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Sad but true, Rush on Obama money

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Posted: Sunday, October 11, 2009 5:41 pm - 1 opinion posted
Open forum / Free for all!
Open forum / Free for all!
   We can't forget to let you to have an open forum.
    Have at it!
    Remember, no unsubstantiated allegations, no name calling and keep it above board.
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Posted: Sunday, October 11, 2009 1:10 pm - 8 opinions posted
WA appeal will cost defendants & taxpayers even more
WA appeal will cost defendants & taxpayers even more
John LaNunziata and Jerry Wall
WA appeal will cost defendants & taxpayers even more
   Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock….
   Do you hear that?
   That’s the sound of the 6% interest clock ticking against the defendants of the Wyoming Area Federal lawsuit.
   Get ready because clock will be ticking away for at least another three years.
   This past week, the defendants in the infamous “Tri-Fecta” filed an appeal.
   That is to be expected of course.
   However, a $500,000 verdict could turn out to be $600,000 with interest.  Plus attorney fees which I’m sure by the time they’ve exhausted the appeal process will be close to $400,000. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Sunday, October 11, 2009 12:28 am - 13 opinions posted
Kitchen Table Poltics October 11, 2009
 

 
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Posted: Sunday, October 11, 2009 12:00 am - 11 opinions posted
With Skrep, we'll make national news again
With Skrep, we'll make national news again
County Commissioner Greg Skrepnak
With Skrep, we'll make national news again
   When Wyoming Valley and Luzerne County make national news, it’s usually not for winning the Nobel Peace Prize.
   As we all know too well, the last time we made national news, 20/20 pulled up their vans and featured “Kids for Cash.”
   My thoughts are that if County Commissioner Greg Skrepnak is knee deep in this county scandal as many are speculating, the 20/20 vans will be pulling up to the courthouse again.
   This time the headline will be “NFL star does good, becomes County Commissioner, now involved in political scandal." Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, October 10, 2009 11:57 pm - 6 opinions posted
Ross was not a rat
Ross was not a rat
Ross Scarantino
Ross was not a rat
   An observation I made this past week is why was Ross Scarantino sentenced so quickly?
   After all, there have been a handful that were arrested before Ross.
   So why now?
   Then it hit me with the arrest of Bart Weidlich..
   Scarantino is not a rat.
   My thought is Ross stopped cooperating. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, October 10, 2009 11:32 pm - 8 opinions posted
Gartely should be distancing herself
Gartely should be distancing herself
Mary Anne Petrilla, Tina Gartley & Susan Kolessar
Gartely should be distancing herself
   Just when I thought Judicial Candidate Tina Gartley was staying above all, this week I’m left scratching my head
   On LuLac, Dave Yonki’s blog (click here to view), a photo of her posing with County Commissioner Maryanne Petrilla surfaced.
   And, it’s not a photo that was taken before all this crap with the county happened
   Gartley actually had the Luzerne County Commissioner introduce here at one her rallies.
   According to Yonki’s  blog, “Mary Anne Petrilla introduced Polachek Gartlley and wasted no time taking a jab at the County GOP. Alluding to their slogan, “Elect Republicans-End Corruption”
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Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, October 10, 2009 12:31 pm - 14 opinions posted
State investigating Exeter sewer project


   Something stinks in Exeter!
   According to a letter (click here to view) sent to Exeter Borough, the State Auditor General is looking for documents pertaining to a sewer project performed in 2008.
   The letter, signed by Special Investigator Edwin Tyler, is requesting the following documents “relative to the sanitary sewer construction work done on Orchard Street in 2008”
   1.  Copies of proposals from contractors for the Project
   2.  Copies of invoices for purchases made by Exeter Borough for the Project;
   3.  Copies of cancelled checks for all disbursements made relative to the Project: and
   4.  Copies of Borough minutes for the period July 2008 through January 2009. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Wednesday, October 7, 2009 11:17 pm - 8 opinions posted
Poll says Burke will come out on top
Poll says Burke will come out on top
   According to a PittstonPolitics.com poll, there’s good news for Judge Tom Burke.
   And, there’s bad news for Judge Peter Paul Olszewski
   With an overwhelming 77% of the 200 or so who participated in our poll, Tom Burke should be retained as judge
   However, those numbers are completely flipped when it comes to Olszewski.
   73% feel he should be given his walking papers.
   There are a couple different ways to analyze these numbers. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, October 3, 2009 12:31 pm
We're one year old!!
We're one year old!!
   This past week, we here at PittstonPolitics.com celebrated our one year anniversary.
   Getting this web site / blog up and running was quite the task initially.
   However, after we got the hang of it, things started to progress a bit easier.
   Shortly after our launch, we began doing video.  With that, we took our camera to school board meetings, county commissioner meetings, etc…
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Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, October 3, 2009 12:31 pm - 12 opinions posted
Retention rally held for Peter Paul |
Retention rally held for Peter Paul |
Peter Paul Olszewski speaks to the crowd as Mike Lombardo looks on
Retention rally held for Peter Paul
   About one hundred came out to show their support for the retention of Luzerne County Judge Peter Paul Olzsewski at the Red Mill in Pittston this past Thursday..
   Olzsewski thanked Pittston City Councilman Attorney Mike Lombardo for organizing the event.
   He also said the past week had been a bit bumpy, but he wanted to assure everyone that’s all it was.
MORE PHOTOS INSIDE:
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Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, October 3, 2009 12:31 pm - 16 opinions posted
KITCHEN TABLE POLITICS: Corcoran buys breakfast, sits at kitchen table

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Posted: Saturday, October 3, 2009 12:31 pm
GOP blunder or is there a smoking gun?
GOP blunder or is there a smoking gun?
Corbett, Amesbury, Hughes & Gartely
GOP blunder or is there a smoking gun?
   Within an hour of the Luzerne County GOP issuing the following three questions, Steve Corbett had Bill Amesbury, Richard Hughes and Tina Gartley on his show.
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Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, October 3, 2009 12:31 pm - 5 opinions posted
CORBETT:  Retain Judge Burke
CORBETT:  Retain Judge Burke
Steve Corbett
CORBETT: Retain Judge Burke
   Until he retired in the cruel aftermath of a stroke, my father Shamus kept a message of inspiration taped on the wall of his office at the police station where he worked for nine years as chief after serving 34 years with the Pennsylvania State Police.
   The word was “truth.”
   As one of the best police detectives in the world, my dad believed so much in the search for “truth” that he cut colored letters from a magazine and slapped them right up there on the wall of his office for anybody and everybody to see.
(click here to continue to WILK's website)
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Steve Corbett - Posted: Saturday, October 3, 2009 12:31 pm - 3 opinions posted
Biscotti-Gate takes on a life of its own |
Biscotti-Gate takes on a life of its own |
Biscotti cookies & John LaNunziata
Biscotti-Gate takes on a life of its own
   Just when the West Side figured out the route to Avoca, up pops Biscotti-gate.
   Yes, that’s right, Biscotti-gate.
   Don’t ask. I have no clue what Biscotti-gate is.
   It all started when MadammVP, one of our bloggers, posted, “.Lanunziata, time to forget about the biscotti cookies and start worrying about good governance, mmmkay?” in our article about Gil Dominick (click here to view the article) running for Wyoming Area School Board. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, October 3, 2009 12:31 pm - 34 opinions posted
Its a "Free for all" |
Its a "Free for all"
   A couple weeks ago we had a free for all.
   Many, many posts/blogs.
   We have had quite a few requests to bring it back.
   Well, back by popular demand, have at it, a “free for all” as Corbett says.
   Remember the ground rules:  No unsubstantiated allegations, no name calling and keep it above board.

