Rated one of Pennsylvania's top blog/sites, the LuLac Political Letter delves into issues of politics on all levels (with special concentration on Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties: thus the name LULAC) and pop culture.
The LuLac Political Letter was also named Best Political Blog of the Year for 2014 by NEPA BLOGCON and most recently David Yonki was named Best Blogger of the year 2015 by the publication Diamond City.
Friday, December 30, 2016
The LuLac Edition #3394, December 30th, 2016
HERE COMES 2017
We'll be taking a brief break, have a safe, sane and enjoyable New Year's holiday. See you next year! Don't forget to check out our year in review editions from Dec. 26th through Dec. 28th.
This week on Sunday Magazine This week on Sunday Magazine tune in when host Brian Hughes and your blog editor discuss the big news stories of 2016. Sunday Magazine can be heard Sunday morning at 5am on NASH-FM, 93.7, 5:30am on 97BHT, 6am on 97.9X and Sports Radio 590, WARM, and 6:25am on Magic 93.
ECTV Live hosts Rusty Fender and David DeCosmo, along with Director Mark Migilore welcome Cathy Hardaway to the program during the week of January 2nd to review plans for Martin Luther King Day activities in Lackawanna County. Ms. Hardaway is President of the MLK Committee.
ECTV Live can be seen on Comcast channel 19 (81 in some areas) and is aired three times daily (near Noon, 6pm, and Midnight) throughout the week.
BOLD GOLD COMMUNITY FORUM
This week's topic will be a review of the major events of 2016. Jim Riley hosts. Tune in Sunday morning at 6 on 94.3 The Talker; 6:30 on NEPA Sports Radio-The Game 1400/1440 am and 106.7 fm; and at 7:30 on 105 The River.
10. LACKAWANNA COUNTY PRISON INVESTIGATION.... A federal lawsuit filed this year accused six current or former Lackawanna County Prison correctional officers of repeatedly sexually assaulting or harassing a female inmate from 2007 until this year — the latest in a string of allegations of inappropriate contact between guards and women prisoners.
Many of the assaults happened after the county had specific knowledge that guards were sexually abusing female prisoners, but county and prison officials did nothing to remedy the problem, the woman says in the suit. A special investigation is currently being conducted and as of yesterday there were no real answers.
9. LACKAWANNA COUNTY COMMISSIONER CLOWN SHOW...When the three new Lackawanna County Commissioners took office earlier this year it was nothing short of a clown show. Former Republican Pat O’Malley team up with new GOP Commissioner Laureen Cummings to put the top vote getting in the 20125 election Jerry Noariani in the Minority. Notariani filed suit but to no avail. O’Malley then aced out Evie Refalko McNulty for the Chief of Staff Job even when her name was on the door. The new Commissioners picked a triple dipper Andy Wallace to collect a check and another pension. 8. THE BOB MELLOW REHAB TOUR... Former Senator and felon Bob Mellow started on a rehab tour this year doing radio, TV and newspaper interviews. He was even hawking a book entiled “Used, Abused and Forgotten”. One of the allegations against Mellow was that he was paying rent to himself when he was running a district office. Kind of like the same thing the President Elect is doing now. 7. LAUREEN CUMMINGS AND THE BATHROOMS....The Minority Commissioner has been quite the presence on Face book even saying that the Democratic nominee should be locked up. Even after said nominee lost te election! But she stepped in it when she weighed in on the Rest room law passed by the Neanderthals in North Carolina. Check this out: She took heat especially from NEPA Scene. Here’s that link: http://nepascene.com/2016/04/living-your-truth-lackawanna-county-commissioner-laureen-a-cummings-needs-held-accountable-bigoted-comments/ Bottom line is Cummings is entitled to any opinion she might have BUT she has to know the consequences when she is called on it from people living in the County she represents. 6. PEDRI REPLACES LAWTON.....Dave Pedri the Luzerne County Solicitor replaced Robert Lawton in 2016 as Luzrrne County Manager. Pedri was voted in by a 6-5 margin and became the third Manager under the Charter firm of government. 5. THE TONY GEORGE ERA IN WILKES BARRE....Former Police Chief Tony George’s hand no sooner left that bible when he was involved in a lot of controversy from the start. The Mayor budget was derailed by three new comers on City Council, Beth Gilbert, Mike Balusko and Tony Brooks. Then there was a dispute about checking accounts and a bank that supported his candidacy being one of the city vendors. As the year ended George’s Chief of Police was put under scrutiny by an internal survey of police personal that said under her rein moral was at a low. The Mayor has forged ahead but has gotten the taste of leading the Diamond city in all of its beauty and complexity. 4. TRUMP STORMS THROUGH PENNSYLVANIA IN THE SPRING..... There might have been doubts before the Pennsylvania primary from GOP insiders and the national press, But Trump took 66 out of 67 counties and made Pennsylvania the Waterloo for other contenders in the GOP field. We were on the air the day Trump came to town. 3. ORDINANCE PASSES IN WILKES BARRE... Wilkes-Barre City Council gave final approval to the city's LGBT ordinance in September. When it became, the intent was to ban discrimination against people in Wilkes-Barre because of their sexual orientation. It also prohibits firing people or denying them housing on the basis of their sexual orientation. The council in Wilkes-Barre voted 5-to-zero to approve the LGBT ordinance. 2. CONGRESSMAN CARRY CONSIDERABLE WEIGHT.... Not since the era of Dan Flood and Joe McDade has this region exhibited such powerful entities in the U.S. Congress. Pkus the interesting thing is all three congressmen have less than 8 years under their respective belts. Congressmen Barletta and Marino (respectively of the 11th and 10th) were the first to come out for Donald Trump in Pennsylvania earning them a unique entre with the new administration. Plus Matt Cartwright has been named to the very important Appropriations Committee in Washington. The combined resources of all three hopefully will help our communities grow. 1. TRUMP CARRIES THE LU, FARES WELL IN THE LAC..... Donald Trump accomplished what no other Republican candidate for President could since 1988 when he carried Pennsylvania’s 20 Electoral votes. He polled up margins in the red areas of the state, and kept the Democrat vote down in key areas. But the big story was LuLac land, Trump lost the Lac by 3, 491 votes and won the Lu by 26, 211. Trump beat Clinton by 49,000. So Half of that margin came from Luzerne County.
5. FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS….. Meryl Streep starred in a movie about Florence Foster Jennings who performed at Carnegie Hall in 1944. The singer was known for “murdering the high-Cs” with her unusual voice. The movie came to this area and of course the local media covered that. But through the efforts of Kathleen Smith and Tony Brooks, a commemoration of Jenkins’ life and career took place in Hollenback Cemetery. Among the more than 100 people who gathered that sunny September Saturday at the Hollenback Cemetery to honor Florence Foster Jenkins was Donald Collup, of New York City, who first heard the legendary voice of the would-be diva when he was a 10-year-old boy soprano in the Texas Boys Choir. Collup sported a pink tie and pink socks to the cemetery on Saturday in honor of Jenkins' favorite color and Kathleen Smith, of Ashley, regent of the Shawnee Fort Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, carried a bouquet of pink roses "for Florence" as well. Smith organized the event so DAR members placed the society's insignia at the final resting place of Florence Foster Jenkins and her mother, Mary Jane Hoagland Foster, who had joined the patriotic group in 1900. (Times Leader.com)
4. DREW SPEIR HEADS SOUTH….WBRE TV’s Drew Speir left and went back to Texas. He was replaced by Nick Toma, who came from the WQRF-TV, the FOX affiliate in Rockford Illinois. http://www.pahomepage.com/news/happy-trails-drew-from-eyewitness-news-at-7. 3. WNEP SAYS GOODBYE TO VETERANS........WNEP TV said goodbye to long time Anchor Marisa Burke (See Women We Love Edition) and 40 year weather veteran Tom Clark. As of this writing Clark’s departure date was going to be the end of December. Burke left in November. The duo took a buyout from the corporation. While the payday was reported to be generous, and WNEP clobbers everyone pretty much in the ratings, business is business. 2. FOX NEWS BEGINS NEWS PLANS….WBRE and WOLF TV announced earlier in the year that their relationship with the Fox affiliate was ending. Previously WNEP had Fox News at 10. The local affiliate has chosen to begin their own local newscast starting January 1st or thereabouts.
(Photo: Times Leader, Sean McKeag)
The Fox News team is being headed by Dawn Miller a veteran of both WYOU and WBRE TV. 1. THE DESIGNATED CAMEOS…..This is something that is rarely seen in TV markets. A local TV personality inserted into a network TV show. The last time I remember that happening was when WBRE TV Weatherman Josh Hodell appeared in the background on an episode of “The Office” But “The Office” was set in Scranton so that made sense. This year the new hit show, “Designated Survivor” featured almost the entire news staff of WNEP TV.
But it began with anchor Scott Shcaffer. Now Channel 16 is the most watched station in the nation so that makes a bit of sense too. But if you weren't paying attention, you have to hear about it the next day at work. At first it was disconcerting but then it became a type of game when you watched the show starring Kiefer Sutherland. Thank God for DVRs though because to paraphrase Ferris Bueller, “TV today moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it."
5. LOCAL SPORTS FIGURES PASS….This year we lost George Curry longtime Berwick Football coach, NFL Kicker Lou Michaels and NBA star Gene Guarillia. 4. LOCAL TEAM EXCELS…..The Wilkes Barre Scranton Rail Riders won the Championship in 2016. 3. PEYTON GETS SECOND RING…..Peyton Manning walked away from his storied football career with another Super Bowl ring as the Broncos prevailed over the Carolina Panthers. 2. CAVS RESCUE CLEVELAND.......LeBron James returned to Cleveland and promised them a championship. It was the first for the city since the 1964 Bill Wade (See Moving On feature, Dec. 26th, 2016) team beat the New York Giants. The Cavs were down 3 games to one and came back. 1. THE CUBS WIN…………The Cubs, like the Cavs were down 3 games to one but we must always remember the Chicago team was playing the Indians. First time since 1908 for the Cubs, Joe Madon from Hazleton was the manager…..all that stuff took the sting out of it for me.
10. BRYCE JORDAN DIES…. Jordan was an American university administrator and musicologist. He was the fourteenth president of the Pennsylvania State University, serving from 1983 until 1990. Prior to that, he served as interim president of the University of Texas at Austin from 1970 to 1971 and as first president of the University of Texas at Dallas from 1971 to 1982. During Jordan's tenure at Penn State, the university became the 11th member of the Big Ten Conference in 1990. Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center is named after him. He died on April 12 2016. 9. PROPERTY TAX REFORM FAILS BUT REMAINS HOP TOPIC.….In late 2015 the State Senate is narrowly rejecting a measure to eliminate school property taxes statewide by replacing the money with increases in state tax rates on sales and income. Many more items and services currently exempt from the state sales tax also would have been taxed, including daycare, movie tickets and trash pickup. The preliminary vote tied 24-24, and was broken by Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack, who voted against it. The bill would have imposed a multibillion-dollar state takeover of public school funding from school boards and a monumental change in state taxation. However in 2016 that fight was kept alive by Taxpayer advocates like Charles Urban. Republican Senator David Argall failed on a tie-breaker vote in the last session, but he's hopeful the new class of legislators will see the measure over the finish line in the coming year. Argall says he believes Pennsylvanians want to see property taxes completely eliminated, not just reduced or reformed. "They know that the property tax system is old, it's archaic, it's rotten at the core. The only way to fix it is to eliminate it, and that is our number one goal for next year," Argall said. During the 2016 election year Legislators were lobbied hard to make a change. This story will continue in 2017. 8. WOLF BUDGET ON TIME…Governor Tom Wolf had a budget finished on time in 2016. Pennsylvania state lawmakers passed a $31.6 billion spending plan Thursday with bipartisan support, although Governor Tom Wolf says he isn't convinced it is 'truly' balanced. The state House approved the main appropriations bill for the 2016-17 budget with a 132-68 vote. The Senate later approved it and Wolf signed it. However, the budget does not add any funds to Pennsylvania's major universities (Pitt, Penn State, Temple) or state schools. It also adds $15 million to combat Pennsylvania's opioid addiction crisis. Wolf asked for $34 million. 7. SENATE PRIMARY BATTLE...With help from the kind of big-money political groups they have forcefully decried, the leading Democrats in the Pennsylvania race for the U.S. Senate have launched an air war, opening a new phase in their battle for the nomination. Katie McGinty unveiled her first broadcast ads this week, followed quickly by a pledge from EMILY's List, which backs Democratic women candidates, to spend $1 million on TV for her next month in Philadelphia. An independent super PAC backing rival Joe Sestak responded with a $250,000 ad buy. Its spot, which began airing Thursday, came just days after Sestak sent fund-raising emails criticizing the influence of such groups. McGinty had the help of Ed Rendell’s Philadelphia Democrats and handily beat Sestak and Braddock Mayor Jon Fetterman in the spring primary.
