura and Cocomo have clearly bonded over the years. When
Cocomo doesnt see his owner, he turns to Lorettas husband, Joseph,
and asks Wheres Loretta? when she is at work.
macaws can live to the age of 90 or 100, Chmura has included Cocomo in her will,
ensuring that he will be taken care of after she dies.
Parkway project needs state funds
South Valley president
is in favor of connecting Route 29 with Kosciuszko Street.
Gerald Hudak, president of the South Valley Chamber of
Commerce, says the proposed South Valley Parkway project isnt a bridge
to nowhere or a pork barrel project and should be given top priority for
We desperately need the South
Valley Parkway for both economic and safety reasons, Hudak said Wednesday.
This is the future of the South Valley Region. It would generate jobs and
make the area more attractive for development.
Dussinger, spokesperson for Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, said the
project is on hold and doesnt meet the guideline to be funded
with federal stimulus dollars.
The current administrations
focus is on rehabilitating and preserving roads and bridges, Dussinger said.
But that doesnt mean its a dead project.
said the project has gone back to the drawing board a couple of times and has
several phases. She said Phase I would connect state Route 29 with Kosciuszko
Street at an estimated cost of $32 million. Phase II would connect Kosciuszko
Street with Prospect Street and would cost approximately $17 million. The road
would give better access to Luzerne County Community College, Hudak said.
The project wouldnt qualify for federal stimulus
funding because the design is not far enough along, Dussinger said. Right
now we have rudimentary design, so were looking at a couple of years before
it would be ready for construction.
said Phase I of the new road would run from the Middle Road exit off of Interstate-81
at Route 29, through Askam to Kosciuszko Street in Nanticoke. Phase II would pick
up at Kosciuszko and go to Prospect Street.
the project has been delayed for many years, for many reasons. He
said the project is important to the area and would create many new jobs.
It is time for our legislators to forget their political
differences and pull together to improve the quality of life in Luzerne County,
Hudak said in a letter to Gov. Ed Rendell. The people of the City of Nanticoke
have supported you and your administration for many years. We are asking for your
support in this effort.
Rep. John Yudichak, D-Nanticoke,
said the parkway is his number one infrastructure project, saying it will address
critical traffic safety issues and serve as a springboard for economic development.
Obvious budget constraints have plagued the project
recently, but I am working with PennDOT and the Rendell Administration to keep
the project moving forward, he said.
Paul Kanjorski, D-Nanticoke, said he has helped secure $10.5 million in federal
funds for the project.
It is unfortunate that
there have been so many delays in this project over the years so that it is not
shovel ready now that the federal government has released millions
of dollars to Pennsylvania to stimulate the economy, Kanjorski said.
Seniors welcome new center
The South Valleys new senior center at Mercy Special
Care Hospital on Washington Street has been getting some rave reviews for its
larger space and better programs.
said Newport Township Senior Citizens Club President Bernie Macijczak. Much
nicer than the old one, with circles around it.
Rose Tucker Center at Mercy officially opened Friday with a ceremony attended
by local dignitaries, including Luzerne County Commissioner chairwoman Maryanne
Petrilla, state Rep. John Yudichak, D-Nanticoke, and Commissioner Greg Skrepenak.
The 79-year-old Tucker was guest of honor.
have a center here that is absolutely beautiful, she told the more than
200 seniors, hospital officials and friends who came to join the celebration.
Tucker, who served as Luzerne Countys first female
commissioner, was born in Wilkes-Barre but spent most of her life in Nanticoke
and considers it her home.
When she found out the new
senior center would be named in her honor, she said, I was embarrassed at
first. I said no. After I was coaxed and coaxed, I said OK but there are
others who are much more deserving.
city-owned senior center at Market and Main streets will be torn down to make
way for Luzerne County Community Colleges Culinary Arts Institute. Mercy
Special Care Hospital officials responded to a request for a replacement.
Some seniors complained the new site was too far from downtown
and were concerned about transportation.
a bit of resistance at first, senior center Director Maureen Haydt said. But now
that seniors have had a chance to see what the new center offers, they are coming
We love it here, said Helen Gates.
Its the place to come when youre a widow. And everyones
Macijczak said she is touting the
new center to other members of the club.
practically lives at the center. She takes the van there every weekday at 9:15
a.m. and stays all day.
My kids call it my home
away from home, Rinehamer said, laughing.
MacWilliams said there are so many activities that people who dont enjoy
themselves have nobody but themselves to blame.
more spacious center boasts a computer room, where computer classes will be offered;
a puzzle room and an exercise room where seniors can take weekly Tai Chi
classes and participate in the Healthy Steps fitness program, Haydt
The partnership with Mercy Special Care Hospital
makes the Rose Tucker Center the first senior center of its kind in Luzerne and
Wyoming counties, according to Mary Beth Farrell, executive director of the Area
Agency on Aging for Luzerne and Wyoming Counties.
of the connection with the hospital, the center is able to provide a variety of
health and wellness services, she said. These include blood pressure testing,
diabetes screening, laboratory services, dietary counseling and mental health
services if necessary, Farrell said.
The center also
has a focus on prevention, Mercy Administrator Robert Williams said. There are
physicians available on staff, and a telemedicine system is being installed that
will enable the monitoring of seniors health, possibly saving trips to the
emergency room, Williams said.
Center name a salute to seniors special pal
Renaming honors Rose Tucker for her work
Former Luzerne County Commissioner Rose Tuckers
dedication to the elderly is forever cemented as the Nanticoke Senior Citizens
Center was renamed Rose Tucker Center at Mercy in her honor Friday afternoon.
After three decades in the former post office building
at the corner of Main and Market Streets, the South Valleys seniors now
gather in the basement of the Mercy Special Care Hospital on West Washington Street.
Tucker, 79, a Nanticoke native, spent her career helping
others. Before the Democrat served as Luzerne County Commissioner from 1992 through
1996 and for about six months in 2007, she worked as the Director of Migrant Workers
and with the Maternal and Family Health Agency.
an inviting grandmotherly smile, Tucker was humble as several elected officials
praised her dedication to others.
I am overjoyed
and delighted you did this. There are many people that deserve this more than
I do, she said.
Well, state Reps. Phyllis Mundy
and John Yudichak and Luzerne County Commissioners Maryanne Petrilla and Greg
Skrepenak might differ.
Calling Tucker a trailblazer,
Yudichak, D-Nanticoke, said this is a beautiful legacy for Tucker to leave.
The hospital and the Luzerne/Wyoming Counties Bureau for
the Aging created a partnership, which resulted in opening the new facility in
We felt it would be good for the community,
good for the seniors and good for the overall health care of the community,
Hospital Chief Executive Officer Bob Williams said as to why the hospital offered
its facilities to house the center.
Because the senior
center is housed in the hospital, medical staff will be able to offer more wellness
and prevention classes, as well as medical screenings, Williams said.
hospital covered most of the renovation costs itself to move its rehabilitation
services center to the first floor to make room for the new seniors center. Williams
didnt have an exact figure for renovation expenses. A $5,000 state grant
helped cover some of the renovations and moving expenses, Yudichak said.
is the first senior citizen center in Northeastern Pennsylvania to enter into
a health-based partnership, Bureau Director Mary Beth Farrell said.
hospital and bureau entered into a five-year agreement to house the facility.
That agreement could be extended.
Tom Smith of West
Nanticoke, who attends the center nearly every weekday with his wife, Ardis, was
so impressed with the new space he gladly provided tours of the 1,800-square-foot
facility offering seniors daily lunches, access to computers, a game room where
people can solve jigsaw puzzles and health care facilitie
Nanticoke passes three ordinances
During a brief, 30-minute meeting Wednesday night,
three city council members took action on three proposed ordinances.
dealing with removal of snow and ice, outdoor solid-fuel furnaces and mandatory
recycling were approved at the second reading.
snow-and-ice ordinance requires residents and business owners to clear snow and
ice from sidewalks within 12 hours after the end of a storm. People will not be
permitted to place snow next to a fire hydrant or in the street.
caught violating these rules must appear before a judge and pay a fine of at least
Anyone wishing to install a solid-fuel furnace
must have the unit inspected by the citys code enforcement officer, receive
a permit and keep the unit at least 25 feet from the edge of their property, according
to the ordinance.
The units may be operated only from
Sept. 1 through May 31, unless the unit is the only source of residential interior
heat and domestic hot water service.
recycling ordinance was a revision of the original ordinance from 1989. The upgraded
version allows recycling to also be done at community activities with more than
The council reappointed four men to
city community boards for a three-year period. Thomas Wall and Michael Jezewski
will serve on the Zoning Board. John Grontkowski will serve on the Planning Board
and Ron Kamowski will serve on the General Municipal Authority Board.
terms are effective Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2012.
members Jon Metta and Jim Litchofski were not present.
Nanticoke council applying for state grants
Nanticoke City Council is applying
for two state grants that could bring in a total of $3 million to help develop
the Luzerne County Community Colleges Culinary Arts Institute and program.
The council gave approval during Wednesdays meeting to apply for the grants,
and the applications are already written and ready to submit, according to Chris
Cawley, managing director of Northeastern Economic Development Co.
Greener II grant would be for $1 million and the Redevelopment Assistance Capital
Program grant would be for $2 million. Cawley said the grant money could be used
for general program and building development and is not limited to a specific
Thomas Wall and Michael Jezewski were reappointed to four-year terms
on the City of Nanticoke Zoning Board, effective Jan. 1, 2009, and Jan 1, 2008,
respectively. One position remains open.
John Grontkowski was reappointed
to a four-year term on the citys planning board, effective Jan 1, 2009,
and two positions remain open.
Councilman Joseph Dougherty said, in response
to residents complaints about dirty streets and property, that the city
is working on renting a street sweeper. He did not have details on the cost, but
said he would find out by the next council meeting.
Momentum grows for Nanticoke skate park
There could be a ground-breaking
for Nanticokes long-awaited skate park at this time next year if
everything continues to go well.
Although they had
to be scaled back because of the economy, plans are still in the works for the
Lower Broadway Park.
I think things have really
been progressing in Nanticoke, skateboarder James Gidosh said.
Pennsylvania Skate Park Alliance founders Gidosh and Kevin Pizzano, members of
the team planning the park, have been doing research and coming up with ideas
on how to make Nanticokes skate park a regional attraction.
guys are so dedicated, Nanticoke City Administrator Holly Quinn said. They
traveled all around the country checking out skate parks. Theyre giving
us insight into whats going to be best for our community.
of the Lower Broadway Park team met last week with a landscape architect from
the Borton-Lawson engineering firm to come up with a revised version of the original
The new plan, although scaled back, still
contains what community members determined were the most important elements, according
to Joe Boylan, chief of staff for state Rep. John Yudichak, D-Nanticoke.
first phase of the project, slated for the Lower Broadway area from Market Street
to the old railroad tracks, will include 25,000 linear feet of walking trails,
a 1,000-square-foot pavilion with public rest rooms, and up to 20,000 square feet
of picnic area, Boylan said. There will be an approximately 30,000-square-foot
BMX bicycle racetrack as well, he said.
But the key
feature will be the 9,000-square-foot skateboard park, which will have an additional
9,000-square-foot concrete pad next to it. Boylan said this pad, which can be
used to expand the skate park later, can be used for teaching beginners to skateboard,
for street hockey and possibly as an ice-skating rink in the winter.
said he prefers a poured concrete park, which makes for better quality and rideability,
instead of prefabricated concrete.
It sure would
be great to have it all at once, though, instead of phasing, Gidosh said,
but added that he knows money is the issue.
tag for Phase I of the park is roughly, $829,000, which Boylan said would include
environmental work, landscaping, contingency costs, design and engineering services.
The new park plan is crucial for the process of applying
for grants, which is getting under way, Boylan said. A lot of what happens with
the park depends on what kind of funding comes in, he said.
is planned for spring 2010 to coincide with the start of the streetscaping project
for Market and Main streets, Quinn said.
want to get that area in shape by the time Luzerne County Community College moves
into the Kanjorski Center on Main Street the new health sciences center
and work is complete on the Culinary Arts Institute, to be built at Market
and Main streets.
