Pittston Twp. Residents Support Axed Chief

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

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

PITTSTON TWP. — Township residents spoke in support of their ousted police chief and demanded answers on his firing from township supervisors at their Monday night meeting.

“The people of the township need to know why their chief isn’t here,” township resident Gene Garron, 79, said. “This is no longer a personnel problem, it involves an ex-employee.”

Township residents filled the meeting room to support former township police chief Robert Avvisato, who township supervisors fired in July with little explanation.

“This is my chief,” township resident Mari Martinelli said of Avvisato. “This man is trying to do something finally for this township.”

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/pittston-twp-residents-support-axed-chief-1.1737957

Facade Program Spruces Up Wilkes-Barre’s Main Arteries

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA  — Angela Marsicano and her daughter, Gina, know first-hand the benefits of the city’s Gateway Facade Improvement Program.

The two women live next door to each other and they took advantage of the program to improve the appearance of their Blackman Street homes. Angela lives at 246 Blackman St. and Gina is at 250 Blackman.

Gina had new stonework, front window, front door, porch rail, porch roof installed and aluminum siding painted.

Her mother had new windows installed, shutters, aconcrete foundation and porch steps put in.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/50139841/Facade-program-spruces-up-W-Bs-main-arteries#.U_I5tPRDsxI

Allentown Man Pistol Whipped, Robbed At Sherman Hills

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

An Allentown man was pistol whipped and robbed after going to a crime-ridden apartment complex in Wilkes-Barre to meet a female “acquaintance.”

Alexander Aron, of Allentown, reported to police on Friday that he went to Sherman Hills to meet a woman he referred to as an acquaintance, Taisha Moore.

Aron met the woman in front of Building 312 and walked to the area of the laundry rooms. He was then approached by two unidentified males, who demanded his wallet, police said.

Aron refused to turn over his wallet and was pistol whipped. He then gave the two males $150 in cash. The two males and the female then fled the area, police said.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/50148614/Allentown-man-pistol-whipped-robbed-at-Sherman-Hills#.U-9xifRDsxI

Gunfire Heard On Phone By 911 At Sherman Hills

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — City police are investigating gunfire in a hallway inside Building 308 at the troubled Sherman Hills apartment complex, which has been the scene of other shootings, stabbings and assaults.

Police responded to the apartment building after Luzerne County 911 received a hang-up call at about 1:25 a.m. Tuesday.

911 called the phone number and were advised that shots were heard in a hallway and the sound of people fighting.

Police said shell casings were found in the hallway. A search of the area did not result in any suspects, police said.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/50124799/Gunfire-heard-by-911-at-Sherman-Hills#.U-pRh_RDsxI

Wilkes-Barre Area School District Appealing Property Values

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

Faced with a shrinking tax base and the second-highest school tax rate in Luzerne County, the Wilkes-Barre Area School District is trying something new to boost revenue.

The district has hired a consultant to identify properties with under-assessed values and manage appeals to increase property assessments. Hundreds of thousands of tax dollars are at stake.

When litigation over the assessment of the Wyoming Valley Mall concluded in 2012, the Wilkes-Barre Area School District sent the mall owner a refund check of nearly $390,000 for two years of over-taxation, according to assessment records. The Luzerne County-assessed value of the mall property is $76.1 million. It was $89.1 million when mall owner PR Wyoming Valley LP filed a court appeal in 2009.

Last week, the school district filed appeals of tax values on 32 parcels to the Luzerne County Assessment Board of Appeals. Decisions from the county board can be appealed to county Court of Common Pleas.

Read more:  http://citizensvoice.com/news/w-b-area-appealing-property-values-1.1733716

Sky Zone Scranton Brings Jobs And Healthy Activity Into The Wyoming Valley

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

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

PITTSTON TOWNSHIP, PA — Trading in his cubicle for a trampoline, Jeff Bowne is combining business with his love of healthy living by buying into a franchise called Sky Zone Scranton.

Unique to Northeastern Pennsylvania, Sky Zone is an indoor trampoline park franchise established in 2004. In 10 years, the company has expanded to include 65 locations in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Australia.

Bowne and his sister, Jennifer Crounse, and her husband, Michael, of Allentown, will be opening a new Sky Zone in late September at CenterPoint Commerce and Trade Park East, 525 Keystone Ave., Pittston Township.

The next closest Sky Zone parks are located in Harrisburg and Lancaster.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/business-home_top/50085187/A-new-Pittston-business-give-residents-reasons-to-jump#.U-jeE_RDsxI

Council Members: Sherman Hills Owners Have No Plans To Increase Security

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

The company managing the Sherman Hills apartment complex has no plans now to put up a guard house or around-the-clock armed security, said city council members this week.

Council members Bill Barrett and George Brown met in July with John VanMetre, director of property management at The Aspen Companies, a sister company of Treetop Development, the facility’s owners. Barrett and Brown are members of a group organized by Congressman Matt Cartwright, D-Moosic, looking at living conditions at the apartments.

