Delaware finds room for Acker
The 6-foot-3 center is averaging 7.7 points and leads team in blocked shots.
Bill Arsenault covers college sports for The Times Leader.
Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah Acker is finding her way with the University
of Delaware womens basketball team.
is a 6-foot-3 junior center. She began her career at St. Josephs, but transferred
to Delaware and is slowly becoming a key performer for the Blue Hens, who are
6-2 after a 64-55 loss to Penn State on Sunday night.
has played in six games and started two. Shes averaging 7.7 points and 7.1
rebounds and leads the team in blocked shots with 14. She also has 10 steals and
five saves. Against Penn State, she started and played 30 minutes and had six
points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals.
has been a great addition to our team, coach Tina Martin said. She
is a strong post player who can score on the blocks down low. She has very good
hands and she has a physical presence for our team.
playing in 31 games and starting 30 as a freshman at St. Josephs, she didnt
play last season.
Sarah was away from basketball
for over a year and she is currently working herself into shape, Martin
said. She has a nose for the basketball and has helped us tremendously with
our rebounding. We are very excited to have her in our program and we are looking
for great things from her in the future.
showed her potential playing with St. Josephs in the tough Atlantic-10.
She averaged 11.9 points, 8.7 rebounds and had 46 blocked shots and was named
to the leagues All-Rookie Team and was named Big 5 Rookie of the Year.
At Nanticoke, she averaged 22 points, 18 rebounds and 10
blocked shots in her senior year and helped the Trojans posted a two-year mark
Byorick seeing action
Former Nanticoke standout Aly Byorick played at Xavier,
but transferred to Lehigh after one season. After sitting out a season for the
transfer, she missed all of last season with an injury.
Byorick is back on the court.
This season, the 6-foot
guard has played in 12 games and started nine for Lehigh, which has won six consecutive
games on the way to a
7-5 overall record.
averaging 21.5 minutes of action a game, is averaging 4.6 points with 17 rebounds,
seven steals, five assists and three blocks. Shes hit 16 of her 46 three-point
Byorick was a two-time all-state performer
at Nanticoke and left as the all-time career scorer with 2,271 points.
Clintons local visit to boost Kanjorski
former president will appear Tuesday for the area congressman in Nanticoke.z
U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski heads into the final stretch of his latest re-election
campaign, he is getting some help from old friend, former President Bill Clinton.
The 42nd president will visit Kanjorskis hometown
Tuesday afternoon to host a campaign rally in the Greater Nanticoke Area High
I am extremely honored to
have President Clinton here to campaign for me again this year, and I look forward
to bringing him to my hometown, Kanjorski said. "Nanticoke is where
I grew up, where I began my career in public service, and where I still live with
my wife, Nancy. I look forward to having Northeastern Pennsylvanians from across
the region join President Clinton and me in Nanticoke.
will be the first time this year Clinton has campaigned for Kanjorski.
from all Greater Nanticoke Area Schools will be released early on Tuesday as final
preparations are made for Clintons visit, Superintendent Tony Perrone said
Elementary students will be released at 12:30
p.m. and junior high and high school students will be dismissed at 11:30 a.m.
Classes will be held as normal on Monday and Wednesday.
said he considers it an honor to have Clinton visit Nanticoke and the school.
He was a statesman. A real true statesman. I think
it is a wonderful thing for the community, he said. Perrone hopes students
will come back to the school to hear Clinton speak.
would rather see the kids come there than anybody else. They would learn what
democracy is and learn the good and bad things. They see all the ads on television
and everything is so negative. I would like them to see something positive,
Tickets are not needed for the event.
Doors will open at 4 p.m. and the public is encouraged to start lining up at 1
Clinton rallied voters for Kanjorski
in November 2008 at Wilkes University.
It could not
be determined if other local or state Democratic candidates will attend the rally.
The campaign staffs of Democratic governor candidate Dan
Onorato and U.S. Senate candidate Joe Sestak are reviewing schedules
Clinton to campaign in area for Kanjorski
President Bill Clinton will be campaigning in Nanticoke on Tuesday afternoon on
behalf of U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski, the longtime lawmaker said Thursday night
during the Luzerne County Democratic Committee meeting at The Woodlands.
to two party sources, Kanjorski told county Democratic leaders that the former
president would be in the congressmans home town trying to help him get
One source said Clinton and Kanjorski
would appear at Greater Nanticoke Area High School at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The 13-term Democrat faces Republican challenger Hazleton
Mayor Lou Barletta in the general election on Nov. 2. This election is the third
time Kanjorski and Barletta are battling for the 11th Congressional District seat.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Onorato may also
attend the rally, one of his staffers said.
spokesman Ed Mitchell did not return calls for comment.
campaigned for Kanjorski at Wilkes University in November 2008.
GNA, teachers OK pact with no raises for a year
refinancing will bring a saving of $300,000, the School Board announces.
Nardone - Times Leader
Officials from the Greater
Nanticoke Area School Board announced at Thursday nights meeting the district
and the teachers union agreed on a new three-year pact this week.
members voted unanimously to accept the deal and took time to thank the union
for its cooperation during the negotiation process they described as professional.
Board member and contract negotiator Robert Ranieri said
the representatives from the teachers union came to the table with a good
attitude and consideration for the tough economic time.
They knew what a hard time taxpayers are having and
they buckled down, he said.
According to Ranieri,
the teachers accepted a zero-percent raise in the first year of the three-year
contract, a 1.35-percent hike in year two and a 1.45-percent hike in year three.
The contacts effective dates are from September 2010
to August 2013.
This was the easiest settled
contract, he said. There was professionalism on both sides,
In other votes, the board agreed to authorize
a refinancing measure through the PNC Bank, which will reduce district debt by
over $300,000. District business manager Al Melone said the representatives from
PNC have been helpful in identifying low-interest reinvestment opportunities in
the current bond market.
The district has done a good
job of making its debt payments on time, which helped improve its overall municipal
bond rating from A to A-plus in the market, he said.
Vice President Ken James lauded the continuing success of the girls softball team.
He recommended the district and the taxpayers foot the
bill for the team rings. He added the district should establish a policy of purchasing
awards for any athletic, academic, or art student or team that achieves a state
Superintendent Anthony Perrone announced
the school conducted several drills in the last few weeks and he was pleased with
the outcomes for student safety.
The school conducted
a bomb scare and everything worked perfectly, he said. All of the
students were out of the buildings in 10 minutes, he added.
school also had drug sniffing dogs scour two school buildings and they were found
to be clean. He congratulated the parents and the students for their cooperation.
Police conduct planned sweep at Nanticoke schools
Police from Nanticoke and Kingston
conducted a pre-planned sweep with K-9s through Greater Nanticoke Area schools
on Thursday morning, Nanticoke police said.
drugs or weapons were found, Nanticoke police Detective Capt. William Shultz said.
The random search came less than a week after a bomb threat
was made at the school, though it was not connected, Shultz said.
said Nanticoke police's K-9 unit recently assisted police on the west side with
a sweep at Wyoming Valley West schools, and a similar sweep was pre-planned for
Thursday in Nanticoke.
Students were not allowed to
leave classrooms during the search, which occurred between 8 and 9:30 a.m., Shultz
searched after threat
Anonymous call prompted evacuation and search of district
canines searched Greater Nanticoke Area school buildings on Friday after an anonymous
caller phoned 911 issuing a bomb threat.
Mike Roke said the threat was non-specific that did not target a particular
Superintendent Anthony Perrone said
the phone call was made to 911 at 7:05 a.m. with the caller saying a bomb will
detonate at 9 a.m.
As a precaution, the high school,
education center, elementary center and Kennedy elementary on Kosciuszko Street
in Nanticoke, and the K.M. Smith elementary building on Robert Street, Newport
Township, were evacuated.
High school students reported
to their first period classes before they were evacuated to the football stadium,
He said elementary and middle school
students had not arrived for the day and were dropped off at the stadium.
We searched the stadium before we moved the kids
there, Perrone said.
Roke said it appeared the
caller used a dead cell phone.
"The Luzerne County
Sheriffs Department and the county EMA brought in their canines and swept
the buildings, finding nothing," Roke said.
members and grandparents arriving for the elementary schools Grandparents
Day in the high schools auditorium waited outside as canines and police
searched the buildings.
The all-clear was given around
9:35 a.m., allowing the schools to reopen.
and the canines did a fantastic, tremendous job, Perrone said.
Nanticoke Fire Department had several vehicles on the school campus.
said several parents arrived at the high school with concerns.
did arrive because they were worried. They did not interfere and did not fight
with us. Everybody worked together, Perrone noted.
said a copy of the 911 call will be analyzed to determine who issued the threat.
Posted: 9:26 AM
Updated: 2:23 PM
return to school after "non-specific" threat at Greater Nanticoke Area
and faculty members returned to school buildings after what police described as
a "non-specific" type of threat was phoned to Luzerne County 911 Friday
School buildings in the Greater Nanticoke
Area School District were evacuated just after 8 a.m. when an unknown person called
911 claiming there was a threat in the district.
Mike Roke said the threat was "non-specific" with the caller failing
to identify the type of threat or in which school building.
a precaution, all school buildings in the school district were evacuated, Roke
"The Luzerne County Sheriff's Department
and the county EMA brought in their canines and swept the buildings finding nothing,"
Students and faculty members stood outside
the school buildings as police and canines searched the high school, middle school,
elementary school in Nanticoke, and an elementary school in Newport Township.
Roke said it appeared the caller used a "dead cell
phone" to call in the threat.
The Nanticoke Fire
Department was at the schools as a precaution.
and faculty members were permitted back inside the schools around 9:40 a.m.
"We're going to get the tapes from 911 and see what
we could find," Roke said.
Officials sharp words ring out over Nanticokes
The citys police will soon have a cooperative agreement
with Warrior Run.
Ralph Nardone - Times
Financial woes sparked boisterous exchanges
at Wednesday nights regular monthly meeting of the Nanticoke City Council.
At one point Mayor Joseph Dougherty slammed the gavel to end an argument with
city treasurer Al Wytoshek, who accused him of not providing taxpayers with a
plan for improving the citys streets.10/8/2010
Wytoshek cornered the mayor, asking
him if a specific plan is available for the voters that will tell them what road
will be paved next year.
The mayor said the city does not have enough money
to make all the necessary road repairs.|
If we had enough money to pave
every street we damn well would, the mayor exclaimed.
said the mayor was elected to find ways to get the work done. Thats
your job&hellipthats why you were elected, he said.
mayor accused Wytoshek of grandstanding.
part of the citys financial strategy officials were supposed to vote to
amend the Act 47 Recovery Plan adopted in January of 2007, but decided to table
the vote until more review of the citys finances can be done. The amendments
being considered include an increase in real estate millage and an increase in
the earned income tax from one to two percent.
member James Litchkofski said the citys current expenses require more intense
scrutiny. He pointed to the negative effects on city investments because of the
recent stock market downturns and high costs associated with trying to emerge
from Act 47.
He fears the citys police
and fire departments could end up being reduced to unsafe levels, he said. I
dont want to live without police and fire protection for my family and neighbors,
Litchkofski stressed taxpayers be patient,
stay informed and be involved. If they dont like the way the city
is being run, they could vote out the officials.
member Jon Metta added the city cant spend what it doesnt have.
Thats how we got in trouble, he said.
He added the council will work to keep a sharp pencil.
other business, the city adopted the international building codes for residential
properties, energy conservation, fire codes, plumbing codes, and other mechanical
codes. They also authorized the city solicitor to petition the Court of Common
Pleas to allow the increase in the earned income tax from one to two percent.
They announced in January the Nanticoke Police Department
will establish a cooperative agreement with the borough of Warrior Run, which
will become effective in January.
Residents of the
city can pick up new recycling containers on a first-come first-served basis on
Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. as part of a recycling grant from the state, the
shocks Patton, Morgan families
Amy Hynoski Patton said Wednesday's verdict in the
case against a former civilian contractor was 'just like we are reliving the nightmare
of Nov. 19, 2009 all over again.'
The families of local
Navy reservists Brian Patton and Dave Morgan say the acquittal of a civilian contractor
in a 2009 head-on crash in Kuwait that killed Patton and severely wounded Morgan
came as "a complete and total shock."
a three-day trial in federal court in Norfolk, Va., a jury on Wednesday found
Morgan Hanks not guilty of involuntary manslaughter and assault.
Morgans and I both discussed this and it comes as a complete and total shock.
We were both optimistic as to the outcome. It feels just like we are reliving
the nightmare of Nov. 19, 2009 all over again," Patton's widow Amy Hynoski
Patton said Thursday.
U.S. prosecutors argued at trial
that Hanks, 25, of Newport News, Va. was illegally speeding down a two-lane road
in a Kuwaiti desert on Nov. 19, 2009, when he attempted to pass an eight-vehicle
military convoy at the crest of a hill, crashing head-on into the military police
vehicle Patton was driving. Patton, 37, of Nanticoke, was killed in the wreck,
while Morgan, 35, of Wilkes-Barre, suffered a permanent brain injury.
it was obvious Hanks was responsible for the crash, the jury apparently didn't
feel his actions were criminal in nature, said Wilkes-Barre attorney William Anzalone,
who represents the Patton family in a civil case filed against Hanks and his employer.
Anzalone attended the three day-trial with Hynoski Patton,
Patton's brother, Robert, and Morgan's parents. A Philadelphia law firm has filed
a civil lawsuit against Hanks on behalf of the Morgans.
the families are disappointed, but they realize this was the criminal justice
system and the burden of proof is high. These were serious charges. The U.S. government
put on a very good case. The jurors realized Hanks was clearly responsible, but
it didn't rise to the level of criminal conduct. It was difficult to prove it
Anzalone noted several jurors
cried after delivering the verdict.
The road in the
Kuwaiti desert where the crash occurred was two lanes, one for each direction
of travel. It's the only paved road that links Kuwait to southern Iraq. It had
a posted 45 mph speed limit.
Anzalone said government
crash experts estimated Hanks was traveling 77 to 90 mph. A defense expert said
he couldn't give a specific determination, but estimated Hanks was traveling 30
percent faster than Patton, Anzalone said.
testified that while it technically is a no-passing zone, passing is very common
on the road, Anzalone noted.
Military members in the
convoy testified several vehicles had passed the convoy prior to Hanks' attempt,
Anzalone said the civil cases against
Hanks and his employer, Combat Support Associates, will now be aggressively pursued
with attorneys seeking monetary damages for the families. The burden of proof
will be less, he said.
"The civil arena is entirely
different," Anzalone said.
council balks at accepting recovery changes
Council opted Wednesday to delay a vote to accept changes
to the city's financial recovery plan in order to get more accurate information.
Councilman James Litchkofski said all the city's expenses might not have been
included in a recovery plan amendment drawn up by the city's consultant, Pennsylvania
Economy League, and with factors such as the stock market and its effect on municipal
pensions, city officials don't want to jump into accepting the amended plan.
Nanticoke was declared Act 47, or financially distressed, by the state on May
25, 2006, and council adopted the recovery plan on Jan. 29, 2007. The state requires
the plan to be updated if the city experiences a significant change in circumstances
- which it has, PEL Executive Director Gerald Cross said.
The amendment contains
a real estate tax increase, but its size is up in the air.
designation allowed Nanticoke to raise the earned income tax to 1.5 percent, but
unless voters adopt a home-rule charter, it will have to go back to the state's
limit of 0.5 percent when the city gets out of Act 47.
According to the recovery
plan, that would mean raising real estate tax from 1.457 mills in 2010 to 6.364
mills in 2013 to make up the difference. If voters choose home rule, the real
estate tax will still have to go up to cover expenses, although not as much: from
1.457 mills in 2010 to 2.67 mills in 2013, the target year for emerging from Act
"There's no good side to this equation. If we go home rule, we get
killed. If we don't go home rule, we get killed," resident Michael Stachowiak
Litchkofski stressed that it will not just be members of council making
decisions about the city's future: ultimately it will be up to residents to determine
what kind of government they want.
Home-rule study committee member Linda
Prushinski said the first formal hearing will be held Tuesday, Oct. 12, at 7 p.m.
to get testimony from past and present council members. The public hearing will
be in city hall.
In other business, Solicitor William Finnegan said the agreement
for Nanticoke to provide full-time police service to neighboring Warrior Run is
drawn up and needs the borough's approval. The municipalities forged a verbal
agreement in July for Warrior Run to disband its police force, which has four
part-time officers, and have Nanticoke, which has 13 full-time officers, take
And Nanticoke's police force remains at 13, despite the retirement of
Kevin Grevera: Dougherty swore in new officer Chad Southern of Wilkes-Barre and
promoted Detective Robert Lehman to Grevera's position as captain of detectives.
Nanticoke's move from distressed status could be costly
could shed its distressed status by 2013 and return to financial health but it
might come at the cost of a big tax increase.
Economy League, the city's financial recovery coordinator, prepared an update
for the city's recovery plan that will be up for public hearing Wednesday at 6:30
p.m. in city hall.
The new plan reflects the success
the city has had since being declared Act 47, or financially distressed, by the
state in May 2006, according to Joe Boyle of the Pennsylvania Economy League.
"The city has made terrific progress. Council and
the administration have done a great deal, and the plan reflects that," he
But under the new plan, will residents' taxes
"The answer to that is, I don't know. It
depends on what council decides to do," Boyle said.
state limits municipalities to 0.5 percent earned income tax. Being declared Act
47 allowed Nanticoke to raise it an additional 1 percent, to 1.5 percent. However,
when the city no longer has Act 47 designation, the ability to raise the earned
income tax goes away.
The income tax revenue is very
important: without the approximately $1.3 million extra, the city couldn't operate,
An option that would allow the city to
keep the higher income tax is home rule, which is currently being explored by
a study commission elected in May.
If Nanticoke doesn't
go home rule, Boyle said the only other way the city can raise revenue is through
Currently the city levies 1.457 mills
of real estate tax. A mill is $1 on every $1,000 of assessed valuation. Without
the 1.5 percent earned income tax, the city would have to raise real estate taxes
to 6.364 mills - 337 percent.
According to the recovery
plan, regardless of whether Nanticoke goes home rule or not, its expenses will
increase from $3.97 million in 2010 to $4.33 million in 2013. To make up the difference,
the city will have to raise real estate taxes by 83 percent anyway, going from
1.457 mills in 2010 to 2.67 mills in 2013.
in the recovery plan, the police, fire and road departments were kept at levels
to provide services people expect. The plan states that there are no significant
alternatives to real estate millage increases to cover expenses, unless Nanticoke
residents and officials "are willing to restructure and substantially reduce
the City's workforce."
Council and residents will
have to make some choices about what services they want and how to pay for them,
but the plan gives them some options, Boyle said.
will be their decision as to how they want to pursue this," he said.
Longest-serving Greater Nanticoke Area board member dies
Greater Nanticoke Area
School Board member Sylvia Mizdail died early Saturday morning after battling
Mizdail served many roles during her nearly 30 years on the school
board board president, Luzerne Intermediate Unit representative, board
secretary and board member. She served as the boards president from 1993
District Superintendent Tony Perrone said Mizdail was the districts
longest-serving board member.
Yet district officials and community members
said she will be remembered most for her love of the districts children.
I feel a good school board member has everything to give and nothing to
want. Thats when you do the best for the kids, Mizdail said in a December
2003 story when she was school board president.
Perrone said he was informed
of Mizdails passing early Saturday morning.|
She began serving on the
board years after both of her children, Brenda and John, graduated from the district.
Perrone said when Mizdail was out of town she always called to get an update on
district activities and issues. He recalled he talked to her just a couple of
weeks ago as she was staying with her daughter near Philadelphia.
member since 1982, Mizdail helped steer the district through its toughest times
in the 1990s when the district was facing bankruptcy, turbulent times with the
teachers union and the construction of the districts Educational Center.
She loved the chorus and the band. In fact she went to every play there
was and every concert there was, Perrone said.
It is too early to tell
if the school board will name anything in Mizdails honor. Perrone said that
has to be the boards decision, but he believes she will always be remembered
for her dedication.
I think her name is going to live because of all
the work she did, Perrone said.
Board member Tony Prushinski said Mizdails
support and encouragement was part of the reason he ran for a seat on the board
He recalled Mizdail telling him that politics were not always a bad
Sylvia said politics could be great thing if it is done the proper
way, Prushinski said.
Mizdail received 2,034 votes in her last election,
November 2009, returning her for yet another term to serve the district, students
will vote on financial amendment
Council discussed several financial issues Wednesday, and council members confirmed
the first of two votes on an amendment to the provisions of the citys Act
47 distressed city status will take place during a meeting starting at 7 p.m.
A public hearing on the amendment will be take
place that same day at 6:30 p.m. A final vote will be taken at the Oct. 20 regular
council meeting at 7 p.m.
The amendment relates to
Nanticokes 1.5 percent earned income tax rate and the upcoming home rule
ballot measure. The amendment would allow the EIT to remain at 1.5 percent while
the citys home rule study commission completes its deliberations and to
transition down to .5 percent by 2013 if voters deny home rule.
elected commission is currently studying the way the city government operates
and might eventually decide to create a home rule charter for city voters to consider.
If home rule passes, then the city would have more freedom
to establish its own EIT rate.
Council member Jim Litchkofski
said that regardless of the eventual outcome of the amendment and home rule votes,
we will have to make some very difficult decisions in the future.
Litchkofski said it has become common knowledge the city
would either have to reduce staff, cut services, raise taxes or employ some combination
of the three in order to stay afloat.
The council also
directed City Financial Director Pam Heard to apply for a SAFER grant in order
to hire two new firefighters.
The federally funded
grant administered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency would fund
the hiring and salary for two new firefighters over the period of two years.
If the city chose to keep the firefighters on staff after
that period, it would be responsible for their compensation.
$12.8 M in slots money awarded for county projects
By Robert Swift, Harrisburg Bureau Chief
Published: September 15, 2010 - Citizens'
HARRISBURG A state authority today awarded
$12.8 million representing the local share of slots revenue from Mohegan Sun at
Pocono Downs to help pay for 17 municipal improvement and development projects
in Luzerne County.
The projects approved by the Commonwealth
Financing Authority range from the restoration of the former Sterling Hotel and
former First National Bank Building, both in Wilkes-Barre, to a parking decks
for a new intermodal transit center for Hazleton.
authority considered 76 applications for the local slots share for fiscal 2009-10
before deciding on the 17 projects. The slots share is being distributed on a
wider geographic basis in Luzerne County as a result of provisions in the state
law that legalized table games at the slots casinos.
system is designed to give all municipalities in Luzerne an equal shot at getting
a share of revenue and advance projects with a countywide impact.
replaces a system in place for several years where municipalities continguous
to the casino in Plains Twp. received priority consideration for funding.
Some of the projects approved are receiving funding over
The projects include:
$2.4 million to continue highway improvements in Jenkins and Pittston Twps.
-- $500,000 for the culinary institute at Luzerne County
Community College in Nanticoke.
-- $500,000 to continue the Pittston
Riverfront redevelopment project
-- $1 million to continue the East Side Landfill
Development project in Plains Twp.
$1 million to expand the Health Sciences Center at LCCC in Nanticoke.
-- $273,000 to complete Phase II of the Welles Street streetscape
project in Fort Fort.
-- $1.5 million for the Riverfront
Development and Infrastructure project on Market Street in Kingston.
$650,000 to install sanitary sewers in the Truesdale Terrace and Witinski Villa
sections of Hanover Twp. to meet state environmental requirements.
$1.5 million to construct two parking decks above the Church Street intermodal
transit center in Hazleton. This project will get additional funding in future
-- $680,000 to restore the former First National
Bank Building in Wilkes-Barre, vacant since 1974.
$290,000 to restore the former Hotel Sterling in Wilkes-Barre, vacant for 10 years,
for use as commercial and retail center.
-- $1.3 million
for Phase I of the Dallas downtown master plan.
$102,000 for the South Valley K-9 partnership in Hanover Twp.
$500,000 to restore the Hitchner Biscuit Company building in West Pittston.
-- $275,000 to improve Route 115 in Bear Creek Twp. and
Bear Creek Village.
-- $200,000 to demolish an abandoned
building on Jones Street in Duryea.
GNA rehires Perrone for another 3 years
board also names James Rinehimer as full-time athletic director.
Campbell - Times Leader
Greater Nanticoke Area School
Board members on Thursday night appointed Tony Perrone to another three-year term
The board had not posted the superintendents
job 150 days before June 30, 2010, so keeping Perrone in the position for another
three years was automatic, according to a decision Dec. 12, 2009.
move came amid a number of personnel actions, including the hiring of James Rinehimer
as full-time athletic director, at a salary of $32,000 a year plus benefits, as
outlined under Act 93.
The Rinehimer hiring was not
noted on the public agenda, but was added verbally at the end of the list of appointments
Only board member Ryan Verazin voted
no on the appointment of the athletic director.
said after the meeting that discussions on the hiring had taken place before his
November 2009 appointment to the school board, and although the other board members
had been involved in the discussions, he did not feel as if he had enough information
on Rinehimer or any of the other candidates who had been considered.
said he had nothing against Rinehimer personally.
board hired Lisa Kotz as guidance secretary, Christy Emelett as building and grounds
secretary and Renee OConnor as elementary instructional aide at the K M
Smith School, all under union rates and with a 90-day probationary period.
Nina Herbst was appointed speech therapist for 2010-2011
under a professional contract agreement.
will post the positions of family development specialist, crossing guard and,
for the GNA Senior High School, a front-door hall monitor
Can culinary center be ingredient to revitalize Nanticoke?
Resident wants to seize momentum to form exploratory committee focusing on citys
There is a flood of activity
occurring in downtown Nanticoke as Luzerne County Community Colleges culinary
institute is just days from welcoming students and the Health Sciences Center
will open early next semester.
Frank Knorek Jr. wants to seize the momentum
of the revitalization to inspire others to form a nonprofit organization to support
and focus on the citys downtown.
My concern is they are focusing
too much on a physical revitalization with the streetscape project, rather than
focusing on a functional economy, which would be marketing your downtown businesses,
During a meeting last week he said he wants to see if there is
enough interest from area leaders, business owners and residents to form an exploratory
He pointed out in the past the city has seen new physical development
in downtown when the Kanjorski Center was constructed in the mid-90s, but then
the momentum was lost.
Its a golden opportunity, a chance for
business owners to be heard and if it doesnt happen now, it probably wont
ever happen, he said.
After studying how Plymouth Alive and the Diamond
City Partnership in Wilkes-Barre work to promote those communities, he believes
Nanticoke can do the same by holding year-round festivals to draw more people
into downtown and get businesses to offer coupon specials to the college students.
To keep the community involved, he pointed out there needs to be a website and
lists of events to keep people up to date.
Knorek envisions the committee,
what he is calling the Downtown Nanticoke Revitalization Initiative, would have
four sub-committees Design, Organization, Economic Restructuring Committee
and Marketing and Promotions.
Hes already met with state Rep. John Yudichaks
staff, LCCC officials, South Valley Chamber of Commerce officials and reached
out to city officials. He hopes these people and regular citizens will attend
the meeting so everyone can exchange ideas.
Nanticoke Revitalization Exploratory Meeting
7 p.m. Thursday
at the Mill House next to the Mill Memorial Library.
Nanticoke native raises funds for muscular dystrophy
decade ago, Clifton Lewis was a popular class president and athlete at Greater
Nanticoke Area High School.
Now, he's among the approximately
1 million people in the United States struggling with the affects of muscular
"Ten years ago I was able to dunk a
basketball and now I could barely walk," Lewis said recently.
was diagnosed in 2006 with Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy, a disease doctors determined
developed in his late teenage years. The condition now limits his ability to use
stairs or walk long distances.
At around 11:45 a.m.
today, Lewis will bring his battle with muscular dystrophy into the public eye
locally when he participates in a live check presentation on WNEP-TV during a
local segment of the annual Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon. Lewis will
present a $14,000 check to the MDA on behalf of a fundraiser recently held, called
the Lock Haven Lock Up. He'll be joined by 15-year-old Ashley Heffner, of Swoyersville,
who is the Pennsylvania Goodwill Ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Lewis has lived in Arizona and Florida in recent years,
warmer climates that keep him away from winter weather that could lead to a slip
and fall. The Nanticoke native returned home for the MDA telethon and the Cheer
for a Cure cheerleading competition and walk to benefit the MDA on Aug. 29 at
Mellow Park in Blakely.
Lewis said he recently increased
his desire to want to raise money locally and be part of the MDA family in his
"All in all, it's a difficult situation
to talk about with the people you love - your family and friends," Lewis
said recently at his father's florist shop in Nanticoke. "Right now, it's
just about acceptance. Before this, I was a little embarrassed and a little ashamed.
I used to be a good athlete and now I'm getting to the point I'm disabled. It's
time to move on and help people like myself better their lives."
money for MDA research and changing lives has become his life's work, he said.
"There is no cure," Lewis said. "Until we
find a cure, nothing is going to change."
encouraged residents of Northeastern Pennsylvania to open their checkbooks and
be generous this weekend. Money raised not only goes to research for a cure, but
pays for doctors appointments for those with muscular dystrophy, he said.
"Overall, the telethon is the Super Bowl of all events
across the nation," Lewis said. "It's not easy. It's not easy raising
money for this."
Within the next few months, Lewis
plans to start the Clifton Lewis Good Life Foundation to raise money for research,
scholarships and help those with muscular dystrophy to purchase equipment they
need to live.
A big NBA fan with season tickets to
the Phoenix Suns, Lewis is trying to get the Suns to host a Jerseys Off Their
Backs fundraiser next season. Stars like Steve Nash would sign jerseys that would
be auctioned off at a game. He organized a similar fundraiser with the Florida
Lewis' form of muscular dystrophy is a milder
version than ones that can ravage a child from birth. However, his long-term prognosis
"There is a very small chance I could
not get any worse, but there is a likelihood I'll get progressively worse over
time. I'm hoping to get a cure before it's too late."
has an appointment soon to see Dr. Jerry R. Mendell, of Ohio State University,
for a new gene cell therapy. Mendell is the first doctor to perform gene therapy
for muscular dystrophy.
Lewis said he began to detect
something wrong in his muscles while going to Luzerne County Community College
in 2000. While weight lifting, the righthander began to notice he could lift significantly
more weight with his left arm. Then, he started to walk with a limp.
going to see five neurologists over several years, he was diagnosed with Limb-Girdle
Muscular Dystrophy in 2006.
"From there, I tried
to stay positive. I landed some good jobs and made some good money and lived the
life I wanted to live anyway," Lewis said. "Before you looked at it
at a distance. Now it's up close. If we don't raise money and find a cure, people
are going to continue to be the same and no one is going to get better. If we
all work as a team, we can improve our health and live the good life."
Nanticoke council fails to get quorum
lack of a quorum Wednesday night led to the City Council canceling its meeting.
Mayor Joe Dougherty and Councilman James Litchkofski were
present. Councilman Michael Boroski was away attending a mandatory conference
for his job. The other two council members, Jon Metta and Margaret Haydock, were
The council was scheduled to discuss approving
an amendment to the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program funding for Luzerne
County Community Colleges Culinary Arts Project. Council was also going
to decide if the city could apply for a federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and
Emergency Response, or SAFER, grant.
The next meeting
will be held on Sept. 15.
Nanticoke asked to back bridge loan for culinary institute
Pa. grant for LCCC to be delayed because of changes in Harrisburg.
regional construction company has requested two city entities apply for a $500,000
bridge loan because a state grant awarded to Luzerne County Community Colleges
culinary institute is tied up in Harrisburg.
Cawley of Northeastern Economic Development Company has requested the Nanticoke
Municipal Authority and city council co-sign a $500,000 short-term loan through
Community Bank and Trust of Clarks Summit.
financial arm of developer Mark Construction Services, Inc., built the $7.6 million
institute using three state grants totaling $4.5 million.
remainder of the expenses, $3.12 million, is being paid by the college through
One of the grants, a $1.5 million Local Share
Account funded through casino revenues, is being paid in $500,000 allotments over
This years allotment was delayed
because the agency overseeing the disbursements changed from the Department of
Community and Economic Development to the Commonwealth Financing Authority, said
state Rep. John Yudichak, D-Plymouth Township.
allotment should be awarded before the end of the year after the Commonwealth
Financing Authoritys board meets, Yudichak said.
money has already been secured for the colleges project, he said.
