2024 Nanticoke News
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Nanticoke News Archived
2023 - 2022 - 2021 - 2020
H.S. Football: Scott Dennis named new head coach at Nanticoke Area
Nanticoke Area didn’t have to look far to find someone with extensive head coaching experience to take over its football program.
The school board voted 8-0 Thursday night to hire Scott Dennis, a Nanticoke Area assistant who previously had been a head coach at two schools. Board president Tony Prushinski didn’t attend the board meeting.
Dennis takes over for Ron Bruza, who resigned shortly after Nanticoke Area completed a 7-5 season, its first winning record since 2018, and played in the District 2 Class 4A playoffs.
Bruza coached Nanticoke Area for 14 seasons, compiling a 70-85 record. He inherited a program which was 1-29 over its previous three seasons and coached the Trojans to four appearances in the Eastern Conference playoffs and three in the District 2 playoffs.
Dennis began his head coaching career at Holy Redeemer in 2014, finishing with a 4-16 record in two season. He then left to coach Central Columbia.
After Central Columbia finished 4-6 in 2016, Dennis coached the Blue Jays to four consecutive winning records. They lost in the District 2 Class 2A semifinals to Southern Columbia in 2017 and the D2-3A semifinals to Loyalsock in 2019. Central Columbia also lost in the D4-2A quarterfinals in 2018.
Central Columbia finished 5-3 in a 2020 season shortened because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Blue Jays struggled in Dennis final season at the helm in 2021, finishing 3-7 and being shut out four times.
Dennis finished with a 36-27 record at Central Columbia. Nanticoke Area athletic director Ken Bartuska said four candidates were interviewed.
Nanticoke Area is the second Wyoming Valley Conference team which will have a new head coach in 2024. Joe DeLucca was hired in mid-January to replace Nick Barbieri at Pittston Area. Barbieri retired following the 2023 season. He spent seven years as Pittston Area’s coach and had a 29-42 record.
Greater Nanticoke Area School Board makes several coaching appointments
NANTICOKE — The Greater Nanticoke Area School Board had a list of coach appointments on the agenda for Thursday’s regular monthly meeting, including appointment of Scott Dennis as head football coach. Dennis was appointed unanimously with Board President Tony Prushinski absent.
Other appointments for 2024-25 included Ed Lukowski as head girls soccer coach, Chris McGavin for girls soccer assistant I, Beth Verazin for softball assistant I, Harold Shotwell for softball assistant II, Alex Schneider for softball assistant III, and Eric Mishanski for softball assistant IV.
The board also:
• Approved the transfer of Ingrid Duran from cafeteria worker to special education aide.
• Appointed Abigail Gadomski and Linda Lucarino as cafeteria workers.
• Accepted the retirement of teacher Linnea Wilczewski
• Accepted the resignations of special education aide Lizette Rodriguez and instructional aide Samara Vanerhoff.
• Appointed Nicole Smith as special education aide and Grace Dalmas as instructional aide.
Grants awarded to 60 fire and EMS companies in Luzerne County
Bob Kalinowski – Citizens Voice
Sixty fire and emergency medical service organizations in Luzerne County will share in more than $875,000 in grant funding announced Wednesday.
The grants were announced by state Rep. Alec Ryncavage, R-119, of Plymouth, and state Rep. Mike Cabell, R-117, of Butler Twp.
The grants in the 119th District include:
• Ashley: Rescue Hose Co. No. 1 — $13,839.63.
• Edwardsville: Franklin Hose Company No. 2 — $13,645 and Woodward Hill Hose Co. No. 4 — $14,034.
• Hanover Twp.: Breslau Hose Co. No. 5 — $14,034; Franklin Hose Co. No. 4 — $13,645; Goodwill Hose Co. No. 1 — $13,256. Hanover Twp. Community Ambulance Association — $15,000; Hanover Twp. Fire Department — $16,173; and Newtown Fire Co. No. 2 — $13,450.
• Larksville: Larksville Community Ambulance — $13,061 and Larksville Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1 — $13,061.
• Mountain Top: Mountain Top Community Ambulance — $10,000; Mountain Top Hose Co. No. 1 — $15,006; and Wright Twp. Volunteer Firemen’s Association — $15,979.
• Nanticoke: A.K. Mowery Hose Co. No. 3 — $13.061; Hanover Fire Co. No. 4 — $14,228; Lape Hose Co. No. 2 — $14,228; Nanticoke City Fire Department — $14,812; Nanticoke Community Ambulance — $12,460; Pioneer Hook & Ladder — $14,617; Stickney Fire Co. No.. 1 — $13,061 and Washington Fire Co. No. 5 — $13,061.
• Newport Twp.: Newport Township Consolidated Fire Co. — $13,256 and Glen Lyon/Alden Volunteer Hose Co. — $26,645.
• Plymouth: Goodwill Hose Co. No. 2 — $14,228; Plymouth Borough Ambulance Association — $15,000; Plymouth Borough Fire Co. — $13,450; and Plymouth Fire Company No. 1 — $13,645.
• Warrior Run: Askam Fire Co. No. 6 — $13,645 and Warrior Run Volunteer Fire Co. — $13,061.
“I’m thankful so many local fire and EMS companies were awarded these highly competitive funds,” Ryncavage said. “Our dedicated first responders do an amazing job protecting lives and property in our communities, and these grants will help our brave first responders with their critically important and dangerous jobs.”
Grants awarded in the 117th district include:
• Back Mountain Regional Fire and EMS — $28,201 (fire) and (EMS) $20,000.
• Dennison Twp. Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1 — $13,256.
• Freeland Fire Department — $16,368.
• Freeland Northside Community Ambulance Association — $15,000.
• Harveys Lake Fire & Ambulance Association — $13,062 (fire) and (EMS) $15,000.
• Hobbie Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1 — $13,645 (fire) and $15,000 (EMS)
• Hunlock Creek Volunteer Fire Co. — $14,423.
• Huntingdon Valley Volunteer Fire Co. — $13,062.
• Jonathan R. Davis Volunteer Fire Department — $13,256.
• Lake Silkworth Volunteer Fire Co. — $13,645.
• Mocanaqua Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1 Inc. — $13,451.
• Nescopeck Township Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1 — $13,645.
• Nescopeck Volunteer Fire Co. 1 — $13,062.
• Nuangola Volunteer Fire Co. — $13,062.
• Nuremberg Weston Volunteer Fire Co. — $14,423.
