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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.

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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. 

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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.
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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

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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

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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
Guarnieri becomes confrontational with reporter
Guarnieri becomes confrontational with reporter
Chief Deputy Charles Guarnieri (center) and Sheriff Mike Savokinas (left) talk with a WBRE reporter.
Guarnieri becomes confrontational with reporter
   After watching WBRE interview Luzerne County Sheriff Mike Savokinas and Chief Deputy Charles Guarnieri, it makes me pause and say, “What were they thinking?”
   This past week, WBRE interviewed Savokinas and Guarnieri about inconsistencies on Guarnieri’s time card(click here to view).
   The report stated Guarnieri was “allegedly off” for four weeks.  However, payroll records had him in attendance at work.
   “Three sources in the department claimed the Second-in-Command Guarnieri had not showed up to work for four weeks,” WBRE’s web page reported.
The Sheriff, however, claims he works time off internally and put the onus back on payroll.
   The interview was not without incident.
   And this will come back to bite Savokinas when he is up for re-election.
   During the interview Guarnieri pushed the microphone away from the reporter.
   Rule number one in “Joe Valenti’s how to handle the media”:
   Never, and I mean never, become confrontational with the media.  It’s a disaster that will fester like that boil on your great aunt’s rumpus.

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Posted: Saturday, June 20, 2009 6:54 pm - 22 opinions posted
ANALYSIS:  Rogers gets best bang for her buck
ANALYSIS:  Rogers gets best bang for her buck
Atty. Jenifer Rogers
ANALYSIS: Rogers gets best bang for her buck
   One of my favorite things to do post election, is analyze the CPV (Cost Per Vote).
   Taking a look at the chart below, its clear Jenifer Rogers got the most bang for her buck in her bid for a seat on the Judiciary.
   She only spent $10,122 and received 6,838 Democrat and Republican votes.  Breaking that down, she only spent $1.48 per vote.
   In contrast, Eugene Sperazza spent $448,242 and received 8,127 Democrat and Republican votes.  $55.15 CPV.
   Next in line for the least cost per vote is Molly Hanlon Mirabito who spent $10,601 and received 4,783 total votes.  Her CPV was $2.22
   The top vote getter, Bill Amesbury, who won a double nomination spent $153,099 and received 15,094 total votes.   His CPV was $10.14.
   Tina Polacheck Gartley, who won a Democratic nod, spent $53,508 and received 11,623 total votes.  Her CPV was $4.60.
   While Dick Hughes, who garnered Republican nomination spent $137,066 and received 7,343 total votes.  His CPV was $18.67.
   Analyzing this even further, what this tells us is that the three women candidates were strong. 
   Very Strong.
   Rogers was the strongest spending only $1.48 CPV; Mirabito’s CPV was $2.22; and Gartley, who won a Democratic nod, CPV was $4.60. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, June 20, 2009 6:53 pm - 1 opinion posted
We owe our gratitude to all public servants
We owe our gratitude to all public servants
   With the tragic death of our own Joshua Miller, this past week has been a bit tough to come up with anything political.
   While I didn’t know Joshua, it hit deep.
   Joshua is a true hero. 
   He gave the ultimate sacrifice to save the life of a nine year old boy.
   We all owe Joshua along with Robby Lombardo a debt of gratitude.
   A debt of gratitude which we must, as a community, never forget.
   A few years back Monsignor Bendick gave a homily that stuck with me ever since. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Sunday, June 14, 2009 11:54 am - 4 opinions posted
Technology has come far in past two years
Technology has come far in past two years
John Lombardo, PA Student
Technology has come far in past two years
by John Lombardo
PA Student
  The past couple of years at Pittston Area have been full of change. One of the major changes was the revamping of the technology in the High School. I think this is one of the best things that happened to Pittston Area in recent times. The teachers love it. The students love it. This is a truly good example of your taxpayer dollars at work.
    I have been at the High School for two years now, and the biggest change in the school since then, has been the improvement of technology. This includes new 32 inch flat screen TVs in every class room, and two big flat screen Tvs in the lobby, new computers for every classroom, new smart boards(computer based projection screens that you can write on) for some classrooms and a brand new security camera network, placed throughout most of the building.
    Once everything was up and running, the school became a marvel of new technology. The first thing I noticed was that the Communications Club could finally use the TVs for the morning announcements. The school even had the candidates for the class election give speeches via the announcements. There are also plans for some kind of news ticker with announcements to be shown all day during school. Teachers would be allowed to turn their TVs on during study halls and let the students watch. Read More ...
John Lombardo - Posted: Saturday, June 13, 2009 10:46 pm - 6 opinions posted
Hassey:  No target letters at Wyoming Area
Hassey:  No target letters at Wyoming Area
Dist Solicitor Atty, Ray Hassey
Hassey: No target letters at Wyoming Area
   The rumor mill on the west side has been in full gear.
   Over the last three weeks, I probably have received two dozen calls three officials at Wyoming Area received target letters in conjunction with the Wyoming Area building project.
   As much as some are hoping its true, it’s not.
   District Solicitor Attorney Ray Hassey confirmed this past week, the district was not served. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, June 6, 2009 10:46 pm - 3 opinions posted
Guariglia should head IT Director search
Guariglia should head IT Director search
Directors Tony Guariglia & Terry Best
Guariglia should head IT Director search
   Pittston Area has a perfect opportunity to do the right thing.
   With the retirement of Jim Heffers as the IT (Information Technology) Director, the Pittston Area Board and administration has to set politics aside, step up to the plate and make a decision that is truly in the best interest of the district.