Municipal Authority Chairman Hank Marks said the authority members will have to
approve Cawleys request at a future meeting.
(the city) are going to have to sign on to it, but we (the Municipal Authority)
will really be backing it and Mark Development as far as the money goes,
Letters from the governors office and
state Sens. Ray Musto and Robert Mellow received by the Authority this week assured
the authority the grant money would be forthcoming, Marks said.
city would need to approve the loan guarantee because the state grants awarded
to pay for the institute were awarded to the city and not the community college.
Nanticoke Administrator Holly Quinn said the city is still
reviewing its options.
Nothing has been confirmed
at this time. Mayor and council need to vote on that, she said. College
Dean of Business and Technologies Gary Mrozinski said the college will start moving
in equipment and furniture today in preparation for students to arrive for their
first day of classes in the new building on Sept. 13.
Rail expansion plan will serve Nanticoke industrial complex
Nanticoke company will construct a rail track expansion to serve the Whitney Pointe
Hud Inc., trading as Emerald Anthracite,
is accepting bids for the second phase of a $1.2 million track construction project.
Tom Doughton, corporate engineer for Hud Inc., said the
company plans to construct a rail spur at the line in the Honey Pot section of
Nanticoke to provide freight service to the industrial park.
Pacific Railway, which manages an active rail line, created a siding at the old
Honey Pot rail yards for its traffic and for a tie-in at Whitney Pointe. A siding
is a low-speed section of track that branches from a main route.
2006, Hud Inc., received a $900,000 economic development grant from the state
for the construction of two-track siding to connect the Nanticoke facility to
the Delaware & Hudson rail line at Honey Pot Yard, including the extension
of track into the Whitney Pointe Industrial Park.
said Hud Inc. matched 30 percent of the grant for the $1.2 million project.
The project includes earthwork, installing 1,500 feet of
jointed rail track and two turnouts, placing 4,000 tons of ballast and surfacing
3,600 feet of track.
"We finally got it going,"
Ken Pollock, president of Hud Inc., bought
the Dan Flood Industrial Park for $300,000 in June 2004 and turned it into Whitney
Pointe, a commercial and residential park in Newport Township and Nanticoke.
The company plans to use the land at Whitney Pointe for
industrial and residential purposes, with a four-phase residential community plan
C.P.S. Direct Marketing and Communications,
developer and printer of marketing materials, was the first business to open in
the park in 2007, migrating from South River Street in Wilkes-Barre.
for the track construction project will be accepted until Sept. 3.
Nanticoke student's senior project focuses on safety
Kile of Nanticoke knows the importance of keeping her community safe as she trains
for a career in law enforcement.
That desire to help
her fellow citizens is one of the reasons she is chairing the first annual Safety
Day in Nanticoke. It will be held noon to 5 p.m. Saturday near the sports fields
behind Greater Nanticoke Area school grounds off Kosciuszko Street in Nanticoke.
Kile, 17, of Nanticoke is studying law enforcement at the
Wilkes-Barre Area Career and Technical Center.
the safety day, in conjunction with the city recreation board, is her senior project.
Becoming a state trooper is Kile's ultimate goal, and she's
already practiced fingerprinting, handcuffing suspects and searching crime scenes
in her classes at the career and technical center.
spring, she and her teammates won third place for processing a crime scene during
the SkillsUSA competition at West Side Career Technology Center.
was pretty good experience," she said.
Holly's father and recreation board member, said the day will offer a plethora
of information to residents on how to stay safe in different scenarios.
includes staying away from drugs, conscientious Internet use and staying safe
around mine shafts around the area - vital information in an area that thrived
on coal production.
"There's a lot of places you
shouldn't go," he said.
Sometimes, residents don't
realize how much emergency responders can offer to the community, since they primarily
communicate with police or fire departments when something goes wrong, Ron Kile
"(We're holding this event) so our community
has an idea of what's out there and what's available to them," he said.
Saturday's Safety Day event is free and open to the public.
Day events will also feature:
American Red Cross blood
Nanticoke police and fire departments.
registration and finger printing.
fire river rescue boat.
Luzerne County sheriff's department
K-9 unit and gun safety demonstration.
District Attorney Jackie Musto Carroll.
Luzerne County Detective Charles Balogh speaking about
Life Flight helicopter.
from the Nanticoke Drug Task Force.
Community College safety program.
The event includes
Tyme Band and food vendors.
County starts phone, e-mail emergency
Luzerne County has launched a new public alert system that will
send text messages and e-mails to residents regarding emergencies and weather
In addition to severe weather updates, the
system will be used to send information alerts such as missing children, Susquehanna
River conditions, emergency conditions at the PPL Susquehanna nuclear power plant
in Salem Township and emergencies related to Marcellus Shale gas wells throughout
"Most people carry cell phones with
them no matter where they are. This will allow us to get real-time information
directly to people more reliably," said Luzerne County Emergency Management
Director Steve Bekanich, whose office will send most of the messages.
warnings and watches will be sent automatically once an alert is issued by the
National Weather Service, Bekanich said.
To sign up
for the alert notification service, go to http://luzerne.alertpa.org
Bekanich noted that those who sign up
can choose which alerts they want to receive.
completely up to them what they decide to sign up for. The user can pick what
messages they want to get," he said.
can be sent to cell phones, alpha-numeric pagers and e-mail accounts
is free to use the system, however, standard text message charges may apply through
an individual's phone company.
The system, administered
by Cooper Notification, is used in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., Bekanich
A grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland
Security paid for the system, he said.
to sending messages to civilians, emergency responders will use it as a secondary
communications tool for times when their radios are out of frequency range, Bekanich
County Commissioner Chairwoman Maryanne Petrilla
said she and fellow commissioners urge residents to sign up.
protection of our citizens from the effects of natural or man-made disasters is
of the highest priority. By providing this system, we can ensure that residents
receive timely information on pending situations, so that they can respond accordingly,"
council approves traffic signal upgrade
council passed a resolution Wednesday to update a traffic signal at Main and Market
The state Department of Transportation estimated
the modification cost at $21,000. The Nanticoke Municipal Authority will pay for
In other matters, council announced two
upcoming city events.
The South Valley Chamber of Commerce
will host a flea market Saturday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Greater Nanticoke Area
The city recreation board is sponsoring
a safety day noon to 5 p.m. Aug. 28 at the high school
Nanticoke resident pitches downtown revitalization committee
downtown revitalization plan for the city of Nanticoke can only succeed if business
owners and residents band together, according to resident Frank L. Knorek Jr.
Knorek stressed the need for organization and community
support as he pitched creating a nonprofit committee solely dedicated to the city's
downtown revitalization Friday at the South Valley Chamber of Commerce.
current $30 million downtown revitalization project includes renovating the long-vacant
Kanjorski Center on Main Street into LCCC's new Health Sciences center. The college's
Joseph A. Paglianite Culinary Arts Institute is under construction at Market and
Main streets. The building, named after the co-founder of Grotto Pizza, is set
to open this fall.
However, Knorek said a group focusing
on long-term solutions and identifying the market base that downtown shops will
serve are key to making the revitalization efforts lasting successes. With students
coming into the downtown area, existing businesses and new businesses should cater
to their needs, such as places to have lunch or shop while between classes, he
If business owners, city officials and other
stakeholders in the downtown area are not interested in making a change, revitalization
efforts would fail, he said. This concern was highlighted at the meeting as only
one business owner turned out to hear Knorek's presentation.
need your residents and business owners to be the driving force," Knorek
Dan Kowalski, chamber vice president, said residents
need to be amenable to changes that would eliminate eyesores, like the row of
empty storefronts, or "broken teeth," along Main Street. However, that
is often a struggle in this region.
Jeri Stumpf, a
community development consultant, said disinterest and apathy is a problem inhibiting
redevelopment in many municipalities throughout the state. Those spearheading
revitalization efforts need to find a way to motivate people and drum up support,
"How do you deal with apathy?" he
To gauge interest and support, Knorek and chamber
members will hold a public meeting at 7 p.m. on Sept. 9 at the South Valley Chamber
of Commerce, behind Mill Memorial Library at Kosciuszko and East Main streets
in Nanticoke. All residents - especially downtown business owners - are urged
to attend, Kowalski said.
"If they're not on board,
it's not going to happen," he said.
Lawsuit pending in death of sailor
Driver who allegedly
caused Kuwait fatality had history of speeding, states suit.
The driver who allegedly
caused a head-on collision that killed Nanticoke sailor Brian Patton and seriously
injured his passenger last year in Kuwait had a history of speeding and reckless
driving, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court.
Lee Hanks, a former contractor to the U.S. Army, was passing an eight-vehicle
convoy and crested a knoll at a high-rate of speed when his Mitsubishi Pajero
sport utility vehicle collided with Pattons Dodge Durango, the suit said.
The crash occurred in a no-passing zone on a road connecting
military camps in Northern Kuwait. Patton, 37, and his passenger David Morgan,
35, of Wilkes-Barre, were on routine patrol the morning of Nov. 19, 2009.
A federal grand jury indicted Hanks, 25, of Newport News,
Va., last month on a charge of involuntary manslaughter for the death of Patton
and assault resulting in serious bodily injury to Morgan, who suffered a brain
injury. Morgan has been undergoing therapy in a facility outside Philadelphia.
A criminal trial is set for Oct. 4 in federal court in Newport News.
wife, Amy, of Nanticoke and Karen Amesbury of Wilkes-Barre, the executrix of his
estate, are seeking in excess of $75,000 in the civil suit. In addition to his
widow, Patton is survived by sons Nicholas and Brian.
suit, filed by attorneys William and Jamie Anzalone of Wilkes-Barre, said the
defendants were negligent for, among other things, allowing Hanks to drive when
they knew he had a history of speeding and driving recklessly.
as defendants, in addition to Hanks, are his former employers: Combat Support
Associates and CSA Ltd., with addresses in Fort Worth, Texas, and Los Angeles;
AECOM Government Services Inc., Fort Worth, Texas; Research and Analysis Maintenance
Inc., El Paso, Texas; and SMI International Corp., Colorado Springs, Colo.
Gary Lewi, a spokesman for CSA, said, As this matter
is being investigated, we are not able to comment.
GNA board upset over senior test scores
Area ranked last out of 35 area high schools in state tests.
This years incoming senior class at Greater
Nanticoke Area High School came in last out of 35 area high schools in state standardized
School board member Tony Prushinski was
extremely vocal during Thursdays board meeting in his disapproval of the
districts Pennsylvania System of School Assessment scores of the 11th-grade
students who took the exams during the 2009-2010 school year.
passing rates were 59 percent in reading, 51 in percent math and 29 percent in
science among 11th-graders.
The scores were disgusting.
This is not good at all. When you sit on a board and youre in 35th place,
we need answers, he said.
Prushinski noted he
was speaking for all nine school board members while voicing his disapproval.
He said all board members and Superintendent Tony Perrone should meet with the
district principal and high school principal as they try to determine what needs
to be done to improve high school students scores.
was absent from Thursdays meeting.
have eight people out of 10 failing. I know we all agree. We were last,
Prushinski was adamant when the 2011 scores
are released the scores better improve significantly or there will be a reorganization
at the high school.
Come next August, if something
does not change there will be major changes at the high school. We are in here
for the children, not the adults, he said.
also pointed out that other changes need to be made at the high school, including
cell phone, detention and dress code policies. Prushinski commended the eighth-grade
students, now entering ninth grade, on their reading and math scores, which were
79 percent and 80 percent. He was disgusted with the science score that showed
only 42 percent of all eighth-graders passed.
dont understand what happened, Prushinski said.
school board member Cindy Donlin said she was angry about the high school scores
as well, but added people, including the students and parents need to be held
accountable. She pointed out that principals are accountable for their teachers
performances and teachers are responsible for their students scores.
I dont know how to get this point across to
parents, but you have to take some responsibility to be with your child, to sit
with your child and help your child learn. There is only so much that can be done
in a classroom. The kids in Nanticoke classrooms are going to be given every opportunity,
Nanticoke City Recreation Board to host Safety
Day, sponsored by the Nanticoke City Recreation Board, will be presented
from noon-5 p.m. Aug. 28 at Nanticoke High School, 425 Kosciuszko St., Nanticoke.
Planned are food vendors, bicycle registrations and finger printing by the Nanticoke
City Police Department, the Nanticoke Fire Departments smoke house and distribution
of free fire detectors, the Hanover Township River Rescue Boat, Luzerne County
Sheriffs Department K-9 Unit and gun safety information, a life flight helicopter,
speakers from the Nanticoke Drug Task Force and more. The American Red Cross will
also conduct a blood drive. Music will be supplied by Tyme Band. From left are
Holly Kile, chairperson, who is organizing the event for her senior project; Robert
Katra; James Samselski; Steve Duda; Ron Kile; Tracy Zabrenski; Mike Borowski;
and Yvonne Bozinski.
Greater Nanticoke Area board finds low test scores 'disgusting'
Area school board member Tony Prushinski couldn't find the right adjective to
describe how board members felt when they realized the district had scored at
the bottom of the heap among area districts on state standardized tests.
Embarrassed?" Prushinski suggested as he tried to capture the board's emotions
about the district's low scores on the 2008-09 Pennsylvania System of School Assessment
test scores and SAT test scores. "The scores were disgustingâ?¦
We need answers."
The school board members committed
Thursday night to evaluating district procedures and curriculum and do whatever
it takes to raise test scores by next August. Prushinski said board members had
been bombarded with concerns about the district's poor performance since The Citizens'
Voice published an in-depth look at testing results among 37 area school districts
The Greater Nanticoke Area School District
missed 18 state averages in 21 testing categories on state standardized test,
the second lowest in 37 Northeastern Pennsylvania school districts.
said the board has met with school administrators and will ensure all policies
in the student handbook are followed, including the detention program, attendance
policy and dress code. They will also evaluate district practices to determine
how students will be better served and motivated to succeed on standardized tests.
"Changes will be made next year. Make no doubt about
it. Because we're not going to tolerate it," he said.
member Cindy Donlin said while teachers and administrators are accountable for
students' success, parents must also accept responsibility to ensure their children
are studying and completing assignments at home.
only so much that can be done in a classroom," she said.
member Frank Vandermark said while students aren't held accountable for the PSSA
results, the incoming Keystone Exams will hold them to a higher standard. Those
exams will require students starting in the class of 2015 to pass a series of
exams that are taken at the end of courses in order to graduate.
other matters, the board hired Jessica Piland and Christina Grendzinski as special
education teachers and transferred Michele Kordek to an English as a Second Language
The board also accepted the resignation
of special education teacher Jessica Zmijewski, part-time Spanish teacher Michael
M. Golubiewski, and teacher's aide Heather Zegarski.
Extra innings Sports in brief
Kings gets Cardone
The Kings College softball team has
added a standout catcher as Amanda Cardone of state champion Nanticoke Area will
continue her academic and athletic careers with the Lady Monarchs. Cardone recently
concluded an outstanding career, helping the Trojanettes win the 2010 PIAA Class
2A state championship.
In her final season, Cardone
finished the year with a .313 (25-80) batting average with three doubles, three
triples, two home runs and 15 RBI. She was also an outstanding defensive player
behind the plate. She was named to the Pennsylvania Coaches Association Class
2A all-state team as a first-team choice. Additionally, she was a first-team Wyoming
Valley Conference All-Star and was presented the Nanticoke Area Defensive
Player of the Year Award.
A four-year starter
for the Trojanettes, Cardone was a shortstop as a freshman before moving to catcher
for her final three seasons. She is a three-time first-team All-WVC selection.
An active off-season player, Cardone estimated she has
played in over 500 games over the past six years and helped her respective teams
to a number of championships, as well as a second-place showing in the Babe Ruth
U16 World Series in Concord, N.H. in 2009. She was also selected as the catcher
for the All-World Series 2009 National Team.
Pews saved from demolition find new life in La.
at church closed in Nanticoke, pews go to house of worship hit by hurricanes.
Several Luzerne County Catholic church parishioners felt as if they were losing
part of themselves as several churches have been closed during a consolidation
Many felt the same way in late June when St.
Francis of Assisi, the oldest church in Nanticoke, was demolished due to structural
Pews saved from the demolition of St. Francis
of Assisi on Green Street are gaining new life after being donated to a church
in a small coastal village in Louisiana.
Our Lady Star
of the Sea Catholic Church, in Cameron, La., has been devastated by two hurricanes
that struck within three years of each other.
home in Cameron was destroyed by Hurricane Rita in 2005, but amazingly the church
was repairable. By 2008 about half of the communitys population returned
as the village, including the church, was rebuilding. That fall Hurricane Ike
hit, again causing severe damage to the church.
Lady parishioner Jennifer Jones began scouring the Internet after receiving approval
from her priest for the church to purchase new pews.
Lady Priest Timothy Goodly contacted Father Jim Nash at St. Faustina parish, after
seeing an e-Bay advertisement created by St. Faustina members to sell the pews.
St. Faustina is a new parish created in July after the consolidation of the six
Nanticoke Catholic churches.
Jones then shared her
churchs history and Camerons mantra, We will never, never, never
surrender, in a letter to Nash and Nanticoke parishioners.
beautiful pews are the symbol of our recovery, the symbol of permanence, the symbol
of those of us who are determined to come home no matter what, Jones wrote..
Jones and her fellow church members received quite a surprise,
as they are currently using folding chairs in their church.
very important for us to have our pews because we feel like we are really in church.
You dont really feel like you are in church when you are sitting on folding
chairs, she later said in a recent phone interview.
presented the sale offer to the parishs implementation committee after conversing
with Jones and Goodly.
Nanticoke parishioners were
so touched by Our Lady Star of the Seas story that they didnt hesitate
to drop the plan to sell. They instead wanted to donate the pews.
thought it would be a nice gesture out of our loss, so to speak, that someone
else will benefit from it. They liked the idea in them being used in another Catholic
church and continue to be used for Catholic worship, Nash said.
was overwhelmed when she learned that her hometown church was getting such a gift.
I burst out crying at my desk. I couldnt believe
the generosity. That was so wonderful. We are so thrilled to get them, she
So, the pews stored in the remaining St. Francis
Assisi Parish building began their journey Friday morning. Church members and
two Louisiana truck drivers spent roughly three hours loading 23 wooden pews safely
into the 18-wheeler.
Friends Ann Marie Cardone and
Connie Bienkowski, both of Nanticoke, traveled to the site by 8:30 a.m. Friday
to say goodbye as they watched their beloved pews carefully loaded
into a tractor-trailer bound for southwestern Louisiana.
life-long members of St. Assisi they received all their sacraments at the church,
which was originally built in 1874.
thrilled they are going to be used in a church, Cardone said.
Nanticoke toughens parking, peddling
is urged to move on demolishing a dilapidated building on Pine Street.
Council members conducted the second reading of
two ordinances regarding parking and business licenses during Wednesdays
regularly scheduled meeting. Both ordinances take effect immediately.
is now prohibited on the east side of Nanticoke Avenue from Coal to Hill Streets.
Earlier this year there was a temporary parking ban enacted and due to its success
the city decided to make it permanent.
A previous ordinance,
Transient Retail Business Ordinance, regulating businesses or peddlers selling
items door-to-door, was strengthened and approved, City Administrator Holly Quinn
It will be easier to track the vendors.
If a person has someone going door to door selling encyclopedias they want to
know if they are legitimate, as opposed to a scam artist. They can call the city
building and say, hey do they have a permit or are they licensed to actually go
door-to-door in the city. It also protects the citizens as well to make sure they
are not taken advantage of, Quinn said.
the ordinance, sales people can only go door-to-door between the hours of 9 a.m.
and 6 p.m., expect on Sundays or a legal holiday, when the sales person must have
an appointment to visit the residence. Businesses selling goods in such a manner
must obtain an annual license fee for $300. The citys code enforcement officer
will be in charge of administering and enforcing the ordinance.
Solicitor Bill Finnegan suggested the city prepare to put out a bid for a demolition
company to tear down an old dilapidated property on Pine Street in the Hanover
section. He told council members he delivered a $915 check to the countys
Tax Claim Bureau to cover past-due taxes on the property. Once the city receives
the deed, it can hire a contractor to tear down the burned out garage.
we go to sell it (the land) we will recoup what we paid for it. People have complained
it was a blighted condition. This is a way to get rid of that condition,
City Clerk Betsy Cheshinski said the
funds came from an account where homeowners repaid loans to the city. She explained
the Home Program Account, established roughly two decades ago, allows homeowners
to get low interest 3-percent loans from the city to repair their homes.
were reminded about the Pow-Wow being held at the Wanamie Recreation Park on Aug.
14 and 15. The event is being sponsored by the South Valley Chamber of Commerce
and the Newport Township Fire Department.
Driver indicted in Kuwait crash
Mishap killed Nanticoke
reservist, severely injured reservist from W-B.
For Amy Patton, the crash that killed her husband
last year cannot be erased from her memory.
Morgan, it cant be recalled.
Morgan, 35, of Wilkes-Barre,
is in an emerging coma and undergoing therapy, said his mother Peggy.
Her son was a passenger in the sport utility vehicle driven
by Brian Patton, 37, of Nanticoke, when it was struck head-on while the two Navy
Reserve military police officers were traveling between military camps in Kuwait
on Nov. 19, 2009.
Federal authorities in Newport News,
Va., Tuesday unsealed a grand jury indictment charging former U.S. Army contractor
Morgan Hanks with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Patton and assault
resulting in serious bodily injury against Morgan.
charges provided some relief for Amy Patton. Ive been waiting for
this for quite a while, she said Thursday.
take it one day at a time. Its going on nine months in August, she
said. Time does help. It will never take away what I lost and Brians
whole family lost.
Morgans family has been
with him at Moss Rehab Facility in Elkins Park outside Philadelphia where he is
undergoing therapy for his injuries.
Peggy Morgan said
she does not think her son understands that charges have been filed. He cannot
talk or walk, but can make hand signals. He is improving, she said
from her sons bedside.
When it is explained to
him that he was in a crash in Kuwait, He gives a thumbs up that he does
not remember, she said.
Morgan and Patton deployed
with a unit based in Rochester, N.Y. The two men also worked together at the State
Correctional Institution at Dallas.
At the time of
the crash, they were traveling to Camp Virginia from Camp Buehring in northern
Federal authorities alleged Hanks was speeding
at over 120 miles per hour when he attempted to pass an eight-vehicle convoy.
His sport utility vehicle was going uphill when it collided with the Dodge Durango
driven by Patton on Alternate Supply Route Aspen, an asphalt road through the
desert connecting the camps.
Hanks, 25, of Newport
News, Va., was a canine handler with Combat Support Associates and Combat Support
Associated Ltd. and provided security for troops and at camps in Kuwait.
a prepared statement, CSA said, "As this matter is a criminal investigation
there is little we can say that would offer insight into this tragedy."
Hanks was arrested, charged and detained under the Military
Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act. Under the law, crimes committed outside the
country by U.S. Defense Department contractors or subcontractors can be prosecuted
in the United States.
In January, prosecutors applied
the law to charge two men who worked as contractors for a subsidiary of former
Blackwater Worldwide in the May 5, 2009 shooting deaths of two Afghan nationals
in Kabul, Afghanistan.
The families of Patton and Morgan
said they will travel to Virginia to attend some of the court hearings for Hanks.
We definitely have to be there for our son and Brian,
said Peggy Morgan. In the meantime she and her husband, Chuck, and their other
children will be at the rehab facility to support their son.
makes it so much easier for recovery if the family is around, Morgan said.
Her son gets exhausted by the therapy, but hes very,
very strong and hes strong-willed, she added.
preparation for his release from the facility, the family plans to make physical
adjustments at home and obtain a van to transport him.
want him to be able to recover enough to spend time at home and be with (his daughter
Ariana), Morgan said.
Patton is survived by a
son Nicholas, 8, stepson Tyler and another son, Brian James, from a previous marriage.
The reckless actions of one man changed the lives
of so many people, Amy Patton said.
to attend the trial for Hanks and said she intends to discuss his sentencing with
prosecutors if he is found guilty.
If convicted on
the charges, Hanks faces up to 10 years in prison, federal authorities said.
If you ask me no sentence will be strict enough,
agrees to settlement; district worker terminated
Superintendent says he doesnt
expect a strike when teachers pact ends Aug. 31.
Nardone - Times Leader
Nanticoke Area School Board met on Monday night to resolve four personnel issues
before getting ready to start the 2010-11 school year.
board held no formal discussion about the upcoming expiration of the district
The board voted unanimously with
all members present to accept a settlement between the district and employee Michelle
Jones. Substitute counsel John Audi said the settlement was connected with a labor
Both sides agreed to complete confidentiality
on the specifics of Jones case, but the board accepted the settlement, which
included an irrevocable termination.
the board voted to accept the retirement of elementary teacher Christine Lorzynsk
and to hire Carol Kelly and Amy Maciescak as elementary teachers at a starting
salary around $32,000 per year.
After the meeting,
Superintendent Anthony Perrone said he does not fear a strike when the current
teachers contract expires at the end of August.
district and the teachers union have been meeting during the last few weeks, Perrone
said. They will resume meeting next month, he said.
said the money is tight in the district, especially after a $258,000
cut in funding from the state Department of Education as the result of state budget
But he said he is optimistic about the districts
financial shape for this coming year. The recently approved district budget did
not include a tax increase, he added.
the teachers understand the current financial situation, and he is optimistic
they will work with the district.
also lauded the board in its dealings with the teachers.
said the board members are very careful when they hire.
arent satisfied until they find the right people, Perrone said.
Perrone said the district has an enrollment of 2,350
students. He said its buildings are in good shape.
Greater Nanticoke, secretary reach settlement over labor
Kristen Gaydos - Citizens Voice
Greater Nanticoke Area School Board has reached a settlement with an employee
over a labor issue, but an confidentiality agreement prevents them from discussing
the negotiations, an attorney from the district said.
board accepted the "irrevocable resignation" of district employee Michelle
Jones during a brief meeting Monday to act on personnel matters. John Audi, district
labor counsel, said the board agreed not to release specifics on the negotiations.
Jones was the secretary to the Superintendent Tony Perrone.
"We've agreed to confidentiality," Audi said.
Board president Jeff Kozlofski and Perrone referred all
questions on the matter to Audi.
The board also accepted
the resignation of reading teacher Christine Leszynski. They hired Amy Maciejczak
as an elementary school teacher and Carol Kelly as a business office secretary.
Warrior Run looks to Nanticoke police
residents at a second meeting support contracting out services.
The tiny borough of Warrior
Run might receive full-time police service before the end of the year.
Run is contemplating disbanding its four-member part-time police force in favor
of having the Nanticoke Police Department provide around-the-clock protection
services to the 2-square-mile boroughs roughly 800 residents.
and Nanticoke officials answered questions from about 20 residents during a town
hall meeting Thursday night at the Warrior Run Volunteer Fire Hall, the idea of
the borough having a payment plan with Nanticoke arose.
Jim Pyrah explained the borough would not have to pay Nanticoke in one-lump sum,
but rather might be able to set up a provision allowing borough officials to make
payments. Nanticoke Mayor Joe Dougherty said he didnt anticipate a problem
with a payment plan.
We could do it monthly, quarterly and two times
a year, Dougherty said.
Residents expressed interest in having Nanticoke
start serving as soon as possible after they commented and asked questions regarding
how the deal would affect property taxes and what type of service would be provided.
A few residents at the meeting screamed out, The sooner the better
and By all means, bring it on.
Warrior Run native Tony Kolativa
explained his frustration when he couldnt reach a police officer over the
Christmas holiday to file a report regarding an incident involving his car.
Is it worth it to you for 24/7 protection? I think it would be a wise investment,
Nanticoke Police Chief Jim Cheshinski assured people that any
time they call 911, an officer will respond.
Cheshinski also said he would
be willing to come to the borough once a week for a few hours to address any questions
or concerns from residents.
Arlene Kish, an 80-year-old lifelong resident,
recalled a time when the borough had just one police officer, a chief, who patrolled
the area on foot.
During that time she felt safe. Now, not so much. Living
on a fixed-income shes concerned about taxes, but at the same time wants
to feel secure again.
We need the protection. We dont have anything,
she said. How are we going to pay for this? If they have to keep paying
for our taxes to pay for this protection our taxes will keep going up and up and
up. But maybe in the meantime something else will come up where we wont
have to be taxed to the hilt. We cant afford this, but we need it. We need
Pyrah said he doesnt know if the borough will
have to raise taxes because there might be other cost-saving measures the borough
woman rolls out the gold
Doris Merrill, 86, of Nanticoke earned four medals
at the 30th annual National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Denver earlier this month.
Merrill, who was paralyzed in a swimming accident while serving in the Navy and
diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, participated in air guns, slalom, motorized
wheelchair rally, ramp bowling and the Powerchair 200.
Merrill took a trip from Nanticoke to the 30th annual National Veterans Wheelchair
Games in Denver in early July and the 86-year-old returned with four medals.
But gold and silver medals aren't new for Merrill - she's
been winning them for the past decade. The excitement comes when people overlook
her disability, she says.
"It's a bridge to the
walking world," Merrill said. "People forget my disability and that
is the greatest compliment."
Merrill was paralyzed
in 1944 in a swimming accident while serving in the Navy. Two years later, she
was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
At 86, neither
medical condition has slowed Merrill completely. She has regained the ability
to move her limbs slightly and has been competing in Veterans Wheelchair Games
The games, the largest annual wheelchair
sports competition in the world, offers 17 sports to paralyzed veterans or amputees
from the United States or Great Britain who use wheelchairs due to spinal cord
injuries, amputations and neurological diseases. The competitions promote rehabilitation
through rigorous competition in such events as basketball, rugby, softball, hand
cycling and others.
At the recent wheelchair games
in Denver, Merrill participated in several events, including the slalom, motorized
wheelchair rally, ramp bowling and the Powerchair 200.
the motorized wheelchair rally, Merrill had to use a map to find check points
and answer trivia questions at each one. In the slalom, Merrill maneuvered her
wheelchair through cones, slopes and other obstacles to a finish line.
games were held in Denver from July 4 to 9. Most of the events were took place
at the Colorado Convention Center and other local venues, including Brunswick
Zone, Invesco Field and the Hyatt Hotel.
Merrill plans to attend the 31st Wheelchair Games in Pittsburgh. She has participated
in places such as Alaska, Puerto Rico, San Antonio, Cleveland and New York City.
Merrill earned a bachelor's degree in business education
in 1955 from Wilkes College and taught at Wilkes and at Greater Nanticoke Area
High School. After one semester teaching psychology at Penn State University,
"The whole class came to the conclusion that everyone is abnormal,"
she said laughing.
During her time teaching at Nanticoke,
students helped Merrill from her car to the classroom. She said the students at
Nanticoke were amazing and always a great help.
said she is also an excellent swimmer. She said Susan Paterno, the wife of Penn
State football coach Joe Paterno, has been her greatest inspiration to continue
swimming. She met Susan 10 years ago.
swimming and I could feel my legs," Merrill said. "I started getting
Merrill swam two years ago in the Senior
Olympics and she plans enter the Golden Age Games in Hawaii next summer. She said
men sometimes give her strange looks after she beats them in races.
can swim like a dandy," Merrill said. "I love beating the men."
The Veterans Administration Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre
has funded her trips for eight years and Merrill has paid for her son, Paul "Pepper"
Merrill, of Kingston, to accompany her each time as her coach and "biggest
Merrill said her long-time goals have been
to live to become a great grandmother. She now has three great grandchildren and
Now her goals are to continue
making new friends and attending the Veterans Wheelchair Games every year.
"I don't want to quit," Merrill said. "I
have been truly blessed, and as long as God's willing, I'm willing."
Community effort helps fest succeed
in our haste thanking people for a job well done someone is overlooked.
the past nine out of 13 years I have been part of the Annual Nanticoke Music Fest
committee, and this year I wrote to thank all that were involved.
the Music Fest began 13 years ago, the Nanticoke Street Department has been very
helpful during all facets of the event.
They are there
to put up the dancing stage, check the electrical boxes, paint the benches and
do the overall upkeep of Nanticokes Patriot Park.
