Adonizio, MildredCarpenter, David Jr.Czekalski, RudolphEdwards, RalphElias, ThelmaGryziec, Stanley Jr.
Hoskins, Pastor Harold
LaFlamme, KathleenResavy, ArnoldSidari, Dr. JenniferSzumski, RaphaelWiggins, MaryWodaski, EleanorWoods, Mary Jean
Pages 8A, 9A
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WILKES-BARRE — Themayor questioned whethera shooting that injured twopeople and left bullet holesin the rental car they drove to Wilkes-Barre General Hospitallast weekend occurred in thecity.Mayor Tom Leighton hadfewdetailstoofferwhenaskedabout the incident during City Council’s regularly scheduledmeeting Thursday night. “Ibelieve there’s very little infor-mation to give,” he said.“Where did it happen in thecity?” Leighton asked a report-er who inquired as to why po-lice have not released informa-tion about it. “Our police areinvestigating to see if it evenhappened in the city,” he said. The shooting purportedly happened around 5 a.m. Sat-urday; beforehand, the injuredmen might have been at an af-ter-hours club on South MainStreetthatthecityalsoislook-ing into.A city health inspector for- warded a complaint about theproperty earlier in the week,Drew McLaughlin, city mu-nicipal manager, stated in ane-mail after the meeting. Thecity is investigating to see if itisproperlyzonedandlicensed.Frank Sorick told council hecalled the number he was pro- vided for the club and the manhe spoke to said it is open. “Idrove by last night and theplace is in full operation,”Sorick said.James Gallagher wantedto know about the legality of putting a banner that read“Nothing Fails Like Prayer” ondisplay on Public Square. Gal-lagher, who often addressescouncil, said he supports freespeech. “But that banner is a shot at the Christian and Cath-olic religions,” he said.He suggested that it betaken down. “It’s not a goodcharacter to have that ﬂying in our downtown, especially when we start off our councilmeeting by having a prayer,”Gallagher said. The mayor responded by telling Gallagher that peopleof faith, such as him, Gallagh-er and council, shouldn’t let itoffend them. “We live in a freecountry; unfortunately every-body has the rights to what-ever what they want to say,”Leighton said.Justin Vacula paid the city $50 to hang the banner sup-plied by the Freedom FromReligion Foundation. Vacula, who described himself as anatheist, said the banner wasdone as a response at the Na-tional Day of Prayer and Circlethe Square with Prayer eventsheld on the Square earlier thismonth.
WILKES-BARRE — In anemotionally charged accep-tance speech, Keith Benjamintold the story of how Ruth’sPlace shelter for homeless women came to be.Benjamin, 64, and his wifeJulie, 66, were honored Thurs-day night on the 10th anniver-sary of Ruth’s Place, the proj-ect they co-founded in 2003. The Commission on Eco-nomic Opportunity also washonored for its continued sup-port of the agency that hasserved 1,513 women since itsinception, representing some31,739 nights of lodging. GeneBrady, executive director atCEO, quoted an Irish proverbin his acceptance speech. “It isin the shelter of each other in which we all live,” he said. The Benjamins, now retiredand living in Rochester, N.Y.,said they are proud of howthe shelter has grown froma seven-bed unit in a churchbasement to a full-standing program that last year servednearly 300 women. The shelter was necessary to keep women from making “the 4 o’clock decision,” saidKeith Benjamin, who foughtback tears as he explained.“Too many women wereforced to make that 4 o’clockdecision — to decide who tosleep with to have shelter forthe night,” he said. “The factthat anybody would have tomake that decision made methink — and it still does.”So on Dec. 1, 2003, Ruth’sPlace opened with two cli-ents. Keith Benjamin said thenumber gradually grew as theagency’s credibility becameestablished. Julie Benjaminsaid as many as 36 women were cared for on a nightly ba-sis in the early years, and theBenjamins spent long hours atthe shelter because volunteers were hard to ﬁnd.“But we cared,” said KeithBenjamin. “Poverty bothersme; it bothers me a lot.”A retired minister, KeithBenjamin told the story of a young couple of Biblical times who arrived in a town withno room in the inn and foundshelter in a stable. “The law of Moses called on that family tobe taken in,” he said. “And thisshelter does just that.”Gloria Edwards, 67, washomeless in 2007 when hermarriage broke up. The Ben- jamins took her in and shenow lives on her own in Kings-ton. “Ruth’s Place gave me thetools and the fundamentalthingsneededtomakeitinthereal world,” she said.Kristen Topolski, 38, isthe shelter director and shesaid 20 women currently stay at Ruth’s Place. She said 86 women were placed in perma-nent housing in 2012 and 39more in transitional housing.“We’re proud of our programand our successes,” she said.“And when they leave us, wehave a 96 percent success rateof knowing exactly where they go.”Ruth’s Place was founded by the Methodist Urban Ministry. The shelter provides shelterand case management servic-es for homeless women whilehonoring their dignity, its sup-porters said.“Not only does Ruth’s Placedo what it’s supposed to do, itdoes it well,” said Rabbi Larry Kaplan of Temple Israel and a board member.“It provides just about ev-erything they need to exceland support themselves andto take advantage of their ownstrengths.”
