2011 Newport News - Archives
Oprah show winner picks up her new ride
The vanity license plate on Pat Gruber's new 2012 Volkswagen Beetle expresses her gratitude for the woman who gave it to her: TX OPRAH.
Gruber, of Newport Township, picked up her new Beetle on Thursday at Wyoming Valley Motors in Larksville. Gruber and her friend, Linda LeFebrve of Ashburn, Va., snagged the cars among a slew of other prizes when they attended the taping of the Oprah Winfrey Show last November.
"It's surreal," Gruber said as she checked out the features on her new vehicle.
The longtime friends had tried to get tickets to the talk show's taping for years with no success. However, when they heard the show was entering its farewell season they stepped up their efforts. Gruber urged LeFebrve to write to the show, and they finally scored a pair of tickets.
"She told me, 'You got to write in and get us on the show,'" LeFebrve said. "Now I cry every time I watch the video. It's like being there all over again."
When they arrived at the studio, they realized Winfrey had already given away some of her favorite things at an earlier taping, so they didn't expect much.
They watched as Winfrey chatted with Dr. Phil and Dr. Mehmet Oz, and they were treated to surprise musical performances by Josh Groban and Johnny Mathis. They sat near the control room and even got a glimpse of Stedman Graham, Winfrey's partner, and chatted with Gayle King, Winfrey's best friend.
"You're just happy to be there," LeFebrve said.
When snow started falling on to the stage, the friends realized they were in for a treat. They didn't realize how big it would be until...
"Before we knew it, she drove out in a Volkswagen," Gruber said.
After the taping, they were guided through an assembly line where they were handed iPads, coach purses, diamond earrings and more. With the Oprah Winfrey Show and Volkswagen taking care of the taxes, "I didn't have to pay a dime," Gruber said.
"The best way to explain it is every Christmas you ever had wrapped into one," she continued.
LeFebrve, a Wilkes-Barre native, came to celebrate with her friend Thursday, driving up in her own red Beetle. In addition to identical cars, LeFebrve's will bear a matching license plate - a Virginia version of TX OPRAH.
"It's far nicer than I ever imagined," she said.
Steve Ubaldini Jr., sales manager at Wyoming Valley Motors, said the arrival of Gruber's vehicle coincided with their launch of the new Volkswagen Beetle. About 274 were given away on the Oprah Winfrey Show, he said.
Winfrey gave away more than 40 of her "ultimate favorite things" on each of two shows. The host swore the audience members to secrecy until the show aired. Luckily for Gruber and LeFebrve, they only had to wait a few days before celebrating. Gruber said she watched the episode with family and friends and was touched by how excited they were for her.
"That was the greatest part, sharing it with my friends," Gruber said.
Woman on way to work helps deliver baby girl
Cindy Smith thought she had enough time to get to the hospital when she felt the first contractions Thursday morning.
Her daughter, not due for two weeks, thought differently.
The 6-pound, 3.3-ounce girl arrived in her parents' sport utility vehicle around 7:30 a.m. Thursday near West Kirmar Avenue in Nanticoke.
"I did not expect that," Smith, 26, said later that evening, resting in her room at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Plains Township. "It was insane."
The couple was driving to the hospital from their Glen Lyon home when Smith felt her water break. Rather than hunt for the cellphone in her bag - "I was a little busy, and he was having a heart attack," Smith said - her husband, Ryan Smith, pulled over to flag down a passersby.
As far as excuses for being late to work, Susan Pehala had one of the best.
"Tell Dave I'm going to be late, because I had to help deliver a baby," she recalled texting her co-worker after the baby arrived.
Pehala was driving to work at Genpact Mortgage Services in Wilkes-Barre when the Smiths passed her in their SUV. A few seconds later, she came upon Ryan Smith signalling frantically outside the vehicle, stopped near RK Furs on West Kirmar Avenue in Nanticoke.
The Wanamie resident and another man came to the couple's aid and called 911, but the baby wouldn't wait. It took just a few seconds for the little girl to come into the world, making noises and sporting a full head of dark brown hair, Pehala said.
"I don't think she had to push; the baby was just there," she said. "She was ready. She was ready to come into the world."
Smith said the couple's two older daughters, ages 8 and 4, were born under more conventional circumstances. While she didn't spend much time in labor with her older daughters, she at least made it to the hospital both times.
"I figured it would be fast ...but not like 10 seconds," she said. "This one's going to be my little troublemaker. She looks like her daddy, just like my other two."
The Smiths' new arrival will have to be a little patient for her name. Cindy Smith said she's thinking about calling her Cassandra, but isn't 100 percent set on it yet.
"I was asking her, but she didn't respond," she joked.
The Twin Towers before 9/11
In children’s book, local author explains what went on at World Trade Center before attacks.
