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Times Leader 05-17-2011

Times Leader 05-17-2011

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Published by The Times Leader
The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader 05-17
The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader 05-17

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Published by: The Times Leader on May 17, 2011
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09815 10011
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Stillwater couple died Sundaynight on Route 118.
 Victims of fatalcar crash ID’d
Holy Redeemer boys andgirls teams triumph.
Royalty in track and field
 ThewinnersofLuzerneCounty’sprimaryelectioncontestsshouldbeknownby10:30tonight,saidcoun-tyElectionBureauDirectorLeonardPiazza.He expects a turnout typical of a municipal pri-mary:27to33percent.A total188,044 county residents are registered to vote,thoughIndependentandthird-partyvotersareonlypermittedtovoteonatax-increasereferendumquestion if they reside in the Hazleton Area SchoolDistrict. Thecounty’s61,515Republicansand109,581Dem-ocratswilleachgettonominatesixcountyCourtof CommonPleasjudicialcandidatesand11contendersfor the new county council that will implement theswitchtohomerule.Amultitudeofmunicipalandschoolracesarealsoontheballot.Pollsopenat7a.m.andcloseat8p.m.Rain is predicted, but Piazza doesn’t put muchstockintheweatherasadeterrent.“Peopledootherthingswhenitrains.Votingcanbeone of those and should be one of those,” Piazza
Public won’t have long to wait
up-to-the-minuteresults oftonight’smajor pri-mary races,visit
Piazza: Poll results expected by10:30 p.m.
Mailings for eight county council candidatesfocus of complaint, page
 WILKES-BARRE Eleven years after the state SupremeCourtoverturnedthefirst-degreehomicide conviction of JamesLincoln Strong, his retrial beganMondaybeforeaLuzerneCounty jury.After wit-nesses arecalled to testifyand argumentsare made byprosecutorsand Strong’slawyers aboutthe 1983 slay-ing of JohnHenry Strock, the case mightcomedowntoaT-shirtthatsays,“I got juiced in Florida.”AssistantDistrictAttorneyMi-chael Melnick said during hisopening statement that the T-shirt, which Strong, 59, was wearing when he was arrested inupstateNewYork,testedpositivefor gun shot residue.“It lit up like a Christmas tree when (forensic scientists) put itin a machine they use to test forgun shot residue,” Melnick told jurors.But defense attorney BrianCorcoran told jurors that Strong hadtakentheT-shirtoffwhenhehitched a ride on the back of amotorcycle. Corcoran suggestedsomeoneelsehadworntheshirt,adding that Strong never met orhitched a ride from Strock.Melnick, and assistant districtattorneysJamesMcMonagleandMaureenCollins,areexpectedtocall about 40 witnesses, mostfrom outside the area, to testify.Corcoran, and co-defense law- yers Shelley Centini and William Watt, have not decided if Strong  will testify in his own defense.Strong was originally convict-edoffirst-degreemurderandsen-tenced to death in 1984. The ap-pellatecourt overturnedthecon- viction in November 2000, when
Retrial inslayingfrom ’83starts up
Proceedings begin 11 yearsafter Pa. court overturnedconviction of James Strong.
