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Times Leader 09-22-2013

Times Leader 09-22-2013

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Published by The Times Leader
The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader 09-22
The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader 09-22

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Published by: The Times Leader on Sep 22, 2013
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WILKES-BARRE — Everyonewas all smiles in November2009, when Wyoming ValleyHabitat for Humanity turned arenovated doctor’s office build-ing on Stanton Street over to itsnew owners, John and TawanaSimpson.Less than four years later,the Simpsons’ American Dreamhas taken a turn for the worse,leaving neighbors questioninwhether the home is being usedfor the purpose for which it wasintended.John Simpson is serving a one-to-two year Luzerne County pris-on sentence in connection withdrug charges, according to courtrecords. And neighbors believe Tawana Simpson may now be liv-ing somewhere else and renting out the property at 171 StantonSt.Habitat officials say they can-not discuss individual cases, butacknowledge that their policyprohibits homeowners from leas-ing Habitat homes while they arepaying off their mortgages.“Our biggest concern now isthat the family has moved outand is now renting the house outto multiple people,” said EricSchaffer, who lives across thestreet. “I know this because theone older man staying there toldus this.”A Times Leader reporter vis-ited the property three timesin the past three weeks. TheSimpsons’ names were still listedon the mailbox, along with twoseparate pieces of paper bearing the names of people with twoother last names.A man who answered theback door during the first visitdeclined to speak with a report-er. A written message left for Tawana Simpson later was notreturned.
rdupuis@civitasmedia.comBillTarutis File Photo | ForTheTimes Leader
Former Wyoming Valley Habitat for Humanity Board PresidentDavid Doty, second from right, presents John Simpson the keys tohis new home on Stanton Street in Wilkes-Barre in 2009. Lookingon is the Rev. Marcella Dotson, center, and Habitat ExecutiveDirector Karen Evans Kaufer, far right.
W-B probing claims owners are notliving there and are renting it out
| 7A
Photo courtesy of the Luzerne County Historical Society
Local Civil War veterans came together for this photo taken abouta century ago.
When Civil War veteranPeterM.AustinofLuzernedied in 1928, the flag thathe had defended went withhim to the grave, a silkenstars and stripes forever toenvelop him.Austin, who lived to84, was the last man inthe small borough to haveserved in the war. Thegesture of interring theflag with him at the FortyFort Cemetery, rather thanremoving it before burial,was the community’s wayof saying goodbye to aheroic generation.It was a gesture thatwas repeated in spiritmany times over as themen who’d fought the1861-1865 war the150th anniversary of which is being commemo-rated at events this yearin Gettysburg and beyond— grew old and Americamoved into the 20th cen-tury.About 2,500 men fromthe Wyoming Valley servedin uniform during the CivilWar, with an estimatedone-fourth of them killedor wounded. Soon afterthe war the local veteransformed Conyngham Post97 of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), partof a national veterans orga-nization. By 1889, withmore than 1,100 members,the local chapter was meet-ing in a castle-like building on Wilkes-Barre’s SouthMain Street — the GARHall.Like their fellows allover America, the localveterans, who continuedto wear uniforms, marchedin parades, campaigned fora national veteranspen-sion and supported mili-tary preparedness. Somefrom the Conyngham Posthelped to organize the 9thInfantry Regiment, whichlater became the 109thField Artillery of the ArmyNational Guard. Though busy as busi-nessmen, workingmen andfarmers (Peter M. Austinwas a carpenter with theHaddockMiningCo.),theykept their patriotic spir-its alive through regional,state and national meet-ings known as “encamp-ments,” often traveling tothe sites of their long-agobattles.By the 20th century,even the youngest CivilWar veterans were nearing their 60s. They were stillfamiliar sights at publicevents, but their numberswere shrinking. Beforelong, local communities
| 7A
Editor’s note:
Healthcostsmayrise fortheself-employed 
Yet implementationofAordable CareAct could emboldenmanywould-beentrepreneurs to act
AP photo
Aaron Brethorst, seen with his dog,Moxie, is a self-employed Seattleresident who says he doesn’t havea problem with President Obama’shealth care reforms.
