top of page

2023 Nanticoke News

As we receive information from the Times Leader  or any other news outlet we will post it here.
Nanticoke City webdesign note: The articles and information you see on this site are from articles that are taken from the Times Leader newspaper & other sources. If some articles are not added we accept no responsibility for not seeing them on the day they were published.

Nanticoke News Archived
20232022 - 2021 - 2020

Bubbakoo’s Burritos brings the beach to Wilkes-Barre Twp. 
Nico Rossi –

WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Bubbakoo’s Burritos has officially opened the doors to its newest Pennsylvania location in an attempt to bring the beach to Wilkes-Barre.
Bubbakoo’s Burritos franchise owners Eric Spencer and Scott Brennan, both of Nanticoke, held a grand opening event on Tuesday at the restaurant located at 174 Mundy Street in Wilkes-Barre Township. 
Spencer says he and Brennan wanted to bring a brand to the area they were comfortable and confident with that stood apart from other chain restaurants.
“Right from the beginning we loved the brand’s flavor and atmosphere. We found something unique and different that stood apart and we felt comfortable and confident about bringing that atmosphere to Wilkes-Barre,” said Spencer.
Courtesy: Chris Hughes, General Manager of Bubbakoo’s Burritos-Wilkes-Barre 
Efforts to fight food insecurity in Scranton School communities 
Bubbakoo’s Burritos founders Paul Altero and Bill Hart originally opened the restaurant in the heart of the “skater and shore” scene of Point Pleasant, New Jersey in 2008. The “Mexican Fusion” style restaurant’s goal was to bring affordable, made-to-order food with fresh ingredients to people of all ages.
“We followed the brand for about a year and saw the growth the company had, with over 100 units along the east coast and we’re excited for it,” Brennan added. 
The new location is now open full-time, serving made-to-order burritos, quesadillas, tostada salads, tacos, nachos, and much more.
To check out Bubbakoo’s Burrito’s menu or information about becoming a franchise owner check out their website or Facebook page.


No property tax hike in Greater Nanticoke Area budget proposed at $39.4M
Michael P Buffer – Citizens Voice

The Greater Nanticoke Area School Board is proposing a $39.4 million budget that keeps the property tax rate at 12.8083 mills.
A mill is a $1 tax for every $1,000 of assessed property value. Last year, the school board approved a $35.6 million budget with a 2.9% increase in the property tax rate, which increased from 12.4473 mills to 12.8083 mills.
The school board plans to adopt a final budget for the 2023-24 school year on June 22. The proposed budget is posted on the school district website.
The proposed budget projects nearly $40.8 million in revenue with nearly
$10.7 million from local sources, $23.5 million from state sources and $6.5 million from federal sources. More than $4.6 million in federal funding is for COVID-19 assistance.
The unreserved fund balance is projected at $4.8 million when the fiscal year starts July 1 and is projected to increase to $6.2 million a year later.
Instruction costs for employee salaries is at nearly $8.2 million, up from $7.8 million in 2022-23. Instruction costs for employee benefits is at nearly $5.5 million, up from nearly $5.2 million in 2022-23.

Nanticoke house fire injures one and displaces four

NANTICOKE — A house fire left one person injured and four displaced in Nanticoke on Wednesday evening.
At around 5:30 p.m., Nanticoke firefighters were dispatched for a residential structure fire on West Grand Street.
Upon their arrival, heavy flames were visible from the back of the home, where the fire started with a malfunction in a gas grill. The fire then extended to a crawlspace in the home’s attic before firefighters brought it under control.
“We stretched a couple hose lines and made a quick knockdown,” Nanticoke Fire Chief Mark Boncal said.
Four people were inside the home at the time of the fire, and one was sent to the hospital for smoke inhalation.
At the time of reporting, firefighters were waiting for a response from the Red Cross to assist in providing temporary shelter for those living in the home.


Father of poll worker charged in election sign theft

NANTICOKE — The father of an election worker faces a misdemeanor theft charge after police say he was caught on video stealing a Luzerne County Council candidate’s campaign sign from a polling place in the city on the morning of the primary election.
The candidate whose sign was stolen, meanwhile, says dozens were taken during the campaign and believes it was a coordinated effort.
Paul P. Clisham, 52, of Nanticoke, is accused of taking a sign belonging to candidate Ronald D. Knapp from outside the Ward 2 voting area at the IBEW Training Facility, 41 W. Church St., on May 16 after he dropped his son off to work at the polls.
Twelve Republicans were seeking their party’s nomination for six open seats in this fall’s general election. Knapp, who was unsuccessful in his bid, said 47 out of his 250 signs went missing — many in high-traffic areas, such as along the Sans Souci Parkway — and he believes that was damaging to his campaign.
“It hurt me, definitely,” Knapp said during an interview Wednesday afternoon at his Nanticoke home, noting that his support had dropped substantially this year compared with his showing in the last primary.
“I came in with 8,546 votes in 2021, and this run for office I had 4,850,” Knapp said. “Publicity is very important in the process of running for office. With that many signs lost in a high-traffic area, it absolutely had an effect.”
Efforts to reach Clisham for comment were not immediately successful on Wednesday.
Video footage reviewed
According to an affidavit filed by Nanticoke police:
Camera footage from the IBEW Training Facility was reviewed after they received a complaint from Knapp about the missing sign on election day morning.
The footage shows Knapp putting his sign on the property at about 4:14 p.m. on May 15. The sign remained undisturbed until 6:17 a.m. the next day, when a white male is seen dropping off an election worker at the polling place. The male is seen coming out of the building, taking Knapp’s sign, and placing it in the trunk of the silver 2015 Toyota Camry he was driving.
Police responding to the scene spoke with Clisham’s son, who confirmed that his father had driven him to the polling place that morning.
Police attempted to make contact with Clisham, but he was not home. Police confirmed that Clisham owns a silver 2015 Toyota Camry and that he was the man seen in the video.
Knapp said he does not know Clisham.
Knapp: ‘Make an example’
Running for countywide public office can be challenging in such a large county, Knapp noted, and yard signs are an important component of any campaign.
“For me to canvass the entire 906 square miles of Luzerne County would have been impossible,” he said.
So Knapp began putting out signs on Easter Weekend, which fell at the end of March.
By April 7 he noticed many signs missing from the Sans Souci, and reported this to Hanover Township police. Soon after he approached Nanticoke police about several signs missing from private properties and high-traffic areas in the city.
With signs costing $8 each, at the end of the campaign season Knapp began collecting the signs for potential re-use, and the number missing started to climb.
On May 15 and in the early hours of May 16, Knapp was “running around” collecting his signs from private properties to display at polling places. He had placed the sign at Nanticoke Ward 2 on the afternoon of May 15.
When he arrived back at the polling place at 7 a.m. on May 16, he quickly noticed his sign was missing.
“Because there were cameras, immediately it came to my mind that I should contact the police in Nanticoke to report it,” Knapp said.
As noted in the affidavit, police responded to the polling place.
“They were investigating for about an hour-and-a-half. They came out and said, ‘we know where the individual lives, who he is, we’ve got the guy on video,’” Knapp said. “They have it on a zip drive to present at the hearing.”
According to court documents, a preliminary hearing for Clisham is scheduled for 10:45 a.m. June 28 in Luzerne County Central Court.
Knapp plans to be there.
“I’m going to be in the courtroom to ask the judge to not be lenient on him,” Knapp said. “There has to be an example made.”
A summons was issued Tuesday charging Clisham with theft by unlawful taking, a third-degree misdemeanor. As Knapp learned, such a charge carries a potential maximum sentence of one-year incarceration and a $2,500 fine.
“I was very perturbed, mad that someone was brazen enough to take it from that site,” Knapp said. “Nobody else’s sign, just mine. Theirs weren’t touched, just mine.”
But Knapp believes some leniency would be justified if it leads to information about the other signs that went missing.
“Was it a collaborative measure to keep me from gaining the seat? That’s my perception of it,” Knapp said.


Suspicious fire damages vacant Nanticoke double block
James Halpin – Citizens Voice

A suspicious fire damaged a vacant double-block home in Nanticoke early Wednesday but resulted in no injuries, according to the Nanticoke City Fire Department.
Crews were initially dispatched to a report of smoke in the area of West Noble and Hanover streets at 1:11 a.m., and arrived to find smoke filling the street in the 100 block of West Noble.
Firefighters traced the source of the smoke to 177-179 W. Noble St. and declared a working fire at 1:19 a.m., drawing on additional crews from surrounding communities.
Crews began attacking the fire and brought it under control within 20 minutes, firefighters said.
The fire was contained to the room of origin in the 177 side, while the 179 side received smoke and heat damage, firefighters said. No injuries were reported.
Investigators say both units were vacant and neither was connected to electricity or gas. Calling the fire “suspicious,” firefighters called in a state police fire marshal to investigate.
Anyone with information on the fire is asked to call 570-735-2200.