6. WOLF ANNOUNCES HE HAS CANCER Gov. Tom Wolf was diagnosed earlier the year with a treatable form of prostate cancer. Wolf said, "My doctors made the diagnosis after a regular checkup revealed abnormalities. In consultation with my doctors, I have a planned treatment schedule that will begin in the coming weeks. Those treatments will last the next several months, but they will present no impairment to my ability to perform my duties as governor.” The Governor maintained an active schedule this year. 5. PENN STATE POSTS WINNING SEASON. The 2016 Penn State Nittany Lions football team represents Pennsylvania State University in the 2016 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The team is led by third year head-coach James Franklin and plays its home games in Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pennsylvania. They are a member of the Big Ten East Division of the Big Ten Conference. They started 2–2, and after losing to the Michigan Wolverines they won nine straight conference games and defeated the Wisconsin Badgers in the Big Ten Championship Game. They are representing the Big Ten in the 2017 Rose Bowl. 4. DEMOCRATS MEET IN PHILADELPHIA....The 2016 Democratic National Convention was a nominating convention, held at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from July 25 through to July 28, 2016. The convention gathered delegates of the Democratic Party, the majority of which elected through a preceding series of primaries and caucuses, to nominate a candidate for president and vice president in the 2016 United States presidential election. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was chosen as the party's nominee for president by a 59.67% majority of delegates present at the convention roll call, defeating primary rival Senator Bernie Sanders, who received 39.16% of votes from delegates, and becoming the first female candidate to be formally nominated by a major national party as a presidential candidate in the United States. Her running mate, Senator Tim Kaine from Virginia, was chosen by delegates as the party's nominee for vice president by acclamation 3. STATE WIDE GENERAL ELECTION RESULTS... It’s been a tough night for Democrats across the country, but in Harrisburg, they’re flying high — the party’s candidates swept the state row offices up for election Tuesday. Auditor General State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale is being returned to the job to serve four more years as Pennsylvania’s fiscal watchdog. The Democratic incumbent bested three challengers Tuesday to head an office with more than 400 employees and a budget of more than $50 million. The agency keeps tabs on state spending and recommends changes to how government agencies operate. Auditor general has been a political launching pad in recent years. The last three people elected to hold the position all later ran for higher office. Attorney General Pennsylvania’s next attorney general will be county Commissioner Josh Shapiro, who’ll take over an office wracked by turmoil over the arrest and conviction of a predecessor. Voters on Tuesday chose the Democrat from the Philadelphia suburb of Montgomery County over Republican state Sen. John Rafferty. He’ll be the agency’s fourth leader since August, when Democrat Kathleen Kane stepped down after being convicted of leaking secret grand jury material and lying about it. Kane has been sentenced to 10 to 23 months in prison. The attorney general is Pennsylvania’s top-ranking law enforcement official. The agency has more than 800 employees. State Treasurer Democrat Joe Torsella will be taking over an office marred by scandal after winning the race for Pennsylvania treasurer. Torsella, of Montgomery County, beat Republican businessman Otto Voit of Berks County in Tuesday’s election. The 53-year-old Torsella was most recently a presidential appointee to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. The treasurer oversees the 360-employee agency that processes $90 billion in payments every year and is custodian of over $100 billion of public money. The office also has been drawn into the state’s budget fights and struggles with deficits in recent years. Two of the last three elected treasurers are embroiled in scandal. One, Rob McCord, pleaded guilty last year to federal attempted extortion charges. Barbara Hafer is facing federal charges in a case that revolves around treasury investment contracts.(Pittsburgh Post Gazette). 2. KATHLEEN KANE CONVICTED AND SENTENCED ......A judge sentenced former Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane to 10 to 23 months in prison for committing multiple felonies stemming from a politically motivated act of retribution. Kane, who resigned after her conviction of perjury and obstruction in August, also will be on probation for eight years following her release, according to Kim Bathgate, spokeswoman for the Office of Pennsylvania Courts. Kane, a Democrat who was elected in 2012, faced a possible 12-24 years in prison, according to Kate Delano, a spokeswoman for the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office. Before the sentencing, Kane testified on her own behalf, asking the judge to have mercy for the sake of her two teenage children. 1. TRUMP CARRIES PENNSYLVANIA...Donald Trump has won the White House and Pennsylvania was a crucial part of his electoral path. The Keystone State was generally considered to be leaning Democratic and had gone blue for six straight elections. According to the RealClearPolitics average, Trump never led Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania. Nonetheless, Trump captured 2,890,633 votes (48.84%) while Clinton received 2,817,409 votes (47.60%).
10. JUSTICE DEAD, JUSTICE STALLED......Antonin Gregory Scalia died in early February. After he was buried, hell even before the body was cold the partisanship set in like vultures. The President named his replacement, Merrick Garland but GOP Senators refused to even take his calls saying that the next President should appoint the next Justice. Scalia's death – only the second death of a serving justice in a span of sixty years – left eight justices remaining on the Supreme Court, split 4–4 between being fairly conservative and fairly liberal, during a presidential election year. It was a dereliction of duty but nothing new for the GOP Senators. 9. THESE GUYS AGAIN.......The government of North Korea conducts its fifth and reportedly biggest nuclear test. World leaders condemn the act, with the South calling it "maniacal recklessness". 8. TECHNOLOGY AND TERROR.....The Obama administration announces an alliance with tech companies—including Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter—to block the recruitment of Americans to Islamic extremist groups, specifically the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), via social media. 7. TERROR.......Two people are killed and ten others are injured in a shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida. 6. SILLY SOUTHERNERS......The Department of Justice informs North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory that a new state law limiting restroom access for transgender people violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It demands a response by May 9 on whether the state will correct the violations. 5. POLICE VIOLENCE.......During a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, Texas, a sniper later identified as Micah Xavier Johnson opens fire, killing five Dallas police officers and injuring another eleven people in the deadliest incident for U.S. law enforcement since September 11, 2001. Johnson is later found to have targeted white people (specifically white police officers) and to have been interested in several black nationalist groups. He is killed by a C-4 bomb delivered by a robot, the first use of lethal force by a robot by an American police department. 4. COMEY INSERTS HIMSELF IN ELECTION......After FBI Director James Comey recommends against indicting Hillary Clinton, Attorney General Lynch announces that the federal investigation of Clinton will be closed with no charges. Comey will play a large role in the election first clearing Clinton and then sending a letter 11 days before the election saying he had issues to resolve. He then sent another letter two days before the election essentially clearing her again. It only muddied the waters for Clinton. 3. DONNIE AND BILLY'S EXCELLENT MISADVENTURE....The Washington Post releases a 2005 videotape of Donald Trump making lewd comments to Access Hollywood host Billy Bush about a married woman and commenting on how he can grab women "by the pussy" without repercussions because he is "a star". The comments are met with reactions of disgust and disbelief from the media and mainstream Republicans, as well as numerous Republicans rescinding their endorsements of his campaign. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan disinvites Trump from a Wisconsin campaign event in response. Trump issues an apology video online shortly after. Trump became President, Billy Bush got fired. He didn't even have to go on "The Apprentice" to do it either! 2. THE DEBATES, DEFYING TRUTH......Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton take part in their three televised debates, with an estimated audience of up to 200 million viewers total. The debates were pure theater. Consensus was the Clinton was the better debater, knew more and was poised. Trump though connected more with average voters. Here are two views of those debates.
1. TRUMP WINS IT......Donald Trump wins the President election. Even though he was underestimated, Donald Trump became President by running a campaign that was in full attack mode. Right from the start, he attacked his own party, the establishment, Wall Street, everything he was a part of. Trump won by appealing to middle class voters who had felt left behind in their struggle in what they perceived for them was a losing economy. Trump eroded the blue wall of traditional Midwestern states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania which have not gone red since the 80s. Trump has said himself that he was surprised he won. But it came as no surprise to some in this year where the only predictable thing was the unpredictable.
10. ZIKA.....The World Health Organization announces an outbreak of the Zika virus. 9. TERROR...Truck plows into a crowd at Berlin Christmas market, 12 dead and in Turkey a Russian Ambassador is killed. 8. ISIS......The ISIS fight goes on. The fight to drive ISIS from Iraq continues but not at a cost. As heavy fighting continues in ISIS' last Iraqi stronghold in Mosul, the terrorist group's forces retook the ancient city of Palmyra in central Syria. The recapture of Palmyra comes just a few months after Syrian forces, aided by Russia and Hezbollah, took the city back from ISIS forces that captured the city in May 2015. The US-led coalition has also continued to target ISIS and its weaponry around the historic city. In 10 airstrikes on December 15, coalition bombers targeted 14 tanks, artillery systems, buildings, and vehicles northeast of the city along a highway. 7. NORTH KOREA AND THE NUKES......North Korea launches a long-range rocket into space, violating multiple UN treaties and prompting condemnation from around the world. The government of North Korea conducts its fifth and reportedly biggest nuclear test. World leaders condemn the act, with the South calling it "maniacal recklessness". 6. MORE TERROR.......On the morning of 22 March 2016, three coordinated suicide bombings occurred in Belgium: two at Brussels Airport in Zaventem, and one at Maalbeek metro station in central Brussels. Thirty-two civilians and three perpetrators were killed, and more than 300 people were injured. Another bomb was found during a search of the airport. Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attacks. 5. UPSETTING THE PAPAL APPLE CART......The Pope names new Cardinals changing the balance of power in the Vatican for the future. Francis named 17 new cardinals, including three Americans, adding prelates from developing countries to give them a greater voice in selecting the next pope. Francis’ American appointments elevate moderates in the church hierarchy, bypassing doctrinal conservatives from large archdioceses. 4. CLIMATE AGREEMENT, FOR NOW.....The US and China, together responsible for 40% of the world's carbon emissions, both ratify the Paris global climate agreement. 3. INFLUENCING AN INSTITUTION OF DEMOCRACY.........Russians accused of hacking Political e mails during Presidential election. The Obama administration formally accused the Russian government of stealing and disclosing emails from the Democratic National Committee and a range of other institutions and prominent individuals, immediately raising the issue of whether President Obama would seek sanctions or other retaliation. In a statement from the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., and the Department of Homeland Security, the government said the leaked emails that have appeared on a variety of websites “are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process.” The emails were posted on the well-known WikiLeaks site and two newer sites, DCLeaks.com and Guccifer 2.0, identified as being associated with Russian intelligence. “We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities,” the statement said. 2. THE MADNESS OF SYRIA.......The Syrian Crisis and the tragedy of Aleppo. More than 250,000 Syrians have lost their lives in four-and-a-half years of armed conflict, which began with anti-government protests before escalating into a full-scale civil war. More than 11 million others have been forced from their homes as forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and those opposed to his rule battle each other - as well as jihadist militants from so-called Islamic State. Aleppo is a city in Syria, serving as the capital of the Aleppo Governorate, the most populous Syrian governorate. For centuries, Aleppo was the Syrian region's largest city and the Ottoman Empire's third-largest, after Constantinople and Cairo. With an official population of 2,132,100 (2004 census), it was Syria's largest city and also one of the largest cities in the Levant before the advent of the Syrian Civil War. Aleppo is an ancient metropolis, and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world; it On 18 August 2016, a report for a Euro-Med Monitor team confirmed that one of the hospitals, overcrowded by injured civilians, was bombarded by Russian warplanes in the western Aleppo countryside, which, according to Euro-Med Monitor, is a very clear violation of the international laws saying that those civilians must be protected from the continuing conflict. On Tuesday 13th of December 2016, following the recapture of Aleppo by the Syrian government, Turkey and Russia-brokered a ceasefire deal to bring peace to what a UN representative described as a "meltdown of humanity" had gone into effect hours after the re-capture of the city by the pro-Assad Syrian government'. 1. BREXIT: "YOU SAY HELLO-I SAY GOODBYE".......The United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union is widely known as Brexit, a portmanteau of "British exit". Following a referendum held on June 23 2016 in which 52% of votes were cast in favour of leaving the EU, the UK government intends to invoke Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, the formal procedure for withdrawing, by the end of March 2017. This, within the treaty terms, would put the UK on a course to leave the EU by March 2019. Prime Minister Theresa May, elected by the ruling Conservative Party in the wake of the referendum, has promised a bill to repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and to incorporate existing EU laws into UK domestic law. The terms of withdrawal have not yet been negotiated; in the meantime, the UK remains a full member of the European Union. The Brexit voting was an early indication of what would happen in America with the election of Donald Trump.
