1964 – 52 Years Ago
William Atherholt Jr., a member of the West Wyoming High School football team was named the Outstanding Player of the Year by American Legion Post 904. He received his award at a dinner attended by John Mizin, West Wyoming mayor, George Jurek, Joseph Perlock, Theodore Pawloski, William Atherholt Sr., Edolo Caprellini, Harry G. Cappellini, James Maira, Carmen Nardone, Angelo Nerozzi, Marie Matani, Sisto Santini, Louis Randazzo, Walter Levanda, John Korpusik, Michael Salvo, Vincent Randazzo, Rocco Confletti, John Randazzo, Michael Callepardi, Frank Skilonger and Walter Erzar.
In 1956, The Knights of Columbus Post 372 in Pittston purchased the three story building at 55 S. Main St. from Harold E. Howell. In 1964 the members burned the mortgage. It was the first time in the Knights 66-year history the organization would have a “debt-free” home. After the ceremonies, the International Ladies Garment Workers Union presented a floor show under the direction of Clem Lyons and Bill Gable. Music was provided by Al Powell’s Orchestra.
Constructed in 1894, the Exeter “town hall” was in desperate need of repair. In 1964, the borough council agreed to a renovation project that would preserve instead of razing the historic building.
1974 – 42 Years Ago
The Wyoming Area School District wanted to make sure its staff was up to date on the latest audio visual equipment. The equipment to be used in the training program was transported to the school in a multi-media van supplied by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The orientation and demonstration of the “modern” equipment included overhead projectors, slides, filmstrips and tapes.
Maureen Rincavage and Cindy Stuccio, students at the St. John Evangelist High School, were headed to Turbotville for the Northeastern Pennsylvania District Chorus. The festival sponsored by the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association was comprised of 150 students from 40 high schools in the Northeastern District. The PMEA was established in 1933 by a group of band leaders who wanted to “ develop and sustain universal interest in bands and band music; to improve bands and band music by clinics, contests, and festivals; to encourage and aid bandmasters in all laudable musical enterprises; and to urge composers to write directly for the band.”
The Greater Pittston Junior Chamber of Commerce held its very first meeting at the chamber offices on Broad Street. The initial members were Patrick Sammon, Frank T. Allen, Neil Donnelly, Joseph F. Castellino. John Purcell, Atty. Thomas Burke, Ronald Miller, Joseph E. Balkunas, Bill Korski, James Powers, Charles Graziano, Don Brady and Michael Kaminski.
1984 – 32 Years Ago
It was official — the Environmental Protection Agency announced the results of drinking water samples taken of the Greater Pittston water supply. The tests confirmed the presence of the giardia parasite, which causes a gastrointestinal illness, at two sampling locations within the water system. A substantial concentration was found in the Springbrook intake reservoir and in water from the distribution system in West Pittston. Many local officials were frustrated with the inaction of Pennsylvania Gas and Water and called for meetings to be held with the utility. The Department of Environmental Resources planned to go to court if necessary to force PG&W to start working on a water filtration system for the long term. For the short-term fix to the problem DER requested three options, extensive chlorination, removing the population from Springbrook to the Nesbitt Reservoir, and a boil adversary to stay in effect. The contamination caused approximately 110,000 people in 17 local towns to boil their water. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “During 2009–2010, the total number of reported cases of giardiasis increased slightly from 19,403 in 2009 to 19,888 in 2010.”
2004 – 12 Years Ago
Many people know it as “The Knox” but there were a lot of people who this knew it up close and personal because they were there on Jan. 22, 1959 when the Susquehanna River broke through an opening and started pouring into the Knox Mine at Port Griffith, killing 12 miners. Photographers Bill and Steve Lukasik of Dupont photographed every tense moment and in 2004, on the 45th anniversary of the mining disaster, they recounted their experiences in the Sunday Dispatch. To get one of their most famous shots, Steve Lukasik stood on an eroded precipice directly above the gigantic whirlpool of river water rushing into the mines below. Steve and Bill were also on hand when an exhausted miner, Joseph Stella, was helped to the surface after spending many hours trying to escape the flooding mines. Those who lost their lives that day were Samuel Altieri, John Baloga, Benjamin Boyar, Francis Burns, Charles Featherman, Joseph Gizenski, Dominick Kaveliskie, Frank Orlowski, Eugene Ostrowski, William Sinclair, Daniel Stefanides, Herman Zelonis. This year will be the 57th anniversary of the mining disaster that virtually ended deep mining in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Born on this date:
1706 -Benjamin Franklin, statesman, diplomat, scientist and inventor who helped draft the Declaration of Independence and wrote Poor Richard’s Almanac.
1899 – Al Capone, U.S. mobster known as “Scarface Al” who ran most of Chicago and the surrounding area.
1922 – Betty White, actress; created memorable characters in TV sitcoms from the 1950s into the 21st century. At age 88 1/2, she became the oldest person ever to host “Saturday Night Live.”
1942 – Muhammad Ali, boxer who is the only three-time heavyweight champion.
1964 – Michelle Robinson Obama, wife of U.S. President Barack Obama.
Reach Judy Minsavage at 570-991-6403 or on Twitter @JudithMinsavage