   The problem, however, with the exception of  board member Tony Guariglia, there is no one knowledgeable or qualified enough to properly make a non-political decision to fill the void.
 Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, June 6, 2009 10:46 pm - 7 opinions posted
WP Council President says pool will be open, squashes rumors of sewer fees
WP Council President says pool will be open, squashes rumors of sewer fees
Brian Thornton, WP Council President
WP Council President says pool will be open, squashes rumors of sewer fees
   As everyone is surely aware, the primary election is over, and unfortunately, not all of our team made it. Most people know that Kevin Lescavage lost, and I'm stating that unequivocally he was the hardest working member of Council I have ever known and he saved this borough tens of thousands of dollars. But Kevin is past this, and so are we. And we are ready to move forward.
   It is unfortunate then, that some individuals would choose to initiate and circulate false rumors intended to create dispersions of doubt surrounding the important issues facing our borough. I can see no useful purpose for this as the election is over.
   At our public meeting in April, Council unanimously voted to open our community swimming pool. And this was promptly published in the local media outlets. Additionally, the issues with our failing sewers and the associated sewer fees have been discussed
 Read More ...
Brian Thornton, WP Boro Council President - Posted: Saturday, June 6, 2009 10:46 pm - 29 opinions posted
For the Study Commission, the hard work begins now
For the Study Commission, the hard work begins now
Above with Luzerne County Judge Chester Murowksi are the members of the County Study Commission
For the Study Commission, the hard work begins now
   As I predicted, the question to study Luzerne County’s form of government passed.
   That was the easy part.
   Now come the hard part.
   Countless hours and evenings will be spent studying our government. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, June 6, 2009 10:46 pm - 4 opinions posted
My Dubian Dream
My Dubian Dream
John Watson
My Dubian Dream
   The word "boink" has many meanings depending on your demographic.
   In my native Pittston, Pennsylvania lexicon it meant getting hit with a baseball.
   To others, it could have a sexual intonation.
   It’s a neat word.
   But I'll tell you what getting boinked really is.
   Today in the high Rockies it was too windy to take my bike to work so I walked.
   After a harrowing winter without an automobile in which I wore out a pair of chains for my boots, a gift from my darling daughter Juli and her mountain man Ryan Walsh, I am prepared for spring and the sudden changes in the weather at 10,000 feet. Read More ...
John Watson - Posted: Sunday, May 31, 2009 8:42 pm
Bolin & Marianacci balk at offer
Bolin & Marianacci balk at offer
John Marianacci, John Bolin & Mike Aufiere
Bolin & Marianacci balk at offer
   With John Bolin and John Marianacci garnering the coveted top vote getter spots in this past Wyoming Area School Board election, some are looking to team up with them come the fall.
   Besides Bolin and Marianacci, John LaNuziata and Mike Aufiere also won double nominations.
   That doesn’t mean there won’t be a race come fall.
   Frank Cassarella and Gil Dominick both registered as Independents 30 days prior to the primary.  This makes them eligible to run as Independents in the general. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, May 30, 2009 11:31 pm - 2 opinions posted
With Scarantino out, leaders need to lead
With Scarantino out, leaders need to lead
Board Pres. Atty Mark Singer
With Scarantino out, leaders need to lead
   Now that Ross Scanantino has pled guilty, it’s time for leaders to lead.
   Never has there been a better time to implement true transparency in Pittston Area.
   My thought is anything that goes wrong in the coming months, Scarantino will take the blame.
   However, throwing him under the bus will still not resolve some of the pressing issues that face Pittston Area.
   It is very clear Scarantino steered the ship (the board) over the years. 
   However, how long can you continue to blame him?
   Here’s an idea. How about never?
   Put the past behind you and move on.  Do the right thing. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, May 30, 2009 11:31 pm - 11 opinions posted
Your "Political Fix" may seem a bit lean
Your "Political Fix" may seem a bit lean
Joe Valenti
Your "Political Fix" may seem a bit lean
   With the primary season over and done with, PittstonPolitics.com might seem a bit lean.
   Over the past three to six months, we’ve been cramming as much politics into the pages as we could muster.
   However, the politics just won’t be flowing as it has.
   I do realize you need your “political fix,” however, many of you might have to go through a bit of withdrawal until the political season heats up again.
   Over the past months, everyone has been mainlining uncut politics straight from the source.
   Well, I hate to break the news to ya, its going to dry up a bit. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, May 30, 2009 11:31 pm - 4 opinions posted
Pa. Judicial Corruption Probe Said to Be Eying Criminal Cases
Pa. Judicial Corruption Probe Said to Be Eying Criminal Cases
Mark Ciavarella & Mike Conahan
Pa. Judicial Corruption Probe Said to Be Eying Criminal Cases
   Below is an interesting article we came across this week at Law.com
   Federal investigators in the Luzerne County, Pa., judicial corruption probe are said to be looking at whether two indicted former judges may have helped fix criminal cases, sources have told The Legal Intelligencer.
   An investigation by The Legal Intelligencer has turned up at least three criminal cases in which individuals with ties to the corruption probe or with either political or personal ties to former Judges Michael T. Conahan and Mark A. Ciavarella appeared in front of them and received relatively light sentences. In several instances, the bulk of the charges were either dismissed or nolle prossed.
(click here to continue)




 Read More ...
Law.com - Posted: Saturday, May 30, 2009 11:31 pm - 1 opinion posted
Judge Michael Toole's schedule cleared for this coming week
Judge Michael Toole's schedule cleared for this coming week
Judge Michael Toole
Judge Michael Toole's schedule cleared for this coming week
   While we’re not sure who the feds will nail next, we do know a few things.
   First, Luzerne County Judge Michael Toole’s schedule has been cleared for this coming week.  There were a handful of things that were to appear in front of him, however, sources told us they’ve been canceled.
   If you google Toole, you sure won’t be short on articles. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, May 30, 2009 11:31 pm - 1 opinion posted
Kitchen Table Politics for May 24, 2009

