Massive Scranton Bust Highlights Flow Of The Heroin Pipeline

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

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

Given a little more time, Dakeem Booker might have turned 2.6 ounces of heroin into $50,000.

The Lackawanna County Drug Task Force had other plans.

Mr. Booker, 28, of Scranton, was arrested last month at his Palm Street home and charged as a drug dealer. County detectives and members of the state parole office raided his home after a tip, detectives said. They found a digital scale, a revolver and countless wax sleeves stamped “Magoo,” a brand of heroin.

Scranton police have charged 713 people for dealing either heroin or cocaine since 2009, according to uniform crime reporting statistics.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/massive-bust-highlights-flow-of-the-heroin-pipeline-1.1722278

Northeastern Pa. Jobless Rate Falls

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 – Following a recent pattern, the unemployment rate in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre market fell in May, but so did the number of people with jobs.

The 7.2 percent rate was down one-tenth of 1 percent from April and 1.9 percentage points from the May 2013 rate of 9.1 percent, the state Department of Labor and Industry said. But the region that includes Luzerne, Lackawanna and Wyoming counties maintained the unenviable distinction of having the highest jobless rate in Pennsylvania.

Both the size of the labor force – people working or looking for work – and the number of people with jobs fell compared to April and over the year. So, while 6,100 fewer people were reported as unemployed than last May, some of them may have given up looking for work.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/business/1509561/Northeastern-Pa.-jobless-rate-falls

Report: Foreign Dollars Bring Many Jobs To Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Area

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)

Foreign direct investment has increased jobs in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

It accounted for 14,050 jobs in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in 2011, an increase of about 4,300 in the past two decades, according to a new report that looked at data for the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas.

That’s 6.2 percent of total private sector employment, above the national rate of 5 percent.

The data comes from a new report that tries to gauge the local impact of “Foreign Direct Investment,” defined as a company in a foreign country investing enough to gain a controlling share of an American company.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1479223/Report:-Foreign-dollars-bring-area-jobs

Local Services Tax Could Triple Under Act 47 Plan

HARRISBURG — People who work in Scranton and other distressed municipalities could see a $52 annual tax triple under a new Senate amendment.

Lawmakers want to steer Act 47 municipalities to levy a higher local services tax as an alternative to a commuter tax.

The distressed cities legislation cleared a first Senate hurdle Wednesday with a comprehensive amendment added by the Local Government Committee.

The committee’s action is the latest step in an effort to overhaul the Act 47 program for fiscally distressed municipalities. Scranton, Nanticoke, West Hazleton and Plymouth Twp. have Act 47 status. Shamokin is seeking to enter the program.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/tax-could-triple-under-act-47-plan-1.1705643

Moosic Mayor: ‘Clean Up Or Close Down’

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

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

MOOSIC, PA — Mayor James Segilia has five words for three motels in the borough.

“Clean up or close down.”

Ever since a standoff at the Rodeway Inn, 4130 Birney Ave., in January tied up local police departments for five hours, Segilia and police chief Charles Maurer have sought ways to close down the Rodeway, Moosic Motor Inn, 4124 Birney Ave., and Trotters Motel, 4217 Birney Ave.

The three motels are a nuisance that attract a dangerous clientele and tie up police resources on countless calls, the mayor said.

“It costs time, aggravation and it takes away from police patrols,” Segilia said.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/moosic-mayor-clean-up-or-close-down-1.1703585

Scranton OKs Surveillance Camera Network

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

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

Scranton City Council on Thursday unanimously approved having the city create a community video-camera surveillance network at police headquarters.

Council voted 5-0, with President Bob McGoff and Councilmen Joe Wechsler, Pat Rogan, Jack Loscombe and Bill Gaughan all in favor, to adopt a resolution to apply for and execute a $146,390 grant for a “community surveillance network system” at the police station on South Washington Avenue.

Council also unanimously advanced on second reading an ordinance to create an account to process the grant.

The surveillance network would allow private surveillance cameras in the city, such as those at banks, businesses or colleges, to link to the police station. There, a wall of 32 video monitors will show live feeds from privately owned and operated surveillance cameras that already exist in public areas.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/scranton-oks-camera-network-1.1695262

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Scranton Police Arrest 16-Year-Old In Cabbie’s Murder

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

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

As Aazis Richardson walked out of the makeshift courtroom at Scranton Police Headquarters to the holding cell, he gave a simple explanation for shooting a McCarthy Flowered Cab driver twice in the back of the head early Friday morning.

“That’s what I do to people that don’t listen.”

Just hours after Vincent Darbenzio was murdered in his driver’s seat, police found the 16-year-old hiding in an attic at 1009-1011 Washburn St. with suspected blood on his pants and arrested him.

Richardson, 1011 Washburn St., Scranton, was charged with first-, second- and third-degree murder, robbery and related counts. He was sent to Lackawanna County Prison without bail. His preliminary hearing is set for May 30.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/scranton-police-arrest-16-year-old-in-cabbie-s-murder-1.1691773

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Coroner: Shooting Death Of Scanton Cab Driver Ruled A Homicide

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

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

SCRANTON, PA — The shooting death of a McCarthy cab driver has been ruled a homicide, Lackawanna County Coroner Tim Rowland said.