Nanticoke teen to graduate from college before high school 
Bob Kalinowski – Citizens Voice

NANTICOKE — Greater Nanticoke Area senior Grace Reed graduates college this week before she graduates high school next month.
Reed, 17, will walk the stage Thursday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre Twp. and receive her associate degree from Luzerne County Community College.
The four-sport star, who has a part-time job, started taking college classes following her freshman year that was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following her June 9 graduation from Nanticoke Area, Reed will attend St. Francis University in Loretto in Cambria County, where she will study physical therapy and play Division I field hockey.
“I’m very proud of myself for not giving up even though it was hard balancing sports, high school academics and LCCC academics. It’s very cool and a great accomplishment. I’m very excited,” Reed said. “It was a lot of time management. Basically, that was the key to it all.”
Reed is the treasurer of Nanticoke Area’s chapter of the National Honor Society and played field hockey, basketball, track and field and cross country.
She’s hoping to get her doctorate degree in physical therapy and treat athletes one day. She should accomplish that feat in five years or less after getting the associate degree head start from LCCC.
“I want to help people in sports because I have always been in sports my entire life,” Reed said.
Reed credits her parents, Brian and Jocelyn, with inspiring her to achieve her lofty goals. But she’s had a rivalry with her mother along the way. Her mother is a chemistry teacher at Hanover Area High School and is that school’s varsity field hockey coach.
“Every single year we beat them. It was always fun coming home every night after we beat them. She always tried to have someone mark me every game because she knows exactly how I play but it never worked out in her favor,” Reed joked.
In addition to taking a full course load of high school and college classes and playing four varsity sports, Reed works part time at The Creamery at Michael Mootz Candies on the Sans Souci Parkway in Hanover Twp.
As an educator, Reed’s mother thinks her daughter’s accomplishment is almost unprecedented in Nanticoke, Hanover or the region.
“She’s not the child prodigy that you see in the news graduating from high school at 12 and college at 15. She’s a normal teenage girl who put in a lot of extra work, when her friends were hanging out elsewhere, to do something no one else from her school has,” Reed’s mother Jocelyn said.
Greater Nanticoke Area Superintendent Ronald Grevera said the district was proud of Reed.
“Grace is accomplished both scholastically and athletically,” Grevera said. “She holds herself to high standards and has high expectations for herself. For a young woman to be taking high school and college credits at the same time is very difficult and time consuming. We are proud of Grace’s accomplishments.”
Athletic Director Ken Bartuska had similar praise for Reed.
“It’s very special that she is accomplishing this, but knowing her, it’s really not surprising,” Bartuska said. “... She is a leader on every team she’s a member of and relishes helping younger players improve. We’re going to miss her contributions, her leadership and her personality here at GNA.”
Reed’s guidance counselor Bill Hischak called her story “astounding” and unprecedented.
“When many of her classmates were on summer vacation enjoying themselves, Grace was in class at LCCC. Her tremendous work ethic as you know has also paid dividends athletically as well,” Hischak said. “In my twenty years as a high school guidance counselor, I have never had a student even come remotely close to earning the amount of college credits as Grace has. Grace is not only well-respected by her classmates, but also the faculty and administration here at GNA. Grace is a leader, both in the classroom and on the playing field.”
LCCC President Thomas Leary said Reed is among 13 high school students graduating Thursday who took part in the school’s Early College program. She is one of 523 students who will graduate from LCCC on Thursday.
“Grace did a tremendous job of balancing her high school classes and activities while taking the LCCC classes that she will transfer to St. Francis University this fall. We are very proud of these students who began their college education while still in high school, and I wish Grace, and all of our graduates, the best of luck in their future,” Leary said.


Greater Nanticoke Area passes $39.4M proposed final budget

NANTICOKE — The Greater Nanticoke Area School Board passed a proposed final budget for 2023-24 at a Friday meeting that had been rescheduled from last week. The budget projects spending $39.4 million with no property tax increase, leaving the rate at 12.8083 mills. A mill is a $1 tax on every $1,000 of assessed value.
The budget outlook is promising, Business Consultant Tom Melone said, thanks in part to the federal COVID-19 relief money in recent years, the last of which will be spent in 2023-24. Superintendent Ron Grevera also said the state’s “Level-up” funding, which targets districts most in need of increased state spending, is also helping.
Melone said the proposed budget assumes no increase in state money for basic or special education, but that some additional money seems likely as Gov. Josh Shapiro proposed a plan that would give Greater Nanticoke about $1.4 million more in the coming fiscal year. Both the state and the district must approve a final budget by June 30.
Melone’s proposed budget numbers show the district fund balance rising from $4.8 million at the end of this fiscal year on June 30 to $6.2 million by the end of next June. He said that money could help prevent or at least soften the blow of any tax increase needed to balance the budget down the road.
Board President Tony Prushinski said the district’s ability to avoid a tax increase shows “elections matter,” and that things would have been very different if Shapiro had not won the governor’s race. His opponent, Doug Mastriano had proposed a radical change in funding that would have cut state per pupil spending by more than half and given the money toward schools, public or private, of the parent’s choice.
The board also:
• Appointed Ryan Amos as head golf coach, Andy Kaminsky as golf assistant, Zachary Pientka as boys head basketball coach, Ed Lukowski as boys basketball assistant I, Zack Cardone as boys basketball assistant II, James Barna as boys basketball assistant IIIa, Robert Donahue as boys basketball assistant IIIb, Christopher McGavin as boys basketball assistant IV, Ed Grant as girls head basketball coach, Brian Reed as girls basketball assistant I and Lindsey Quinn as girls basketball assistant II.
• Increased the ticket price for football games to $5 per adult and $2 per student.
• Accepted the quote from Eastern Time to replace the fire alarm system in the Elementary & Education Center at a cost of $168,900, and from All American Athletics Flooring to refurbish the Education Center gym/cafeteria floor at a cost of $49,500. Both are being purchased through the state Costars system,which allows districts to piggy back on deals arranged through the state to save money and bypass bidding requirements.
• Approved an agreement with the Northeast Intermediate Unit for special education services for 2023-24.
• Awarded a $138,243 contract to Global Data Consultants, LLC, for a servers, firewalls and storage upgrade project. The money will come from federal COVID-19 relief grants.
• Approved the Wilkes-Barre Area Career and Technical Center budget for 2023-24. The Center serves five member districts, and the School Boards of all five districts must approve the annual budget.
• Appointed Kylee Ritchie as cleaner and Aphiena Johnson as cafeteria worker.
• Accepted a three-year proposal from Rave Mobile Safety Application to provide one-push activation of any type of emergency, at a cost of $12,500.
• Added a school bus stop at West Green Street and Maple Street for the remainder of the current school year, and appointed the following bus drivers for transportation contractors: Michelle Sheppard for Bonk Transportation, Theresa Ryzner for Pace Transportation, Aisha Pearson for White Transit, and Destiny Kotsur, Nateli Marie Cappa-Ramos, Teresa M. Tencza, Naqueilla Paul and Emily Elick with Keystone Valley Transportation.
• Approved several cafeteria purchases from Rice’s Food Equipment and Consulting, Inc.: one mobile heated cabinet for $3,383, three gas convection ovens for $34,669, and one 24-inch, four-open burners range for $3,513.
• Increased the price of faculty lunch meals to $4.75, following the recommendation of the state Department of Education.
• Approved the purchase of student ID badge software and equipment for the Elementary Learning Center, Educational Center and High School from School Technology Associates for $15,776.


Weis Markets remodels Duryea store, Nanticoke store is next 
Denise Allabaugh

Weis Markets has completed remodeling its Duryea store and celebrated the grand reopening by presenting $500 in donations to local organizations including the Commission on Economic Opportunity's Weinberg Northeast Regional Food Bank, Holy Rosary School and Germania Hose Company.
Weis Markets has completed remodeling its Duryea store and celebrated the grand reopening Thursday by presenting $500 in donations to local organizations including the Commission on Economic Opportunity’s Weinberg Northeast Regional Food Bank, Holy Rosary School and Germania Hose Company.
The remodeled Duryea store includes a new beer and wine cafe with adult slushy machines, a new deli with meal center and new interior decor as well as an upgraded produce section featuring fresh cut fruits and vegetables, a remodeled bakery and seafood sections, updated store fixtures and expanded variety throughout the store.
Weis Markets officials also announced work will begin on a major remodel at its store in Nanticoke.
“We’re pleased to celebrate the remodel of our Duryea store, which now offers our customers several convenient new features and amenities,” said Weis Markets vice president of marketing and advertising Maria Rizzo. “Our customers in nearby Nanticoke will soon enjoy a similar upgraded shopping experience when we complete the store’s extensive remodel later this year.”
Weis Markets operates 197 stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, West Virginia and Virginia.


Nanticoke standoff ends with gunman’s suicide

NANTICOKE — A lengthy standoff in the 300 block of East Church Street ended just before 11 p.m. Friday when a barricaded gunman took his own life, officials at the scene said.

Separately, Pennsylvania State Police spokesman Trooper Bill Evans late Friday said only that the scene would remain an active investigation and more information would be released later.

Nanticoke police responded to an apartment at 312 E. Church St. at about 5 p.m. when a man refused to exit and barricaded himself inside with a firearm.

State police at Wilkes-Barre assisted at the scene, unable to convince the man to surrender.

Troopers with the Special Emergency Response Team began arriving at about 6:30 p.m. along with two heavily armored vehicles and a fortified Bob-Cat with an attached battery arm.

Two blocks along East Church Street from College Street to South Walnut Street were shut down as SERT troopers geared up with protective vests and assault rifles.

A canine with a protective vest was also at the scene.

A communications vans equipped with radio, phones and television screens arrived and set up about one-half block from the apartment building.

Troopers received information about the layout of the apartment from a witness who managed to escape the building.

One tactic deployed was turning off electrical power to the building.

For the next several hours, a drone was continuously in the air hovering above the building and a bullhorn was heard telling the man to surrender.

Apparent gunfire was heard just after 9 p.m. and two flash grenades were ignited at 9:56 p.m. and 9:57 p.m.

Thirty minutes later, at 10:27 p.m., a three minute continuous siren was heard.

About 10 minutes after the siren ceased, troopers learned the man took his own life.

“Troop P Wilkes-Barre along with our SERT unit responded to the scene today to assist Nanticoke police with a barricaded gunman,” Evans said just before 11 p.m. “At this time, it is still an active investigation but we can say there is no threat to the public at this time. We’re going to keep this road closed until the investigation is complete.”

Evans said more information will likely be released Saturday.

Neighbors who live in the 300 block of East Church Street said the neighborhood is mostly residential. But two neighbors also recalled an April standoff in Nanticoke involving the U.S. Marshals when two wanted men were apprehended.


