Wilkes-Barre’s Sherman Hills Complex Now Prefers Locals

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — The welcome mat is still out for out-of-state residents at Sherman Hills, but under a program instituted by the new owner, locals are given preference to move into the federally-subsidized apartment complex.

The preference also applies if a member of the household waiting to get one of the 344-units has a job.

John VanMetre, director of property management for The Aspen Companies, an affiliate of Teaneck, New Jersey-based Treetop Development, owner of the complex, explained the change in light of a recent report that Sherman Hills had advertised for tenants in the New York City area.

VanMetre said that with the change in ownership, any ads are done locally.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/news/50555847/Sherman-Hills-puts-focus-on-locals

Judges Affirm Rejection Of Hazleton Area International Cargo Airport

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Schuylkill County

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

A Commonwealth Court panel dealt another blow Thursday to a proposed international cargo airport in the Hazleton area, as it upheld Schuylkill County Court’s rejection of a special exception for the facility.

In a 19-page opinion, the panel affirmed county Judge James P. Goodman’s determination that Gladstone Partners LLC, Pittsburgh, had not satisfied the necessary conditions for a special exception.

“The application as submitted did not meet the objective requirements of … (the county zoning ordinance),” President Judge Dan Pellegrini wrote in the panel’s opinion.

As a result, barring a successful appeal by Gladstone Partners to the full Commonwealth Court or the state Supreme Court, plans for the airport have ground to a halt.

Read more: http://republicanherald.com/news/judges-affirm-rejection-of-airport-1.1776451

West Hazleton No Longer In ‘Distressed Municipality’ Status

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WEST HAZLETON — The state has rescinded the borough’s status as a distressed municipality. But while the borough has significantly improved finances since 2003, it’s not out of the woods yet.

State Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary C. Alan Walker determined that West Hazleton’s distressed status would be rescinded after a review of audits and financial data and the record from a public hearing on June 3, Gov. Tom Corbett’s office announced Thursday in a news release.

The hearing officer’s report revealed that in 2013, the borough had a $5,423 budget surplus, that finances were stable, and that the borough has the tools to make the decisions necessary to maintain responsible budgets, meet its obligations to vendors and creditors, and provide essential services to residents.

Read more:

Leighton Names Hughes New Wilkes-Barre Police Chief

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Make that Chief Hughes, and no more “acting.”

Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton this morning named Robert Hughes the city’s top cop, just a month after the 25-year department veteran was appointed acting chief in the wake of longtime Chief Gerard Dessoye’s departure to take a position at King’s College.

“The role of police chief requires great expertise and experience in law enforcement, superior leadership and outstanding professionalism in working with all law enforcement agencies at the local, state and federal levels,” Leighton said during the 11-minute ceremony in the City Hall council chambers.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/50505618/

Demands To ‘Stop the Violence’ Dominate Wilkes-Barre City Council Meeting

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Desperate for answers in the shooting death of one son, Yvonne George pleaded to be heard in order to save her other child.

Her brief statement capped the raucous and at times unruly city council meeting Thursday night filled with other members of the black community fed up with violence in the city and demanding something be done to end it.

A photo of her son David George was on the collage of black-and-white photos above the words “Stop The Violence” on posters held up in the audience. The 24-year-old man was shot and killed July 18, 2013, on South Welles Street, the seventh of the city’s 13 homicide victims that year.

“I feel that the Wilkes-Barre police every time something happens with a black person down here, the first thing they say is is it’s drug related and it’s gang related,” the deceased man’s mother said. “My son was not in no gang.”

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/news/50464272/

Hazleton Moves To Save Money On Fire, Police Pensions

Downtown Hazleton, PA

Downtown Hazleton, PA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HAZLETON, PA — The city council approved use of a 75 percent amortization option to calculate its 2015 Minimum Municipal Obligation for the city’s non-uniformed, fire and police pension plans on Tuesday.

Don Williamson, ASCO Financial Services Group president, said although the city status as a distressed city has progressed from Level 3 to Level 2, it is still eligible to contribute to its MMO at a discounted rate for the years 2015 and 2016.

The move will save the city over $1 million dollars per year.

Councilman David Sosar inquired as to whether this would result in an increased financial burden to the city in upcoming years, to which Williamson replied, “I really don’t think so.”

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/50460903/Hazleton-moves-to-save-money-on-fire-police-pensions

Solar Energy To Light Up Wilkes-Barre Township Shopping Center

English: Map of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania h...

