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Times Leader 03-20-2013

Times Leader 03-20-2013

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Published by The Times Leader
The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader 03-20
The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader 03-20

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timesleader.com
WILKES-BARRE, PA WEdnESdAy, MARch 20, 2013 50¢
T
HE
T
IMES
L
EADER
 
6
09815 10011
A NEWS:
Local 3ANation & World: 5AObituaries: 2A, 6A, 7AEditorials: 9A
INSIDE
It begis
Tourney’s firstround opens.
SPORTS, 1B
Weather: 10A
B SPORTS: 1BB BUSINESS: 7B
Stocks: 7BComics: 8B
C TASTE: 1C
Birthdays: 4CPuzzles: 5CTelevision: 6CMovies: 6C
D CLASSIFIED: 1D
Hungry? Wecan fix that.
Check out this dish.
TASTE, 1C
 When is name worth $8million?
NATION & WORLD, 5A
THE IRAQ WAR:10 YEARS LATER
AP PHOTO
A wave of bombings tore throughBaghdad on Tuesday, killing andwounding scores of people.
Bombingsrattle Iraqon key date
BAGHDAD Insurgents sent bloody message on the eve of the 10thanniversaryoftheU.S.-ledinvasion,car-ryingoutawaveofbombingsacrossthecountry Tuesday that killed at least 65people in the deadliest day in Iraq this year. The nearly 20 attacks, most of themin and around Baghdad, demonstratedin stark terms how dangerously divid-ed Iraq remains more than a year afterAmerican troops withdrew. More than240 people were reported wounded.It was Iraq’s bloodiest day since Sept.9, when an onslaught of bombings andshootings killed 92.Violence has ebbed sharply sincethe peak of Sunni-Shiite fighting thatpushed the country to the brink of civil war in 2006 and 2007. But insurgentsare still able to stage high-profile at-tacks, while sectarian and ethnic rival-ries continue to tear at the fabric of na-tional unity. The symbolism of Tuesday’s attacks was strong, coming 10 years to theday, Washington time, that PresidentGeorge W. Bush announced the start of hostilities against Iraq. It was already early March 20, 2003, in Iraq when theairstrikes began. The military action quickly oustedSaddam Hussein but led to years of 
At least 65 dead, 240 injured inapparently coordinated attacks.
ByADAMSCHRECK
 Associated Press
See IRAQ, Page 10A
 WILKES-BARRE The costto defend and prosecute Hugo Sel-enski on capital homicide chargescontinues to grow — with no endin sight.Records from the Luzerne Coun-ty Controller’s Office show $90,869has been paid to attorney Shelley Centini since she was appointed by the court in January 2012 to defendSelenski, and $23,913 was paid toprivate investigator James Sulima,a retired Pittston City police de-tective who owns JS InvestigationConsulting. Sulima is working onbehalf of Selenski’s defense. There were no records from thecontroller’s office for attorney Ed- ward Rymsza, who was appointedalong with Centiniin January 2012 todefend Selenski.Nearly $200,000has been paid for various work forthe prosecution,including expert witnesses, air-fare, lodging and meals from 2005through 2012.Centini said during a hearing lastFriday that the District Attorney’sOffice has spent about $1 millionsince the bodies of Tammy Fassettand Michael Kerkowski, both 37, were found buried on June 5, 2003,outside the Kingston Townshiphome where Selenski lived.Selenski, 39, is facing the deathpenalty if he is convicted in the kill-
Selenski costs keep growing
Tabforhomicidesuspectaround$1M
Selenski
ByEDWARDLEWIS
elewis@timesleader.com
See SELENSKI, Page 10A
 WASHINGTON All butending chances for an assault weapons ban, Democratic lead-ers said Tuesday the firearmslegislation the Senate will de-bate next month won’t includethe provision that gun-controladvocates pressed for after anassault-type weapon was used inthe Newtown school shootingsin December.Majority Leader Harry Reid,D-Nev., said he wanted to bring a gun bill to the full Senate that would have enough support toovercome any GOP attempts toprevent debate from even start-ing. He expressed concern thatincluding the assault weaponsprovision might effectively block passage of any bill at all.Instead, the sponsor of theprovision, Sen. Dianne Feinsteinof California, said she will offerher ban on the military-stylefirearms as an amendment.But Feinstein is all but cer-tain to need 60 votes from the100-member Senate to prevail,and she faces solid Republicanopposition as well as likely de-fections from some Democrats.“I very much regret it,” Fein-stein, D-Calif., told reporters
Assaultweaponsban getsderailed
Seate Majorit Leaer harrRei severs proposal fromdemorats’ bill.
