Forbes Magazine Ranks Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 8th Best Place To Raise A Family

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Diamond City Partnership Executive Director Larry Newman said Friday he wishes he could be more enthusiastic about the Forbes Magazine ranking that put the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton metropolitan area as the eighth best place in the U.S. to raise a family.

“It’s difficult to get enthusiastic about these types of rankings because they come out a lot,” Newman said. “And they’re becoming increasingly more frequent. But don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that we’re being recognized in a positive way.”

The Forbes list had this to say about the region:

“One of the lowest median family incomes ($42,000) among U.S. metro areas, but crime is low, commutes are short and housing is affordable (87 percent of area homes are affordable at the median income level).

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1337182/Region-gets-high-praise-from-Forbes

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Dunmore May Condemn Homes Where Drugs Are Sold

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

DUNMORE, PA – Drug dealers who settle in the borough may soon find themselves homeless.

Borough council next month will consider amending Dunmore’s building code ordinance to temporarily condemn homes and apartments where people are selling or manufacturing drugs.

“A one-time zone violation of drug activity on site will result in immediate closure of the property,” solicitor Thomas Cummings told councilmen on Monday. “It mirrors (ordinances) used by other communities in an effort to stem the drug problem which … destroys the neighborhood, destroys the property value and just creates a downward spiral.”

Borough lawmakers were already thinking of doing more to combat drugs when Dunmore police and Lackawanna County detectives found a large cache of drugs and related paraphernalia at a Prescott Avenue home last month.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/dunmore-may-condemn-homes-where-drugs-are-sold-1.1668476

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PennDOT Plans 6-Mile I-81 Widening

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

DUNMORE, PA — The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation plans to rebuild and widen six miles of Interstate 81 from the Luzerne County line to the Central Scranton Expressway.

But that’s not expected to happen anytime soon.

According to information from PennDOT spokesman Mike Taluto, the project is at least five years away and would take three to four years to complete. The estimated cost is $174 million.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1316029/PennDOT-plans-6-mile-I-81-widening

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Poll: Those In NEPA Among Most Miserable In U.S.

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Lancaster, PA ranked 21st on the list :)  The happiest of any Pennsylvania Metropolitan Area.  Hey now!

People in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metropolitan area are among the most miserable in the nation, according to a report that ranks the area 177th out of 189 it surveyed to gauge residents’ sense of well-being.

Their continuing economic downslide, bad memories, misperceptions and even a lack of sunlight may play a part in Northeast Pennsylvanians’ gloomy outlook, some local experts say in commenting on the State of American Well-Being, the report released last week by Gallup and Healthways.

The highest-ranked area was Provo-Orem, Utah, and the lowest-ranked was the Huntington, W.Va.-Ashland, Ky. area. More than 178,000 people across the country were interviewed last year, including a sample size of 1,092 from the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area.

The survey asked people to rate their life evaluation – a combination of current situation evaluation and the anticipated situation in five years – emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors and basic access to health care and other necessities.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/poll-those-in-nepa-among-most-miserable-in-u-s-1.1663838

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Lackawanna State Forest To Grow By 3,000 Acres

Locator Map of Lackawanna State Forest, Pennsy...

Locator Map of Lackawanna State Forest, Pennsylvania, United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CONYNGHAM TOWNSHIP, PA — When state Sen. John Yudichak and state Rep. Gerald Mullery were growing up, they used to play in the shadow of the Avondale Mine area and the Plymouth flats.

The two legislators, both 43 and friends since boyhood, are familiar with the landscape that Friday became part of the Enhance Penn’s Woods project — a two-year, more than $200 million initiative launched by Gov. Tom Corbett to repair and improve Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests.

“John and I have the coal chips in our knees to prove it,” Mullery, D-Newport Township, said. “And now we’re here today to preserve and reclaim mine-scarred land so our children and grandchildren will have pristine and maintained natural areas to enjoy.”

At a chilly news conference Friday on the banks of the Susquehanna River, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Ellen Ferretti announced the state will add more than 3,000 acres to the Lackawanna State Forest with the acquisition of the Mocanaqua tract in Conyngham, Newport and Slocum townships.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/news/1299045/Lackawanna-State-Forest-to-grow-by-3000-acres

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City Mayor Sues Scranton Redevelopment Authority, And Board Member

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mayor Bill Courtright filed suit against a city authority board Monday, seeking to depose and replace a board member with his own appointee.

Former Mayor Chris Doherty illegally appointed Peter Riebe to the Scranton Redevelopment Authority board, Mr. Courtright contends in a lawsuit filed on his behalf by city solicitor Jason A. Shrive.

The lawsuit escalates an ongoing battle between Mr. Courtright and the authority board, which refuses to recognize the mayor’s appointment on Feb. 18 of Timothy Perry as Mr. Riebe’s replacement.

The authority is an independent body that plays a critical role in the city’s redevelopment and blight removal. It has previously argued Mr. Riebe’s term will not expire until next year.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/city-mayor-sues-scranton-redevelopment-authority-and-board-member-1.1660441

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Census Figures Show Population Drops In NEPA Across The Board

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

About 2,000 fewer people lived in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metro in 2013 compared to the previous year, as deaths outpaced births and more people fled the area than flocked to it.