The City of Nanticoke has federal
funding U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Nanticoke, obtained some time ago for improvements
such as new sidewalks and streetlights, and Boylan hopes some of it can go toward
the Lower Broadway park.
NEPA Skate Park Alliance has
already been pounding the pavement seeking funds from the private sector, and
plans to keep looking for donations. One fundraiser is a CD of 22 songs by local
bands. The CD is available for $5 at any Gallery of Sound store, and Gidosh said
100 percent of the proceeds go to the NEPA Skate Park Alliance.
cant go wrong for $5, Gidosh said.
For first time since WWII, 109th soldiers serve as artillerymen
on the battlefield
Soldiers from the 109th Field Artillery are in Iraq and
have launched their historic wartime mission serving in the battlefield
as field artillerymen for the first time since World War II.
The 90 Pennsylvania
Army National Guard soldiers, based out of Nanticokes Bravo Battery,
are firing artillery rounds in support of missions by the active duty U.S. Army,
unit leaders said.
This marks the first time since
World War II that members of the 109th are performing the job they train for year-round.
During previous deployments to war over the past six decades, they have served
as military police officers and in other capacities.
recently, the unit was stationed near Taji, Iraq, about 20 miles north of Baghdad.
Soldiers are being led in the war zone by Capt. Joe Ruotolo, 37, of Harveys Lake.
They experience long days, yet their professionalism
never waivers. Every soldier in this battery brings something special to the team,
and they do what theyve got to do to get the job done, ahead of schedule,
and well beyond set expectations, every time. Anyone would be proud to call himself
a member of the ranks, Ruotolo said in e-mail.
leaders on the ground took photos of soldiers firing artillery shells from the
109ths latest weaponry, the M777 Howitzer, while training in Kuwait days
before entering Iraq in February. The unit forwarded the photos to The Citizens
The M777 Howitzer is a lightweight 155mm towed
cannon with digitally guided technology. It is capable of firing artillery shells
well over 20 miles and hitting its target with pinpoint accuracy.
have also managed and facilitated the operation of the Iraqi National
Railroad, the first time it has been active since before former Iraqi President
Saddam Husseins reign of power, unit leaders said.
battery has undergone several mission changes in the short time weve been
here, and currently, the battery holds several different, extremely diverse missions
and excels in every single one. In the face of constant change, the men of the
battery are constantly motivated and possess a great deal of pride in the unit
they belong to. Their pride is evident every day, Ruotolo wrote.
Greater Nanticoke gets $1M stimulus
Money to be used
for construction and to help students improve reading.
The Greater Nanticoke Area School District had
reason to celebrate during Thursdays board meeting.
Perrone announced the district is receiving $1 million from President Barack Obamas
educational stimulus plan.
About $378,000 of that can be spent on construction
projects. Another $448,000 of it is designated as Title One money that must be
used to help improve their reading skills. It was not discussed how the remaining
funds would be used.
Part of that construction money could pay for the third
phase of the Energy Savings Program. Kennedy Elementary will be remodeled this
summer to make the building energy efficient.
A new air-conditioning systems
and new windows and shades will be installed for $389,803.
The district has
saved $160,524 from upgrades of new windows, shades and a/c units to the districts
other campuses, District Director of Buildings and Grounds Frank Grevera said.
The program is an ongoing effort to upgrade all the buildings, while also conserving
energy and reducing utility costs.
We analyze the building and try to
see where we can save money, Grevera said. We take the money it would
have cost us over the next 15 years and put energy efficient equipment in.
The board also was treated to a free concert by sixth-grader Morgan Elmy, who
won the Nanticoke
Idol competition in late February. Elmy sang Stay by country
The board also recognized students who won awards in the Pennsylvania
Junior Academy of Science competition, the Educational Center Science
Olympiad Team and the Middle School/High School Computer Fair.
Greater Nanticoke Area students receive recognition for
Greater Nanticoke Area School District had a lot
to boast about at Thursdays monthly board meeting, as dozens of middle and
high school students have recently placed high in regional science and math contests
and several will be competing at the state-level.
At the Middle School/High
School Computer Fair on Feb. 18, four middle school and seven high school students
took home first-, second- and third-place awards.
students took home first-place awards at the Academy
of Science on March 7, and one, seventh-grader Baylee Steininger, won
the Excellence in Biology award that is given to one student in seventh through
ninth grades. They will take their projects to the state competition.
Olympiad middle school students set a school record by taking home 12 medals and
finishing first at Tuesdays competition. The 16 students will continue on
to the state competition.
For a school that has frequently
scored low on state standardized testing, Superintendent Tony Perrone said the
results showed how smart the students are.
thinks, Well, thats Nanticoke, he said. And this
Sixth-grader Morgan Elmy got a
standing ovation from the board and audience members for her performance of Stay,
by country music group Sugarland. She won first place in the Educational
Center Idol Contest in February.
In regular business,
phase three of the Energy Conservation Services proposal for work on Kennedy Elementary
School was awarded to CM3 Building Solutions at a cost of $389,803. It will be
partially paid for by $160,524 remaining from phase two of the project, and some
of the work will include installation of window replacement and shade installation,
new air vents and air conditioning in classrooms and the multipurpose room.
Board members also approved the purchase of a drug dog
for the Nanticoke Police Department at a cost of $1,000 to $1,500 at the request
of police Chief James Cheshinski. Perrone said the district would be able to use
the dog any time it wanted.
High school senior raises more than $2,000 with Elvis tribute show
in the Greater Nanticoke Area High School knows senior Josh Slosky. He greases
back his hair, wears tight jeans and a white T-shirt every day and sings Elvis
Though he is only 18, Slosky grew up
listening to music from the 50s and 60s, music that he says doesnt
sound like anything else today. His love of classic rock n roll led
him to become a young Elvis tribute artist.
he and his band played their first Elvis tribute concert at the Greater Nanticoke
Area High School auditorium. The concert served as his senior graduation project
and raised more than $2,000.
Slosky treated the audience
to quite a performance, playing his keyboard with fury like Jerry Lee Lewis, but
dressed in an Elvis-style gold-sequined jacket. Slosky can sneer like Elvis and
mimic that unmistakable deep voice.
My mom always
told me I had an old soul, as weird as that sounds. I just have a love for the
past, said Slosky, of Nanticoke. It is really neat how they looked.
I liked the way they grease their hair and wear leather jackets.
concert originally was going to raise funds for an area non-profit organization.
But because a number of Nanticoke students have lost their lives in car accidents,
Slosky put the contributions toward a memorial plaque in remembrance of those
The concert raised more than Slosky expected,
so the funds may go to something larger than a plaque like a bench or stone in
remembrance of those who died.
It will just say
to all who have lost their lives in the high school community. You cant
forget that kind of thing, Slosky said. The best way to make times
better is through music, through the arts.
parents Ed and Sandy Slosky introduced Elvis music to him. He took piano
lessons since he was 10, and didnt want to quit only because Elvis usually
played guitar or nothing at all. So, he describes his performance as an Elvis
tribute, rather than an imitation.
has only performed in public a few other times. Last year, he and his band took
the stage at Pope John Paul Elementary School. He also stepped on stage at church
functions and for the Nanticoke Youth Drug Task Force.
the show at the high school, Slosky said he was glad that the concert went well
and promises the performance will not be his last.
have to go out there and do the job, Slosky said. I guess you could
say it is a rush.
Nanticoke looks to fill board vacancies
also makes changes to police, fire retirement accounts.
Campbell - Times Leader
City officials on Wednesday
invited interested residents to apply for a number of committee positions on various
boards and commissions in the city.
include two four-year terms on the Planning Commission, and one vacancy on the
Zoning Board, said interim City Clerk Mary Cheshinski. City Council reappointed
Chester Biggs to the General Municipal Authority and will be reappointing two
members currently on the Zoning Board to new terms, she said.
interested in the vacancies should contact the city clerks office.
noted it would need to vote to accept the city Recreation Boards bylaws
before it could act on proposed changes to how the board appointed members to
ad hoc committees. Those bylaws are expected to be available for a vote at the
In other business, council approved
a change in how police and fire retirement accounts can be used.
employees would be able to direct deferred retirement revenue within the existing
retirement fund, and as a result the city would not be liable for any underperformance
of the funds involved.
The changes in both pension
plans had to be dealt with in the form of ordinances, so each will receive a second
reading before taking effect.
Council also accepted
an engineering report on bridges in the city that noted that although the North
Market Street Bridge is adequate for the traffic it carries, it still should be
looked at for replacement in the next five years.
other concerns, the city should look at repairing guard rails, the bridge surface
and erosion areas in the river bed upstream of the bridge, according to the report.
Also, it was learned increased funding for the city from
the federal economic stimulus package would likely come in the form of 25 percent
increases in the Community Development block grants. The grants had already been
dedicated to paving work on sections of Church, Noble and Ridge streets, council
Nanticoke bridge needs repairs
The bridge on North Market Street near Lower Broadway should be replaced,
council heard on Wednesday.
Daryl Pawlush, representing
city engineer Michael Pasonick Associates, gave a report on the citys bridges,
and said the one on North Market Street is in inadequate shape to handle
the traffic that flows across it.
He said the
city should have the bridge put on Pennsylvania Department of Transportations
list for replacement within the next five years. The bridge doesnt need
to have a weight limit posted on it, Pawlush said, but recommended a list of repairs
to be done, some immediately.
The bridge on the access
road to the industrial park is in good, sound condition, but needs
some repairs to the road and culvert, according to Pawlush. Additionally, he said
the new bridge on Union Street requires regular inspections by PennDOT.
City officials might use their approximately
$350,000 of 2009 Office of Community Development money to repave Church Street
from Hanover Street to Market Street; West Noble Street from Fairchild Street
to Line Street; and West Ridge Street from Hanover Street to Line Street. The
federal funds must be used in low- to moderate-income areas.
passed the first reading of an ordinance to require recycling at community events
attended by 200 or more people. The citys trash hauler, J.P. Mascaro, offered
to provide free recycling bins for use at the events, City Clerk Betsy Cheshinski
Council approved the transfer of a liquor license
from Pittston to the former DJs Bar and Grill at 187 E. Ridge St. Joe Lokuta,
owner of the Pizza Bella restaurants in Nanticoke and Plains Township, bought
the property recently and plans to turn it into a pub-style bar and restaurant.
Council passed the first reading of an ordinance that solicitor
William T. Finnegan Jr. said would ensure outdoor wood-burning boilers are installed
correctly and dont create a nuisance to neighboring properties.
Susko, who owns a property on Pine Street, presented council with a petition from
residents asking that a fire-damaged property in deplorable condition
at 140 Pine St. be demolished. The citys code enforcement officer is looking
into it, Mayor John Bushko said.
Pam Urbanski writes Nanticoke
Area Notes every other Thursday. Story ideas and news items can be e-mailed
to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I can remember being
a student in elementary school and waiting for the day wed welcome a guest
reader into our school. It was someone who would come into the classroom and read
a great story with colorful pictures.
day is coming soon for second grade students who attend Kennedy Elementary and
Head Start in Nanticoke. The will join with other second grade students across
the Wyoming Valley when they celebrate the 13th annual Community Reading Day on
Thursday, April 30.
The event is held to promote literacy
and to encourage students to read. It also gives business leaders within the community
an opportunity to go into classrooms and talk with students about their jobs and
the places they work. They let children know that Northeastern Pennsylvania is
a great place to build a life and career.
president of Luzerne County Community College, has been a community reader for
years. Leary enjoys reading to the students, as well as interacting with them.
When I go into the classroom, I like to sit and talk
with the students. I find out what they value and appreciate and what is important
to them. This usually leads to a great conversation about their education,
I tell them where I work and what
I do. I explain they need to work hard while in school and that wonderful opportunities
await them when they grow up, including going to college.
its inception in 1977, the annual Community Reading Day has touched the lives
of more than 140,000 second grade students. Nearly 5,000 volunteers have read
to students. The books that are read become part of the classroom library.
