Culture, nature, whimsy, odes all part of local artist’s pallette

Peeking into the Past: Local firefighters assisted at Ground Zero

1955 – 64 YEARS AGO

Spanish War veterans Bob Fox and Tom Boshard, of Pittston, traveled to Los Angeles to attend the 57th National Spanish American War Veterans Convention. Upon arriving, however, they disembarked their train at the wrong station. Fortunately, they had planned to meet up with former Pittston resident Phil Morgan at the correct station. The three men managed to somehow make connections and Morgan was then able to collect the two men and take them to his home for a night before transporting them to the home of Army buddy and former Pittstonian Frank Miller, their expected destination. The United Spanish War Veterans Organization existed until 1992. The last member, Nathan E. Cook, died one month before his 107th birthday at the Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

Karen Ann Conte, of Pittston, won the first round in the Singer sewing Machine $85,000 junior dressmaking contest. She moved on to competition in New Jersey where she competed with 33 other regional winners. Out of those entries, judges chose four winners who would be treated to a trip to New York, a gala fashion show, and prizes.

1964 – 55 YEARS AGO

In April 1964, the World’s Fair opened at Flushing Meadows – Corona Park in Queens, New York. Florence Dominic and her son Raymond made the trip from Pittston to visit the fair and the cultural performers from St. Casimir’s R.C. Parish Senior Choir in Pittston who performed with over 1,400 choristers and more than 700 folk dancers on Lithuanian Day at the fair. By the time of its closing in 1965, the fair was considered a money pit as the city lost millions of dollars. However, the exhibition showcased many new innovations in technology which are in use today. Most of the structures built for the fair were torn down but the iconic Unisphere still stands. The park now contains several recreation facilities as well as the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center which hosts the US Open Tennis Tournament.

1968 – 51 YEARS AGO

At Keystone Discount 20 N. Main St., Pittston, Pepsodent toothpaste sold for 49 cents, Head and Shoulders shampoo and Breck Crème Rinse, 99 cents; and Jean Nate Friction Lotion, $1.33. At Marie’s Hair Fashions on Main Street, Pittston, ladies could get a Cold Wave for only $6.50, including conditioning, shampoo and style haircut. At Wicks Quality Jewelers on Main Street in Pittston, one could purchase a one-carat diamond ring for $630 which, according to the US Inflation Calculator, equates to $4,645 today.

George Legezdh was appointed by Dupont Civil Service Commission as Dupont’s first police chief under the newly passed civil service status. Legezdh began his new duties by assigning special police work to specially appointed officers Albert Iannuzzo, Michael Sompel, Frank Lasota, Joseph Adams and Joseph Timinski. The special officers were to be paid $1.25 per hour. According to the US Inflation Calculator, that amount equates to $9.22 today.

Specialist 5 John S. Lacomis, of Avoca, was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action in Vietnam. Lacomis, while on a mission south of Da Nang and with disregard to his own safety, came upon a seriously wounded radio operator, administered first aid and braved enemy fire while treating and evacuating his wounded comrades. Lacomis entered services on Sept. 6, 1966 and was ordered to Vietnam on Oct. 3, 1967.

1986 — 33 YEARS AGO

The Advisory Council of the Greater Pittston Salvation Army was thinking ahead to Christmas with plans to expand the organization’s traditional Christmas kettle drive to include each local town, township and borough by contacting all local civic, social and service clubs to solicit bell-ringers to serve in their respective communities. Members of the Advisory Council were Mrs. Coray Miller, Major Ruth Pryce, Major Bertha Harris, Mrs. Thomas Llewellyn, Ann Rose, Elaine Stauffer, Jim Condosta, John Pliska, Ben Simonson, Mrs. Wallace Stettler, Angelo Russo, Coray Miller, Lewis Winans, Jewell Miller, Frank Gubbiotti, Joseph Jennings and Thomas R. Davis.

St. Joseph’s Church in Wyoming held its fifth annual Harvest Festival, offering a variety of booths featuring arts and crafts, baked goods and games of chance. Assisting John Lipski, festival chairman, were George Dreabit, Mark Kendzor, Angelo Rizzo, Marty Simko, Bob Hergan, Charlie Cupani, Joe and Dolores D’Allessandro, Valeria Zarzecki, Josephine Kopec, Tina Charney, Pat Ostrowski, Steve Nalewajko, Millie Lipskie, Chris Kendzor, Andy Skolnick, Ed Sidorowicz, Jean Yurek, Robert Kubasko and Stanley Yarmey.