See RETRIAL , Page12A
Most endangered river, or most over-hyped danger?For the second time in six years, the Washington, D.C.-based conservationgroupAmericanRiverstodayputtheSus-quehannaatthetopofitsannual“Endan-gered Rivers” list, citing rapidly growing and “poorly regulated” natural gas drill-ing using hydraulic fracturing, or “frack-ing.”Nonsense, an industry spokesmancountered. Regulations in Pennsylvania were recently praised in an independentstudy, drinking water has never been im-pacted by the process, and the industryhas voluntarily tightened controls anddisclosed chemicals used.American Rivers will officially unveilthe 26th annual “America’s Most Endan-gered Rivers” list this morning with theSusquehanna at the top, contending nat-uralgasextractionthreatensdrinkingwa-terusedby6millionpeoplealongthe444-mile waterway.Itisthesecondyearinarowariverwasput at the top of the list because of thethreatofnaturalgasextraction.Lastyear,the Delaware River ranked number onefor the same reason.It’salsothesecondtimetheSusquehan-na made number one. It hit that positionin 2005 due to the amount of raw sewagefinding its way into the river, threats of funding cuts for clean-up efforts, and thecontroversial proposal to install an inflat-able dam in Wyoming Valley. Thedamproposal–championedbyfor-mer U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski of Nanti-coke–withered,andthefundingcutsnev-er materialized, something AmericanRivers touts as a success for its endan-gered rivers lists. The raw sewage prob-lemhasproventhornier,asitinvolvestheantiquated design of underground pipe-linesthatguidewatertotreatmentplantsbutdumpoverflowduringheavyrainsin-to the river.But in 2005 there was little argumentabouttheriskofsewage.Evendampropo-nents acknowledged the seasonal dam would have backed up such effluence.Kanjorski once argued building the
Natural gas extraction industry blasts notion that it’s responsible for river’s problems
The Susquehanna River, seen fromthe roof of the Luzerne County Courthouse, winds its way past the Market Street Bridge through the Wilkes-Barre area.
Group: Susquehanna is ‘most endangered’
See RIVER, Page12A
Local 3ANation & World 5AObituaries 7A, 8A, 9AEditorials 11A
8BStocks 9BWeather 10B
Birthdays 5CTelevision 8CMovies 8CPuzzles 9CComics 10C
Story, 5A
 WASHINGTON — TreasurySecretary Timothy Geithner in-formed Congress on Mondaythat the United States has reac-hed its legal debt limit, setting off a ticking time bomb thatcould explode in less than threemonths if lawmakers can’tbridge differences and allowmore government borrowing.In hitting the $14.3 trilliondebt ceiling — the limit on howmuch the government can bor-row — the Obama administra-tion on Mon-day begantemporarilyhalting pay-ments to theretirementand federalpension ac-counts of fed-eral workers and started bor-rowing from those funds, to berestored later.Geithner sent a letter to Sen-ateMajorityLeaderHarryReid,
U.S. hits debt ceiling, hasuntil Aug. 2 to raise limit
 McClatchy Newspapers
NEW YORK — After months of flirting  withpolitics,DonaldTrumpsaidMondayhe won’t run for president, choosing to stick with hosting "The Celebrity Apprentice"over a bid for the Republican nomination. The reality TV star and real estate mogulmade his announcement at a Manhattan ho-telasNBC,whichairshisshow,rolledoutitsfall lineup.“I will not be running for president asmuch as I’d like to,” Trump said.Hisofficereleasedaformalstatementjustas he was taking the stage. In it, a confident Trump said he felt he could win the Repub-lican primary and beat President BarackObamainthegeneralelectionbuthadcometo realize a presidential campaign could notbe run half-heartedly.“Ultimately, business is my greatest pas-sion and I am not ready to leave the privatesector,” Trump said.SeveralRepublicansareseekingthenomi-nation in a race that lacks a clear front-run-ner.AmongthetophopefulsareformerMas-sachusettsGov.MittRomney,formerHouseSpeakerNewtGingrichandformerMinneso-
Love of business trumps run for The Donald
Saying bid for presidency can’t be donehalf-heartedly, he ends flirtation, addinghe could’ve been nominee, beat Obama.
 Associated Press
Donald Trump said that he won’t run forpresident, choosing to stick with hosting"The Celebrity Apprentice."
See TRUMP, Page12A
PAGE 2A TUESDAY, MAY 17, 2011 THE TIMES LEADER www.timesleader.com
Page 7A, 8A, 9A
wasincorrectly listed for LawrenceJ. Karnes of Nanticoke, a candi-date in the magisterial district judge race in11-3-02 district, in aSunday story on Page12B.Karnes, a Democratic, also wasnot included in the electionpreview listing on Page10B.
Democratic candidate WayneWolfe is listed as “No replyreceived” in the League ofWomen Voters Guide publishedMonday. The league mailed aquestionnaire to the candidateusing the street address Wolfesupplied to the Luzerne CountyBureau of Elections. The mailingwas returned to the league asundeliverable. On Monday,Wolfe said he normally gets hismail at a post office box and hewould have replied had he re-ceived the form.
