Peeking into the Past: Gina Testa Pittston Area soccer star named athlete of the month in ‘97

Peeking into the Past

Judy Minsavage

Members of the Pittston Area Tennis team that attended the Greyhound Tennis Camp held at Moravian College in Bethlehem in 1987. From left first row, Erin Rowan, Michele Rodeghiero, Maria Adonizio, Melissa Adonizio. Second row, Lisa Dolan, Kristen Williams, Kristin Tigue, Kara Capone, Paulette Kern. Absent from photo were Jean Marie Argenio, Terese Francioso and Eric Rodeghiero.

The West Pittston All Star Tem of 1987 from left, first row, Nicky Aritz, Vince Biscotto, Billy Harry, Frankie Rutledge, Tommy Campenni, Nicky Ruggiero, George Morgan, Eric Heal. Second row, Tony Gadomski, Nick Marianacci, manager; Jason Facciponti, Ricky Stofko, Mike Harding, Jamie Kudrako, Rocco Casarella and Jim Colella, coach.


In 1957, West Pittston’s Joe Bender received an “old fashioned” punishment for pretending to do something. What was it?

1957 – 58 Years Ago

Charles A. McCarthy, local historian, detailed the history of the John D. Stark American Legion Post No. 542 of West Pittston. The post was temporarily chartered on May 7, 1920. Permanent charter was issued on November 12, 1921. McCarthy indicated there were two more Legion posts started after World War I. Members of the Harry C. Hill Post No. 583 applied for a temporary charter on September 27, 1920, but permanent charter was never issued. It was believed that because Sylvester Sullivan was not included in the charter name the post did not fully gain support. Sullivan, who died in World War I, was honored later with the naming of Sullivan Park. The third legion post formed in Pittston was the Charles W. Falzone Post No. 838. The post was granted temporary charter on February 25, 1946, and permanent charter on October 21, 1946. According to, the American Legion chartered by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization, today the American Legion has a membership of over 2.4 million with 14,000 posts worldwide.

1977 – 38 Years Ago

“Be Pittston Proud” was the theme of the first Greater Pittston Fine Arts Festival. The event attracted over 5,000 people. Young and old enjoyed musical performances ranging from folk, rock and country. One Pittston merchant was quoted as saying, “There wasn’t a kid standing on Main Street or hanging around pool rooms. We need more things like this for kids.” Credit was given to Tom Sperazza for initiating the arts festival idea. He was assisted by Angelo Marcino, Ron Mortimer, Joe Dessoye and Don Strubeck.

Citizen groups banded together to urge the NPW Health Systems Agency to reconsider the closing of the Pittston Hospital. NPW (Nanticoke, Pittston Wyoming Valley), the proposed new hospital, did not plan to offer new services and would reduce the number of beds. The new hospital was expected to cost $32,000,000 and was expected to create 200 more jobs.

The Dispatch Cup Tennis Tournament was in its second year and 153 contestants were registered for competition at Wyoming Area stadium tennis courts. The men’s singles competition had 47 local registrants. Seeded players were Paul Pugliese, Don Cassetori, Fred Bohn, Tony Rostock, Chip Pierantoni, Joe Pugliese, Stan Manoski and John Bubblo. Fifteen entries trying to upset returning women’s champion, Jodi Sciandra, were seeded players Marilyn Gubbiotti, Pat Sciandra and Nora Donato.

1987 – 28 Years Ago

The Pittston Tomato Festival was set for August 21, 22 and 23 and the projection for attendance was set at 75,000. Reigning over the fourth annual event was festival queen Tammy Lee Johnson of Dunmore. Johnson competed against a large number of local contestants in swimsuit, sportswear and interview competitions.

Erin Rowan, Michele Rodeghiero, Maria Adonizio, Melissa Adonizio, Lisa Dolan, Kristen Williams, Kristen Tigue, Kara Capone, Paulette Kern, Jean Marie Argenio, Terese Francioso and Eric Rodeghiero, Pittston Area High School tennis players, attended the Greyhound Tennis Camp at Moravian College in Bethlehem. Michele Rodeghiero won two trophies — one for most improved player and the other for sportsmanship. Erin Rowan was honored as champion in her group and Maria Adonizio took the championship of her group. Eric Rodeghiero was named most improved player as well. To see a photo of some of the team members log on to and click Peeking into the Past.

To see a photo of the West Pittston All Star Team members Nicky Aritz, Vince Biscotto, Billy Harry, Frankie Rutledge, Tommy Campenni, Nicky Ruggiero, George Morgan, Eric Heal, Tony Gadomski, Manager Nick Marianacci, Jason Facciponti, Ricky Stofko, Mike Harding, Jamie Kudrako, Rocco Casarella, and Coach Jim Colella, log on to and click on Peeking into the Past.

1997 – 18 Years ago

Gina Testa of Pittston Township was named athlete of the month, an honor sponsored by Cooper’s Seafood House, for her performance on the the soccer field as a starter for the Pittston Area Patriettes team. Leading the Wyoming Valley Division II Women’s Soccer Conference with goals and assists in 1996, she was in need of five more to break her own record.


Joe Bender of West Pittston was caught wearing an fake eight-inch mustache and tried to pass himself off as a Brother of the Brush during West Pittston’s Centennial celebration week. The authentic Brothers of the Brush, Willis Hapeman, Wesley Smith, Richard Howell, Walt Roth and Herman Jacobs, placed Bender in a pillory at the corner of Luzerne and Wyoming avenues, but he was quickly released as it was all in good fun. During the centennial, the men honored the memory of community founders by growing facial hair.

This Day In History:

1804 – Former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton dies after being shot in a duel.

1957 – Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first president to fly in helicopter

1970 – Blues-rock singer Janis Joplin debuts in Kentucky.

Reach Judy Minsavage at 570-991-6403 or email

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