The South Valley Chamber of Commerce in Nanticoke will
partner with other chambers of commerce to make this day possible.
Gallia, economic development assistant for the Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce,
has the huge task of coordinating the program. I dont know who enjoys
the program more, the students or the adult readers, Gallia said.
you enjoy sharing the joy of reading and have an hour to spend reading to Nanticoke
area students, call Karen at 823-2101 by Wednesday.
selling palm crosses
The youth group of the Parish
Community of Nanticoke is selling palm crosses.
crosses are 36 x 24 inches and fit easily into the ground. The cost is $10 and
orders are due by Monday, March 16.
To place an order,
call the parish office at 735-4833.
St. Marys Travel Club of Nanticoke
is sponsoring a trip to Lancaster on Saturday, April 18.
day includes a lunch buffet and comedy show at the Rainbow Dinner Theater, shopping
at Hershey Farms and a tour of the Mount Hope Winery. Cost is $88 and registration
with payment is due March 22. For more information, call Helen at 735-5183.
Library friends to meet
of the Mill Memorial Library, 495 E. Main St., will meet Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
in the Alta Harrington Room. Carol Sokowski will preside.
to spring ahead
Daylight savings time begins at
2 a.m. Sunday. Remember to set your clocks ahead one hour.
LCCC will get $1.5 million in gaming funds
Luzerne County Community College
is getting a total of $1.5 million in state gaming money over three years to build
the Culinary Arts Institute at Market and Main streets in Nanticoke.
soon as the remaining $3 million in grants are ready, construction can begin on
the $7.5 million building, LCCC President Thomas P. Leary said.
is continuous discussion on the building. Basically, all the plans have been laid
out. Now, its just a matter of securing all the grants from the state,
he said. Obviously, we dont have any issue with it; its just
a question of having them secured, so we can go ahead and finance the purchase.
Nanticoke city officials applied to the state on behalf
of LCCC for the $1.5 million in gaming revenue, which comes from Mohegan Sun at
Pocono Downs. The college got the first $500,000 installment last year. There
is also $2 million in Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program funding and a $1
million Growing Greener grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection
to be used for the project.
State Rep. John Yudichak,
D-Nanticoke, urged college officials to move fast in picking a developer, so they
wouldnt lose the money. In January, the LCCC board of trustees selected
Scranton-based Mark Development to build the Culinary Arts Institute on the site
of the former senior center and the Nanticoke Housing Authority-owned former Susquehanna
Coal Co. office.
Comes Up Big
Arsenault - Times Leader
womens track team ended Bucknells seven-year reign in the Patriot
League Indoor Championships recently and senior Abby Gesecki (Nanticoke) had a
big part in the effort.
Gesecki finished second in
the 500-meter dash in a personal best time of 1:14.37. That effort was good enough
to qualify for the IC4A Championships. She also helped the 1,600 relay team finish
third and the 3,200 relay squad finish fourth.
peaked at exactly the right time, coach Carla Criste said. Her times
have been coming down consistently over the past few weeks. She is already qualified
for the Eastern Regionals, so the pressure is off. With Abbys winning attitude,
the sky is the limit.
Luzerne County parishes appeal consolidation measure
At least six parishes in the Diocese
of Scranton are formally appealing Bishop Joseph F. Martinos decision to
consolidate and close their churches over the next three years.
The six churches
are Sacred Heart of Jesus, Wilkes-Barre; Holy Child, Nanticoke; St. Francis,
Miners Mills; St. Stanislaus, Nanticoke; St. Francis of Assisi, West Hazleton;
and a parish in Avoca, according the Council of Parishes of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Diocese spokesman Bill Genello said, The Diocese will address appeals according
to canonical process, but had no further comment on parish appeals.
Although the 10-day deadline for appealing has passed, Noreen Foti, president
of the Sacred Heart Wilkes-Barre Foundation, believes other groups could be able
to appeal. Those parishes could ask for an extension or, depending when Martino
signed the documents making the parish reconfiguration official, its possible
the 10-day limit has not yet passed, she said.
About five other parishes have
approached Foti in the last few days asking for information on appealing the bishops
decision, she said.
Many of the groups appealing the decision to close their
parish are arguing the consolidation sites selected are too small, not easily
accessible for handicapped or elderly parishioners, need extensive repairs or
lack adequate restrooms, kitchens and parking.|
People want to know
what was the basis for selecting the sites, and they arent getting answers,
Carl Puschauver is helping head up the appeals
process for St. Francis Church, and said he is going to fight Martinos decision
as long as necessary. Many other parishioners are volunteering to help spread
the message that they believe St. Francis deserves to stay open, he said.
There is no question that our building is structurally
perfect, and everything else is up to date, and its practically brand new,
Puschauver said. Its only 45 years old.
has 30 days to respond to the appeals, according to Canon Law. If the appeals
are denied, the parishioner groups will follow the appeal process laid out in
Canon Law and appeal to other church authorities.
Nanticoke fire departments join forces to purchase new
Pam Urbanski writes Nanticoke Area Notes every
other Thursday. Story ideas and news items can be e-mailed to her at email@example.com.
In order to fight fires effectively and quickly,
firefighters must have the proper equipment and up-to-date fire apparatus.
Presently, the City of Nanticoke is relying on a 1999 ladder
truck to respond to structure fires; a 1974 engine that is housed in the Hanover
section of Nanticoke, and a 2001 engine that is stationed at fire headquarters
on East Ridge Street.
The department also uses an engine
on loan from Hanover Township. The truck is scheduled to be returned in two months.
Weve been lucky so far, said Nanticoke Fire Chief Michael Bohan.
Anything that is more than 20 years old comes into question. We need to
think of the safety of our residents and our firefighters.
to the dedication and support of volunteer firefighters, the city will add a much-needed
new truck to its fleet.
Firefighters answered a total
of 620 calls last year, including 35 structure fires. Some of the other calls
included motor vehicle accidents, false alarms, vehicle fires and emergency medical
The volunteers firefighters in this
city saw a need to add to our truck fleet and they decided they would join together
and help to finance a new truck. Without them we could not have done it,
Chief Bohan said.
Firefighters from Lape, Mowrey, Stickney,
Washington, Hanover and Pioneer Hook and Ladder fire companies each have agreed
to pay $5,000 per year for four years for a total of $120,000. The city will pay
the rest, which is a little more than $110,000. The volunteer fire companies will
use money from grants given to them by the state to cover most of the loans.
The 2009 mini-pumper is state-of-the art, holds more gallons
of water than the other pumpers and is four-wheel drive. It also has seating for
four firefighters. Its really is a nice piece of equipment that makes
firefighting a little safer and easier, Bohan said.
fire department will take delivery of the truck in early summer.
new truck for Honey Pot
Another fire company in
Nanticoke also is replacing a very old fire truck that no longer meets safety
standards. Honey Pot Volunteer Fire Company is independent of the other fire companies
in the city. The department responds to all fires in Honey Pot and when there
is a fire in Nanticoke they stand by ready to assist Nanticoke firefighters. The
company currently owns a 1965 truck that has seen better days.
really cant rebuild the engine any more, said Assistant Fire Chief
Chet Kopco. When parts break we have to search junk yards to find a fit.
Its either that or we have to cast parts, which is really expensive. This
involves sending the broken part to a company and having them make a new part
from a cast of the old one.
Honey Pot volunteer
firefighters are taking on a huge commitment in purchasing a 2003 mini-pumper.
They will pay about $800 a month for the next 20 years. The pumper uses water
and/or a compressed air foam system. Its easier for our firefighters
because foam is lighter than water, said Kopco.
said this system allows for less manpower and less water damage for the homeowner.
You can also pump and move, which means we dont have to be hooked
up to a hydrant and stay in one place. We can get to brush fires a lot quicker.
Cost of this pumper is $100,000. The company will need
to bring the truck up to 2009 government standards, but it should be delivered
In order to help meet the monthly loan payment,
the fire company has set up several fundraisers. An all-you-can-eat breakfast
will be held March 1 from 7 a.m. to noon at the fire department. Cost is $6 for
adults and $3 for children. A ham raffle will be held at Westside Playground on
March 28 beginning at 7 p.m. Food and drink will be available for purchase along
with raffles for hams and sausage and gift baskets. For more information, call
Chet at 735-7030.
Society holding Mardi Gras
The combined Holy Name Society of St. Marys,
Holy Trinity, St. Stanislaus and Holy Child churches will hold its annual Mardi
Gras celebration Saturday from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. in the Pope John Paul II School
hall. Oldies music will be provided by the Cadillacs. Cost in advance is $15 per
person, which includes dancing and refreshments. For more information, call Tony
at 256-3914, Xavier at 735-6017, Millard at 735-2114 or Jim at 735-8108.
An Ash Wednesday service will
be held at 7 p.m. at St, Johns Lutheran Church, 231 State St., Nanticoke.
The Rev. Donald Nice will be guest pastor. All are welcome.
Nanticoke council approves contract with city firefighters
Months of negotiations between
city officials and firefighters ended successfully Wednesday, when council unanimously
passed a new contract.
All nine members of the International
Association of Firefighters Nanticoke Local 2655 also voted in favor of the contract,
which runs from Jan. 1, 2009, to Dec. 31, 2012, with the option for the city to
extend it through 2013.
I think this is a very
good contract for the city and for the firefighters. There were a lot of concessions
on both sides, said Councilman Brent Makarczyk, who represented the city
at the bargaining table.
Firefighter Greg Grzymski,
who led negotiations for his department, said he and his fellow union members
didnt want a long, drawn-out battle like their brother firefighters
had in Scranton a city which, like Nanticoke, is labeled financially distressed
by the state.
Everybody understood, us being
an Act 47 community, and the economic plight in the country is in, we werent
going to get everything we wanted, Grzymski said.
firefighters had been fighting city officials efforts to apply cost-containment
measures from Scrantons 2002 financial recovery plan to their contracts.
In January, seven Commonwealth Court judges upheld Scranton officials argument
that Act 47, the state law for distressed municipalities, trumps the Policemen
and Firemen Collective Bargaining Act (Act 111).
concessions by Nanticoke firefighters include receiving nine paid holidays instead
of 13, and agreeing to pay 2.5 percent of their health insurance costs in 2010,
5 percent in 2011, and 7.5 percent in 2012. In addition, the minimum manning clause
is removed, meaning there is no limit to how few firefighters must be on duty,
and there will be more part-timers, Makarczyk said.
will get raises of 2 percent in 2009 and 2010, 3 percent in 2011, and 4 percent
in 2012. They will also receive an additional 25 cents for each hour worked between
5 p.m. and 7 a.m.
Members of council complimented Makarczyk
and Grzymski for their efforts in forging the new contract.
to settle is the police contract, which expired at the same time as the firefighters:
Dec. 31, 2008.
Mayor John Bushko said police negotiations
are pretty well in (their) final stages.
other business, council passed the first reading of a recycling ordinance.
The city already has a recycling program, but Solicitor
William Finnegan said the ordinance is required by the state Department of Environmental
Protection for the city to be eligible for grants.
new in the ordinance is a provision that recycling will be mandatory at any event
with 200 or more people in attendance, such as Musicfest and the annual Christmas
party in Patriot Square.
Resident James Samselski asked
whether the city would make recycling bins available at large events. City officials
agreed it would have to be worked out.
Firefighters can use some help
The Honey Pot Active Firemen are upgrading. While
they are proud of the 1965 FWD full-size engine sitting in their headquarters
it is too out of date to continue using safely.
the Firemen are spending $120,000 to acquire a newer piece of equipment.
the next month, the non-profit group will purchase a 2003 Pierce midi pumper for
$100,000 from the Alpha Fire Company #1 of Littlestown, using a 20-year loan from
the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Assistant Fire Chief Chester Kopco said. The
new apparatus will have a 500-gallon pump, 300-gallon water tank and a 20-gallon
Another $20,000 will be spent to
bring the equipment up to 2009 National Fire Protection Standards as required
by the U.S. Fire Administration, Kopco said. The administration recommends any
apparatus 20 years or older be replaced or placed in reserve status for the firefighter
So the Active Firemen will be hosting several
fundraisers to help cover the $800 monthly payment for the new piece of equipment.