English: Map of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania highlighting Wilkes-Barre Township (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

EDWARDSVILLE, PA — After successfully using solar energy at the Gateway Shopping Center, Joe Amato Properties is number crunching on the feasibility to install solar panels at the East End Centre, Wilkes-Barre Township.

Three years ago, the Gateway Shopping Center in Edwardsville made a groundbreaking move, becoming the first area shopping plaza to install solar panels to light all common areas such as parking lots, lights under canopies and an office space.

Liana Kissinger, property manager for Joe Amato Properties, and A.J. Bittner, president with Keystone Energy Solar Services, Wyoming, confirmed they are working together again with the East End Centre under consideration for a similar installation.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/business/50441894/Solar-energy-to-light-up-East-End-Centre

AG’s Office Busts Alleged Steroid, Prescription Pill Rings

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Correctional officers, a pharmacist technician and a recently-released Dallas Cowboys guard were among the Luzerne County residents charged Wednesday in connection with two alleged anabolic steroid rings.

A state Attorney General’s Office investigation dubbed “Operation Gym Candy” led to the arrest of 13 suspects from five Northeast Pennsylvania counties who are alleged to have participated in the distribution of steroids and prescription drugs.

All suspects were released on varying amounts of bail, ranging from $1,000 to $50,000.

According to court papers, Brian Laubach, 36, of Berwick, and Richard Piccarreta, 49, of Plymouth, each ran respective anabolic steroid manufacturing and sales operations, working alongside others to distribute the Schedule III substances to customers locally and through the Internet.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/50413107/Alleged-drug-rings-busted

Authorities Return Wilkes-Barre Shooting Suspect To Area

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

A suspect captured in New York following a shooting in Wilkes-Barre earlier this month has been extradited.

Binghamton police said they arrested Sherman W. Wilborne, 30, on Sept. 2 for giving officers false identification. Once police learned Wilborne’s true identity, they lodged him without bail at Broome County Jail on a fugitive warrant out of Pennsylvania for the shooting.

Wilborne was arraigned in Wilkes-Barre on Friday before Magisterial District Judge Martin Kane and jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility in lieu of $250,000 straight cash bail. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Oct. 9 before Kane.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/authorities-return-w-b-shooting-suspect-to-area-1.1760868

Hazleton Looks At Tax Increase To Pay For Added Police

Downtown Hazleton, PA

Downtown Hazleton, PA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HAZLETON, PA — City Council unanimously approved a referendum on Monday night that would ask city voters if they would support an increased police presence on city streets at a cost of a 1-mill tax increase for property owners.

A mill is $1 dollar in tax for every $1,000 of assessed value. For example, a 1-mill increase on a property valued at $100,000 would mean a $100 tax increase for the property owner.

Council member Jean Mope said although she fully supported the hiring of additional police officers, she believed officials should investigate funding sources beyond taxpayers’ pockets.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/50375881/Hazleton-looks-at-tax-increase-to-pay-for-added-police

NEPA Gets Extra $500M For Projects

Counties constituting Northeastern Pennsylvania

Counties constituting Northeastern Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Northeastern Pennsylvania will get nearly $500 million more than expected for transportation projects over the next 12 years.

In 2012, area planners expected to spend $1.56 billion on transportation infrastructure in Lackawanna, Luzerne, Wyoming, Wayne, Pike and Susquehanna counties from 2013 through 2025, state Department of Transportation spokesman Michael Taluto said.

Gov. Tom Corbett signed the new transportation funding package in November, and transportation planners in the six counties recently allocated $2.03 billion to largely fix up the area’s roads and bridges from 2015 through 2027.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/nepa-gets-extra-500m-for-projects-1.1757716

Crack, Marijuana And Gun In Car Stopped At Sherman Hills

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Police stopped a vehicle leaving Sherman Hills apartment around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday and found crack, marijuana and a loaded short-barrel revolver.

According to police Taleek Sistrunk, 22 of 308 North Empire Street, drove the vehicle over a curb as it left the complex and had a rear brake light bulb out, prompting a traffic stop. As the officer approached, rear-seat passenger Jevaun Brown, 25 of 19 South Empire Street, was observed leaning over and shoving his hands under the driver’s seat.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/50335432/

More Than 1,000 Heroin Packets Seized During Butler Township Traffic Stop

English: Map of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania h...

English: Map of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania highlighting Butler Township (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BUTLER TWP., PA— State police at Hazleton said they recovered 1,073 heroin packets in a plastic shopping bag stuffed under the driver’s seat of a vehicle stopped on state Route 309 early Tuesday morning.

