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2023 Newport News


Newport Township dedicates statue honoring area coal miners

NEWPORT TWP. — The Newport Township community gathered last weekend to commemorate the determined spirit and tireless dedication of the region’s anthracite coal miners with a new statue in their honor.
The event, hosted by Newport United and Newport Township, was attended by elected officials, community leaders, and dozens of residents.
And the speakers shared a dual message with the crowd.
On one hand, they underscored the sacrifices of the miners and of the arduous conditions they faced, not only to provide for their families, but also to power the nation.
On the other hand, they spoke of the miners’ resiliency and hope for a better future — a point that was emphasized to be an inspiration for the community going forward.
It was a message that resonated deeply.
Sen. Lisa Baker, R-Lehman Township, asked attendees who were descendants of coal mining families to identify themselves — most in the audience raised a hand.
“A total of 250 years of responsible local governance is a remarkable milestone, worthy of recognition and celebration,” Baker said. “This record reflects a lengthy honor roll of families, workers, business owners, and leaders who established and sustained Newport Township. It is fitting to pay tribute to the generations of coal miners who were the economic backbone of the community and region. We can look forward to additional community achievements in the years to come.”
Opening remarks at the dedication were offered by Newport Township Manager Joe Hillan, followed by the singing of the national anthem by Karen and Kyra Phair, and a blessing of the statue by Rev. Louis Kaminski. John Zyla, Newport Township Councilman and Chairman of Newport United; and Newport Township Councilman Paul Czapracki then took the podium.
They were followed in turn by Mike Shay on behalf of U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser’s office, Sen. Baker, and Rep. Alec Ryncavage, with each presenting a proclamation to the township, emphasizing the significance of the event. Additional remarks were given by Terry Ostrowski, President/CEO of Earth Conservancy.
Closing the program was Stephen Phillips, President of the Newport Township Community Organization, who outlined future endeavors and underscored the path ahead for regional development.
Crafted by Frank Grontkowski Monuments, the granite statue stands in front of the Newport Township municipal building.
In addition to many community donations, it was supported by major gifts by Earth Conservancy and Newport Aggregate.
A full list of donors is available on the Township’s website —
The statute also is part of the Newport Township’s ongoing celebration of its 250th anniversary.
As a token of remembrance, all attendees received a souvenir commemorating the event.
• U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser, R-Dallas: “As Newport Township celebrates its 250th Anniversary, I wish the community my sincere congratulations and offer my best wishes for a bright future. The Coal Miner Statue dedicated this weekend perfectly honors the rich history of the region, which is steeped in mining roots. I commend the Newport Township Commissioners, the Newport Township Community Organization, Earth Conservancy, and everyone else who made it possible to honor the industry that has played such an important role in the lives of residents for the past two and a half centuries.”
• Rep. Alec Ryncavage, R-Plymouth: “As I attended Newport Township’s Miner Statue Dedication it struck me how crucial it is for each generation to pause and reflect on our roots, particularly as we grow farther from immediate family members who worked in the mines. The coal mined in Northeast Pennsylvania, including from communities like Newport Township, played a vital role in fueling our nation through two world wars, symbolizing the enduring strength of our community and country.”
• Paul Czapracki, President, Newport Township Commissioners: “I was very pleased with the turnout of the residents to honor the remembrance of our forefathers. The statue will always be a testament of the hard work and labor they endured over the years.”
• John Zyla, Vice-President, Newport Township Commissioners and Chairman, NewportUnited: “A great turnout and very grateful for everyone who donated to help make the project possible. It was very heartwarming to read the letters and notes that were sent in by residents about their fathers and grandfathers.”
• Stephen Phillips, President, Newport Township Community Organization: “The histories of mining and Newport Township have been intertwined for more than a century. While we honor and appreciate the achievements of local miners, we recognize the need to move beyond our industrial past. Working together, especially with partners like Earth Conservancy, will help us diversify and strengthen our economic foundation and enhance our community’s quality of life.”
• Terry Ostrowski, President/CEO, Earth Conservancy: “The board and staff of EarthConservancy were unhesitating in wanting to support this project. Newport Township has been a strong and valued partner of ours since the beginning. This statue serves as a reminder of the people who helped build the region, as well as an inspiration for the community moving forward.”
• John Oliver, Vice-President Sales/Operations, Newport Aggregate: “We are proud and pleased to provide support in order to honor miners and their families who formed the backbone Newport Township Press Release: Newport Township Coal Miner Statue of our community.
“This coal miner stands as a symbol of all of the dedicated, industrious, and persevering people who tirelessly worked to make this country great.”

Former constable deemed sexually violent predator at sentencing

WILKES-BARRE — A former constable who had a felony rape charge withdrawn in exchange to pleading guilty to misdemeanor child sex offenses was recently sentenced in Luzerne County Court.
Ronald Ebert, 56, of Glen Lyon, was arrested by Newport Township police in December 2019, after a woman claimed he forced her to perform lewd sexual acts when she was in pre-school in 2002 and continued until 2008, according to court records.
Ebert was initially charged with rape, corruption of minors and two counts each of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and indecent assault.
Under terms of a plea agreement with prosecutors and Ebert’s attorney, John Pike, Ebert pled guilty to one count each of indecent assault and corruption of minors on June 16.
Felony charges of rape and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse were withdrawn.
President Judge Michael T. Vough sentenced Ebert to six-to-23 months in the county correctional facility and three years probation.
Ebert did not contest an evaluation by the state’s Sexual Offender Assessment Board that found he met the criteria as a sexually violent predator.
Due to the designation as a sexually violent predator, Ebert is subject to lifetime registration with authorities under the state’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.
Ebert was awarded eligibility for the correctional facility’s work release program.