ByALANFRAM
 Associated Press
AIMEE DILGER/THE TIMES LEADER
SPRING, DAY 1: REMINDERS OF WHAT’S TO COME
PETE G. WILCOX/THE TIMES LEADER
 W 
ith temperatures stillin the 30s and snowstill piled on lawns andpavements in some areas,today might not seemvery much like the firstday of spring. But if youknow where to look, thereare signs aplenty. SherryO’Malia of Martin O’Malia’sGreenhouses in PlainsTownship carries hydran-geas from the greenhouseon Tuesday as the familyprepares for customersseeking out some colorful,fragrant Easter flowers.At right, a robin makesits way through the snowalong the SusquehannaRiver near the NesbittPark boat launch.
See GUNS, Page 10A
Wilkes-Barre seeks buyer for Morgan B. Williams Park
County workers get excessivesick time, councilman contends
New Luzerne County workersare entitled to at least 32 days off in their first year of employment with paid holidays, vacation andsick time, said county CouncilmanStephen J. Urban.Employees receive 15 to 18 sickdays annually, except newer hiresin some unions that are capped at10 or 12, Urban pointed out during  Tuesday’s council meeting. “Are we saying we have a very sickly  workforce?” Urban said, noting hebelieves five sick days would bemore appropriate.Urban’s observations were madeduring a discussion on workforce
certai emploees reeive 15to 18 sik as auall, wellbeo orm, e sas.
ByJENNIFERLEARN-ANDES
 jandes@timesleader.com
 WILKES-BARRE Cit-ing lack of use and the needfor money, Wilkes-Barre hasplaced the Morgan B. Wil-liams Park up for sale hop-ing to bring in more than $1million. The city had the 4.23-acreparcel along Wilkes-BarreBoulevard near Scott Streetappraised, and althoughMayor Tom Leighton wouldn’t release the apprais-al figure, he said he expectsasaletofetchatleast$1mil-lion.Decades ago there wereplans by the Pennsylvania Department of Transporta-tion to reroute Coal Streetthrough that property, andthere was another plan tocreate an exit off of stateRoute 309 that would haveincluded a thoroughfareleading through the park,
See COUNTY, Page 2A
AIMEE DILGER /THE TIMES LEADER
Wilkes-BarreMayor TomLeightonbelieves thispark parcelalong Wilkes-Barre Bou-levard couldfetch morethan $1 mil-lion.
See PARK, Page 10A
ByANDREWM.SEDE
 aseder@timesleader.com
 
WILKES-BARRE
— A county prison guard charged with pro- viding drugs to inmates at theLuzerne County Correctional Fa-cility and who was scheduled fortrial on related charges this weekinstead will face a trial in May.Jason Fierman, 37, of HayesLane, Wilkes-Barre, was sched-uled for trial Monday on chargesof criminal conspiracy, delivery of a controlled substance and posses-sion of a controlled substance. The trial was continued atthe request of the state Attorney General’s Office after learning a  witness unavailable to be presentat the trial. Judge Fred Pierantonirescheduled the trial for May 6,Fierman was one of severalprison workers charged in March2011 after a 13-month investiga-tion into alleged drug activity atthe prison.Prosecutors say Fierman, while working as a prison guard, wouldprovide to inmates prescriptionsof Suboxone, a drug used to treatopiate addiction.
WILKES-BARRE
— A Lan-caster County woman charged with taking items from a Lu-zerne County grocery store wassentenced Tuesday to one to two years in state prison.Melissa Ann Allan, 50, of Hill-side Drive, Mountville, was sen-tenced on a charge of retail theftby county Judge Lesa Gelb. Allan, who was represented by attorneFerris Webby, pleaded guilty tothe charge in June 2012. AssistantDistrict Attorney Jim McMonagleprosecuted the case Tuesday.According to court papers, Sug-arloaf Township police said thaton Nov. 5, 2011, a woman wasreported to have been shoplifting from the Gould’s ShurSave Super-market along state Route 93.On two different occasions, a  woman, later identified as Allan,used an Access Card to check out,police said. Court papers do notindicate the items alleged to havebeen taken from the store.
