Sunday, December 29, 2013

The LuLac Edition #2576, December 29th, 2013

2013 RECAP

It is the end of another year and LuLac has provided a few editions for you to look back on 2013. All you need to do is scroll down. We'll be back God willing in 2014. Here is a video of our appearance on PA Live this past Friday.

Have a safe and Happy New Year.

The LuLac Edition #2575, December 29th, 2013


10. BILL SCRANTON DIES.. Former Pennsylvania Governor and Presidential aspirant Bill Scranton died this past July at the age of 95. Scranton was a UN Ambassador, State Department employee and a roving diplomat called on by Presidents and Foreign Leaders for his advice. His presence in Northeastern Pennsylvania was a constant until he retired to California due to his age. The outpouring of sympathy at his passing, years after he left public service was a testament to his honesty and ability to get things done. Scranton’s willingness to work with people in a bipartisan fashion really stood out when his political story was told against the backdrop of the contentious battles between President Obama and the Republicans nationally. Plus Governor Tom Corbett’s inability to get his key legislative priorities passed even with total GOP control in Harrisburg speaks volumes about what a great bipartisan dealmaker Scranton was in his time.
9. SCANDALS AFTERMATH..Even though the large portion of justice has been handed out for the high profile corruption cases of a few years ago, there still is some scandal residue. In 2013 former State Senator in the 22nd District Robert Mellow began serving a jail sentence right after Christmas. By Thanksgiving he was back in a Scranton half way house finishing out his term.
Meantime his cousin Fred Rosetti pleaded guilty to 33 months in federal prison for theft and mail fraud charges. In Luzerne County, former Senator Ray Musto again kept on getting continuances for his corruption trial due to illness. Fed up, Federal prosecutors levied another charge. In November while there was a court proceeding going on without him, Musto conducted a bizarre interview in his home with the Citizen’s Voice. Musto said on video that the comments be off the record. Debate over his competency to stand trial will bleed into 2014.
8. THE OFFICE WRAP PARTY...The fictional business of Dunder Mifflin, a Scranton based paper company went under the radar and off the air in a two hour finale on NBC. One of the top rated shows for a long time, “The Office” final episode did it the right way, tying up loose ends and giving viewers even more insight into the characters. Local affiliate WBRE got in on the action and a huge Office Festival was held in Scranton in May culminating with a night at the Scranton Wilkes Barre Railroaders Park with office cast members in attendance. An empty chair was set aside and the crowd went nuts when actor Steve Carell aka Michael Scott made an appearance. It was a tourism coup for Scranton and also a big business builder that weekend. It also made national news about how Scranton and the cast embraced each other.
7. OBAMA/BIDEN APPEAR IN SCRANTON..Very few times you will see a President come to your hometown when he is in office. Even rarer is the joint appearance of a sitting President and Vice President. That happened this summer when MR. Obama and Biden stopped by Lackawanna Junior College to talk about student loans and debt.
6. PLAY BALL AGAIN IN 2013.. Like a long lost friend, Triple A baseball came back to LuLac land with a new stadium, new mascots, new uniforms and a new name for the Yankees farm team. Excitement was at a fever pitch and attendance and business was very good for the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Railriders. The renovated stadium was very pleasing to rabid and casual fans alike. Another bonus for the fans were the appearances of Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez who were in town on rehab assignments.
5. HOTEL STERLING COMES DOWN.. After years of limbo the great building known as The Hotel Sterling fell victim to the ineptitude its keepers, age and deterioration. It took just a few days to level the landmark. Ironically, the man behind the tear down was killed a few months later when he was working on a similar demolition job.
4. FINANCIAL WOES...Like water everywhere, LuLac land’s governmental bodies had its share of red ink this year. The City of Scranton imposed more than a 50% tax hike for its residents and doubled the garbage fee. In Hazleton the city was wondering if they could meet payroll at the end of the year and in Luzerne County more than 400 million dollars in debt loomed as county employees were laid off and taxes were raised to the maximum allowed by the new Home Rule Charter. In Lackawanna County, voters approved a Home Rule Study Commission that recommended later on in the year that a new form of government be put to a vote. Concern about high taxes in the County and a more efficient way of doing things were driving factors behind that endorsement by the voters. In 2014, look for financial problems to continue and a battle royale regarding Home Rule Yes or No in Lackawnna County.
3. 13 MURDERS IN WILKES BARRE.. If it seemed like at least one person a month got killed in Wilkes Barre this year, well it was because one person a month got murdered in Wilkes Barre in 2013. The crimes centered around drugs, out of town “visitors” infiltrating the city and setting up shop for drugs and mayhem as well as fearless disregard for life for anything of value in the city of over 40,000. The Sherman Hills Apartment Complex became the lightning rod and had the spotlight directed toward their low income facility. A Task Force was set up to see if there could be a solution as well as a meeting between the out of town owners of the complex and City Council. When the meeting was held, the management team from New York told Council they were trying but Council asked told them to try harder. You can be sure that this story will continue on to 2014.
2. POLITICAL DEPARTURES.. Two big political developments shaped the top story of 2013. Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty made it known he would not be seeking a fourth term.
In Luzerne County, Controller Walter Griffith a presumed shoo in for a second term was charged with wire tapping conversations in an attempt to get information on the involvement of CityVest in the Hotel Sterling debacle. Despite the indictment, Griffith handily won the Republican primary but plead guilty and resigned his office. The charges were then reduced to a misdemeanor so Griffith can run for public office again.
These two political sayonaras, one voluntary and one forced paved the wave for the top story in LuLac land this year.
1. ELECTION 2013.. The Doherty annoucement of not seeking reelection cleared the way for a battle between City official Bill Courtright and Liz Randol who ran a very close race for Commissioner a few years ago. Courtright prevailed in the primary and after a hapless GOP recruited Attorney Jim Mulligan to run in August (The GOP primary winner Jerry Lewis or Garrett Lewis or Joe Lewis, whatever the guy’s name was quit) Courtright romped to victory. If Doherty had run, would he have prevailed? And if he had been beaten in the primary would he go for votes on the GOP side? Doherty’s departure though did nothing to improve the city’s finances and that is something the incoming Mayor will have to contend with.
In Luzerne County, the Griffith charges enabled the Democrats to see a way to reclaim that office. 2013 Women We Love recipient and Tax Collector Michelle Bednar ran an aggressive campaign first against primary opponent Steve Urban Senior and then political veteran Carolee Medico Olenginski. Bednar with the help of political heavyweights and unions prevailed and is set to be the financial watch dog as Luzerne County enters its third year in the Home Rule form of government. Will Bednar navigate the waters of Luzerne County finances like Griffith or will she have her own way? A question for 2014. But you can be sure that our top stories of 2013 would not have happened had not top item number two had different outcomes.

The LuLac Edition #2574, December 29th, 2013



5. IRAN AND THE BOMB..Fears of Iran getting a nuclear bomb was a highlight of worldwide news in 2013. Iran agreed to a slowdown but is being watched warily by the United States and other nations.
4. SYRIA... The conflict in Syria continued with reports that the dictator there was gassing his own people. The United States did not enter into the conflict and took a cautious approach to this powder keg. Peace talks have begun but even as they get underway, there is violence that does not bode well for any solution.
3. THE DEATH OF NELSON MANDELA…South African President Nelson Mandela died in December of 2013. His passing was noted by world leaders and his courage, dignity and strength were universally lauded. 
2. THE EXILE OF EDWARD SNOWDEN... The American who released NSA secrets took off for Iceland but was detained in Russia where he stayed in an airport terminal until Russia agreed to keep him. As recent as last week, Vladimir Putin said Snowden was honorable but had not met him yet and did not have the pleasure of working with him.
1. THE RESIGNATION OF A POPE AND THE ELECTION OF A NEW ONE.... In mid February, the Vatican announced that Pope Benedict XVIth decided to step down. On Feb. 28th he left the scene and a few weeks later Argentina’s Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio became the Catholic Church’s  266th Pope. His first year has been a stark contrast to his predecessor. The new Pope has been both comforting and confrontational. Francis has confronted social issues facing the church in a mild mannered but thought provoking manner. His pronouncements have sent the signal that this will not be your grandfather’s papacy. He was named Time’s Person of the Year and one gets the feeling that his opening act is just starting. Look for attitudes about the Church toward human sexuality to evolve a bit more in 2014.


