Two Wilkes-Barre Police Officers Assaulted By Drunken Driver

WILKES-BARRE, PA — A city police officer sustained a possible broken nose and another officer was punched in the face while arresting a suspected drunken driver early Sunday morning.

The incident happened on South Main Street near Ross Street when officers Daniel Roper and Erica Oswald stopped Steven Santiago, 33, for driving a vehicle without headlights.

During the traffic stop, Santiago exhibited signs of intoxication and was asked to exit his vehicle. While standing near the back of his car, Santiago refused to submit to a breath test, according to the criminal complaint.

Santiago admitted he consumed alcoholic beverages before he was stopped by police, the complaint says.

Read more:

http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/152641077/W-B-cops-assaulted-in-DUI-scuffle

Heroin Found In Dough At Hazle Township Commercial Bakery

HAZLE TOWNSHIP, PA — Heroin packets were found on dough being processed on a production line at Aryzta, a commercial baker of breads and donuts, earlier this week, state police at Hazleton said.

State police in a news release said an employee checking dough on a production line to a sheet dough machine found a suspected heroin packet at about 6 p.m. Monday.

The employee notified a shift supervisor as production was stopped and inspected. Other suspected heroin packets and drug paraphernalia were found inside the dough machine, state police said.

State police said Aryzta, based in Zurich, Switzerland, stopped production on the dough machine and destroyed all the products.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/152605611/

Northeastern Pennsylvania Population Drops Slightly As South Population Rises

A lot of people in this part of the nation swore they’d move south during this year’s harsh winter. It appears many of them already have.

According to estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau, warm regions regained population growth momentum last year that was lost during the recession. But population fell in the area comprised of Luzerne, Lackawanna and Wyoming counties.

Fourteen of the 20 fastest-growing metropolitan areas were in Florida, Texas or the Carolinas, led by The Villages near Orlando, which grew by 5.4 percent between July 1, 2013 and July 1, 2014. In contrast, the fastest-growing metro areas in Pennsylvania grew by 0.6 percent.

The bureau estimated that the population in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area fell by 2,159, or 0.4 percent over the year. Within the three-county region, Lackawanna County lost the most, 1,115, or 0.5 percent. Luzerne County’s population declined 1,033, or 0.3 percent, and Wyoming County’s was relatively unchanged.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/152599118/

Boscov’s To remodel Wilkes-Barre Store To Tune Of $1 Million; Work To Start In 2 Weeks

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Al Boscov said Tuesday that the long-awaited million-dollar renovation of the downtown store will begin in two weeks.

“We’ve had a slight change in design, and that’s the reason for the delay in starting,” Boscov said. “The project will begin on the third floor and the estimate remains at $1 million.”

It’s been one year since Boscov announced the plan to remodel the South Main Street store and customers and employees have been anticipating the project.

Last March, Gary Boyer, Boscov’s senior executive vice president/chief stores officer, said carpeting was going to be installed within a month, but the project never started. Boyer also said shoppers could expect to see brighter lights, new carpeting and flooring, freshly painted walls, some new features, expanded departments and maybe a few new shops.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/business-home_top-local-news/152531939/

Arrest Warrant Issued For Suspect In Sherman Hills Shooting

WILKES-BARRE, PA — City police overnight obtained an arrest warrant for Brian Keith Hayes, 23, charging him with critically injuring another man in a shooting in the Sherman Hills apartment high rise on Parkview Circle Monday night.

Hayes, last known address as 279 S. Washington St., is charged with attempt to commit criminal homicide, illegal possession of a firearm, reckless endangerment and two counts of aggravated assault.

City police believe Hayes, known as “Keefy Blood,” fired multiple rounds striking Brandon Eubanks in the neck and other parts of his body on the second floor of the high rise just after 8 p.m., according to the criminal complaint.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/152526820/

Additional story: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/152522507/

Municipalities Move To Form South Valley COG

Six communities are moving forward on formation of a Lower South Valley Council of Governments.

The success of other government councils in Luzerne County has sparked enthusiastic support for a South Valley organization, said Andy Gegaris, city manager in Nanticoke.

“By the fall, I think we will have this together,” Gegaris said.

Communities that have met and remain in contact largely via emails are Nanticoke, Newport Township, Hanover Township, Plymouth Township, Sugar Notch and Ashley. The towns hope that Warrior Run also will join, Gegaris said.

Read more:

http://citizensvoice.com/news/municipalities-move-to-form-south-valley-cog-1.1851925

Heroin, Cash Seized, 3 People Arrested In Drug Investigations

HAZLETON, PA — Three people face drug charges and cash and drugs were seized in two separate investigations Thursday, police said.