All seven counties in Northeastern Pennsylvania lost population between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2013, according to new annual estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau today. Unlike the once-a-decade census, the annual estimates are based on records such as birth and death certificates,tax forms and Medicare enrollment.

Gordon De Jong, Ph.D., a professor emeritus of sociology and demography at Penn State, said the aging population, low birth rate and lack of economic opportunity in Northeastern Pennsylvania continue to cost its residents.

“The fundamental underlying trend is continued, if not accelerated,” De Jong said.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/census-figures-show-population-drops-in-nepa-across-the-board-1.1657880

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Texting Citations In Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Area Drop

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Texting while driving citations for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metro area dropped 29 percent in one year, but the region still ranks 8th-worst in the state, according to data from compiled by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, the Philadelphia police and the U.S. Census Bureau.

There were 37 citations in Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wyoming counties from March 2013 through February – one citation fewer than the Lancaster metro area, though Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metro area has 36,806 more residents, There were 52 citations from March 2012 to Feb. 2013, making the metro area the 6th-worst in the state in 2013. The Philadelphia and Pittsburgh metro areas maintained the one and two spots respectively, though their populations are far greater.

No one reason can be attributed for the year’s decline in citations, area law enforcement officials said. An optimist might attribute part of it to increased awareness in the dangers of texting while driving, Lackawanna County Deputy District Attorney Robert Klein said. One reason may be a reduction of crashes caused by texting. Another reason could be as simple as fewer drivers getting caught.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/texting-citations-in-w-b-scranton-area-drop-1.1655025

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Scranton St. Partrick’s Day Parade, March 15, 2014

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Saint Patrick’s parade in Scranton boasts 12,000 participants, including multiple bagpipe, high school and string bands. The parade is enhanced by many floats and large balloons. Many Irish groups and societies are also represented. It has been going on annually since 1962 and is organized by the St. Patrick’s Parade Association of Lackawanna County. The parade has received national attention as being one of the better St. Patrick’s parades. The parade route begins on Wyoming Ave in front of St. Peter’s Cathedral, proceeds to Lackawanna Ave. over Jefferson Ave. then down Spruce St to get to Washington Ave. where it passes the William J. Nealon Federal building and finally the reviewing stand.

The parade is preceded by the Parade Day mass at St. Peter’s Cathedral and the Brian Kelly Memorial race.

Click here for the parade website:  http://www.stpatparade.com/index.php

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Boscov: Steamtown Mall Nearing Foreclosure

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Mall at Steamtown is on the verge of foreclosure, department store magnate Al Boscov disclosed to The Times-Tribune on Wednesday.

The mall ownership group, Steamtown Mall Partners LP, recently defaulted on a lump sum mortgage payment and a property foreclosure action is expected to be filed by Friday in Lackawanna County Court, Boscov told the newspaper’s editorial board.

The mall will continue to operate and shoppers should notice no difference at the Lackawanna Avenue retail complex during foreclosure, he said. All of the mall’s tenants but one, a store whose lease was up, have decided to stay.

Reiterating his personal commitment to the mall and to downtown Scranton, Boscov, chairman and chief executive of Boscov’s department store, said the mall’s ownership believes the foreclosure process will help the property emerge as a financially healthier operation.

Read more:  http://citizensvoice.com/news/boscov-steamtown-mall-nearing-foreclosure-1.1645780

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Wyoming Valley To See Up To 4 Inches Of Snow

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA – As the saying goes, March is coming in like a lion.

Three to four inches of snow is expected in the Wyoming Valley Sunday into Monday, according to a spokesman for the National Weather Service. The storm comes on the heels of a week of bone-chilling temperatures.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news//1228564/Wyoming-Valley-to-see-up-to-4-inches-of-snow

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Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Airport Gets Funds To Aid In Attracting Carriers

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PITTSTON TWP. — For the second time in 11 years, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport is the recipient of a federal grant to entice airlines to offer new destinations or to increase the number of flights to current destinations.

The $575,000 federal Small Community Air Service Development grant will be used to encourage airlines to add flights to business and leisure destinations that are among the most requested by passengers.

Airport Director Barry J. Centini said that on the leisure side, he will look to add Myrtle Beach, S.C., Tampa Bay and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., as destinations. For business travelers, Pittsburgh and Washington are the targets.

Those destinations seem to be the ones many customers request or wind up taking connecting flights to get to when they embark from the local airport. He said the funds also could be used to entice airlines already operating out of Avoca to add additional flights to current destinations such as Atlanta.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news/1208151/Airport-gets-funds-to-aid-in-attracting-carriers

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Snow Storm Starts; Many NEPA Activities Stop

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s a snow day for almost everyone.

With the winter storm pummeling Northeast Pennsylvania expected to continue into early Friday, schools and most government offices are shut down, and many businesses and some employers have followed suit.

Getting around is already difficult and is only going to get worse. Plows and salt trucks were prepared for a long siege. Roadways speed limits have been lowered.

