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Times Leader 12-20-2011

Times Leader 12-20-2011

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The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader 12-20
The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader 12-20

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C M Y K
WILKES-BARRE, PA TUESDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2011 50¢
timesleader.com
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McGloin takes responsibilityfor fight with teammate.
SPORTS,1B
PSU QB facesquestions
Kim Jong Il’s death muddlestenuous diplomatic situation.
NATION&WORLD,5A
Uncertainty swirls in Korea 
PENSHAVEDEVILOFATIME
Wilkes-Barre/Scran-ton
PenguinsheadcoachJohnHynescouldn’tputhisfingeronasinglereasontoexplainMonday’s2-1losstothe AlbanyDevils.Instead,helistedsever-al.“Ourenergy,oureffort,ourintensity,ourone-on-onebattlesandourwillingnesstocompeteatahighlevelwasnotthereinthefirsttwoperiods,”Hynessaid.ThosemissingelementsresultedinthePenguinsbeingoutshot20-13anddown1-0after40minutes.
1B
SPORTSSHOWCASE
NCAA BASKETBALL
DUKE90UNCG63UNC99NICHOLLSST.49INDIANA107HOWARD50ILLINOIS64CORNELL60
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DALLAS – Marianne Cleary neverliked war.Since Dec. 20, 2005, she has de-spised it even more. That’s when her son,1st Lt. Mi-chael Cleary, 24, was killed in Iraq. Today is the sixth anniversary of Mi-chael Cleary’s death.A platoon leader in the 3rd InfantryDivision, Cleary led his unit to abomb factory near Samarra, Iraq. Theunit destroyed the factory and wasreturning from its mission when it was ambushed by insurgent forces. Aroadside bomb was detonated. Clearydied as a passenger in a transport vehicle just10 days shy of his returnhome. The day before his death, his fian-cée, Erin Kavanagh of Dallas, had herbridal shower. While happy for the soldiers return-ing from Iraq and for their families,Marianne Cleary and her husband,Jack, a Vietnam veteran, have beenpermanently scarred by the war thatclaimed their son’s life.Life, as Marianne says, “is different;a new normal.”“I think of life in two ways,” shesaid. “Life when Mikey was alive, andlife after he was killed.” The Clearys, both 65, have fourother children – Erin, 42, Shannon,41, Kelly, 37, and Patrick, 34 -- andfour grandchildren.“We lean on each other as a family,”Jack Cleary said. “We try to make life
U.S.TROOPSLEAVEIRAQ:
 Across America,families will have happy reunions with servicepeople. But many others, like the Cleary family of Dallas, have suffered a loss that can’t be healed.
Cleary
DON CAREY/THE TIMES LEADER
Jack and Marianne Cleary, Dallas, hold up a portrait of their son,1st Lt. Michael Cleary, during an interviewwith aTimes Leader reporter. Lt. Cleary was killed during the war with Iraq.
Permanent wounds
ByBILLO’BOYLE 
boboyle@timesleader.com
See CLEARY, Page12A
6
09815 10011
INSIDE
A NEWS:
Local 3ANation & World 5AObituaries 8AEditorials11A
B SPORTS:
1B
B BUSINESS:
7B
C HEALTH:
CBirthdays 4CTelevision 6CMovies 6CCrossword/Horoscope 7C
D CLASSIFIED:
1DComics14D
 WEATHER
Lukas PhillipsPartly sunny. Wintry mixlate. High 41, low33.
Details, Page 8B
 WASHINGTON — Partisan to the core, Con-gresscareenedtowardaholiday-seasonstandoff MondayonlegislationtopreventaSocialSecuri-typayrolltaxincreasefor160millionworkersonJan.1.“It’stimetostopthenonsense.Wecanresolvethese differences and we can do it in a way thatprovides certainty for job creators and others,”said Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. A vote wasset for today for the House to reject a bipartisantwo-month extension that cleared the Senateovertheweekendandseeknegotiationsonabillto renew the cuts through 2012.In an acid response, Senate Majority LeaderHarry Reid accused Boehner of risking a tax in-crease for millions “just because a few angry teapartyersraisedtheirvoices.”TheNevadaDemo-crat ruled out new negotiations until the two-month measure is enacted. That left the two parties approaching Christ-mas-weekgridlockoveranefforttopasscoreele-ments of President Barack Obama’s jobs pro-
Face-off looms ontax cut
House sets vote today, when GOP will likelyreject Senate’s two-month extension ofpayroll tax cut, jobless benefits.
