The LuLac Edition #2637, April 17th, 2014
So everyone is buzzing about whether business developer Rob Mericle is going to get jail time for his role in the Ciavarella/Conahan Corruption trial. The Times Leader had snippets of some letters written to Judge Edwin Kosik from local people who think Mericle should get a break. All wax poetic about his abilities and kindness. And all of it is true. I worked in a Mericle Building in the 90s when a man who worked in another office died all too young and suddenly. Mericle was there for the business and the family. The stories of his largess and kindness are legendary. At the Ciavarella trial where the former Judge was convicted of one count of racketeering, four counts of mail fraud, three counts of conspiracy and four counts of filing false tax returns Mericle testified that the Judge was a friend and mentor to him when he went to the Catholic Youth Center in Wilkes Barre as a boy. Mericle has plead guilty to not reporting a felony.
Mericle admits guilt. So, what should his punishment be? Would it do this community any good for him to serve jail time? Was Mericle gaining financially from the doings of these two Judges? If anything Mericle was guilty of trying to help a former coach and mentor keep up with the lavish lifestyle of Mr. Conahan.
There are those who will say that Mericle’s money was the root of the evil that became the tragedy in Luzerne County. Crazy stuff. If there was no Rob Mericle to fund the enterprise, you can bet Bob Powell and Conahan would have found another funding source to dangle in front of Mark Ciavarella.
Here’s what Mericle’s sentence should be. He should be ordered to serve for a dollar a day as the Head of the Wilkes Barre Chamber of Commerce. Currently the Chamber is doing a nationwide search for a person who is going to be charged to stimulate our woeful economy. An economy and business culture that hasn’t been revived in fifty years despite high price mouthpieces and big shots who have done nothing but depress wages of working people and enrich themselves.
Mericle has proven he could develop businesses. He has proven he can build and understand the infrastructure of our area. If Mericle didn’t exist, the Chamber would not have anything to beat their chest about. I say sentence him to work as CEO of the Chamber, pay him a dollar a day and everybody wins. During the Depression and the war, Franklin Roosevelt got wealthy business people, trust fund babies and men of means with education, experience and talent and got a bargain in the process. We should do the same, convicted felon or not.
The Wilkes Barre Chamber has been a joke for many years, almost as funny as those goofy Cabbage Patch kids from the 80s. If Mericle started his successful business empire selling ugly dolls, imagine what he can do with an ugly and inert business climate engendered by the Wilkes Barre Chamber of Commerce? I think I’ll send this idea to Judge Kosik.
Representative Eddie Day Pashinsk who is serving his fourth term in the 121st District said: “Tom Wolf has a commonsense plan to restore much needed resources to our education system and make gas companies pay their fair share. Cities like Wilkes-Barre have suffered economically while gas companies have been let off the hook. I know Tom Wolf will stand with Pennsylvania families and that’s why I am standing with him.”
Representative Marty Flynn who is a Freshman Representative from the 113th allowed: “Tom Wolf has made education his number one priority, and my priority is to help him get elected. Scranton public schools are in disrepair, and the state is holding money that we desperately need to repair our schools’infrastructure. Northeast Pennsylvania cannot afford more funding cuts and broken promises – Tom Wolf will give our region the fresh start it needs to grow.”
“I am humbled to earn the support of Representatives Pashinski and Flynn,” said Tom Wolf. “Each of these leaders cares deeply about their community and understands that if Pennsylvania is to grow and thrive, we must invest in our future by focusing on education and standing up for middle-class families. I look forward to working with Eddie and Marty to help Northeast Pennsylvania grow.”
CARTWRIGHT AND SHERMAN HILLS
Aspen Companies has been successful in turning around troubled properties around the country, mainly in Chicago and Atlanta, and currently manages 15 affordable housing complexes.
“Speaking for myself and the entire Task Force, we were pleased to make the acquaintance of John Van Metre and encouraged by his willingness to sit down with us informally to share his plans. We were also heartened by his desire that the Task Force continue in existence in order to partner with the new enterprise,” said Cartwright. “I think it’s a new beginning, and there is every reason for optimism at this point.”
Van Metre noted his company’s commitment and previous success with community engagement and is determined to do the same at Sherman Hills. Specifically, Van Metre referenced working closely with the Task Force to develop programs such as after school activities, creating an active and engaged tenants association, and building a strong relationship with the Wilkes-Barre Police Department.
“Cooperation and communication often leads to positive results– and our continued positive dialogue with Treetop Development, HUD and local law enforcement will help us better serve and protect all NEPA families from crime and violence,” State Sen. John Yudichak said.
Aspen Companies will continue work to strengthen the complex’s security and is moving forward to obtain the necessary permits to do so. Additionally, the management company is preparing to make immediate cosmetic improvements to demonstrate their commitment to changing the atmosphere.
“We welcome John Van Metre to northeastern Pennsylvania and the city of Wilkes-Barre, and we offer our complete cooperation and commitment to making sure that Sherman Hills is a property that is safe for not only its residents, but the people of Wilkes-Barre,” said State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski. “I am encouraged by Van Metre’s positive approach and the fact that he has successfully managed properties of similar status. The Task Force emphasized that all representatives of the federal, state, county and city are united as one body in ensuring that we achieve the goal of providing a safe property that we can all be proud of.”
Referencing yesterday’s surprise inspection of Sherman Hills by the Office of the Inspector General, Van Metre seemed dismayed, but noted that the ongoing investigation concerns the prior owner’s financial practices.
In early February and again in March, Cartwright met with HUD Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator, Jane Vincent, to receive an update on the progress of Sherman Hills. At these meetings, Cartwright, on behalf of the Task Force, insisted in the event of a possible sale that any new owner must make the repairs that have already been promised.