DEP: Newport Twp. subsidence repair could cosk $200K

NEWPORT TWP. — Remediation work on a large mine subsidence that opened up Sunday afternoon behind a Rock Street apartment complex is estimated to cost $200,000 and will continue throughout the week, state Department of Environmental Protection officials said Wednesday.
According to the DEP, the hole measures 70 feet wide, 80 feet long, and 50 feet deep, and will take approximately 5,000 tons of rock to backfill.
Full-time crews with DEP’s Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation (BAMR) are doing the work. Funding for the emergency project is provided by the federal Abandoned Mine Land fund, which comes from a fee imposed on active coal companies for each ton of coal mined.
Construction vehicles could be seen dumping pounds of rock into the hole on Wednesday, with mounds of dirt piled high in the parking lot of the complex.
The subsidence occurred at approximately 12:20 p.m. Sunday, leading to the evacuation of 14 apartments, displacing dozens of residents.
Newport Aggregates in Glen Lyon provided the rock for a temporary access road and for backfilling purposes.
Investigation ongoing
The investigation into the cause of the collapse is ongoing, but the DEP stated that initial findings indicate that rock and dirt within an abandoned mine shaft, located 745 feet beneath the surface, was likely displaced by water in the mine pool, causing the subsidence. The DEP said that heavy rains also may have contributed to the collapse.
Glen Lyon Shaft #6 lies below the surface of the subsidence area. It was part of the Glen Lyon Colliery, which was built in 1870 and operated until the late 1960s. The DEP reported that the department has documented other incidents of subsidence in this same area dating back to the 1980s.
Agencies that responded to the incident included: DEP’s Emergency Response Team from the Northeast Regional Office in Wilkes-Barre, along with BAMR staff, Newport Township Volunteer Fire Company, Newport Township, and Nanticoke City Police. Red Cross was on scene as well to assist residents displaced by the subsidence.
Because of Pennsylvania’s coal mining history, the DEP estimates thousands of structures, including homes, are located above or near formerly mined areas.
For more information
In a press release, DEP encouraged residents to look into mine subsidence insurance and more information regarding that can be found on the department’s website:
Visit to find out if your property sits above abandoned coal mines, including mineshafts and slopes.

Sink hole opens near Newport Twp. apartment complex

NEWPORT TOWNSHIP – Dozens of people have been displaced after a large sink hole opened up Sunday in the backyard of an apartment complex on Rock Street in Newport Township.
According to officers on the scene, the sink hole was called in at approximately 12:20 p.m. and that no injuries were reported.
The Department of Environmental Protection Northeast Regional Spokesperson Colleen Connelly confirmed that, based on the history of coal mining in the area, the sinkhole is likely a result of a mine subsidence, which occurs when an underground mine has collapsed. Connelly said that an old mine shaft, which was apart of the Glen Lyon Coal Company, is located 750 feet below where the sinkhole opened up.
Connelly stated that, in the coming week, the Borough of Abandoned Mine Reclamation along with the Office of Surface Mining are expected to file for an emergency contract to begin remediation work on the site.
As of 5 p.m. Sunday, 14 apartments within the complex were evacuated and condemned. Officers said that if the sink hole were to get larger, they would have to evacuate more.
Connelly said that the apartment building does not appear to have shifted, which is a good sign, but heavy rainfall is contributing to the ground being moist and unstable.
“First and foremost, we’re asking people to stay away from the site,” Connelly said.
Police said they understand that people want to get back into their homes to retrieve their belongings, but it’s just not safe at this time.
Newport Township police responded to the scene, along with the Newport Township Fire Department and the American Red Cross.
The Emergency Management Agency and the Office of Surface Mining were also on scene to assess the damage.


Search warrant served in fatal ATV hit-and-run crash

NEWPORT TWP. — An avid all-terrain vehicle rider died Saturday from injuries sustained in a hit-and-run crash near Alden Mountain Road on July 30.
James “Jimmy” Edward Thiemann, 26, of Warrior Run, died at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Plains Township.
Luzerne County Coroner Jill Matthews on Monday said no autopsy was planned. When asked for the cause and manner of death, Matthews stated there were no reports to release at this time.
District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce said the crash is being investigated by Newport Township police and the Pennsylvania State Police, Troop P, Forensic Services Unit. An assistant district attorney has been assigned to assist in the investigation, Sanguedolce stated.
State police served a search warrant on a 2004 Hyundai Sante Fe registered to a man in Nanticoke on Aug. 3. The driver of the Hyundai that struck Thiemann fled the scene after the crash, according to the search warrant affidavit.
Thiemann was with a group of other ATV riders traveling south on Alden Mountain Road as the Hyundai was behind them. The driver of the Hyundai attempted to pass the ATVs by driving into oncoming traffic and struck Thiemann’s ATV pushing it sideways for a distance, the search warrant affidavit says.
The driver of the Hyundai briefly stopped before fleeing the scene, according to the search warrant affidavit.
Police in Newport Township recovered the Hyundai after the crash and had it secured at a garage.
State police said there were tire marks on the pavement indicating the sideways ATV being pushed by an accelerating striking vehicle.
An inventory receipt with the search warrant says state police obtained a DNA swab from the steering wheel, a fingerprint from the driver’s side door and photographs of the Hyundai.
No charges have been filed.


One dead, one wounded in Newport Twp. Shooting

NEWPORT TWP. — One person died and another was injured in a shooting inside a residence on East Kirmar Avenue near Lee Mine Street Wednesday night.
Police in Newport Township responded to a residence at about 9:30 p.m. and found a woman suffering from a gunshot wound to her upper torso lying in the rear yard. She was transported to an area hospital, according to a news release from Luzerne County District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce.
Police searched the residence and found an unresponsive man with a gunshot wound to his chest in a bedroom and a .380-caliber pistol nearby.
Two witnesses told police the woman and man were arguing and then they heard a gunshot. One of the witnesses went to the room and observed the man with the firearm.
Police suspect the woman was shot in the bedroom.
As the woman and a witness were walking downstairs, another gunshot was heard in the bedroom.
State police Troop P Forensic Services Unit processed the scene.
Luzerne County Coroner Jill Matthews ruled the man’s cause of death a gunshot wound to the chest and the manner of death a suicide. No autopsy was performed.
Due to the nature of the incident, Sanguedolce did not release the names of either party.


