Study Showing Area’s Shaky Economy No Surprise

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)

Frank Nemeth, of Wilkes-Barre, doesn’t need a study to tell him the region is in rough shape.

Nemeth works at the Main Street Trading Post, a pawn shop south of Public Square, and he said his job has exposed him to the harsh realities of the city’s economy.

“I don’t see any recovery happening,” he said.

Instead, Nemeth said he sees some of the same people everyday — sometimes two or three times — trying to sell their belongings to afford necessities like food and gas.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/news/1334175/Study-showing-areas-shaky-economy-no-surprise

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Forbes Magazine Ranks Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 8th Best Place To Raise A Family

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)

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Diamond City Partnership Executive Director Larry Newman said Friday he wishes he could be more enthusiastic about the Forbes Magazine ranking that put the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton metropolitan area as the eighth best place in the U.S. to raise a family.

“It’s difficult to get enthusiastic about these types of rankings because they come out a lot,” Newman said. “And they’re becoming increasingly more frequent. But don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that we’re being recognized in a positive way.”

The Forbes list had this to say about the region:

“One of the lowest median family incomes ($42,000) among U.S. metro areas, but crime is low, commutes are short and housing is affordable (87 percent of area homes are affordable at the median income level).

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1337182/Region-gets-high-praise-from-Forbes

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Heroin, Gun Seized By Police In Wilkes-Barre

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — City police Anti-Crime Unit and state police Vice and Narcotics seized about 200 heroin packets, a loaded handgun with an altered serial number and a loaded rifle when they arrested three people from Philadelphia on drug trafficking offenses on Thursday.

Authorities said Marissa A. Ramos, 23, Jorge Esay Mojica, 23, and Bryan Mojica, 19, in a buy-bust operation on Scott Street.

A 9mm handgun and a semi-automatic rifle were found during the arrest. The rifle was reported stolen to the state police at Shickshinny.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news/1336598/Heroin-gun-seized-by-police

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Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Last In Beating Recession

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)

In the race to climb out of recession, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metropolitan area is dead last among the 100 largest urban areas nationwide.

That is the finding in a recent “Metro Monitor” study by The Brookings Institution that tracked the economic performance of 100 metropolitan areas on four indicators: jobs, unemployment, output (gross product) and house prices. The analysis focused on the change of the indicators during three time periods: the recession, recovery and a combination of both.

During the recovery period, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre ranked 100, or last, trailing Little Rock, Ark., (99) and Greater Hartford, Conn. (98).

“In terms of recovery, it has been pretty slow” for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, said Siddharth Kulkarni, a research assistant in Brooking’s Metropolitan Policy Program.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/scranton-w-b-last-in-beating-recession-1.1667766

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Genetti’s Upgrading Hotel In Wilkes-Barre

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — The top two penthouse floors of Best Western Genetti Hotel and Conference Center in downtown Wilkes-Barre will be converted into the new “Oyster Boutique Hotel,” hotel owner Gus Genetti and Oyster Restaurant owner Thom Greco said this morning.

Genetti said it will cost $200,000 to $250,000 to upgrade the rooms to create a small intimate luxury hotel with amenities such as new furnishings, technology and art. The rooms will cater to those looking for high-end rooms, he said.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/genetti-s-upgrading-hotel-in-wilkes-barre-1.1666257

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Court Documents: Sherman Hills Sale Price Tops $16M

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

The current owners of the troubled Sherman Hills Apartments in Wilkes-Barre will receive more than $16 million should a proposed sale be finalized this month, according to court documents filed Tuesday in Luzerne County Court.

Family members of a murder victim are trying to block the sale or have the sale proceeds placed in escrow, claiming the sale of the low-income housing project would make the complex “judgement proof.”

On Tuesday, lawyers for Sherman Hills filed their response, saying the sale should be allowed to proceed.  The sales agreement was attached to the response and revealed Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Park Management, the complex’s owner, will be paid $16.2 million from the sale.

Survivors of murder victim Shantique Goodson, 27, fatally shot at the complex on Nov. 11, 2013, are seeking an injunction to block the sale, or place the sale proceeds in escrow, until the lawsuit plays out. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Wednesday morning in Luzerne County Court.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/court-documents-sherman-hills-sale-price-tops-16m-1.1664522

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Man Charged In Fatal Stabbing In Wilkes-Barre

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Luzerne County Coroner’s Office Tuesday morning identified Charles Edmonds, 27, who died from apparent stab wounds he suffered during a fight inside an apartment building on South Hancock Street Monday night.

