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/

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.

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

CityVest Gives Sterling Property To Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

The nonprofit owner of the former Hotel Sterling property has turned the title over to Luzerne County.

In a letter to the county solicitor sent Thursday, Scranton-based attorney George Reihner said recent action by the county to garnish CityVest of parking fees being generated at the site on West Market Street took him off-guard.

“Given that CityVest offered the Hotel Sterling property to the county more than two years ago and regularly communicated with county officials about the status of the property since the date of acquisition, I was surprised to learn of these sudden legal actions from the media,” Reihner wrote.

In an attempt to “remedy the current impasse,” Reihner wrote that CityVest has decided to sign over the property to the county. The transaction was recorded Thursday.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/cityvest-gives-sterling-property-to-county-1.1739850

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

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

Glodzik Gets 3-12 Months, Work Release In Theft Case In Wilkes-Barre

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — “An unfair sentence by a timid judge.”

That was how defense attorney Joseph Sklarosky Sr. characterized the three- to 12-month jail term handed down against his client, former city towing contractor Leo A. Glodzik III, following Glodzik’s sentencing on theft charges Friday morning in Luzerne County Court.

County Judge Lesa S. Gelb gave Glodzik until 9 a.m. Friday to report to the Luzerne County Correctional Facility, and declared him immediately available for work release. Sklarosky said Glodzik will appeal in the near future.

LAG Towing owner Glodzik, 43, of Wilkes-Barre, was the city’s exclusive tower for more than eight years, until May 31, 2013. That’s the day he was arrested on accusations of stealing $2,100 planted inside a Cadillac he towed four months earlier, believing the car had been seized from a drug dealer. The cash was bait money planted as part of an FBI sting operation.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1525405/Glodzik-gets-3-to-12-months-in-jail

Wilkes-Barre Resident Faults City For Condition Of Tennis Courts At Park

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA —The city has not scored any points with Thomas Lynn over the condition of the public tennis courts near his home in Miners Mills.

The five paved courts at the Bog Recreation Area haven’t been used in years for the sport. The nets have disappeared and weeds have been growing from the cracks that fracture the playing surface. The other public courts at the Barney Farms Park, close to where Mayor Tom Leighton lives, are in much better shape.

Lynn, a former U.S. Marine, moved to a house on Dewey Lane, a short walk to the Bog park, approximately 20 years ago to raise a family of two sons and a daughter. He’s committed to his neighborhood and has concerns about the safety of many of his elderly neighbors and his daughter who bought a house across the lane from him.

“The park was active at the time. Now it’s the bane of my existence,” Lynn said Wednesday.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1508995/Resident-faults-city-for-condition-of-tennis-courts

Resident Tells Wilkes-Barre City Council Of Heroin Sales In Park, Campsite Protected By Pit Bulls

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Before he addressed City Council on Thursday night, Donald Hosey warned that his comments would be unpleasant.

He’d gone to Mayor Tom Leighton and the police and was unsatisfied with the response to his reports that there is drug dealing in the city’s Riverfront Parks, Hosey explained on why he was speaking publicly to council.

“Right now in that river front park are two campsites of heroin dealers,” said Hosey of the Susquehanna River Watch.

He told council he’d been investigating the activity in the area of the Kirby Park Natural Area for the past seven weeks, taking down information, including names and phone numbers.

Read more:  http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1431688/Resident-tells-W-B-City-Council-of-drug-sales-in-park

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11 New Wilkes-Barre Fire Recruits Added

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — While Shirley Cook sat watching her grandson Jeremy being sworn in as one of the 11 new fire department recruits, she had tucked into her purse a black-and-white photo of her grandfather, who was a city fireman in the 1800s.

The photo showed a couple horse-drawn wagons outside the Northampton Street fire station. Cook, 85, of Scranton, pointed to one of the drivers, Reuben Daley, and said, “This would be his great-great-grandfather.”

Cook retrieved the photo from many she has at home and planned to make a copy for her grandson.

The equipment has since changed and so has the training that Jeremy Cook and the 10 others will undergo to be able to do their jobs of fighting fires, rescuing people from the Susquehanna River, delivering babies or facing whatever situation they’re presented with on the more than 10,000 runs annually.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1298535/11-new-W-B-fire-recruits-added

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Troubled Sherman Hills Apartment Complex To Be Sold

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — The same day that the response of the troubled Sherman Hills apartment complex to a federal inspection was released, news comes that the complex is about to be sold.

U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, who founded a task force to address problems at the crime-ridden complex after two young girls were shot there last August, met Thursday with eight representatives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, including Regional Director Jane Vincent, he said in a news release.

HUD officials revealed at the meeting that the property is under contract of sale with a transfer date target of April 1, Cartwright said.

The new owner, New Jersey-based Treetop Development, which has no overlapping ownership with the current owners, also will serve as property manager of the Sherman Hills property, Cartwright said, noting that Treetop has had success working with HUD in the past.

Read more: https://bay176.mail.live.com/default.aspx?n=880162491&fid=1#n=534554189&fid=1

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Wilkes University Buys Bartikowsky Building

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Fresh off a $33 million science center construction project on its campus, Wilkes University announced plans Wednesday for a central location for its school of business.

But it will spend less than one-tenth what it did for its last building project.

The university announced it would spend $3 million to renovate the University Center on Main, at 169 S. Main St., transforming it into the new home of the Jay S. Sidhu School of Business and Leadership. The recreation center and Gambini’s Cafe will remain in the building. The school of business will use 35,000 square feet of the 82,000-square-foot building.