“We have recommendations, not just cameras and fencing. I think we do need a guard system and to have people there who are monitors. I feel that’s something that’s necessary,” Brown said.

“The bottom line is I feel there’s a need to more closely monitor who’s there,” Barrett said. “There are problems still occurring, still continuing. I think they need to seriously consider having an armed security presence there to make it a safer place. That should be the objective, to make a safe living place for residents of the development. The only way you can do that is to make sure people who aren’t supposed to be there are not there.”

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/council-members-sherman-hills-owners-have-no-plans-to-increase-security-1.1732933

Results Released On Wilkes-Barre Downtown Survey

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE — Thursday seemed like the best possible day to release a report on a downtown survey.
 
Public Square was filled with people attending the weekly farmers’ market and Mother Nature cooperated by offering a spectacular day of sunshine.
 
Patty Kopec and her daughter, Frankie, were enjoying some of the food and sunshine. Even with no entertainment on the band shell stage, the Kopecs raved about the city and the downtown and said they wished more events were planned for Public Square.
 
“It needs this kind of stuff,” Patty Kopec said. “It needs more events that appeal to families.”

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/50098707/Results-released-on-downtown-survey%23.U-P3K8JH2i4#.U-T5m_RDsxI

Heroin, Handguns Seized During Traffic Stop

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

KINGSTON, PA — Police seized a large amount of heroin and two handguns during a traffic stop where one of two men used a state Department of Corrections identification card to identify himself, according to charges filed.

Police said they stopped a Lincoln for heavily tinted windows on Market Street early Thursday morning.

During the stop, an odor of marijuana was detected coming from the car that was rapidly shaking side-to-side due to movements inside the vehicle, police said.

Police said Braemar Omir Parrish, 28, of Allentown, used a state prison card to identify himself.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/50099364/Heroin-handguns-seized-during-traffic-stop#.U-O8efRDsxI

With No State Oversight, Local Districts Set Their Own Communication Policies

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

Luzerne County authorities last winter charged three school district employees with having sex with students.

A county jury last Wednesday acquitted one of them — suspended Hanover Area School District teacher Edward Evans. The other two face trial on charges they had sex with students.

After the Evans trial concluded, jury foreman Jeffrey Lotz said the jury couldn’t definitively determine if Evans had sex with an 18-year-old student, but he said Evans put himself in a bad position by taking the student into his bedroom. Evans admitted he picked the student up and took him back to his house to go over pamphlets on sexually transmitted diseases.

School districts can set their own policies on contact and communication between teachers and students outside of school. With no official state oversight of out-of-class communication, policies vary by school district.

Read more:http://citizensvoice.com/news/with-no-state-oversight-local-districts-set-their-own-communication-policies-1.1730161

UPDATE: Wilkes-Barre Police Investigate Reported Stabbing At Sherman Hills

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Police are investigating a reported stabbing Friday night at the crime-plagued Sherman Hills apartment complex in Wilkes-Barre that left the victim in critical condition.

A 911 supervisor said the stabbing was reported at 7:30 this evening at Building 320 on North Empire Court. One male was transported to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Plains Township, the supervisor said.

According to a release from Wilkes-Barre police, the victim had a severe laceration to his neck and was transported to a local medical facility.

A representative from Sherman Hills ordered members of the news media off the private property shortly after their arrival.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/50070675/UPDATE:-Wilkes-Barre-police-investigate-reported-stabbing-at-Sherman-Hills#.U9z_GfRDsxI

Luzerne County Council Must Decide How To Spend $16 Million

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

Luzerne County has $16 million in past-borrowed fundsavailable for capital projects, or $2 million less than officials had estimated, county Operational Services Division Head Tanis Manseau said Monday.

Manseau said he received the revised figure after the budget/finance division recently reviewed payments and outstanding invoices from the account.

County Council members called a special meeting tonight to discuss how they want to earmark this remaining funding because they’re supposed to adopt a capital budget by Sept. 1 under home rule.

Manseau emailed an updated list of suggested projects to council Friday night, but Manseau said he is working on additional revisions that will total around $14 million.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/news/50041470/Luzerne-County-Council-must-decide-how-to-spend-$16-million

Pittston Township Fires Police Chief, Doesn’t Give A Reason

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

The Pittston Township Board of Supervisors fired police Chief Robert Avvisato without offering explanation or naming a replacement Friday.

Vice Chairwoman Barbara Attardo and Treasurer Steven Rinaldi, the former chief, voted to fire Avvisato, while Chairman Joseph Adams opposed the move at a brief special meeting Friday morning.

Avvisato, a retired state police corporal, is accused of creating a hostile work environment since he took command in January 2013. He is set to go to arbitration with the township over the matter and denies the allegations.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/news/50029456/Pittston-Township-fires-police-chief-doesnt-give-a-reason

Housing Development Planned In Wilkes-Barre

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — In a few months, the vacant building on Dana Street that formerly housed First Hospital will be gone. A housing development is planned in its place.

