1948 – 67 years ago
The men and women who cleaned the Pittston schools were doing such a fine job, that in 1948, the school board agreed to give a $125 annual raise to the men and a $70 annual raise to the women. Lauded for their high standard in performing their jobs, the workers were also thanked for saving the district a considerable amount of money for additional work they had completed outside the scope of their responsibility. Workers were listed as Edward Reedy and Mrs. McHale, Jefferson School; John Semanski, Fort Pittston School; Thomas Conroy, Cleveland School; and Enoch Laskosky and Miss McDonnell, Roosevelt School.
Sammy Baldo, of Wyoming, better known as Larry Wayne, leader of the Larry Wayne’s Orchestra, was to perform at a teen dance sponsored by the Pittston Junior Chamber of Commerce. Baldo studied in New York with Frank Sinatra’s voice teacher, John Quinlan. Given the professional name by his music instructors, Baldo appeared at the Sequoia Club in Staten Island, the Somerset in New York City and played live on local radio stations WBRE in Wilkes-Barre and WHWL in Nanticoke.
“Old railroad excursions to Harveys Lake,” reminiscent of the “Coxton Special” 12 years prior, were being planned by WILK radio show host Al J. Loquasto. The new trip included a “bathing beauty contest” to select “Miss Television.” The winner was to receive a trip with a companion to New York City. Planners also wanted to recreate the days when hundreds of people enjoyed the Erie Railroad excursions to Lake Ariel.
In 1944, Pfc. Al Leonard and Pvt. William Barrett, both of Pittston, met in a fox hole in Anzio, Italy during World War II. Discovering they were both from the same town, they made arrangements to meet at a later date. Unfortunately, that didn’t occur. Leonard was taken prisoner near Cisterna when his ranger group was surrounded by Germans and on Feb. 18, 1944, Barrett was killed during the Battle of Anzio. In 1948, Barrett’s body was returned to Pittston for re-interment. Leonard participated in the military ritual at the funeral. The Battle of Anzio began on Jan. 22, 1944 and ended six months later with the fall of Rome.
1978 – 37 years ago
Francis “Bunny” Linnen, “The Quiet Cop,” was the subject of the Sunday Dispatch “Spotlight” in 1978. A 25-year veteran of the Pittston Police Force, Linnen served in World War II and was awarded the Philippine Liberation Medal with three bronze stars, The Asiatic Pacific Theater ribbon with three bronze stars and one arrowhead, which indicates his beach head invasion service. He also received the Good Conduct Medal. Linnen returned home and served as Pittston chief of police for six years. He was best known locally for his friendly manner, his love of the game pitch and his unusual nickname, which he attributed to being born on Easter Sunday 1910. Linnen is one of the many people to be included on the Inspiration Mural now being painted on the Newrose Building on the corner of Main Street and Tomato Festival Drive.
Perhaps inspired by the Olympic performances of Russian gymnast Olga Korbut in the 1972 and Romanian gymnast Nadia Comenici in 1976, Lisa Goyne, Pam Uporsky, Sherry Warunek, Karen Kraynak and Terri Warunek practiced for a gymnastic exhibition at the YMCA of Pittston. Categories included the balance beam, uneven parallel bars and floor exercise. The next Summer Olympics were to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in August 2016.
1988 – 27 years ago
Five structures in Pittston were in the process of being razed. The Sheparitis building at 444 N. Main St. was torn down to make way for a car wash. Demolition of the Cohen Building at 6567 N. Main St. was to provide additional city parking. Cohen Men’s Store once occupied the building. A building at 150 S. Main St. that once housed De Marco’s Cafe was removed to provide off-street parking for Rock Street Music. Pittston Sewing Center at 36 S. Main St. came down along with one at 38 S. Main St., which formerly held Moran’s Bar. Plans for the parcel included parking and new storefronts.
Krista Carwardine, of Hughestown, won a bronze medal at the Junior Olympic championships held in York as a member of the Catalinas, a YMCA synchronized swim team. In addition, she was selected as a soloist on the Region 2 synchronized swim team at the Keystone State Games. That year, the 34th Annual Keystone State Games were held from July 29 to Aug. 2 in York.
The West Pittston Cherry Blossom Committee donated money raised during its two-day festival to the Christmas Lighting Fund, West Pittston Library, Greater Pittston Legion Baseball, Boy Scout Pack 302 and West Pittston Auxiliary Police.
This date In history:
1879 – Doc Holliday kills for the first time after a man shoots up his New Mexico saloon.
1927 – Ty Cobb, American Major League baseball player, gets his 4,000th hit.
1969 – Apollo 11 goes into moon orbit.
1976 – Rock group Deep Purple disbands.
Reach Judy Minsavage at 570-991-6403 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.