Toddler’s ‘dried to death’ case against parents sent to Luzerne County Court

WILKES-BARRE — Forensic pathologist Dr. Gary Ross testified Monday the body of 19-month-old Phoenix R. Kasisky had all the signs of dehydration.
The toddler had one-sixteenth of an ounce of fluid in her stomach, her nasal cavity was completely dry and fluid was not able to be extracted from under the girl’s eyelid, Ross said.
The forensic pathologist was the fourth and last witness to testify in the preliminary hearing of James Robert Kasisky Jr., 26, and Valentina Varela-Luis, 25, before District Judge Donald Whittaker.
Whittaker determined Luzerne County assistant district attorneys Jarrett Ferentino and Shana Messinger established a case against the toddler’s parents, sending charges of involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of children to county court.
State police at Shickshinny allege James Kasisky and Varela-Luis were negligent in not checking on their daughter for an estimated 26 hours and was left in a room described as “hot and dry” when the toddler was found deceased inside a residence on Third Street, Newport Township, at about 7 p.m. on Dec. 23, 2022.
“I think the point I’m trying to make is, this is a tragic case all the way around,” said Varela-Luis’ attorney Joseph G. Albert. “A young child my client loved dearly died. We do not believe she did anything wrong. We’re looking for our day in court to show that Ms. Varela-Luis did everything that she could possibly could to be the wonderful loving mother we all strive to be.”
“Dried to death” is how Ferentino described the passing of the toddler.
During Friday’s testimony, state police Trooper Michael J. Tracy testified the bedroom was “warm” while county Coroner Jillian Matthews described it as “very hot and dry,” estimating the bedroom temperature was at minimum 70 degrees. The outside temperature, according to the National Weather Service, was one-degree.
An actual temperature reading of the bedroom was not recorded.
Tracy said he interviewed James Kasisky and Varela-Luis separately following the toddler’s death.
Varela-Luis said she took her son and daughter to a dentist appointment, a friend’s house where they ate pizza and to the Wyoming Valley Mall where they ate in the food court and planned to get pictures with Santa Claus on Dec. 22, 2022. Pictures were never taken as Varela-Luis claimed her son had a tantrum and left the mall, arriving home at about 5 p.m., Tracy testified of his interview with her.
Tracy said Varela-Luis claimed she put her two children to bed and failed to check on the toddler through the evening as she fell asleep on a couch at midnight and woke up at about 6 a.m. on Dec. 23, 2022.
James Kasisky told Tracy he works overnights and arrived home at about 6 a.m., claiming he fed the children breakfast before putting the two children back to sleep while Varela-Luis went to a home improvement store and her job until 4 p.m.
The toddler was found deceased by Varela-Luis at about 7 p.m.
Ross said his autopsy found the girl was severely dehydrated with very little fluid in her abdomen, no urine in the bladder and the girl’s eyeballs were “void of fluid.”
When questioned by James Kasisky’s attorney, Christopher O’Donnell, Ross said he could not determined the exact time when the toddler died.
Ross said the temperature of the bedroom, as described to him with no humidifier, sped up the process of dehydration.
“We have an expectation and the law requires that parents care for their children; provide food and drink to their children and check on their children to make sure they are okay,” Ferentino said. “That is what this case is about.
“It is unsettling as a prosecutor; it’s unsettling as a parent,” Ferentino added. “This was a beautiful little girl for all intent and purposes should still be with us today.”


Horror film makers hope to place Nanticoke on the map

NANTICOKE — Zombies, vampires, ancient curses, and government secrets have been terrorizing the streets of Nanticoke for the past two weeks — but no need to panic.
The supernatural clan are only in town to record a horror film aptly titled “Nanticoke,” which follows a character named Brad, a professional baseball player who returns home after a career-ending injury only to find that things aren’t what they used to be.
When asked to describe the film in three words, producer Michael B. Judkins had only this to say: “Something to see.”
According to Scott Purdy, who plays Brad’s father in the film, the mash-up of horror monsters has a specific purpose — one that “you have to watch to find out.”
“Initially I was like ‘vampires, zombies, ancient curses…are they just throwing everything together?’ No. There’s a purpose,” Purdy said.
“It’s different — it’s not a cookie-cutter zombie movie,” he continued.
The film has been using locations in and around Nanticoke as sets, including Main Street, Luzerne County Community College, the Newport Little League Field, and more.
“When we were considering doing a horror movie, it seemed like the ideal place,” said Judkins, who noted that a few members of the executive team are from the area.
According to him, the surrounding community has shown immense support for the film, with the Nanticoke mayor, police, and firefighters making appearances.
“Residents of Nanticoke even came down in droves offering to be extras,” Judkins said.
While some locals managed to make their big-screen debut in the film, others found opportunities behind the cameras.
This is certainly the case for Robyn Shonk of Nanticoke, who acted as the film’s production coordinator.
“I live a few minutes from where we’ve been filming these last two weeks, and I could never put into words how it feels to see the town in such a different light,” Shonk said.
She noted it felt surreal to film in so many places she had known her entire life.
“We just got done filming at the little league field where I played for 12 years — it was magic,” she said, adding that it felt as if she’d gone “full-circle.”
According to her, the film’s helping hands consisted of a mix of local residents and those from out of town.
“Whether it’s individuals who originated here or are back to the area again or are visiting for the first time, I’ve heard all three from cast and crew members,” Shonk said.
The cast and crew not from the Northeastern Pennsylvania region all had the same impression of the area: the people are incredibly supportive.
“The people around here have been so welcoming everywhere I go,” said Purdy.
Bobby Newton, the film’s stunt and safety director, echoed Purdy’s sentiments.
“Nanticoke is a nice place, but more importantly, everyone I’ve interacted with in Nanticoke is nice,” he said.
“I’ve shot films in other places, and if we inconvenienced people by shooting the film, they were rude. That was not the case in Nanticoke,” he added.
Hunter Kohl, the Manhattan-based actor who plays Brad, said he first noticed the beauty of the area — then the kindness of the people he met.
“The first thing is, as a New Yorker, everyone is so nice,” he said.
The kindness and support is something the cast and crew hope the film’s success is able to repay.
The film locations might offer a tourism draw to the area, which could amp up the tourism sector, said Purdy.
“Those things do happen,” said Purdy. “People can be like, ‘Wow, Nanticoke! That’s where they made that movie — let’s go see where they filmed it.’”
“If it could help the local community by just bringing some people in, spending their money here, and helping out the community, that would be great,” he added.
Filming for “Nanticoke” officially wrapped on Friday. The crew hopes to see completion by next spring with a proposed premiere to take place in Nanticoke shortly thereafter.
Upon its premiere, “Nanticoke” will run in local theaters and on select streaming services.