Women Vot-ers Guide published Monday inThe Times Leader omitted thename of Luzerne County Coun-cil Republican candidate EdwardWarkevicz of Lehman Township.A member of The Times Leadermarketing staff inadvertentlyremoved the information whenassembling the page. The in-formation is:
Attended NevadaSouthern & Plattsburg State;PHD in Common Sense
Independent Insur-ance Agent
I will do whatever isin the best interest of the coun-ty taxpayers. In 2004 our coun-ty entered into the Common-wealth’s Early InterventionProgram for local governments.Our county government neverimplemented any recommenda-tions. Look at county historysince. My pledge is to the tax-payers of Luzerne County. Cutwaste, not services.
The Times 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.
HARRISBURG (AP) — Tues-day’s “Pennsylvania Cash 5” jackpot will be worth at least$525,000 because no playermatched the five winningnumbers drawn in Monday’sgame.Lottery officials said 72players matched four num-bers and won $346.50 each;3,219 players matched threenumbers and won $13 each;and 42,461players matchedtwo numbers and won $1eachThursday’s “PennsylvaniaMatch 6 Lotto” jackpot willbe worth at least $1.57 mil-lion because no player holdsa ticket with one row thatmatches all six winningnumbers drawn in Monday’sgame
BIG 4 –
BIG 4 -
 Jim McCabe – 829-5000jmccabe@timesleader.com
Delivery Monday–Sunday $3.50 per weekMailed Subscriptions Monday–Sunday$4.35 per week in PA$4.75 per week outside PAPublished daily by:Wilkes-Barre Publishing Company15 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. 2011-137
LEHMANTWP.–Ina5-4vote,the Lake-Lehman School Board votednottoraisetaxesinthepro-posed budget for the 2011-12school year.BoardmembersAndrewSalko, Walter Glogowski, David Pau-lauskas and Kevin Carey votedagainst the measure at Mondaynight’smeeting,whileMarkKor-noski, Lorraine Farrell, Bo Krell-er, Moderno Rossi and HaroldCornell voted for keeping thebudget balanced. The proposed $25 millionspending plan sets the millagerate at 8.7062 in Harveys Lakeborough and Jackson, Lake, Leh-man and Ross townships in Lu-zerneCountyand56.4218inNox-en Township in Wyoming Coun-ty.A mill is $1for every $1,000 inassessed property value. Theseratesdifferslightlyfromlast year’s figures. The millagerate for the 2010-11 school year was 8.6906 in Luzerne Countyand 58.1316 in Wyoming County.Business Manager Thomas Mel-one said this can be attributed toarebalancingofmarketvaluestocreate uniformity within the dis-trict.Thisisrequiredannuallybythe state Department of Educa-tion in districts spanning morethan one county.“The beginning millage ratecould vary slightly from yourending due to the rebalancing,”he said. This does not translate to anychange to financial increases fortaxpayers. SuperintendentJames McGovern said a majorityof board members looked at dif-ferentwaysofbalancingthebud-get.He said the curtailment of sev-eral programs approved at lastmonth’s board meeting eliminat-ed some teaching positions, which helped to lower expendi-tures.Administration will also re-ceive a pay freeze, and otherfunding resources, such as feder-al stimulus funds and ACCESSfunds, will be utilized in other ways without affecting existing programs. In addition, he saidproviding in-house services forspecialeducationandtransporta-tion have also saved the districtdollars.“We looked at the increasing gas prices and everything else,andthoughtthiscouldeasesomepain,” he said.McGovern also said the dis-tricthada$200,000surplusonitsdelinquent taxes and a onemonth return on the districthealth trust money, both of  which weren’t factors in the pre-liminarybudgetproposedinFeb-ruary.Thatinitialbudgetpropos-al would have raised taxes bymore than 4 percent in LuzerneCounty and more than 1 percentin Wyoming County.Salko said it would be “irre-sponsible” for the district tomakeanymorecutsinitsbudgetand programs.“Given the current financialsituation, I know people are in atough spot,” he said. “I’m con-cernedwiththesituationatLake-Lehman.”
With costs cut, L-L board holds tax steady
The proposed $25 millionspending plan passes by anarrow split decision.
