Friday, June 19, 2009

The LuLac Edition #852, June 19th, 2009



When I was a guest on WYOU TV Interactive News during the height of the revelations about Corruption in the Courthouse, I made a statement on the air that got its fair share of criticism. I’ve gone back and forth on whether I was accurate or not. Just when I think I was too harsh, another story from the Courthouse comes along. Last night on WBRE TV, I Team member Joe Holden reported on a Luzerne County Deputy Sheriff whose time card was in dispute. Holden reports that three independent sources claim Charles Guarnieri hasn't been in the office for four weeks. Reached by phone on Monday, Sheriff Michael Savokinas said Guarnieri was, in fact, on vacation for two-and-a-half to three weeks. "It was time that was coming to him," Savokinas said.Payroll records dated April 15th through June 9th obtained by WBRE Eyewitness News reflect Guarnieri never clocked any vacation time while he was supposedly away from the office, as the I-TEAM was told by Sheriff Savokinas. Luzerne County Commissioners Maryanne Petrilla (D) and Stephen Urban (R) said there's no reason the payroll records would not properly reflect time taken off by any employee. Commissioner Urban called it "fraud."During a 15 minute confrontation with the I-TEAM outside the sheriff's department, Savokinas and Guarnieri repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. Guarnieri shoved a station microphone while being questioned. Savokinas said he does not do payroll, but he chalked up the issue to an accounting glitch. He referred us to the payroll department. Representative from that department said time cards are turned in by every county employee and are then internalized in a computer system. Guarnieri said the lack of any vacation time appearing on his time could have been "a typo." Commissioners said that wasn't possible. (SOURCE: WBRE TV News).
I give much credit to Commissioners Maryanne Petrilla and Steve Urban who weren’t buying the argument from the Sheriff’s department. I believe there are good employees at the Courthouse who are hard working and accountable with their time. But every time a story like this comes out, I tend to stick with my theory as to how Luzerne County Government can be fixed.


Saying it was not the fault of the residents of Pennsylvania, the State Lawmakers or himself, Governor Rendell blamed the budget crisis on the greedy few on Wall Street who messed up the economy. Rendell told his Cabinet this week that this was a situation they had to deal with. The agency heads are under orders to make an additional $500 million in spending cuts to offset the recession-caused drop in state tax revenue. Rendell issued target amounts Wednesday for more than two dozen state agencies. It will be up to agency heads to implement suggested cuts or else offer alternate cuts that meet the goal. As I pointed out in an earlier edition, the state budget by law has to be passed. Either the tax will be enacted or serious cuts will be made. But after this budget resolution is done, perhaps the State should take a hard look at how it does business. I have stated numerous times on WYOU TV that Governor Rendell could cement his legacy in history by taking a hatchet to the State Legislature and reducing it. There is no love lost between the Governor and the lawmakers. Every year since 2003, the state budget has not been delivered on time. This is the main job description of the Legislature. Can you imagine if in private business or in your job you failed to meet a deadline for 7 years in a row? Do you think you’d get a raise? Do you think you’d have a job? In an editorial the Scranton Times called for a Constitutional Convention to revamp the way we govern in this state. The last one was 1967. The Legislature as well as the rest of state government have established they cannot act responsibly. Like the vultures on Wall Street who went off unregulated, the State Government has proven it cannot even accomplish the basic tenets of their mission, i.e passing a budget on time. It’s time for the grownups to take over and straighten things out.


The two Shenandoah-area teens convicted of simple assault in connection with the death of Luis Eduardo Ramirez Zavala were sentenced Wednesday to at least six months in county prison. Their attorneys were shocked at the sentence saying the beat down was only a street fight. Brandon J. Piekarsky, 17, of Shenandoah Heights, and Derrick M. Donchak, 19, of Shenandoah, were convicted of simple assault. Many feel the boys skated with the verdict but more than a few are pleased that the felons will be doing a modicum of hard time.


The Government Study Commission for Luzerne county is getting into high gear. The 11-person commission appointed Commissioner Charmaine Maynard secretary. Four commissioners were named to a committee on study committees. They are Veronica Ciaruffoli, elected vice-chairwoman of the commission, Walter Griffith Jr., Richard Heffron and Jack Schumacher. The group will be looking for an assistant recorder to organize their thoughts as well as a consultant. They also started a web site. Here’s the address:


Unhappy with the appearance of the 100 year old Luzerne County Courthouse? Host a party. The North end of the Courthouse got a bit of sprucing up this week. There was a guy sandblasting the north side of the building and its steps. That hasn’t been done in many a moon. Turns out Geisinger Health Care System is having a dance party Saturday Night. Hey, when company is coming, you straighten up.


