2022 Nanticoke News

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5/2/2022
Nine displaced, dog dies, after fire at Nanticoke home
kcarroll@timesleader.com


NANTICOKE — Nine people were displaced, but uninjured, after a fire broke out at a double-block residence on Shea Street Sunday evening.
Nanticoke City Fire Chief Mark Boncal said that the American Red Cross was on their way to the scene of the fire to assist those displaced — six adults and three children, including a four-month-old infant — in finding a place to stay.
Nanticoke and Hanover Township firefighters responded to the double-block home at 24-26 Shea St. around 5:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Boncal said that his crews encountered heavy fire on the 26 side of the residence, coming from a bedroom. That side of the residence sustained heavy fire and smoke damage, as well as water damage from the fire hoses running through the residence.
The other side of the double-block sustained primarily smoke and heat damage, according to Boncal. He said that he believed both sides to be salvageable, but that the damage on the 26 side was much more heavy and extensive.
Boncal said that EMS workers checked out the three children displaced by the fire on scene and determined them to be alright; none of the other victims were injured, though a dog was killed in the blaze. No firefighters were injured fighting the fire.
The fire was deemed accidental by crews at the scene, based on conversations with the residents of the double-block. Boncal said that it was believed that a candle burning in the bedroom on the 26 side of the double-block may have caused the fire.
The chief said that he spoke with a fire marshal but, after talking through what they knew, the marshal wasn’t needed to come to the scene and investigate.

4/23/2022
Greater Nanticoke Area approves 5-year-deal with teachers union
The Citizens Voice File

 
The Greater Nanticoke Area School Board unanimously voted Thursday to approve a new five-year contract with the district teachers union.
According to the union deal that starts Sept. 1 and ends Aug. 31, 2027, teachers will get an average annual pay increase of roughly 3%, Superintendent Ronald Grevera said. That increase factors in advancing a pay step on the 20-step pay scale and increases to salaries on the pay scale.
Greater Nanticoke Area had 121 classroom teachers in 2020-21 with an average salary of $70,629 and with an average of 13.7 years with the district, state records show. The average salary for a teacher in a Luzerne County district was $72,088 in 2020-21, and the state average was $71,478.
Teachers will pay more for health benefits. The premium share increases from 2% to 2.5% in 2022-23, 3% in 2023-24, 3.5% in 2024-25 and 4% in 2025-26 and 2026-27. The annual cost of the premium share will be capped at $1,092, Grevera said.
Free lunch program
The school board also on Thursday applied for the Community Eligibility Provision federal lunch program with the state Department of Education Food and Nutrition for the 2022-23 school year. That will allow the district to provide free lunch and breakfast meals to all students in the district for the next school year, Grevera said.
The district was able to provide free meals to all students in 2020-21 and 2021-22 under federal regulations in place for the COVID-19 pandemic. Those pandemic regulations are expiring.
Stadium project
The board also approved a $3.1 million bid with Field Turf to install artificial turf, a drainage system and a rubberized track for the high school sports stadium and to move a stormwater pipe away from the field. The field is currently natural grass.
The project is expected to begin in late May and end by early October. The district has $900,000 in state grant funding for the project.
Most high schools in the area use artificial turf for football games. Hanover Area and Wyoming still play football on grass.

 

4/2/2022
Ice cream business reopens in Nanticoke 
Denise Allabaugh – Citizens Voice

 
NANTICOKE — A local couple has reopened a popular ice cream business in Nanticoke after it’s been closed for more than three years.
Attorney Shandra Kisailus and her husband, Mike Yuscavage, recently purchased Dream Whip at 1 Alden Road and reopened it Friday.
Kisailus and Yuscavage, who also own Carter’s Dairy Freeze in Exeter, said they are excited to bring the staple back to the Nanticoke community.
“We’re very excited,” Kisailus said. “Anytime you could open and continue a business that’s been in existence for so long, it’s good for the overall community. We understand that this has been here for 30 years or longer. It’s always good to have family-owned businesses and that’s what this is.”
They will serve hard and soft ice cream that will include ice cream from Leiby’s in Tamaqua in several flavors as well as slush flavors, Dole whip, Italian ice, sundaes, shakes, floats and yogurt.
Kisailus said she thought the location was “fantastic” for an ice cream business. They will employ about 14 people. Dream Whip will be open daily from 12 to 9 p.m.
Nanticoke resident Jessica Thompson, who came to Dream Whip on Friday to order black cherry ice cream, was happy to see the business reopen.
“I’m glad it’s open again but it’s the only ice cream place in Nanticoke,” Thompson said. “A lot of older people here don’t drive like my mother and she loves to come here on Sundays with the grandkids.”

 

3/31/2022
Nanticoke police donate body armor to Ukraine war effort
Bob Kalinowski – Citizens Voice


NANTICOKE — Expired body armor from the Nanticoke City Police Department is on its way to help the people of Ukraine standing up to the Russian invasion.
The department on Wednesday delivered seven protective vests to the Nanticoke office of state Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-119, of Newport Twp., to assist the effort spearheaded by state Sen. Marty Flynn of Scranton.
Flynn, D-22, of Scranton, is working with St. Vladimir’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Scranton to send medical supplies and protective military equipment to Ukraine.
“Sen. Flynn’s humanitarian effort on behalf of the people of Ukraine goes without saying. It’s thoughtful. There is a big Ukrainian population here in Northeastern Pennsylvania,” said Cody Forgach, Mullery’s chief of staff. “These vests could be used to protect a mother or father or a child in Ukraine.”
While the vests, all more than five years old, no longer comply with law enforcement standards due to possible liability issues, they still provide protection. Law enforcement entities around the country have donated expired vests and other equipment to Ukraine.
After being contacted by Flynn’s staff, Forgach said he reached out to Nanticoke police — the biggest department in Mullery’s district — and Chief Mike Roke was immediately cooperative, saying the department had seven expired vests to donate.
“He said ‘yes, absolutely,’” Forgach recalled. “They can’t be used. They otherwise would go to waste.”
Roke said his officers were “happy to help.”
“Thanks to Rep. Mullery for reaching out to us and working with all involved to make this work,” Roke said.
Flynn announced Wednesday his office will be collecting medical supplies — including bandages, gauze, first-aid kits and over-the-counter pain medication — to send to Ukrainian refugees. In addition, his office will also be accepting helmets, body armor, bulletproof vests, boots and other protective gear to assist Ukrainian military, fire fighters, police officers and aid workers.
“The Ukrainian people have shown incredible bravery in the face of Russia’s unprovoked, violent invasion. We want the people of Ukraine to know we stand with them in solidarity. It has to be more than just words, though. We have to act. We have to really help,” Flynn said. “New, used, lightly used, expired — we’re accepting it. If it’s going to save someone’s life, we’re accepting it. The Ukrainian people are in dire need of body armor of any kind. This is a situation where any amount of body armor could be the difference between life and death. These are the highest stakes imaginable, and we want to send as much aid as possible.”
Pastor Myron Myronyuk, of St. Vladimir’s Ukrainian Catholic Church, 430 N. 7th Ave., Scranton, has been working with Flynn to send the supplies to Ukraine.
“After learning of Father Myron’s work getting supplies to Ukraine and talking with him about the struggle Ukrainians are facing to protect themselves, I decided we had to do something,” Flynn said. “Every bit of aid helps, but I wanted to focus on sending protective equipment. I want to help keep the Ukrainian people safe. They’re fighting for their lives, and we’re in a position to make a potentially life-saving difference.”
Donations can be dropped off at Flynn’s offices at 409 N. Main Ave. in Scranton and 307 Betty St. in Eynon, or at Joyce Insurance at 409 N. Main St. in Pittston. Donations are being accepted Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