Jordan Ramirez - Times Leader
Harriet Kipps, whose pen name is Grace B. Grimm, is a children’s book writer from Glen Lyon who penned a mystery novel in which children crime-solvers take a trip to the World Trade Center.
With the aid of local publisher Hug-A-Book, Inc., the author has donated more than 600 copies of this book to Tuesday’s Children: a non-profit service organization that is “dedicated to addressing the unmet needs of our 9/11 family members.”
Kipps has met one of those many needs in relaying a valuable message through her book, “Ginger and the ‘Big Apple’ Rescue.”
In the book, a group of classmates, forming the Super Volunteers Club, pay a visit to the Twin Towers. In vivid detail, Ginger, the book’s narrator, gives a description of the Towers and tells of their purpose as it were prior to 9/11.
The other chapters of the book chronicle the rest of the group’s trip around the Big Apple.
Many children are familiar with the tragedy that occurred 10 years ago but few are aware of what took place at the World Trade Center before it became Ground Zero. This is why Kipps says this book should be valued as a learning experience for children of lost loved ones.
“Ginger and the ‘Big Apple’ Rescue” is the eighth volume in Kipps’ mystery series that focuses on topics like prejudice, cultural enrichment, and the environment.
Being an active volunteer for many years, Kipps provides children with a list of ideas in the book so they can do their part in addressing environmental issues and more through volunteering.
Kipps has noted that when “someone does good things; it enhances their life.” Good deeds are not of a shortage in Kipps’ life. In fact, at the moment, reaching out to the children is her main priority.
“Ginger and the ‘Big Apple’ Rescue” is available for purchase through Hug-A-Book Inc., P.O. Box 111, Glen Lyon, PA, 18617-0111 for $14.95. It is also available to donate to a child via harrietclydekipps.com
Drug task force arrests two people; seize large amount of heroin
Agents with the Luzerne County Drug Task Force and police in Hanover and Newport townships seized more than $16,000 worth of heroin while arresting two people Sunday night.
Luzerne County Drug Task Force seized 801 heroin packets, 15 grams of crack and $816 from a residence on Arch Street, Newport Township.
James View Jr., 39, of Arch Street, and Melissa Doran, 26, of Rock Street, were arrested after agents and police executed a search warrant at View’s residence just before 8 p.m.
Agents allegedly found 801 heroin packets, 15 grams of crack, $816, and numerous contraband inside the residence with help from Hanover Township’s canine Ado.
Authorities said the illegal drugs were being sold in Hanover Township, Nanticoke and Newport Township.
View was charged with two counts each of possession of a controlled substance and possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance.
Doran was charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and delivery of a controlled substance.
View and Doran were arraigned by District Judge Joseph Halesey in Hanover Township and jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $25,000 bail each.
Saddest day recalled
College President Leary praises those who devote their lives to being first responders.
Camille Fioti - Times Leader
A gigantic American flag, suspended high in the air by two ladder trucks, flapped gently above the entrance of Luzerne County Community College’s Regional Public Safety Training Center on Saturday.
Led by bagpipes and drums, a long procession of local first responders and members of the community made its way to the site of a new monument marking the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
At the front of the procession, a piece of steel from the World Trade Center was carried on a gurney to the monument -- a concrete replica of the twin towers. Bagpipe strains of “God Bless America” played as members of Boy Scout Troop #418 assisted in peeling back an American flag to unveil the artifact, which was then hoisted into its permanent home between the two “towers”.
As time passes, we have learned to live again, laugh again, and love again,” said college President Tom Leary.
He commended people who choose careers in the emergency services field. “They’ve dedicated their lives to each of us,” he said. “They know what it’s like to risk it all for another. We’ve seen this happen over and over again on 9/11.”
The force of terrorism, as well as the force of nature, have only strengthened us, Leary said, as he thanked the first responders and volunteers who helped the victims of last week’s flooding.
“The response from our service people was the same,” he said. “They were stepping up to help each other.”
Susan Porter Allen, a student at LCCC, sang the national anthem, and “Hold My Hand,” a song she wrote in honor of her nephew, who served in Afghanistan and became a triple amputee after being a victim of an IED.
Phyllis Carlo of Newport Township presented a wreath in honor of all first responders and her son, Michael Scott Carlo, a New York firefighter with Engine #230 in Brooklyn who was killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11. He was 34. “He lived life to the fullest,” she said of her son.
Wearing a necklace with a photo of Michael in his uniform, Carlo said her son had always wanted to be a firefighter, and followed in his older brother Robert’s footsteps. “They were both working that day,” she said.
Robert, who was with a fire department in Harlem, was on his way to the World Trade Center that day, but was told to turn around and cover a station for firefighters who were dispatched to the scene.
County Commissioner Stephen Urban recalled the crystal blue sky on that tragic day 10 years ago. “Beauty was in the air as thousands awoke, but beauty would not remain.”