5. THE NSA SCANDAL...The disclosure that average Americans cell phone records were being closely looked at for national security reasons.
4. THE TARGET STORE CREDIT CARD HACKING.......What is regarded as a full scale invasion of hundreds of thousands of credit cards during black Friday might have an effect on how people shop.
3. THE BOTCHED AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE ROLL OUT.... On October first the signature legislation of the Obama Legacy had a very rocky start. The President had the GOP on its heels after the government shutdown but gave them an issue to beat his administration nd the Affordable Care Act over his head again.
2. SEQUESTER AND THE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN...On Tuesday, January 1, 2013, Congress approved a bill to avoid the so called "fiscal cliff", which would have raised taxes on many Americans. However, the bill delayed the sequester. The sequester was a series of automatic cuts in federal spending, for two months until March 1st. Congress and the President were unable to come up with compromise legislation to avert the sequester; so dequestration went into effect March 1st. The important thing to understand is that sequestration is irresponsible budgeting – instead of passing a deliberated budget with the input of the American people, Congress is making indiscriminate cuts to federal spending. Lawmakers from both parties agree it's terrible policy, and yet they can't agree to repeal the cuts.
In the autumn of the year, the Republican party decided it would be a good thing to shut down the government because of their disdain for the Affordable Health Care Act as well as the fact that Congress failed to enact legislation appropriating funds for fiscal year 2014, or a continuing resolution for the interim authorization of appropriations for fiscal year 2014. Regular government operations resumed October 17 after an interim appropriations bill was signed into law. Most people agreed that the shutdown was bad for the American people and the Republican party. By December, House Speaker John Boehner actually took a stand against the Tea Party Republicans and endorsed the Budget deal crafted by Representative Paul Ryan and senator Patty Murray. This action by Boehner averted a government crisis but also set the stage for a bloody divisive year in GOP primaries in the off year election. It can also put Boehner’s leadership role in slight jeopardy as the new year begins.
1. THE BOSTON BOMBING.....During the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, two pressure cooker bombs exploded at 2:49 pm EDT, killing 3 people and injuring an estimated 264 others. The bombs exploded about 210 yards near the finish line. The suspects were identified later that day as two Chechen brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The FBI released the images, and the suspects went on the run allegedly killed an MIT police officer, carjacked an SUV, and initiated an exchange of gunfire with the police in Watertown, Massachusetts. During the firefight, an MBTA police officer was injured but survived with severe blood loss. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was shot by police and then run over by his brother Dzhokhar and died. Dzhokhar was injured but escaped. (Wikipedia). A manhunt ensued and on April 19th the young brother was found hiding in a boat and captured. Those injured in the incident are still recovering from their injuries. This cowardly attack in Boston and the way the city came back from it made this the number one national news story in America in 2013.


5. FORMER GOVERNORS DIE……Two former Governor one a Democrat, another a Republican, both having served generations ago died this year. In May former Democratic Governor George Leader passed away at the age of 96 and Former Governor Bill Scranton died in August at the age of 95. Both men were lauded for the progressive and bipartisan attitude for governing.
4. LEGISLATIVE STALL……The Republican controlled State Legislature had many moments of inertia and failed to act on Governor Tom Corbett’s agenda until passing a Transportation bill toward the end of the year. Corbett’s dream of liquor privatization was stalled.
3. THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT AND THE COMMONWEALTH..The faulty enrollment plan for the Affordable Care Act got off to a rocky start. Not many Pennsylvania residents signed up initially and Insurers were having trouble accessing subsidy information on their on line stores. By the end of the year things moved a tad better but according to Insurers more efficiency on the website would be an easier sell to those young healthy people who need to enroll to make this thing viable.
2. CORBETT SAYS YES TO MEDICAID..Tom Corbett became the 10th Republican governor to back the expansion of Medicaid, the joint federal-state health program for the poor. Utilizing the Affordable Care Act, Corbett added a set of reforms that would extend health coverage to more residents of the state. But Corbett wanted Pennsylvanians to use private health insurance plans and insisted on new requirements for all Medicaid enrollees, like having them pay monthly premiums and demonstrate they are searching for jobs. So far the plan is waiting for approval.
2. JUDGE SENTENCED.....A former Supreme Court Justice Jane Orie was sentenced to three years of house arrest after her conviction for illegal political campaigning. Orie Melvin was also fined $55,000 and was ordered to have her picture taken and sent to every sitting Judge in the Commonwealth with an apology.
1. TOM CORBETT’S FUTURE...The most talked about political story this year was Governor Tom Corbett’s reelection chances. It seems like the Governor has alienated liberals on the Democratic side, moderates in his own party as well as his key Conservative base. The Governor has not been warm and fuzzy and had a hard act to follow after the bombastic Ed Rendell. With low poll numbers the conventional political wisdom is that Corbett will be in deep political trouble in 2014. Undaunted, the Governor shook up his staff and announced for reelection the day after the 2013 General Elections. Now the speculation will be whether or not he will succeed in winning another term in this key off year election.

The LuLac Edition #2573, December 29th, 2013


As the year winds down, we continue with our year end features. “Women We Love” is something we ripped off from Esquire Magazine a few years back. Each year we get nominees for outstanding women locally, statewide nationally and internationally. Our criteria is simple, quality of work, recognition of community activities, challenging positions that give them a profile both good or bad. Also, if there is a “buzz” about the type of year they are having and how that impacts on themselves as well as the community. Nominations come in via the LuLac E Mail box and a certain number is needed to make the cut. After that cut is dwindled, we choose the winners. Here are the LuLac 2013 “Women We Love”.
(Photo: Bednar Facebook page)


If it is true that the meek shall inherit the earth, then maybe that should be revised when it comes to Michelle Bednar. When Bednar made her first attempt for County office in 2011, she was regarded as a soft spoken, quiet orator. So much so that during that campaign she blended a bit into the background finishing 16th in a field of 28 Council candidates.
That did not happen in 2013 when Bednar took on two political heavy weights in one year and body slammed both of them.
First it was former County Commissioner and Council member Steve Urban Senior who was bested by Bednar in the primary campaign for Controller. Running an effective and well financed ad campaign as well as a grassroots effort, Bednar handily beat Urban.
Never one to rest on her laurels, Bednar started her fall campaign almost immediately not knowing whether she would face then criminally charged Controller Walter Griffith or someone else. The Luzerne County GOP named Carolee Medico Olenginski and both matched each other in campaign appearances throughout the county. Bednar was ubiquitous being everywhere at every event. Whether it was 12 people or 1200, Bednar was there. Bednar became a strong speaker but what really won many people was her “straight forward look you in the eye” approach to her meet and greets with area residents.
Bednar is married to a union electrician and has a son who aided her on the campaign trail with a series of effective and adorable commercials. Currently Bednar is pulling together a staff and an outline for taking office as Controller in few days.
The word on Bednar is that she has been very receptive to seeing how the Controller’s office runs and is not afraid to process and compile advice from anyone who can help.
Bednar’s campaign might have been a surprise to many of the seasoned politicos in the County. But to those who know her dedication, her work ethic as well as her get off the floor after taking a punch, this was nothing new. Bednar’s relentless pursuit of this goal as well as effective campaigns were an illustration that you don’t need to shout and thump your chest to be a success in politics. It is for those reasons that Michelle Bednar is one of the 2013 Women We Love.
(Photo: Ad in Times Leader and Billboards).