3/26/2022
Former Glen Lyon school could be converted into luxury lofts 
Denise Allabaugh – Citizens Voice

 
A Nanticoke resident has proposed to convert the former Pulaski Junior High School on South Market Street in the Glen Lyon section of Newport Twp. into luxury lofts and apartments.
Alexander McNitt has filed a zoning application requesting a variance to convert the closed school into a 3-story apartment building with 29 units.
A potential storage facility, rooftop solar panels and landscaping improvements would be part of phase two of the project, according to his zoning application.
His proposed project will be discussed at a Luzerne County Zoning Hearing Board public meeting 7 p.m. April 5 in the second floor jury meeting room at Luzerne County Courthouse.
According to his narrative for the project, the intended rental market would be for “middle class workers and families supporting the warehouses and plants in Nanticoke, Newport and surrounding areas.”
“This rental market would not be accepting Section 8 and/or CEO,” his narrative said.
The former Pulaski Junior High School closed in the 1980s, said Newport Twp. manager Joe Hillan. He said the proposed project is “great news for the township.”
It follows a similar project from developer J. Naparlo, who converted the vacant K.M. Smith Elementary School building in Newport Twp. into apartments.
The former school on Robert Street, that dates back to the 1930s, was last used for pre-K, kindergarten and first graders. It closed after the 2017-18 school year. In August 2018, the Greater Nanticoke Area School District opened the new Kennedy Early Childhood Center and since then, all Greater Nanticoke Area schools have been located on one campus off Kosciuszko Street in Nanticoke.
Naparlo also has proposed to build townhomes on the former softball field next to the school, Hillan said.
“A lot of good things are happening in the township,” Hillan said. “We’re excited about the revitalization.”
In other developments, NorthPoint Development will soon construct a 1.2 million-square-foot warehouse on former mine-scarred land off Front Street in Nanticoke. NorthPoint Development has not yet identified a tenant. It will be the largest development in decades in Newport Twp., which lost about 400 jobs when the State Correctional Institution at Retreat closed in 2020.
Luzerne County officials have been considering SCI Retreat as the site for a new county prison which Hillan said “would be a great boost for us.”
A $1.3 million Luzerne County grant is being used to replace sidewalks in Newport Twp. and a $530,000 state grant is being used to demolish blighted properties, Hillan said.
Four properties in Newport Twp. were demolished and blighted properties at 15 W. Main St., 239 W. Main St., 169 Newport St. and 56-58 E. Main St. will be demolished in the first week of April, Hillan said.

 

3/20/2022
Harveys Creek cleaned up, stocked for trout season 
James Halpin – Citizens Voice


Members of the Nanticoke Conservation Club, along with Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission personnel, gathered along the shoulders of state Route 29 on Saturday morning to clean up the banks of Harveys Creek and help stock an influx of trout for the approaching fishing season.
The biannual cleanup, which the club has held since 1975, drew 32 volunteers who helped stuff roadside refuse into bags left along the highway for workers from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to collect.
“We want it to look good for when they come for the opening day of trout,” club President Gary Gronkowski said. “If they see a clean creek, they’ll keep it clean. That’s our thought process. It doesn’t always work out that way — we still find bait containers and stuff like that — but most of the anglers respect what we do here.”
Gronkowski said he’s recently noticed a big change in the amount of litter along the creek due in part to the work of some 8-year-olds.
Jared Cross said his children in the Millennium 4H club created some handmade anti-littering signs that have been posted in major parking areas alongside the creek.
“Since we put them up last year, we’ve noticed that not as many people are dumping big amounts of garbage in those areas,” Cross said.
The work put in Saturday will allow youth anglers to find a clean creek when they show up for Mentored Youth Trout Day next Saturday. The statewide opening day of trout season is April 2.
Gronkowski said that, in an effort to help the Fish and Boat Commission spread, the club had laid out five float baskets that will help distribute the stocked trout more evenly throughout the creek.
Fish and Boat Commission Executive Director Tim Schaeffer was also on scene, helping to clean up the banks as well as overseeing the stocking operation being organized by Conservation Officer John Cummings out of the northeast regional office in Sweet Valley.
“I got here at eight o’clock this morning and grabbed a couple trash bags,” Schaeffer said before heading upstream to the stocking operation. “I helped out the team and got dirty. I was doing a little bit of mountain goat action down along the creek — anything I can do to show my appreciation for the agencies, appreciation for the work that the club does here.”
Schaeffer said he is grateful to have groups like the Nanticoke Conservation Club that not only help clean up the state’s waterways but also assist with the fish stocking.
“We’re a small agency. We have a little over 400 people statewide. We simply can’t be on every creek everywhere in Pennsylvania,” Schaeffer said. “We really rely on guys and ladies like this to help us move fish, spread the fish out for the anglers. It builds, I think, a sense of ownership in the resource. These guys love this place. It’s clear that this is their creek.”

