1956 – 60 Years Ago
At first Bettilou Mazer of Exeter wasn’t sure she wanted to participate in the 19th annual high school oratorical contest sponsored by the John D. Stark Post of the American Legion, but her teachers convinced her she should. Competing against Anna Ludden, of Pittston; John Rutski, Wyoming; Constance Emigh, West Pittston; Harry Orzello, Hughestown and Daniel Zelonis, Jenkins Township, Mazer took first place with her oration comparing the constitution to a temple and the framers to carpenters. Those organizing the competition were Atty. Richard Hughes past commander of Stark Post and contest chairman; William Horan, senior vice commander; Louis J. Greco, oration chairman; Mr. Orzello, Mr. Rutski, Stark Post commander; Dolph Huber; and Clarence Boone Jr., junior vice commander.
Beginning in 1938, the contest sponsored by the American Legion gives young people from across the country a chance to win $48,000 in scholarships at a national event held each year.
The Sunday Dispatch Inquiring Photographer asked, “What is your favorite form of entertainment?” Leo Para of Inkerman answered, “Television is mine, I watch it seven nights a week. My kids dictate the the choice of programs. I like Perry Como and Dragnet.” Art Kunigiel of Duryea stated, “Sports are mine. You can’t beat sports because you know the boys participating are benefiting from it.” Larry Alexander of Yatesville added, “Going to the Friday night social evening dances at St. John’s is my favorite form of entertainment.”
Pittston Township captured its first East Anthracite Basketball League title by ending their season with 10 wins and three losses.
1966 – 50 Years Ago
The Pittston City School District was prepared to lose $25,000 due to the school’s merger with the Northeast School District. Valuation on properties had, in prior years, been provided by the Pittston City Assessors Office, but after the merger, the assessments were performed by the Luzerne County Assessors Office. In 1965, the city assessed properties in Pittston at $9,429,734, but the county’s assessment figure totaled $8,923,425. School tax was based on 47 mills.
Brothers Sandy and Mike Insalaco opened a new supermarket on the former site of the Lehigh Valley Railroad passenger station. They had owned an operated a smaller market at the former site of the Alpaugh and Barnes Market on South Main Street in Pittston.
The Sunday Dispatch high school correspondents in 1966 were Nancy Konopka, Wyoming High School; Ann Weiscarger, Pittston High School; Pat Wedra, West Wyoming High School; Marsha Scott, West Pittston High School; and Barbara Hannon, Northeast High School.
In 1966, Thomas Kuckla, Dupont; Robert Rowan, Pittston; Paul Hindmarsh, Exeter; Thomas Czar, Pittston; Fred Keiderling, Hughestown; and Robert Chester, Pittston enlisted in the Army under the buddy system. Last used in 2007 and reinstated in 2015, the buddy system allows up to five young men to join the Army and attend basic training in the same location and be assigned to the same duty location for at least 12 months.
Levin’s Furniture on South Main Street advertised a Norge Washer with a free box of Tide detergent inside. A popular brand in the ’60s, Norge Appliance Company also manufactured bullets, gun turrets, and airplane parts during World War II. The brand name now belongs to Whirlpool.
1976 – 40 Years ago
The Pittston Area wrestling season had a disappointing first half, but in the second half the team was showing definite promise in its first win over Bishop Hoban. Fred Lokuta started the ball rolling with a 2 minute pin in the first round, Pat Connors, Arthur Rossi, Dale Eckrote, Bill Elko and Danny Maguire followed suit, each pinning each of their opponents over the 2-minute mark. But Ray Scoda thrilled his team and the cheering spectators by pinning his opponent in 23 seconds.
1986 – 30 Years ago
Serving as the Pittston City controller for over 20 years, Joe Hood decided to retire in 1986. Hood reminiced about his life in Pittston in an article in the Sunday Dispatch. Born in 1901, Hood began his political career in 1920 as a member of the Registration Board. He had seen the days when hundreds of people attended city events and Pittston sidewalks bustled with shoppers every day of the week. As a young man who started as a mule driver at the Number Nine Colliery, Hood worked his way up over a 30-year period to work as an inspector for the State Department of Mines. He was an employee at the state treasurer’s office in Scranton and a county assessor. Of his passion for politics, Hood said, “Some people can take the politics, while others can’t, no matter how hard they try or how long they’re in it. It’s a different ballgame.”
This date in history:
1865 — Columbia, South Carolina, surrenders to Federal troops.
1945 — American paratroopers land on Corregidor, in a campaign to liberate the Philippines.
1965 — Four persons are held in a plot to blow up the Statue of Liberty, Liberty Bell and the Washington Monument.
Reach Judy Minsavage at 570-991-6403 or on Twitter @JudithMinsavage