Sunday, March 29, 2015

The LuLac Edition #2865, March 29th, 2015

Owen Costello. (Photo: The Times Leader).
A man who was a true booster of the city of Wilkes Barre for many years and a champion of youth sports, Owen Costello died Saturday at the age of 69. Costello for decades was head of the Wilkes Barre Recreation Board and later transitioned that experience into a position with the Keystone State Games. 
As head of that organization, Costello brought many visitors into the city and county when the Games were held here. Later on Costello served for 16 years on the Wilkes Barre Area School Board. He never failed to win a double nomination in any of his races.
Costello touched many lives of young people who worked in recreation. When I was at King’s, it was not uncommon for many of my fellow students to beam with pride when they told me they “got the call from Mr. Costello” to work at the parks for the City.
On a personal note, I saw him at many family functions since his cousin married my sister. Our exchanges were always pleasant but punctuated by his wry sense of humor. His death comes as a shock to many. It goes without saying that he will be missed.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The LuLac Edition #2864, March 28th, 2015

Seems that the Bureau of Elections Board is saying that the Lu is not prepared to hold an election come this Primary. Wow. We have been the most political land since, well since elections began. And the County Board says we’re not prepared. That’s like an Executioner during the French Revolution without a guillotine. That’s like a butcher without a cleaver. That’s like Ed Sullivan without The Beatles. That’s like….well you get the picture.
Election Board Chair Jeremy Packard and his team wrote a letter to the County Council saying that small staff may affect this primary election. “We, the Election Board of Luzerne County, cannot vouch for the election bureau’s readiness and ability to mount a May primary without the danger of serious errors” was the salvo sent to the County administration. In addition to contacting the locals, the board also fired off a missive to the State Attorney General’s office saying that the recently resigned director was promised a deputy and more staff. Marisa Crispell left her $50,000 a year job because of the workload. County Administrative Services Division Head David Parsnik (who prior to this job was a facilities manager at Sodexo) told the Times Leader that he was disappointed with the Election Board and that they were trying to stir the pot. 
Here’s the thing. While I think the Election Board has every right to express concern, did any of them make their case at the Budget Allocation hearings? Or did they go through back channels and get denied? We are two months away from an election. We take these things seriously around here. What will be the impact if there is a repeat of 2013’s Council primary where Paul DeFabo (an Election Board member) narrowly won over Alex Milanes on the GOP side? Is the County prepared for something like that? < Only time will tell but in the meantime once more every voter and citizen must understand that layoffs and budget cuts have consequences. How this gets fixed and if Parsnik can handle this is still open to question. He does not have the experience of a Tom Pisano, the embattled Crispell or that fella who ran thngs without a hitch a few years back, Len "Country Gentleman by Force now" Piazza. JUdging from his comments in the newspaper, we should not worry. As they said in "Pulp Fiction", "We cool". Oh yeah? 
Once more the basics of Luzerne County government are found wanting. First it was the paycheck debacle, then the W2s, this is all basic stuff. But this is now commonplace in Luzerne County. Unlike the prior infractions, there are no low level employees to blame for this or fire. The Luzerne County Election Board consists of Chairman H. Jeremy Packard, Vice Chair Thomas Baldino and members John C. Ruckno, Gerald Hudak and Paul DeFabo. When you see them, thank them for the heads up. Even though it was late in coming.Then ask Parsnick how he's going to handle a sticky primary issue like a recount. And if you want to have a load of fun, ask Urban Senior what he thinks of Parsnick. The beat....goes on.