Kopco and Honey Pot Active Firemen President Tony Prushinski
are especially proud of the fact that their organization is paying for this using
their own money. While they do apply for state and federal grants, they are not
automatically entitled to grant money received by the Nanticoke Fire Department
because the Honey Pot Active Firemen is an independent fire company, Kopco said.
The Nanticoke Fire Department is also acquiring a new truck with money being donated
by the citys five other volunteer fire departments.
Honey Pot Active Firemen originally hoped to purchase a new pumper truck, but
couldnt afford a $250,000 price tag. This 2003 piece will be smaller than
the current equipment and smaller than a new pumper truck, but it can pump water
and foam, which Kopco said will ensure the fire company is getting a jump start
on the future of firefighting (Foam) doesnt require as much manpower
as a water line because of the injection of air into a line with the foam
It spreads a retardant on the fire so it is quicker to knock down. There is less
property damage with it, Kopco said.
company, the Honey Pot Volunteer Hose Company, owns the 1965 engine, so it will
be up to them to decide what to do with the equipment.
likely they will wind up selling it, probably to a collector. It is too old to
give to another fire company, Kopco said.
How to help
more information on becoming a member of the Honey Pot Active Firemen or donating
call President Tony Prushinski at 735-0508 and Assistant Chief Chester Kopco at
All You Can Eat Breakfast at Honey Pot Fire Department Headquarters, 13 Honey
Pot St. from 7 a.m. noon March 1
Pot Ham Raffle at Westside Playground on West Grand Street at 7 p.m. March 28
Welcome to Summer Festival at Honey Pot Fire Department
Headquarters, 13 Honey Pot St., May 30, all day event
Cabbage Roll on Aug. 15, on N. Market in Honey Pot section of Nanticoke
GNA makes adjustments to district calendar
Greater Nanticoke Area School Board
has changed the district calendar due to snow days and a teacher in-service.
Students are off today because teachers are having a drill
with state police on what to do in the event of an emergency. Instead, students
will have school on Feb. 16, previously scheduled as a day off for Presidents
To make up for three snow days, there will be
classes on June 5, 8 and 9. Graduation is tentatively scheduled for June 9, unless
there are more days off for bad weather.
Much of Thursdays
meeting was taken up by spirited discussion about the need to stop perceiving
the district in a negative light.
Areas math test scores have gone up, and reading scores are being worked
on, Superintendent Anthony Perrone said. The districts fund balance was
never as good it was $5 million at the end of last school year as
it is under the current board, he said, noting, and we dont skin you
alive with your taxes.
had a problem since we booted out the big spenders, GNA Taxpayers Forum
President Hank Marks admitted.
However, fellow forum
member Hank Kellar was critical of the effectiveness of the districts curriculum.
District officials have gone to the Wyoming Area School
District, which has the highest test scores in the region, to look at its curriculum
and bring it back to GNA through a consultant, Perrone said.
GNA superintendent defends test scores
says district has implemented changes that helped students improve.
Upset about a letter to the editor that recently
appeared, Greater Nanticoke Area School District Tony Perrone said at Thursday
nights school board meeting that he wanted to set the record straight about
the districts test scores.
In the past the district
has experienced problems with Pennsylvania System of School Assessment test scores,
but the district revamped the math program and is now working to revamp the science
program to help students perform better.
announced that Nanticoke Area made the largest jump in math throughout
Luzerne County for its 2007-08 standardized math tests.
11th graders ranked third out of all other 11th graders across Luzerne County,
with only students at Wyoming Area and Crestwood school districts scoring better,
Perrone said. Breaking down the numbers, he said 21.7 percent of students placed
advanced in math, 36.4 percent were proficient, 16.5 percent were basic and 25
percent were below basic.
The districts fifth
and sixth graders also ranked third out of all other school districts in their
grade levels, Perrone noted.
The math went up
when we changed it, this year we are doing the same with reading, Perrone
In other business, residents Henry Kellar and
Henry Marks, president of the Nanticoke Taxpayers Forum, asked the school board
several questions regarding the districts work sessions and how curriculum
Marks said he recalled a time when the
district held the work sessions that were open to the public.
solicitor Vito DeLuca responded by saying the only meetings that are closed as
the executive session meetings are when the board discusses personnel issues.
In other business, students are getting a day off today
because teachers are having an in-service work day, Perrone announced.
students also were scheduled to be off Monday for Presidents Day, but now
they will attend class.
Other snow make-up days scheduled
for later this year are June 5, 8 and 9.
Nanticoke council appoints pair to civil-service board
recent meeting, Nanticoke council made appointments to several volunteer positions.
Anthony Nork and Larry Karnes were appointed to fill two
vacancies on the civil service commission, which deals with police and fire department
candidates. Council also voted to extend the civil service list and not give a
test this year, since the city probably wont be using it, Mayor John Bushko
said. The city isnt hiring.
was tapped for another term on the Nanticoke Housing Authority, which manages
the citys low-income and senior housing. Council named tax collector/treasurer
Al Wytoshek as Keystone Opportunity Zone coordinator.
unpaid position involves serving as liaison between the city and the county on
KOZ properties. Councilman Jon Metta said Wytoshek already handles most of the
In other business, Councilman Joseph Dougherty
said the public works department has used 670 tons of road salt this season.
Solicitor William Finnegan said he is in the process of
updating the ordinance that requires sidewalks to be cleared after snowstorms.
Two towns seek state funds for sewers
New state grant initiatives totaling $1.2 billion could
help two cash-strapped South Valley municipalities with expensive sewer problems.
Gov. Ed Rendell signed legislation in July that created
the $800 million H2O PA fund to provide grants for water, sewer and
flood protection projects.
Then, in November, Pennsylvanians
voted to take out a $400 million bond allowing the Pennsylvania Infrastructure
Investment Authority to award grants and loans for water and sewer systems. Luzerne
County voters approved the referendum by 77,791 yes votes to 43,015 no
or 64 percent to 36 percent Bureau of Elections statistics show.
in municipalities needing sewer improvements are hurrying to submit applications
for the grants, which are just getting started. Plymouth Township supervisors
asked, through their engineer Nathanael Tompkins of Clough Harbour & Associates,
for $4.5 million for a state-mandated sewer project the township cant afford.
Everyone is hoping to get some piece of it,
Supervisor Chairwoman Gale Conrad said. Weve applied for everything
out there in the past few years we could apply for. We can only continue to hope
we get a chunk.
On Sept. 15, 2003, the state
Department of Environmental Protection mandated Plymouth Township install a sewer
system to replace on-lot septic systems that were discharging into the Susquehanna
River. The cost for adding 278 new sewer connections to the existing 213 is in
excess of $6 million. Plymouth Township, declared financially distressed by the
state in July 2004 and only now getting out of debt, cant afford it, Conrad
She acknowledged Plymouth Township isnt
There are so many communities that need
money like this. Its almost recognizing there isnt enough to go around,
Neighboring Nanticoke also
financially distressed needs to upgrade its sewer system, including separating
sewers tied to storm drains and getting rid of wildcat sewers that
drain into the Susquehanna River, Mayor John Bushko said.
council voted to apply for a $4.22 million H2O PA grant, the maximum they were
allowed, although the project will cost $8 million, city engineer Daryl Pawlush
of Michael A. Pasonick Associates said. The grant requires a 50-percent match
from the city, he said.
The state probably wont
award Nanticoke the full amount, Pawlush said, but the city should at least try
to get its request in, so if it is unsuccessful, city officials can find out why
and try for the next round of grants.
Nanticoke street plan hits speed bump
The downtown streetscaping plan has hit a snag, but council
moved ahead with a plan to provide parking for Luzerne County Community College
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
notified city officials they didnt use proper procedure in picking the engineer
for the streetscape project, Mayor John Bushko said. He disputed that, saying
they had followed directions regarding the advertising and selection process.
Bushko said PennDOT is stalling on approving a plan to repave Alden Road using
federal money a plan he said was supposed to be approved three years ago.
The streetscape project involves redesigning certain downtown
streets, starting with Main Street. City engineer Pasonick Associates was selected
for the project because the firm has a working relationship with the city, Nanticoke
Administrator Holly Quinn said. She said city officials are trying to resolve
any deficiencies, and hopefully delay to the project will be minimal.
first goal is ensuring the college has sufficient parking, and our second goal
is to get the first phase of the streetscape finished in time for the colleges
opening (in fall of 2010), she said.
County Community College recently signed a lease-purchase agreement with Nanticokes
municipal authority for the Kanjorski Center on East Main Street. The school plans
to renovate and use the building as its Health Sciences Center.
lease calls for the non-exclusive right to a minimum of 272 parking spaces
for the college. Council approved the second reading of a permit parking ordinance
for downtown. Theres only one more to go.
ordinance would only allow people with LCCC permits to park on certain streets
from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Mondays. Anyone without a permit would be fined $15.
Affected streets are: the north side of East Main Street
from Locust Street to North Walnut Street; both sides of Arch Street from North
Market Street to Locust Street; and the north side of Arch Street from Locust
Street to Broadway.
The former CVS drugstore building
next to the Kanjorski Center is slated for demolition to make way for more parking,
said Hank Marks of the municipal authority, which owns the building.
Nanticoke revises chiefs pension plans
Council members approved changes Wednesday to the
police and fire pension plan by creating a deferred retirement option program
for the police and fire chiefs.
Because Police Chief
James Cheshinski and Fire Chief Mike Bohan are top level executives in their departments,
they had to resign from their unions as of Jan. 1, as stipulated in the Act 47
Without being members of their unions,
the chiefs dont receive additional contributions to their pension funds.
Cheshinski and Bohan will retire and then begin participating
in the deferred retirement option program, which then allows them to continue
working in their positions for the next three years.
will earn their regular salaries, but will not receive their monthly pension checks
Their monthly pension would be deposited
in a deferred retirement account. So if Cheshinski and Bohan do retire in three
years they would receive a check with the lump sum amount of the money paid into
the deferred retirement account over the three years.
helps the city retain what we believe is excellent management and be able to help
make transitions for the new chiefs to be as seamless as possible and be able
to train their replacements, Councilman Brent Makarczyk.
city will not incur any additional cost for this program, Mayor John Bushko said.
This program would also be available to any other non-union
city employee, city solicitor Bill Finnegan said.
city does not have to offer this program, but can if it so desires to help the
chiefs continue to pay into a retirement-style account, Finnegan said.
officials also authorized engineer Daryl Pawlush to apply for a $4.22 million
grant from the state to pay for water and sewer improvements in the city. The
H20 Pennsylvania grant just recently became available after voters across the
state approved the measure in November, Pawlush said.
cautioned that by just applying didnt automatically entitle the city to
get the grant, but it puts it in the running for the money.
The Rev. Jim Nash talks about the consolidation of churches
Pam Urbanski writes Nanticoke Area Notes every other Thursday. Story
ideas, new items or comments can be e-mailed to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It was back in July 2004, on the one-year anniversary
of his appointment as the bishop of Scranton, that Most Rev. Joseph Martino shared
his hopes and concerns with the Catholic faithful in the Diocese of Scranton.
In the pastoral letter, the bishop raised many important
issues. One was the spiritual and pastoral renewal of the Diocese of Scranton.
That will mean we need to look at every one of our
structures, i.e. our parishes, schools, institutions and programs. One of
the concerns the bishop addressed was whether these entities were right for the
Another was Mass schedules that
are no longer suitable by aging and fewer priests. Parish pastoral councils
and finance councils were implemented by pastors at the request of the bishop.
All parishes began a period of self-study, which allowed
each parish, in the words of Bishop Martino, to see its strengths and weaknesses,
its proud accomplishments and its inevitable deficiencies, to see if there is
a better way to serve the neighborhood of parishes. Through it all he asked
In December 2007, a meeting was held for
all priests and deacons in the diocese of to explain, in detail, a planning project
named Called to Holiness and Mission Pastoral Planning in the Diocese of Scranton.