As the year winds down, we continue with our year end features. “Women We Love” is something we kind of, sort of ripped off from Esquire Magazine a few years back. Each year we get nominees for outstanding women locally, statewide, nationally and internationally. The 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. This year was a bit different and all over the map. Of course there were the expected nominees from the Presidential race but we had a few surprises from the non secular side of the spectrum. Here are the LuLac 2016 “Women We Love”.
(Photo: wikipedia) This woman has been a presence across the United States via Cable TV for ages. Her nominations came in the year of her death. Mother Angelica can be seen to this day on the EWTN Network which she was instrumental in founding. Her down to earth presentation has attracted many Catholics among the rank and file. However her very existence has sometimes rankled the church hierarchy. Here’s her incredible story: Mother Angelica was born Rita Antoinette Rizzo on April 20, 1923, in Canton, Ohio. Of Italian American background, she was an only child. Her father, a tailor by trade, abandoned the family when she was only five. Her only achievement in her young life was to be the first Majorette at her Canton, Ohio high school. She moved to Philadelphia and had tremendous stomach pain and went underwent various treatments to no avail. She went to a Novena and claimed that after the last day of the religious service she had no stomach pain and was cured. One evening in 1944, Rizzo stopped at a church to pray and felt that God was calling her to be a nun. She sought guidance from a local parish priest who encouraged her to begin visiting convents. She visited Saint Paul's Shrine of Perpetual Adoration, a facility operated by an order of cloistered contemplative nuns, located in Cleveland, Ohio. When visiting this order, she felt as if she were at home. The order accepted her as a postulant, asking her to enter on August 15, 1944. She was 21 years old. She received a new name, which her mother had chosen for her, and title, "Sister Mary Angelica of the Annunciation". In 1962, Mother Angelica began a series of community discussion meetings on matters relevant to Catholicism and also began recording her talks for sale. Bishop Joseph Vath noticed her talent for communicating with the lay public and encouraged her to continue; she began taping a radio show for broadcast on Sunday mornings and published her first book in 1972. In the late 1970s she began video-taping her talks for television, which were broadcast on the satellite Christian Broadcasting Network. In 1981, after visiting a Chicago television studio and being impressed by its capability, she formed the non-profit EWTN corporation. Initially, she recorded her shows in a converted garage at the monastery's property. EWTN became a voice for American conservative and traditional Catholics, with its position on religious and social issues often mirroring that of Pope John Paul II. With the emphasis on tradition, Angelica had feuds with some members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. Most famous is the feud over a pastoral letter written by Cardinal Roger Mahony of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles over teachings surrounding the Eucharist and the liturgy. After this dispute, EWTN added a theology department with priests, theologians, deacons, and lay people to make sure EWTN was in line with the teachings of the magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. [ According to EWTN, the network's channels currently reach 264 million households glob Mother Angelica stepped down from control of EWTN in 2000 and handed control to a board of lay people. In 2001, just after the September 11 terrorist attacks, she had one of several strokes. In response to the terrorist attacks, Mother Angelica made a statement expressing sympathy for the victims, praising President Bush's speech to the U.S. Congress and calling for justice on the conspirators. She went on identifying "pornography, abortion, child prostitution, the spread of drugs, the destruction of youth by an immoral media and the suppression of religious expression in public places as 'other' terrorist threats that must be addressed. Mother Angelica held the Catholic belief in Redemptive suffering— that human suffering can become meritorious if offered to Jesus and mystically united with His suffering. Because of this belief, in her period of declining health, Mother Angelica "instructed her nuns to do everything to keep her alive, no matter how much she suffered, because every day she suffered, she suffered for God." Mother Angelica remained living at the monastery until her death on March 27, 2016 (Easter Sunday), at the age of 92 from complications of the stroke she had had 14 years prior . Mother Angelica's death was announced by EWTN. All the funeral rites were televised on EWTN. Her impact on broadcasting, religious fundraising, on Catholics as well as her large following are just a few reasons that Mother Angelica is one of the 2016 LuLac Women We love. Posthumously.
(Photo: WNEP.com) At the start of the voting Brittany Boyer was nowhere to be found on the WEL ’16 nomination ballots. But when it was announced that she was leaving WNEP for greener pastures the votes came pouring in. Talk about taking someone for granted when you think they will always be there. But when the class act is going away, well that’s another story. As a follower of fashion, I always looked forward to what the stylish Boyer would wear every time she was on the air. Even though she was a flawless, accurate and competent presenter, you couldn’t help but notice the way she put herself together on TV. Here’s a bit about Boyer from the WNEP TV website: Meteorologist Brittany Boyer joined WNEP in July 2013. Brittany has always had a passion for news and meteorology. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Penn State University. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Operational Meteorology from Mississippi State University. While at Penn State, Brittany began working at AccuWeather in State College. While there she presented weather forecasts across North America. From there, she took her next leap to a local television station as a news reporter. Brittany worked for WJAC-TV in DuBois, Pa. for two years as the stations northern tier reporter and fill-in weather anchor. Coming to WNEP-TV was an opportunity for Brittany to continue her career in news and weather, while being closer to family. Brittany is an avid skier and fitness enthusiast. She also enjoys traveling, cooking and spending time outdoors. Boyer returned to Acu Weather after leaving WNEP and currently serves as a On-air Meteorologist providing forecasts for the Accuweather Network on Verizon Fios along with forecasts to clients all over the world.
(Photo: WNEP.com) Through three decades, Marisa Burke has been part of our lives in LuLac land as well as Northeastern and Northcentral Pennsylvania as a TV co anchor on WNEP TV News. Burke had the distinction of being on the highest rated TV station in America and did not take that responsibility lightly. Her presentation was always informative, detailed but also appropriate to the style of the story she was presenting. As a viewer, I can tell you I never witnessed a tone deaf moment (and it does happen in broadcasting now and then) in her career. From the WNEP TV website, here’s a bit about Marisa Burke: Burke, a native of central Pennsylvania, was born and raised in Danville, Pennsylvania. She graduated in 1982 from Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Radio and Television Communications. Marisa began her broadcasting career in June of 1980, as an anchor, reporter, and producer for WHLM AM/FM radio in Bloomsburg. Later that summer, Marisa accepted a position as a reporter for WSLS-TV in Roanoke, Virginia and worked there for two years. She was quickly promoted to weekend anchor/producer and then to weekday co-anchor of the 6 and 11 pm newscasts. Marisa joined WNEP-TV in April, 1984 as an anchor/reporter of the morning and midday newscasts. She is now producer and co-anchor of Newswatch 16 at 6. Marisa is involved in all kinds of station-sponsored charity events including St. Joseph’s Telethon, the Race-for-the-Cure, Feed-a-Friend, Toys-for-Tots, and Coats-for-Kids. She is also host for the Greater Scranton Jaycee’s Santa Parade. Marisa left the station because WNEP TV’s parent company offered her a buy out. It was a good offer but it was done to save money. As far as Channel TV viewers were concerned, Burke could have stayed until they turned the lights out at WNEP. But she accepted the offer to start a new chapter with her daughters Rachael and Sarah. Her easy manner but steady presentation of reporting the news of the day made her an easy choice. When you add that to the way Burke exited on the air in such a classy manner, that is just one of the many reasons why Marisa Burke is one of the Women We Love this year.
(Photos: PA Homepage, Facebook) The word multi tasking is a requirement when anyone refers to WBRE/WYOU’s Kelly Choate. Choate has been the Multi media, (I like to call it Night side ) Reporter at the station the past year and has covered a variety of stories that were both informative and entertaining. Her straight forward style as well as her competitive compassion is one of the hallmarks of her style. Choate is a member of the station’s I-Team and has done some pretty compelling stories. Plus her coverage of the 2016 campaign aided by her fellow traveler and intrepid videographer Tony Ingargiola has given her the reputation as a go to local journalist. Choate has gone behind the headlines to bring out stories that no one knew existed. It was Kelly Choate who first broke the Baby Trump story before anyone else had it.
Before moving to Northeastern Pennsylvania, Kelly produced and anchored the weekday evening newscasts at WHIZ-TV in Zanesville, Ohio. Kelly broke an international story when the exotic animals were released in Muskingum County, and she interviewed Mitt Romney on the campaign trail. She received a first place award from the Ohio Associated Press Broadcasters for an investigative report on the minimum hunting age in the state. Kelly is a Penn State graduate with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism and a minor in Spanish. While at Penn State, she worked as an executive producer, anchor and reporter for the Centre County Report on WPSU. Her stories were recognized by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation and the Society of Professional Journalists. Kelly has a passion for news and sports. She participated in the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism at Penn State. A native of the Philadelphia area, Kelly interned at Sports Radio 610 WIP and NBC 10. In her free time, Kelly enjoys cheering for the Eagles and Nittany Lions, playing fantasy football, in addition to visiting family and friends. This year Kelly also won a Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters Award as well as getting married. This busy reporter has touched the lives of so many this year with her stories, some happy, some tragic but all hopeful. That’s the main reason why Kelly Choate is one of the Women We Love in 2016.
(Photo: Times Leader) Wilkes Barre City Councilwoman Beth Gilbert did not run for the office to be the first, the youngest or the anything of just anything. This young politico ran to make an impact. When the young Gilbert was in college she announced her candidacy for City Council and immediately was pitted against a former veteran Police Officer. Gilbert won that primary convincingly by peppering the district with signs, visiting voters door to door, holding successful and well attended events throughout the city and being omnipresent at other candidates events. When Gilbert won, it was no surprise. It was expected that Gilbert would settle in as a newly minted council member and just take things in as most rookie Council members tend to do. Instead Gilbert took things on. Gilbert became a vociferous force against new Mayor Tony’s George’s budget and with the help of the other two newcomers Tony Brooks and Mike Belusko on Council, the budget was not passed. For years Wilkes Barre voters had seen a rubber stamp Council voting 5-0. Not this time. Then Gilbert took on a very big issue involving equal rights for the LGBT community in Wilkes Barre. She offered an Amendment to Council that added provisions for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. That legislation later signed by Mayor Tony George put in legal writing that all residents of the city were afforded equal opportunity for employment, housing, and the use of public accommodations, and have equal access to post secondary educational institutions. While on the surface this seemed to be a no brainer, Gilbert took some heavy artillery on this especially on her Facebook page. But she took the slings and arrows in stride and moved forward. It was voted into law this year because of her efforts. Now let me put this in perspective. This ordinance put Wilkes Barre in step with what was going on nationally. During the Vietnam War, when young people protested on campuses in 1967 and ’68, there was none of that here. Wilkes Barre’s first protest against the war came in 1970 or 71. Three years after everyone else was doing it. Gilbert’s ordinance not only put us on the right side of history but also in step with the news cycles in America.