The Democratic Party’s Executive Committee in Luzerne County offered their endorsements for Luzerne County Council. The 46 members endorsed the following; Jane Walsh Waitkus, Dorrance Township, Tim McGinley, Kingston, Robert W. Schnee, Sugarloaf Township, John Gadomski, Wyoming, Anthony J. Rostock , Yatesville and John J. Pekarovsky, Larksville. So we have three known quantities and essentially three unknowns that your average voter hasn’t even heard of. Waitkus and Rostock have run for offices before and McGinley is running for a second term on Council. Left off the list were Bob Altavilla, Steve Urban Senior and Edd Brominski. Altavilla had competition from people who wanted more of a union representation on the ticket. Urban, well Urban is still regarded as a turncoat when he changed his registration from Republican to Democrat by some. His reputation as a habitual multi office candidate is nor well regarded by Democrats who like to see those slots filled by one of their own. So his rejection comes as no surprise. What was a surprise, a shock to many was the non endorsement of current Vice Chair Edd Brominski.
It is indicative that the new Democrats decided not to back Brominski. One might even say that this is disrespectful to a party member who put his time in through the years and who has been extremely active on the Council. There are others who are wondering if the party wants to control council or not. Or maybe because there was such a weak slate put up by the GOP (they only filled four of the seats) the party felt they didn’t need the Brominski name and persona.
Whatever the reason, it is my feeling that Christmas came the day before Palm Sunday at the Brominski household. Sure there are going to be some people voting for the full slate because they are the same people who do what they are told. But there are independent Democrats that are going to look at a Brominski and remember the name. They are anti Lawton people there that will surely vote for Brominski. Plus there will be more passive Democrats who will vote for Brominski just because he is a well known name. There will be voters who will vote for him because of his “don’t take any prisoners” approach to the new form of government. Brominski has been very clear on what is obvious, that government builds confidence by taking care of the basics. Plus, when he campaigns, Brominski can assuredly beat his chest and point to his own independence. That factor combined with the fact that endorsements don’t mean much anymore bodes well for Mr. Brominski as well as Mr. Urban and not so well for a Pekarovsky, or Gadomski.
My prediction still stands for the General, County Council members McGinley, Urban and Brominski return along with newcomers Waitkus, and Rostock. If Schnee pulls a big vote out of Hazleton with Party Chair Mike DeCosmo’s ties, it’s all over for the other three.
But hey given the top story on today’s blog, let’s hope we have an election.

Beth Gilbert greets one of many supporters out at McCarthy's Wednesday night in support of her candidacy. (Photo: Patrick Walther, The Beacon, Wilkes College).
Wilkes Barre City Council District C candidate Beth Gilbert had a very good turnout the other evening at Jim McCarthy’s Tavern On the Hill. You can bet the spirit of the former Wilkes Barre Councilman and CBS reporter was lurking and smiling with all those politicos and young people around.
Gilbert had a good turnout and has impressed many of the old pros on the campaign trail. Check out her Face book page and see what she’s up to.


Tom Shubilla has an event coming up on April the 13th at the River Grille. Here’s his Facebook link and check out what he’s doing.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The LuLac Edition #2863, March 26th, 2015


This week The Franklin and Marshall Poll came out giving out marks to the Wolf administration. Let me capsulate some of the high points and give you my take on this.
More voters (39%) believe the state is headed in the right direction than at any time since January 2010, while forty-seven percent feel it is off on the wrong track.
•This is a clear reflection of a new administration with Tom Wolf at the helm. While 39 per cent vs. 47 is not great, it is heading at least for the Governor in the right direction. Don’t forget, Tom Corbett got over 45% and that wrong track number can come from that factor.
Nearly two in five (38%) registered Pennsylvania voters believes Governor Wolf is doing an “excellent” or “good” job as governor -- more than three in five (58%) Democrats rate his performance as “excellent” or “good.
•The base is sticking with him and now Wolf needs to bring in the other segments of the state with a strong performance. He has a launching pad to expand on the good will that is already out there. Voters indicate their top priority for state government is an increase in funding for public education (27%) or local property tax reform (25%).
 This will help Wolf hopefully broker a deal with the GOP controlled State Legislature. If the GOP does not go along with Property Tax Reform, Wolf can use the bully pulpit to sway public opinion. Most property owners are sick and tired of carrying the burden for education. This administration, especially toward the budget deadline has to make that point over and over again.
A majority of state voters support the Governor’s budget plan (59%) – increasing the sales and personal income taxes and creating a Marcellus Shale extraction tax to reduce local property taxes and increase funding to public schools.
•Interesting. That a plurality want an increase in taxes. But taxation that is fair and evened out. No special deals for the rich or the poor. The poll reflects that everyone wants skin in the game.
Senator Pat Toomey currently leads Democrat Joe Sestak by a five point margin, 34% to 29%, although most voters (37%) are still undecided about this race.
•Toomey is friendly and communicates very well. But Sestak has run before and in an election year where a democrat might have a good chance of carrying the Commonwealth as well as the exploitation of Toomey’s ridiculous participation in that letter to Iran bodes well o the Democrats.


