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Toohil weighs in on Luzerne County’s plans for unused Hazleton bank

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Luzerne County Council members have received two more letters urging them to transfer ownership of an unused, county-owned building to Hazleton.The latest letters are from state Rep. Tarah Toohil , R-Butler Township, and the Greater Hazleton Historical Society and Museum. W. Kevin O’Donnell, president of the Hazleton area’s economic development agency, CAN DO Inc., sent council a letter last week.Council members have the option to seek proposals from anyone interested in buying the former bank building on Broad Street or proceed with an inherited proposal to give the property to Hazleton in exchange for the city’s forgiveness of a lien on another county-owned property in the city.

 

Testimony in teacher’s sex trial ends

WILKES-BARRE — Suspended Hanover Area teacher Edward Evans testified this afternoon that he did not have a sexual encounter with a student, despite the young man’s allegation.Testimony lasted one day in the trial before Luzerne County Michael Vough, with closing arguments set for tomorrow morning.The jury trial of Evans, 34, of Hanover Township began this morning the former Hanover Area High School student testifying.The man said he initially lied ...

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Environmentalists seek AG probe of health department over natural gas response

Two environmental groups are asking the state attorney general to look into whether the Pennsylvania Department of Health has swept inquiries that referenced natural gas development under the rug.

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Our Opinion: Resist urge to quickly spend Luzerne County’s capital projects funding

Buried below more than $400 million in debt, Luzerne County probably won’t be able to qualify for another loan for a very long time.That makes it all the more important to do something smart with the final $16 million or so in past-borrowed funds, yet unspent, which county officials have designated for capital projects. This week, the debate over which projects deserve the dollars – Moon Lake Park repairs, road paving, a new records storage site and so on – has sp...

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Wyoming Homes owner faces more fraud charges

PLAINS TWP. — Alleged fraud victims of Wyoming Homes owner David Valenti hurled remarks at him in the courtroom saying he should go to jail if they don’t get refunded their money.Outside, they chanted “Wyoming Homes makes owning a home a nightmare.”Valenti, 61, of Glenmaura Drive, Moosic, appeared for a preliminary hearing before District Judge Diana Malast on Tuesday on separate felony counts of theft based on allegations he neve...

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Lane restriction on I-80 westbound due to tractor-trailer crash

MONTOURSVILLE — Motorists on Interstate 80 westbound in Columbia County are advised that a tractor-trailer crash and rollover has closed the left lane at mile marker 236, state department of transportation officials said.Motorists should approach the area with caution and watch for slow-moving or stopped traffic, PennDOT added.Motorists can check conditions on major roadways by visiting www.511PA.com.

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Sewage plant owner charged with dumping sludge in manhole

WILKES-BARRE — A sewage plant owner in Lackawanna County was charged Tuesday with unlawfully dumping sewage sludge in a manhole behind a shopping center in Dickson City.The state Office of Attorney General’s Environmental Crimes Unit charged Frank Columbo Jr., 80, of Dalton, with tampering with public records, violating the Clean Streams Law and unlawful discharge of sewage. He was arraigned by District Judge Martin Kane in Wilkes-Barre and released on ...

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Shuttered Sacred Heart Church loses bell, other items

WILKES-BARRE — It happened very subtly, but piece by piece the Wilkes-Barre church that sparked a battle all the way to the Vatican is being dismantled.Noreen Foti, who with her husband has led a lengthy fight to reverse the closing of Sacred Heart of Jesus Church on Main Street in Wilkes-Barre, notified The Times Leader of rumors the bell at the church had been removed.Diocese of Scranton spokesman Bill Genello confirmed the bell, along with other items, has been ...

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Local unemployment falls below 7%

The unemployment rate in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area fell below 7 percent in June, capping a full year of declines.The rate of 6.9 percent was the lowest since October 2008, when it was 6.7 percent. Still, the region had the highest jobless rate among large markets in Pennsylvania, ahead of second-place Johnstown at 6.6 percent.The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre labor force, the number of people working or looking for work, continued to fall, by 1,400 from May and by 7,700 sin...