Gilbert also voiced her opposition to the City's check accounting practices with an area bank.
Gilbert is the daughter of Damien and Susan Gilbert. She is pursuing a political science and international studies double major, a Wilkes-Barre native and G.A.R. graduate. At Wilkes she has involvements in Pi Sigma, Political Science Honor Society; Alpha Sigma Pi, National Society of Leadership and Success and the International Studies Club and active volunteer with Valley Santa, Key Club, Building Bridges and Wilkes-Barre city clean up days. Beth was officially accepted into George Washington University and will be pursuing a Master's of Professional Studies in Political Management beginning in January. Beth Gilbert’s ability to take on issues, bring up viable solutions to concerns by her constituency as well as her passion for the way government works makes her one of the most hopeful Women We Love winners in its history. While 2016 politically may not have been ceiling shattering at the top level, we’re doing pretty well here in little old Wilkes Barre with the likes of Ms. Gilbert.
(Photo: Washington Post) Hillary Clinton has always been always named for the LuLac Women We Love nominations but this year it was overwhelming. There is so much known about Clinton that it would be redundant to repeat it all. Plus the people who love her know her. They respect and pretty much revere the things she did for America. The people against her will only demonize it and revile it. Even after the election those same people posted hateful images and things about her on Social Media. So while they are not necessarily deplorable, I think some of them are pretty hopeless. One word I’d like to clear up about the campaign. The use of the word “liar” was used numerous times about Clinton. But here is an independent rundown of just who lied during this race. From Fact Check is how Donald Trump was rated on the facts: True 4% ) Mostly True 11% Half True 15% Mostly False 19% False 34% Pants on Fire 17%. Hillary Clinton: True (25%) Mostly True (26%) Half True (24%) Mostly False (14%) False (10%) Pants on Fire (2%) These percentages are based on statements made throughout the year. It is just one snap shot into what type of campaign this was and how Clinton was misrepresented by Trump and the GOP attack machine. But in the end, that didn’t matter because the American voters in their uh…..wisdom decided to vote for a misbehaved man child with no regard for the truth. Her character was attacked ruthlessly. Her 30 year record of accomplishment on women’s and children’s rights was dishonored by a know nothing candidate who inspired his followers to disregard accomplishment and award out and out bullshit. This campaign as well as Hillary Clinton will be remembered as the last time a qualified candidate was proffered before the American people. Her rejection signals a new era. This country has always prided itself on always raising the bar. That’s done with now and Clinton will go into the history books as the last qualified candidate to ever run for President. She fought tooth and nail to not have that happen. Her record and campaign though is part of the reason why she was chosen. The overwhelming response to her nomination though was the amount of opposition, true and false she had to deal with during this effort. Despite outlandish attacks, a boorish opponent, and outright lies Hillary Clinton faced it all with aplomb and grace. Whatever feelings of disgust and despair she had remained buried. She did not whine on Twitter. She didn’t give a shit if people were “not nice” to her. Hillary Clinton remained a strong woman even though she was opposed by misogynist women who knifed her in the back. (Maybe because they loved the misery of their own little lives and did not want to see a woman get ahead, who knows??!) In defeat Hillary Clinton acted more like a man than Mike Pence’s running mate. Given the entire field on both sides, it can be said she had more balls than any of them. It is for that reason and many others that Hillary Clinton is one of the Women We Love in 2016.
(Photo: MSNBC) This nomination was a different type of one for LuLac. The NBC correspondent’s name was also linked with fellow reporters Kaci Hunt as well as Kristan Welker. All three women were front and center on the 2016 campaign trail but it was Tur’s reporting on the Trump campaign that gave her the edge over the other two. Now to be clear both Hunt and Welker were given credit for their work and advancing the work of young women in journalism. But essentially Tur was picked for the tumultuous path given her on the campaign of Mike Pence’s running mate. A little bit first about Tur. Given the diversity of media today, even within organizations, Tur reports for all platforms of NBC News, including Early Today, Today, NBC Nightly News, Meet the Press, WNBC-TV, MSNBC, and The Weather Channel. Tur has reported for WPIX-TV, News 12 Brooklyn, KTLA, and HD News/Cablevision.] Tur worked as a storm chaser for The Weather Channel on the network's VORTEX2 team. Being a storm chaser gave her the appropriate experience to be embedded in the campaign of Mike Pence’s running mate. During the race, Tur was signaled out by the candidate as part of the crooked media. She was subject to taunts as well as horrific language and comments on Twitter. Yet all she did was report what Mike Pence’s running mate was saying on tape and into microphones. To say that Tur was not in danger would be a true fabrication. Through it all, Tur stood firm, did her job and gave Americans the story of this campaign. While she had less experience then others on the beat, Tur was both courageous and undaunted in the face of taunts from so called Christians in this country. While the work of Kaci Hunt, Kristen Wekler and other women journalists on the beat was also truly effective, Tur got the final vote for Women We Love in 2016 because of her ability to stand up to a bully running for President and just doing her job.
(Photo: Harper's Bazaar) The new First Lady of the United States, Melania Trump was tabbed by LuLac readers for this recognition. The main reason was her ability to be thrown into a situation where she virtually had little or no experience. While some say her events were overly scripted, in my estimation they were flawless in execution. The kerfuffle over her keynote speech on behalf of her husband is overblown. It was a staff issue, certainly not hers. A little about Mike Pence’s running mate’s third wife: Born in Slovenia, she became a permanent resident of the United States in 2001 and a citizen in 2006. She is to assume the role of First Lady of the United States on January 20, 2017. She will be the second foreign-born First Lady of the United States, following Louisa Adams in 1825, and the only First Lady to date not to have been born a citizen of the United States or in what would later become the United States. While ironic that Melania wants to make cyber bullying her pet cause (perhaps she could start that effort at home) it is a worthy effort. Melania will be living in New York with her son until June to have him finish his schooling. There is great hope that Melania will be able to contribute her own style and beliefs in her role. Many say her potential in that role is unlimited. Her ability to operate in the shark tank that is a Presidential campaign with poise and her commitment to her son are just a few of the reasons Melania Trump was chosen to be one of the Women We Love in 2016.
(Photo: The Blaze) This year the First Lady got many nominations. It could be that many of our readers are saying a fond farewell to Mrs. Barack Obama as a courtesy or half of them are hoping she starts a career of her own. Most of the kudos came for her political speeches made on behalf of the Democratic ticket. Obama is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, and spent her early legal career working at the law firm Sidley Austin, where she met her husband. She subsequently worked as the Associate Dean of Student Services at the University of Chicago and the Vice President for Community and External Affairs of the University of Chicago Medical Center. As First Lady, Obama has become a fashion icon, a role model for women, and an advocate for poverty awareness, nutrition, physical activity, and healthy eating. Her family roots trace back to pre-Civil War African Americans in the American South. . Her paternal great-great grandfather, Jim Robinson, was a slave on Friendfield Plantation in South Carolina, the state where some of her paternal family still reside. Her religion is Methodist and her sense of social justice comes from her own experiences as a young woman of color trying to make her way in this country. Obama campaigned for her husband's presidential bid throughout 2007 and 2008, delivering a keynote address at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. She returned to speak at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, and again during the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, where she delivered a speech in support of the Democratic Presidential nominee, and fellow First Lady, Hillary Clinton. That speech galvanized her selection this year. The response to her speeches on behalf of Hillary Clinton as well as her example and class as First Lady is just one of the many reasons why Michelle Obama is one of the Women We Love in 2016.
SAINT MOTHER TERESA
(Photo: CNN) Who would have thought that two nuns would be LuLac’s Women We Love this year let alone a Saint! But in this topsy turvy year anything is possible. The story of Mother Teresa of Calcutta is well known. But her canonization this year as a Saint put her back to the forefront in the minds of the LuLac readers. She was born in Skopje (now capital of the Republic of Macedonia), then part of the Kosovo Vilayet in the Ottoman Empire. After having lived in Macedonia for eighteen years, she moved to Ireland and then to India, where she lived for most of her life. Fluent in five languages – Bengali, Albanian, Serbian, English, and Hindi– she made occasional trips outside India for humanitarian efforts In 1950, Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation, which in 2012 consisted of over 4,500 sisters and was active in 133 countries. They run homes for people dying of HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis; soup kitchens; dispensaries and mobile clinics; children's and family counseling programs; orphanages; and schools. Members must adhere to the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, as well as a fourth vow, to give "wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor". Lay Catholics and non-Catholics were enrolled in the Co-Workers of Mother Teresa, the Sick and Suffering Co-Workers, and the Lay Missionaries of Charity. In answer to the requests of many priests, in 1981 Mother Teresa also began the Corpus Christi Movement for Priests,] and in 1984 founded with Fr. Joseph Langford the Missionaries of Charity Fathers] to combine the vocational aims of the Missionaries of Charity with the resources of the ministerial priesthood. By 2007 the Missionaries of Charity numbered approximately 450 brothers and 5,000 sisters worldwide, operating 600 missions, schools and shelters in 120 countries. Teresa was the recipient of numerous honors, including the 1962 Ramon Magsaysay Peace Prize and 1979 . The anniversary of her death, September 5th, was made her feast day. Teresa once stated, "By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus." Those are more than enough reasons for Mother St. Teresa to be named one of the Women We love in 2016.
(Photo: wikipedia) She is known as the daughter of the President Elect that is always in the background. Even political commentators on the national scene say “when the three adult Trump children” do this or that, Tiffany is never mentioned. Tiffany Trump is the product of the President Elect’s marriage with Marla Trump and was raised by her mother in California, where she lived until graduation from high school. She was educated at Viewpoint School in Calabasas, California. She is a 2016 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where she double-majored in sociology and urban studies. She is said to be shopping around for law schools. She was recently spotted at Harvard. She was named by her parents after Tiffany & Company (her father's purchase of the air rights above the store in the 1980s allowed him to build Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue). She was raised by her mother in California, where she lived until graduation from high school. In 2014, while attending the University of Pennsylvania, Trump released a music single called "Like a Bird". She later told Oprah Winfrey that she was evaluating whether to take her music career "to the next level as a professional”. Trump has also worked as an intern at Vogue and modeled for a 2016 Andrew Warren fashion show during New York Fashion Week. Registered to vote in Pennsylvania, Tiffany’s occupation is listed as Celebrity/Model. LuLac readers picked her for two reasons, the first was the feeling that this second daughter should be given more prominence. Plus readers wondered why the President Elect didn’t use her more on the campaign trail after her speech at the Convention. It is for those reasons that Tiffany Trump is one of the Women we Love in 2016.
(Photo: Facebook) If you looked into a dictionary for the word whirlwind, you’d most likely find a photo of Kathleen Smith from Ashley. Kathleen has been a passionate promoter of history in our region and is constantly in the forefront of any effort to enhance the support of our local history. Smith organized the Shawnee Fort Chapter DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) in 2009, is a life member of the NEPAGS, life member of the Wyoming Monument Association, currently serves on the board of the Wilkes-Barre Preservation Society, and is a member of The 109th Heritage Association. Smith is currently serving on the Board of the Plymouth Historical Society, and is a past board member of the Luzerne County Historical Society. More importantly, the DAR Chapter has increased membership by 10% for 3 years under her leadership. The group received a national award for this as well as being active in the community for various projects. Smith is a newly elected member of the vestry at St Stephen's Episcopal Church and is also on the Wyoming Valley Veterans parade committee. During this year’s release of the Florence Foster Jenkins movie starring Meryl Strep, Smith was instrumental, dare I say solely instrumental for obtaining the film maker Donald Collup to speak at an event shortly after the movie came to Wilkes Barre. The Director of the movie Nicholas Martin, told Collup the movie might not have been made had it not been for the documentary he made. Well Collup’s appearance might not have happened without the dogged determination of one Ms. Smith. Smith had planned a ceremony this past September at the Foster family’s mausoleum. During the service, the Daughters of the American Revolution honored both Jenkins and her mother, Mary Jane Hoagland Foster, by placing DAR insignia at their tomb. Both women had belonged to that organization. Smith grew up in Schuylkill Haven, is a graduate of Grace Christian School. She lives in Ashley with her husband Frank and child Oliver. The term living history has been around for a long time. But very few people really know, care or understand their roots. Unfortunately people have to be reminded of what rich and colorful history we have. That task, sometimes daunting, is in the competent hands and very passionate megaphone Ms. Smith wields on its behalf. It is for that reason that Kathleen Smith is one of the Women We Love in 2016.