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Posted: Saturday, October 3, 2009 12:31 pm - 19 opinions posted
Pittston Area Chief of Security position comes under fire
Pittston Area Chief of Security position comes under fire
Board President Mark Singer
Pittston Area Chief of Security position comes under fire
   Unfortunately I didn’t get to go the Pittston Area Board meeting.
   I understand it was a barnburner.
   We heard Terry Best and Bob Linskey got into about replacing/hiring a head of security.
   Best’s position is they need to replace Chief Doran who passed away last year.
   Linskey’s position is it is an unbudgeted position.
   Wait a minute. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, October 3, 2009 12:31 pm - 17 opinions posted
All roads lead to Pittston
All roads lead to Pittston
Bart Weidlich
All roads lead to Pittston
   It looks like the feds have their cross hairs on some who reside in Pittston.
   This past week the feds nabbed Bart Weidlich for obstruction of justice.
   Please recall a few weeks ago, the feds grabbed county records out of a warehouse he owns.
   Further, the county has done some advertising business with the outdoor billboard company Weidlich owns as well.
   There’s more here than meets the eye. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, October 3, 2009 12:31 pm - 7 opinions posted
BREAKING NEWS:  GOP asks:  Who was on the boat?
BREAKING NEWS:  GOP asks:  Who was on the boat?
Bill Amesbury, Richard Hughes and Tina Gartley
BREAKING NEWS: GOP asks: Who was on the boat?
   The Luzerne County Republican party has taken a shot across the bow in the up coming judicial election.
   In a press release issued Tuesday, September 29th, they’re asking all the candidates who are on the ballot for a spot on the bench three questions
   1.  Did you, a member of your immediate family, or member of your law firm ever travel on the private jet that was owned by Robert Powell?
   2.  Were you, a member of your immediate family, or member of your law firm, ever a guest on Robert Powell’s yacht “Reel Justice?”
   3.  Were you, a member of your immediate family, or member of your law firm, ever a guest at the Florida condominium owned by the wives of former judges Ciavarella and Conahan? Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 3:22 pm - 18 opinions posted
TOOLE SERIES:  Stay tuned for next week
TOOLE SERIES:  Stay tuned for next week
Wil Toole
TOOLE SERIES: Stay tuned for next week
   When I attended the Pittston Area School Board rally this past Saturday, I had quite a few tell me how much they were enjoying the “Wil Toole” series.
   My response to them is that I have a file on most of the politicians, however, my Wil Toole file is ten times the size of any other politician.
   This week I’m not running anything. 
   Sorry:-(
   I still have to confirm a few more facts.
   Stay tuned!

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Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, September 26, 2009 9:46 pm
Even at PA, you can't spend $41K to save $12K
Even at PA, you can't spend $41K to save $12K
   A couple weeks ago we wrote that the Pittston Area Board was considering hiring a safety coordinator.
   Well, as of this week, it looks like that is off the table.
   I did receive a call from a friend in Wilkes-Barre this past week.  He said a friend’s son was to be interviewed Tuesday.
   However, he received a call that day informing him not to come in.
   This person also told me they spoke with Wil Toole and Toole told this person not to even waste his time because the job was promised to Jerry Shovlin. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, September 26, 2009 9:34 pm - 19 opinions posted
POLL:  Do you feel the judges should be retained
POLL:  Do you feel the judges should be retained
County Judges Burke & Olszewski
POLL: Do you feel the judges should be retained
   With the retention of Judge Tom Burke and Peter Paul Olzsewski looming, many are quite curious what will transpire.
   With the photo of Olszewski sharing some Grey Goose (at least it was some good stuff) with Conahan, many feel this may be the straw that broke the camel’s back.
   Now is the time to let us know your plans.
   This week we’re conducting a poll:
   Will you vote to retain Judge Tom Burke and Judge Peter Paul Olszewski?



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Posted: Saturday, September 26, 2009 9:34 pm - 7 opinions posted
Free bus rides to Allenwood
Free bus rides to Allenwood
Pink Pig Bus
Free bus rides to Allenwood
   How can one resist poking fun at the courthouse on their 100th anniversary?
   My phone was ringing off the hook with calls about the giant pink pig.
   You can view the video below of the pink pig from WILKs web site where Steve Corbett offered some commentary.
   With that, I decided to google corruption pig and came up with the above photo.
   I think we should grab this bus, park it outside the courthouse and offer free rides to Allenwood.

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Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, September 26, 2009 9:33 pm - 2 opinions posted
Dominick seeks seat on WA Board
Dominick seeks seat on WA Board
Gil Dominick
Dominick seeks seat on WA Board
   Gil Dominick has elected to run for a seat on the Wyoming Area School Board as an Independent candidate along with Dr. Frank Casarella. 
   Gil believes every community’s ultimate strength lies in its people and their commitment for a better tomorrow.  Gil is well known for his dedication, trustworthiness, and leadership while serving on the Wyoming Area School Board for many years. He prides himself in the loyalty and appreciation he expresses toward voters and the community. Gil plans to commit his time, energy, and abilities to strengthen and improve the quality and effectiveness of the Wyoming Area School system. Read More ...
Posted: Saturday, September 26, 2009 9:31 pm - 24 opinions posted
All is peachy at Wyoming Area

   After attending the Wyoming Area School Board meeting this past week, if I didn’t know any better, things are just hunky dory.
   District Superintendent Ray Bernardi got up on his soap box a praised the district on the great PSSA scores.
   He also let the Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds, Dave Amico, sing accolades of what a great job he and his staff did after the explosion took out some of the JFK school.
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Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, September 26, 2009 9:31 pm - 3 opinions posted
Dress Code & Uniforms brought up at WA meeting

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Posted: Saturday, September 26, 2009 9:31 pm - 27 opinions posted
PA candidates hold pig roast
PA candidates hold pig roast
Ross Latona, Bob Lampman & Bob Linskey
PA candidates hold pig roast
   Pittston Area Candidates for School Board Ross Latona, Bob Lampan and Bob Linskey held their fall pig roast this past Saturday.
   All in all it was a very successful outing.
   Ross Latona’s father gave me a bit of a ribbing when I was taking the candidates photos saying, “You’re not speaking to him are you?”
   Bob Linskey replied, “Hey you never pick a fight with the press.”
   “He’s not the press, he’s a political commentator,” Latona responded.
MORE PHOTOS INSIDE:

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Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, September 26, 2009 9:31 pm - 31 opinions posted
Let's retain Judge Tom Burke
Let's retain Judge Tom Burke
Judge Tom Burke
Let's retain Judge Tom Burke
   With the pig at the courthouse and Judge Peter Paul Olszewski picture down at the condo in Florida making front page news this past week, how will this affect the outcome of the judicial retention vote.
   I caught up with Judge Thomas Burke this past Saturday at a political rally in Hughestown.
   He basically said he’s come this far, running on his record and looks forward to the election.
   While I haven’t had the opportunity to speak with Olszewski, I have had quite a few conversations with Tom Burke.
   I, along with my family, have known Tom and his entire family since I was a little boy growing up on Exeter Ave in West Pittston. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, September 26, 2009 9:31 pm - 14 opinions posted
A Day In The Life;  My Visit To The IRS
A Day In The Life;  My Visit To The IRS
John Watson
A Day In The Life; My Visit To The IRS
   Woke up, fell out of bed, dragged a comb across......
   Actually, I forgot to pack a comb, so I began my day of discovering Denver and answering the summoned call of my government and its revenue department in a frizz.
   I got a room for two nights at a really cute boutique hotel, The INN at Cherry Creek, in an upscale part of town, thanks to the Vail Resorts discount, but this left me far from my 9 a.m. appointment with the IRS in Englewood, about 20 miles away.
   Sometimes I compare my life to one of the great advances in future medical technology, the nano. When America starts healing instead of killing, we will soon be able to shoot microscopic nanos into the bodies of sick people, and they will root through the arteries and organs, finding, diagnosing and destroying the cellular enemies of our bodies. Read More ...
John Watson - Posted: Saturday, September 26, 2009 9:31 pm - 11 opinions posted
Indoctrinating young minds into mush