SEATTLE PresidentObama’s health care reformswill be a huge boost to theworking poor but are likely tomake life more expensive forAaron Brethorst and otherslike him. The Seattle software devel-oper and consultant doesn’thave a problem with thatbecause he figures he’ll be ableto afford quality insurance. Hesays his annual income is in thelow six-figures, and he expectsto receive better coverage oncethe Affordable Care Act kicksin. The 31-year-old says the abil-ity to buy his own health insur-ance, because he is relativelyyoung and healthy, has givenhim the creative freedom tostart his own companies andexplore new ideas.He spends a little more than$300 a month on catastrophiccoverage with a high deduct-ible. He recently got an emailfrom his health insurance com-pany informing him that theplan he bought on the indi-vidual market is going to becancelled.Brethorst said he does notknow whether he will buy hisnext policy from the samecompany — a local version of Blue Cross — or through thestate insurance exchange, theWashington HealthPlan finder.He does expect to add a betterdental and vision plan in thenew year, however.“I’m not worried about it,quite frankly,” Brethorst said.“My income today is more thanenough to pay for health insur-ance.” That outlook is not likely tobe universal among those whoare self-employed. The income threshold for agovernment subsidy offered onthestateexchangesvariesbasedon a number of factors, but gen-erally tops out at $46,000 a yearfor an individual.Depending on their health,age, family circumstancesand income, the cost of insur-ance could become a burdenfor those who make too muchmoney for government subsi-dies but not enough to be con-sidered well-off.Insurance companies say thecost of their polices will haveto reflect the new government
| 14A
DALLAS TWP. — The shipment of grapes was late to arrive Saturday, butno one seemed annoyed. If the amateurwinemakers of G & F Vintners grape-crushing session know anything aboutmaking wine, it’s that no step should behurried.Making their award-winning bot-tles of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlotand Petite Sirah takes time, and after20 years of making wine, RichardGumbravich and his cohorts havelearned to be patient.G & F Vintners is a collaboration of wine making started 17 years ago by
BillTarutis photos | ForTheTimes Leader
Bruce Cummings, of Kingston, opens 36-pound crates of Merlot grapes on Saturday morning as amateur winemakers gathered in the Back Mountainto practice their craft.WinemakerRichardGumbravich,ofDallas,showsoff his award-winning wines.
BackMountainvintnerslaborwith fruitpays owith award-winning taste
| 14A
NANTICOKE LuzerneCounty Community College dedi-cated the Francis S. and Mary GillCarrozza, R.N. Health SciencesCenter on Saturday.Francis Carrozza, of Pittston,recently donated a naming giftfor his wife Mary, who died inFebruary. In addition, the school’snursing and health sciences pro-grams were named for her.She had been the head nurse anddirectorofthesurgicalrecoveryunitat Wilkes-Barre General Hospitalprior to her retirement. She was a1951 graduate of Hughestown HighSchool and a 1954 graduate of theWilkes-Barre General HospitalSchool of Nursing.Her husband saw this an oppor-tunity to honor her, said attorneyPatrick J. Aregood, of Hanover Township. “She always had a pas-sion for nursing and always had apassion to lend a helping hand topeople,” Aregood said. The donated funds will be puttoward scholarships for studentsin the college’s nursing and healthsciences programs and for futureprogram development.Classes began at the facility forthe 2011 fall semester. Areas of study in the health sciences pro-grams include nursing, respiratorytherapy, surgical technology, dentalassisting, dental hygiene and emer-gency medical services. The expansion of the school andits programs is part of the masterplan, said Thomas P. Leary, presi-dent of LCCC. He welcomed gueststo the dedication of the building at38 E. Main St.“Mr. Carrozza’s financial supportprovides us with both the scholar-ship funds to help our studentsafford their education as well as theability to explore future programdevelopment in the health sciencesfield for many years,” Leary said.Attorney Barry H. Williams,chair of the community college’sboard of trustees, thanked FrancisCarrozza for the donation. “Weappreciate Mr. Carrozza’s willing-ness to partner with us as we con-tinue to educate our students tohelp meet the region’s health careneeds,” he said. The center recently receivedthe 2013 Pride of Place Award forEnvironmental Enhancement fromthe Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamberof Commerce.
PAGE2A Sunday,September22,2013
www.timesleader.com THETIMESLEADER
Page 10A
TheTimes Leader strives tocorrect errors,clarify storiesand update them promptly.Corrections will appear in thisspot.If you have information tohelp us correct an inaccuracy orcover an issue more thoroughly,call the newsroom at 829-7242.