• Pond Hill-Lily Lake Ambulance Association — $15,000.
• Pond Hill-Lily Lake Volunteer Fire Co. — $13,062.
• Salem Township Volunteer Fire Co. — $27,423.
• Shickshinny Volunteer Ambulance Association Inc. — $15,000.
• Slocum Township Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1 — $13,256.
• Sugarloaf Fire Company — $13,840 (fire) and $10,000 (EMS)
• Sweet Valley Ambulance Association — $15,000.
• Sweet Valley Volunteer Fire Co. — $15,201.
• Valley Regional Fire and Rescue Inc. (fire) — $14,423.
• White Haven Fire Company No. 1 — $14,229.
• White Haven Rescue Unit — $15,000.
“We are grateful for our dedicated and hard-working first responders who do such a tremendous job serving our local communities,” said Cabell. “I am pleased so many of them continue to apply for this annual financial support.”
All grants are generated from slot machine casino gaming proceeds, and not General Fund tax revenue.
The grant program is administered by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency with the application process handled through the Office of the State Fire Commissioner.
Nanticoke/West Nanticoke Bridge options
Discussion continues about replacement of the Nanticoke/West Nanticoke Bridge over the Susquehanna River.
During an informational meeting Monday, state and federal representatives agreed to assist Luzerne County in seeking additional funding for the Nanticoke/West Nanticoke Bridge.
County officials are exploring options because the county-owned span over the Susquehanna River was downgraded to a 15-ton weight limit in 2020 due to issues found in an inspection.
The partial replacement recommended by Alfred Benesch and Associates would cost an estimated $39.6 million. The company was hired by the county to study the bridge and determine the “best and most economical option.”
Some local officials are pushing for full replacement, which would cost $64 million based on the engineer’s estimate.
The county has access to $55 million from casino gambling revenue, which means another $9 million would have to be found if a council majority chooses a new bridge.
Council Chairman John Lombardo also pointed out Monday that using the entire $55 million casino-funded infrastructure pool on the Nanticoke/West Nanticoke bridge would leave no funds to cover other projects that had been on the county’s list for completion if funds remained.
These projects: Main Road in Hunlock and Ross townships; Lower Demunds Road and Upper Demunds Road in Dallas and Franklin townships; Ransom Road in Dallas and Franklin townships; Church Road in Wright Township; Oak Hill Road and Crestwood Drive in Wright Township; Old Airport Road in Butler Township; and Hanover Street in Hanover Township.
Lombardo said the partial replacement option recommended by Benesch addresses the same safety issues and weight loads as the new bridge option but costs less.
The Benesch-recommended plan would replace the three truss spans with four new steel bridge spans on new piers, replace the beams and deck on the 21 approaching spans and repair existing piers and abutments.
With this option, the bridge would be widened to 32 feet and equipped with an added right turning lane onto Route 11. These additions could accommodate potential future industrial development in the area of the bridge, Benesch representatives have said.
The top of piers would be widened to support extra beam lines needed for the wider deck.
With the $64 million total replacement option, a completely new bridge would be constructed in a new alignment west of the existing one.
A new bridge also would prevent traffic disruption because the current span could remain open to traffic during construction. Closure of the current bridge for approximately 2.5 years would be necessary for the partial replacement option.
County Manager Romilda Crocamo stressed the need for state and federal funding if a full replacement is pursued.
“I can tell you unequivocally, without a doubt, the county does not have the money to make up that difference,” Crocamo said.
Crocamo also said the county does not have funding to cover the other projects that had been slated to be funded with the $55 million gambling funding if that pot is all used up on the bridge. The county won’t be in a position to fund those other projects until the county’s outstanding debt is repaid in 2030, she said.
Terence Ostrowski, President/CEO of the nonprofit Earth Conservancy headquartered in Ashley, spoke at the request of the Lower South Valley Council of Governments, which originally requested Monday’s session with county officials.
Ostrowski urged county officials to plan carefully, saying the bridge is “one of the most critical pieces” to access thousands of acres in the Lower South Valley for potential economic and recreational development.
He mentioned the South Valley Parkway, saying planning for that roadway started in 1994 and that it took 20 years to get built. Since opening in 2019, the parkway has attracted $1 billion in economic development, 14 new companies and 10,000 jobs, he said. However, the budget for that project was cut, shortening the road and decreasing its capacity, he said.
“Five years in, and we’re already nearing its capacity limits,” he said, describing the Nanticoke/West Nanticoke Bridge as the “last feasible way to opening up the Lower South Valley.”
Nearly 1,800 acres of economic development space is available in the undeveloped corridor starting at the Dan Flood Industrial Park just outside Nanticoke, following an old railroad bed towards Glen Lyon, he said. Another possibility is an ATV park on more than 10,000 acres, he said.
Ostrowski urges county officials to ensure the bridge plan they select can accommodate increased traffic.
Crocamo thanked legislators and their representatives for participating in the session and agreeing to work with the county.
She said she expects more discussion and public feedback at her first town hall meeting, which will be held at 5 p.m. on March 7 in Nanticoke City Hall, 15 E. Ridge St.
County officials are committed to addressing safety concerns and economic development while remaining mindful that they are the “keeper of taxpayer funds,” she said.
Many options on the table for Nanticoke-West Nanticoke bridge, officials still seek funding sources
Eric Mark – Citizens Voice
County, state and federal officials discussed options for the repair or replacement of the Nanticoke/West Nanticoke bridge during an informational session on Monday.
Much of the discussion centered on potential funding sources that might pay for a full bridge replacement — the option favored by emergency responders and municipal officials, though Luzerne County does not have enough money lined up to finance that project, estimated to cost $64 million.
Though several members of Luzerne County Council participated and the in-person component of the meeting was held at the county courthouse in Wilkes-Barre, the session was not a council meeting and no decisions were made.
Council is considering options about what to with the county-owned bridge that connects Nanticoke and the West Nanticoke section of Plymouth Twp. across the Susquehanna River.
The bridge is more than 100 years old and has been operating under a reduced vehicular weight limit of 15 tons since 2020.
Council hired the engineering firm Alfred Benesch & Associates to review options for repair or replacement.
The firm recommended the repair and partial replacement of the bridge, at an estimated cost of $39.6 million, rather than the construction of a completely new bridge — which would cost about $25 million more and take longer to complete.