Street Department is also instrumental in getting our park cleaned and prepared
for our annual Nanticoke Citywide Yard Sale, which is held every year and will
be held this year on Saturday, Aug. 7 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
and the entire Music Fest committee want to thank these unsung heroes for their
help and all the work they do for the City of Nanticoke.
Nanticoke Music Fest Committee
Nanticoke, Warrior Run reach police agreement
and Warrior Run officials reached a verbal agreement Monday for the Nanticoke
Police Department to provide full-time police protection for Warrior Run and eliminate
its four-officer police department.
Warrior Run Mayor
Jim Brodginski said it was the best option for the borough.
an opportunity to get 24-7 police protection," he said. "It's an opportunity
you can't let pass."
Brodginski said the Warrior
Run Borough Council gave a commitment to residents at Monday's meeting when Warrior
Run officials made a verbal agreement to have Nanticoke police patrol the borough.
The new officers could be in Warrior Run by Jan. 1, 2011.
Run Borough Council will host a meeting at 6:30 p.m. July 22 to give residents
the opportunity to ask questions concerning the cost and the service. The meeting
will be held at the Warrior Run Volunteer fire hall.
Run has four part-time police officers and Nanticoke has 13 full-time officers.
The agreement would have Nanticoke's 13 officers take over patrolling Warrior
Run. Warrior Run's four-officer department would be terminated.
Mayor Joe Dougherty said he is happy both municipalities found common ground.
"It was good to hear that we agreed upon it,"
Dougherty said. "I think it will be good for both communities."
Brodginski said the two municipalities still have to sit
down and draw up a proposal to determine the cost and how payments are going to
be made. He said finances and payment arrangements are the only thing holding
up the process. After they are settled, councils from both municipalities will
formally vote on the proposal.
He said the borough
is unsure if it will have to raise taxes. He said the budget for police services
in Warrior Run was around $34,000 last year and Nanticoke is asking for about
"The budget is so low that a couple thousand
dollars makes a difference," Brodginski said.
Warrior Run wants Nanticoke cops
OKs plan for full-time coverage. Public may air views at two meetings.
Runs council is moving forward with plans to secure full-time police protection
for the boroughs roughly 800 residents by making a deal with Nanticoke.
Mayor Jim Brodginski said the council voted unanimously
Monday night to take advantage of Nanticokes offer for around-the-clock
protection because council says that taxpayers need full-time protection.
The idea is to do it for one year and see how it
goes and then take it from there, instead of committing long term, because it
may be too much for Nanticoke to handle, and we want to make sure we are happy
with what we are getting, Brodginski said.
from the two communities began discussing plans for a one-year service agreement
in March. Once agreements are written by each municipalitys solicitor and
approved by council members, service could begin on Jan. 1, 2011, Brodginski said.
Warrior Run spends about $34,000 per year on police protection
with four part-time officers. Shifts not covered by the borough officers are handled
by state police. Nanticoke officials are requesting Warrior Run pay $42,000 per
year for police services.
A town hall meeting, set
for 6:30 p.m. July 22, will provide an opportunity for residents to ask questions
of the Warrior Run and Nanticoke council members about the service and costs.
The meeting will be either at the Warrior Run Borough Building or the Warrior
Run Volunteer Fire Hall, Brodginski said.
Mayor Joe Dougherty noted that during next Wednesdays council meeting he
plans to ask for feedback from city residents about the plan.
said he believes the idea would benefit both communities and said Nanticoke officers
can easily provide service because the 2-square-mile borough is roughly a mile
from the Nanticoke border. He said Nanticoke officers often turn around in Warrior
Run when patrolling the citys Hanover section.
will benefit Warrior Run by providing them full-time police protection and it
will help us increase our finances without going to the residents of Nanticoke,
State Rep. John Yudichak, whose 118th
District includes Nanticoke and Warrior Run, said that if leaders in both communities
can approve an agreement it could serve as a model for other communities.
This project would be a good example of shared municipal
services to maximize the limited resources that local government have and give
taxpayers the best bang for each tax dollar, Yudichak said.
said his office has offered its assistance in any technical matters or to secure
grant funding for future projects with the department.
Nanticoke powers way to championship
Nanticoke showed Tuesday that it could play longball
Brett Havens hit a grand slam and Kyle Pokrinchak added a three-run
homer as part of a nine-run second inning as Nanticoke overwhelmed Mountain Top,
11-1, to win the District 16 Little League major baseball
The victory gave Nanticoke
its first district title in major baseball since 1988. Moreover, it came two days
after Mountain Top smacked six homers against Nanticoke in a 10-4 victory that
forced Tuesdays game.
Top organization is a class act, Nanticoke manager Jeff Piontkowski said.
They always field a good team. This year was no exception.
also earned the right to host the Section 5 tournament. Play begins Friday with
D31 champion Kingston playing D17 champion North Pocono at 5:30 p.m. followed
by Nanticoke vs. D32 champion Lakeland at 7:30 p.m.
did most of its damage in the second with one out. Pokrinchak walked, Alec Norton
and Connor Cormier walked to load the bases for Havens. The left-handed hitting
Havens hit a liner to center that initially looked like it wasnt going to
clear the fence. But the ball sliced abruptly to the left and went over.
also a lefty, later added a three-run shot to left for a 9-1 lead.
had a little scouting on the pitcher, Piontkowski said. We knew he
threw a lot of curveballs, a lot of curveballs that were outside. We were patient
and trying to get them to wait on the fastball. A lot of the curveballs were starting
over the plate and curving outside, so the guys werent going to hit them
Nor was Mountain Top going to hit Nanticoke
right-hander Brent Piontkowski, Jeffs son.
started a little rough as Mike Vital led off the first inning with a bloop single
to right and moved to third on two wild pitches. Jimmy Martino, the next batter,
singled him in with a dribbler in front of the plate.
that was the end of Mountain Tops offense. Piontkowski retired 11 consecutive
batters, striking out five, to finish off the game. Marcus Josephs flyout
to right with one out in the fourth was the only time Mountain Top hit the ball
out of the infield.
Hes like a horse,
Piontkowski said of his son, who allowed just two hits. He gets better as
the game goes on. The longer the game goes, the stronger he gets.
game didnt get past the fourth inning because of the 10-run rule. Steve
Kreitzer hit an RBI single and Piontkowski added an RBI double in the third, boosting
Nanticokes lead to 11-1.
It was just one
of those days where nothing went right, Mountain Top manager Marc Mickowski
said. There were about four of five things in this game that didnt
go our way. It was just one of those days where the stars didnt align.
An emptiness in Nanticokes heart and soul
Mark Guydish - Opinion - email@example.com
onto Green Street in Nanticoke at the junction with Kosciuszko. Drive past College,
Christian, Chestnut and Walnut Streets. Pull over. Look left. There it is.
Its the phrase Bruce Springsteen used in his
song about the destruction of the twin towers in New York, and no, Im not
comparing the scope of that tragedy to what happened in Nanticoke recently: The
demolition of St. Francis of Assisi Church. But as I stared at the vacant lot
where the edifice once stood, the words popped into my head. The sidewalk leading
past nothing, black fill where a basement had been, and a clear view of blue air
and white clouds where a steeple once soared.
One wonders what
its like to live in a house across the street and wake up one morning, step
out for the paper or on your way to work, and see nothing but the firmament, a
view unavailable for more than 130 years. Or to sit on the porch at night and
see stars where a bell tower had stood since before you were born.
Connie Bienkowski loaned me a copy of the churchs 100th anniversary book
a publication that is itself 36 years old which included impressive
statistics: 1,824 marriages, 5,917 baptisms, 5,974 First Communicants, 5,628 confirmations,
Like so many other shuttering parishes, St. Francis had hosted,
at one time or another, a plethora of community organizations: Altar and Rosary,
Holy Name, Sodality, Catholic Daughters of America, Legion of Mary, St. Vincent
DePaul, Knights of Columbus, Italian American Club, The Cadets, the Boy Scouts,
the School Mothers Club and The Father Matthew Temperance Society, to name a few.
A documentary tells the tale
Bienkowski also provided a DVD documentary which
offered homage to the memories the church created for thousands of people over
13 decades. One religious sister raised in the parish a daughter
of the Church as girls who grow up to choose a religious vocation are often
called recounted Sunday morning childrens Mass, boys to the right,
girls to the left
her father the scoutmaster of Troop 418
night skating trips with the Sodality club
Piano lessons from a nun who
constantly prayed out loud, Jesus, Mary and Joseph while
trying to teach.
Our lives centered around our church, she said.
On the DVD, Connie herself recalled how families would volunteer to make crullers
for fundraising, delivering them to sewing mills and a cigar factory one
time using sleds in a snowstorm. Inattentive sisters in the parish school could
leave telltale signs they had indulged in the confection: Powdered sugar had a
habit of, well, powdering their habits.
One photo showed a girl and boy who
didnt know each other, posing with a group at a vacation Bible school. The
narrator noted the two met years later in an adult religious class and married
... In St. Francis, of course.
An attempt to make pierogies for raising money
ended disastrously when the pasta pockets fell apart, leaving a doughy potato
eager volunteers pulled the ropes that rang the bells for Mass each
one priest painted the kitchen himself
twice a day, twice a week
newlyweds departing under an arch of gladiolas
held by friends
a lector recounting his flub when reading Saul with
his army of 10,000 pickled men (its picked men)
a communitys heart once beat, now there is empty sky.
LCCC culinary site is cookin
The college expects
the new training building to be ready on schedule by mid-August.
NANTICOKE Within less than six weeks, construction
on Luzerne County Community Colleges Joseph A. Paglianite Culinary Institute
will be completed and it will be ready for students.
under the direction of Mark Construction Services are following the design plans
of architect Scott Douglas Allen of SDA Architects as the drywall, ducting, electrical,
window installation and other work is being completed on the 22,000-square-foot,
Joe Grilli, LCCCs vice president
of training institutes, external affairs and planning, said as he toured the facility
Thursday that he is pleased with how the construction is progressing since the
buildings that once sat on the location were demolished in early November.
We are very pleased with the way it is coming along,
he said, adding the college has been told it will be completed on schedule on
We are very confident that is going
to happen, Grilli said.
Students will learn their
trade in two labs the teaching and pastry labs on the buildings second
floor. A restaurant-style dining room with seating for 30 to 40 patrons will be
on the second floor, adjacent to the main-line kitchen.
restaurant will not be open to the public at first, but the college is looking
at opening it at a later date to provide students experience in handling food
orders in a fast-paced kitchen environment.
auditorium that will include 75 theater-style seats will have a demonstration
kitchen, as the college hopes to attract top-tier national chefs to present cooking
shows. The auditorium also includes a television taping center, where LCCC television
students will refine their skills by taping the cooking shows and other events.
The developer is responsible for handling the construction
contracts for the building, but it is the colleges responsibility to bid
out and award contracts for cookware and other specialty items officials wanted,
including an emergency generator and dumbwaiter.
students report to class on Aug. 30, they will have access to more than $873,901
worth of restaurant-quality, industry-grade equipment. Of that total, $782,438
is being spent on large food service equipment such as two walk-in coolers, nine
char-boilers and eight griddles, among other items. Rite Temp Associates Inc.
Mechanical Contractors of Dalton was the only bidder on the project.
remaining $91,463 is divided among two companies U.S. Food Service of Allentown
and Sysco Central Pennsylvania in Harrisburg for small ware items, such
as 48 sets of knife kits, 36 angel food pans, 32 iron skillets, 24 oven mitts
and 12 pastry blenders among nearly 400 other items.
said college employees reviewed bids for furniture and small ware items line-by-line
to find the lowest bidder as the college tried to save on costs.
all the culinary arts equipment that students will be used is brand new. Some
existing equipment is being moved from the colleges main campus to the new
facility. The equipment includes a 60-quart mixer, oven steamer, convection oven,
banquet broiler, soft-serve ice cream machine and a 10-burner range.
college is paying $31,000 to G.R. Noto Electrical Construction Inc. of Clarks
Summit for an emergency generator; $37,000 for a dumbwaiter elevator shaft system
to Otis Elevator in Allentown and a total of $83,978 to three companies for furniture
for the buildings lounges, classrooms, dining area and offices.
State has major role in new LCCC building
grants are financing construction of the culinary arts site.
Luzerne County Community Colleges Joseph A.
Paglianite Culinary Institute in downtown Nanticoke is being built by private
developer Mark Construction Services Inc. of Moosic; however, the project has
required state overview.
Since three state grants are
being used to construct the two-story 20,000-square-foot building the developer,
owned by William Rinaldi, must abide by certain state mandates.
$7.5 million building will be built in part using a $1.5 million Local Share Gaming
grant, $1 million from the Growing Greener II grant and $2 million from the Pennsylvania
Redevelopment Assistance Capital grant.
There are at
least 15 subcontractors working on the project, Rinaldi estimated as he noted
his firm bid out various trade segments of the project. After reviewing the submissions,
the bids were awarded to the lowest, most responsible bidder, he said.
of Nanticoke Finance Director Pamela Heard said all the contracts were reviewed
and approved by a state employee.
A review of the contracts
found that the: metal studs, sheathing and insulation bid was awarded to Duggan
& Marcon Inc. of Luzerne for $213,538; demolition services bid was awarded
to Grinnell Recycling Inc. of Sparta, N.J. for $67,000; sitework and excavation
services bid was awarded to Bowen Enterprises of Scranton for $332,300; masonry
services bid was awarded to James W. Gerard Inc. of Scranton for $408,864; steel
fabrication and erection services bid was awarded to Rise Construction Service
of Jefferson Township for $311,500; roofing services bid was awarded to Olivetti
Roofing System Corporation of Scranton for $97,600; electrical services bid was
awarded to G.R. Noto Electrical Construction Inc. of Clarks Summit for $587,000;
plumbing services bid was awarded to Yanuzzi, Inc. of Hazleton for $399,000; fire
protection services bid was awarded to G. C. Fire Protection System of Lake Winola
for $49,600; elevator services bid was awarded to Otis Elevator Company of Allentown
for $74,000; HVAC (heating and the air duct system) bid was awarded to Marx Sheet
Metal and Mechanical company of Wilkes-Barre for $1.16 million; GWB and ceiling
services bid was awarded to JVS Specialties LLC of Taylor for $154,750 and gazing
(windows) services bid was awarded to Joseph Slater and Sons dba S&S Glass
of Mayfield for $89,485.
Some contractors submitted
multiple bids to be considered for several trades.
Construction Company of Scranton won three bids for concrete services for $379,000,
door and hardware services for $97,500, finishes and related services for $313,200
for a grand total of $789,701.
Rinaldi said most of
the bids came in higher than he originally anticipated, but noted he overlooked
that because he wanted to do an outstanding job since this is his first project
for the college.
This is the first project we
did for the Luzerne County Community College and we wanted to make sure it is
successful. Luzerne County Community College is expected to take over control
of the building in mid-August to prepare for classes on Aug. 30.
LCCC takes over they will pay Rinaldi $3.12 million in a lump sum payment. The
college is financing the project by taking out a 20-year fixed interest rate loan
from FNCB bank.
council proposes $50 fee to rent city property
Residents wanting to use public
property for events may have to pay a rental fee to the city for use of the property.
Council postponed a vote Wednesday to instate a $50 fee
for those using public property for gatherings, wanting to further review the
Those who desire to host an event on city
property could fill out an application prior to the event, to be approved by city
Administrator Holly Quinn, according to the proposed resolution. Residents may
also pay a $100 deposit - to be returned if the event causes no damage to the
property. A release would also be signed absolving the city from any liability.
Solicitor William T. Finnegan Jr. said a request to have
a wedding in a city park prompted the resolution.
also appointed a planning committee to assist with the city's comprehensive plan
update, zoning ordinance and zoning map. The plan sets the tone for a community's
growth over the next several years.
The committee will
include Quinn, Councilman Michael Borowski, Director of Finance Pamela Heard and
city engineer Darryl Pawlush. They will work with planning consultant John Varaly
of Michael J. Pasonick Jr. and Associates Inc.
GNA to start English skills curriculum
Learners program to help districts growing number of non-English native
Greater Nanticoke Area School District will start its own English Language Learners
program this fall to serve the growing number of non-English native speakers while
saving the district $40,000 a year.
received services from the Luzerne Intermediate Unit, which provides services
in language assistance and special education, among other services, to area school
districts. The educational program has previously been known as English as a Second
These ELL classes help non-native English
speaking students learn and master the English language. It doesnt matter
from what country the students or their families are from.
District Principal Michael Pawlik said the district has received an influx of
students who speak Russian and Chinese over the past few years.
said the district spent more than $100,000 last year for LIU teachers to work
with the students.
He added he and other district officials
were pleased with the LIUs assistance, but the district now feels it has
enough students needing services to assign an existing district teacher with an
ELL certification to work with the students.
were looking for ways to be as careful as we could with our financial resources.
One of the avenues we started to explore was if we had our own teacher, would
we be able to save money? The ultimate answer is yes we could save money instead
of contracting it out, Pawlik said.
LIU had four teachers, some part-time, assigned to work with 30 GNA students on
their English skills, said Joelle Lussi, LIU English as a Second Language coordinator.
Another nine students did not attend ELL classes, but were monitored by the LIU
staff to ensure they were keeping up with their peers in class.
fall the district is anticipating more than 30 students will need services, Pawlik
Thats up significantly from one or two
students needing language skills classes about seven years ago, when the district
first contracted for these services with the LIU, he said.
officials plan for the district teacher to work with students two to three hours
a day in a small group setting. Students would return to their classrooms after
It is important for them to establish
relationships with kids in classes. What we find, kids are amazing at overcoming
the language barrier, Pawlik said.
LIU program, ELL teachers are typically assigned to a district. By interacting
with students from kindergarten through 12th grade, the teacher moves around between
different campuses throughout the day, Lussi said.
as an Intermediate Unit support districts and provide services they can not provide
themselves. Whenever a district feels theyve developed the capacity to run
the program on their own and it would benefit them greatly to do it on their own,
then we continue to provide support to them, Lussi said.
GNA still being a part of the LIU as students receive other services, GNAs
ELL teacher can participate in ongoing teacher training seminars, she said.
Hazleton Area, Wilkes-Barre Area, Wyoming Valley West,
Pittston Area and Tunkhannock also have their own ESL programs, Lussi pointed
Every spring the students must take state-mandated
tests to evaluate their English skills.
mandates require a review of these and other test results, which, combined with
a teacher-prepared evaluation of the students skills, are used to determine
when students have mastered the English language enough to allow the student to
be enrolled in an English class with their peers.
S. Valley Parkway on agenda
Draft of Transportation
Improvement Program sees long-delayed road receiving funds in 2013, 2014.
South Valley Parkway might become a reality after years of delays.
A public hearing will be held at 10 a.m. July
21 at the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation District 4-0 office, ONeill
Highway in Dunmore. Call (570) 963-4052
Parkway was originally designed as a Sans Souci Parkway-style route to run from
Route 29 to Kirmar Parkway in Newport Township, paralleling the at-times extremely
narrow two-lane Middle Road.
But some area residents
and officials say theyll believe it when they see it.
draft of the 2011 Transportation Improvement Program released last week by The
Lackawanna/Luzerne County Metropolitan Planning Organization shows the project
could receive $13.5 million worth of funding in 2013 and 2014. An additional $29.7
million of funding could be supplied from 2015 through 2019 for a total of $43.2
million. There is no planning of money being set aside in 2011 or 2012.
project was once estimated to cost $30 million to $40 million in 2005, significantly
down from a cost of $48 million to $60 million in 2004. The current budget figures
are draft amounts that could be changed based on comments received during a public
hearing scheduled for 10 a.m. July 21 at the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
Headquarters in Dunmore.
Don Casterline, of Hanover
Townships Askam section, noted the roadway is desperately needed after being
proposed for what he said has been more than 25 years. Yet he also pointed out
that no one can be certain the money will be allocated due to the states
It would be great, but I
dont really foresee it happening. Weve heard this so much for so long.
With the financial condition of the state and PennDOT, I dont foresee this
happening any time in my lifetime, he said.
years ago, Casterline served on a committee offering suggestions on how the road
should be designed in hopes the new parkway would ease the heavy traffic on the
two-lane narrow Middle Road less than two feet from his front door.
the project moves forward, it might be conducted in phases, according to PennDOT
spokesperson Karen Dussinger. Due to construction costs and the complexity of
the project, the original four-lane roadway might be pared down to two lanes,
with an occasional expansion to three to four lanes in some areas.
Mayor Joe Dougherty believes the parkway, if built, could also solve traffic congestion
problems on the Sans Souci Parkway, Main Street through Nanticoke, as well as
Middle Road. Yet, like Casterline, hes skeptical.
a little more than a year ago, the South Valley Chamber of Commerce pushed for
PennDOT to turn its focus back to the project because chamber officials view it
as an escape safety route for the South Valley region.
Valley Chamber of Commerce President Jerry Hudack said he was happy to hear the
project is slated to receive funding.
He pointed out
if a biological or biochemical hazard occurred on the railroad tracks and caused
the Sans Souci Parkway to shut down, it could prevent Nanticoke and other South
Valley residents from being able to quickly evacuate because the only other route
would be Middle Road.
You could in effect cut
off your main evacuation route cutting off the Sans Souci. It would leave your
only alternative being this small two-lane road. It would be an extremely difficult
evacuation, Hudack said.
He said the parkway
could benefit the region economically because businesses may open shopping centers
or industrial parks along it. He noted if PPL builds a third reactor in its Salem
Township location, professionals building the unit will need places to sleep,
so hotels might dot the parkway.
There is really
going to be a dire need for this road and for highway and construction just to
keep things running normally and smoothly, Hudack said.
Church razing delays funeral home move
The owners of Kearney Funeral Home planned
on moving to their business to its new location in Nanticoke, but due to some
damage from the St. Francis Assisi Church demolition, they are planning on staying
at their South Prospect Street for several months.
Ruth Schwartz, from the Kearney Funeral Home, 22 S. Prospect St., Nanticoke, says
that due to the conditions of their new building at 173 E. Green St., Nanticoke,
they will postpone their move in order to support their patrons.
Nanticoke girls reign in softball
Morgan Briggs had two doubles and drove in three runs as
Nanticoke won the District 16 Little League minor softball championship on Saturday
with a 5-4 victory over Plains.
Miranda Dunn also had a double and drove in
a run for Nanticoke. Lindsey Rowles had two singles. Lauren Cann and Leandra Ramos
combined for 10 strikeouts.
Plains was led by Madison Pugh, who pitched six
innings and struck out six; and Bailey Cunningham, who had a double and drove
in three runs.
bike race puts a positive spin on the city
The event attracted bike enthusiasts
and promoted downtown revitalization and development.
Nardone - Times Leader
Bicycle enthusiasts from all
over the United States and some from as far away as Canada and New Zealand gathered
on Saturday to race in the streets of Nanticoke at the second annual Nanticoke
Criterium Race and Jack Williams Tire Youth Challenge.
sped along Kosciuszko Street turned on Union Street and circled behind the Nanticoke
Area John S. Fine High School with speeds reaching almost 30 miles per hour. Dressed
in brightly colored suits astride high tech racing machines, they cut through
tight corners with barely inches separating them.
different racing categories were set up. In the youth development categories,
the races included a 200-meter race for 6 year olds and under, a one-mile race
for 7 to 10 year olds and a three-mile race for 11 to 14 year olds. The youth
development races were sponsored by Jack Williams Tire.
adults competed in 21-mile races for juniors aged 17 and 18 and 45 years old plus
masters; a 25-mile race for women and a 36-mile race for top professionals.
Event promoter Phil Cable from Facet Cycling in West Pittston
said what started as a way to bring city youth out to enjoy healthy outdoor activity
grew into an event for participants of all ages.
race not only provided an opportunity for local bicyclers to race in a USA Cycling
event but also promoted downtown revitalization and community development, Cable
Mike Borowski, a councilman from the City of
Nanticoke, called the event a shot in the arm for all of Northeastern
Pennsylvania. It was a chance to bring in people from all over to see what the
area has to offer as well as to patronize local businesses.
a great turnout on a beautiful day, he said.
added the event did not cost taxpayers in anyway except for services provided
by the city police and fire, city housing and recreation departments, and Greater
Nanticoke Area School District, which provided the venue. Its good to see
the various agencies working together for the community, he added.
Kruszek, chairwoman of the Nanticoke recreation board, said city youth were offered
a chance to take part in a healthy activity. Residents were also able to enjoy
watching the event, she said.
Jean Ditzler, director
of the city housing authority, who initiated the event two years ago, said she
hopes it will expand over the coming years. It could change the image of Nanticoke
as a distressed city, she added. She hopes the children living in
the city housing will become more involved.
15, who came from Virginia to participate, said the course was very fast with
sharp turns. The back straight behind the school presented a challenging hill
climb, making the racers push to keep their power going.
Potter-Gydosh, from Wyoming borough, said she participated to support the local
Cycling is a social sport
with lots of camaraderie, she said.
Nanticoke start date of upgrades postponed
improvements, road repaving pushed back to next year. Mayor frustrated.
Construction on two major projects originally planned
to be completed before Luzerne County Community College students attend classes
in downtown Nanticoke this fall have been delayed again, city officials said.
The latest decision is a long list of delays that would
repave some bumpy city streets and give the downtown area a facelift.
project to resurface Alden, Union and Prospect streets has already been delayed
for at least five years.
It is now scheduled to start
in February. The project to install old-fashioned-style street lighting, improve
the sidewalks and add more parking in downtown might not begin until March, according
to a draft of the 2011 Transportation Improvement Program released Tuesday by
The Lackawanna/Luzerne County Metropolitan Planning Organization.
resurfacing project, using a combination of state and federal funding, is anticipated
to receive $2.26 million in 2012. Another $7 million is expected to be pumped
into the other project in 2011 and 2012, with the majority of $6.25 million coming
in the second year.
Nanticoke Mayor Joseph Dougherty
expressed his frustrations with the delays. He said he knows residents want these
projects to move forward as well, but the city has to wait for the state to bid
out the projects because the state is handling the expenditures.
projected start and the funds allocated to these two and other roadway and bridge
projects in the two counties has not been solidified.
are streets that are in dire need of repair. There is nothing we can do. We were
told this was going to be done this year, Dougherty said, adding that the
state handles the bid process and how the money is spent.
Boylan, staffer for state Rep. John Yudichak, D-Plymouth Township, said the city,
college, Yudichaks office and PennDOT are holding monthly meetings on the
St. Faustina Parish Festival coming this weekend
is an old saying that when God closes one door, he opens another.
Parishioners in Nanticoke are taking
that message to heart as members from six recently closed Catholic churches work
together to present the inaugural St. Faustina Parish Festival this weekend.
News of the Diocese of Scrantons plans to consolidate
several churches broke the hearts of many parishioners because they felt they
were losing their church.
The Rev. Jim Nash said he
was proud at how the members from the closed Nanticoke area churches Holy
Child, Holy Trinity, St. Francis, St. Joseph, St. Mary of Czestochowa and St.
Stanislaus were handling the consolidation.
really grateful to the people for trying so hard to make this happen, despite
their heartbreak. Positive things are happening, one of which is this church festival,
Festival Chairman Dennis Morgis of Mountain
Top said church members are viewing this consolidation and creation of St. Faustina
Roman Catholic Church as the dawn of a new era. He added that it is due in no
small part to the local leadership of Nash, who was a teacher in Wilkes-Barre
Area schools for more than 20 years before entering the priesthood 21 years ago.
Nash, a 68-year-old Hanover Township native, began serving
as pastor in Nanticoke churches five years ago.
is a great opportunity for the community of Nanticoke to come together as one.
The Catholic community of Nanticoke is very faith filled. Even though there are
churches that have been closed, in (parishioners) hearts theyre thankful
we have a priest like Father Jim to lead us, and it really doesnt really
matter what the name of the parish is or what building we are, but that we do
have an opportunity to worship freely, said Morgis, a Nanticoke native who
grew up in Holy Trinity parish.
St. Faustina started
serving the community on Saturday, Nash said. An inaugural Mass for St. Faustina
will be held at 11 a.m. July 18 at the former Holy Trinity site.
are other signs the consolidation is already strengthening the community. Nash
pointed out the new parishs combined choir, what he called the vibrant
youth program, and the 300-plus youth religious education program would not have
been possible with each church operating separately.
a sign of what can happen when we all come together. Even our Masses are filled
more than they were before. Its nice to come together with a church that
is filled with people. We are going to make it, Nash said.
St. Faustina Community has two worship sites. The primary site is the former Holy
Trinity Church at 520 S. Hanover St. St. Marys, down the street, will be
the alternate site.
The implementation team made up
of four members of each parish worked together to submit names to the diocese
of what they would like the new church to be called.
first request, Divine Mercy, was already designated for a church in the Scranton
area, so the Nanticoke cluster of churches was given the name St. Faustina, who
is the saint of divine mercy.
In the past, each of
the former parishes held its own bazaar every summer. In the last few years, only
Holy Trinity and St. Marys have put on church festivals.
said they are making this event, the St. Faustina bazaar, a combined festival
of all the former church bazaars. Members from all the old parishes are working
to merge a collection of ethnic foods that will be held Friday and Saturday at
the Holy Child Grove in Sheatown.
Morgis said the St.
Faustina bazaar has already raised more money in the pre-sale of food tickets
than Holy Trinity raised each year in its pre-sales for the last four to five
I think there is a momentum by the people
in Nanticoke to come together. Weve seen that through the businesses that
have sponsored stands, through the people who have come together to make the food,
Music Fest Committee extends thanks to community
Putting on the Nanticoke Music Fest is very
costly! Every year we depend on our advertisers and band sponsor to help us financially
present the Music Fest.
Without the following sponsors
this annual fun event would not take place: Asco Financial Group Inc., Luzerne
County Convention and Visitors Bureau, PPL, PNC Bank, J.P. Mascaro & Sons
and the many patrons, organizations and vendors from all around Nanticoke and
the surrounding communities.
Our volunteers start organizing
the Music Fest in early January. Thank you to Yvonne Bozinski, Doc Halliday, Jim
(J.D.) Verazin, Matt Forgach, Theresa Sowa, Brenda Sowa, Joseph Walter and Tracy
Tushinski and espically Betsy Cheshinski and all of the office staff at City Hall
for all of their help.
Without Mayor Joseph Dougherty
and city council, this could not have been possible. We also want to thank them
The Music Fest committee will be having
fundraisers to defray the cost of next year's Music Fest within the following
months. Please see our website www.nanticokecity.com for upcoming information.
Every year for the past 13 years, the Music Fest committee
has vowed to bring you a bigger and better Music Fest the following year. Watch
out for our Music Fest next summer!
Jim (J.D.) Verazin
Church comes down, but faith goes on
NANTICOKE The walls
of another closed church have toppled and been reduced to dust, and on Thursday,
parishioners reverently took pieces of the building with them to honor in their
homes like the ashes of a beloved relative.
Charles Marcella, who was a parishioner of St. Francis of Assisi Church all his
life, takes a keepsake brick from the rubble of the Nanticoke church that was
being demolished Thursday afternoon. St. Francis of Assisi was the first Catholic
church in Nanticoke, built in 1874.
S. JOHN WILKIN/THE
Select images available for purchase in the
As crews demolished the St. Francis
of Assisi Church in Nanticoke on Thursday, members of its congregation came to
pay a final visit.
Charles and Mary Ann Marcella of
Sheatown watched as the walls of the only church they ever knew came down.
It was just so sad. I cried when I watched,
Mary Ann Marcella, 68, said. Its hard to describe how you feel. You
St. Francis of Assisi officially
closed in 2009 due to structural problems in the buildings roof that made
it unfit for occupation.
The Marcellas served on a
committee to raise money to repair the roof. Though they were able to raise about
$125,000, the funds did not even come close to the amount necessary for the repair.
Charles Marcella, 70, said he took four bricks from oldest
sections of the church, dating to its construction in 1874. St. Francis of Assisi
was the oldest Catholic church in Nanticoke.
Marcella said he plans to keep one in the home he shares with his wife in Sheatown.
He said he wants to have a plaque embossed with an image of the church made to
attach to the brick, something he did with a brick from his alma mater, Nanticoke
The Marcellas were both baptized in the church,
as were their two children and one grandchild. They were also confirmed and married
in the church, which Mary Ann Marcella called the only church we ever knew.