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Posted: Saturday, May 23, 2009 11:17 pm - 1 opinion posted
Sobeski-Reedy responds to flier
Sobeski-Reedy responds to flier
Cheryl Sobeski-Reedy
Sobeski-Reedy responds to flier
Dear Editor:
   Due to the number of inquiries that I have received concerning an anonymous flier that was mailed to Wyoming Area School District residents prior to the primary election, I feel compelled to respond.
   This flier contained my photograph and that of my late father, Anthony “Jake” Sobeski, and implied that I endorsed four candidates for the Wyoming Area School Board.  It indicated that it was paid for by “a friend.” Read More ...
Cheryl Sobeski-Reedy - Posted: Saturday, May 23, 2009 10:58 pm - 1 opinion posted
Analyzing City Mayoral race
Analyzing City Mayoral race
Joe Keating, Jason Klush & Luddy Fleming
Analyzing City Mayoral race
   Here’s an interesting observation about the Pittston City Mayoral race that hit me a couple days ago.
   When Joe Keating lost the District Justice slot 18 years ago, his challenger, Fred Pierantoni, was only 32 years old.
   The time around in his loss to Jason Klush, his challenger again was 32 years old.
   It seems our area is fond of fresh faces.
 Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, May 23, 2009 10:16 pm - 1 opinion posted
What happened in Wyoming Area
What happened in Wyoming Area
Mike Aufiere & Gerry Wall
What happened in Wyoming Area
   Riddle me this.
   How can two non-native Wyoming Area candidates win a seat on the Wyoming Area School Board?
   Two years ago, Pittston City native Estelle Campennini won a double nomination.  She spent about 39 cents.
   Now, another east side native, Mike Aufiere, captures a seat.
   He, like Campenning, spent about 39 cents.
   Both worked hard and had the issues. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, May 23, 2009 10:16 pm - 2 opinions posted
Lescavage will fill out his term
Lescavage will fill out his term
Brian Thornton, WP Council President
Lescavage will fill out his term
   Just as an FYI, Kevin Lescavage resigned his post as Chairman of the West Pittston Public Works Dept. I suppose he, like many of us, were deeply disappointed that he did not win the nomination on Tuesday for the next Council term.
   It is my understanding that he will serve out his term until the end of this year. Kevin worked extremely hard for our town and spent countless hours giving his time and labor at the Public Works garage. For that, I am deeply grateful. Read More ...
Brian Thornton, WP Council President - Posted: Saturday, May 23, 2009 10:16 pm - 4 opinions posted
The Democratic Fred crushes the Republican Fred
The Democratic Fred crushes the Republican Fred
DJ Fred Pierantoni & David Paul
The Democratic Fred crushes the Republican Fred
   The Republican Fred Pierantoni got crushed the Democratic Fred Pierantoni in the eastside District Justice race.
   The Democratic Fred was able to garner 3859 vote.
   While the Republican Fred only received 941.
   And, there were ten write in votes against the Fredster.  What’s up with that?
   All kidding aside, Pierantoni has more than proved himself over the last 18 years. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, May 23, 2009 10:16 pm - 3 opinions posted
PA should hire new football coach, Rostock should head search
PA should hire new football coach, Rostock should head search
Tony Rostock
PA should hire new football coach, Rostock should head search
   The public relation course in Pittston Area has to be changed.
   With the Scarantino scandal and more rumors looming than one could shake a stick at, we need to focus on something else.
   We need to stop focusing on all this negative stuff like kick-backs, paying for jobs, federal indictments and focus on something we really care about.
   Here’s an idea – hire a new football coach. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, May 23, 2009 10:16 pm - 8 opinions posted
Keating  calls it quits
Keating  calls it quits
Mayor Joe Keating calls it quits
Keating calls it quits



   January 2009 – Senator Ray Musto creates $35,000 per year part-time job for Pittston City Mayor, Joe Keating.
   Friday, May 15th – Keating sends negative campaign flier against Mayoral Candidate Luddy Fleming.
   Saturday, May 16th – Fleming withdraws from race and throws support behind Jason Klush.
   Tuesday, May 19th – Keating loses to Jason Klush by 16%; Senator Musto’s brother, Joe, loses Judicial race.
   Wednesday, May 20th – Joe Keating resigns as Pittston City Mayor.
   Thursday, May 21st  – Musto fires Keating (speculation).  Keating unable to receive state pension because he didn’t work 18 months. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Wednesday, May 20, 2009 9:51 pm - 19 opinions posted
BREAKING NEWS:  Pittston Mayor Joe Keating to resign
BREAKING NEWS:  Pittston Mayor Joe Keating to resign
Pittston Mayor Joe Keating
BREAKING NEWS: Pittston Mayor Joe Keating to resign
   Look for Pittston City Mayor Joe Keating to resign at tonight’s city council meeting.
   Keating lost to Jason Klush yesterday in a heated city race.
   Word on the street is that Luddy Fleming will step into that slot.
   We do know that if Keating does resign, Donna McFadden-Connors who is the Deputy Mayor, will step in to fill Keating's shoes until a full time replacement is appointed.
   We haven’t been able to confirm anything, however, we’ll have a full report after tonight’s meeting. Read More ...
Posted: Wednesday, May 20, 2009 3:29 pm - 2 opinions posted
Its been a long political season and I'm heading to bed
Its been a long political season and I'm heading to bed
Joe Valenti
Its been a long political season and I'm heading to bed
   It’s been a long political season for me.
   As I write this it is 2AM Wednesday morning and I’m tired.
   My phone hasn’t stopped ringing since last week.
   To be honest with everyone, I’m tired.
   I’m going to try and wrap up the remaining races as the week proceeds.
   There are just too many and I want to go to bed. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Wednesday, May 20, 2009 2:14 am - 5 opinions posted
Linskey top vote getter, race will continue in PA
Linskey top vote getter, race will continue in PA
Bob Linskey
Linskey top vote getter, race will continue in PA
   It looks like the fight will go on come the fall in Pittston Area.
   Bob Linskey, Ross Latona and Marilyn Starna all garnered double nominations for the Pittston Area board.
   Bruce Knick received a Democratic nomination and will square off against Bob Lampman who received a Republican nod.
   First, kudos to Bob Linskey for being top vote getter.
   He worked hard, made some risky political moves which evidently paid off. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Wednesday, May 20, 2009 1:54 am - 16 opinions posted
Bolin & Marianacci flex political muscle, Wall out, Aufiere  in
Bolin & Marianacci flex political muscle, Wall out, Aufiere  in
John Marianacci, Dave "The Architect" Alberigi & John Bolin
Bolin & Marianacci flex political muscle, Wall out, Aufiere in
   There’s a new sheriff in town and all roads are open to Avoca.
   John Bolin and John Marianacci have gained some serious political capital garnering the most votes both on the Democratic and Republican ballots for Wyoming Area School Board.
   New comer Mike Aufiere also captured a double nomination knocking off incumbent Gerry Wall. Read More ...
Posted: Wednesday, May 20, 2009 1:15 am - 6 opinions posted
BREAKING NEWS:  Pittston Mayor Joe Keating to resign
BREAKING NEWS:  Pittston Mayor Joe Keating to resign
Pittston Mayor Joe Keating
BREAKING NEWS: Pittston Mayor Joe Keating to resign
   Look for Pittston City Mayor Joe Keating to resign at tonight’s city council meeting.
   Keating lost to Jason Klush yesterday in a heated city race.
   Word on the street is that Luddy Fleming will step into that slot.
   We do know that if Keating does resign, Donna McFadden-Connors who is the Deputy Mayor, will step in to fill Keating's shoes until a full time replacement is appointed.
   We haven’t been able to confirm anything, however, we’ll have a full report after tonight’s meeting. Read More ...
Posted: Wednesday, May 20, 2009 1:00 am
Klush defeats Keating in Pittston by 16 points
Klush defeats Keating in Pittston by 16 points
Pittston City's new Mayor, Jason Klush
Klush defeats Keating in Pittston by 16 points
   Jason Klush and Luddy Fleming both were winners Tuesday evening.
   By a margin of 16%, Klush defeated sitting Pittston City Mayor Joe Keating.
   Klush 913
   Keating 658
   Fleming 38
   As most know, Fleming pulled out of the race over the weekend because of a flier Keating put out that was critical of Fleming’s past business practices. 
   Fleming then pledged all his support to Klush saying the only thing he wanted was for Klush to run the city the same way he ran his campaign.
   Mike Lombardo won a council seat along with Terry Best.
   Stay tuned for updates and analysis.

