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2024 Newport News

2/15/2024
Grants awarded to 60 fire and EMS companies in Luzerne County 
Bob Kalinowski – Citizens Voice


Sixty fire and emergency medical service organizations in Luzerne County will share in more than $875,000 in grant funding announced Wednesday.
The grants were announced by state Rep. Alec Ryncavage, R-119, of Plymouth, and state Rep. Mike Cabell, R-117, of Butler Twp.
The grants in the 119th District include:
•    Ashley: Rescue Hose Co. No. 1 — $13,839.63.
•    Edwardsville: Franklin Hose Company No. 2 — $13,645 and Woodward Hill Hose Co. No. 4 — $14,034.
•    Hanover Twp.: Breslau Hose Co. No. 5 — $14,034; Franklin Hose Co. No. 4 — $13,645; Goodwill Hose Co. No. 1 — $13,256. Hanover Twp. Community Ambulance Association — $15,000; Hanover Twp. Fire Department — $16,173; and Newtown Fire Co. No. 2 — $13,450.
•    Larksville: Larksville Community Ambulance — $13,061 and Larksville Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1 — $13,061.
•    Mountain Top: Mountain Top Community Ambulance — $10,000; Mountain Top Hose Co. No. 1 — $15,006; and Wright Twp. Volunteer Firemen’s Association — $15,979.
•    Nanticoke: A.K. Mowery Hose Co. No. 3 — $13.061; Hanover Fire Co. No. 4 — $14,228; Lape Hose Co. No. 2 — $14,228; Nanticoke City Fire Department — $14,812; Nanticoke Community Ambulance — $12,460; Pioneer Hook & Ladder — $14,617; Stickney Fire Co. No.. 1 — $13,061 and Washington Fire Co. No. 5 — $13,061.
•    Newport Twp.: Newport Township Consolidated Fire Co. — $13,256 and Glen Lyon/Alden Volunteer Hose Co. — $26,645.
•    Plymouth: Goodwill Hose Co. No. 2 — $14,228; Plymouth Borough Ambulance Association — $15,000; Plymouth Borough Fire Co. — $13,450; and Plymouth Fire Company No. 1 — $13,645.
•    Warrior Run: Askam Fire Co. No. 6 — $13,645 and Warrior Run Volunteer Fire Co. — $13,061.
“I’m thankful so many local fire and EMS companies were awarded these highly competitive funds,” Ryncavage said. “Our dedicated first responders do an amazing job protecting lives and property in our communities, and these grants will help our brave first responders with their critically important and dangerous jobs.”
Grants awarded in the 117th district include:
•    Back Mountain Regional Fire and EMS — $28,201 (fire) and (EMS) $20,000.
•    Dennison Twp. Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1 — $13,256.
•    Freeland Fire Department — $16,368.
•    Freeland Northside Community Ambulance Association — $15,000.
•    Harveys Lake Fire & Ambulance Association — $13,062 (fire) and (EMS) $15,000.
•    Hobbie Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1 — $13,645 (fire) and $15,000 (EMS)
•    Hunlock Creek Volunteer Fire Co. — $14,423.
•    Huntingdon Valley Volunteer Fire Co. — $13,062.
•    Jonathan R. Davis Volunteer Fire Department — $13,256.
•    Lake Silkworth Volunteer Fire Co. — $13,645.
•    Mocanaqua Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1 Inc. — $13,451.
•    Nescopeck Township Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1 — $13,645.
•    Nescopeck Volunteer Fire Co. 1 — $13,062.
•    Nuangola Volunteer Fire Co. — $13,062.
•    Nuremberg Weston Volunteer Fire Co. — $14,423.
•    Pond Hill-Lily Lake Ambulance Association — $15,000.
•    Pond Hill-Lily Lake Volunteer Fire Co. — $13,062.
•    Salem Township Volunteer Fire Co. — $27,423.
•    Shickshinny Volunteer Ambulance Association Inc. — $15,000.
•    Slocum Township Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1 — $13,256.
•    Sugarloaf Fire Company — $13,840 (fire) and $10,000 (EMS)
•    Sweet Valley Ambulance Association — $15,000.
•    Sweet Valley Volunteer Fire Co. — $15,201.
•    Valley Regional Fire and Rescue Inc. (fire) — $14,423.
•    White Haven Fire Company No. 1 — $14,229.
•    White Haven Rescue Unit — $15,000.
“We are grateful for our dedicated and hard-working first responders who do such a tremendous job serving our local communities,” said Cabell. “I am pleased so many of them continue to apply for this annual financial support.”
All grants are generated from slot machine casino gaming proceeds, and not General Fund tax revenue.
The grant program is administered by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency with the application process handled through the Office of the State Fire Commissioner.