MORE OBITUARIES, Pages 6A, 7A
Ronald L. Scovell 
March 17, 2013
R
onald L. Scovell, 68, of Plains Township and Rodanthe,N.C., passed away Sunday, March17, 2013, in Outer Banks Hospi-tal, Nags Head, N.C.He and his wife, Priscilla Ca-labro Scovell, celebrated their40th wedding anniversary onJune 24, 2012.Born in Kingston, he was a sonof the late Elmer and Mary HiggsScovell. He was a graduate of  Wyoming Seminary. Ronald was a  veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard,having served during the Vietnam War. He was of the Protestantfaith. Prior to retirement, he wasemployed for more than 30 yearsby Procter & Gamble Co., Me-hoopany. He was a former coachand vice president of the Plains Teener Baseball League. He was a member of the Cape Hatteras An-glers Club, the American LegionPost 558, Plains Township, andthe Coast Guard Association.Ronald was a beloved husband,father, grandfather, great-grandfa-ther and brother.Surviving, in addition to his wife, are his two sons, Gifford No-lan, Hanover Townshp; MichaelNolan, Torrance, Calif.; daughter,Marissa Nolan Post, Philadelphia;eight grandchildren; one great-granddaughter; three brothers,Paul Scovell, Delmar, Del.; JohnScovell, Nahant, Mass.; AllanScovell, Hazleton; sister, RutheAnn Swisher, Milton, Fla.; severalnieces and nephews.
The funeral
will beheld on Friday at 10 a.m.in the Baloga FuneralHome Inc, 1201 Main St., Pittston(Port Griffith), with the Rev.Carol Folk, pastor of LoyalvilleUnited Methodist Church, Lake Township, officiating. Interment will be in Maple Grove Cemetery,Lake Township. Relatives andfriends may pay their respects Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. at thefuneral home.In lieu of flowers, memorialcontributions may be made tothe American Cancer Society,712 S. Keyser Ave., Taylor, PA18517. For directions or to leavean online condolence, please visit www.balogafuneralhome.com.
Marian Tokach 
March 19, 2013
M
arian Tokach of Reno Lane Wilkes-Barre, passed away  Tuesday, March 19, 2013, in Wil-kes-Barre General Hospital.Born July 11, 1922, in Wilkes-Barre, she was a daughter of thelate Andrew and Mary SelinkoHoros and a graduate of CoughlinHigh School, Class of 1940.She formerly worked for Woodlawn Dairy, Wilkes-Barre,and, prior to retirement, was secretary for the Department of  Welfare, Wilkes-Barre. She wasa member of St. Mary’s Churchof the Immaculate Conception, Wilkes-Barre.She is survived by son, Steven,and his wife, Mary Ann Tokach,Mountain Top; grandchildren,Kimberly and her husband, Jo-seph Gibbons III; Steven R. andhis wife, Tammy Tokach; Jamesand his wife, Sarah Tokach; great-grandchildren, Samantha Yeni-nas, Steven Tokach III, Tyler To-kach and Emily Liberaski.Marian was preceded in deathby husband, Stephen Tokach;brother, John Horos; sisters, Olga Korzenski and Ann Hudak.
Funeral
will be held Friday at10 a.m. from Mamary-Durkin Fu-neral Service, 59 Parrish St., Wil-kes-Barre, with Mass of ChristianBurial at 10:30 a.m. in St. Mary’sChurch, Washington Street, Wil-kes-Barre. Interment will be in St.Mary’s Cemetery, Hanover Town-ship. Friends may call Thursdafrom 5 until 7 p.m.
Betty Wampole
March 18, 2013
B
etty M. Wampole of Mountain Top passed away on Monday,March 18.Born Aug. 12, 1931, she was a daughter of the late Austin R. andEvelyn Green of Carlisle, Pa., andGreenbelt, Md.Betty was employed by theU.S. government for 35 years.She first worked for the Office of Personnel Management and later joined the Small Business Admin-istration, from which she retiredin 1982Betty was married to Theo-dore B. Wampole Sr., a Plymouthnative, in 1982. They lived inBowie, Md., until they moved toMountain Top after Ted’s retire-ment in 1998. Ted preceded Betty in death on July 10, 2009.Betty will be greatly missedby her sister, Joyce Thomas, andnephew, James Thomas, Vail,Ariz.; cousins, Carolyn Sheriff and Gary Peters, Carlisle; step-children, Carol and her husband,Sean Kelly, Duncansville; Theo-dore B. Wampole Jr., Wilkes-Barre, and Mark and his wife,Danielle Wampole, Fort Lauder-dale, Fla.; step-grandchildren,Stephanie, Heather, Reagan,Gage and Hunter Wampole; Pat-rick and Michael Kelly; Theodoreand Alexander Wampole; otherfamily and friends.