Texas Senator Ted Cruz announced that he will indeed run for President of the United States. Cruz made the announcement over social media the other day and at Liberty University. Cruz told us this was a Christian nation and that he wants to restore those principles. He said he wanted to make sure we live by the Constitution. Fair enough. But I see a major discrepancy here. Nowhere in the Constitution that Cruz venerates so much is a mention of any religion. You don’t see any references to this governing document. So is he saying that only Christians need apply?
The Senator also shared the fact that he wants to shred every word of the Affordable Care Act. Everyone of it, even the stuff that Republicans, Christians and everybody else is using. Cruz’ own family has gone on the Obama sponsored exchange. So how can he say these things and expect people to take him seriously?
I don’t know but you can bet I’ll be supporting this guy BIG TIME. If Cruz is the nominee, there will be a Democratic President long after I’ve gone off this mortal coil. Go Cruz. Here’s a great campaign song too!


From Overpasses for Americans
A group of American patriots greeted Luis Gutierrez with chants of USA! USA! USA! at a conference held at USC.
Despite being held in the United States of America, the event was in Spanish, with headphones for the majority English-only audience.
Eventually the event organizers, frustrated at the constant pro-America chants, called local law enforcement in a vain attempt to stop free speech.
The American patriots in the video should be an example to us all, for they are following the example of our Founding Fathers and speaking out without fear or shame against injustices happening in this nation.
Enjoy the video and share it everywhere you can. With luck, it will inspire more Americans to stand up for this nation.
Thanks to all those in the video, millions of us now wish we’d been there with you!
Jesus, I’m glad these people weren’t around when my grandparents were speaking Slovak.


The Army sergeant who abandoned his post in Afghanistan and was held captive by the Taliban could face up to life in prison if convicted of both the charges he's facing, military officials said Wednesday.
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was charged with misbehavior before the enemy, which carries a maximum sentence of up to life in prison. He was also charged with desertion, which carries a maximum of five years.
Bergdahl could also face a dishonorable discharge, reduction in rank and forfeiture of all his pay if convicted. (AOL).
It is mystifying to me why the Obama administration celebrated this guy’s release. I wonder if they really knew the extent of his case file before they did so.


Congressman Matt Cartwright. (Photo: LuLac archives).
U.S. Representatives Matt Cartwright (PA-17) and Steve Cohen (TN-9) re-introduced the Protecting Consumers from Unreasonable Credit Rates Act, legislation that would enact a cap on reform fees and rates associated with consumer credit products, including short-term and long-term payday loans and car title loans.
U.S. Senate Assistant Minority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
Predatory lending – defined by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as the practice of “imposing unfair and abusive loan terms on borrowers” – extracts approximately $27 billion in excessive fees and interest from 12 million Americans each year due to excessive rates which can top 300 percent, according to the Center for Responsible Lending. Pennsylvania prohibits payday loan storefronts and is one of the few states to prohibit excessive rates. The state Supreme Court upheld this cap in 2010, though there have been recent efforts by certain state legislators and the payday loan industry to weaken the state law.
“Pennsylvania recognizes that predatory lending disproportionately harms economically disadvantaged individuals – people who are already struggling financially,” said Rep. Cartwright. “My consumer-friendly legislation would provide relief from exorbitant fees for many low-income consumers across the country. Capping interest rates and fees for all consumers will not only protect working families but also enable our economic recovery.”
In 2006, Congress enacted a federal 36 percent annualized usury cap for certain credit products marketed to service members and their families. This bill would extend that maximum cap of 36 percent to all consumer credit transactions for all consumers. The federal cap would not preempt stricter state laws. The bill would also encourage the creation of responsible alternatives to small dollar lending, by allowing initial application fees and for ongoing lender costs such as insufficient funds fees and late fees. To ensure compliance with the cap, the bill would create specific penalties for
“Despite the economic gains we have made as a nation in recent years, many working families continue to struggle. For some, payday lenders offer a quick way to make ends meet, but often with devastating consequences,” said Senator Durbin. “With interest rates of two and three hundred percent of value of the loan, these excessive rates and hidden fees have crippling effects on those who can afford it least. Capping interest rates and fees for consumers will help protect working families from these predatory lending practices—it’s the right thing to do.”