The next School Board meetingwill be at 7 p.m. June 20 in the junior/senior high school library.
Joe Butkiewicz...............................970-7249
Anne Woelfel..................................970-7232
Mark Jones ....................................970-7305
Sandra Snyder...............................970-7383
Nick DeLorenzo ..............................970-7152
Clark Van Orden..............................970-7175
News tips: tlnews@timesleader.comCommunityNews:people@timesleader.com
enna Neubauer, a Crestwood High School senior, was presented Monday with a flagfrom U.S. Reps. Lou Barletta, left, and Tom Marino. Neubauer was honored for herefforts in raising more than $6,200 to send about 85 area veterans to the nation’s cap-ital last month to visit the World War II, Korean and Vietnam memorials. The flag wasflown over the Capitol on the day of the veterans’ trip, April 4. Marino also held a townhall in LaPlume and announced a grant for the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail. For thestories, see pages
HARVEYS LAKE – Two resi-dents expressed concern Mon-day night that the borough wasnotmovingfastenoughtoensurepublic safety and environmental well-being in con-nection with thegas drilling indus-try.Last month, bor-ough councilformed a subcom-mitteetoreviewin-formation andtighten regulations related todrilling. But it still has not met.Resident Michelle Boice saidshe was curious as to when thecommitteewillmeet,whoisonitand whether residents can at-tend.Council member Larry Radalsaidthesubcommitteehasmem-bers from the borough’s Environ-mentalAdvisoryCouncil,aswellas Jack Varaly, a borough plan-ning consultant, and some coun-cilmembers.Radalsaidheisalsotryingtoincludesomeoutsidere-sources, such as environmentalengineers.Because of scheduling con-flicts, the committee’s first meet-ing is tentatively scheduled forthebeginningofJune,Radalsaid. That didn’t sit well with resi-dent Carol Culver. “Maybe youhave the wrong people if theycannot make this a priority,” shesaid.CouncilchairmanFrancisKop-ko said the committee meetingsarenotopentothepublic,buttheminutes will be made available.He said the goal of the subcom-mittee is to research new regula-tions on the gas drilling industryfor possible implementation.Boice told the council manymore negative things have hap-pened since the beginning of the year, when the council voteddownanordinancewrittenbytheCommunity Environment LegalDefense Fund.She said Maryland and WestVirginia are looking at filing law-suits against gas companies up-stream in Pennsylvania.“More and more accidentshave occurred,” she said. “Theevidence is overwhelming.”Boice and Culver agreed thatonce pipeline work is finishedand the gas is flowing, the speed with which the gas companies will converge upon municipal-ities will be staggering.In other business, council ap-proved a motion to advertise amap designed to go with theMegan’s Law Ordinance. Themap will designate the distanceconvicted sex-offenders muststay away from parks, schools,playgrounds,busstopsandothergathering places for children.Also, Kopko reminded resi-dents the annual electronic recy-clingcollectionwillbe9a.m.to3p.m.June11attheHanoverAreaJunior/Senior High School inHanover Township.Accepted will be televisions,computers, CD players, harddrives, tape players, transparen-cy makers, typewriters, wordprocessors, camcorders, laptops,pagers, remote controls, scan-ners, monitors, keyboards, mice,modems, FAX machines, print-ers, radios, stereos, speakers, tel-ephones, telephone equipment,microwaves, answering ma-chines and cell phones. Thefollowingitemsarenotac-cepted: air conditioners, humidi-fiers, dehumidifiers, windowfans, satellite dishes, refrigera-tors, small electric tools, blen-ders, coffee makers, toaster ov-ens, toasters, hair dryers, irons,curling irons, drills and electrictoothbrushes.
Harveys Lake citizenspress drilling oversight
Subcommittee formed in Aprilto review information, tightenrules will not meet until June.
Times Leader Correspondent
The next borough meeting isscheduled for 7:30 p.m. on June21, in the municipal building.