Nanticoke DPW vehicle fleet grounded as keys melted in blaze
Bob Kalinowski – Citizens Voice

NANTICOKE — Some trucks and heavy equipment machines parked outside the Nanticoke Department of Public Works garage survived Thursday night’s inferno that leveled the building and destroyed five vehicles, but the entire fleet remains grounded because all the keys melted in the fire.

“I’m going to have a mobile key service come. He’s going to rekey everything,” DPW foreman Rick Josefowicz said Friday.

Throughout Friday, leaders of municipalities from throughout the Wyoming Valley and state Sen. Lisa Baker, R-20, Lehman Twp., called or visited to offer assistance to Nanticoke following the loss of all their equipment, multiple vehicles and the garage.

Neighboring Newport Twp. offered to let Nantcoke’s DPW operate out if its headquarters along the Kirmar Parkway with its remaining trucks and borrowed equipment.

Nanticoke Mayor Kevin Coughlin said he doesn’t think services will be impacted much.

“We’ll make it work,” Coughlin pledged.

He said the outpouring of support from throughout the area was appreciated.

“That’s how it should be, every community helping each other. We would do the same,” Coughlin said.

Nanticoke City Manager Donna Wall, a longtime city employee, agreed.

 “You make a lot of friends over the years,” Wall said.

Fire crews were dispatched to the garage at 76 N. Market St. around 8:40 p.m. Thursday and were met with an inferno consuming the building.

Destroyed in the blaze were a front end loader, a Skidster, a pavement roller, a utility truck and another vehicle.

The fire comes at a time when city officials are finalizing plans for a brand new $850,000 DPW garage at Prospect and Slate streets on land owned by Luzerne County Community College.

LCCC granted the city a 99-year lease for $1, Coughlin said, joking that he’s not sure the city could afford the deal.

The new building, paid primarily through state grant funding, is in the final design phase, Wall said.

State police fire marshal Joseph Montagna visited the fire scene on Friday. He did not immediately issue a ruling.

While he inspected the inside, other law enforcement officers took footage of the damage from the sky using a drone.


Flames engulf Nanticoke DPW garage Thursday night 
Bob Kalinowski – Citizens Voice

NANTICOKE — An inferno consumed the Nanticoke Department of Public Works Garage on Thursday night with much of the department’s equipment inside.
“We’re not having good luck here. Oh my,” Nanticoke Mayor Kevin Coughlin said upon his arrival at the scene on North Market Street, noting the city fire department spent hours earlier this week battling a stubborn fire at a West Union Street home that was plagued with hoarding conditions.
City officials said a front end loader, a Skidster, a pavement roller, a utility truck and another vehicle were inside the garage with other equipment and all was destroyed in the blaze at 76 N. Market St.
Those items were vital to providing services to the citizens of Nanticoke and can’t immediately be replaced, Coughlin said.
“Other communities I’m sure will step up and help us out,” Coughlin said.
Hanover Twp. Manager Sam Guesto and Pittston Mayor Mike Lombardo offered to help the city with any needed equipment, Coughlin said.
“I am overwhelmed that within minutes of our public works building being destroyed, Hanover Twp. and Pittston reached out and offered their assistance to the city. Thank you Sam Guesto and Mayor Lombardo,” Coughlin said.
The fire was reported around 8:40 p.m.
Firefighters responded to a heavy fire situation, Fire Chief Mark Boncal said.
The call came in while the Nanticoke Fire Department was hosting a joint trench rescue class with the Newport Twp. Fire Department., he said.
That made sure the initial attack on the fire had sizable manpower, he said. The fire was knocked down within 20 minutes.
Boncal said the building is a total loss.
A state police fire marshal was called in to investigate.


Fire destroys vacant Nanticoke property 
Bob Kalinowski – Citizens Voice

NANTICOKE — A vacant city home plagued by hoarding conditions is a total loss following a stubborn fire Tuesday night on West Union Street, Fire Chief Mark Boncal said.
A state police fire marshal is investigating, Boncal said.
The clutter inside the home near the intersection with Fairchild Street made it difficult to navigate and fueled the flames, Boncal said.
“There was still hoarding conditions inside the building. It makes the job harder,” Boncal said.
For months, people have been cleaning the inside and outside of the property of debris, filling a dumpster many times. City code enforcement officials only allowed those clearing out the property to go inside during daylight hours, Boncal said.
The blaze, which appears to have started in the basement just before 9 p.m., remains under investigation, he said.


Baker, Ryncavage hold ribbon-cutting at new offices in Nanticoke

NANTICOKE — A large crowd turned out on Friday to welcome state Sen. Lisa Baker and Rep. Alec Ryncavage to their new offices in the city.
Baker, R-Lehman Township, and Ryncavage, R-Plymouth, looked on as former Sen. John Yudichak cut the ribbon at a joint open house at their district offices at 50 North Walnut St., Suites 105 (Baker) and 102 (Ryncavage).
The lawmakers’ offices are in a new downtown building at 50 N. Walnut St., constructed for Nockley Family Pharmacy and Cawley Physical Therapy and Rehab.
Ryncavage said that as a new legislator he is grateful that he and a seasoned senator like Baker will be in close proximity to one another as they help their constituents.
Prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Baker and Ryncavage presented a Sue Hand painting of the Avondale Breaker in Plymouth Township to Joseph Yudichak, a former longtime Plymouth Township Supervisor who worked in the mining industry as a young man (and father of the former senator).
The presentation was held prior to Friday’s ceremony.
At the district offices, the legislators said constituents can get assistance with PennDOT paperwork, driver’s license and vehicle registration applications and renewals; information and applications for senior citizen benefit programs, including Property Tax/Rent Rebate and PACE/PACENET prescription drug programs; securing birth and death certificates (photo identification required); organizing tours of the state Capitol; copies of legislation; and many other services.
Some of the officials attending the ceremony included Rep. Aaron Kaufer, R-Kingston; Plymouth Borough Council members Alexis Eroh, Bill Dixon and Council President Ronald Kobusky; Nanticoke Mayor Kevin Coughlin; former Sen. John Yudichak and his father Joseph Yudichak, a former Plymouth Township Supervisor; Gale Conrad, Plymouth Township Supervisor.


Nanticoke funeral home consolidating to save costs, stay in business - a trend in the industry 
Bob Kalinowski – Citizens Voice

NANTICOKE — Like many funeral directors, Frantz Stegura in Nanticoke isn’t seeing the business he once did, forcing him to announce he’s selling his property and moving the company to his smaller home next door.
“We have to consolidate. I have to sell this property in order to afford the construction there,” Stegura said Wednesday.
With people choosing the cheaper alternative of cremation more and more over a traditional funeral and burial, the business is far less lucrative than it once was, he said.
“The economics of it is I have to do four cremations to equal one traditional funeral. The economics are I can’t afford to run the building with property taxes being the way they are,” Stegura said.
The National Funeral Directors Association cost comparisons for 2021, the latest available data, indicated that the national averages were $6,970 for cremation with a viewing and funeral and $9,420 for a burial with a vault and funeral.
Stegura’s great uncle started the Stanley S. Stegura Funeral Home in 1938. His late father, Jonathan F. Stegura, eventually took over and now he runs it with his brother, Jonathan Z. Stegura.
For sale are the current funeral home at 612-614 S. Hanover St., a three-story brick building, a two-story home behind it and a three-car garage — all on the same real estate deed. Selling the properties will alleviate him of one property tax bill and two sets of commercial utility bills, he said.
Stegura is keeping his next-door home at 630 S. Hanover St., the future site of the business, and its large parking lot. The business actually first started in 1938 at its future location at Stegura’s house before moving to its current location years later, which was a newly constructed building at the time.
“It’s coming full circle to where it began,” Stegura said.
After the business moved to its current location, Stegura’s grandfather, Dr. Barney Stegura, moved next door to 630 S. Hanover St. to run his medical practice for many years.
Since the building has been on the real estate market, many people — even relatives — assumed the third-generation family business was closing.
He said a first cousin recently stopped him and said, “Who is going to bury me? You’re going out of business.”
The rumored closing prompted Stegura to post a video to Facebook earlier this week to let people know the business is not closing despite the sale of the current location. He asked people to share the news with the people of Nanticoke. Within a day, the video got more than 100 shares and likes.
“I am extremely humbled by the outpouring of support from the community,” said Stegura, who is running as a write-in as a Republican candidate for Nanticoke City Council since there are no Republicans on the ballot.
The rumors about the Stegura Funeral Home come following the closings of the Grontkowski Funeral Home and the Kearney Funeral Home in Nanticoke, leaving Nanticoke with three funeral homes, Stegura’s, the Earl Lohman Funeral Home and Dinelli Family Funeral Home.
John Dinelli said he runs his business with his wife and they are doing “really well, actually,” despite the fact “a lot of people are doing direct cremation and a memorial service after.”
Former Luzerne County Coroner Dan Hughes, a longtime funeral director from Wilkes-Barre, said the business is certainly tougher than in the past.
“Cremation is a lesser expense than a burial, and that cuts into the business side. Funeral homes are not bringing in the revenue they used to. The need for as many funeral homes has dwindled,” Hughes said. “People are calling around for prices. They are ‘shoppers,’ as we call them. Lots of people are struggling financially and don’t have life insurance.”