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Man pulls gun after mashed potatoes comment

WILKES-BARRE — City police said a man brandished a handgun after asking for more mashed potatoes at the St. Vincent DePaul Soup Kitchen on East Jackson Street on Monday.Police said workers at the soup kitchen reported the man aimed a handgun at them in the parking lot at about 1:05 p.m. The gunman accused the workers of being rude to him after he asked for more mashed potatoes inside the cafeteria.Workers described the gunman as a black male, about...

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Wilkes-Barre house struck by gunfire

WILKES-BARRE — A residence on Farley Lane was struck by six rounds during gunfire just before 2 a.m. Tuesday, city police said.Police said they investigated the gunfire at the residence on Farley Lane between Dana and Moyallen streets at 1:52 a.m.Six shell casings were found and six holes in the residence were discovered.People within the residence told police they believed someone was knocking on the door. Neighbors reported hearing the...

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Sunny skies today, but isolated showers and thunderstorms possible into the mid week

It’s shaping up to be a nice day today, but isolated thunderstorms are possible later this week.The National Weather Service indicated that it was 59 degrees as of 6:54 a.m. Mostly cloudy skies kicked off the day, but sunshine was able to peek through every now and again.Cloudy skies are expected to give way to mostly sunny skies, with a high in the mid to upper 70s. Clear skies will continue on into tonight, with a low in the lower 50s.Isolated showers ...

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Average gas prices for July 29

Average gas prices remained unchanged overnight and are still down from last week’s average.AAA Mid-Atlantic provided the following data for the average gas prices in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and nationwide:• Wilkes-Barre area gas average at $3.56 today, unchanged overnight and down 4 cents in the last week. Diesel at $4.02 today, down a penny overnight.• Pennsylvania gas average at $3.64 today, down a penny overnight and down 4 cents in th...

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Kevin McGroarty, noted for humorous obituary, laid to rest

EXETER — About 300 people jammed St. Cecelia’s Church Monday to say goodbye to their friend and loved one, Kevin McGroarty.But most of those in attendance expected McGroarty to show up.Kevin McGroarty died Tuesday and his cremated remains were interred Monday afternoon at, as he called it in his self-written obituary, his new home at Mt. Olivet Cemetery.His cousin, Bill McGroarty, offered what Kevin might have thought about the packed church at his...

1 days 16 hours ago | | | Email

Out of tragedy, an app for healing

Personal tragedy inspired one King’s College alumnus to develop a social media application that could bring people closer together.“It was the most devastating thing that either of us had ever experienced,” Scott Speed said of the premature birth and death of his third child.The comfort Speed drew from telephone conversations with distant friends resulted in the creation of 5 For Friends, a mobile app designed to encourage people to reconnect with loved...

1 days 16 hours ago | | | Email

Hazleton gastroenterologist answers questions about celiac disease

Dr. Robert Yamulla had both good news and bad news for people who were hungry for information about celiac disease.“The good news is, I’ve got a cure,” the local gastroenterologist told about 15 area residents who attended a recent discussion at the Hazleton Health & Wellness Center.“The bad news is, the cure is a completely gluten-free diet and you can’t go off it.”The 2 million people (one in every 130) in the United State...

1 days 16 hours ago | | | Email

Former NFL players’ dealership would employ at least 200

Two retired N.Y. Giants football players are planning a giant-size car dealership in the Hazleton area.Former linebackers Jessie Armstead, Antonio Pierce and a third partner are proposing to build and operate three car dealerships in seven commercial buildings on a 46-acre site in Hazle Township, said Drums attorney Donald G. Karpowich, who represents the businessmen.“The project at total build out is expected to create 200 full-time positions and 30 part-time posi...

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Kingston police are not soliciting funds, chief says

Kingston Police received a complaint from a resident of a neighboring community stating that the Kingston Police Patrol Division was soliciting funds for the police department, Police Chief Michael Krzywicki posted on the department’s Facebook page this evening.“I would like to remind all residents and non-residents that we do not solicit funds for our police department,” Krzywicki wrote.Krzywicki advised that anyone who receives a call from someone rep...

1 days 16 hours ago | | | Email

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