Nanticoke fire Chief Mark Boncal and Newport Twp. Manager Joe Hillan told council the full replacement option is vital in the interest of public safety and to further economic development in the South Valley region.
Boncal said so again at Monday’s session, though some of his remarks were not audible to those who participated via the Zoom teleconferencing platform, due to technical difficulties that plagued the early minutes of the meeting.
Crocamo said “safety is paramount” to all decisions county officials make about infrastructure. However, as of now the county does not have the money to pay for a full bridge replacement, she said.
Council approved a $55 million infrastructure loan in 2022 that will be dedicated to projects such as the Nanticoke/West Nanticoke bridge.
Officials will need to find at least $9 million in additional funding to pay for a new bridge, Crocamo said.
That number will likely increase because of inflation, several speakers said.
Council Chairman John Lombardo said it would be good for council to be able to use a portion of the infrastructure loan for road projects in the county. Both bridge options presented by Benesch would address safety concerns, he said.
Richard Roman, district executive for the state Transportation Department, said there will be opportunities to apply for grants and compete for federal funding for the bridge project.
State Sen. Lisa Baker, R-20, Lehman Twp., said state legislators are committed to working with county officials and federal lawmakers to find funding for the bridge.
“It has to be a priority,” Baker said. “That’s why we are here.”
State Rep. Alec Ryncavage, R-119, Plymouth, also attended the session, as did a representative of U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, as well as members of the Lower South Valley Council of Governments.
The discussion will continue at a town hall public meeting at Nanticoke City Hall on March 7, Crocamo said.
“That’s how things get done, when we all sit down and talk to each other,” she said.
Glen Lyon native, a former 49ers security guard, describes being eyewitness to dynasty and free Super Bowl trips
Bob Kalinowski – Citizens Voice
Nanticoke area native Rick Pucci is set to attend his fifth Super Bowl featuring his favorite team, the San Francisco 49ers, but this is the first one in which he has to pay.
Pucci had a front row seat to the 49ers’ dynasty in the 1980s working as a part-time security guard. A perk of the $7-an-hour job was he got to attend playoff games and Super Bowls for free as a team employee.
During his time with the 49ers, Pucci attended four Super Bowl victories led by Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana and other stars.
“I’m going to this Super Bowl, too, so hopefully it will be 5-0,” Pucci said recently.
The Glen Lyon native, who is taking his son, Rick Jr., to the big game, declined to say how much he paid for his tickets in Las Vegas, saying it was part of a fan experience package.
Pucci, a 1972 graduate of Greater Nanticoke Area High School, wrote a book about his NFL job experience called “The Forty Effin’ Niners.” He said that was a nickname many disgruntled fans in the San Francisco Bay area called the team around the time he took the job “at perhaps the worst franchise in all of sports at that time.”
He never expected the team would become the team of the 1980s and early 1990s. A New York Giants fan growing up, he switched his allegiances while working for the 49ers.
Pucci moved to California to pursue graduate studies with a woman he fell in love with at Penn State, but they later broke up. He started a successful career in finance, but needed to find something to replace the void left by the break up.
“I had to find something to do on Sundays. I was down in the dumps,” Pucci said.
So he applied to work for the 49ers.
While he held the title of security guard, Pucci said he really was just a bystander to one of the greatest sports dynasties.
“I never really worked. All we were paid to do was wear these big bright blue jackets so people thought we were security. Nothing really was going on, so there was nothing to do. People weren’t acting up back then. It was completely different,” Pucci said. “Today, they are facing the crowd. I was facing the field. I’d be there listening to plays being drawn up. I was sitting right there on the bench listening to Bill Walsh’s pep talks.”
One of the few times he was thrust into actual security work, he said, was after “The Catch” during the the Jan. 10, 1982 NFC Championship game when the 49ers overtook the Dallas Cowboys in the final seconds to advance to the Super Bowl, which they won.
Excited fans proceeded to stormed the field, he recalled.
“Fans were ripping up chunks of turf and shoving it into their pockets. It was the first championship of any kind in any sport in San Francisco,” Pucci said. “The cops came down after we did all the work getting all the fans off the field.”
Pucci said he observed a lot, took many photos and jotted down notes in a journal that proved useful in writing his book that was released in 2018 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the 49ers winning Super Bowl XXIII behind a fourth -quarter scoring drive led by Montana.
“The book wrote itself,” Pucci said. “Being on the inside of the organization you really got to appreciate the team and how intelligent Coach Walsh was. Me and Montana were native Pennsylvanians. Both of us were Italian Americans, so we had a lot in common,” Pucci said.
After his time with the team, Pucci remained in California for many years working in finance. These days, he lives near Chicago running a financial planning firm, but visits California frequently for work.
Pucci said he returns home to Nanticoke as often as he can to visit family and eat foods he misses from places like Sanitary Bakery, Stookey’s BBQ, Maureen’s Ice Cream, Larry’s Pizza, Ruby’s Pizza and Happy Pizza.
“When I bring Californians in with me, I say the worst pizza in Nanticoke is better than the best pizza in California,” Pucci said.
Nanticoke sticks with ambulance provider
NANTICOKE — Nanticoke Community Ambulance will remain the city’s primary emergency response provider, council announced Wednesday at its combined work session/regular monthly meeting.
The decision was given as a update and considered a “discussion item” on the agenda and not an action item to be voted on.
Council President Bill Brown explained that council came to the decision following a committee meeting, which consisted of Brown, Council Member Kenny James, Mayor Kevin Coughlin, City Manager Donna Wall, and representatives from Nanticoke Community Ambulance.
“We had a productive meeting and we came to an agreement that the Ambulance was going to supply us with a monthly report, which they have for the last two months, and as of right now we’re going to continue with our Nanticoke Ambulance and hope for them to have satisfactory working conditions and to be happy with their service,” he said.
Following the council meeting, Chief Paramedic Dan Shaw said that it’s “fantastic” that Nanticoke Community Ambulance will remain the city’s primary emergency response provider.
“We’re a very strong ambulance; we have multiple vehicles and a high level of care. We belong in Nanticoke so we can continue our 80-some year mission,” Shaw said, noting that city officials were “very easy” to work with to ensure this outcome.
The decision comes after voting on the agenda item was delayed twice.
It was originally scheduled to be voted on during the Jan. 2 combined re-organizational and regular meeting, but council solicitor William Finnegan stated that the three new council members, Mark O’Connor, Joseph Doughtery and Kenny James, who were sworn in that day, wanted more time to consider the ordinance before voting on it.
It was again postponed when the Jan. 17 meeting was canceled after city officials discovered the council agenda had not been posted online in time due to a miscommunication with Nanticoke’s website administrator.
New firefighter sworn in
Also at the meeting, Mayor Coughlin swore in Gabriel Metric as a full-time firefighter, bringing the number of Nanticoke firefighters up to 12 for the first time in 40 years, according to Fire Chief Mark Boncal.
Boncal also gave an update on the two firetrucks that the city ordered and said there will be a pre-construction meeting in April and if all goes well, the fire department should have the trucks by the end of the year or early January 2025.
City Manager Donna Wall announced the city will be partnering with Nanticoke Conservation Club for a city wide Earth Day Clean Up on April 20.
• Approved the Host Cooperation Agreement between the City of Nanticoke and IBEW Local 163 with respect to a certain Redevelopment Assistance Capital Grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to the City of Nanticoke.
• Approved the 2024 city engineering rates from Pennoni and Associates, Inc. (no change in rates, same rates since 2021).
• Approved the re-appointment of Jennifer Polito as the city’s Fair Housing Officer.
Nanticoke/West Nanticoke Bridge info session set
Discussion continues about replacement of the Nanticoke/West Nanticoke Bridge over the Susquehanna River. File photo
Discussion continues about replacement of the Nanticoke/West Nanticoke Bridge over the Susquehanna River.
The public will have an opportunity to attend an online information session Monday regarding the Nanticoke/West Nanticoke Bridge.
This session is at 1 p.m. A link with attendance instructions is posted on the main page at luzernecounty.org.
Constructed in 1914, the 1,922-foot, Luzerne County-owned bridge over the Susquehanna River was last rehabilitated in 1987. It links Nanticoke and the West Nanticoke section of Plymouth Township at Route 11.
An average 6,700 vehicles travel over the bridge daily.
County officials are exploring options because the span was downgraded to a 15-ton weight limit in 2020 due to issues found in an inspection.
Council members learned of several options at a recent work session. Some citizens and municipal officials are pushing for replacement.
Council Vice Chairman Brian Thornton has pointed out that another $9 million would have to be found if a majority chooses a new bridge. The county has access to $55 million from casino gambling revenue, and a full replacement would cost $64 million based on the engineer’s estimate.
County Manager Romilda Crocamo said Monday’s session originated with a request from the Lower South Valley Council of Governments to discuss the matter. As word spread, overtures were made on behalf of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and state and federal legislative offices to participate and outline funding possibilities, she said.
Crocamo stressed the session is for the presentation of information only and won’t be a county council meeting with deliberation and voting.
Council won’t be voting on the matter at its next public meeting Tuesday because the administration is still collecting data needed for council to make an informed decision, she said.
Transfiguration Church in Nanticoke holds Myasopusna celebration
With Lent fast approaching, Transfiguration of Our Lord Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in the Hanover section of Nanticoke held a feast before the fast, with the traditional celebration of the Myasopusna dinner.
Organizers said the event was sold out, with about 240 dinners sold. The meal consisted of holubtsi (stuffed cabbage), kobasa (sausage), ham, varenyky (pierogies), kapusta (sauerkraut), black bread and dessert in the church banquet hall, 240 Center St. in the Hanover section of Nanticoke.
“I’m here because I love to eat,” guest Betty Rafalko of Fairmount Township said with a good-natured laugh.
A highlight of the afternoon included performances by the Kazka Ukrainian Folk Ensemble Dancers and younger student dancers, known as St. Mary’s Traditional Ukrainian Dancers, accompanied by Walter Milinichik on accordion.
“It takes a little time” to learn all the dancers, 17 year old performer Tristan Pozza said.
Dances featured intricate footwork and great athleticism, especially for the young men of the dance troupes, as they leapt over swords and performed many varieties of squat kicks.
The event ended with the Hopak, the national dance of Ukraine.
According to the program, parishioners of Transfiguration of Our Lord Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church explained: “In our Eastern Church tradition, this past week we were eating all remaining meat products in our homes as we prepare for the Great Fast (Lent) and today we eat the last meat we will partake of until we celebrate Easter. From tomorrow (Monday) to next Sunday we will also say good-bye to all dairy products and then begin our 40 days of the Great Fast.”
Nanticoke/West Nanticoke Bridge options presented
Discussion continues about replacement of the Nanticoke/West Nanticoke Bridge over the Susquehanna River.
Requests were made for Luzerne County Council to consider building an entirely new Nanticoke/West Nanticoke Bridge instead of partially replacing the current one as recommended by the county’s outside engineer.
But council Vice Chairman Brian Thornton promptly pointed out that another $9 million would have to be found if a majority chooses a new bridge. The county has access to $55 million from casino gambling revenue, and a full replacement would cost $64 million based on the engineer’s estimate.
“That’s money we don’t have. So you could say, ‘Yeah, that’s a great alternative. Let’s build it.’ But then we don’t have the money to pay for it,” Thornton said during a council work session about the options last week.
In comparison, the partial replacement recommended by Alfred Benesch and Associates would cost an estimated $39.6 million. The company was hired to complete a study of the county-owned span over the Susquehanna River and determine the “best and most economical option.”
The third option — rehabilitating the existing bridge — would cost an estimated $47.8 million, Benesch said.
Constructed in 1914, the 1,922-foot bridge was last rehabilitated in 1987. It links Nanticoke and the West Nanticoke section of Plymouth Township at Route 11.
An average 6,700 vehicles travel over the bridge daily, Benesch said.
County officials are exploring options because the span was downgraded to a 15-ton weight limit in 2020 due to issues found in an inspection.
Newport Township Manager Joseph Hillan has said a new bridge would accommodate commercial development on approximately 3,000 acres. He has expressed confidence development will come whether or not Houston, Texas-based Nacero Inc. proceeds with a project it had announced to build a $6 billion fuel plant.
Speaking during last week’s council meeting, Hillan said he was urging council on behalf of township commissioners to choose the full replacement bridge option.
Hillan told council the South Valley Parkway originally was supposed to extend into Newport Township but was cut short.
“This is the last chance to get to that land — a full bridge replacement,” Hillan said.
Nanticoke Fire Chief Mark Boncal also told council members he hoped they would look at full replacement of the bridge.
New infrastructure and warehouses are popping up in the Nanticoke and Newport Township area, and a full bridge replacement would be in line with the growth, Boncal said.
Boncal also reiterated his city fire department provides primary fire/rescue coverage to Plymouth Township’s West Nanticoke area and “can’t afford to have any more weight reductions on this bridge.”
He noted Nanticoke has a new fire engine on order, and apparatus manufactured today is heavier than in the past.
Former longtime Plymouth Township Supervisor Gale Conrad, who now works as a consultant, told council she concurs with Hillan and Boncal.
Conrad cited a bus company statistic indicating school buses make a total 30 trips over the bridge daily between Nanticoke and West Nanticoke.
“We’re hoping you all will do the right thing and replace over repair,” Conrad said.
County Councilman Harry Haas said the additional cost for a bridge replacement is a “pretty heavy lift” and suggested those speaking consider getting involved in seeking more funding.
Prior county engineer Lawrence Plesh had said in 2022 that the administration applied for a Bridge Investment Program grant through the Federal Highway Administration, which would require a county match. The county was unsuccessful at that time.
Thornton said he would never be in favor of borrowing additional funds for the bridge because the county is on a path to get out of debt.
County Manager Romilda Crocamo told council members the administration will exhaustively research all possible state and federal funding to help council in its decision on how to proceed — including applying for another Bridge Investment Program grant before the March deadline.
Councilman Jimmy Sabatino verified with Benesch that including federal funds in the mix could increase the cost and extend the completion due to federal regulatory requirements.
A synopsis of the state of the bridge and three options based on information Benesch representatives presented last week:
The bridge has 24 spans — three trusses extending over the Susquehanna and 21 shorter approaching spans of pre-cast concrete. The trusses have been deteriorating, leading to weight posting reductions, and are considered “fracture critical,” which means failure of one of the main connections would lead to catastrophic bridge failure.
Aside from structural issues, Benesch said the current bridge roadway width is a narrow 21 feet and should be 32 feet under current design standards. Larger vehicles making right turns from the bridge onto Route 11 in Plymouth Township also must swing into the oncoming Route 11 traffic lane, creating a potential safety risk.
• Option 1 — rehabilitation ($47.8 million, 3.1 years to complete)
This would rehabilitate the three trusses, replace the beams and deck on the 21 approaching spans and repair existing piers and abutments.
This option won’t make the bridge wider or address the concern about larger vehicles turning right on Route 11.
Benesch largely did not recommend this option because there could be “unknowns” addressing deteriorated pin connections. Severe rusting on pins makes it difficult for inspectors to assess the underlying condition.
• Option 2 — partial replacement ($39.6 million, 2.6 years)
Benesch is recommending this option.
It would replace the three truss spans with four new steel bridge spans on new piers, replace the beams and deck on the 21 approaching spans and repair existing piers and abutments.
With this option, the bridge would be widened to 32 feet and equipped with an added right turning lane onto Route 11. These additions could accommodate potential future industrial development in the area of the bridge.
The top of piers would be widened to support extra beam lines needed for the wider deck.
The truss replacement section would require four piers instead of three. To prevent increased flooding due to river flow obstruction, two smaller piers would be removed elsewhere on the bridge, which would slightly reduce the flood risk.
• Option 3 — completely new bridge in a new alignment west of the existing bridge ($64 million, 3.3 years)
The new bridge would have concrete beams, be wider and provide a turning lane onto Route 11.
Its new footprint would eliminate a bend in the bridge path and soften a curve where the bridge begins on Broadway Street on the Nanticoke side.
A new bridge also would prevent traffic disruption because the current span could remain open to traffic during construction. Temporary closure of the bridge would be necessary for the other two options.
After reviewing many factors, Benesch concluded partial replacement should be recommended. That option costs millions of dollars less and could be completed faster, company representatives said.
Luzerne County Council mulling options for Nanticoke/West Nanticoke bridge project
Eric Mark – Citizens Voice
WILKES-BARRE — Luzerne County Council will likely decide later this year whether to rehabilitate or replace the county-owned bridge that connects Nanticoke and the West Nanticoke section of Plymouth Twp. across the Susquehanna River.
At a work session last Tuesday, council heard a presentation from Alfred Benesch & Associates, the engineering firm it hired to assess options for the bridge, which is more than 100 years old and has operated under a reduced vehicular weight limit of 15 tons following an inspection in 2020.
Council also heard pleas from a fire chief and municipal official to choose the most expensive option of full bridge replacement, in the interest of public safety.
Council and the county redevelopment authority voted in 2022 to pursue a $55 million infrastructure loan funded by state gaming revenue for projects such as the Nanticoke/West Nanticoke bridge.
Last year, council approved $450,000 in American Rescue Plan funding to hire Benesch to conduct a study and suggest options for the bridge project.
The firm submitted a report in November that described the bridge as “structurally deficient” and outlined three options:
The recommended option is rehabilitation and partial replacement. That would replace three truss spans with four steel beams on new piers. It also calls for replacing the superstructure on the southern approach spans and a widening of the bridge deck.
The project would cost $39.6 million and take 2.6 years to complete, Benesch said.
That is the shortest construction time frame of the three options and would save more than $24 million compared to a full bridge replacement, which Benesch estimates would cost $64 million and take 3.3 years to complete.
The third option, involving truss rehabilitation and replacing the southern approach spans, would cost about $47.8 million and take 3.1 years.
At Tuesday’s work session, Benesch project engineer Dominic Yannuzzi told council the bridge is “past its prime.” The design of the bridge, last rehabilitated in 1977, lags far behind modern standards, Yannuzzi said.
Nanticoke fire Chief Mark Boncal said any further decrease in the vehicular weight limit on the bridge would impact response times for emergency vehicles and pose a risk to public safety.
He urged council members to choose the full replacement option, as did Newport Twp. Manager Joe Hillan.
A new bridge would help boost the county’s tax base by easing the way for more commercial development in the region, Hillan said.
Councilman Kevin Lescavage said he wants to see cost estimates “nailed down” before council votes on how to proceed. Council members “are not going to look at change orders lightly” after the project starts, he said.
County Manager Romilda Crocamo said the county will pursue all available grants and other funding to pay for whichever option council chooses for the project.
If more funding is required, the county “will go out and get it,” she said.
Council “wants to get this project rolling as soon as possible” but there is no timeframe established for when council will vote on how to proceed, council Chairman John Lombardo said Sunday.
Greater Nanticoke Area keeping superintendent for 5 more years
Michael P. Buffer Times Leader
The Greater Nanticoke Area School Board has extended Ronald Grevera’s contract as superintendent another five years.