EPA’s Regan announces funding for electric school buses at Nanticoke

NANTICOKE — At Greater Nanticoke Area High School on Monday, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael S. Regan said the Biden Administration is taking another key step toward reducing climate pollution and building a healthier future where all children will have the clean, breathable air that they deserve.
Regan was in Luzerne County to announce that the Greater Nanticoke Area School District has received $6 million for the purchase of 15 new electric powered buses. The buses were purchased from Rohrer Enterprises, Duncannon.
Regan also announced that an additional $400 million will be added to the grant program to fund clean school buses and reduce emissions and protect the environment.
Regan said that so far, Pennsylvania has been awarded $34.6 million from EPA’s clean school bus program.
“President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is already transforming school bus fleets across the nation, passing on cost savings to districts while improving air quality,” Regan said. “With new grant funding available, we will accelerate our work to transition to electric and low-emission school buses further and faster than ever before.”
Regan said under President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, funding from EPA’s Clean School Bus Program will improve air quality in and around schools and communities, save schools money, create good-paying clean energy jobs and reduce greenhouse gas pollution, protecting people and the planet.
Regan was joined at the news conference by Mitch Landrieu, Senior Advisor to the President and White House Infrastructure Coordinator; U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Scranton; U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Moosic; Greater Nanticoke Area Superintendent Ronald Grevera; and student Sophia Lukowski, who introduced Regan.
The grants are made possible by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides an unprecedented $5 billion to transform the nation’s fleet of school buses.
Greater Nanticoke Area is part of the first round of grant funding available and follows the nearly $1 billion the Biden-Harris Administration awarded through the rebate competition last year to fund electric and low-emission school buses across school districts.
“President Biden and Vice President Harris believe our kids deserve cleaner school buses, which will improve the health of communities and reduce emissions,” Landrieu said. “Communities will also benefit from cleaner air and energy savings by replacing old, dirty diesel school buses with cleaner alternatives.”
Casey said clean school buses mean that students are breathing cleaner air and districts are saving money.
“This commonsense solution is a win-win,” Casey said. “With more grants to come this year and in the years to follow, more communities in Pennsylvania and across the nation will get this opportunity to set students up for a healthier and brighter future — all thanks to the infrastructure law.”
Cartwright added that running the clean, green buses will reduce harmful pollution, improve air quality in and around schools and communities, save money and reduce greenhouse gas pollution.
“This unprecedented investment will protect the safety and well-being of our most treasured resources — our children and our planet,” Cartwright said.
Regan said EPA is prioritizing applications that will replace buses serving high-need local education agencies, Tribal school districts funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs or those receiving basic support payments for students living on Tribal land, and rural areas.
Information provided by Regan’s office stated eligible applicants for this funding opportunity are:
• State and local governmental entities that provide bus service.
• Public charter school districts.
• Indian Tribes, Tribal Organizations, or Tribally-controlled schools.
• Nonprofit School Transportation Associations.
• Eligible Contractors (including OEMs, dealers, school bus service providers, and private bus fleets.)


Volunteers clean up trash in Nanticoke on Earth Day 
Denise Allabaugh – Citizens Voice

NANTICOKE — More than 60 volunteers cleaned up trash throughout Nanticoke to beautify the city in honor of Earth Day on Saturday.
The Nanticoke Conservation Club organized the citywide cleanup and several groups participated including Greater Nanticoke Area High School seniors and members of the National Honor Society, True Value Company distribution center employees, Luzerne County Community College representatives and Boy Scout Troop 418 of Nanticoke.
Owen Dunlavey, 12, and other members of his Boy Scout troop grabbed vests and bags and cleaned up an area near Weis Market.
Dunlavey said he wanted to keep the environment clean “because people are constantly throwing trash and litter around here.”
Volunteers started the cleanup at the Nanticoke/West Nanticoke Bridge and worked their way up to the downtown area.
Gary Gronkowski, president of the Nanticoke Conservation Club, said several groups made donations, including Weis Market, the Fraternal Order of Eagles/834 Aerie in Nanticoke and True Value Company.
Maria Scott, office manager for True Value Company, said her company donated snacks and Gatorade and a team of about 12 employees participated in the cleanup around the company’s distribution center near Luzerne County Community College.
“We wanted to partner with the Nanticoke Conservation Club and get involved in the community since we have a big business here,” Scott said.
The City of Nanticoke provided a dumpster and the city’s road and maintenance crew picked up trash from the streets.
Nanticoke Mayor Kevin Coughlin, who also participated in the citywide cleanup, said his 6-year-old granddaughter came to council and said they should put up more signs encouraging people not to litter
Nanticoke Mayor Kevin Coughlin participates in a citywide cleanup Saturday morning for Earth Day.
“We need more respect for our town. Take pride in your town and help out your neighbors. If they’re elderly people, help them clean up,” Coughlin said. “It’s everybody’s world and it’s not just our town either. It’s not hard. There are garbage cans all over the place.”
Coughlin said he was pleased with the large number of volunteers who came out Saturday.
“I can’t believe the amount of volunteers we got,” he said. “It’s terrific. I’m really happy that this amount of people cares about our city.”
Students and staff at Luzerne County Community College started the cleanup on Thursday on Kosciuszko Street and Middle Road and came back Saturday to help clean up the city, said Paula Labenski, executive assistant to the president and board of trustees at LCCC.
The Nanticoke Conservation Club organized cleanups in the past but mainly targeted areas like dumpsites in the woods as well as Concrete City, Gronkowski said.
“We have to do it. There’s no way around it,” Gronkowski said. “Those were out in the woods and I came up with the idea with the mayor to clean where everybody sees it.”
Gronkowski, who was born and raised in Nanticoke, said the citywide cleanup was important to him, especially on Earth Day.
“I have pride in my city and I think everybody else does,” he said. “It’s a really good turnout and I want to see if we can do this every year.”


Baker, Ryncavage to host joint open house at new Nanticoke offices 
Bob Kalinowski – Citizens Voice

Baker and freshman state Rep. Alec Ryncavage are coming to Nanticoke.
Baker, R-14, of Lehman Twp., and Ryncavage, R-119, of Plymouth, announced Wednesday they will host a joint open house April 28 at their new offices in the city.
The lawmakers are opening offices in a new downtown building at 50 N. Walnut St., constructed for Nockley Family Pharmacy and Cawley Physical Therapy and Rehab.
The open house will be held from noon to 4 p.m. at Baker’s office at Suite 105 and Ryncavage’s office at Suite 102. Baker’s office will feature paintings by local artist Sue Hand from her Coal Breaker Community Series.
“A crucial part of public service is meeting face-to-face with constituents, listening to what they have to say and alerting them to state programs and services that may assist in improving their personal situation,” said Baker, a senator since 2007. “For people who want to talk about issues, this joint open house allows them to gain perspective from both the Senate and state House.”
Ryncavage, 21, who was elected in November, said he is “grateful that a seasoned senator like Sen. Baker and I will be in close proximity to one another as we help the constituents in our area.”
“Our neighboring offices create a one-stop shop for our residents,” Ryncavage said. “The building and ample off-street parking make our space accessible, welcoming and convenient for those needing legislative services.”


Greater Nanticoke Area replacing high school doors for $1.1 M
Michael P. Buffer – Citizens Voice

NANTICOKE — The Greater Nanticoke Area School Board voted Thursday to approve a $1.1 million bid to replace doors at the high school.
The school district will use federal COVID-19 aid to pay for the project. Lobar Associates Construction is the bidder, and the bid came through the Keystone Purchasing Network, Superintendent Ronald Grevera said.
The Keystone Purchasing Network is a cooperative purchasing program that offers pre-bid contracts for school districts. Lobar will begin the project when the school year ends in June and finish the project before the first day of the new school year.
The district will replace around 80 doors, and around 60 are exteriors doors. The project is being done for “safety and efficiency,” Grevera said.
The current front doors are single-pane glass, and most doors on the building are more than 50 years old, Grevera said. The new front doors will be double-pane glass, and that means they will be tougher to break and will save energy, Grevera said.
The district will also install push button automatic door openers for those who need them, Grevera said. The front doors at the high school already have a vestibule area with two sets of interlocking doors.
The school board also approved a summer reading and math program for students in kindergarten through fifth grade and a summer credit recovery program for high school students. Those programs will cost around $80,000, and the district will use COVID-19 aid to pay those costs, Grever said.
The board also approved a $152,094 purchase of 600 Chromebooks with COVID-19 funds. The district spent around $4 million from the first two rounds of COVID-19 aid and is now spending from the third and final round, which allocated around $7 million, Grevera said.



NWS sets ‘Red Flag’ fire warning for all of Pa.; burn-ban issued for Nanticoke

National Weather Service

Luzerne County — together with the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania — is under a ‘Red Flag Warning’ from the National Weather Service due to heightened fire risks.

The hot, dry conditions also led Nanticoke City to declare a two-week burn ban for its residents, one day after flames destroyed a double-block home and sparked a large brush fire in the Honey Pot section.

A Red Flag Warning means critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly.

The NWS Red Flag Warning went into effect at 12 p.m. and will stay in effect until 8 p.m.

According to the NWS, afternoon humidity of 20-30% is expected, as well as wind gusts up to 30 mph.

These conditions, combined with warm temperatures, can contribute to extreme fire behavior. Outdoor burning is not recommended.

Recent weather conditions, as well as a series of brush fires over the last few days, led the City of Nanticoke to issue a burn ban effective Wednesday afternoon.

Nanticoke burn ban

According to a post on the Nanticoke Fire Department Facebook page, the burn ban went into effect at 12 p.m. and will stay in effect until April 26.

The post stated that any open burning out of doors, either in a burn barrel or on the ground, is prohibited.

Open burning is defined as the ignition and subsequent burning of any combustible material that includes garbage, grass, twigs, litter, paper and vegetative matter, involved with land clearing or any sort of debris.

The use of propane or gas stoves and charcoal briquette grills is not covered under the burn ban, said the post.

If necessary, the ban will be extended.

Weather outlook

The NWS’ website on Wednesday afternoon showed Fire Weather Watches and Red Flag Warnings for a large crescent of the country, stretching from the Southwest to coastal New England.

According to our partners at Eyewitness News WBRE/WYOU, the elevated risk of wildfires will continue through Thursday evening. Low humidity, gusty winds and a dry ground will contribute to the increased possibility of brush fires across Pennsylvania.

Near-record highs in the middle and upper 80s are likely for Thursday and Friday, Chief Meteorologist Josh Hodell says.