Urban said the tragedy affected him personally as he spoke about his friend’s wife, who was killed in the Pentagon that day.
“Remember the victims and remember their families,” Urban told the crowd. “And as you leave here today, never forget them, and God Bless America.”
No closure for grieving mother
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens Voice
For Phyllis Carlo, there is no closure.
Not 10 years later. Not because Osama bin Laden was finally killed. Not ever.
"I don't think there's ever closure," Carlo said recently. "My son won't be coming home."
Carlo's emotional wounds are still as raw as when she saw the World Trade Center towers crash down while watching television at her Newport Township home the morning of Sept. 11.
"When I saw the towers fall, I fell," Carlo, 75, said. "I knew I lost him."
Indeed, her worst fears came true. Her youngest son, Michael Carlo, 34, a firefighter from Engine Co. 230 in Brooklyn, N.Y., was killed in the attacks.
"It's as fresh as it was 10 years ago. It doesn't change. It hasn't changed for me," Carlo said. "I'm still back 10 years ago. I know I'm older, but it seems like yesterday."
Despite never recovering any of Michael's remains, two months after Sept. 11, the family held a memorial service for him in the Whitestone neighborhood of Queens, N.Y., where he lived.
"We never found anything. We never got anything. Nothing," Carlo said.
As far as she's concerned, rubble from the World Trade Center is her son's remains. She keeps a piece of concrete, a shard of glass, and a piece of steel shaped like a cross on a shrine dedicated to Michael at her home.
"That's where Michael is," Carlo said.
Carlo was born and raised in Newport Township's Wanamie section before moving to New York City for work.
She raised Michael and her other son, Robert, in the city while working for an airlines company. Upon retirement in 1991, she moved back to Wanamie.
Robert, 48, joined the FDNY first, prompting Michael to follow in his older brother's footsteps, Carlo said.
On Sept. 11, she said she worried about Robert first because his engine company was based in Manhattan. Robert survived, but spent weeks scouring the rubble where his brother and colleagues lie.
Neither man was supposed to be working that day, Carlo says.
The brothers were leaving for vacation Sept. 12 to the British Virgin Islands, where they hoped to earn their captain's certificates in sailing. They initially planned to take off work on Sept. 11, but decided to work and tack on the extra vacation day at the end of their week off.
"I didn't know if they had the day off," Carlo recalled. "I saw it on television and I immediately called them. I was hoping they went on vacation."
| Carlo was planning to go to New York City for Sept. 11 to attend a Mass for victims families at St. Patrick's Cathedral and then spend the day at Engine Co. 230 with Michael's firefighter brethren.
But then she was invited to Luzerne County Community College for a Sept. 11 remembrance ceremony at the Public Safety Training Center in Nanticoke. She will participate in a wreath presentation at the Walk of Honor, where a piece of steel from the World Trade Center will be unveiled. Nearly $20,000 from a victims compensation fund was directed to the college in Michael's name to help with the launch of the training center. A monument etched with Michael's photo is located along the Walk of Honor.
"They dedicated it to Michael, in his memory," Carlo said.
Bikers ride for girls with cerebral palsy
When Desara Adams heard a group of strangers wanted to hold a benefit to help her daughter who has cerebral palsy, she didn't know what to expect.
Maybe a little gathering to help raise some money, she thought.
Not when the group hosting the benefit is Valley with a Heart Benefits. They do it big, and few do it better.
On Sunday, Valley with a Heart hosted its 11th annual benefit motorcycle ride and family picnic at the Holy Child Grove in the Sheatown section of Newport Township. More than 375 motorcyclists participated in the ride and, by the end of the day, more than 1,500 people were expected to attend the picnic.
"I didn't think it was going to be this big," Adams, 41, of Shickshinny Lake, said. "Bikers have big hearts."
Adams' daughter, Tara, 10, was one of the two sponsor children for this year's benefit. The other ailing child is Lexie Lamoreaux, 4, of Hunlock Creek.
After all, the organization's slogan is, "We do it for kids."
Adams said her daughter can't walk and uses a wheelchair to get around. Adams said she has to take the wheelchair apart each time they go in her car because it doesn't fit. That's time consuming and also puts wear and tear on the expensive wheelchair, Adams said.
She said she was looking for state assistance, but was having little luck. Then, she said, she talked to some people who talked to some people who knew some people at Valley with a Heart. Her daughter's story was eventually relayed to members of the organization, who stepped forward to help Adams. They plan to get her a trailer to pull the wheelchair behind her car.
Often, that's how the process goes - Valley with a Heart helping kids they barely know.
"I can't describe it in words. From the bottom of my heart, I don't know how they do this," Adams said. "It's a miracle what they do for kids."