WILKES-BARRE Sixalleged drug dealers were arrest-ed in different sections of thecity Friday, according to a pressrelease from city hall.In the Heights neighborhood,two men — Lance Smith, 23,no known address and TerrellWatson, 24, of Philadelphia were caught by investigatorswho had posed as buyers, policesaid.Smith agreed to sell MDMA,or Ecstasy, to undercover offi-cers near the Sherman Hillsapartment complex, police said.Police say they captured him ashe tried to flee.Watson was arrested nearHorton and Roosevelt streets,where police say he agreed to sellheroin to undercover officers.Police allege Watson was in pos-session of heroin and marijuana. Three people were arrested ina North Main Street apartmentthat they allegedly used as a basefor selling heroin. The apartmentwas subsequently shut downunder the city’s new, one-strikeordinance that orders any rentalunit used for illegal drug or vio-lent activity to be shuttered forsix months.Daryl Minor, 21, of NorthMain Street, agreed to sell hero-in to undercover police near theapartment, police said. He andan associate, Ahmed Hunt, 21, of River Street, were arrested whenpolice arrived. Police searchedthe apartment, where they foundPaul Olivio, 22, who tried toescape, they said.Police allegedly found about$10,00o worth of raw and pack-aged heroin and firearm ammu-nition in the apartment.Kaitlyn Cleary, 19, of MapleStreet, the sixth suspect, wasarrested on an outstandinarrest warrant on felony drug trafficking charges from a previ-ous investigation, according topolice. The arrests resulted from col-laborated investigations by astate police vice unit and the citypolice drug task force. Mayor Tom Leighton applauded theteams for their efforts, in thepress release, and said he hopeslawbreakers realize they’re notwelcome in Wilkes-Barre.“It sends a strong message notonly to those involved in drug trafficking but also to our goodresidents that we are commit-ted to cleaning up our neighbor-hoods,” Leighton said.
Wilkes-Barre Publishing, LLL
RegionalBusiness DevelopmentDirector
MinorCleary SmithOlivio
WILKES-BARRE articipants at the 21stnnual Cancer Survivorselebration celebrated thestrength of a circleonaturday afternoon as 50urvivors, caretakers andedical professionals gath-red to share their stories.Attendees, hand inand, formed a “Circle of urvivors” as each told theirtories of faith, courage andratitude as they battledancer. The event wasponsored by the Northeastegional Cancer Institute.Laura Toole, director of ommunity and patient ser-ices at Northeast, remind-dattendeesthat“nothingistronger than a circle.”Pat Lawless opened theime of sharing by likening aith, so important to manyf those faced with the dis-ase, to a seamstress whos able to repair lives thatight seem broken. Manyttendees also emphasizedhe importance of their faiths they made it from diag-osis to treatment and, ulti-ately, recovery.Joe Ferguson, co-chair-an and cancer survivor,aid he was grateful thevent provided an oppor-unity to spend time withthers whose lives hadeen affected by cancer.lthough having cancer cer-ainlymeansadditionalchal-enges, he said, it is also anpportunity to grow.Jeff Thomas, an esopha-eal cancer survivor, saidhe quality of his life hasmproved since he was firstiagnosed. He has beenotivated to improve hishysical health and to buildalued relationships withthersurvivors.Thejourneyhad made him a more com-passionate person, he said. Thomas, a facilitator of the YMCA’s Livestrong program, said the programoffers physical activity andwell-being programs forthose whose lives havebeen affected by cancer. Hestressed the importance of “caring for the caregivers”as a means of achievinhealthy lifestyle for survi-vorsandtheirfamiliesinthelong term.Kathleen Zahorsky saiddealing with cancer wassimply a “pothole of life.She credited the medicalcommunity,familymembersand the fellowship of othersurvivors with helping hermove forward in spite of challenges.Many attendees sharedthat, although grateful forrecovery and the opportu-nity to get to know others,the treatment itself was dif-ficult and the recovery pro-cess sometimes slow andfrustrating. They found thesupport provided by survi-vors events invaluable.“The experience of hav-ing cancer and now being a survivor taught me howto truly live,” said JeanConnolly, Plymouth, “Itruly enjoy everythinabout every day.” The circle concluded witha moment of silence forthose people who had beenlost to the disease, with theringing of bells by those par-ticipating.Northeast RegionalCancer Institute is a non-profit, community-basedagency focused on support-ing those impacted by can-cer. The institute partnerswith other area entitiesincluding Geisinger MedicalCenter and Wilkes-BarreGeneral Hospital.
