Wilkes-Barre Police Investigating Shooting

WILKES-BARRE, PA — City police are at a residence on Monroe Street investigating a shooting this morning.

Police were alerted to the shooting when a man arrived by private vehicle at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital at approximately 10:20 a.m.

Police and city detectives wearing body armor are at the scene questioning witnesses and neighbors.

Read more:

http://www.timesleader.com/news/breaking_news/152984712/

Homeless Man Charged With Homicide With Fatal Stabbing At Interfaith Heights Apartments

WILKES-BARRE, PA — City police charged a homeless man with fatally stabbing a homeless activist inside an apartment at Interfaith Heights earlier this year.

Matthew Vantine, 27, was charged with criminal homicide in the death of 53-year-old Bryan “Hippie” Hogan.

Hogan’s body was found inside his apartment on Jan. 30.

Vantine said he didn’t kill Hogan, saying “He was a good man.”

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/home_top/152959164/

Wilkes-Barre Residents Voice Concerns About Plan To Convert Sacred Heart Into 31-Unit Apartment Building

WILKES-BARRE, PA — A proposal to convert the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church and School into high-end apartments drew the ire of several North End residents at Wednesday’s Zoning Hearing Board meeting.

Philadelphia developer Hysni Syla, a current Kingston resident, said he “came here to invest” in potential development sites like the shuttered school and church at 601 N. Main St. The former closed in 2011 as shrinking membership and a drop in priests forced the Diocese of Scranton to close the doors of the century-old church.

The proposal would convert the school into 31 units, while renovating the church into an art studio and rectory into four additional apartment units.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/152948142/

Submissions For Wilkes-Barre Fine Arts Fiesta Due Saturday

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Wilkes-Barre’s 60th Fine Arts Fiesta “A Diamond in the Square” will once again bring a sense of culture and beauty to public square May 14-17.

Gary T. Womelsdorf, a board member and visual arts chairman, is busy preparing for the event’s adult and student juried art exhibitions and wants to remind artists that delivery of artwork is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday at Fiesta Central, Midtown Village, 41 S. Main St. near Katana Restaurant.

Any artist living within a radius of 100 miles is eligible to compete.

Artwork can be submitted and judged in six specific categories: crafts, graphics, paintings, photography, sculpture/construction and water color.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/home_top-local-news/152894100/

Turkey Hill Customers Question Safety In Wake Of Robberies

When Turkey Hill comes to mind, most people think of flavorful ice cream and sweet iced tea. But in Wilkes-Barre, many mention the recent spike in robberies at the company’s stores before thinking of their signature snacks.

Since January 2014, city police have responded to at least 22 Turkey Hill robberies, 13 of which occurred in the last four months.

Frequent customers have not abandoned these stores, but some have questioned the safety during late-night hours.

Lisa Cummings of Mountain Top often visits the Turkey Hill on North Pennsylvania Avenue after work, but said she would probably not go to the store at 3 a.m.

Read more:

http://citizensvoice.com/news/turkey-hill-customers-question-safety-in-wake-of-robberies-1.1862265

Arts Gallery Could Make Way For Downtown Wilkes-Barre Market

WILKES-BARRE, PA — A market may be coming to downtown Wilkes-Barre soon.

Arts Seen Gallery is being asked to move out of space at 21 Public Square to make way for City Market and Cafe, said Kim Kulagina, the volunteer operations manager of the art gallery, and Tamara Pilger, a stained glass artist at the gallery. Kulagina said landlord Rob Finlay, president of Humford Equities, told them the art gallery had to leave for City Market to move in and the market is awaiting a liquor license.

A source active with the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber, speaking on the condition of anonymity, also said City Market and Cafe plans to open in downtown Wilkes-Barre. Discussions about City Market and Cafe opening downtown have been ongoing for a while and officials were looking for a suitable place, the source said.

City Market and Cafe, which has another location at Linden Street and Adams Avenue in downtown Scranton, offers eat-in and take-out prepared foods, a deli, bakery, grocery, dairy, frozen food, fresh produce, customized sandwiches and pizza and a vast selection of beer.

Read more:

http://citizensvoice.com/news/arts-gallery-could-make-way-for-downtown-w-b-market-1.1861722

In Focus: Church Reaching Out To Sherman Hills To Be Community Partner In Wilkes-Barre

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Is there hope for Sherman Hills?

The bigger question — Is there hope for the City of Wilkes-Barre?

The Restored Church on North Franklin Street will do its part to try to revive the city’s morale and its pride, and eliminate its fear.

The church will hold an event — “I Love My City” — on Saturday, April 25 in the Sherman Hills apartment complex parking lot. All residents of the city are welcome with their children. The church hopes the event will serve as a catalyst for similar events to be held.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/152853433/

Deadly 2013 Lands Wilkes-Barre On ‘Murder Capital’ List

WILKES-BARRE, PA — The city’s bloody 2013 has placed it on a list of the Top 30 “Murder Capitals in America.”