Denise Cesare, the CEO of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania was chosen by readers because she seemed to be one of the few who offered some sanity in a contentious debate over the Affordable Care Act. While Republicans in Congress voted 40 times to defund the Health Care Law, talk show pundits making a living pointing out its flaws and people who don’t understand their own policies degrading the debate, Cesare brought a simple and clear message. The Affordable Health Care Act is here to stay. She pointed out that her organization will help consumers navigate through the complexities of it with a 75 year track record. Plus, if in accordance with the Health Care law, BC/BS will investigate getting customer a subsidy. To bolster that message, she took to the airwaves herself with this concise message.
There was no talk about the future of health care insurance companies being put out of business by what critics call “Obamacare”. The points made were direct. Whether Cesare and her entire organization agreed with the law, is something they only know. The beauty of Cesare’s message is that no one seeing it has any clue as to Blue Cross’s feelings on the merits of the ACA. Additionally Blue Cross as a health care provider was going to do the following:
1. Provide insurance within the existing laws to people who want and need health care.
2. Pay insurance claims of those they insure.
3. Make certain that insurance consumers have choices offered within the law.
4. Get that message to people who have been bombarded with fear and inaccuracies since this thing was proposed.
I’m not sure Ms. Cesare ever met with President Obama as a leading health care executive in the country. If she did, perhaps she could have taught him something about messaging and health insurance. While the President’s intentions were good, his message was terrible. On the other hand, Cesare’s comingling of her organization’s heritage and the new intricacies of the health care law was a master strokes of a simple, sincere and calming marketing. It is for that reason that readers have named Denise Cesare one of the Women We Love in 2013.
    (Photo: LuLac archives).


      To be brutally honest on the campaign trail Kathy Dobash was a punch line. Dobash a Hazleton resident has a bachelor’s degrees in art and art education from Penn State University. She has worked as an art educator and therapeutic staff support worker. Dobash currently works as an inventory specialist in the private sector and continues with art endeavors. A longtime taxpayer advocate for many years, Dobash finished dismally in the 2011 County Council race. But she still attended every Luzerne Council meeting taking every opportunity to present her views. Dobash was a constant on the Service Electric coverage on Channel 19 of County Council meetings and was not afraid to put Council members feet to the fire. She also went after former running mates on the GOP side who voted to raise taxes. With her homemade flyers, low budget, recycled campaign signs and her diminutive size, Dobash got lost in the County Council shuffle this year.
      With the Democrats not endorsing a slate and her own party sniping at incumbents for the tax hike, Dobash seemed to be flying under the radar. The only person who predicted a possibility of a Dobash victory was Tiffany Cloud from WYLN TV’s The Storm (and a former Women We Love alumni). Cloud said that Dobash was one of a very few candidates who made it to her door and explained why she was running. Apparently Cloud’s door was not the only one Dobash knocked on.
      When the votes came in late on Election Night, Dobash finished third county wide. Many wondered how.
      Well Dobash, whether by design or accident took a page out of Ronald Reagan’s Playbook. She hammered on three simple issues.
      1. Transparency in government. Recognizing that County voters were still reeling from the corruption scandals and a distrust of the new form of government, Dobash hit that issue hard.
      2. Taxes. She was against them. And came down hard on party members who did. She displayed independence and no fear of political party consequences.That resonated with voters.
      3. Follow the charter. Dobash said this is what we have now as a government and in order for it to work, it has to be followed to the letter.
      She went everywhere, appeared exhausted at events after sometimes working an overnight shift and went up to everyone even when she knew they were snickering behind her back. It is said that everyone loves an underdog because while the pluck and persistence is admired, no one realty expects them to succeed. Dobash did in one of the most stunning political developments in Lulac political history. Dobash is no longer an underdog and outsider. She is now on the other side of the microphone. It will be interesting to see how she governs after her impossible victory. The people spoke and they shouted for Kathy Dobash. It is for that reason that Kathy Dobash is one of the Women We Love in 2013.
      (Photo: from nominee)


      My good friend and former WARM Radio personality Joey Shaver used to say, “If you want something done, give the task to a busy person.” That statement is ever so true when we tell you about Michelle Hryvnak Davies. When you see a Tweet time stamped at 4:29AM or get an e mail at 5:15 AM chances are it will be from Michelle. Her nomination comes as recognition of her work in the local blog scene. But unlike those anonymous and not so hidden bloggers whose work can be seen on a regular basis, Michelle has been building the structure and foundation of blogging from within.
      There were a lot of bloggers in Northeastern Pennsylvania but there was no clearinghouse as to where they could be found. Despite what my political colleagues and I might think, there are other blogs out there of consequence. Michelle started to send e mails when she found something of interest to Gort 42 and Harold Jenkins so they could add it to their blogrolls.  Jenkins founded NE Blogs and Gort 42 aided him in the effort. But Michelle was so persistent that the gentlemen suggested she branch out and do it on her own.
      Exceeding any expectations, Michelle contacted anyone who was a blogger on whatever subject matter and created an online community warehouse where any interested reader could access almost any subject matter. Not content to stop there, she used the media tools available in this new century such as Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter . By the way Michelle has a large presence on Twitter. In addition to the online messaging, NEPA Blogs has been a mainstay since 2011 on WBRE TV’s 4pm show Pa Live with Dave Kuharchik and Brittany Sweeney. Harold Jenkins has presented over 130 local blogs (LuLac included, thank you guys) in the Blog of the Week segment seen on Tuesday. More importantly, that presence led to praise from the print media with NEPA Blogs getting kudos from The Weekender, The Citizens' Voice, The Times Leader, ComputerWise TV, Happenings Magazine and on WFTE-FM 90.3. NEPA blogs won "Greatest Around the Poconos" Best Blog 2 years running and also were a runner up for Best Blog in the Weekender's 2013 Readers' Choice awards. For more information on the blog warehouse, check out
      The natural progression from NEPA Blogs was then to do a “how to” seminar on online communication covering subjects ranging from the technical to the success stories of various online writers. That effort was spearheaded by Michelle, Karla Porter, Leslie Stewart and Mandy Boyle. While Blogfest was a casual good time this quartet felt the need to do something on a more formal and educational basis. In effect, they raised the bar in terms of what community blogging was all about. So far NEPA BlogCon has held three events. Each one has grown rapidly. The initial foray enabled the event to build upon its participation and success. The group later partnered with TecBridge as a fiscal agent. In two events, the seminars have raised $5200.00 that went to charities such as Blue Chip Farms, The Arc of Luzerne County & The NEPA Veterans Multicare Alliance. The next Blogcon is set for October 4th, 2014.
      In addition to all of this, Michelle is a full time employee at WNEP working as an IT Engineer, but in reality she’s a type of utility player helping out with live feeds for the numerous newscasts on 16. There are also some Broadcast Engineer and Master Control duties such as tuning live shots, rolling commercial breaks (during special events), and troubleshooting on-air issues.
      Michelle is a married mother of two from Sweet Valley. a student in the Computer Information Systems program at LCCC and was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa honor society in November of 2011. She also graduated from Leadership Wilkes-Barre in June of 2010.
      About ten years ago, bloggers worked with very few technical resources, no plan for outreach and in relative anonymity. Because of Michelle Hryvnak’s energy, enthusiasm and work ethic that is no longer the case. The only person who was surprised by this nomination was Hryvnak Davies herself. She was too busy doing what needed to be done not wondering if anyone was noticing. People were. And it’s for all she’s done to forward online blogging that Michelle Hryvnak Davies is one of the Women We Love in 2013.
      (Photo: Donnelly Facebook page)