 

2/13/2024
Many options on the table for Nanticoke-West Nanticoke bridge, officials still seek funding sources
Eric Mark – Citizens Voice


County, state and federal officials discussed options for the repair or replacement of the Nanticoke/West Nanticoke bridge during an informational session on Monday.
Much of the discussion centered on potential funding sources that might pay for a full bridge replacement — the option favored by emergency responders and municipal officials, though Luzerne County does not have enough money lined up to finance that project, estimated to cost $64 million.
Though several members of Luzerne County Council participated and the in-person component of the meeting was held at the county courthouse in Wilkes-Barre, the session was not a council meeting and no decisions were made.
Council is considering options about what to with the county-owned bridge that connects Nanticoke and the West Nanticoke section of Plymouth Twp. across the Susquehanna River.
The bridge is more than 100 years old and has been operating under a reduced vehicular weight limit of 15 tons since 2020.
Council hired the engineering firm Alfred Benesch & Associates to review options for repair or replacement.
The firm recommended the repair and partial replacement of the bridge, at an estimated cost of $39.6 million, rather than the construction of a completely new bridge — which would cost about $25 million more and take longer to complete.
Nanticoke fire Chief Mark Boncal and Newport Twp. Manager Joe Hillan told council the full replacement option is vital in the interest of public safety and to further economic development in the South Valley region.
Boncal said so again at Monday’s session, though some of his remarks were not audible to those who participated via the Zoom teleconferencing platform, due to technical difficulties that plagued the early minutes of the meeting.
Crocamo said “safety is paramount” to all decisions county officials make about infrastructure. However, as of now the county does not have the money to pay for a full bridge replacement, she said.
Council approved a $55 million infrastructure loan in 2022 that will be dedicated to projects such as the Nanticoke/West Nanticoke bridge.
Officials will need to find at least $9 million in additional funding to pay for a new bridge, Crocamo said.
That number will likely increase because of inflation, several speakers said.
Council Chairman John Lombardo said it would be good for council to be able to use a portion of the infrastructure loan for road projects in the county. Both bridge options presented by Benesch would address safety concerns, he said.
Richard Roman, district executive for the state Transportation Department, said there will be opportunities to apply for grants and compete for federal funding for the bridge project.
State Sen. Lisa Baker, R-20, Lehman Twp., said state legislators are committed to working with county officials and federal lawmakers to find funding for the bridge.
“It has to be a priority,” Baker said. “That’s why we are here.”
State Rep. Alec Ryncavage, R-119, Plymouth, also attended the session, as did a representative of U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, as well as members of the Lower South Valley Council of Governments.
The discussion will continue at a town hall public meeting at Nanticoke City Hall on March 7, Crocamo said.
“That’s how things get done, when we all sit down and talk to each other,” she said.