Once more we feature some notable passings of 2016. This is a mix of political, sports and pop culture icons. (Source: wikipedia, LuLac archives).
Mario Cuomo, three term Governor of New York, proposed Presidential candidate, outstanding orator, and defender of the Democratic policies regarding equality for all. He is the of current New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and CNN anchor Chris Cuomo. Judge Gifford S. Cappellini passed away early in the year. Cappellini presided as Judge of the Court of Common Pleas in Luzerne County from 1985-2005, and completed his exemplary career as Senior Judge. Earlier during his legal career, Cappellini was Senior Partner at Cappellini, Reinert, Cardone, Law Firm, Wilkes-Barre. He served as Wilkes-Barre City Solicitor, and Prothonotary for Luzerne County, and was a life member of the Pennsylvania and Luzerne County Bar Associations. Marilyn Moore Maslow, 83, was noted along with her husband, Richard, for her philanthropy and community service throughout Northeast Pennsylvania. Lennie Bluett, 96, American actor (Gone with the Wind, Mighty Joe Young, A Star is Born) Dale Bumpers, 90, American politician, Governor of Arkansas (1971–1975), Senator from Arkansas (1975–1999 Brad Fuller, 62, American video game composer (Marble Madness, Tetris, Blasteroids), Director of Engineering for Atari (1993–1996), pancreatic cancer. Robert Stigwood, 81, Australian band manager (Bee Gees, Cream) and film producer (Grease, Saturday Night Fever, Evita). Alfredo "Chocolate" Armenteros, 87, Cuban trumpeter, prostate cancer. Douglas Greer, 94, American actor (Our Gang). Pat Harrington, Jr., 86, American actor (One Day at a Time, Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels, The Inspector), complications from a fall and Alzheimer's disease. Florence King, 80, American writer. Kitty Kallen, 94, American singer ("Little Things Mean a Lot"). Ed Stewart, 74, British TV and radio broadcaster (Top of the Pops, Crackerjack), stroke. David Bowie, 69, English singer-songwriter, musician ("Space Oddity", "Heroes", "Starman"), and actor (Labyrinth, Zoolander), liver cancer.
Monte Irvin, 96, American Hall of Fame baseball player (Newark Eagles, New York Giants, Chicago Cubs), winner of the 1954 World Series.
Luis Arroyo, 88, Puerto Rican baseball player (St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees), winner of the 1961 World Series, cancer. Jim Simpson, 88, American sportscaster (NBC Sports).
Tera Wray, 33, American pornographic actress, suicide. Franco Citti, 80, Italian actor (The Godfather, Accattone, The Decameron. René Angélil, 73, Canadian entertainment manager (Celine Dion), throat cancer Alan Rickman, 69, English actor (Harry Potter, Die Hard, Love Actually), pancreatic cancer.
Noreen Corcoran from her "Bachelor Father Days along with Jasper the dog.
Noreen Corcoran, 72, American actress (The Girls on the Beach, Gidget Goes to Rome, Bachelor Father), cardiopulmonary disease. Dan Haggerty, 74, American actor (The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams), spinal cancer. Gary Loizzo, 70, American singer (The American Breed), pancreatic cancer. Ted Marchibroda, 84, American football player (Pittsburgh Steelers, Chicago Cardinals) and coach (Baltimore Colts, Baltimore Ravens Dale Griffin, 67, British drummer (Mott the Hoople), Alzheimer's disease. Glenn Frey, 67, American songwriter, musician (Eagles) and actor (Jerry Maguire), complications following intestinal surgery.
Lou Michaels, 80, American football player (Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Colts), pancreatic cancer. Cadalack Ron, 34, American rapper.
Walt Williams, 72, American baseball player (Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees), heart attack. He had the greatest nickname, "No neck". Theodore Karras, 81, American football player (Chicago Bears), NFL champion (1963). Abe Vigoda, 94, American actor (The Godfather, Barney Miller, Late Night with Conan O'Brien). Paul Kantner, 74, American musician (Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship) and songwriter ("Wooden Ships"), multiple organ failure. Betty Francis, 84, American baseball player (AAGBPL) Ron Stillwell, 76, American baseball player (Washington Senators), cancer. Barney Hall, 83, American sports commentator (Motor Racing Network), complications from surgery. Michael Fedderson (known as Mike Minor, was an American actor probably best known for his role as Steve Elliott on Petticoat Junction (1966–1970).
Minor was born on December 7, 1940 in San Francisco to television producer Don Fedderson and Tido Minor. Minor played the character Steve Elliott on Petticoat Junction in seasons four through seven (1966–70). His character, a pilot, crashed his airplane in Hooterville, then recovered and later married Betty Jo Bradley.
From left to right, Lori Saunders, Meredith MacRae, Minor, Bea Benaderet, and Edgar Buchanan.
Seasons 6 and 7 of the series focuses on the couple and their newborn daughter Kathy Jo Elliott. It has been erroneously reported in many sources that Minor sang the series' title song; in fact, it was sung by Curt Massey, the series music composer who co-wrote the song with show creator and producer Paul Henning. Among his other television credits were The Donald O'Connor Show (1968 version), The Beverly Hillbillies, CHiPs, Vega$, and L.A. Law. In the 1970s, Minor took on daytime television. He had some brief roles on The Edge of Night and As the World Turns. In the 1980s, he appeared as Brandon Kingsley on All My Children (1980–1982) and as Dr. Royal Dunning on Another World (1983–1984). Minor had made two albums, including This Is Mike Minor (1966), and numerous singles, including the successful "Silver Dollar" and "One Day at a Time". Minor sang the theme song ("Primrose Lane") on season one of the Henry Fonda television series The Smith Family.
Joe Dowell, 76, American pop singer ("Wooden Heart"), heart attack. This song was a hit in Europe for Elvis Presley but ignored in the U.S. by his manager. The organist is Ray Stevens.
Maurice White, 74, American songwriter and musician (Earth, Wind & Fire), complications from Parkinson's disease.
Edgar Mitchell, 85, American astronaut (Apollo 14). Johnny Duncan, 92, American actor (Batman and Robin) Tom Tigue…..Thomas Tigue, a longtime state lawmaker, passed away this year. Tigue, a Democrat, served 12 terms in Harrisburg, representing parts of Lackawanna, Luzerne and Monroe counties. The Pittston Area Primary School lowered the American flag to half-staff Monday in memory of Tigue. The longtime state representative served in Harrisburg for 25 years, but not before first serving on the Pittston Area School Board. Andrew L. Lewis, Jr., 84, American business executive and politician, Secretary of Transportation (1981–1983), complications of pneumonia. Brock Pemberton, 62, American baseball player (New York Mets). Nelle Harper Lee, better known by her pen name Harper Lee, was an American novelist widely known for To Kill a Mockingbird, published in 1960. Immediately successful, it won the 1961 Pulitzer Prize and has become a classic of modern American literature. Though Lee had only published this single book, in 2007 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contribution to literature. Additionally, Lee received numerous honorary degrees, though she declined to speak on those occasions. She was also known for assisting her close friend Truman Capote in his research for the book In Cold Blood (1966). Capote was the basis for the character Dill in To Kill a Mockingbird. Tony Phillips, 56, American baseball player (Oakland Athletics, Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox), World Series champion (1989), heart attack Archie Lang, 95, American actor (Dallas, General Hospital. Charlie Tuna, 71, American radio personality. Kevin Collins, 69, American MLB baseball player (New York Mets, Montreal Expos, Detroit Tigers Jack Lindquist, 88, American child actor and theme park executive, President of Disneyland (1990–1993. George Kennedy, 91, American actor (Cool Hand Luke, The Naked Gun, Airport), Oscar winner (1968), heart disease. Craig Windham, 66, American radio broadcaster (National Public Radio), pulmonary embolism.
Coca Crystal, 68, American television personality and political activist. Gayle McCormick, 67, American singer (Smith), cancer. Martha Wright, 92, American actress (South Pacific, The Sound of Music, Goodyear Television Playhouse) and singer.
James Barrett McNulty, 71, American politician, Mayor of Scranton, Pennsylvania (1982–1986), cancer and cardiac disorder.
Bud Collins, 86, American sports journalist. Nancy Reagan, 94, American First Lady (1981–1989) and actress (Hellcats of the Navy, Donovan's Brain, The Next Voice You Hear...), heart failure. Sir George Martin, 90, British Hall of Fame record producer (The Beatles), composer, arranger and engineer, six-time Grammy Award winner.
Robert Horton, 91, American actor (Wagon Train). Gary Jeter, 61, American football player (Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants. Clyde Lovellette, 86, American basketball player (Minneapolis Lakers, St. Louis Hawks, Boston Celtics), NBA champion (1954, 1963, 1964), Olympic champion (1952), cancer.
Bill Wade, 85, American football player (Los Angeles Rams, Chicago Bears), NFL Champion (1963). Keith Emerson, 71, English progressive rock and rock keyboardist (The Nice; Emerson, Lake & Palmer), suicide by gunshot.
Gogi Grant, 91, American pop singer ("The Wayward Wind").
Bill Whitby, 72, American baseball player (Minnesota Twins). June Peppas, 86, American AAGPBL baseball player (Kalamazoo Lassies). Frank Sinatra, Jr., 72, American singer (That Face!) and actor (Hollywood Homicide), heart attack.
Ralph David Abernathy III, 56, American politician, member of the Georgia House of Representatives (1988–1992) and State Senate (1992–1998), liver cancer. Bandar bin Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, 90, Saudi royal. Rob Ford, 46, Canadian politician, Mayor of Toronto (2010–2014), liposarcoma. Joe Garagiola Sr., 90, American baseball player (Cardinals, Cubs, Pirates) and Hall of Fame sportscaster (MLB GOTW), World Series champion (1946).
Ken Howard, 71, American actor (1776, The White Shadow, J. Edgar, Crossing Jordan), President of SAG/SAG-AFTRA (2009–2016), Emmy winner (1981, 2009). Jimmy Riley, 68, Jamaican reggae musician, cancer. Earl Hamner, Jr., 92, American television writer and producer (Falcon Crest, The Waltons, The Twilight Zone), cancer. Garry Shandling, 66, American comedian, actor and writer (The Larry Sanders Show, Iron Man 2, Over the Hedge), heart attack.
Mother Angelica, 92, American Poor Clare nun, founder of the Eternal Word Television Network. Toni Grant, 73, American radio host and psychologist. Patty Duke, 69, American actress (The Miracle Worker, The Patty Duke Show, Valley of the Dolls), President of SAG (1985–1988), Oscar winner (1962), sepsis. Bill Robinson, 87, American football player Green Bay Packers.
David Baltimore, A World War II veteran, Baltimore was regarded as one of the pioneers of area TV broadcasting. David went into the business founded by his father, Louis, WBRE-AM & FM in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. But he realized that the new, exciting medium would be television and so with a loan from RCA he established WBRE-TV, which went on the air New Year's Day, Jan. 1, 1953. WBRE-TV, a UHF station and NBC affiliate, would become the world's first 1-million watt then 5-million watt television station. As an engineer, technology was extremely important to him so color television was added and he challenged RCA to develop equipment that made operations easier, like the first video cartridge tape machines. WBRE-TV flourished despite the rise of cable television which began in WBRE-TV's coverage area. So David spent an inordinate amount of time fighting for proper protections for over-the-air broadcasters at the FCC, National Association of Broadcasters and anywhere he could find an audience. Through a chance meeting in France at an international programming conference, David became instrumental in bringing the Smurfs to the U.S. In 1984, WBRE-TV was sold to Northeastern Television Investors and David retired.