   Did you happen to catch the above video of kids singing sons about Barack Obama?
   What has me even more outraged about this indoctrination of second graders, is that they’re being taught to sing about Obama to the tune of Glory Glory.
   I wonder if these second graders were taught the Star Spangled Banner?
   If they were, it was probably filled with propaganda about our new messiah.
   Indoctrination – that is the only word that can describe what has transpired here. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, September 26, 2009 9:31 pm - 4 opinions posted
TOOLE SERIES:  Poll very telling
TOOLE SERIES:  Poll very telling
Wil Toole
TOOLE SERIES: Poll very telling
   According a PittstonPolitics.com online opinion poll, County Controller candidate Wil Toole doesn’t have a chance.
   With 189 participating in the poll, 24% felt Wil Toole should be county controller
   Twenty percent chose “Wil Toole is not a crook and would make an excellent County Controller.”
   Four percent chose “Wil Toole turned over a new leaf and is exactly what Luzerne County needs.”
   And, six percent felt I am just picking on the former city clerk.
   While an overwhelming 70% didn’t give Mr. Toole very good marks. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, September 19, 2009 7:31 pm - 14 opinions posted
Feds issue sealed indictments, West Side heating up
Feds issue sealed indictments, West Side heating up
Frank Pizzella
Feds issue sealed indictments, West Side heating up
   First, the most recent rumor to hit is that feds have filed six sealed indictments.
   These indictments supposedly reach from Pittston to Wilkes-Barre.
   Next, during the primary, the east side was a hotbed of politics.
   Now, during the general, the tables have turned and the West Side seems to be burning the mid night oil.
   With the arrest of Frank Pizzella, it was pointed out that he was a courier for Mike Pasonic who is an engineer.  Pasonic had his fingers in quite a few projects on the West Side. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, September 19, 2009 7:31 pm - 3 opinions posted
Media bias and outrage
Media bias and outrage
Kayne West, Taylor Swift & Senator Robert Casey
Media bias and outrage
   It’s not often I offer national commentary here, but this week I just can’t help myself.
   As you know, Kayne West diss’d Taylor Swift at the national VMA awards.
   Then, in an off camera moment, President Barack Obama said West was a “Jack Ass.”
   Wow!  
   With that, the president’s approval rating probably shot up a few ticks.
   Why?  Because West was a “Jack Ass.”
   Which got me to thinking – what if President Bush called West a “Jack Ass”?
   Racist – that’s how the media would be labeling Bush.
   Oh, in case you weren’t aware, West is black and Taylor Swift is white. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, September 19, 2009 7:31 pm - 26 opinions posted
West Side Free for all
West Side Free for all
   It looks like our “Free for All” was a success last week with 52 posts.  Most addressed West Pittston.
   This week, let’s try it again. 
   However, we’ll split it into three:  County, East Side and West Side.
   Blog here  about the West Side.
   So have at it; no name calling; keep it above board and unsubstantiated allegations will not be approved.
   However, if you have an allegation and you disclose your actual identity, your post will be given serious consideration.
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Posted: Saturday, September 12, 2009 8:36 pm - 32 opinions posted
East Side Free for All
East Side Free for All
   It looks like our “Free for All” was a success last week with 52 posts.  Most addressed West Pittston.
   This week, let’s try it again. 
   However, we’ll split it into three:  County, East Side and West Side.
   Blog here  about the East Side.
   So have at it; no name calling; keep it above board and unsubstantiated allegations will not be approved.
   However, if you have an allegation and you disclose your actual identity, your post will be given serious consideration.
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Posted: Saturday, September 12, 2009 8:35 pm
County Free for All
County Free for All

   It looks like our “Free for All” was a success last week with 52 posts.  Most addressed West Pittston.
   This week, let’s try it again. 
   However, we’ll split it into three:  County, East Side and West Side.
   Blog here  about the county.
   So have at it; no name calling; keep it above board and unsubstantiated allegations will not be approved.
   However, if you have an allegation and you disclose your actual identity, your post will be given serious consideration.
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Posted: Saturday, September 12, 2009 8:34 pm - 8 opinions posted
Feds squeezing hard, local official stands his ground
Feds squeezing hard, local official stands his ground
   This past week we heard from a multitude of sources that two high ranking county officials and former Pittston Area Board members have turned down federal plea agreements.
   The feds have one official for accepting a laptop computer in exchange for giving preferential treatment to that vendor.
   This official said “thanks but no thanks.” 
   It looks like the feds want him to rat out another judge who happened to be in Atlantic City this past week.
   The problem, if in fact he did accept a laptop, is it was an old laptop that was about to be discarded.  Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, September 12, 2009 8:24 pm - 2 opinions posted
WP Mayoral Candidate lays out his platform
WP Mayoral Candidate lays out his platform
Brian Vandermark
WP Mayoral Candidate lays out his platform
   EDITORS NOTE:  Last week in our “Free for All” West Pittston Mayoral Candidate Brian Vanermark blogged the following.  I thought it was worth noting again and it looks like its his platform.
   I would like to start by saying I am Brian Vandermark and I am on the ballot. I appreciate that in a political season the incumbent has the burden of proving his record. While I respect Mayor Goldsworthy, we have serious differences of opinion on how our community needs to change. I have a website www.brian4mayor.org where I am posting my latest statements. It also has my number and e-mail to address any who would need me to be available for their concerns. The following posts are my stands on the issues being raised in this blog. If you differ in your opinion, I remain open to suggestions and consider myself open-minded and free from influence enough to be fair. Read More ...
Brian Vandermark - Posted: Saturday, September 12, 2009 7:56 pm - 22 opinions posted
New job at PA needs to be justified
New job at PA needs to be justified
Bob Linskey & Ross Latona
New job at PA needs to be justified
   Last week I received the following blog:
   “Someone should tell (name deleted) at PA the feds are in town.  He wants to create a $41,000.00, unbudgeted job and already told everyone who's getting it. Congat's (name deleted).  If the rest of the board doesn't want a visit from the feds they should vote NO. I heard (name deleted) even tried to make a deal with Bob Linskey???”
   I did not approve this, however, it did peak my interest so I did some digging. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, September 12, 2009 7:43 pm - 14 opinions posted
TOOLE SERIES:  Tell us how you feel
TOOLE SERIES:  Tell us how you feel
Wil Toole
TOOLE SERIES: Tell us how you feel
   This week in our Wil Toole series we’re going to take a different angle.
   As most know, Toole was in Pittston City Hall for a decade or so back in the 90’s.
   Upon his exit, there was quite a stir when Tool grabbed a $30,000 check.
   He was arrested and charged.  The controversy that came along with Toole’s shenanigans would rank up there with all that is happening now throughout the county.
   Now, over the last decade, it seems Wil Toole has been saved and found religion.