ByDAVIDESPOandALANFRAM
 Associated Press
See PAYROLL, Page12A
EAST SIDE BORO. – Thirty-fiveyearsagotoday,a14-year-oldboyplayingalongtheshoreoftheLehigh River made a horrific dis-covery of a woman’s body, dis-memberedandpackedintothreesuitcases scattered across thebank of the river. The woman – who was in herthird trimester of pregnancyready to give birth to a girl -- hasnever been identified. She is stillknown as Beth Doe by state po-liceinvestigators.“Untilweiden-tify who she is, the case can’t besolved,” said state police Cpl. Thomas McAn-drew.State policebelievethesuit-cases werethrown fromthe westboundInterstate 80bridge thatspanstheriver150feetbelow.In-steadof hittingthewaterandbe-ing carried away by the current,thesuitcaseslandedontheshoreinCarbonCounty,justacrosstheborder from White Haven, Lu-zerne County. The impact of the fall brokeopentwosuitcases, exposingthe woman’s head, torso and fetus. The third suitcase contained the woman’s arms and legs.Hernoseandearshadbeenre-moved from her head.An autopsy revealed she wasstrangled and shot in the back of the neck, and had been dead lessthan 24 hours from the time thebody was found at about 4:30p.m. Dec. 20, 1976. She was dis-membered with a fine, serratedtool. Theforensicpathologistdeter-mined the woman to be Cauca-sian of possibly Mediterranean
DON CAREY FILE PHOTO/THE TIMES LEADER
State police Cpl. Thomas C. McAndrew, left, watches with otherofficials as the body of Beth Doe is exhumed at the LaurytownCemetery in Lehigh Township in 2007.
D I S M E M B E R E D B O DY
State police still trying to learn woman’s identity
35-year-old mystery remains unsolved
ByEDWARDLEWIS 
elewis@timesleader.com
Beth Doe
See DOE, Page12A
 WILKES-BARRE – Luzerne County Chief Public Defender Al Flora said he hopes to re-solve serious staffing and funding issues withinhis department with county commissioners orthe incoming county council, but hasn’t ruledoutfilingalawsuitagainstthecountyifnothing is done to address the problems.Citingexcessivecaseloads,FloraonFridayan-nounced that his office would limit the type of cases it accepts to homicides and certain otherfelonies,withsomeexceptions.Fivepeoplewhosought representation Monday were turnedaway, he said.Eachofthedefendantswasgivenaletterstat-ing they were denied representation due to alack of staff. It will be up county judges, led by
Public defendersays suit possible
Al Flora says he hopes to work out attorneystaffing shortage with county officials.
ByTERRIEMORGAN-BESECKER 
tmorgan@timesleader.com
See DEFENDER, Page12A
 WILKES-BARRE--It’stakeneightyears,butDebraBakerWilgusisgettingon withherlife. Wilgus,widowofSgt.SherwoodBaker,thefirstlocalsoldierkilledintheIraqWar,hasremarriedandsheandherhusbandopenedPat&Deb’sSportsMemor-abiliaonSouthMainStreetin Wilkes-Barre.“Honestly,Idon’tthinkit’sover,”Wilgus,34,said.“ItonlystoppedinIraq;we’restillinAfghanistan.Theguysmightcomehome,buttheymightbedeployedtoAfghanistannext.” WilgussaidtheIraqWarmeantlossesforherandherson,J.D.“IlostmyhusbandandJ.D.losthisfather,shesaid.“Thelasteightyearshaven’tbeeneasy;it’stakenmethatlongtomoveonwithmylife.”JustasSgt.Bakertoldherto,shesaid.“Ithinkaboutallthecon- versationsIhadwithSher- woodandIremembermost
Moving on after suffering pains of war 
ByBILLO’BOYLE 
boboyle@timesleader.com
See SOLDIERS, Page12A
Baker
 
K
PAGE 2A TUESDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2011 THE TIMES LEADER www.timesleader.com
Cunningham,TheresaCzachor,MargaretDolan,JohnEbert,JohnJ.Javer,CherylKalosky,DonaldKelly,EdwardKrupinski,MarieLazevnick,EdwardParini,JuliusTurner,JudithWalker,MarionZomerfeld,Stephanie
OBITUARIES
Page 8A
ASTORYONPAGE1A
Sat-urday regarding the decisionby the Luzerne County PublicDefender’s Office to limit thecases it accepts contained theincorrect first name for thecounty’s president judge. Thepresident judge is ThomasBurke.