George Curry, 71, American football coach. Marjorie Peters, 97, American baseball player . Frank Wainright, 48, American football player (Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens), NFL champion (2000) Merle Haggard, 79, American singer-songwriter ("Okie from Muskogee", "The Fightin' Side of Me", "Carolyn"), Grammy winner (1984, 1998, 1999), complications from pneumonia. Blackjack Mulligan, 73, American professional wrestler (WWWF, JCP, CWF. Elizabeth Roemer, 87, American astronomer. Scooter, 30, American cat, oldest living cat. Prince Rogers Nelson was an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer. He was a musical innovator who was known for his eclectic work, flamboyant stage presence, extravagant dress and makeup, and wide vocal range. His music integrates a wide variety of styles, including funk, rock, R&B, new wave, soul, psychedelia, and pop. He has sold over 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time. He won seven Grammy Awards, an American Music Award, a Golden Globe Award, and an Academy Award for the film Purple Rain. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, his first year of eligibility. Rolling Stone ranked Prince at number 27 on its list of 100 Greatest Artists, "the most influential artists of the rock & roll era." Will Smith, 34, American football player (New Orleans Saints), Super Bowl champion (2010), shot. Paul Carey, 88, American radio broadcaster (Detroit Tigers). Anne Jackson, 90, American actress (The Shining, Folks!, Dirty Dingus Magee) Bryce Jordan, 91, American academic administrator, President of the Pennsylvania State University (1983–1990.) Spec Richardson, 93, American baseball executive (Houston Astros). Jackie Carter, 62, American children's author, lymphoma. Billy Paul, 81, American R&B singer ("Me and Mrs. Jones"), pancreatic cancer.
Milt Pappas, 76, American baseball player (Baltimore Orioles, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs) Martin Fitzmaurice, 75, English darts personality.
McKinley aka Mr. Puppy;nearly 18, the official mascot of the LuLac Political Letter. Cancer.
Abel Fernandez, 85, American actor (The Untouchables, Pork Chop Hill) He was the only cast member from the original Untouchables lineup in the series' 1959 "Scarface Mob" pilot, other than Robert Stack himself, to be cast for the series.
His character was based on that of William Jennings Gardner, a Native American member of the real-life Untouchables federal squad. Marianne Gaba, 76, American model and actress (Missile to the Moon, The Choppers, The Beverly Hillbillies) She was Miss Illinois USA 1957 and Playboy magazine's Playmate of the Month for its September 1959 issue. Bob Bennett, 82, American politician, U.S. Senator from Utah (1993–2011), pancreatic cancer and stroke.
Candye Kane, 54, American blues singer-songwriter and pornographic actress, pancreatic cancer. John Young, 67, American baseball player (Detroit Tigers), founder of Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities. Mark Lane, 89, American lawyer and author (Rush to Judgment), heart attack. Oya Aydoğan, 59, Turkish actress, model and television presenter, aortic aneurysm. André Brahic, 73, French astrophysicist, discovered rings of Neptune, canc Guy Clark, 74, American folk singer-songwriter ("Desperados Waiting for a Train", "Workbench Songs", "My Favorite Picture of You"), Grammy winner (2014), cancer.
Jim Ray Hart, 74, American baseball player (San Francisco Giants) He played for the National League's San Francisco Giants from 1963 to 1973 and the American League's New York Yankees in 1973 and 1974. Hart batted and threw right-handed. In a 12-season career, Hart posted a .278 batting average, with 170 home runs and 578 runs batted in (RBIs) in 1,125 Major League games played. Morley Safer, 84, Canadian-born American journalist (60 Minutes), pneumonia. Alan Young, 96, English-born Canadian-American actor (Mister Ed, The Time Machine, DuckTales) Tom DeLeone, 65, American football player (Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals), brain cancer. Joe Fleishaker, 62, American actor (Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV, Late Show with David Letterman), heart attack. John Webster, 60, British theologian. Marshall "Rock" Jones, 75, American bass player (Ohio Players). Bonnie Law, 47, Hong Kong singer and actress (Happy Ghost)
Donny Everett, 19, American baseball player (Vanderbilt Commodores), drowned Willis Pyle, 101, American animator (Pinocchio, Bambi, Mr. Magoo.) Muhammad Ali, 74, American boxer, Olympic gold medalist (1960), three-time WBC world heavyweight champion (1964, 1974, 1978), septic shock. Habib, 63, Iranian singer, heart attack. Margaret Vinci Heldt, 98, American hairstylist, creator of the beehive hairstyle. Chico Fernández, 84, Cuban baseball player (Detroit Tigers), complications from a stroke. Curley Johnson, 80, American football player (New York Jets), Super Bowl winner (1969) George Voinovich, 79, American politician, Senator from Ohio (1999–2011), Governor of Ohio (1991–1998), Mayor of Cleveland(1980–1989) Randy Jones, 72, British-born American jazz musician (Chet Baker, Dave Brubeck, Maynard Ferguson) Chips Moman, 79, American songwriter ("(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song") and record producer, Grammy winner (1976) Ronnie Claire Edwards, 83, American actress (The Waltons, The Dead Pool, Designing Women. She acted professionally from 1963 and is best known for the role of the domineering Corabeth Walton Godsey, the wife of storekeeper Ike Godsey played by Joe Conley, in the CBS television series The Waltons, created by Earl Hamner, Jr. She played Charlene's mother, Ione Frazier, on two episodes of CBS's Designing Women. Edwards played Aunt Dolly in Hamner's series Boone, which aired on NBC from 1983–84. She co-starred in the NBC series Sara (1985) opposite Geena Davis.. Ann Morgan Guilbert, 87, American actress (The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Nanny, Grumpier Old Men), cancer. Henry McCullough, 72, Northern Irish guitarist (Spooky Tooth, Wings, The Grease Band). Ron Lester, 45, American actor (Varsity Blues, Popular, Good Burger), liver and kidney failure Bernie Worrell, 72, American musician (Parliament-Funkadelic), lung cancer. Jim Hickman, 79, American baseball player (New York Mets, Chicago Cubs). Scotty Moore, 84, American guitarist (Elvis Presley band). Buddy Ryan, 85, American football head coach (Philadelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals) and defensive coordinator (Chicago Bears, Houston Oilers. Pat Summitt, 64, American basketball coach (Tennessee Lady Volunteers), dementia.
Roscoe Brown, 94, American World War II veteran, member of the Tuskegee Airmen”. Kyle Calloway, 29, American football player (Buffalo Bills), struck by train. Jack C. Taylor, 94, American billionaire businessman, founder of Enterprise Rent-A-Car”. John McMartin, 86, American actor (Sweet Charity, Kinsey, Law & Order), cancer. Danny Smythe, 67, American drummer (The Box Tops). Norman Abbott, 93, American television director (Leave It to Beaver, Welcome Back, Kotter, The Jack Benny Program).
John Brademas, 89, American politician and educator, member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Indiana's 3rd district(1959–1981), President of NYU (1981–1991Brademas holds the distinction of being the first Greek-American member of Congress, preceding, among others, Olympia Snowe, Paul Tsongas and Paul Sarbanes. Marion Campbell, 87, American football player and coach (Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons)
Eliezer "Elie" Wiesel was a Romanian-born American Jewish writer, professor, political activist, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor. He was the author of 57 books, written mostly in French and English, including Night, a work based on his experiences as a prisoner in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps. Mel Durslag, 95, American sportswriter George Wesley, whose decades-long career saw him play with the likes of the Wailers and the Jerry Garcia Band, has died. "We are devastated to report that we lost an amazing and wonderful man today. George Wesley passed away peacefully July 19, 2016, at 5:00 a.m. after a short battle with liver cancer," reads a message on his website. Wesley, of the Scranton area, and his band played with The Wailers, Jimmy Cliff, Black Uhuru, Matisyahu, Culture, Mykal Rose, Judy Mowatt, Merl Saunders, Jerry Garcia Band, Santana, Tim Reynolds (of the Dave Matthews Band) and Itals, among others. In October, the George Wesley Band was voted "Best Jam/Reggae/Funk Band " at The Steamtown Music Awards. Peter LaForce Grady, 91, of Mount Pocono, died Wednesday, July 6, 2016. He was a reporter for the Scranton Tribune from 1970 until 1990 when that paper closed its doors. He also worked for the Metro in Scranton as a reporter. Wendell Anderson, 83, American politician, Governor of Minnesota (1971–1976), Senator for Minnesota (1976–1978), Olympic silver medalist in ice hockey (1956), pneumonia. Fred Tomlinson, 88, British singer (The Two Ronnies, Monty Python's Flying Circus), composer ("The Lumberjack Song") and critic.
Julius Freeman, 89, American fighter pilot (Tuskegee Airmen), recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal, heart attack.
Shawshank tree, c. 180, North American white oak featured in The Shawshank Redemption. Steve Nagy, 97, American baseball player (Pittsburgh Pirates, Washington Senators). Marni Nixon, 86, American singer (The King and I, West Side Story, My Fair Lady) and actress (The Sound of Music), breast cancer. James M. Nederlander, 94, American Broadway theater owner and producer (Nederlander Organization) Forrest Mars Jr., 84, American billionaire businessman (Mars, Incorporated), heart attack.
Sylvia Lucia Petronzio, better known as Sylvia Peters, was an English actress, and from 1947 to 1958 a continuity announcer and presenter for BBC Television. She introduced the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, and later advised the Queen as she prepared for her first televised Christmas Message in 1957. Doug Griffin, 69, American baseball player (Boston Red Sox). Pat Upton, 75, American singer-songwriter (Spiral Starecase)
Gloria DeHaven, 91, American actress (Summer Stock, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Out to Sea), complications from a stroke.
David Huddleston, 85, American actor (The Big Lebowski, Blazing Saddles, Santa Claus: The Movie), heart and kidney disease., Pete Fountain, 86, American clarinet jazz legend. Peter Paul Brennan, 75, American Old Catholic prelate, Archbishop of New York. Terence Bayler, 86, New Zealand actor (Monty Python's Life of Brian, Time Bandits, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. John Saunders, 61, Canadian-born American sports journalist (ESPN, The Sports Reporters) and broadcaster (ESPN on ABC. Glenn Yarbrough, 86, American folk singer ("Baby the Rain Must Fall", "It's Gonna Be Fine", "San Francisco Bay Blues")
Jack Riley, 80, American actor (The Bob Newhart Show, Rugrats, Spaceballs), pneumonia.
Choo Choo Coleman, 78, American baseball player (New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies), cancer. Charlie Sands, 68, American baseball player (Pittsburgh Pirates, California Angels). Steven Hill, 94, American actor (Mission: Impossible, Law & Order, The Firm). Juan Bell, 48, Dominican baseball player (Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia Phillies, Milwaukee Brewers), kidney illness.
Marvin Kaplan was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1927. He is probably best known for his recurring role on the sitcom Alice where he portrayed a phone lineman named Henry Beesmeyer who frequented Mel's diner. He was with the cast from 1977 until the series ended in 1985. His first film role was as a court reporter in Adam's Rib (1949). Kaplan had a regular role in the radio sitcom and later television version of Meet Millieas Alfred Prinzmetal, an aspiring poet-composer. The program ran from 1951-54 on radio and continued on television from 1952-56. In addition, the actor was the voice of Choo-Choo on the 1960s cartoon series Top Cat and had a small role in the 1963 film It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World playing a gas station attendant. He co-starred in the 1965 comedy The Great Race. In 1969, he appeared as Stanley on Petticoat Junction in the episode: "The Other Woman". Joe DeMaestri, 87, American baseball player (Philadelphia/Kansas City Athletics, New York Yankees) John McLaughlin, a former Roman Catholic priest who became an aide to Richard M. Nixon in the White House and parlayed his fierce defense of the president into a television career as host of “The McLaughlin Group,” the long-running Sunday morning program of combative political punditry, died on Tuesday at his home in Washington. He was 89. The columnist Eleanor Clift, a longtime panelist on the show, wrote in The Daily Beast that he had been treated for prostate cancer for some time and that it had spread. Mr. McLaughlin had been absent from the show the week before he died for the first time in more than 34 years. Joy Browne, 71, American talk show host. Darrell Ward, 52, American reality television personality (Ice Road Truckers), plane crash. Gene Wilder, 83, American actor (The Producers, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Young Frankenstein), screenwriter and author, complications of Alzheimer's disease.