His contract now expires in 2029. His pay will continue to increase 4% a year, and his current annual salary is $160,000.
“I’m grateful to the board for their continued confidence in my ability to lead the district over the next five years,” Grevera said Monday in an email. “I’m also thankful for my supportive family that permits me to put in the many hours necessary to run the district throughout the year.”
Grevera, 50, lives in Wright Twp. Prior to becoming Greater Nanticoke Area superintendent in 2014, Grevera was superintendent at Northwest Area for three years.
“Many schools have layered levels of central administration, such as safety administrators and curriculum directors, which we do not have. I added those responsibilities on to my job as superintendent,” Grevera said.
The school board voted on Grevera’s contract at the board’s meeting on Thursday.
Luzerne County Council to discuss Nanticoke/West Nanticoke Bridge options
A briefing on Nanticoke/West Nanticoke Bridge options has been scheduled for Tuesday’s Luzerne County Council work session, according to the agenda.
Council must decide how it wants to proceed in addressing the county-owned span over the Susquehanna River, which carries Lower Broadway Street in Nanticoke to Route 11 in the West Nanticoke section of Plymouth Township.
The last public update was in November, when the county’s outside engineer recommended rehabilitation and partial replacement of the existing bridge for approximately $39.6 million instead of constructing a new bridge at an estimated cost of $64 million.
“This alternative is recommended primarily due to the improved safety for the public, shorter construction duration and lower overall cost for the county,” said the November preliminary engineering summary prepared by Alfred Benesch and Associates, which was retained by the county to complete a study and determine the “best and most economical” option.
Unless other funding surfaces, county officials planned to pay for the bridge project with casino funding available for county infrastructure projects.
Authorized by state legislation, the $55 million is available because the county redevelopment authority entered into a borrowing agreement to create a county infrastructure fund that will be repaid with $3 million provided annually for 25 years from the casino-gambling Local Share Account (LSA).
Redevelopment Authority Executive Director Margie Thomas said the financing package in place contains a letter of credit allowing the county to receive $55 million for projects.
If council chooses to proceed with a new bridge, it appears additional funding would have to be identified to pay for it.
Using up the entire LSA infrastructure pot on the bridge also would impact several other county-owned road projects council had agreed to complete if funding was left over.
These other projects as previously approved by council, along with the projected costs: Main Road in Hunlock and Ross townships, $1 million; Lower Demunds Road and Upper Demunds Road in Dallas and Franklin townships, $650,000; Ransom Road in Dallas and Franklin townships, $500,000; Church Road in Wright Township, $500,000; Oak Hill Road in Wright Township, $500,000; Crestwood Drive in Wright Township, $250,000; Old Airport Road in Butler Township, $250,000; and Hanover Street in Hanover Township, $250,000.
According to the November Benesch summary, three alternatives were investigated for the Nanticoke/West Nanticoke Bridge.
The recommended one — rehabilitation and partial replacement — would replace three truss spans with four conventional steel beam spans on new piers. It also would replace the superstructure on the 21 southern approach spans and widen the bridge deck.
This would cost $39.6 million and take 2.6 years to complete, it said.
The two other options:
• Truss rehabilitation, which includes rehabilitation of the three truss spans to restore their original load-carrying capacities and remove the existing 15-ton weight posting and rehabilitation and superstructure replacement of 21 southern approach spans.
This would cost $47.8 million and have a construction duration of 3.1 years.
• Full replacement, which would construct a completely new bridge structure on a new alignment to the west of the existing bridge using “precast prestressed bulb-tee beams and optimized span arrangements.”
This would cost $64 million and require 3.3 years for completion.
Constructed in 1914, the 1,922-foot bridge was last rehabilitated in 1987.
Because Tuesday’s work session is for discussion only, council would have to vote on a bridge plan at a future meeting.
Tuesday’s work session follows a 6 p.m. voting meeting in the county courthouse on River Street in Wilkes-Barre. Instructions for the remote attendance option are posted under council’s online meetings link at luzernecounty.org.
Nanticoke Area Athletics from Facebook
The Greater Nanticoke Area School District Athletic Recognition Committee is proud to announce that their annual Wall-of-Fame induction ceremony was held on Saturday, January 20. This year, 19 members of the Class of 2024 were honored. The ceremony began at 2:30 in the main hallway of the high school (across from the auditorium) with the unveiling of the plaques and then moved to the gym at about 3:00 for the introduction of the inductees. Following the ceremony, our boys' basketball team will took on Wyoming Sem in a WVC game. The GNA community was invited to attend this event.
Congratulations to the GNA Athletic Wall of Fame Class of 2024:
Joseph Tereshinski – 1936
Gary Verazin – 1976
Ken Schinski – 1985
Paul Gufffovich – 1987
Jim McDermott – 1988
Mike Zubritski – 1989
Ellen Bartuska – 1990
Casey Comoroski – 1990
Holly Ryncavage – 1990
Holly Kozlowski -1990
Lori Scally – 1990
Frank Chicknosky - Football coach
Daniel Distasio - Football and volleyball coach
Rose Volpicelli - Basketball and softball coach
Elaine Deluca - Softball and basketball coach
Sylvester Bozinski - Basketball coach
Deborah Krupinski - Swim and volleyball coach
Gary Williams - Softball coach
Stanley Galazin - Football, basketball and baseball coach
Nanticoke City Council meeting canceled
NANTICOKE — City council’s combined work session and regular meeting set for Wednesday night was canceled because the agenda was not posted in time, city officials said.
That move again postpones a vote on the future of ambulance service in the city.
Council at Wednesday’s meeting would have been poised to vote whether or not to replace Nanticoke Community Ambulance as the city’s primary emergency response provider with the Hanover Twp. Community Ambulance Association.
The agenda item was originally scheduled to be voted on during the Jan. 2 combined re-organizational and regular meeting, but Council Solicitor William Finnegan stated that the three new council members, Mark O’Connor, Joseph Doughtery and Kenny James, who were sworn in that day, wanted more time to consider the ordinance before voting on it.
City Manager Donna Wall said that the agenda posting error regarding Wednesday’s meeting was due to a miscommunication with the city’s website administrator.
Council agendas are required under the Pennsylvania Sunshine Law to be posted within 24 hours of a scheduled council meeting.
The next Nanticoke City combined work session and meeting will be held on Feb. 7 at 6 p.m.
