2021 Newport News
Potassium iodide tablets available to residents within 10 miles of Susquehanna nuke plant
Staff Report – Times Leader
The Susquehanna Steam Electric Station is seen in a file photo. The Pennsylvania Department of Health announced will be providing free potassium iodide tablets to state residents living within 10 miles of any of the state’s four nuclear power plants. Distribution is set for Thursday at three locations in our area.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health will provide free potassium iodide tablets to state residents living within 10 miles of any of the state’s four nuclear power plants.
In Luzerne County, residents within 10 miles of the Susquehanna Steam Electric Station in Salem Township will be able to obtain the tablets on Thursday at one of three locations.
The locations are:
• Luzerne County Community College — Public Safety Center, 1333 South Prospect St., Nanticoke, PA 18634;
• Butler Township Community Center, 411 West Butler Dr., Drums, PA 18222;
• Salvation Army Community Corps Building, 320 W. 2nd St., Berwick, PA 18603.
The distributions will be held from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday.
“Emergency preparedness is an important aspect of public health and having potassium iodide tablets for residents who live or work within 10 miles of a nuclear facility is an essential preparedness action in the case of a radiological emergency,” said Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam.
“It’s important to remember potassium iodide should only be taken when instructed to do so by state health officials or the governor, and it is not a substitute for evacuation in the case of a radiological emergency at one of Pennsylvania’s nuclear facilities.”
Potassium iodide tablets protect the thyroid gland against harmful radioactive iodine, and can be taken by anyone provided they aren’t allergic to it. Individuals who are unsure if they should take potassium iodide should ask a health care provider first.
The other active nuclear plants in Pennsylvana include Beaver Valley Power Station, Limerick Generating Station and Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station.
Tablets are not necessary for those working or living within 10 miles of Three Mile Island Generating Station, which closed in September of 2019.
Additional information about the potassium iodide tablets and nuclear power plant safety can be found on the Department of Health’s website.
Consultant: ATV and recreation park in Newport, Mocanaqua would boost region
Bob Kalinowski – Citizens Voice
A proposed massive recreation park for all-terrain-vehicle riding and other activities in the South Valley of Luzerne County could be and would be an economic boon to the region, a consultant said Wednesday while announcing progress on the project feasibility study.
As it stands now, organizers are seeking to create a 10,000-acre “adventure park” that encompasses much of the wooded land of the Mocanaqua section of Conyngham Twp. and Newport Twp. to near the border of Nanticoke City.
“A lot of this area is already used by ATV riders,” said Terence Ostrowski, president and CEO of the nonprofit Earth Conservancy, which spearheaded the study.
Much of the proposed land for the park is owned by the state and Earth Conservancy.
Dozens of people attended a meeting Wednesday at Luzerne County Community College to hear the update on the park.
Jim Laird, a landscape architect who is the project’s consultant, envisioned people traveling hundreds of miles to enjoy the park.
Parts of the 10,000 acres already have “world class” rock climbing opportunities, Laird said.
He said the park would be available for ATV riding, hiking trails, biking, and even zip lines. There could be go-cart tracks, a paintball area and areas for archery. Some suggested a rifle range for target practice. Organizers also have campgrounds envisioned.
People visiting would spend money in the region and new businesses would certainly sprout up, Laird said.
Something like this isn’t a new concept and areas that have built such parks have thrived, Laird said.
A smaller park in Northumberland County has become “the lifeblood for the City of Shamokin” as the trails lead people into the city to shop and patronize businesses, Laird said.
Because some heavily populated areas would be in the middle of the park, like Newport Twp.’s Glen Lyon section, sufficient “buffer” areas would be created to keep park-users away, Laird said.
Finding a developer — whether government, private, or a public-private partnership — is the greatest challenge, but it’s definitely possible, Laird said.
No matter, should a park be built, it will be heavily regulated with strict enforcement, Laird said.
Mullery announces over $3.5M in state funding for several local improvement projects
Rep. Gerald Mullery July 20, 2021 | 11:58 AM
NANTICOKE, July 20 – State Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Luzerne, today announced $3,531,383 in grant money has been awarded to several critical community and economic development projects within the 119th Legislative District. The funding was approved by the Commonwealth Financing Authority through the Luzerne County Local Share Account program.
“The past year and a half has created numerous challenges for our school districts and our communities to overcome, and this crucial funding will allow our municipalities and local organizations to undertake important projects that will revitalize and strengthen the local economy and improve the health and safety of those who live and visit our great area,” Mullery said.
Mullery said the grants include:
2019 LSA Grants:
• Plymouth Borough - $366,666 to repair stormwater infrastructure and install streetscape and pedestrian safety improvements on Main Street.
• Nuangola Borough - $115,753 to improve approximately 0.5 miles of roadway along Nuangola Avenue.
• Rice Township - $200,000 to repair 15 municipal roadways.
• Wright Township - $182,412 to resurface deteriorating roads and improve stormwater drainage problems in Maplewood development.
• Dennison Township - $64,500 to renovate two restrooms in the municipal building to make them ADA compliant.