Celebration
of Betty’s Life willbe held Thursday at 7:30 p.m. atMcLaughlin’s – The Family Fu-neral Service, 142 S. WashingtonSt., Wilkes-Barre. Private inter-ment will be in Fern Knoll BurialPark in Dallas. Visitation will beheld at McLaughlin’s on Thurs-day from 5 to 8 p.m.Memorial donations are pre-ferred and may be made to Na-tional Stroke Association, 9707E. Easter Lane, Centennial, CO80112. Permanent messages andmemories can be shared withBetty’s family at www.celebrate-herlife.com.
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Delivery Monday–Sunday $3.60 per weekMailed Subscriptions Monday–Sunday$6.92 per week via USPSPublished daily by:Impressions Media15 N. Main St.Wilkes-Barre, PA 18711Periodicals postage paid atWilkes-Barre, PA and additional mailing officesPostmaster: Send address changesto Times Leader, 15 N. Main St.,Wilkes-Barre, PA 18711
+(ISSN No. 0896-4084)USPS 499-710
Issue No. 2013-079
www.timesleader.m TIMES LEADERWEDnESDAy, MARch 20, 2013
timesleader.com
 
DETAILS
LOTTERY
MIDDAY DRAWING
DAILY NUMBER
- 0-0-9
BIG 4
- 9-0-1-8
QUINTO
- 4-5-0-4-0
TREASURE HUNT
07-09-14-21-30NIGHTLY DRAWING
DAILY NUMBER
- 4-2-4
BIG 4
- 4-4-2-7
DOUBLE DRAW
- 8-5-8-5
QUINTO
- 4-8-4-9-8
CASH 5
-01-08-09-23-27
MEGA MILLIONS
03-06-14-21-37
MEGA BALL -
35
No player matched all fivenumbers in Monday’s Cash5 jackpot drawing. To-day’s jackpot will be worth$225,000. Lottery officialssaid 86 players matchedfour numbers, winning$147.50 each; 2,716 playersmatched three numbers,winning $7.50 each; 29,363players matched two num-bers, winning $1 each.
OBITUARIES
Baker, JohnDavenport, HarryDolecki, EdwardElston, DylonEndler, KathleenHall, AlfredHanrahan, ArleneHermanski, RoseHughes, ChristopherHughes, KathyJohnson, Donald Jr.Karolchyk, LukeKosmal, StanleyKrapf, MarcellaLorah, JamesLukowich, FrankMaxwell, KeithMizdail, LeonaMusto, LorettaQualters, EdwardSchneider, SarahScovell, RonaldSpace, BertStrauss, MichaelTokach, MarianTucker, AnneWampole, Betty
Pages 2A, 6A, 7A
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PAGE 2A
Luzerne County Flood Pro-tection Authority ChairmanStephen A. Urban lashed outat some of his county councilcolleagues Tuesday for asking him to resign from the author-ity board last fall because of eligibility issues later deemedunfounded.Urban said county DistrictAttorney Stefanie Salavantisconcluded he was eligible tokeep serving, and did not in- volve him in her legal actionasking a judge to decide if three other seats held by un-paid citizens must be vacatedbecause the state never proper-ly amended paperwork chang-ing the authority makeup un-der home rule.A former county commis-sioner, Urban said he had a “hard time” hearing calls forhim to step down from theauthority, which oversees the Wyoming Valley levee system.He said he has devoted many hours to inspecting and moni-toring the levee and has evenslept in his car outside thecounty Emergency Manage-ment Agency building during Susquehanna River flooding sothat he was accessible.“What did I get? A slap inthe face from council,” Urbansaid. The subject came up at Tuesday’s authority meet-ing, because some councilmembers are questioning the value of proceeding withthe district attorney’s legalaction.A council majority hadurged the legal action lastfall after Urban and the threecitizen members WilliamFalls, Douglas Ayers and KevinO’Brien — refused to give uptheir seats. The four authority boardmembers argued the county had no authority to removethem and unsuccessfully urgedthe county to follow county solicitor Vito DeLuca’s recom-mendation to allow them toserve while the state paper- work was resubmitted.Councilman Eugene Kelle-her attended Tuesday’s au-thority meeting to requestdiscussions on ending the suit,saying the three citizens are“wonderful assets to the com-munity.”Authority Solicitor Christo-pher Cullen said settlementcan be “easily achieved” if Sa-lavantis withdraws the legalchallenge. Salavantis could notbe reached for comment Tues-day afternoon. The authority unanimously  voted Tuesday to proceed withstate paperwork amendmentsthat Cullen said will rectifany outstanding concerns. Theproposed changes will be for- warded to county council forits approval, Urban said.“It’s going to be in yourcourt,” Urban said, addressing Kelleher and another meeting attendee, Councilman TimMcGinley.O’Brien, a former county employee, said he volunteeredto serve to “give something back” to the county. The issuecould have been resolved by al-lowing the state paperwork tobe resubmitted, he said, andspending money and energy on litigation is “ridiculous.”In other business, Urbansaid authority members haveinterviewed three qualifiedapplicants for the authority executive director position va-cated by Jim Brozena’s retire-ment, but no decision has beenreached on hiring Brozena’sreplacement.