 

2/11/2024
Glen Lyon native, a former 49ers security guard, describes being eyewitness to dynasty and free Super Bowl trips
Bob Kalinowski – Citizens Voice


Nanticoke area native Rick Pucci is set to attend his fifth Super Bowl featuring his favorite team, the San Francisco 49ers, but this is the first one in which he has to pay.
Pucci had a front row seat to the 49ers’ dynasty in the 1980s working as a part-time security guard. A perk of the $7-an-hour job was he got to attend playoff games and Super Bowls for free as a team employee.
During his time with the 49ers, Pucci attended four Super Bowl victories led by Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana and other stars.
“I’m going to this Super Bowl, too, so hopefully it will be 5-0,” Pucci said recently.
The Glen Lyon native, who is taking his son, Rick Jr., to the big game, declined to say how much he paid for his tickets in Las Vegas, saying it was part of a fan experience package.
Pucci, a 1972 graduate of Greater Nanticoke Area High School, wrote a book about his NFL job experience called “The Forty Effin’ Niners.” He said that was a nickname many disgruntled fans in the San Francisco Bay area called the team around the time he took the job “at perhaps the worst franchise in all of sports at that time.”
He never expected the team would become the team of the 1980s and early 1990s. A New York Giants fan growing up, he switched his allegiances while working for the 49ers.
Pucci moved to California to pursue graduate studies with a woman he fell in love with at Penn State, but they later broke up. He started a successful career in finance, but needed to find something to replace the void left by the break up.
“I had to find something to do on Sundays. I was down in the dumps,” Pucci said.
So he applied to work for the 49ers.
While he held the title of security guard, Pucci said he really was just a bystander to one of the greatest sports dynasties.
“I never really worked. All we were paid to do was wear these big bright blue jackets so people thought we were security. Nothing really was going on, so there was nothing to do. People weren’t acting up back then. It was completely different,” Pucci said. “Today, they are facing the crowd. I was facing the field. I’d be there listening to plays being drawn up. I was sitting right there on the bench listening to Bill Walsh’s pep talks.”
One of the few times he was thrust into actual security work, he said, was after “The Catch” during the the Jan. 10, 1982 NFC Championship game when the 49ers overtook the Dallas Cowboys in the final seconds to advance to the Super Bowl, which they won.
Excited fans proceeded to stormed the field, he recalled.
“Fans were ripping up chunks of turf and shoving it into their pockets. It was the first championship of any kind in any sport in San Francisco,” Pucci said. “The cops came down after we did all the work getting all the fans off the field.”
Pucci said he observed a lot, took many photos and jotted down notes in a journal that proved useful in writing his book that was released in 2018 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the 49ers winning Super Bowl XXIII behind a fourth -quarter scoring drive led by Montana.
“The book wrote itself,” Pucci said. “Being on the inside of the organization you really got to appreciate the team and how intelligent Coach Walsh was. Me and Montana were native Pennsylvanians. Both of us were Italian Americans, so we had a lot in common,” Pucci said.
After his time with the team, Pucci remained in California for many years working in finance. These days, he lives near Chicago running a financial planning firm, but visits California frequently for work.
Pucci said he returns home to Nanticoke as often as he can to visit family and eat foods he misses from places like Sanitary Bakery, Stookey’s BBQ, Maureen’s Ice Cream, Larry’s Pizza, Ruby’s Pizza and Happy Pizza.
“When I bring Californians in with me, I say the worst pizza in Nanticoke is better than the best pizza in California,” Pucci said.

2/7/2024
Virtual public meeting scheduled on Nanticoke/West Nanticoke bridge options
ERIC MARK – Citizens Voice 