BEAR CREEK TWP. -- BearCreek Community CharterSchool students and parentsalike are happy with the plannedchanges to the schedule and cur-riculum for next year’s fifth-through eighth-graders, theschool’s principal reported Mon-day.Margaret Foster told theschool’sboardoftrusteesshehasmetwithstudentsandparentsinseparate meetings to lay out thechanges, which include 70-min-ute class periods to allow formore in-depth instruction, as well as new elective courses.“We’ve gotten an overwhelm-ingly positive response,” Fostersaid, adding that scheduling of individualstudents’classesisun-derway and progressing nicely. The board also reviewed the2011-12draftbudget.Theprelim-inaryspendingplanofmorethan$4.6millionincludesa12percentincrease in Blue Cross/BlueShield costs, they were told, andthe amount the school will re-ceive in tuition reimbursementsfrom the school districts whosestudentsattendtheschoolisstillup in the air, as are title programfunds that pay for several stafmembers.Inotherbusiness,theboardre- viewed and approved a new stu-dent handbook that includedchanges to the cyber-bullying policy and the honor roll. Thebullying policy now addressescyber attacks on teachers andstaff, while membership in thehonor roll will now be based onanoverallaverageofgradesinallsubjects instead of the currentsystem, which requires studentstohaveBaveragesinallsubjects. The board also announcedthat its next regularly scheduledmeeting will be June 2 at 6 p.m.in the newly remodeled commu-nity center in the former St.Christopher’s Church at 2000Bear Creek Boulevard.Besides the school boardmeeting, the building is sched-uled to host the school’s JuniorNational Honor Society induc-tion ceremony, a school danceand a volunteer recognitionevent.
Changes at charter discussed
Times Leader Correspondent
– Kingstonpolice are investigating anarmed robbery of the Sunocoservice station on MarketStreet over the weekend.Police said two men en-tered the store at about10:33p.m. and demanded moneyfrom the clerk while armed with a semi-automatic hand-gun. The suspects fled thestore on foot with an un-determined amount of cash.Police said the suspects’last known direction of travel was westbound towards Rut-ter Avenue. The suspectsshould be considered armedand dangerous. Anyone withany information is asked tocontact 911and/or the King-ston Municipal Police Depart-ment at 288-3674. The two men are describedas being 6 feet tall, both wear-ing blue jeans, hooded sweat-shirts, black bandanas andblack gloves with white dots.
– James Ratch-ford, 25, of 878 Suscon Road,Pittston Township, was ar-rested and charged with crim-inal attempt to commit bur-glary, criminal trespass, stalk-ing and making terroristicthreats after a string of in-cidents on Winter Street, citypolice said.According to the criminalcomplaint:Police said they were dis-patched to119 Winter St. at6:50 p.m. Sunday for a reportof Rathchford trying to enterthe residence. Police saidCrystal Fuller told them she was at the American Legion when Ratchford arrived theredrunk and began arguing withher. She left and went homeand Ratchford came to theback door yelling and scream-ing for her to let him in.Police said she called 911and Ratchford then tried toenter through the front doorand then a window.Ratchford left before policearrived and a search for him was unproductive. About10minutes later, police weredispatched to the addressagain because Ratchford wasback on the scene, but he wasnot there when they arrivedand a second search wasunproductive, the complaintstates.Fuller then told policeRatchford was on the phoneand put the call on the speak-er. Police heard Ratchfordallegedly threaten to beat andsqueeze Fuller’s neck “sotight your head will turn blueand pop” before he hung up.A minute later, he allegedlycalled back and asked if police were there. Told that they were and advised by an officerto turn himself in, Ratchfordallegedly said he would fight with and kill all responding officers before he was arrest-ed, according to the com-plaint.After another phone callfrom Ratchford, police ad- vised Fuller to stay elsewhereovernight, the complaintstates.Police said Ratchford had previ-ously been served with a letterfrom the Pittston Housing Author-ity advising him to stay off author-ity property, including the WinterStreet property. They noted hehad been arrested on assault andcriminal trespass charges in thepast. The complaint does not detailRatchford’s arrest, but an officialat county prison confirmed thathe was imprisoned there on Mon-day night for lack of $5,000 bail.His preliminary hearing is set for1p.m. on May 25 before DistrictJudge Fred Pierantoni.
