Thursday, December 30, 2021

The LuLac Edition #4,659, December 30, 2021



1.       Joseph R. Biden, born in Scranton becomes the 46th President of the United States when he is inaugurated on January 20th. Typical of this region, some negative nellies said, “But he moved outta here when he was 10”. Nonetheless, Biden becomes the President and he has a Scranton birth certificate to prove it.

2.       Locals join the insurrectionists. It wouldn’t be a riot without a few locals adding to the drama and color. Former Old Forge School Board Director Frank Scavo took six buses down to the Capitol and got a jail sentence for his trouble. Scavom plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge in September. His plea agreement included a cooperation provision, and Scavo turned over videos that he filmed inside the Capitol the day of the riot. He got two months. 

Meanwhile the Lac would not be outdone by the Lu when Annie C. Howell, 31, was charged with obstructing an official proceeding of Congress, disorderly conduct on restricted property, violent entry into a Capitol building, trespassing and picketing in a Capitol building.

Federal prosecutors alleged Howell was among the mob of supporters of then-President Donald Trump who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, forcing Congress to adjourn from its task of counting the electoral votes that cinched President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.. Recording video from inside a trashed conference room, Howell could be heard chanting, “Whose house? Our House!” and “Fight for Trump!”  Yep these two who thought Trump was gold got their lives turned into dust that day.

3.       The GOP takes two Judicial races in Luzerne county. Long time District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis and State Representative Tarah Toohil became the newest Luzerne county judges. Salavantis won a double nomination in the primary but Toohil, an underdog had to battle it out with Magistrate Alexandra  Kokura  Kravitz. Both were sworn in this past Wednesday. 

In the Lac, Mary Walsh Dempsey was celebrating her victory against Republican candidate Nisha Arora to be the next county judge. She's replacing retiring judge Tom Munley.

4.       On Aug. 26, after what seemed forever in Wilkes-Barre, the district held a ribbon-cutting event for the new Wilkes-Barre Area High School, and the first day of school was Sept. 9. Around 2,100 students are enrolled in grades 9-12 at the new high school. The high school project began in April 2019 with a $121 million budget, and officials expect it will be under budget by more than $2 million. On Oct. 18, the school board approved an agreement to spend nearly $8.5 million building a new athletic field with lights and a grandstand by the new high school.

5.       After John Blake resigned his  state Senate seat to work for Matt Cartwright, State Representative Marty Flynn ran for the seat in a Special Election facing off against commissioner Chris Chermak. Flynn prevailed and is the new 22nd District Senator. His top aide, Thom Welby was appointed to fill in the rest of Flynn's term in the 113 Legislative District. 

6.       The county election board had its challenges this year in The Lu.  2021 began with  bang when the board  appointed  county Councilman Stephen J. Urban as board chairman, even though the county charter prohibits anyone holding elective office from serving on the election board. Obviously this was a move that backfired on the GOP majority on the board. County Council got rid of them all by vacating  the seats held by Urban and the two board members who voted to appoint him chairman: Joyce Dombroski-Gebhardt and Keith Gould. 

BBob Morgan announced his resignation as county election director in late September. His last day on the job was Oct. 8, just 25 days prior to the election. Morgan moved to a federal job in Agriculture that was considered a prize plum from the Bide administration. There were some issues with voting in the primary resulting in a glitch in the county’s electronic voting system caused Democratic headers to appear on Republican ballots.

Consultants were then hired from out of townin the interim  but at the end of the year  Michael Susek was named as election director. Susek is a Plains Twp. native with 15 years of experience as an elections administrator in Colorado.

7.       Mayor Paige Cognetti wins another term in her right as Mayor of Scranton. Cognetti won a special election in ’19 filling out the term of convicted Bill Courtwright.

8.        Luzerne County saw red in the Nov. 2 municipal election. Republicans won all five contested seats on county council, as well as the county controller’s race.  The winning council candidates were incumbent Chris Perry and newcomers Brian Thornton, Kevin Lescavage, John Lombardo and Gregory Wolovich Jr., who won election on his third try.

County Councilman Walter Griffith defeated incumbent Democrat Michelle Bednar in a rematch of the 2017 race for controller. Griffith will resign his council seat before taking office as controller on Jan. 3. Griffith previously served as controller from 2010-2013, but resigned as part of a plea agreement in a wiretapping case. Republican Sam Sanguedolce ran unopposed for district attorney. The strength of the GOP was evident as outgoing Chair Justin Behrins was succeeded by P.J. Pribula who reportedly was one of the main architects of the county GOP resurgence.