The public is invited to attend a virtual meeting on Monday regarding options for the repair or replacement of the Nanticoke/West Nanticoke Bridge.
The informational session was requested by the South Valley Council of Governments, Luzerne County Manager Romilda Crocamo said Wednesday.
County council is considering options on what to do about the county-owned bridge, which is more than 100 years old and has been operating under a reduced vehicular weight limit of 15 tons since 2020.
The bridge connects Nanticoke and the West Nanticoke section of Plymouth Twp. across the Susquehanna River. It is imperative in the interest of public safety that the bridge be repaired or replaced, municipal officials and emergency responders have said — most recently at a council work session last month.
Council and the county redevelopment authority approved a $55 million loan funded by state gaming revenue that will be dedicated to improving the county's infrastructure.
The county hired the engineering firm Alfred Benesch & Associates to conduct a study of options to rehabilitate the Nanticoke/West Nanticoke Bridge.
The firm recommended the repair and partial replacement of the bridge, at an estimated cost of $39.6 million, rather than the construction of a completely new bridge — which would cost significantly more and take longer to complete.
Last month, Nanticoke fire Chief Mark Boncal and Newport Twp. Manager Joseph Hillan told council the best option would be the complete replacement of the bridge.
They cited public safety as the main reason. Hillan also said a new modern bridge would facilitate the economic development of the South Valley region.
Hillan said Wednesday that state and federal lawmakers will take part in Monday's meeting and will discuss potential sources of funding to pay for a full bridge replacement — which Benesch estimated would cost $64 million, or $9 million more than is available from the county infrastructure loan.
State Rep. Alec Ryncavage, R-119, Plymouth, confirmed he will participate.
"The bridge serves as a vital link, not only for transportation but also for the overall well-being of our community," Ryncavage said in an email.
Project engineer Dominic Yannuzzi said he will attend the meeting and provide information about options for the bridge, which Benesch outlined in a report late last year.
Council Vice Chairman Brian Thornton said he plans to log onto the meeting, even though it is an informational session and not a council meeting.
Thornton pointed out last month that council would need to find at least $9 million in additional funding to pay for a full bridge replacement.
On Wednesday, he said he looks forward to hearing what state and federal legislators have to say about potential funding options.
The virtual meeting starts at 1 p.m. Monday on the Zoom teleconferencing platform. A link to log-in to the meeting is posted to the county website: www.luzernecounty.org.

2/7/2024
Glen Lyon man facing charges related to pursuit through several municipalities
Times Leader

WILKES-BARRE — Jeremy Michael Shea is two-for-two…as in two separate pursuits that ended in two crashes while operating a motorcycle, according to court records.
The latest pursuit allegedly involving Shea, 32, of Railroad Street, Glen Lyon, Newport Township, took place Tuesday night when Nanticoke police attempted to stop him for operating a motorcycle without a license plate, court records say.
Shea initiated a pursuit that crossed into Plymouth, Larksville, Edwardsville where he struck a cruiser, and Kingston and crossed the North Central Expressway where he exited onto North Washington Street in Wilkes-Barre, according to court records.
A Kingston police officer cornered Shea who allegedly managed to escape, drove through yards on East Maple Street and crashed into a police cruiser at East Maple and North Washington streets.
Shea was allegedly in possession of methamphetamine and marijuana and was observed discarding items from his pockets during the pursuit.
Shea was treated at an area hospital.
Police in Nanticoke charged Shea with fleeing or attempting to elude police, accidents involving damage to attended vehicle, resisting arrest, criminal mischief, possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana and several traffic violations.
Court records say Shea was free on $5,000 unsecured bail related to a pursuit with Newport Township police in August.
Police in Newport Township initiated a traffic stop for a traffic violation whe
n Shea was operating a Kawasaki motorcycle on West Railroad Street on Aug. 22, court records say.
Shea failed to stop and initiated a pursuit until he crashed on Alden Mountain Road.

Newport Township police in court records say Shea was in possession of methamphetamine after the crash.

Shea is facing charges of fleeing or eluding police, possession of a controlled substance and several traffic violations in county court.

