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Luzerne County district judges protest budget cuts

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Thirteen of Luzerne County’s 16 district judges and some of their staff squeezed into the county council meeting room Tuesday to oppose a proposed $673,000 budget cut that will result in the loss of a secretary in each office.Overall spending on the district court offices throughout the county would decrease from $3.6 million to $2.9 million in the proposed 2015 budget, which calls for a 4-percent tax hike.County Court Administrator Michael Shucosky spoke on behalf of the district court representatives during the budget work session and handed out statistics showing the current average of around three employees in each Luzerne County district court office is the lowest among all 12 similarly-sized third-class counties.


UPDATE: One caught, one sought in Plains Meat Market robbery

PLAINS TWP. — One man is in custody in connection with an armed robbery Tuesday at the Plains Meat Market, and police are searching for a second suspect.Police were called to the market, located on Hudson Road, at about 4:50 p.m. for an attempted armed robbery involving a knife.The owner reported that two white males wearing hoodies entered the store, and one of the males pushed the owner against the wall and held a box-cutter type knife against his side and demand...

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Police seek help identifying attempted bank robbery suspect

EXETER — The Exeter Borough Police Department is investigating an attempted bank robbery at Wells Fargo, 1130 Wyoming Ave., Exeter.The robbery occurred just after 4 p.m. The suspect fled the scene on foot running towards Wyoming Avenue, police said.Any who has information or who can identify the male in the photos is asked to dial 911 and request to speak to Exeter police.

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Local doctor, native of Syria, speaks of war’s impact on Christians

DALLAS TWP. — Dr. Raymond Khoudary noted that Oct. 23 will mark the year-and-a-half anniversary of the kidnapping of a Syrian Orthodox bishop who presided over his sister’s wedding, a close family friend who had visited his home many times, by members of ISIS — the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.The war in Syria is very personal to Khoudary, who was born and raised in Aleppo, Syria, and now lives in the Back Mountain and practices medicine in the Wyoming Valley. ...

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Wilkes-Barre looking to refinance $40 million in bonds, Mayor Leighton says it will go toward restructing long-term debt

WILKES-BARRE — Council Tuesday night received reassurance from Mayor Thomas Leighton that the $40 million in bonds the city planned to issue was to restructure debt and not new borrowing to burden taxpayers.The three separate bond issues took up most of the discussion at council’s combined work session and regular meeting.Leighton introduced the bond ordinances that were approved 4-1 by council on the first of two readings. Councilman Tony George was the sole...

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Wyoming Valley Levee fee bills could come earlier next year

HANOVER TWP. — Beginning next year, Wyoming Valley residents who pay an annual levee fee might receive a bill earlier than Oct. 1.Luzerne County Flood Protection Authority members, meeting Tuesday evening in the Hanover Township Municipal Building, discussed moving the billing date up to June 1 in 2015 and March 31 in 2016. But the authority put off voting on the change due to concerns those dates might be too early in the year, when taxpayers are receiving other tax bills....

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Letter the Editor: PennEast pipeline plan for Pennsylvania merits careful oversight

Until the 1950s, coal was king in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Mines crisscrossed the Wyoming Valley, producing thousands of pounds of coal and creating thousands of jobs. The coal that was produced helped to power the country and further industrialize the eastern United States.Then, one day, that came to an end.The Knox Mine disaster put a stake through the heart of the coal industry and began the decline of the large-scale coal industry in this area. The remnants of that...

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Royals advance to semis

WILKES-BARRE — There was only one option for Holy Redeemer head coach Juliann DeFalco when tasked with slowing down Wyoming Area’s Bree Bednarski - Alexis Lewis.The senior defender, who DeFalco relies on to provide a calming influence on the field, stepped up to the challenge as the No. 4 Royals bottled up the 61-goal scorer en route to a 3-1 win over No. 5 Wyoming Area in the quarterfinals of the District II AA field Field Hockey Tournament on Tuesday at Hollenback Par...

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Wolf talks about taxes and raising revenues to Times Leader Opinion Board

WILKES-BARRE — Tom Wolf says he is for the middle class and if he is elected governor, he will see they get a long-overdue tax break.Wolf, a 65-year-old York County businessman, is running on the Democratic ticket for governor against incumbent Republican Tom Corbett.“The middle class in Pennsylvania deserves a break,” Wolf told the Times Leader Opinion Board Tuesday.Wolf defined middle class as an individual who makes between $70,000 and $90...

