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Times Leader 11-25-2011

Times Leader 11-25-2011

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Published by The Times Leader
The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader 11-25
The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader 11-25

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Published by: The Times Leader on Nov 25, 2011
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CLOSERACE
The leader, Nick Hilton,must have felt Fred Joslyn’sbreath on the back of hisneck as they ran over thehome stretch, before relin-quishing the lead. FredJoslyn caught and passedNick Hilton with10 feet togo and won the102nd run-ning of the (9 mile) Run forthe Diamonds on Thanks-giving, breaking the tape in45 minutes and 20 sec-onds, defeating Hilton byone second.
Sports,1B
SPORTSSHOWCASE
NFL
RAVENS1649ERS6PACKERS27LIONS15COWBOYS20DOLPHINS19
COLLEGEBASKETBALL
FLA.STATE73UMASS63CONNECTICUT73UNC-A62
C M Y K
6
09815 10011
WILKES-BARRE, PA FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2011 50¢
timesleader.com
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imes
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$
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The Muppet cast returns withnew film for the holidays
theGUIDE,INSIDE
It’s getting easy being green
Church group from DuBoissets up meal in West Pittston
NEWS,3A
Reaching outon Thanksgiving 
LARKSVILLE – A Thanksgiv-ing Day fire destroyed a double-block house on Wilson Streetand left two families homeless. The blaze fought by depart-ments fromsurrounding communitiesalso damagedan adjacentbuilding.Joan Mabus, who with herhusband, Clair, owns the build-ing at 92-94 Wilson St., said atenant from a property behindthe damaged one called herabout the fire that startedaround 3 p.m. The couple from Plymouthhas owned the double-block forapproximately nine years, saidMabus as she stood near the un-
Larksville double-block house goes up in flames on Thanksgiving 
AIMEE DILGER/THE TIMES LEADER
AfamilywatchesastheirhomeisdestroyedbyfireonThanksgivingafternooninLarksville. Theblazeatthedouble-blockhouseonWilsonStreetstartedataround3p.m. Noonewasinjured.
2 families are forced out
FiremenworkThursdaytoextinguishahousefireonWilsonStreetinLarksville. Theyhadtheflamesfromthefirethatstartedataround3p.m. knockeddownbyabout4:30p.m.
SeeFIRE, Page12A
ByMARKGUYDISHandJERRYLYNOTT 
 mguydish@timesleader.com jlynott@timesleader.com
The blaze alsodamaged anadjacentbuilding.
 The new Luzerne CountyCouncil will likely be powerlessto start altering union contractsfor three years because seven of the11collectivebargainingagree-ments are locked in until the endof 2013, a review of the agree-ments shows. Two other contracts expire atthe end of 2014.County officials are trying tonegotiate the remaining two con-tracts with detec-tives and court-re-lated workers bytheir expirationthis year, andcounty officialstypically nego-tiate three-yearagreements.If the outgoing commissioners re-ach an impasse with detectivesand the court-re-lated units, the unions have theright to seek binding arbitrationthat could essentially force thenew council to live with an arbi-trator’s ruling.Court-related union represen-tative Paula Schnelly said thegroupisatastandstillinnegotia-tions but will meet with countyrepresentatives in early Decem-ber to make one more attempt toreachanagreementbeforerestor-ing to arbitration. The roughly 113-membercourt-related union, which in-cludes sheriff deputies and sup-portstaffincourt-linkedoffices,isrepresentedbytheAmericanFed-erationofState,County&Munic-ipal Employees, or AFSCME.Schnelly said the union is notseeking any significant changes.“We understand the times andthe economy, and we were notlooking for anything extrava-gant,” Schnelly said.
Negotiationsunderway
SeeUNION, Page12A
COUNTY GOV’T
Contractsfor unionschallengefor council
New governing body facestask of dealing with county’scollective bargaining units.