2/6/2024
Newport Twp. couple enters ple
a talks over toddler's death 
James Halpin – Citizens Voice


The Newport Twp. couple accused of causing the death of their baby daughter by severe neglect has entered into plea negotiations with prosecutors and will appear for a change of plea hearing next month.
James R. Kasisky, 26, and Valentina Varela-Luis, 25, previously pleaded not guilty to felony counts of involuntary manslaughter and endangering the welfare of children as well as a misdemeanor count of reckless endangerment in connection with the death of their 19-month-old daughter, Phoenix.
During a brief appearance Monday morning, the parties informed Luzerne County President Judge Michael T. Vough that they are engaged in plea negotiations and requested another hearing date. Vough set a plea hearing for 1:30 p.m. March 25.
Assistant District Attorney Jarrett Ferentino said the parties have not yet reached a plea agreement but that they are having discussions to that end.
Prosecutors said Phoenix died Dec. 23, 2022, after being found unresponsive in a bedroom of 20 3rd St. in the Glen Lyon section of Newport Twp.
The child’s death was caused by dehydration and “metabolic imbalance due to neglect,” according to the charges. The manner of death was ruled a homicide because prosecutors say the child was placed in a hot room and left unattended for 26 hours.
Prosecutors allege Phoenix’s stomach was found nearly empty, with the last known contact either parent had with the child taking place around 7 p.m. the previous evening.
Kasisky told investigators he hadn’t checked on his daughter or fed her when he returned home from work the morning Phoenix died because he thought she was sleeping, while Valera-Luis did not check on the child prior to leaving for work the same morning because she thought Kasisky had, prosecutors said.
Both parents remain free on $50,000 bond pending resolution of their cases.

 

2/5/2024
Fourteen Luzerne County municipalities raising 2024 real estate taxes
jandes@timesleader.com


Fourteen of Luzerne County’s 76 municipalities have increased real estate taxes for 2024, according to an annual report from the county Treasurer’s Office.
The highest increase — 1.369 mills — is in Hazleton, where taxes are rising 20%, from 6.78 to 8.149 mills.
With mills, math is required to figure out the actual tax payment. Divide the property’s assessed value by 1,000 and multiply it by the millage rate.
For example, the owner of a $100,000 property in Hazleton will now pay $814.90 in city real estate taxes, or $136.90 more.
A full chart detailing the other millage increases accompanies this story.
Using a property assessed at $100,000 as an example, taxes will increase $50 in these municipalities:
• Courtdale, $200 to $250
• Dallas Township, $230 to $280
• Duryea, $220 to $270
• Jenkins Township, $157.50 to $207.50
• Sugar Notch, $550 to $600
Here’s how tax bills will change in the other municipalities, also based on a $100,000 property:
• Jackson Township, $372 to $384 ($12 more)
• Larksville, $380 to $400 ($20 more)
• Lehman Township, $360 to $370 ($10 more)
• Luzerne, $376.92 to $393.62 ($16.70 more)
Newport Township, $415 to $450 ($35 more)
• Ross Township, $23 to $44 ($21 more)
• West Hazleton, $538 to $563 ($25 more)
• Wilkes-Barre Township, $220 to $275 ($55 more)
Municipal feedback
Hazleton Mayor Jeff Cusat said four major factors prompted the need for a tax increase:
• GIS plotting that must be completed as part of a federal pollution reduction mandate, which is the same directive that led to a regional plan and stormwater fees in the Wyoming Valley. This mapping will cost the city $98,000, the mayor said.
• A $625,000 increase in the city’s employee pension fund contribution, which is necessary to keep the fund stable.
• An additional $433,000 balloon payment on the city’s last remaining debt. The loan is scheduled to be paid off in two years.
• A $200,000 earmark for street paving.
Cusat said the city previously used earned income tax receipts for the pension contribution but learned these payments should be covered by the general fund instead. As a result, the city’s earned income tax will be cut in half, he said. This savings will help offset the real estate tax increase for employed property owners, he said.
“There is a good chance they will actually save money this year,” he said.
To alleviate some of the pressure of the city tax increase, property owners will have the option to make smaller installment payments and receive more time to pay before a penalty is added, Cusat said.
Newport Township Manager Joseph Hillan said the increase in his municipality was necessary to cover fire protection expenses and compensation increases for police, fire and public works department employees.
Hillan said this is the first increase in his four years as township manager.