Mary Ann Marcella remembered crowning a statue of the Virgin
Mary with flowers as a child and more than 50 years of spaghetti dinners at the
We always had a lot of fun working together,
She said the women with whom she used to
organize the dinners have maintained contact through a forget-me-not club,
meeting several times a year to share a meal and discuss old times.
said she hopes the group will stay together and gather new members when parishioners
join the newly created St. Faustina Parish in July.
want to stay together with our people from Nanticoke, Mary Ann Marcella
demolition tears down rectory wall
Bill Kearney just finished taking a
shower and was about to leave his house for lunch. On his way down the steps to
the first floor, Kearney walked into a room full of debris.
saw a cloud of dust and I thought, if all my windows are closed, how did the dust
get in here?" Kearney said.
When he entered the
room, he found bricks and broken glass and a huge hole in his wall. As a construction
crew demolished the St. Francis of Assisi Church next to his home, a first-floor
wall in Kearney's home was knocked out while he was inside.
recently purchased the rectory next to St. Francis of Assisi Church in Nanticoke.
Kearney was moving the Kearney Funeral Home from the old location at 22 S. Prospect
St. to the first floor of the rectory because it was more spacious. The room that
was going to serve as the new viewing room was damaged.
"brand new room" was recently renovated and decorated with new drapes
and new carpets, he said.
"Everything is gone,"
he said. "They told us to pack a bag and get out."
said he was told the house was not "structurally sound" and it wasn't
safe to stay there. The wall that was knocked out held up the second floor, where
Kearney and his wife, Maryann, live. He said he didn't have an estimate as to
how much it would cost to rebuild the room.
he was just grateful no one was injured. Maryann, who attended the church for
65 years, was sad it was being demolished.
was at work and I didn't want to see it get torn down," she said, "but
I had to see it when I went to get clothes."
and his wife said they would be staying in a hotel until their home is fixed.
Across the street from the church, about 10 people gathered
to catch one last glimpse of their former church before it became a pile of rubble.
Sylvia Keber of Nanticoke attended the church for 60 years
and went to school there. Keber walked on the property and grabbed a brick from
the pile of debris.
"I just can't get over it,"
Keber said. "I got the brick as a reminder."
ranging from children to high school students to senior citizens gathered to see
their church one last time. Bernard Kolodziej of Nanticoke was driving by and
stopped to snap pictures. Though he wasn't a member of the church, Kolodziej said
he attended it periodically over the years.
many of my friends had their baptism here," Kolodziej said. "I got the
pictures for memories."
The new funeral home was
supposed to open July 1, but since the room was destroyed, Kearney said the old
funeral home will remain open until the new location is fixed.
God nobody got hurt," he said. "The building can be fixed."
Moms persistence helped student graduate
of Gina Piccotti upset over districts oversight regarding senior year events.
persistence of Gina Piccottis mother ensured Piccotti graduated with other
members of her senior class at the Greater Nanticoke Area School District earlier
Piccotti, who has Down syndrome , attends
the Wilkes-Barre Area Career and Technical Center, but her home school campus
is Nanticoke Area. Her mother, Dorothy Briggs, said a June 3 call from her daughters
teacher at the vo-tech school alerted Briggs that 18-year old daughter had satisfied
the requirements for graduation. The teacher went on to inform Briggs that she
had not received a message back from school officials to learn more about graduation
activities for Piccotti.
Yet Briggs of Wapwallopen
said she never received a call, paperwork or any other type of information from
the district alerting the family that Piccotti would graduate.
feels the district just forgot about her daughter. She said she wonders what happens
to the districts other special needs children.
is upset that no one from the district made any effort to include her daughter
in the various senior activities and traditional graduation preparations of being
fitted for the cap and gown, get a yearbook picture taken, participating in the
senior class trip to Florida or getting paperwork to order a high school class
It is too late for me and Gina, but I dont
want to see another special needs child go through this. They are all children
and they deserve as normal as you can get. To me she is normal, Briggs said.
Nanticoke Area Superintendent Tony Perrone strongly disagreed
that the district knowingly forget about any of its students. He noted he learned
of the incident Friday morning.
Perrone said the district
had a breakdown of communication with a school official that handles the accounts
regarding special needs students. That official should have informed the district
that Piccotti was eligible for graduation, yet in this case it fell through the
cracks, Perrone said.
He said the issue has been addressed
to make sure this does not happen to another student.
wont happen ever again. Does she have a right to be angry? Yes, she does,
He added if he or Principal Stuart Tripler
had known Piccotti was eligible for graduation she and her family would have been
informed of all the activities involving the senior class.
make matters worse Piccottis last name was misspelled in the graduation
brochures and on her diploma, her mother said. It was missing the second c. The
school issued another diploma for Piccotti, this time with the correct spelling,
She is happy the school apologized, found
a cap and gown for her daughter and allowed her to graduate with her class. Yet
she still wants to make sure other students are not overlooked in the future.
You have to speak up for the children because they
dont speak up for themselves. You have to have someone speak up on their
behalf, Briggs said.
Tyme to make a comeback
a triumphant return at Nanticokes Musicfest earlier this month, Tyme Band
is ready to rock again.
Brad Patton For
The Times Leader
reunited Tyme Band made its debut at the most recent Nanticoke Musicfest. Members
are lead vocalist Jim (J.D.) Verazin, Tom Cipriani on bass guitar and backup vocals,
Rick Wells on lead guitar and backup vocals and Steve Cipriani on drums.
group, which originally consisted of singer Jim (J.D.) Verazin, Tom Cipriani (bass
and backing vocals), Rick Wells (lead guitar and backing vocals) and drummer Pete
Wanchisen, was a popular fixture on the local-music circuit in the late 1970s
through 1988, when Verazin left to pursue other endeavors. (The other guys soldiered
on until 1996.)
After meeting up at a couple of pig roasts over the past few
years, the guys decided to get back together.
They got me to sing at
the first pig roast, and then we started talking about getting the band back together,
lead vocalist Verazin said.
Eventually we started practicing (last June),
and we already knew 10 songs. We just kept adding to that.
drummer Wanchisen travels a lot for business, the guys drafted Ciprianis
son Steve to fill in.
He grew up with Tyme Band, so he already knew
the songs, Verazin said.
The reunited quartet is now looking to get
back on the circuit and willing to play weddings, anniversaries and reunions.
We dont want to do bars because we had enough of that before,
And theres really not a lot of bars and clubs to
play these days, at least not like in the 70s and 80s.
said the band is ready to go with the music it used to play, mostly classic rock
of the 1970s and 1980s.
With a DJ to take over when the band goes on break,
Tyme Band can provide four hours of continuous music.
You could check
out our full song list on our website, but we are playing the songs of the late
70s and early 80s, some country rock, and we also do some polkas because
when we were together we used to play a lot of bazaars, Verazin said.
We were very popular back then, he continued.
I played in
bands off and on since 1969, Toms been in bands for 35 years, and Rick is
the same way. We bring a lot of years of experience, and the harmony is still
For more information on Tyme Band, check out its website at
tymeband.net or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
for bookings and information.
GNA taxes wont be increasing
The school board
hires 10 new teachers for the 2010-2011 school year.
The Greater Nanticoke Area School Board on Thursday
unanimously approved a $25.4 million budget with no tax increases for the 2010-2011
Board member Sylvia Mizdail was the only member absent.
property tax rate will remain at 9.9295 mills. A mill is a tax of $1 for every
$1,000 of assessed property value.
Most of the districts
revenue comes from the state at $15.9 million, with $7.7 million generated from
property and earned income taxes and $1.8 million from the federal government.
The districts largest expenses are salaries of $10.3
million and benefits of $4.4 million.
Tony Prushinski said he was pleased with the budget being able to provide quality
services to students without raising taxes.
am just very happy that we dont have to have a tax increase for our citizens
of the Greater Nanticoke Area. I think the budget is 100 percent perfect and I
could not be happier, Prushinski said.
also approved a year-long contract with J.P. Mascaro for $210.98 per day for trash
service. Superintendent Tony Perrone said the district received three bids for
the trash removal. He said that while Mascaro was not the lowest bidder, the other
companies were only slightly cheaper.
a difference of $144 per year. They choose Mascaro because Mascaro has been with
us and they have given us good service when we needed it, he said.
board also approved two contracts through the state minimum pricing through the
Pennsylvania Department of Education, Food and Nutrition division. Those contracts
went to Butter-Krust Baking Co. for bread and West Side Dairy for milk.
amounts of the contracts were not available.
teachers were hired for the 2010-2011 school year. Jason Prushinski, Jessica Cashner
and Megan Leonard were hired as special education teachers. Jennifer Ferro, April
Williams, Jesica Holton, Mahnon Smith and Kelly McCabe were hired as elementary
teachers. Megan Momenzadeh and Nicholas Rauh were hired as secondary math teachers.
All will be paid as specified in the teachers contract,
but those amounts were not available. Prushinski is not related to board member
plunk goes the ball and splash goes the victim, money
goes ka-ching to a good cause, and its all in fun
Ten-year-old Ryan Sauers wanted it more than presents
on Christmas morning.
His favorite 5th grade teacher,
Ron Bruza, was sitting just inches above gallons of murky, cold water.
his turn came, Sauers couldnt decide whether six or nine balls would get
the job done to dunk his math, science and social studies teacher.
Mr. Bruza, the 10-year-old screamed with anticipation at the Nanticoke Music
Fest held June 3, 4 and 5. Youre gonna get wet!
a Greater Nanticoke Area teacher and head coach of the high schools varsity
football team, smiled as Sauers took his first throw, taunting him every step
of the way.
You throw like a girl, Bruza
joked, as each ball missed the plunger that would send Bruza dropping into the
Sauers gave up on the balls, and chose to
go the easy route running up to the plunger, releasing Bruza into the murky
Hey, hey, hey! Bruza said,
as Sauers walked away, pouting at being unable to successfully dunk his teacher
with his pitching arm.
But Bruza, and the nearly dozen
of other fellow teachers that would become dunkees over the three-day period wouldnt
get away that easy.
The dunk tank, rented from Fundraising
USA in Wilkes-Barre, held gallons of water and was set up by Bruza to support
the football teams booster club.
that the dunk tank was formerly operated by the high school girls soccer team,
and coach Ryan Amos, who decided to give it up this year.
Amos didnt get that far away, as he, too, became a dunkee and was prey to
dozens of students eager to dish out some payback to teachers.
said he decided to take it over, and learned how to rent the tank, rent the space
at the music fest and operate the contraption.
money raised will eventually trickle down to the kids to pay for uniforms, pads,
shoes and a yearly pizza party, Bruza said, adding the money will help other
booster club events as well.
But before Bruza took
the seat in the dunk tank, teacher Ed Lukowski was up first.
a shirt that said Cant dunk this, Lukowski, a technology and
computer instructor, heckled his students passing by.
we dunk you, will you fail us? one girl asked.
yelled Lukowski was afraid.
I dont want
to be in that water, Lukowski said. Its cold!
an announcer at the band shell at Patriot Park said the dunk tank was open for
And it wasnt long before the booster
club had a stack of money and a long line of eager students.
Cunningham, 12, took a number of tries at dunking her computer lab teacher, but
all proved unsuccessful.
I will try again, I
think its rigged, she said, which seemed to be the theme of each student
who failed to douse their teacher.
Then, a smart 14-year-old
Raymond Rittenhouse enlisted his best buddy, Steven Uravage, 17, to do his dirty
Raymond, a student of Lukowskis, provided
his friend with the funds.
And Uravage provided the
After three balls failed Uravage, he decided
to use brute force in pushing the plunger, sending Lukowski into the cold water
he so dearly wanted to stay out of.
(Uravage) to dunk him like a donut! Raymond laughed.
then, it was 5-year-old Sophie Lukowskis turn.
three balls she and her mother, Wendy, purchased to dunk their father and husband
So, the 5-year-old implored the
help of Bruza in pushing the plunger to dunk her dad.
And it worked again on a second try.
pushed him in again! Sophie shrieked with excitement.
Sophie didnt get away scot-free.
Her father returned
the soaking by splashing his daughter as she ran away.
much for the Cant dunk this shirt, a passerby said.
Benefit today for Nanticoke woman battling cancer
the light glints off the bald heads of Michelle Myers' friends, she'll know she
has their love and support as she continues her battle with terminal cancer.
Myers, of Nanticoke, was diagnosed with terminal cancer and has been undergoing
chemotherapy since last October. Her friends are hosting a benefit for the 48-year-old
today at the Quoit Club in Nanticoke to help Myers pay her medical bills.
Marlene Hermanofski had the idea for the benefit through the Nanticoke Quoit Club,
with the help of Myers's son Shawn, sister Ann Marie Alberola, and their other
friends. Marlene's daughters, Angela and Heather Chapman, and their aunt, Corrine
Hermanofski, will shave their heads in solidarity with Myers.|
all her hair in November due to the evasive chemotherapy she must endure weekly
for the past eight months. She is afflicted with stage 4 ovarian and pelvic cancer,
which has spread to her liver, pancreas and abdomen.
Still she remains upbeat,
determined to make the best of her last days.
"I'm not going to lay down
and die," she said. "I just keep going."
Angela Chapman said
she agreed to chop her hair after it came up in conversation one day. She's always
kept her tresses long, so a clean-shaven head will be a big change. Still, it's
worth it, she said.
"She's very excited that people are willing to do
that for her, to walk around basically bald," she said.
in a ponytail, measures 11 inches, enough to donate to Locks of Love, the organization
that fashions wigs for cancer patients who lose their hair during chemotherapy
Shawn Myers, 22, began growing his hair for Locks of Love once
his mom was diagnosed, but "I still have a long way to go," he said.
He was impressed with the women's bravery and commitment to his mother.
actually crazy. That girl has hair down to her knee caps," Shawn Myers said
of Angela Chapman.
Myers said the support she's seen since her diagnosis has
been overwhelming. Her former colleagues at Birchwood Nursing and Rehabilitation
Center held a fundraiser for her. On Wednesday night, a friend gave her $400 to
buy supplies for today's benefit. Their kindness as well as that of the benefit's
organizers should be recognized, she added.
"You don't see that too often,"
The benefit for Michelle
Myers, diagnosed with terminal cancer, will be held from 1 to 7 p.m. today at
the Nanticoke Quoit Club, 422 Railroad St., Nanticoke, behind Lacey's Bar, Main
Street, Nanticoke. Tickets for the event are $20 per person, which includes food,
refreshments and a DJ. Tickets will be available at the door.
St. Stans is Nanticokes 5th recent closing
St. Stanislaus, Luzerne Countys oldest Polish parish, to become part of
new St. Faustinas.
Ralph Nardone -
Another church closed as the consolidation
of the Catholic Community of Nanticoke continued. The Church of Saint Stanislaus,
Bishop and Martyr conducted its closing liturgy on Sunday afternoon. It was the
fifth church to close in the Nanticoke area with the last one, Holy Child in Sheatown,
closing next week.
The six will be combined into one
larger parish named St. Faustinas.
of St. Stans, Rev. James Nash, and the future pastor of the new St. Faustinas
asked for tolerance and forgiveness from the dedicated congregation.
135-year-old parish was founded by Polish immigrants in 1875 and is the fourth
oldest Polish parish in the United States, the oldest one in Luzerne County.
Nash acknowledged the importance of the rich history involved
in the church. He added Sunday was a very heart wrenching day.
I was fortunate to be your pastor, he told
the parishioners, some who were openly weeping. Your welcoming faith and
spirit encouraged me. You are good holy people.
forward to a new assignment overseeing St. Faustinas, Nash pleaded with
the parishioners to support the change.
make it vibrant and spirit-filled, he said. Take your power and strength
to the new parish.
He also asked for help. I
cant do it alone, he said. I need each one of you to make it
happen, he said.
The congregation applauded as
he reminisced about the many different pastors who have served St. Stans
over the years. Several sat on the altar during the closing ceremony to revisit
their old flock.
After the ceremony, the congregation
somberly walked about two city blocks to Holy Trinity Church, where St. Faustinas
will be based. Holy Trinity had spun off from St. Stanislaus in 1894.
choir sang Polish hymns and members of the youth group carried the religious artifacts
and books over to be placed on the altar at the new church. They also brought
a statue of St. Stanislaus that now sits at the new altar.
Simoncavage, a parishioner of St. Stans for 30years, said most of the members
at St. Stans wanted it to remain open even if the name changed.
said the church has no steps, a strong climate control system and easy access
to rest room facilities for the older members.
than anything, Simoncavage said the closing left him feeling terrible.
Barbara Wideman, of Luzerne, attended St. Stans for
more than 30 years before moving out of Nanticoke. She made the trip back for
She pointed out how less and less
people attended services there over the last few years. She often wondered how
they were able to manage the church with so few active members.
went there on Sunday to say goodbye to the priests shes known over the years
who have baptized her son, buried her parents and her first husband.
a sad day, she said.
of the Big 6 is not about winning the jackpot
Sun at Pocono Downs is poised to open its new table gaming section and bring Vegas-style
action to the Wyoming Valley, but the crowd gathered round the Big 6 at the Newport
Township Volunteer Fire Company and Newport Little League Bazaar May 28 could
They have all the excitement they need,
the excitement that has always been there.
a warmth gathered round the Big 6 stand, an easiness in the posture of the players
and a friendliness in conversation that a casino, despite its higher stakes, its
bright lights and jingle-jangle, just cant match.
its because the bazaar Big 6 wheel in all its many incarnations is not about
winning it big at all. Its less about the excitement that casinos and racetracks
peddle than it is about a purer form of fun.
part of that atmosphere is provided by the person spinning the wheel.
a casino, you wont see your dealer spin the roulette wheel and pass out
chips with one hand and cup of beer with another. Your dealer wont jostle
you when you lose, or tell you keep it coming. Your dealer wont
stash a stack of potato pancakes on the edge of the game table to snack on between
In short, you wont have a dealer like
Spencer, 35, a network engineer and volunteer
coach of the Newport Phillies Little League team, spends his weekend shuffling
between the wheels side and game tables, joking with players as he counts
out ones and quarters.
Spencer says he likes the personal
element of the job and interacting with the public, getting to know repeat customers
who oscillate between the beer stand and the wheel.
2010 bazaar was Spencers first manning the big wheel, but not his first
volunteering. Spencer says he earned his post by putting in two years working
in the bazaars kitchen.
Its not an easy
job, or a light responsibility. Spencer says he estimates more than $500 crosses
his tables each of the bazaars three nights. He will work seven hours each
night, not including setup and cleaning, and though he can eat and drink on the
job, his only breaks come when no one wants to play. Breaks didnt come often
Friday or Saturday night. Spencer spins the wheel about once a minute when the
stand is busy and he needs to collect and pay out up to 10 bets.
Spencer says working the wheel beats the heat of the kitchen, saying he likes
interacting with bazaar-goers and the click of the wheel.
arm still doesnt hurt by the end of his first night, he says.
come in all shapes and sizes. One young man appears at the table, slaps $1 down
hard atop the number six, and hollers his number in a clipped hoarse grunt. The
wheel turns up trip fives, and he is gone as swiftly as he materialized.
is less obvious. Straddling the corner with one foot in, one foot out of the game,
he keeps a low profile during his 15 minutes at the table.
guy just lost about $40, Spencer says after he leaves.
says the player is a rarity. With a $2 max bet, few shirts are lost at the bazaar
The average person loses five, ten bucks
and walks away, Spencer said.
Brian Lawall, 17,
a student at Greater Nanticoke Area High School, spends an hour at the table,
divided between 30-minute stints. Betting only in quarters, he works his way to
He says he likes the rush he gets when the wheel
lands on his number, but has only had the courage to make the $2 max bet once.
I was getting daring, he says, adding that
he doubled his money.
Of course, most dont step
to the Big 6 rail hoping to take the house. Bazaars are, after all, fundraisers,
and winnings often find their way back to the bazaar coffers. A few bucks won
might mean a second helping of pierogies, taking another chance on a door prize
or one more beer.
Barbara Keener, Plymouth, goes on
a hot streak, getting up a few dollars on 50-cent bets. Though she will eventually
lose it all, Keener says she wouldnt mind taking a little back. Also a volunteer
at the bazaar, Keener said she spent about $40 Friday night and another $20 Saturday.
Its for the kids, she said, and, win
or lose, Keener, like others gathers around the Big 6, has a smile on her face.
She isnt ecstatic with the rush of a big win or tantalized
by the prospect of it, shes just happy to be there.
pleasure is one that isnt contingent on winning or losing, but sits purely
in helping out a worthy cause.
The little league, the
volunteer fire department, and, at other bazaars, the local parish, they are the
parishioners lament church consolidation
When the symphony of church bells no
longer chimes throughout Nanticoke, Jerry Hudak believes residents will realize
what they lost.
Hudak, a member of the now-shuttered
St. Joseph's Church, said silence at the noon and six o'clock hours in parts of
the city will be a daily reminder that the Catholic worship sites have been drastically
"It's coming down to a solitary
one or two," he said. "It's sad for the whole community."
church doors close for the final time, parishioners of the six Roman Catholic
churches in Nanticoke will come together, much like the pieces of a puzzle, to
create a new religious identity at St. Faustina's.
has been a difficult process. For many people it's like a death," said the
Rev. Jim Nash, pastor. "But for the most part, I have people to embrace the
change in the midst of their sorrow. â?¦ We want our faith to survive."
St. Francis of Assisi Church was the first to shut down
in May 2009 after structural problems hastened its closure. The parishioners held
their final Mass in a tent outside the 137-year-old church, then assimilated into
St. Joseph's. The members of three more, St. Joseph's, St. Mary of Czestochowa
and Holy Trinity, bolted their churches' doors last month in a series of emotional
closing Masses. St. Stanislaus will hold its final Mass today at 3 p.m., while
the parishioners at Holy Child will hold theirs June 27, three days before deadline
The new parish will take the moniker
of St. Faustina, a Polish nun who reported Jesus appeared to her in a vision as
the King of Divine Mercy.
The name is fitting, Nash
said, since the parishioners' first choice was Divine Mercy, a Roman Catholic
devotion focused on the mercy of God. That name was taken by another church in
the diocese, however, Nash said.
has worn many hats during the more than 50 years she's attended St. Stanislaus.
She's contributed her services as a lector, eucharistic minister, and generally
pitched in wherever help was needed.
on Sunday, churchgoers will have heavy hearts, but it's just part of the changes
of life people have to expect.
in there, pull together and be one," she said. That's what we can do and
that's how we should do it."
Arlene Matthews has
attended St. Stanislaus for 73 years, since the day she was baptized. She became
more active in the church since around age 10, when her father told her "it
was my church and I needed to work for it," she recalled.
choir practice last Tuesday, Matthews said she was surprised to find herself overcome
with emotion at losing the church that's been the site of her life milestones.
"I couldn't stop the tears," she said. "It's
not Sunday yet."
Still, Matthews and her family
are ready to take their places in the pews at St. Faustina's.
of the six parish churches were built by Polish immigrants and their descendants.
St. Stanislaus was the first, and over the years three more churches formed as
the population grew. Holy Trinity was formed in 1894, after a rift between parishioners
drove many from St. Stanislaus. St. Mary of Czestochowa later split off from Holy
Trinity. Holy Child, built in 1939 as a chapel for the children at St. Stanislaus
orphanage, was transformed into a parish church. The orphanage closed in 1972.
In the meantime, St. Francis Church became the site of worship for the Irish and
Italians, while St. Joseph's Church was the Slovak stronghold.
drew a parallel between the closures and the churches the founding immigrants
left behind as they came to America.
came here they had nothing but their faith and created these beautiful churches,"
he said. "And now we have to do the same thing."
and more parishioners have begun referring to the parish as St. Faustina's, Nash
said, a sign that acceptance may be under way. A welcoming Mass for the about
2,800 families in the new parish will be held June 18, at the former Holy Trinity
Church on Hanover Street. The former St. Mary of Czestochowa will become an auxiliary
site for the new parish.
"It's starting to happen,"
To honor the history of the individual churches,
statues, banners and fixtures from each will find a home at St. Faustina's, Nash
said. The various church communities have already been cooperating for years,
Nash said, sharing missions like the religious education and youth ministry programs,
and a combined choir for special occasions.
her husband, Edwin, and her granddaughter Morgan have been flitting between the
churches for some time, offering their services when required. Matthews said her
10-year-old grandaughter always jumps at the chance to be an altar server, no
"She would serve every day if she
had a choice," she laughed.
Hudak, a life member
and sexton at St. Joseph's, said its parishioners thought they had a good chance
at remaining open, until the final decision on closures came down in 2009 as a
result of the diocese's restructuring plan.
five years we were really fixing it up for the future," he said. "That
was a little special hurt along the way."
St. Joseph's closure, Hudak and his wife, Dorothy, journeyed to Ocean City, Md.,
to get some rest, relaxation and time to mull over which parish they will be joining
on their return to Nanticoke. He said they aren't certain yet if they will join
St. Faustina's parish or choose another.
a traumatic thing," he said.
Nanticoke football coach sues district
A former Greater Nanticoke Area
football coach is suing the district to recover more than $7,000 in pay he claims
he is owed for the 2009 season.
After dealing with
health problems during the season, Lou Cella resigned as head coach in November.
According to a lawsuit filed Tuesday by attorney Thomas
O'Connor, Cella was to receive a $6,800 football coach salary and an $800 stipend
for supervising football players' weight lifting training, which began in early
January and stopped at the end of the coaching season.
the end of the season, Cella put in a formal request for his salary and stipend.
He made several additional requests and received no payment.
main point is he didn't receive a dime for all of it," O'Connor said. In
September, Cella told The Citizens' Voice that his doctor was keeping him away
from Nanticoke Area football games after he suffered a heart attack in August.
O'Connor said Cella's work began well before the football season.
and women are acting coaches the whole year," he said. "It's not just
a closed period of time."
Cella wants the district
to pay him his salary, the stipend and attorney's fees, at a total cost not to
Steve Bennett, staff writer, contributed
to this report.
Warrior Run mulls cop options
Borough officials investigating
whether Nanticoke city police can provide patrol services.
With 10 Warrior Run residents and borough council
members present at a town hall meeting Tuesday night, Nanticoke officials answered
questions about how the city would provide 24-hour police protection to the borough.
Warrior Run and Nanticoke council members are in negotiations
to determine if Nanticoke will provide police coverage to the 2-square-mile borough
that is roughly a mile from the Nanticoke border.
a contract is eventually approved, it would be for one year and then reevaluated
at that point.
Nanticoke Police Chief James Cheshinski
and Nanticoke Mayor Joe Dougherty answered questions for about 15 minutes at the
meeting at the Warrior Run Volunteer Fire Hall.
borough spends about $34,000 per year on police protection with part-time officers.
Nanticoke officials now think the city could provide services for about $42,000
per year, but the final figure has yet to be worked out.
noted negotiations were in the infant stages right now and there were
some things still to be worked out, including the finances.
Buckland, a borough resident for 30 years, pointed out it recently took the state
police 2 1/2 hours to respond to a call of a burglarized home. He said he was
also concerned about how many squad cars would patrol and if police would respond
to every call or just high-profile incidents.
had questions because they are taking on the additional responsibility of 800
residents here, but its still spreading the butter thin and not putting
on any additional people, so the butter is getting spread thinner, Buckland
Cheshinski said the department, which operates
24 hours a day, has two to three officers who patrol at night, but they would
not have to go out of their way to patrol the borough when they make their rounds
through the Hanover section of Nanticoke.
He said he
also felt the Nanticoke department could provide protection without any problems
or having to add officers.
We dont feel
it would be a burden for us to patrol this section of Warrior Run. Its not
a big area, its a very small area and adjunct to where we already patrol.
... It does make a lot more sense to have a full-time police force working for
you, Cheshinski said.
After the meeting, Buckland
said he was willing to at least give Nanticoke a shot at trying to provide service.
On the surface (it seems like it would work), but
you have to have a trial period. In two months I might say, holy crap, this
sucks, but at the moment, on the surface, why not give it a try, he
Warrior Run Councilman Larry Siejak said he was
pleased with how the meeting transpired, but he noted both communities were still
discussing the issue and getting all the facts.
2 home rule efforts set to begin
Study panels for
Nanticoke and Plymouth Township to swear in members.
- Edited by Nanticoke City Webdesign
local home rule study commissions approved by voters in May are taking their next
The seven members of the Nanticoke government
study commission will be sworn-in during todays 7 p.m. council meeting at
the Nanticoke Municipal Building.
At that time the
members will decide when and where they will hold their first meeting, commission
member Linda Prushinski said.
In Nanticoke, the seven
commission members are: Yvonne Bozinski, William F. Brown, Gerald J. Hudack Sr.,
Leonard Omolecki, Robert J. Katra, Prushinski and Gary Smith.
first meeting of the commission must be held within 15 days of the county Board
of Elections certifying the official votes from the May 18 primary. The votes
were certified May 27.
Members of the commission will
begin meeting for the next nine months to conduct an in-depth study of their municipal
governments to determine their governments weaknesses or defects and to
look at how other municipalities operate.
commissioners will either decide that no changes are needed or they will draft
charters detailing how the governments will operate. If they decide charters are
needed, members will meet to draft the charters before presenting them to voters
in each municipality to be approved or rejected.
Closing of historic Polish church nears
St. Stanislaus to shut doors Sunday as part of consolidation.
It was founded by Polish immigrants fleeing a Prussian
occupation that barred them from speaking their own language.
grew big enough to help support a school, a convent and an orphanage and
to split in 1894 when an angry faction of 2,400 parishioners left to form another
parish down the road, Holy Trinity.
At the venerable
age of 135, St. Stanislaus parish in Nanticoke is the fourth oldest Polish Roman
Catholic church in the nation, and the oldest in Luzerne County a distinction
that will disappear as the doors are shut for good June 6.
has such a history, long-time member Frank Mrufchinski said as he sat in
a pew on a recent weekday afternoon, sun streaming through the stained glass.
People dont even know what were losing.
Stanislaus is just one of scores of churches being closed in the Diocese of Scranton,
but Mrufchinski feels the age and saga of St. Stans makes the loss particularly
hard for him and some others in the parish. He feels its also the end of
an important part of the countys history.
believe in obedience to the pope and to the bishop, and I wish Bishop Joseph Bambera
the best, Mrufchinski stressed, But its painful. I never thought
Id live to see this kind of day.
considering the church has been a fierce survivor, according to a history written
on its centennial in 1975 by the late Jule Znaniecki, a Nanticoke native and local
historian who lived to be 100 herself.
survived through two world wars that saw Poland overrun by conquerors the
churchs pastor was visiting his native land in 1939 and barely escaped via
Budapest shortly before the Nazi invasion. It survived a flu epidemic that led
to the establishment of St. Stanislaus Orphanage in 1918, which, while supported
by many parishes, got its biggest boost from St. Stans.
survived not only the 1894 rift that led to a new parish, but a 1912 dispute over
who should be pastor that led to a Catholic interdict, or closing
of the church, for more than a year.
Despite such setbacks,
St. Stanislaus grew to well over 2,000 parishioners at its apex, spawned multiple
religious societies, hosted a Boy Scouts of America troop, launched one of the
earliest annual church bazaars in the area and boasted a choir that won awards,
He concedes the numerous church closings
are partly our fault.
Too many of us are
caught up in the material world and consumerism. We dont encourage our children
to enter the religious life. Were not giving enough for the upkeep of the
churches. The issues are so complex.
respectfully suggests a parish that thrived for the better part of 13 decades
should get more consideration before being shuttered. A church is here over
125 years, and they do a study and in a year they make a decision? The church,
he notes, was spruced up 10 years ago for the parishs 125th anniversary,
including new windows one, in the choir loft, was donated by he and his
sister in memory of their father.
Along with a rich
history, St. Stanislaus boasts a massive, ornately carved pulpit with an uncertain
fate. That pulpit is priceless, Mrufchinski said. The parish saw more
than two dozen of its members go on to become priests or religious sisters. Mrufchinski
himself is a lay brother of the Franciscan Order, devoted to a life of prayer
and service, and earning the right to be buried in the orders garb.
When the diocesewide closings were unveiled, Luzerne County
faced the loss of about half its churches. Nanticoke was slated to lose five of
its six. St. Stanislaus joined six diocesan churches that filed formal appeals
to reverse the closing decision, but the appeal was rejected.
said the pain from the closing was more than he was willing to take, and that
he recently joined St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Wilkes-Barre, where
other members of his family belong. But his heart still clearly longs for the
areas first Polish Roman Catholic Church, a parish that arguably exemplifies
how much the faith impacted the county over the last century and how much
those closing parishes impacted the tens of thousands of individuals watching
the doors lock.
Its part of your life.
All those years, he said. Its a part of us.
Memorial Day becomes 'portal of grief'
placing some patriotic decorations at her husband's grave, Amy Patton reflected
on how the meaning of Memorial Day changes as a war widow.
granddaughter of two World War II veterans who died before she was born, she fondly
recalls visiting their graves every Memorial Day to place flowers and pay her
respects. Then, like most Americans, she'd enjoy the unofficial opening of summer
with a fun day with family and friends.
From now on,
she'll spend the holiday paying homage to her fallen husband, Petty Officer 2nd
Class Brian Patton, who died Nov. 19 in a vehicle crash while serving in Kuwait
with the U.S. Navy Reserves.
"This is something
totally different," the Nanticoke woman said. "The gateway to summer
has now become my portal of grief."
knew what Memorial Day was about, but, of course, I did the picnicking thing -
go here, go there. Now, it's more a day to reflect on those who lost their lives
and are still serving," Amy Patton added.
Patton, 37, was laid to rest in St. Adalbert's Cemetery in Glen Lyon next to his
mother, Janet, who also died at age 37 in a 1987 vehicle crash. The military offered
to honor him with burial in the revered Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia,
but his family chose to keep his remains local.
gravesite, still awaiting a headstone and military foot marker, is adorned with
several U.S. flags, a white cross delivered by a comrade and several cards and
drawings made by his 9-year-old son, Nicholas. On Friday, Nicholas placed his
latest creation, a colored drawing of the U.S. flag with his father's picture
attached and the message, "Daddy, I miss you and love you. You are my hero.
Amy Patton said her son was forced
to learn the meaning of Memorial Day "pretty quick."
have to play mom and dad now. It's tough. His father always would take him to
play catch. I do it, but I know it's not like his dad. It has changed our loves
forever," Amy Patton said. "My children and I will always remember the
sacrifice that he and so many others have made. It is a sacrifice that, in my
mind, began on the day he left our arms, but for the rest of the world, it was
a sacrifice made on the day that he died."
active duty Navy veteran of the first Gulf War, Brian Patton volunteered for the
Kuwait mission to serve as a military police officer with Rochester, N.Y.-based
Navy Reserve unit. He was responding to a call in a fully marked military police
vehicle when his vehicle was struck head-on at high speed by a U.S. government
contractor trying to pass a convoy at the crest of a hill, his family has been
He was pronounced dead at the scene. His passenger,
Dave Morgan, 35, of Wilkes-Barre, was critically wounded in the crash and remains
in a Philadelphia rehabilitation hospital.
occurred roughly an hour after Amy and Brian Patton spoke on the telephone to
share greetings on their ninth wedding anniversary.
think about it every day," Amy Patton said. "It makes me feel closer
to him by coming here."
Amy Patton's Memorial
Day ritual will never be the same. Since she was a child, she recalls it as a
day she, her mother and grandmother would honor her grandfathers - Joseph Hynoski
Sr., an Air Force veteran, and Darwin Roberts, an Army veteran - and place flowers
at their graves.
Now, she'll work to keep her hero
husband's memory alive.
something like this happens, it's hard to realize the true meaning of Memorial
Day," Amy Patton said. "It is impossible to put your emotional arms
around thousands of war dead, but when you are connected with a single casualty,
it becomes tragic. It's not about numbers anymore because now one of those numbers
just so happens to be my husband."
Never Too Old to Rock
Fest embraces youth with varied lineup, performances
As the members of the circa-1970s/80s Tyme
Band enjoyed a pig roast and a DJ a few years ago, they encouraged lead singer
J.D. Verazin to get up on stage and sing a tune.
said Wow, you can still sing after 25 years, Verazin recalled,
and that affirmation put in motion the reunion of a group that had disbanded almost
a quarter century earlier.
When you get the music
in you, you cant get it out of you, said Verazin, who also plans the
music schedule each year for the Nanticoke Music Fest in Patriot Park. This years
event kicks off at 6 p.m. Thursday and continues through June 5.
just love working with music and bands and talking music, said Verazin,
whose group will play the festival at 8 p.m. June 5.
think it brings people together more than anything.
local bands are booked for the event, which is themed Never Too Old To Rock
Also on the bill are students
from the Greater Nanticoke Area Educational Centers Idol contest, M80, Tom
Slick & the Converted Thunderbolt Greaseslappers, Flaxy Morgan and the Original
Star Fires with Eddie Day Pashinski.
Many of the groups
draw good crowds, Verazin said, particularly the Star Fires, set to play from
8 to 11 p.m. June 5.
People know them from way
back when, he said.
Eddie Day gets out
there and mingles with the crowd. Hes a fantastic singer and performer.
The way back when Verazin spoke of was when
the group played at Hansons Amusement Park at Harveys Lake and other local
spots in the 1960s and 70s.
is) from Nanticoke and taught in Nanticoke, Yvonne Bozinski, another organizer,
said, explaining the loyalty to the group, which will play the festival for the
third year in a row.
On top of all the music, food
vendors, crafters and childrens games will round out the offerings.
Everybody is welcome, Bozinski said. I
even have a friend who lives in the Norristown area who comes every year to visit
her relatives around this time so she can attend it.
music fest started 15 years ago when Bozinski was on city council and John Toole
People are surprised with all the
activities we have here in Nanticoke, Bozinski said, mentioning Christmas
and Halloween parties, as well as an upcoming Christmas in July party in Patriot
Park at which Santa Claus will wear shorts.
yearly festival, though, Bozinski said one of the most popular attractions is
the dunk tank because teachers from Nanticoke schools often take the hot seat,
which attracts students.
A small Ferris wheel and a
duck pond attract younger children.
a good time for everybody to get together and come out because a lot of people
dont get to see each other in the winter, Verazin said. Ive
been doing it for nine years, and I want to see it get as big as it can.
Patriot Park, Broad and Market streets, Nanticoke
6-10 p.m. Thursday, 5-11 p.m. June 4-5
Ed Center Idol on Tour at 6 p.m. and M80 at 7 p.m. Thursday;
Tom Slick and the Converted Thunderbolt Greaseslappers at 5 p.m. and
Star Fires with Eddie Day at 8 p.m. June 4;
Flaxy Morgan at 5 p.m. and Tyme
Band at 8 p.m. June 5
info: 735-2800 or nanticokecity.com
Nanticokes St. Marys holds final Mass
Its the latest parish in town to close under restructuring
Nardone - Times Leader
On Sunday St. Mary of Czestochowa
joined the list of Catholic parishes closed by the Diocese of Scranton, which
began a restructuring initiative a few years ago.
church held its final Mass followed by a procession to Holy Trinity Church about
two blocks away. Holy Trinity will eventually be the main worship site in the
city and take on the new identity of St. Faustina.
of 2009, there were six Catholic parishes in Nanticoke. By the end of June, there
will be one, said Bill Borysewicz, member and organizer for the youth ministry.
St. Francis closed last year and St. Josephs closed
last week. Holy Trinity will conduct its closing Mass next week, with St. Stanislaus
and Holy Child in Sheatown holding their closing Masses in June.
said some of the older parishioners are taking the changes a little hard. For
example, St. Stanislaus is the first Polish parish in Northeast Pennsylvania and
one of the first in the country, he said. Some of the older parishioners relish
that distinction, he added.
For the most part, the
congregations in Nanticoke are unifying, Borysewicz said.
good majority of them know this has to happen, he said. The shrinking population
in the city coupled with the costs associated with maintaining six parishes made
the changes unavoidable, he said.
out the name change to St. Faustinas helped keep the people at ease
by making a fresh start instead of keeping one existing parish name at the expense
of all others.
Dan Owazany, a member of St. Marys
for about 50 years, said he feels a bit sad to be losing the church he attended
regularly for so many years. He echoed Borysewicz, saying most of the members
knew the changes had to come.
Owazany said the Nanticoke
parishes are all one family though, who work together during the annual
picnics and various social societies.
He admits things
will be a little different.
a member of Holy Child, said she does not harbor any ill feelings because of the
cutbacks. She said she is happy there will still be an active parish in the city.
Not a lot of people go to church, she said.
Plus there are not enough priests. Its hard, she said.
believes with proper leadership and participation, St. Faustinas will maintain
many of the church traditions in Nanticoke for the future. The participation in
the youth group shows how the church will go on.
the procession, the members of St. Marys enjoyed a final gathering at the
American Legion in downtown Nanticoke.
committee thanked the parishioners who made St. Marys successful from
1901 to 2010. Through St. Faustinas they will continue to remember their
On July 2 and 3, St. Faustinas will conduct
its first annual homecoming festival as a combined Catholic community church in
will buy property in Hanover
Police Department is looking to receive accreditation
from the Pennsylvania Police Chiefs Association. Council approved a resolution
formally adopting the police officers code of conduct. Receiving the accreditation
would help the department cut down on its insurance costs.
Council approved resolutions Wednesday to acquire a property in the Hanover section
and to aid the police departments effort to receive an accreditation its
seeking to save some money.
The city will pay $1 to
the homeowner to purchase the blighted, burned-out property and then pay roughly
$900 on the property to the county and the sanitary sewer authority, according
to city Solicitor Bill Finnegan.
He said the property
was put up for county tax sale twice but never sold.
the city owns the property, officials can use government funding to demolish the
building and then sell the land, Finnegan said.
will recoup what we put into it, Finnegan said.
Nanticoke Police Department is looking to receive accreditation from the Pennsylvania
Police Chiefs Association. In order for it to do so the council approved a resolution
formally adopting the police officers code of conduct, detailing professional
standards for the department.
Chief Jim Cheshinski
said the two-year process is voluntary, but receiving the accreditation would
help the department cut down on its insurance costs.
order to qualify for this you have to follow their rules. Their rules say even
though you have a code of conduct, it has to be written and passed by council.
It is just very specific things that have to be passed by council, he said.
The department is already certified by the state, Cheshinski
Council members also learned the citys
earned income tax appears to be on track as $218,000 was collected in April, bringing
the year-to-date total of $707,000 being received.
Valley Chamber of Commerce Secretary Linda Prushinski made an announcement toward
the end of the meeting alerting people to be aware of a scam targeting local businesses.
She said the chamber received complaints Monday from business
owners who were being asked to pay $636 for 80 T-shirts that would include the
businesss name and logo.
Business owners are
being told a portion of the costs will be donated to the chamber and fire departments.
Prushinski said that is not true and the chamber does not
have any such agreement with any firm.
the department received calls earlier in the week about people approaching businesses
to sell T-shirts.
When officers interviewed employees
at the businesses, there was no mention of any money being directed back to the
chamber or fire department.
Nanticoke, Plymouth Twp. OK study commissions
members won seats in each municipality to decide whether to propose home rule
Gino Troiani - Times Leader
from Nanticoke and Plymouth Township gave the green light on Tuesday to form study
commissions to assess the structure of their local governments.
overwhelming numbers, citizens from both municipalities voted in favor of forming
study commissions composed of seven members each.
commissions will meet regularly throughout the next 18 months to study how effectively
the municipalities operate and conduct in-depth studies. They will then decide
separately whether to propose home rule charters.
they decide to move forward with such measures, they would craft charters which
would be presented to voters in the 2011 general election.
Nanticoke, the seven candidates who earned a spot on the home rule study commission
were Yvonne Bozinski, William F. Brown, Gerald J. Hudack Sr., Leonard Omolecki,
Robert J. Katra, Linda Prushinski and Gary Smith.
Plymouth Township, the elected candidates are Leonard Bartosiewicz, Linda R. Kenney,
Joseph D. Lloyd, James P. McDermott, Eugene R. McKeown, Edward F. Nowak and Mark
Hudack, a member-elect of the Nanticoke study
commission, said they will assess the community and come up with a plan.
they dont like the package, thats it, its over
like the package, well move on and try to create a pattern for a form of
government that can be put onto the ballots and approved by the population,
Kenney, a Plymouth Township study commission
member, said the groups goal is to help the people in the township.
Without a home rule study (the township) would have
to lower the EIT (Earned Income Tax), which was already raised to help deal with
us being in Act 47.
As a result, she said the
township would look to increase property taxes. Since so many people in
the township are on fixed incomes, I can see it being catastrophic for people
that live here to have their taxes raised 209 percent.
the last several years, the city and the township have been facing a host of budgetary
problems. As a result, they have each been declared financially distressed, or
Act 47 communities, by the state Department of Community and Economic Development.
The act also governs municipalities ability to obtain
government funding and authorizes them to participate in federal debt and bankruptcy
adjustment actions under specific circumstances.
both municipalities have been declared financially distressed by the state, they
were granted the ability to raise their earned income taxes above the state limit
from 1 percent to 2 percent to generate revenue.
now, Nanticoke city is in financial distress, said James Litchkofski, a
member of the Nanticoke city council who is responsible for accounts and finances.
Litchkofski, a proponent of home rule, said if the city
did not implement a home rule charter it would be forced to increase property
Josephs becomes the first of five Catholic churches in Nanticoke to close,
with parishes set to consolidate in the current Holy Trinity
First of five
church closings in Nanticoke
- Times Leader
Members of St. Josephs parish
gathered one last time Sunday afternoon in a commencement ceremony to say goodbye
to their parish before the churches doors were closed for good.
closing of St. Josephs is the first in a series of five Catholic churches
in the Nanticoke area scheduled to close as part of a consolidation effort drawn
up by the Diocese of Scranton more than two years ago.
Hudak, sexton at St. Josephs, explained the closings are a result of a declining
member base along with a lack of priests to properly staff the parishes.
final vote was taken on what churches were to close and what churches were to
remain, said Hudak, This is a combination of a two-year study by the
diocese; unfortunately theyre depleted in the ranks of the priesthood, so
they dont have enough priests to service all the churches.
Marys will be closing on May 23, Holy Trinity on May 30, St. Stanislaus
on June 6 and Holy Child in late June.
Hudak, Holy Trinity on Hanover Street in Nanticoke will serve as the new location
which will accommodate all five of the churches set to close. The new parish will
be called St. Faustina Parish and make the Holy Trinity building its home.
Were basically reduced down to one priest in
the Nanticoke area, said Hudak. The prognosis for the Scranton Diocese
was that for the year 2010 (there should be) one priest for every 2,400 practicing
Catholics, a number Hudak said is significantly lower in the Nanticoke area.
On Sunday afternoon, more than 75 members attended a special
closing Mass at St. Josephs and directly afterward proceeded down the street
to their new location, where they were welcomed by a large crowd of members from
Holy Trinity and participated in a joint Mass.
explained members from the various parishes set to close have expressed mixed
feelings. Its a very traumatic situation, said Hudak. Parishes
have their own particular identities and people generally associate themselves
with particular identities of each parish, so I think people are going to be looking
around a little bit in choosing where theyre going to be going to church.
For Dorothy Edanko of Nanticoke, the closing signifies
a major loss after being a lifelong member of St. Josephs, where she was
baptized, received her First Holy Communion and was married. Were
all upset, theres
no words for it, said Edanko. I was
wishing that this day would never come.
almost like a death in the family, its very hard for all of these parishioners,
said Marie Passetti, a member of St. Josephs. Ive been a member
of St. Josephs for a little over 33 years but I cant imagine the people
who have been there for baptisms and weddings and funerals to feel whats
tugging in their heart strings now.
with the closings, many of the original members of Holy Trinity said they are
both welcoming the new parishioners and are optimistic for the merger.
people are for it, some people are against it, but you can only say that its
got to go forward and I would hope that it would succeed. Maybe itll take
a period of time, but I believe it will come together, said Edward Kerbaugh,
of Nanticoke, who has been a member at Holy Trinity for more than 50 years.
As for the new location, Hudak said Holy Trinity was chosen
because it is one of the largest churches in the merger. However, he explained
there are a few issues that need to be addressed throughout the consolidation
Its (Holy Trinity) not in good
condition, said Hudak. It needs a lot of repairs (and) an upgrade.
Hudak explained the parish will be working over the next several months to ensure
the building is capable of accommodating the influx of new members while working
to address any necessary upgrades.
all going to have to find our new niche in the new community of St. Faustina.
St. Faustina will watch over us, and well get
through this, said Passetti.
GNA doesnt plan a tax increase
property tax millage rate remains unchanged in budget proposal.
Garret Rogan - Times Leader
The Greater Nanticoke
Area School Board on Thursday discussed budget issues for the 2010-2011 school
year and learned there should be no increase in property taxes.
consultant Al Melone Jr. presented the board with a proposed final budget for
the upcoming year that includes total revenues of $25,541,095 and total expenditures
of $25,226,235 with a surplus of $114,860.
current property tax millage rate of 9.9295 remains unchanged in the proposal.
Salaries and benefits account for the lions share
of the budget expenditures.
Numbers for those budget
areas may vary before the plan is finalized because contracts are still being
negotiated, but Melone said he is confident that any change will be extremely
minimal and will not affect the overall structure of the proposed spending plan.
In other business, Superintendent Tony Perone announced
there will be two in-service sessions this summer that have generated a lot of
interest not only among Nanticoke teachers but those across the area as well as
Anita Archer will hold a session on
student engagement for Nanticokes elementary school staff.
is an award winning educator and author of several books on education methodology.
She regularly lectures throughout the country and serves as a consultant for several
Grant Wiggins, president of the education
reform group Authentic Education, will also be holding a session this summer.
Wiggins along with co-author Jay McTighe wrote the book
Understanding by Design, which according to Middle School Principal
Joe Long, is an essential text in modern American education.
said officials from the state Department of Education expressed a strong interest
in attending Wiggins in-service session as soon as there was a rumor that
one would be held.
In another matter, the board reluctantly
accepted the resignation of math teacher and athletic director Jerry Bavitz.
Perone described Bavitz simply as a great man.
Those sentiments were echoed by board members as well as audience members at the
Board Vice President Kenny James recalled
his long relationship with Bavitz that started when Bavitz, then a senior in high
school, tutored the sophomore James.
be greatly missed, James said. I dont want to accept his resignation
but I will.
Bavitzs retirement will mark
the end of a career in education that lasted more than 30 years and will take
effect after the last day of the 2009-2010 school year.
Nanticoke mayor urges voters to back home rule panel
mayor of the city of Nanticoke, I would like to impress upon residents the importance
of the May 18 primary election. On the ballot that day is a government study commission
The question states, Shall
a government study commission of seven members be elected to study the existing
form of government of the City of Nanticoke, to consider the advisability of the
adoption of a Home Rule Charter; and if advisable, to draft and recommend a home
I urge voters to choose yes, and
to select seven members to serve on the study commission, for a number of reasons,
which I will detail.
For years, the city spent more
money than it brought in to pay for the basic services of administration, public
works and public safety to its taxpayers. The city would borrow money each year
in order to balance the budget, being forced to incur long-term debt to pay the
current years bills. And each year the gap between revenues and expenses
grew. In 2006, facing critical cash flow issues, the Pennsylvania Department of
Community and Economic Development (DCED) designated the city an Act 47 community,
under the Municipalities Financial Recovery Act.
Pennsylvania Economy League was selected by DCED to serve as the citys recovery
coordinator, and the League drafted a recovery plan that was accepted by council
in 2007. A major portion of the recovery plan was based upon generating new revenue
for the city by allowing the city to seek court approval to collect an additional
1 percent of Earned Income Tax (EIT) from residents each year, due to the Citys
Act 47 status. (The city is organized and governed by the provisions of the Third
Class City Code, which limits the earned income tax collection rate to 0.5 percent.)
At the time the city entered Act 47, property tax millage
rates were capped at 30 mills, and that is what the city set as its collection
rate every year to generate the maximum property tax revenue. With the countywide
reassessment, the citys 2010 property tax millage was set at 2.43 mills.
The reassessment allows greater flexibility for the city to raise property taxes
in order to generate more revenue.
DCED has reviewed
the citys Act 47 status, and now that the city has more options to generate
revenue beyond the court-approved higher EIT rates, it has been recommended to
the city to phase out of Act 47 by increasing the property tax rates and decreasing
the EIT rates. Basically, the city was in a bind in 2006 and could not legally
collect any additional taxes to provide for basic services. Now the city can,
but the burden will be shifted to property owners from working residents.
If the city were to reduce the EIT collection rates back
to 0.5 percent, it would have to raise an additional $1.5 million per year to
balance the budget. Currently, the average household pays $210.35 in city property
taxes per year. If the EIT were reduced to 0.5 percent and the property taxes
increased to bridge the gap, the average household tax would increase to $604.55
per year, nearly tripling.
Voting yes on the government
study commission referendum question is the first step for the city to move toward
a more flexible home-rule governance system. Seven of the candidates that have
put their names on the ballot would be elected to the commission to study the
current government structure and decide if changes should be made. If they decide
yes, they will draft a charter that will be placed on another referendum for voters
to make the choice. Personally, I feel that the current city government structure
is sound, but the taxation limits in the Third Class City Code are restrictive,
and the city can benefit from home rule by drafting a charter with minor changes.
The choice is up to the voters, and I urge you to give
the government study commission a chance in the city of Nanticoke, in order to
maintain a fairly balanced tax structure and to continue to provide an excellent
level of services to city residents.
Joseph A. Dougherty
Full-time Warrior Run cops mulled
meeting to look into possibility of Nanticoke sharing force with borough.
Run residents could have a full-time police force soon if officials from Nanticoke
and the borough can work out an agreement for the citys officers to patrol
Next week, officials are set to meet to discuss
specific details of how a service agreement would allow Nanticoke to provide police
protection to Warrior Run.
The meeting is just the
beginning of negotiations, both sides point out, saying each council would have
to approve an agreement at a later date.
has four part-time officers whose shifts change depending on when they can work
outside their regular full-time jobs, Warrior Run Mayor Jim Brodginski said Wednesday.
The state police provides patrol services and emergency response when a Warrior
Run officer is not on duty.
It can take state police
sometimes up to 45 minutes to respond to a call, but Brodginski estimates it could
take six minutes or less for a Nanticoke officer to arrive.
Mayor Joe Dougherty said the citys police chief, Jim Cheshinski, came to
him two months ago with the idea of providing police services to Warrior Run.
Although the towns dont share a border, less than a mile separates them.
The council members agreed to consider an offer, so a meeting
is being scheduled.
We just dont have the
budget to provide the protection the borough needs. We dont have a full-time
officer. We dont have the money to have a full-time officer, Brodginski
At the meeting, both sides will discuss how much
Warrior Run must pay for the service, exactly what type of services will be provided
and how both communities will incorporate their ordinances together.
said that sometimes Nanticoke officers will turn around in Warrior Run as they
drive down Front Street while patrolling the Hanover section of Nanticoke.
We can patrol that whole borough in a matter of minutes,
Dougherty said there would be a town hall
meeting to get input from residents after officials talk next week.
services could also help the two communities become eligible to apply for some
local shared services grants, Dougherty said.
13 female mids excited to be first on
By Lance M. Bacon - Staff writer
ANNAPOLIS, Md. The 11 Naval Academy and two
NROTC seniors picked to be the first women to serve aboard submarines are looking
forward to life in the undersea service.
The Navys announcement of the
selections came May 6, one week after the change was made official. But these
women began getting ready when news broke last fall that a change was coming.
The 11 academy midshipmen, scheduled to graduate later this month, had already
received their fleet assignments before being rerouted into the sub force. Eight
were to become nuclear officers aboard aircraft carriers, one was to be a conventional
surface warfare officer, one was headed to the Marine Corps and one was to be
The selectees downplayed their roles as pioneers, but spoke excitedly
when talking about the challenge and camaraderie inherent in a sub crew.
am really excited about the leadership opportunities and the technical side of
submarine service, said Midshipman 1st Class Marquette Ried, who had originally
planned to fly helicopters. This is the perfect opportunity. The stars aligned,
and I was at the right place at the right time.
Although Ried has never
been on a submarine, she smiles wide when discussing being part of the sub
team and leading a division. Deckplate leadership is exactly what I want.
For Midshipman 1st Class Elizabeth Hudson, breaking barriers has become a way
of life. No women attended the academy when her father graduated in 1971, and
no women served on subs with him. Now, Hudson is poised to to accomplish both.
If anything, he might have envisioned [his] son was going to grow up and
do this, probably not his daughter, said Hudson, who had planned on becoming
a Marine. He is excited about it now. He was able to relive his glory days
coming to reunions here; now he has another five years of that.
24-hour familiarization cruise on an attack sub was what changed Midshipman 1st
Class Abigail Geseckis mind.
The crew had a great vibe and a closeness
about them that I didnt think I would find on a carrier with 3,000 people,
The women expressed no concern about entering a community that has
been exclusive to men for 100 years. They said crews were very professional when
familiarization tours were conducted for all mids between their sophomore and
junior years, and expect the same over the long term. Gesecki, the academys
indoor track captain, then offered a light-hearted perspective to acknowledge
the womens responsibility in the change.
think it is important for us to keep in mind that were going to impose a
little bit of a change on the sailors now, she said. We have to be
very conscientious of their daily routines and try to make it as smooth a transition
as possible. If were going to be using their bathrooms
going to have to be quick and expeditious and not stay in there for an hour while
theyre all waiting outside.
1st Class Kristin Lyles added that her fellow mids have been supportive, and sub
officers at the academy have been helpful in preparing them for selection boards,
nuke school and sub service.
Though 11 academy mids were selected, one will
have to wait two years to join the sub fleet. Midshipman 1st Class Kayla Sax was
one of 32 Americans, and the only midshipman, to receive a Gates Scholarship for
Cambridge University this year. There, she will earn a masters degree in
By the time I get to a boat, all these other women
will be qualified, she said. But I worked really hard to earn this
scholarship, and the sub force will be there when I get back. With some shortened
shore tours Ill be able to catch up with my year group, so in the long run
it works out.
North Carolina State University seniors Megan Bittner
and Karen Achtyl on Friday will graduate magna cum laude and be commissioned as
ensigns, and will join the their academy counterparts for 15 months of nuke school
a six-month academic course, six months of operational curriculum and three
months at the submarine officer basic course. Up to eight female supply corps
officers will also join the submarine force in late 2011.
believe the Navy could have picked two finer females to pioneer the entrance of
females in the submarine community, Lt. Col. Timothy Nichols, executive
officer of the North Carolina Piedmont Region NROTC consortium, said in a press
The female officers will be assigned to one of eight blue and gold
crews aboard ballistic- and guided-missile submarines. The assignments involve
two submarines on the East Coast and two on the West Coast. The larger Ohio-class
subs were selected because the introduction of co-ed crews will not require extensive
modifications, as would be required on the smaller attack subs.
First to go
The 13 women chosen to join the sub force include 11 Naval Academy midshipmen:
Tabitha Gant, Bowie, Md.
Abigail Gesecki, Luzerne, Colo.
Elizabeth Hudson, Plymouth, Mass.
Peggy LeGrand, Amarillo, Texas
Kristin Lyles, Fairfax Station,
Laura Martindale, Roselle, Ill.
Marquette Ried, Fort Collins, Colo.
Misty Webster, Wesley Chapel,
Jessica Wilcox, Honesdale, Pa.
NROTC midshipmen at North Carolina State University also have been picked:
Megan Bittner, Chesapeake, Va.
Karen Achtyl, Rochester, N.Y.
MOTHERS DAY: The Rev. Sylvia
Thomas, a minister who is also a mom, discovers that being a pastor is similar
to being a parent
Matt Hughes - Times Leader
three children grown and a husband recently retired, many 66-year-old women might
think of traveling, or perhaps buying a home somewhere warm.
Rev. Sylvia Thomas bought a church.
Thomas, now 72,
of Wilkes-Barre, is a mother of three, grandmother of eight, great-grandmother
of two, and pastor to about 25. A native of Trucksville but a resident of the
Wyoming Valley for most of her life, Sylvia Thomas is co-pastor of The Berean
Lighthouse Church on the corner of Green and Market streets , Nanticoke.
only 5 feet, 1 inch tall, Thomas is a slight woman with piercing golden brown
eyes. She does not look her 72 years, perhaps because she has never slowed down.
Shes so full of energy, friend Phyllis
Warren, 65, said, no matter if its raining or snowing, she will be
there if she needs to be.
Church has been the
center of Thomas life since she became a Christian at 18. Raising her children,
she also brought them into the church, and brought Christianity into their home.
It was a very big part of our lives growing up,
daughter Susan Wardecki, 49, said. We went to church three times a week:
Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening.
counted it a privilege to have children, Thomas said. They are the
most precious things that God gives you.
children describe her as a strong, but sympathetic and supportive mother.
Shes a tough mother. Shes very upfront
and she will tell you exactly what she thinks, Wardecki said, but
shell be behind you 100 percent.
will hold your hand and let you cry if you need to cry and not say anything,
daughter Ruthann Kreitzer, 46, said.
husband, the Rev. Daniel Thomas, 73, said these same qualities have made his wife
a successful pastor.
When people come to you,
they come to you for one thing: they want someone to listen, Daniel Thomas
said. A lot of women come to my wife looking for just that.
Thomas said she has also found being a pastor similar to being a parent.
as you like your children to learn and grow physically and mentally, you want
the people to grow in their love of Christ, to be strong in their faith, and you
want to know you can count on them, Sylvia Thomas said.
1959, around the time her first daughter, Wardecki, celebrated her first birthday,
Sylvia Thomas and her husband moved to New London, Conn., where they would stay
for the next 11 years. The Thomases soon joined a local church, and Sylvia Thomas
began teaching Sunday school. She began in the nursery program, and progressed
through the grade levels with her children. All told, she taught Sunday school
for 30 years.
As her children grew older and started
families of their own, Sylvia Thomas became a caregiver to others, working as
a certified nurses aide providing home healthcare support. It was in this
position that the seed of her church was first sown.
1991, Thomas friend, Warren, a nurse, was caring for one of Thomas
neighbors. Thomas decided to stop by one day to see if her homebound neighbor
would like to hear and discuss the Bible. On Sylvia Thomas second visit,
Warren joined the group, and soon other friends and neighbors began to stop by
as well. The group grew to a dozen, and continued at a Nanticoke senior citizens
high-rise even after the neighbors death.
afternoon meetings sparked an interest in Bible study that would, nearly a decade
later and at an age at which most retire, lead the Thomases to study to become
In 2000, the Thomases completed a two-year
home-study course and were ordained as pastors by the Rev. Weldon Hettesheimer
and the Rev. Thelma Hettesheimer, pastors of the Larksville Mountain Full Gospel
Church. They then began serving as assistant pastors at that church, a position
Sylvia Thomas said they were quite happy with. Sylvia Thomas said she was not
looking to start her own church. The church found her.
2004, a friend told Sylvia Thomas that the Bethel Congregation United Church of
Christ in Nanticoke had gone up for sale, and she and her husband decided to take
a look. The first time Sylvia Thomas set foot in the building, she fell in love.
I said Oh, my God, this is a church,
Sylvia Thomas said, holding back tears, and I felt the presence of God so
strong, and all I could say was Oh God. I felt home.
Thomases purchased the church with $90,000 of their own money, then sold the church
to the congregation they had assembled for $1.
would have sold the shirt off my back if I had to, Sylvia Thomas said, This
one was that special.
They rechristened the church
The Berean Lighthouse. Daniel Thomas wanted the church to be called a lighthouse
to suggest a beacon of hope, he said. Sylvia Thomas chose the name
Berean to reflect her love of and commitment to Bible study, taking the name from
the episode in the Acts of the Apostles in which the Apostle Paul preaches to
the Jews of Berea. The Berean Jews listen to Paul, then search their scriptures
to verify what they have heard.
I liked that,
Sylvia Thomas said. If you tell me a thing, Im going to say all
right, but then later Im going to search my scripture to find out
if its true.
The Thomases now have a congregation
of about 25 at their church. Each preaches on alternate Sundays. When she is not
preaching, Thomas plays the organ and leads songs. She also leads Walking off
the Pounds exercise programs on Tuesday and Thursday nights, and a Wednesday afternoon
Bible study group.