The picnic features 12 bands on two stages from the completion of the ride until 11 p.m. There's plenty of food, games, raffles, vendors and beer on tap. Fireworks are at 8:30 p.m. Proceeds from the event go to help the sponsor children, along with other kids throughout the year.
"They're angels for the kids who don't have a voice," said Lexie's grandmother Kathleen Lamoreaux, of Hunlock Creek.
Lexie, the other sponsor child, also has cerebral palsy and is unable to talk or walk.
"Everybody comes here for the kids," Lloyd Lamoreaux Sr., Lexie's grandfather, said of the large crowd.
Rick Temarantz, president of Valley with a Heart Benefits, said Sunday's event was another success for the annual outing first held in the summer of 2001.
"When we did the first one, I never thought it'd get to this point," Temarantz said.
Temarantz noted it takes months of planning to pull off the event.
"This is a one day event for most people, but not us," Temarantz said. "I got a good core group of people."
Bill targets thefts from cemeteries
State Rep. Mullery introduces legislation that would increase penalty for crimes.
Standing in one of the cemeteries where veterans’ grave markers were stolen in April, state Rep. Gerald Mullery was optimistic Monday that his legislation to increase penalties for thefts from burial grounds will become law.
“I hope the harsher penalties will act as a deterrent,” Mullery said from St. Adalbert’s Cemetery just outside of Glen Lyon.
More than 150 veterans’ grave markers were discovered stolen from St. Adalbert’s, St. Michaels and the Italian Independent Cemetery in April.
Mullery introduced two bills on Aug. 10.
House Bill 1809 is drafted to make it a third-degree felony involving a theft of property from a cemetery, which has the potential of seven years in prison upon conviction. The bill has 67 co-sponsors and is currently before the House Judiciary Committee.
Mullery’s second measure, House Bill 1810, with 30 co-sponsors, will amend the Scrap Material Theft Prevention Act by increasing the grading of a first violation from a summary offense to a third-degree misdemeanor for scrap metal dealers accepting property stolen from cemeteries. A second and subsequent violation would be a second-degree misdemeanor.
The first-term Democratic representative from Newport Township hopes the two bills will pass the state House and Senate later this year.
Luzerne County District Attorney Jackie Musto Carroll and Pennsylvania Army National Guard Staff Sgt. James Horning joined Mullery at the announcement.
Horning, of Shickshinny, and a team of recruits called area American Legion posts looking for replacement markers after hearing about the thefts earlier this year. The Nanticoke American Legion donated 150 American flags to replace those left lying on the ground.
It took Horning and his recruits about two weeks to gather and replace the markers at veterans’ burial sites in the three cemeteries.
Len Donczowski, 78, a retired U.S. Marine who fought in the Korean War, said he is grateful for Horning’s efforts and welcomes stiffer penalties.
“No one ever touched this place until this year,” Donczowski said. “People who steal from veterans’ graves have no respect.”
Musto Carroll said the legislation, if it becomes law, would help prosecutors seek harsher penalties for defendants convicted of stealing property from cemeteries.
“It is extremely important to have this in our arsenal of tools for prosecutors,” Musto Carroll said.
Mullery said his legislation does not mandate scrap yard dealers to call authorities when someone offers to sell veterans grave markers, although that could be added by amendment.
Recently, a U.S. Marine came home from Afghanistan. He is Lieutenant Corporal Jason Zaborney Jr. from Wanamie.
He arrived home at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton airport to well deserved hero's welcome. Family, friends and also travelers awaiting departure welcomed him home with open arms. He was then honored to a parade in Nanticoke city and his hometown of Newport Township.
I would like to thank all who participated including the Nanticoke Fire Department, Newport Township Fire and Rescue and also Newport Township Ambulance.
With all of the heartache in the world today and constant articles about our military being wounded or worse, it was wonderful to see a community come together to honor one of our own in a way well deserved.
Jason will be home for the next two weeks and more homecoming plans are in the works.
We can all only hope this small gesture shows our military how much we here in the U.S. are truly behind all they do for us and what they stand for.
Kathleen Peters - Alden
Rescuers dogs’ best friends
2 pooches saved in Newport Twp. fire
Firefighters rescued two dogs from a fire that struck a home at 4 Apple St. Thursday morning.
Newport Township Fire Chief James Hoffman said firefighters were able to quickly locate Queeny, who was downstairs. Sasha was found hiding under a bed in an upstairs bedroom, he said.
Newport Township Fire Chief James Hoffman said the fire was started by a pot of food that was left on a stove. Police officers who were first on scene put out the blaze with a fire extinguisher, helping to reduce damage to the home, he said.
Kelly Gower, who lived at the home with her boyfriend and three children, said she had just left with the children to drive her boyfriend to work.
“I got a call from my landlord. He wanted to make sure me and the kids weren’t in the house,” Gower said. “He said a neighbor just called and said the house was on fire.”