In Wilkes-Barre Township, Mayor Carl Kuren said the increase was largely needed for rising utility and garbage collection expenses. Township residents don’t pay garbage collection fees, and officials want to continue providing that service through real estate tax collection, he said.
“So far we have not had to charge citizens, and we’re trying to keep it that way,” Kuren said.
While Wilkes-Barre Township has experienced tax base growth through commercial and retail development, it has lost revenue from some larger assessment reductions, Kuren said.
Jenkins Township Board of Supervisors Chairman Stanley Rovinski said a tax hike was the only feasible option to pay the additional $180,000 expense for two firefighters to provide round-the-clock protection.
“Volunteers are drying up, and having only one staff firefighter would be dangerous,” Rovinski said. “Our only other option was to disband the department.”
Rising garbage collection costs are another concern, he said, emphasizing many municipalities across the county are struggling with both issues.
Rovinski said township officials had hoped voters would voluntarily agree to a Nov. 7 general election referendum to raise taxes 0.5 mill solely to provide dedicated funding for emergency services.
The referendum failed, with 525 voting yes and 590 rejecting the proposal, election results show.
Rovinski said the results were close, and the township still has authority to act on funding the expense of fire protection.
County taxes
The county millage rate will remain at 6.3541 in 2024, for a payment of $635.41 in county taxes on a $100,000 property.
Combined 2024 county/municipal tax bills are targeted for issuance on Feb. 16, according to the county treasurer’s office.
Property owners will have two months to pay at a 2% discount and another two months to pay at the full, or face, amount. A 10% penalty is then added.

 

1/23/2024
Newport Twp. man sues over malfunctioning fire hydrants 
James Halpin – Citizens Voice


A Newport Twp. man has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging Pennsylvania American Water and the township failed to maintain fire hydrants that malfunctioned when his home caught fire last winter, resulting in its destruction to the tune of $90,000.
Horia Cretan also alleges the township and Luzerne County demolished his property within days without properly condemning the structure or even informing him that his home would be razed.
The suit, filed by attorney Joel S. Sansone of the Pittsburgh firm Law Offices of Joel Sansone, names as defendants the township, Pennsylvania American Water and Luzerne County.
The suit contends that the water company has a contract with the township under which it is required "to supply water and maintain the fire hydrants surrounding residents' properties." As a result, the suit alleges, the company had a duty to winterize the hydrants, including those around Cretan's properties at 1010 W. Main St., 1010½ W. Main St. and 1012 W. Main St., to prevent malfunctions during cold weather.
But when Cretan's house caught fire on Jan. 21, 2023, the nearby fire hydrants "were frozen, malfunctioned, and/or had low water pressure and failed to distribute any water," according to the suit.
"As a result of the aforementioned inoperative fire hydrants, firefighters were unable to quickly distribute water to contain the fire," Sansone wrote. "By the time the firefighters were able to distribute any water onto the fire at the plaintiff's property, the fire had significantly spread, resulting in the roof of the building collapsing."
The fire therefore destroyed part of Cretan's property, resulting in a loss estimated at $90,000, according to the suit.
The complaint goes on to allege that two days after the fire — at 5 a.m. Jan. 23, 2023 — the "township and/or county" demolished the property, including a commercial section that sustained only "minimal damage." Officials also failed to properly condemn the property or to notify Cretan of the demolition, leaving him unable to salvage any personal belongings that might have survived the fire, Sansone wrote.
The lawsuit alleges violations of Cretan's due process and equal protection rights, as well as his rights under Pennsylvania common law.
"Other similarly situated properties within (Newport Twp.) and the fire hydrants surrounding those properties within (Newport Twp.) were winterized and properly maintained," Sansone wrote. "No rational basis exists for this difference in treatment. The defendants' failure to take preventive action constitutes a willful disregard and a deliberate indifference to the rights of (Cretan)."
Cretan is seeking unspecified compensatory damages to reimburse him for the property as well as for "extreme emotional distress and emotional suffering," plus court and attorney fees.
Susan Turcmanovich, a spokeswoman for the water company, said she could not comment on pending litigation.
Newport Township Manager Joseph Hillan said he had not yet seen the lawsuit and also could not comment.