      Cathy Donnelly has a booming voice when she is speaking or singing belting out the blues. Donnelly was a mainstay on The Mountain and had a legion of fans who loved her musical insights.
      Cathy D is also the indispensable fill in talent at Entercom. You can hear her doing traffic as well as filling in for the likes of Sue Henry, and Steve Corbett as well as the Morning News with Webster and Nancy. As a talk show host, she is the anti Anne Coulter. Instead of degrading middle class values Donnelly gives listeners a real glimpse into what it is like for a single mother to get by in this century of the 1 per centers.
      Donnelly has also used her musical talent for charity events as well as doing gigs at Blues Festivals, the River Street Jazz Café and Wegmans. Her versatility, flexibility as well as her boundless enthusiastic talent makes her one of the Women We Love in 2013.
      (Photo: Kane campaign).


      Kathleen Kane has made her first year as Attorney General memorable. Elected in a tough primary with political heavyweight Patrick Murphy, Kane won statewide in the general election in a walk. Since taking her oath as the first woman and first ever elected Democratic Attorney General Kane has not been treading lightly. This year Kane appointed former federal prosecutor H. Geoffrey Moulton Jr. to investigate Governor Tom Corbett's handling of the Penn State child sex abuse scandal, and brought criminal charges against former turnpike officials. She refused to defend Pennsylvania's gay-marriage prohibition, calling it unconstitutional. The latter was very controversial because many felt her announcement was more like a political rally then a pronouncement from the state’s highest prosecutor. There are some who are convinced Kane is running for Governor this year but that isn’t going to happen. Look for her to have an eye on either Pat Toomey’s Senate seat in 2016 or Bob Casey’s in 2018 if he decides to run for Governor again. She still has some baggage like her parking ticket fiasco in Scranton and the promotion of her sister in a  the state level position. There have been stories that the Kane sisters made dual appearances during the 2012 campaign with the sister saying she was Ms. Kane. If that’s true, that is classic Pennsylvania politics and should be in the record book. But for all of that, Kane has done what vibrant political forces do and this is to keep people guessing about where they will be headed next. It’s for that reason Kathleen Kane is one of The Women We Love in 2013.
      (Photo: LuLac archives)


      Phyllis Mundy was a very late entry to this year’s list. It seems that her retirement announcement spurred a few more nominations. While it may have been a case of people rewarding her for long term service as a State Representative, I believe it also was recognition of her work in the State House where she has been nothing if not consistent.
      Mundy has been a champion of working families and the working poor. It seems unions have kind of bastardized the term “working families” but Mundy has been squarely on the side of those people in her district looking for a step up in their circumstances. Mundy has been a strong advocate of environmental protection laws as well as state programs to boost early childhood education. Mundy has earned high ratings from the Sierra Club, an environmental advocacy group that gave Mundy a 100% rating recently. As a Democrat, her relationship with unions has been spectacular in political terms and one has to wonder where that support will go when her successor is picked.
      Mundy has been a thorn in the side to the Blue Cross/Blue Shield non profit system by trying to contain health care cost hikes. She also shed light on the huge surplus the local Blue Cross has as a working part of its fiscal roadmap. In 2010 while it could be easy to skate and just go along with the promise of high paying jobs in the gas industry she proposed a a one-year ban on new Marcellus Shale drilling permits.
      Phyllis Mundy was an underdog when she ran for Representative in 1990 in the 120th District. Worthy Democrats like Michael Lewis, Richard Adams, Bob Allardyce and John Pitcavage tried to topple Republicans Frank O’Connell, Frank Coslett and Scott Dietrick. It was Mundy with her victory that helped change the registration of that district. (Along with help from a Democratic Governor in the 1990 census).
      Her achievements will be remembered as she settles into retirement. But if current aspirants and local officials are wise, they might want to keep Phyllis Mundy on their Iphone contact list or as they used to call it in the old days, “speed dial” to pick her brain on issues confronting us in the coming years. For all of the reasons above, Phyllis Mundy is one of the LuLac Women We Love in 2013.
      (Photo: Evie Refalko-McNulty).


      Evie Refalko McNulty was electedLackawanna County Recorder of Deeds in 1997. –Her campaign theme back then was called “Getting To Know You” and Refalko Mcnulty has become a governmental mainstay in Lackawanna government. In what was a dysfunctional time during the Cordaro/Munchak reign, Refalko McNulty ran her office, kept her head down and did her job serving the people of Lackawanna County.
      Politically, Refklo Mcnulty has been a dominant presence carefully navigating the intense Presidential race of 2008 between Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama. Politics has to be in here DNA. When John F. Kennedy came to town on that massive tour that ended in Scranton in October 1960, a baby was passed to the future President to hold and presumably kiss. That baby was Evie Refalko!!!
      Refalko McNuty has been involved in many activities as a governmental figure serving as Former Secretary to the Executive Director of the United States Conference of Mayors, Washington, DC.
      She was currently Former President and now is currently permanent Secretary to the Pennsylvania Recorder of Deeds Association (PRODA).
      If you are talking about community service, pick a name, Red Cross, Friendship House, The Race for the Cure, Coats For Kids, the Northeast Cancer Institute, St. Joseph’s, Susan G. Komen Fashion Board, Relay For Life, Girl Scouts, Dress For Success for low income women seeking employment, the Lackawanna County Domestic Violence Task Force and many more. She is also one of the founders of the Society of Irish Women. Evie is Married to former Scranton Mayor and political consultant James Barrett McNulty
      She is the daughter of Nancy Coggins Rafalko and the late John “J.R.” Rafalko.
      McNulty has had received numerous awards in her career and has been featured in many newspapers and media outlets touting her work ethic and accomplishments through the years. I am glad this year LuLac readers saw fit to name Evie Refalko McNulty as one of the Women We Love.
      (Photo: LuLac archives).


      For Lisa Schugardt, the year 2013 has been one of transition. Schugardt no longer graces the airwaves of WYLN TV and her presence is sorely missed. But Schugardt I’m sure will be going after new goals as she enters a new stage of her career. In addition to anchoring the news and covering live events, Schugardt did many on scene events in LuLac land including the St. Patrick’s and Santa Parades in Wilkes Barre and anchoring live coverage of River fest.
      My experience with Lisa has always been supportive and positive. When I had the opportunity to help cover the Ciavarella and Conahan trials on WYLN, Lisa was always ready to lend a hand as I filed my reports.
      Lisa studied for a BA in Broadcast Journalism at Pennsylvania State University and previously worked at another Hazleton Area TV station. She also worked at Lackawanna Junior College and has a wealth of experience and knowledge that will one day be a gift to anyone interested in her talents. Currently Schugardt is recharging her batteries but er are sure will be the same potent force she’s always been. Lisa Schugardt’s departure from the media scene in 2013 is just a reminder of what we’ve been missing the last few months. It is for that reason she is one of the Women We Love in 2013.

