1953 – 62 years ago
In 1953, the increase in the introduction of television sets into Pittston area homes was cited as the cause of a drastic drop in the amusement tax collected by Pittston City. The 1954 budget included $11,000 in estimated collections of the tax, considerably lower than the nearly $23,000 collected in 1950. An increase in the number of people staying home to watch their favorite shows brought about incremental reductions in tax revenue each year. The 1949-established 5 percent tax, levied on entertainment events including admissions to the American and Roman theaters, was divided between the school district and the city. Some of the most popular television shows in 1953 were “I Love Lucy,” “Superman,” “Dragnet,” “Death Valley Days,” “The Ed Sullivan Show” and “Kukla, Fran and Ollie.”
Duryea students protested outside the residence of Joseph Golchesky, a member of the Duryea Taxpayers Association. Golchesky headed a legal effort to block the building of a high school gym, citing the cost to the taxpayers would be about $25,000 a year for 37 years. While the school director countered the cost would only be $4,100 per year for 29 years, a meeting of the two factions to resolve the issue proved unsuccessful. The students took matters into their own hands and carried signs outside Golchesky’s home saying, “Give us a gym or give us Kis-Lyn” and “Haven’t we proven ourselves worthy of a gym?” Kis-Lyn, a strict reform school for young men, opened in 1912 in Drums and was named for welfare worker Elliot P. Kisner and former Luzerne County Judge John Lynch. It closed in 1965.
1963 – 52 years ago
A Sunday Dispatch reporter was sent out to ask young folks in their 20s if they knew the significance of Dec.7. He returned and reported that 75 percent of those he polled did not know Dec. 7 marked the anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The date, memorialized as “a day which will live in infamy” by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, saw 2,500 casualties and 1,000 wounded. Casualties for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon and Shanksville are now above 3,000 with the subsequent deaths of first responders, New York City residents and volunteers exposed to cancer-causing toxins.
The Fort Pittston VFW Post 635 paid tribute to 13 past commanders at a dinner program. Comander A. A. Forlenza honored W. Arthur Fullsgar, Ignatius Langan, Hugh McLaughlin, Michael J. Flume, Edward J. Flanagan, Patrick J. Finnerty, Nicholas Arcola, Oscar Kitzman, Francis Tigue, Charles A. Adonozio Jr., Francis L. Mesaris, John Burns and Joseph Kearney. According to the Veterans of Foreign War website, the VFW was formed about 1899 to help veterans of the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection. The first chapters were formed in Ohio, Colorado and Pennsylvania.
The Pittston Postal Clerks Local 610 held its annual Christmas party at Bonnie’s in Exeter. Those attending were Arlene Sarang, Betty Orlando, Marilyn Murphy, Eleanore Pellegrini, Irene Demich, Connie Angelella, Ruth Adrian, Eleanor Gawlas, Alice Frederick, Marian Dunn, Jeanne Williams, Miriam Carroll, Mary Preston, Mary Mackin, Jeanette Vose and L. Davis.
1973 – 42 years ago
All the Pittston Lions Club needed was an application filled out and returned and Santa and his elves would come to the applicant’s home bearing gifts and goodies. The club distributed the request forms to groceries, retail stores and banks. The Santa visit held for one week in 1970 was such a success the Lions extended the event to 10 days in subsequent years. In 1973, the Lions expected so many requests, they were looking for additional Santas. Members of the Santa visit committee were Richard Belmont, general chairman; Lou Cella and Dan Tambur, co-chairmen, Jake Sobeski, C.A. Manganiello, Joe Dessoye, Richard Belmont, Joe Chiampi, Earl Detweiler Jr., Leonard Dixon, Sam Zanta, Frank Dembowski, Paul Melvin, Eugene Bender, Frank Castellino, Ermino Cefalo, Carl Epstein, Harry Reich, Carmen Uritz. John McCafferty, Earl Campbell, Joe Curry, Sandy Insalaco, Bernard Walsh, Frank Dembowski, Dr. Fiegelman, John Grimes and Joe Ristagno.
Coached by Jon McHale, the Pittston Area swimmers were unbeaten in December 1974. In a meet with West Scranton, Andy Healey broke a District 2 record in the 200 freestyle. Mike Masulis was a triple winner taking first place in 100 free style, first place in the 50 free style and was a member of the winning 200 medley relay team.
1983 – 32 years ago
The Paci Band celebrated its 60th anniversary with a dinner at the Pittston Oriole Club Hall. The band, organized in 1923 by Cino J. Paci, was the premier marching band in the Wyoming Valley. Paci, a musician in the Italian Army, migrated to America and settled in Exeter. Certificates of appreciation were given to members who played with the band for 20 or more years.
This day in history:
1492 – Christopher Columbus lands on the island of Santo Domingo in search of gold.
1876 – Jack McCall is convicted for the murder of Wild Bill Hickok and sentenced to hang.
1941 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt issues a personal appeal to Emperor Hirohito to use his influence to avoid war.
Reach Judy Minsavage at 570-991-6403 or on Twitter @JudithMinsavage