In one of the cases, a woman trying to flee police struck an undercover vehicle, police said.

Police identified the woman as Passion Tairi Flores, 24, of West Birch Street.

According to police: A controlled drug buy with Flores was arranged near the intersection of North Locust and Third streets at approximately 5 p.m. As officers closed in on Flores, she accelerated her vehicle and tried to get away, striking an undercover vehicle and preventing her escape. Flores and her passenger, Anthony Morales Jr. 22 of Brooklyn, New York were arrested. Approximately $900 in cash and 220 packets of heroin were seized from her vehicle.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/152497462/

Turkey Hill Robberies In Wilkes-Barre Area Raise Security Questions

Sheetz, a popular convenience chain in Northeastern Pennsylvania, is open all night year round. Yet it seems rare that the chain’s stores get robbed.

The same can’t be said, however, for Turkey Hill stores in the Wyoming Valley.

There have been 10 robberies at Turkey Hill stores in Wilkes-Barre and Kingston since Jan. 26, of which three of those robberies happened last week.

What’s the difference?

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/home_top-local-news-news/152453142/

Amazon To Add 400 Jobs At Hazle Twp. Facility

The Amazon fulfillment center in the Humboldt Industrial Park in Hazle Township is growing.

The company said Wednesday it is adding 400 full-time positions to the 1,500 already there.

Kelly Cheeseman, an Amazon spokeswoman, said the new people are being added “to help pick, pack and ship customer orders.”

Cheeseman said the positions are being added now “to meet growing customer demand.”

Interested candidates can apply at www.workatamazonfulfillment.com.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/amazon-to-add-400-jobs-at-hazle-twp-facility-1.1850160

Kingston Police Arrest Two Men For Turkey Hill Robbery

KINGSTON, PA — Police arrested two men from Plymouth on charges they robbed the Turkey Hill store on Rutter Avenue as Wilkes-Barre police are expected to file similar charges for a robberies at Turkey Hill stores in the city.

Police allege Robert Maurer, 31, and Richard Huften, 35, conspired to rob the store on Rutter Avenue early Wednesday morning.

The two men are believed to be suspects in the heists at Turkey Hill stores on East Main Street and Hazle Avenue Tuesday night.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/152447932/

Susquehanna River Ice Jam Grows To 11 Miles

A massive ice jam clogged the Susquehanna River for miles through the heart of Wyoming County on Tuesday, keeping riverfront residents and emergency management officials on edge.

The National Weather Service extended a flood warning for central Wyoming County, as well as low-lying areas immediately downriver in Lackawanna and Luzerne counties, another 24 hours until tonight at 7:15.

“We’re stable for now, but that could change in the snap of a finger,” Wyoming County EMA director Gene Dziak said. “The unpredictability of this thing is just incredible. You just don’t know what it’s going to do.”

The ice jam formed Monday on the river just south of the area in Tunkhannock Twp. where Route 307 intersects Route 92. By late Tuesday afternoon, broken ice behind the jam was backed up to the Vosburg Neck area of Washington Twp., a distance of 11 miles.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/susquehanna-ice-jam-grows-to-11-miles-1.1849795

Three Wyoming Valley Turkey Hill Stores Targeted Overnight

KINGSTON, PA — Three Turkey Hill stores in the Wyoming Valley were targets of robbers Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

Two stores in Wilkes-Barre and a store in Kingston were held up.

Here are the reported robberies by police in Wilkes-Barre and Kingston.

• Tuesday, 9:30 p.m., Turkey Hill, 335 E. Main St., Wilkes-Barre: A white man armed with an undisclosed weapon entered the store and demanded money from a clerk. City police considered the suspect armed and dangerous. The suspect is in his 20s, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, thin build, fair skin, and wore a grey hooded sweatshirt, black jacket and dark colored jogging pants.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/152424848/

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Area Loses Title Of Highest Unemployment Rate In Pennsylvania

After 57 months, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Area is no longer dead last in the unemployment rating for Pennsylvania Metropolitan Areas.  After expanding the eligible metro areas from 14 to 18, Johnstown and East Stroudsburg have pushed Scranton/Wilkes-Barre out of last place.  If nothing else, psychologically it gives the beleaguered Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Area a lift.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Among Most Indulgent Cities

Perhaps the Wilkes-Barre metro area parties too much.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area ranked as the fourth-most indulgent metro in the United States by the personal finance website badcredit.org. The website used data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and credit information from Experian, a credit reporting bureau, to analyze how indulgent residents are in 105 metro areas.

They looked at the obesity rate, alcohol consumption, number of smokers and the average consumer debt to determine the most indulgent metros. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metro came in at No. 4

with:

■ 7.8 percent of residents claiming to be heavy drinkers.