One of the family’s two dogs, a 13-year-old mixed breed named Queeny, was already outside the house when Gower arrived on scene. The second dog, Sasha, a Yorkshire Terrier who is less than a year old, was brought to her by a firefighter.
“Oh my God,” Gower exclaimed as the firefighter handed her the puppy, whose fur was covered with light soot.
Gower cuddled the dog as an emergency worker wrapped the dog in a blanket and gave it water from a water bottle.
Hoffman said firefighters encountered heavy smoke when they got on scene at around 9:45 a.m. They were able to quickly locate Queeny, who was downstairs. Sasha was found hiding under a bed in an upstairs bedroom, he said.
The home sustained water damage in the kitchen and smoke damage to the remainder of the structure.
“Fortunately the family didn’t lose any pets,” Hoffman said.
Humane officers remove dogs, cat from Glen Lyon vacant apartment
Humane officers with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Luzerne County removed eight dogs and a cat from a vacant apartment building on East Main Street Friday morning.
The animals appeared to be in good health when they were brought out of the apartment around 8:30 a.m.
The owner of the animals was evicted from the apartment and left them behind with a sign in the window stating "Be back for rest and pets later."
Robert Smith, a neighbor, said he had been watching the apartment knowing the animals were inside. When he looked in a window on Wednesday, he noticed there was no food or water for the dogs and cat.
"For seven days, they didn't have no food or water," Smith said. "I've been watching the house and didn't see anyone return."
Smith propped open a window and dropped a bowl of water inside for the dogs. He spent his own money for dog food that he gave to the animals.
"They were hungry, they were like vultures," Smith said.
Smith and other neighbors sought donations and raised $112 in two days, which was used to buy eight bags of dog food.
"The community was great, I can't say enough about the community and for the SPCA," Smith said.
The dogs and cat were placed in cages and transported to the SPCA in Plains Township.
Parish memories are not forgotten
Marie Idah Margalis worries that St. Mary’s will be forgotten by many.
It towers over a tidy enclave of homes ensconced by trees, an abandoned house of memories that Marie Idah Margalis fears has been forgotten.
“My grandfather was the one who went to the bishop with the money to buy the land for that church,” Margalis said of the imposing St. Mary’s building
That would have been Diocese of Scranton Bishop Michael Hoban, who approved the establishment of the Lithuanian parish in 1901. The congregation set up initially in an old Methodist Church, then spent $47,000 to build and furnish the structure that now sits empty on the corner of Vandermark and Belles streets.
Margalis is not bitter that her lifetime parish closed. She made the transition to St. Adalbert’s in Glen Lyon, though at the age of 81 she frets about falling when walking in that church’s hillier setting.
But she is worried that the way St. Mary’s closed – with few outside the parish aware it was happening – means few will remember its passing, or the impact it had for more than a century.
“I sang in the choir from age 8,” she recalled. “We had festivals, and I took care of the choir stand. The first year, we made poodles out of toilet paper rolls and hangers.” She laughs at the thought. “We wrapped yarn around it for ears and a tail, and used toilet paper rolls for legs.”
She later made dolls with Styrofoam forms, fashioning skirts with feathers. She helped roll dough for pierogies. Her mother helped run the bingo games. The yearly events proved so prosperous that one pastor decided to build permanent booths along two sides of the parking lot where the gatherings were staged. Those booths still stand, an open-air shrine to a community spirit that made so many festivals a success.
That community meant so much to Margalis that she retained her membership and activities at St. Mary’s after she and her husband moved over the mountain to Lily Lake in 1987.
When Margalis tells a tale, St. Mary’s is inevitably linked by some tangent. The grandfather who helped found the parish migrated from Lithuania and worked in the mines. Fearing an ill fate in that profession, he switched to above-ground quarry work nearby. In 1909, he died in an explosion at the quarry.
She met her husband after he became a police officer stationed in the township section known as Wanamie, in a building next to a store run by Margalis’ mother.
“He used to walk in and buy cigarettes,” Margalis said, another laugh bubbling up. “Our courtship was done over the counter!”
They married in St. Mary’s in 1953, but her husband died last Thanksgiving. “We made it to our 50th anniversary, but not to the 60th,” she said. The memory is fresh; the tears quick.
With St. Mary’s closed only months earlier, her husband’s funeral was held in Glen Lyon.
“He was born and raised in Glen Lyon, so it wasn’t that bad for him, but for me it was,” she said.
Though St. Mary’s was closed, its cemetery is still in use, with ample room. Margalis’ husband was buried there.
These are the small reverberations of a church closing: An event anticipated for decades moved to an unexpected locale: a burial at a church cemetery when the church doesn’t exist; a frailty exposed by a subtle change in terrain at the new church.
Yet Margalis remains faithful. While “it’s hard to lose your own church,” she accepts that churches needed to close as the population shifted and the number of priests dwindled.