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Joe Valenti - Posted: Tuesday, May 19, 2009 10:15 pm - 14 opinions posted
Judicial robo calls may have ties to Zola |
Judicial robo calls may have ties to Zola |
Atty Dan Zola
Judicial robo calls may have ties to Zola
   The phone number from a Dan Zola robo-call may have ties to robo-calls urging voters not to vote for judges who accepted contributions from attorneys.
   We received a robo-call (a recording ) from Candidate for Luzerne County Judge, Daniel Zola, tonight (Monday, May 18th) at 7:07PM urging voters to support him. 
   In his message he pointed out he was one of the first candidates not to accept lawyer contributions.  The number the call came from was 517-931-2684.
  Friday evening we received a robo-call urging voters not to vote for judges who receive campaign contributions from attorneys. 
 Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Monday, May 18, 2009 9:32 pm - 5 opinions posted
Feds target bloggers
Feds target bloggers
   No, I haven’t received a federal target letter - yet.
   This past week in the bloggosspher, local blogger Gort 42, wrote there were target letters sent to area bloggers.
   He was reporting the rumor from a Lehigh Valley blogger, Circumlocution for Dummies.
   “A source familiar with the federal investigation into the Luzerne County judiciary has told me federal prosecutors have sent target letters to two local political bloggers advising them that they are being investigated and should immediately seek legal counsel,” the blog states.
   (Cork, be on standby) Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, May 16, 2009 11:21 pm - 3 opinions posted
Let's have a "free for all" in Pittston Area Politics
Let's have a "free for all" in Pittston Area Politics
   Believe it or not, I don’t have anything fresh or juicy to write about Pittston Area School Board Politics.
   With Tuesday (election-day) yearning, anything we write here will be old news anyway.
   What I wrote last week, pretty much summed it all up.
 Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, May 16, 2009 11:03 pm
Robo calls tag two Judicial candidates
Robo calls tag two Judicial candidates
Atty's Joe Terrana & Joe Sklarosky
Robo calls tag two Judicial candidates
   After I received a robo call this past week, its clear Judicial Candidates Attorneys Joe Terrana and Joe Sklarosky are definitely in the mix.
   The call basically said Terrana and Sklarosky took more money from attorneys than all the others candidates combined.
   It concluded, “Just say no to Judges who take money from attorneys.”
   Hmm.. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, May 16, 2009 10:52 pm - 4 opinions posted
WA incumbents set the record straight
WA incumbents set the record straight
John Marianacci & John Bolin
WA incumbents set the record straight
By:  John Bolin. WA School Director
Dear Editor
   I’m writing to set the record straight on a political flyer that was sent out May 16th.  It listed my running mate John Marianacci along with myself.  Dave Yarick and Mike Aufiere also were mentioned.
   It insinuated that we were running with Dave Yarick and Mike Aufiere.
 Read More ...
John Bolin - Posted: Saturday, May 16, 2009 10:17 pm - 1 opinion posted
Thanks to Doc Colella, an afternoon spent with OJ McDuffie
Thanks to Doc Colella, an afternoon spent with OJ McDuffie
Mike Valenti, OJ "Juice" McDuffie & Joey V
Thanks to Doc Colella, an afternoon spent with OJ McDuffie
   Sometimes all work and no play makes Joey V a dull boy.
   This past week, and thanks to Doc Collela, I enjoyed a round of golf with former Penn Stater and Miami Dolphins’ wide receiver OJ McDuffie at Fox Hill.
   What a stand up guy McDuffie is.
   First, my entire family and I are huge Dolphin and McDuffie fans.
   Playing with Juice (that’s what Doc calls him) is like playing with one of your best buddies. Read More ...
Posted: Saturday, May 16, 2009 10:17 pm
Rally turns into Pitch Game
Rally turns into Pitch Game
Dave "Buttons" Alberigi, Joe Valenti, Bobby Steinberger & John Marianacci (photo taken by John Bolin)
Rally turns into Pitch Game
   I went to a political rally and a pitch game broke out.
   While attending John Bolin and John Marianacci’s poll workers’ rally at Cheers, my good friend “Buttons” Alberigi asked, “Hey, who wants to play pitch?”
   Ah, just like the old days at LCCC.
   After deliberating what type of pitch to play – ten point, five point, throw out the tens, etc., Buttons said, “Hey, none of the wuss pitch, let’s just play four point.” Read More ...
Posted: Saturday, May 16, 2009 10:17 pm - 1 opinion posted
Incumbents get organized for Tue
Incumbents get organized for Tue
John Marianacci, Gil Atherholt, Lisa Atherhold, John Bolin, Bob Steinberger, Dave Alberigi, Bob Steinberger & Jim Rose
Incumbents get organized for Tue
   Wyoming Area School Directors John Bolin and John Marianacci held a pre-election poll worker rally at Cheers Café.
   While neither was expecting to pack the place, both were pleased with the turnout.
   “We’re glad to see the mix of people here,” Bolin said.
   “We had both Republicans and Democrats in attendance which shows our support reaches across both sides of the isle,” he said