FredAdams | ForTheTimes Leader
Ann Marie Stanton, 76, of Mountain Top, a 20-year cancer survi-vor, enjoys something to eat at the 21st annual Cancer SurvivorsCelebration held Saturday at Kirby Park,Wilkes-Barre.
Finding peace on mom’s shoulder
FredAdams | ForTheTimes Leader
Zarie Holcumb lays his head on his mother Karen’s shoulder Saturday during the International Day of Peace candlelight vigilin downtown Wilkes-Barre. The service was sponsored by the Wyoming Valley Interfaith Council and Interfaith Peace andJustice Center.The Day of Peace, first celebrated in 1982, is an annual event promoting the end of war and violence.
BillTarutis | ForTheTimes Leader
Benefactor Francis Carrozza, right, is overcome with emotion and his niece GraceMorgan consoles him after the unveiling Saturday morning of the dedication plaque forthe Francis S. and Mary Gill Carrozza, R.N. Health Sciences Center at Luzerne CountyCommunity College in Nanticoke.His late wife had been head nurse and director of thesurgical recovery unit at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.
Arthurutton of Wilkes-Barre wasrrested and charged withriving under the influencend providing a false report toolice after his Ford Mustang rashed onto its roof on Southain Street early Friday morn-ng, police said.Police say they found the carat 1:30 a.m., but the driver wasnot at the scene.Sutton called LuzerneCounty 911 to report his carwas stolen, police said. Whenthey arrived to speak withhim, police say, they noticedglass fragments on his shirtand face. He allegedly exhib-ited signs of alcohol impair-ment. Sutton also had the car’skey fob in his pants pocket,police said.He was taken to GeisingerWyoming Valley MedicalCenter for a blood alcohol test.
Shmoopy’s Bar & Grill wasrobbed early Friday morning,city police said. The thief orthieves stole an undeterminedamount of money and dam-aged a jukebox.
Donald Jedrick of Irving Placewas issued a citation for pub-lic drunkenness around 6 p.m.Friday after police said theysaw him urinating in bushesnear Gildersleeve Street.Jedrick was intoxicated to adegree that he was a dangerto himself and others, policesaid. He was taken into cus-tody and cited.
THETIMESLEADER www.timesleader.com Sunday,September22,2013 PAGE3A
KINGSTON — Employeesand customers evacuated theWalgreens along Wyoming Avenue on Saturday whena caller threatened to turnthe store into ashes if hisdemands were not met.It was the second bombthreat in as many days forthe pharmacy chains storesin Luzerne County. TheMemorial Highway loca-tion in Dallas was evacuatedFriday after a similar call thatdrew police and bomb-sniff-ing dogs. Luzerne CountyEmergency ManagementAgency Coordinator StephenBekanich led his bomb-sniff-ing Labrador around andinside the building Saturday.Someone placed Saturday’scall at about 12:45 p.m.,according to an employee whoasked not to be identified. The caller made demandsof the employee and said, if hedid not comply, in 5 minutesthe building would becomeashes. The caller had a strong for-eign accent and introducedhimself, though his name wasinaudible, the employee said.An employee memo was just delivered warning aboutthe Dallas incident when thephone rang, the employeesaid.Nine temporarily displacedemployees sat on a curb,watching police and directing confused customers. About anhour and a half later, Bekanichtold employees they were safeto return. This type of incident is dif-ficult to investigate becausethere is no context, Bekanichsaid.If the conversation allows,those threatened should lis-ten for any information thatmight help in an investiga-tion. Bekanich suggested pay-ing attention for details suchas these:
The time the call was
• A call-back number, per
-haps from a caller ID.
• A voice description.Any sounds behind the
caller to help investigatorsknow from where the call iscoming.If receiving a threatenincall, employees and busi-ness owners should evacuateimmediately and call 911. The investigation intoSaturday’s incident is to bepassed to Kingston detectives,said Kingston police OfficerGeorge Kocher, though hesurmised they, too, will have ahardtimefollowingupbecausethey have little information.
