September 21st, 2015 9:30 pm

First Posted: 11/4/2012


With the 1964 presidential election scheduled for Nov. 3, the city of Pittston announced that there were a total of 7,095 registered voters. However, what did some voters find unusual about the tally?

1954 – 58 Years Ago

Built in 1927 and financed by Attorney Charles Loveland and Mrs. Hollenback of Wilkes-Barre, the Dupont Community House had become a staple in the borough. Hosting organizations as the Boy Scouts, Forget-me-Not Club and Goodfellows Club among other groups, the building was in jeopardy of being sold by the board of directors.

The Dupont Board of Education investigated the possibility of using the building to house students then attending classes in the Pulaski School or house students who once attended the Lincoln School, which was destroyed by fire in 1948. Harold Gammon, first director of the community house, held hope that the historic building would remain a community center, remembering that residents attended Sunday School classes there during the 1920s and ‘30s and during World War II, the building was used as an induction center.

Pittston City Council and Mayor Joseph Saporito were engaged in a review of operational costs with regard to the 1955 proposed budget. In 1954, expenditures totaled $596,764 with anticipated like income. The budget provided for $92,435 for the Department of Public Affairs which included police, parking meters, communication, city engineer and Bureau of Health, $30,545 for the Department of Accounts and Finance headed by Joseph Walsh.

Council budgeted over $80,000 for Department of Public safety and $177,793 for Department of Streets and Public Improvement. The Department of Parks and Recreation was allotted $8,362, which included the cost of maintenance of city hall and payment of employees.

Other accounts provided for were $33,000 for redemption of bond issues, $4,530 for interest, $2,000 for Social Security payments, and $6,500 for compensation and insurance.

Mrs. Orlando Biscontini, of West Pittston, was visiting St. Cecilia's Cemetery in Exeter when she noticed an overturned candle had started a grass fire threatening to spread to gravesite decorations and flowers and shrubbery. Without hesitation, she stamped out the fire, saving the cemetery from costly damage.

1964 – 48 Years ago

Over 100 youngsters dressed in costumes ranging from devils to angels attended the Halloween party sponsored by Serve Your Y Club at the YMCA in Pittston.

Judges awarded prizes to Donna Marino and Dennis Bohan for funniest; Debbie Wieczorek and Paul Tamolinus, scariest; Raymond DelPriore and James DelConte, prettiest; and Stanley Chase and Kathryn Yanchis, most original.

According to the web site, in the second half of the 19th century, America was flooded with new immigrants. These new immigrants, especially the millions of Irish fleeing Ireland's potato famine of 1846, helped to popularize the celebration of Halloween nationally. Taking from Irish and English traditions, Americans began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money.

Bonnie Ann Baird, of Wyoming, was elected the first president of the newly-formed Wyoming Valley Junior Miss Sorority. She represented girls who, over the years, were finalists in the Wyoming Valley Junior Miss Contest sponsored by the West Side Junior Chamber of Commerce.

Miss Baird and the winners of other such contests across the state went on to compete in the Miss Pennsylvania Junior Miss Pageant and, if chosen, went on to the America Junior Miss Pageant.

According to, in 1958, what began as America Junior Miss Pageant changed in 1959 to America's Junior Miss. In 1989, it was re-named America's Young Woman of the Year because the emphasis was on scholarship, talent and achievement.

In 1992, it went back to America's Junior Miss for marketing and promotional purposes, as well as general recognition. However, in 2010 it was changed to 2010 Distinguished Young Woman of America.

1974 – 38 Years Ago

The newly-constructed Duryea Borough building was dedicated. The masonry structure built on the site of the former Lincoln School for $430,000 featured a large council chamber and library on the upper level and a large community room on the lower level.

The entrance lobby contains a ceramic tile mural depicting the delineation of the Borough of Duryea. The blue tiles represent the Susquehanna and Lackawanna Rivers. Red tiles show the three dams and Falling Springs and the extended portion of the mural is the Fifth Ward which extends in Avoca.

Vacendak's Home Center at 101 S. Main St. in Pittston held a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Mike and John Vacendak partnered in the paint and home-building material store. Present at the ceremonies were Floyd Evans, Joseph Quinn, Dick Lyons of the Chamber of Commerce, Jerry Mirro and Jack Lewis.

Ensign Walter Skip Stocknick, of West Pittston and a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, was stationed at the Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia with the Squadron VA-176 attack bomber squadron which flew the A-6 Intruder twin-engine jets. He received training both in Yuma, Arizona and aboard the Franklin D. Roosevelt Aircraft Carrier.

Known as a basketball and track star at Wyoming Area High School, Skip was set to attend flight school to become a Navy jet pilot. Lawrence Mead, Jr,. who later was instrumental in the design of the Grumman F-14 Tomcat and the Lunar Excursion Module, led the A-6 bomber's design team.

Warrior golfers chalked up their 72nd consecutive league golf match win in Wyoming Valley Golf Conference playoffs. Coached by Joe Satkowski, golfers Rich Donlavage, Joe Jumper, Joe Angelella, Billy Briggs and Henry Petroski took the league title by a 20-stroke margin.

1984 – 28 Years Ago

Pittston Area School District offered Creative Enrichment classes to give first-hand information to students on the political process. Special events gave the students a comprehensive look at the American system of government and its elections. John Denney of the Reagan-Bush headquarters and Jennifer Wintner of the Mondale-Ferraro headquarters visited the school to discuss the various facets of attending conventions, meeting candidates and debating issues facing the country.

The students held a pre-election poll and staged a mini-mock debate. In 1984, the presidential election was held on Nov. 6. Republican Ronald Reagan was elected to a second term, defeating Democrat and former U.S. vice president Walter Mondale. Reagan won 49 states and received 525 electoral votes to Mondale's 13, making the election one of the biggest landslides in U.S. history.

Mondale also made history that year by choosing as his running mate Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman selected by a major political party for its presidential ticket.

The Northeastern Pennsylvania Tennis League Southern Division champions, Pittston Area Patriots, closed their season with a 12-0 mark.

Team members included Paulette Kern, Tammy Jackson, Nancy Rydzy, Marie O'Brien, Mary Pat McMullen, Susan Charney, Karen Smalley, Kim Lizak, Colleen Curtin, Paula Kmiec, Kathleen Cosgrove, Maria Sciandra, Dawn Dankulich, Tracy Pahl, Janice McMullen, Mary Ellen Opeka, Mary Polino and Chris McNulty.

Denise Klaproth, of West Pittston, received her black belt in Kung Fu from the Shaolin School. Miss Klaproth participated in competitions over a five-year period during which she received 28 trophies.

The Sunday Dispatch Inquiring Photographer asked, In your opinion, what are the major issues that voters should be concerned with while casting votes?

Dorothy Dructor, of Duryea, answered, Poverty, that two people have to work in a family to keep home going.

Martha Moranski, of Avoca added, Unemployment, give people a job then they can solve their own problems.

Jimmy Dennis, of West Wyoming stated, A stable economy, not empty promises of a balanced budget.

Margaret Hatrak, of Exeter said, Make sure to vote for the man best qualified to lead America for the next four years.


In 1964, the list of eligible voters showed 1,461 male Republicans, 1,641 female; and 1,885 male Democratic voters and 2,092 female. Overall, 387 more female voters than men.

According to the Gallup Poll, 48 percent of likely voters this year are male, up 1 percent from 2008, while female voters dropped 1 percent to 52 percent. According to The Center for American Women and Politics, in every presidential election since 1984, the proportion of eligible female adults who voted has exceeded the proportion of eligible male adults who voted.

How come we choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America?

Author unknown