Newport Twp. celebrating 250 years of history
Bob Kalinowski – Citizens Voice 


Many people don’t know Newport Twp. was founded before the United States itself, having been one of the first seven permanent settlements of the Wyoming Valley.
Newport Twp. was founded in 1773 by Major Prince Alden, an early settler to the area and former officer with the Connecticut militia.
“Newport Twp. is very old. 250 years is very old,” said John Jarecki, a member of the Newport Twp. Community Section. “Newport Twp. was one of the seven original settlements of which all of the Wyoming Valley was divided. I think that’s significant. We go back to the first permanent settlement.”
Alden is the namesake of one of Newport Twp.’s six sections, the others being Glen Lyon, Lee, Ridgeview, Sheatown and Wanamie.
To recognize the township’s 250th anniversary, the community organization and the township plan to place three banners in the township, one at the west edge in the Lee section, one at the municipal building in Wanamie and one at the eastern border with Nanticoke in the Sheatown section.
“We are trying to recognize Newport Twp. It’s been a long time since we’ve been recognized,” Commissioner Paul Czapracki said. “We are trying to let people know how far we’ve come from the coal mining days. We just want to show people a little about our history. It’s not our generation that put Newport Twp. on the map. It was the older generation. I respect what they did. They worked in the coal mines. They didn’t know if they were coming home each day.”
Commissioner Mike Roke said several good things are happening this year as the township celebrates 250 years.
The township plans to complete renovations to the recreation park in Wanamie, a new fire truck is on the way and the Glen Lyon sidewalk and streetscape project should be completed, Roke said.
“In conjunction with the 250, it’s all a culmination of everything coming together. It seems to be a very good time for all of this to be coming together,” Roke said. “I haven’t seen the township in better shape financially and in emergency services in my 16 year tenure. It’s a great time to see 250 come around.”


$6 billion Nacero project still planned for Newport Township

NEWPORT TWP. — In October 2021, when the Texas-based Nacero announced its intent to build a $6 billion manufacturing facility on the site of a former coal mine, it was called “a monumental, transformative, game-changing generational opportunity” for Luzerne County.
The facility would produce gasoline made from natural gas and renewable natural gas, generating thousands of high paying, family-sustaining jobs.
A key official says the project remains on track, although work has yet to begin, and that its production focus may shift.
Tom Tureen, founder of Nacero — and a director with the company — told the Times Leader on Friday that plans for the plant are still alive.
“Nothing has changed,” Tureen said. “We still intend to do the project. The only difference might be we will build the plant to make aviation fuel.”
In his remarks Friday, Tureen later said Nacero is “likely” to produce aviation fuel in Newport Township, rather than gasoline.
Tureen also qualified his comments by noting that Nacero will transition its current pre-construction, multi-billion USD facility in Texas, designed to produce low carbon gasoline, to the production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and lower carbon aviation fuel (LCAF).
When fully completed, Nacero’s facility in Texas will be the largest commercial scale facility in the U.S. for producing SAF and LCAF utilizing TOPSOE’s MTJet technology. TOPSOE is a leading global developer and supplier of decarbonization technology, catalysts, and solutions for the energy transition.
Eighteen months ago, officials said the Newport Township project was expected to begin “within the next two years and will take four more years to complete.”
“As we said before, we are going to build the Texas plant first,” Tureen said. “And I really can’t say if our timeline in Luzerne County will change all that dramatically.”
Newport Township Manager Joe Hillan last week said Nacero has not yet applied for any permits for the proposed project.
Legislators weigh in
Sen. Lisa Baker, R-Lehman Township, said the Nacero project still looms as a huge winner for the area.
“Re-using former coal lands is an environmental gain,” Baker said. “A construction project of this scope, relying on union workers, provides an immediate economic boost. In the huge energy production sector, there is demand for every form of energy. From an outside perspective, there is nothing alarming about a shift in the type of fuel produced at the facility. This project remains an important component of the industrial revitalization underway in the South Valley.”
U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Moosic, said his office has been in contact with Nacero regarding the development of a Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) project in Texas, the site of their first-planned plant that had been slated for automobile fuel production.
Cartwright said the Inflation Reduction Act included a robust tax credit for the production of SAF.
“While the Act also provided a credit for automotive fuel, the SAF incentive is larger, as electric air travel is not really an option at present, the way EV technology is available for automobiles,” Cartwright said. “I can understand any alternative fuel company wanting to take advantage of the unique opportunity that exists with respect to air travel.”
Cartwright said given the shift to SAF, he can also understand how that might affect Nacero’s schedule.
“It is my understanding that Nacero is still weighing its production options for Newport Township,” Cartwright said. “I would support an SAF product in Pennsylvania as well, if that’s the decision Nacero ultimately makes.”
Cartwright went on to say: “While I can’t predict or dictate the business decisions of Nacero, I will continue to advocate for low-carbon life-cycle fuels and remain supportive of Nacero and others who are looking to lead in that effort. Alternative fuel production would be a tremendous opportunity for our area.”
Yudichak praises production ‘pivot’
Former state Sen. John Yudichak was the point person in bringing the Nacero project to Luzerne County in 2021.
“In 2021, Nacero announced it had selected a 3,000-acre site in Newport Township and Nanticoke to develop a $6 billion manufacturing facility that would use Pennsylvania natural gas to produce a low carbon gasoline,” Yudichak said. “Thanks to the hard work of former Gov. Tom Wolf and legislative champions like state Sen. Lisa Baker and state Rep. Aaron Kaufer, a $1.2 billion local resource manufacturing tax credit was put in place to incentivize companies, like Nacero, to invest in Pennsylvania.”
Yudichak said when the Nacero site selection was announced, legislators were clear to point out that a project of this magnitude and a project facing the headwinds of a global pandemic, hyperinflation, and war in Eastern Europe would take several years to come to fruition.
“I am thrilled to learn of Nacero’s pivot to the production of a low carbon aviation fuel, a product that does not exist in the market today and could be a game-changer for the airline industry, demonstrating Nacero’s continued commitment to addressing climate change,” Yudichak said. “Furthermore, I am pleased to see Nacero remains committed to Luzerne County and the long-term development of a manufacturing facility in Newport Township and Nanticoke.”
In October 2021, when the Nacero project was announced, Yudichak hosted a press conference and said there would be 3,500 construction jobs available to build the massive facility, with all building trades involved. Once completed, Yudichak said the Nacero facility would employ 450 high-tech jobs that would pay $85,000 per year.
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Scranton, said he has been pushing the Biden Administration to start getting investments to help build a clean energy economy “out the door” to bring new, cutting-edge jobs and economic revitalization to places like Pennsylvania’s coal country.
Casey said when the Senate Finance Committee marked up the Clean Energy for America Act in May 2021, he secured the inclusion of clean energy tax credits to incentivize companies to operate in energy communities.
Months later, the Clean Energy for America Act was incorporated into the reconciliation framework.
When the Inflation Reduction Act came together in 2022, the Clean Energy for America Act was incorporated into the tax title and became law, including Sen. Casey’s energy communities tax credits.
Casey is pushing the administration to release guidance on how to claim the tax credits so energy communities in Pennsylvania and elsewhere begin to see these investments.