9.       Ballot chicanery in the Lu and the Lac. In Forty Fort, a man voted for his mom in the 2020 election and was nailed. The suspect, Robert Richard Lynn, 68, “my dude from Forty Fort” even spawned a campaign by Lt. Governor Fetteman sold T-shirts with that phrase to raise money for his campaign.  (Senate candidate Fetterman who dubbed the name on Lynn sold the shirts) Lynn pleaded guilty to a voter fraud charge in August and was sentenced to probation. He was was accused of committing election fraud in his dead mother’s name in an effort to earn former President Donald Trump an extra vote. 

In the Lac, a man involved in dropping several alleged ballots into a dropbox on May 17th. was concerning to officials. According to the Lackawanna County District Attorney’s Office, in October the Lackawanna County Commissioner Chris Chermak uncovered ballot concerns from the May primaries, after an anonymous tip.

10.   COVID dominated the news here in 2021. Vaccine clinics were set up, starting with initial shots in January and ending with boosters in December. There were lulls in the pandemic. Unlike the summer of 2020, more venues opened up. But toward the end of the year both Luzerne and Lackawanna County had a pike in cases. This story from 2020 morphed into 2021. The same thing is happening as we end this year and head into 2022.

(Citizens’ Voice, Scranton Times, WWRR “The River” News Department, LuLac)  



 This week on Community Forum it's part two of 2021 in Review.  Tune in Sunday at 6 am on 94.3 The Talker; 6:30 on The Mothership 1400/1440am; and at 7:30 am on 105 The River


The LuLac Edition #4, 658, December 30th, 2021


1.       Rush Limbaugh dies and WILK goes local. After the death of Rush Limbaugh, WILK chose to go local. They also chose to go RIGHT. Nikki Stone took mid days, Bob Cordaro took noon time and Frank Andrews meandered on in his afternoon slot. When Andrews took over for the late L.A. Tarone, he said “He wasn’t going to be L.A., just himself”. Well he’s sticking to that. After the departure of John Webster, Jason Barsky teamed up with Nancy Kman. They are the bright spot in the WILK line up. Most stations across the nation have not replaced Rush because like Paul Harvey his audience was built in and only loyal  to him. Maybe one day another Rush will come along but I can guarantee you it won’t be from the 9am to 11pm programs offered on WILK in 2021.

2.       Juie Sedoni leaves WNEP TV. After a  long stint at The News Station, Julie moves to WVIA TV/FM  to be their news director.

3.       In an Election Night blooper, WBRE TV’s reporter called Judge Alexandra Kokorua Kravitz “Judge” even though the returns from Hazleton were not in. Tarah Toohil became the winner after being left for dead all night by WNEP TV2's coverage. This was the case of the local media driving the news coverage which turned out wrong. Toohil was sworn in yesterday as Judge. 

4.       GEM Oldies radio changed their frequency to 100 and 104 with a religious station taking over the old frequency of 92.5FM.

5.       Pittston native Joe Montione passed away in the fall. "Banana Joe" Montione was a nationally known radio personality who's career spanned almost 50 years and who's talent took him to some of the biggest radio stations in the United States. From his start at King's College WRKC and then WILK in Wilkes-Barre, Joe was a pioneer in the formative years of Top 40 radio. He broke into major market radio at Famous 56-WFIL in Philadelphia, where he hosted John Lennon as a guest in his home, when he was in Philadelphia to co-host a community event with Banana Joe.Joe's talented on-air skills took him to Miami's Y-100/ WHYI, to Toronto at CHUM and then to Los Angeles at the legendary KHJ.

The LuLac Edition #4, 657, December 30th, 2021



1.       Tom Brady wins Superbowl for Tampa. Tom Brady steered the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a comfortable 31-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs to extend his record for Super Bowl wins to seven. In his first season after a glittering 20-year spell with the New England Patriots, the evergreen quarterback helped Tampa Bay become the first team to play a Super Bowl in their own stadium. 

2.       Atlanta Braves win 1st World Series title since 1995. The Atlanta Braves are World Series champions for the first time since 1995. The Braves won the 2021 World Series on Tuesday, defeating the Houston Astros 7-0 (box score) in Game 6 to take the series, 4-2. The Braves, who won the title at Houston's Minute Maid Park, were paced by an offensive onslaught and a gem from left-hander Max Fried in the last game. 


3.       The fact that the Tokyo Olympics actually happened in 2021 was—depending on one’s point of view—either a miracle or disgrace. It often seemed as though there was no in between. For a global gathering that is portrayed as unifying, this year’s Olympics proved remarkably polarizing. Much of the world saw the Games as a moral exit ramp from the ravages of the pandemic—a necessary path to rejuvenation and interconnectedness after a year of isolation.

