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Lots on area‚??s horizon for 2013


February 20. 2013 12:20AM
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One can never know what this year holds in store, but there are some certainties thanks to election, construction schedules and announced retirements.


The entertainment landscape also will likely be altered once again regionally.


After a year of playing home games in such locales as Syracuse, Batavia and even Pawtucket, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre baseball team will return to Moosic to play at the renovated PNC Field and with a new name.


Now dubbed the RailRiders, the Triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees and its fans will watch baseball in the stadium that's undergone $43 million in renovations over the past year.


Those wishing to both play and stay at the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Casino will soon be able to. A $50 million, 238-room hotel/events center is slated to be completed by the end of this year. In addition to the hotel rooms, the facility will include a 20,000-square-foot events center with a banquet room that can handle up to 600 for events and 1,500 for concerts. The hotel also will have a fitness center, indoor pool, ground-floor bistro and meeting rooms. It will be the largest hotel in Luzerne County once it opens.


Hugo Selenski trial?

The court system is notorious for its uncertainty as trials for some big names have been on the docket for years in some cases. Could 2013 be the year murder suspect Hugo Selenski's trial begins?


Selenski, 39, of Kingston Township, is awaiting trial in the May 2002 deaths of Michael Kerkowski and Tammy Fassett, both 38. Their bodies were unearthed from the property where Selenski was living in June 2003.


Selenski had been charged previously with the May 2003 deaths of Frank James and Adeiye Keiler. Prosecutors allege Selenski lured the men, who were alleged drug dealers, to his home, where he shot and killed them, then burned their bodies. A Luzerne County jury acquitted Selenski of the James and Keiler slayings in March 2006, convicting him only of abuse of corpse.


Defense attorneys have argued double jeopardy on the new charges, and other legal maneuverings have kept Selenski behind bars and awaiting trial. He can't be released because he is serving a 32-1/2 to 65-year state prison sentence after he was convicted by a Monroe County jury in July 2009 of robbing and assaulting a jewelry store owner there in January 2003.


Musto, Lupas cases

Also awaiting trial are former state Sen. Ray Musto and well-known attorney Anthony Lupas. Court proceedings have dragged on as defense motions have been filed related to the health of the two men.


Musto, 83, of Pittston Township, retired from the Senate in 2010 and was charged that same year by federal prosecutors on charges he abused his position as a senator by accepting $35,000 and other gifts from a developer, identified by Musto's attorneys as Robert Mericle. He has used his alleged failing health to continually receive continuances in his case.


Lupas, 78, was indicted in July on 29 counts of mail fraud and two counts of conspiracy. Prosecutors say he swindled eight people out of more than $6 million by falsely portraying he had invested their money in trust funds.


Lupas used his position of trust within the community to prey upon unsuspecting investors, bilking them over an 18-year period, federal prosecutors allege. In reality, Lupas was allegedly running a Ponzi scheme in which he used funds from new investors to pay off existing investors.


Both men could head to trial this year, or not.


Also on the court docket this month, though as the previously mentioned people have proven, that's subject to delay, are Wilkes-Barre Township Fire Chief John Yuknavich and Catherine Drago and her daughter, Carol Gamble.


Yuknavich is scheduled to stand trial next week for taking money from the fire department. The mother/daughter duo is scheduled to stand trial on Jan. 26 on charges they took more than $700,000 in bingo proceeds from the Swoyersville Volunteer Hose Co. 1.


When it comes to politics, 2013 isn't a presidential or state legislation election year but the ballots will be filled with municipal elections from council seats in many boroughs and cities to supervisors and commissioners in townships. Constables, auditors, mayors and school directors will also fill the ballot this year.


At the county level, the controller's post is up this year, as are five of the 11 county council seats.


College presidents

After years of stability, the change of presidents at local colleges has become an annual ritual in recent years. This year we'll see the inauguration of Thomas Botzman at Misericordia University as he replaces Michael A. MacDowell, who has served the school for 15 years.


The longest-serving college president in the region, Keystone College President Edward G. Boehm Jr., will step down on June 1, after 18 years at the helm of the private college that straddles the Wyoming and Lackawanna county lines. His successor has not been named.







WEDNESDAY:
A look at the changes Home Rule has had on Luzerne County government after one year.




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