New Jersey man charged with weapons violation in Newport Twp.
James Halpin – Citizens Voice

A New Jersey man with a felony drug conviction was arrested in Newport Twp. after being spotted leaving an apartment complex with a shotgun, police said.
Dwayne Lamar Benjamin, 41, of Jersey City, is charged with possessing a firearm as a felon after officers found him and the shotgun at the edge of a field.
According to the complaint, a witness called police to report a man had left the apartment building at 145 Old Newport St. carrying a long gun. The witness also found a second weapon, a Colt M4 Carbine, sitting on the couch of a community room, police said.
The rifle, which had a loaded magazine and a round in the chamber, was seized for safekeeping to prevent a child from getting it, according to the complaint.
The witness directed officers to the edge of a nearby field, where they found Benjamin sitting alongside the shotgun and a box of shells, police said.
After police took the shotgun, Benjamin explained he was “just going for a walk to think about things,” police said.
A records check showed Benjamin has a felony conviction in New Jersey for possessing drugs on school property, and is prohibited from possessing a firearm.
Benjamin was arrested on a felony firearm possessing charge and arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Donald L. Whittaker, who set bail at $100,000.
Benjamin was being held at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility with a preliminary hearing scheduled for April 12


Couple charged with manslaughter in Newport Twp. child's dehydration death 
Bob Kalinowski – Citizens Voice

NEWPORT TWP. — State police on Monday charged a couple whose toddler daughter died in December in Newport Twp. after being left alone in a high heat room with no food or water for 26 hours, according to charges filed.
James R. Kasisky, 26, and Valentina Varela-Luis, 25, are charged with involuntary manslaughter, endangering the welfare of children and recklessly endangering another person.
Following arraignment by Magisterial District Judge Donald Whittaker in Nanticoke, both were jailed in the Luzerne County Correctional Facility without bail.
Investigators said the couple’s 19-month-old daughter, Phoenix, died Dec. 23 after being found unresponsive in a bedroom of 20 3rd St. in the Glen Lyon section of Newport Twp.
The child’s death was ruled homicide from dehydration and “metabolic imbalance due to neglect,” according to the criminal complaint.
A forensic pathologist determined during an autopsy that the child's stomach was “empty minus a small amount of fluid,” police said.
The autopsy finding clashed with what Kasisky told police in an initial interview, that he fed the child breakfast and lunch the morning before she died, police said.
In a follow-up interview, confronted with the autopsy findings, Kasisky admitted he didn’t check on his daughter or feed her after he arrived home from work at 5 a.m. He claimed he didn’t check on her because he thought she was sleeping, police said.
“I am taking responsibility for my actions,” he said.
Police said the last known contact either parent had with the child was around 7 p.m. on Thursday Dec. 22 after Varela-Luis put the child to rest after a dentist appointment and trip to the mall.
Varela claimed she slept from midnight to 6 a.m., but investigators determined she conducted internet searches on her phone at midnight, 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. Police said Varela did not check on the child prior to leaving for work around 9 a.m. on Dec. 23
Police said Varela told police she didn’t check on her daughter prior to leaving work on Dec. 23 because Kasisky said he already did and didn’t want to bother and wake the girl again, police said.
By the time emergency crews were called the evening of Dec. 23, the child’s eyes were sunken in with black spots, her fingertips were purple and black, and the child was in a state of rigor mortis, police said.
An obituary for the girl that ran last year said “She will be dearly missed and will be in our hearts forever.”



Glen Lyon man sentenced for assaulting woman

By Ed Lewis

WILKES-BARRE — A Glen Lyon man was sentenced to state prison on charges he assaulted his girlfriend and illegally possessed a firearm.

Newport Township police arrested Daniel Dosette, 46, of Arch Street, after a woman claimed he punched her several times in the head, placed a handgun to the back of her neck and pulled the trigger on Jan. 30, 2021, according to court records.

When Dosette pulled the trigger of the unloaded handgun, he uttered the words, “I’ll (expletive) kill you, (expletive),” court records say.

The woman fled the house and called police.

Police from Nanticoke assisted Newport Township police due to prior contacts with Dosette being violent toward officers.

Dosette was found sleeping in a bedroom when he was arrested.

A loaded 9mm handgun was removed from under Dosette’s bed prior to officers waking him up, court records say.

Police said the woman sustained facial and head injuries.

President Judge Michael T. Vough sentenced Dosette to three-to-six years in state prison on charges of illegal possession of a firearm and aggravated assault. He pled guilty to the charges Nov. 15.

Court records say Dosette barricaded himself inside a home on Park Street, Nanticoke, on Nov. 21, 2015, when three law enforcement officers suffering an injury during a struggle.

Dosette was sentenced to 18 months to three years, six months on aggravated assault charges related to the 2015 incident. Due to the conviction in 2015, Dosette is prohibited from owning, carrying and possessing a firearm.

Big bucks for much-needed new truck

NEWPORT TWP. — U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser met with Newport Township firefighters and officials Wednesday evening to discuss the recent awarding of the largest federal grant in the township’s history to replace a fire engine dating back to the 1970s.

The grant, in the amount of $564,761.90, was awarded by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency, through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program. The AFG awards grants directly to fire departments, non-affiliated Emergency Medical Services (EMS) organizations and state fire training academies,

According to Fire Chief Jason Kowalski, the grant is both appreciated and greatly needed.

“It’s definitely going to help add to the protection of the township,” said Kowalski. “We’re going to have more reliable equipment, more modern equipment.”

The replacement of the 1976 engine will benefit neighboring communities, as well.