This Week on Sunday Magazine
Brian Hughes speaks with Mike Butler, Executive Director for Consumer Energy Alliance, Mid Atlantic, who discusses STEM education and job opportunities in Pennsylvania's energy industry.
Brian speaks with Father Gary and John Koytec about an Easter Egg Hunt fundraiser to benefit Tracey's Hope coming up on Sunday at St Michael's Byzantine Catholic Church in Pittston.
And an encore of Brian's interview with Dr. Tracey Wilen, who discusses why 2015 is the year of "Women Up", and marking March as Women's Month.
Sunday Magazine, Sunday morning at 5am on NASH-FM, 93.7, 5:30am on 97BHT, 6am on 97.9X & Sports Radio 590, WARM and 6:25am on Magic 93.

April is Distracted Driver's Month and ECTV Live hosts David DeCosmo and Rusty Fender will take on the subject with a guest who knows all too much about the problem!
Eileen Woelkers Miller lost her son in an accident involving distracted driving. And, as you'll hear, it's not just about cell phone texting! ECTV Live is carried on Comcast cable
channel 19 in northeastern Pennsylvania (61 in a few communities) and can be seen during the noon, midnight hours throughout the week. Additional showings are offered at 6pm when Electric City Television's schedule allows.


Our guest is Jenny Blanchard from the Catherine McAuley Center. Jim Riley hosts Sunday morning at 6 on 94.3 The Talker; 6:30 on NEPA's Sports Radio-The Game 1340/1400/1440 am and 100.7 and 106.7 fm; and at 7:30 on 105 The River


Tune 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.


Want 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!”


Tune 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.


Every Wednesday at 5PM, Steve Corbett shines the light on a Public official with his “Somebody’s Watching Me” segment. Corbett picks an alleged public servant to eye ball and observe. Batten down the lawn furniture in the driveway and that e mail machine. There is nowhere to hide when “somebody’s Watching”. Wednesdays at 5 on WILK’s Corbett program.


Our 1965 logo.

Fifty years ago this week, March 23rd as a matter of fact, the United States took a major leap into space exploration. Gemini III blasted off for a three orbit flight. The astronauts Gus Grissom and John Young were the first U.S. duo to go into space. 
The spacecraft, nicknamed The Unsinkable Molly Brown, performed the seventh manned US spaceflight, and the 17th manned spaceflight overall (including X-15 flights over 100 kilometers). It was also the final manned flight controlled from Cape Canaveral, Florida before mission control functions were shifted to the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, Texas.
Grissom the second American in space replaced the Alan Shepherd who was grounded with an ear infection. The support crew included Gordon Cooper as well as Roger Chaffee who was killed with Grissom in 1967 during the ill fated Apollo One practice drill. Grissom, hoping to avoid duplication of the experience with his Mercury flight Liberty Bell 7 in which the capsule sank after splashdown, named the Gemini 3 spacecraft Molly Brown, in a playful reference to the Broadway musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown. NASA management did not like this name, and asked him to change it. Grissom replied, "How about the Titanic?". The managers relented and allowed Grissom to keep Molly Brown, but this was the last Gemini flight they allowed the astronauts to name. The only major incident during the orbital phase involved a contraband corned beef sandwich that Young had smuggled on board, hiding it in a pocket of his spacesuit (though Director of Flight Crew Operations Deke Slayton wrote in his autobiography that he gave Young permission to do so). Grissom found this to be highly amusing, saying later, "After the flight our superiors at NASA let us know in no uncertain terms that non-man-rated corned beef sandwiches were out for future space missions. But John's deadpan offer of this strictly non-regulation goodie remains one of the highlights of our flight for me." The crewmen each took a few bites before the sandwich was restowed. The crumbs it released could have wreaked havoc with the craft's electronics, so the crewmen were reprimanded when they returned to Earth.