To see achart detail-ing countyunions andtheir bene-fits, visit
www.timesleader.com
ByJENNIFERLEARN-ANDES 
 jandes@timesleader.com
 WILKES-BARRE It’s goodnewsthattheCommissiononEco-nomic Opportunity’s 32nd annual Thanksgiving Project distributedfood packages this year to 7,619households throughout LuzerneandWyomingcounties. The bad news is the number of households served set a record forthelocalfoodbank.According to CEO, more than21,000 tons of food that comprisethe ingredients of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner was givenout. The Wyoming Valley distribu-tionserved6,083familiesfromtheCEO distribution site located inPlainsTownship.“TheThanksgivingProjectevery year provides a turkey and all thetrimmings of a traditional holidaymeal to those who might not haveone otherwise,” said CEO boardchairmanHughF.Mundy.“It’sare-mindertotherestofusthatthefor-tunate must share with those inneedonthisholidaywhenwegivethanksforournation’sbounty.Dan McGowan, Thanksgiving Projectchairmansaid,“Aprojectof thissizecouldonlyoccurasaresultof our dedicated volunteers andcommunitysupport.”McGowan said 1,186 volunteersprovidedmorethan4,887hoursof service.A traditional holiday dinner wasprovidedtohomeboundandhand-icapped individuals on Thanksgiv-
CEO delivers record numberof Thanksgiving meals in area
Volunteers with annualproject provide 7,619households with dinners.
ByBILLO’BOYLE 
boboyle@timesleader.com
SeeRECORD, Page12A
doorstoopeninthedarkThurs-day for Black Friday and the op-portunity to get their hands oncoveted and discounted itemsfor their loved ones and them-selves.Foraminute,ChristopherKo- walczyk stood alone outside theBest Buy anticipating his en-trance into the store and exit withanewtelevision. Then Olive Mae Lewisshowedup.For the next 31 hours they waited first and second in lineoutside the store in the ArenaHubPlaza,shiveringthroughthenight and sharing the satisfac-tion of being able to purchase aSharp42-inchLCDHDTVforal-most$200.Itlistedfor$499.99.Hundreds of people joinedthemthereand,atotherstoresinthearea,shopperswaitedfortheKowalczyk, 21, of Wilkes-Barre,gaveuphisThanksgivinmeal,pitchingatent,surfingthe Webonhiscellphoneanddown-
SeeSALES, Page12A
Hoping their wait is rewarded
AIMEE DILGER/THE TIMES LEADER
MichelleDonohuetakesacall whilewaitinginlineoutsideoftheBestBuystoreinWilkes-BarreTownship.
Chillin’ out at several areastores, shoppers line up forBlack Friday deals.
ByJERRYLYNOTT 
 jlynott@timesleader.com
INSIDE
ANEWS:
Local 3ANation & World 5ABirthdays10AEditorial11A
BSPORTS:
Scoreboard 2BAt Play 5B
CCLASSIFIED:
Funnies 24C
THEGUIDE:
MoviesTelevisionEntertainmentCrossword
 WEATHER
BellaBucklandSunny, warmer.High58. Low35.
Details, Page12B
 
K
PAGE 2A FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2011 THE TIMES LEADER www.timesleader.com
Castelli,MarieCavalari,FrancesFerris,MaryEllenHarter,MabelHoyt,LeeKing,JohnKornova,FrancisJakimowicz,HenryJohnson,OdessaMorris,MirellaRiordan,BernardineSamuels,KitZosh,Arvilla
OBITUARIES
Page 8A
BUILDINGTRUST
The Times Leader strives tocorrect errors, clarify storiesand update them promptly.Corrections will appear in thisspot. If you have informationto help us correct an inaccu-racy or cover an issue morethoroughly, call the newsroomat 829-7242.