In addition, Wilkes University has purchased the former Bartikowsky Jewelers building at 141 S. Main St. for $1.2 million from the Bartikowsky family with the goal of renovating the 25,000-square-foot space to accommodate administrative offices and a student services center, which includes the registrar and financial aid offices, human resources and accounting offices.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1236395/Wilkes-University-buys-Bartikowsky-building

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Philly Firm To Develop PNC Building In Downtown Wilkes-Barre

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA —Floors three to 11 are empty.

That’s what is on the board in the lobby of the downtown PNC Bank Building. It lists the only tenant — PNC Bank — which occupies the first and second floor of the 12-story building.

But if plans go forward, those nine floors of the building at Market and Franklin streets will become market-priced condominiums with views of the Susquehanna River and the River Common park. Some office space will also be created, according to the building’s owner.

Ben Oller, of Oller and Associates of Philadelphia, said Monday his real estate investment company owns the building and is partnering with a local developer to renovate the bank building, following the lead of a similar project at the nearby the former Citizens Bank Building, also Market Street. Oller would not disclose the name of the local development company.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news/1215383/Philly-firm-to-develop-PNC-building

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Ex-Scranton Police Chief To Be Added To Wilkes-Barre Force

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — The city police department will bring on experienced police officers next month when new hires are added to the force.

Among the candidates are Mark Hilpp, a former city officer and director of the Public Safety Training Institute at Luzerne County Community College, and former Scranton Police Chief Daniel Duffy, who also is director of the Police Academy at Lackawanna College.

Hilpp was listed at the top of the list of the 50 people on the certified hiring list released Jan. 17 by the city’s police civil service commission. Duffy was third.

Hilpp could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news/1164031/Ex-Scranton-police-chief-to-be-added-to-W-B-force

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Plans For Sherman Hills Remain Secret

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Park Management Inc.’s detailed plans for the Sherman Hills Apartments will remain secret for a little longer.

The Brooklyn, N.Y.-based company submitted a remediation plan for the troubled complex Dec. 2 after a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development inspection in September found “possible life-threatening security issues” due to management’s neglect of the 344-unit facility.

The Citizens’ Voice, along with congressional leaders and Wilkes-Barre officials, have filed a Freedom of Information Act request for that plan.

In a letter released Friday, Shirley Bryant, Freedom of Information Act liason for HUD, says the agency is giving Park Management until Jan. 31 to object to the plan’s release based on the department’s FOIA regulations exempting “trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person [that is] privileged or confidential.”

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/plans-for-sherman-hills-remain-secret-1.1618522

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In Search Of Progress, Downtown Wilkes-Barre Evolves

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA —In South Main Street’s first block, several storefronts are empty on the east side and recent demolitions on the other side have a dress shop waiting to reopen and a jewelry store working to re-establish itself.

Further down, the building that houses a longtime retailer has been sold and the former Bartikowsky’s building is expected to be soon owned by Wilkes University.

Changes have come to South Main Street — the city’s main retail artery — but sustained progress has remained elusive.

Jim Bellezza, owner of Bell Furniture at 95 S. Main St., purchased the building that houses the Outlet Army Navy Store at 113 S. Main St. for $159,000 on Jan. 3. An empty lot separates the two buildings and Bellezza plans to renovate the building and expand his business.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/news/1112993/In-search-of-progress-Downtown-W-B-evolves

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Sherman Hills Moves To Evict 10

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Sherman Hills Realty has filed eviction notices against 10 tenants — including an eyewitness in a homicide case — for non-payment of rent and lease violations.

The notices were filed with District Judge Martin Kane in Wilkes-Barre.

One of the tenants being evicted for failure to pay rent is a witness in the deadly shooting within the troubled apartment complex in November.

Jasmin Frazier allegedly owes $366 in back rent. She testified during a preliminary hearing last month that she saw Kenneth Evans III, 21, brandishing a handgun and reaching into a Jeep Grand Cherokee discharging two rounds that struck Shantique Goodson, 27, on Nov. 11.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news/1113673/Sherman-Hills-moves-to-evict-10

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Sherman Hills Owner Promises Changes To Troubled Complex

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

The Brooklyn, N.Y., owner of the troubled Sherman Hills Apartments has vowed to create a gated community, hire armed security officers and repair and improve video surveillance, according to the Sherman Hills Task Force.

The disclosure came in a conversation between U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Moosic, who initiated the task force, and of Park Management Inc., who said the business is sending Wilkes-Barre City Council a report outlining its plans, Cartwright spokesman Shane Seaver said.

The task force is meeting Monday morning to discuss those and other plans to address the troubled Sherman Hills complex, which has been plagued by crime in recent months.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/sherman-hills-owner-promises-changes-to-troubled-complex-1.1601842

Demolition Of Downtown Wilkes-Barre Buildings Begins

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE — The landscape of the city’s downtown started to change this morning with the demolition of several historic buildings on South Main Street.

Shortly after 10 a.m. crews from Stell Enterprises Inc., of Plains Township, began tearing down the first of four buildings with the hope of saving two other buildings that are home to businesses.

Stell will be paid $194, 861 for the work to raze a cluster of properties , including three owned by the city, at 61, 71, 73 and 75 S. Main St.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news/976972/Demolition-of-downtown-buildings-begins

King’s Confirms Ramada Purchase

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — King’s College confirmed Monday that it has agreed to purchase the Ramada hotel property located at 20 Public Square for $2.7 million.

King’s also is seeking $7 million in state funding to purchase and renovate the hotel to accommodate expansion of its physician assistant program.

The college has applied for the funding through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program that is proposed in state Senate Bill 680. The legislation has been approved by the state House and Senate and is now in Gov. Tom Corbett’s office.

If approved, the legislation would provide the project with $7 million in state funding to be matched by the college, making for a $14 million project.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news/941057/Kings-confirms-Ramada-purchase