Crews battle major fire in Nanticoke's Honey Pot section
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens Voice

NANTICOKE — A stubborn blaze that consumed a double-block home in the city’s Honey Pot section on Tuesday during hot, dry and windy weather conditions ignited nearby woods on fire, endangering many other homes that were saved by an army of firefighters and volunteers who resorted to using neighborhood garden hoses to douse the flames and wet down properties.

The fire that broke out at 24-26 Keech St. torched an adjacent car, briefly spread to the next-door house at 22 Keech St. and sent fire embers into the air, fire officials said.

As Nanticoke firefighters arrived to try to combat the house fire, they knew they needed help — and fast.

“It was scary,” Nanticoke Fire Chief Mark Boncal said. “With the wind, it just started to take off over the mountain.”

Fire crews from around the area that specialize in battling brush fires responded while Nanticoke crews focused on containing the residential blaze, which took hours to extinguish.

The state’s Department of Forestry dispatched its firefighting team, which included a helicopter that scooped water out of the nearby Susquehanna River to douse the raging flames.

“I saw the embers flying overhead and sure enough it started to spark,” said Kathy Mislitski, 53, of Garfield Street.

While trying to work from home in her customer service job, she watched crews battle fires in the front of her home and saw the woods burning behind her house.

“They are soaking the trees with my hose,” she said.

One of the people who showered the trees behind her house was Devin Wiepa, 19, of Nanticoke.

He and his friends saw smoke coming from Honey Pot and drove there because he has friends there.

“I don’t even live in Honey Pot. I saw the fire and me and my friends decided to go,” Wiepa said. “Me and my friends wanted to go to make sure everyone was OK.”

Daniel Guevarez, 53, who owns the left side of the double block at 24-26 Keech St., said he escaped the home with his dog.

He said the other side of the home is owned by someone else and had been vacant for about 10 years. He also said he heard noises of what sounded like people next door just before the flames broke out.

Nanticoke fire officials and police detectives interviewed Guevarez at the scene.

Nanticoke house blaze sparks brush fire

NANTICOKE — A fire tore through a double-block home on Keech Street in the city’s Honey Pot section Tuesday afternoon, causing a brush fire that spread to surrounding areas.
No injuries were reported.
The house fire had been brought under control by late Tuesday afternoon, though crews continued to battle hot spots — and the brush fire — well into the evening.
Daniel Guevarez, who lives in the right half of the double-block home, told the Times Leader he and his dog were home at the time of the fire and escaped unharmed. Guevarez said he believed the left half had been vacant for about 10 years, and that he heard people walking around that side of the building just before the fire started.
A neighbor, who declined to be identified — and whose car was destroyed by the blaze — also told the Times Leader that she believed one side of the home had been unoccupied for many years.
Nanticoke City Fire Chief Mark Boncal said he was unable to say whether the cause of the fire was suspicious, adding that an investigation was underway and that a State Police Fire Marshall would be at the scene once all of the hot spots were knocked down.
Boncal was able to confirm that the fire started at the rear of the vacant half of the double block and quickly moved to the second floor.
When crews arrived around 1:40 p.m., a car parked to the left of the structure was on fire, as well as the rear porch of the adjoining house.
Though firefighters were able to contain the fire to the exterior of the house next door, the double block was all but destroyed. Due to the instability of the structure, Boncal said it would likely be knocked down later Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.
Brush fire spread from blaze
Crews also battled a large brush fire, which spread across the mountain, that began as a result of the house fire. Boncal said the brush fire was fueled by burning debris and wind. 
Pikes Peak resident Katie Hauer said she and her two children were about to get into her car when she saw the smoke from the fire and came to see if everyone was okay. It was then that she witnessed the fire spreading toward the mountain.
“We saw the big trees catching on fire,” Hauer said. “Then, it went up over the hill.”
A helicopter carrying a water bucket continued to circle the area of the brush fire into the early evening.


Christian faithful mark Easter
Geri Gibbons For Times Leader

NANTICOKE — Christians gathered at churches throughout the Wyoming Valley for Easter services Sunday.
Christians believe Easter marks Jesus Christ’s resurrection after his crucifixion on Good Friday.
Nebo Baptist Church in Nanticoke packed two services filled with fellowship, song and a message that focused on the resurrection.
Valerie Rees, who has been attending the church with her husband for about a year and serves as an usher, providing her with an opportunity to encourage regular attendees and provide information to newcomers.
Rees said although there were some attending only for the holiday, most were regular attendees, who participated in a variety of church activities throughout the week, including youth activities and a quarterly healing service.
Assistant pastor Jacob Claypoole admitted that some of those gathered were probably dragged into church by a relative.
Some people have told him that they thought they would drop dead if they darkened the door of a church.
Those people, he said, underestimate the breadth of God’s forgiveness.
He told the congregation, “We are celebrating the good news of Jesus, that God raised him from the dead and he is sitting at the right hand of the father.”
Claypoole focused on the resurrection and encouraged listeners to be bold and not timid in sharing their faith.
The resurrection, he said, proved that Jesus is God and made forgiveness available.
Nebo’s Easter Sunday celebration concluded a week of Easter related activities, including a Maundy Thursday service and a Good Friday service which focused on the seven last words of Jesus.
At Faith Baptist Church in Plymouth the day opened with a potluck brunch, which provided families with a chance for food and fellowship.
Pastor Bryan Dodson focused on the reality of the gospel and its impact on the lives of Christians.
Faith Baptist also offers a variety of activities, including a women’s fellowship, youth activities and bible studies.


Look Back: Nanticoke graduate pinned by King of England in 1919

Wonder if any other Greater Nanticoke Area graduates met English royalty?
Among the 13 graduates of Nanticoke High School in 1906, one would be awarded the British Military Cross for bravery during World War I.
U.S. Army Lt. Dr. James Elmer Croop received the honor for “gallantly on the field when the Germans attacked the British lines at the commencement of the Second Battle of the Marne,” according to the Evening News on March 27, 1919.
Croop received the decorated citation from King George V on Feb. 22, 1919.
“I want to thank and heartily congratulate you for the valuable service rendered to my troops for one and one-half years,” the King of England said to Croop, as the Evening News story reported.
Croop was a 1906 graduate of Nanticoke High School having resided with his parents Mr. and Mrs. James Croop on South Hanover Street, Nanticoke. During the commencement ceremony, the graduates were required to perform a musical number, dance or give a speech.
Croop gave a speech about the preservation and protection of Niagara Falls from commercial and industrial development. As he had a fascination of the Great Lakes, it was no surprise Croop established a medical office in Erie, Pa., in 1912.
After graduating from Nanticoke, Croop elected not to work in the coal mines or railroads but attended and successfully graduated from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.
With World War I underway in Europe and the United States entry into the Great War in April 1917, Croop enlisted his services on June 26, 1917, and was immediately commissioned as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Medical Corps.
Croop was called to active service Aug. 7, 1917, and after three weeks of military combat training, he sailed to England in September 1917, and was stationed for several months at a military hospital in Canterbury until November 1917.
Croop was transferred to France on Nov. 22, 1917, and studied battle field surgery and medicine before being shipped to the front lines having been assigned to the 8th Glouchestershire Battalion with the British Expeditionary Forces.
It was during the second Battle of the Marne in the summer of 1918 when Croop, as the battalions medical officer, ran into the fight to remove wounded soldiers, reported the Evening News.
“Croop went into No Man’s Land, rescued several wounded comrades and carried them to a shell hole nearby, where, in the direct path of thousands of flying shells, he dressed their wounds. Later, when the enemy fire permitted, he carried them to a place of safety behind the lines amid the cheers of his entire company,” the Evening News reported.
Croop would be promoted to captain on Aug. 8, 1918.
Due to his bravery, the King of England, George V., pinned the British Military Cross upon the breast of his military uniform.
According to Croop’s Veterans Compensation Application, Croop took part in the battles of Kemmel Hill, Hindenburg Line and the second battle of Somme. He returned to his American unit in April 1919, and was honorably discharged on April 25, 1919, at Camp Dix, N.J.
Several days after being discharged, Croop visited his parents in Nanticoke.
“Captain Elmer Croop, who had been cited for bravery and also decorated by King George of England, returned home on South Hanover Street,” the Evening News reported April 30, 1919.
Croop’s time in Nanticoke did not last long as he returned to Erie. His parents also relocated to Erie to be closer to their son in July 1919.
Croop did return to the Wyoming Valley many times to visit family, friends and attend Nanticoke Class of 1906 reunions. Croop died at the age of 79 on Sept. 5, 1967, and is buried in Waterford, Erie County.


Former Grico’s South reopens as the Salt and Pepper Pub

NANTICOKE — The former Grico’s South officially reopened Wednesday as the Salt and Pepper Pub. Workers outside finished putting up the new decals in the windows just in time for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“We did an awful lot in a short period of time,” said owner Rob Friedman, who announced just two weeks ago that the restaurant would undergo a rebranding.

The new menu is curated by chef Chad Gelso, executive chef of Bank+Vine. The menu includes casual eats like pierogies, BBQ pizza, and halushki.

“This is exciting because all of the other restaurants are fine dining,” said Friedman. “We’re going with a totally new concept here that we think will do really well here in Nanticoke.”

The Friedman Hospitality Group also owns the Beaumont Inn, Dallas; Bank & Vine, Wilkes-Barre; Kevin’s, Kingston; Fire & Ice, Trucksville; Rikasa, Pittston; Grico’s Exeter; Cork, Wilkes-Barre; and The Greens at the Irem Country Club.

Kathryn Rollison, who manages the pub’s social media profiles along with Friedman Hospitality Group’s Director of Marketing, Erin Grzyboski, said that people on social media have been ‘really responsive’ to the new menu.

For Nanticoke Mayor Kevin Coughlin, he thinks the ‘more casual’ menu will help draw in a younger crowd.

While Friedman was quick to note that the pub is really ‘for all ages,’ he believes the more relaxed and casual atmosphere is more of what the residents in the area are used to.