 

3/11/2022
Greater Nanticoke Area amends COVID-19 safety plan
Michael P. Buffer – Citizens Voice

 
NANTICOKE — The Greater Nanticoke Area School Board voted Thursday to amend its COVID-19 safety plan to include the new optional mask policy.
The school district ended its mask mandate Feb. 28 after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its mask guidance and COVID-19 metrics. The new CDC guidance recommends universal school masking only in communities with high levels of transmission.
Luzerne County is at the low community level and was at the medium level when the month began. Community levels can now be low, medium or high based on hospital beds being used, COVID-19 hospital admissions and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area.
Greater Nanticoke Area only has two COVID-19 cases, Superintendent Ronald Grevera said at Thursday’s board meeting.
A total of 33 school-age children — ages 5 to 18 — tested positive for COVID-19 in Luzerne County from March 2 through Tuesday. Sixty tested positive from Feb. 23 to March 1.
The seven-day total has been dropping since peaking at 957 from Jan. 5-11. Over the last 28 weeks, a total of 7,269 school-age children in the county tested positive.
Grevera said students will have to wear masks if they test positive and return to school for days 6-10 upon their return or if they are in quarantine from close contact with the virus and return to school for days 6-10.

 

3/6/2022
Family-owned pierogi business sees high demand and plans expansion
Denise Allabaugh – Citizens Voice

NANTICOKE — Success has come fast for young business owners Lauren Gorney and Frank Marcinkowski.

Since the couple opened NEPA'rogi with their family members at 579 E. Main St. next to Tarnowski's Kielbasa in September, they have been overwhelmed trying to keep up with the demand for their traditional hand-pinched pierogi.

They started the small business after Gorney was laid off from her fundraising job during the COVID-19 pandemic and Marcinkowski, a local musician, was impacted by the shutdowns.

As they try to keep up with all the orders piling in, they are looking to expand and build a second location that would be a manufacturing facility in Nanticoke or Newport Twp., Gorney said.

The expansion would bring the potential for more jobs and more pierogi and it's part of the long-term plan for their business, she said.

"We're very realistic about how much this process is going to take but we're also very committed to it," Gorney said. "The demand is there. The community is so supportive."

In the meantime, it has been busy at NEPA'rogi that employs about 10 people that are family members and friends.

Inside their small 300-square-foot space on Tuesday last week, Gorney and her mother Janella Albertson joined Marcinkowski, his mother Deneen Marcinkowski and his brother Nick Marcinkowski as they quickly made pierogi with prune filling.

Gorney described their process of making pierogi by hand as a "labor-intensive art form." They recently purchased a machine manufactured in Poland to assist with the pierogi-making process.

"We make them the same way we did when I was a kid and I went to my grandparents and made them in their house when they made about 10 dozen," Marcinkowski said.

The difference: they make thousands of pierogi and they typically work more than eight hours a day and six days a week doing it.

Last week, they prepared more than 100 dozen pierogi for Wychock's Mountain Top Beverage, which now sells NEPA'rogi's frozen pierogi by the dozen.

The White House Diner in Forty Fort also recently began selling NEPA'rogi's potato and cheese and farmers cheese pierogi by the dozen. Starting on Ash Wednesday last week, the diner added the pierogi to its dine-in and takeout menu as well.

Gorney said she also has met with restaurant owners in the Scranton area who are interested in selling their pierogi. She said Lent will be a busy time for NEPA'rogi since Christians abstain from eating meat on Fridays.

"Our goal is to have enough supply ready so we don't sell out as quickly as we did at Christmas," Gorney said. "We weren't able to keep up at Christmas but we made a plan following Christmas about what we could do for Easter to produce as many as possible. We're trying to learn from what happened during COVID and where we might be able to change some things."

People can buy frozen pierogi by the dozen at their window inside the lobby of Tarnowski's Kielbasa with fillings that include potato and cheese, farmers cheese, prune, sauerkraut and cabbage.

The team at NEPA'rogi also recently made chicken wing pierogi for the Super Bowl and teamed up with Michael Mootz Candies in Hanover Twp. to make chocolate-covered strawberry pierogi for Valentine's Day.

"We take the year like one holiday at a time and see where we can grow and not bite off more than we can chew," Gorney said.

They also operate a food truck and have served pierogi at Pisano Family Wines in Lehman Twp. and events throughout Northeast Pennsylvania. This year, they look forward to participating in the Edwardsville Pierogi Festival for the first time in June and the Bloomsburg Fair in the fall.

Gorney, 32, and Marcinkowski, 25, are both fourth generation entrepreneurs who come from families that operated businesses. 

The Marcinkowski family operated a service station in Nanticoke for decades and Gorney's family operated a grocery store in Glen Lyon.

During the pandemic, Gorney said she thought it would be a good time to start NEPA'rogi after losing the 9-to-5 job she had for five years.

"I was happy with all the securities that were provided by a 9-to-5 job but I feel like I've always had the entrepreneurial spirit," she said. "It's in my genes. It's in my blood."

Gorney said she thought the pandemic was a great time for everyone to ask themselves what they want to do with their lives and if they are able to make changes.

"We were able to make a change because we had a blank canvas. We were back at zero. Our careers were put on hold or taken with us," she said. "Did I ever imagine we would be pierogi makers? No. But have we always been deeply committed to our culture and heritage, our ancestry and our families? Yes."

Marcinkowski, who sings and plays guitar in the band Mellifluous, said his experience starting a band and booking events introduced him to what it's like to own a business. He said an important lesson he learned is: "If I don't make it work, nothing is going to happen."

Since they have seen such a high demand for their pierogi, he said he has been overwhelmed and thankful to be in the same building as Tarnowski's Kielbasa.

"It's a good thing that we're overwhelmed," Marcinkowski said. "It's like an unnatural growth."

 

3/2/2022
As stores ban Russian vodka, Nanticoke distillery pledges funds for pro-Ukrainian cause
Bob Kalinowski – Citizens Voice