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 – No playermatched all five winningnumbers drawn in Monday’s“Pennsylvania Cash 5” gameso the jackpot will be worth$225,000.Lottery officials said 63players matched four num-bers and won $231each;2,074 players matched threenumbers and won $11.50each; and 24,592 playersmatched two numbers andwon $1each.Thursday’s “PennsylvaniaMatch 6 Lotto” jackpot willbe worth at least $700,000because no player holds aticket with one row thatmatches all six winningnumbers drawn in Monday’sgame.
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CASH 5
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PeoplewhobelieveSantaClaus’sleighoperatesbestinsnowwillbeencouraged by the weekend fore-cast. WNEP-TV Chief Meteorologist Tom Clark believes there is achance of having a white Christ-mas.“Ihaveitupto60percent,alittlehigherthanwhatitwasafewdaysago,”Clarksaid.A storm system that has yet todevelopisexpectedtomoveacrossthecountrywithamixtureofrain,snow and sleet expected here Sat-urdayintoSaturdaynight.For it to be an official whiteChristmas, Clark said, there mustbe 1 inch or more of snow on thegroundonChristmasmorning.“Sixtypercentchance,that’sbe-ingoptimistic,”hesaid.Saturday’s expected storm willbe the third in a one-two-threepunchbyMotherNaturethisweek. The first storm will hit the areatonightwithsnowandsleetchang-ingtorainandsleetwhentemper-aturesriseintothe40sonWednes-day. The second storm will bring rain, snow and sleet Thursday af-ternoonintoFridaymorning. The second storm will increasethe probability of having snow onthegroundonSunday.Since 1960, there have been 14Christmasdayswitheitheratraceor accumulating snowfall at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Interna-tional Airport, according to mete-orologicalrecordsfromtheNation-alWeatherServiceinBinghamton,N.Y. The greatest Christmas Daysnowfallwas15inchesin2002. The last year it snowed onChristmas was in 2003, when lessthana1/2inchfellinthearea.
White Christmas in area may be more than a dream
ByEDWARDLEWI
elewis@timesleader.com
THE TIMES LEADER
wants to know what readers think arethe top10 stories in the region this year.Goonlinetohttp://tlgets.me/topstoriestodaytorankyourtop10 local news stories.We’ll compile the votes and the results will be published theweekendofNewYear’sDay.TheTimesLeaderwillofferayearinreviewinworld news, local sports news and local news and busi-ness.In addition, The Times Leader will take a look at communityleaderswhohavediedthisyearandexaminetheircontributionstotheregion.Ifyouhavesuggestionsaboutwell-knownlocalresi-dents who made an impact in life and died this year, send theirnames and details of their accomplishments to aseder@time-sleader.com by Wednesday.
TO P 10 LO C A L STO R I ES O F 2011
PLAINS TWP. -- The Wilkes-Barre Area Career and TechnicalCenter Joint Operating Commit-teeelectedGarySmithtocontin-ueaschairmanfor2012atthean-nual reorganization meeting onMonday night.Robert Raineri was chosen as vice chairman and John Quinn will serve as temporary boardtreasurer until July. The group approved a numberofitemsfromtheFinancialCom-mittee including $51,000 to ser- vice the debt for Series 2009LeaseRevenueBondsand$9,700for hard drive and memory up-grades to the center’s student in-formation system.Approvalwasgrantedtoobtaina credit card with a maximumlimitof$5,000forsmallpurchas-es.In personnel matters, the com-mittee set the hourly wage foradult evening instructors at $28,and $26.50 for other instructorsnotincludedinthecollectivebar-gaining agreement.In other business, the 2012committee calendar was ap-proved with meetings scheduledon the third Monday of eachmonth.