Urban:LegalactiononFloodProtectionAuthorityallwet
Ex-ut mmissier irkedver alls fr im t resigautrit pst.
By JENNIFER LEARN-ANDES
 jandes@timesleader.com
HAZLETON — A firefighter was injured and a family lefthomeless after a blaze damageda three-story home Tuesday af-ternoon in the Heights sectionof the city.Emergency crews were dis-patched at 1:13 p.m. to 409Kiefer Ave. for a reported struc-ture fire, according to LuzerneCounty 911.Fire Chief Donald Leshkosaid firefighters found heavy fire when they arrived.“Crews made an aggressiveinterior attack on the structure,knocked the heavy bulk of thefire down between the third andsecond floors and, at that time,primary and secondary searchesof the residence found (no oneinside),” he said. “No one washome at the time; we had toforce entry of the residence.”One firefighter, whom Leshkodeclined to name, was in thesecond-floor bathroom area of the residence and was sounding — checking stability — of thefloor when it collapsed.“In one area, the floor wascompletely burned out, it ap-peared. … He went to sound it,the tool went through the floorand he went with it, lost his foot-ing,” said Leshko. “He was using a pipe-type tool, tapping it onthe floor. He had all the safety precautions in place.” The firefighter immediately  was removed by personnel onscene, transported by AmericanPatient Transport Systems tothe helipad at Hazleton Gen-eral Hospital and transportedto Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Plains Town-ship as a precautionary measure,Leshko said. The home was rented to  woman and her two children,Leshko said. The family wasassisted by the American RedCross and will be staying withthe woman’s mother, who livesin Hazleton. The homeownerlives in Georgia but has family inthe Hazleton area, Leshko said. The firefighter who fellthrough the floor, and who hadcomplained of back pain, wastreated and released, DeputFire Chief Shawn Jones said Tuesday night.A state police deputy fire mar-shal determined that the fire was accidental and electrical innature, Jones said.Leshko noted that the fire wasthefirstinthecitytowhichWestHazleton Fire Department per-sonnel responded under a newcooperative agreement that mu-nicipal officials signed last week. The borough fire company sentits rescue truck, command vehi-cleand six to eightextrasupportstaff to assist.
Blaze damages Hazleton home, injures firefighter
By STEVE MOCARSKY
 smocarsky@timesleader.com
standards that council members want injected into future unioncontracts. Council’s strategic ini-tiatives committee will formulaterecommended targets for councilapproval. The administration will thenuse those goals as a guide forbenefits negotiated in futurecontracts with its 10 unions, in-cluding six collective bargaining agreementsthatexpiretheend of this year. Benefits for non-unionemployees can be changed with-out negotiation.Councilman Stephen A. Urbansaid he wants to explore requir-ing employees to pay more to- ward health care.A 40-hour work week also hasbeen proposed, but Urban saidcouncil must ensure the change will result in more efficiencies if employees are paid more to in-crease hours. Probation officersreceived pay raises to work morehoursseveralyearsago,andcourtofficials still ended up adding more probation employees, hesaid.County employees work 32.5to 40 hours per week, depending on the department.CouncilmanRickWilliamssaidhe wants more “uniformity, sim-plicity and equity” of benefits. Heproposed requiring employeesto shoulder the additional cost if they want health benefits for fam-ily members and providing work-ers with a standard allotment of paid days off instead of categoriz-ing them into separate sick, vaca-tion and personal categories.Councilwoman Linda Mc-Closky Houck said uniformity and standardizing contracts is a “very good idea,” though she saidcounty officials must recognize“each job is different.” The expiring union contracts were approved by prior adminis-trations and negotiated as pack-ages, and some of the benefitsmight have been provided in ex-change for giving up something else,shesaid.“Wehavetoconsid-er context while working towarduniformity,” she said.Councilman Eugene Kelle-her said he wants to move to- ward “common hours” and ben-efit changes that will offset thecounty’s rising health care costs.Council can invite unions to ex-plain why certain benefits are intheir contracts, he said.Councilwoman Elaine MaddonCurry said council must look at“some of the excesses” in con-tracts, though she stressed someemployees are not highly com-pensated.Councilman Edward Bromins-ki said employee health care con-tributions must increase as they have for taxpayers, though he be-lieves the percentages should bebased on salary ranges. Employ-ees in higher pay brackets shouldpay more, he said.Employees currently pay flatmonthly contributions or 10 per-cent toward insurance.Council also agreed to holda special meeting April 2 to dis-cuss the confirmation of a bud-get/finance division head who will be recommended by county Manager Robert Lawton. Lawtonsaid he might also present otherproposed division head hires forcouncil confirmation.A majority of council also vot-ed to remove a sign in the councilmeeting room recently presentedby Kingston resident Brian Shin-er. The sign thanked the compa-nies involved in publicly broad-casting council meetings at nocost to taxpayers. Several councilmemberssaidtheyappreciatethegesture and broadcasts but don’t wanttoopenthedoortootherre-quests to post signs in the room.