Might adopt?Center can help
 The Children’s Service Center willhost an adoption matching eventfrom 1 to 3 p.m. on Oct. 5 in themultipurpose room of the center’sMilford E. Barnes School, 335 S.Franklin St.Biographies of the children seeking adoption will be available, and repre-sentatives from many adoption orga-nizations will be present to answerquestions.“Many times, parents looking toadopt overlook the fact that thereare many children and adolescentsin the Wyoming Valley desperately inneed of loving and caring families,”said Mike Hopkins, president andchief executive officer of the center.“With this event, we hope to makethis need apparent and enhance theemotional well-being of children,adolescents and families.”For more information about thefree event or to register, call ValerieMay at 570-825-6425, ext. 399.
Gereda selectedfor ethics award
 The Ethics Institute of Northeastern Pennsylvania atMisericordia University will recog-nize Rodrigo “Rod’’ Gereda, chief facilitator of the Interfaith ResourceCenter for Peaceand Justice, withthe 2013 SisterSiena Finley, RSMEthics Award at the22nd annual EthicsInstitute Dinner onOct. 24 at the univer-sity.“Mr. Gereda haspromoted peace and mutual under-standing as a teacher and media-tor,’’ said Joseph Curran, executivedirector of the Ethics Institute atMisericordia University. “He hasworked for peace and understand-ing in our community, transform-ing lives through his teaching andexample.’’Gereda holds a bachelor of archi-tecture degree from the Universityof Houston and is in his third yearas a candidate for a master of divin-ity.He is the chief mediation trainerfor The Father James Doyle, CSC,Community Mediation Institute.A bilingual peer mediator, Geredais committed to conflict resolu-tion, service to building communitythrough divorce mediation, andshared parenting and servant leader-ship skills.He has been working toward thecommon good and opening commu-nity dialogue to promote peace andsocial integration. The majority of his work is dedi-cated to the Peace Camp for Kids,operated by the Peace and JusticeCenter in Wilkes-Barre.Gereda is a longtime supporter of the Girl Scouts.He and his wife, Kathy, are the par-ents of three daughters: Arisa Lucia,19, Katarina Maria, 16, and MariaLucia, 13. Tickets for the dinner are $40 perperson and can be purchased by call-ing 570-674-6201. Cocktails begin at5:30 p.m. with dinner following at6:15 p.m. The money raised from the dinnerand program help to support pro-gramming by the Ethics Institute.
Opportunities setfor shing, raing
 The U.S. Army Corps Engineers’Philadelphia District will hold itsfinal water releases of the seasonfrom the Francis E. Walter Dam.Wet conditions throughout thesummer have allowed the corps toschedule releases for the following dates:· Oct. 11 – 400 cubic feet per sec-ond water release· Oct. 12 – 1,700 cubic feet persecond· Oct. 13 – 1,000 cubic feet persecond· Oct. 14 – 400 cubic feet per sec-ond The ramping up and down of releases allows for fishing and white-water rafting opportunities during the final drawdown of the recreationseason. The corps began releasing 300cubic feet per second of additionalwater storage every day on Sept. 13as part of the drawdown. To see theplan or view updates, visit www.nap.usace.army.mil/fewalter.
Incident comes a day aer similar scarein Back Mountain
PITTSTON The communitiesof the Pittston area share a rich anddiverse history, according to mem-bers of the Greater Pittston CulturalCoalition, a group that on Saturdayshowcased a bit of that history during the Greater Pittston Riverfest. The fifth annual event was held inRiverfront Park. It offered attendeesthe chance to learn details about theancient Native Americans who occu-pied the area from 10,000 B.C., saidKeith Moss, the coalition’s vice presi-dent.Event goers also learned about craftssuch as soap, basket, arrowhead, gemand carpet making, learned about localarchaeological artifacts, listened to livemusic, enjoyed food, vendors and vari-ous children’s activities.“The festival highlights all of theunique attributes of the Pittston area,”Moss said. The coalition tries to raise interestthrough the festival and other eventsthroughout the year, all of which “pro-mote and celebrate” the multi-ethnicculture and long history of the PittstonArea, he said.Al Pesotine, a coalition member,added there is a “lack of awareness”among many area youth about thearea’s history.“The schools don’t focus on local his-tory as much as they should,” Pesotinesaid. “The youth should appreciatethe past struggles to understand whythings are the way they are now. It wasvery tough back then. Neighbor knewneighbor and they relied on each otherto survive,” he added.Durland Siglan, a coalition memberand member of the Mohawk Nation,organized participation from sev-eral members of the region’s NativeAmerican nations. They performedtraditional songs and dances andtalked about their ancestorslives inNortheast Pennsylvania.“Wetellourhistoryinawayweknowit,” he said. “We were not heathens.We built our whole society around ourfamilies and clans.”Anyone wishing to volunteer withthe coalition can contact Moss at 570-840-2501 or Joe Savokinas, the group’spresident, at 570-883-2784.