Nanticoke ambulance decision delayed again after Wednesday council meeting postponed
Bob Kalinowski – Citizens Voice
The Nanticoke City Council meeting scheduled for Wednesday evening was canceled because the meeting agenda wasn’t posted on the city’s website 24 hours ahead of the meeting as required by the Sunshine Act, City Manager Donna Wall said.
A main item on the agenda for council to consider was whether to replace Nanticoke Community Ambulance with Hanover Twp. Community Ambulance as the city’s primary EMS provider.
Wall said the meeting agenda was not posted on the website in time due to a “communication error” with the city’s website administrator.
The next meeting is 6 p.m. Feb. 7 at the Nanticoke Municipal Building, she said.
Earlier this month, city council tabled a proposed motion to switch to Hanover Twp. Community Ambulance because the three new council members sworn in that day requested time to learn more about the issue.
Mayor Kevin Coughlin said the change was being considered because Nanticoke Community Ambulance is frequently out of service.
Officials with Nanticoke Community Ambulance said they would try to convince city officials to keep them as the primary responder.
R Bar and Grill set to reopen after extensive remodeling
NEWPORT TWP. — The remodeling project at the R Bar and Grill has been a team effort.
To know that is to talk to the owners, Lauren Maga and her sister, Lindsey Temerantz.
“We can’t say enough about our employees and how hard they have been working to get this project done,” Lauren said. “They are here every day, working long hours. We hope to re-open this week.”
Maga, 40, and Temerantz, 37, along with their father, Rick Temerantz, opened R Bar and Grill on Feb. 3, 2011, on West Union Street in Nanticoke. Maga said the business started with eight tables and a small bar, a very small menu, and only five wing sauces.
“Needless to say, things have gotten bigger and better and we outgrew our location,” Maga said.
Three years later, on Nov. 7, 2014, R Bar moved to the old Alden Manor Complex on Kirmar Avenue in Newport Township.
The current location has 29 tables, lots of bar seating, a huge parking lot, and a 150-person capacity banquet hall on the second floor.
“And we now have 85 wing sauces and dry rubs,” Maga said. “We have been voted Best Wings in NEPA for four years in a row by the Times Leader and the Weekender.”
Maga said their customers range from kids to all ages.
“We would like to thank all our of our wonderful customers who have gotten us where we are today,” Maga said.
The R Bar family embarked on an extensive remodeling project. Maga said Floors are being replaced, as are the ceilings and walls. There will be all-new lighting, new counters and new equipment.
“Basically, the entire bar area has been gutted,” Maga said.
Maga and Temerantz said they didn’t want their employees to be without a paycheck while the remodeling project was going on, so they all were put to work during the transformation.
“We really didn’t want anyone to lose out on their pay,” Maga said. “We’ve been closed for two weeks. Several of our employees have worked in the construction business, so it’s going well.”
Maga said the goal was to reopen Tuesday, Jan. 9, but that might be delayed a day or two. On Saturday, she said the project is nearing completion and could make the Tuesday opening.
Maga said the R Bar and Grill has 30 full-time and part-time employees — servers, bartenders, cooks, dishwashers, banquet servers and more. She said the Alden Room can be used for banquets, showers, retirement parties, graduation parties — although they don’t do weddings.
“My sister and I always wanted to open a bar/restaurant,” Maga said. “We work great together and we have an outstanding team of employees.”
Lauren’s husband, Chris Maga, is a certified electrician. They live in Wapwallopen and have two children. Lindsay and her partner, Justin Koch, reside in Nanticoke. Also helping out on the project are Lauren and Lindsey’s mother, Jaynan Temerantz, and her partner, Terry Womelsdorf.
The menu at the R Bar and Grill is extensive. You can check it out at — www.rbarandgrill.com.
In a Times Leader story a few years ago, it stated that walking into the bar and restaurant takes individuals back to their nearest local service station as old street signs, hubcaps and license plates adorn the walls. Temerantz considers it a “garage-y” feeling.
“People will come in and say, ‘Oh I found this and brought it for you,’” Maga said about some of the decor. “We have many groups that want to reserve the license plate booth.”
That booth has license plates from all over the U.S. on the wall.
There’s also a spot dedicated to firefighters and police officers with department patches and other memorabilia under glass at the bar.
The idea to open the bar was “something for us, a legacy,” the sisters noted.
“Our dad (who owns One Stop Service Shop on Alden Road in Nanticoke) wanted us to do something for us,” Maga said.
The bar business made sense, since Maga has been in the business since she was 18 years old.
Family run, employees considered like family, and family fun — the R Bar and Grill truly is a family affair.
O’Connor appointed to Nanticoke council seat
NANTICOKE — Mark O’Connor was appointed to council during Tuesday’s combined reorganization, work and regular meeting to fill the council seat vacated by his wife, Lesley Butczynski, who was declared ineligible to serve a fourth term due to provisions set in the Nanticoke City Home Rule Charter.
Despite being elected to another term in November’s general election, Butczynski was found to be ineligible to serve due to Section 2.10 of the charter, which states members of City Council may not serve more than three elected, consecutive terms.
As stated in Resolution No. 1 of 2024, her council seat was declared vacant through forfeiture, which occurs when a member of council lacks the qualification of the offices as defined by the charter.
Butczynski was first appointed to Council in 2012, when she filled the seat vacated by Councilwoman Margaret Hydock, following her resignation.
Butczynski then won a one-time, two-year term in 2013. She subsequently won a four-year term in 2015 and a second four-year term in 2019.
Butczynski’s ability to retain her seat was called into question last summer as it was unclear under the current charter provisions whether or not the one-time two-year term counted toward her total number of terms served.
Before the council meeting on Tuesday, Council Solicitor William Finnegan told The Times Leader that because the drafters of Nanticoke’s Home Rule Charter did not make a distinction between that one-time, two-year term and a regular four-term and only spoke of terms “generally,” it was ultimately concluded that Butczynski had already served the maximum amount of consecutive terms allowed by the charter.
Residents voted to keep term limits in place for both council members and the mayor back in November’s general election.
During the meeting, Council President William Brown stated that Butczynski was the “top vote-getter in the last election” and received about 1200 votes, but the yes option for eliminating term limits came in at only 700 votes.
“I don’t know if there was a misunderstanding on the question, but we have to go by what the voters voted for, unfortunately,” Brown said.