“We have a lot of similar products that a lot of other pubs and taverns have, but I think the quality of the food in this place will be superior,” said Friedman.


Grico's South getting a new name, menu
Denise Allabaugh – Citizens Voice

Grico’s South in Nanticoke will be rebranded with a new name and menu, owner Rob Friedman of Friedman Hospitality Group said.
On March 1, Grico’s South is reopening as Salt & Pepper Pub with a more casual menu.
“We just felt the fine dining approach was not the right direction for that area,” he said. “It wasn’t as busy as I had hoped.”
Friedman said the new menu was completed under the creative direction of Chad Gelso, executive chef from Bank+Vine in Wilkes-Barre, who will work with the new chefs at Salt & Pepper Pub. Gelso will remain executive chef at Bank+Vine.
“Chad Gelso came up with an amazing pub menu that incorporates a lot of the things people will really enjoy with the signature menu there,” he said.
Erin Crofchick-Grzyboski, director of marketing for Friedman Hospitality Group, said the new menu includes a favorite in Nanticoke and Northeast Pennsylvania: homemade pierogies “with Chad’s twist on them.”
Customers can choose to order three or five steamed or pan-fried pierogies. Flavors include potato and Cooper cheese, farmers cheese and onion, chipped kielbasa with mushrooms and sauerkraut as well as braised beef short rib and horseradish.
The menu also includes halushki, appetizers, wings, bar pies, baskets and platters as well as some fine dining options and pasta. Homemade mini pierogies are included in the appetizers and customers can order pierogies as a side dish.
Rebecca Finkbiner, who was a bartender at Bank+Vine, also will offer cocktails at affordable prices, Crofchick-Grzyboski said.
Additionally, Friedman said the new Salt & Pepper Pub will have an expanded beer selection and changes are being made to the interior to “make it a pub kind of establishment.”
He said the S&P in Salt & Pepper Pub is a tribute to his parents, Sidney and Pauline Friedman, and the name symbolizes that the pub will have basic ingredients. Signs with the new name will be up before it reopens March 1, he said.
He purchased the former Giuseppe’s restaurant and the building at 14 N. Market St. in Nanticoke in 2021 from Steve and Adeline Smith and renamed it Grico’s South.
Friedman is well known in the area for his restaurants. In addition to the Nanticoke restaurant, Grico’s in Exeter and Bank+Vine, he also owns the Beaumont Inn and The Greens at Irem Clubhouse in Dallas; Cork, Wilkes-Barre; Kevin’s, Kingston; Fire & Ice, Kingston Twp. and Rikasa in Pittston.

Taxes to increase in 16 municipalities in Luzerne County 
Bob Kalinowski – Citizens Voice

One of Luzerne County’s smallest municipalities is seeing the biggest tax increase in 2023. Local property taxes in Warrior Run Borough doubled this year from 1.9 mills to 3.8 mills.
Nanticoke is the lone city out of the four in Luzerne County to increase real estate taxes, opting to increase the millage rate one mill from 5.93 mills to 6.93 mills.
Property owners in White Haven in southern Luzerne County will see the biggest increase, a 2.5 mill from from 4.5 mills to 7 mills — a new tax rate that includes garbage fees that used to be separate.
A mill is $1 for every $1,000 in assessed property value, meaning the owner of a $100,000 house in Warrior Run would pay $380 a year, up from $190 in 2022.
Former Warrior Run Councilman Rick Kratz thinks the tax increase is “out of control” and borough leaders could have done more to lessen the burden on residents.
“It’s going to be double. Whatever we paid we are going to pay double,” Kratz said. “You don’t double the taxes. There’s a lot of old people are living on fixed incomes. They didn’t have to raise taxes at all.”
Warrior Run Mayor Tom Shypulefski disagrees. He feels the increase was necessary to combat inflation and rising costs to the small borough of 530 people.
With the tax increase, the borough’s budget raises from $265,000 to $317,000.
“We didn’t want to do it, but we had to do it to balance the budget to keep providing the services we are providing,” Shypulefski said. “Our only choices were to cut services or raise the mileage rate. We haven’t raised taxes since 2012 and we’ve been working on the same budget for 10 years. We try to do the best we can for residents for the lowest cost possible.”
The mayor noted residents are served by the neighboring Hanover Twp. police department, one of the few accredited police forces in Luzerne County.
In all, 16 municipalities are raising property taxes.
In addition to Warrior Run, Nanticoke and White Haven, municipalities raising local real estate taxes include the boroughs of Duryea, Larksville, Luzerne, Swoyersville, Sugar Notch and the townships of Dallas, Fairmount, Foster, Hollenback, Lehman, Nescopeck, Wright, Wilkes-Barre.
There will be no tax increase in 60 municipalities.
Buck Twp. and Slocum Twp. remain the two Luzerne County municipalities without a local property tax.
Plymouth Borough maintains the highest rate at 7.72 mills, followed by Nanticoke at 6.93 mills, Pittston City at 6.85 mills and Hazleton City at 6.78 mills
Wilkes-Barre City uses a different local property taxing method than the rest of the municipalities in Luzerne County, but its rate of 141.33 mills remains unchanged.
While White Haven is increasing taxes by 2.5 mills — which is $250 for every $100,000 in assessed property value — garbage collection will be included in that figure.
Nanticoke Councilwoman Lesley Butczynski said Nanticoke generates $385,598 for each mill, less than half of what neighboring Hanover Twp. nets per mill, or $856.348.
“The city is increasing its full-time police force, which has not been increased in the last 25 years, due to the increased call volume — not limited to child abuse, domestics and protection from abuse orders,” Butczynski said. “All our expenses, including utilities have increased also. We provide full-time police, fire, sewer, DPW and administration. The garbage and sewer bill saw no increase.”


Sixteen Luzerne County municipalities increasing taxes

Sixteen of Luzerne County’s 76 municipalities are increasing local real estate taxes this year, according to new report prepared by the county treasurer’s office.
The highest increase — 2.5 mills — is in White Haven borough, where taxes are rising 55.55%, from 4.5 mills to 7 mills.
Warrior Run borough tops the increases on a percentage basis because taxes are doubling from 1.9 mills to 3.8 mills.
To figure out the tax payment, property owners must divide their assessed value by 1,000 and multiply it by the millage rate.
For example, the owner of a $100,000 property in White Haven will now pay $700 instead of $450, or an increase of $250.
In Warrior Run, the tax bill would rise from $190 to $380, or $190 more.
A full chart detailing the other millage increases accompanies this story. Here’s how tax bills will change in these municipalities, using a $100,000 property as an example:
• Lehman Township, $260 to $360 ($100 more)
Nanticoke, $592.58 to $692.58 ($100 more)
• Sugar Notch, $450 to $550 ($100 more)
• Wilkes-Barre Township, $160 to $220 ($60 more)
• Luzerne, $321.91 to $376.92 ($55 more)
• Edwardsville, $395 to $445 ($50 more)
• Dallas Township, $200 to $230 ($30 more)
• Duryea, $190 to $220 ($30 more)
• Wright Township, $100 to $130 ($30 more)
• Swoyersville, $155 to $180 ($25 more)
• Larksville, $360 to $380 ($20 more)
• Nescopeck Township, $146 to $155 ($9 more)
• Freeland, $520 to $527 ($7 more)
• Hollenback Township, $50 to $55 ($5 more)
Municipal response
White Haven Borough Manager Linda Szoke, who also serves as the municipality’s zoning/code enforcement officer, said part of the increase stems from the borough’s decision to absorb the costs of garbage collection.
Borough property owners will no longer receive a garbage bill separate from their real estate tax bills, she said. The garbage bill would have increased to cover higher costs, she said.
More revenue also was necessary to fund higher utility expenses and other basic operating expense increases, Szoke said.
The borough also provides round-the-clock police protection, she said.
Sensitive to the burden on property owners, borough officials are not initiating any additional projects, including street paving, unless they are funded by grants, she said.
“They cut out as much as they can,” she said.
This is only the second or third time the borough raised taxes during the past decade, she said. More frequent, smaller increases could have lessened the impact in 2023, but property owners may not prefer that option, she said.
Covering expenses is particularly challenging for the borough because it is essentially landlocked and has a significant portion of tax-exempt property, largely due to state parks and trails, she said.
Warrior Run Borough Council President Larry Carbohn said he steadfastly resisted past recommendations to raise taxes by the borough auditor and others for years, determined to avoid asking property owners to pay more.
However, finances got “tighter and tighter” over the past two years, and borough officials ran out of options to compensate for rising utility, fuel and maintenance costs, he said.
The street department budget had to be increased from $23,000 to $35,000 because it was not realistic, in part due to wage competition from the growing warehouse industry, Carbohn said.
Like White Haven, Warrior Run doesn’t have much space left for new development, he said.
Borough Solicitor Patrick Aregood said he witnessed Warrior Run council members agonizing over the decision before concluding an increase was the only way to avoid compromising public services.
“I’ve never seen a borough council striving to maintain services so high while keeping taxes low,” Aregood said. “They go out and do work themselves as a council to make sure services are provided to the community.”
Lehman Township Supervisor David Sutton said he has served as a township supervisor for 33 years, and the 2023 increase is only the third “in all those years.”
“It was a hard choice on our part because certainly we don’t want to do it,” Sutton said.
In addition to rising across-the-board increases in fuel, health insurance and other operational expenses, the township had to add another full-time police officer to continue providing 24-7 coverage valued by residents, Sutton said. Part-time officers are no longer an option because nobody is applying for those positions, he said.
He noted the township also provides quality road maintenance and free recycling.
County taxes
This year’s $161.8 million county budget contains a 2.99% tax increase, which is lower than the 6.75% originally proposed and amounts to $24.50 more on the average property assessed at $132,776.
The county millage rate is now 6.3541.
Combined county/municipal tax bills are scheduled to be issued in most municipalities Feb. 14. Some may be later due to delays seating elected tax collectors, balancing tax claim records or other reasons, according to the county treasurer’s office.
For bills issued Feb. 14, property owners will have two months, or until April 13, to pay at a 2% discount.
The deadline to pay taxes at the full, or face, amount, will be June 13. A 10% penalty is added for taxes paid between June 14 and the end of the year. 