      (Photo: Look Magazine)


      Throughout the year 2013 I received many thoughts and e mails on Jackie Kennedy. With the 50th anniversary of the death of the 35th President, Mrs. Kennedy’s legacy looms large.
      Thoughts went back to that tragic day in Dallas and how Jackie Kennedy reacted to the shocking evens that unfolded before her eyes.
      During the aftermath of the assassination, that weekend the 33 year old woman planned the details of the state funeral, managed her young family’s emotions, and stood grimly as the body of her husband traveled on its final path. After the burial, Jacqueline Kennedy met with world leaders as each offered condolences of their own and the nations they represented.
      During this time, while most Americans were stunned at the death of her husband, accompanying that grief was the realization that his widow seemed to be holding up in a dignified manner. Years later, Americans were to learn that during this time, Jacqueline Kennedy wrote notes of condolence to Mrs. J.D. Tippett, the patrolman also killed in Dallas that day. Mrs. Kennedy was also putting in place the legacy of Camelot as she thought about the 1,000 days of the Kennedy Presidency.
      From November 22nd through January 1st, Jackie Kennedy did the ceremonial things that most people had no right to expect. It is said that in the New Year of 1964, she crashed emotionally but recovered to live a full life of her own.
      She remarried, raised two children that appeared to have the grace of the Bouviers and less baggage of the Kennedys and became a book editor in New York. She oversaw the revamping of Grand Central Station, aided in the construction of the Kennedy Library and was a pop cultural icon. She never wrote her memoirs adding more mystery to her persona. But it was that weekend of tragedy that most American’s image of Jackie Kennedy remain fixated. To this day her grace was unforgettable. It is for that reason that Jackie Kennedy is posthumously one of the 2013 Women We Love.
      (Photo: LuLac archives-Sorokas with Congressman Cartwright).


      Eileen Sorokas has been a constant of the Luzerne County political scene for the past thirty years. Sorokas was a Democratic State Committeewoman for years and made an initial run for County Council in 2011 when the new Home Rule form of government was founded.
      Sorokas lost out narrowly to Eugene Kelleher for the 11th spot but came roaring back in 2013 with a grass roots, multi media campaign that gave her a working coalition of voters wanting efficient government. Sorokas attended thousands of meetings and rallies. She also made a name for herself for making certain that her stances were laced with down home charisma that connected with voters. Eileen grew up in Wilkes Barre Township, has a home in Miners Mills and a farm in Hunlock Creek. Sorokas is dedicated to her animals and works very closely with her Husband Rick in this endeavor. She stays active in various charitable organizations; the Huber Breaker Society-Ashley, AM-VETS Ladies Aux. Post 189-Greater Pittston Area, and the Rose Tucker Senior center-Nanticoke. The coming year will be a realization of a goal Sorokas set for herself a long time ago. To serve the County as an elected policy maker in this relatively new form of government. Her triumph in 2013 as well as her challenges ahead in 2014 make her one of the Women We Love in 2013.
      (Photo: LuLac archives)


      Brittany Sweeney is familiar to many TV viewers here in LuLac land. Sweeney joined WBRE TV in September of 2012 manning the Williamsport Bureau. Sweeney became co host of the daily PA Live Show with Dave Kuharchik and has been a friendly face in the afternoon on that fast moving and informative program.
      Brittany grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs and graduated from Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School. She went on to become an owl at Temple University, in Philadelphia, where she got a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications. While in school, she worked as an anchor on the student-run newscast Temple Update.
      After college, it was on to the news business for Brittany. She packed up and headed to Parkersburg, West Virginia for her first television gig as an overnight producer at the NBC affiliate WTAP-TV. Her behind the scenes career was short-lived, Brittany quickly moved in front of the camera onto the anchor desk as the morning Anchor on the Daybreak show.
      Sweeney’s work at WBRE has dovetailed with many local stories that have been in the forefront of the news. She was on the scene of many events during the 2012 Presidential Election as well as covering breaking news in the evening after her duties on PA Live. Brittany’s easy transition to PA Live as well as her personal likeability are just a few of the reasons why she is one of the Women We Love in 2013.
      (Photo: LuLac archives)


      Lori Saunders is best known for her TV role as the middle sister, Bobbie Jo Bradley on the 1960s era hit on CBS “Petticoat Junction” Saunders was always on the cusp during these Lulac Women We Love nominations but in 2013 she broke through. Apparently a cadre of aged 50 something guys decided to give her the nod. Saunders had some TV work before the Junction. Saunders appeared five times as four different characters on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet as well as single-episode appearances in Burke's Law and Bob Hope Presents The Chrysler Theatre.
      Ozzie Nelson was said to have loved her and wanted to find a slot for her in the series. Saunders later became a Dodge girl sporting a purple sweater pushing the new Dodge Charger in the mid 60s on TV. Prior to appearing as the middle sister, Saunders appeared as one of Mr. Drysdale’s secretaries on the 1965 season of the Beverly Hillbillies.
      As the middle sister on the Junction Bobbie Jo played largely supportive roles but could handle an episode on her own with great aplomb. She was in 147 episodes of the Junction Saunders starred in a few films like : A Day at the White House (1972), Captive (1980), The Girls on The Beach, (1965) and Mara of the Wilderness (1965) with Adam West,
      Since her 1980 retirement from the screen, Saunders has worked as a professional paint artist and professional photographer. She and husband Bernard Sandler reside in Montecito, California.
      Saunders has used her celebrity to fuel various causes like "Flower Power," "Animal Rights," "Beauty Without Cruelty," "Feed The Children" and "Make A Wish Foundation." She currently has a project going to help establish full sponsorships for many students who are interested in environmental studies for the future of our planet.
      Saunders good works, squeaky clean image and nostalgic memories by many readers of LuLac have given her a nod as one of the 2013 Women We Love.

      Saturday, December 28, 2013

      The LuLac Edition #2572, December 28th, 2013

      2013 started kind of rocky health wise (more on that in 2014) but we got around to various events. Plus we did a full routine of media as well as having people send us some great photos. Check them as out our Year End Review continues. 
      With the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination, many stories and memories of local residents made the rounds. This one cam from our friend Ed Rainari, aka Beatledd who obtained this photo from a relative. When JFK came through Luzerne County in 1960, his motorcade took him to Nanticoke where someone threw him a bunch of bananas which he caught.
      Though they didn't realize it the night of the League of Women's Voters Debate in late October, these three Harry Haas, Eileen Sorokas and Kathy Dobash would be victorious in their quest for County Council. Haas was re-elected and Sorokas and Dobash, losers in 2011 came out on top in 2013. 
      One of the highlights of the year doing "Topic A" with L.A. Tarone this year on WYLN TV was our interview with Congressman Lou Barletta. We could have gone on for an hour or more. 
      In August of 2013, we went to Congressman Matt Cartwright's Summer event in Moosic. And no Stephen Colbert did not attend. but his wife Marion was there.
      There were so many County Council events this campaign that Rick Sorokas wore out his camera. Rick's photo is on our logo on the top. 
      In this classic picture Renee Taffera, Rick Hefron and Mike Giamber pose for while Rick Sorokas is obviously distracted.
      At the Red Mill, Giamber is looking at his phone and Taffera is saying something or the other. The big mystery of this campaign is just exactly what she was telling him. Geraldo, you did the Al Capone vault, now track this story down!
      During the Council campaign, though Giamber was not successful electorally, he came upon old friends from his days of growing up in Pittston. Here Joe Sciandra, me and Mike remember the old days at St. John the Baptist Church and School.
      Early November brought the dedication ceremony of the monuments on the place where St. John the Baptist Church and School stood. I'm here with grade school and life long friend David Dellarte and Monsignor John Bendik. 
      This might not classifyy as a Christmas miracle but it's pretty darn close. I'm going to grab my lunch one day at work and I see this guy reading one of my books. All the way through. It would have made "Maybe I'm Amazed" but I was afraid no one would believe it.  I sure didn't.
      The end of a broadcast era came in September when Father Tom Carten left King's to retire to Notre Dame. Carten was the host of the long running radio program for the blind, The Radio Home Visitor on WRKC FM, 88.5. Sue Henry is soldiering on continuing this landmark broadcast. 
      In the wake of the Government shutdown in October, and the NFL season where the name of the Redskins came into question for the D.C. football team, one of our Facebook friends sent this along. 
      One day when l.A. Tarone and I were doing "Topic A", we decided to make it green pants day. And here we are. No calls yet from GQ or  Esquire but we have them pressed, cleaned and ready to go. 
      I always hated Halloween, maybe it was the Captain Kangaroo Satin costume my mom bought for me that I wore three years running. This year though I donned an old polyester suit from the early 90s that I bought at La Salle The Image Maker in Scranton. I was of course Dave Burgandy. Got beat out by some woman dressed up as the Duck Dynasty guy. 
      I don't think I was that aggravating on Topic A with Tarone but some things never make it on the air. 
      WYLN TV's "The Storm" host Tiffany Cloud and I warming up before our Election Night coverage.
      After "Topic A", I was given the opportunity to appear on WBRE TV's Pa Live program with Brittany Sweeney and Dave Kuharchik. 
      There is no truth to the rumor that when Alex Milanes was named to the Luzerne County Arena Board, that I asked him to find out what they served for lunch at the meetings
      Finally, this classic sent in by a reader who saw me checking my grocery list at Schiel's Market in Parsons. Everyone knows I went tooth and nail for Kathy Grinaway in the Wilkes Baree Area School Board race. Evans won, thanked the voters and provided this very nice bench for people checking their list to sit on. So there, the year ended and I did say something nice about Ned Evans!

      Friday, December 27, 2013

      The LuLac Edition #2571, December 27th, 2013


      Continuing a LuLac end of year tradition, here is our edition of “Moving On” highlighting notable deaths in 2013 sourced by Wikipedia and our own local archives.


      Jim McCarthy, former CBS Radio reporter, Wilkes Barre City Councilman and owner of McCarthy’s On the Hill in Wilkes Barre.
      Gene Lispi, a well known car dealer that was an institution in the auto business in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
      Richard Pearsall, former business entrepreneur and volunteer chairman of past United Way campaigns.
      David Morgan of Wilkes Barre who was injured in Kuwait in 2009. He was the Grand Marshall of the 2013 St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Wilkes Barre. He was 38.
      Citizen’s Voice columnist Mike McGlynn died in 2013, McGlynn wrote humorous essays on local politics and was a first rate reporter who was fond of saying that there were five sides to every story.
      Al Groh, a former war hero and founder of the Wilkes Barre Fine Arts Fiesta died this year too at the age of 92. Groh was a professor of English and Theatre Arts at Wilkes College.
      Arthur Dalessandro died in May. Dalessandro was a Luzerne County judge for 17 years before he pleaded guilty to tax evasion charges in 1989. Dalessandro was 86 years old.
      Carl Zawatski a former Sheriff of Luzerne County also passed away in 2013. In 1995, Zawatski succeeded the late Frank Jagodinski who served as Sheriff for 24 years. Zawatski was controversial but fair. After losing a bid for reelection in 1999 to Barry Stankus, Zawatski remained active in law enforcement. He was 78.
      Former Sunday Dispatch publisher John Watson died this summer in Seattle. John kept in touch with hi many friends through social media and was most  recently a columnist for the Times Leader. 


      Michael Patrick Cronan, 61, American graphic designer and artist, named TiVo, Amazon Kindle, colon cancer.
      Jack Davis, 80, American football player (Boston Patriots)
      Ross Davis, 94, American Negro League baseball player.
      Patsy May, 78, American actress (Our Gang).
      Patti Page, 85, American singer ("Tennessee Waltz", "Confess") and actress (Elmer Gantry).
      Charles Chilton, 95, British BBC Radio writer, producer and presenter (Journey into Space), pneumonia
      Murray Henderson, 91, Canadian hockey player (Boston Bruins).
      Sammy Johns, 66, American singer-songwriter ("Chevy Van", "America").
      Tony Lip, 82, American actor (Donnie Brasco, Goodfellas, The Sopranos).
      Jeff Lewis, 39, American football player (Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos), accidental drug overdose.
      Richard McWilliam, 59, American entrepreneur, co-founder of Upper Deck Company, alcohol poisoning.
      Fay Bellamy Powell, 74, American civil rights activist.
      Richard Ben Cramer, 62, American journalist, author (What It Takes: The Way to the White House) and Pulitzer Prize winner (1979), lung cancer.
      Jimmy O'Neill, 73, American disc jockey and television host (Shindig!), diabetes and heart complications.
      Fred Talbot, 71, American baseball player (Chicago White Sox, Philadelphia Athletics, New York Yankees, Seattle Pilots).
      John Wilkinson, 67, American rhythm guitarist (Elvis Presley's TCB Band), cancer.
      H. Craig Lewis, 68, American politician, member of the Pennsylvania State Senate (1975–1995), heart attack.
      Stan Musial, 92, American Hall of Fame baseball player (St. Louis Cardinals), Alzheimer's disease.
      Earl Weaver, 82, American Hall of Fame baseball manager (Baltimore Orioles), apparent heart attack.
      Harry Taylor, 77, American baseball player (Kansas City Athletics).
      Chuck Hinton, 78, American baseball player (Washington Senators, Cleveland Indians, California Angels.


      Ed Koch, 88, American politician, U.S. Representative from New York (1969–1977), Mayor of New York City (1978–1989), television judge (The People's Court), heart failure.
       John Kerr, 81, American actor (The Streets of San Francisco), short illness.
      Chris Kyle, 38, American author and Navy SEAL sniper, most lethal in U.S. military history, shooting.
      Steve Demeter, 78, American baseball player (Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians), heart disease.
      Tony Sheridan, 72, English rock and roll singer, early collaborator with The Beatles.
      Rex Scouten, 88, American civil servant, White House Chief Usher (1969–1986), White House Office of the Curator (1986–1997.
      Virgil Johnson, 77, American doo-wop singer (The Velvets).
      Dick Yelvington, 84, American football player (New York Giants), 1956 NFL Champions.


      Fran Warren, 87, American singer ("Sunday Kind of Love") and actress (Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd). Pat Keen, 79, English actress (Fawlty Towers).
      Magic, 37, American rap vocalist (Sky's the Limit), traffic collision.
      Stompin' Tom Connors, 77, Canadian country-folk singer ("The Hockey Song"), kidney failure.
      Alvin Lee, 68, British guitarist (Ten Years After), complications from surgery. 
      Claude King, 90, American country music singer ("Wolverton Mountain"). 
      Jim Barrett, 86, American wine pioneer and vineyard owner (Chateau Montelena).
      Bobby Smith, 76, American singer (The Spinners), complications of influenza and pneumonia.
      Frank Thornton, 92, British actor (Are You Being Served?, Last of the Summer Wine, Gosford Park). 
      Bud Palmer, 91, American sportscaster and basketball player (New York Knicks), cancer.
      Harry Reems, 65, American porn actor (Deep Throat), pancreatic cancer. Virgil Trucks, 95, member of the Detroit Tigers.
      Peter Duryea, 73, American actor (Star Trek, Bewitched, The Fugitive).
      Deke Richards, 68, American Motown songwriter ("ABC", "Mama's Pearl", "Maybe Tomorrow"), esophageal cancer. 
      Anthony Lewis, 85, American journalist (The New York Times), winner of Pulitzer Prize (1955, 1963), kidney and heart failure. 
      Gus Triandos, 82, American baseball player (Baltimore Orioles), heart failure. 
      Bob Turley, 82, American baseball player (Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees), World Series MVP (1958), liver cancer.