HARRISBURG – One playermatched all five winningnumbers drawn in Thurs-day’s “Pennsylvania Cash 5”game and will receive$225,000.Lottery officials said 83players matched four num-bers and won $180 each and2,205 players matchedthree numbers and won $11each.Monday’s “PennsylvaniaMatch 6 Lotto” jackpot willbe worth at least $950,000because no player holds aticket with one row thatmatches all six winningnumbers drawn in Thhurs-day’s game.ORLANDO, Fla. — None ofthe tickets sold for the Pow-erball game Wednesdayevening matched all sixnumbers drawn, which were:
04-30-35-57-59
Powerball:
25
Power Play:
2
Players matching all fivenumbers and the Powerballwould have won or sharedthe $20 million jackpot. Theprize goes to an estimated$25 million for Saturday.Tickets that match thefirst five numbers, but missthe Powerball, win$200,000 each, and therewas one of those. It was soldin Connecticut. There wasone Power Play Match 5winner in Ohio.
LOTTERY
MIDDAYDRAWING
DAILY NUMBER
3-4-5
BIG FOUR
6-1-1-7
QUINTO
5-7-2-1-7
TREASURE HUNT
02-08-17-22-27NIGHTLYDRAWING
DAILY NUMBER
9-6-7
BIG FOUR
7-6-9-8
QUINTO
6-2-5-9-4
CASH FIVE
05-18-21-29-37
MATCH SIX
01-04-17-22-33-37
DETAILS
timesleader.com
Newsroom
829-7242jbutkiewicz@timesleader.com
Circulation
 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: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. 2011-329
HANOVERTWP.
– Town-ship police reported the follow-ing:Township and state policeare investigating a fatal two-carcrash Wednesday on the SansSouci Parkway.Police said Marie Castelli,80, of Christian Street in Nanti-coke, died frominjuries suf-fered in a crash that occurredat about 4:25 p.m.Police are investigatintwo hit-and-run crashes thatoccurred Wednesday.Police said they are looking for information on a crash onSouth Main Street near Coun-tywood Estates about 4:55 p.m. The fleeing vehicle is describedas a red Chevrolet Silverado with driver-side damage and agreen tarp and ladder in thepickup bed. Anyone with in-formation is asked to call town-ship police at 825-1254. The second hit-and-runoccurred on East St. Mary’sRoad at about 5:50 p.m. whenJohn Potera of Boland Avenuestruck a vehicle occupied byShannon Finn of Ashley. Poterafled the scene but was stoppedby Ashley Police.
KINGSTON
– A Kingstonman was charged Wednesday with stabbing his girlfriendduring a domestic dispute.Exel Nalls, 33, of WrightAvenue, is charged with twocounts each of aggravatedassault and simple assault andone count of recklessly en-dangering another person.According to an arrest affida- vit:Police were called to Wilkes-Barre General Hospital on Oct.23 and spoke to Kira MarieStahl, who had undergonesurgery for stab wounds to herstomach and left leg.Stahl told police she was atthe home she shared withNalls on Oct. 22 when he camehome intoxicated and beganarguing with her. The argu-ment escalated and Nallsstruck her in the head, face andshoulders, then stabbed her with a kitchen knife.Stahl said she did not realizeshe had been stabbed until she went into a bathroom.Police took Nalls into custo-dy on a state parole violation. While speaking with officers,Nalls admitted he had beendrinking heavily and struckStahl during an argument attheir apartment.Nalls was arraigned beforeDistrict Magistrate Judge PaulRoberts on Wednesday. He wasplaced in the Luzerne CountyCorrectional Facility for lack of $50,000 straight bail.
HAZLETON
– City policesaid a convenience store wasrobbed early Wednesday morn-ing.Police said a man walkedinto the Convenient Store on West Juniper Street around1:30 a.m. and demanded mon-ey.Police said the man fled withmoney.
WILKES-BARRE
– Citypolice reported the following:Linda Evans of ShermanHills reported on Nov.15 pre-scription medication was sto-len fromher residence.Christine Myers of Black-man Street reported on Nov.15her Access card was used tomake an unauthorized pur-chase.
