Monday, July 14, 2014

Peeking into the Past

October 19. 2013 2:37PM

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In 1962, Narda Sperrazza along with her neighbor, Mrs. Lora Emigh, both of West Pittston, were proud of the caster bean plant they had nurtured to a height of 15 feet. But there was an unknown danger surrounding their project. Why would they most likely not choose to raise such a plant today?

1952 – 61 YEARS AGO

Invitations were sent for the dedication ceremonies of the new nurses home at Pittston Hospital. The construction of the facility, named Tinsley Hall, in honor of Esther Tinsley, superintendent at the Pittston Hospital, was made possible through the cooperation of the board of directors of Pittston Hospital and government funding.

After serving 10 years in the Women’s Army Corp, Master Sgt. Amelia Madrak, pf Durye,a said, “It’s good to be back home.” Madrak entered the service in 1942. She left the states in 1950 aboard the S.S. General H.W. Butner. Arriving in Yokohama Japan on Aug. 31, Madrak was assigned to the 441st Counter Intelligence Corp. The corps played an indirect role in the success of key combat operations, particularly the Inchon landing in September 1950. The SS Butner was one of the handful of ships that supplied vitally needed troops to prepare for the landing which led to the recapture of the South Korean capital of Seoul.

1962 – 51 YEARS AGO

The Jenkins Township Little League finished its season with an awards banquet held at the Mayfair Supper Club. Players receiving honors were James Norris, leading home run hitter; Paul Cawley, outstanding pitcher; Leo Gorman, outstanding player; John Ladomirak, outstanding player of Junior Teeners; Louis Lussi, outstanding pitcher in the Senior Teener Leagu;e and Frank Wojcik, outstanding pitcher.

The Hotel Sterling was the scene for the Installation dinner of the Beta Chi Sorority of the Wilkes Barre Business College. Jean Gatti, of West Wyoming, was chosen as Miss Beta Chi of ‘62” and Joanne Calonis, of Duryea, runner up. Faculty members selected the women for outstanding scholarship, leadership and personality.

1972 – 41 YEARS AGO

The Borough of Avoca stood the chance to receive $30,000 per year under the new revenue sharing program approved by Washington lawmakers. Although council members felt sure conditions would be attached to the provision, they also were relieved property millage would be kept at the existing rate.

Revenue sharing was in place from 1972-1986. Under this policy, Congress gave an annual amount of federal tax revenue to the states and their cities, counties and townships. Revenue sharing was extremely popular with state officials, but it lost federal support during the Reagan Administration. In 1987, revenue sharing was replaced with smaller block grants reducing federal revenues given to states

Top 10 songs of 1972:

1. “Baby Don’t Get Hooked on Me” – Mack Davis

2. “Black & White” – 3 Dog Night

3. “Saturday in the Park” - Chicago

4. “Back Stabbers” – The O’Jays

5. “Go All the Way” – Raspberries

6. “Everybody Plays the Fool” – Main Ingredient

7. “Ben” – Michael Jackson

8. “My Ding a Ling” – Chuck Barry

9. “Goodbye to Love” – Carpenters

10. “I Am Woman” – Helen Reddy

1992 – 21 YEARS AGO

Homecoming ceremonies were held at Pittston Area and Wyoming Area schools. Members of the Patriots Homecoming Court were queen Stacy Draus and her court Joy Tetlak, Nicole Romanczuk, Christa Reggie and Kendra Kishel with escorts Jason Piontkowski, Tony Biscotto, Robert Breymeier, Paul Biscontini, Patrick Ratchford and Jamie Marinello. Members of the Warriors Homecoming Court were queen Susan Shemo and her court Clancy Clash, Nicole Patrick, Rachelle Rosencrance, Patti Loyack with escorts Rocco Casarella, David Stull, Patrick Cosgrove, Steve Lombardo, Paul Forlenza and Nicholas Ruggiero. According to the website, some schools choose a Homecoming “King and Queen” with an accompanying Homecoming Court of Princes and Princesses. Usually, the King and Queen are juniors or seniors while the court are lower classmen. Since homecoming is all about welcoming back alumni and school spirit, the students elected to the court are “usually pretty involved in school activities.”


Thomas Jefferson is known to have carefully tended a caster bean plant to grow to a height of 22 feet. However, ricin, the deadly poison used in a famous political assassination involving a trick umbrella, is encapsulated in the bean produced by the plant. Although the oil pressed from the bean has many uses and is safe, the potent toxin ricin is made from a protein in the castor seeds that, if ingested, gets into the ribosomes of cells where it prevents protein synthesis. It is now suggested that the plant, although beautiful, not be in proximity of children or pets.

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