Smith reelected as Wilkes-Barre CTC chairman
BySTEVENFONDO
Times Leader Correspondent
EXETER -- A vote to replacethe longtime solicitor to the Wyoming Area School Districtbrought multiple counter mo-tions and numerous audiencequestions Monday night as theboardhelditsfirstregularmonth-ly meeting since four new boardmemberswereelectedinNovem-ber.One of the board’s first actions was to replace Ray Hassey, whohas served as the district’s solic-itorfor12years.Assoonasamo-tion was made to appoint JarrettFerentino as solicitor, boardmemberGilDominickcountered with a motion to reappoint Has-sey. That motion failed 4-5, withDominick,JohnBolin,JohnMar-ianacci and Deanna Farrell cast-ingtheyesvotesandboardPresi-dent Frank Casarella, Vice Presi-dentEstelleCampenni,CarlYori-na, ElizabethGober-ManganandMary Louise Degnan opposing.A succession of other motionsfollowed, including one to ap-point Hassey’s associate MikeButera and another to table themotiontohireasolicitoruntiltheposition could be advertised. Thatlastmotionendedinadead-lockedvoted,withDominick,Bo-lin,MarianacciandFarrellvoting to table; Casarella, Campenni,Gober-ManganandYorinavoting againstthat,andDegnanabstain-ing because she needed moretime to think about it.Casarella then called for an ex-ecutive session, and when theboard returned about15 minuteslater, Gober-Mangan made a mo-tion not to table the vote. Thatmotion passed 5-4 with Degnannow voting in favor of filling theposition.Avotewasfinallytakenon appointing Ferentino thatpassed6-3,withBolin,Dominickand Marianacci opposing.Board members who favoredretaining Hassey cited his long record of service to the districtand that he is a district residentand taxpayer, unlike Ferentino.Audience members also spoke infavor of Hassey and questionedthe move, asking why Hassey was replaced.“I was raised that if something isn’t broke, you don’t touch it,”saidWyomingresidentCarolDe-Salvo. She said after reading aPittston Dispatch article, shelooked into Hassey’s record and was “appalled” and “disappoint-edby theboard’s actionto replace him.Hassey wasnot present atthe meeting,butinanearlierinterview hetook issue withthewaythecan-didateswerese-lected.“They inter- viewed 11 or 12handpickedcandidates andthey set up anelaborate inter- view process,but the process didn’t live up tothetransparencytheypromised,”Hassey said.Casarella said at the meeting that board members were askedto submit names of attorneysthey knew who might be goodcandidates for the position, andacknowledged that he is “goodfriends” with Ferentino.All the candidates were inter- viewed by four board membersusing the same eight questions,and the final three candidates were so close they were broughtbackforasecondinterviewbyallboard members before the finaldecision was made, Casarellasaid.Board members said Hassey wasnotoneofthefinalthreecan-didates. They also pointed outthatsincethesolicitorisappoint-ed,interviewsaren’trequiredbut weredonetoensurethebestcan-didate was selected.Ferentino, who is part of thefirmofPugliese,Finnegan,Shaff-er and Ferentino, cited his eight years experience with prosecu-tion,litigationandtheresolutionof state and federal lawsuits andsaid he feels very well suited forthe solicitor’s position.Casarella said the experienceFerentinobringswillhelpthedis-trict going forward.“Ray Hassey did a very good job,butwe’rejustlookingatadif-ferent direction. There’s more tothisthanjustschoollawandhav-ing a firm like this will help us,”Casarella said.A new “tweak” to the hiring process also raised questions when it was used for the firsttime. In the hiring of new guid-ance counselor Rob Yatsko, allcandidateswereassignedanum-ber and board members did notknow the name of the candidatethey were selecting until a deci-sion was made.Majority board members tout-ed the new anonymous processas improving transparency.
Wyoming Area replaceslongtime solicitor Hassey
Vote to hire Jarrett Ferentinocomes after a string ofmotions, executive session.
ByJANINEUNGVARSKY 
Times Leader Correspondent
“There’smore tothis than just schoollaw andhaving afirm likethis willhelp us.”