Young became the most traveled man in space and enjoyed the longest career of any astronaut, becoming the first person to make six space flights over the course of 42 years of active NASA service, and is the only person to have piloted, and been commander of, four different classes of spacecraft: Gemini, the Apollo Command/Service Module, the Apollo Lunar Module, and the Space Shuttle. The USS Intrepid recovered the craft and crew. The Gemini III mission was supported by 10,185 personnel, 126 aircraft and 27 ships. The mission duration was four hours and 52 minutes. It flew 80,000 Pennsylvania Senator Hugh Scott indicated he would work with President Johnson in getting a Voting Rights Act signed. Scott supported the 1964 version…in Luzerne County, reassessment of properties continues and 50 years ago this week the number one song in LuLac land and America was “King of the Road” by Roger Miller.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The LuLac Edition #2862, March 25th, 2015


Our “Write On Wednesday” logo
GOP Rising star Marcel Lisi. (Photo: Times Tribune).
During the 2014 campaign, one of the newest rising stars in the Lackawanna County Republican party made quite an impression. Whether it was at Public Forums or on broadcast appearances, Marcel Lisi made an impression. Lisi ran against Marty Flynn in the 113th Legislative race. This week we feature a Letter to the Editor he wrote regarding the lack of a minority commissioner in the Lac.

No matter how often Lackawanna County Commissioner Pat O’Malley flips, he flops

It is my opinion that Lackawanna County now has absolutely no Republican representation.
I am very disappointed in the choices that Pat O’Malley (D, R, D) has made for both himself and the Lackawanna County Republican Party.
It was only several weeks ago that Pat came before me and the other members of the Lackawanna County Republican Executive Committee to reaffirm himself as a Republican and embrace the GOP’s values and policies. During his presentation before us, Pat sought our endorsement (which he did not receive), support and a potential Republican running mate for the 2015 commissioner’s race. He even mentioned my name and the hard work that I had done in the past for the party.
I sat directly in front of Pat when he lied to me. Pat O’Malley has contributed very little to Lackawanna County as a commissioner, regardless of what his party affiliation might be these days. Whether Republican or Democrat, Pat is completely unfit to move Lackawanna County forward. His experience as a professional politician severely negates his credentials as an honest leader.
My only advice to now-Democratic Commissioner Pat O’Malley is this: History repeats itself, and former Republicans turned Democrats Jimmy Connors and Arlen Specter learned that the hard way.
Marcel Lisi 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The LuLac Edition #2861, March 24th, 2015


The Times Leader recently had a poll that voted Timbers Buffet at Mohegan Sun the Best Buffet in the area. Okay, the problem here is that this buffet in my opinion is low grade food. Plentiful but not terribly nutritious.
Our region gets excited by chains and big meals for low prices. But local eateries have to rely on loyal consumers. There are some class places to eat like Pazzo that promotes quality over quantity. One must make the decision if they want food that will be an experience or just a feeding trough.
Ever see people at a buffet? Very little conversation. A lot of masticating
In terms of a buffet, I'd rather go to a local hotel like the Woods, the Radisson or Genetti's than the Mohegan stampede. Wonder why outsiders look at us with amusement and wonder? Look at the poll.

Tom Wardle is making the rounds in Plains and Laflin in an attempt to become the new magistrate in that 11-03-08 district.
Check out Wardle's Facebook page and website to get a look at the candidate who has set himself apart from the others in this race.


So the County puts outs a mailing and touts winter sports in their newsletter. Great but don 't send it out in March. That said, maybe they were playing to the 2% of people in this area who as spring approaches long for those good old days of snow, wind chills and sleet. But the boys do take a nice picture, heynuh or no? 
Hit it ladies! 