The Task Force was formed in response to a late 2013 report by HUD, which paid Sherman Hills $1.7 million in 2013 to provide low-income housing at the 344-unit complex, about deficiencies and safety problems at the property.
Members of the Task Force are Congressman Matt Cartwright (PA-17); Tom Leighton, Mayor, Wilkes-Barre; John Yudichak, State Senator (PA-14); Eddie Pashinski, State Representative (PA-121); Bill Barrett, Chairperson, Wilkes-Barre City Council; Maureen Lavelle, Councilwoman, Wilkes-Barre City Council; George Brown, Councilman, Wilkes-Barre City Council; Tim McGinley, Chair, Luzerne County Council; Harry Haas, Councilman, Luzerne County Council; Edd Brominski, Councilman, Luzerne County Council; Eileen Sorokas, Councilwoman-Elect, Luzerne County; Ron Felton, President, Wilkes-Barre NAACP; Rev. Shawn Walker, Pastor, First Baptist Church; Angel Jirau, Executive Director, Spanish American Leaders Serving All.
For over 200 weeks ECTV Live has been bringing viewers information on events, services and entertainment. ECTV Live hosts David DeCosmo and Rusty Fender will be looking for you input after their series of programs during the week of April 21st! Keith Williams from the Center for Independent Living will be their guest. He'll outline plans to improve voting polling places for people with disabilities after voters in this May's Primary election provide some feedback on the situation at their individual polling place! ECTV Live can be seen on Comcast Ch19throughout the week. The initial telecast is presented Live on Monday's a Noon. The program is also recorded and played numerous time throughout the week.
SUNDAY MAGAZINEThis Week on Sunday Magazine
Brian Hughes speaks with Bridget Kane from the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership about their Bike & River Fest in South Williamsport on Saturday May 10th.
Brian speaks with Alyssa Maria from Home Instead senior Care and Audrey Milford from Wilkes Barre, who was named as the 2014 Outstanding Senior Volunteer in Pennsylvania.
Magic 93's Frankie in the Morning speaks with Nicole Ash about Autism Awareness Month observed during the month of April.
And Brian speaks with travel guru Chris McGuiness about the best travel deals for the Spring & Summer months.
Sunday Magazine, Sunday morning at 5am on NASH-FM, 93.7, 5:30am on 97BHT, 6am on 97.9X, 6:25am on Magic 93, and 7am on True Oldies 590, WARM.
BOLD GOLD COMMUNITY FORUMThis Sunday on Community Forum, Mike Remish discusses Earth Day with Barbara Giovagnioli from the Lackawanna County Office on Environmental Sustainability. The show airs at 6 am on 94.3 fm The Talker, 6:30 on The Game Sports Radio Network 1340/1400 am and 106.7 fm, and at 7:30 on 105 The River.
SUE HENRY’S SPECIAL EDITIONTune in to Sue Henry's "Special Edition" this week as Sue recaps the week's news. Special Edition is heard Saturdays and Sunday on these Entercom stations, WILK FM Saturday at 2pm Sunday at 6 am on Froggy 101 Sunday at 7 am on The Sports Hub 102.3 Sunday at 7 am on K R Z 98.5 Sunday at noon on WILK FM 103.1.
BUDDY RUMCHEKWant to hear some great parodies on the news? Tune in to WILK Radio at 6:40 and 8:40 AM on Mondays. As Ralph Cramden used to say, “It’s a laugh riot!”
KAREL ON THE STREETTune in Wednesdays on WILK Radio for Karel on the Street. Hear some of the funniest and heartwarming comments on the issues of the day on Webster and Nancy with Karel Zubris.
1974Forty years ago today NBC Newsman and Today Show Host Frank McGee died of bone cancer at the age of 52.
(Photo: TV Guide).
McGee was host of The Today Show from 1971 to 1974 a short tenure but in that time McGee made it into a serious news show. McGee was a floor correspondent for the national conventions of both political parties in 1960, 1964, and 1968, one member of the so-called "Four Horsemen" that included NBC newsmen John Chancellor, Edwin Newman, and Sander Vanocur McGee also served as a radio reporter for the old NBC News Monitor series. He also reported on the Space Missions of the 1960s, had a very provocative interview with Martin Luther King Junior in which King said he thought often about the possibility of assassination. McGee was on the air nonstop for John Kennedy’s assassination coverage and ironically was on the air the night Robert Kennedy was assassinated in 1968.
(Photo: NBC News).
McGee always had firm command of the show making sure he opened and ended the show as well as any important interview much to the consternation of Barbra Walters. McGee was one of the very best reporters and had a vivid way of describing an event. If you were growing up in the 60s and watched NBC Frank McGee was a constant in your life. He died very young and there was so much potential ahead for him. When Mrs. LuLac and I were planning a date for our wedding, we first decided on the 17th but moved it back as to not conflict with the anniversary of Mr. McGee’s death. Here is video of Frank McGee at the launch of Apollo 11……
In Pennsylvania Senator Richard Schweiker said on his radio program that the foreign policy of America was not at risk during the Watergate controversy. The first term Senator running for re-election opined that the world was safe with Vice President Ford and Henry Kissinger on the Nixon team. Schweiker was critical though of President Nixon’s reluctance to come clean over Watergate……on the West Side State Representative Frank O’Connell campaigning in Kingston without primary opposition advises that he will run hard for reelection in the Fall despite a huge GOP advantage in his District…….and forty years ago this week in America and LuLac land the number one song in America and LuLac land was TSOP, The Sound of Philadelphia by MFBS one of many instrumental hits of 1974.