At the meeting, the clergy learned parishes would be restructured
to most effectively witness the presence of the risen Christ in all parts
of the diocese and effectively serve the entire faith community and the larger
church. Parishes would soon fall under one of four models: consolidation,
linked, partnership or team.
Just like at other churches
in the diocese, parish core teams were being formed at all six parishes in Nanticoke.
Their first task would be to evaluate individual parishes.
One finding was that in all parishes the number of funerals greatly outnumbered
In one year we had 120 funerals compared
to a minimal number of baptisms and children receiving the sacraments of reconciliation
and eucharist, said the Rev. Jim Nash, pastor of the parish community of
Holy Child, Holy Trinity, St. Mary of Czestochowa and St. Stanislaus.
parish core team also had to face the reality that pews are empty, finances are
not what they used to be, there is a decreasing number of clergy and buildings
are in need of repair.
We have a declining income
and population. One-third of registered families actively practice their faith,
and we have a decreasing number of clergy, Nash said. I am proud of
the way our active parishioners support the parish and our programs to include
things like Catholic education. We have a lot of senior citizens in our town who
are on fixed incomes. Our economy is not good. Everyone is affected. Young families
struggle to made ends meet.
Once parish core
teams did their initial studies, a cluster core team was formed. This team was
made up of parishioners from the four parishes mentioned , as well as St. Francis
and St. Joseph churches. They poured over pages and pages of notes and discussed
They attended diocesan training sessions
held by the Reid Group, which was hired by the diocese to facilitate the pastoral
At the training sessions, everyone
received a comprehensive planning guide that provided details about the process
and its stages. Prayer was also an important part of the process.
were faced with the difficult task of choosing one of the four models and sending
recommendations to the bishop, who would make the final decision with appropriate
I am very proud of the cluster
core team, Nash said. It was not an easy process, we had our ups and
downs, but the team did its job. Gail Fromm, who was appointed by the diocese
to facilitate our cluster group and our meetings, was impressed by what she saw
among the people in Nanticoke. The first recommendation was to have one large
church that could accommodate the most people and a new church. Holy Trinity is
the largest church seating approximately 650 people.
he said, The second recommendation was to have a secondary church in case
there is a need for additional masses, funerals or weddings or to use for smaller
celebrations such as daily Mass. That church is St. Marys. The recommendation
to the bishop was consolidation and this past weekend he went with the recommendation
of the cluster group. The need for St. Marys will be reviewed in a few years.
The consolidation is to take place no later than July 2010, Nash explained.
Nash is happy with that timetable. I think it gives
us an opportunity to process what happened, to deal with the emotions that so
many are feeling right now. Many have invested their whole lives into these parishes.
We have to talk and have discussions among our parish groups.
helps and makes people feel better. Our Catholic faith is so rich with rituals.
We need to ritualize the closings, to take artifacts from parishes and put them
in the new parish. The whole time we need to remember that it is not an end but
a beginning, he said.
Our parishes will
be better served when we can combine our services and ministries. Financially,
we will be better off and able to offer more programs for our people, Nash
Frank Wempa has been a member of St. Marys
Church for 60 some years. Both of his grandfathers helped build the church. He
is confident the transition will be a smooth one.
have been through this before when four of our parishes remained independent,
but were served by one pastor, Father Nash. He is a great priest in every sense
of the word. He helped us transition smoothly before. I know our parishioners
will welcome the parishioners of St. Francis and St. Josephs with open arms.
We will be one in a new church. Not ours, not theirs. It can happen if we are
all willing to make it happen, Wempa said.
Yanas is a life-long parishioner of St. Francis Church and he received all of
his sacraments there.
He, too, has been through this
before. St. Francis closed more than a year ago when the structure was deemed
unsafe. The parishioners of St. Francis now worship at St. Josephs. He is
upset to see church closings, but thinks its necessary.
you go to Mass there are so many empty pews. We dont need as many churches
as we did before. I think it might be the best thing for us because we can pull
our resources and programs together, Yanas said.
next step is for the implementation team from Nanticoke to meet and start discussions
about how to best move to consolidating all parishes into a new parish at the
site of Holy Trinity Church.
One thing they will be
discussing is parking. That is one issue we will need to tackle, Nash
He also thinks the challenge will be to get people
thinking in a different way.
I am in awe of the
people here in Nanticoke. We will have our challenges, but they will do it. We
need to work together to create a new, vibrant parish, as well as a community
with greater possibilities of doing ministry.
many of our parishioners ancestors came to Nanticoke to build a church in
which to practice their Catholic faith. Things have changed and we need to have
something for the next generation. They would want that, he emphasized.
St. Andrews soup sale
Andrews Church, 12 E. Kirmar Ave., Alden, is sponsoring a homemade beef
vegetable soup sale. Orders must be placed by Thursday, Feb. 12, by calling Dorothy
at 735-2126 or Edith at 735-2662. Cost is $5 a quart. Take-out containers are
provided. Orders can be picked up Feb. 21 from 10 a.m. to noon in the lower level
of the church.
Newport Twp. ambulance association delays merger with Nanticoke
of Newport Township Firemens Community Ambulance Association have put their
merger with the Nanticoke Community Ambulance Association on hold until they get
answers to some questions.
The proposed new company,
South Valley Regional Ambulance Inc., was incorporated Jan. 9 at 901 S. Hanover
St. in Nanticoke as a nonprofit organization, according to Pennsylvania Department
of State records.
Newport Township ambulance members
voted on Jan. 19 to accept the South Valley Regional Ambulance Inc. as their managing
company. The vote was 3-3, with former association president John Floryshak breaking
But new Newport Township ambulance President
Dan Kowalski says the action is invalid because one member who voted did not meet
residency requirements. Kowalski, who voted against the merger, says its
on hold until the association clarifies who is eligible to vote.
said he also wants to see the Nanticoke ambulance associations finances
the two associations signed a confidentiality agreement and has
some questions he would like answered.
something in writing from the board president what the payroll and benefits will
be, whether they will take all our employees, and whether there really will be
a volunteer aspect of it, Kowalski said. I think its fair before
we enter into this merger, to find out what the end result will be.
Bernie Norieka, president of the Nanticoke ambulance association
and now of the South Valley ambulance board, questioned whether all the votes
taken at Newport Township Ambulance Associations Jan. 19 meeting were valid
including the votes to elect officers.
cant declare part of one meeting null and void, and let the rest of the
meeting stand, Norieka said.
think election of officers would be an issue, since all but two nominations
including his were uncontested and passed unanimously, but said he would
look into it.
Norieka said Kowalski, as part of Newport
Township Ambulance Associations merger committee, had total access
to all the financial information they needed or required, but he said Kowalski
chose not to review it.
The decision to go ahead with
the merger is in the Newport Township associations hands, Norieka said.
Kowalski said the Newport Township ambulance association
wants township residents input on the merger.
Bieski named EAGL Specialist of the Week
ON CAMPUS - Bill Arsenault - Times Leader
University sophomore Amy Bieski earned East Atlantic Gymnastics League Gymnast
of the Week.
A week earlier, Bieski of Nanticoke (Northeast
Gymnastics) was named EAGL Specialist of the Week.
two awards mark the seventh and eighth weekly honors for Bieski in her two seasons
with the Mountaineers.
Bieskis recent honor came
after she captured her first All-Around title of the season with 39.175 points
in her teams 194.775-192.700 victory over Pittsburgh in Morgantown. She
won the vault (9.90) was second in the beam (9.60) and floor (9.875) and third
on the bars (9.80). All of her scores were personal bests.
beat the floor mark with a 9.90 for second place last weekend when West Virginia
finished behind Maryland and ahead of George Washington University and Rutgers
in the Alumni Meet in Morgantown. Mountaineers coach Linda Burdette now has 601
Amy is off to a great start,
Burdette said. She is an amazing athlete and a wonderful young lady. She
is an extremely hard worker and very focused in the gym and all that hard work
and focus transfers to her competition performance.
Burdette sees even bigger things down the road.
meet her confidence seems to be growing and even after a routine with a mistake,
she just becomes more determined to work harder and continue to improve,
the coach said.
GNA hires relative of board member
has a good background in education, says one of her interviewers.
The newest secretary in the Greater Nanticoke Area
School District is related to school director Jeff Kozlofski.
Masakowski was hired as the new high school secretary, a 12-month position, during
Mondays specially called board meeting. The vote was 5-1.
President Bob Raineri, board directors Kenny James and Gary Smith attended the
meeting and voted in favor of hiring Masakowski. Directors Mark Vandermark and
Patty Bieski didnt attend the meeting, but voted in favor of hiring Masakowski
when contacted by phone.
Kozlofski, who attended the
meeting, abstained from voting for his sister-in-law. He didnt return calls
Board directors Sylvia Mizdail and
Tony Prushinski did not attend the meeting.
earns $10.50 an hour as stipulated in the union contract and started her new job
on Tuesday, Raineri said.
School director Cindy Donlin
voted against hiring Masakowski, saying it is against her personal policy to vote
for hiring someone if nepotism is involved. She said Masakowski seemed to be very
nice, but maintained she would not violate her own policy.
wont vote for anyone in any position that is related to someone on the board,
Masakowski was the most qualified applicant
for the job, said Raineri and Vandermark.
participated in a second round of interviews when Masakowski was one of three
applicants seeking the position.
qualifications and prior experience as a secretary at Luzerne County Community
College made her stand out from the rest, he said.
was working with registering students, so not only did she have the secretarial
experience, she worked with young adults. Out of everybody I interviewed she was
the best candidate, Vandermark said.
GNA OKs Career Center renovation to save energy
The Greater Nanticoke
Area School Board barely mustered a quorum of five members for a 10 a.m. special
meeting Monday, and still had to call several absent members to settle one of
the two votes held.
The board voted 5-0 to approve
a plan by the Wilkes-Barre Area Career and Technical Center to borrow $3.6 million
for renovations that would save energy.
are guaranteed to save the center almost as much in energy, and the center will
pay to get the work done.
The center is run and funded
jointly by five districts, and boards of all five have been voting on the measure.
The board also voted to hire Allison Masakowski as a 12-month
secretary but ran into a snag when Cindy Donlin voted no and Jeff Kozlofski abstained.
Superintendent Tony Perrone said several other board members had agreed to vote
by phone if needed, so they started calling to see if there were two more yes
Patty Bieski voted yes when reached by phone,
as did Frank Vandermark, giving the board the required five votes.
Pieces fall into place for Nanticoke revitalization
Theres a lot of work
going on behind the scenes in preparation for Nanticokes revitalization.
Luzerne County Community College now is in possession of
the Kanjorski Center on East Main Street and has selected a developer for the
Culinary Arts Institute. City and state officials, inspired by the colleges
move downtown, are going ahead with plans to give main thoroughfares a new look
and build a recreation park with something for everyone, from students to seniors
City officials hope to have the first
part of the new streetscape ready by the time LCCC finishes transforming the Kanjorski
Center into the Health Sciences Center, according to Nanticoke Administrator Holly
The colleges goal is to open it for classes
by fall 2010. Thats also the target date to complete building the Culinary
Arts Institute a few blocks away, at Market and West Main streets.
officials went through the process approved by the state Department of Transportation
to select city engineer Michael A. Pasonick Associates to head the project, Quinn
said. Now the city has to advertise for a firm to convert the streetscape designs
drawn up by Scranton-based planners Facility Design and Development Ltd. into
engineering plans, which will then go to PennDOT for review, she said.
PennDOT approves the plans, construction will get under way. The city can begin
using the $5.6 million federal transportation grant obtained by U.S. Rep. Paul
Kanjorski, D-Nanticoke, for things like new streetlights, sidewalks and a makeover
for Patriot Square.
Were hoping to start
next year, Quinn said. We can do it in phases, and our first phase
is going to be East Main Street around the Kanjorski Center.