– Zaine Mitch-ell, 30, of Freeland, was charged with simple assault and harass-ment after he allegedly assaulteda 20-year-old female on NorthBuck Mountain Road at about8:30 p.m. on Saturday, state policein Hazleton said.Mitchell was jailed at countyprison for lack of $3,000 bail,police said.
THE TIMES LEADER www.timesleader.com TUESDAY, MAY 17, 2011 PAGE 3A
Santorum visiting W-B
ormer Republican U.S. Sen. RickSantorum will visit the Penn-sylvanians for Human Life Wyoming Valley Chapter in Wilkes-Barre today.Santorum will visit with volunteers of the Pro-Life Centerat 3:45 p.m. todiscuss ways toencourage the ex-pansion of the “na-tion’s culture of life.”Santorum will also be available toanswer questions about the 2012presidential race. The Wyoming Valley Chapter Pro-Life Center islocated at 31Hanover St., Wilkes-Barre.
Forum addresses shale
A community forum on May 25 at Wilkes University will consider whether a consensus can be reachedon Marcellus Shale developmentand, if so, what factors and criteria would be needed, along with scien-tific and engineering data and stud-ies. Audience memberscan ask questions.Proponents stateMarcellus Shale devel-opment will provide amuch-needed source of domestic energy fordecades to come and will offer jobs to thousands of Penn-sylvanians. They argue that devel-opment must and should proceed.Opponents state drilling and hy-draulic fracturing will cause irrepara-ble harm to drinking water supplies,damage forests and stress municipal-ities in the drilling region. Theyargue that development should behalted until more is known.Sponsored by the university alum-ni association and the Institute forEnergy and Environmental Researchof Northeastern Pennsylvania, thefree event will be at 6 p.m. in theDorothy Dickson Darte Center forthe Performing Arts and is open tothe public. Advance registration isencouraged. Pre-register at http://community.wilkes.edu/marcellus11.Panelists include professors, regu-lators and activists.
King’s College honored
 The Corporation for National andCommunity Service has namedKing’s College to the President’sHigher Education Community Ser- vice Honor Roll for the fifth consec-utive year based on exemplary ser- vice efforts during the 2009-10 aca-demic year.King’s is the only Wyoming Valleyinstitution of higher learning to benamed to the honor roll each yearsince its 2006 launch, according to apress release.“Of all the things accomplishedduring the12 years that I’ve servedKing’s as its president, I’m mostproud about the degree to which thecollege community has dedicateditself in service topeople in needlocally, nationallyand international-ly,” said the Rev. Thomas O’Hara,president. “During the 2009-2010 aca-demic year, King’sstudents combinedfor more than182,847 service hours,the equivalent of almost 21years.” The Community Service HonorRoll is the highest federal recog-nition a school can achieve for com-mitment to service-learning and civicengagement.More than 90 percent of King’sstudents participated in service ef-forts last year and the average stu-dent dedicated more than 75 hoursto their efforts.
Probe into prostitution
U.S. Attorney Peter J. Smith hasannounced a press conference will beheld today to provide informationregarding an ongoing investigationinto prostitution and money launder-ing. The press conference will be heldat 2 p.m. at the federal courthouse.Smith did not provide any additionalinformation.