Joseph Shaver saw his fair share of madness and mayhem as the Chief Deputy Coroner for Luzerne County. Shaver was on the scene of many a crime scene in this area and was always regarded as a reliable witness in major cases.
Joe was a member of the U.S. Army Reserve Medical Corps from 1957 to 1963. During that time, he served in several West German hospitals as an X-ray, laboratory and surgical technician from 1957 to 1959. He also served at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas Medical Facility, from 1961 to 1962 during the Berlin Crisis.
Joe also served as deputy coroner of Luzerne County from 1963 to 1969. On Nov. 1, 1969, he was appointed chief deputy coroner, overseeing up to 50 deputy coroners throughout Luzerne County. He remained in this position for 32 years until his retirement in 2001. He died this week at the age of 82 and is well remembered and well regarded. (Partial: Times Leader).

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The LuLac Edition #2860, March 22nd, 2015


This week some on line credit company, rated Wilkes Barre/Scranton aka NEPA as the fourth most indulgent area in the nation. They cited the fact that we are overweight, in debt, drink too much and smoke. I’m sure you have your opinion and have heard a plethora of others. Here’s mine.
I think the word overindulged is just plain wrong. When I think overindulgent, I think of “Dynasty” and “Dallas”. I think of car elevators. I think of the 1 per cent spending a million dollars on a Sweet 16 birthday party. I think of the freaking Kardashians. When it comes to LuLac land, we are anything BUT indulgent!
The very word and study implies that we have money to burn. Just the opposite. We have poverty wages in most of our jobs and those who have the “better” jobs are connected. This is an area that is hard scrabble and not indulgent.
Let’s take them one by one:
Obesity: There are those who just like to eat. Then there are others who battle weight all their lives riding that escalator of fit to fat and then back up and down again. But the truly obese are those who are poor and can’t give themselves the food choices that are healthy and they need. A Sure Fine Soda is cheaper than a Vegetable Juice.
Tobacco: The rate is decreasing but people still smoke. I attribute that to bad habits, your family situation and stress. Stress because you are too fat, behind on your bills and drink too much.Or you just like to smoke. I love the smell of burning tobacco but think lighting up is just too much work.
Alcohol: From the time this region came to be, there was a bar on every corner. Drinking is ceremonial here. Competing brands, bars and businesses promote tossing back a few. In this area we celebrate just about anything with a drink. Hell, you can’t even go to concert and sit your ass down for a two hour event without buying a ten dollar beer. That’s not indulgent, that’s either stupid or additive
Bad credit: Most of the people that I know who carry credit card debt are people who use their credit cards as a way of keeping afloat. The wages are so pathetic here that most people use credit cards for food and other necessities. Living paycheck to paycheck, most people have to use credit cards for eyeglasses, dental emergencies and even medical expenses. I’m sure if looked further and saw the underlying expenses or reasons of the debt, there wouldn’t be trips to Jamaica, Europe or a shopping spree at Nordstrom’s on the monthly statement.
I really think this study is superficial. You have to look under the surface. But why we seem to go overboard is not because we are overindulgent. We do this because in most cases it is all we have to aspire to. If there were viable Chamber of Commerces who did their jobs and brought in pay scales that were comparable to other areas, maybe we wouldn’t be flipping over beers and hot dogs that makes us lose control.
Maybe we’d have something more than reaching for that little slice of heaven with a beer, fatty foods and a smoke. We might do these to excess but we are nowhere near overindulgent.
Excuse me now while I put away the fine china, get into my Porche and pick up my nephew coming in from Harvard for spring break! After that, I’m taking my overindulgent ass to France for a thirty day vacation. But let me know how Lawton makes out, heyna???

Plains Township Commissioner Tom Shubilla. (Photo: Shubilla campaign).

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The LuLac Edition #2859, March 21st, 2015

RED MILL, 340 S.