Instead of advocating for a Russian vodka boycott, the LBC Distillery is promoting a Nanticoke vodka fundraiser to assist the people of Ukraine.
The owners of LBC Distillery — which makes its vodka in Nanticoke and sells it in Pittston — are pledging 10% of vodka sales in the near future to a pro-Ukrainian cause.
“Instead of being anti something we wanted to be pro something,” said Maryann Lang, who owns and runs LBC Distillery with her husband, Jonathan.
The vodka sale fundraiser was inspired by a growing boycott of Russian-made vodka that has been sweeping the world since Russia invaded Ukraine.
Pennsylvania has banned the sale of vodka made in Russia at its Fine Wine and Good Spirits stores in response to the invasion.
But, to the surprise of many, the banned list only includes two brands that were regularly stocked — Russian Standard and Ustianochka — and several special-order products with minimal annual sales.
Other popular vodkas, like Stolichnaya and Smirnoff, and bottom-shelf brands, like Nikolai, Crown Russe and Vladimir are branded as Russian, but are actually made elsewhere.
Around the country, people have taken to social media to dump their vodkas — with many discarding the non-Russian-made vodkas like Stolichnaya, better known as “Stoli” and now made in Latvia, and Smirnoff, now made in Illinois. Both do have roots in Russia.
“They dumped perfectly good vodka in an effort to feel good,” Maryann Lang said.
With vodka in the news, the Langs felt it was a good time to remind people there is a family-owned distillery that makes vodka right here in Luzerne County that reinvests in the community.
“If they want to limit the availability of some vodka, that means ours may stand out a little more,” Jonathan Lang said.
The LBC Distillery retail outlet and tasting room at 350 Kennedy Boulevard in Pittston is open Thursday and Friday, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday, 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.
According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, only 1.3% of vodka imported to the United States is from Russia.
In fact, Russia was a distant sixth in total dollars of vodka imported to the United States, behind France, where Grey Goose is made, Netherlands (Kettle One), Sweden (Absolut), Latvia (Stolichnaya) and Poland (Belvedere).
“Most ‘Russian’ vodka we get is only Russian in name. People don’t do their research and just go off of memes,” said Travis Lindenmoyer, founder of the Facebook group “Honest Trav’s Virtual Dive Bar,” a page that connected bar enthusiasts in the Lehigh Valley and Northeast Pennsylvania during the COVID-19 shutdown and has grown to 46,500 members.
Lindenmoyer, 41, said he’s heard about the boycotts and vodka dumping, but that doesn’t sound like something his crowd is doing when posting selfies with their favorite adult beverage.
“I don’t see, or condone, dumping of any good liquor,” Lindenmoyer said. “We are about building people up — one beer at a time.”
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board announced Sunday it would “remove Russian-made products from shelves as a show of solidarity and support for the people of Ukraine.”
Those products included Russian Standard, Ustianochka, and certain special-order Russian products with sales so minimal the board didn’t even release the names, according to Shawn Kelly, a spokesman for the Liquor Control Board.
“For some people, these may be their favorite brands. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board doesn’t take this lightly,” Kelly said. “We believe consumers will shift to other brands.”
The state is not restricting sales of Russian-branded products that are not sourced from Russia because doing so “could unfairly and adversely impact those brands,” the LCB said in Sunday’s press release.
The products pulled from the shelves have been paid for, though it’s unknown if the proceeds have made it to the manufacturers in Russia yet or are still with LCB vendors, Kelly said.
“They are stored on location in the back of our Fine Wine and Good Spirits stores,” Kelly said. “We are still determining what their future will be.”

 

2/27/2020
Wilkes-Barre Area, Greater Nanticoke ending mask mandates Monday 
Michael P. Buffer – Citizens Voice

 
Wilkes-Barre Area and Greater Nanticoke Area school districts are ending universal requirements to wear masks Monday.
Wyoming Valley West and Dallas are expected to make decisions on their mask mandates Sunday.
In an announcement on the Wilkes-Barre Area website, Superintendent Brian Costello noted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed COVID-19 guidance metrics and Luzerne County is now at a medium community level based on the new metrics.
The CDC is recommending universal school masking only in communities with high levels. Community levels can now be low, medium or high based on hospital beds being used, COVID-19 hospital admissions and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area.
“We will continue to monitor the community levels. At any time we move into the ‘high’ threshold, masks will become mandated again,” Costello said.
The CDC also is no longer requiring the wearing of masks on buses or vans operated by public or private school systems, including early care and child care programs, Costello added.
In an email, Greater Nanticoke Area Superintendent Ronald Grevera also noted the change in CDC guidance and said the district mask mandate “will be back in place” if the community level increases to high.
A total of 79 school-age children — ages 5 to 18 — tested positive for COVID-19 in Luzerne County from Feb. 16 through Tuesday, according to data provided by the state’s department of health.
Last week’s total was 89, and the seven-day total has been dropping since peaking at 957 from Jan. 5-11. Over the last 26 weeks, a total of 7,177 school-age children in the county tested positive — an average of 276 per week.
After the state Supreme Court ruled the state mask mandate was invalid in December, Crestwood, Lake-Lehman and Northwest Area school districts ended mask requirements. Hanover Area announced Thursday it is ending its mask mandate Tuesday.

2/26/2022
Habitat for Humanity's ReStore moves into new and improved location
Bob Kalinowski – Citizens Voice


HANOVER TWP. — The ReStore is reborn.
After more than 15 years in business in Nanticoke, the discount building materials store run by the Wyoming Valley Habitat for Humanity moved a mile and a half down the street into the old Noble Furniture building at 825 E. Main St., just across the Nanticoke border in Hanover Twp.
The new and improved ReStore opened Feb. 15 after six months of planning and moving.
“We are in the soft opening. We are doing very well. Sales are brisk,” said Karen Evans Kaufer, executive director of the Wyoming Valley Habitat for Humanity. “It’s open to the public. Not everyone knows that.
People aren’t quite sure what the ReStore is.”
A grand opening celebration is slated for March 5.
The ReStore specializes in selling new and gently used building products consumers could find at hardware, home improvement and retail stores at discounted prices. Prices generally are about 30% off retail price, Kaufer said.
Retail stores, contractors and even private homeowners donate the goods. Many new products are donated as a result of the products being overstocked, out of season or a result of order mix ups, Kaufer said.
“We have been very fortunate for these outlets and warehouses who have supported our mission. Lots of people when they are redoing their kitchens, they’ll call us to take their cabinets,” Kaufer said.
The local ReStore first opened in 2005 in a 10,000-square-foot building it leased at 421 W. Main St. in Nanticoke. The new location is in a newer 14,000-square-foot building the local Habitat for Humanity purchased following the closure of Noble Furniture.
“We outgrew the other store. We are very happy to be growing and thriving,” Kaufer said. “We are delighted with the new location. It’s a very convenient location. The highways are right there.”
The Hanover Twp. ReStore, one of 1,100 in six countries, is the only one in the region. The two closest others are in Williamsport and Whitehall.
All proceeds go toward helping Habitat for Humanity’s mission of building and renovating homes for people in need. Proceeds from the ReStore helps the organization provide interest free mortgages to the homeowners they assist.
“Everybody thinks we give away houses for free. They all have mortgages. And those mortgages help the next house and the next. Our families work at least 200 hours of sweat equity as part of their down payment, then pay a down payment,” Kaufer said.
Volunteers, both skilled and unskilled, help build and renovate the houses.
The Wyoming Valley Habitat for Humanity has eight employees, including Kaufer and those who work at the ReStore.
Joseph Hartman, manager of the ReStore, said the response to the new location has been great.
“The process was six long months. But it was well worth it. Since we opened to the general public, it has been overwhelmingly exciting,” Hartman said. “There’s a big floor plan and more openness. Overall, it’s a nicer environment and more inviting.”