Though The Berean Lighthouse is
a Protestant church, all are welcome, and many members of her Bible study and
exercise classes are Catholics.
a strict, you have to be this way kind of thing, Wardecki said.
It broadens your mind, and its a good thing,
said Lucille Sullivan, a member of the Bible study and exercise groups and a Catholic.
Thomas describes her current position, as pastor and grandmother,
as the climax of her life. She could not be more satisfied, she said, and, energetic
as ever, shows no signs of slowing down.
never retire, Sylvia Thomas said, I will go out rejoicing, but Ill
muddles plan for Nanticoke parking
Municipal authority members say they
have a "plan B" to provide Luzerne County Community College with downtown
parking, after a lawsuit complicated the issue.
authority has a lease-purchase contract with LCCC for the former Kanjorski Center
on East Main Street, which the college will renovate to house its new Health Sciences
Municipal authority members had an agreement
to buy the Nanticoke Villa personal care home at 50 N. Walnut St., along with
the adjacent former Y-T Hardware property, both owned by the Darlak family trust,
for $800,000. The authority wants the site to help provide LCCC with the 272 contractually
required parking spaces.
The authority is mainly interested
in the Y-T property and wasn't planning to tear down the nursing home, Chairman
Hank Marks said.
Attorneys for the Darlak family trust
have filed a suit in Luzerne County Court against Nanticoke Villa Real Estate
Associates, the company of Ronald Halko, who operates the personal care home with
Halko is opposing the sale of the building
to the municipal authority, but authority members have been talking with him,
Marks said. Halko, Hughes or other representatives from Nanticoke Villa Real Estate
Associates did not attend Monday's municipal authority meeting.
to the suit, Joseph and Helen Darlak entered a sales agreement with Halko for
Nanticoke Villa in July 2008. Halko defaulted on it, and an amendment was drawn
up in June 2009, along with papers for a loan to operate the facility.
Halko defaulted again, so the parties negotiated an additional agreement on Oct.
13, 2009. Under its terms, if the Darlaks chose to sell Nanticoke Villa to a third
party, they could do so without restrictions and Halko no longer had the right
to purchase the property first or share in proceeds from the sale.
Darlak trust agreed in March to sell the property to the Nanticoke Municipal Authority.
The Darlaks' attorneys demanded in writing that Halko acknowledge the termination
of the agreement with him and to vacate the premises within 60 days. Halko did
not, the suit alleges. Nor did he notify the state Department of Public Welfare,
as is required when a nursing home is closing.
Darlak Trust is asking the court to grant a judgment to eject Nanticoke Villa
Real Estate Associates from the property and give the trust possession.
is meeting with the Darlaks' attorneys on Thursday, municipal authority Solicitor
James Mangan said.
In case they discussion do not go
well, municipal authority members say they have enough land to pull off a "plan
B" to satisfy their contractual requirements to LCCC.
the lot next to the Kanjorski Center, which the authority owns, Arch Street can
be used, Marks said. Overflow parking can be put on Lower Broadway, authority
member Chester Beggs said. If needed, the city-owned former CVS building next
to the Kanjorski Center could also be demolished for more space, authority member
Dennis Butler said.
team captures Engineering Olympics title
juniors from Greater Nanticoke Area captured first place and $1,000 scholarships
each at the Engineering Olympics at Wilkes University on April 16. Students from
Meyers High School placed third in the seven-school competition.
participated in five events that included a balsa wood airplane, egg drop with
parachute, resistor manipulation, bridge building and a "MacGyver" competition.
The Greater Nanticoke Area team was led by teacher Anthony
Fleury and consisted of Alexandra Bolinski, Alexander DelGuercio, Arielle Domashinski,
Lucas Domulevicz, Chris Kropiewnicki, Claire N. Saunders, Brett Schenck, Tom Slusser,
Matthew Smith and Michael Yalch.
Each member of the
winning team received $1,000 scholarships from Wilkes University.
109th receives training notice
Following the Sept. 11 terroristic attacks,
soldiers from the 109th Field Artillery were summoned for security duty at the
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport and the nuclear power plant in Salem
In the years since, members of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard
battalion have been deployed to Germany, Iraq, Kuwait, the Sinai Peninsula, Afghanistan
and to Iraq a second time.
Some troops have served on two or three of those
With the nation still at war, the 109th may been needed to serve
The unit has been given a training notice of a possible deployment
to Kuwait in the late summer or fall 2011, unit leaders confirmed.
notice is the first step in the long process that could lead to a deployment 18
months from now, said Sgt. 1st Class John Paul Karpovich.
Karpovich said the
notice requires the unit's training be modified to fit the needs of the mission
if the 109th is needed. If the call does come, the battalion will be ready, he
"We, as a unit, have been able to tackle anything that has been
thrown at us and we're doing it well. We have trained with the best and continue
to excel," Karpovich said. "There's a reason we get chosen for these
Amid the multiple deployments and expected turnover of soldiers
during wartime, the unit continues to be praised by military brass. The spokesperson
of the state National Guard recently penned an article that said the 109th has
been collecting awards at the pace U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps was winning gold
medals in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Battery B recently was awarded the Hamilton Award, given to the best field artillery
battery in the nation.
Spc. Jonathan Hontz was named
the Pennsylvania National Guard's 2009 Soldier of the Year.
Capt. Joseph Ruotolo
received the 2009 Gen. Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award, an award that goes
to the top 26 company grade officers in the entire Army, both active duty and
reserve. Capt. Cliff Morales won the award in 2008.
Capt. Neil Ravitz was
given the 2009 Brig. Gen. William Bilo Leadership Award for the top field artillery
officer in the National Guard.
In addition to wartime assignments since 2001,
the 109th was activated six times for stateside duty for snow storms and flood
The 109th is comprised of four units:
Headquarters Battery in Wilkes-Barre; Battery A in Plymouth; Battery
B in Nanticoke; and Company G, 228th Support Battalion, also in Wilkes-Barre.
It currently has 480 soldiers, which is 98 percent of full
After the initial tour to Iraq, the battalion
saw an exodus of soldiers who chose not to re-enlist. As of September 2005, the
unit was only at 82 percent of its allocated goal. Every year since, the unit
has maintained strength between 97 and 103 percent of its goal, according to statistics
provided by the unit.
"We have come so far in
the last 10 years. We are modernizing. We are evolving," Karpovich said.
Bieski has career day at regional event
Bill Arsenault on Campus
University of West Virginias Amy Bieski
had a career performance in the NCAA Southeast Regionals recently in Morgantown,
but the junior from Nanticoke (Northeast Gymnastics) fell 0.15 points short of
earning a berth in the NCAA Championships.
a 39.1 in all-around, her best outing ever in the Regionals. She finished ninth
as all-around performers from Stanford and Michigan as well as two others earned
a berth to the Nationals. Bieskis total was aided by a career-best mark
of 9.85 in the balance beam.
The 39-plus mark was her
eighth of the season and 15th of her career. That ties her for fifth place on
the Mountaineers all-time 39-plus all-around scores list. She also stands 17th
all-time in career points with 1,474.9
GNA approves two employee contracts
passes administrative compensation plan and support staff pact.
Two employee contracts were approved by the six
Greater Nanticoke Area School Board members attending Thursday nights meeting.
Three members, Sylvia Mizdail, Frank Vandermark and Tony
Prushinski, were absent.
The administrative compensation
plan and the support staff contract were approved unanimously.
administrative compensation plan is valid from last July 1 through June 30, 2013.
The plan details compensation benefits for the districts administrators
and principals. District Superintendent Tony Perrone does not have an employment
The support staff contract is retroactive
to July 1, 2008, and continues through June 30, 2012. Contract details were not
available Thursday night because the support staff union members had not yet approved
the pact. Union members were expected to vote on the contract Friday.
board also approved an audit of the districts finances by the Al Melone
Co. A copy of the audit was not available because, district officials said, it
couldnt be provided until Thursdays meetings minutes are approved
In other business, it was announced that
K.M. Smith Elementary will hold a kindergarten registration 9 a.m. to noon May
1. Principal Mary Ann Jarolen said the school is having the Saturday registration
because many families have told her they cant make it to during the week.
Children entering kindergarten must be 5 years old on or
before Sept. 1. Parents must have the childs birth certificate, two forms
of residency and proof of current health and immunization records.
the child is adopted, a foster child or has been awarded custody to the parents,
those legal documents should also be brought to the registration.
board also approved the 2010-2011 school calendar. Teachers will report back to
work for in-service days on Aug. 30 and 31. Students report to class on Sept.
Graduation will be June 7, 2011.
Geisinger TV rep cant get a Geisinger policy
Stroke brings rejection when insurance sought
musician Lou Marino, a recent TV spokesman for the Geisinger Heath System, has
been rejected for insurance coverage by the affiliated Geisinger Health
Lou Marino was informed by the Geisinger health
insurance program that he could not be covered , having suffered a stroke. Earlier,
Marino had praised the affiliated Geisinger Medical Center in TV spots.
35, of Nanticoke, suffered a stroke in 2008 and has recovered to the point that
he has lost weight, works out vigorously and is looking to return to the workplace.
Marino was insured by Aetna at the time of his stroke and
was treated at Geisinger hospitals in Plains Township and Danville, and he will
tell you the treatment he received was fantastic.
guess thats the irony here, Marino said. I guess I was good
enough to be in a television ad for Geisinger, but Im not good enough to
be covered by their insurance.
Marino said doctors
have told him that his stroke was completely random and a fluke
and rare. He said he has been told there is little likelihood of it
Marino raved about the doctors, nurses
and staff at the Geisinger facilities where he was treated, and thats why
he agreed to share his story with the world.
was happy to do pro-Geisinger commercials, he said. They aired during
the Olympics and on the premiere episode of this years American Idol.
So when Marino was laid off recently from his
job as an information technology network administrator a job he held for
10 years he thought first of Geisinger when he was seeking health insurance.
But on Wednesday, when Marino opened his mail, a letter
he thought would confirm his coverage with Geisinger Health Plan turned out to
be a rejection. Signed by William Byron, vice president for customer service operations
for Geisinger Choice, Marino was told his application for insurance was declined.
Geisinger Choice is one of the coverage options within
the Geisinger Health Plan, which operates separately from Geisinger Health System.
Our decision to decline your application for insurance
was based on the following reasons: STROKE, the letter stated. According
to the non-group underwriting standards and guidelines, the above mentioned condition
The letter stated Marinos
medical information was reviewed and did not meet the medical underwriting criteria
required by Geisinger Choice.
Im not angry,
Marino said. I guess I kind of expected it. But I am disgusted, hurt and
offended. When I needed health insurance, I immediately thought of Geisinger,
and I really thought it would be easy. I thought it would be a no-brainer.
Now Marino is worried about himself and his two kids
Aleigha, 8, and Lou, 4. He said he has been offered COBRA benefits through his
former employer, but at $600 per month just for him, Marino said its cost-prohibitive.
Ive stopped working out and riding my bike,
he said. What if I get hurt break a leg? How can I afford the cost?
Somebody told me, and I guess its true, were all one sickness away
from bankruptcy if we dont have health care.
said he does not agree with the new national health care program, but he said
if it were in effect, he would qualify for health care because pre-existing conditions
would not preclude him from gaining coverage.
not yet looked anywhere else for coverage. He said he was hoping the rejection
letter was an administrative mistake.
my kids were used on TV to preach how great Geisinger is, Marino said. They
knew who I was. You would think I could get approval.
Howard Grant, executive vice president and chief medical officer for Geisinger
Health System, issued a statement on the situation.
Health System provides care for all patients who seek services from our medical
professionals, without regard to their ability to pay for that care, Grant
said. We have been and will continue to be privileged to provide health
care services for Lou M., as well as every patient who comes through our doors.
Grant said the denial of individual health insurance coverage
for Marino and other people with pre-existing medical conditions seeking individual
coverage highlights a national problem that he said will hopefully be corrected
as the recently enacted health insurance reform is implemented.
supports health insurance coverage for all; however, in order for Geisinger Health
Plan to offer a product in the voluntary individual market, the health plan must
apply medical underwriting guidelines on a uniform basis, Grant said. Further,
current insurance regulations prohibit Geisinger Health Plan from treating like
individuals differently. As a result, exceptions cannot be made for Lou, who was
not previously covered by Geisinger Health Plan, or other similar patients.
Grant said Geisinger is proactive in working with patients
to explain potential coverage options, and also offers a generous charity
program to assist patients who are unable to pay for the medical services we provide.
We are reaching out to Lou to explain these options
and assure him that we will continue to care for him regardless of his ability
to pay, Grant said.
Dave Jolley, Geisinger Health
System spokesman, said the story of the care provided to Marino by Geisinger medical
professionals and Lous personal recovery is very compelling,
and we were happy to share it with others.
stopped using the ad at Lous request. Jolley said.
said a Geisinger Health Plan representative suggested that he file for disability
an option Marino flatly rejected.
climb and I ride my mountain bike, Marino said. Im not disabled.
The ads said how far Ive come, and now they want me to say Im disabled?
Marino has not returned to performing hes
a singer and guitarist. His last appearance was at the Arena Bar and Grill a few
days before his stroke.
State, Nanticoke offer grants for business facelifts
Commercial property owners may receive up to a total of $10,000 to improve their
Owners of commercial properties along Main Street may be able to get the exterior
of their buildings revamped using a combination of government and private funding.
The Main Street Grant Program funded by the state Department
of Community and Economic Development is contributing $30,000 in conjunction with
the City of Nanticokes matching amount of $30,000.
on Main Street between Jifken and South Market streets are eligible to apply for
grant money to help the property owners make improvements that beautify their
buildings appearance. Commercial property owners are eligible to receive
up to $10,000. In order to be eligible for the grants, property owners must contribute
at least $5,000 toward the renovation of their business fa?ade.
is going to work in conjunction with the streetscape and with the improvements
the (Luzerne County) community college is making to their properties in downtown.
It is going to be another step in the process of beautifying downtown Nanticoke,
City Administrator Holly Quinn said.
She noted there
is no deadline for business owners to apply, but added the sooner they apply the
better chance they have to secure funding.
we get a decent pool of applicants to review, we can make a better determination
of what is the most worthwhile way of spending the commonwealths money and
the citys capital money, she said.
owners can pick up the grant application from Nanticoke City Hall. In the application
process, the property owners must present all proposed design plans, goals and
The property owners also must contact the
citys zoning officer to see if a permit is needed.
that will cost a total of more than $25,000 cant be considered for the program.
A design committee consisting of Quinn, Nanticoke Mayor
Joe Dougherty, South Valley Chamber of Commerce President Jerry Hudack and an
as yet unnamed downtown business owner will review the applications.
council members will be responsible for awarding the funding based on recommendations
from the committee.
Any approved work must begin within
60 days of the business receiving the grant and completed within three months.
Navy track and field sink Army
Bill Arsenault on Campus
her career, Abby Gesecki (Nanticoke Area) has helped the Navy womens track
team defeat rival Army in the indoor and outdoor Star Games. She finished second
to teammate Jess Palicio in the 800 and helped the 4x400 relay team score a victory
as the Midshipmen topped the Cadets 107-93 last weekend. Navy, which won the meet
indoors last winter, have won five of six outdoors. In the indoor meet, Gesecki
won the 500, 800 and anchored the winning 4x400 relay team.
has been a tremendous team leader and captain for us this year, coach Carla
Criste said. She has always been the consummate sportsman-like competitor,
which makes her an ideal role model for her teammates.
feels that Gesecki is best when the chips are down.
can always depend on Abby to give 100 percent, the coach said. Over
her four year career at the Academy, she has been an eternal optimist and will
do whatever it takes to help out.
Gesecki will do well in the future.
been selected to become a member of the first class of female submariners,
the coach said. Given her history in track, I have no doubt she will continue
to do great things.
Warrior Run considering police offer
Campbell - Times Leader Correspondent
will look into an offer from Nanticoke to provide full-time police coverage at
the same price the borough now pays for one part-time shift a day.
Jim Brodginski noted that the services the borough would get included detectives,
drug squads, a canine unit, and an overall level of coverage that the borough
had no chance of providing on its own.
state grant revenues designed to encourage municipal shared services would give
Nanticoke the funds needed to provide coverage over the $34,000 Warrior Run currently
spends, Brodginski told council.
come through parts of the borough in order to complete patrols in parts of the
outlying areas of the city, council noted.
through on all the calls made to the department would effectively break the municipalitys
$219,000 annual budget, council members noted. The officers handled 47 complaints
over 30 shifts during the month, but outside the hours of evening coverage the
part-time staff provides, the residents have to rely on state police responses.
The change would likely mean that residents would have
to use the 911 system, council noted. Many currently call the borough directly,
but under a new system that would not work.
agreed to look further into the proposal, set up meetings with Nanticoke to discuss
the matter and look at how the system would work. Council could also set up a
town meeting so residents could address representatives of both municipalities
with their questions, members suggested.
In other business,
council will look into possibly establishing its own yard waste facility after
being advised that Earth Conservancy sought a $700 fee to cover what it said were
$7,800 worth of costs related to yard waste operations.
members noted that mulch that was available in previous years to residents of
the area now appeared to be trucked out of the area, leaving none for the people
who provided the raw material the mulch was created from.
Nanticoke mulls parking ban on Christian St.
must be read and approved a second time before taking effect.
The council unanimously approved an ordinance that
restricts motorists from parking on the east side of Christian Street from Broad
to State streets at Wednesdays meeting. This was the first reading of the
ordinance, so it must be read and approved a second time before taking effect.
|The parking limitations were originally tested earlier
this year at the request of Police Chief James Cheshinski.
William Shultz said that when two vehicles are parked on the street there is not
enough room for Mascaro garbage trucks and fire trucks or other emergency vehicles
to go down the road. People can still park on the west side of the street.
Street department employee John Popeck was discharged
for non-disciplinary reasons based on his permanent disability, according
to a motion made by Councilman Jon Metta.
Holly Quinn declined to comment further on the discharge or on whether Popeck
had been on any type of paid or unpaid leave.
is a private matter and we respect that persons disability, so we really
cant discuss it, she said.
a $700 donation from Dogs Helping Other Animals, a nonprofit organization.
As a thank you for the donation, Mayor Joseph Dougherty
presented all the organizations members and their dogs with certificates
for bringing happiness and cheer to people, young and old.
Anthony, spokeswoman for the organization, said that twice a year the group selects
another nonprofit animal-related cause to donate money to.
said the money will be used for food and medical expenses for the police dog,
The old art of pysanky, coloring eggs to mark Easter, is maintained
in a Nanticoke studio by Mark Wolfe.
Nardone - Times Leader
Pysanky is a method of coloring
eggs in religious honor of Easter. It is a long-standing tradition for the Ukrainian
culture as well as many others, according to Mark Wolfe, 51, of Nanticoke.
Wolfe learned pysanky from his mother and aims to keep it alive passing it on
to future generations.
He specializes in pysanky egg coloring where he painstakingly
crafts egg shells with elaborate colors and designs.
Its an art that
"dates back to antiquity" according to Wolfe. He works out of his artistic
shop called Wolfeframes, located in a nondescript half-double house in Nanticoke.
He believes painting eggs is relaxing and admits he enjoys the finished product.
Depending on the range of colors an egg can take several hours to color, Wolfe
said. But the process can be stopped and picked back up at any time, making it
The trick to pysanky is having a steady hand to draw the intricate
designs, he said. He draws the traditional Ukrainian religious symbols such as
the ribbon around the egg representing eternity, ladders that suggest prayer,
flowers suggesting life and growth, and crosses.
Wolfe learned pysanky from
his mother and aims to keep it alive passing it on to future generations. He conducts
shows to demonstrate the art to those who may wish to learn it, he said. He also
sells pysanky from his office or online at a cost of about $15 to $30 each.
Besides making hand-drawn designs, pysanky requires a talent for coloring, he
said. Wolfe uses "kitska" tools with varying tips to apply beeswax to
each shell. Dipping the shell in dyes from lightest colors (yellow) to darkest
(black), the wax acts as a barrier to the dye. The color is applied to the areas
on the egg other than the waxed areas so the artist can choose the color for each
part of the design.
When done dipping, the wax is removed and Wolfe sprays
the colored shell with a clear coat finish which acts as a preservative. He said
a completed egg provides "great joy and pleasure."
He suggests blowing
out the contents of the egg shells after coloring them. A full egg is easier to
handle, he said. He highly recommends emptying them soon after being finished
to avoid bursting.
The method of coloring pysanky eggs was handed down for
generations all over Eastern Europe, he said. Pysanky is becoming increasingly
popular in the United States and offers the artistically inclined a hobby that
can hold their interest for hours, he added. For more information, visit www.WOLFrames.com.
Attorney who worked to revitalize South Valley dies
Joseph Lach, whose dedication to the South Valley region he called home spurred
his involvement in the area's revitalization, passed away unexpectedly Monday.
In Plymouth Township, officials and employees mourn not
only the loss of the solicitor who helped the township through its darkest days,
but also a resident who cared about the community.
became solicitor for the township in 2004, during what Supervisor Chairwoman Gale
Conrad called "traumatic, trying times." The supervisors had to lay
off the police force, the township was declared financially distressed by the
state, and there were floods in September 2004, April 2005 and June 2006 to cope
with, as well as a December 2004 fire at the public works garage.
don't know how we could have gotten through it all without his help," Conrad
said. "He was such a good solicitor, and additionally I believe he handled
things in such an extraordinary way because he was a resident."
said Lach was always professional, but took township matters personally.
also became everyone's friend. That's something that doesn't happen all the time,"
Lach was a partner in the Kingston-based
law firm of Koff, Mangan, Vullo, Gartley and Lach. Attorney James Mangan of the
firm called Lach "very civic-minded" and a "consummate gentleman."
"Joe was what we call a lawyer's lawyer: someone a
lawyer would turn to for advice," Mangan said.
was a founder of the nonprofit South Valley Partnership, a group dedicated to
regional redevelopment and future planning. He briefly served as Nanticoke City
solicitor, and since July 2007 he has been solicitor for Nanticoke's municipal
"He was a great man, a gentleman all
the way. He did a lot of pro bono work for us when we were broke," municipal
authority acting Chairman Hank Marks said.
One of the
tasks Lach undertook without pay was consolidating many parcels of land into one,
for the South Valley Partnership's 134-acre regional park on Lower Broadway in
In his capacity as municipal authority solicitor,
Lach's legal work included helping draw up an agreement for Luzerne County Community
College to lease-purchase the Kanjorski Center on Main Street in Nanticoke for
a new Health Sciences Center.
"I can assure you
the projects that are happening in Nanticoke, where buildings are going up and
jobs are being created and the community is being given a new life, that would
absolutely not be happening without Joe Lach," said State Rep. John Yudichak,
He said Lach was always willing to give,
whether of his time, professional services or money.
though his life has been cut short, he led a very full life and he leaves a wonderful
legacy of success, both professionally, and, most important, in friendship,"
Yudichak said. "We're going to carry on his work, carry on his legacy, and
continue to build up the communities he loved so much."
Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Wilkes-Barre, got to know Lach in the days when Pashinski
taught at Greater Nanticoke Area with Lach's wife Barbara.
was part of Pashinski's health care reform task force. Pashinski said on Monday
he, Lach and other members of the task force were exchanging e-mails about the
new federal health care bill and planned to hold a meeting on how to "plug
in the holes on the state level."
a tremendous loss," Pashinksi said. "It's difficult to comprehend."
Nanticoke municipal authority, operators at odds over
that the sale of Villa at Nanticoke to the Nanticoke General Municipal Authority
is pending came as a surprise to several parties.
A. Halko and Bob Hughes, who operate the personal care home, were surprised to
find out it was being sold to someone else. Nanticoke Villa Real Estate Associates
LLC has had a purchase agreement for the building since becoming licensed by the
Department of Public Welfare and taking over the facility from the Darlak family
in July 2008, Halko said.
"We received no official
notification of anything which would constitute their right to sell this,"
Municipal authority members said at Monday's
public meeting they also have an agreement, dated March 12, to purchase the property,
along with that of the now-demolished Y-T Hardware building at Main and Walnut
streets, from the Darlak Trust and Joseph Darlak's appointed guardian for $800,000.
"It really surprises me that they weren't notified
by Darlak's attorney," acting authority Chairman Hank Marks said of the personal
care home operators.
Municipal authority member Dennis
Butler was also surprised to hear about Halko and Hughes' potential claim on the
"The issue they have is with Darlak,
because Darlak signed the agreement of sale. Their issue is not with us: we are
just purchasing something that was represented to us as being for sale,"
Perhaps the most surprised were Nanticoke
Villa's residents, according to Hughes.
been in this business 40 years, and this is the most cruel thing I've ever seen
done," he said. "We had little old ladies crying, we had a husband and
wife who were panicked and calling other facilities â?¦ There is
a real possibility there is a (deleterious) effect on their health."
Halko and Hughes stated in a letter sent Tuesday to residents
and families, "We hold the license and own the business, we have a legal
asset purchase agreement for the building and we plan to continue to operate the
Villa at Nanticoke far into the future."
County Community College is taking over the Kanjorski Center on East Main Street
from the municipal authority through a lease-purchase arrangement, and the college
is renovating the buidling into a Health Sciences Center.
municipal authority wants to buy the Villa at Nanticoke and former Y-T property
because the authority is contractually obligated to provide at least 272 parking
spaces to the college.
"Personally, myself, I
would let them (Halko and Hughes) there even if we purchase it, but according
to the project managers, that's not the way to go. We'll have to work that out
somehow," Marks said.
Halko and Hughes indicated
the municipal authority can have the former Y-T property.
would love to continue operating in this building. The other peripheral land we
don't care about," Halko said.
was run by the Darlak family, but the state indicated in 2008 the license wouldn't
be renewed unless Halko's company took over, Hughes said.
said he and Halko made improvements to the building, including painting and installing
new floors. Residency jumped from 34 people to more than 50 and is continuing
to grow; the facility has more than 25 employees, Hughes said.
a real kick in the groin. We worked so hard and the reputation was so terrible,"
Halko said he and Hughes are willing to cut
"We're going to pursue every legal option
available to us to maintain the operations here," Halko said, adding, "We're
open to other options than 'let's fight for two years to see whose contract will
moving forward with downtown projects
Nanticoke Municipal Authority members
hope for a May 15 closing in the purchase of properties near the Kanjorski Center
at 38 E. Main St., which are needed to help fulfill an obligation to Luzerne County
The municipal authority has articles
of agreement to buy for $800,000 two properties owned by the Darlak family of
Tobyhanna: the site of the now-demolished Y-T Hardware store, and the Nanticoke
Villa personal care home at Walnut and Main streets, authority Chairman Hank Marks
The catch is ensuring residents of the
assisted-living facility move out by May 15.
don't think we can close until it's empty," Marks said.
officials plan to turn the former Kanjorski Center into the college's Health Sciences
Center; they have a lease-purchase agreement with the municipal authority for
the building. Under the contract, the authority must provide LCCC a minimum of
272 parking spaces.
In 2005, the municipal authority
bought and demolished commercial buildings at 108-124 E. Main St., next to the
Kanjorski Center, including the Coffee Shoppe and Lecher's Hardware.
former Y-T Hardware site will be added to those properties for the parking lot,
but authority members do not plan to demolish the Nanticoke Villa building. However,
they don't plan to keep it open, either.
now will advertise for contractors to install the lot, including paving, line
painting, lights and a stormwater catch basin, architect Scott Allen said.
LCCC advertised Monday for bids for renovations and an
addition to the Kanjorski Center. Allen said he would contact the college for
a plan to see where the new addition will be, but authority members don't believe
it will eat up too much parking space if it is behind the building.
municipal authority took out a $1.2 million loan from Community Bank and Trust
to pay for the property acquisition and parking lot construction. Allen said the
authority would like for work on the parking lot to start in May, but didn't know
how much it would cost.
man combines love of writing, coins
Matthew Harris - Citizens Voice
Scrounging beneath couch cushions doesn't suit
No, his hobby of coin collecting was a humble
pursuit, a way to handle metallic pieces of history with their tale of how they
were designed and struck by mints. The farthest the 72 year old ever went in hunting
for rare pieces of spare change was cashing $25 of his paycheck to mine rolls
of change for his quarry.
"It was the idea that
growing up you could find something of value in spare change," Reiter said.
"I found Lincoln cents that were worth up to $40 or $50 just going through
rolls of quarters."
Reiter may have been a lightweight
to his peers in Numismatics, as the hobby is officially known, but he found another
way of holding their attention. For 40 years, the journalist has quietly documented
and commented on all matters tied to coin collecting as a newspaper columnist
whose insights earned him weekly spaces in The Asbury Park Press, The Bergen Record
in New Jersey along with The New York Times.
days, the Nanticoke resident pens a modest monthly column in COINage, a magazine
dedicated to topics such as reviling the use of manganese in the Sacagawea gold
"What I try to do is write for the reader
who doesn't even collect coins," Reiter said. "Everybody has an interest
in money. There's no point in getting so technical that you turn 90 percent of
people off rather than bringing them into the subject."
people on taking an interest in the loose change jangling in their pockets started
in 1973, when Reiter approached an editor at the Park Press with the idea of column.
There was one for gardening, why not coins? Over six years, he went to local meetings
of coin-collecting clubs and wrote pieces he thought received some passing attention.
"It was journalism first and coins second," he
said. "Now, it's both."
In the realm of obscurities,
degrees of separation are smaller and Reiter's work came to the attention of the
Numismatic Literary Guild, who bestowed several writing awards to Reiter and a
chance to write freelance columns for Coin Magazine. His work also caught the
discerning eye of his colleague at The New York Times who was set to retire and
passed Reiter's name along to the editor of the paper's Arts and Leisure section
Reiter found the offer surprising, considering
he had never met the man who recommended him.
he read, I don't know," Reiter said. "All I know is that they offered
me the chance to do the column every Sunday."
Reiter wasn't going to turn down the $200 a week in income for a Sunday column
that supplemented his earnings from writing freelance columns and working part-time
at The Bergen Record after The Park Press let him go.
start date with the Times - July 1, 1979 - was fitting. It was the day after the
introduction of the Susan B. Anthony silver dollar. Over the next decade, Reiter
approached his task diligently, finding that the simple writing style he honed
writing for television broadcasts in the early 1960s was tweaked for the Times'
"You do write differently,"
he said. "You find yourself using certain phraseology or words that you might
not use in a magazine. If you don't, they might just change that for you."
His decade with the Times ended in 1989, and Reiter spent
the remaining 19 years of his career with The Record as a copy editor and dutifully
churning out more coin columns. A stroke in 2002 left him with some limited mobility
on his right side, and massive layoffs at the paper in 2008 convinced him it was
time to take a buyout and retire.
the premiere locale on he and his wife's list of retirement destinations when
they moved from northern New Jersey. But his mother-in-law lives in Drums, and
the thinking went that she would sell her house and move in with them.
year after the move, the mother-in-law still owns her home.
Reiter stays busy editing features for COINage and writing his own material in
a voice that age and experience have tinged with a bit of dissent. He uses parentheses
to explain what the obverse (the face) of the coin is or what the Eagle Dollar
(a golden coin) are to readers.
In one column, he lambasted
a new design on the back of the cent piece, and in his latest considers plans
to honor national parks on the reverse sides of quarters to be ludicrous. How
are you going to represent an entire expanse of land on a canvas so small, he
"I've become sort of a grouchy old man
in the eyes of some readers and the U.S. Mint," he said. "Theoretically,
since I write for a hobby magazine I should be upbeat, but I still think it's
my duty to say what I think."
And he still loves
Buffalo Nickels and the Liberty Quarter, showing a Lady Liberty wielding a sword
and shield to ward off foreign enemies who would threaten U.S. isolationism on
the eve of World War I.
His passion aside, Reiter's
columns and views reflect a hobby that has evolved from a simple pursuit of history
to a form of specialized investment with an appraisal process that grades and
assign a dollar value to each artifact. People won't settle for a coin that's
been in circulation, and a slight downgrade in quality can drive the value down
by hundreds or thousands of dollars.
"As a kid,
I was just happy to find any coin that was old and had a history," he said.
"Now, you have to buy it."
Aching to play after sitting out the Big Dance Paul Sokoloski
All this NCAA excitement going on around here is starting to make Aly Byorick
a little anxious.