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Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, September 12, 2009 6:52 pm - 3 opinions posted
PA student weighs in on ditrict's dilemma
PA student weighs in on ditrict's dilemma
John Lombardo
PA student weighs in on ditrict's dilemma
   “Another one bites the chalk dust.” Those are the immortal words of Corbett in response to the continued discoveries of corruption in the school districts of Luzerne County. One in particular, is the Pittston Area School District. We have everything from teachers paying for jobs, to superintendents and board members taking kickbacks. How much better can it get? All of this has caused concern among just about everyone. There have even been days when corruption has been the topic of choice in school! It has raised doubts about the elected officials, and the administrators. It has also become a huge distraction to some of the better things that are going on around the schools. The mess that Scarantino started brought a “dark cloud” over Pittston Area, and it’s going to take a while for this storm to pass.
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John Lombardo - Posted: Saturday, September 12, 2009 6:30 pm
In the words of Steve Corbet:  It's a Free for all / Open forum
In the words of Steve Corbet: It's a Free for all / Open forum
   I’ve been getting a lot of emails and backdoor posts about West Pittston.
   Quite honestly, I have a tough enough time covering the school boards. 
   Covering the small towns can be a bit tedious.
   Not to say we are ignoring them, but I’m just one person.
   With that said, let’s call this an open forum.
   Or, as Steve Corbett would say “A Free For All.”
   Let’s hear your beefs.
   The rules – no name calling, keep it above board and no unsubstantiated allegations.
   Joe V
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Posted: Saturday, September 5, 2009 9:53 pm - 52 opinions posted
TOOLE SERIES:  Wil is sue happy
TOOLE SERIES:  Wil is sue happy
The above cartoon ran in the Sunday Dispatch after Wil Toole cut himself a $30,000 severance check
TOOLE SERIES: Wil is sue happy
   Talk to any official on the east side and ask them to comment on Wil Toole.
   Chances are you will not get an on the record comment for fear of Wil Toole suing them.
   You see, Wil Toole is sue happy.
   It all started after he allegedly bilked the city out of thousands of dollars.
   The Sunday Dispatch took Toole to task and he sued John Watson and the paper.
   I asked John Watson whatever became of that.
   Watson’s response:
   “Well, Joe, one of the reasons I left the Dispatch was because Knight Ridder (the parent company of the Times Leader and the Dispatch) wouldn't support me on the Toole suit and told me to stop writing about it. They were jerks.
   After that, I didn't really care about it. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, September 5, 2009 8:48 pm - 2 opinions posted
Sheriff says "Poor me"
Sheriff says "Poor me"
Mike Savokinas
Sheriff says "Poor me"
   There’s a new Sheriff in town – not.
   This past week Luzerne County saw another casualty of the ongoing political saga in Luzerne County with the resignation of Sheriff Mike Savokinas
   In Savokinas’s three page resignation letter (click here to view), which read more like a manifesto, he blamed the media and the commissioners and basically said “poor me.”
   Fellow blogger Gort 42 summed it up best saying (click here to read it in full):
   “Luzerne County Sheriff Michael Savokinas resigned because he doesn't like his press coverage and battles with the Luzerne County Commissioners.  I didn't know what to make of this and a friend summed it up. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, September 5, 2009 8:20 pm - 5 opinions posted
Not so fast, previous WA super was protected too
Not so fast, previous WA super was protected too
WA super, Ray Bernardi
Not so fast, previous WA super was protected too
   For those who wanted Ray Bernardi’s head on a platter because his contract said the Wyoming Area School District would be responsible for his portion of the half a million dollar federal judgment “Tri-Fecta” as George Race coined…
   Well, sorry to disappoint you.
   The exact language was in the Joseph Casarella’s, the previous superintendent, contract (click here to view) as well.
   In section seven of Casarella’s contract and nine in Bernardi’s it reads: Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, September 5, 2009 7:32 pm - 7 opinions posted
BEST:  City Organization won't be endorsing Toole
BEST:  City Organization won't be endorsing Toole
Terry Best
BEST: City Organization won't be endorsing Toole
   There’s a rumor floating around that the Pittston City and the 3rd district Democratic Organizations will be endorsing Wil Toole for Luzerne County Controller.
   Toole switched from a Democrat and is running for controller as an Independent.
   With that, we went right to the horses mouth - the City Democratic Chairman Terry Best.
   “No,” Best said when asked if his organization would be endorsing Toole.
   “It is our plan to endorse all Democrats,” Best noted.  “Bob Morgan is a Democrat and he’s running for controller.  That’s who we’ll be endorsing. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, September 5, 2009 7:10 pm - 7 opinions posted
What the hell is wrong with him?  More to come
What the hell is wrong with him?  More to come
Jerry Bonner
What the hell is wrong with him? More to come
   POLITICAL WARNING!  The feds are in town.  Accepting kickbacks will most likely result in you be arrested.
   I think I’m going to start a Wall of Fame entitled “The world’s stupidest politicians.”
   At the top of this list would be Jerry Bonner.
   This past week, Luzerne County Jury Commissioner Jerry Bonner was arrested for accepting kickbacks.
   Think about this for a second.
   He was indicted for accepting a bribe between January 2009 and June 2009.
   Would someone please tell Jerry Bonner – THE FEDS ARE IN TOWN! Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, September 5, 2009 6:55 pm - 4 opinions posted
Irony Upon Irony; Right Wingers
Irony Upon Irony; Right Wingers
John Watson
Irony Upon Irony; Right Wingers
Will Cause Single Payer System
   Wild ironies are among the great flavors of life and we are seeing one develop now.
   If the Republican party keeps cow-towing to the radical right and is successful in stopping what is, in reality, albeit not rhetorically, a moderate reform of the health insurance industry this year, it will almost certainly cause the creation of a full blown single payer system in the years ahead.
   The employer based health insurance system under which working people now live is about to crumble under its own weight.
   Its days are numbered.
   Forget the politics and the ideologues. Just do the math. Read More ...
John Watson - Posted: Saturday, September 5, 2009 6:16 pm - 28 opinions posted
PA students takes exception to Obama's "Educational" Speech
PA students takes exception to Obama's "Educational" Speech
John Lombardo, PA Student
PA students takes exception to Obama's "Educational" Speech
   This Tuesday President Obama is planning to make a speech(as if He hasn’t given enough already), but this speech is different from the rest. This one is directed at the students in every school across America. He is supposed to speak about education, and the importance of staying in school. The President plans to have every school(voluntarily) show the speech from a live broadcast on the White House’s website.  As a response, the Department of Education has sent out suggestions of lesson plans to base around the speech. Some of these include writing about how to “Help the President”. They also include plans to hang up posters in the classrooms with some of the “memorable” quotes from the speech. Is this just a friendly speech about staying in school?  I, along with a lot of concerned parents throughout the country don’t think so. Read More ...
John Lombardo - Posted: Saturday, September 5, 2009 5:46 pm - 35 opinions posted
Wyoming resident questions official's actions
Wyoming resident questions official's actions
Bob Borzell
Wyoming resident questions official's actions
by Bob Borzell
   In July and August my wife wrote letters to the editor in the Times Leader and Citizens Voice newspapers. She criticized the job our mayor Bob Boyer and police chief William Ragantesi were doing (or should I say not doing ) in reporting acts of criminal activity to the police blotters.
   Mayor Bob Boyer and several councilmen took her to task at Wyoming Boro's subsequent council meeting which was held August 11th.  They made derogatory, comments about her (using her name) when she wasn't there to defend herself.
   When can a public official use a private citizen’s name in a public forum? She is not in public office, nor is she running for any office. Read More ...
Bob Borzell - Posted: Saturday, August 29, 2009 6:10 pm
Complexion of WA majority changing; Campenni still can't get a second


   Over the last three years, the eight majority members of the Wyoming Area School Board have voted together 100% of the time.
   Well, things are a changin’ and not like you might expect
   This past week, minority member Estelle Campenni sided with John LaNunziata, Toni Valenti, Nick DeAngelo and Gerry Wall.
   All five voted to give Laura Mondlok another three year contract to be Wyoming Area’s Athletic trainor.
   Four of the board members broke rank with the majority.
   Dave Alberigi and Sam Aritz voted no while John Bolin and John Marrianci abstained.
   I’m not going to get into the merits of the vote, however, this vote seems to be the beginning of the end for the “eight strong” of the majority. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, August 29, 2009 6:10 pm - 2 opinions posted
Analysis of who will fill out the remainder of Oliveri's term
Analysis of who will fill out the remainder of Oliveri's term
Dr. Ross Latona & Marilyn Starna
Analysis of who will fill out the remainder of Oliveri's term
   With Joe Oliveri off the Pittston Area School Board, who will serve out his remaining four months?
   As of this week, it looks like Dr. Ross Latona has the inside track.
   He won a double nomination this past election and is almost guaranteed a win in November.
   The problem, however, he has some political allegiance.
   Allegiance to his running mates along with board members Bob Linskey, Kent Bratlee and Terry Best who all supported him.  All sit in the minority consequently changing the complexion of the board. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, August 29, 2009 6:10 pm - 16 opinions posted
The Cynic's workbench:  Top 10 signs your school superintendent is losing his mind
The Cynic's workbench: Top 10 signs your school superintendent is losing his mind
   10.  He hired a contractor to dye his hair red
   9. He hired a  hairdresser to build a garage
   8. He applied for a greeter job at the Exeter Wal Mart
   7. He went back to work without washing his hands
 Read More ...
The Cynic - Posted: Saturday, August 29, 2009 6:09 pm - 2 opinions posted
TOOLE SERIES:  The silence is deafening |
TOOLE SERIES:  The silence is deafening |
Wil Toole
TOOLE SERIES: The silence is deafening
   One thing I am asked quite often is – where do I get my inspiration / ideas to write week after week.
   To be honest with you, much of it comes from my bloggers.
   For example, last week’s headline in my Wil Toole series read “He’s cured and able to run for controller.”
   The inspiration for that article came from the week before after Diamante (one of my bloggers) asked how could Wil Toole run for controller and collect a disability pension.
   Then Politico (another one of my bloggers), said Toole is on a pension, not disability.
 Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, August 29, 2009 6:09 pm - 8 opinions posted
WA board allows discussion of personnel issue at public meeting

   While discussing personnel issues on the open floor at board meetings is not allowed, Ray Hassey, Wyoming Area’s Solicitor, says “When Mr. Simmons and Mr. Holland aired their complaints in the newspaper and put their views out, they waived their right to personnel protection.”
   Bill Simmons was recently reinstated by the Pennsylvania Labor Board after he filed a grievance stating the district would not take him back because of his role in the support staff union.
   A labor board judge ruled Simmons could have his old job back and receive all back pay.
   Two days after returning, Simmons was struck ill while painting a fence in 90 degree heat and was subsequently rushed to the hospital.
 Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, August 29, 2009 6:09 pm
Feds back Wilkes Barre engineer into a corner, gives up 25 names
Feds back Wilkes Barre engineer into a corner, gives up 25 names
   Hold on tight cuz we’re goin’ for a ride
   When I hear something dramatic from one or two individuals, I usually sit on it or try to confirm it.
   Well, this past week I heard from at least a dozen that a prominent Wilkes-Barre engineer has been talking to the feds.
   And, it’s been the same engineer every time.
   I really can’t disclose who the engineer is at this time, however, where there’s smoke there’s fire. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, August 29, 2009 6:09 pm - 10 opinions posted
There's an 800 pound guerrilla in the room at WA
 