“We do a lot of mutual aid with Nanticoke,” Kowalski added.

The old engine will be sold, he said. The new engine will be built in Florida, with the process taking roughly 14-15 months to complete. Currently, the second-newest truck the department has is from 2008.

Meuser stood outside the firehouse and chatted with firefighters and township officials for nearly a half hour.

During this time, Meuser, R-Dallas, expressed thanks for the hard and dangerous work firefighters do, calling them ‘pillars of the community.’ He listened as Kowalski and others expressed the need for new gear and lamented the soaring cost of equipment.

“We have quite the wish list for you,” said Steven Philips, president of the Newport Twp. Community Organization.

Meuser agreed to speak further with Philips and urged the others to “stay in touch.”

“We really wanted to make sure that we did something for this area,” Meuser said.


Request to hug a cop ends with jail for Newport Twp. Man
James Halpin – Citizens Voice

A highly intoxicated Glen Lyon man who called 911 seeking to "give a cop a hug" ended up behind bars Wednesday night after assaulting and threatening to murder a responding officer, according to police.
Albert Mark Gushock Jr., 41, of 64 W. Enterprise St., is facing aggravated assault and related charges after police responded to his home shortly before 8 p.m.
According to the complaint, Gushock, who was drunk and high on marijuana, called 911 requesting a police presence so he could "give a cop a hug."
Police found Gushock sitting in the front passenger seat of a Ford Fusion. Rather than seeking a hug, Gushock became confrontational and threatened to kill the officer, the charges allege.
"I'll get a gun and kill you like the rest of the pedophile corrupt cops in Hanover," the complaint quotes Gushock as saying.
Gushock's screaming caused his parents, along with nearby neighbors, to come outside and yell for him to comply with the police.
After telling Gushock to go inside roughly a dozen times, police went to take him into custody. Gushock, who was unable to keep his balance without the assistance of a retaining wall, began fighting the responding officer and had to be taken to the ground, police said.
Gushock began kicking the officer on the left leg, prompting the officer to respond with a knee to his ribs.
He was eventually arrested and taken to police headquarters.
After being shackled to a bench in a holding cell, Gushock vomited and began spitting on the floor, police said.
Police charged Gushock with aggravated assault, resisting arrest, making terroristic threats, disorderly conduct, harassment, calling 911 for a non-emergency and public drunkenness.
Magisterial District Judge Daniel O'Donnell arraigned him on the charges Thursday morning and set bail at $25,000.
Gushock was being held at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility with a preliminary hearing scheduled for Feb. 22.

Newport Township police charge woman with exploiting cash from dependent person

NEWPORT TWP. — A woman from Edwardsville was arraigned Tuesday on allegations she exploited a dependent person she was caring for by transferring his money through cash apps.
Jacqueline Marie Kipp, 45, of Main Street, was charged by Newport Township police with access device fraud, theft and financial exploitation of an older or dependent person. She was arraigned by District Judge Joseph Carmody in Luzerne County Central Court and released on $7,500 unsecured bail.
Police allege $2,892.87 was taken from the man’s bank account.
According to the criminal complaint:
The man reported to police on Sept. 15 that he discovered money being stolen from his bank account via Cashapp and PayPal that were set up on his cellular phone. He claimed he is not tech-savvy and allowed Kipp to use his phone.
He explained he has known Kipp for nearly 10 years since she worked at an assisted living facility in Wilkes-Barre. When she was terminated, he maintained contact with Kipp who helped him at his home on Old Newport Street and with shopping since he couldn’t get around due to his health, the complaint says.
When the man gave police his cellular phone, there were unauthorized charges that totaled $2,892.87, with login information to Cashapp on July 8 and Aug. 14, according to the complaint.
There were also five attempted Cashapp transfers.
Kipp denied stealing money from the man telling police she did not have the man’s Cashapp number. She claimed she had emails and text messages from the man that allowed her to use his Cashapp account and send herself money.
Police in the complaint say Kipp failed to turn over the emails and text messages despite her pledge to surrender the online communications.

Caretaker charged with stealing from dependent man 
James Halpin – Citizens Voice

An Edwardsville woman secretly installed financial applications on the phone of a man she provided care for and drained thousands of dollars from his bank account, according to police.
Jacqueline Marie Kipp, 45, of 721 Main St., was arraigned Tuesday on charges that she stole more than $2,800 from Newport Twp. resident David McCaughey.
According to the complaint, Kipp had been a caretaker at North Penn Manor in Wilkes-Barre but she quit after the company began investigating her for stealing residents' medications.
After losing the job, Kipp continued going to McCaughey's house to help with the shopping because he has limited mobility, police said.
In September, McCaughey discovered money had been removed from his account via the Cash App and PayPal applications, according to police.
McCaughey told investigators he is not "tech savvy" and had been unaware the applications had even been installed on his phone, police said. McCaughey told investigators he had trusted Kipp to help him work his phone, according to police.
Investigators reviewed McCaughey's financial records and discovered Kipp had made $2,893 in unauthorized charges using the applications, police said.
McCaughey told investigators he had only given Kipp money in exchange for her help on two occasions, and that he had never sent her more than $20, according to the complaint.
When police called Kipp, she grew irate and said "I didn't steal any money from that old (expletive) man," according to police.
She claimed to have text messages and emails proving McCaughey allowed her to access his phone and send herself money. However, she never provided them to police, and investigators were unable to reach her on several subsequent occasions, according to the complaint.
Police charged Kipp with felony counts of access device fraud, financially exploiting a care dependent person and theft. 
Magisterial District Judge Joseph J. Carmody arraigned Kipp on the charges Tuesday morning and released her on $7,500 unsecured bail.
A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Feb. 15.