Continued from Page 1A
COUNTY
L E A R n M o R E
See a chart comparing benefitsprovided to county employees atwww.timesleader.com.
U P n E X T
Luzerne County Council will meetat 6 p.m. April 2 in the councilmeeting room on the first floor ofthe county courthouse in Wilkes-Barre.
COURTBRIEFS
 
HUNTINGTON TWP.
Man hurt in house fire
A man suffered minor burns to hishands as he escaped from his home, which was destroyed by fire Tuesday af-ternoon.Firefighters responded to 309 Thorn-hill Road for a structure fire at about12:40p.m.andfoundtheablazeconsum-ingthedouble-widetrailerofJamiePiatttobefullyinvolved,saidMocanaquaFireChief Stephen McDaniels, the first chief on the scene.McDaniels said Piatt declined treat-mentatthescene.Hesaidthetrailerwasa total loss. A state police fire marshal isinvestigating the cause and origin.
HARRISBURG
Teacher Nicholas honored
Leslie Nicholas, a language artsteacher at Wyoming Valley West MiddleSchool who was recently named thecountry’s top educator, was honored Tuesday by state Rep. PhyllisMundy and state Sens.Lisa Baker and JohnYudichak. Nicholas,known as “Mr. Nick” tohis students, receivedcitations from bothchambers recognizing his accomplishment.Nicholas, a fourth-generation educa-tor, started his career in 1981 teaching  journalism to WVW High School stu-dents. The National Education Associationselected him as one of five finalists forthe NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence. Nicholas was se-lectedfortheawardafterhegaveamocklesson in New York City and was inter- viewed by members of the NEA.
HARRISBURG
Aggressive drivers targeted
 The Pennsylvania Department of  Transportation has announced that partof its statewide investment of federalfunds will help municipal and state po-lice to crack down on aggressive driving behaviors such as speeding, tailgating and running red lights.An enforcement wave targeting dis-tracted or drowsy drivers, as well asspeeding and work zone violations, be-gan Monday and will continue throughApril 28. Participating law enforcementagencies will carry out a special enforce-ment effort in Northeastern Pennsylva-nia on Friday.Participating agencies in LuzerneCounty include police departments inthe townships of Dallas, Fairview, Kings-ton, Plains and Wilkes-Barre, the bor-oughs of Forty Fort and Laflin, and thecities of Hazleton and Wilkes-Barre, as well as state police.
 WASHINGTON, D.C.
Barletta sets office hours
U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Hazleton,has announced his district offices’ regu-lar constituent outreach hours.During these times, congressionalstaff will be available to handle issuesresidents may have with federal agen-cies, including, but notlimited to, Social Secu-rityproblems,VeteransAffairs issues or pass-port requests. The locations,dates and times inand around LuzwerneCounty are as follows:Berwick stateRep. David Millard’s office, 904B OrangeSt.,2to4p.m.onthesecondWednesdaof every month.Salem Township Township Mu-nicipal Building, 38 Bomboy Lane, 2 to4 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of every month.Hanover Township — Township Mu-nicipal Building, 1267 San Souci Park- way, 10 a.m. to noon on the first andthird Wednesdays of every month.Hunlock Creek — state Rep. KarenBoback’s Sweet Valley Office, 5929 MainRoad (Off Rt. 118), 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.on the second Monday of every month.Nanticoke — City Hall, 15 E. RidgeSt., 2 to 4 p.m. on the first and third Wednesdays of every month.Shickshinny — The Borough Build-ing, 35 W. Union St., 10 a.m. to noon onthe second and fourth Wednesdays of every month. Tunkhannock — state Rep. Karen Bo-back’s Tunkhannock office, 608 HunterHighway,Suite110,1:30to4p.m.onthesecond Monday of every month. Tunkhannock Wyoming CountCourthouse, 1 Courthouse Square, 1 to3:30 p.m. every Friday.
SCRANTON — A man arrestedby Kingston police on drug andfirearm offenses earlier this month whencrackcocaineandgunsalleg-edly were found inside his SouthGates Avenue apartment has beenindicted by a federal grand jury,according to the U.S. Attorney’sOffice.Jovon Martin, 31, was one of three people indicted in the strawpurchases of guns used in cocainesales.U.S.AttorneyPeterJ.Smithsaida straw purchase occurs when personwhoisprohibitedfrombuy-ingorowningagunduetoacrimi-nal record has someone withouta criminal record purchase gunsfrom a federally licensed dealer.Martin was indicted along withChristine Hanahan, 30, of Kings-ton, and John Teslicko, 50, of Larksville. The indictments wereunsealed Monday.Hanahan and Teslicko surren-dered at the Kingston Police De-partment and were transferred tofederal authorities in Scranton.Martin was charged with con-spiracy to make false statementsin connection with the purchase of a firearm, prohibited possession of a firearm, possession of a machinegun in furtherance of drug distri-bution, possession of an illegal weapon, possession of an unregis-tered weapon and possession withintent to deliver cocaine.Hanahan was charged with un-lawful transfer of a firearm to a prohibited processor. Teslicko was charged with con-spiracy to make false statementsin connection with the purchaseof a firearm, false statements inconnection with the purchase of a firearm, unlawful transfer of a fire-arm to a prohibited possessor andprohibited possession of a firearm.Kingston police said they founda m-11 9mm machine gun and a .40-caliber handgun in two safes— along with loaded magazines,nearly $6,000, and crack cocaineand marijuana — inside the apart-ment. Teslicko purchased a .40-caliberpistolfromagundealerinHanover Township, where he provided falseinformation as to the actual pur-chaser, and Hanahan transferred a .40-caliber pistol to Martin know-ing he was going to use the gun indrug sales, according to the indict-ments.Hanahan and Teslicko were re-leased, while Martin remains incustody pending a detention hear-ing on Thursday.
Nicholas
TIMES LEADER www.timesleader.comTUESDAY, MARCH 20, 2013
timesleader.com
PAGE 3A
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OCAL
IN BRIEF
Barletta
2011 tax refunds closer to fruition
Berkheimer & Associatesexpects within a few weeks tobegin sending out 2011 earnedincome tax refunds to taxpay-ers who filed returns with theCentax-Don Wilkinson agencand hopes the process will becompleted by this summer, company official said Tuesday.John Deremer, a vice presi-dent with Berkheimer, said thefirm has been working on pro-cessing returns since aroundNovember. The process hasbeen time-consuming as thecompany first had to obtain,then enter, information fromCentax. The data entry is almost com-plete,Deremersaid.Berkheimernow needs to audit each of thereturns to ensure the amountbeing requested by taxpayersmatches with records that showhowmuchtheypaidinsome-thingCentaxdidnotdo,hesaid.“There are literally hundredsof thousands of returns thatneed to be audited,” Deremersaid. The first set of checksshould be mailed out withintwo to three weeks, he said.Berkheimer hopes to completethe process by June or July. The delay in processing therefunds has frustrated Monic Toluba of Hanover Township, who says she’s owed more than$700.She has called numerous of-fices trying to get informationon when she might get hermoney, said Toluba, but no onecould provide her an answer.“It’s over a year now,” shesaid. “It’s 700-some dollars, notlike 5 bucks I don’t care about.” Toluba became more con-cernedafterreadinganarticlein Tuesday’s edition of The TimesLeader that detailed how somepeople owed money for returnsfortaxyearspriorto2011mightnot get refunds. Thereceiverappointedtodis-tribute Centax funds has askeda judge to approve a plan that would allow it to forgo efforts tolocate thousands of people whoare owed more than $347,000 inrefundchecksfrom2002to2010thatwerenevercashed,sayinga lack of information has made ittoo difficult to try to reconcilethe accounts. The receiver hasinstead suggested depositing that money into Centax’s gen-eral fund to pay creditors whoare owed money by the defunctfirm. The receiver’s recommenda-tion will not impact 2011 re-turns, which were processed by Berkheimer.Prior to ceasing operations,Centax had sent out some re-fund checks that were not hon-ored.Berkheimerwillbere-issu-ing checks to those individuals,but Deremer cautioned that noteveryone who got a check pre- viously will get one this time,as it was discovered Centax er-roneously sent checks to somepeople who were not entitled toa refund.“It comes down to the audit,”hesaid.“Whenweaudittheirre-turnandiftheyareduearefund, we will send out a new check.” Tolubaisjustgladtoseesomeprogress being made, she said.“I’ve been waiting this long,I can wait a little longer,” shesaid. “I just want to make sureI get it.”