 

2/20/2022
Girls wrestling growing in WVC
Tom Fox – Citizens Voice

 

Kaitlyn Pegarella has a vivid memory.

For as long as she can recall, her mind never drifted away from the sport of wrestling. It’s all the Nanticoke Area senior wanted.

It wasn’t about donning the singlet, snapping up the headgear or proving any specific point. The amount of hardware she could bring home at tournaments didn’t really matter, either.

Rather, it was about something she loved.

“I’ve wanted to wrestle since I was in third grade. But my parents wouldn’t let me. They kept telling me it was a boys’ sport,” the Trojan said. “But my brother, who is three years younger than me, brought home a flyer one day and wanted to try out the sport. I told my parents that if he got to wrestle, then so did I. They thought that I would quit in the first six months, but here I am, 10 years later.”

For McKenna Nay, there was really no rhyme or reason. No earth-shattering moment that gravitated her toward the mat.

It was a premonition that popped into her mind while at work. And it was a thought that just wouldn’t escape.

“It hit me one day. I really wanted to try wrestling,” the Hanover Area junior said. “It just came out of nowhere.”

Pegarella and Nay are two of the female wrestlers across the Wyoming Valley Conference as the sport begins to gain traction around Pennsylvania with the Sanction PA movement to get girls’ wrestling recognized by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association.

Two area teams, Nanticoke Area and Hanover Area, were sanctioned in November 2021. Other District 2 schools — Honesdale, Delaware Valley, Western Wayne and Wallenpaupack — are also part of the 34 teams that have officially started female programs.

In order for the PIAA to officially recognize girls’ wrestling, at least 100 schools must be sanctioned.

“We are hoping that this movement catches fire, and we can get there by next year,” Hanover head coach Dave Griffith said. “The girls deserve it.”

Trail blazers

There are numerous success stories about how the girls have hung with the boys on the mat. Gettysburg’s Montana DeLawder and Benton’s Vayle-Rae Baker are two that achieved success at the scholastic level and have transferred it to the college ranks.

But one of the women that paved the way for them is currently coaching at Wyoming Seminary.

Erin Vandiver was the first woman in Pennsylvania history to place at a district tournament and have her hand raised at a regional event while wrestling at Grove City High School.

“For me, it was such an exciting time and it helped to pave the way for me as a person,” said Vandiver, a two-time United States World Team member. “Wrestling teaches you so many valuable lessons about life. It teaches about hard work, determination and perseverance. For girls thinking about joining wrestling, it doesn’t have to be about winning district medals. Rather, it’s about building memories and learning the traits that are so valuable in life.”

Locally, girls have been pretty close to breaking that glass ceiling.

At Nanticoke Area, Krystal Daniele was the first girl to land on the medal stand as she finished fifth in 2014. One year later, another Trojan sent shockwaves around the Kingston Armory. Megan Kocher became the first girl to win a match at the District 2 tournament, and was one victory away from reaching the PIAA Class 2A Northeast Regional bracket.

“Megan and Krystal were my role models. I am so grateful that I had them on the team. I really owe some much to them because they helped me establish my place on the team,” Pegarella said.

In 2021, that ceiling was shattered by a 106-pound freshman that brought fans out of their blue seats at the Mohegan Sun Arena every time she jogged to the circle.

Seeded No. 6, Lake-Lehman’s Lexi Schechterly ripped through two opponents to advance into the district final, which assured her of becoming the first girl from District 2 to qualify for a regional tournament.

“Honestly, I look up to Lexi because she is so amazing,” said Nay, who recently made Hanover Area history by becoming the first girl to win in a boys’ dual. “She is proving that girls can have success in this sport. It’s a hard sport, there’s no doubt, but it’s so rewarding to me. I can’t wait to see how I grow after one complete year on the mat.”

Sanctioning the state

Brooke Zumas hears the misconceptions about girls wrestling. That’s why the chairperson of Sanction PA is quick to talk with everyone to address any concerns.

“I think a lot of people are talking about funding the sport, but wrestling is so unique,” Zumas said. “If you have a boys’ program, you already have everything you need in terms of mats, facilities and singlets. In terms of schedule, a lot of the bigger events are starting their own girls’ division to let those athletes showcase their talents. There are pieces already in place. There isn’t any misconception or issue that we can’t talk through with a school.”

Zumas isn’t really surprised how quickly the movement has spread since JP McCaskey was the first school to “sanction” a team in March 2020, meaning they are officially recognized by the school board or the administration as an official sport. Mercer Area was the last to join in January. As for a time frame, Zumas hopes to reach 100 schools “as fast as possible.”

“Girls’ wrestling is wrestling,” Zumas said. “I think people around the state are starting to see that the girls’ division is just an extension of the sport. According to the PIAA, to be an official team, you need one person to form a team score. And if you look around the sport, a lot of the boys’ teams have a female in some weight class. We are hoping some of the teams that have reached out look at it in the offseason, and decide to pursue a girls’ team. The sport really is growing around the country, so it’s not too surprising to see the success here.”

Crowing the Knights

While the Sanction PA movement grows, Wyoming Seminary is in its fifth season of fielding a girls’ program.

“We kind of went in a different direction and focused on the freestyle niche,” Vandiver said. “We chose freestyle because that’s what you wrestle in college and on a global level, so it made sense for our program. That’s the direction we wanted for our girls. And we are very fortunate because our success came rather quickly. We have worked hard to establish ourselves on both the national and world level.”

Many of the top-ranked girls in the nation call Seminary home, including Kennedy Blades, who, at 17, stunned the world when she made the finals of the Olympic Trials in the 68-kg weight class.

“Walking into that room every day, it’s inspiring and motivational,” Vandiver said. “These girls, they work hard for every honor they receive. They continue to push each other to new heights.”

Growing the WVC

Now, it’s about riding that tidal wave of momentum. Looking around the conference, girls aren’t just stepping on the scales and cheering from the sidelines.

Schechterly (13-3) is listed as one to watch by PA Power Wrestling in the Northeast Regional rankings, and has the chance to be the first girl to claim district gold later this month. Nanticoke Area’s Savannah Wisneski and Wilkes-Barre Area’s Nathalie Olarte are regulars in their starting lineups, and have combined for 46 matches. Wyoming Area’s Gia Larson joined Schechterly and Olarte as one of three girls to compete at the Wyoming Valley Conference Championships earlier this season.