An autopsy is scheduled later today at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.

Edmonds died at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Plains Township.

Police said Tuesday morning they charged Al-Tariq Peterkin, 31, with an open count of criminal homicide. He was jailed at the county correctional facility without bail.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news/1311090/Man-charged-in-fatal-stabbing-in-Wilkes-Barre

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Jewelcor Wants To Extend Wilkes-Barre’s Coal Street

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — What the city can’t do, the owners of the Jewelcor property want to with the extension of Coal Street for development.

Plans are to continue the street west at the intersection with Wilkes-Barre Boulevard by constructing a five-lane roadway, said Joe Lakowski, project manager with Jewelcor Inc.

“We have two potential companies that want to go on the corners,” Lakowski said Friday.

Jewelcor president and chief executive officer Seymour Holtzman and his wife, Evelyn, who own the property, are seeking a construction easement to build the roadway on city property. The easement is listed on the agenda for City Council’s work session Tuesday night.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1304638/Jewelcor-wants-to-extend-W-Bs-Coal-St.

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New Businesses Will Open In Theater Complex

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA – An e-cigarette business and roofing business are moving into the movie theater complex in downtown Wilkes-Barre, leaving just one open corner space available for lease.

Jackson Township resident Allen Morrow plans to open Xhale Vapor Lounge and roofing business Green Rhino Builders in empty space on South Washington Street in City Centre next month.

Morrow said he is moving his office for his roofing business from Dallas to downtown Wilkes-Barre and will open the e-cigarette lounge in front. He became interested in e-cigarettes after switching to them from traditional cigarettes six months ago.

Morrow said e-cigarettes are safer and since he switched, he feels better and can breathe better. Some health organizations, however, have been pushing for the Food and Drug Administration to regulate e-cigarettes.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/new-businesses-will-open-in-theater-complex-1.1661693

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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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Heroin, Marijuana Found In Car With Kids In Wilkes-Barre

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — City police pursuing two men after a hand-to-hand exchange on South Main Street found heroin and marijuana in a vehicle with three young children.

Police said heroin packets in zip-lock bags were found in an open can of Natty Daddy beer and a bag of marijuana was found in the console of the car driven by 29-year-old Tyrell Lee Dunbar, according to charges filed.

Dunbar said the three children, ages 1, 3 and 5, inside the car were his kids. The children were turned over to their grandmother, police said.

Dunbar, of Sambourne Street, Wilkes-Barre, was charged with three counts of endangering the welfare of children and one count each of driving under the influence, driving with a suspended license, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1292786/Heroin-marijuana-found-in-car-with-kids

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$100K In Sherman Hills Upgrades Begin

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — The proposed $100,000 worth of security improvements at the troubled Sherman Hills apartments are underway with the installation of a fence around the property.

Security consultant John Daly said work began last week.

“They’re putting up a 1-inch mesh fence like they proposed earlier and will move on to the next phase,” said of the McLane Investigative Group of New York City.

The possibility of losing the nearly $2 million in rent subsidies by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development prompted the owner Sherman Hills Realty of Brooklyn, N.Y. to promise changes at the complex that has been the scene of drug arrests, violent crimes and a fatal shooting last November.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1289298/$100K-in-Sherman-Hills-upgrades-begin

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Recent Task Force Sweep Focused On Those Who Committed Crimes In Wilkes-Barre

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

The Luzerne County Sheriff’s Office released new information on the fugitive sweep on Wednesday that picked up 20 individuals with outstanding warrants in Luzerne County.

The Advanced Tactical Anti-Crime Unit – the newly formed task force comprised of local, state and federal law enforcement – conducted its second roundup, picking up individuals on warrants for everything from driving under the influence and retail theft to burglary and simple assault.

Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis said this sweep was supposed to focus not just on arresting those from Wilkes-Barre, but those who committed crimes in Wilkes-Barre but live outside of the city.