Lowe's to open coastal holding facility in Newport Twp. this spring 
Denise Allabaugh – Citizens Voice

Home improvement giant Lowe’s has expanded its delivery model to meet demand amid supply chain challenges by opening coastal holding facilities, including one in Jenkins Twp. and another one set to open soon in Newport Twp.
Kara Hauck, corporate communications manager at Lowe’s, said the newest coastal facility in Luzerne County is expected to open in the spring in a 1.2 million square-foot warehouse being constructed on former mine-scarred land in Newport Twp off Dziak Drive in Nanticoke.
Coastal holding facilities enable Lowe’s to better manage imported product flow, Hauck said.
“Coastal holding facilities are used to stage import products like seasonal and outdoor living items until closer to time of need, which frees up additional capacity in other distribution centers and supports the timely flow of products from Lowe’s distribution network to our stores and customers,” she said. “Lowe’s distribution network expansion is part of an ongoing investment in Lowe’s supply chain.”
Hauck said the newest coastal holding facility at 209 Dziak Drive will create about 70 jobs, including hourly and management opportunities.
Lowe’s has been advertising job openings online for positions ranging from warehouse associates, human resources consultants to mechanics and supply chain technicians for its Newport Twp. facility. The facility will receive imported goods to supply regional distribution facilities, Hauck said.
Lowe’s opened a 744,000-square-foot coastal holding facility in 2021 at 325 Centerpoint Blvd. in Jenkins Twp. near its massive distribution center at 200 Centerpoint Blvd. in CenterPoint Commerce and Trade Park. The Jenkins Twp. facility created about 50 jobs, Hauck said.
Jim Cummings, vice president of marketing for Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services, which developed and owns CenterPoint Commerce and Trade Park, said Lowe’s nearly 1.6 million square-foot distribution in CenterPoint East is the largest building in Luzerne County.
He said Lowe’s distribution center and coastal holding facility in CenterPoint are in a strategic location that sets it apart from many Northeast U.S. business parks since it is less than a half mile from I-81 and i-476 and close proximity to UPS, FedEx Ground and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport.
“Park tenants can reach the ports in New Jersey and Philadelphia in just over two hours and close to 53 million people live within a four-hour drive,” Cummings said. “When you combine these location factors with affordable real estate costs, strong and reliable utilities and access to a productive labor supply, you have a park that checks all of the important supply chain boxes.”
NorthPoint Development, county and local officials broke ground in 2021 for Lowe’s facility in Newport Twp. as well as another huge warehouse in Hanover Tw.
Safelite Auto Glass opened a distribution center last year in 357,575 square feet of space in the other warehouse in Hanover Twp. that was constructed on about 130 acres of former mine-scarred land off Dziak Drive.
R.C. Moore trucking company also opened last year in 208,000 square feet of the space in the Hanover Twp. warehouse to increase their service to the East Coast and improve the supply chain as well.
R.C. Moore executive vice president Duwayne Caroway said that it’s the company’s fifth warehouse and 14 employees from the area have been hired. The starting pay for the new jobs is $19 an hour with wage growth and opportunities in addition to benefits and 401k options, he said.
The company, headquartered in Scarborough, Maine, has created a substantial presence on the East Coast and has been a logistics partner for more than 60 years. In addition to its new facility in Hanover Twp., R.C. Moore also has locations on Oak Street in Pittston Twp. as well as locations in Troutman, North Carolina; McBee, South Carolina and Tampa, Florida.
R.C. Moore CEO Kelly Moore said in a news release the Hanover Twp. facility enables the company to “better serve our existing customer base, take on additional customers and create another hub for our drivers that will allow them to have more growth opportunities and/or home time.”
“We are always focused on the growth of our business, creating jobs, and serving our customers, but today we are also focused on alleviating the supply chain crisis as best we can and this new distribution center is a step in the right direction,” Moore said.

Developer eyes former Nanticoke school for luxury apartments 
Bob Kalinowski – Citizens Voice

NANTICOKE — The developer who is proposing a multimillion-dollar hotel and convention center on the site of the former Hotel Sterling in Wilkes-Barre now has his sights set on Nanticoke.
Sam Syla is proposing to convert a blighted former Catholic school on East Noble Street into a luxury 10-unit apartment building.
“We are going to do apartments, high-quality apartments,” Syla said in a brief phone call Tuesday while he was traveling in Europe.
The building, the former St. Joseph’s School, was most recently used as a storage facility for a construction company.
Syla has an agreement to buy the property at 6 E. Noble St., pending zoning approval. A hearing is set for Jan. 26 at 6 p.m. before the Zoning Hearing Board of the City of Nanticoke. Syla is seeking parking and driveway variances.
“Given the recent past use of the building and property, it is the applicant’s opinion that the proposed multi-family facility would be a more appropriate building use within the R-2 neighborhood. The building would be renovated to current codes and be appropriately landscaped to increase the value of the surrounding areas,” Syla’s application says.
“The applicant has executed similar projects under similar zoning issues in the Wilkes-Barre and Kingston areas with complete success. The buildings were developed and rejuvenated into facilities which improve the aesthetics of the neighborhood and support the local community.”
Syla, a Kosovo immigrant who was a developer in Philadelphia before shifting focus on the Wyoming Valley, developed the former Wachovia Bank on Market Street in Wilkes-Barre into 26 high-end apartments and the former Sacred Heart Slovak School on North Main Street in Wilkes-Barre into 30 apartments. In Kingston, he converted a former tobacco factory and machine shop on Elm Street into 40 condominiums.
The biggest project Syla has planned is a $35 million, 110-room Hyatt Place Hotel and Convention Center at River and Market streets in Wilkes-Barre, the site of the former Hotel Sterling.
Syla referred questions about his plans to his real estate agent Greg Barrouk.
Barrouk said Syla sees opportunity in Nanticoke in years to come following the commercial development in that area recently.
“It’s an area where we are going to try to grow and develop. We see a lot of growth with the industrial park,” Barrouk said. “Nice, luxury apartments are in need in the area.”

Slain guard Eric Williams' parents fight on for federal corrections officers
Borys Krawczeniuk – Staff Writer

SCRANTON — Don and Jean Williams, who frequently visit their murdered son’s grave, know an extra $180 million for the federal prison system won’t bring him back.
The Nanticoke couple hopes the money means someone else’s son doesn’t end up like Eric Williams, a corrections officer stabbed and beaten to death by an inmate almost 10 years ago at the federal prison at Canaan in Wayne County.
The money, intended to hire new federal corrections officers and retain current ones nationwide, could “save someone’s life or save them from serious injury,” Don Williams said Friday.
The Williamses and officials from the Canaan prison’s corrections officers union celebrated and thanked U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright for getting the new money appropriated at a news conference he hosted outside his downtown office.
“Two things that always stuck out with me when that happened. Number one, he was working alone,” Don Williams said. “I think if that had not been the case, Eric might be here. And he was also unarmed, and he had absolutely no way of defending himself.”
Seven years ago, Congress passed a law allowing staff at high-security federal prisons to carry pepper spray. Last month, Cartwright, D-8, Moosic, chairman of a House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees federal prisons, said he added the $180 million to President Joe Biden’s original budget request.
“Brave correctional officers walk through facilities’ doors to do their job and provide for their families,” he said Friday. “They deserve to go home to their loved ones at the end of every shift.”
Inmate Jessie Con-ui was convicted in June 2017 of stabbing Eric Williams, 34, with a homemade weapon and beating him to death on Feb. 25, 2013. Williams was alone, armed only with keys, handcuffs and a radio with a panic button. Con-ui, a previously convicted drug gang assassin, was allowed to roam outside his cell freely, despite a troublesome record at the prison and his murderous past. He attacked because Williams ordered a check of his cell earlier.
Since then, the Williamses have campaigned for more protections for corrections officers and started a group, Voices of JOE, with JOE representing the initials of the first names of their son and two other officers killed by inmates.
David Demas, president of the union that represents Canaan prison officers, said a staffing shortage and mandatory overtime continue to create problems and blamed poor prison leadership for that. He pointed out the prison is recruiting more officers, with a job fair scheduled for Feb. 4 in the prison lobby.
Efforts to obtain comment from the Canaan prison were unsuccessful.
With the 10th anniversary of Eric Williams’ death approaching, Don Williams, 78, talked about the anger that has fed his persistence in fighting for more staffing.
“When I found out about him working alone, about the fact he had no way of protecting himself, I thought that was an outrage,” Williams said. “And I determined that I had to just channel all of my frustrations over that into trying to do something to change that.
“Because it wasn’t right.”