ByTERRIEMORGAN-BESECKE
tmorgan@timesleader.com
First checks should bemailed out in two to threeweeks, Berkheimer VP says.
3 arrestedfor allegedillegal buyof firearms
ByEDWARDLEWIS
elewis@timesleader.com
Indictments by federal grand jury include a suspect inKingston cocaine case.
 WILKES-BARRE —The Greater Wilkes-Barre Development Corp. — anarm of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Part-nership — will learn today if its $2.4million gaming funds grant applicationto restore the Irem Temple mosque onNorth Franklin Street will be approved.But state legislators representing thearea aren’t optimistic. The historic landmark is deteriorat-ing and Ross McCarty, vice presidentfor real estate, economic developmentand special projects at the Chamber of Commerce, said the funding is neededto stabilize and secure the building.“We’re waiting with bated breath,”McCarty said Tuesday. “It’s not beyondrepair; it needs attention now.”State Rep. Mike Carroll, D-Avoca,spoke on behalf of the northeast delega-tion, which includes Democratic stateReps.PhyllisMundy,EddieDayPashin-ski and Gerald Mullery. Carroll said theCommonwealth Finance Authority isscheduled to meet today and announce where Luzerne County’s $13 millionshare of the Local Share Account (gam-ing funds) will be allocated.However, Carroll was not optimisticthat the Irem mosque will be on the listof grant recipients.As is always the case, the totalamount requested by the 76 LuzerneCounty communities far exceeds avail-able funds for many important eco-nomic development and community improvement projects throughout thecounty,” Carroll said.“Eachofusworkstobalancethecom-peting interests of these communitiesand their many projects. The applica-tion in support of the mosque seeks a  very significant investment that couldnot be addressed in a single year andtherefore makes this application espe-cially challenging.” The Hoyt Library in Kingston re-ceived a $1.9 million LSA grant to re-store the library after the ceiling cavedin over a previously expanded wing asthe result of a heavy snow and sleetstorm. Carroll said the Hoyt projectdoes not compare to the Irem mosqueproject.“The Hoyt was a vibrant, function-ing building in the community, and Ibelieve the project was in response toa weather calamity,” he said. “Further,the LSA award and the other fundsdedicated for the Hoyt completed theproject. The mosque, by comparison, will require millions of dollars of workbeyond the request in this year’s LSA. There is no comparison of the two.”Carroll, speaking just for himself,
Prospect Street Cafe owner is accused of assault
NANTICOKE Policearrested the owner of theProspect Street Cafe after in- vestigating an assault insidethe troubled tavern Monday night.Paul Halliday, 37, of WestRidge Street, nailed an officedoor shut and threatened toshoot police if they forcedopen the door, according tocharges filed.Halliday allegedly kickedhis girlfriend when he sawher talking to another maninside a restroom, policesaid.It is the second time thismonth Halliday has been ar-rested.Police charged Halliday on March 3 with drunkendriving after a pursuit thatstarted at his tavern. He wasreleased on the drunken-driving charges after post-ing $5,000 bail on March 4,court records say.According to the latestcriminal complaint:Police responded to thetavern to investigate an al-leged assault just after 10p.m. Police heard pounding insidethetavernandlearnedHalliday had nailed an officedoor shut, threatening toshoot police if they did nothave a warrant and if thedoor were forced open.Halliday met an officer inthe back of the tavern. Hal-liday was covered in bloodand claimed he was slashed with a box cutter, the com-plaint says.Halliday’s girlfriend,
AIMEE DILGER/THE TIMES LEADER
Police responded to the Prospect Street Cafe in Nanti-coke on Monday, arresting its owner for the second timethis month.
ByEDWARDLEWIS
elewis@timesleader.com
Paul Halliday, 37, became jealous, kicked girlfriend,according to police.
AIMEE DILGER/THE TIMES LEADER
The elaborate stained-glass ceiling is one of the dramatic features found in the Irem Shrine theater at the historicIrem Temple mosque on North Franklin Street in Wilkes-Barre.
Chamber waits on funds for Irem mosque
ByBILLO’BOYLE
boboyle@timesleader.com
Group seeks approval of $2.4 milliongaming funds grant application torestore historic landmark.
See HALLIDAY, Page 10ASee IREM, Page 10A

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