• Newport Township - $250,000 for the acquisition and demolition of blighted properties throughout the township currently held by the County Repository or under private ownership.
• Newport Township - $72,830 to purchase a dump truck with snowplow attachments.
• Newport Township - $80,000 to purchase a new police-rated Ford F-150 truck equipped with a law enforcement package, including communication tools, illumination, and a license plate reader to allow for patrolling of wooded areas.
2020 LSA Grants:
• Nanticoke City - $650,000 for the Greater Nanticoke Area School District to construct a turf field and artificial track for use by GNASD and Luzerne County Community College.
• Nanticoke City - $500,000 for the demolition of the former Ellis building.
• Hanover Township - $15,371 to purchase a screener for the Leaf and Yard Waste Compost Facility located in Newport Township, Luzerne County, and serving Earth Conservancy and the member municipalities of the Lower South Valley Council of Governments.
• Nuangola Borough - $126,000 to improve approximately 0.5 miles of roadway along Nuangola Avenue.
• Rice Township - $360,172 to repair 15 municipal roadways.
• Wright Township - $200,000 to remediate deteriorated roadway infrastructure in the Deerfield development.
• Slocum Township - $125,000 for renovations and upgrades to the municipal park on Schmid Road in Wapwallopen.
• Sugar Notch Borough - $112,186 to purchase two vehicles to support the Police Department and Road/Building & Grounds departments.
• Warrior Run Borough - $110,493 for the purchase of replacement skid steer and excavator machines.
The Local Share Account includes funds from casinos located in host or contiguous counties and are distributed by the Department of Community and Economic Development within Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration. The grants are designed to fund economic development, job training, community improvement and public interest projects.
Widow of Glen Lyon veteran surprised with gift of husband’s replaced medals
Posted: Jun 13, 2021 / 06:22 PM EDT / Updated: Jun 14, 2021 / 12:15 PM EDT
GLEN LYON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Joseph Scanlon died in 1981, never mentioning the details of his service during World War II or the Korean War to his family. His medals were lost in a house fire in 1964.
Sunday the Glen Lyon VFW and his children surprised his widow with replacement medals.
“I almost fainted. Really. It was really a big surprise,” Scanlon’s widow, Sylvia, said.
Sylvia Scanlon thought she was going to a small get-together on Sunday afternoon. She never expected it to be for her. Her children, friends, and volunteers part of the Glen Lyon VFW gathered to give Scanlon her husband’s medals he earned during service.
“He had some but I’ve never saw them and he never really wore them,” Sylvia said.
The original medals were lost in a house fire in 1964.
“He didn’t talk about any of the battles, he didn’t talk about any of his service. My mom actually didn’t know he saw any action overseas,” daughter April Gromen said.
Gromen was shocked to learn about the medals her father earned. She met John Wildes, who explained their significance to her, and suggested a ceremony to honor Joseph.
“Some of the battles that he fought, some of the things that he did were just remarkable. He’s a true warrior. The family and that warrior, and all the warriors that built this great nation should be honored,” Wildes said.
Scanlon was given a Purple Heart in World War II, after he lost his hearing throwing a grenade into a bunker. He also fought in the battle of Chosin Reservoir, a two-week-long battle that took place in freezing temperatures during the Korean War, earning Scanlon a prestigious combat infantry badge.
Gromen says they started planning the ceremony to replace the medals for her mother two years ago but it got postponed. But her family was determined to hold it for their 88-year-old mother.
“The fact that we were able to show her through the gentlemen here at the legion, what he actually did, it meant the world to us so she could know what her husband did,” Gromen said.
Wildes encourages more veterans to join the VFW as a way to support each other and the fallen.
Bark the Blue
Newport Twp. Police Department starts K-9 Unit.
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens Voice
Blight fight comes to sections of Newport Township
There is a plan for blighted properties to come down in one section of Luzerne County, along with some needed improvements.
Author: Chelsea Strub - WNEP-TV
Published: 5:27 PM EDT May 26, 2021
Updated: 5:27 PM EDT May 26, 2021
GLEN LYON, Pa. — Changes are coming to Main Street in Glen Lyon and other areas of Newport Township, in part thanks to nearly $300,000 from the state to demolish 18 blighted properties.
This came as good news to Eleanor Hamrick, who has lived in the township for 70 years.
"I go out for my walks every other day, and I kept on saying, 'That one needs a match, that one needs a match, that one needs a match, that one needs a match.' And I'm glad it's happening. I'm really glad it's happening because I was too ashamed to tell people I was in Newport Township because they say, 'Why is Main Street with all those rundown homes?' I'm glad they're going."
Township Manager Joseph Hillan says he hopes this is a new start for the township.
"It's hard to explain, like, the industry left, and nothing came in," Hillan said. "We had the prison; we lost the prison. And so now we're hoping now we're on the rebound. Now, if you've gone as low as it could. so now we're hoping that it's on the upward swing."
Newport Township officials tell Newswatch 16 the majority of the properties being torn down are in the Glen Lyon section of the township, but that's not the only improvement happening here.
