Nanticoke Man Arrested For Shooting In Wilkes-Barre

WILKES-BARRE, PA — A Nanticoke man was arraigned Thursday on charges he shot a woman in the head near Gordon Avenue in South Wilkes-Barre last week.

Michael Angelo Foschini Jr, 25, of West Main Street, was charged with two counts each of aggravated assault and simple assault, and one count each of possession of marijuana and reckless endangerment. He was arraigned by District Judge Donald Whittaker in Nanticoke and jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $250,000 bail.

Foschini was arrested by city police and Nanticoke police when he began driving away from his residence at about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Police believe the woman, a 19-year-old, was shot in the head with a .22-caliber rifle. She survived her injuries.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/50888033/

Wilkes-Barre Mayor Leighton Gets $150K To Help Balance 2015 Budget

WILKES-BARRE, PA — The mayor asked and the authority board complied.

Mayor Tom Leighton Tuesday asked the members of the city’s Parking Authority for a little help for the city’s coffers. On a 4-1 vote, the authority approved giving the city $75,000 now and another $75,000 after the first of the year.

“This eliminates me from raising property taxes in the city,” Leighton said after the vote.

One authority member, Maryanne King, expressed concerned for the move, noting that auditors recently reported the need to increase revenues and replenish a depleted reserve fund to assure needed capital improvements of authority assets.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/localnews1/50873001/

Labor Department: Marcellus Shale Contractors Owe $4.5 Million In Back Wages

Contractors involved in natural gas extraction in the Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania and West Virginia must pay nearly $4.5 million in back wages to more than 5,000 workers, following a two-year U.S. Department of Labor investigation.

“An ongoing multi-year enforcement initiative conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division offices in Wilkes-Barre and Pittsburgh from 2012 to 2014 found significant violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) which resulted in employers agreeing to pay $4,498,547 in back wages to 5,310 employees,” read a Labor Department statement released on Tuesday.

“It’s part of an ongoing initiative, a multi-year initiative,” said Labor Department spokeswoman Leni Fortson of the Philadelphia office. “These are the findings from the first three years.”

A list of the violating companies can be found attached to this story at http://www.timesleader.com.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/50834414/Labor-Department:-Contractors-owe-millions-in-back-wages

Luzerne County Employee Fired After Pay Lapse

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Luzerne County administrators on Monday responded to an error that resulted in about 1,400 employees not being paid on time by firing an employee who was on vacation at the time, according to several sources at the courthouse.

County Council Vice Chairman Edd Brominski confirmed the employee fired Monday was Jason Parrish, who was promoted from clerk to budget and policy analyst in May 2013 with a salary of $35,000.

Reached at home in Kingston on Monday afternoon, Parrish declined to comment at length, although he characterized the pay lapse as an accident. Asked if he thought his firing was justified, Parrish said, “That’s their decision, not mine.”

The decision to fire Parrish drew swift criticism from administration detractors who accused county Manager Robert Lawton of using Parrish as a fall man. Former county controller Walter L. Griffith Jr., who had worked with Parrish in the controller’s office, said Parrish was on approved vacation at the time and that he is being punished because management failed to delegate the task to someone else.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/county-employee-fired-after-pay-lapse-1.1795954

Luzerne County Stands To Receive Up To $2 Million From Coal Street Project

Cash-strapped Luzerne County has a claim on at least some of the $2 million left from the Coal Street widening project in Wilkes-Barre, but delays finalizing project expenses have prevented the county from receiving its share.

The amount of the county’s share also is unclear because the Wilkes-Barre Area School District may be entitled to some of the fund, officials say.

County Councilman Stephen A. Urban raised the issue during a budget work session last week, questioning why it’s taking years for the county to collect this money.

The $2 million stems from a Tax Incremental Financing plan, or TIF, that diverted tax revenue from new development along Highland Park Boulevard and at the Arena Hub Plaza to fund improvements to Mundy Street, Highland Park Boulevard and Coal Street .

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/news/50745998/County-could-receive-up-to-$2M-from-Coal-St.

Woman Charged With Stabbing Boyfriend In Wilkes-Barre

WILKES-BARRE, PA — City police arrested Jack-Lyn Blake, 47, on charges she stabbed her boyfriend because she found him eating.

Blake was arrested as she attempted to leave her Madison Street residence at about 6:30 p.m. Thursday, when they found her boyfriend, Benjamin Smith, holding a towel to his chest.

Smith told police Thursday night he called 911 earlier in the day for an incident involving Blake. Smith claimed Blake was intoxicated and had gone to sleep.

Smith said Blake woke up hours later, came downstairs and found him eating food. He said Blake became angry and grabbed a knife chasing him around the kitchen table, police said.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/50769219/

Wilkes-Barre Mayor Says He’s Undecided About Another Run, Contends His Comments Misunderstood

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE — Saying his comments were misunderstood, Mayor Thomas Leighton said Friday he has not yet decided on running for another term.