Vincent Darbenzio, 47, of Scranton, died from multiple gunshot wounds to his head, Mr. Rowland said. Scranton police and the Lackawanna County District Attorney offices are conducting the homicide investigation.

Mr. Darbenzio was dead inside his cab early this morning, said Brian McCarthy, owner of McCarthy Flowered Cabs. Mr. Darbenzio, 47, was dispatched early this morning to Washburn Street to pick up an individual and drop him or her off at Valley View Terrace.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/coroner-shooting-death-of-scanton-cab-driver-ruled-a-homicide-1.1691340

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More People Moving Into Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Region Than Out

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)

PLAINS TOWNSHIP, PA — More people are moving into the region than leaving.

Migration into Luzerne and Lackawanna counties is on the rise and much of the immigration is coming from New York, New Jersey and elsewhere in Pennsylvania, according to the 2014 Indicators Report from the Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development at Wilkes University.

The report, unveiled Thursday morning to business and civic leaders who filled the convention center at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, analyzed 120 indicators in areas such as demographics, population and migration, jobs and the economy. It was the ninth year for the event, said Teri Ooms, executive director of the institute.

Ooms highlighted the 2010 Census, which shows a growing population for the first time since the 1950s. Some are from the low- to moderate-income demographic and some earn a middle- to upper-middle income, the report showed.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/more-people-moving-into-region-than-out-1.1690955

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Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Region’s Health Checkup Results Less Than Stellar

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 — Northeastern Pennsylvania should be concerned about its health.

Luzerne and Lackawanna counties possess a “hard-living” population that is predominantly overweight, smokes and drinks too much, has easy access to illegal drugs, has a rising increase in mental-health issues and is living in poverty, according to data released Tuesday at the Community Health Needs Assessment forum sponsored by Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center.

Teri Ooms, executive director at the Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development in Wilkes-Barre, gave a presentation to about 6o people representing various agencies and health care facilities that showed the area’s needs and offered recommendations to improve health care, increase services and retain patients who seek care outside the area.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1358272/Regions-health-checkup-results-less-than-stellar

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Steamtown Mall Goes To Sheriff’s Sale June 10 With $43.7M Asking Price

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

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

The asking price for the foreclosed downtown shopping center will be $43.7 million, according to a list released Monday by the Lackawanna County sheriff’s office.

The sale begins at 10 a.m. in the first-floor jury lounge at the Lackawanna County Courthouse, said Robert Moore, a deputy sheriff. Although the mall is the first item on the list, the auction will follow bidding for other properties held over from earlier sales, the deputy said.

Mall principal Al Boscov continues to put together financing to try to make the acquisition, said Scott Esterbrook, a Philadelphia lawyer who represents the department store magnate in the foreclosure.

“Albert is still working on a lot of details relating to the foreclosure sale,” Mr. Esterbrook said. “He is trying to raise the capital to pull it off.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/steamtown-mall-goes-to-sheriff-s-sale-june-10-with-43-7m-asking-price-1.1676862

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$300M Being Pumped Into I-81Between Wilkes-Barre And Scranton

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)

Christopher Santizo faces a challenge every time he drives to class at Luzerne County Community College in Nanticoke.

The 29-year-old graphic design and advertising student who commutes from Duryea, said construction on Interstate 81 routinely has made it difficult to get to class on time.

“I’ve been everywhere from stopped to 45 miles per hour,” he said.

He is among an estimated 70,000 drivers who traverse a half-dozen Pennsylvania Department of Transportation construction projects totaling more than $100 million between Wilkes-Barre and Scranton. Upon completion of those projects, PennDOT will begin widening the highway near Scranton to the tune of $174 million — ensuring years of additional construction zones.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1333853/Endless-I-81-construction-tests-drivers-patience

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Carbondale Recognized As Top Spot By PA Route 6 Alliance

Map of U.S. Route 6 in Pennsylvania

Map of U.S. Route 6 in Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CARBONDALE, PA – An investment in Carbondale’s rich history, a new hotel and improvements to sidewalks and streetlights downtown helped the city garner top honors from a nonprofit dedicated to promoting tourism along historic Route 6.

The PA Route 6 Alliance named Carbondale as the Heritage Community of the Year, making it No. 1 among more than 20 heritage communities that stretch along the 427 miles of Route 6 in Pennsylvania.

“It’s nice to be recognized for working so hard,” Carbondale Mayor Justin Taylor said.

Carbondale began working toward a Route 6 Heritage Community designation in 2003, Mr. Taylor said. The Route 6 Alliance is a nonprofit organization that promotes tourism and economic development along the Route 6 corridor in Pennsylvania.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/carbondale-recognized-as-top-spot-by-pa-route-6-alliance-1.1675579

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Study Showing Area’s Shaky Economy No Surprise

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)

Frank Nemeth, of Wilkes-Barre, doesn’t need a study to tell him the region is in rough shape.

Nemeth works at the Main Street Trading Post, a pawn shop south of Public Square, and he said his job has exposed him to the harsh realities of the city’s economy.

“I don’t see any recovery happening,” he said.

Instead, Nemeth said he sees some of the same people everyday — sometimes two or three times — trying to sell their belongings to afford necessities like food and gas.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/news/1334175/Study-showing-areas-shaky-economy-no-surprise

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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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