"We got a grant for the county for new sidewalks in Glen Lyon, so to bring it back to, you know, never be like it was years ago, you know, it was the only town to not go through the Great Depression. My grandfather always told me that story," Hillan said.
Newport Township's Alden section is also getting a new warehouse that Hillan says will likely bring jobs to the area. A Dollar General has been approved next to the township building on Kirmar Avenue.
While these all brought a smile to Eleanor's face, she's most happy about the removal of blight from her neighborhood.
"I'm finally glad they're going, yeah, so I want to stand there watch them," she said. "I need to pray and say, 'Thank God they're gone.'"
Yudichak, Mullery announce blight removal funding for Newport Twp.
Sen. John Yudichak and Rep. Gerald Mullery Tuesday each announced nearly $300,000 for blight remediation in Newport Township.
Yudichak, I-Swoyersville, and Mullery, D-Newport Township, said that Newport Township will receive $298,870 from the Department of Community and Economic Development’s (DCED) Blight Remediation Program. The funding was approved Tuesday by the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA).
“Today’s important state investment will help Newport Township with one of its top priorities, which is to eliminate blight throughout its community,” Yudichak said. “Investing in our communities hit hard by blight will only improve the overall quality of life in our region and will also create the potential for future economic development opportunities.”
Mullery added, “Removing blighted properties is a win-win for our communities. It not only makes neighborhoods beautiful for residents to enjoy, but also makes these communities more attractive to tourists and visitors. I am pleased to see this project get the funding it needs, so these unsafe eyesores can be demolished.”
The Newport Township Blight Remediation Project will remove 18 blighted properties that are either currently on the Luzerne County Repository list, or with owners who are willing to cooperate with the removal process with the understanding that they will retain ownership once the blight is removed.
The funding will be used for demolition, engineering, legal and administrative costs.
“Our Blight Remediation Team here in Newport Township has been working diligently to come up with a plan to remove the numerous blighted properties that has confronted the township for quite some time,” said Joe Hillan, Newport Township Manager. “This is big news for us and we couldn’t be happier. The hard work of our team and the support we have received from Sen. Yudichak and Rep. Mullery is what got this done. We’re looking forward to clearing these properties and the development opportunities that come with that.”
Hillan said prior to the pandemic starting, Newport Township was working hard to make blight a priority.
“We were worried that the pandemic was going to hinder our progress until today,” Hillan said. “These funds will go a long way to combat blight in Glen Lyon and throughout Newport Township.“
The Blight Remediation program was created in 2019 under the Commonwealth Financing Authority. It is a reimbursable grant program that awards grants up to $25,000 for planning projects to develop blight plans and grants up to $300,000 for remediation projects to demolish and clear blighted properties, acquire properties to demolish or rehabilitate them, rehabilitation or reconstruction of blight properties, and administrative costs.
Newport Twp. firefighters commended for bravery at deadly fire
Three Newport Township firefighters were commended on Monday evening for their attempts to save a girl from a Glen Lyon house fire in March.
Firefighters Josh Bukofski, Nick Kowalski and Dave Hoffman received commendations Monday night at a Newport Township commissioners meeting.
Their commendations were given to them by Mark Boncal, who is currently the chief of Nanticoke’s fire department but was working for Newport Township as their chief at the time of the fire.
“I asked if I could present awards to these three gentlemen behind me for their bravery and courage,” Boncal said, with the three firefighters behind him.
The fire in question occurred in the morning hours of March 18, when crews received reports of a fire with entrapment at a home on North Market Street in the Glen Lyon section of Newport Township.
The three firefighters worked to remove Grace Miller, 13, from the home; she unfortunately passed away as a result of injuries sustained in the blaze a few days later.
According to Boncal, Bukofski reported heavy fire on the first floor, and was able to obtain information that Miller was on the second floor.
“(He) was able to locate a ladder situated on a neighbor’s house and position to the victim’s bedroom window,” Boncal said.
Hoffman then arrived, who began to work to contain the fire to the first floor while Bukofski searched for Miller. Kowalski helped Bukofski remove Miller, who was unconscious at the time, from the home.
Boncal presented Bukofski and Hoffman with a Medal of Honor, which is awarded to a firefighter who “performs an act of conspicuous heroism” in the face of intense personal risk. Kowalski received the Firefighter’s Cross, for performing an “act of bravery and stamina” in extreme fire conditions.
Boncal said the firefighters’ work was heroic.
“These three went above and beyond the call of duty; they knew what they were faced with,” he said. “They were able to get inside the building; they were able to locate the victim and bring her out.
“It’s unfortunate that she had passed, but these three knew what they were in for, but they were able to get in and get the job done,” he said.
Municipalities grapple with surging costs to recycle; price more than to haul garbage
Facing a dramatic increase in recycling costs, the manager of Newport Twp. recently made a controversial and rushed announcement on the municipal website for residents to just throw glass in the garbage instead of recycling bins.
Wilkes-Barre increased recycling rates this year and will soon get out of the single-steam model and mandate that glass, plastic and aluminum be separated from cardboard and newspaper.