No it’s not Tom Wolf taking ads out this early. His race is won and done. But a Magisterial District candidate is firing heavy artillery already in his race to succeed a Lackawanna County sitting Judge. James Gibbon was elected to the Court of Common Pleas two years ago. Now there is a race to succeed him as the District Magistrate. The District includes the municipalities of La Plume, Newton, Ransom, Waverly, Glenburn,
North, West and South Abington townships, Dalton, Clarks Summit, and Clarks Green.
Malcolm L. MacGregor has been advertising heavily this week touting his experience as well as his community association. But in my opinion, in the ad there is a strange phrase involving bringing 25 years of good parenting experience to the job. I understand that a Magistrate has to deal with civil issues as well as juveniles. If one has navigated the challenges of parenting in this day and age and has survived without an arrest or a few trips to the principal’s office, they are fortunate and skilled. But it still struck me as odd.
Are we implying that people without children can’t bring the same skills of understanding to the job? Or teachers who never marred or are single? I just think the phrase which for all we know just could have been a throwaway line to add one more thing to the ad is out of sync. Is the candidate saying that other candidates aren’t better parents? One thing the ad did though was made me notice the it and write about it. So I guess that worked from that standpoint. But if you see Mama Duggars running for Magistrate somewhere in the U.S. you’ll know why.
MacGregor is being opposed by Grace Doherty Hillebrand who speaking of family and parenting has a lineage of her own. Her uncle is former Mayor Chris Doherty, her grandfather was the venerable James Doherty Senior who served on City Council in the 60s and 70s in Scranton (when the Scranton City Council meetings were the original TV reality show on WDAU) and her father is Attorney Jim Doherty Junior.
The other candidates are Assistant DA Attorney Michael R. Goffer , Attorney Paul Keeler and Police Officer Eric Judge. If I were Judge, I’d run on being the only candidate not connected to the Democratic party power structure. The others have connections to both the Nealon and Casey families in Scranton. Plus there is the Doherty name. Will Judge benefit from split allegiances? We shall see.

Scranton City Controller Roseann Novembrino. (Photo: Times Tribune).
The race for Scranton City Controller might be interesting. Roseann Novembrino has been in that job since the death of her late husband Richard. Novembrino is going for her eighth term. If elected she will have served more than 3 decades in that job. It has been a while since there were challengers to this job. Will Scranton voters decide that maybe someone new should step in? School board member Kyle Donahue and Sean McAndrew are taking on the long time incumbent and will this be a cakewalk for the multi term Controller or a bit of a challenge?

Candidate for Judicial Records Kevin Haggerty. (Photo: LuLac archives).
Former State Representative Kevin Haggerty was going to run for County Commissioner but decided to go for the Clerk Of Judicial Records job.
He is being joined by 5 other candidates. Currently Haggerty has billboards across the city and the Lac. He does have name recognition. The others running are Scranton School Board members Bob Sheridan and Robert Casey, Tax Collector of Springbrook Township Mauri Kelly, Kim Yencho of Jefferson Township and Teresa Colarusso of Blakely. Haggerty has the best name recognition and Colarusso will have the best food at her evens. Other than that, I can’t really say much more.
The office is being vacated by Mary F. Rinaldi who has held the offices for several terms. Prior to that, her late husband Bill Rinaldi held the post.


Luzerne County Manager Bob Lawton. (Photo; Standard
Much has been made this week in Luzerne County about the news that County Manager Bob Lawton is looking elsewhere. Lawton has been in the job since the first Council took office in 2012. He has had a contentious tenure with some members of the Council and the Public.
One of the byproducts of holding this position in such a political savvy area as Luzerne County is that you can’t make a move without anyone knowing it. This is America and Lawton should not be chastised for exploring other options. The Council should not go on a witch hunt either to get rid of the guy just because he is looking. Jesus, after these two winters who could blame him? But I do agree with Council Vice Chair Edd Brominski’s thoughts that there should be a contingency plan in place. Not necessarily a deputy but a list of competent managers who are LOCAL and who have done this on a city, and borough level before. One of these could run things before a new manager is hired.
The experience of the Wilkes Barre City Charter should tell us that city and county managers are a lot like baseball field generals, some are hired to be fired. This should come as no surprise that Lawton is looking and anyone who says he is betraying the county is just being silly.