      Jack Pardee, 76, American football player (Los Angeles Rams) and coach (Houston Oilers, Chicago Bears, Washington Redskins), complications from gall bladder cancer. 
      Harry J, 67, Jamaican music producer, studio owner and musician, diabetes. Stan Isaacs, 83, American sportswriter.
      Roger Ebert, 70, American film critic (Chicago Sun-Times, Siskel & Ebert), thyroid cancer.
      Don Shirley, 86, Jamaican–born American pianist.
      Marty Blake, 86, American basketball executive, GM of Atlanta Hawks (1954–1970), NBA Director of Scouting (1976–2011).[Blake began his career with the old Wilkes Barre Barons back in the ‘40s and 50s with local basketball legend and former Wilkes Barre City Councilman, the late Eddie White. 
       Mickey Rose, 77, American film and television screenwriter (Bananas, All in the Family, The Odd Couple), colon cancer. 
      Annette Funicello, 70, American actress (The Mickey Mouse Club) and singer ("Tall Paul"), complications from multiple sclerosis.
      Margaret Thatcher, 87, British politician, Prime Minister (1979–1990); MP for Finchley (1959–1992), stroke. 
       Shorty Jenkins, 77, Canadian curling icemaker.
      Grady Hatton, 90, American baseball player (Cincinnati Reds) and manager (Houston Astros), natural causes. 
      Jonathan Winters, 87, American comedian and actor (It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Mork & Mindy), natural causes. 
      Sir Colin Davis, 85, British conductor, President of the London Symphony Orchestra.

      George Jackson, 68, American singer-songwriter ("Old Time Rock and Roll", "One Bad Apple"), cancer. Christine White, 86, American actress (Magnum Force, Perry Mason, The Twilight Zone).
      Pat Summerall, 82, American football player (New York Giants) and broadcaster (NFL on CBS, NFL on FOX), cardiac arrest. 

      Glenn Cannon, 80, American actor (Hawaii 5-O, Magnum P.I., Jake and the Fatman, Lost).
      Howard Phillips, 72, American politician, founder of the Constitution Party, dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
      Dave Gold, 80, American retail businessman, founder of 99 Cents Only Stores, heart attack.
      Richie Havens, 72, American folk singer and guitarist, heart attack.
      Robert W. Edgar, 69, American politician and executive (Common Cause), U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania (1975–1987), heart attack.
      George Jones, 81, American country music singer ("He Stopped Loving Her Today", "The Race Is On"), hypoxic respiratory failure.
      William L. Guy, 93, American politician, Governor of North Dakota (1961–1973), Alzheimer's disease.


      Al Fritz, 88, American bicycle developer and inventor (Schwinn Sting-Ray), complications from a stroke. 
      George M. Leader, 95, American politician, Governor of Pennsylvania (1955–1959).
      Joyce Brothers, 85, American psychologist, newspaper columnist, and actress (Loaded Weapon 1, Spy Hard), respiratory failure. 
      Dick Trickle, 71, American NASCAR driver, suicide by gunshot.
      Ken Venturi, 82, American golfer and golf analyst, winner of U.S. Open (1964), inducted into World Golf Hall of Fame (2013), multiple infections. 
      Ray Manzarek, 74, American rock musician (The Doors), bile duct cancer.
      Frank Comstock, 90, American composer.
      Cot Deal, 90, American baseball player (Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals).
      Haynes Johnson, 81, American journalist (The Washington Post, Washington Evening Star), winner of Pulitzer Prize (1966), heart attack.
      John "Mule" Miles, 90, American Negro League baseball player.
      Ed Shaughnessy, 84, American drummer (The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson), heart attack.
      Richie Phillips, 72, American baseball umpire union official, cardiac arrest.
      Jean Stapleton, 90, American actress (All in the Family, You've Got Mail).
      George Sauer, a key member of the Jets' Super Bowl III win over the Baltimore Colts, died May 7, 2013 after a long struggle with Alzheimer's disease. He was 69.


      James Gandolfini, was best known for his role as Tony Soprano in the award-winning HBO series, The Sopranos. The actor had an incredible run winning three Emmy Awards, three Screen Actors Guild Awards and one Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series..Post Soprano, Gandolfini produced the 2007 documentary Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq, in which he interviewed ten injured Iraq War veterans. His second documentary Wartorn: 1861–2010, released in 2010, analyzes the impact of posttraumatic stress disorder on soldiers and families through several wars in American history, from 1861 to 2010.

      Rob Morsberger, 53, American rock and roll singer and songwriter, glioblastoma.
      Frank Lautenberg, 89, American politician, member of the United States Senate for New Jersey (1982–2001, since 2003), complications of pneumonia. 
      Covington, 67, American musician (Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna), traffic collision. 
      Maxine Stuart, 94, American actress (Kitten with a Whip, Days of Wine and Roses).
      Esther Williams, 91, American swimmer (Billy Rose's Aquacade) and actress (Million Dollar Mermaid, Dangerous When Wet), 
      Billy Williams, 80, American baseball player (Seattle Pilots).
      Stan Lopata, 87, American baseball player (Philadelphia Phillies), complications of a cardiac condition. 
      Peggy Fenton, 85, American baseball player.
      Slim Whitman, 90, American country singer-songwriter ("Indian Love Call", "Rose Marie"), heart failure.
      Jerry Dexter, 78, American voice actor (Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., Josie and the Pussycats). In 1964, Dexter had a semi-regular role, playing Corporal Johnson in Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C..
      Alan Myers, 58, American New Wave drummer (Devo), brain cancer. Matt Osborne, 55, American professional wrestler (Doink the Clown), accidental overdose of hydrocodone and morphine. 
      Gary David Goldberg, 68, American TV writer (Family Ties, Spin City) and screenwriter (Must Love Dogs, Dad), brain cancer.


      Charles Foley, 82, American toy and board game inventor, co-creator of Twister, complications of Alzheimer's disease.
      Paul Jenkins, 74, American actor (The Waltons, Chinatown,
      William H. Gray III, 71, American politician, member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania (1979–1991); House Majority Whip (1989–1991), natural causes.
      Paul Jenkins, 74, American actor (The Waltons, Chinatown, Dynasty).
      Ryan Davis, 34, American video game journalist and critic (GameSpot), co-founder of Giant Bomb. 
      Maria Pasquinelli, 100, Italian Fascist and murderer.
      Jean Guy, 90, American First Lady of North Dakota (1961–1973), complications from a stroke.
      Bob Hardesty, 82, American speechwriter (Lyndon B. Johnson), heart failure.
      Joe Conley, 85, American actor (The Waltons, Cast Away), complications from dementia.
      Vincenzo Cerami, 72, Italian screenwriter (Life Is Beautiful).
      Mel Smith, 60, English comedian and actor (Not the Nine O'Clock News, The Princess Bride). heart attack. 
      Virginia E. Johnson, 88, American sexologist (Masters & Johnson) and psychologist . 
      Lindy Boggs, 97, American politician, member of the U.S. House for Louisiana (1973–1991), Ambassador to the Vatican (1997–2001), natural causes. 
      Herb Kaplow, 86, American news correspondent (NBC News, 1951–1972; ABC News 1972–1994), stroke. 
      Kidd Kraddick, 53, American radio and television personality (Kidd Kraddick in the Morning; Dish Nation), cardiac arrest.
      William Scranton, 96, American politician, Governor of Pennsylvania (1963–1967), Ambassador to the United Nations (1976–1977), cerebral hemorrhage. 
      Michael Ansara, 91, Syrian-born American actor (Broken Arrow, Star Trek, Batman: The Animated Series).