Kingston started charging residents for recycling for the first time in 20 years and also is asking residents to drop off glass at the municipality’s public works headquarters rather than place it in their bins.
Municipal leaders say they are required by law to recycle, but it actually costs more currently to recycle items than to send them to the landfill.
Newport Twp. manager Joe Hillan said the township’s recycling fee with Municipal Recovery Inc. in Wilkes-Barre is $65 per ton to haul away with glass compared to $25 per ton without glass.
That’s why he posted on the township website that it would be better for residents to throw glass in the garbage and any recycling bins with glass would not be picked up by municipal public works crews.
Following community backlash, the township quickly abandoned the recommendation.
“It wasn’t the right thing to do, so we did some regrouping. We are going to weigh our options, but you don’t want to put more burden on the taxpayer,” Hillan said. “Recycling is not like it used to be. Everybody used to want it. Now, nobody wants it.”
Hillan said the township may explore doing something like Kingston in which they set up a separate glass drop off bin.
Newport Twp. charges a set annual fee for garbage and recycling. Some municipalities have separate fees. Others charge a per-bag fee for garbage and a separate recycling fee.
Paul Keating, Kingston’s municipal administrator, said Kingston was paying about a $100 per-ton “tipping fee” to haul away recycling with glass, but reduced the rate to around $52 per ton by eliminating glass.
Keating said municipal leaders have found a “small market” of those interested in glass only and Kingston will pay to provide the glass to an interested vendor.
Kingston hasn’t charged for recycling in 20 years. For most of that time, the sale of the materials generally offset the costs, officials said. In recent times, the municipality paid more than $225,000 annually to haul away recyclables, they said.
Recently, the municipality announced it was instituting a $30 recycling fee per residential unit and banning glass from being included in recycling.
“It’s still way less than if we continued to pay for single-stream and did nothing. We lowered our costs considerably,” Keating said.
Keating said he knows there’s no guarantee all residents will drop off glass at the public works garage and some people will just toss it in the garbage.
“If they opt to throw it in the garbage, that’s their choice,” Keating said.
However, those who throw glass in the garbage will pay more since Kingston charges per garbage bag, he said.
“There are great benefits to recycling. Our residents are well-trained in recycling. They are fond of recycling and not landfilling,” Keating said.
In his 2021 budget, Wilkes-Barre Mayor George Brown sought to double the city’s recycling fee to $100 annually, which has been $50 for 13 years. After a political spat with city council and a veto by the mayor, the rate was raised to $75.
Additionally, Wilkes-Barre officials decided to end single-stream recycling for dual-stream recycling, meaning residents will soon have to separate paper and cardboard from other recyclables, like aluminum, plastic and glass.
Brown said the switch to dual-stream recycling will save the city between 25% to 35% than what it was paying.
New pierogi business NEPA'rogi sees Easter sales surge
As someone proud of her Polish heritage, Lauren Gorney wanted the name of her new pierogi business to rhyme with the popular ethnic food.
And so, NEPA’rogi was born.
NEPA’rogi is a pierogi food truck Gorney and family recently launched in Newport Twp. — just in time for Easter, a time when pierogi are in high demand.
Since announcing the creation of the business, Gorney has been covered in flour and pinching pierogi non stop.
“When I think of Easter, I think of kielbasa, chocolate, the bakery and pierogi. I’m humbled to be a part of that all-star Easter line up,” Gorney said.
Gorney, 31, said the demand has been overwhelming to the point she had to stop taking orders. During the week leading up to Easter, the NEPA’rogi trailer was camped in a parking lot along West Main Street in Nanticoke to hand out all the pierogi preorders.
“This is our grand opening during our first holiday. We are working at 110%. It hurt me to have to turn people away. I can’t keep up with it,” Gorney said. “I am shocked by the demand and more importantly the community support.”
Gorney said she prides herself in making pierogi the same way she did with her Polish family in Glen Lyon.
“It means so much that people tell me this reminds them of their Babcia (grandmother) and Dziadzi (grandfather),” Gorney said.
Gorney, who has a background in sales and marketing, said she was nearing burnout last year when the COVID-19 pandemic “gave me the pause” to follow her passion and dreams.
She said after her grandmother Gorney died years ago she connected more with her Polish roots and always wanted to do something to promote her heritage.
“It’s an honor to carry on the legacy of making regional cultural food. Being a millennial, I want to perpetuate that legacy,” Gorney said.
NEPA’rogi’s products include potato and cheddar, simply sauerkraut, fresh cabbage, golden ‘kraut and cabbage, and farmer’s cheese.
Gorney said she and her boyfriend enlisted family members as part of their small production line. She takes pride in making all the pierogi by hand.
NEPA’rogi’s slogan is: “We are always trying for the perfect pinch.”
“We walk a fine line between mass production and labor-intensive love,” Gorney said. “As long as I can, I am going to pinch these little babies on my own.”
Plymouth man charged after hostage standoff in Newport Township
Kevin Carroll | Times Leader
Roads around Wanamie blocked off for hours
NEWPORT TWP. — A 31-year-old Plymouth man faces multiple charges for allegedly holding his mother hostage inside her township residence for hours Saturday, said Luzerne County District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce.