Former President George W. Bush in a speech in Erie before a manufacturing trade group delivered a greeting to one of the state's most famous faces from his father George H.W. Bush. It's not often that a member of the Bush family sees Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, a noted Republican who supported the campaign of the elder Bush, the nation's 41st president. In front of about 1,600 people at a dinner in Erie, the younger Bush said he had been reminded by his dad to "Give my old buddy my best . . . 41 sends his best to No. 1 in the heart of Penn State fans." The former President touched on familiar themes during his talk but began his hour-long appearance by talking about his father, who celebrated his 85th birthday last weekend by parachute-jumping out of an airplane near the elder Bush's home in Kennebunkport, Maine. "So this weekend I had an amazing experience: I watched an 85-year-old jump out of an airplane, and it wasn't about to crash," Mr. Bush said, snickering while the crowd laughed. Then, comparing his father to Mr. Paterno, who's 82, he said, "These are two people who could have easily taken out the Airstream (trailer) and traveled to some camping ground . . . but, no, these guys are going to live life to the fullest." Paterno of course will begin a new season this fall as the long time Penn State Coach. As a politico, Bush 43 realizes you can’t go wrong invoking the name of Joe Pa when you visit the Keystone State. Partial Source: Associated Press.


A study says that PNC Field, formerly known as Lackawanna County Stadium needs 13 million dollars in repairs. Those repairs will happen in the long term. The Lackawanna County Commissioners said that because of the economy, there will no new stadium construction. And that’s a good thing because the stadium we have right now is quite functional. Sure there needs to be some upkeep but a spanking new facility in the land where you see 4 help wanted ads in the Times Tribune and 7 in the Times Leader would be a foolish waste of money. Let’s fix what we have and enjoy it. The Scranton Times Tribune broke the news on the stadium study Thursday.


Senator Edward Kennedy, 32, is seriously injured in a private plane crash at Southampton, Massachusetts; the pilot is killed. Also in the plane with Kennedy is Indiana Senator Birch Bayh and his wife Marvella. The Bayhs also survive the crash. The accident leaves Senator Kennedy flat on his back for his 1964 re-election campaign. His wife Joan becomes his campaign surrogate through the rest of the election year. The crash also begins talk of “The Kennedy Curse” following the successful family around like a black cloud……..Three civil rights workers, Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney, are murdered near Philadelphia, Mississippi, by local segregationist law enforcement officials………Statewide Attorneys for Supreme Court Justice Michael Musmanno ask the Pennsylvania Superior Court to review 6,000 ballots cast in the Philadelphia area in the U.S. Senate primary. The lawyers say the ballots were cast on the wrong line of the voting machines and therefore were invalid. Musmanno trailed this week by 636 votes to the eventual winner Secretary of Internal Affairs Genevieve Blatt…………..The Philadelphia Phillies open up a 5 game series against the New York Mets that will turn out to be quite historic. The Phils sweep a double header on Friday night with the pitching exploits of Art Mahaffey, running his record to 7-2 and Ray Culp who improved his record to 3-5. On Saturday, they lose 7-3, with rookie spot starter Dallas Green taking the loss evening his record to 1-1 against Jack Fisher to the Mets before the crucial Father’s Day Twin bill at Shea……..In Scranton, at 420 Spruce Street, a Scranton For President headquarters opens up. More than 750 people attended the ceremonies which featured a 35 minute program as well as a brass band with hundreds of placards bearing the face and name of the recently announced candidate. The main speaker was a Montgomery County Congressman Richard Schweiker who told the enthusiastic crowd “that Scranton was a new face who will bring new blood to the Republican party.” Schweiker also said Scranton’s wife and children were huge political assets and that Scranton could “beat Lyndon Johnson who is not, as people think, 10 feet tall”. Schweiker, a future Senator and Cabinet Secretary himself said the election could be won on foreign policy and fiscal responsibility, all of which Governor Scranton was well versed in……………..and 45 years ago this week, the number 1 song in LuLac land was “Rag Doll” by the 4 Seasons.


At 6:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

like your solution, but it wouldn't change anything

At 9:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A new stadium? Right! This thing is playing right into the hands of those who have watched Mandalay
pressure cities for new stadiums and move teams. Dont say we werent warned. The Cordaro legacy
will yet include loss of the team to the area, I fear. And while we speak of "legacy", hows the Paul Sorvino never to be released movie rip off going. Any communication whith Paulie. I have e-mailed Mike Washo for an update, but the once ever available minority commish no longer responds it seems. Perhaps Boy Wonder Corey O no longer allows Mike access to a computer. Reminds me of the way Bobby C treated former #2 man AJ Munch if thats the case. Point is "they are all full of shit!"

At 9:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good morning LuLac land:
I truly think you have the best solution. Like you have alluded to the guys on Wall Street and the State Legislature, the Courthouse crowd has exhibited the fact that they cannot even do the basics. It is time for an entire purging of the place. The qualified dilligent workers under your plan will get their jobs back, the thugs like Guaranaeri will be bouncers at Club 10 away from the judicious area of law and order.

At 11:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right on, Yonki. Tear it down and start anew. Its the best plan I've heard or will hear. I'd like to see you involved in the rebuilding process. I mean it!If nothing else you would bring a sense of history
to the process as well as a degree of integrity. Thats rare in the valley these days.

At 12:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Luzerne County Courthouse is like one of those ideas from a a movie like Dumb and Dumber. When you are being investigated, when it is the lead story in and on the news since Feb. 1, when FBI guys are crtawling all over the place, when prominent lawyers are wearing wires, how on earth do you think you can get away with any misdeed oer just a mis step? How stupid are they to think that people won't be watching.