Leighton, a Democrat, will begin the fourth and final year of his third term in January. He said he will discuss whether to run again with his wife and children over the holidays, make a decision and announce it in February as he has previously done.

“No decision has been made,” he said Friday.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/news/50732477/

Police Charge Man Shot By Wilkes-Barre Officer

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

HANOVER TOWNSHIP, PA — The man shot and wounded by police in a Hanover Township parking lot was hit Thursday with felony assault and drug trafficking charges alleging he tried to run down two officers while speeding away from a crack deal he made with a police informant, according to court documents.

Bong Bob Kim, 30, of 9 Harkins Lane, Wilkes-Barre, remained hospitalized at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Plains Township on Thursday night as state police filed charges of aggravated assault, simple assault, criminal use of a communication facility, drug trafficking, fleeing police and reckless endangerment.

Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis on Thursday night identified Wilkes-Barre police Officer Joseph Sinavage as the officer who shot Kim.

According to a police affidavit filed in court, a state police vice unit and Wilkes-Barre police were conducting a joint drug operation at about 2 p.m. Wednesday in the area of the Family Dollar on Carey Avenue when things went awry.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/police-charge-man-shot-by-w-b-officer-1.1791355

Man Allegedly Threatened People In Downtown Wilkes-Barre With Crossbow

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — A man was arrested after he allegedly threatened people walking downtown with a loaded crossbow.

Police were dispatched to South Main Street at about 5:20 p.m. for a report of a male wearing a poncho and carrying a loaded crossbow.

Reports were made that the male had fired the crossbow at a moving vehicle and pointed it at several people.

Officers located the male, identified as Joseph Warnagiris, 29, of Wilkes-Barre, who had his hands hidden under his poncho, police said.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/50705500/Man-allegedly-threatened-people-with-crossbow

Former IBM worker, College Professor To Run For Wilkes-Barre Mayor

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Brian Kelly said he wants to get Wilkes-Barre back on the right track, and that’s why he is running for mayor in 2015.

Kelly, 66, announced his candidacy Friday and said he is running as a “JFK Democrat.” He said the city suffers from “malaise,” as evidenced by the demolition of the Hotel Sterling and the continued non-functioning fountain on Public Square.

Interest in the mayoral post has been high, considering the primaries are not until next spring. Councilman Tony George has announced that he will seek the Democratic nomination next year and Democratic Councilman George Brown is said to be pondering a run.

Incumbent three-term Democratic incumbent Mayor Tom Leighton said Friday he will not decide whether to run again until February. Leighton also declined to respond to criticism Kelly made of city operations.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/50686313/

Wilkes-Barre Announces Annual Christmas Parade, Tree Lighting

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — The City of Wilkes-Barre has announced plans for this year’s annual Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting Ceremony.

The city will kick off the holiday season on Nov. 22 with a full day of downtown events, concluding with the arrival of Santa in the annual parade, followed by the lighting of the Christmas tree on Public Square.

“The City of Wilkes-Barre’s Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting ceremony is the perfect way to bring the holiday season to life in downtown Wilkes-Barre,” Mayor Thomas M. Leighton said in a news release. “We are thrilled to offer many free family friendly activities for the young and young-at-heart to enjoy throughout the day.”

Festivities will begin at 11:30 a.m. with storytelling by Mrs. Claus at Barnes & Noble on South Main Street.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/50673067/

Authorities: Heroin Problem In Region Will Only Get Worse

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Heroin is affecting the region at epidemic levels and the problem is only expected to get worse, law enforcement officials told the Pennsylvania Economy League at a meeting Friday afternoon.

The drug is selling on the cheap, and addicts — many of whom got started by legitimately using prescription painkillers — are bringing a plague of crime to the area, West Hazleton Police Chief Brian Buglio said. Almost all robberies, thefts and assaults in the Hazleton area have a drug or gang nexus, he said.

“Heroin is terrifying, and it’s only going to get worse, unfortunately,” Buglio said during the meeting at Best Western Genetti Hotel and Conference Center.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/authorities-heroin-problem-in-region-will-only-get-worse-1.1784687

Citizens Voice Tops Times Leader In Daily Circulation

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

The Citizens’ Voice has jumped ahead of The Times Leader in daily circulation in Wilkes-Barre’s newspaper battle for the first time in at least 25 years, according to data compiled by the Alliance for Audited Media.

According to the latest figures released from the last six months ending Sept. 30, The Citizens’ Voice has taken the circulation lead to 24,041 copies per day, compared to 22,676 for The Times Leader, a difference of 1,365.

“The Citizens’ Voice is here to stay. We are the local newspaper,” said Joe Nealon, circulation director for The Citizens’ Voice. “Readers have been recognizing for a long time that The Citizens’ Voice is the better newspaper. More and more people are realizing that and The Times Leader is losing readers.”

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/voice-tops-times-leader-in-daily-circulation-1.1778539

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

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/

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

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/

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.