She just cant wait to stick a jump shot, scoot down
the lane or stuff one of her pinpoint passes through a sea of arms and legs and
into the hands of one of her Lehigh University teammates.
When it comes to
games like the one Lehigh will play today, in the opening round of the NCAA womens
college basketball tournament against Iowa State, Byorick was never that good
at holding back.
But shell have to.
Because the bad knee that took
away her whole season turned out to be the same thief that will rob her of her
dream to play in the biggest womens basketball tournament going.
been hard, not being able to play, Byorick said. Its been difficult
watching the games.
The word difficult doesnt begin to describe
her college experience.
As a freshman, she didnt play much at her first
stop, Xavier, after scoring more points than anyone in Nanticoke Area High Schools
illustrious girls basketball history.
She transferred to Lehigh for the start
of the 2008-09 campaign, but NCAA transfer rules forced her to sit out that full
season, when Byorick played the part of a spectator as the Mountain Hawks swooped
into the tournament for the first time in 12 years. Then her knee kept her out
of another season, and another Big Dance.
Just before Lehighs 2009-10
opener, Byorick suffered a torn left ACL, snatching away any shot the 6-foot guard
had to make Lehighs starting lineup in what turned out to be a 29-3 season
so far. Or even contribute to it.
Its been an exciting, exciting
year, said Byorick, who intends to apply for a medical redshirt that, if
granted, would give her three more seasons of college athletic eligibility. Obviously,
I wanted to be a bigger part of it, when it comes to playing.
is most comfortable knocking down big shots and getting her teams through big
She scored a school-record 2,272 career points at Nanticoke while taking
the Trojanettes through two unbeaten regular seasons, two state playoff appearances
and a pair of 29-1 records during her final two high school seasons. The 21-year-old
daughter of Dan and Trish Byorick of Nanticoke was a four-time high school All-Star,
a three-time Street & Smiths Magazine honorable mention and a two-time
All-Pennsylvania player who averaged 22.5 points in 2006-07, the final season
of her fabulous high school career.
Shes used to leading the charge,
not leading the cheers.
When I got hurt, I was a little upset,
Now shell try to help 13th-seeded Lehigh pull an upset
against No. 4 Iowa State in a 9:30 p.m. game today at Hilton Coliseum in Ames,
Byorick wont be able to break down a defense with her slick shooting
or slithery moves just yet. Shes still in the stage of her rehab where itll
be a big moment if she can begin unlimited shooting drills by the end of the week,
and is more than two months away from being cleared to practice. Lehighs
season will be over by then.
But Byorick will do her best to make sure it
doesnt end tonight.
Shell be at the end of the Mountain Hawks
bench, the way shes been for every Lehigh game this season, trying to pick
up some tips and offering advice to her teammates in an attempt to help her team
and head coach Sue Troyan find an opening to the second round.
has allowed me to take on kind of an assistant coaching role, Byorick said.
You see a lot more. You learn a lot more. Ill say things like, Take
her baseline, and my team has really accepted that, they believe what I
say. Its made me so much hungrier to finally get out there next year.
Its also made her thirst for a long future in basketball.
is something I can definitely be interested in, Byorick said. Even
my teammates said, Youd be a really good coach. But thats
a ways away yet.
She still must wait to contribute for Lehigh with baskets,
but right now Byorick tries to make points without ever touching the ball. Because
thats the best shot leaders take to even the score with fate.
rule study commissions interest South Valley residents
into future the goal of Nanticoke, Plymouth Twp. candidates.
Eight residents each in two South Valley communities
hope to lead their individual municipalities into the future by serving on home
rule study commissions.
Candidates for the Nanticoke
home rule study commission are: Yvonne Bozinski, William F. Brown, Wayne Llewellan
Getz, Gerald J. Hudack Sr., Robert J. Katra, Leonard Omolecki, Linda Prushinski
and Gary Smith.
Candidates seeking a seat on the Plymouth
Township commission are: Leonard Bartosiewicz, Linda R. Kenney, Joseph D. Lloyd,
Michael S. Masakowski, James P. McDermott, Eugene R. McKeown, Edward F. Nowak
and Mark J. Vnuk.
Commission members are not paid.
They will meet on a regular basis on a schedule to be determined by the members.
Nanticoke and Plymouth Township residents will decide during
the May 18 primaries if the non-partisan commissions are formed to study how effectively
Nanticoke and Plymouth Township governments operate. Voters will also select seven
candidates to serve on each commission during the May elections, if the commissions
If the commissions are approved, members
will begin meeting to conduct an in-depth study of the city and township government,
look into the procedures of the government to determine its weaknesses or defects
and look at how other municipalities operate.
commissioners meet for several months, they will either decide that no changes
are needed or they will draft charters detailing how the new city or township
government will operate. The charters would then be presented to Nanticoke and
Plymouth Township voters to be approved or rejected.
of Nanticoke, admitted she doesnt know a lot about how about a home rule
commission works. She does know that she wants to see a change in how city government
I feel we have elected officials that
are doing nothing because their hands are tied by the bounds of government. I
think at the present time they are giving more authority to the appointed officials
rather than the elected officials regarding important matters, she said.
Another Nanticoke home rule candidate, Omolecki, 47, said
he believes his skills as an attorney would assist him in determining what would
be the best form of government. Omolecki said he previously served as solicitor
for Larksville and the Nanticoke Zoning Board.
am familiar with all the things the towns, communities have to deal with and comply
with when dealing with state and federal law. I have an open mind as whether or
not there should be change, Omolecki said.
two communities share some similarities, but in other ways are dramatically different.
Both communities are in Act 47, declared by the state to
be in a financially distressed situation, and both are in the South Valley area.
Nanticoke is a third-class city and Plymouth Township is a second-class township.
McDermott, 67, a Plymouth Township native, said he wanted
to do something that would help improve his hometown. He hopes that if he is elected
to the commission he will be able to regulate how the township operates so large
tax increases are not levied on the communitys senior citizens.
are in trouble over here. Were just going to see what we have to do here.
I think most of the township is senior citizens. A big tax increase is going to
ruin the township I think, McDermott said.
Nanticoke wage tax decrease explained
official gives shortfall reasons, says city will hit projected 2010 figure.
citys Earned Income Tax Revenue is down $40,000 this year as compared to
this same period last year.
So, a Berkheimer Tax representative
made a presentation during Tuesdays council meeting at the councils
request. Normally council meetings are held on Wednesday nights, but the meeting
was bumped up a day because of St. Patricks Day.
Sales Director Jim Hunt reassured council members Tuesday they would hit their
projected mark of generating $2.1 million to $2.3 million in EIT revenue.
Part of the shortfall is due to some employers falling
behind in paying their taxes, Hunt said. He pointed out three specific reasons
why revenues are down:
Last year at this same
time, the city received a $14,000 tax payment from an employer who should have
made the payment in late 2008.
your January 2009 numbers, Hunt said.
Taxes from residents who work at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital were received about
10 days later than last year and will be reflected in the citys March tax
When other tax revenue companies collect
taxes from employee wages, the taxes then have to be sent to Berkheimer for processing,
and the collection can add up to 60 to 90 days later than normal. When Geisinger
relocated some of its employees to other areas, it moved the employees out of
Berkheimers collection ability. So now Berkheimer has to wait to receive
the funds, process them and then send them on to Nanticoke.
year the city received $2.27 million in revenue from the tax.
year the city has received $310,075 in taxes for January and February, as compared
to $349, 902 collected the same period last year.
James Litchkofski, who oversees the citys finance and accounting, said he
has to take Hunts word that taxes will start to increase.
will watch it closely and in the event that things fall short, and if it looks
like that trend is going to continue, we will have Berkheimer back in. This is
something that has to be watched very carefully, he said.
GNA to extend the school year
set for June 16 so students can make up four snow days.
Greater Nanticoke Area School District students
will be attending school longer than normal this June due to some inclement weather
earlier in the year.
The spring semester was scheduled to end on June 11,
but now it will end on June 16, so students can make up the four days that the
district was closed during the snowstorms last month.
Graduation is tentatively
scheduled for June 16, six days later than originally planned.
Tony Perrone explained that under state law, students must attend a pre-specified
number of days or they can not graduate or pass to the next level.
have to put 180 days in, he said.
If there are more school days canceled
due to inclement weather, the date could be pushed out even further.
district is modifying three of its bus schedules as work is scheduled to begin
on the bridge connecting Nanticoke and West Nanticoke.
Starting Tuesday students
using the Tilbury Fire Hall bus stop will now walk to the end of the sidewalk
near 87 E. Poplar St. to catch the bus on the fire hall side of the street. Students
must remain on the sidewalk until the bus blocks East Poplar Street to block all
traffic. Students who use shuttle transfers on buses 124, 129 and 107 at the Tilbury
Fire Hall will now catch the bus at the sidewalk near 17 W. Poplar St. Students
catching the Poplar and Elkton streets bus stop will now catch the bus at 17 W.
Poplar St. with the shuttle students.
This new busing schedule will remain
in effect until the work on the bridge is complete, Perrone said. It is unknown
exactly how long that will take.
and High School Principal Stu Tripler are planning on starting a journalism class
at the high school.
Perrone also presented four school
board members with certificates from the Pennsylvania School Board Association
for their various years of service.
Board members Cindy
Donlin and Gary Smith were both honored for eight years, board President Jeff
Kozlofski for 13 years of service, and board member Sylvia Mizdail for 27 years.
Mizdail was given a plaque for her service and the others received certificates.
Bill Arsenault - Times
The Navy womens track team defeated
rival Army 94-97 in a dual meet recently in Annapolis and senior Abby Gesecki
(Nanticoke Area) had a big part in the victory.
the team captain, won the 400 meter dash (57.58) and the 800 meter run (2:21.03)
and then ran the first leg on the winning 4x400 relay team. The 200 time is a
new Wesley A. Brown Field House record and the 800 victory was her sixth individual
title in the Star Meet (Army vs. Navy).
Palacio also won two events and helped win a relay for the Midshipmen.
cant say enough about the efforts of Abby and Jess, coach Carla Criste
said. To double up like that and come back to run such great relays was
really something special.
Navy finished the regular
season with a perfect 10-0 mark in dual meets and also captured the Star Meet
for the fifth straight season.
gets look at home rule idea
City voters will be asked in May if they want
a group to study new government.
Rogan - Times Leader
Joseph L. Boyle of the Pennsylvania
Economy League laid out the basic definitions and limitations of municipal home
rule governance during a public hearing Wednesday at City Hall.
in the city will face a question on home rule in the May 18 primaries.
Council adopted an ordinance in November to let voters decide 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 adopt home rule. This will be
the first time Nanticoke voters will consider creating a government study commission.
Even if voters want to vote against the commission, they
can still vote for seven people to serve on the board.
the home rule question is approved, the seven-member home rule committee will
then do research and make the determinations as to the best form of government
for the city.
Boyle was invited by the council to give
Most of the questions he fielded
dealt with how home rule would affect the citys Act 47 status as a distressed
city, and frequent comparisons were made to Scranton, which has a home rule government
and is also an Act 47 community.
Boyle said information
will be made available to residents so that comparisons can be made among the
many cities across the state that have adopted home rule charters. But, he said,
the elected committee would ultimately have to make determinations based on factors
unique to Nanticoke.
It is a big responsibility,
but it is citizens creating their own government. You want a voice, here it is,
City Clerk Mary Cheshinski spoke out in
favor of home rule.
This is a way to modernize
our city government, she said. She described Nanticokes current status
as a third class city under the state code as outdated.
information meeting will be on March 16.
interested in serving on the home rule committee must have petitions completed
with 62 valid signatures by March 9 in order to have their names on the May ballot.
The PEL is the coordinator of Nanticokes economic
recovery plan and is working with the Luzerne County Government Study Commission,
which is working on home rule charter for the county.
the public meeting, Councilman James Litchofski announced at the regular council
meeting that the citys earned-income tax was down just under $40,000
from where it was projected to be following January and February.
noted that in conversations with representatives of the Berkheimer tax collection
agency assurances have been made that Nanticoke will achieve its projected goals
for the year.
He nevertheless suggested that Berkheimer
representatives be contacted for a meeting as soon as possible so that official
concerns could be addressed in detail.
Nanticoke faces $43K deficit in
Robert Olsen - Citizens' Voice
James Litchkofski expressed concern Wednesday over news that the city's earned
income tax revenue is down by almost $43,000 from the same time last year.
According to Litchkofski, Berkheimer Tax Administrators
said the city is expected to meet its annual budgeted projection.
down this much this early though â?¦" Litchkofski said. "We
better get ahead of this early."
city Finance Director Pamela Heard to contact Berkheimer and bring them into the
loop to discuss the deficit.
For tax year 2009, the
city collected $349,902 in EIT. For 2010, the collected revenue is only $307,014,
a difference of $42,888. The projected EIT revenue for the year is between $2,050,000
"It's really hard to get an exact
year-to-year comparison," Heard explained, "because of late payments
and such. I will definitely be in contact with Berkheimer though."
other business, Andrew D. H. Rau, an attorney with Unruh, Turner, Burke and Frees
Law Firm, made a brief presentation on behalf of Royal Bank regarding the future
of Lexington Village.
According to Rau, Royal Bank
acquired the property from a sheriff's sale and has inspected the property, finding
a "number of deficiencies" including eroding paving, unfinished curb
work and more. Royal Bank is looking to put $285,000 in improvements into the
property to prepare it for sale to a third-party investor.
motion to authorize city Administrator Holly Quinn to execute an "irrevocable
letter of credit" to Royal Bank was tabled until council could discuss the
matter further. An executive session was planned to be held immediately following
"We'll need the city to sign
off on the improvements before we can sell the property," Rau said.
a brief informational session regarding home rule was held prior to Wednesday's
meeting where Pennsylvania Economy League member Joseph Boyle talked to residents
about the history of home rule and the deadline's the city faces.
city has recently begun to discuss the creation of a seven-person Home Rule Study
Commission to study the effects of leaving behind the cities current commission
form of government in favor of Home Rule.
in being on the panel have until 4:30 p.m. on March 9 to get their petition signed
and turned in. Names will then appear on the ballot for the May 18 primary for
residents to select the seven members for the study commission.
commission will have nine months to study the current form of government and an
additional year if the commission decides to write a home-rule charter for consideration.
If the commission finds the current form of government
to be satisfactory, the commission would then be dissolved by February 2011.
No easy course: Autistic teen enrolling at LCCC
classes, school rules a challenging balancing act
Quentin Karpowicz is a kind-of-shy, 20-year-old
who enjoys playing piano and holds down a job in a mail room at a local hospital.
He wants to take a couple of courses at the local community
college for self-enrichment and an opportunity to socialize with people his own
But officials at Luzerne County Community College
wont let him.
he has autism, said his parents, Leonardia and Edward Karpowicz, of Nanticoke.
Quentin has verbalized the desire to attend the college
for the past four years, and last August, he and his family submitted an application
to attend LCCC in a non-degree-seeking status. He wanted to take a computer keyboarding
class and a physical education class volleyball, Leonardia said.
she met with a college official, Leonardia said, she was told the college does
not accept students with autism and, furthermore, he could not have an aide in
Leonardia said she pointed out that
the college surely would not deny admittance to a quadriplegic who needed an aide
in class to turn the pages of a book for him, but the official told her that was
different because an aide could do the course work for Quentin.
Bush, associate dean of counseling and student support services, said she could
not comment on any specific student or applicant because of privacy issues, but
she could address college policy in general.
LCCC has an open-door policy and no one is denied access to
LCCC. She said all students, except those who have already taken courses
at another college, have to take a placement exam so they can be placed in classes
most appropriate to help guarantee the students greatest chance of success.
Edward said Quentins college adviser initially encouraged
the family to consider having Quentin audit the courses, which would eliminate
the need for exams and curricular requirements that would frustrate her son, which
was fine with him.
But after Quentin had received his
class schedule in the mail and was preparing to buy required textbooks, three
days before the start of the semester, a member of Quentins treatment team
received a call from an LCCC official indicating Quentin would not be allowed
to take the courses for which he was registered.
members of Quentins treatment team went to the college and met with Quentins
adviser and a college representative responsible for making accommodations for
handicapped students and were told that permission of the course instructor and
college provost was necessary for a student to audit a class, Leonardia said.
They were told that allowing Quentin to audit the courses
would lower the standard of the college, and recommended that Quentin
enroll in a basic reading skills course that required maintaining a C average
and showing marked improvement. The class would be necessary before he could register
for other courses, she said.
The team was confused
because the members had been told previously that this requirement was only for
students who wished to take further reading courses. The team believed the course
was well above Quentins reading abilities, Leonardia said.
Mary McHugh, coordinator of special needs at the college, said she agrees with
college policy that requires all students to demonstrate through placement
tests mastery of basic reading and writing skills in order to take a course,
even if the student would be auditing the course. She said the college will make
accommodations for special-needs students to demonstrate those abilities.
But Quentins parents dont believe college policies
take into account that Quentin can comprehend much of what would be presented
in a class with the help of an aide despite a lack of basic reading
and writing skills. They say he has the ability to learn, given the right accommodations,
and point to his piano playing and mail-room job.
Shumosic, Quentins piano teacher, said Quentins ability to learn piano
skills far surpassed her initial expectations.
only does he do what I want him to do, he has accomplished the dexterity and he
loves music. He is able to play decent music for himself and enjoy it, and that
was the goal, Shumosic said.
public affairs officer at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in
Plains Township, said he has received nothing but positive accolades about
Quentins contributions to the mail room.
have a lot of respect for his desires and goals and what he wants to do with his
life. Were very pleased we can assist him in pursuing his goals in life,
George Shadie, who co-founded Supporting
Autism and Families Everywhere, said he and Quentins family have worked
closely with state Rep. John Yudichak, D-Nanticoke, to help Quentin get accepted
to LCCC, but his situation seems to have fallen though the cracks
in the higher-education system.
Shadie said just as
physically disabled people can learn material in a classroom setting if supplied
with some special accommodations, autistic students can as well.
tell professionals and administrators all the time, if they doubt what a child
is capable of, they need to read Helen Kellers life story again, Shadie
Yudichak said his office reached out to
leadership at the community college to try to fashion the best possible opportunities
for Quentin and is still working to ensure that were going to
give this man an opportunity to have a collegiate life.
met several times and are trying to come to the best possible solution for Quentins
care and for folks coming after Quentin who may be in a similar situation, and
at the same time understand the college has rules and regulations they have to
follow, Yudichak said.
But time is running out
for Quentin financially.
Greater Nanticoke Area School
District will pay for Quentins education only until he reaches the age of
21, and Quentins parents dont have the means to provide him with any
kind of college education on their own.
been disabled for about 20 years because of conditions related to his cancer,
and Leonardia just returned to work in January after being laid off for two years.
Bieski in top form/Gesecki sparkles
Arsenault - Times Leader
BIESKI IN TOP FORM
West Virginia junior Amy Bieski (Nanticoke) was named East Atlantic Gymnastic
League co-Gymnast of the Week after helping the Mountaineers record a season-best
195.65 score in a victory over Ohio State.
a team-leading and season best 39.25 all-around total. The EAGL award was her
third this season and fifth in her career.
just keeps getting better and more confident each week, coach Linda Burdette
said. It is great to see that all her hard work is paying off and she is
having such success. We hope she can continue this upward climb and have her best
gymnastics at the end of the season.
her 39.25 to finish third in the all-around as the Mountaineers (11-4 overall
and 6-0 in the EAGL) fell to No. 13-ranked Penn State 195.950-194.925 last Saturday
in University Park. It was her fourth 39.0-plus mark this season and 11th of her
career and moves her into a three-way tie for eighth place with the most career
39.0-plus scores at West Virginia.
SPARKLE Bucknell senior Amy Mantush (Hazleton Area) and Navy senior Abby
Gesecki (Nanticoke) had standout performances in last weekends Patriot
League Womens Indoor Track Championships. Bucknell won its eighth title
in nine years with 168 points. Navy, the defending champion, was second with 96
Mantush captured the pentathlon with 3,449
points, winning the high jump (5-6) and long jump (17-8?), finishing second in
the 60 hurdles (9.88), third in the shot put (34-7?) and ninth in the 800 meter
run (2:42.07). She also captured the high jump in the regular portion of the meet
in 5-8 and added a fourth-place finish in the triple jump (36-9?).
took the 500 meter dash (1:16.67) and helped the 4x400 relay team score a victory
and the 4x800 finish second.
Biddy 12 y/o wins over Lebanon for title
Nanticoke Webdesign and
Newport Biddy 12 year old won the
Newport Biddy tournament on Sunday, 2/23/2010 by beating Lebanon by a score of
30 to 28.
Newport was in the drivers seat the whole game but, towards the
end, Lebanon started scoring more and then it was 28-26. Robbie Hopkins was fouled
and made the two shots. Lebanon brought the ball up and was fouled. They made
the 2 shots and it was 30-28. Lebanon was on the foul line again for a one and
one when they missed and Newport got the rebound with 2 seconds left.
to the Newport Biddy 12 y/o team!
Roster: Alec Norton, Steve Krietzer, Brent
Piontkowski, Scott Stout, Eddie Lukowski, Nick Littzi, Robert Roth, Robbie Hopkins,
Benny Sersen and Matt Labenski.
Also Congratulations to Newport Biddy 11 y/o
team who took 2nd place in the tournament!
in Arctic conditions
Don Jacobs For the Times Leader
It all started with a cup of coffee at 7 a.m. in the heated
Environmental Education Center at Frances Slocum State Park on Saturday, February
6. Anglers were invited to take part in the annual ice fishing derby sponsored
by the Nanticoke Conservation Club. They were forced to move it to Frances Slocum
after budget issues forced the closing of Moon Lake County Park. The Nanticoke
Conservation Club is a great group of dedicated sportsmen who are involved in
many environment projects and educational events for the public.
for the club started on April 4, 1951. The Nanticoke Conservation Club is an active
organization of hunters, fishermen and outdoor enthusiasts. Their goal is to protect,
preserve, and manage the areas wildlife and natural resources. I know for
a fact they enjoy having a good time along the way.
This particular day at
Frances Slocum drew more than 100 people to the hard water. They paid their entrance
fee and waited patiently to walk across the frozen lake to their predetermined
fishing spots. To keep it fair the tournament was designed to have everyone walk
onto the ice at the same time and begin fishing at the same time.
on the shore along with the excited anglers until one fisherman declared that
his phone was reading 8 a.m. The mad dash across the hard water began like the
gold rush out West. The silence of the frozen Frances Slocum Lake was shattered
by the sound of dozens of ice augers ripping through the 10 inches of ice. One
by one the ice fishing teams drilled holes, cleaned out the slush and set up their
tip ups (a device put into a hole with bait that will automatically tell you when
a fish is biting). It didnt take long to dot the surface of the lake with
fishing huts and sleds.
The temperature on the thermometer in our jeep was
reading 19 degrees and it actually felt like it was getting colder by the minute.
The wind chill factor was playing more of a roll than the temperature. By 9 a.m.
it was hard to face the wind. It actually felt like my contact lens were going
to freeze in my eyes. One of the hardest parts of fishing in a windy bitter cold
condition is trying to keep the holes from freezing over. It was indeed a constant
struggle on this day and it was getting worse by the minute.
like many sports, is much more exciting with a pay off. In this case it would
be the act of catching fish but for most anglers we visited with, that was not
happening. Our discussions on the ice became more about staying warm and beating
the wind than it did about winning the tournament. Many anglers wrapped things
up well before the 1pm weigh-ins while other braved the arctic like conditions
in hopes of landing a winning fish.
Ice fishermen are a special breed who
enjoy standing on a frozen lake for hours looking into a small hole in the hard
water with or without a tournament. I can honestly say that I wouldnt have
been out there if I wasnt covering the event for a story for Pennsylvania
Outdoor Life. My morning probably would have included a much later start with
a big breakfast.
Most of the anglers stopped back at the Environmental Center
of a complimentary hot dog, bowl of soup or a cup of coffee. The discussion there
was much the same as it was on the ice. Cold weather accompanied by the fact that
the fish werent biting that well seemed to dominate the story lines. The
weigh-ins started a 1 p.m. sharp and it was clear to me it wouldnt take
long to find the winners. Only a few anglers showed up with anything at all to
weigh in and those that did were carrying very small pan fish to the scale.
The big catches of the day were a dozen or so pickerel
and a handful of largemouth bass. I think all of the anglers should be applauded
for staying out on the ice for as long as they did. It certainly reminded me of
ice fishing in the arctic. You can read more about the Nanticoke Conservation
Club and their annual Ice Fishing Tournament on their website at www.nanticokeconservationclub.com.
Guy woke up early Sunday, Jan. 24, so she could watch TV before anyone older woke
up and took control of the remote.
Her mom, Lisa, woke
up, saw her daughter snuggled into the La-Z-Boy and decided to grab a few more
minutes of sleep.
The next thing Lisa knew, Alexis
was knocking on the bedroom door. "Mommy, I smell smoke."
quick thinking alerted her family to a blaze that had kindled on the other half
of their double home at 200-202 W. Main St., Nanticoke.
if it weren't for her being awake and being on the ball, I don't even want to
think about what happened. She doesn't even understand the severity of what could
have happened," Lisa said.
Alexis, who just turned
11, received a Service Above Self award Friday from the Greater Nanticoke Area
Rotary Club during an assembly at her school, Greater Nanticoke Area Education
Center, for helping her six-member family get out of their home safely.
a former firefighter and I understand the sacrifices people have to make, and
that's a hard sacrifice for someone so young," rotary President David Carey
said. "She could have panicked and fled. She smelled smoke, she went and
got her mommy, mommy checked it out and they got everyone out of the house and
went next door and called 911."
This is the first
Service Above Self award being granted by the rotary, and Carey said the idea
was inspired by Alexis. After reading about the fire in the newspaper, the seven
members decided they want to recognize everyday young heroes in the community.
"We do scholarships to the high school kids and the
vo-tech kids and we do things for the adults, and here is something we can do
for the children who do good deeds," Carey said.
received a certificate, a pin and rotary members collected toys for her family.
"I feel kind of surprised because whenever I went
to awards other kids got awards and now it's my turn," Alexis said. "What
I did was pretty cool. You don't meet a lot of 11-year-olds who've done that."
When she returned to school after the fire, Alexis said,
she was proud when her principal, Mariellen Scott, called her "our little
Students at Greater Nanticoke receive annual
lessons on fire safety, including visits from Nanticoke firefighters who bring
their Fire Safety Trailer. The trailer can be filled with smoke so children can
see what that would be like, and firefighters set up fire hazards, such as paper
towels next to a stove burner, for the students to spot.
fire department also has a dalmatian, Ember, who helps during presentations and
can show children how to stop, drop and roll.
family moved into their new home a block away from the Greater Nanticoke campus
this week, and she is already telling her parents they need a fire safety and
emergency plan, just in case something ever happens again.
since that happened, I'm like, 'You have to have something.'" Alexis said.
A house to call home
A Nanticoke native planned her
return with a custom-built abode
The idea came to Vern Torrey a few years ago as
he was driving along a road in Florida and pondering his retirement.
his job at Bell South would no longer tie him to the Southeast, why not take his
wife back to her Pennsylvania hometown?
The more Doreese
Torrey thought about it, the better it sounded.
she didnt want to tell her sister, Megan Tennesen of Nanticoke. At least,
not right away. She would have been too disappointed if it didnt happen.
So, unbeknownst to Tennesen, her daughter, Megan Zaremba
of Nanticoke, began to quietly search for a house for Aunt Doreese and Uncle Vern.
She did all the legwork for us, Doreese Torrey
said. Shed go and look at houses and send us pictures.
Megan Zaremba called her aunt with the news. Shed found the perfect house
ranch style, distinctive look, lots of bedrooms.
is it? Torrey wanted to know.
not anyplace, her niece said. Yet.
spotted a description of a house in the Cool Digs feature of The Times
Leaders At Home section and suspected her aunt and uncle would like it.
She was right and then some.
love it here. We are so happy, Doreese Torrey, 56, said as she led a tour
through the spacious home built to her specifications in the Cherry Hill development
on the outskirts of Nanticoke.
|Highlights of the home
include a dining room, a breakfast nook, a fireplace in the center of the living
room and a sunroom with lots of windows ideal for spotting wildlife.
my favorite room, said Vern Torrey, 77. Ive seen squirrels,
Ive seen bears, and then theres the skunk.
we go out to eat, other people say they want leftovers for their dogs or cats,
he said with a laugh. I bring them home for the skunk.
house was under construction from March through December 2008, with local contractor
Jim Brodginski handling the $161,800 job.
recommend him to anyone, Doreese Torrey said, explaining shes grateful
he worked with her to modify the original plans.
sunroom, for example, was an addition she wanted, and she opted for a shower instead
of a step-in Roman bath in the master bedrooms powder room. I had
a step-in bath in Florida, and, you know, I hardly ever used it, she said.
She also asked for and received wider doorways between
rooms as well as a change to the original plan that would have required her to
access a closet by walking through a powder room.
to the addition of one more door, she can enter the generously sized closet directly
from the bedroom.
Doreese Torrey likes to point out
the homes variety of ceilings, which range from barn-style to recessed to
I like the uniqueness, said Doreese,
whose former classmates at Nanticoke High School might remember her as Doreese
The largest room in the house is the 28-by-17.5-foot
recreation room in the finished basement, complete with exercise equipment and
an entertainment center. Around the corner is a cooler-temperature room filled
with wine racks.
The gas fireplace in the living room
adds a cozy touch. On winter days, by the time Doreese gets home from her job
as manager of Bank of Americas West Pittston Banking Center, Vern has
the place all toasty-warm for me.
the Torreys were pleased to reap abundant zucchini, cucumbers and other vegetables
from a garden theyd planted. We heard this area was once a pig farm,
Doreese said. That could be why its so fertile.
had an Easter-egg hunt out here, Doreese added, indicating the spacious,
I forgot who won,
said her great-nephew Braden Zaremba, 5, who is a frequent visitor.
think you did, Doreese assured him.
If you ask
Braden and his 9-year-old brother, Tyler, the best part of their aunts place
is the hot tub on the deck.
But for Doreese, the absolute
best part is living close enough to see her sister, her niece, the boys and other
relatives on a regular basis.
During the 18 years she
spent in Florida, Doreese and her sister said, they tended to see each other only
once or twice a year.
Nowadays, its not uncommon
for four generations to be together because Doreeses mother, 83-year-old
mom, Dorothy Coopey, and son, Kevin Aument, 33, live with the Torreys, and Doreeses
sister and niece live close enough to visit often.
I miss Floridas weather, Doreese Torrey said. But nothing beats
being close to your family.
appoints new head football coach
Camille Fioti - Times Leader
The audience gave a round of applause to Ronald Bruza Wednesday
as the Greater Nanticoke Area School Board unanimously voted to appoint him as
the districts new head football coach, effective immediately.
replaces Lou Cella who resigned last November. A 2000 GNA graduate, Bruza is a
teacher in the districts elementary center. As head football coach, he will
receive an annual salary of $6,900 board president Jeff Kozlofski said.
board also accepted the retirement letter of intent from G. Mark Brown, guidance
teacher, at the end of the school year.
In other business,
the board voted to approve a tentative contract between the districts support
staff and the board pending review by the solicitor.
Open seat on Nanticoke Municipal Authority causes concern
the flurry of redevelopment activity going on downtown, some Nanticoke Municipal
Authority members have expressed concern about a seat that has been vacant since
Authority Vice-Chairman Hank Marks has repeatedly
asked Nanticoke City Council members in the past month to appoint a new member
to the authority. The board is supposed to have five members, but currently has
Three members are needed to be present for
the authority to have a quorum and hold meetings.
is concerned key business could be postponed if any of the members are absent
causing a lack of quorum.
Lately the authority has
had three members Marks, Hank Kellar and Chairman Chester Chet
Beggs attending the meetings, according to Marks. Authority member Dennis
Butler attended the most recent meeting, but has missed several others in the
last couple months, Marks said. Butler did not return calls seeking comment.
The last few months and next few months will be critical
for the city and the board. The authority will be taking out a nearly $1.5 million
loan to provide a lot with 300 parking spaces for Luzerne County Community Colleges
Health Sciences Center.