POLICE BLOTTER
 WILKES-BARREAbusiness-man said the borough of DupontstoodbyandallowedpoliceChief AnthonyDeMarktoharasshimtothe point where he was forced toclose an arcade and later a barthatopenedinapropertyonMainStreet. WilliamM.DeFazioofRoaring Brook Township filed suit Mon-dayinLuzerneCountyCourtsay-ing he was singled out by De-Mark’s arbitrary enforcement of the borough’s ordinances.DeFazio is seeking an undeter-mined amount of damages andpunitive damages against onlyDeMark. The suit alleged DeMark andmembers of the police depart-mentrequestedpersonalinforma-tion from patrons outside the We’ve Got Game arcade and is-sued citations for loitering de-spite having no cause to do so.Patrons who did not live in theboroughwerethreatenedwithar-rest or curfew violations and as aresult business suffered, the suitsaid.On several occasions in 2008,the suit said, patrons dropped off bytheirparentsafewminutesbe-fore the arcade opened at 3 p.m. were told by police to leave with-out allowing them to call homefor a ride.Inoneinstance,two14-year-oldboys were forced to walk homeapproximately three miles awayto Hughestown along a route onthe Old Pittston Bypass that putthemin“seriousriskof bodilyin- jury or death,” the suit said.After DeFazio contacted bor-ough officials, DeMark came tothecenteronMarch21,2008,andhad a confrontation with an em-ployeethatwasrecordedonasur- veillance video, the suit said.DeMark demanded the videoandthreatenedtoarrestDeFazio,but later left, the suit said.DeFazio closed the arcade andtransferred a liquor license to theproperty for his Corner PocketLounge business.Once again DeMark and policestopped patrons and questionedthemfornovalidreasons,thesuitsaid.DeMark issued parking ticketstopatronsoftheloungewhileoth-erpeoplewhoparkednearittoat-tend events at the borough fire-house and VFW club were notticketed, the suit said.Vehicles parked in DeFazio’soff-streetlotalsowereticketedbyDeMark, the suit said.In late 2008 or early 2009, De-Markthreatened“tokicktheassoftheDeFazio’sbrotherwhotriedto pay a ticket for parking in thelot, the suit said.DeFazio said DeMark chargedhim with harassment and disor-derly conduct on April 9, 2009,butadistrictjudgefoundhimnotguilty.On Oct. 10, 2009, DeFazioclosed the lounge, saying it wasthe result of the damage causedby DeMark and the borough.
Suit alleges harassment by chief 
William M. DeFazio claimsDupont borough allowedpolice chief to harass him.
ByJERRYLYNOTT 
 jlynott@timesleader.com
HOPINGTOCATCHABREAK
AP PHOTO
H
ong10 of Korea performs an air freeze in the build up to the Red Bull BC One breakdancing world finals Thursday infront of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square, Moscow, Russia. Sixteen of the world’s best b-boys will compete in one-on-one knock-out battles Saturday night to determine who is the ‘one’.