      Yuri Brezhnev, 80, Russian Soviet politician, son of Leonid Brezhnev.
      Art Donovan, 89, American football player (Baltimore Colts), inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame (1968), respiratory ailment.
      Shawn Burr, 47, Canadian ice hockey player (Detroit Red Wings, San Jose Sharks), complications from fall.
      Jerry Wolman, 86, American football team owner (Philadelphia Eagles, 1963–1969) and hockey team owner (Philadelphia Flyers).
      Margaret Pellegrini, 89, American actress (The Wizard of Oz), complications of a stroke.
      Karen Black, 74, American actress (Five Easy Pieces, Nashville, Easy Rider, The Great Gatsby), ampullary cancer.
      Jack Clement, 82, American record and film producer, songwriter and singer (Sun Records, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, U2), liver cancer.
      Glen Hobbie, 77, American baseball player (Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals).[
      Johnny Logan, 86, American baseball player (Milwaukee Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates).
      Eydie Gormé, 84, American singer ("Blame It on the Bossa Nova").

      Bert Lance, 82, American civil servant and presidential advisor, Director of the Office of Management and Budget (1977).
      Elmore Leonard, 87, American author (Get Shorty, Three-Ten to Yuma), complications from a stroke.
      Julie Harris, 87, American Tony Award-winning actress (The Belle of Amherst, East of Eden, Knots Landing), heart failure.
      Frank Pulli, 78, American baseball umpire, complications from Parkinson's disease.
      Sir David Frost, 74, British broadcaster (That Was the Week That Was, The Frost Report, The Nixon Interviews), heart attack.


      Tommy Morrison, 44, American heavyweight champion boxer (WBO) and actor (Rocky V) multiple organ failure. 
      Kim Hamilton, 81, American actress (To Kill a Mockingbird, Days of Our Lives, Star Trek: The Next Generation). 
      Patsy Swayze, 86, American dancer and choreographer, mother of Patrick Swayze, complications from a stroke. 
      Ken Norton, 70, American heavyweight boxer and actor (Mandingo, Drum), heart failure.


      Lisa Bufano, 40, American performance artist.
      Ruth R. Benerito, 97, American scientist, inventor of wash-and-wear (permanent press) fabrics
      Ulysses Curtis, 87, American CFL football player (Toronto Argonauts).
      Bob Chance, 73, American baseball player, prostate cancer.
      Andy Pafko, 92, American baseball player (Chicago Cubs, Brooklyn Dodgers, Milwaukee Braves.
      Larry Verne, 77, American singer, Alzheimers disease, He was a novelty singer of the 50s and early 60s.
      Seymour Mullings, 82, Jamaican politician, Deputy Prime Minister (1993–2001), U.S. Ambassador (2001–2004).
      Scott Carpenter, 88, American test pilot, astronaut and aquanaut, complications from a stroke.
      Johnny Kovatch, 101, American football player (Cleveland Rams).
      Terry Rhoads, 61, American actor (Liar Liar, Hitchcock, The Day After Tomorrow), amyloidosis.
      Gloria Lynne, 83, American jazz vocalist, heart attack.
      Tom Foley, 84, American politician, Speaker of the House of Representatives (1989–1995); Ambassador to Japan (1997–2001), complications from a stroke.
      Bum Phillips, 90, American football coach (Houston Oilers, New Orleans Saints).
      Chico Vaughn, 73, American basketball player (St. Louis Hawks, Detroit Pistons), cancer.
      Marcia Wallace, 70, American actress (The Simpsons, The Bob Newhart Show) and comedienne, pneumonia.
      Lou Reed, 71, American rock musician (The Velvet Underground) and songwriter ("Walk on the Wild Side"), liver disease.
      Johnny Kucks, 80, American baseball player (New York Yankees, Kansas City Athletics), cancer.
      Bill Sharman, 87, one of only three men to be inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame as a player and coach, inventor of the morning shoot around that never endeared him to lazy players, he led the Lakers during their 33 game winning streak through the ’71 and ’72 season, as a player for the Celtics he had such a great stroke that it was highlighted in Sports Illustrated in a story they ran called “The Perfect Free Throw” with a step by step illustration and if all that was not enough, he was on the bench as a Brooklyn Dodger when Bobby Thompson hit the Shot Heard Round the World in a 1951 Playoff Game with the Giants. That season he never appeared in a game but was thrown out of one when an umpire threw out the entire bench in one game that season. 


      Paul Crouch, 79, American broadcaster, founder of Trinity Broadcasting Network. 
      Tony Musante, 77, American actor (As the World Turns, Oz, Toma), complications following surgery. 
      Al Plastino, 91, American comic book artist (Superman), prostate cancer. 
      Robert Vito, American television correspondent and bureau chief (CNN), pancreatic cancer. 
      Al Ruscio, 89, American actor (The Godfather Part III, Showgirls). 
      Arash Farazmand, 28, Iranian rock drummer (The Yellow Dogs), shot.
      Soroush Farazmand, 27, Iranian rock guitarist (The Yellow Dogs), shot.
      Paul Walker died in a car crash in Santa Clarita, Calif., on Saturday, November 30tth. He was 40 years old. This statement was issued by his press people: It is with a truly heavy heart that we must confirm that Paul Walker passed away today in a tragic car accident while attending a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide. He was a passenger in a friend's car, in which both lost their lives.


      Mike Hegan, 71, American baseball player (Milwaukee Brewers, New York Yankees) and announcer (Cleveland Indians), heart failure. 
      Stan Brooks, 86, American radio broadcaster (WINS).
      Yusef Lateef, 93, American Grammy Award-winning saxophonist (Yusef Lateef's Little Symphony 
      Ed Herrmann, 67, American baseball player (Chicago White Sox), prostate cancer. 
      John Eisenhower, 91, American historian, U.S. Ambassador to Belgium (1969–1971). 
      Vivian St. John, 63, American professional wrestler. 
      Larry Lujack, 73, American disc jockey, esophageal cancer. 

      Joan Fontaine, 96, British-American Oscar-winning actress (Rebecca, Suspicion), natural causes. 
      Peter O'Toole, 81, British-Irish actor (Lawrence of Arabia, The Lion in Winter, Becket, Troy and My Favorite Year. 

      Daniel Escobar, 49, American actor (Lizzie McGuire, Dharma & Greg, How I Met Your Mother), complications of diabetes.
      Don Mitchell, 70, American actor (Ironside, I Dream of Jeannie, CHiPs).
      Nelson Mandela, 95, South African anti-apartheid activist and politician, President (1994−1999), lung infection.
      Paul Blair, 69 former member of the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees. Blair has four World Series rings, two with the Birds and two with the Yankees. Blair was the ball players who replaced Reggie Jackson in right field after that big altercation during the 1977 season between Reggie Jackson and Billy Martin.
      Ray Price, 87, American singer ("Heartaches by the Number", "For the Good Times"), pancreatic cancer.