   Riddle me this:  What has 18 legs and no balls?
   Answer:  The Wyoming Area School Board.
   In light of the recent half million dollar federal judgment coupled with the labor dispute involving Bill Simmons, the Wyoming Area Board doesn’t want to address the 800 pound guerrilla sitting in the room.
   According the board’s solicitor, Ray Hassey, the board is currently not taken any steps to prevent this from happening in the future saying, “I’m not aware of any policies or procedures.”
   Hassey did note, “I’m sure that is something they’ll look at down the road.”
   Down the road?
   Are you kidding me? Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, August 29, 2009 6:08 pm - 6 opinions posted
Analysis what happened on the East Side
Analysis what happened on the East Side
Terry Best
Analysis what happened on the East Side
   Allow me to analyze what transpired in Pittston Area, Pittston City and Terry Best.
   First, we know Terry ran and won a council seat.
   He said he would resign his seat on the Pittston Area Board and take a seat on council.
   As we know, Terry withdrew his name from council a decided to serve out his term on the PA Board.
   With that, Terry lobbied the city Democratic organization to appoint his son PJ to fill the void on ballot for council. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, August 22, 2009 8:07 pm - 19 opinions posted
TOOLE SERIES:  It's a miracle, he's cured and able to run for controller
TOOLE SERIES:  It's a miracle, he's cured and able to run for controller
County Controller Candidate Wil Toole
TOOLE SERIES: It's a miracle, he's cured and able to run for controller
   It’s a miracle!
   Wil Toole has been cured.
   You see, over a decade ago, Wil Toole claimed he was disabled and finagled a $30,000 annual disability pension because of it.
   Guess who the Doctor was who went in on this?
   Dr. Harry Alexanderian.
   Yup, the same Dr. Harry Alexanderian from West Pittston who was arrested back in 2003 for passing out prescription pain killers.
   Alexanderian was sentenced to two years’ probation in July 2005 on charges of illegally dispensing prescription narcotics and defrauding Medicaid. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, August 22, 2009 8:07 pm - 29 opinions posted
"Keep in touch" ...NOT!
"Keep in touch" ...NOT!
Senator Ray Musto
"Keep in touch" ...NOT!
   We heard through the grapevine, Senator Ray Musto threw Tony Pagliante, the Third District Democratic Chairman, out of his office last week.
   From what we gathered, Pagliante went to the good senator for a favor.
   Musto, reminded Pagliante of his support for Tom Marsillio, a Republican, in the past judicial election.
   Please recall the senator’s brother Joe narrowly lost.
   Here’s the best.
   Senator Musto didn’t tell him “Keep in touch.”
 Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, August 22, 2009 8:07 pm - 7 opinions posted
WA Super sends memo about removal of building materials
WA Super sends memo about removal of building materials
WA Board Member Gerry Wall
WA Super sends memo about removal of building materials
   With every new week in Warrior Country, it seems to be getting deeper and deeper.
   This past week, Superintendent Ray Bernardi sent a memo to the nine members of the board.
   The context of the memo addressed the removal of building materials without board approval.
   I received two accounts of the context of the letter.
   The first account is Benardi asked the board to direct board member Gerry Wall to produce a letter he received from Quandell (the construction manager of the building project). Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, August 22, 2009 8:06 pm - 12 opinions posted
Bernardi blames media for WA black eye
Bernardi blames media for WA black eye
WA Super Ray Bernardi
Bernardi blames media for WA black eye
   In public relations 101, when things aren’t going your way very well, blame someone else.
   This seemed to be the case at the past Wyoming Area work session Thursday evening.
   While we didn’t attend the meeting, we watched the TV report on WBRE (click here to view).
   According to the report, WA Superintendent Ray Bernardi read a ten minute statement basically blaming the media and asked why the Labor Board when they reinstated Bill Simmons, did not give accounts of the testimony given by district officials.
   District officials would not comment on the recent half million dollar federal verdict levied against the district and individual school directors.
   A blog here on PittstonPolitics.com said Dave Amico, the district's head of building and grounds,  also
 Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Friday, August 21, 2009 5:04 am - 15 opinions posted
After returning to work, WA foreman collapses and rushed to hospital
   Sometimes there are things that just make you go hmmm.
   As most are aware, a Pennsylvania Labor Judge ordered Wyoming Area reinstate Bill Simmons, a Wyoming Area Maintenance Forman.
   The judge ruled the district wrongfully terminated Simmons and ordered he be returned to his previous status.
   On Monday, he returned to work. 
   The first directive he received - in the 90 degree heat paint a fence which hadn’t been painted in 20 years.
   His second day back to work the directive he received - in the 90 degree heat paint a fence which hadn’t been painted in 20 years.
   At noon on his second day back to work, he collapsed and was rushed to the hospital. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 10:34 pm - 20 opinions posted
BREAKING NEWS:  In the "BEST" interest of the city, PJ withdraws
BREAKING NEWS:  In the "BEST" interest of the city, PJ withdraws
PJ Best
BREAKING NEWS: In the "BEST" interest of the city, PJ withdraws
   While many were speculating PJ Best’s appointment to fill his father’s seat on council was a backroom deal, PJ says those opponents never actually came and talked to him.
   However, he understood the situation, spoke with Joe Chernsokus who was also under consideration, and decided in the best interest of the city and the party to remove his name for consideration.
   At the Democratic Committee meeting Tuesday evening, it was decided Joe Chernoskus would fill the void left by Terry Best.
   “It was never about me,” Best said.  “It was about taking Pittston to the next level.” Read More ...
Posted: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 10:13 pm - 3 opinions posted
In WA, the truth will set you free
In WA, the truth will set you free
Wyoming Area Secondary Center
In WA, the truth will set you free
   Before I get into Wyoming Area this week, let’s revisit some national history.
   It wasn’t a third rate burglary of the Watergate Hotel that took President Nixon down, it was the cover up.
   First, I know the feds aren’t in Wyoming Area – yet.
   Next, I know the Pennsylvania Attorney General is.
   Specifically, they’re looking at the Wyoming Area building project.
   Much of what they are investigating came out in the depositions of the recent federal lawsuit against the majority and superintendent.
   They are looking at rebar.  Or should I say - lack thereof. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, August 15, 2009 11:13 pm - 10 opinions posted
Best, opponents duke it out on Corbett show
Best, opponents duke it out on Corbett show
PJ Best
Best, opponents duke it out on Corbett show
   As I listened to the opposition of PJ Best’s appointment to fill his father shoes on the Pittston City ballot for council, I realized many are mad as hell.
   Newly elected Councilman Mike Lombardo is mad as hell.
   “This is gives our city a black eye,” Lombardo told Corbett.  “There were rumors on the street this would happen.  It’s not by coincidence Terry pulled out of the election the last day.”
   Former mayoral candidate Luddy Flemming and Terry Best’s running mate in this past election is mad as hell. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, August 15, 2009 9:01 pm - 22 opinions posted
The Feds: Mr. Oliveri, let's pick it up at "Let's leave it at that"
 