4.       The Milwaukee Bucks are NBA champions for the first time in 50 years as Antetokounmpo scores 50 points The Bucks eally had cause to celebrate after defeating the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 to win their second NBA title.


5.       COVID still messes with professional sports. The past two weeks in the sports world have been marred by the coronavirus, and the upcoming year looks like it’ll be no different. Sports leagues across the country are continuing to deal with the spread of the omicron variant within locker rooms, causing postponements and cancellations.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

The LuLac Edition #4,656, December 29th, 2021




1. Pennsylvania like other states is shocked by the riot and insurrection on Capitol Hill on January 6thAfter the attack GOP Congressmen actually voted to decertify their own elections. This was just hours after their Vice President Mike Pence was threatened  with hanging. Fast forward to the end of the year and the Select Committee of the House investigating the Capitol riot has now formally demanded information from Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), an ally in Congress of ex-President Donald Trump who, among other points of concern, was apparently involved with efforts to get then-Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark put in place as acting Attorney General after last year’s presidential election. Unlike the individual serving in the position at the time, Clark was a supporter of Trump’s false claims about the election, and elevating him to a position of greater power could have allowed him to act according to the president’s wishes and use federal powers to advance those claims with fewer constraints.

2. Republican sweep statewide Judicial races. Kevin Brobson defeated  Maria McLaughlin (D) in the general election for a seat on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on November 2, 2021. Justice Thomas Saylor (R), who joined the court in 1998, did not run for another term because he turned 75 in 2021. In the lower appellate court races, former public defender and Common Pleas court judge Timika Lane, a Democrat, was defeated by Republican Megan Sullivan in a bid for a single vacancy on the Superior Court.  In the Commonwealth Court, Republican Stacy Marie Wallace, the only candidate in the race not recommended by the Bar Association, was declared the winner. GOP incumbent Drew Crompton seemed poised to best Lori Dumas and David Lee Spurgeon for the other open slot.

3. Attorney General Josh Shapiro filed a lawsuit to block a GOP-backed subpoena as they seek voter records and personal information of every registered voter in the state for a “forensic investigation” of the 2020 presidential election.

4. Philadelphia DA  Larry Krasner cruised to victory for the Democratic Party nomination for Philadelphia District Attorney over challenger Carlos Vega, a former homicide prosecutor. Krasner was the subject of  documentary on PBS earlier in the year.

5. PA Voters Approve Two Amendments To Limit Governor’s Emergency Powers. In a dangerous move, Pa. voters approved a pair of amendments to the state’s constitution that limit the governor’s power during a disaster declaration.  According to returns from the Department of State, 53% voted “yes” to ballot questions 1 and 2 on the primary ballot, while 46% voted “no.”

6. Biden comes to the city of Brotherly Love. President Biden  traveled to Philadelphia as part of the “Getting America Back on Track Tour” to attend an event marking Amtrak’s 50th Anniversary.   Meanwhile President Biden to visited  Scranton later in the year to push his Infrastructure plan. It was the first official visit since his swearing in as Commander In Chief.

7. Levine Confirmed as U.S. Assistant Health Secretary. the United States Senate confirmed the nomination of Dr. Rachel Levine, former Pennsylvania Health Secretary, to be the Assistant Secretary for Health at the United States Department of Health and Human Services.  Levine is the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the Senate.

8. Blake resigns from State Senate to become the Economic Development Director for Matt Cartwright. In his role, Blake has Blake lead economic development initiatives across the 8th Congressional District and has made various appearances on behalf of the Congressman in the area when he was in Washington.

9. Casey and Toomey Vote Against Dismissing Trump Impeachment Trial. Sens. Bob Casey and Pat Toomey voted against the effort to dismiss former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial. While all Democrats were united in opposing the effort to dismiss the second impeachment trial, Toomey was one of five Republicans to side against the GOP backed effort to dismiss the trial. In the end, Casey voted for, Toomey voted nay.  

10. Toomey Censure? PAGOP Calls Special Meeting. Just over two weeks since their last virtual gathering, the Pennsylvania Republican Party is set to meet again on Wednesday.  In an email obtained by PoliticsPA, According to the email to state committee members, the meeting will be held virtually via Zoom and “consider the issues arising out of the impeachment and the path for our party going forward.”Toomey became one of many GOP lawmakers who were censured by their party for deviating from the trump loyalty line.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article utilized PA Politics John Cole’s reporting. Here is the link to this useful resource., LuLac,