BoardpresidentFrankCasarella
On hiring of newsolicitor
NUANGOLA – After a debateemanating along majority/mi-nority lines, council voted Mon-daynighttorevisedownwardits2012 budget from $230,075 to$182,125, and retain tax rates at2011levels.AmajorityledbycouncilPres-ident Regina Plodwick and alsoconsisting of Doug Fawbush, Ted Vancosky and Conrad Plod- wick acted, at the recommenda-tions of Melissa Weber, secreta-ry-treasurer, to alter a budgetthat had been prepared by JohnKochan,chairmanofbudgetandfinance.Atissueis$52,775inwhatwasdescribed as “bridge money”from a proposed $3 million loanfrom the Fulton Bank of Lancas-ter to the sanitary sewer systemproject that is tentatively sched-uledtostartinthespringof2012.Kochan included the funds asincome in preparing his spend-ing plan. “Sometime in 2012 we’regoingtogetawindfall,”hesaid. “It’s money we’re going toget.” Weber, however, had a differ-entview,arguing“that’sspecula-tive,”andassuch,she,asthebor-ough’sfinancialoffcer,wasbeing asked to submit to the state anunbalanced budget. “Harrisburg says we have to have a balancedbudget,” she said. Themajorityofcouncil,atRe-gina Plodwick’s lead, proceededto make line-item changes thatresulted in a spending plan of $182,125.Council unanimously passedtaxratesof0.444millsonreales-tate,a$52personalservicestax,a 1 percent real estate transfertax and 1/2 percent earned in-come tax. A mill is $1 in tax forevery $1,000 in assessed valua-tion. The debate continued whenRichKresgeofQuad3Engineersof Wilkes-Barre appealed for apaymentof$200,000fromeithercouncil or the sewer authority,the only assurance he received was that council voted to haveKochan, as chairman of the au-thority, conduct a search for abank loan or grant money andsubmitareportwhencouncilre-organizes in January.Kresge said his firm has beendoing work for Nuangola since2009andithasyettoreceiveanypayment. In fact, Kresge saidthat to proceed with the designcurrently in place, Quad 3 facesthe expense of $18,000 in orderto obtain permits from variousgovernment agencies. He sug-gested the project could be de-layedifthesepermitsarenotob-tained.In conversation about finan-cial issues, it was noted that theauthority has a fund balance of only $15.09.
Nuangola cuts budget by $48,000
Plan changed after some ofincome is called speculativeby secretary-treasurer.
ByTOMHUNTINGTON
Times Leader Correspondent
HAZLETON – City CouncilonMondaypassedonfirstread-ing a controversial rental regis-tration ordinance and adoptedanamended2012budgetwithasmaller tax increase than the version passed 12 days earlier. The version of the $7 millioncity budget approved on Dec. 7 would have necessitated a 14percent property tax increase, with the tax rate rising from2.83 mills to 3.23 mills. That would have equated to another$20 in property taxes for ahome valued at $50,000, giventhat a mill is a $1 tax on every$1,000 of assessed property val-ue.CouncilmembersonMondayrescinded the final votes theycast Dec. 7 on the budget ordi-nance and voted 3-2 for a bud-get with a 9.9-percent propertytax hike, which would tack onanother$14inpropertytaxestoa home valued at $50,000.Council had to raise propertytaxes a minimum of 0.18 millsto cover an increased debt ser- vice payment necessitated when they borrowed $5.6 mil-lion this past summer, with$2.6 million going to pay over-due bills and the rest going topay off the city’s 2011 tax reve-nue anticipation note.
Adjustments are made
Reducing the property taxhike was accomplished by re-ducing the general budget by$106,000. The revenue cutcame from adjusting anticipat-ed real estate taxes by $90,720and anticipated parking meterrevenue by $15,720.City Administrator Mary El-lenLiebsaidshereceivedanewtotalvaluationforallpropertiesin the city from the county, andthat valuation decreased. Shesaid the city would receive lessparking revenue because of street construction on BroadStreet.Most expenditure adjust-ments – $80,000 – came fromcuts in worker’s compensationin the police, fire and public works departments. Another$10,720 came from false arrestinsurance; the remainder camefrom the Engineering Depart-ment.Council members Jack Mun-die and Evelyn Graham votedagainst the budget. Mundiesaid he appreciated the admin-istration finding cuts that al-lowed for the smaller tax in-crease,butstillthoughtthecityshould cut more.He also had a problem withthe budget failing to reflect allanticipated revenue and expen-ditures. For example, the bud-geted amount for police over-time did not reflect reimburse-ments the city receives fromfederal programs, nor did therevenue side of the budget re-flect receipt of any such reim-bursements.Liebsaidtheamountszeroedout, so their absence made noreal difference in the budget.But Mundie said City Code re-quires all expenditures and rev-enues listed in line items, andthe city auditor agreed.Lieb said future budgets would reflect that recommen-dation of the auditor.