   Former Pittston Area School Director Joe Oliveri has some splainin’ to do.
   Not to me.
   Not to you.
   Joe Oliveri has some explaining to do to the feds.
   This past election, PittstonPolitics.com hosted a deposition…oops I mean a debate.
   Directors Joe Oliveri and Bob Linskey sat at my kitchen table and laid it all on the line.
   Specifically, when Joe Oliveri was talking about how Bob Linskey got his job he said, “There’s no way in the world you get that job if you’re not on the Pittston Area Board and Ross Scarantino pushing for you.  Ross told those people who to hire.  I know that, you know that.  You can fool them out there but you can fool me.  I was in the mix.  Remember, we had discussions. (some dialogue between Oliver and Linskey)  Let’s leave it at that.”  (click on above video)
 Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, August 15, 2009 9:01 pm - 7 opinions posted
TOOLE SERIES:  Toole leaves Tomato Festival withering on the vine
TOOLE SERIES:  Toole leaves Tomato Festival withering on the vine
The above poltical cartoon ran in the Pittston Sunday Dispatch
TOOLE SERIES: Toole leaves Tomato Festival withering on the vine
   This week in my “Best of Wil Toole” series I had every intention of writing about Wil Toole’s arrest record.
   This week in my “Best of Wil Toole” series I had every intention of running the photo of Wil Toole’s perp walk when he was arrested.
   This week in my “Best of Wil Toole” series I had every intention of writing about the Citizens Voices’ front page story entitled “Toole charged with bilking Pittston City.”
   This week in my “Best of Wil Toole” series I had every intention of writing about how a corrupt county judge who was indicted on federal charges sided with Wil Toole back in the late 90’s (imagine that). Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, August 15, 2009 9:01 pm - 9 opinions posted
Golf Club records indicate "Par for the Courthouse" scandal
Golf Club records indicate "Par for the Courthouse" scandal
Wyoming Valley Country Club
Golf Club records indicate "Par for the Courthouse" scandal
   This past week there were reports the feds subpoenaed records from Wyoming Valley Country Club.
   There was no other detailed information, however, we here at PittstonPolitics.com may have some insight.
   It looks like the feds were looking for billing records.  We understand they were specifically looking for billing records of some high ranking county officials. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, August 15, 2009 9:01 pm - 3 opinions posted
Controller candidate offers up opinion on Best
Controller candidate offers up opinion on Best
Walter Griffith
Controller candidate offers up opinion on Best
by  Walter L Griffith Jr
Candidate for Luzerne County Controller
   The recent developments in the City of Pittston,  regarding the placing of Mr. Terry Best’s son, P.J. Best, on the November Ballot for Pittston City Council, by the Pittston City Democratic Committee is more of the same “ taxpayer be damned” attitude by some people in our area.
   The election of people to “Serve” has once again been made to look like the democratic process is more about “who you know” and not “ How can I help” my City and my County, to be a better place in which we all live and work. Read More ...
Walter Griffith - Posted: Saturday, August 15, 2009 9:01 pm - 12 opinions posted
BREAKING NEWS:  Mericle enters plea in kids for cash scandal
BREAKING NEWS:  Mericle enters plea in kids for cash scandal
Robert Mericle
BREAKING NEWS: Mericle enters plea in kids for cash scandal
   Real-estate developer Rob Mericle has agreed to enter a guilty plea in federal court for the “Kids for Cash” scandal.
   According to reports, Mericle’s plea revolves around his involvement with disgraced Judges Mark Ciavarella and Mike Conahan. 
   The actual charge is failing to report a felony which stemmed around Mericle’s payments to the two disgraced judges and failing to report that income to the IRS.

 Read More ...
Posted: Thursday, August 13, 2009 10:47 am - 4 opinions posted
NEWS FLASH:  Best withdraws from city race, will stay on PA Board
NEWS FLASH:  Best withdraws from city race, will stay on PA Board
PA Board member Terry Best
NEWS FLASH: Best withdraws from city race, will stay on PA Board
   Terry Best has pulled himself off the ballot to run for Pittston City Council.
   “With the recent developments at Pittston Area,” Best said, “I think I can do more good on the school board.”
   Best, a sitting Pittston Area School Director, won a Democratic nomination in May and said he would resign his seat on the board when he took he seat on Pittston Council.
   One thing about politics, it changes like the weather.
   There is much speculation who will be appointed to fill the void to replace Best on the fall’s ballot.
   A few names have surfaced – Kim Marie Alfano, Joe Chernsokas and Luddy Flemming.
   It’ll be up to the Democratic Committee to fill the void.
   Tony Paglanati is the Third District Chairman and Best is the City Chairman.  Both will be very influential at naming Best’s successor. 

 Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Tuesday, August 11, 2009 3:05 pm - 10 opinions posted
Oliveri pleads out, more arrests to come
Oliveri pleads out, more arrests to come
Joe Oliveri
Oliveri pleads out, more arrests to come
  
   UPDATE:  Tue, Aug 11, 2009; 12:30
-    In Joe Oliveri’s plea agreement (click here to read), he has agreed to submit to polygraph tests.
   Here’s the catch – according to the agreement (see lines 24 thru 26) he agrees that the results are admissible.
   “The polygraph results and the polygrapher’s conclusions and opinions shall be admissible,” the agreement states.
   Let me read between the lines.
   Joe Oliveri doesn’t want to do any jail time.  In return he has agreed to name names.
   Those names will reach north to Duryea and Avoca and lead right to the courthouse.

  POSTED 10:00AM, TUESDAY:  Pittston Area School Director Joe Oliveri plead guilty in federal court Tuesday morning for accepting bribes and kickbacks.
   According the US Attorney’s office, Oliver, 51, of Hughestown, accepted $1,000 to $5,000 in bribes in return for support of an unnamed contractor.
   This past Monday, Oliver resigned his position he held with the Luzerne County Sheriff He also stepped down as a Pittston Area School Director.
   He faces a maximum of ten years in jail along with a $250,000 fine.
   Oliveri lost his re-election bid for the board this past May.
   Stay tuned, PittstonPolitics.com hears more arrests will be coming down shortly. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Monday, August 10, 2009 5:20 pm - 6 opinions posted
Announcements & Events
Announcements & Events
West Wyoming Council president Eileen Cipriani will announce her candidacy for state representative in the 120th district Thursday, February 6th, at 5:30pm at The Gallery (Pierce St. Deli Bldg.) at 517 Pierce Street in Kingston Read More ...
Posted: Saturday, August 8, 2009 6:43 pm
Will Health Care be Reformed, Conformed to or Deformed???
Will Health Care be Reformed, Conformed to or Deformed???
Donna Starinski-Valenti
Will Health Care be Reformed, Conformed to or Deformed???

by Donna Starinski-Valenti


   No one can dispute that the health care system needs reform. 
   Decent health care is a life protecting right of every person. But although this is something that seems so obvious, the reform effort is like a murky pool of water that’s bottom is not even visible, let alone clear. Exposure to several bills, some over 1000 pages, of sometimes vague and difficult language have resulted in an almost glazed over look on many, I’m sure. Sometimes, it is easier to just sit back and let it all happen, to just conform in a situation that you don’t think you have any control over. Even if understanding all the sections of all these bills is impossible, as it is for me, you can take a stand. You can make sure that those who represent you in government know your expectations.
 Read More ...
Donna Starinski-Valenti - Posted: Saturday, August 8, 2009 6:40 pm - 8 opinions posted
State authorities looking at WA
State authorities looking at WA
WA Board member Gerry Wall
State authorities looking at WA
   We have learned state authorities have been poking around at Wyoming Area.
   Specifically, they’re looking at the $15 million building project.
   Or should I say borrowed $20, spent $15 and used five to balance the budget.
   In question is how could the former board award $20 million in competitive bidding and the new board created a new scaled down project and built it with change orders.
   Supposedly there is a letter from the Law offices of Elliot and Dean where Jack Dean gives an opinion that this is OK.
   However, the problem is this letter was written in December 2008 – two years after the fact. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, August 8, 2009 6:40 pm
I should send Wil a fruit basket
I should send Wil a fruit basket
Wil Toole
I should send Wil a fruit basket
   Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water and the summer time doldrums seem to produce nothing to spark a political fire, Wil Toole enters the Luzerne County Controllers race.
   After you pick yourself off the floor from laughter, it’s true.
   Last year I said I needed to send Bob Lampman a fruit basket because my hits went thru the roof after he said to Marty Quinn, “wanna take this outside” at a Pittston Area School Board meeting.
   Well, I need to add Will Toole to the fruit basket list because he’ll be good for at least one article per week until the election is over.
   Yes, Wil Toole, Pittston City’s former City clerk filed to run as an Independent.
   Wait, I thought after he grabbed his cash from the city and took a handsome pension, he considered himself a “private citizen.”
   Yes, it’s true.  He filed a lawsuit against me (click here to view), Pittston City Council members Phil Campenni, Donna McFadden, Ken Bangs and Controller Chris Latona. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, August 8, 2009 6:40 pm - 10 opinions posted
Have the Feds reached a plea agreement with another PA official?
Have the Feds reached a plea agreement with another PA official?
Ross Scarantino
Have the Feds reached a plea agreement with another PA official?
   The rumor mil is in full gear on the east side.
   Most recently, we heard a school director (not sure if it is current or former) reached a plea agreement with the feds.
   It happened this past Thursday and revolves around the mess Ross Scarantino is in.
   It seems LCCC is a common denominator as well.
   The announcement will come down on Tuesday. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, August 8, 2009 6:40 pm - 5 opinions posted
When it rains it pours at Wyoming Area
When it rains it pours at Wyoming Area
WA Super Ray Bernardi
When it rains it pours at Wyoming Area
  This past week a dark cloud came across the Wyoming Area School District.
   It seems that things may actually be catching up with some in power.
   As you know, the “Tri-Fecta” hit for half a million when a federal jury awarded Jim Zarra, Robert Micheletti and PJ Pribula stating the District Superintendent along with certain members of the school board violated their civil rights.
   Along with that, the Pennsylvania Labor Board said Bill Simmons was wrongfully terminated three years ago because of his position he held as the Union President of the support staff.
   WBRE interviewed Simmons along with Bernardi (click here to view)Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, August 8, 2009 6:40 pm - 6 opinions posted
Contract says WA Super off the hook for damages
Contract says WA Super off the hook for damages
WA Superintendent Ray Bernardi
Contract says WA Super off the hook for damages
   It looks like the verdict against Wyoming Area Superintendent won’t cost him a dime after all. 
   And, it looks like the taxpayers of the district will be footing the $50,000 in punitive damages that was assessed on Ray Bernardi by a federal jury.
   According to Bernardi’s contract (click here to view), all legal fees and awards brought against him will be paid by the district.
   In section eight of his contract under “Professional Liability” it states:  “As to all acts or failure to act, on the part of the Superintendent performed within the scope of his employment for Wyoming Area, Wyoming Area agrees to defend, hold harmless and indemnify  the Superintendent  from any and all demands, claims suits, actions and legal proceedings brought against the Superintendent, either individually or as an agent or employee of Wyoming Area.” Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Tuesday, August 4, 2009 9:11 pm - 9 opinions posted
Kitchen Table Politics; Feature: Barbequing with Joe Valenti