Clarence Briggs captured the Mayor’s Trophy for the second year in a row as winner of the 1990 West Pittston Open at Emanon Country Club. One hundred and four West Pittstonians participated in the event sponsored by the West Pittston Parks, Recreation and Beautification Board. Bill Briggs won the Rec. Board Trophy and Mickey Melberger Sr. was awarded the Cheer’s Café Duffer’s Trophy.

1995 — 64 YEARS AGO

The Duryea Wildcats Junior Football League celebrated its 25th year. Frank Brosso one of the original incorporators and first league president, along with Woody Wudarski, Robert Ryzner, Richard Queeney, William Smaltz and Mike Pearage who attended a junior football conference in Scranton, cementing their decision to organize the teams. Money donated by businesses and residents was used to purchase 52 blue and white uniforms. The colors chosen were in honor of the former Duryea High School Wildcats. Members of the first A team were Fred Tonkin, Ray Scoda, Danny Nawrocki, Joe Haduck, Ken Budnovitch, Ken Hodick, Ray Pintha, Robert Frutchey, Steve Swantkowski, Joe Giuntkowski, Alan Hoover, Ed Winn Andrew Vanyo, Joe Fahey, Mike Guarilia, Bob Moluski, Joe Chipolis, Kenny Guntkowski, Sam Capitano, Joe Grebeck, Harold Hatter, Peter Duncan and Mark Breymeier. A Team coaches were Bob Galuska, Carl Luder, Sam Capitano and Joe Murphy. Members of the first B Team were Sid Booth, Mike Birochak, Dave Rugletic, Robert Szewczyk, Dan Doran, Paul Lojewski, Ken Webb, John Martinelli, Tony Martin, Neil Orenich, Tony Lovenduski, Jim Balchune, Andy Gorzkowski, Danny Webb, Rick Duncan, Clarence Van Ness, Rich Vrable, Mike Carlin, Steve Chipolis, Neil Orenich, Bruce Moluski, Mike Mlodzienski, David Mlodzienski, Lonny Graziosi, Chris Balchune, Kyle Lambert, Bob Mehal, T.J. Hoeffner, Leonard Vrable, Ed Folckomer, Jerry Langan, Skip McGlynn, Paul Booth, Billy Scoda, Joseph Pakutler, Nick Radle, John Anderika and Roger Wesenyak. B team coaches were Gary Sworen, Woody Wudarski, Bob Ryzner and Ron Rugletic.

2001 — 18 YEARS AGO

Volunteer firefighters from Exeter Park and Hughestown Volunteer Fire Departments were at Ground Zero the day after two jetliners flew into the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. Deputy Fire Chief Dale Skursky and Paul Dezinski Jr., firefighter, assisted in the rescue of a New York City transit officer buried under trade center debris. Joel Skursky and Lance Anderson, of Hughestown, joined the rescue efforts. All were moved by the images they had seen the day before and knew their help was needed. George Gulla, of Pittston, asked everyone in the city to display the American flag. Bruno’s Supermarket initiated a relief fund for the American Red Cross.

Coats for Kids/Shoes for Kids organization, headed by Lori Nocito and Joe Tavaglione, distributed 250 shoes to children starting school in Greater Pittston. Traditionally, the organization provided coats for the children but added a campaign to raise funds for shoes during the summer months. Nocito and Tavaglione thanked residents for their generosity.


1914 — President Woodrow Wilson orders the Punitive Expedition out of Mexico. The Expedition, headed by General John Pershing, had been searching for Pancho Villa, a Mexican revolutionary.

1959 — Nikita Khrushchev becomes first Soviet leader to visit the US.

1966 — US President Lyndon Johnson urges Congress to adopt gun control legislation in the wake of Charles Whitman’s sniper attack from the University of Texas’s Texas Tower; in all, Whitman shot and killed 15 people before being shot dead himself by an Austin police officer.

1990 — France announces it will send 4,000 troops to join those of other nations assembling in the Persian Gulf to protect Saudi Arabia and force Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein to withdraw troops from occupied Kuwait.

2008 — The largest Chapter 11 bankruptcy in US history is filed by Lehman Brothers financial services firm.


1890 — Agatha Christie, English writer of mystery novels

1946 — Oliver Stone, film director and screenwriter (“Platoon,” “JFK”).

196 — Dan Marino, American football pro quarterback who led Miami Dolphins to 10 playoffs in his 17-year career and set many NFL passing records.

1984 — Prince Harry of Wales, Prince of Wales; currently fourth in line of succession to the British throne.

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