Friday, March 07, 2014

The LuLac Edition #2612, March 7th, 2014


The old broadcast sales representative in me knew something was up. I am a radio junkie and not only listen to the entertainment and news on radio but who is advertising. Right around mid November I heard the Mall at Steamtown advertising with a jingle they used in the late 90s. And their advertising was very heavy on a number of stations. My thoughts were two fold,
1. They were making a huge push to get traffic into their facility in hopes of making a big financial score with holiday shoppers. Made sense because most retailers get in the black during the Yuletide season.

2. They were going for broke and wanted to make some type of connection that would bolster business and possible new clientele or maybe a find new buyer for the Shopping mall.
Again, this was my speculation,  no one else’s. But when the news broke Wednesday night that there was an announcement coming about the status of the Mall, I thought “here we go”.  Was it number one or number two?
I really don’t know. It is too early to tell but I can tell you the news has the region buzzing.
The Mall at Steamtown was a dream to revitalize Scranton. It came about because of the strength of many personalities who were prominent politically in the 80s and 90s. Mayor Dave Wenzel wanted it, Governor Bob Casey Senior and Congressman Joe McDade thought it would be a good economic boost to the city and Al Boscov who many say saved downtown Wilkes Barre with his purchase of a dying Boston Store and restoration of the old Paramount in the form of the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts wanted a foothold in Scranton. The trains were already there at Steamtown. Congressman McDade got the funding and a national historic site was in place. The Radisson was there through the work of the McNulty administration. Things were in place for a big shopping area for the downtown. Tourism was going to be the linchpin.
Jimmy Connors campaigned on the promise that he was going to get the Mall built. When the Mall opened, he rode that golden political pony for three terms as Scranton’s Mayor.
Things have changed. Bob Casey Senior is dead, McDade retired, Connors out of office and the excitement and culture of Scranton has changed. Mall traffic is down because of a lack of an anchor store. The Shops at Montage have attracted shoppers who want smaller, more exclusive goods. This is not a class thing. There is an economic cross section of people shopping at Montage. The Christmas Tree Shop has grandmas and youngsters. The specialty shops are more diverse. Could it be like Lackawanna County Stadium, the Steamtown Mall has run its cultural course? That’s a real possibility.
Right now there is a lot of blame going on. Vulgar kids scared the old folks away. An anchor store moved. There was not enough parking. Or the parking was too far. The most incredible news is that Al Boscov doesn’t seem to know who owns the place. While these theories are legitimate, the Mall at Steamtown needs a new direction. The innovation and creativity that brought it into its development and success now has to be tapped again to get this Mall reinvented. The work and ideas have to start now. Private business should do what private business does..develop. The City of Scranton and Lackawanna County can’t afford the handouts of tax breaks. We need a business plan that will make people come to this Mall again. Build it and they will come. And don’t be proud. If it takes haluski and beers, do it.
Two businesses have exited Scranton already taking workers to another town. The Steamtown Mall should not become another building for the University of Scranton. Wilkes Barre once had a decent it’s owned by King’s.
Government and business leaders have to decide whether they want businesses for its residents to buy goods from or become a landlord for the Universities. We are at a crossroads. And one wonders if we’ll go forward, backward or more predictably, do nothing at all and kick the can down the road to the next set of leaders.


The Vice President and Second Lady of the United States are going to invade LuLac land this St. Patrick’s Day. Jill Biden will speak to the Society of Irish Women Dinner while her husband Joe Biden is set to join the political pantheon of the heavyweights who addressed the Pittston Friendly Sons of St. Patrick. The Pittston event is Monday, St. Patrick’s Day at the Woodlands.Mrs. Biden will appear at the Cocktail Hour starting at 5:30PM at the Scranton Cultural Center. That announcement came from Evie Refalko McNulty.


The revitalization of Pittston continues with the inauguration of a St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Pittston, the home of one of the most potent Friendly Sons Dinner organization never really had much of a Parade presence. But this year a group of young Pittston lads put their noses to the grindstone, or blarney stone, take your pick and organized a parade. Step off is at 12 noon tomorrow and from what one of the Parade coordinators Patrick Toole tells me there will be over 100 entertaining units. Want to get your Irish up early? Then take a trip to Pittston tomorrow and get your green on.