A union-endorsed slate of 11 Demo-cratic Luzerne County Council candi-dates has lodged an official complaint with the county election bureau over amailing promoting eight other Demo-cratic candidates.CountyElectionBureauDirectorLeo-nard Piazza said the mailing did notstate who was sending and funding thecommunication as required by law. Hesaid he received “far too many com-plaintsaboutthemailing,notjustfromthe union-endorsed Working Familiesfor Better Government group.“It is going to be pursued aggressive-ly,” Piazza said. “It’s a very serious cam-paignfinanceviolation,asfarasI’mcon-cerned.”Piazzasaidhewillinvestigateandfor- ward the complaint to the county Dis-trictAttorney’sOfficeandstateAttorneyGeneral’s Office. Federal investigatorsmay also be involved because the cam-paign material was mailed, he said. Hesaidhecannotestimatethepenaltiesbe-cause multiple violations may be in- volved.Hesaidhewouldn’tbelievethatitwasa printer’s error because three parts of the mailing – an envelope, letter andhandout card – contained no statementof who sent and funded the material.Ignorance of the law is not an excuse,hesaid,becausethecounty’smanualoncampaign financemakes it clear that astatement is requiredon all advertisements,including direct mail-ings.He said he was par-ticularlyupsetthatthehandout card con-tained an altered im-ageoftheballot.ItsaiditwastheofficialDem-ocratic ballot butshowedonlythenamesoftheeightcan-didates, he said.“At least one person was confused,thinkingthatthiswassomethingweputout, and it’s not,” Piazza said.Piazzasaidtheillegalcampaigncardsmaynotbepassedoutatthepollstoday,and doing so would constitute a further violation.CountycouncilcandidateJaneWalsh- Waitkus, who is part of the Working Families slate, said she received themailingathomeandsupportedthefilinof a complaint because her group hascarefullyfollowedallcampaignlawsandbelieves other candidates should do thesame.“The people of Luzerne County de-serve better than a shady ‘business-as-usual’ approach to politics that hasavoided responsibility in the past anddisrespected voters,” she said in a re-lease. “This complaint is not about per-sonalities but about the process itself.”AccordingtoWalsh-Waitkus,theeightcandidateslistedintheletterwere:JohnAdonizio, Michelle Bednar, Stanley
Mailing promoting 8 to be probed
Effort backing several Democrats forCounty Council is ‘serious violation,’county election chief says.
“It is goingto be pur-sued ag-gressive-ly.”
Leonard Piazza
Election bureaudirector
See MAILING, Page10A
HUNLOCKTWP.–Statepoliceinves-tigating the theft of 10 cars and trucksthatwereleftonarearoadwaysaftertheybecame disabled discovered several of the vehicles on the property of a localtowing operator, according to a search warrant. The search, conducted on May 12 atOrval’sTowingServiceonGardenDrive, waspartofanongoinginvestigationintothetheftofvehiclesinvariousareasofLu-zerneandLackawannacountiesoverthepastfivemonths. Thesearchwarrantaffidavit,preparedbyTrooperJohnMcGearyofthedepart-ment’sautotheftdivision,saysthesearchof Orval’s was prompted after one of theautotheftvictimsvisitedthetowingandsalvage operator and found his vehiclethere.Accordingtotheaffidavit:StatepoliceattheWyomingandDun-more barracks and the Hanover Town-shipPoliceDepartmentbeganinvestigat-ing the thefts in January after the ownerof a 1996 Lumina that became disabledalongInterstate81nearexit170reportedreturning to retrieve the vehicle, only tofinditwasmissing.Duringthenexttwomonths,policere-ceivedreportsofninemoredisabledvehi-cles that were missing. In each case theownershadcontactedlocalpolicedepart-ments and learned the vehicles had notbeenremovedunderpoliceauthority.On May 12, one of the victims, David Timms, visited Orval’s Towing Serviceandfoundhis2001FordF-150,whichwasstolen from state Route 29 in Plymouth Townshipthedaybefore. Timmscontactedstatepolice,whoar-rived and discovered in plain view twoothervehiclesthathadbeenreportedsto-len. Police then obtained a search war-rant. Timms’ truck and five other vehicles wereseizedfromthebusiness,according tothesearchwarrant. The business is owned by George Or- val,61,accordingtotheaffidavit.No charges had been filed against Or- valoranyoneelseasofMondayevening.A man who identified himself as Ge-orge Orval hung up on a reporter whophonedthebusinessMondaybeforeanyquestionscouldbeasked.Hanover Township Police Chief Al Walker said the investigation into thetheft is continuing. He declined to com-mentfurther.
State police searched Orval’s Towing Service in Hunlock Township in an investigation of stolen vehicles.
Towing site yields stolen cars
The state police search was part ofa regional investigation.
Terrie Morgan-Besecker
, a Times Leaderstaff writer, may be reached at 570-829-7179.