Lower Broadway park will also be constructed in phases, according to Joseph Boylan,
chief of staff for state Rep. John Yudichak, D-Nanticoke.
city owns most of the proposed park property on Lower Broadway, which was cleared
years ago through a federal flood hazard mitigation program. Attorneys are finalizing
the process of legally obtaining the rest of the parcels of land.
the meantime, a committee including Boylan, Yudichak, Quinn, Jim Samselski of
Nanticokes recreation board and Luzerne County Director of Parks Andy Gegaris
has been working out the details of creating the park.
features they are looking at are a picnic area with a pavilion, walking trails,
a BMX bike track and overall beautification of the Lower Broadway area. A top
priority is a skate park, to give skateboarders a place of their own to practice
Lower Broadway Park Committee members James
Gidosh and Kevin Pizzano, skateboarders who founded the NEPA Skate Park Alliance,
are reviewing skate park designs submitted by representatives of the Joplin, Mo.-based
American Ramp Co.
Well start out with one
piece, get it open, then add to it, Quinn said. Theyll get more
as time progresses. Right now, theyre deciding what kind of ramp they want
Money is the big issue. Plans for the
Lower Broadway park were drawn up by the engineering firm of Borton-Lawson in
2005, but things have changed since then, Boylan said.
took a step back, said, OK, we realize the economic situation today,
he said. We would love to do the entire plan from 2005, but we have to do
what we can afford.
The park committee is meeting
this week to decide exactly what is going into the first phase, and to develop
a funding strategy. The park plan will be revised accordingly by the engineers,
based on new quotes of what each of the features will cost. Quinn said the committee
is applying for grants and state gaming funds, and will also solicit private donations.
Were taking the right steps here
moving backward so we can move forward, Boylan said.
PEL: Nanticoke making strides toward fiscal recovery
But Mayor Bushko was hoping for more improvement, money for capital projects.
Janine Ungvarsky - Times Leader Correspondent
The financial team is pleased with signs of improvement
in Nanticokes fiscal health, but the citys mayor expressed frustration
that steps to recovery werent larger.
city is not financially healthy, but the trend is positive, said Gerald
Cross, executive director of the Pennsylvania Economy League. The financially
distressed city is operating under a recovery plan approved by the state. .
Cross and city financial Director Holly Quinn told Wednesdays
council meeting that the city paid $4,030,924 in bills and ended 2008 with $183,049,
meeting all its financial expenses without incurring additional debt.
stood on our own two feet this year, Quinn said.
and Cross expressed optimism for the direction the city is headed under the plan,
but Mayor John Bushko said he was disappointed that in the second year of the
recovery plan more money hadnt been generated for capital improvements.
Cross explained the city started the plan in 2006 in poor
shape, in part because two-thirds of the citys residential properties each
paid $180 or less in taxes a year. Under the recovery plan, the city increased
the earned income tax to 1.5 percent, but there are delays between when the income
tax is paid and when it ends up in city coffers, Cross said.
a result, even though the city expected to triple its revenues from the income
tax, much of that increase didnt reach the city until the last quarter of
2008, he said.
We only brought in 61 percent
of the (earned income tax) we expected, and we still squeaked by and paid the
bills, Cross said. Its not the best place to be, but its
a heck of a lot better than where you were.
members also discussed a plan to allow permit parking for Luzerne County Community
College students on Mondays. The parking change would affect the north side of
East Main Street from Locust to North Walnut; both sides of Arch Street from North
Market to Locust; and additional parking on the North side of Arch Street from
Locust to Broadway as posted.
Resident Michael Stachowiak
complained about vague wording in the legal ads about the proposed ordinance and
raised concerns about the effect of limited parking on area businesses.
you think it would behoove you to talk to the businesses and see if one of them
have some other ideas about this? Stachowiak asked.
approved the first reading of the parking ordinance, and Bushko promised to ask
local businesses for input before the second reading in February.
other business, council:
Approved the first
reading of a zoning change for a lot at the corner of Washington and Prospect
streets to allow construction of a mini-market.
Addressed concerns from a beauty shop owner on Spring Street about cars parking
for long stretches in a posted one-hour zone in front of her shop.
Discussed notifying the public that the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority has
closed its office in the municipal building and no longer has staff available
for residents to pay sewer bills.
Although a box is
available for payment drop off, City Clerk Mary Cheshinski said city employees
are wasting time explaining why they cant accept payments.
Hundreds inquire about LCCCs
free tuition program
After five years out of a classroom,
Gina Kaminski, of Wilkes-Barre, is going back to school to finish the final 12
credits left for her business management degree. She stopped when work became
too busy to study, but now that a bankruptcy left her without a job, she has the
time to go back to school.
Spurred by the offer of
free tuition at Luzerne County Community College, Kaminski and hundreds of other
people in Luzerne County have been inquiring and signing up for spring semester
Susan Spry, vice president for workforce development,
said her office has received more than 300 phone calls and 300 e-mails since the
Employment Retraining Opportunities Program was announced last week.
team of college employees has been meeting with approximately 50 people a day,
and 90 have signed up for between three and 12 tuition-free credits.
just been unbelievable, she said. At some point in time when we catch
our breath well have to assess this. We knew there were a lot of folks out
there who were looking for training and were unemployed, but no one expected this
When the college last offered free
tuition to unemployed students in 2002 through a state program, 100 students signed
up. More students are poised to sign up for this one semester than all three of
On Jan. 13, the board of trustees
approved the Employment Retraining Opportunities Program, that allows people who
have lost their job during the last year to take up to 12 credits without paying
While students still have to pay for their
books and other fees, they can save up to $1,200 in tuition. For example, the
estimated cost of fees and books for three credits is about $200, while for 12
credits it is about $970.
I think its great,
said potential student Carol Bernosky, who used to work in a factory and has struggled
to find a job since August. Its at least something for this area.
Students come from a variety of backgrounds and education,
from people with high school diplomas or GEDs to masters degrees who cant
find the jobs they are looking for.
To avoid incurring
additional costs, counselors are assigning the students to already existing courses
with open seats. However, since the spring semester began on Tuesday and so many
people have enrolled because of the Employment Retraining Opportunities Program,
academic adviser and counselor Deborah Boyson said many of the classes, especially
at entry level, are full or filling up fast.
are looking to place some students at the Wilkes-Barre Corporate Learning Center,
where classes begin Feb. 9 and students signing up now will not have missed class.
Spry said they are trying to get creative in finding courses
students are interested in and space in those classes, and are looking into adding
Thats the fence were on
right now, she said. We are still filling existing classes. We definitely
are looking at adding sections, but of course theres additional financial
impact for that.
If more classes are added, the
board of trustees would need to be involved in the decision because of the additional
The board did not set a limit on the number
of students who could enroll through the free-tuition program, but asked for regular
Once they hear my numbers they might,
she said. I think theyll be as stunned as we are.
now, the interest the college is seeing in the program shows just how much need
there is locally for additional education and training, Spry said.
sobering to me, she said. Its very humbling to me to be a part
The flood of interested students doesnt
look like it will subside soon, as many people have decided that this semester
is too soon for them to start classes and are looking at the summer semester.
Administrator says Nanticokes in good shape; mayor
Council heard good financial news on Wednesday, and also
took a step toward getting more downtown parking for Luzerne County Community
At the end of 2008, Nanticoke was in the best
financial condition it had been since the city was declared financially distressed
by the state three years ago, Fiscal Administrator Holly Quinn told council.
She said there wasnt money for the capital reserve
fund, which is used for things like paving and buying new equipment. But for the
first time in many years the city didnt run a deficit, didnt need
a loan from the state or otherwise add to its long-term debt, and didnt
borrow from the sewer fund or other accounts, Quinn said.
addition, Nanticoke paid back its tax anticipation loan on time, and didnt
have any seriously overdue bills.
The city is
not financially healthy, but it is not deteriorating financially, said Gerald
Cross, executive director of the citys financial recovery coordinator, Pennsylvania
Economy League. I think thats a trend you should find encouraging.
But Mayor John Bushko doesnt. He feels the citys
financial recovery plan is flawed, and not enough has been accomplished.
probably just frustration on my part, Bushko said. I thought a lot
more would be done, especially with capital improvements.
other business, council had a first vote on an ordinance to establish a permit
parking program for Luzerne County Community College students who will eventually
attend classes downtown.
Last week, college officials
formally took over the Kanjorski Center on East Main Street for the health sciences
center and announced Moosic-based Mark Development as the developer for the Culinary
Arts Institute at Market and Main streets.
ordinance, only permit holders would be able to park on certain streets from 7:30
a.m. to 10 p.m. on Mondays. These are:
The north side
of East Main Street between Locust and North Walnut streets.
sides of Arch Street from North Market Street to Locust Street.
space on the north side of Arch Street from Locust Street to Broadway.
who parks in those areas without a permit on Mondays would be ticketed and fined
Resident Mike Stachowiak didnt think the
legal ad for the permit parking ordinance was clear. He asked if downtown business
owners were notified, because the regulations could affect them.
has to vote on the ordinance at two more meetings, so if anyone has better ideas
on how to handle the on-street parking, they have time to let city officials know,
He said the city has more plans to provide
additional parking for LCCC.
Resident Theresa Sowa
wanted to know if LCCC students would be charged for the permits. Bushko said
he didnt think so because the streets are public.
although students need permits to park at LCCCs main campus, they dont
have to pay for them, city clerk Betsy Cheshinski said.
Gesecki Starts Strong
Bill Arsenault -
middle distance runner Abby Gesecki (Greater Nanticoke Area) appears set for a
big finish to her career running with the Navy womens track team.
had eight top five performances last season and has 12 for her career, competing
in the 500 and 800 meter runs. She had the schools second best time in the
500 indoors in a victory over Army last season in a time of 1:17.90.
the 800, her best time indoors is 2:23.17. Her best outdoors is 2:16.89.
is off to a very strong start this indoor season, Navy coach Carla Criste
said. She is in the most well-conditioned shape of her career. She returned
from the holidays ready to lead our mid-sprinting cadre.
feels that Gesecki will earn All-Patriot League honors in the 400 to 800 range
events. She should be an Eastern National contender in the 500, the
coach said. We are expecting great things from her.
Midshipmen, off to a 10-0 start after a 6-0 sweep of a seven-team meet last weekend
in Annapolis, will compete in George Masons Patriot Games Saturday, Jan.
31 in Fairfax, Va.
personnel will keep jobs in Nanticoke, Newport Twp. merger
Gaydos - Citizens' Voice
All Newport Township and
Nanticoke ambulance personnel will retain their positions when the two companies
merge next month, according to ambulance officials.
notice circulated Friday indicated ambulance personnel from both municipalities
would be terminated Feb. 28 and were invited to submit applications for the newly
formed South Valley Regional Ambulance. However, that does not mean positions
will be eliminated, officials said.
a formality, Janine Floryshak, captain of the Newport Township Ambulance
Association, said Friday.
Everyone is going to
retain their job, she said. Were starting fresh.
personnel will fill out applications for the regional ambulance company, which
will begin service March 1, and will be given new job descriptions, Floryshak
said. Both organizations employ salaried personnel.
thats left to do in preparation for the merger is finish up paperwork, Floryshak
said. She said she believes its the best way to ensure quality care for
Its the best thing for the people
of Newport Township and Nanticoke, she said.
from the Nanticoke Ambulance Association were not available for comment Friday.
Autopsy report sought in suicide
of Nanticoke doctor sue to force release, but widow wont give her consent.
of a Nanticoke physician whose 2004 death was ruled a suicide have filed a lawsuit
seeking to force Luzerne County Coroner John Corcoran to release the autopsy report.
Catherine Adkins-Suraci, the sister of Dr. Robert Thomas
Adkins, and four family members filed the suit Thursday in Luzerne County Court.
The suit is the culmination of a several-year battle Adkins-Suraci
has waged to secure the release of the autopsy report completed on her brother
following his October 2004 death at his Nanticoke home.
Adkins was found dead in his yard of two gunshot wounds to his abdominal area.
The late Dr. George Hudock, then county coroner, ruled the death a suicide.