Today I had the opportunity to be a guest on WBRE TV’s Pa Live program with Dave Kuharchik and Jasmine Brooks. My topic was what impact St. Patrick’s Day gatherings have on politicians. Here’s how that went:


U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright issued the following statement on President Obama’s budget proposal:
“President Obama’s fiscal year 2015 budget request seeks to promote economic growth, make critical investments in our future, and responsibly reduces the deficit.
“Investments in education, manufacturing, and vital infrastructure – tied with an increase in the minimum wage – will help put Americans back to work and grow the middle class.”


The Supreme Court of the United States declined to hear a case involving the Hazleton, Pennsylvania statute involving illegal immigration. Hazleton’s statute, passed while Rep. Lou Barletta, PA-11, was mayor of the city, held that business licenses would be suspended of those landlords and employers who knowingly rented to or employed illegal immigrants.
Rep. Barletta issued the following statement:
“I am deeply disappointed in the decision by the Supreme Court not to hear Hazleton’s case, especially given conflicting rulings by two different Circuit Courts, one regarding Hazleton’s ordinance and one on a similar law in Fremont, Nebraska. Fremont’s statute, very much the same as Hazleton’s, has been upheld by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, while the 3rd Circuit has struck down Hazleton’s. I am at a loss to explain why the Supreme Court has opted not to settle this obvious conflict in Circuit decisions.
“Simply put, if Hazleton were in Nebraska instead of Pennsylvania, the city would be able to enforce its law. But for the unfortunate fact of geography, the law of the land in the Midwest is deemed unconstitutional in Pennsylvania.
“In that respect, I take heart. Because of the efforts in Hazleton, cities like Fremont, Nebraska are able to protect themselves from the costs and dangers associated with unregulated immigration laws. I am encouraged that other civic leaders are taking up the fight against illegal immigration, and refusing to bow down before organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union.
“In the end, I blame the federal government. If our immigration laws were enforced, localities would not be compelled to take matters into their own hands. It’s why I am firmly opposed to any legislation that hints at amnesty for illegal immigrants, and stand in favor of the SAFE Act, which would codify states’ and localities’ abilities to enforce federal immigration laws. I have always been a strong advocate for immigration enforcement, but today’s ruling will spur me to have an even louder voice.
“This has been a long battle through the legal system, and it is extremely unfortunate that the Supreme Court has left us all in complete uncertainty.”



Time again for the "wearing of the green!" Jamie Hailstone will outline plans for this year's Saint Patrick's Parade in Scranton on ECTV Live during the week of March 10th. Host Tom Munley will be joined by Rusty Fender who will be filling in for David DeCosmo while he's on vacation.
ECTV Live is aired on Comcast Cable Ch19 throughout the week at Noon and Midnight.


This Week on Sunday Magazine.
Brian Hughes speaks with chiropractor Joe Leonardi about National Nutrition Month, during the month of March.
Magic 93's Frankie in the Morning speaks with members of the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute about "C.A.S.U.A.L. Day", their Colon Cancer Awareness Campaign, coming up on March 27th.
Frankie also speaks with representatives from the Pa. Council on the Arts about "Arts Alive 2014".
And an encore of Brian's December interview with diet diva Tara Gidus about the "afternoon slump".
Sunday Magazine, Sunday morning at 5am on NASH-FM, 93.7. 5:30am on 97BHT, 6am on 97.9X, 6:25am on Magic 93, and 7am on True Oldies 590, WARM.


Tune in to Sue Henry's "Special Edition" this week as Sue recaps the week's news. Special Edition is heard Saturdays and Sunday on these Entercom stations, WILK FM Saturday at 2pm Sunday at 6 am on Froggy 101 Sunday at 7 am on The Sports Hub 102.3 Sunday at 7 am on K R Z 98.5 Sunday at noon on WILK FM 103.1.


Want to hear some great parodies on the news? Tune in to WILK Radio at 6:40 and 8:40 AM on Mondays. As Ralph Cramden used to say, “It’s a laugh riot!”


Tune in Wednesdays on WILK Radio for Karel on the Street. Hear some of the funniest and heartwarming comments on the issues of the day on Webster and Nancy with Karel Zubris.

Our 1974 logo. 