Nobody was injured in the incident, he said.
Robert Bond was incarcerated Saturday night and charged with aggravated assault, terroristic threats, kidnapping and other related charges, the district attorney said.
According to Sanguedolce:
County 911 received a call around 11 a.m. with a report that Bond was threatening to harm himself at a location on West Main Street in Plymouth.
By the time police arrived in the borough, Bond had traveled to his mother’s house in the 200 block of Vandermark Road in the township.
Police from the township, Nanticoke and Rice Township secured the area.
Bond is on state parole, and a state parole agent also arrived at the scene along with a county detective. As negotiations began, law enforcement learned Bond was holding his mother inside.
He claimed to have a .38 revolver and shot gun with buckshot and repeatedly threatened to kill his mother, himself and anyone who approached.
Pennsylvania State Police responded and activated their Special Emergency Response Team (SERT), which took over negotiations around 1 p.m.
Bond continued making threats, but negotiators were able to convince him to release his mother around 7:30 p.m. The woman was examined by emergency responders and uninjured.
A negotiator convinced Bond to turn himself in at approximately 8:15 p.m. He emerged without weapons and was peacefully taken into custody.
Police recovered a small-caliber firearm inside the residence.
Bond had fired two shots as part of his initial threat, but they did not appear to be aimed at a person. He has a history of mental illness and drug addiction.
Law enforcement did not have to use firearms at any point.
Sanguedolce thanked all law enforcement responders, particularly the SERT team for its “tireless work that allowed this to end peacefully.”
At one point, Bond had contacted local television stations attempting to get in touch with his fiancé, but Sanguedolce said the stations cooperated with law enforcement.
The incident forced road closures for hours in the Wanamie section of the township.
State police also brought heavy equipment to the area.
Hostage situation in Newport Twp. ends peacefully
James Halpin – Citizens Voice
NEWPORT TWP. — An armed man holding his mother hostage prompted a massive police response and caused authorities to lock down a large part of the Wanamie section of the township Saturday.
A roughly eight-hour standoff ended Saturday night with Robert Bond, 31, surrendering and his mother being released unharmed, Luzerne County District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce said.
The incident began around 11 a.m. when a family member of Bond’s called police to West Main Street in Plymouth out of concern that Bond, who has a history of mental issues and drug abuse, would harm himself, Sanguedolce said.
Bond then left the Plymouth location and arrived at a home on Vandermark Road, where he took his mother hostage around noon, he said.
Initial reports indicated children may have been inside the home, but Sanguedolce said none were present during the standoff.
Bond is on parole, and his parole officer initially began the negotiations, he said. The Pennsylvania State Police Special Emergency Response Team took over negotiations when dozens of troopers began descending on the scene starting around 1 p.m.
During the hours-long ordeal, Bond made repeated threats to harm himself, his mother and anyone who entered the house, Sanguedolce said. Bond, who claimed to have a .38-caliber handgun and a shotgun, also fired two shots that did not strike anyone, he said.
Police did not fire any shots, and nobody was injured during the standoff, Sanguedolce said.
Around 7:30 p.m., troopers negotiated the release of Bond’s mother. Bond surrendered around 8:15 p.m., he said.
A search of the home turned up a smaller caliber handgun than the .38 Bond claimed to have as well as several rifles that were in a cabinet in the basement, he said.
Police charged Bond with kidnapping, aggravated assault, making terroristic threats and related offenses, Sanguedolce said.
Bond had not been immediately arraigned on the charges.
Teen rescued from Glen Lyon fire dies
Bob Kalinowski – Citizens Voice
The teenager rescued from a Glen Lyon fire last week has died.The Lehigh County Coroner's Office said Grace Miller, 13, died 4:29 p.m. Sunday at Lehigh Valley Hospital, Cedar Crest.
An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday.
Miller was rescued early Thursday from a fire at 58-60 N. Market St. in the Glen Lyon section of Newport Twp.
Miller was first taken to Wilkes-Barre General Hospital and then transferred to Lehigh Valley Hospital, Cedar Crest.
St. Faustina Parish in Nanticoke paid tribute to Miller in a Facebook post.
"It is with a very sad heart that we announce that Gracie Miller succumbed to the injuries sustained in her house fire Thursday morning," the post said. "Stories of Gracie say how she wanted to make everyone happy, even in her death she will be doing just that. The family decided for Gracie to live on in the form of organ donation and she will give the gift of life to many others."
Confirmation class will hold collection drives for girl injured in fire
The Confirmation class of St. Faustina Kowalska Parish in Nanticoke is holding two emergency collection drives of clothing, personal care and household items and accepting monetary donations for a family who lost everything in a fire at their Glen Lyon house Thursday.
A class preparing to receive the sacrament of Confirmation is learning about grace from a girl with the same name.
Grace Miller was critically injured and everything her family had was destroyed in a fire Thursday at their house on North Market Street in Glen Lyon.