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

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

Nacero mum on Newport Twp. plant, sees delays in Texas project 
Steve Mocarsky –  Citizens Voice

Any reference to a $6 billion natural gas to fuel conversion plant Texas-based Nacero announced for Newport Twp. in 2021 has been removed from the company website, and more than a year of delays for groundbreaking at a flagship plant in Texas have the mayor there skeptical about that project’s success.
The end product for the flagship plant also has since changed — from automobile fuel to a new grade of jet fuel called sustainable aviation fuel, or SAF.
Thomas Tureen, chairman of the board at Nacero, announced in a Zoom press conference in October 2021 that the company planned to build nine plants in the United States that will produce low- to zero-carbon gasoline from natural gas that can be used in existing vehicles. The projects would create thousands of temporary construction jobs and hundreds of permanent full-time jobs at each location, he had said.
The first was to be built in Penwell, Texas, an unincorporated area a few miles south of the City of Odessa, the Ector County seat. The second was to be built on mine-scarred land in Newport Twp. The company had artist renderings of both proposed facilities on its website, but a recent visit revealed that only information on the Penwell plant is now posted.
Mum’s the word
Nacero’s plans for the Newport Twp. site remain unknown, as company
representatives have not returned email or voicemail messages sent to and left at the company’s Houston headquarters earlier this week.
Nacero Chief Operating Officer Hal Bouknight did not return a voicemail message to his cellphone after the newspaper acquired the number on Thursday.
Several federal and state officials touted and welcomed the project when it was announced in 2021, including then state Sen. John Yudichak, state Rep. Aaron Kaufer, who sponsored legislation creating manufacturing tax credits that was key to drawing Nacero to Pennsylvania, and U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright.
Kaufer, R-120, Kingston, did not return a message left at his office or a text message sent to his cellphone, and Yudichak has since left office. A representative for state Sen. Lisa Baker, R-20, Lehman Twp., whose district has since been redrawn to include Newport Twp., said her office has received no update on the project.
Cartwright, D-8, Moosic, said in an emailed response to questions Thursday that his office “is in contact with Nacero at present regarding the development of a sustainable aviation fuel project in Texas.”
Benefits of SAF
Tom Manskey, director of Economic Development for the Odessa Chamber of Commerce, said in a phone interview that Nacero made the chamber aware of the change to manufacturing SAF, which he said “offers greater profitability and allows them to potentially tap into some resources with the Inflation Reduction Act.”
Cartwright said the Act includes “a robust tax credit” for the production of sustainable aviation fuel.
“While the Act also provided a credit for automotive fuel, the SAF incentive is larger, as electric air travel is not really an option at present, the way EV technology is available for automobiles,” Cartwright said. “I can understand any alternative fuel company wanting to take advantage of the unique opportunity that exists with respect to air travel.”
Cartwright said he has the understanding that Nacero “is still weighing its production options for Newport Twp. I would support an SAF product in Pennsylvania as well, if that’s the decision N
acero ultimately makes.”
What’s the holdup?
Asked if he was aware of construction delays in Penwell, Cartwright said he didn’t have a timeline for the Texas project, “but, given a shift to SAF, I can understand how that might affect Nacero’s schedule.”
Manskey believes inflation and the economy also played a major part in project delays.
“I think it’s a different economic environment they have found themselves in that has substantially delayed the project,” Manskey said, noting that the estimated project cost escalated from $6-$8 billion to $7-$10 billion.
“They stopped giving us time limits. Right now, they’re trying to shore up their finances,” Manskey said, adding that the switch to SAF would add only about 5% to the project cost.
Manskey said Nacero fulfilled their project development obligations for the first year of a 10-year grant cycle, and he feels confident the project will proceed.
However, Odessa Mayor Javier Joven said the project has been delayed for more than a year, as groundbreaking was initially scheduled for fall 2021. He also has concerns that Nacero didn’t adequately fulfill its benchmark obligations to have received a $2 million grant last year from the Odessa Development Corporation.
Losing faith
Odessa City Council entered into an agreement with Nacero in June 2021 in which the council agreed that the ODC would provide Nacero with $20 million in grant money over 10 years if the company met required development benchmarks. One of those was investing $100 million in capital development for the project that first year and hiring an agreed-upon number of employees for the project, Joven said.
But the ODC board voted to allow Nacero to include investments made from 2018 through 2022, and the only person the company hired locally was Wesley Burnett, now director of project integration for Nacero and Mansky’s predecessor at the chamber. All other hires were people in Houston working on project design, Joven said.
“Is this a real, attainable project two years in? I’m losing faith and I’m losing it fast,” Joven said. “I really want it to happen. We need it to happen. But right now, there’s a big gap between proposals and what we have.”
Joven added that he thinks Nacero officials are “people with integrity, and they mean well. But I’ve seen these types of projects come and go — big dreams, big promises, no results. I hope they prove me wrong.”

DEP: Fireworks, not exploded dynamite, heard in Newport Twp
Steve Mocarsky – Citizens Voice

Fireworks were the apparent source of reported explosions that shook homes in Newport Twp., according the the state Department of Environmental Protection. Show here are fireworks for sale at Keystone Fireworks in Wilkes-Barre in June.
Dynamite was not the source of explosions reported to have come from a former coal mining site in Newport Twp. last week, according to state officials.
The Citizens’ Voice received reports of explosions that emanated from the site of a proposed gasoline plant to be built by Texas-based Nacero that shook some people’s homes in the Glen Lyon section of the township Jan. 11.
One resident believed old dynamite was discovered in a mine shaft during excavation work and was either accidentally or purposely detonated at the site.
The state Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation received a complaint on Monday and began investigating, DEP Community Relations Coordinator Colleen Connolly said on Tuesday.
A blasting and explosives inspector from the bureau did not see any evidence of any explosives onsite or of them being used onsite, Connolly said on Wednesday.
“The inspector did find that there has been a large amount of fireworks being set off at this location. There was evidence of mortar tubes, firework cake bottoms and possibly smaller firework tubes found, (as well as) what appeared to be parts of black powder containers,” Connolly said.
The inspector also spoke with an equipment operator onsite, and the operator was not aware of any commercial explosives being dug up there, she said.
“In conclusion, it appears with the times that individuals (heard) explosions and what was found onsite, it is believed it was individuals partying,” Connolly said.


New cell towers eyed for Glen Lyon, Wanamie after years of little to no phone service
Bob Kalinowski – Citizens Voice

NEWPORT TWP. — Township manager Joe Hillan still has a landline phone as a safeguard at his home in the township’s Glen Lyon section, an area that notoriously has poor or no cell phone service.

Hillan might consider cutting the cord now that Verizon’s proposal to construct a cell phone tower in Glen Lyon is moving forward. Verizon is also planning to build a cell tower in the neighboring Wanamie section near the township municipal building.

“They are hoping to get it done this year. That’s the plan,” Hillan said. “We’ve been after this for years. This is great news for the community.”