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Ebola causing spike in demand for hospital gear

BALTIMORE — Manufacturers and distributors of impermeable gowns and full-body suits meant to protect medical workers from Ebola are scrambling to keep up with a surge of new orders from U.S. hospitals, with at least one doubling its staff and still facing a weekslong backlog. Many hospitals say they already have the proper equipment in place but are ordering more supplies to prepare for a possible new case of Ebola.

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Teenager pleads guilty to third DUI offense

WILKES-BARRE — A teenager from Bear Creek Township pleaded guilty Monday in Luzerne County Court to a third DUI offense and fleeing an accident that involved injuries.Terry Schatzel, 19, of Thornhurst Road, pleaded guilty to a total of five counts of driving under the influence and three counts of accidents involving damage and injury in three separate cases.Judge David Lupas said Schatzel will be sentenced on Dec. 15.According to criminal complaints and...

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Judge denies request to freeze multi-million legal fee due to Robert Powell

WILKES-BARRE — A federal judge on Tuesday denied a request to freeze an anticipated $150 million to $200 million legal fee due to Kids for Cash figure Robert J. Powell for his litigation in an environmental contamination settlement.Gregory R. Zappala, a former business partner of Powell, and attorneys representing hundreds of juveniles wrongly jailed by a former Luzerne County judge, sought a court-ordered freeze on 20-percent of the anticipated multi-million-dollar fee to pr...

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Shauntae Thomas pleads guilty to 2013 Wilkes-Barre slaying, gets up to 12 years

WILKES-BARRE — A Wilkes-Barre man will spend six to 12 years in prison for the April 25, 2013 slaying of 40-year-old Derrick Cottle on Reno Lane.Shauntae Thomas, 38, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Luzerne County Court to third-degree homicide after which Luzerne County Judge Richard Hughes immediately sentenced him. A jury trial in the case was set to begin this week.Members of Cottle’s family said in court they agreed to the sentence recommended in the plea, but ...

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Wilkes-Barre exploring ways to generate more parking revenue for city budget

WILKES-BARRE — Mayor Tom Leighton on Tuesday asked how much revenue the city Parking Authority will turn over to the general fund this year.The authority didn’t have an answer.Paul Maher, chairman of the parking authority board, said a decision will come at the November meeting, but he couldn’t say how much, if anything, the authority will give to the city.Leighton said he plugged $150,000 into the city budget for next year, but that revelati...

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Mattress retailer Sleepy’s opens its 1,000th store

HICKSVILLE, New York — Sleepy’s — with stores in Wilkes-Barre, Kingston and Pittston — has opened its 1,000th store.The mattress retailer said that store is its showroom in Joliet, Illinois.“It is with great pride that we announce our thousandth-store milestone,” David Acker, Sleepy’s president, said in a news release. “Sleepy’s has been around since 1957, and we are very proud of this latest accomplishment. It won...

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Lions’ Lewis hoping to shake off a rough week

It’s a feeling Eugene Lewis won’t soon forget.Standing on the sideline for the opening drive of Penn State’s primetime showdown with Michigan. Not being out there to come up with a big play to spark the offense in the second half as he had done several times before.Injury and concerns about practice habits kept the sophomore wideout from seeing the field much at all in the Nittany Lions’ last game.But after a constructive sitdown with J...

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PSU defense faces its toughest test

Bob Shoop answered first with a chuckle. It was a perfectly reasonable response, given the question.What makes Ohio State’s offense so tough to defend?Penn State’s defensive coordinator needed to take a second to pick a starting point.“Well, their tempo first and foremost,” Shoop said. “They’re playing with a lot of confidence. (Quarterback J.T. Barrett) is playing well. They’ve got two really good backs playing well. ...

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Pharmacy Students at Wilkes-Barre Raise Childhood Obesity Awareness

Childhood obesity is an ongoing issue that is gaining awareness from local students. Wilkes University’s Pediatric Pharmacy Advocacy Group (PPAG) wants to ensure that children get a healthy start in life and here’s how they’re doing it.President of the group, Troy Lewis, said it is very important to target the parents and that they should be the main audience for childhood obesity awareness. “The growing rate of childhood obesity is becoming an issue nationw...

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