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Posted: Saturday, May 16, 2009 10:17 pm
Dennis hosts rally for O'Connor for Judge
Dennis hosts rally for O'Connor for Judge
Atty. Tom O'Connor
Dennis hosts rally for O'Connor for Judge
   Jimmy Dennis was host to a hometown rally for Attorney Tom O’Connor for Judge.
   It was held at the West Wyoming Hose Company where more than 150 came in support of O’Connor.
   “I will be a judge for all the people in Luzerne County,” O’Connor said in his remarks.
   Taking note of a special accomplishment O’Connor said, “I represented the Vietnam Veterans in their Agent Orange Case.”
   “And, I did this for free of charge because it was the right thing to do,” he said.
   He also noted his work he did with the Catholic Schools and the homeless.
 Read More ...
Posted: Saturday, May 16, 2009 10:17 pm
Candidates announce intentions for Exeter
Candidates announce intentions for Exeter
Exeter Mayor Cassandra Coleman
Candidates announce intentions for Exeter
   Cassandra Coleman is seeking re-election to the office of Mayor of Exeter Borough. Cassandra was appointed in October to complete the term of her late Grandfather, Joseph F. Coyne III, who passed away last year. Cassandra is a life long resident of the borough with her families Exeter roots going back over three generations.
   Cassandra is a 2006 graduate of the Wyoming Area School and will be starting her senior year at Kings College in Wilkes-Barre where she is pursuing her degree in political science. After graduation from Wilkes, Cassandra plans to enter law school. Read More ...
Posted: Saturday, May 16, 2009 10:17 pm - 1 opinion posted
Family and friends gather for Sperazza
Family and friends gather for Sperazza
Bruce Boedeker, Robin Trombly, William Allen & Atty. Eugene Sperazza
Family and friends gather for Sperazza
   Family, friends and supporters gathered at the Dupont Hose Company in support of Attorney Eugene Sperazza for Judge.
   About 150 passed through door.
   Sperazza made a bold move in the last three weeks by returning all lawyer contributions. 
   The problem, however, it seems the daily newspapers could care less.
   And, that’s too bad. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, May 16, 2009 10:17 pm
BREAKING NEWS: Fleming withdraws from race, throws support to Klush


   There’s good new for Mayor Joe Keating.
   And, there’s bad news for Mayor Joe Keating.
   First, the good news.  He accomplished what he set out to do after he direct mailed a political flyer (click here to download) to all Pittston City residents.  Luddy Fleming will most likely not be the next Pittston City Mayor.
   The bad news – if Luddy Fleming has his way, Joe Keating will not serve a second term and Jason Klush will step in.
   The flyer in question noted Fleming’s past businesses practices. 


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Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, May 16, 2009 5:20 pm - 39 opinions posted
NEWS FLASH!  Keating to hit Fleming hard in Pittston race
NEWS FLASH!  Keating to hit Fleming hard in Pittston race
City Mayor Joe Keating & Luddy Fleming
NEWS FLASH! Keating to hit Fleming hard in Pittston race
   While everyone is thinking Joe Keating would be playing the Wil Toole card in the Pittston City Mayoral race, he’s not.
   Look for Keating to take a serious shot at challenger Luddy Fleming. We’ll probably see an ad this Sunday in The Dispatch.
   Keating will be calling Fleming on past business practices.
   There have been a few blogs along this same path that I have not approved.  I thought they were a over the top and just a bit too dicey.
 Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Wednesday, May 13, 2009 10:35 pm - 17 opinions posted
Poll spells trouble for Linskey's ticket
Poll spells trouble for Linskey's ticket
PA incumbents Joe Oliveri, Kent Bratlee & Bob Linskey
Poll spells trouble for Linskey's ticket
    According to a PittstonPolitics.com online poll, it looks like the only incumbent who will retain his seat for the Pittston Area Board will be Joe Oliveri.
   Of the 260 who responded, 46% said Oliveri would be the incumbent they would most likely vote for.
   That is quite surprising considering the black eyes the district has suffered over the past month.
 Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Sunday, May 10, 2009 12:28 am - 8 opinions posted
Weather cooperates with City ticket
Weather cooperates with City ticket
Mayor Joe Keating & Sal Licata
Weather cooperates with City ticket
   If there’s one thing Louie Biscotto can do right is throw a party.
   This past Saturday, The Pittston South Side Social Club was host to Mayor Joe Keating and Council Candidates Mike Lombardo and Joe Chernouskas.
   With the weather cooperating, about 75 to 100 came to show their support for Keating’s ticket.
   Steve Perry worked the grill and served up some fine hotdogs and sausage peppers.
   Keating is touting his accomplishments over the past four years and hoping
(more photos inside)