 

1/7/2024
R Bar and Grill set to reopen after extensive remodeling
boboyle@timesleader.com


NEWPORT TWP. — The remodeling project at the R Bar and Grill has been a team effort.
To know that is to talk to the owners, Lauren Maga and her sister, Lindsey Temerantz.
“We can’t say enough about our employees and how hard they have been working to get this project done,” Lauren said. “They are here every day, working long hours. We hope to re-open this week.”
Maga, 40, and Temerantz, 37, along with their father, Rick Temerantz, opened R Bar and Grill on Feb. 3, 2011, on West Union Street in Nanticoke. Maga said the business started with eight tables and a small bar, a very small menu, and only five wing sauces.
“Needless to say, things have gotten bigger and better and we outgrew our location,” Maga said.
Three years later, on Nov. 7, 2014, R Bar moved to the old Alden Manor Complex on Kirmar Avenue in Newport Township.
The current location has 29 tables, lots of bar seating, a huge parking lot, and a 150-person capacity banquet hall on the second floor.
“And we now have 85 wing sauces and dry rubs,” Maga said. “We have been voted Best Wings in NEPA for four years in a row by the Times Leader and the Weekender.”
Maga said their customers range from kids to all ages.
“We would like to thank all our of our wonderful customers who have gotten us where we are today,” Maga said.
The R Bar family embarked on an extensive remodeling project. Maga said Floors are being replaced, as are the ceilings and walls. There will be all-new lighting, new counters and new equipment.
“Basically, the entire bar area has been gutted,” Maga said.
Maga and Temerantz said they didn’t want their employees to be without a paycheck while the remodeling project was going on, so they all were put to work during the transformation.
“We really didn’t want anyone to lose out on their pay,” Maga said. “We’ve been closed for two weeks. Several of our employees have worked in the construction business, so it’s going well.”
Maga said the goal was to reopen Tuesday, Jan. 9, but that might be delayed a day or two. On Saturday, she said the project is nearing completion and could make the Tuesday opening.
Maga said the R Bar and Grill has 30 full-time and part-time employees — servers, bartenders, cooks, dishwashers, banquet servers and more. She said the Alden Room can be used for banquets, showers, retirement parties, graduation parties — although they don’t do weddings.
“My sister and I always wanted to open a bar/restaurant,” Maga said. “We work great together and we have an outstanding team of employees.”
Lauren’s husband, Chris Maga, is a certified electrician. They live in Wapwallopen and have two children. Lindsay and her partner, Justin Koch, reside in Nanticoke. Also helping out on the project are Lauren and Lindsey’s mother, Jaynan Temerantz, and her partner, Terry Womelsdorf.
The menu at the R Bar and Grill is extensive. You can check it out at —
www.rbarandgrill.com.
In a Times Leader story a few years ago, it stated that walking into the bar and restaurant takes individuals back to their nearest local service station as old street signs, hubcaps and license plates adorn the walls. Temerantz considers it a “garage-y” feeling.
“People will come in and say, ‘Oh I found this and brought it for you,’” Maga said about some of the decor. “We have many groups that want to reserve the license plate booth.”
That booth has license plates from all over the U.S. on the wall.
There’s also a spot dedicated to firefighters and police officers with department patches and other memorabilia under glass at the bar.
The idea to open the bar was “something for us, a legacy,” the sisters noted.
“Our dad (who owns One Stop Service Shop on Alden Road in Nanticoke) wanted us to do something for us,” Maga said.
The bar business made sense, since Maga has been in the business since she was 18 years old.
Family run, employees considered like family, and family fun — the R Bar and Grill truly is a family affair.

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