■  21.5 percent who say they smoke everyday.

■ An obesity rate of 31.9 percent.

■  $28,974 in average consumer debt.

Read more:

http://citizensvoice.com/news/scranton-w-b-among-most-indulgent-cities-1.1849010

NEPA’s St. Patrick’s Day Weekend Means Fun For Residents, More Work For Police

WILKES-BARRE, PA — St. Patrick’s Day is upon Northeastern Pennsylvania, which will include a weekend of parades and other festivities.

For law enforcement, it will mean more work than usual.

Scranton Police Chief Carl Graziano was among the officials at a news conference held at the Lackawanna County Courthouse this week. Officials encouraged residents to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day safely and responsibly.

“As everybody knows, it’s no secret that that’s the biggest alcohol consumption day — at least in the city — is St. Patrick’s Day Parade day,” Graziano said.

Read more:

http://www.timesleader.com/news/home_top-local-news/152319939/

Grass-Roots Effort For A Marketplace In The Mall At Steamtown Continues

SCRANTON, PA — The idea of a Reading Terminal Market marketplace in the Mall at Steamtown is gaining momentum.

The concept to create a marketplace in a portion of the mall began nearly two months ago as brothers, Michael and George Boyd, both of Scranton, started a Facebook page to gauge public’s interest to save their city’s retail hub.

Thousands in Lackawanna and Luzerne counties have weighed in on the idea. Last month, the Boyd brothers said the positive responses were “overwhelming.”

Today the Facebook page, Reading Terminal Market at the Mall at Steamtown, has more than 5,800 “Likes” and is getting people talking about how to revive the mall.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/business-local-news/152278963/

PennDOT To Resurface Another 110-Plus Miles Of NEPA Roads

The McDade Expressway in Scranton, Route 924 in Hazleton and a long stretch of Route 29 in Susquehanna and Wyoming counties are among area roads the state Department of Transportation has targeted for repaving this year.

The three heavily traveled routes are among 28 stretches of road in six Northeast Pennsylvania counties that PennDOT officials plan for routine resurfacing work this year. They’ll pay for it with new transportation funding from higher fees and gradually increasing gas taxes.

“PennDOT will be resurfacing about 110 miles of road this year,” agency spokesman James May said. “If we didn’t have Act 89, the number would be zero.”

Act 89 is the $2.3 billion transportation funding package the state Legislature approved in late 2013. PennDOT did have work on several larger capital pro­jects planned regardless, like the ongoing Keyser Avenue project in Scranton.

Read more:

http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/penndot-to-resurface-another-110-plus-miles-of-nepa-roads-1.1844646http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/penndot-to-resurface-another-110-plus-miles-of-nepa-roads-1.1844646

Scranton City Council OKs Revised Recovery Plan

Scranton City Council on Thursday passed the first of three votes needed to adopt a revised Act 47 recovery plan.

Council voted 4-0, with President Bob McGoff and Councilmen Joe Wechsler, Wayne Evans and Bill Gaughan all in favor, to introduce an ordinance to adopt the recovery plan crafted by the city’s Act 47 recovery coordinator, Pennsylvania Economy League.

Councilman Pat Rogan was absent.

Before the meeting, council held a caucus with PEL officials Gerald Cross and Joseph Boyle, city Business Administrator David Bulzoni, and Jim Rose of the state Department of Community and Economic Development, which oversees PEL.

Read more:

http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/scranton-council-oks-revised-recovery-plan-1.1844068

City Of Wilkes-Barre Swears In 10 New Police Officers

WILKES-BARRE, PA — A large crowd looked on in council chambers Tuesday as 10 new city police officers were sworn in wearing suits and ties and shiny new badges, but the message was sobering.

“There will be challenging times and scary moments,” said Rev. J. Duane Gavitt, the police department’s chaplain.

Police Chief Robert Hughes said the new officers are beginning a new call to service.

“There will be late nights,” he said. “There will be middle of the night call-outs. You are prepared for this.”

Read more:

http://www.timesleader.com/news/home_top-local-news-news/152145029/W-B-swears-in-10-new-police-officers

February Was Third Coldest On Record

Last month was the third coldest February on record and it tied for fourth place as one of the coldest months ever in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

The average temperature last month was 17.5 degrees as recorded by the National Weather Service at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport.

January 1918 was just as cold.

Only two other Februaries locally have been colder since 1901, when record-keeping started: February 1934 with an average temperature of 15.4 degrees and February 1979 with an average temp of 15.9 degrees.

Read more:

http://citizensvoice.com/news/february-was-third-coldest-on-record-1.1841705