Fred Hellerman, 89, American folk singer (The Weavers), guitarist, producer and songwriter. John Hostetter (was an American actor, voice artist, and visual artist who was perhaps best known for his role as John, the stage manager on the fictional FYI news magazine, on the CBS sitcom Murphy Brown; he appeared in 62 of the series' 247 episodes from 1988-98 He was raised in Hanover, Pennsylvania. Dabney Montgomery, 93, American pilot (Tuskegee Airmen), bodyguard of Martin Luther King, Jr. Brenda Dale Knox was known professionally as The Lady Chablis, was an American actress, author, and drag performer. Through exposure in the novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and its 1997 film adaption she became one of the first drag performers to be accepted by a larger audience. Greta Zimmer Friedman, 92, American dental assistant, subject in V-J Day in Times Square photo.
Maurice William Elias, better known as James Stacy, was an American film and television actor. In 1973, Stacy was hit by a drunk driver while driving his motorcycle, resulting in the amputation of his left leg and arm and the death of his girlfriend. He returned to acting in 1975 before retiring in 1991. In 1966, he appeared in the final episode of Perry Mason as actor and murder victim Barry Conrad in "The Case of the Final Fade-Out". Fred Quillan, 60, American football player (San Francisco 49ers), NFL champion (1981, 1984) Bob Wilkinson, 88, American football player (New York Giants), Parkinson's disease. John D. Loudermilk, 82, American singer and songwriter ("Tobacco Road", "Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye", "Indian Reservation"), bone cancer. Richard D. Trentlage, 87, American advertising executive and jingle writer (Oscar Meyer, V8, National Safety Council) , heart failure. Trentlage also wrote jingles for McDonald's ("McDonald's is your kind of place!"), the National Safety Council ("Buckle up for safety, buckle up!") and V8 ("Wow! It sure doesn't taste like tomato juice.")
José Fernández, 24, Cuban-born American baseball player (Miami Marlins), boat collision. Curtis Roosevelt was an American writer. He was the son of Anna Roosevelt and her first husband, Curtis Bean Dall. He was the eldest grandson of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Toughie was the last known living Rabbs' fringe-limbed treefrog. The species, scientifically known as Ecnomiohyla rabborum, are thought to be extinct in the wild with only one specimen – Toughie – remaining in captivity, up until his death on September 26, 2016. Agnes Nixon, 93, American television writer and producer (One Life to Live, All My Children, Guiding Light). Shimon Peres, 93, Polish-born Israeli statesman, President (2007–2014), Prime Minister (1977, 1984–1986, 1995–1996), Nobel Laureate (1994), stroke Thomas Larkin Malloy was born in New York City. His acting career began in 1974. He appeared (and later starred) in such soap operas as The Edge of Night as (Jefferson Brown (1980-81)/Schuyler Whitney (1981-84). James Stephen "Jim" Zapp, nicknamed "Zipper", was an African American outfielder who played in the Negro Leagues and minor leagues from 1945 to 1955. Spending the majority of his career with the Baltimore Elite Giants, Zapp is described as an above-average power and contact hitter. Nora Dean, 72, Jamaican singer.
Arnold Daniel Palmer was an American professional golfer who is generally regarded as one of the greatest players in the sport's history. Dating back to 1955, he won numerous events on both the PGA Tour and the circuit now known as PGA Tour Champions. Nicknamed The King, he was one of golf's most popular stars and its most important trailblazer, the first superstar of the sport's television age, which began in the 1950s. Palmer's social impact on behalf of golf was perhaps unrivaled among fellow professionals; his humble background and plain-spoken popularity helped change the perception of golf as an elite, upper-class pastime to a more populist sport accessible to middle and working classes.
Sir Neville Marriner, 92, British conductor (Amadeus), founder of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Peter Allen, 96, American radio broadcaster, host of Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts (1975–2004. Don Ciccone, 70, American singer-songwriter and musician (The Critters, The Four Seasons, Tommy James and the Shondells. He wrote "Mr. Dieingly Sad", produced by Artie Ripp, which reached #17 for the group. After he quit the Critters, he joined the U.S. Air Force and served during the Vietnam War. Ciccone sang lead vocals on the Four Seasons hit "December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)".
Aaron Pryor, 60, American light-welterweight boxer, WBA/IBF world champion (1980–1985), heart disease. Molly Rose, 95, British World War II aviator. Rose joined the Air Transport Auxiliary on 16 September 1942 and delivered 486 aircraft during World War II. Tom Hayden, 76, American writer, politician and activist (Chicago Seven), member of the California State Senate (1992–2000). Bobby Vee, 73, American pop singer ("Rubber Ball", "Take Good Care of My Baby", "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes") and actor, Alzheimer's disease.
Norman Brokaw, 89, American talent agent (Marilyn Monroe, Clint Eastwood, Andy Griffith). Samuel Liguori, 78, local radio legend, who served Northeastern Pennsylvania as a well-known, highly respected and professional radio personality, passed away peacefully at his home .
Sam Liguori .was in broadcasting for more than 33 years - program director at 1240 AM WBAX for more than five years; operations manager at WARD 1550 AM for 15 years; program director at WKQV 1550 AM and WKQV FM for one year; and producer for talk shows at WARM 590 AM for two years.
Sam has worked hard in all phases of broadcasting, doing formats from talk to all-music, and also news and sports. During the Agnes Flood of 1972, Sam was the last employee out of WBAX in Edwardsville when the waters surrounded the station. He gave out vital information so people in the area knew when to evacuate. Sam was known for helping to collect more than $65,000 for the new Salvation Army Citadel in the 1960s by taking pledges over the air.
During the '60s, '70s and '80s, Sam was doing the "Gibbons Polka Weekend Show" on WBAX and WARD radio. This was the original Polka Weekend show. Remotes were done every week and during the summer to promote funding for churches, volunteer fire companies and other non-profit organizations. Sam also did live remote broadcasts from the "Cherry Blossom Festival" on the River Commons in Wilkes-Barre. Sam was also known as "Maverick" on the country music shows. Tammy Grimes, 82, American actress (The Unsinkable Molly Brown, High Spirits, Look After Lulu!) Her ABC TV series aired during the 1966–67 season and was one of the few prime time series of the era canceled after only four episodes. Athena Smith Ford, 33, passed away peacefully in Geisinger Community Medical Center in Scranton. Athena died in the arms of her brother, Austin (Mountain Top), with her mother, Diane Smith (Kingston), father, Tom Ford, and stepmother, Maureen Cosgrove (Mount Pocono), at her bedside. Athena died of complications from an automobile collision on Oct. 7, 2015, when she was a seat-belted passenger and suffered a traumatic brain injury. Athena never regained consciousness. Athena was a regular attendee at Blogfest and was involved with the Pennsylvania Health Access Network.
Ralph Branca, 90, American baseball player (Brooklyn Dodgers, Detroit Tigers).
Bob Woody and your blog editor circa 1988 shortly before a news conference.
Bob Woody, 73, cancer. I was in Washington, D.C. at school when “The Woody Guy” arrived at WARM Radio in late 1972. My late friend Joey Dellarte spoke in excited tones when he went on to describe Woody’s antics. At first I thought that he was going to be just another transient afternoon jock coming WARM’s way and then moving on to bigger and better things. But I was wrong. Woody not only became a presence in local radio but also in my life as well. Woody was passionate about everything, his radio jobs at WARM, WSCR, WBAX, 13Q, WNEP and then at WILK. Woody also hosted “Comedy Classics” om WNEP TV and was instrumental in working with the late Harry Chapin working on drives for the hungry and homeless. I became associated with a project called The Twin Valleys with Woody. The concept was to try and bring the two big areas together (Luzerne and Lackawanna counties) in one unified effort. It was a nice idea but even though Woody’s concept was short lived, his message to me about work ethic stuck. It was: 1. Always know what you don’t know. 2. When you give your word, it is a commitment. A bond. 3. Dare to do the unexpected. I’m still working on the third one but I have pretty much tried to live by these rules. Bob Woody came to this area as a deejay on the radio, he left as much more and subsequently is remembered as an icon in not only broadcasting but integrity. Sharon Jones, 60, American singer (Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings) and actress (The Great Debaters, The Wolf of Wall Street), pancreatic cancer.
Melvin Laird, 94, American politician and writer, Secretary of Defense (1969–1973), complications of respiratory failure. . Laird was instrumental in forming the administration's policy of withdrawing U.S. soldiers from the Vietnam War; he invented the expression "Vietnamization," referring to the process of transferring more responsibility for combat to the South Vietnamese forces. George Ortiz, 45, American hair stylist (Project Runway), suicide. Gwen Ifill, 61, American journalist (PBS NewsHour, Washington Week), endometrial cancer. Dick Oliver, 77, American journalist (New York Daily News, WNYW), complications from a stroke. Robert Vaughn, 83, American actor (The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Magnificent Seven, Hustle), acute leukemia. Russ Nixon, 81, American baseball player (Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians) and manager (Atlanta Braves) Leonard Cohen, 82, Canadian singer-songwriter ("Hallelujah", "Suzanne", "First We Take Manhattan"), poet and novelist (Let Us Compare Mythologies, Beautiful Losers), complications from a fall.
Julie Gregg was an American television, film and stage actress. She is best known for her portrayal of Sandra Corleone in The Godfather. Gregg's first television role was in 1964 as a nurse in McHale's Navy. Janet Reno, 78, American lawyer and politician, U.S. Attorney General (1993–2001), Parkinson's disease. Dolores Klosowski, 93, American baseball player (Milwaukee Chicks. A member of a champion team, Dolores Klosowski had a brief career in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League after she fractured a leg during her rookie season and never fully recovered. John Orsino, 78, American baseball player (Baltimore Orioles) He played for the San Francisco Giants (1961–1962), Baltimore Orioles (1963–1965), and Washington Senators (1966–1967). Mark Taimanov, 90, Russian Soviet-era chess grandmaster and concert pianist, USSR chess champion(1956) Fidel Castro, 90, Cuban politician, Prime Minister (1959–1976), President (1976–2008). Ron Glass, 71, American actor (Barney Miller, Firefly, Deep Space), respiratory failure. Florence Henderson, 82, American actress (The Brady Bunch) and singer, heart failure. William Marx “Bill” Mandel was an American broadcast journalist, left-wing political activist, and author, best known as a Soviet affairs analyst. Considered a leading Sovietologist during the 1940s and 1950s, Mandel was a fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, but lost his position there due to the political pressures of the McCarthy era. He is perhaps best known for standing up to Senator Joseph McCarthy during a televised 1953 Senate committee hearing in which Mandel pointedly told the senator, "This is a book-burning! You lack only the tinder to set fire to the books as Hitler did twenty years ago, and I am going to get that across to the American people Joe Esposito, 78, American author and publisher, road manager for Elvis Presley. Leon Russell was an American musician and songwriter who was involved with numerous bestselling pop music records over the course of his 60-year career. His genres included pop, rock, blues, country, bluegrass, standards, gospel and surf records, with six Gold Records to his credit.
His collaboration records rank as some of the most successful and as a touring musician, he performed with hundreds of Hall of Fame artists. He recorded 33 albums and at least 430 songs.He wrote "Delta Lady", recorded by Joe Cocker, and organized and performed with Cocker's Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour in 1970.More than 100 artists have recorded his "A Song for You" (1970). As a pianist, he played in his early years on albums by the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean. On his first album, Leon Russell, in 1970, musicians included Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr and George Harrison. One of his biggest early fans, Elton John, said Russell was a "mentor" and "inspiration". They recorded The Union in 2010, which was later nominated for a Grammy.