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Posted: Saturday, May 9, 2009 11:55 pm - 14 opinions posted
Vote for me:  Envelopes for everybody!
Vote for me:  Envelopes for everybody!
Joe Valenti
Vote for me: Envelopes for everybody!
   I’ve decided to throw my hat in the ring on May 19th.
   The problem, I’m not on the ballot.
   The solution, write me in.
   For what, you may ask.
   Everything.
   Write me in for everything from judge to school director to council to dog catcher.
   My campaign slogan:  “Envelopes for everybody!”
   Don’t worry what school district, town or county I live in – just write me in.  An envelope fat enough can remedy any problem Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, May 9, 2009 11:47 pm - 5 opinions posted
Singer was brilliant, Linskey's motion fails
Singer was brilliant, Linskey's motion fails
Board President Atty. Mark Singer
Singer was brilliant, Linskey's motion fails

  

   Attorney Mark Singer graduated from the minor to the major leagues at this past Pittston Area School Board meeting.
   Look out Frank Trinisewski and Frank Crossin.
   It is without a doubt, Mark Singer is the smartest “politician” in Luzerne County at this time.
   Everyone at this past Pittston Area Board meeting almost fell of their chair while their jaws dropped as Singer pulled off this brilliant maneuver.
   And, as of this writing, the minority or majority still hasn’t figured out what happened.
   It was absolutely dazzling!
 Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, May 9, 2009 11:47 pm - 23 opinions posted
On Wal-Mart:  Murowski doesn't remember, DeRoberto does
On Wal-Mart:  Murowski doesn't remember, DeRoberto does
Karen Simpson (left) from Exeter First & Exeter Council President Rich Murowski
On Wal-Mart: Murowski doesn't remember, DeRoberto does
   While Exeter Council President Rich Murawski admitted at this past council meeting he attended a meeting in 2007 at a local restaurant, he said “I do not remember” if a representative from Wal-Mart attended.
   However, Councilman Dan DeRoberto who was not at Tuesday night’s meeting because of a “family emergency” said he was at the 2007 meeting and confirmed a representative of Wal-Mart was in attendance.
(click here to download a copy of Simpson's remarks)

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Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, May 9, 2009 11:47 pm - 4 opinions posted
Will energy and issues prevail over money in WA race?
Will energy and issues prevail over money in WA race?
WA candidate Mike Aufiere in the WP Cherry Blossom parade
Will energy and issues prevail over money in WA race?
   Wyoming Area School Board candidate Mike Aufiure is like the Energizer Bunny.
   I haven’t seen anyone with this kind of energy in a long time,
   It looks like he going to spend around 39 cents in this campaign.
   But what he lacks is campaign funds, he’s making up in hard work.
   Quite frankly, up until last week, I would have put the house up that Aufiure didn’t have a snowballs chance in hell.
   This year the Cherry Blossom parade allowed candidates.  Aufiure was the only candidate running for the Wyoming Area Board to participate.
   As you know, I’ve always maintained you need two things to win elections; money and issues.
   You can have all the issues in the world, however, without the cash to get your message out, those who have the money that you are up against, will always triumph, hands down.
   That’s exactly what I wrote about Estelle Campenni two years ago.  She had great issues, but had no money to get her message out. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, May 9, 2009 11:47 pm - 6 opinions posted
Even if Linskey wins he will not gain control
Even if Linskey wins he will not gain control
Board Member Bob Linskey
Even if Linskey wins he will not gain control
   It hit me this past week, even if Bob Linskey’s ticket sweeps all four openings for the Pittston Area Board, he will still be in the minority.
   But how can that be, you ask.
   Easy, so follow along.
   Assuming his ticket consisting of himself along with Kent Bratlee, Bob Lampaan, and Dr. Ross Latona sweep all four spots, and unless they cut some sort of deal with someone currently in the majority now, they won’t have control.
   There are five remaining board members who are not up for re-election:  Tony Guariglia, Mike McAndrew, Mark Singer, Marty
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Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, May 9, 2009 11:47 pm - 18 opinions posted
Is Wyoming Area next?
Is Wyoming Area next?
WA Board member Gerry Wall
Is Wyoming Area next?
   “Then there was the woman who, two years ago, told of her nephew being asked for $4,000 for a job in the Wyoming Area School Board.”
   When I read that paragraph from Citizens Voice Columnist Paul Golias’s column in April, I gasped and fell out of my chair.
   He did say four years ago and not forty years ago, right?.
   Four years ago was an election year and that’s when Tom Vaxmonsky and Bob Orlando lost control of the board.  Or, was about to lose control
   Four years ago could also mean John LaNunziatta and Gerry Wall had control of the board.  Or, was about to take control.
   Wow!
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Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, May 9, 2009 11:47 pm - 3 opinions posted
PittstonPolitics.com tops 64,000 mark
PittstonPolitics.com tops 64,000 mark
   “I’m addicted!  I’m addicted!”  a twenty something year old told me at a rally last week.
   In March, PittstonPolitics.com set a record with 40,000 visits/hits.
   In April, we blew by that number by 60% with 64,000 (see the stats on the following page).
   Wow!
   That’s all I can say.
   “Your web site is viral,” another told me last month
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Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, May 9, 2009 11:47 pm - 6 opinions posted
Judicial race will be settled in November
Judicial race will be settled in November
Eugene Sperazza, Joe Musto, Joe Terrana, Bill Amesbury, CJ Bufalino & Tom O'Connor
Judicial race will be settled in November
   Bet the farm the judicial race will not be over on May 19th.
   I think most are in agreement you will see four victors come election-day.
  Two will claim victory on the Democratic side and two will claim victory on the Republican side.
   The $1.5 million question is, “Who will get a ticket to the ball come November?” as Gary DelSerra, one of my old mentors, would say.
   History has taught us, in Judicial campaigns, those who spend the most win.
   As of Friday, it looks like $1.5 million has been spent.
   That’s actually chump change compared to past elections.
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Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, May 9, 2009 11:47 pm - 5 opinions posted
Advantage to Keating with three in the race
Advantage to Keating with three in the race
Joe Keating, Jason Klush & Luddy Fleming
Advantage to Keating with three in the race
   By far, the most spirited Pittston City Mayoral race is when Mike Lombardo defeated Tom Walsh 12 years ago.
   The number one issue:  Wil Toole
   Four years ago Phil Campenni tried to use Wil Toole in his attempt to take on Joe Keating.
   It didn’t work.
   Now, it looks like the “Wil Toole card (as someone blogged last week)” is being played again.
   You see, Toole deserted his longtime friend Joe Keating a few years ago.  That’s when he rallied behind Luddy Fleming.
   Fleming and Jason Klush are challenging Keating.