 Read More ...
Posted: Sunday, August 2, 2009 1:27 am - 2 opinions posted
PHOTOS:  Explosion rocks Exeter and surrounding communities
PHOTOS: Explosion rocks Exeter and surrounding communities

 Read More ...
Posted: Sunday, August 2, 2009 1:21 am - 2 opinions posted
DA needs to carry our "Real Justice" |
DA needs to carry our "Real Justice" |
Jackie Musto-Carroll, Mark Ciavarella & Mike Conahan
DA needs to carry our "Real Justice"
   In February we wrote (click here for story) Luzerne County District Attorney Jackie Musto-Carroll should file child trafficking charges against disgraced Judges Mark Ciavarella and Mike Conahan.
   We said Ciavarella used his position to send kids to jail to line his pockets with cash.
   It is no different than a person taking cash to supply kids to pedophiles.  These scum bags are known as Chicken Hawks.
   In a way Ciavarella was a Chicken Hawk.
   Now a federal judge may also see this and has revoked the judges’ plea to serve 87 months.
   “Quid pro quo can be implied from the evidence,” wrote US Judge Edwin Kosik, adding the government does not have to show “explicit promise to perform official acts in return for payment.”
   Ah, there it is. “Kids for cash” in legal ease. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, August 1, 2009 10:52 pm - 1 opinion posted
WA “Tri-Fecta” hits for $500 Grand |
WA “Tri-Fecta” hits for $500 Grand |
Ray Bernardi, John Bolin, John Marianacci, Gerry Wall, John LaNunziata and Toni Valenti
WA “Tri-Fecta” hits for $500 Grand
   When Wyoming Area Superintendent Ray Bernardi said the lawsuit Jim Zarra, PJ Pribula and Robert Micheletti was “frivolous and would be disposed of quickly,” little did he know he be on the hook for $50 grand personally.
   This past week a federal judge and jury heard five days of testimony.  They heard both sides and finally once and for all we know who was at fault.
   A total award of half a million a federal jury said the plaintiffs were entitled to.
   While I don’t have the final breakdown, the jury awarded approximately $300,000 in compensatory damages and $200,000 in punitive.
   From what I understand, the insurance company will pick up the tab for the $300K.
   However, the defendants will be responsible for the $200K in punitive damages.
   The jury broke the damages down and assessed each of the defendants personally as follows. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, August 1, 2009 10:46 pm - 13 opinions posted
Feds subpoena five PA teachers |
Feds subpoena five PA teachers
   In the ongoing federal probe at Pittston Area, we learned five Pittston Area teachers have been subpoenaed to testify in front of the federal grand jury this Tuesday, August 4th.
   Also, a source familiar with the probe said a local roofing contractor along with Augie Piazza have also been subpoenaed to appear.
   Sources said the teachers have been subpoenaed because there are allegation of paying for jobs. 
   The contractor has been tied to one of these teachers and may have put a new roof on for a ranking Pittston Area official.
   The feds have also been probing in Wyoming Valley West and LCCC. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, August 1, 2009 10:46 pm - 3 opinions posted
WA "Tri-Fecta" is in the home-stretch
WA "Tri-Fecta" is in the home-stretch
WA Board member Gerry Wall
WA "Tri-Fecta" is in the home-stretch
   This past week I was served with a subpoena to appear at the federal courthouse on Monday.
    It looks like Wyoming Area’s “Tri-Fecta” is in the home-stretch and it looks like I’ll be a witness in a federal lawsuit filed by PJ Pribula, Jim Zarra and Robert Micheletti against Wyoming Area.
   Back then, District Superintendent Ray Bernardi said, “This is a frivolous lawsuit and will be disposed of quickly.” Well, guess what boys and girls, a United States Federal Judge has said otherwise.
   Actually I’m glad this hasn’t settled.  Once and for all, a federal judge and jury decided.
   My thought, however, is the reason this hasn’t settled, is that the insurance carrier will not cover the damages.
   Please keep in mind, a federal judge has dismissed the district from any wrong doing. However, the school directors were left in. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Sunday, July 26, 2009 12:35 am
Under the Dome
Under the Dome
   Some rumors have been floating under the dome worth mentioning.
   First, we heard Attorney Jack Dean will be supporting Dick Hughes for Judge.
   Dean is a high ranking Democrat in the county and this has caught some loyal Democrats off guard.
   This next one seems a bit far fetch, but worth mentioning:  Senator Ray Musto will lobby the senate to appoint his brother, Judge Joe Musto, to fill the unexpired term of Mark Ciavarella.
   We also heard Joe Musto may be in line for an appointment to the federal bench.
   Finally, the courthouse has been awfully quite on the third floor.
   Please keep in mind, making front page news is important to the feds.  My thought is they’re waiting until the fall.




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Joe Valenti - Posted: Sunday, July 26, 2009 12:18 am
Making the rounds
Making the rounds
Mike Lombardo, Eugene Sperazza, Joe Saporito, Jim Haddock & Jimmy Dennis
Making the rounds
   During these dog days of summer, the political arena really comes to a screeching halt.
   In my travels, however, I have come across quite a few political faces this past week.
   First, while having breakfast with Joe Joyce at Agolino’s, a hand came upon my shoulder while sitting at the counter.
   “Where were you last week?” the voice from behind said.
   As I turned around and saw Pat Solano, he said, “we missed you this year.”
   Last year I caught up with Pat’s son-in-law and my good friend, Jimmy Zarra. We played a few rounds of golf while the Solano family was vacation down in Ocean City, NJ.
   By Mr. Salano’s side was Attorney Eugene Sperazza who ran for judge this past primary.
   As you know, Solano supported Sperazza.




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Joe Valenti - Posted: Sunday, July 26, 2009 12:06 am
Kitchen Table Politics July 19, 2009

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Posted: Saturday, July 18, 2009 11:38 pm
Exeter will see heated race come the fall
   While Exeter Councilman Dan DeRoberto may have won the battle when he defeated PJ Pribula in the primary, he still has not won the war.
   Exeter resident Dale Skursky has taken all the necessary steps to have his name placed on the ballot as an Independent.
   From what we have been told, he’ll have his cross-hairs on DeRoberto.
   This race should be quite interesting considering Pribula actually beat DeRoberto in DeRoberto’s own ward.
   Skursky will also have the backing of Tommy Shannon who garnered more votes than DeRoberto.
   Couple Shannon and Pribula along with the support of Councilman Joe Esposito, DeRoberto could have his hands full come the fall.