Also, the authority is working
with Mark Development to redevelop some buildings in downtown. The firm is the
same company hired by LCCC trustees to build the Culinary Arts Center.
would like to see former Nanticoke mayor John Bushko appointed to the slot vacated
when former authority Chairman Ron Kamowski resigned from the board late last
year. He questions whether Bushko has not been named to the board because some
council members and other influential residents are worried Bushko might be too
independent to serve on the board.
Bushko said he would
feel comfortable serving on the board because hes attended all the authority
meetings in the past four years when he was mayor.
Mayor Joseph Dougherty hopes to have the seat filled next week during the city
council meeting. He said council members are still trying to decide on three people
interested in the post.
ON CAMPUS BILL ARSENAULT
Nanticoke grad leading Navy
Theres no mistaking
who the leader is on the Naval Academy womens track team. Senior Abigail
Abby Gesecki of Nanticoke wins the honor hands down.
is captain of the Midshipmen and does her job both on the track and off.
has been Navys top 500-meter dash performer in all four of her years at
Annapolis. She recently finished second out of 17 runners at the Patriot Games
at George Mason University, recording a time of 1:17.28. Prior to that, she ran
a leg on the distance medley relay team that finished first in the Navy Invitational.
Abby has been instrumental at setting the competitive
tone for this years team, coach Carla Criste said. She epitomizes
the traits of a team captain. She gives 100 percent at practice and in meets as
well as in her academic and military performance.
finished second in the 500 at last years Patriot League Indoor Championships
with a career-best time of 1:14.37. That meet is scheduled for Feb. 19-21 at West
Point. She had figured to prep for the league meet by defending her 500 title
in the Star Meet (Army vs. Navy) last weekend in Annapolis, but the meet was canceled
because of the weather and has been rescheduled for Feb. 27.
is also a standout in the 400 outdoors and captured the league title in that event
last year with a personal-best time of 56.81.
her career in track is over, Gesecki knows where shes headed.
a consequence of Abbys hard work in the class room, she has been selected
to become one of the first members of the future female submariners, Criste
said. She is a true pioneer who is always up for a challenge.
Nanticoke OKs temporary parking restriction, sets tax
Council members Wednesday night approved parking restrictions on a narrow street
after receiving a recommendation from the police chief.
police department has determined there could be unsafe conditions due to parking
on both sides of the street and the narrow widths of the street, City Administrator
Holly Quinn said.
The resolution adopted by council
requires vehicles park only on the east side of Christian Street from Broad Street
to State Street for a period of 90 days as the city tries to determine if this
will allow for easier traffic flow on Christian Street.
the end of the trial period, the city could make the parking restrictions permanent.
In other business, City Council approved the real estate
tax rate of 2.4344 mills for 2010, the same as last years. The general fund
receives 1.4573 mills; .9577 mills is used for debt service and .0194 mills pays
for the library.
A mill is $1 in tax for every $1,000
in assessed value.
Finance Director Pamela Heard announced
people who make less than $50,000 are eligible to receive free help in completing
their tax returns. The program, sponsored by the Internal Revenue Service, is
offered Thursday mornings and other days by appointment by calling 735-2800, ext.
Plymouth Twp. voters will face question of home rule
Nanticoke Mayor Joe Dougherty wants
to explore home rule as a way to keep the city's earned income tax rate.
voters in Nanticoke and Plymouth Township go to the polls on May 18, they will
be asked whether they want to form a home-rule study commission and select seven
candidates to serve on the board.
Luzerne County Director of Elections Leonard
Piazza III said Thursday he received ordinances from Nanticoke officials, who
passed theirs Wednesday, and Plymouth Township supervisors, who passed theirs
Creation of a study commission would allow panels of residents to
determine if the municipalities would fare better under a new form of government,
or if they should keep their current forms: third-class city code in Nanticoke's
case and third-class township code, in Plymouth Township's.
Officials in both
municipalities want to explore a home-rule charter as a way to keep their earned
income tax rate.
"Without it, where do we go? We'd have to go back to
property tax," Nanticoke Mayor Joe Dougherty said.
were designated Act 47, or financially distressed, by the state Department of
Community and Economic Development. Plymouth Township received the designation
in July 2004, Nanticoke in May 2006.
The status allowed both communities to
raise their earned income tax to 2 percent, with 0.5 percent in each going to
Nanticoke Area School District.
Act 47 is only a temporary solution designed to help municipalities get back to
sustainable financial stability. The only other way municipalities can raise earned
income tax above the state limit of 1 percent - 0.5 percent of which must go to
their school districts - is to adopt a home-rule charter.
the earned income tax, Plymouth Township would have its doors closed, literally.
We couldn't function without it," township Supervisor Chairwoman Gale Conrad
said. "Property taxes are so regressive, and harmful especially to folks
on a fixed income."
When the township was declared
financially distressed, officials opted, after months of research and discussion,
to raise the income tax as a way of fixing problems from the past, she said.
"I can't say enough about the folks in town who work
and pay the earned income, because they're really pulling the weight," Conrad
said. "That means a great deal, to keep a community solid."
a home-rule charter, counties and municipalities can reshape their governments
in other ways, such as having an appointed manager handle day-to-day operations,
like in Kingston Township, or having a strong mayor form of government, like in
Kingston Borough and Wilkes-Barre City. Luzerne County's government study commission
is currently in the process of drawing up a home rule charter, which members want
to put on the November ballot for vote.
although keeping Nanticoke's earned income tax at its current rate is the primary
reason for the home rule initiative, "once we start having meetings and public
forums, that's when we'll take suggestions" on other ways city government
could be improved with a home rule charter.
study commissions are non-partisan. To become a candidate, Nanticoke residents
must obtain 100 signatures on their nominating petitions; Plymouth Township residents
need 10 signatures, Piazza said. He said potential candidates should meet with
him to review the paperwork.
Nanticoke, Plymouth Township seek home rule study
from Nanticoke and Plymouth Township filed ordinances this morning in Luzerne
County's Election Bureau to have a home rule study question placed on the May
18 primary election ballot.
Voters in each municipality
would decide whether they want to create a home rule study commission.
would also be selected May 18 to serve on the commissions, but the winning candidates
will only take office if the study question passes.
Citizens trash becomes treasure for Nanticoke
One thousand tons of recycled material brings city a $17,000 grant to be used
as it sees fit.
By recycling newspapers, magazines, plastic items
and cans, residents have secured the city a $17,000 state grant.
Administrator Holly Quinn said the city expects to receive the $17,655 check within
the next eight weeks for 1,044 tons of material recycled in 2008 after being awarded
a Recycling Performance Grant from the states Department of Environmental
Municipalities that receive the grant can
use the money for anything local officials want. Nanticoke will be putting this
money in its capital projects fund.
The city has received
varying amounts from these grants in the last several years, depending on the
amount of recycled materials. The lowest point was in 2007, when the city received
$15,337 for 960 tons and the highest amount was in 2002, when the city received
$36,221 for 1,576 tons.
Mayor Joe Dougherty said he
doesnt know why there is such a large difference in the tonnage recycled.
He considered the idea that people might be putting less in their recycling bins,
so now he said he is determined to develop ways to promote recycling as a way
to benefit the environment and the city monetarily.
has numerous benefits, including protecting the environment, providing industry
with raw materials, conserving natural resources, reducing greenhouse gas emissions
and saving energy, he said.
Recyclable and trash
pickups are conducted weekly in Nanticoke. Paper and co-mingled recycling item
pickups rotate from week to week.
Aluminum, steel and
tin cans, food and beverage containers made of clear, green or brown glass and
plastic containers can be recycled together in a co-mingled bin. Newspapers, cardboard,
magazines, office paper and phone books are picked up together the next week.
While most things used on a daily basis can be recycled,
there are a few items that are not accepted.
food trays, light bulbs, mirrors, window glass, car batteries, gasoline, motor
oil, oil-based paints, pesticides and home construction or demolition debris cannot
Ex-GNA teacher charges job bias
Other teachers whose
certificates lapsed kept their jobs, Cathy Sadowski says.
A former teacher in the Greater Nanticoke Area
School District has sued the district in federal court for terminating her for
what she characterizes as discriminatory reasons, according to the lawsuit.
Cathy Sadowski of Pine Street in Nanticoke was employed
by the district from 1982 until April 2008, when she was forced to take an unpaid
leave of absence or pay a fine for allowing her teaching certification to lapse
without first completing another level, the lawsuit states.
chose the unpaid leave and was told she could get her job back as a business teacher
for the 2008-09 school year if she received the next certification level before
the year began, according to the lawsuit.
she received a letter that changed her unpaid leave to a termination, but told
her to resubmit her resume after receiving the certification.
did so, but the position was awarded to Sue Walton, who was at least a decade
younger than Sadowski, the lawsuit states.
states she was better qualified than Walton because she had 26 years of teaching
experience, had the position for nine previous years, had her second-level certification,
had satisfactory evaluations and was a student favorite.
that time period, the suit alleges, two male teachers who are also younger than
Sadowski were allowed to continue teaching even though they, too, had allowed
their certifications to lapse without first completing the next level.
men, the suit alleges, still have not received that certification.
alleges she was discriminated against by the district for her sex and age because
Walton was hired despite her lesser qualifications and the younger male teachers
didnt receive the same punishment for the same offense.
is seeking $150,000 and any damages the court deems appropriate.
Nanticoke's revitalization plan goes into overdrive
week, in the same auditorium at Luzerne County Community College where a comprehensive
plan for the South Valley was unveiled four years previously, the public got a
taste of the first milestone on the road to revitalization.
college revealed the new Joseph A. Paglianite Culinary Arts Institute that is
under construction at Market and Main streets in Nanticoke. The building, named
after the co-founder of Grotto Pizza, is to open this fall.
parts of the approximately $30 million downtown Nanticoke project are starting
to come together as well.
Interior demolition is under
way for renovating the long-vacant Kanjorski Center on Main Street into what will
open in January 2011 as LCCC's new Health Sciences center. Nanticoke officials
are working on a streetscape plan for the Main Street area, with $5.6 million
in federal funding obtained by U.S. Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski, D-Nanticoke. Mayor
Joseph Dougherty has formed a group to find the best ways to spend the money.
Plans are being made to provide enough parking for LCCC
and surrounding downtown businesses. Nanticoke General Municipal Authority bought
and tore down a group of commercial buildings at 108-124 E. Main St., next to
the Kanjorski Center, in 2005, and is currently attempting to buy some other adjacent
In addition, a private developer is interested
in the former CVS building directly adjacent to the Kanjorski Center, Dougherty
"This is not pictures," said State
Rep. John Yudichak, D-Nanticoke. "This is real, tangible progress."
In April 2006,
representatives from the planning firm Facility Design & Development Ltd.
presented to the public a newly created South Valley comprehensive plan, which
had been two years in the making. The plan was commissioned by the South Valley
Partnership to show how Newport and Plymouth townships and Nanticoke City could
have new life breathed into their urban centers.
components of the plan for downtown Nanticoke included finding a way to bring
LCCC, one of the region's biggest assets and largest employers, into the mix,
and to do something with the city's most visible intersections: that of Market
and Main streets.
A few months after the plan's debut,
Ken Pollock donated the former Susquehanna Coal Co. office to the Nanticoke Housing
Authority, which intended to renovate it into apartments. But the structure was
too far gone, Yudichak said.
"We knew we had to
get an anchor tenant, something that is going to bring people downtown,"
The South Valley "hit a home run"
with LCCC officials' decision to locate the Culinary Arts and Health Sciences
buildings on Main Street, Yudichak noted: the two new schools will bring 800 to
1,000 people to the heart of Nanticoke.
ago the city's relationship with the college was nonexistent, and now it has blossomed
into an opportunity for both parties, according to Dougherty: the college can
expand its most in-demand programs, which in turn will help bring more foot traffic
into the city's business district.
In 2008, William
Rinaldi's firm, Scranton-based Mark Development, was given the green light by
LCCC to build the culinary arts center at Market and Main streets.
are planning a comprehensive revitalization effort that will transform downtown
Nanticoke into a statewide model of how a third-class, industrial (city) can reposition
itself for a new era of growth and prosperity," Rinaldi stated.
Susquehanna Coal Co. building and the city-owned senior center were demolished,
and the foundation has gone up. The culinary center project has created approximately
200 construction jobs, most of them union, according to Chris Cawley, managing
director of Northeastern Economic Development Co., which is working on Mark Development's
On the horizon
other work going on behind the scenes, particularly involving the $4.5 million
in grants for the project. At Nanticoke City Hall prior to Tuesday's meeting at
LCCC, Cawley indicated 19 binders of documentation for the culinary arts project,
and said there are 20 more in the offices.
said the partnership among the city, college, developers and others has been good;
the work is hard and things take time, but everyone is on the same page.
once all entities involved are involved," Dougherty said. "No one's
Culinary arts center named for $1M donor
accepts gift from co-owner of Grotto Pizza for new center expected to open in
Luzerne County Community College Board of Trustees voted
Tuesday night to accept a $1 million gift donated by an area business owner and
officially named the colleges new culinary arts building after him.
The state-of-the-art facility, located in downtown Nanticoke,
will be named The Joseph A. Paglianite Culinary Institute.
is a co-owner of Grotto Pizza, which was founded in 1953 at Harveys Lake. Grotto
has become one of Northeast Pennsylvanias most successful restaurants.
It gives me great pleasure to be able to give back
to the Wyoming Valley who gave me so much and allowed me to be as successful as
the business, said Paglianite, who recently made a donation to the LCCC
Foundation to establish a scholarship.
president of the foundation, said the college is fortunate to have the support
of Mr. Paglianite, who has worked very hard over many years to build Grotto Pizza
into a successful business.
The $7.6 million
project has been a partnership between the college, community and Paglianite,
said Paul A. Halesey, chairman of the board.
who will enter our culinary arts program will learn the history of the man who
founded one of the most successful businesses in the area, he said.
The landmark business began as Joes Pizza and it
grew with the help of Paglianites brother-in-law and Wilkes-Barre native,
Dominick Pulieri.LCCCs culinary institute is designed to give future owners,
managers and professionals the tools needed to become successful in the food business.
The project was meant to accommodate the colleges growing enrollments in
its culinary programs, officials said.
is to offer our students education equal to the best culinary schools in the country
at a community college price, said Gary Mrozinski, dean of business and
Thomas P. Leary, LCCC president, said
opening the institute reaffirms the colleges commitment to training students
in the most up-to-date facilities.
The facility will
contain two kitchen labs and a pastry arts lab with more than 30 individual work
stations. The building also boasts an elevated auditorium, which will be equipped
with a television studio that will provide the ability to broadcast cooking shows
and culinary events.
Construction is under way on the
22,000-square-foot, two-story facility, which is scheduled to be completed by
Aug. 15. Classes are scheduled to begin next fall.
Nanticoke F.O.E. 834 donates equipment
Recently the Nanticoke F.O.E. 834 donated towards necessary vehicle equipment
for the Nanticoke's Police K-9 unit.
Through the Club's generosity the
Police Department will be able to maintain appropriate conditions for "Vice".
Pictured left to right, 1st row are: Bob Zaremba, Chief of Police James Cheshinski,
German Shepherd,"Vice", Officer Brian Kivler.
2nd row (back0
Magistrate Donald Whittaker, Gene Ruminski, Francis Grevera, Joe Bargella, Fred
David, Mike Havens andNPD Detective Willam Schultz.
Thanks to the quick thinking of their 10-year-old daughter, the Guy family of
Nanticoke escaped a blaze at their residence Sunday morning
flees burning home
A young girl who smelled smoke as her family slept
late Sunday morning very likely saved their lives when she woke up her mom, an
American Red Cross official said.
Alexis Guy, 10, was
watching television just before 10:30 a.m. Sunday when something caught her attention.
I heard banging and I muted the TV. All of a sudden,
I had this big whiff of smoke. I ran upstairs and I told my mom. She
and called 911, Alexis said.
Nanticoke Fire Lt.
Rich Bohan said his department was dispatched at 10:29 a.m. to 202 W. Main St.
for a report of a structure fire. Firefighters quickly knocked down the fire and
contained it to the 202-side of the half-double. That half of the structure sustained
major fire damage, and the rest of the structure sustained smoke and water damage,
Bohan said one firefighter was transported
to a local hospital for evaluation and later released. He said the residents escaped
safely. He identified the Guy family as the residents of 202 W. Main, but had
no information on the resident of 200 W. Main St.
said a state police fire marshal is investigating the fires cause and origin.
Responding were Nanticoke Fire Engines 2, 3 and 6, Truck
1, Nanticoke Fire Command and Hanover Township Fire Command and Rapid Intervention
Team. Bohans brother, Fire Chief Mike Bohan, directed operations at the
Bohan said the structure was saved thanks to
quick action by firefighters.
The Guy family was saved
thanks to the quick action of Alexis, said Amy Gabriel, director of emergency
services from the Wyoming Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross.
like our hero, Brookelyn Guy, 8, said of her sister, Alexis, as they and
their brother, Dylan, sat on a bed at the Red Roof Inn, where the American Red
Cross put them up for the night.
Dylan, 6, was equally
proud of his sister.
She was so nice to wake
my sister Brookelyn up because (Brookelyn) has asthma, Dylan said.
had also woke up her sister Rianah, 19, who was unavailable for comment.
Guy said she woke up earlier Sunday morning only because she heard the television.
I went to see which kids were awake. Usually on Sundays,
I do breakfast for the whole family. When I went downstairs, (Alexis) was watching
TV, Lisa Guy said.
Since her other three children
and husband were still asleep and her allergies were bothering her, Lisa went
back upstairs and went to sleep. Some time later, she awoke to Alexis knocking
on her door.
She goes, Mommy, I smell smoke
and I heard banging next door, Lisa Guy said.
also heard the faint beeping of a smoke detector and first checked her house to
see if it was one of theirs. It wasnt.
was like, it has to be next door. So, I went off the front porch, looked down
the length of the house on their side and saw black smoke coming out of the kitchen
area, Lisa said.
She pounded on the neighbors
front door and no one answered so she went to the back door. The screen door was
ajar and there was glass on the porch. She pulled open the screen door and, because
the back door was wide open, smoke began billowing out thick as heck,
I said, Get me the phone and
wake everybody up. So (Alexis) ran in the house, woke everybody up, brought
me the phone and I called 911, she said.
my little hero, Lisa said of Alexis.
who was gathering some clothing from the home when a reporter visited his familys
hotel room, also praised his daughter in a phone interview.
did a tremendous thing today. Im very proud of her, he said.
for Alexis, the Greater Nanticoke Area Elementary Center students said shes
just happy her family is safe. We were close as it is, but this brought
us way closer. And we know now that we have to have a fire safety plan. It helped
us all learn what can happen. We can replace our things, but not each other,
The Guy family was renting and had no renters
insurance, so they now have few possessions and are looking for a new place to
Nanticoke fills city council seat
appointed to remaining term of new Mayor Joseph Dougherty.
Michael Borowski was appointed as the citys
newest council member just before the close of councils meeting on Wednesday
Borowski, 44, a lifelong Nanticoke resident, was chosen
unanimously by the other council members, beating out nine other candidates.
His wife, Alice, congratulated him after his selection.
The couple have a daughter, Briann, who attends Keystone College in LaPlume.
He is very active in the community. He seems to be
dedicated to seeing this city move forward, Mayor Joseph Dougherty said
as to why Borowski seemed the best choice to fill the vacant seat.
Knorek Jr., James Havens, David Spencer, Linda Prushinski, Anthony Chametski,
Brian Rinker, Stephen Duda, Pam Aftewicz and Bill Brown also submitted their names
for the post.
Borowski will serve out the remainder
of the term left vacant when Dougherty had to vacate his seat to take the oath
as mayor earlier this month. The term runs through December 2011.
is really nice to be involved in a team that is going to move this town forward.
I am pretty excited about it, he said.
who previously served on the Nanticoke Recreation Board, was sworn into office
by Dougherty. As councilman, Borowski will oversee the Public Works Department.
He thanked council members for his appointment and said
he enjoyed working with the recreation board for nearly three years, serving as
its chairman for the entire period.
serving on the recreation board so well that Dougherty approved him as the liaison
between the council and the board.
Holly Quinn, who did not get a vote in the matter, said she was pleased with the
She said Borowski was instrumental
in offering guidance and advice when the city formed its safety committee three
years ago to help save money on workers compensation insurance.
is manager of the safety, security, transportation and maintenance at the Red
Rock Job Corps in Lopez, Pa.
Hes come in,
he helped us establish the committee, he gave us advice, he is always providing
us informational handouts and he has attended numerous meetings. ... So he has
his job cut out for him and not just at the street department. We are going to
take full advantage of all his knowledge, Quinn said.
GNA board accepts no grant vote
The public was instructed on why the Greater Nanticoke
Area School District did not apply for the Race To The Top federal
stimulus grant funding program during the monthly board meeting Thursday.
The districts teachers union voted against the application,
which would have required three approvals from superintendent, school board president
and the union.
Superintendent Tony Perrone praised
the union for all the research they did before voting on the measure.
dont know how much we are getting. We dont know if it might actually
cost us more money because the things they want done are human services things
that run into money. There are a lot of things on there that cost money,
The federal program would provide $4.35
billion to 12 states that would then divide the money among their own school districts.
District Principal Michael Pawlik further explained the
program and how the district might actually benefit from it indirectly.
pointed out that Pennsylvania might not even get funded because he said there
was more than 30 states applying for the funds.
will still be able to partake in all the indirect money....They will be allowing
us of the access to staff development they run, all the new research they do we
will be able to have our teachers participate in those things, Pawlik said.
So the district will benefit from the programs, but will
not receive any money. This might be a blessing, however, because the district
will not be forced to offer or operate any mandates that might be tied directly
to receiving the funding.
January is School Director
Recognition Month, so Perrone gave all the board directors a certificate
thanking for them for their service.
He also pointed
out that Vice, the K9 unit of the Nanticoke Police Department, is now trained
and will be used on campus to search for drugs.
school district purchased the dog for the police department last year with the
stipulation that the dog be used for drug detection.
members Frank Vandermark, Gary Smith and Sylvia Mizdail were absent.
A winner who finds a way to be a big loser
Dave Konopki email@example.com
The play didnt
decide a championship or even win a game. It was just a simple pass play at the
conclusion of a high school football game on a Friday night in September 1988.
Still, more than 20 years later, the play remains ingrained in my memory. And
it could be used as a lesson today.
The Nanticoke Area football team was wrapping
up a hard-fought 20-6 win against Meyers when Trojans defensive back Mike Zubritski
made an interception on the final play of the game.
When Zubritski caught
the ball, there was nothing but open field and several Nanticoke Area teammates
between him and the end zone. But instead of scoring an easy touchdown, Zubritski
went down to one knee, ending the game.
It remains one of the classiest displays
of sportsmanship Ive witnessed. And it was done by a high school senior.
Perhaps Yates High School boys basketball head coach Greg Wise could take a page
from Zubritskis playbook.
Wise and his team gained national attention
earlier this week by pounding Lee High School 170-35 in a Houston, Texas, Class
4A game. Thats right, 170-35.
The 170 points broke the previous state
record of 166 points and the 100 points Yates scored in the first half
to take a 100-12 lead also set a new state record.
The No. 2-ranked
team in the nation, which returns all five starters from last years Class
4A state championship team, used a full-court press defense and an up-tempo offense
for all four quarters against its outmanned opponent.
Following the game,
Wise offered no apology. In fact, he feebly tried to offer an explanation by pointing
out he played all 15 players on the roster. But he failed to mention the starting
five accounted for 138 of his teams points.
We practice running,
pressing, trapping every day, he told the Houston Chronicle. If we
get to a game and I tell them not to do what we do in practice, I am not coaching
We are looking for another state championship, and we cant
get that unless we are continuing to get better and perfect our game.
Even if that means embarrassing a bunch of high school athletes.
not some kind of a purist. I know winning is important and every team should strive
to win. Conference and district championships are great. State championships are
But theres so much more to sports than winning, especially
on the high school level. Among other things, high school athletics should provide
a positive environment for students to have fun while building lifelong traits
such as leadership and teamwork.
Coughlin boys basketball head coach Joe Caffrey
How could you have a goal of winning a championship that doesnt
include sportsmanship? he said. To me, they go hand in hand. Its
clich?, but theres a right way to win and a wrong way to win.
Wise chose the wrong way.
With the game well in hand,
Wise should have opted to take a knee. Instead, he thumbed his nose at the Lee
players as well as everything that is good about high school sports.
warmth of faith
Not even the bitter cold could keep St. John the
Baptist Orthodox Church members praising God over the Susquehanna River at noon
As temperatures hovered in the mid-20s,
the Rev. Adam Sexton and several parishioners made their way down the snow-covered
sidewalk of the bridge connecting Nanticoke and West Nanticoke to honor Jesus
baptism on the Feast of the Theophany.
that we celebrate is the first time that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit
were present on Earth at the same time. The Spirit in the form of a dove, the
voice of the Father saying this is my beloved with whom I am well pleased and
then, of course, Christ, in the Jordan (River), Sexton said.
started the blessing service with a censer before leading the congregation in
a series of chants and prayers and later a frozen ice cross during the service
also known as the Epiphany. The cross was later thrown into the river below, hitting
a pocket of water.
Saxton then sprinkled holy water
on all in attendance.
This was the first time the 99-year-old
church has celebrated the Epiphany over a body of water, he said.
churches celebrate Theophany every Jan. 6. Russian Orthodox churches celebrate
Theophany on Jan. 19, after celebrating Russian Christmas, Sexton said.
member Barbara Pascoe of Hanover Township attended with her husband, Phillip.
It was wonderful, absolutely heartfelt, and the Holy
Spirit was with us, she said after the less-than-15-minute service.
Borowski Back In Action
BILL ARSENAULT - Times Leader
Sophomore Brianna Borowski (Nanticoke)
has seen action in four games for the 1-5 Keystone womens basketball team.
Shes averaging 15 minutes of action a game and has scored two points with
four rebounds, four assists and four steals.
Bri just started playing
again after sustaining an injury to her knee during the soccer season, coach
Jessica Bogia said. She is a great shooter and a phenomenal defender. Once
she gets used to the offense and is comfortable being back on that knee, I look
for her to be a much bigger scoring threat than she was last year. I also rely
heavily on her shutting down the opponents best player.
Bieski looks to excel as captain
for WVU gymnastics team
BILL ARSENAULT - Times Leader
Amy Bieski is ready for a big junior season with the University of West Virginia
womens gymnastic team.
Bieski, a Nanticoke native
and a former performer with Northeast Gymnastics, has had two solid seasons competing
with the Mountaineers
I expect another outstanding
year for Amy, coach Linda Burdette-Good said. The team just got back
from Christmas break and has had very good practices and I would have to say that
Amy had exceptional practices. The routines were performed with confidence which
is what I really wanted to see.
also felt that Bieski had a solid fall practice session.
improved her difficulty on bars and floor and improved execution and form on beam
and vault, the coach said. This is her third year with us and she
continues to get better each year.
will serve as one of the three captains on this years team, is the only
returning all-around performer and will be looked on to replace graduated Meghan
Morris as the teams top point-earner.
As a freshman,
Bieski earned Eastern Atlantic Gymnastic League first-team honors in all-around
and floor and second team in vault and uneven bars. Five times she was EAGL Rookie
of the Week and finished second in the voting for league Rookie of the Year. She
totaled 513.4 points and competed in all 14 events for the Mountaineers.
season, Bieski earned first-team EAGL honors in the all-around, vault and floor
and second-team on uneven bars. Her 456.15 points were second to Morris.
individual events, Bieskis best are 9.9 (vault), 9.825 (bars), 9.775 (beam),
9.9 (floor) and all-around (39.275).
opens its season Friday against No. 11 Penn State, No. 24 Michigan State and Western
Michigan in East Lansing, Mich
Congratulations Mayor Dougherty
Joe Dougherty is sworn in as the new
mayor of Nanticoke on Monday morning, January 4, 2010 surrounded by his daughters
Olivia, (not shown) Sydney, Brianne and Brittany.
by: Clark Van Orden/The Times Leader
Nanticokes mayor optimistic
sees vital projects ahead as he takes office.
Joseph Dougherty has been called son, husband,
dad, controller and councilman. Now he has a new title: mayor.
was sworn-in as Nanticokes latest mayor at 10:13 a.m. Monday in council
chambers by District Judge Donald Whittaker. He was surrounded by his four daughters,
21-year old twins, Brianne and Brittany, 14-year-old Sydney and Olivia, 5. His
mother, Karen, and other family members were in the audience.It
is definitely an honor and a privilege. I love this town. I grew up here and my
children are being raised here, he said when asked how it felt to be mayor
of his hometown.
After six years as councilman, he
looks forward to the city moving forward with the Alden Road resurfacing project
and the expansion of the Luzerne County Community College into downtown during
his term. He acknowledges those projects would not be as far along without the
drive of his predecessor, John Bushko.
Less than five
minutes after his swearing-in, Dougherty administered the oath of office to Margaret
Haydock and James Litchkofski as council members. This is Haydocks first
term on council, and Litchkofski is beginning his second term. Haydock, 25, is
the second woman to serve on the City Council.
Bozinski was the first woman elected in 1997. She is still active in the community
as she serves on the citys Recreation Board.
says she looks forward to serving on the board as she follows in the footsteps
of her grandfather, the late John Haydock, who served as the citys mayor
in the late 1980s.
Treasurer Al Wytoshek and Controller
Kevin Coughlin also took their oaths of office from Whittaker. All the posts are
At the next council meeting, Jan.
20, members must appoint a new council member to fill Doughertys open seat..
Dougherty, who won the Democratic primary in May and faced no Republican opposition
in November, was halfway through his second term when he won the mayors
Candidates have until Jan. 15 to submit their
names if they are interested in serving the remainder of Doughertys term,
which expires December 2011.
After the new council
was seated, members reorganized themselves with each council member being assigned
a department to oversee as superintendent.
Dougherty will oversee the public affairs/police department. He will also oversee
the public works and street department until a new council member is appointed.
Litchkofski will oversee the finance/accounts departments,
Haydock will oversee the fire department/public safety division and Councilman
Jon Metta will oversee the parks/public properties department.
Dougherty begins first term as Nanticoke mayor
Robert Olsen - Citizens' Voice
took his place at the center of council's table Monday after being sworn in as
mayor by Judge Donald Whittaker before a room of his friends, family and peers.
Dougherty said his focus as mayor will be the continued
development of the downtown area.
"There are a
lot of people working hard down there," Dougherty said. "And with Luzerne
County Community College, they used to just be an island up there. Now they are
moving down this way too. We have a great working partnership with them."
Serving first as controller for two years and then as councilman
for six years has given Dougherty insight into how the city runs and helped him
gain experience as he moved through the ranks, he said.
always been very active with all of the departments, too," Dougherty added.
"That has helped."
Another important part
of Dougherty's strategy as mayor is to continue to keep a "great and open
relationship with all of council."
to see no in-fighting and lots of cooperation," Dougherty said. "We
can either all be part of the problem, or part of the solution, but I think we
will all work together well on the same team."
replaces outgoing Mayor John Bushko.
do fine," Bushko said of Dougherty. "The city is in very good hands."
Bushko said he felt, during his 20 years of service to
the city, and particularly as mayor, that he "got a lot done."
sworn in were incumbent Councilman James Litchkofski and newcomer Margaret Haydock,
who replaces former Councilman Brent Makarczyk. Makarczyk did not run for re-election.
City Tax Collector Albert Wytoshek and City Controller Kevin Coughlin also took
their oaths in front of Whittaker for another term.
the new board came a slight reorganization. Litchkofski was selected as the director
the department of accounts and finances with Haydock taking the position of director
of the Department of Public Safety and Councilman Jon Metta assuming the role
of director of the Department of Parks and Public Property.
that I'm working with the accounts and finances, I'm going to work very closely"
with City Administrator Holly Quinn and Director of Finance Pamela Heard to watch
our revenue, Litchkofski said. "We always have before, and that's very important."
Wytoshek also took a moment to thank everyone for their
continued support and told Haydock she had "big shoes to fill."
Haydock is the city's second councilwoman in its history.
The city's first councilwoman was Yvonne Bozinski.
Posted: 1:06 PM
Updated: 2:09 PM
Dougherty sworn-in as Nanticoke mayor