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

Cops: Man Hands Them Pot At Sherman Hills, Leads Them On High-Speed Chase

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE — A New Jersey man faces a slew of charges and bail of $250,000 after he allegedly led police on a high-speed chase from the Sherman Hills apartment complex following a traffic stop.

Officers conducted a traffic stop on Bradley Ercel Burgess, of Bergin Avenue, Jersey City, New Jersey, just after 7 p.m. Wednesday near Coal Street and Logan Court and detected a strong odor of marijuana coming from Burgess’ vehicle, police said.

Police asked Burgess what he was doing in Sherman Hills, and he told them he was visiting a friend. When asked if he had any marijuana in the vehicle, Burgess allegedly handed an officer a cigar packet and stated that it contained a small bag of marijuana, police said.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/50184160/Man-arrested-after-high-speed-chase-from-Sherman-Hills#.U_iwJPRDsxI

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

Wilkes-Barre Zoning Board Approves Changes Requested By Housing Develoopment Corp

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — About 30 people protested the proposed housing project in the Rolling Mill section of the city, offering testimony, petitions and heartfelt concerns, but the Zoning Hearing Board unanimously approved all four changes requested by Housing Development Corporation MidAtlantic of Lancaster.

As the crowd filtered out of council chambers at City Hall Thursday evening, you could hear cries of “It’s not fair,” and “You live there,” from residents of McCarragher, Moyallen, Dana and Grove streets — all to be impacted by the 56-unit rental complex to be built by HDC.

Attorney Charles McCormick, zoning hearing board solicitor, said there is a 30-day window for appeals to be filed on the decision. Once that is exhausted, HDC will then bring a detailed land development plan to the city’s planning commission for approval.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/50170995/Rolling-Mill-development-moves-forward#.U_YbQPRDsxI

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

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

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

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

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

Barrett Questions Security Measures After Latest Sherman Hills Shooting

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — The shootings of two men Tuesday night at the Sherman Hills apartment complex raised questions for the chairman of city council about security measures to be undertaken by the new owner.

Bill Barrett on Wednesday said he would contact the owners for an update on how their plans compared to those of the previous owner that promised “large-scale improvements” worth $100,000 after a federal report found lax oversight exposed tenants to life-threatening security issues at the 344-unit complex.

The shootings happened less than a week after a city official said the owners were not planning on having “24-7” security at the complex that’s been the scene of violent crimes and a fatal shooting last November.

Police said two black men in their 20s were shot during an attempted robbery. The men were found in building 328 at approximately 11:30 p.m., police said.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1534466/Barrett-questions-security-measures-at-Sherman-Hills

Related stories:

Another shooting at Sherman Hills occurred on Wednesday night

http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1536765/Another-shooting-at-Sherman-Hills-occurred-on-Wednesday-night

 

Man Kidnapped At Sword-Point Friday Survived Earlier Wilkes-Barre Shooting

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

Recently, he survived a gunshot wound to the head. Now, he survived a kidnapping at sword-point.

Josue Vargas, 27, was kidnapped from his residence at 62 Hutson St., Wilkes-Barre, in the early hours of Friday morning and taken to a dark, vacant location where two men terrorizing him with a sword stripped him naked and told him they would kill them if he didn’t hand over his bank card, according to an affidavit.

Police charged Jhojan “Flaco” Guerra, 27, and Juan “Speedy” Hernandez, 34, with kidnapping, robbery and related offenses following their arrests shortly after Vargas explained what officers called “a disturbing list of events.”

The defendants claimed Vargas owed them money from a prior debt and knew he was just paid, according to police. The alleged kidnappers struck Vargas in the face to force him into the vehicle around 1 a.m., police said.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/man-kidnapped-at-sword-point-friday-survived-earlier-w-b-shooting-1.1717965