SCRANTON – A former Kingston po-lice detective who was acquitted of chargesofimpersonatingapoliceofficerhasfiledafederallawsuitagainstseverallawenforcementandmunicipalofficials,alleging he was maliciously prosecuted.Daniel Griffin of Swoyersville saysKingston’s administra-tor, Paul Keating, con-spired with PoliceChiefKeithKeiperandseveralotherpeopletofile false chargesagainst him. The action was tak-en, Griffin alleges, to retaliate againsthim because he been an outspoken ad- vocate for the police union and had sup-portedapoliticalcandidatewhohadop-posed Mayor Jim Haggerty in his 2006election bid for the state Senate.Haggerty on Monday denied the alle-gations and blasted Griffin, saying hiscredibility is shot by virtue of his arrestin 2007 on forgery and theft charges.“PeopleneedtoknowaboutDanGrif-fin is he is not some aggrieved ex-em-ployee. He is a guy who is a twice-con- victed criminal,” Haggerty said. The suit, filed by attorney Don Baileyof Harrisburg, is the latest in a series of legal actions Griffin has taken againstthe municipality since he was fired inDecember2007afterbeingchargedwiththeft and forgery relating to reimburse-ment he sought from the police depart-ment for the purchase of a gun.Griffin was convicted in September2008ofalteringareceipttoshowhepaid$300 more for the weapon than the ac-tual purchaseprice. Hewasacquittedof charges that he had forged a former po-licechief’ssignatureonaformtoobtainreimbursement for the weapon.In 2008, Griffin filed a federal lawsuitagainstKingstonrelatingtothe2007ar-rest. That suit, which also alleged retal-iation, was dismissed this February by afederal judge, who ruled Griffin had notpresentedsufficientevidencetosupporthis allegations. ThelatestlawsuitstemsfromGriffin’sMay13,2009,arrestbyWilkes-Barrepo-lice based on a warrant issued by theFleetwood Police Department in BerksCounty.PolicesaidGriffinfalselyidenti-fiedhimselfasapoliceofficertoaFleet- woodofficerwhostoppedhimforspeed-ing on May 7, 2009.Griffin was taken into custody by Wilkes-Barre police as he exited an un-employment compensation hearing in Wilkes-Barre. He was also charged withcarryingafirearmwithoutalicenseafteragunwasfoundinsidehisvehicle,whichhe had driven to the hearing.A Berks County judge acquitted Grif-fin of the impersonation charges after atrial in March 2010. He was tried sepa-rately on the gun charge in LuzerneCounty Court and was found guilty byJudge Hugh Mundy.
Ex-cop filessecond suitvs. officials
Ex-Kingston cop Griffin: Prosecutionwas malicious. Suit in ’08 dismissed.
See LAWSUIT, Page10A
FAIRMOUNT TWP. – Two people whodiedinatwo-vehiclecrashSundaynight on Route 118 in Fairmont Town-shipnearRickettsGlenStateParkwereidentified Monday.According to state police at Shick-shinny, Tina Christ, 26, and Joseph E.Reabuck, 28, both of Stillwater, werekilled when a 2001 Volkswagen Jetta,operated by Christ, was traveling westand failed to negotiate a left curve. The vehicle traveled off the roadway,thenreturnedtotheroadwayandcross-edintotheeastboundlaneintothepathof a1999 Chevrolet Trailblazer, operat-ed by Sheri Strachen, 43, of Sweet Val-ley, state police said.Strachen and her passenger, RobertStrachen, 35, alsoof SweetValley, wereflown to Geisinger Medical Center inDanville. The fatal crash occurred around 7:30p.m.,andChristandReabuckwerepro-nounced dead at the scene by LuzerneCounty Coroner John Corcoran at ap-proximately 9:30 p.m.StateTrooperJosephPericciisthein- vestigating officer. Assisting at thescene were Fairmount Township Fire/EMS, Sweet Valley Fire/EMS, NorthValley Fire/EMS, Benton Fire/EMS,Berwick Medic Unit and Back Moun-tain Medic Unit. Theroadwayhadbeenshutdownforseveralhoursafterthecrashandwasre-opened shortly after11p.m.
Crash fatalities ID’d as Stillwater man, woman
Times Leader Staff 
Medical personnel fromthe Geisinger Life Flight respond after a fatal crashSunday in Fairmount Township.

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