BillTarutis | ForTheTimes Leader
Mining enthusiast Robbie Flowers, of Plains Township, describes an early 1900s-era oil wick mining lamp during a demonstration Saturday morning at the Greater Pittston Riverfest.
WEST WYOMING — Step by step,the dream of establishing the West Side Trail is becoming a reality, as evidencedSaturday morning by the dedication atDaily Park in West Wyoming of phasetwo of the urban pathway. The half-hour ceremony officiallyopened an additional 2 miles of the trailsystem,a“SafeRoutetoSchool”project.Phase two included sidewalk repairs,increased sidewalk accessibility andlandscaping along Eighth Street in WestWyoming, Tenth Street in Wyoming,and Erie, Memorial and Penn Avenue,Exeter.West Side Trail Commission mem-bers Karen Szwast, of Exeter, and BillGoldsworthy, of West Pittston, helpedto power this project and, along the way,found themselves building relationshipswith officials from municipalities, theschooldistrictandvariousgovernmentalagencies. The ceremony drew about 100 peo-ple, including state Sen. John Yudichak,D-PlymouthTownship,stateRep.PhyllisMundy, D-Kingston, Bob Morgan, repre-senting Congressman Matt Cartwright’soffice, West Wyoming Mayor JosephHerbert, John Bolin, president of theWyoming Area School District board,and many residents, business ownersand bicycle enthusiasts.Goldsworthy, former mayor of WestPittston and member of Gov. TomCorbett’s Northeast Regional office, saidit is great to see the trail growing. The West Side Trail master plan,developed in 2000, calls for 19 miles of pathways, linking the West Side Trailto the Wyoming Valley Levee Trail, theBack Mountain Trail, and through WestPittston and connecting to the PittstonRiver Walk.So far, 4 miles have been completed. To develop its vision, The WestSide Trail Commission has received$2,128,635 in funding from sourcessuch as the Pennsylvania Departmentof Conservation and Natural Resources,Luzerne County and local governments,Szwast said.Yudichakpraisedtheworkoflocalgov-ernment officials, the community, andstate and federal representatives. “Thisis a regional asset,” he said. “This repre-sents communities working together forthe betterment, improved quality of lifeand safety of our children.”Morgan said the ribbon-cutting cer-emony should celebrate the foresight of communities working together. “Thisis how our government works best,” hesaid. The new trail will take pedestriansthrough residential areas, past busi-nesses and recreational areas, while cre-ating a safe walking area to three out of four schools within the Wyoming AreaSchool District.Bolin said the trail systems is an out-standing idea, and he plans to challengethe students, when they return following thedistrict’steachers’strike,towalkwithhim from the Daily Park to the schools. The goal of the trail is to promote anactive healthy lifestyle and provide chil-dren with a safe route to schools, Szwastsaid.WestWyomingMayorJosephHerbert,who lives along the trail’s route, said healready has seen the amount of familiesusing the new sidewalks triple. “It is thebest thing to happen to this area,” hesaid.One of several bicycle enthusiasts onhand, Rick Williams of Kingston, saidhe thought the new branch of the trailsystems is great. “It is good for the econ-omy,andforhealthandsafetyoftheresi-dents,” he said.
Dave Grilz, ofWilkes-Barre,looks over a mapof the developingWest Side Trail inWest Wyomingand neighboringcommunitiesbefore finishing hisSaturday morningride on a newlyconstructed sectionof the trail network.
Eric Seidle | ForTheTimes Leader

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