COLTS announced its buses will quit running this afternoon, and most commercial bus runs to and from the area have been canceled. It’s the same at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport, where most flights have been scrubbed.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/snow-storm-starts-many-activities-stop-1.1621652

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Local Unemployment Rate Lowest Since July 2009

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The tri-county area including Luzerne, Wyoming and Lackawanna ended 2013 just like it began, with the highest unemployment rate of the state’s 14 metropolitan statistical areas. December also marked the 45th month in a row the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton region held that distinction.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/business/1171547/Local-unemployment-rate-lowest-since-July-2009

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Legislator Wants Action On Mine Fires

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

OLYPHANT, PA — Coal heated up the Lackawanna and Wyoming valleys’ job market decades ago, and today it’s still making the region hot as no fewer than eight underground mine fires are burning from Carbondale to Newport Township.

The issue has not been taken seriously enough by the state Department of Environmental Protection, according to Rep. Kevin Haggerty, D-Dunmore, and officials in Olyphant, where one of the fires has been burning for nearly a decade.

During a public meeting Haggerty organized in Olyphant on Thursday, he said he has written a letter to Gov. Tom Corbett urging him to declare Luzerne and Lackawanna counties “disaster areas” so federal and state funding could be freed up to help extinguish the fires.

Three of those fires, all in Luzerne County, are designated as serious by the state Department of Environmental Protection, meaning occupied structures are less than 1,000 feet away. The other five are classified as moderate, meaning occupied structures are at least 1,000 feet away.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news/1156029/Legislator-wants-action-on-mine-fires

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Hearing Call Of ‘All Aboard’? Experts Discuss Feasibility Of Passenger Rail Service

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority President Lawrence Malski said Monday studies show major industries are looking to get out of congested metropolitan areas and move to areas like NEPA.

Passenger rail service that links Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and Hazleton, he said, would be a major factor in attracting those companies to the area. U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Hazleton, suggested the idea on Friday to spur economic activity.

“It’s (passenger rail service) is a major requirement that they have,” Malski said. “When you connect cities like Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and Hazleton to a major city like New York, major industries will follow that rail line out here because they would have an efficient and reliable form of transportation for workers.”

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news//1152788/Hearing-call-of-All-aboard

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Barletta Eyes Train Between Scranton, Hazleton

English: Official portrait of Congressman Lou ...

English: Official portrait of Congressman Lou Barletta. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Pardon me, Lou. Is that the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton choo-choo?

U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Hazleton, fresh off his announcement that he will seek a third term in Congress, Friday told The Times Leader Opinion Board he feels establishing passenger-rail service connecting the region’s three largest cities is a key to economic recovery and growth.

“The interstate roads are always crowded and often under repair,” said Barletta, 57. “Rail service — both freight and passenger — contributes to economic growth. Transportation in general, from waterways to highways to railways, are vital to the country and our region.”

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/news/1148657/Barletta-eyes-train-between-Scranton-Hazleton

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Foreclosure Activity Surges Across Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Region

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Regional foreclosures advanced at the state’s highest percentage among metropolitan areas in 2013.

Property repossessions, home auction notices and mortgage default activity in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metro area soared by 60 percent, compared to 2012, according RealtyTrac, a Los Angeles-area company that tracks national foreclosure trends.

Foreclosures climbed in the area during all four quarters of the year and the annual increase was largest proportionately among state metro areas, RealtyTrac data show. York’s 32 percent increase was the second-largest jump.

The region experienced eight straight quarters of foreclosure declines before activity accelerated in the first quarter of 2013.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/business/foreclosure-activity-surges-across-region-1.1619761

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Fee Could Raise $4M For NEPA Counties

Northeastern Pennsylvania‘s seven counties could collect more than $4 million per year for transportation projects starting next year if officials assess an optional $5 vehicle registration fee on their residents.

The state’s $2.3 billion transportation bill authorizes counties to collect the optional fee. State Department of Transportation records show the region’s drivers registered 826,694 vehicles in 2012.

Leaders in Lackawanna and Luzerne counties, which together could collect $2.36 million of that total, initially sounded more open to the idea than their more rural counterparts.

“Right now, we are reviewing the legislation and taking a look at it, so we just started that process,” said Jim Wansacz, chairman of the Lackawanna County commissioners. “We’ll see what can be done and what type of revenue would be associated with it.”

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/fee-could-raise-4m-for-nepa-counties-1.1619430

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Online Publication: Scranton Is Nation’s Most Hungover City

picture-0571Sam Bernardini had the Bog pretty much to himself Wednesday night.

The Scranton was packed with New Year’s Eve revelers the night before, but Bernardini rang in 2014 at home.

“Amateurs go out on New Year’s Eve,” he said, one of four patrons at the bar. Few city watering holes were open, and those that were had far more barstools than customers, suggesting that a study published by Business Insider might have merit.

The online publication ranked Scranton the “Most Hungover City in America” in a list of 25 communities where citizens were likely to be nursing sore heads and queasy stomachs Wednesday morning.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/online-publication-scranton-is-nation-s-most-hungover-city-1.1610427