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Last updated: March 15. 2013 4:25PM - 837 Views
With Judy Minsavage



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Question #1

In 1966, what was one result of the West Side School District merger that was believed to be a possible first in the United States?


1966 – 47 Years Ago


JoAnne Mary McLaughlin, a native of Pittston, completed 10 weeks of basic training at the women's recruit training command at Bainbridge, Maryland. The new WAVE graduated during a military review. In 1942, the WAVES became a World War II division of the U.S. Navy and consisted entirely of women. The name was the acronym for Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service.


Exeter Tax Collector James C. Walsh completed his four-year term in office. During his term, he donated all of his income, which totaled $24,000, to the tuition of Exeter students in local colleges. Tax collector-elect Merle Pace pledged to continue the program.


The borough of Wyoming adopted members of 161st Aviation Company serving 16 miles west northwest of Qui Nhon, Vietnam. Mayor Irving Hughes presented Post 396 of Veterans of Foreign Wars members Gertrude Dymond, Stanley Lepka, Mrs. Pat Steransky, Richard Lyons, John Basta, Steve Steransky, Ed Roback, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Lipka, James Crane, Thomas Kosisky and Gene Allegrucci with a proclamation indicating the community's action.


Major Michael R. Thomas, of Wyoming, commanded the 161st. The soldiers in the unit named their area in the war zone Wyoming Valley.


According to www.talkingproud.us, The 161st Aviation Co. arrived at the port of Qui Nhon in late November 1965. They set up camp on a hill in the An Sou Valley, about 12 miles west of Qui Nhon. There was nothing there and the unit had to build what they could build from the ground floor up. They even built a wonderful chapel on a small knoll overlooking the base.


1976 – 37 Years Ago


Mrs. Irene McDonald was unanimously elected president at the reorganization meeting of the Avoca Borough Council. McDonald had previously been appointed to serve during a six-month interim period upon the resignation of former president Frank Fuller. She was the first woman to be elected to serve on Council in Avoca.


An anonymous letter from an area resident brought a family of a missing Media girl to Greater Pittston. Sixteen year-old Wendy Eaton went missing after she set out on an afternoon walk from her home in Delaware County on May 17, 1975. In response to an ad the family placed in the Philadelphia Inquirer, a letter arrived from someone in the area, explaining that Wendy had been seen soliciting for a religious group known as the Forever Family. Hoping to find Wendy, her parents traveled to the area, but found no trace of their daughter or the religious group. Wendy's photo and description are posted on the website www.pennsylvaniamissing.com. An age-progression photo is posted on www.charleyproject.org. She would be approximately 54 years of age.


The Sunday Dispatch Inquiring Photographer asked Pittston residents, How do you feel about legalizing gambling in Pennsylvania?



Mike Lynott answered, I'm for it; Uncle Sam will benefit and it will increase prosperity in the Commonwealth.



Gennaro Adonizio added, Yes, why take our money out of Pennsylvania? The Poconos would make the ideal Las Vegas of the East Coast.



Esther Chiavacci stated, I would cast my vote in favor of adopting a law to bring gambling out in the open where it can be controlled.


Gambling became legal in Pennsylvania in 2004.


1986 – 27 Years Ago

The newly-constructed Pittston Chamber of Commerce Building at the intersection of William Street and Kennedy Boulevard was nearing completion. Pittston Mayor Thomas Walsh broke ground for the 2,000 sq. ft facility in September 1985.


Prior to its new home, the chamber was located on the second floor of the Miner's Bank Building at the corner of South Main and Broad Streets.


According to Ed Ackerman in his Sunday Dispatch column, the best New Year's wish he had heard came from Father Charles Rokosz, pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church, Hughestown, to his parishioners: In 1986, may you all be blessed with enough prosperity to remain humble.


The Greater Pittston Touch Football League disbanded in 1986, but Duryea Auto Wreckers went 7-5 during the regular season and made the playoffs.


Members of the team, Matty Hogan, Tony Lieback, Andrew Marich, Brian Fahey, Jerry Fitzpatrick, Tom McClain, Bruce Widdick, Ken Keezer, Bob Fahey, Brian Delaney, Paul Dixon, John Colwell, Bert Maxwell, Andy Arnone, Ed Shannon, Dennis Redding, Franny Gardner, Mark Dessoye, Jim McLaughlin and Bob Kolbeck looked forward to playing their last game against Torbik's Safe and Lock for the championship.


If anyone knows the outcome of the game, please call me at 602-0168.


Question 2

In 1986, what valuable items were found in the abandoned Lincoln School building?


1996 – 17 Years Ago

The Blizzard of '96 dumped approximately 21 inches of snow across the region and set accumulation records in the Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia areas. As many local residents began digging out, West Pittston Mayor Ray Crisci stated, We're well over the budget for snow removal. Street Commissioner Bob Dovin said his crews were working 10-hour days.


Pittston, which had budgeted $15,000 for snow removal, had already spent $16,000 on contracted equipment to haul snow to various dumpsites in the city.



Leo Glodzik III, owner of Duryea Auto, received a thank you from Pittston Mayor Thomas Walsh and City Council for opening his shop at midnight on the first day of the storm. Two salt spreaders had broken down and Glodzik and welder Brian Toole set about making repairs.



Mary Ann Gorzkowski, of Avoca, Sal Sciandra, of Pittston, and Kurt VanDuzer, of Pittston, agreed with Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge's decision to ban travel until roads could be deemed safe.


2006 – 7 Years Ago


Kristen Baumes, of Pittston, made front-page news by scoring her 1,000th career point in the Pittston Area girls basketball team's victory over rival Wyoming Area. She achieved the goal in the opening minutes of the game, scoring a three-pointer.


Answer #1

Confusion was evident in 1966 in the choosing of the school colors for the-newly formed Wyoming Area School District.


The colors chosen were gold, green and white, which was noted as possibly the first time in state and national history that a tri-color had been adopted as a school's official colors. The logic of the selection was that West Pittston (green) and Exeter (gold) were the largest of the schools affected and white was represented in Wyoming and West Wyoming.


Answer #2

Pittston Area teacher Liz Brogna began a five-year program aimed at building a string orchestra consisting of fourth, fifth and sixth-graders. When the program began, three abandoned base violins were found in the old band room at the Lincoln Building in Pittston.


The district paid approximately $800 to have the three instruments restored. At the time, they would have cost well over $1,000 each brand new.


In the second year of its existence, the program had 50 students in the process of learning traditional stringed orchestral instruments.


A product of the Pittston High School music program, Mrs. Brogna started learning piano but was influenced by Helen Oliveri, her music teacher, to take up a stringed instrument.


She took her teacher's advice and, for many years, played with the Wilkes-Barre Philharmonic.



Never make your home in a place. Make a home for yourself inside your own head. You'll find what you need to furnish it - memory, friends you can trust, love of learning and other such things. That way, it will go with you wherever you journey.


Tad Williams


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