Dick Logan, 86, American football player (Green Bay Packers) Grant Tinker, 90, American television executive, CEO of NBC (1981–1986). Bernard Gallagher, 87, British actor (Casualty, Crown Court, Downton Abbey.
Ted Twardzik, the founder of Mrs. T’s Pierogies died this year. His was a story of success and determination. In 1952, Ted decided to return home to Shenandoah to pursue his entrepreneurial dream to start a food company using his mother Mary's recipe for pierogies. He remembered how popular the traditional Polish dumplings were at Church Festivals and thought people would buy them at a grocery market. To honor his mother, the brand became Mrs. T's. Ted started with five women around the kitchen table in his mother's home at 218 N. Main St., Shenandoah. It wasn't long before he had worn out his welcome in his mom's kitchen and decided to move production to Mrs. T's current location at 600 E. Centre St., Shenandoah. This was a homecoming for Ted as this location was his childhood home and his parent's tavern. Gene Guarillia was an American basketball player who played four seasons for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
He attended Holy Rosary High School. Guarilia played freshman basketball for Potomac State College, a junior college in Keyser, West Virginia. He established a State Conference freshman record by scoring 595 points in 1953.
Guarilia was selected by the Boston Celtics in the second round of the 1959 NBA Draft. Guarilia appeared in 129 games for the Celtics over four seasons (1959–1963), averaging 3.2 points and 2.3 rebounds per game. He earned four NBA championship rings in his brief career.
Andrew Sachs: British actor Andrew Sachs, famous for his role as bumbling waiter Manuel in British TV show "Fawlty Towers", has died at the age of 86, the UK's Press Association reported. (Below Sach's is pictured in the middle of Michael Palin and John Cleese.)
Sachs was reported to have suffered from vascular dementia for four years before his death. He was buried on December 1. Chef Peng Chang-kuei, the chef behind one of America's most popular Chinese food dishes has died. He was 98 when he died on Nov. 30 from pneumonia, according to the Epoch Times. Peng first made General Tso's chicken in the 1950s, when he was working as a chef for the Taiwanese government, according to Taiwan Business Topics. When U.S. Navy Admiral Arthur W. Radford visited Taiwan in 1954 to lead a summit of high-ranking government officials, Peng decided to expand on the usual banquet menu. One of his innovations, a breaded and stir-fried chicken dish in a sweet and spicy sauce, was so popular that the chef was asked what it was called. On the spot, Peng coined "General Tso's Chicken."
Michael James Delligatti, Creator of the Big Mac, Dies at 98. In April 1967, hamburger lovers in Uniontown, Pa., south of Pittsburgh, met a newer, bigger burger. Introduced by a local McDonald’s, it was called the Big Mac, and for 45 cents it delivered, as a 1970s jingle would have it, “two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame-seed bun.” Response was positive.
A year later, the Big Mac was on the menu at McDonald’s restaurants all over the United States. By 1969, it accounted for 19 percent of the company’s total sales. Today, the company sells about 550 million Big Macs annually in the United States alone, and millions more in 100 countries around the world.
Keo Woolford, a Detective on ‘Hawaii Five-O,’ died at 49. Woolford play a policeman/detective who arrested the main character Steve McGarrett. Don Calfa, 76, American actor (The Return of the Living Dead, Weekend at Bernie's, Me, Myself and I. Joe McKnight, 28, American football player (New York Jets), shot. John Montague, 87, Irish poet. Nola Ochs, 105, American centenarian, world's oldest college graduate. John Glenn, 95, American astronaut (Mercury-Atlas 6) and politician, U.S. Senator from Ohio (1974–1999).
Joseph Mascolo, 87, American actor (Days of Our Lives, The Bold and the Beautiful, Jaws 2), complications from Alzheimer's disease. Greg Lake, 69, English singer and musician (King Crimson, Emerson, Lake & Palmer), cancer.
Margaret Whitton, 67, American actress (Major League, The Secret of My Success, Steaming), cancer. Van Zandt Jarvis Williams was an actor best known for his television role as Britt Reid/the Green Hornet and his earlier leading role as Kenny Madison in both Warner Bros. television detective series Bourbon Street Beat (1959) and its sequel, Surfside 6 (1960). Those shows were produced by William T. Orr whose job it was at Warner Brother was to develop TV shows for the fledgling ABC network. Quinn Martin later known for his work in “The Fugitive” cut his teeth on these shows. He teamed for one season with the late Bruce Lee as his partner Kato, in the television series The Green Hornet, broadcast on ABC during the 1966–67 season.
Cast of Bourbon Street Beat: Andrew Duggan, Arlene Howell, Van Williams and Richard Long.
Cast of Surfside 6: Margarita Sierra, Troy Donohue, Lee Patterson, Diane McBain and Van Williams.
Ken Hechler, 102, American politician, U. S. Representative from West Virginia's 4th congressional district (1959–1977), Secretary of State of West Virginia (1985–2001), stroke. He was the only sitting Congressman at the time to march with Dr. Martin Luther King in Selma in 1965. Harry Jones, 71, American football player (Philadelphia Eagles), heart attack.. Bob Krasnow, 81, American record label executive (Elektra Records), co-founder of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Joe Ligon, 80, American gospel singer (Mighty Clouds of Joy) Jim Lowe, 93, American singer-songwriter ("Green Door")
Konrad Reuland, 29, American football player (Baltimore Ravens), brain aneurysm. E. R. Braithwaite, 104, Guyanese novelist (To Sir, With Love) and diplomat. Alan Thicke, an actor best-known for helping set a template for parenting ideals in the ’80s sitcom “Growing Pains,” died this month. He was 69. His death was confirmed with the Times on Tuesday evening by the publicist of his son, pop-soul singer Robin Thicke. Norman Lear hired Thicke to produce and head the writing staff of Fernwood 2-Night, a tongue-in-cheek talk show based on characters from Lear's earlier show, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. In the late 1970s, he was a frequent guest host of The Alan Hamel Show, a popular daytime talk show on Canadian TV, usually hosted by Alan Hamel. Thicke went on to host his own popular talk show in Canada during the early 1980s, called The Alan Thicke Show. The show at one point spawned a prime-time spinoff, Prime Cuts, which consisted of edited highlights from the talk show. Thicke was later signed to do an American syndicated late-night talk show, Thicke of the Night. Thicke had a successful career as a TV theme song composer, often collaborating with his then-wife Gloria Loring on these projects, which included the themes to the popular sitcoms Diff'rent Strokes and The Facts of Life. He also wrote a number of TV game show themes. Craig Sager, 65, American sportscaster (NBA on TNT), leukemia.
Bernard Fox, the mustachioed actor known to TV viewers as Dr. Bombay on Bewitched and Col. Crittendon on Hogan's Heroes, has died. He was 89. Harlan Boll, a spokesman for Fox's family, said he died Wednesday of heart failure at a Los Angeles-area hospital. The Welsh-born actor's extensive, wide-ranging film and TV credits included The Mummy, Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, The Dyke Van Dyke Show, McHale's Navy and Columbo. He appeared in both 1997's Titanic, playing Col. Archibald Gracie, and in a 1958 movie about the ship tragedy, A Night to Remember. He had an uncredited role in the latter, playing a sailor who delivers the line, "Iceberg's dead ahead, sir!" according to his family. The actor spoofed his portrayal of the warlock physician Dr. Bombay on a 1989 episode of Pee-wee's Playhouse, appearing as Dr. Jinga-Janga. On Hogan's Heroes, he played the incompetent Crittendon, a Royal Air Force group captain referred to as the colonel. Henry Heimlich, 96, American physician and inventor of the Heimlich maneuver, complications from a heart attack. Biagio Dente, Before there was The Food Network, local residents had Biagio Dente. Every morning after the 8:30 news, like clockwork on the Mighty 590, WARM, Biagio Dente and WARM jocks, Harry West, Len Woloson, or Terry McNulty would verbally spar with the Pittston Chef. Dente bought that time spot for years on WARM Radio to promote his business and in the process became part of those storied WARM years. Dente's famous sign off line was "Buon Appetito!!!" Dente passed away last week at the age of 78 in Florida. Zsa Zsa Gabor was 99. She was a Hungarian-American actress and socialite. Her sisters were actresses Eva and Magda Gabor. Gabor began her stage career in Vienna and was crowned Miss Hungary in 1936. She emigrated from Hungary to the United States in 1941 and became a sought-after actress with "European flair and style" and was considered to have a personality that "exuded charm and grace". Her first film role was a supporting role in Lovely to Look At. She later acted in We're Not Married! and played one of her few leading roles in the John Huston-directed film, Moulin Rouge (1952). Huston would later describe her as a "creditable" actress.
Phil Gagliano, 74, American baseball player St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox. Gagliano was a key reserve for the '67 Cardinals Championship team. Dick Latessa, 87, American actor (Hairspray; Promises, Promises; Stigmata. Piers Sellers, 61, British astronaut and meteorologist, pancreatic cancer. Joey Boots, 49, American radio show personality (The Howard Stern Show. Rick Parfitt, 68, British singer, songwriter and guitarist (Status Quo), infection.
George Michael, the velvet voiced English songwriter who sold tens of millions of albums as a member of the duo Wham! and on his own, was found dead on Sunday at his home in Goring in Oxfordshire, England. He was 53. Michael’s death was not viewed as suspicious even though he had fought addictions and had health issues. Here’s one of his classics from the Wham years.
Duck Edwing, 82, American cartoonist, Mad Magazine. (death announced on this date) Carrie Fisher, 60, American actress (Star Wars, When Harry Met Sally...), novelist and screenwriter (Postcards from the Edge), complications from a heart attack.
Ricky Harris, 54, American comedian and actor (Heat, Dope, Everybody Hates Chris), heart attack. Debbie Reynolds, the wholesome movie ingénue in 1950s films like “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Tammy and the Bachelor” and “The Tender Trap,” died Wednesday, a day after the death of her daughter, the actress Carrie Fisher. She was 84. Her death was confirmed by her son, Todd Fisher, The Associated Press said. Ms. Reynolds was taken to a Los Angeles hospital on Wednesday afternoon amid reports that she had suffered a stroke. According to TMZ, she had been at the home of her son discussing funeral plans for Ms. Fisher, who died on Tuesday after having a heart attack during a flight to Los Angeles last Friday. “She’s now with Carrie and we’re all heartbroken,” Mr. Fisher said from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where his mother was taken by ambulance, The A.P. said. He said the stress of his sister’s death “was too much” for his mother.
Chris Cannizzaro, 78, American baseball player (New York Mets, San Diego Padres), emphysema.(death announced on this date). Robert L. Hulesman, he was in the inventor of the plastic solo cup that I understand is popular among college age students. H. Jeremy Packard, 78, of Kingston, was the longtime president of Wyoming Seminary Preparatory School and also served as chair of the Luzerne County Election Board. Allan Williams, 86, English businessman and promoter (The Beatles) Williams booked the Beatles in their initial Liverpool dates and even drove them to Germany for their gigs there. Tommy Wisbey, 86, English criminal, participant in the Great Train Robbery (1963), stroke. William Christopher, 84, American actor (M*A*S*H; Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.), small-cell carcinoma.
Location: Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, United States
Political analyst for WBRE TV's Pa. Live program and post election commentator for WBRE TV's Eyewitness News Daybreak show. Author of the book "A Radio Story/We Wish You Well In Your Future Endeavors" and "Leges Vitae" "26 Rules of Life" and the new novel, "Weather Or Knot". The blog editor also writes various news articles and columns as well as upcoming literary projects. The blog editor was a frequent guest on WYOU TV'S INTERACTIVE NEWSCASTS when political issues were discussed on the national, state and local level. Yonki was a weekly panelist on WYLN TV 35's Friday Topic A program. He also appeared on the Hazleton, PA. station on Election Night doing coverage and did special projects and stories for WYLN TV 35's 10PM Newscast "Late Edition".