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Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, May 9, 2009 11:47 pm - 38 opinions posted
Look for McAndrew to step down, complexion of PA board may change
Look for McAndrew to step down, complexion of PA board may change
PA Director Mike McAndrew
Look for McAndrew to step down, complexion of PA board may change
   Sources close to Mike McAndrew say he plans on resigning from the Pittston Area School Board.
   We heard his resignation was to be immediate, however, look for McAndrew to step down after the election.
   We’re not exactly sure why he is contemplating this move, however, with all the heat that has come with Ross Scarantino’s arrest, we’re not surprised more aren’t following.
   This leaves the current majority at Pittston Area School Board in still control. Read More ...
Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, May 2, 2009 10:52 pm - 11 opinions posted
Analysis of PA poll, what does it take to capture seat
Analysis of PA poll, what does it take to capture seat
PA incumbets Joe Oliveri, Kent Bratlee & Bob Linskey
Analysis of PA poll, what does it take to capture seat
   According to a PittstonPolitics.com poll, 54% of the respondents feel Bob Linskey’s move wanting to bid out the insurance was “political.”
   Of the 220 respondents, 42% agreed with Linskey noting that “all services should be put out for bid.”
   Those Linskey detractors don’t start dancing in the streets yet. 
 


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Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, May 2, 2009 10:16 pm - 22 opinions posted
Fleming says Mayor Keating was disappointing
Fleming says Mayor Keating was disappointing

By Luddy Fleming,

Pittston City Mayoral Candidate


   My campaign for Mayor of the City of Pittston was not a spur of the moment decision.  After supporting Mayor Joe Keating's campaign with my mother working as his campaign manager, we all had high hopes for his first term in office.  We watched in disappointment as Keating spent most of his time at his fishing camp and very little time in City Hall.  Disappointed is the best I can say.
 
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Luddy Fleming - Posted: Saturday, May 2, 2009 10:16 pm - 51 opinions posted
Klush offers up "Guarantee"
Klush offers up "Guarantee"
Jason Klush
Klush offers up "Guarantee"
   Pittston City Mayoral candidate Jason Klush is offering a “Voter-back Guarantee.”
   “In the history of Pittston City,” Klush said in a recent interview, “no candidate has ever offered, or will offer a guarantee.”
   “The day any of my family or I acquire a job through politics, I will immediately step down as Pittston City Mayor,” Klush said.
   While Klush would not comment on Mayor Keating’s recent appointment to work in Senator Musto’s office, he said, “This election is about making ‘Pittston First.’”
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Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, May 2, 2009 10:16 pm - 17 opinions posted
Keating & Company receive key endorsement
Keating & Company receive key endorsement
Capt. John Lussi, Capt. Mike Cadden, Asst. Chief Bill Williams, Phil Pesotski (VP of Local 840), Joe Chernouskas, Mike Lombardo, Chris Latona, Mayor Joe Keating, Councilman Joe McClean (Director of Public Safety), Chief Jim Rooney, FF Mike Chernouskas, FF
Keating & Company receive key endorsement
   The Luzerne County Professional Firefighters Union, Local 840 of the International Association of Firefighters (AFL-CIO) is pleased to announce their endorsements of the following candidates for Pittston City office in the upcoming primary election: Mayor - Joseph Keating, Council - Joe Chernouskas and Atty. Michael Lombardo, Controller - Chris Latona. Local 840 is the union that represents the Pittston City Bureau of Fire professional firefighters.
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Posted: Saturday, May 2, 2009 10:16 pm - 19 opinions posted
WA candidates look to get organized
WA candidates look to get organized
Dave Yarick (center) maps out strategy as Jimmy Dennis (left) and Wyoming Councilman Gary Stavish listen
WA candidates look to get organized
   Michael Aufiere and Dave Yarick are working on one common goal – to land a seat on the Wyoming Area School Board.
   Aufiere is on the ballot. 
   Yarick got the boot after sitting directors John LaNunziata and Gerry Wall challenged his financial disclosure form.
   Yarick is waging a write in campaign.
   Both met this past week at the Forty Forte Airport with about a dozen other supporters.
   Jimmy Dennis, who also got the boot along with Yarick, was also on hand to lend some of his expertise.
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Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, May 2, 2009 10:16 pm
Look for McAndrew to step down, complexion of PA board may change
Look for McAndrew to step down, complexion of PA board may change
Mike McAndrew
Look for McAndrew to step down, complexion of PA board may change
   Sources close to Mike McAndrew say he plans on resigning from the Pittston Area School Board.
   We heard his resignation was to be immediate, however, look for McAndrew to step down after the election.
   We’re not exactly sure why he is contemplating this move, however, with all the heat that has come with Ross Scarantino’s arrest, we’re not surprised more aren’t following.
   This leaves the current majority at Pittston Area School Board in still control.
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Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, May 2, 2009 10:16 pm
Sperazza holds rally, gives money back to Atty.s
Sperazza holds rally, gives money back to Atty.s
   Attorney Eugene Sperazza, candidate for Luzerne County Judge recently held a rally at Valenti’s in Exeter
   About 100 friends, family and supporter were in attendance.
   With the recent scandals under the dome, Sperazza has made a bold move and returned all contributions given to him by attorneys totaling a tad less than $40,000.
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Posted: Saturday, May 2, 2009 10:16 pm
PA Ticket packs em' in
PA Ticket packs em' in
Tracey Latona, Jaclyn Castantino, JoAnn Rossi, Cassandra McCracken, Kim Ranieli and Rose Vennarini
PA Ticket packs em' in
   Not to be outdone by the Pittston Progress Team, Your School Board Team had its own rally at the Italian American Citizen Club in Old Boston.
   This time, however, Kent Bratlee, Dr. Ross Latona, Bob Lampan and Bob Linskey packed the place.
   We showed a bit up late, and there was still a decent crowd.  The parking lot had to be full because cars
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Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, May 2, 2009 10:16 pm - 27 opinions posted
Klush fires up the troops
Klush fires up the troops
Jason Klush reads an ad from Keating
Klush fires up the troops
   “The right reason is right here!” City Mayoral candidate Jason Klush said to a round of applause at a rally held at Saints and Sinners.
   Klush was referring to an ad Mayor Joe Keating ran that same day in the Citizens Voice where it said vote for Keating for the “Right reasons.”
   He said he had no problems with Keating's running mates Mike Lombardo and Joe Chernoskus noting, "Both of these guys are fine individuals and will bring a breath of fresh air to city hall."
   Energized – that would best describe the atmosphere at all of Klush’s rallies.
   Sitting Council representatives Ken Bangs and Donna McFadden-Connors were also on hand in support of Klush.
   “We sat on council with Mayor Joe Keating at the helm for four years,” Connors said.  “Now we can clearly see we need Jason Klush more than ever.”
   Sitting Councilman Danny Argo was also seen in the crowd.
(more photos on next page)