In terms of numbers, eight of the 12 teams in the WVC have at least one girl on the roster, a far cry from the days where it was just Pegarella holding the banner.

Since the numbers are still growing, teams are opting to attend tournaments around the state instead of trying to piece together dual meets. Griffith has taken the Hawkeyes to all parts of the state, starting with Central Mountain’s Queen of the Mountain Tournament, while hitting up other invitationals in Honesdale, Easton, Lehighton and Governor Mifflin.

The girls do have a state tournament, although it isn’t sanctioned by the PIAA. After competing in the East and Central Regionals, which take place on March 6 at Parkland and JP McCaskey, respectively, the state championship is March 13 at Central Dauphin High School. It’s the day after the boys award their gold medals in Hershey.

“It’s amazing to see how far girls’ wrestling has come in our area,” Pegarella said. “I know there are some girls that won’t try wrestling because they don’t want to wrestle against the boys, but in the near future, they won’t have to worry about that hardship. I know I won’t be around to see it because this is my senior year, but knowing that I made kind of an impact, it’s enough for me.”

And it’s something Griffith wants to build on. He has seven girls still in his varsity/junior high program after 16 signed up to give the sport a try.

“The process isn’t as hard as everyone thinks,” he said. “From when we reached out to the Sanction PA group until we got final board approval, it was about two months time. Everyone was so supportive of what we wanted to do here at Hanover Area. But it’s something we believe in because the girls deserve it. They are working just as hard as the boys in our program. I do challenge the other administrative personnel in the conference to sanction the sport. Just seeing the success of our girls here at Hanover, it’s worth the time.”

 

2/13/2022
Bengals fans thrilled about end to Super Bowl drought 
Bob Kalinowski – Citizens Voice

Diehard Cincinnati Bengals fan Ken James of Nanticoke used to be a Los Angeles Rams fan in the 1960s. That was an easy decision as a teenager since Nanticoke’s sports teams were then known as the Rams.
But after the Rams fired their coach and traded James’ favorite player, he decided to root for a different team and settled on the Cincinnati Bengals, a relatively new expansion team.
James, 66, has been dreaming of a Bengals Super Bowl victory ever since.
“In those 50-some years, there weren’t many great seasons,” James said.
James is hoping the Super Bowl drought ends Sunday against the Rams.
“Before this season I told everyone this isn’t the same Bengals team you remember,” James said. “Everyone laughed at me and I said, ‘You’ll see.’”
James plans to watch the big game with his daughter, Diane Kivler, 36, also a big Bengals fan.
“Ever since I was a baby, my dad always had sports on TV. I could remember watching the games sitting on his lap,” Kivler said. “I was hooked at a very young age and it formed a forever bond with my dad … I am going all out for Sunday because having the chance to experience this with my dad is one I will cherish for the rest of my life.”

 

Bengals baby
Kevin and Beth Quinn of Wilkes-Barre Twp. love the Bengals so much that they announced Beth’s pregnancy in December with a photo on Facebook from a Bengals home game while posing with a onesie outfit that said “Bengals Baby.”
“We thought it was something different to do it there,” said Beth Quinn, 36. “We didn’t want to do something standard.”
The couple said there’s a strong likelihood the baby boy will be named after a current or former Bengals player. Their ginger-colored cat is named Andy, a tribute to the team’s former red-haired quarterback Andy Dalton.
Kevin Quinn, 41, said he’s been a Bengals fan since he was a child because he liked their tiger-striped helmets and uniform.
“I’ve suffered ever since. I’ve been waiting 30-plus years for a playoff win and it finally happened,” Kevin Quinn said.
Kevin Quinn was in attendance for the Bengals playoff win versus the Las Vegas Raiders on Jan. 15 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, the team’s first playoff win in 31 years.
“It was one of the best days of my life — besides marriage and going to be a father,” Kevin Quinn said. “People were pounding on their seats, high-fiving strangers. It was just amazing. There were tears of joy.”
Upset win inspired fandom
Adam Sieminski of Fairview Twp. wasn’t much of a football fan until 2003 when a few of his friends from Mountain Top asked him to watch a Bengals game.
The mediocre Bengals beat the 9-0 Kansas City Chiefs. He’s been a big fan ever since.
“We watch every game. We have not missed a game since 2003,” said Sieminski, 38.
He and his friends try to attend a game in Cincinnati every year.
The 38-year-old said he’s optimistic about his team’s chances in this year’s Super Bowl.
Sieminski said he ordered Bengals jerseys with his last name on the back.
“I have my name on it because players will leave, but I’ll still be there,” Sieminski said.

 

Bengals “jungle”
Joe Cunningham has a man cave dedicated to the Bengals in the basement of his Dallas Twp. home.
“This is the jungle,” Cunningham, 35, said. “My wife won’t let me keep it upstairs.”
Cunningham said he never misses a game. He even watched a Bengals game at his daughter’s christening party years ago at a local restaurant
“I was like, ‘Do they have the NFL ticket?’ They didn’t, so I watched it on my phone,” Cunningham said.
Cunningham said he is teaching his daughter, 7, and son, 5, to be Bengals fans.
“When it comes to football, they have to be Bengals fans,” Cunningham said.

 

Super Bowl role reversal
During last year’s Super Bowl run by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tyler Rushton served as his father’s loyal “sidekick” while watching games and cheering along.

Those roles are reversed this year.

Rushton, 20, of Newport Twp., said he became a Bengals fan years ago after watching their rivalry games against the Pittsburgh Steelers on local television.

“When I was young my father tried dressing me up in all Buccaneers stuff. I think I just wanted to have my own team and watch my own team. Here I am a Bengals fan,” Rushton said.

Rushton said his father has been his biggest supporter during this season. He, his parents and brother attended a Bengals game in Baltimore this season. Cincinnati is appearing in the Super Bowl for the first time in 33 years.

Rushton said his father is returning the favor from last year by rooting for the Bengals.

“He is doing the same thing I did — being like my sidekick,” Rushton said.