The 13-year-old girl isn’t in the class Joann Mavus is teaching at St. Faustina Kowalska Parish in Nanticoke to prepare them to be strengthened with the Holy Spirit through Confirmation. The teenager doesn’t belong to the parish either.
“She’s a member of our community,” Mavus said Friday.
Some of the kids in the class are in the band at the Greater Nanticoke Area high school with Miller. “They personally know Grace,” Mavus said.
The connection runs deeper, however, and drills to the core of the Catholic Church’s tenets on the sacraments as a means of grace from God and applying the teachings of his son Jesus Christ to everyday life.
“We teach our faith is more than kneeling in church. It’s about giving back,” Mavus said.
The class will hold two emergency collection drives for clothing, personal care and household items and is accepting monetary donations for the family. A special Mass for healing will be held at 6:30 p.m Sunday at the church at 520 S. Hanover St.
Reservations are required for the Mass and can be made by calling 570-735-6821. Masks are also required because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“This class has been active and willing to do anything for the community,” Mavus said. For its service project it’s holding drop off donation drives for the Birchwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Nanticoke and the Gino Merli Veterans Center in Scranton.
The Miller family collections will be contact-less as well. They will be this Sunday and again on March 28 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
“You pull up in front of the church. You don’t even shut your car off, just open your window or pop your trunk,” Mavus said. The kids will take the donations.
The family is starting from scratch and escaped the fire with the clothes on their back. Firefighters pulled the unconscious teenager from her second-floor bedroom, Mavus said.
“They don’t even have a toothbrush. They don’t have a pillow to put their head on to call their own,” Mavus said.
Donations of pharmacy, grocery store, Walmart or Target gift cards will be accepted. Also if someone wants to write a check, make it out to the church and write “fire victims” in the memo, Mavus said. The church will deposit it into its account and write a check for the family, Mavus said.
Teen rescued from Glen Lyon fire
Bob Kalinowski – Citizens Voice
Firefighters rescued a teenage girl from an intense blaze Thursday morning on North Market Street in the township's Glen Lyon section.
Crews were called to the fire at 58-60 N. Market St. around 6:35 a.m. and learned the girl was trapped on the second floor.
The first volunteer firefighters to arrive happened to spot a neighbors work ladder nearby.
"They hurried up and through it up on the side of the house," said Newport Twp. Fire Chief Mark Boncal. "They went into the room and got her."
The girl was first taken to Wilkes-Barre General Hospital and then transferred to Lehigh Valley Medical Center, the chief said.
An adult and two children were inside both sides of the double-block residence, Boncal said.
The others escaped and were unharmed, he said.
Newport firefighters were assisted by crews from Nanticoke, Hanover Twp., and Mocanaqua in battling the blaze that ravaged the home.
Boncal said the fire doesn't appear to be suspicious.
A state police fire marshal is investigating.
Police: Teen crashes stolen car after early-morning pursuit
Bob Kalinowski – Citizens Voice
A 19-year-old man with four teenage passengers led police on a miles-long pursuit early Monday in a stolen car from Wilkes-Barre to Newport Twp., where he crashed and tried to flee on foot, according to charges filed by Wilkes-Barre police.
Jose R. Calva of 214 Poplar St., Wilkes-Barre, is charged with receiving stolen property, fleeing police, flight to avoid apprehension, child endangerment and multiple traffic citations.
Magisterial District Judge Donald Whittaker arraigned Calva early Monday and ordered him jailed in the Luzerne County Correctional Facility in lieu of $250,000 cash bail.
According to the criminal complaint filed by Wilkes-Barre police officer Raul Ortiz: On patrol in South Wilkes-Barre at just before 3 a.m., Ortiz heard screeching tires near 16-18 Beekman St. and then witnessed a car exit a parking lot at a high rate of speed. Ortiz did a registration check on the vehicle’s license plate and determined the car was reported stolen out of Bloomsburg.
After a back up officer arrived, Ortiz activated his lights and sirens and tried to stop the car.
Police said Calva sped away and led officers on a pursuit through South Wilkes-Barre, ignoring stop signs and traffic lights, and sometimes going the wrong way down one-way streets.
Arrest papers say Calva led police out of Wilkes-Barre on Carey Avenue down the Sans Souci Parkway in Hanover Twp. and then onto East Main Street in Nanticoke, ignoring all traffic lights along the way.
As Salva approached Market Street in Nanticoke — the city’s main intersection — he attempted to make a left turn, but instead jumped a curb into the Burger King parking lot, police said. Police said Calva then drove through grass and jumped another curb to get back onto Main Street.
After entering Newport Twp., Calva fled on Old Newport Street for another mile and a half before crashing while trying to turn onto Center Street, police said.
Upon crashing, police said Calva escaped the car through the passenger door and fled on foot. Police say he lost his shoes while running and later was apprehended.
Police said four other teenagers — ages 14, 15, 16 and 18 — were in the car. Investigators said two of them required treatment at the hospital and they all eventually were released to their parents.
Roses, ribs and a parade mark Newport Township woman’s 105th birthday
With family members and a bouquet of 105 roses at her side, Helen Wilkes braved the chilly temperatures Tuesday to wave to a passing parade of emergency vehicles and well-wishers, all there to celebrate her 105th birthday.