Adkins-Suraci and other family members have questioned
that ruling, however, based on what they believe to be inconsistencies in reports
of his death.
They sought the autopsy report to clear
up those questions, but the coroners office has refused to release the document
unless Roberts next of kin, his widow Karen, consents. She has refused to
The lawsuit, filed by attorney J. Timothy Hinton
of Scranton, claims Corcoran is violating the coroners act by failing to
file the autopsy report and other official records related to the
death with the Luzerne County Prothonotarys office.
dispute centers on whether autopsy reports are considered an official record
under the coroners act, which is part of the county code.
cites several appellate court rulings he says support his contention that the
reports are considered part of the official records.
said Friday he could not comment because he had just received the suit. He said
he would review it with his solicitor and file an appropriate response.
Greater Nanticoke Area parent
wants district to provide gifted classes to son
Greater Nanticoke Area School District is looking for ways
to improve its gifted program and make it more accountable after continued complaints
Greater Nanticoke Area has not followed
through on steps to improve its gifted program, parent Raymond Whittaker said
at Thursday nights board meeting, and he wants to know if it will take legal
action against the school for his son to get the education the district is required
In October, Whittaker approached the board
and said his third-grade son had attended one gifted class during the first seven
weeks of school, instead of going every week like he is supposed to.
next day, Superintendent Tony Perrone said the district had taken steps to make
sure all 35 of its gifted students would be able to attend class every week.
Districts are required to provide additional education
services to students with Individualized Education Programs, including gifted
While some gifted classes were held following
that October meeting, they have stopped taking place regularly, parents at the
January board meeting said. Whittaker said his son had one gifted class during
December. Promises by program director of more advanced programs, specifically
in science and foreign languages, have not materialized, Whittaker said.
nothing but lip service, he said. Im being pacified
it going to take a due process hearing to make things better?
said Thursday he had placed an order for $3,000 in robotics, but Whittaker called
that a drop in the bucket.
The board held
an executive session after the board meeting to discuss the situation.
districts low scores on the science portion of the Pennsylvania System of
School Assessment has board members, especially Tony Prushinski, concerned.
He said that the administrators need to do something to
improve the program so the district doesnt continue to score last in the
Prushinski also said that consultants the district
hires need to be held more accountable, and wanted to see any paperwork, conclusions
or suggestions from the last two consultants at the district.
acknowledged rumors that this might be his last year as superintendent at Greater
Nanticoke Area, where he has worked for more than 40 years. He could submit a
letter of intent to retire as early as next month. He said he was looking at finding
a job, possibly working with juvenile offenders, where he would get paid. Perrone
has been working for the district with no salary but with health benefits for
the last several years. The board will begin the process of looking for a new
superintendent when a letter of intent is received.
Poor test score concerns upset GNA school director
Nanticoke Area School District must work harder to improve standardized test scores,
school director Tony Prushinski said Thursday night.
presented a study at the school board meeting regarding the districts poor
performance on the science portion of the standardized test.
we have a PSSA given, Nanticoke is last. I am tired of always coming in last,
said Prushinski, who is a teacher himself in another school district.
PSSA is given to students in grades fourth, eighth and 11th to test their math,
reading and science skills.
Superintendent Tony Perrone
said the district never knows exactly what the students will be tested on in each
subject, but the teachers try to follow the states curriculum guidelines.
Prushinski commended the districts teachers, saying
they were the best, but demanded to know why the district hasnt found a
way to improve test scores.
He said administrators
at each school need to determine what programs will work best to help students
achieve better test scores. He questioned why the district hired a group of consultants
last year to advise Nanticoke on its educational program.
Prushinski asked whether those consultants gave the school administrators and
teachers feedback or recommendations on how they can improve their teaching abilities
to help students.
One teacher in the crowd said she
received a book she would pass on to Prushinski.
district overall improved slightly in its standardized testing last year, but
when the 11th grade students did so poorly on the science portion, that brought
the entire districts rating down.
we are moving in the right direction, school director Patty Bieski said.
In other business, Perrone announced the district will
be opening two hours late today due to the extreme cold and wind chill issues.
The board of school directors also accepted several teacher
retirement requests: Teachers Phyllis Rutchauskas, Philip Levandoski, Donna Greytok
and Richard Timko plan to retire at the end of this school year. Teacher Mayr
Jo Hynes plans to retire on July 5. Teachers Margaret Johnson, Kathleen Kalie,
Deborah Malia, Thomas Pierontoni, Charlene Harwood and Charlotte Antolik plan
to retire in June 2010
Jobless can study for free at LCCC
Those who have
lost their jobs due to economy can take 12 credit hours at no charge.
People whove lost their job within the last year because of a souring economy
can take up to 12 credit hours of classes for free at Luzerne County Community
The one-time credit waiver is a $1,200 value being coordinated by
LCCCs Workforce Development Office. The program was approved by LCCCs
Board of Trustees on Tuesday.|
Trustees will receive periodic updates from
LCCC President Tom Leary on the number of students participating and the programs
effect on the colleges finances.
Any person collecting unemployment
who lost a job due to no fault of his or her own and living within the colleges
coverage area is eligible to participate, said Sue Spry, vice president of Workforce
and Community Development. LCCC serves students as far north as Susquehanna County
and far south as Northumberland County.
Leary said the college will continue
to offer this program as long as it can, but will not put the college in a precarious
He added the college also has an obligation to help people
improve their employment status by retraining them to seek new employment so they
can continue to provide for themselves and their families.
concern outweighs the financial concern. The shock and burden of losing a job
can be devastating, not only to the individual, but also to their families,
Students must still pay for their textbooks and additional fees
and will be encouraged to apply for financial aid.
Spry said her office has
received numerous calls from people whove been laid off or anticipate they
soon will be seeking information about training problems.
in order to be marketable they will have to enhance the skills they already have
or look in a new direction, Spry said.
Potential students can take advantage
of this program this semester. Classes start on Tuesday, but students participating
in this program have until the end of next week to start classes, Leary said.
The college offered a similar program after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks
when unemployment rates soared. About 100 people took advantage of the colleges
employment retraining opportunities.
To learn more
To learn more about
the program, contact the Workforce and Community Development Office
Sue Spry in Advanced Technology Center
Phone: 740-0480 E-mail: email@example.com
Yudichak: LCCC, Nanticoke partnership great for citys
Lease of Kanjorski Center and institute construction likely to bring
Luzerne County Community Colleges move into
downtown Nanticoke signals a $25 million revitalization effort in the city and
dreams coming true for state Rep. John Yudichak and city leaders.
trustees approved an agreement to lease the Kanjorski Center for seven years at
$289,000 a year and will purchase the Culinary Arts Institute for $3.1 million
after it is constructed. Another $4.5 million in state grant money will be used
to pay the remaining cost of constructing the approximately 22,000-square-foot
building at the corner of Main and Market streets.
President Tom Leary and Board of Trustees Chairman Paul Halesey signed the lease
Tuesday on behalf of the college.
has been working to stimulate Nanticokes downtown for several years and
believes relocating the colleges Health Sciences Program and Culinary Arts
Institute will bring 200 jobs and 300 students into the downtown.
often hear about proposals, plans and projections. This is tangible results that
the people of the greater South Valley area will be able to reach out and touch.
They will see the transformation of downtown Nanticoke, Yudichak said.
Leary hopes the facilities will be ready for students to
begin attending classes in the fall of 2010.
will be attracted to the area once the educational programs are relocated, Yudichak
The partnership between LCCC and Nanticoke
lays the foundation for the long-term sustainable development of the South Valley
community, he said.
Nanticoke Mayor John Bushko
was ecstatic that the citys redevelopment had finally begun. The Culinary
Arts Institute and Health Sciences Program relocation is a move in the right direction
for the city, which in recent years has suffered economically.
is a big day for Nanticoke. We are going to grow, he said.
LCCCs health sciences, culinary arts center projects
marked the official start of downtown Nanticoke revitalization through the expansion
of two of Luzerne County Community Colleges most popular programs.
General Municipal Authority Chairman Ron Kamowski and city Mayor John Bushko signed
over the Kanjorski Center on East Main Street to LCCC President Thomas P. Leary
and Board of Trustees Chairman Paul Halesey. The deal, which has been in the works
for more than two years, will allow the college to relocate and grow its health
Moments after they put their pens
down, the colleges board of trustees voted 8-3 to select Scranton-based
Mark Development to construct an approximately $7.5 million, 20,000-square-foot
Culinary Arts Institute at Market and Main streets.
you realize what a home run this is? Two different projects for downtown Nanticoke
in the same night, municipal authority solicitor Joseph Lach said.
projects, slated for completion in fall 2010, represent a $25 million total revitalization
effort that will bring more than 450 LCCC students, faculty and staff into the
city, state Rep. John Yudichak, D-Nanticoke, said after the board meeting.
This is just the beginning, Yudichak said.
This is the catalyst to attract more businesses downtown.
how he felt about receiving the contract for the Culinary Arts Institute, William
Rinaldi, the principal of Mark Development, said he intends to get to work,
and put people to work local people. Thats our job.
other developers had also expressed interest in the project. Some board members,
including Dr. Mahmoud Fahmy, said they chose Mark Development because they liked
the idea of using a firm from the area. Educational Property Group is based in
Exton and Paragon Building Services Inc. is headquartered in Maryland, although
its principal, Joe Sinkaus, is a Scranton native.
I trusted Mark Development more. That was the reason for my vote, board
member Dr. Thomas ODonnell said.
Elaine Cook, who with Elaine Curry and Michael Tigue voted against hiring Mark
Development, said she did so because the motion was not specific about the terms
The board voted unanimously to pass
a resolution by Fahmy to create a committee to oversee and monitor construction
of the Culinary Arts Institute. The building will be built on a site occupied
by the city-owned senior center and the former Susquehanna Coal Co. office.
The plan is for the developer to front the money for the
building. There is $4.7 million in state grants available for the project, and
the college will reimburse the approximately $3 million remaining, to own it outright.
As for the Kanjorski Center, the municipal authority will
lease the 42,000-square-foot, three-story commercial building to LCCC for $2.029
million $289,858 a year or $24,155 a month for seven years. After
that, a federal grant used to construct the building expires, and the college
can buy it for a token payment of $1, Kamowski said.
Kanjorski Center will take about 14 to 16 months to renovate for the health sciences
center, and Leary estimates the total project cost will be about $10 million.
The municipal authority has been trying to find a use for
the office building, which was mostly vacant since its main tenant, Medicare claims
processing firm HealthNow, moved out in October 2005.
is a day weve been looking forward to, authority member Hank Marks
LCCC inks Kanjorski Center deal
redevelopment of Nanticoke took one large step forward Tuesday night during a
Luzerne County Community College Board of Trustees meeting.
now with the keys to the Kanjorski Center, decided to purchase instead of lease
the Culinary Arts Institute building, hired a developer to construct the institute
and approved a new construction management agreement with Precept Associates.
After years of planning, discussion and negotiating, board
members signed a seven-year lease agreement with Nanticoke General Municipal Authority
for the Kanjorski Center.
The colleges Health
Sciences Program will move into the 42,000-square-foot, three-story building on
East Main Street after renovations are completed.
President Tom Leary hopes students will be in the space by fall 2010. The college
is leasing the building for $280,000 a year and has an option to purchase it at
the end of the seven-year lease.
The new Health
Sciences Center will provide the college with the opportunity to update its educational
facilities for the health sciences programs that prepare students for high priority,
high demand careers in healthcare, said Dana Clark, LCCCs provost
and vice president of academic affairs.
In a 9-to-3
vote, the board hired Mark Construction Services, Inc., owned by William Rinaldi,
to build the Culinary Arts Institute for $7.6 million -- $4.5 million in grants
and $3.1 million from college funds.
Paul Halesey, Vice Chairman Greg Skrepenak, board members John Kashatus, August
Piazza, Lynn Marie Distasio, Mahmoud Fahmy, Tom Pizano, Joseph Rymar and Tom ODonnell
voted to hire the developer.