 WASHINGTONThisweek’sfailurebyCongresstoreachadef-icit-reductiondealislikelytohavenegative short-term and longer-term economic consequences. The failure puts more headwindsin front of the sluggish U.S. eco-nomic recovery, whereas a suc-cessful deal would have created asignificant tailwind to give it aboost. WhenCongressavoidedadebtdefault over the summer througha compromise that created theJointSelectCommitteeonDeficitReduction, it charged the biparti-sanpanelwithfindingatleast$1.2trillion in deficit cuts over thenextdecadebeforeaNov.23dead-line.That’sdaysbeforeoneofthemost important stretches for theU.S. economy — the holiday sea-son.“It was ill-timed to begin with,to pick Nov. 23 and to actuallycomeoutempty.Theycouldhavebeen superheroes and insteadthey were super zeros,saidStuart Hoffman, chief economistforPNCFinancialinPittsburgh.By failing to agree even on ex-tending the 2 percent payroll taxholidaythathasbeenineffectthis year, lawmakers have added ahuge dose of uncertainty to 2012andshakenbusinessandconsum-ersentiment.Ifthepayrolltaxcutholidayisn’textended,it’ssuretoretardgrowth,beginninginjustafewweeks.“Thattomeprobablycutshalfapercentage point of economicgrowth next year,” Hoffman said.He now expects growth in therange of 2 percent, so slow thatthe economy is vulnerable to tip-pingbackintorecession.Similarly, Barclays Capital Re-search, an arm of the London-basedbankinggiantBarclays,pro- jected Wednesday that failure torenewthepayrolltaxholidaywillshaveafullpercentagepointoffof U.S. economic growth during thefirstthreemonthsof2012andan-otherhalfapointoffofthesecondquarter.Lawmakers also blew thechancetodifferentiatetheUnitedStates from Europe, which is em-broiled in a widening debt crisis.HadtheU.S.putitselfoncoursetofixitsfiscalchallenges,thatcouldhaveprovidedahugeboostofcon-fidence and juiced an economythat’s shown signs of sparking backtolifeseveraltimesthisyear.Asitstands,Europeappearshead-edintorecession,whichwillhurtU.S.exports,adriverofgrowth.
Experts: Panel’s failure sure to hinder economy
Committee’s inability to finddeficit cuts will do little tospur consumer confidence.
ByKEVING.HAL
 McClatchy Newspapers
“It was ill-timed to begin with, to pick Nov. 23 andto actually come out empty. They could have beensuperheroes and instead they were super zeros.
StuartHoffman
Chief economist for PNC Financial in Pittsburgh
COS ECHO, Iraq — Americantroops marked their last Thanksgiving in Iraq on Thurs-day with turkey, stuffing and arocket fire alarm.Fewer than 20,000 Americantroops remain in Iraq at eightbases across the country. All of the forces must be out of Iraq bythe end of this year, and Amer-ican soldiers have been busilypacking up their equipment andheading south.Many of the bases no longerhave civilian contractors making meals for them, so the troopshave been eating prepackagedmeals.At COS Echo in southernIraq, the soldiers celebrated theoccasion with a special meal in-cluding turkey, stuffing, andpumpkin pie. Bottles of nonalco-holic sparkling cider werebrought in especially for the oc-casion. The incoming rocketalarm was nothing special forthe holiday — they’re heard allthe time.Lt. Col. Robert Michael Rodri-guez from Santa Fe, N.M. saidthey worked especially hard tomake the food as good as pos-sible for what could be the last Thanksgiving in a war zone formany of the assembled troops. Thanksgivings in the U.S. aremore about food and footballsgames, not warfare. The after-noon meal at Echo was markedby the distinctive, loud whirring sound signaling incoming fire atthe base, and all the soldiers hitthe floor. It was unclear if any-thing hit the base located nearDiwaniyah, 80 miles south of Baghdad.U.S. military officials haveblamed Shiite militias backed byIran for much of the violence insouthern Iraq directed at depart-ing American forces.Attacks have let up in recentmonths compared to the fre-quent rocket barrages fired atU.S. troops over the spring andsummer. American commanderssay they are prepared for further violence against their forces asU.S. troops leave the country.Gen. Lloyd Austin, the topAmerican general in Iraq, saidhe is heartened by the improve-ments that he’s seen since hefirst came into the country withthe initial invasion force in 2003.
U.S. troops in Iraq celebrate their lastThanksgiving holiday in the war zone
All of the forces must be outof Iraq by the end of this year.U.S. invaded country in 2003.
ByREBECCASANTANA 
 Associated Press
AP PHOTO
U.S.soldiersservefoodforthelastThanksgivingmealatCon-tingencyOperatingSiteEcho,inDiwaniyah,Iraq,onThursday.
 
C M Y K
THE TIMES LEADER www.timesleader.com FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2011 PAGE 3A
L
OCAL
timesleader.com
PLAINS TWP.
Railroad Club open house
 The Hudson Model Railroad Club willhold its annual open house beginning this weekend at 97 Martin St. in Plains Township. The 2,000-square-foot HO-scale modeltrain display is located on the secondfloor and will be open to the public freeof charge noon to 5 p.m. Saturday andSunday.It will be open during those samehours Dec. 3,10,17 and18 and intoJanuary. There is off-street parking available. The club has been around for approxi-mately 30 years, said its president, JimCerulli. There are a few new scenes this year in the display set in the anthraciteregion of Northeastern Pennsylvania.“Once the shows end, we immediatelystart preparations for the next year,” saidCerulli.
HARVEYS LAKE
Seat belt law is stressed
 The Harveys Lake Police Departmentsaid it will be strictly enforcing seat beltlaws as part of a statewide effort throughDec. 4.Drivers stopped for traffic violations will be cited for not wearing their seat-belt.Police said there will be a zero-toler-ance policy in effect during the enforce-ment effort.
 WILKES-BARRE TWP.
Tree lighting is set Nov. 30
Mayor Carl Kuren announced that thetownship will hold its annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on Nov. 30 at 6p.m. The tree will be lit by the Romiskifamily children.Refreshments will be served and en-tertainment provided by Douglas De-lescavage on keyboard. Santa Claus isscheduled to make an appearance.
LUZERNE COUNTY
New socks to be collected
Making A Difference Ministries willcollect new socks from Nov. 28 to March9. The socks will be given to Big Broth-ers Big Sisters of The Bridge to help thechildren in need of warmth this winterseason.Drop-offs may be made at PhoenixRehabilitation Inc., 311Market St., King-ston; Fidelity Bank, 247 Wyoming Ave.,Kingston; Pennoni Associates Inc.,100 N Wilkes-Barre Blvd. Wilkes-Barre, and The Ice Rink at Coal Street, Wilkes-Barre.
 WILKES-BARRE
Salvation Army seeks gifts
 The Salvation Army of Wilkes-Barreannounced it is again providing Christ-mas gifts to local children in need thisholiday season. Through the Angel Tree program, thepublic is encouraged to help make theholidays brighter by buying a gift for achild who might otherwise be withoutthis Christmas, the organization statedin an emailed release.“We have over1,800 childrenregistered,” saidCapt. Patty Rich- wine, command-ing corps officer.“Right now, wehave over 400children’s angeltree tags that have not been ‘adopted’and our return date is Dec. 5th!“We’re hoping that a church, school orbusiness will be willing to take a fewtags and ask members to purchase a giftfor a child.” The Salvation Army says communitybusinesses, churches and schools place“Angel Trees” at their locations and askmembers to choose a tag for a child andpurchase a gift. Those who want tosponsor a tree should contact the Salva-tion Army. Those who would like tochoose a tag from a tree can go to Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Schiel’s Grocery Storeor The Salvation Army.Local children also can be adopted onJC Penney’s Angel Tree website. Afterchoosing a tag for a child they would liketo “adopt” this Christmas, donors shouldpurchase a gift for the child and returnthe unwrapped gift and tag to the loca-tion where they chose the tag. All giftsare due back to The Salvation Army byDec. 5 so they can be sorted and baggedfor distribution day, which is Dec. 20. The Wilkes-Barre Salvation Army islocated at17 S. Pennsylvania Ave. Formore information, contact the SalvationArmy at 570-824-8741.