 

2/11/2022
Greater Nanticoke Area getting artificial turf field and track at stadium 
Michael P. Buffer – Staff Writer Citizens Voice


NANTICOKE — Greater Nanticoke Area School Board District will seeks bids for an artificial turf and track project at its football stadium.
The cost estimate is around $2 million, and the district can use $900,000 in state grant funding for the project, Superintendent Ronald Grevera said after Thursday’s school board meeting. The stadium field is currently natural grass.
The district wants the artificial turf installed by August and the new track installed by September, Grevera said. The district will use Local Share Account grant funds through the city of Nanticoke for the stadium project. Local Share Account grants are funded with gaming revenue generated by casinos, including Mohegan Sun Pocono.
At Thursday’s meeting, the school board accepted a $46,030.75 quote from Degler-Whiting Inc. to replace gymnasium seats. The current plastic seats are 20 years old and starting to crack, Grevera said.
The district negotiated with company that installed the current seats 20 years ago and got a discount of around a $25,000, Grevera said. The new seats will be installed in the spring or summer, Grevera said.
The board also voted to increase the substitute teacher pay rate from $95 per day to $125 per day and $145 per day for teachers in a position over 20 days. The district is down to six regularly available substitute teachers and would like to have around 20, Grevera said.
The board began the meeting with a moment of silence for former superintendent Anthony Perrone, who died last week. Perrone worked for the district for 50 years, starting as a Spanish teacher and also worked as a school psychologist and guidance counselor. Perrone stepped down as superintendent in 2014.

 

2/11/2022
Greater Nanticoke Area increases substitute pay, replaces gym seats
mguydish@timesleader.com


NANTICOKE — The Greater Nanticoke Area School Board increased substitute teacher pay to $125 a day at Thursday’s monthly meeting, with the rate bumping up to $145 per day for teachers in a position more than 20 days. The rate was $95 per day, but the district, like others in the area, is struggling to attract substitutes, and the increase is similar to those in other districts.
After the meeting, Superintendent Ron Grevera said the district currently only has about six reliable substitutes, and that it could probably use about 20.
The board also approved a plan to have Degler-Whiting Inc. replace the gymnasium seats at a discounted cost not to exceed $46,031. Grevera said the 20-year-old plastic seats had started cracking and become a safety risk. The district negotiated with the company, which had originally installed the seats, and got the price of replacement reduced from about $70,000.
And the board voted to seek bids for the artificial turf and track project at the stadium. The cost won’t be known until bids come in, but the project has been estimated at about $2 million. The district has obtained about $900,000 toward that through the state Local Share Account, money the state gives out to communities from legalized gambling income.
In other sports moves, the board appointed Jeff DeRocco as head girls track coach, Ed Lukowski as track assistant coach, Ronald Bruza Jr. as head football coach, Ken Kaspryzk and Ronald Bruza Sr. as football assistants at half salary each, Deborah Gavin as head girls volleyball coach, James Gavin as girls volleyball assistant coach, Jake Biehl as head softball coach, and Christian Mavus as a lifeguard for the remaining two swim meets at $50 per meet.
The board opened the meeting with a moment of silence for the death of former Superintendent Tony Perrone. Grevera noted Perrone had served the district for nearly 50 years, as a teacher, administrator and Superintendent — working for $1 a year in his later years in the post, helping the district through a tough financial stretch and through some needed construction and renovations.
The board also:
• Approved a donation of $5,000 to the Mill Memorial Library.
• Accepted the retirement of special education teacher Carmella Brown.
• Accepted the resignations of teacher Tara Ebert, cafeteria worker Johanna Relica, cleaners Angela Moran and Alberta Miller, and chorus director Mary Ann Rutkowski.
• Appointed Scott Tarnowski as custodian.

 

1/31/2022
‘Taxing’ stretch keeps Nanticoke fire department busy — even outside the city 
Bob Kalinowski – Citizens Voice


NANTICOKE — In his 22 years as a full-time Nanticoke firefighter, Capt. Greg Grzymski can’t remember many times as busy and as grueling as the last two months.
“When I see people, they say, ‘Boy you guys have been busy.’ It’s been an unusual year for how many fires we have had,” Grzymski, 46, said. “We had some busy stretches when I was a volunteer in the 1990s, but we had an arsonist running around town then.”
Since an inferno at a double-block home on East Church Street on Dec. 8, the department has responded to 14 calls for structure fires. Ten of them occurred outside city limits — from Wilkes-Barre to Shickshinny — and the department was dispatched as a mutual aid partner.
“They need our help and sometimes we need help,” Grzymski said about the tradition of fire departments helping other departments and municipalities.
Several of the city’s career firefighters describe the recent workload as “taxing,” especially battling blazes in sub-freezing temperatures.
“You’re dealing not only with the fire. You’re dealing with the elements outside. Snow. Ice. Cold. It wears you down,” Grzymski said.
Being a combination career and volunteer department, Nanticoke has paid firefighters on duty around the clock, which is a key to a quick response, including into neighboring towns. Nanticoke also has an asset many others don’t: an aerial truck with a 105-foot ladder.
“We can reach many more places than others around here,” Nanticoke Fire Chief Mark Boncal said.
Nanticoke is automatically dispatched with its ladder truck to all fires in Newport Twp. The department automatically sends a rapid intervention team to all fire calls in Hanover Twp. to be on standby to help crews battling a blaze. Nanticoke also covers a section of Plymouth Twp. stretching from near the Garden Drive-In on Route 11 to near the former Plymouth Twp. Recreation Park.
The city is not reimbursed for its out-of-town responses except for calls in Plymouth Twp., which no longer has its own fire department and contracts with other municipalities for coverage, city and fire officials said. The other responses are considered mutual aid, they said.
Since Dec. 8, Nanticoke responded to four fire calls in the city, five in Newport Twp., and one each in Hanover Twp., Huntington Twp., Shickshinny, Wilkes-Barre and Wilkes-Barre Twp.
During last week’s deadly fire at the Genetti complex in Wilkes-Barre — which displaced more than 100 people — Nanticoke sent a rapid intervention team.
Days earlier, the department scrambled to battle a stubborn blaze in the Wanamie section of Newport Twp., positioning its aerial ladder truck as the main apparatus on scene. A second alarm in Wanamie summoned Edwardsville and its ladder truck. Other departments arrived as part of the standard mutual aid protocol. A third alarm was called and the county’s water tanker task force was activated when crews encountered frozen hydrants.
Uncertainty about turnout by volunteers forces fire crews to request and need backup from other towns, Nanticoke firefighters said.
Fortunately, Nanticoke has a dedicated group of volunteers who have even responded to many of the fires outside the municipality, they said.
“They’re not required to go. That’s just dedication,” Boncal said. “We have a good working relationship with a lot of these fire departments. If they call us, we will go.”
Boncal recalled arriving at the Dec. 8 daytime inferno at the East Church Street property with the three other on-duty men. They needed help quickly.
“That was it for the first couple of minutes. We were trying to put the fire out until the other troops came,” Boncal said.
In addition to off-duty and volunteer Nanticoke firefighters, crews from Hanover Twp., Newport Twp., Plymouth, Kingston and Edwardsville arrived to help fight the blaze.
Most of the fires have been the result of issues with supplemental heating, careless smoking and cooking incidents, Boncal said.
The chief said he was proud of everyone under his command during this most recent stretch of fires.
“This time of year, the guys get beat up because of how cold it is. We have to rotate the guys, put them in the engine to warm up,” Boncal said. “It’s very taxing on everybody, especially the volunteers. They have to go home and get some sleep and go back to their primary jobs in the morning.”
Justin Gildea, 34, a full-time firefighter since 2014, said he doesn’t mind helping out in other municipalities because it’s appreciated when others come to help Nanticoke crews.
“We rely on mutual aid and mutual aid relies on us. It’s a group effort,” Gildea said. “When you are on a stretch of a couple fires, it takes a lot out of you. It’s taxing on the body, yes. A single fire is a lot of work. You start adding three, four, five a month and you get run down pretty quick.”
Assistant Chief John Polifka, 50, a full-time firefighter for 27 years, said the declining number of volunteers “is leading to more mutual aid needed.”
“We go all over the place and we invite people in, too,” Polifka said. “You have to rely on out-of-town departments because everyone is hurting for manpower.”