What she doesn’t get is the process used to select the churches that closed.
“Nobody has been able to explain it to me, not even those who went to the meetings” where the decisions were discussed.
“If you could point it out, tell me this one has this, and this is the reason, OK. I could go along with that. I’m an understanding person, but when nobody can tell me why … .” The thought trails off.
And, in a way, she will return to St. Mary’s regardless of the closing. She has a burial plot at the church cemetery.
“My name’s on the monument,” Margolis aid. “So that’s where I’m going to be.”
2 Glen Lyon teens show they care about cancer
Girls host benefit walk for breast cancer awareness.
Two area teenagers showed maturity beyond their years Saturday, organizing a charity walk to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
Sarina Kinlaw, 14, and Krystal Daniele, 13, both of Glen Lyon, hosted the first ever “We Do Care” Walk for Breast Cancer Saturday morning in the Wanamie section of Newport Township.
Kinlaw said she wanted to raise awareness of the disease after her grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago.
“My grandma was always sick,” she said. “I knew how much pain she was in, and how much her treatments cost, and some people around here, they can’t pay for that.”
“We found out that there’s a lot more breast cancer around here than we ever thought there would have been,” said Daniele, adding that in preparing for the walk she learned many of her friends had family members who had breast cancer.
The girls, both students at Greater Nanticoke Area Education Center in Nanticoke, said organizing the walk provided a lesson in maturity.
“We had to go to board meetings. We had to get it all approved. We had to put fliers up everywhere. We had to get people to come,” Kinlaw said.
They also made dozens of pink ribbons and collected more than $600 from local businesses prior to the event.
“I’m really proud of her,” said Krystal’s mother Jayme Daniele. “For two teens to come up with something this big; it’s pretty impressive.”
“It’s unheard of,” said Newport Township Commissioner Jack Vishnefski before the walk. “It’s kind of what we need more of in this world.”
A few dozen participants set off from the Newport Township Recreation Park around 10 a.m., and made two laps of a course around Wanamie, from Center Street to Vandermark Street to West Main Street, leading back to Center Street – four miles in all.
Volunteers also sold hotdogs and a DJ performed.
“I’m glad they grabbed the bull by the horns and started this down here. Communities don’t do enough things like this,” said Tom Kashatus, president of the Newport Township Community Organization.
Soldier who replaced stolen grave markers to receive honor
As Staff Sgt. James Horning walks past the graves adorned with U.S. flags, he speaks of the military as being one big family.
"We have to look out for each other," Horning says. "Even in death."
Few have lived up to those words as this Pennsylvania Army National Guard recruiter from Shickshinny.
When he heard last month that thieves raided three adjoining Glen Lyon cemeteries of 125 brass grave markers, the 36-year-old vowed to right the wrong committed against so many U.S. military veterans at their final resting place. For more than a week, Horning tirelessly canvassed area veterans halls for replacement markers and found a new one for each and every disturbed grave.
"I saw it in the paper. It was titled 'Heartless.' I was at a loss. I couldn't believe what I was reading. I believed I had a responsibility to have them replaced," Horning recalls. "With Memorial Day approaching, I wanted to make sure the job was done."
This Memorial Day, those who come to St. Adalbert's, St. Michael's and Italian Independent cemeteries on the outskirts of Glen Lyon to pay their respects will see the fruits of Horning's work - markers at each veteran's grave, each adorned with a new flag.
"It looks fantastic," Horning said while meeting a reporter and photographer at St. Adalbert's Cemetery last week.
"It would have been disgraceful if they weren't replaced. It would have hurt the families and it would have hurt the military," said Horning, a recruiter based out of the Nanticoke branch of the 109th Field Artillery. "We feel like this mission was accomplished. We turned a bad thing into a good thing."
All of the stolen markers were made of brass, which thieves often try to sell for scrap metal. Horning's collection of replacements included brass and the newer ones made of bronze and aluminum.
Newport Township police are still investigating the case.
Horning's work is going to get him some accolades today. State Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Newport Township, plans to award Horning with a citation lauding his efforts at a ceremony at the Glen Lyon American Legion.
"I'm humbled by it. I wasn't expecting it, but I definitely appreciate it," Horning said.
Meanwhile, Mullery said he is co-sponsoring legislation to increase the fines and possible jail time for those to steal metal in attempt to sell it for scarp.
While thieves stole the markers, Horning believes that, in the end, they could never steal a veteran's honor, dignity and respect. That's a message Horning hopes continues to be championed by future generations of veterans.
"When I am laid to rest one day, I'd hope if something this disgraceful happened to my grave, someone would do this for me," Horning said.
Pennsylvania Army National Guard Staff Sgt. James Horning, 36, of Shickshinny, will be honored at 9 a.m. today at the American Legion in Glen Lyon by state Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Newport Township, for his role in replacing 125 brass grave markers that were stolen from three cemeteries in Glen Lyon.