Concerns over rentals
 The rental registration ordi-nance, which earlier this yearprompted concerns from land-lords as well as council mem-bers, passed unanimously onthe first reading despite a pleafrom the president of the locallandlord association to recon-siderbecauseofpotentiallitiga-tion. The ordinance requires own-ersofrentalpropertiestomain-tain at least $50,000 in liabilityinsurance and hazard and casu-alty insurance to either restoreor remove the building in theevent of a fire or other loss; paya $100 registration fee perbuilding; and an annual inspec-tion fee of $25 per unit.City Solicitor Chris Slussersaid he was aware of no poten-tial for litigation arising fromthe ordinance.Council is expected to voteon the second and third read-ingsatthenextmeetingonJan.3 at 10 a.m.
Hazleton passes new budget
Amended version has smallertax increase than original.Rental ordinance also passed.
BySTEVEMOCARSKY 
 smocarsky@timersleader.com
 
C M Y K
THE TIMES LEADER www.timesleader.com TUESDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2011 PAGE 3A
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 WYOMING
3 sought in CVS incidents
B
orough Police Capt. ChristopherMercavitch said he is hoping some-one can identify three people wanted forquestioning after recent incidents at CVSPharmacy.Anyone with information about thethree people is asked to call Wyoming police at 693-3620.
 WILKES-BARRE
Dedication for streets set
Mayor TomLeighton will formallydedicate the streets at the CourtrightHousing Development to honor thelifetime achievements and contributionsto Wilkes-Barre and the North End byseveral notable members in the commu-nity’s history. The ceremony will be today at 3 p.m.at the development on Courtright Streetin the North End section. The official streets of the CourtrightHousing Development are McGowanStreet, Morris Lane, Atkins Lane andLace Mill Lane. The public is invited.
EXETER
Sanitary board rep. sought
Borough council is accepting letters of interest for a representative on the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authorityboard. Letters must be submitted beforeDec. 31to Exeter Borough,1101Wyom-ing Ave., Exeter, PA18643.
SCRANTON
Two to be sentenced
 Two owners of a Kingston accounting firmwho pleaded guilty to tax evasion will be sentenced on Jan.11in Scranton.Court papers filed Monday set the sen-tencing of Jerome Pinkowski and Chris-topher Wartella at10 a.m. in the WilliamJ. Nealon Courthouse and Federal Build-ing.IRS agents raided the firmin April2010, and the two signed plea agree-ments last week to plead guilty to taxevasion. According to court papers,Pinkowski admitted he underreported wages of some employees to avoid pay-ing employment taxes. Wartella ad-mitted underreporting personal income.Pinkowski faces a maximumsentenceof eight years in prison and a $500,000fine. Wartella faces up to three years anda $250,000 fine.
 WILKES-BARRE
Riccardi request denied
A Luzerne County senior judge onMonday denied a request by a manconvicted of first-degree murder to havea newtrial or modify his life-long prisonsentence.Senior Judge Joseph Augello, in a48-page opinion, denied the severalrequests of Elvis Riccardi, 33, of Wilkes-Barre, convicted of the 2009 beating death of Donald Skiff, 34, of Plymouth,and sentenced to life in prison, plus 71 years on additional charges.In September, Riccardi filed courtpapers, asking for a newtrial, acquittalor for his sentence to be reduced.Riccardi may nowappeal his convic-tion and sentence to the state SuperiorCourt.
NEWS IN BRIEF
Wanted for questioning in Wyoming CVSincident.
 The number of layoffs neces-sary under the 2012 LuzerneCounty budget proposed byoutgoingcommissionersissub- ject to debate.Commissioner ChairwomanMaryannePetrillaestimated60layoffswhenshewaspressedtoprovideanumberbyhomeruleconsultant Ken Mohr during aMonday night budget-briefing session with some members of the County Council-elect.Butformercountybudget/fi-nance chief Tom Pribula, who was in the audience, said afterthe session that her estimate isinaccurate because it only fac-toredinthe$3.5millionincutsfrom this year’s $125.2 millionbudget to next year’s proposed$121.7 million budget.Nextyear’sbudgetmustalsoabsorb about $4.2 million inspending increases for debt re-payments and costs associated with workers’ compensation,foratotal$7.7millionhit,Prib-ula said. The county uses a $50,000estimateperemployeetocalcu-late how many workers wouldhavetobelaidoff,anditwouldamount to about 150 with re-ductions totaling $7.7 million,said Pribula, who has appliedfor the permanent and interimcountymanagerandbudget/fi-nance division chief positionsunder home rule. The council-elect will haveuntil Feb. 15 to exercise an op-tiontoamendthebudget.Ataxincreasewouldlikelybetheon-lyoptionforthenewcounciltoavoid significant cuts becausecommissioners have saidthey’ve already scraped togeth-er all attainable revenue.Petrilla said during the bud-get briefing that the number of layoffs could be reduced by re-tirements. Three employeeshave recently retired, but thenumbercouldincreasetoabout10 because “many” others havebeen inquiring about retiring,she said.Several members of thecouncil-elect also responded toa request fromrowofficers andthe public defender to meet af-ter the commissioner budgetbriefing to discuss their con-cernsaboutbudgetcuts,layoffsand the uncertainty surround-ing the Jan. 2 switch to homerule. The council-elect membersstressed that the manager – in-terim or permanent – will han-dle decisions about staffing,layoffsanddailyoperations.Di-rectives will be passed to en-sure essential duties are cov-ered after several elected rowofficer posts are eliminated un-der home rule, they said. They advised row offices tocome up with suggestions onhow their offices could bemerged and streamlined tocomplywiththenewhomerulestructure.