At 1:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey 1244PM, never mind the FBI. How dumb are these guys to think the opposition people won't be watching them. Savokinas beat Barry Stankus in a painfully close race. You can bet those fans of Barry and supporters are just waiting for Mike Savokinas and his crew to screw up. My bets are on the former Sheriff's staff who are well versed in watching out for anything out of the ordinary. That turned out to be Mr. Guaranari who came out of central casting for his role. A peace officer trying to wrest a microphone from a working media guy. How great was that!!!! Barry's boys are having a good laugh and cold beer over this ineptitude.

At 2:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for highlighting 1964. The Scranton candidacy was indeed full of honor. Unlike today's politicians.

At 3:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Mr. Yonki, I am a young person and was not aware of the 4 Seasons until I read your book "A Radio Story". In the book you talk about the main character singing Rag Doll. That song is two and half times older than I but I love it. How great to see it again and hear it again on your web site.

At 5:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God, I MISS wyou tv interactive!!!!!!

At 9:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Dave, Looking good there on the tube. You should get a life threatnening disease every few years because you look better than ever. Hey man, we kid because we love. I heard Savokinas on Corbett today and if I were a Republican strategist or if there was a REpublican party in this area, I'd be doing handstands. The guy passed the buck and rambled on that I felt sorry for the guy. Let me know when they found the mistake, I'll be hanging out with Judge Crater and Amelia Earhart at Big Uglys.

At 10:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You make great points about both the state and local governments. When they cannot even perform the basic functions, they need to be reformed or put out of their misery.

At 10:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once more you prove why you are the best writer among the area bloggers. Or for that matter in the state. Bush paying tribute to Joe Pa helped warm the crowd up. Ed Rendell is tap dancing so fast I thinkhe might lose a few pounds. Loved Frankie and "Rag Doll" and am so glad you wrote about the white slain civil rights vlunteers who have their lives for equality in this nation. 1964 was a year of change. It was below the radar because people were still recovering from the JFK killing but by far it was more revoltionary than '68.

At 6:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think people are getting so tired of the corruption in Luzerne county and the lame excuses. Also in the state the people in Harrisburg have to realize there is only so much money a citizen can have for taxes. Enough!

At 6:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, have to tell you it's about time you updated your photo.

At 10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

'64 more revolutuionary than '68? I lived em both as a young man and I couldnt disagree more 10:28! The sixties started off so well and for me ended in Vietnam . It was a hell of a ride and I dont downplay the importance of any of those years. Too bad David Halberstam didnt live to write "the Sixties" as he did "the Fifties".

At 11:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yo 10AM, I meant that 1964 had more things planted for a revolution. Therefore the year was one of subtle change that later came back to become revoltionary, like 1967, 1968. The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, the passage of Civil Rights legislation and the sweeping encroachment of the government into the lives of people via the Great Society. These seeds were planted in '64 with little opposition. THese actions caused major reactions in the years to come. And I agree, Halberstam would have been the perfect author for a compilation of the 1960s.

At 12:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh My GOD!!!! After 3 years you changed the picture. And Jesus Lord, heaven save us, the earth will crash and the world will end. You aren't wearing a tie!!!! Could it be you've lost your mind? Changing your image? Please, please enlighten us so we know what to do while the end is near. Shall I stop being a Christian and just a Roman Catholic? Or am I just being hysterical and overeracting?

At 2:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bush was getting jealous of Chaney.

At 2:48 PM, Blogger David Yonki said...

Or am I just being hysterical and overeracting?

At 3:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yonki, A few weeks ago you nailed it. The Yankees are going to Newark as the Triple A team and we are going to be left holding the bag. It was fun while it lasted but the Yankees care about one thing. Moolah!!! My proof, Red Barons ticket: under ten bucks. Yankee ticket: $14.00 bucks. They say greed is good but not when you are on the wrong side of it.

At 4:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Phase one in the plan to move the team. Its clear as can be and we even know where its going. The stadium can be repaired. The stadium authority was a corrupt little clique invented to control
the ballpark and team. Bob Cordaro made an end run around them and corrupted the situation further. There were no good guys in this one
and the Yankees intentions were clear from the get go. We had something good, an affordable family friendly multi purpose ballpark, and weve allowed that to get screwed up by politicians and greed. Thanks for the effort John McGee.

Taylor Jack

At 4:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you should do 1966. Thats the year I graduated from High School and I dont remember anything
about it. Not a single significant event. Was it a slow year or should I check into a nursing home?

At 9:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always thought Joan Kennedy got a bad rap. She literally campaigned for Teddy night and day in 1964 and even came back in 1980 to pepetuate the facade of a marriage to that guy. She was a briliant pianist in her own right and I hope wherever she is today, she's licked her demons and is having a happy life.
P.S. Nice picture there Yonk. Me thinks that Komotion Date from Duryea is still pining away nfor you.

At 11:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Helen Fulbright:
Me thinks you're nuts!

At 9:21 PM, Blogger David Yonki said...

I think you should do 1966. Thats the year I graduated from High School and I dont remember anything
about it. Not a single significant event.


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