Peeking into the Past

By Judy Minsavage jminsavage@civitasmedia.com

May 31, 2014

Last week’s Peeking into the Past mentioned that in 1963, the Pittston High School baseball team was headed into the title game of the County League Northern Division Tournament. We asked anyone who remembered the outcome to call us. Jim Moffatt, formerly of Pittston, had been in contact with Jerry Linnen, a member of the team, and Moffatt informed us that the team in fact won the game in question, a match-up with Plains. Linnen reported that “The team’s two pitchers, Tom (not Ed as erroneously reported) Oprendick & Billy Richards got hot down the stretch! Jim Kobi, John Adonizio, Tony Bellanca, Larry Burdette, Frank McCabe, Ross Scarantino, Joe Hughes and a few more became big hitters. Jim Giordina was manager.” We also heard from John Adonizio, who said the team beat Plains, Marymount, Myers and Plymouth and took the championship. Thank you, gentlemen, for giving us the answer.


What controversial issue reigned in Wyoming Borough for 16 years before it was finally resolved?


Stanley Turkos, and Duryea Dry Cleaners, was the focus of a June 1, 1952 Sunday Dispatch column, “Throwing Some Light on the Other Fellow’s Job.” Turkos explained that the reference to “dry” is a misleading one, since the clothes-cleaning process actually uses liquid that dries more quickly than water. Turkos started in the dry cleaning business in 1949, working in various departments. A veteran of World War II, Turkos served with a field artillery battery of the 1st Army for three years. He was wounded at the battle for Saint Lo in France. He was a member of the VFW, American Legion, DAV, YMS of R, vice president of the Greater Pittston Library Association, president of the Duryea Lions Club and a member of the Polish National Church in Dupont. After the Battle of Normandy, Saint Lo on the Cherbourg Peninsula became the focus of the Allied Invasion. The Battle, hard fought and won by the Allies, destroyed a major part of the city, but led to the eventual expulsion of German forces from northern France.

Sam Cohen and Carl Epstein, owners of Cohen Brothers on North Main Street in Pittston, and their staff Jack James, Bill Schneck, Mike Punturerio and Fred Monteforte invited men and boys to participate in their Once in a Blue Moon Sale. Men’s wool suits were advertised at $48; sport coats, $28; boys’ white suits, $6.88 ;and boys’ shirts, $1.88.


Guy Burgio, of Pittston, accepted a position with the National Security Service in Washington D.C. as an electronic technician. A 1960 graduate of Pittston High School, Burgio planned to continue his education at George Washington University in D.C. According to declassified documents, in February 1943, the U.S. Army’s Signal Intelligence Service, the precursor to the National Security Agency, began a secret program later code named VENONA. The mission of this program was to examine and exploit Soviet diplomatic communications uncovering a spy network and traitors in the U.S. In 1962, the agency played a key roll in intercepting communications leading to the Cuban Missile Crises.

The Flatiron building on North Main Street, Pittston, was purchased by the Urban Redevelopment Authority. In preparation of demolition, Medico Industries began removal of glass windows in the store fronts. A photo of the Flatiron Building as it appeared in 1962 can be viewed on the Sunday Dispatch Facebook page.


Don Kenia was considered one of Duryea’s most outstanding athletes. After getting his start in the Duryea Little League program, his excellent pitching performance for the V.F.W team led them in part to a championship. In 1969, he pitched for the Duryea Teeners while batting.436. Then, Kenia joined the Duryea Holy Rosary eighth-grade basketball team where he led the team in scoring. While at Holy Rosary he was awarded the Colombian Squires Tournament Best Sportsmanship Award. He went on to win several other titles and awards after graduation but hoped to continue his education and enter into the accounting field.

In 1972, The newly-formed Avoca Women’s Club selected its first officers Mrs. Donald Justick, president: Mrs. Louis Bau, vice president; Mary Jackson, secretary; Cory Miller, installing officer and Mrs. James Walsh, treasurer.


Even though Wyoming Borough was incorporated in 1885, it took 16 years for council members to settle on cost and location of a town hall. After much bickering and indecision, on April 3, 1901, a lot was purchased at the corner of Breese Street and Wyoming Avenue for $1,300. Frederick I. Olds, who designed the Irem Temple and St. Mary’s Byzantine Church in Wilkes-Barre, was selected as the building’s architect. His original design exhibited a mixture of Late Victorian and Colonial Revival. Council accepted Herbert Jones’ bid of $5,600 to build the town hall. The grand opening occurred on June 2, 1902. In 2002, the Wyoming Borough Municipal Building celebrated its 100th anniversary.

“We dare not forget that we are the heirs of that first revolution. ” - John F. Kennedy