Charles de Gaulle Airport opens in Paris, France……Japanese holdout: A Japanese World War II soldier, Second Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda, surrenders in the Philippines......In Pennsylvania Republican candidate Drew Lewis says the Shapp administration is very reckless in its spending………in Wilkes Barre state officials along with City Council members draw up plans for new traffic patterns around Public Square. A traffic committee is appointed to work with the state and forty years ago the number one song in LuLac land and America was “Until You Come Back to Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)” by Aretha Franklin


At 9:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I moved back to Scranton/Lackawanna County over 25 years ago. It was my choice.
Since then we have built two baseball stadiums and bailed out a sinking ski resort. Much was done with county tax dollars. We did not get an opportunity to vote on these decisions. Now I fear according to preliminary statements out of the commissioners office that we may be stepping in to save the mall! I dont want to do this with my tax dollars. Perhaps the mall wasnt a good idea any more than the bridge to the Globe Store was! If we bail it out I believe it will just go broke again. I appreciate Al Boscovs commitment and efforts, but the fact is were Boscovs a major chain store it too would have been forced to make the decision to close in Scranton. Sadly the downtown mall idea is a proven loser and the only new businesses opening in downtown are old bars reopening under new names and ownership! People no longer go downtown to shop. I visited the mall with my wife recently. You could have fired a cannon off in there and injured no one! It may be time for another implosion.

Pete Longstreet

At 11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yonk, I had forgotten that a few months ago there was much talk about a "destination" store opening in the Scranton Mall but not a word since and I had forgotten till you mentioned the mall. Any idea what it was all about?
Great coverage on the Pittston parade, I spoke with an organier today and he told me there are 119 participants and five bag and pipe bands... I'm going to be sure and get there early for a good spot. Pat Toole and his group are to be congratulated.

At 11:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yonki, love your end of week blog posting. it is like the sunday ny times, well kind of. i saw you on the tube and thought you and "our miss brooks" were having a high old time chewing the political fat.
biden in the area again? he should rent an apartment.
thanks fr showing up and ding your thing. as always, great job.
shout out also to dave decosmo, tom munley, and brian hughes. i set my radio and tv times to make sure i tune in.

outta here for a beer!

At 12:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If there is a government partnership with the Mall, that simply means government is bailing out private business.
Yet Republicans tell us how great business people are and how self reliant we as citizens need to be. Pull yourself up by the bootstraps...except of course if you are a business. Damn the mothers who get milk for their kids, damn those long term unemployed looking for an extension...but go have a downtown, well then that's different.

At 5:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

....yes, this is another example of the damage done by decades of Republican rule in Scranton and Lackawanna County. Keep voting D folks.

At 6:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1214. The mayor and majority commissioners are dems. Those who set the mall up all those years ago were dems. And the voters who put all in office are dems. Whats your point, or are you just a typical nepa heyna with no actual point?

At 11:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One must not blame the Democrats for this or the GOP. Business people come with a pipe dream and politicians of all stripes jump at it because it reflects action.
The Mall had a good run but was a victim of, as Yonki pointed out the times. Time to move on and figure out the next step.

At 3:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish the mall would succeed, but in NEPA, everything that changes always changes for the worst. So, I guess just pave it over and make it a parking lot and be done with it already.

At 5:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

3:44 you ever notice thoug that other areas have successful malls and projects. things are done there without a struggle. do you think it is just "us" here in this region? It's like we take two steps forward, four back. And when we get something good, Yonk wrote about this many times, that when we do get something good, we abuse it. i heard on the radio about kids roaming the mall. where are the parents? where is mall management?
we are like the princess invited to the king's dinner and trips over herself and lands in the punch bowl. i'm might be being hard here..but is it me, us or are we just doomed to have bad luck?

At 7:00 PM, Anonymous Bluto said...

Now Hazelton will have to cough up attorney's fees for the plaintiffs.

Barletta knows when it's time to get out, eh?

At 12:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no republican party to speak of in the Lac and what republicans there are, are still dealing with the election of Bobby the C and Good Ol Boy AJ! Democrats took years to screw things up but BC and AJ outdid them in one term. The dems stole a little at a time while the republicans figuring they had one shot went big! The Lac is a democratic county with a democratic newspaper. The people are offered little or no choice and when they take a chance they get badly burned.

At 8:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steamtown can't afford the $10.10 hour minimum wage our president is pushing. PLUS the Unaffordable Health Cate Act.


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