Mission of honor accomplished
When Staff Sgt. James Horning of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard heard 150 veterans’ grave markers were stolen from three cemeteries two weeks ago, it was a call to action.
“I felt like I had to do something about it,” Horning, a recruiter with the 109th Field Artillery in Nanticoke, said. “This is my area; I’m in charge of the recruits in this area.”
Saturday, Horning accomplished his mission, replacing each stolen brass marker with a new one culled from area American Legion and VFW posts.
“These markers represent much more than just a piece of brass,” Horning said, addressing a crowd of relatives whose loved ones’ markers were taken. “They represent an eternity of remembrance for these veterans who have served our great nation… Although these markers were stolen, no one can ever steal the honor, dignity and respect that our veterans have earned. It will stay with them forever.”
Cemetery officials discovered last week that thieves had pilfered the markers from three adjoining cemeteries in Glen Lyon: St. Adalbert’s, St. Michael’s and Italian Independent. Brass markers are sometimes taken for their scrap metal value.
“It’s a great thing that he’s doing,” cemetery caretaker Joe Hillan said. “There’s no way we would have had these replaced by Memorial Day without his help.”
Horning, 36, of Shickshinny, and a team of recruits from his post called area American Legions looking for replacement holders, which vary in design by war, and by the end of the week had collected all but a handful, which he tracked down at a VFW in Harrisburg. The Nanticoke American Legion also donated 150 American flags to replace those left lying in the mud after the theft of the markers.
The crowd that gathered Saturday was appreciative of Horning’s work, even if the thefts still left a sour taste in their mouths.
“I’m so happy that they’re replacing them,” said Dorothy Tarnowski, of Glen Lyon, who first reported the thefts after she discovered her cousin’s marker missing. “It’s what I hoped would happen.”
Janine Floryshak of Glen Lyon had tears in her eyes as she replaced the marker on her cousin, Brian Patton’s grave. Patton was killed while on active duty in Kuwait two years ago.
“To get killed in the line of duty and then someone steals your marker,” she said incredulously.
State Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Newport Township, turned out to the event to pay his respects to the families gathered at the cemetery and to support Horning.
Mullery said constituents have contacted him about the theft and that his staff is now studying the state’s power to increase penalties for theft of veteran’s markers and to implement a monitoring system at scrap yards to prevent them from accepting the markers.
“If there is something that can be done on both issues I will introduce legislation on both of those issues,” Mullery said, adding that he plans to introduce a resolution honoring Horning’s efforts in the House soon.
Army sergeant on mission to replace stolen grave markers
When he heard thieves raided three Glen Lyon cemeteries of veterans' grave markers, Staff Sgt. James Horning vowed to replace the cherished U.S. flag holders.
After a long weekend of canvassing veteran halls and social clubs, the mission is almost complete.
Horning, a Pennsylvania Army National Guard recruiter with the 109th Field Artillery in Nanticoke, has amassed replacements for all but 20 of the 125 grave markers stolen. He plans to have his project finished by Saturday when he will hold a ceremony at the cemeteries to return flag holders to each of the disturbed graves.
"The respect was stolen from these people and we'll be there to give it back," Horning said.
"Right now this is my mission."
Horning, 36, of Shickshinny, invited the families and friends of the affected veterans to attend and offered them the chance to personally stake the replacement grave marker at their loved one's gravesite.
The ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. at St. Adalbert's Cemetery, which adjoins the other two cemeteries on the outskirts of Glen Lyon.
A 1993 graduate of Greater Nanticoke Area High School, Horning said he was shocked and saddened to read about the thefts last week and felt compelled to help.
Over the weekend, Horning called and visited more than 20 America Legion and Veterans of Foreign War posts, seeking replacement markers. He was able to obtain replacements for all missing markers of veterans of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. He even tracked down a marker for a Civil War veteran whose flag holder was swiped.
Finding replacements for World War I markers proved to be the most challenging. He found replacements for 35 of the 55 stolen and remains about 20 short. Those with World War I markers can contact him at 570-592-8652.
All of the stolen markers were made of brass, which thieves often try to sell for scrap metal. Horning's collection of replacements, which are stored at the 109th armory in Nanticoke, includes brass and the newer ones made of bronze and aluminum. He also obtained 150 new U.S. flags donated by the American Legion post in Nantricoke.
Horning thanked all the veterans groups who helped as well as his two new recruits, Greater Nanticoke Area seniors Angelique Lopez, 17, and Katelyn Harrison, 18, who worked with him on the project through the weekend.
It was a daunting task on short notice, but Horning said he felt a need to undo the harm and disrespect caused to those who served the country.
"Once I set my mind to it, I was going to make it happen," Horning said.