 

1/14/2022
Greater Nanticoke Area agrees to keep property tax increase in state limit

mguydish@timesleader.com
 

NANTICOKE — Greater Nanticoke Area joined a rapidly growing list of local school districts voting to keep any property tax increase for the 2022-23 school year within an annual state-set maximum known as the Act 1 Index. For Greater Nanticoke Area, this year the maximum is 5.2%
The index can vary year to year and district by district, but voting to stay within the limit does not mean there will be a tax increase. The vote gives the district until the end of May to make that decision and approve a preliminary budget, with approval of a final budget required by June 30.
A district can only exceed the limit either by getting state approval for exceptions or voter approval through a spring primary referendum. Pursuing those options requires approving a preliminary budget in early February.
The board also approved making Feb. 21, Presidents Day, a make-up day requiring school attendance, compensating for the closure of schools Sept. 20, 2021 due to having no water throughout the district. Board President Tony Prushinski cast the only no vote, saying that with the surge of COVID-19 sweeping Luzerne County, he would prefer the day be made up in June.
Students to return Jan. 18
Superintendent Ron Grevera re-affirmed plans to return students to classrooms on Jan. 18. The district went virtual Monday due to COVID-19 and staffing concerns.
In other business, the board:
• Approved the formation of a swim club in compliance with Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association rules.
• Accepted the resignation of David DeLuca as head softball coach, and agreed to advertise for applicants.
• Voted to have Kleinfelder proceed with geotechnical and infiltration testing at the existing running track and football field at a cost of $7,950.
• Approved participating with the WVIA Enhanced Scholar program at a cost of $2,375.
• Approved an agreement with the Luzerne Intermediate Unit to provide a Community and School Based Behavioral Health Team.
• Approved a deal with ConradSiegel to provide Affordable Care Act employer reporting at a cost of $6,850.
• Approved an agreement keeping Albert B. Melone Company as district business consultant through Dec. 1, 2022 at a one-year cost of $84,196.
• Agreed to purchase 600 Google Chromebooks from CDW-G at a cost of $153,300. The purchase is going through the Pennsylvania Education Purchasing Program for Microcomputers, a state system designed to keep costs down and allow districts to bypass bidding requirements. The computers will be paid for with federal COVID-19 relief funds.
• Accepted the resignations of cafeteria workers Kathleen Heddings and Michelle Bardo, head teacher Edward Grant, and custodian John Fisch.
• Appointed Mary Pliska as special education aide, David Prizniak as custodian, and Colleen Shepanski as Personal Information Management System coordinator at a salary of $40,000.
• Approved the purchase of seven Knoxbox 3200 high-security key lock boxes, designed to give emergency responders access to locked property in emergencies. The boxes are being bought through the City of Nanticoke Fire Department at a cost of $3,130.

 

1/11/2022
Nanticoke receives $300,000 to support affordable housing
boboyle@timesleader.com


NANTICOKE — Gov. Tom Wolf Monday announced the distribution of $8.2 million in funding through the Pennsylvania HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) to support affordable housing in counties — including $300,000 in Nanticoke.
“Pennsylvanians should not have to choose between paying for basic necessities or needed home repairs to ensure the safety of their loved ones,” Wolf said. “The HOME program provides low-income individuals with access to the affordable, safe and reliable housing they and their families deserve.”
HOME is a federally funded program that provides municipalities with grant and loan assistance to expand and preserve the supply of decent and affordable housing for low- and very low-income Pennsylvanians.
Nanticoke Mayor Kevin Coughlin said the Nanticoke First-Time Homebuyer Program will provide a down payment and closing cost assistance of up to $15,000 to eligible households that purchase a primary residence in Nanticoke for less than $133,000.
To qualify, Coughlin said households must have income between 40% and 80% of the area median and meet other eligibility and underwriting criteria. He said homebuyers that participate in the program will also receive eight hours of housing counseling services.
The program, funded through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development with federal HOME Investment Partnership funds, will begin accepting applications in early 2022.
Sen. John Yudichak, I-Swoyersville, said he appreciates the work of U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Scranton, and U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Moosic, and U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser, R-Dallas, as they work together to drive federal dollars, through the HOME program, to Luzerne County.
“As we continue to attract national companies and thousands of new jobs to the South Valley, these welcomed federal dollars will ensure working families in Nanticoke have access to affordable housing,” Yudichak said.
According to the governor’s office, HOME program funds can be used in a variety of ways to address critical housing needs, including market-oriented approaches that offer opportunities such as home-ownership or rental activities to revitalize communities with new investment.
The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) receives HOME program funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the annual entitlement appropriation process.

 

1/9/2022
Greater Nanticoke Area going virtual next week
Citizens Voice – Staff Report

The Greater Nanticoke Area School District will shift to virtual learning this week due to COVID-19 cases and staffing concerns, Superintendent Ronald Grevera said Saturday.

Students will follow their schedules by logging into Google Classroom, attending classes and completing assignments, Grevera said.

The district will reopen to “in-person” learning on Jan. 18 immediately following the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, Grevera said.

1/3/2022
Nanticoke City Hall closed
Citizens Voice – Staff Report

NANTICOKE — City Hall is closed until further notice due to increasing COVID-19 cases, city officials announced on Facebook.

All administrative employees are working and can be contacted by calling 570-735-2800 or by email.

Refuse payments for 2022 can be dropped off and placed in the black drop box in front of City Hall.