Raheem Harris, 37, of East Orange, New Jersey, was charged with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, false identification to law enforcement and driving without a license. He was jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $50,000 bail.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/50323393/More-than-1000-heroin-packets-seized

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Area Suffers High Childhood Poverty, Shrinking Middle Class, Reports Say

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 was grim news Tuesday as a flurry of reports showed that Luzerne County’s middle class is shrinking while the wealthiest get richer with nearly one third of children under 18 live in poverty.

Data show while the unemployment rate has dropped substantially both nationally and locally, the poverty rate has not seen a corresponding drop.

If there was a silver lining in the data put out by three different sources, it may be that Luzerne and Lackawanna counties have lower rates of uninsured children than the state.

Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children — which bills itself as a nonprofit and non-partisan child advocacy group — issued its annual “State of Children’s Health Care” report, which showed that the percentage of children lacking health insurance statewide dipped slightly since last year’s report, from 5.3 percent to 5.2 percent.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/50324023/Grim-news-from-three-new-reports

Hughes Named Acting Wilkes-Barre Police Chief

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

Robert Hughes is the acting chief of the Wilkes-Barre Police Department after being appointed Monday by Mayor Tom Leighton.

Hughes, the department’s commander of operations, has been with the department for 25 years, according to a press release from the city.

Hughes replaces Gerard Dessoye, who retired Friday after 33 years to take a security job with King’s College.

Wilkes-Barre Police Investigating Sherman Hills Shooting

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Wilkes-Barre Police Sunday said they are investigating a shooting that occurred at Sherman Hills sometime around 4:30 p.m

The victim, Kody Gamble, 19 of Wilkes-Barre, was transported to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center, Plains Township. No information on Gamble’s condition was available.

According to police, the shooting took place in the area of Building 304, North Empire Court, in the Sherman HillsApartment Complex Sunday afternoon.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/50313853/Wilkes-Barre-police-investigating-Sherman-Hills-shooting

PA Oktoberfest At Mohegan Sun At Pocono Downs

Oktoberfest
1280 Hwy 315, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702
FRI, Sept 12 – (5 PM – 11 PM)
SAT, Sept 13 – (11 AM – 11 PM)
SUN, Sept 14 – (11 AM – 5 PM)

*YOU MUST BE 21 YEARS OLD TO ENTER THIS EVENT

PA Oktoberfest kicks off this Friday at 5pm and runs through Sunday! Ticket information here: http://bit.ly/1y5vZNp
PA Oktoberfest website: http://www.paoktoberfest.com/

Dessoye Stepping Down As Wilkes-Barre Police Chief

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — So much for listening to his older brother about career choices.

City Police Chief Gerard Dessoye announced his long-rumored retirement Wednesday after 33 years on the force, rising to lead the more than 90-member department from patrolman.

Dessoye, 57, will leave his $91,305-a-year position later this month to take over as executive director of campus safety and security at King’s College, where he graduated in 1979 with a degree in criminal justice.

A decorated officer — Dessoye has been shot, and himself shot and killed a man — the outgoing chief acknowledged his brother Michael, chief detective with the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office, discouraged him from following in his footsteps as a policeman.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/50249743/Dessoye-stepping-down-as-chief#.VAiPH_RDsxI

Two Charged After Police Raid Wilkes-Barre Home

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

Wilkes-Barre police say they seized major amounts of heroin, cocaine and marijuana when they raided a Sullivan Street home that was protected by a pistol loaded with “cop killer bullets.”

Larry “TAZ” Hayes, 26, and Disean Kendricks, 24, both of 70 Sullivan St., are charged with drug trafficking and weapons possession offenses, police said.

The Wilkes-Barre Police Anti Crime Unit and Wilkes-Barre Drug Task Force raided their home at about 6 a.m. Saturday after an investigation revealed they had been dealing heroin and cocaine out of the house, police said.

Though both men were armed, they were arrested without incident, police said.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/two-charged-after-police-raid-w-b-home-1.1741657

Unemployment In Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Metro Area Down, Lowest Since October 2008

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 unemployment rate in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area edged down by one-tenth of 1 percent in July to 6.8 percent, the lowest since October 2008, according to figures released today by the state Department of Labor & Industry.

A year earlier, the rate was 9 percent.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/news/50204988/Unemployment-in-the-region-down-lowest-since-October-2008#.U_z2hvRDsxI