I N B R I E F
 WEST PITTSTON – Jim Johnson andhis10-year-oldson,Brady,gotaveryearlystartThanksgiving,anditwasn’ttogetallthe cooking done for a big family get-to-gether. Theyneededafewhourstodrivetheroughly170milesfromtheirhomeinDubois,Pa.,toWestPittstonsotheycouldserve a turkey dinnerto residents left home-less by the Septemberflood.“One of the mem-bers from our churchsaw a need to comedown and help here, I was one of the first 10 who came down tohelp” shortly after thefloods receded, hesaid.Johnson and other volunteers from The Tri-County Church of God and ClearfieldCounty CommunityChurches have maderegularweeklyvisitstohelp in the recovery,and decided a freemeal for the community would be a per-fect addition to that effort. They teamed with The Christian and Missionary Alli-anceChurchtohostthedinnerThursdayafternoon. All were welcome, and there was no shortage of food.“We deep fried 20 turkeys,” said DaveOgershok of Brockway, Pa. “We had fiveroasters going at once, one was a doubleroaster.” The volunteers packed everything intoa truck they outfitted for the journey, lin-ingtheinsidewithStyrofoamandinstall-ing a heater run by a small generator forthe whole trip. Then they set up in thechurchonLuzerneStreetandopenedthedoors.Along with turkey, diners could havemashedpotatoes,candiedyams,cranber-ry sauce, rolls, gravy and pie. More than20 of the desserts sat on a table.Gertrude Yachna sat with her familyand enjoyed the repast. They were dis-placedinSeptemberfromtheirWestPitt-ston home and don’t expect to be able tomovebackinuntilDecember.Evenwhenthey do, Yachna said, “the street isn’t thesame.” Some people have looked at theirhomes and simply decided not to moveback in.Yachnasaidsheislivinginahousethefamily owns outside the flood plain, butthat they felt too overwhelmed to maketheir own Thanksgiving dinner. “I’m sothankful they had something like this,”she said.Carolyn White had some dinner whilemanning a table where she and otherflood victims were helping families signup to get gifts through the U.S. Marine’s Toys for Tots program. White said herhouseinDuryeahad4feetofwateronthefirstfloor,andtheyhadnofloodinsurancebecausetheyhadbeentoldtheywerenotin the flood plain. “In 1972 we
TURKEY DAY MEAL FOR FLOOD VICTIMS
Giving thanks in West Pittston
AIMEE DILGER/THE TIMES LEADER
James,GertrudeandJoannaYachnaenjoyamealwithJeanSnopkowski,DonNothoffandTomEvansattheChristianandMissionaryAllianceChurchinWestPittston.ThedinnerwasprovidedbyTheTri-CountyChurchofGodandClear-fieldCountyCommunityChurchesinDuBois.
Helperstravel far toset up feast
ByMARKGUYDISH
 mguydish@timesleader.com
“Thesepeople willdo any-thing. Theycleanedmud out ofmy cellar.They dowall fram-ing, theydo wiring.
CarolynWhite
Flood victim
SeeTHANKS,Page4A
ScottMorrisusedtooverseefederalre-sponsetonaturaldisasterswhenhewasahigh-ranking official with the FederalEmergency Management Agency.Now, he’s helping small towns in Lu-zerne County deal with thatagencyandotherssotheycanre-cover as quickly as possible fromravaging flood waters.A disaster recovery specialist,Morris is founder and presidentof Cowbell, a disaster recoverymanagement and strategic com-munications firm.“We come in at the very begin-ning and we start working ondamage assessments, writing upthe scopes of work that are re-quiredbyFEMA.Basically,Itakethe burden off the public entities that I work with because they have day-to-dayoperations they need to worry about. Theyneedtoworryabouttheircitizens,”he said.Cowbell’s job is to work through thegovernmentbureaucra-cy to get federal reim-bursements into towncoffersassoonaspossi-ble to expedite the re-covery process. The company also will manage majorprojectsforthetowns, write new disaster plans for them andmake sure they have pre-disaster con-tracts in place so that in the event of an-other flood, they’ll be able to mobilizequickly.“They’ve been excellent,” Ply-mouth Township Supervisor JoeYudichak said of Morris and hisemployees.“They’ve been to the townshipevery day. … We’ve had a great working relationship. We justcouldn’t handle it. We have onesecretary,andourdamageismas-sive.Wejustdidn’thavetheman-power or the experience,” said agrateful Yudichak.Cowbell initially began work-ing with the borough of Shick-shinnyafterMorrislearnedofthedevas-tation there through the media. He trav-eled from his home base in Florida tomake a presentation at a council
Scott Morris helping localcommunities navigate the road torecovery after devastating storms.