County layoff estimates vary widely
Commissioner says numbercould be 60; former officialestimates more like 150.
ByJENNIFERLEARN-ANDES 
 jandes@timesleader.com
BILL TARUTIS/FOR THE TIMES LEADER
County Councilman-elect Jim Bobeck, at left, reviews docu-ments as commissioners Thomas Cooney and Maryanne Pe-trilla listen to comment Monday at the county courthouse.
 WAITINGFORTOYSTHATGIVEJOY
PETE G. WILCOX/THE TIMES LEADER
P
eople wait in line Monday to gain access to Our Lady of Hope Church basementin Wilkes-Barre for the annual toy drive distribution that is organized by CatholicSocial Services. Every year Catholic Social Services teams up with the U.S. Marines’Toys for Tots program as well as local parishes to collect toys for families in need.
 WILKES-BARRE – A wom-an convicted of cruelty to ani-mals in a case in which prose-cutors say she pierced theears and docked the tails of kittens will be allowed to reo-pen her pet-grooming busi-ness, a Luzerne County judgesaid Monday.Judge Tina Polachek Gar-tley said Monday incourt papers thatHolly Crawford, 36,of Sweet Valley, willbe permitted to reo-pen her business,Pawside Parlor, butthat she must followspecific guidelinesthat include randominspections andproper licensing re-quirements.Crawford had been convict-ed in February 2010 of onemisdemeanor and one sum-mary count of cruelty to ani-mals and was sentenced inApril 2010 to six monthshouse arrest and 15 monthsprobation.In August, she was sen-tenced to three- to six-months in jail after a viola-tion of the terms of her pro-bation when she was charged with possession of a con-trolled substance and drug paraphernalia in Wyoming County.Crawford, who did not re-turn messages seeking com-ment Monday, was releasedfrom prison on parole in No- vember.Polachek Gartley had or-dered Crawford’s business tocease operations at her April2010 sentencing.Prosecutors say Crawford was charged after humane of-ficers and state policesearched Crawford’s home onDec. 17, 2008, and seizedthree kittens with ear, neckand tail piercings. At leastone of the kittens had a ring on its tail used to preventblood flow, causing the tail tofall off over time.Crawford then allegedlytried to sell the kittens oneBay, advertising them as“gothic kittens.”Crawford said at the timeof her sentencinthat she did notthink what she wasdoing was a crime,and that the actions would never happenagain.Polachek Gartleysaid in court papersMonday that Craw-ford’s business mustconsist of a waitinroom and one otherroom where pet grooming  will take place; that there willbe random inspections by Lu-zerne County Adult Proba-tion and Parole; and that if the department says thepremises are not clean andappropriate, probation offi-cers can have the business in-spected by a veterinarian.If the probation officers or-der an evaluation by a veter-inarian, business will ceaseuntil the evaluation is com-plete, Polachek Gartley said.Crawford must also comply with licensing requirements.All of the conditions, the judge said, are part of Craw-ford’s probation.
Grooming businessallowed to reopen
Holly Crawford convicted ofcruelty to animals in “gothickittens” incident.
BySHEENADELAZIO
 sdelazio@timesleader.com
Sheena Delazio
, a Times Leaderstaff writer, may be reached at829-7235.
Prosecutorssay shepierced theears anddocked thetails of kit-tens.

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