Out of the 20 people picked up, 12 of them were arrested in Wilkes-Barre, according to the sheriff’s office.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/recent-task-force-sweep-focused-on-those-who-committed-crimes-in-w-b-1.1659093

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Victim’s Family Seeks Injunction To Stop Sale Of Sherman Hills

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

Attorneys for survivors of a woman killed last year at the Sherman Hills Apartments are seeking an injunction to stop the sale of the troubled apartment complex in Wilkes-Barre.

The attorneys for Shantique Goodson’s family argue the sale of the Coal Street low-income housing project would make the complex “judgment proof” in a lawsuit they have planned against Sherman Hills.

Goodson died Nov. 11, 2013, after being shot several times at the complex. The shooting occurred just days after officials with the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development visited Sherman Hills to address “life-threatening security issues” that were spotlighted by high-profile violent crimes, the court documents say.

Local attorneys Jamie Anzalone and Patrick Doyle, of the Anzalone Law Offices in Wilkes-Barre, are asking a judge to grant an emergency injunction to block the sale of Sherman Hills due to the pending lawsuit in connection with Goodson’s death.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/victim-s-family-seeks-injunction-to-stop-sale-of-sherman-hills-1.1659101

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Wilkes-Barre City Council Adopts New Rules On Public Input

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Against limited but vocal opposition, City Council on Thursday night imposed new limits on how people can address the body of elected officials during public meetings.

By a 4-0 vote, council amended ordinances on its rules and procedures, moving public speakers farther away and behind the rail separating council from the audience and requiring them to sign in before the start of the meeting.

Before the vote, several speakers who regularly attend the meetings urged council to reconsider. They suggested pushing back the start time so more people could attend and warned council about the consequences of approving the changes.

The new rules go into effect in 10 days. But had they been in place Betsy Sumers said she wouldn’t have had the opportunity to speak. She arrived after the 6 p.m. start and beyond the new signup deadline because her sales job required that she be in the Allentown/Bethlehem area.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1287433/W-B-council-adopts-new-rules-on-public-input

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Census Figures Show Population Drops In NEPA Across The Board

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)

About 2,000 fewer people lived in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metro in 2013 compared to the previous year, as deaths outpaced births and more people fled the area than flocked to it.

All seven counties in Northeastern Pennsylvania lost population between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2013, according to new annual estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau today. Unlike the once-a-decade census, the annual estimates are based on records such as birth and death certificates,tax forms and Medicare enrollment.

Gordon De Jong, Ph.D., a professor emeritus of sociology and demography at Penn State, said the aging population, low birth rate and lack of economic opportunity in Northeastern Pennsylvania continue to cost its residents.

“The fundamental underlying trend is continued, if not accelerated,” De Jong said.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/census-figures-show-population-drops-in-nepa-across-the-board-1.1657880

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Texting Citations In Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Area Drop

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)

Texting while driving citations for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metro area dropped 29 percent in one year, but the region still ranks 8th-worst in the state, according to data from compiled by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, the Philadelphia police and the U.S. Census Bureau.

There were 37 citations in Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wyoming counties from March 2013 through February – one citation fewer than the Lancaster metro area, though Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metro area has 36,806 more residents, There were 52 citations from March 2012 to Feb. 2013, making the metro area the 6th-worst in the state in 2013. The Philadelphia and Pittsburgh metro areas maintained the one and two spots respectively, though their populations are far greater.

No one reason can be attributed for the year’s decline in citations, area law enforcement officials said. An optimist might attribute part of it to increased awareness in the dangers of texting while driving, Lackawanna County Deputy District Attorney Robert Klein said. One reason may be a reduction of crashes caused by texting. Another reason could be as simple as fewer drivers getting caught.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/texting-citations-in-w-b-scranton-area-drop-1.1655025

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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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Wilkes-Barre St. Patrick’s Day Parade Date Set

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

The city of will hold its 34th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 16. The parade route will begin at South Main and South streets and will travel along South Main to Public Square, around the F.M. Kirby Center and end at the intersection of North Main and Union streets.

All ages are welcome to enjoy the parade activities and performances throughout the day. Children are invited to Barnes & Noble College Bookstore for a St. Patrick’s Day story hour at noon. Just Plain Crazy Face Art will also be available at noon on Public Square with parade themed artwork for children and adults.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1230827/W-B-St.-Patricks-Day-Parade-date-set

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