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Joe Valentio - Posted: Saturday, July 18, 2009 10:47 pm - 2 opinions posted
Nipper zings Savokinas
Nipper zings Savokinas
Sheriff Mike Savokinas & George "Nipper" Nowakowski
Nipper zings Savokinas
   “Stankus did not return several calls for comment, but Nowakowski doubted a set up occurred and ‘absolutely’ denied any involvement if it did. ‘I don’t have to do anything to ruin his (Savokinas) reputation.’”
   Ouch!
   Score one for the Nipper (Nowakowski).
   The above was a portion of a story that ran this past week in The Times Leader when pot was found in a Sheriff’s vehicle.
   OK – either Savokinas is being “set up” like he said this past week or he’s not the sharpest tack in the box. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, July 18, 2009 10:46 pm - 4 opinions posted
Party official questions DA's motives
Party official questions DA's motives
Jackie Musto-Carroll & Atty Dick Hughes
Party official questions DA's motives
   We received word last week that Jackie Musto-Carroll was courting Dick Hughes at the Mount Carmel picinic.
   Hughes won a Republican nomination for judge and will be squaring of against Tina Polachek Gartley who won the Democratic nomination.
   Bill Amesbury won a double.
   This isn’t sitting too well with the powers that be in the third district considering Musto-Carroll is a Democrat and is also the District Attorney.
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Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, July 18, 2009 10:46 pm - 4 opinions posted
Campenni right on the mark with letter
Campenni right on the mark with letter
WA Director Estelle Campenni
Campenni right on the mark with letter
   Estelle Campenni had quite the letter to the editor in the Dispatch last week.
   There is nothing like a woman, the caliber of Campenni, putting someone like Gerry Wall in his place.
   Campenni was right.
   Sure this board saved the district from the previous board’s building project.
   The problem, while they scaled the project from $20 million to $15 million, they never paid down the $20 million loan to $15 million.
   For the last four years, the board used the $5 million to balance the budget.
   As the old saying goes, pay me now or pay me a lot later.
   The interest on the five million has to be paid.  There is no escaping that.
   By the way, has anyone ever compared the cost per square foot between the old building project and the new project?
   That’s an article for a later time.
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Joe Valenti - Posted: Sunday, July 12, 2009 12:19 pm - 1 opinion posted
Dog days of summer bring lull to political front
Dog days of summer bring lull to political front
Joe Valenti
Dog days of summer bring lull to political front
   During these dog days of summer, it’s awfully difficult to come up with decent content.
   Pittston Area will be hiring a handful of new teachers.  Let’s see if the only way to secure a job at PA is if one has to follow “Joe Valenti’s Guide on How to land a teaching job?”
   Or, considering what has transpired on the east side, will the board now actually hire new teachers based on qualifications along with seniority.
   The west side has been equally quiet as well.
   It looks like Gil Dominick and Frank Casarella will both run as a team for the Wyoming Area Board.
   Both have switched their party affiliation and will run as Independents.  They’ll be looking to oust John LaNunziata and will try to peel of Mike Aufiere as well who won a double.
   As far as the county – Sheriff Mike Savokinas has been taking his fair share of bad press.
   Don’t look for the powers to support Savokinas next time around.  They aren’t too pleased with him and their thought is he’ll bring down the ticket.
   Finally, have you seen the River Front park in Pittston City lately?
   It’s a mess.
   I forget the last time I actually saw anyone down there.
   I’ve driven by the new water front in Wilkes Barre and it is pristine.
   There is really no excuse for our water front to be in the condition it is..

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Joe Valenti - Posted: Sunday, July 12, 2009 12:02 pm - 5 opinions posted
Singer in minority on tech position
Singer in minority on tech position
Board President Mark Singer
Singer in minority on tech position
   With the arrest and indictment of Pittston Area School Board Superintendent Ross Scarantino, the complexion of the board seems to be changing a bit.
   While it seems like they are one big happy family publicly, don’t let that fool you.
   For example, the board recently contracted with the Jim Heffers to assist with the district’s technology.
   Heffers recently retired and handled the district technology.  He was actually a social studies teacher and retired under the teachers’ contract.
   With the mess Scranantino left, along with the allegations surrounding the some of the vendors, the district’s technology was left hanging. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, July 4, 2009 10:46 pm - 3 opinions posted
VIDEO: PA Board passes budget

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Posted: Saturday, July 4, 2009 10:46 pm
Aufiere balks at Dominick's offer
Aufiere balks at Dominick's offer
Mike Aufiere
Aufiere balks at Dominick's offer
   November will be interesting on the West Side.
   As we know, new comer Mike Aufiere, pulled off a double knocking of Gerry Wall.
   Aufiere spent about 39 cents
   While he certainly worked hard, don’t think for one moment, however, he did this all on his own.
   He had the backing of some political horses.
   Political horses like Gil Dominick, Jimmy Blandina, PJ Pribula and Jimmy Dennis to name a few.  There are a handful of others that I’ll leave nameless at this time.
   When Gerry Wall and John LaNunziata were busy booting Jimmy Dennis and Dave Yarick off the ballot, Gil Dominick quietly switched his party affiliation to Independent.
   This made Dominick eligible to run in the fall as an Indpendent.
   Over the last couple weeks, Gil Dominick has been getting his ducks in a row for the fall.  Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, July 4, 2009 10:46 pm - 4 opinions posted
Says Twp residents were duped on Juvie Center
Says Twp residents were duped on Juvie Center
PA Child Care
Says Twp residents were duped on Juvie Center
EDITOR'S NOTE:  We recently received this from a Pittston Twp resident and thought it was worth sharing.
  All of the following should be part of the public record and available for you to review during these "slow political months" if you were to get bored!
   I live up in the area of the Juvie center and have been living up there since 1999. I believe it was back in 2003 that a building permit was issued for a "Day Care Facility" to be built in the Grimes Industrial Park.
   The people of the community saw this as a good thing of course, thinking it would provide a place to send your children while the parents went to work in the near-by industrial park.
   From what we were told by our township supervisors (at the time), that the permit had expired and another permit was requested with a change in only one word. "Adjudicated" was added before "Day Care Center".
   The story goes that the zoning officer "did not know" what the word meant and put it through anyway. Read More ...
Posted: Saturday, June 27, 2009 10:31 pm - 3 opinions posted
Singer needs to hold up his end, transparency needs to be evident
Singer needs to hold up his end, transparency needs to be evident
PA Board President, Atty. Mark Singer
Singer needs to hold up his end, transparency needs to be evident
   There  has been quite a bit of maneuvering going on behind this scenes to name the replacement for Jim Heffers who was Pittston Area’s IT (Information Technology) coordinator.
   Please recall a couple of weeks ago we wrote in this corner Heffers was retiring.  His position was covered under the teachers’ contract.
   First, Heffers has officially retired as a Pittston Area School Teacher.  He will collect all the benefits which are covered under the teachers’ contract.
   However, because some think he holds the only key to the IT Department, Heffers may return under an Act 93 contract.
   The problem, it’s an unbudgeted position. 
   An $80,000 plus benefits problem – total package would be $100,000 per year for four years (two mils).
   Now I, for one, am all for paying for good talent.
   However, the transparency in this move is pathetic at best.
   From what we have gathered the board may try to sneak this through at the Monday night meeting.
   The reason I say “the transparency in this move is pathetic” is, in usual Pittston Area style, this position has not been advertised. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, June 27, 2009 10:01 pm - 4 opinions posted
Juvie Center payoffs may involve former Twp official
Juvie Center payoffs may involve former Twp official
   The latest in the Juvie Center scandal is that a former Pittston Township official is knee deep in poo poo.
   While we won’t disclose his name, we understand he was referred to in the Judicial indictment as a “Participant.”
   Hmmm…
   Makes you think – doesn’t it?
   It centers around granting privileges of building on the site where the juvie center sits.
   Please recall a couple weeks back, Attorney Robert Powell was indicted for funneling cash for payoffs.
   It seems that maybe some of this funneling may have happened on Sathers Drive. 
   What we also heard is that it may not have actually been cash, but a spanking brand new four wheel drive truck.
   All I know, is I’d hate to be the last man standing when this is said and done. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, June 20, 2009 6:54 pm