Greater Nanticoke Area votes to limit any tax hike

NANTICOKE — At Thursday’s monthly meeting the Greater Nanticoke Area School Board voted to keep any property tax increase for the 2023-24 fiscal year at or below a state-set limit. It was the fifth Luzerne County district in four days to make that pledge.
The board agreed to stay within the “Act 1 Index,” which annually calculates a maximum allowable tax increase for each district across the state. This year, Greater Nanticoke’s index is 6.2%. The vote does not mean taxes will go up that much. The board may raise taxes to any rate up to 6.2%, or not at all. But agreeing to stay within the limit does give the district until the end of May to finalize a preliminary budget.
The limit can only be exceeded through voter approval in the spring primary or by obtaining state approval under a limited number of allowed exceptions. Going either route requires a board to approve a preliminary budget near the end of January.
Several motions involved upgrading computer equipment and performance. The board voted to solicit bids for the purchase of 600 Chromebook computers for students, modify an existing agreement to to increase bandwidth available to the district from 1 gigabyte per second to 10 gigabytes per second at a cost of $3,517 per year, and issue a Request For Proposals or bids “for the purchase, configuration and installation of servers, firewalls and storage equipment to replace aging equipment.”
And the board approved a change in the current school calendar making April 6 a make-up day for school cancellation Dec. 15, and June 9 as a make up day for Dec. 16.
The board also:
• Approved the posting for coaches and timers for fall sports in the 2023-24 school year.
• Approved the purchase of two basketball backboards and shot clocks from Degler-Whiting, Inc., at a cost of $15,765. The purchase is through the state COSTARS co-operative purchasing program allowing local governments to purchase items through a contract negotiated by the state, bypassing state bidding requirements.
• Voted to issue a request for proposals from food management companies for services in the 2023-24 school year, with renewal options for up to four years.
• Accepted the resignations of instructional aide Deborah Ward and cafeteria worker Gerogett Pugh.
• Appointed K’Lah Komoroski, Samara Vanderhoff as instructional aide, Brittany Lasoski for a behavioral specialist position as a private contractor, Laura Widow as part-time, 10-month secretary.
• Accepted the retirement of teacher Eleanor Anthony.

Casey announces $92K workforce grant in IBEW visit

NANTICOKE — After touring the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 163’s Advanced Technology Center on Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey said he came away very impressed at what happens there.
“After seeing this facility and hearing about the programs offered, I can say our workers are ready and our region is ready to meet the demands of our growing economy,” Casey said. “It speaks to what these workers mean to our community and our economy.”
Casey, D-Scranton, visited IBEW Local 163’s Advanced Technology Center at 41 West Church St., Nanticoke, to announce $92,880 in federal funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). The IBEW Local 163 Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee will be able to train and place an estimated 60 trainees in jobs as qualified electrical workers within three years.
The funding was awarded with a 50-50 match, meaning that ARC provided a grant worth $92,880 that was matched by $92,880 in local funds for a total project funding amount of $185,760. The grant award will be used to purchase supplies and equipment needed to train apprentices at the new Advanced Technology Center (ATC).
John Nadolny, Training Director, IBEW Local 163, said the training facility offers night class training for local electricians to prepare them for full apprenticeship and successful graduation to full-time work in their new trade.
Nadolny said there is a growing demand for the apprenticeship programs at IBEW Local 163 JATC and there are no comparable electrical apprenticeship programs in Luzerne County.
“More than 100 individuals apply for the apprenticeship program each year, which is open to residents of Luzerne County, as well as parts of Wyoming, Sullivan, and Bradford counties,” Nadolny said. “Upon completion of the apprenticeship program, participants can become a Qualified Electrical Worker (QEW) wireman earning $37 per hour or more plus benefits.”
Nadolny said the training program takes five years to complete. He said participants get on-the-job training and the attend classes two nights a week.
“Our participants learn skilled trades,” Nadolny said. “If you want to become an electrician, this is the place you want to be.”
Raymond Sipple, a 2007 graduate of the program, praised the program and he said he learned everything he needed to know to have a successful career.
Casey said the demand for licensed electricians has never been higher than it is right now.
“And here we have a facility to give people the opportunity to be trained on the latest technology available,” Casey said. “And you can earn while you learn.”
On Nov. 18 of last year, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Director of Workforce Development Initiatives Gwen Ross visited the facility to highlight the Wolf Administration’s commitment to creating apprenticeships and workforce training opportunities.
“These programs are vital to Pennsylvania’s economy and ensure that a pipeline of well-trained, Qualified Electrical Workers will enter the industry,” Ross said.
On Sept. 21. Gov. Tom Wolf was at IBEW 163 to announce a $297,000 grant through DCED’s Pre-Apprenticeship and Apprenticeship grant program to provide training for 30 apprentices in northeastern Pennsylvania. The project was also supported with a $600,000 Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant to improve the interior and exterior infrastructure of the training facility to ensure complete success.
“Investing in apprenticeship programs, where participants can earn a wage while learning a valuable new skill, is one way we can ensure there is a strong pipeline of new talent for these key industries,” the governor said during his visit.
Nadolny said that in 2023, apprentices will also have access to IBEW 163’s new Advanced Technology Center where they can gain skills to work in green industries such as solar and electrical vehicles.
Also attending Wednesday’s tour were John Olejnik, IBEW Local 163 business manager and Nanticoke City Council Members John Telencho and Michael Marcella.


Casey visits Nanticoke electrician training facility to tout federal grant
Bob Kalinowski – Citizens Voice

NANTICOKE — Those who will drive the economy of the future are learning and training in Nanticoke, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey said Wednesday following a tour of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 163’s Advanced Technology Center.
The facility, a former Catholic elementary school, trains future electricians in seven Northeast Pennsylvania counties as part of a five-year apprenticeship program.
With electric power being relied on more in all aspects of life, from home heating to automobiles, the workers who pass though the Nanticoke facility will be vital to the country’s growth, the senator said.
“We have to have the skilled workforce to do that, not only

Lowe’s hiring 70 for new facility in Newport Twp.

NEWPORT TWP. — Lowe’s has announced that it is expanding its distribution network with a new 1.2 million square foot coastal holding facility in the South Valley area of Luzerne County.

According to a Lowe’s spokesperson, the facility is expected to open in the spring of 2023 at 209 Dziak Drive, Nanticoke. The facility will actually sit mostly in Newport Township, but the site will include parts of Nanticoke City and Hanover Township.

“The 1.2 million-square-foot facility will receive imported goods to supply regional distribution facilities,” the Lowe’s spokesperson said. “This location will provide approximately 70 jobs, including hourly and management opportunities.”

Information can be found online at

The spokesperson said that in August 2020, Lowe’s announced its distribution network expansion is part of an ongoing investment in Lowe’s supply chain.

In October 2021, NorthPoint Development joined a host of state, county and local government and school district officials for a groundbreaking on the site spanning Newport Township, Nanticoke and Hanover Township for buildings 8 and 9 in NorthPoint’s Tradeport 164 package of properties.

Based on its own data NorthPoint took a calculated risk of nearly $1 billion in private investment to build in the county. The region has benefited in terms of annual tax revenues, nearly $1.1 million from the new buildings, and upwards of 6,000 jobs, including more than 1,700 once the new projects are complete.

Then-State Sen. John Yudichak said NorthPoint worked with local labor and “kept their promises on the (Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance program), striking fair deals, making sure that taxpayers get money upfront.”

The prospect of the more than 1 million square foot warehouse thrilled Newport Township Manager Joe Hillan.

“It’s great news for Newport Township and, well, the whole South Valley,” Hillan said. “For us, we haven’t seen anything like this since probably the 80s, when they transformed the Retreat State Hospital to a state prison, which is now closed. So now this is like a rebirth for the township.”

Hillan said the Lowe’s facility will be housed in the largest building in the township’s history.

“We hope local people will apply,” Hillan said.

Massive warehouse at Hanover Twp., Nanticoke border gets initial approval
Bob Kalinowski – Citizens Voice

NANTICOKE — Amy Harris is already frustrated with the most recent distribution warehouse to open in Hanover Twp. near her home in the Hanover section of Nanticoke, a Safelite AutoGlass facility along Dziak Drive.
Now, she’s concerned about another proposed warehouse to be built even closer to her home on Front Street — the border between the densely residential Hanover section of Nanticoke and mostly undeveloped vacant land of Hanover Twp.
“They are building another one? You got to be kidding me,” Harris, 64, said Wednesday while walking down Front Street. “I’m trying to get used to that one. It makes it noisy around here.”
NorthPoint Development, the Missouri-based developer that has built a series of distribution warehouses in the South Valley in recent years, is now proposing a new 1 million square foot facility in Hanover Twp. bordering the Hanover section of Nanticoke.
Hanover Twp.’s Planning Commission on Tuesday gave preliminary conditional approval for NorthPoint Development to build the distribution warehouse on 103 acres of former mine-scarred land along Front Street that is currently owned by Earth Conservancy.
The facility would be built behind a recreation park and storage facility along Front Street on land that is zoned mixed use, which doesn’t require any special zoning requests for distribution warehouses, Hanover Twp. Code Enforcement Officer Mark Bienias said.
Another hearing before municipal officials will be necessary before the proposed warehouse is given final approval, Bienias said.
The warehouse, which would have 207 trailer spaces and 608 parking stalls, would be accessible off Dziak Drive, which leads to the building housing Safelite.
A possible tenant for the proposed warehouse was not immediately identified.
Efforts to reach officials with NorthPoint were not successful.
NorthPoint previously built buildings in the South Valley on speculation and landed tenants, including Adidas, Chewy, Patagonia, Spreetail, Thrive Market and True Value.
NorthPoint also is planning a 1.2 million square foot warehouse in Newport Twp., but also has yet to identify a tenant.
All of the properties are along or close to the $90 million South Valley Parkway. State officials said that the public project directly resulted in $1 billion in private investment and 8,000 new jobs.
Former Nanticoke mayor John Bushko, 78, who lives on Front Street across from the proposed facility, said the warehouses are both positive and negative since they create jobs, but also increase traffic. Hanover Twp. will benefit from the property taxes, while Nanticoke residents will be burdened with traffic since the only way to get to the proposed warehouse is through Nanticoke, he said.
“They are going to get all the money and we get the traffic,” Bushko said.
Joni Pysher, 57, of Newport Twp., said she owns eight rental units along Front Street, so the more workers attracted to the neighborhood is better for her financially.
“I want the rents to go up,” Pysher said.
Nanticoke Councilman Joe Nalepa, who lives in the Hanover section of Nanticoke, said he doesn’t mind the warehouse construction.
“I think progress is good. It’s all reclaimed land that was for the most part unusable. I understand the plights and complaints of the residents, but I really haven’t heard many of them,” Nalepa said. “As long as there is a long-term plan to regulate truck traffic, I have no problems.”

bottom of page