The 13 homicides that took place in Wilkes-Barre made for the deadliest year in city history. The city was ranked 18th on the list.

NeighborhoodScout, an information website which compiles data on neighborhoods and cities throughout the country, used FBI numbers on homicides to create a list of cities with the highest murder rates. The report lists Wilkes-Barre as having 12 murders and does not include a case involving an accidental shooting, which the FBI classified as involuntary manslaughter.

The report says that until recently, major cities ranked among the dominating murder capitals, but this list is “populated mostly by middle-sized cities as well as smaller cities in close proximity to larger ones.”

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/deadly-2013-lands-w-b-on-murder-capital-list-1.1861214

With Crime On Their Minds, Concerned Residents Again Press Wilkes-Barre City Council On Rash Of Violence

WILKES-BARRE, PA — The topic won’t fizzle out.

Another city council meeting saw yet another gauntlet of pleas from concerned citizens about Wilkes-Barre’s recent rash of violence.

Council members spent most of Thursday’s hour-long meeting assuring residents that police and city administration were doing everything within their power to squash a three-week-long crime wave that produced six shootings, two deaths and six other injuries.

Council Chairman Mike Merritt conceded things will get worse before they get better.

Read more:

http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/152836901/Residents-press-council-about-crime

Gallup: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Well-Being Could Be Worse, But Not Much

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton area’s overall well-being could be worse, but not much.

The metropolitan area ranked 94th overall out of 100 communities in the U.S. in Gallup opinion poll “State of American Well-Being: 2014 Community Well-Being Rankings.”

The survey issued Tuesday compares how people feel about and experience their daily lives in five areas:

■ Purpose: Liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goal.

■ Social: Having supportive relationships and love in your life.

Read more:

http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/gallup-scranton-wb-well-being-could-be-worse-but-not-much-1.1860711

Wilkes-Barre Man Charged With Ransacking Interfaith Heights Apartment After Body Removed

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Dominick Meininger told police he’s no snitch.

Meininger, 19, allegedly admitted to stealing wine and prescription medications from an apartment at Interfaith Heights after the tenant was found dead in the residence on March 10. But Meininger, of East Northampton Street, denied he had stolen jewelry and a television, according to charges filed.

Meininger was arraigned Wednesday by District Judge Martin Kane on charges of burglary, possessing instruments of crime and theft. He was jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $20,000.

The alleged burglary was not the first incident involving Meininger at Interfaith Heights on Coal Street.

Read more:

http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/152813436/

Former Police Chief Tony George Urges Mayor Thomas Leighton To Address Wilkes-Barre’s Current State Of “Violence And Lawlessness”

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Citing a “crisis of lawlessness,” former Police Chief Tony George on Monday pressed Mayor Thomas Leighton to restore law and order to the city of Wilkes-Barre in the wake of one of its most vicious weekends to date.

George, a city councilman and Democratic candidate for Wilkes-Barre mayor, urged Leighton in a press release to address the state of public safety by implementing citywide saturation patrols with an emphasis in “the most troubled neighborhoods,” including South Wilkes-Barre, North End and the Heights.

Over six days, two people have been killed and five others seriously injured in five separate shootings.

Show of force

During a press conference at police headquarters Monday afternoon, Leighton said patrols have been ongoing since 2013 and will continue as long as there is violent crime in Wilkes-Barre.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/152763481/

Violence Continues With Another Shooting In Wilkes-Barre

WILKES-BARRE, PA — City police said a man was found with a gunshot wound in the area of 247 S. Welles St. just before 1:30 a.m. Monday.

Police did not say where the man, whose name was not released, suffered the gunshot wound. The victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment, police said.

No further information was released.

The victim is the seventh person to be shot in the city within five days. Two of those shootings turned fatal.

Read more:

http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/152759001/

Man Found shot To Death In Wilkes-Barre Residence

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Three shootings. Three days. Two dead.

After more than six months without a gunfire-related homicide in Wilkes-Barre, city police investigated three separate shootings this week — two of them hours apart on Friday morning.

Meanwhile, a vigil in support of non-violence is planned for Public Square tonight.

The latest investigation concerns the shooting death of Peter Bielecki Jr., 49, at his home at 70 Carey Ave.

Read more:

http://citizensvoice.com/news/man-found-shot-to-death-in-w-b-residence-1.1858235

Once-Abandoned South Wilkes-Barre Warehouse Gets New Life Behind Colorful Upgrade

WILKES-BARRE, PA — A bare shell.

That was the state of 152 Horton St. in South Wilkes-Barre before Steve Taren pegged it as the new site of his graphic and design business.

Taren, 57, owns and operates Wet Paint Printing & Design out of the location. Before he purchased the property last year, the former South Wilkes-Barre woodworking warehouse was fully gutted — abandoned for five years as looters stripped it clean of anything remotely valuable.

“Every wire, every piece of copper, even the water meter which is made of brass, they were all gone,” Taren said.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/home_top-local-news-news/152665332/

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

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/

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/

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/