Wilkes sat bundled up on her front porch at 61 Robert St. in Newport Township and she waved at each vehicle that passed at 1 p.m., with many of the passengers wishing her the happiest of birthdays.
“I feel great,” Wilkes said. “It’s a wonderful world when you see all of this for my birthday.”
Wilkes, who has two sons, four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, was not bothered by the cold and she managed to smile the entire time the drive-by parade lasted.
The group that gathered on her front lawn sang “Happy Birthday” to Wilkes, who patiently answered questions from the media and posed for pictures taken by just about everybody in attendance.
Asked what her secret to longevity is, Wilkes just answered, “No secrets,” as she admitted she misses going to the casino since the pandemic arrived.
Her favorite food?
“Really, I like just about everything,” she said. “Lately though, I really enjoy barbecue ribs.”
She likes ribs so much, she asked for and received a plate of them for her birthday.
Wilkes grew up in Nanticoke and graduated from Nanticoke High School. She would then go to work at the Duplan Silk Mill, walking to work and back home every day.
Just five years ago, when Wilkes celebrated her 100th birthday, the choir from her church St. Faustina Parish in Nanticoke sang Happy Birthday. Wilkes helped make pierogi for the church where she also sang in the choir.
Asked what she had planned to celebrate her milestone birthday, Wilkes sighed and said, “I think this has been enough of a celebration.”
Several fire trucks, emergency vehicles and other cars, trucks and SUVs flashed their lights and sounded horns and sirens to let Wilkes know how much they cared about her.
“Thank you all for being here,” Wilkes said.
Drug laced Fruity Pebbles bars, gummy bears seized in Newport Township
Edward Lewis – Times Leader
NEWPORT TWP. — A Newport Township man was arrested when drug agents served a search warrant at his Robert Street residence allegedly finding a large amount of illegal narcotics, including drug laced brownies, Fruity Pebbles bars and gummy bears.
Jamaree Henson, 38, was charged with multiple offenses after Hanover Township police along with police in Nanticoke and Newport Township and the Luzerne County Drug Task Force executed a search warrant at his residence Monday morning.
Seized from Henson’s residence were cash, fentanyl, marijuana, marijuana oil, and THC edible products of gummy bears and hears, brownies, Fruity Pebbles bars, graham bars and THC butter, according to a news release by Hanover Township police.
A digital scale, plastic bags, plastic containers and molds to make the THC butter and gummy bears were also seized.
Henson was charged with three counts of endangering the welfare of children, four counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, and two counts each of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance. He was arraigned by District Judge Donald Whittaker in Nanticoke and jailed at the county correctional facility for lack of $250,000 bail.
Police: Trespasser spat saliva striking officers
Edward Lewis – Times Leader
NANTICOKE — A woman accused by Wilkes-Barre police with refusing to leave Wilkes-Barre General Hospital where she allegedly pulled a fire alarm was arrested by Nanticoke police when she refused to leave Cocoa Hut on East Main Street.
Alannalyn Grace Reckeweg, 23, struggled with officers from Nanticoke and Newport Township when she refused to leave the store Friday night, according to court records.
During the struggle, Reckeweg attempted to knee an officer in the groin and spat saliva that struck two officers, court records say.
Reckeweg was free on $10,000 unsecured bail stemming from her arrest by Wilkes-Barre police on Thursday.
In that case, Wilkes-Barre police alleged Reckeweg was discharged from the emergency room at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital and refused to leave the facility. Reckeweg pulled a fire alarm and struggled with officers when she was escorted from the hospital, court records say.
According to the criminal complaint by Nanticoke police:
Reckeweg entered Cocoa Hut and sat down at a booth refusing a store manager’s request to leave the business. Reckeweg was prohibited from entering Cocoa Hut due to an incident at the business on Wednesday.
An officer arrived and repeatedly instructed Reckeweg she needed to leave the property. Reckeweg refused telling the officer, “I ain’t afraid of you,” the complaint says.
The officer picked up a drink Reckeweg had at the booth and walked her to the door where she allegedly attempted to knee the officer in the groin.
Reckeweg screamed “Suck my (expletive expletive)” at the officer, pulled down her face mask and spat saliva that struck the officer in the hand. Reckeweg also spat saliva that struck the face of a Newport Township officer assisting at the scene, the complaint says.
Police in the complaint said Reckeweg was placed in the rear seat of a cruiser where she kicked and damaged windows.
Reckeweg was arraigned by District Judge David Barilla in Forty Fort on three counts of aggravated assault and reckless endangerment, and one count each of resisting arrest, defiant trespass, disorderly conduct and criminal mischief. She was jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $25,000 bail.
The officer from Nanticoke suffered injuries to a finger and shoulder during the struggle.
Hearing features plans for ATV park near Nanticoke
A public hearing Thursday on a proposed all-terrain vehicle park in Luzerne County’s South Valley region featured both concerns over potential noise pollution and enthusiasm for the project, which is in the early planning stages.
