Tuesday, July 22, 2014





Deadline to register to vote in primaries is today


April 21. 2013 11:48PM


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Luzerne County residents who want a say on which May 21 primary election candidates get on the November ballot must register to vote by today.


Registration applications are available on the election page of the county’s website, www.luzernecounty.org (click on departments) or at the election office on the second floor of the county’s Penn Place Building at the corner of Market Street and Pennsylvania Avenue in downtown Wilkes-Barre. To meet the deadline, applications must be dropped off at the election office by 4:30 p.m. today or mailed with today’s postmark.


* The county election office plans to switch the Rice Township voting location from the fire department to the township municipal building, said election Director Marisa Crispell-Barber. Election staffers checked out a complaint of broken windows and water pipes and other problems at the fire department and determined the building “is not going to suit our needs,” she said.


Voters affected by polling place changes will receive new identification cards.


* County Children and Youth Director Frank Castano will provide an update on staffing and operations at Tuesday’s County Council meeting, which is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. in the council meeting room at the county courthouse. Council had requested an update, in part, because the office had received authorization to fill several caseworker positions earlier this year.


* Council will vote Tuesday on a $14,724-a-year lease agreement with U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Moosic, to provide space for a district office in the county’s Penn Place Building. Officials say the lease will generate revenue for space not needed by the county and increase access to the legislator.


* County Chief Engineer Joe Gibbons will discuss options Tuesday for several unoccupied county-owned properties — the former Valley Crest Nursing Home in Plains Township, the former juvenile detention center and Springbrook Water Co. in Wilkes-Barre and a downtown Hazleton building purchased for a southern annex that never materialized.


* The accurate name verification of a citizen volunteer also is on Tuesday’s agenda. Council asked Chairman Tim McGinley to meet with Charles Olah, a county audit committee member who has been using the pseudonym Therman Guamp, to find out why he has been using another name. Olah told a reporter he used another name because his family expressed safety concerns when he started publicly questioning county government activities years ago.


* County Manager Robert Lawton had planned to recommend additional division head applicants to council for its confirmation at Tuesday’s meeting, but Lawton said he wants more time. To date, the county has filled three of the eight division head positions required by home rule.


The yet-to-be-hired managers will oversee operations, administrative services, the correctional system, human services and judicial records.


* The county ethics commission voted last week to dismiss the twelfth complaint filed last year. A source said the complaint focused on a lack of usage of time clocks, but the commission can’t discuss details of complaints because of a confidentiality provision in the ethics code. Commission member Walter Griffith, the county controller, opposed the complaint dismissal.


* County officials say the decision to switch the retirement board meeting to 5 p.m. last week prompted about 20 employees and citizens to attend. The board, which oversees the employee pension fund, traditionally meets during the day.


* Councilwoman Linda McClosky Houck urged citizens to apply for vacant unpaid seats on county authorities, boards and commissions. Council recently advertised a request for applicants, but only one person had applied as of Friday. The application form is available on the county website.




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