Newport Township police continue to investigate the thefts. Anyone with information should call Newport Township police at 570-735-2000.
Family and friends of veterans whose grave markers were stolen from St. Adalbert's, St. Michael's and Italian Independent cemeteries in Glen Lyon are invited to attend a ceremony Saturday at 1 p.m. to celebrate the replacement of the missing flag holders.
Pennsylvania Army National Guard Staff Sgt. James Horning, who canvassed the area for replacement markers over the weekend, is still looking for about 20 World War I markers. Those with World War I markers can contact him at 570-592-8652.
Brass markers stolen from local soldiers' graves
When Dorothy Tarnowski recently went to pay her respects at the graves of her uncle and cousins in St. Adalbert's Cemetery, she had no idea she'd uncover a widespread and disheartening crime.
The brass flag holders dedicated to honor their military service were gone. The U.S. flags that proudly marked their graves were discarded on the ground behind a shared tombstone. It was the ultimate disrespect to her uncle, World War I veteran Adam Chmielewski, and his sons, Adam and Theodore, both veterans of World War II.
After the 78-year-old reported the missing grave markers, cemetery officials soon learned that more than 125 markers were stolen from three adjoining cemeteries on the outskirts of Glen Lyon - St. Adalbert's, St. Michael's and Italian Independent.
"I don't understand why they would steal things off cemeteries, It's awful," Tarnowski, of Glen Lyon, said. "I feel bad. They all served their time."
Police and cemetery officials believe the thieves methodically stole the brass flag holders over the winter months with hopes of cashing them in for scrap metal.
Many of the markers had been in place for nearly 100 years, adorned with a new flag each Memorial Day.
"I could not believe it that someone would rob from the dead," said Joe Hillan, cemetery caretaker.
There are approximately 400 veterans' graves in the three cemeteries, so many graves were undisturbed.
"It's odd. They took some and left some. I guess they didn't want to make it obvious they were all gone in one section," Hillan said. "In the fall, they were all here."
The thieves mainly targeted the old, brass flag holders, which are worth much more than the brass and aluminum holders used in recent years, Hillan said.
The Rev. Tony Generose, of the Holy Spirit Parish community, said he was troubled by the thefts at the cemeteries. The Glen Lyon church formerly known as St. Adalbert's is part of the parish community.
"Cemeteries are probably the most sacred of places because of the beloved memory of dear loved ones. We hope their memories could be preserved in beautiful ways. Something like this is scandalous," Generose said.
Newport Township police Chief Rob Impaglia urged anyone with information to contact police.
"There are a lot of markers taken. I think they were taken little by little and they just discovered them missing," Impaglia said. "I'm upset about it. You have military people who died and people steal off their graves. It's as bad as you can get."
Anyone with information should call Newport Township police at 570-735-2000.
Newport Township police are asking the public's help in investigating a rash of recent break-ins.
Residences on Newport and Rock streets in the township's Glen Lyon section and West Main Avenue in the Wanamie section have been targeted in the burglary spree, as was Corpus Christi/St. Adalbert's Church on Market Street in Glen Lyon, said Newport Township police Chief Rob Impaglia.
Impaglia believes the crimes are connected because they have "similar qualities." The suspect appears to be targeting the homes of people who live alone and were at work, he said.
"They might be scouting out these houses, watching and waiting for the people to leave," Impaglia said.
At one of the homes, more than 200 DVDs, a flat-screen television, and a surround-sound system were stolen. Cash, jewelry, prescription medication and tools were stolen in the others, Impaglia said.
Nothing was reported missing from the church.
Impaglia asked neighbors to report suspicious activity to police.
Those with information about the burglary spree are being asked to call police at 570-735-2000.
Newport Twp. appoints new police chief
Newport Township reorganizes every other year, and although the next reorganization is set for 2012, the commissioners did appoint a new fire chief during Monday's meeting.
James Hoffman, of the Glen Lyon Hose Co., will take a two-year term as chief, according to commissioner chairman Paul Czapracki.
Hose companies in the Newport Township Fire Department, currently Glen Lyon and Wanamie, take turns providing a chief, who is suggested by firefighters and approved by the commissioners.
Hoffman replaces Dan Kowalski, who was from the former Alden Hose Co.
Steve Phillips was also reappointed to a five-year term on the Newport Township Association, as his term expired.
Also during the meeting, a three-year agreement, with an optional two-year extension, was approved with the Newport Engine Drivers Association.
All township employees not covered by a contract will receive a three-percent raise, effective the first payroll of the year.
On Wednesday, commissioners will hold a public meeting at 6 p.m. in the community room of the new St. Stanislaus Apartments, Old Newport Street, Sheatown, where the Diocese of Scranton, Catholic Social Services and NDC Real Estate Management Inc. will be available to answer questions from the public concerning the apartments and rental rates, along with provide a tour