Butczynski also wondered whether or not voters understood the question on the ballot, but that she was nevertheless proud of everything she was able to accomplish during her time on council.
“I’m okay with it. I did 10 years and I made some good friends throughout the whole 10 years,” Butczynski said after the meeting.
Butczynski will still be involved with the city, as she was appointed by Mayor Kevin Coughlin to serve a 5-year-term on the Housing Authority.
O’Connor, who resigned from his seat on the Greater Nanticoke Area School Board back in December, will serve a 2-year-term on council, effective immediately.
Along with O’Connor, Kenny James and former mayor Joseph Dougherty, who both won four-year terms in November, were sworn in by District Judge Donald Whittaker on Tuesday.
Kenny James previously spent 27 years on the Great Nanticoke Area School Board.
Doughtery served as mayor of Nanticoke back in 2010, spent 6 years prior on city council, and also served as city controller.
Following the swearing in ceremony, council chose Brown to serve once again as president and Council Member Joseph Nalepa was chosen as vice president.
Also at the meeting, council chose to table until the next meeting the vote on an ordinance that would have replaced the Nanticoke Fire Department Community Ambulance and Rescue Unit as the city’s primary emergency response provider with the Hanover Twp. Community Ambulance Association.
The solicitor stated that because they had three new council members there was “an indication” that those members wanted more time to consider the ordinance before voting on it.
Several members of the Nanticoke Fire Department Community Ambulance and Rescue Unit attended the meeting including Deputy Chief Justin Bretzloff, who said three of the four deputy chiefs had a meeting with City Manager Donna Wall and Coughlin last week and “some things were brought to light” that he hoped contributed to the council’s decision to table the vote.
“Hopefully we can find a resolution where we can maintain this primary status and show them that we’re fully staffed,” Bretzloff said.
Also at the meeting, council approved several re-appointments by Coughlin to various boards, authorities and commissions including:
• Kenneth Malia to the Nanticoke City Municipal Authority for another 5-year-term
• Ed Janora to the Nanticoke City Zoning Board for another 5-year-term
• William Davis to the Nanticoke City Planning Commission for another 5-year-term
• James Litchkofski to the Nanticoke Police Civil Service Board for another 3-year-term
• Charlies Alles to the Nanticoke Fire and Civil Service Board for another 3-year-term
The next Nanticoke City Council meeting will be held Jan. 17 at 6 p.m.
Nanticoke debates replacing city-based ambulance company for Hanover's medic unit; motion tabled until Jan. 17.
Bob Kalinowski – Citizens Voice
NANTICOKE — City leaders are poised to replace Nanticoke’s primary ambulance provider this year, a switch from Nanticoke Community Ambulance to Hanover Twp. Community Ambulance Association.
The move is necessary because Nanticoke Community Ambulance, Medic 25, is frequently “out of service,” forcing Luzerne County 911 to dispatch other EMS units from outside the city, officials said.
“This was my decision and council’s decision and it wasn’t taken lightly. It wasn’t something we decided overnight,” Mayor Kevin Coughlin said. “We would do more of an injustice to the town if we did nothing about this.”
The move to make Hanover Twp. Community Ambulance, or Medic 9, the primary responder in Nanticoke was on the agenda for Tuesday’s council meeting, but the topic was postponed because three new council members were sworn in at the meeting and they want time to evaluate the decision.
Council members passed the first reading of the ambulance provider ordinance 5-0 at its Dec. 20 meeting. At Tuesday’s meeting, council members said they would again address the issue at their next regular meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17.
The proposed start date for Hanover Twp. Community Ambulance to take over operations in the city is Feb. 5 at 12:01 a.m.
Hanover Twp. Community Ambulance has pledged to add resources and station an ambulance at the Nanticoke Fire Department at 2 E. Ridge St., the mayor said.
“We are adding additional staffing for Nanticoke and the truck will respond from the City of Nanticoke,” said Chris Woolfolk, chief of Hanover Twp. Community Ambulance. “We historically have had a good relationship with the city of Nanticoke, whether it be the police, fire or EMS.”
Woolfolk said Nanticoke Community Ambulance, Medic 25, is out of service “quite regularly,” forcing Hanover’s crews to respond to Nanticoke. He said he asked Nanticoke ambulance crews to warn him when they would be out of service so he could add staffing levels to accommodate Nanticoke calls, but he only got a warning a handful of times.
“We do not go out of service,” Woolfolk said.
Both Nanticoke and Hanover are medic units, providing advanced and basic life support service. They are private, nonprofit organizations not affiliated with their respective municipalities, but the municipal leaders direct Luzerne County what ambulance service to dispatch.
A Facebook post on the Nanticoke Community Ambulance page accused city leaders of “back stabbing” the hometown EMS unit that has a large group of paid subscribers.
The post says a Hanover Twp. ambulance will still be first due even when Nanticoke’s ambulance, stationed in a former fire station at 901 S. Hanover St., is closer.
“Situations will arise where we are available and sitting right in Nanticoke and a Hanover Township Community Ambulance will respond to a call where we could reach easily as closest,” the Facebook post said. “So yes, we are being blocked from accessing our paid subscribers and the general public from timely access to you.”
A large contingent of Nanticoke Community Ambulance members attended Tuesday’s meeting, but none spoke during public comment period.
Dan Shaw, chief paramedic for the organization, had a lengthy conversation with the mayor after the meeting. Shaw hopes city officials will reconsider.
“They tabled it. It gives us time to present our facts,” Shaw said.
Larry Beck, 72, whose daughter works for Nanticoke Community Ambulance, was the lone resident to speak in opposition to the change.
“I can’t see why they want to get rid of it,” Beck said.
New council members
At Tuesday’s meeting, council introduced three new members, Kenny James, Joseph Dougherty and Mark O’Connor.
James, a longtime Greater Nanticoke Area School Board member, and Dougherty, the city’s former mayor, councilman and controller, won seats in November’s election.
Mark O’Connor, a former school board member, was appointed to take the seat vacated by his wife, Lesley Butczynski, who was the top vote getter in November’s election, but was forbidden from serving due to term limits.
Butczynski was appointed to serve the remaining two years of a vacated seat and then won two elections. While Butczynski was top vote getter in the last election out of five candidates, city residents voted not to get rid of term limits that bar council members from serving more than three consecutive terms.
While voters clearly issued Butczynski a vote of confidence, it seems there “was a misunderstanding of the question,” Solicitor William Finnegan said.