Nuangola official appointed
A panel of all Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas judges on Thursday appointed Michael J. Johnson to serve the unexpired term of Elaine Donahue on Nuangola Borough Council.
Johnson, 64, and Douglas D. Fawbush, who also applied for the position, tied for fourth place in the November 2011 general election, losing the seat to Donahue by five votes.
Johnson, executive vice president of the commercial division of Lewith & Freeman Real Estate, said he brings experience in real estate and banking to the table, having served as senior vice president at the former Franklin First Savings Bank until it was acquired by M&T Bank in 1998.
Johnson said his immediate goal for council is to have a meeting and proceed with business. The seven-member council has conducted no business since December because of a lack of a quorum after Donahue resigned.
Selenski moving hearing set
Luzerne County Judge Fred Pierantoni III on Thursday scheduled March 8 to hear arguments on a request to move double-homicide suspect Hugo Selenski from the county prison to state prison.
Selenski, 39, has been housed since April 2012 at the county facility, where he frequently meets with his attorneys.
Prosecutors are seeking to have Selenski jailed at a state prison on a request from acting Warden James J. Larson, who claims it is a burden to have a correctional officer watch Selenski when he meets with his lawyers. Selenski also is taking up bed space in the restrictive housing unit, Larson claims.
Selenski escaped from the county prison by climbing down a bed sheet rope in October 2003.
A Monroe County jury convicted Selenski in July 2009 in the January 2003 robbery and assault of a jewelry store owner in Saylorsburg. He was sentenced to 32 1/2 to 65 years to state prison for the conviction in Monroe County.
Selenski’s trial on charges he killed Michael Kerkowski and Tammy Fassett in May 2002 has often been delayed because of appeals and changes of judges and defense attorneys.
Spellers will compete Sunday
More than 20 young spellers representing local schools will compete in the 2013 Times Leader/Scripps NEPA Regional Spelling Bee at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Woodlands Inn, Route 315.
The winner of the regional bee will take part in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May in Washington, D.C., where he or she will be sponsored by The Times Leader and compete against spellers from across the country.
The public is welcome to attend the regional bee, which has been sending a speller to Washington for 30 years.
In 2011, The Times Leader’s speller, Sukanya Roy of Clarks Summit, survived 20 rounds and spelled the winning word, “cymotrichous,” to become the national champion.
School bullying bill unveiled
U.S. Sens. Bob Casey, D-Scranton, and Mark Kirk, R-Illinois, introduced bipartisan legislation aimed at preventing bullying and harassment in schools.
The Safe Schools Improvement Act would require schools and districts that receive federal funding to adopt codes of conduct specifically prohibiting bullying and harassment, encouraging them to implement effective prevention programs to respond to incidents of bullying and harassment.
The act also would require districts to prohibit bullying and harassment based on a student’s actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or religion. The bill also requires states to collect information reported by districts on incidents of bullying and harassment and report it to the Department of Education. This data must also be readily available to the public.