BySTEVEMOCARSKY 
 smocarsky@timesleader.com
Morris
SeeFLOODING,Page4A
To learnmore aboutMorris andhis creden-tials, visit
www.timesleader.com
Former FEMA officialaiding flooded towns
With a Dec. 31 application dead-line looming for the state’s propertytax rebate program, more than33,000 eligible homeowners in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area have yet to apply.Supported by revenue from thePennsylvania Lottery, the rebateprogram has seen a surge in appli-cants this year.Last year, more than605,000 senior citizensstatewide received $282.3million in rebates. So farthis year, more than621,000 households haveapplied for rebates.Elizabeth Brassell, a de-partment of revenue spo-keswoman, said “year over yearwe’vecontinuedtoseerecord numbers of re-bates.”Last year, 14,332 home-owners received rebates inLuzerne County, 7,932 inLackawanna County and 940 in WyomingCounty.AccordingtodatasuppliedbytheDepartmentofReve-nue,asofNov.2,9,873ofthe24,360eligible Luzerne County homeown-ers had yet to file for the rebate. InLackawannaCounty,6,693oftheel-igible 14,630 hadn’t filed and in WyomingCounty594ofthe1,478el-igible homeowners that hadn’t ap-plied.State Secretary of Revenue DanMeuserurgesthosewhoknoweligi-ble homeowners to remind them of the program.“Whenfamiliesandfriendsgatherduring the holiday season, we hopethey’lluseitasanopportunitytoex-plore eligibility for property tax orrent rebates,” Meuser said. “Thedeadline to apply is ap-proaching, but olderresidents and those with disabilities stillhave more than amonthtosubmitclaimsfor rebates.” The rebate programbenefits eligible Penn-sylvanians age 65 andolder, widows and wid-owers age 50 and olderandpeoplewithdisabil-ities age 18 and older. The maximum stan-dardrebateis$650,andthe income eligibilitylevel is $35,000 a year, excluding half of Social Security income.Application forms and assistanceareavailableatnocostfromDepart-ment of Revenue district offices, lo-cal Area Agencies on Aging, seniorcentersandstatelegislators’offices. There is a similar rebate for rent-ers but the income limit is $15,000.
Residents eligible for tax rebates
ByANDREWM.SEDER 
 aseder@timesleader.com
Property Tax/RentRebate claim forms(PA-1000) and in-formation are avail-able online atwww.PaProperty-TaxRelief.com andby calling1-888-222-9190, between 7:30a.m. and 5 p.m.,Monday throughFriday.
HOW TOAPPLY
PLYMOUTH – John Miklosiflashed an infectious, toothy grin ashe sat in his wheelchair and talkedabout his rotten luck during World War II, when he was wounded in theleg under mortar fire not once buttwice, first in Italy, then France. Whyso happy while recalling such pain?Miklosi and other veterans werebeing feted by volunteers at Amer-ican Legion Post 463.“Oh boy, I think this is great,” the88-year-old Plymouth native beamed while waiting for his helping of tur-key, ham and kielbasa (hey, it’s
Ply- mouth
). “I can’t believe it!”For the third consecutive year, thepost prepared fixings for about 35residents and staff from the Depart-ment of Veteran’s Affairs MedicalCenter in Plains Township. This wasMiklosi’s first trip for the meal. “Theguys who came last year said it wasthe best place to go,” he said with thesmile never disappearing. “They wereright.”Steve Galchefski, the post volun-teer who did most of the cooking,
AIMEE DILGER PHOTO/THE TIMES LEADER
HeatherKosickiservesveteransRichBenderandWesleyFermanattheAmericanLegionPost463annualveteransThanksgivingDaydinnerinPly-mouth.
 American Legion Post puts onTurkey Day tribute to veterans
ByMARKGUYDISH
 mguydish@timesleader.com
SeeVETERANS,Page4A

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