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Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, May 2, 2009 10:16 pm - 8 opinions posted
Fleming hits Keating at rally
Fleming hits Keating at rally
City Mayoral candidate Luddy Fleming holds up Keating flyer from four years ago
Fleming hits Keating at rally
   “Four years ago Mayor Joe Keating put a flyer out,” Mayoral candidate Luddy Fleming said while holding up it at a rally he held this past week.  “Keating said he had ‘Proof’ of the Lombardo Administration’s overspending.”
   “Well, four years later, now I have the proof,” Fleming said.  “The city is no better.  Mayor Keating’s lack of financial leadership has led to a tax increase for city residents.”
   He continued, “The same thing he accused the Lombardo administration of, he’s doing.”
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Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, May 2, 2009 10:16 pm - 18 opinions posted
O'Brien looks at Kanjo's seat next year
O'Brien looks at Kanjo's seat next year
Lackawanna County Commissioner Cory O'Brien
O'Brien looks at Kanjo's seat next year
EDITOR'S NOTE:  When Congressman Paul Kanjorski retained his seat over Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta last fall, we wrote he made a mueshatta (deal) with Cory O'Brien.   Kanjo won in Lackawanna County by 13,000 votes and it looked like County Commissioner Cory O'Brien came through for Kanjo.  In return, we speculated Kanjo would support O'Brien for congress when he stepped down.  It looks like O'Brien plans on stepping up to the plate.  My fellow blogger GORT42 inteviewed him.

FROM GORT42:  I talked with Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O'Brien on Tuesday about his possible run against Democratic Congressman Paul Kanjorski in the 2010 primary for the 11th Congressional District seat.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE ARTICLE)
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Posted: Saturday, May 2, 2009 10:16 pm
Kitchen Table Politics for May 3, 2009

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Posted: Saturday, May 2, 2009 10:16 pm - 3 opinions posted

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Posted: Sunday, April 26, 2009 12:20 am
Linskey blows it, doesn't tag home plate


   Any politician who tells you it’s not about politics, they’re either disingenuous or a liar.  Wait, isn’t that kinda the same thing.
   At this past Pittston Area Board meeting, the spat Bob Linskey had with Attorney Mark Singer and Tony Guariglia reeked of politics.
   When it was time for new business, Linskey made a motion to place all insurances out for bid.
   That’s fine.  However, to say it wasn’t about politics is like saying landing a job at LCCC after you’re a school director for three months is also not about politics.




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Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, April 25, 2009 11:47 pm - 31 opinions posted
Wil Toole showed no respect for Pittston Area
Wil Toole showed no respect for Pittston Area
Wil Toole Independent Candidate for County Controller
Wil Toole showed no respect for Pittston Area
   On the darkest day in Pittston Area history, Wil Toole acted shameless and disrespected the district.
   Yes, I said shameless. 
   I was completely dismayed.
   First, let me say the atmosphere at this past Tuesday’s Pittston Area’s Board meeting was quite somber.
   Like I wrote last week, “It’s a sad day in Pittston Area.”
   Wil Toole, being the self centered politician that he is, decided to capitalize on the dark cloud that was hanging over the district.
   And, if I didn’t see it with my own two eyes, I wouldn’t believe it.
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Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, April 25, 2009 11:46 pm - 12 opinions posted
Reedy: We support the district
   I heard over the past week, Paul Reedy, President of the Pittston Area’s Teacher’s Union, got up at the meeting and supported Dr. Ross Scarantino.
   That is completely false.  I was there.
   What Mr. Reedy did was get up and support the district. 
   Never once did he remotely infer he supported Scranatino or his actions.
   In short, his message was the teachers, support staff and the union, support the district and the children.
   He said they would get through this and his organization is proud of Pittston Area and will stand behind the district.

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Joe Valenti - Posted: Saturday, April 25, 2009 11:46 pm - 10 opinions posted