The Wyoming Valley Health and Education Foundation is demolishing properties on Dana, Grove and McCarragher streets in the Rolling Mill Hill neighborhood with plans to donate the land to a Lancaster-based development company.

Housing Development Corporation MidAtlantic plans to build 56 units of affordable rental housing in the area.

The properties include 133 and 149 Dana St., 66-68 Grove St. and 112 McCarragher St., according to Gerard T. O’Donnell, a consultant working with the Wyoming Valley Health and Education Foundation, which plans to demolish the structures.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/housing-development-planned-in-w-b-1.1724520

Study: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Area Is Tops … At Being Unhappy

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)

SCRANTON, PA — Feeling a little down in the dumps?

Chances are you are not alone, according to a new study.

According to the analysis, co-authored by Joshua Gottlieb of the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver School of Economics, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton region is the least happiest place in the United States.

Local psychologist Robert Griffin says there no need for a region-wide prescription for anti-depressants.

Read more:  http://timesleader.com/news/home_top-local-news/50014789/Study:-Area-is-tops–at-being-unhappy

King’s College Among Three Interested In Buying Former Springbrook Water Co. Building

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — King’s College has submitted a proposal to purchase the former four-story Springbrook Water Co. property in Wilkes-Barre from Luzerne County.

The county sought proposals from prospective buyers as part of an initiative to shed unused properties and generate revenue for the cash-strapped county government.

Three entities submitted purchase proposals by last week’s deadline, said county Purchasing Director Mark Zulkoski. County officials say copies of all proposals will be publicly released before county council votes on options.

John Loyack, King’s College vice president for business affairs, confirmed the institution submitted a proposal but said he will leave it up to the county to release of the offered dollar amount.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1538937/Kings-College-among-three-interested-in-buying-Luzerne-County-property

Arby’s Closings Leave Employees Jobless

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)

Ashley Douglas was depending on her next paycheck from her job at Arby’s to catch up with her rent.

But the single mother of three children will have to find another way to pay her bills. Douglas, 29, of Wilkes-Barre, who worked at the Wyoming Valley Mall Arby’s, was among dozens of employees at six Arby’s restaurants in Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania who lost their jobs when the businesses closed on Friday.

That was the same day the franchise owner’s Chapter 7 liquidation was approved in federal court.

“That was the only job I was working at for right now,” said Douglas, who is separated and raising her children, ages 7, 4 and 3. “I’m depending on that. I’m trying to find something else. I still owe my landlord the rest of the rent for this month … If I don’t get something to pay for my rent, I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news/302844/Arbys-closings-leave-employees-jobless

Web Petition Wants To Stop Sherman Hills Funding

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

A post on the White House’s We the People website petitions the Obama Administration to cease Section 8 subsidies to the Sherman Hills apartment complex.

But before it earns a response from White House staff, it first must gather 100,000 signatures by Aug 15.

Readers on the Times Leader’s Facebook page were quick to respond when asked if they would sign the petition. Many readers commented emphatically that they would sign. However, the petition only gained 5 signatures in the same time period.

One commenter suggested tenants receive criminal background checks and drug tests.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/news/1541121/Web-petition-wants-to-stop-Sherman-Hills-funding

Wilkes-Barre Pair Wanted On Drug Trafficking Charges

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

Two Wilkes-Barre residents free on bail on charges that they attacked police officers are now wanted on felony drug trafficking charges after police found nearly 1,800 packets of heroin at their Scott Street home, according to court documents.

The arrest warrants stem from a pair of raids conducted earlier this month on homes on Scott Street in which city and state police seized 1,779 packets of heroin worth $35,580, a .45-caliber Gock pistol and $9,000 in cash.

Police say three people were involved in the drug ring: Christian Caraballo, 29, of 1164 Scott St., and two of his girlfriends: Benita Placencio, 39, of the same address; and Juleisy Bienida Abreu-Peralta, 20, of 960 Scott St.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/w-b-pair-wanted-on-drug-trafficking-charges-1.1721399

Wilkes-Barre Police Chief: Sherman Hills Cameras Not Working

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Surveillance cameras in Sherman Hills did not record Tuesday’s shooting at the troubled apartment complex when two men were seriously injured, city police Chief Gerard Dessoye said Thursday.

Dessoye said the camera system, he believed, was “not fixed” as pledged by the complex’s former owner, Sherman Hills Realty Inc.

“(Cameras) couldn’t provide any details about the shooting,” Dessoye said, noting he has not seen any security enhancements at the apartment complex besides the installation of a chain link fence.

U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Moosic, stated in a news release that Treetop Development, which purchased the apartment complex from Sherman Hills Realty earlier this year, “repaired all cameras.”

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1536916/Dessoye:-Few-security-improvements-at-Sherman-Hills