Ruth’s Place founders honored for service
Keith and Julie Benjaminreceive recognition 10 earsafter startup of area shelter.
W-B Council askedabout shootings
Maor Tom Leighton had fewdetails to offer when askedabout the incident.
Russians ﬁnd mammothcarcass with liquid blood
MOSCOW — A perfectly pre-served woolly mammoth carcass with liquid blood has been foundon a remote Arctic island, fuel-ing hopes of cloning the Ice Ageanimal, Russian scientists said Thursday. The carcass was in such goodshape because its lower part wasstuck in pure ice, said SemyonGrigoryev, the head of the Mam-moth Museum, who led the ex-pedition into the Lyakhovsky Islands off the Siberian coast.“The blood is very dark, it wasfound in ice cavities bellow thebelly and when we broke thesecavitieswithapollpick,thebloodcame running out,” he said in a statement released by the North-Eastern Federal University in Ya-kutsk, which sent the team. Wooly mammoths are thoughtto have died out around 10,000 years ago, although scientiststhink small groups of them livedlonger in Alaska and on islandsoff Siberia.Scientists have decipheredmuch of the woolly mammoth’sgenetic code from their hair,and some believe it’s possibleto clone them if living cells arefound.
Jennifer Sidari, a 26-year-oldgraduate in the ﬁrst class of The Commonwealth MedicalCollege who had been dubbeda medical doctor only a few weeks ago, died Wednesday at Geisinger Medical Center,Danville, the same hospital where she was beginning herresidency.Her brother, Pete, 17, saidhis sister did not pursue a medical career for the money.“I think she would have been a pioneer,” he said.Jennifer Sidari, a WestPittston native, had recently returned from a trip to Haiti,and the family spent a lot of time Thursday night talking about her adventures there.Her father, Peter Sidari, saidhis daugh-ter made hermark during the medical-aid trip.Many chil-dren JenniferSidari worked with thereneeded morethan medical care, they need-ed someone to make them feelloved. Some children carriedmites, and the other doctorshesitated to get close. Sidarididn’t think twice, and pho-tos from the trip show howcommitted to the cause she was, hugging the children andreaching them at their level.Sidari’s boyfriend, JohnBrunza, remembered her re-turn and his surprise that shehad left almost everything be-hind. Sidari felt the Haitiansneededherclothesandbelong-ings morethanshedid, Brunza said.Her friends and family ﬁlledthe front porch Thursday andﬁlteredinandoutofthehouse,offering covered dishes andlong hugs. The Sidari family said friends had been stopping by all day to offer condolencesandtalkabouttheirlostdaugh-ter and sister.Victoria Sidari, 16, remem-bered a sister who was neverembarrassed by her youngersibling. Only last week, Jenni-fer Sidari had invited Victoria to go for dinner with a bunchof the elder’s friends, she said.After growing up with a sister who was more like a parentin some ways, Victoria asked,“What sister would bring her younger sibling on a girls’night out?”It is unclear what causedSidari’s untimely death, buther brother, Pete, said it’s im-portant to know she passedpeacefully with her family by her side.
Jennifer Sidari’s obituary ap- pears on Page 9A.
Recent med school grad dies at 26
AIMEE DILGER/THE TIMES LEADER
unior Achievement of Northeastern Pennsylvania held its 26th Annual Busi-ness Hall of Fame dinner Thursday night at Genetti Hotel & Conference Cen-ter. Inducted into the Hall of Fame this year were Lou Ciampi Sr. of IndependentGraphics Inc. and Anthony J. Dixon, partner, Rosenn, Jenkins and Greenwald LLP.Maureen Mangan Mills and Bob Mills of Craft Oil Corp., a PetroChoice Co., receivedthe Entrepreneur of the Year award. From left to right are Bob Mills and MaureenMangan Mills, Ciampi and Dixon with their awards.
Two players matched all ﬁvenumbers in Thursday’s “Cash5” jackpot drawing, winning$250,000 each. Friday’s jackpotwill be worth $125,000.Lottery ofﬁcials reported 110players matched four numbers,winning $263.50 each; 4,772players matched three numbers,winning $10 each; and 56,267players matched two numbers,winning $1 each.No player matched all sixnumbers in Thursday’s “Match6” jackpot drawing. Monday’s jackpot will be worth $750,000.
PETE G. WILCOX/THE TIMES LEADER
Julie and Keith Benjamin make a few remarks as they are hon-ored Thursday for founding Ruth’s Place, a homeless shelterfor women in Wilkes-Barre.
Jennifer Sidari, of W. Pittston,had attended The Common-wealth Medical College.