Distasio voted yes on
the condition the developer use local union workers during construction.
said he voted yes after considering the paperwork from the finance committee,
making his own judgment and following his intuitive feeling from the presentations,
He said he now trusts the finance committees recommendations
because new policies have been added to ensure all contracts are thoroughly reviewed.
Last year the colleges contract with its construct
manager, Precept Associates, came under scrutiny.
members Michael Tigue, Elaine Cook and board secretary Elaine Curry voted against
hiring Mark Construction Services as the developer.
reason I voted no is that I was personally not satisfied with a project he completed
in the Hazleton area. Also I was not convinced that Mark Construction had the
best proposal regarding the LCCC project being green or eco-friendly, Curry
She noted since Rinaldis company received
a majority of the boards support, she anticipated the firm would do a good
Three board members were not present at the meeting
and did not vote J. Toure McCluskey, Joseph Lombardo and Agapito Lopez.
Fahmy requested that a committee be created to oversee
the construction of the Culinary Arts Institute.
any type of project there should be some type of overseer. Before any kind of
a problem festers we would like very much to know about it and we can solve the
problem, Fahmy said. His motion was approved.
trustees approved a new construction management contract with Precept Associates.
The firm will be paid 4.98 percent of project costs instead of 8 percent.
Precept will oversee the construction of the second phase
of the Public Safety Training Institute and the Health Sciences Center. Precept
also will complete its work on the first phase of the Public Safety Training Institute.
The settlement reached with Precept does not provide the
college any refund, but voids out the first contract and approves this new contract,
board solicitor Joe Kluger said.
Erin Moody, staff writer,
covers area schools. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 570-821-2051.
Greater Nanticoke Areas drive to collect money and
toys to help local families and children this holiday season was a great success,
Superintendent Tony Perrone said, with at least $6,500 raised and loads
and loads of toys donated. The money was used to buy food certificates and
The district was able to give two
toys each to 144 children living in the district, including younger siblings of
Greater Nanticoke Area students. That way, the older children werent the
only ones getting presents, he said. About 200 families benefitted from the money
The bulk of the money came from teachers who
paid $15 to participate in dress-down days at work, he said. Additional money
left over after the drive was used to help provide dress-code appropriate clothing
for families who could not afford to meet the new requirements, Perrone said.
family mourns junior honors student
Several friends of Erin Schultz worried
as they waited and waited for her to show up at school Friday morning.
never arrived, and their fears were soon realized.
dreaded news that the junior honors student had died in a crash on her way to
school spread around Greater Nanticoke Area High School.
16-year-old lost control of her 1992 Mercury Tracer on Lily Lake Road in Slocum
Township around 7:10 a.m. and the vehicle slammed head-on into a large tree stump
off the roadway, state police at Shickshinny said.
of Lake Road, Lily Lake, was rushed to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center
in Plains Township, where she was pronounced dead on arrival, police said.
I dont even know what to say. Ive known
her since kindergarten, said Kati Walp, 16, a fellow junior from Pond Hill.
We were like best friends since we were little. I dont think I ever
got in a fight with her. She would do anything for anybody.
was a member of the National Honor Society, but also excelled out of the classroom.
She was well known for her role in the schools chorus program and the marching
In an online profile on Facebook.com, she lists
music, music, music among her favorite activities. She was a big fan
of Elvis Presley.
She was amazing at playing
the trumpet. She was amazing at drawing cartoons. She was just a great friend.
Its horrible losing someone like this, Walp said, choking up during
a brief phone call.
Grief counselors spent the day
at the high school. Extra-curricular activities at night were canceled.
was a good kid, an all-American kid, said Greater Nanticoke Area Superintendent
Schultz worked at Blue Ridge Pizza
Shop in Slocum Township and attended First United Methodist Church in Shickshinny.
School librarian Xann Pray, Schultzs National Honor
Society advisor, described the teenager as a sweet girl, a funny girl.
She had a way about her that made people happy to
be with her. I will always remember her for her great attitude and the smile on
her face, Pray said.
Walp said Schultz rarely
drove herself to school she usually took the bus or got a ride.
issue compounding Walps grief is that she and another close friend, Allie
Schraeder, actually drove past the accident on the way to school.
saw emergency crews surrounding the scene, not knowing it was their best friend
in the car.
Me and Allie were sitting here all
day trying to figure it out, Walp said.
Boone, staff writer, contributed to this report.
Firm to inspect Nanticoke bridges
Resident brought two bridges deteriorating
conditions to city councils attention.
Ceco Associates of Scranton, a civil engineering
firm, was hired Wednesday night by Nanticoke City Council to inspect the North
Market Street and Access Road bridges to determine if the structures need to be
replaced or repaired.
The city is paying $3,100 for
If the firm only inspected one of
the bridges the city would pay $1,500.
The North Market
Street Bridge is at least 90 years old and its unknown how long the Access
Road bridge has been in operation, Councilman Joe Dougherty said.
Mike Stachovak brought the bridges deteriorating condition to the councils
attention during a previous meeting.
He expressed concern
that if one of the bridges collapses when someone is driving on it the city could
be held financially responsible, and he didnt want to see anyone get hurt.
Mayor John Bushko said he was waiting on the engineers
report before proceeding. The roads are in bad shape, he said, but added he wasnt
scared to drive over the bridges.
know what it needs. It might not need anything. The only thing is it doesnt
look good. Thats basically what I think the problem is, he said.
The citys engineer Daryl Pawlush of Pasonick Engineering
said Ceco Associates is certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
to do the inspection and as such, is eligible to receive grant funding if it is
determined the bridges do need work.
inspect the structures because he is not a structural engineer.
officials learned last year the city received more than $900,000 in revenue from
trash and code enforcement fees $808,827 in for refuse collections and
an additional $130,048 in code enforcement fees for various types of permits,
seniors help holiday wishes come true for area children
Christmas was a little brighter for
children in the Nanticoke area, thanks to two Greater Nanticoke Area seniors who
decided to help others as part of their senior project.
Mack Martin and Ian
Bukowski worked with volunteers at Marys Closet to provide toys to children
in Luzerne County communities. Marys Closet is a free clothing ministry
run by Holy Child, Holy Trinity, St. Mary of Czestochowa and St. Stanislaus parish
community. The main purpose is to provide clothing for men, women and children
who have fallen on hard times.
A senior project is a requirement for graduation
in the Nanticoke School District. Stuart Tripler, principal at GNA High School,
encourages students to select a project which is both challenging and meaningful
Mack and Ian took his advice.
wanted to pick a service oriented project that would help people in our community,
said Mack. We didnt want to do just anything for the sake of getting
After talking with their senior adviser,
they decided to call their pastor, the Rev. Jim Nash.
Nash was very excited when we talked with him. He told us they were thinking of
how to provide toys for children, Ian said. His enthusiasm really
made us decide this was something we wanted to do.
boys collected toys and monetary donations in the churches for two weekends and
after every Mass. More than $400 in monetary donations was collected and another
100 toys filled their collection bags in the back of the church.
went shopping and bought a lot of neat toys with the money we received,
said Mack. Action figures, books, and sports items were just some of the toys
The generosity of people really
surprised me, added Ian. It was great to see so many people willing
to help others.
Debbie Jeffries is one of the
coordinators at Mary s Closet. She saw first-hand how this project made
Parents were very emotional and
grateful when they came to pick the toys up for their children. It meant a lot
to them knowing someone cared to do this for them, she explained.
Closet is not the only place that benefited from the toy drive. Toys were also
donated to Nanticoke Head Start, The McCauley House, kindergarten students in
Ashley and to children who attended Breakfast with Santa at Pope John Paul II
This community really came
together and helped these students have a successful project. We are so grateful
that Ian and Mack thought of children in the community, said Jeffries.
Marys Closet is on South Hanover Street in Nanticoke
in the former Pope John Paul II School building. It is open to the public Wednesdays
from 9 to 11 a.m. Donations can be dropped off Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to noon and
Wednesdays from 9 to 11 a.m. and 6:30 to 8 p.m. For more information, call Debbie
at 735-6050 or the parish office at 735-4833
St. Josephs Church will hold its monthly
bingo Sunday in the church parlors on East Noble Street. Doors open at 12:30 p.m.
Early birds are at 1:45 p.m, and regular games start at 2. Cash prizes and door
prizes will be awarded. Refreshments will be available for purchase. Everyone
is invited to participate.
dress code receives mixed reviews
With a few exceptions, students are ditching the jeans and T-shirts at Greater
Nanticoke Area schools and trading them in for slacks and collared shirts.
According to Superintendent Tony Perrone, the new dress
code that went into effect Monday has been a success so far. While some
students and their parents agree with the stricter code, others remain opposed.
According to parents, all students were checked as they
came into school Monday morning, and pulled aside if they were not dressed according
to code. Perrone said approximately 20 students were in violation.
students were placed into a separate classroom for an in-school suspension until
their parents or someone else was able to bring appropriate attire. At the end
of school Monday, four students had not been able to get appropriate clothes,
There were no problems at the high school
Tuesday, Perrone said, but he was unsure about the lower grades.
so proud of them, he said. They looked so good yesterday coming to
While the new dress code is more relaxed
than other school districts recently updated codes, clothing such as jeans,
collarless shirts, hooded sweatshirts and cargo pants are not allowed.
students leaving school Tuesday afternoon sported hooded sweatshirts, showing
that they arent giving up favorite clothing items.
know some people are upset about it because it started halfway through the school
year, but I think its a good thing, parent Stacie Panagakos said.
With five kids in school, she was at first worried about
scrambling to get clothing. But Panagakos said she shopped early and didnt
have much trouble. The dress code has made getting ready easier in the morning,
she said, because even though her kids are usually good about wearing proper clothing,
they now know what they can and cant wear.
told my kids, rules are rules, Panagakos said. There are things in
my life that Im not necessarily crazy about, but you follow the rules.
One junior, Kayla Bernstein, left school Tuesday with her
polo shirt tucked into her purse. She said shed taken it off as soon as
school was over. Bernstein and her friend Bonnie Banaszek said the new code was
stupid and they would rather be wearing jeans, T-shirts and hoodies.
Both said they got new school clothes instead of other gifts for Christmas.
They said its going to stop people from making
fun of each other, and its not, Banaszek said.
will just find other reasons to pick on each other, she said.
that not all families in the Greater Nanticoke Area School District could afford
new clothes, Perrone said the district used some of the money leftover from fundraising
for Christmas presents to buy clothing to give away. They are also working on
setting up something similar to a school store where parents who cant afford
new clothes could come and get a few shirts or pairs of pants for free.
gymnast excelling at West Virginia
Bill Arsenault - Times Leader
West Virginia University womens gymnastic coach Linda
Burdette is looking for big things from sophomore Amy Bieski this season.
Bieski, from Nanticoke (Northeast Gymnastics), had an outstanding
freshman season with the Mountaineers. Five times during the season she was named
East Atlantic Gymnastics League Rookie of the Week. She also gained EAGL Performer
of the Week once.
Amy had an outstanding freshman
season and Im sure that will carry over into her sophomore season,
Burdette said. The experience she gained should give her that much more
Bieskis best last season were
9.9 in floor exercise, 9.825 on bars, 9.775 on beam, 9.25 on vault. Her best in
all-around score was 39.275.
Amy is extremely
hard working, focused and committed to perfection and she has done everything
we have asked of her in the preseason, Burdette said. So we are looking
for her to be a big contributor to the teams success this season.
The Mountaineers have a big test in their opener. They
face four-time NCAA Champion Georgia Friday in Athens, Ga.
Greater Nanticoke Areas new dress
code begins today
A reminder for Greater Nanticoke Area students and parents the new dress
code is in effect, as of today. While the general guidelines instruct students
to wear a collared shirt with well-fitting pants that arent jeans, details
are available on the district Web site, www.gnasd.com.
With the cold weather we are expecting this week, remember
hoodies are not allowed and coats cant be worn inside during school hours.
If a student does come to school in something that violates
the code, Greater Nanticoke Area typically pulls the inappropriately dressed student
out of class and calls his or her parents to bring a change of clothing.
New Year 2009!