The Earth Conservancy hosted the remote hearing to take public comment on a feasibility study regarding a proposed ATV park on about 10,000 acres in Newport and Conyngham townships, between Nanticoke and Mocanaqua.
“It’s quite a large area,” said Terry Ostrowski, president/CEO of the Earth Conservancy, a nonprofit dedicated to the reclamation of mine-scarred land.
The conservancy owns about 2,500 acres of the land, and surrounding property owners cooperated with the feasibility study. If an ATV park is developed on the sprawling site, it will not be owned by the conservancy, Ostrowski said.
The study explored the wants and needs of ATV riders, as off-road riding has grown more popular in recent years, he said.
The land could also be used for other forms of outdoor recreation, such as hiking and rock climbing, and could provide a great economic benefit to the region, Ostrowski said.
However, there are “legal issues, liability and land issues” that must be overcome, he said.
Project consultant Jim Laird, a landscape architect and planner, said the park would be developed in an “environmentally sustainable” way.
While the ATV park would attract visitors from out of the area, it would also benefit local off-road riders, he said.
He described the proposed park as “a tremendous opportunity for the region in economic development.”
Riders who rode the park’s trails would patronize local shops, restaurants and hotels, he said.
A key step in the process is to establish an ownership structure that would allow project developers to obtain grant funding, Laird said.
About 2,400 people have responded to a survey about the proposed ATV park that is posted to the Earth Conservancy website.
Concerns expressed include traffic, noise and environmental damage.
Members of the public broached concerns about traffic and noise at Thursday’s hearing.
A woman who said she lives in the Glen Lyon section of Newport Twp. worried that riding trails would be located too close to homes and would prove disruptive to residents.
“We can make sure a buffer is provided to some degree,” Laird said. “We will make that part of the design.”
The natural terrain also acts as a noise buffer, he said.
The next steps in the planning process will be to develop a concept plan and explore funding opportunities.
The survey about the project will be available until May at https://tinyurl.com/y4k5e68b.
Public input sought on potential ATV park on 10,000 acres in Newport Township area
Opinions are needed on a potential all-terrain vehicle park on 10,000 acres in Newport and Conyngham townships to help shape the plan.
“We’re looking for a lot of public participation so we can understand the wants and needs,” said Terry Ostrowski, president/CEO of the nonprofit Earth Conservancy spearheading the feasibility study. “We’re looking for this to be a destination point.”
Potential commenters should include area residents, business owners, neighbors and riders of ATVs and other off-highway vehicles who have both ideas and concerns, Ostrowski said.
While the main draw would be paths for ATVs, other trails for hiking, biking and possibly horseback riding are under consideration by the steering committee, he said. An area for paintball also could be carved out, he said.
“Pennsylvania is starting to have a large push with recreation and the recreation industry, and we want something that will really be a destination for outdoor recreation,” Ostrowski said.
A complex that large could attract visitors from hundreds of miles away and provide an “influx for the local economy” benefitting area campgrounds, hotels, restaurants and other businesses, he said.
A project overview and updates are posted at https://www.earthconservancy.org/recreation/newport-twp-ohv-study/, which also will have links for public comment.
Several options will be available to provide input, said Elizabeth W. Hughes, Earth Conservancy’s communications director:
A survey will be available through the site until the end of May to be completed online or by downloading a hard copy. All responses will be kept confidential, although there is an option to request future project updates by email.
• Virtual meeting
The public is invited to a virtual meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 11, when the study team will discuss the project and its progress and accept questions and comments. Information on accessing the meeting will be posted on the site. Residents requiring special accommodations are asked to contact the project team at email@example.com at least seven days before the meeting.
Questions or comments about the project can be submitted directly to Earth Conservancy at 101 S. Main St., Ashley, PA 18706 or by emailing Hughes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Manheim, Pennsylvania-based Laird Landscape Architecture has been hired as a consultant for the study, which will be funded through a $62,000 state grant.
A past study had identified 2,500 acres of largely mine-scarred Earth Conservancy land in Newport Township that was most suitable for an ATV park, but this analysis also found additional land would be needed to meet the demand of many riders, Ostrowski has said.
After discussions, the private and public owners of several adjacent tracts agreed to participate in the new feasibility study, with the understanding they were not under any commitment to agree to the final plan, he said. The other sites include more than 4,400 acres of Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources land and 2,600 acres owned by Newport Aggregate.
Much of the acreage is former coal land with large pits, although some has been reclaimed or is forested, he has said.
The feasibility study also would examine options for funding the park and identifying an entity to own and operate it.
Earth Conservancy would not be the owner/manager, he said. Some other parks are run by private organizations or governmental entities.
The feasibility study steering committee includes representatives of the land owners and local leaders and ATV riders.
Pennsylvania has around 285,000 registered ATVs, and efforts are underway to provide more places for them to legally ride statewide.
“We’re hoping that this project gives ATV riders a legal and safe option so they’re not riding all weekend looking over their shoulder for police to chase them off land,” Ostrowski said.
Some of the acreage under consideration for the ATV complex also is being eyed for new industrial development, including the 400-acre Whitney Point Industrial Park.