Hillan updated township commissioners on the cell towers at Tuesday’s meeting.

The Wanamie tower recently obtained zoning approval from Luzerne County. Verizon will order parts and equipment to start construction once the township issues an approved building permit, Hillan said.

Verizon is eyeing the middle of March to start construction on the Wanamie tower, which will be located near the municipal building, he said.

Plans for the proposed Glen Lyon tower, which is badly needed because many residents have no cell phone service at all, still have to be submitted to Luzerne County for zoning approval, Hillan said.

The Glen Lyon tower is proposed to be built behind the Ken Pollock Apartments off West Main Street, but a location is still being finalized, Hillan said.

Hillan, who has Verizon for cell phone service, said he’s fortunate to have cell phone service in his Glen Lyon home, but at least 50% of Glen Lyon’s 1,900 residents get sporadic or no service.

 “There are certainly areas where you lose service,” Hillan said. “As a matter of fact, I still have a landline in my house. I just don’t want to get rid of it yet because maybe my cell phone won’t work.”

Verizon seems to have the best service in Glen Lyon out of any service, Hillan said.

Hillan said he’s under the impression other cell phone service providers will be able to utilize the Verizon towers to improve their coverage in Wanamie and Glen Lyon.

“Hopefully if they put the tower up other companies will want to rent space on their tower,” Hillan said.

Lori Thomas, a DoorDash driver who often makes deliveries to Glen Lyon, said the cell phone tower development is good news.

“It’s definitely needed. It’ll be very helpful for me when I do my deliveries there,” Thomas said. “Most of the time, I can’t mark an order as ‘complete’ because I have no service.”

An official for Verizon confirmed the plans for the cell phone towers.

“Verizon’s network is set to expand in the Glen Lyon and Wanamie sections of Newport Township in Luzerne County, PA. We continually work to enhance our wireless network, expanding and improving it for our customers,” Verizon spokesman Andy Choi said. “We are building the next generation 5G Ultra Wideband network. This involves making both hardware and software updates that will bring a myriad of positive benefits to our customers in the long run, but it may impact network performance in the short term. We strive to keep any customer impact to a minimum as we continually improve.”

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

NEWPORT TWP. — Lowe’s has announced that it is expanding its distribution network with a new 1.2 million square foot coastal holding facility in the South Valley area of Luzerne County.
According to a Lowe’s spokesperson, the facility is expected to open in the spring of 2023 at 209 Dziak Drive, Nanticoke. The facility will actually sit mostly in Newport Township, but the site will include parts of Nanticoke City and Hanover Township.
“The 1.2 million-square-foot facility will receive imported goods to supply regional distribution facilities,” the Lowe’s spokesperson said. “This location will provide approximately 70 jobs, including hourly and management opportunities.”
Information can be found online at
The spokesperson said that in August 2020, Lowe’s announced its distribution network expansion is part of an ongoing investment in Lowe’s supply chain.
In October 2021, NorthPoint Development joined a host of state, county and local government and school district officials for a groundbreaking on the site spanning Newport Township, Nanticoke and Hanover Township for buildings 8 and 9 in NorthPoint’s Tradeport 164 package of properties.
Based on its own data NorthPoint took a calculated risk of nearly $1 billion in private investment to build in the county. The region has benefited in terms of annual tax revenues, nearly $1.1 million from the new buildings, and upwards of 6,000 jobs, including more than 1,700 once the new projects are complete.
Then-State Sen. John Yudichak said NorthPoint worked with local labor and “kept their promises on the (Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance program), striking fair deals, making sure that taxpayers get money upfront.”
The prospect of the more than 1 million square foot warehouse thrilled Newport Township Manager Joe Hillan.
“It’s great news for Newport Township and, well, the whole South Valley,” Hillan said. “For us, we haven’t seen anything like this since probably the 80s, when they transformed the Retreat State Hospital to a state prison, which is now closed. So now this is like a rebirth for the township.”
Hillan said the Lowe’s facility will be housed in the largest building in the township’s history.
“We hope local people will apply,” Hillan said.


Lowe's advertising job openings at new warehouse in Newport Twp.
Bob Kalinowski – Citizens Voice

NEWPORT TWP. — Home improvement giant Lowe’s is advertising job openings on its website for a new 1.2 million square foot distribution warehouse in Newport Twp.
Missouri-based developer NorthPoint Development broke ground on the facility last October without having a committed tenant.
The Lowe’s warehouse, officially called a “coastal holding facility,” will be located at 209 Dziak Drive next to the warehouse where the new Safelite AutoGlass facility is located in Hanover Twp, according to job postings on the Lowe’s website.
Positions being sought include human resource advisors, warehouse associates, building maintenance, mechanics, transportation associates and more.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for locals to apply,” Newport Twp. Commissioner President Paul Czapracki said.
NorthPoint Development officials have yet to confirm its tenant and a spokesperson did not respond to questions about the Lowe’s job advertisements.
“We have not heard anything official yet,” township Manager Joe Hillan said.
Efforts to reach officials with Lowe’s were unsuccessful.
In October 2021, Lowe’s opened a “coastal holding facility” near its massive distribution center in CenterPoint Commerce & Trade Park in Jenkins Twp. At the time, Lowe’s officials said such facilities are used “to stage import products like seasonal and outdoor living items” and they help free up additional capacity in other distribution centers.
When the new warehouse was announced at the groundbreaking last year, then state Sen. John Yudichak called it a “historic economic success story.” Yudichak said the warehouse is the largest development in decades in Newport Twp., which lost about 400 jobs when the State Correctional Institution at Retreat closed in 2020.
NorthPoint previously built buildings in the South Valley on speculation and landed tenants, including Adidas, Chewy, Patagonia, Spreetail, Thrive Market and True Value. The company also is planning a 1 million square foot warehouse in Hanover Twp. near the border with the Hanover section of Nanticoke.
All of the properties are along or close to the $90 million South Valley Parkway. State officials said that the public project directly resulted in $1 billion in private investment and 8,000 new jobs.
Lee and Associates, a national firm and industry insider that specializes in commercial real estate research, labeled the NorthPoint and Lowe’s agreement in Newport Twp. as the “top lease transaction” by square foot in the Philadelphia region in the second quarter of 2022.


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

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

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