The LuLac Edition #1058, Dec. 31st, 2009
PHOTO INDEX: 2009 LOGO.
Here’s a recap and brief analysis of the top ten stories of 2009.
1. The Luzerne County Corruption Probe: There were hints of this thing as early as 2006 but no one could have foreseen the scope in which corruption permeated the county. The body count: 3 Judges, 1 County Commissioner, a half dozen school board members, a Jury Commissioner, and a few others totaling 23. And what's crazy is this thing is not over. 2010 promises to be just as active and rumors abound that the feds are after bigger fish.
The scandal had its impact and collateral damage such as the rejection of incumbent Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Junior at the polls who in my estimation was smeared by a photo that was not attributed by the paper in which it was published. The Democratic party was weakened by the scandal with mainstays like Dottie Stankovic squeaking by in her re-election bid, the plethora of attorneys running for Judge (how about 4 guys from Pittston running, would the old time party bosses have stood for that?) the reemergence of the Anne Lokuta case where the deposed Judge might have a shot at reinstatement since the architects of her demise were indicted. The resignation of Greg Skrepenak and the subsequent appointment of his replacement Thomas Cooney are also byproducts of the scandal. Not to mention the national attention heaped on us by film maker Michael Moore, the New York Times, the BBC, the CBS Evening News, ABC's 20/20 and even the TV drama "Law and Order". Adding to all of this are the budget problems the county is still facing.
But the big story were the Judges. From ’09, a LuLac video. Here's the link:
2. More corruption on the state level where more than there have been charges against both Democratic and Republican legislators for using their office for political purposes. Former speaker John Perzel as well as former Majority Leader Bill DeWeese have been indicted. Plus Todd Eachus of Hazleton, The majority leader of the Pennsylvania House has been implicated by a witness who claims Eachus directed illegal campaign activities by legislative employees and raised campaign funds from inside the Capitol. Eachus has not been charged.
3. More corruption this time in Lackawanna County. Chuckie Costanzo an appointee of former County Commissioner Bob Cordaro was convicted of criminal charges. Plus there is an ongoing investigation into irregularities at the airport and a few other aspects of the previous administration.
4. Police forces in both Luzerne and Lackawanna Colunty came under fire. In Wilkes Barre a young man charged Wilkes Barre police with brutality and in Scranton Brenda Williams was shot dead by police after an incident at her home. After massive investigations both police departments actions were ruled justified.
5. The region loses a major information source when WYOU TV news is shut down. The local CBS affiliate once was the heritage news station in this TV market and the demise of their 6 and 11 newscast was greeted with disappointment. The news was replaced by syndicated gossip shows. On still another broadcast front, WYLN TV 35 out of Hazleton eliminated its daily newscasts as well. Here is a clip from the WYLN TV 35 primary night election coverage proclaiming the big news of the night, the winners of the Judicial Race in Luzerne County.
6. A new type of scandal breaks out among the young people. Sexting becomes a new word in the vernacular when students from a few area high schools are charged with child pornography for sending pictures of a sexual nature to each other. The unintended consequence of these charges in Wyoming County is the defeat of the incumbent DA for re-election.
7. The Lackawanna County Stadium runs into some structural problems when right field is flooded. Crucial summertime home games are canceled and after much gnashing of teeth and bitching repairs are made.
8. Joshua Miller, a Pennsylvania State Trooper is killed in action during a domestic dispute. Tributes pour in from all the country. Governor Rendell gives an emotional eulogy at the trooper’s funeral held at Pittston Area High School.
9. The Bishop of Scranton Joseph Martino resigns. The somewhat crazed and controversial prelate was front and center in a number of heavy handed changes in the venerable Scranton diocese like church and school closings. If that wasn’t bad enough the Bishop went national attacking Senator Bob Casey, a pro life supporter as complicit in the death of babies since he voted for legislation that was not 100% pro life pure. Catholics became so dissatisfied with the Bishop that complaints were lodged with Rome and the Bishop’s Annual Appeal fell flat on its face financially.
10.The Wachovia Arena got a new name on its 10th anniversary becoming the Mohegan Sun Arena. The facility stands as a testament to the visionaries who worked for its creation and as a friendly reminder that it exists despite the ignorant naysayers who said it would never fly telling us old people would lose their houses if it were built. The Arena, like the year 2009 proves that nothing ever comes easy here in LuLac land.
ON THE NATIONAL FRONT
The folks at JibJab recap the year: