In 1979, the Pittston YMCA at 34 Broad St. was heavily damaged in a fire. What city park land was generously offered to the organization to enable them to rebuild?
1950 – 66 Years Ago
On the morning of April 21, Jacob Wachs, of Pittston reported to work at the Prospect Street home of Mrs. Margaret Mahon, where he was employed at a gardener. He was unable to gain access to the home. Fearing for the well-being of his employer, Wachs enlisted the help of a neighbor and relative of Mahon, Mrs. Isabelle Moore. Entering through a window, Moore found the wealthy widow laying on the kitchen floor, obviously the victim of foul play. Robbery was ruled out as it was reported that valuable rings were still on the deceased woman’s hand and cash was found in the home. Police were left with few clues even though the apparent murder weapon, a “pinch bar,” was found at the scene. No records show that the murderer was ever apprehended.
1960 – 56 Years Ago
The Northeastern Pennsylvania Chapter of Baseball for Europe, Inc. was founded. William Medico, president of the Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce, met with the managing director of the European organization, which included members such as Milwaukee Braves owner Louis Perini and TV host and newspaper columnist Ed Sullivan. Baseball for Europe was organized to help offer the youth of other countries the experience of the game and to establish a friendly competition between American children and kids in other countries. The ultimate goal was to establish leagues in all countries expanding the game to a world competition. In 1960, Germany was the first European country to compete in the Little League World Series.
Dorothy Mae VanLuvender Slezak was back in her hometown of Dupont. But this time she was performing as country singer Dottie Mae with the Western Jamboree show at Mancini’s Restaurant in Dupont. VanLuvender Slezak recorded and co-wrote songs during her career, some of which are “Something Wonderful,” 1959; “Sugar Doll,” 1959; “I Wonder Where You Are Tonight,” 1959; and “Necessary to Me,” 1959. Co-written with Tom Murman, “Sugar Doll” is listed as her most popular song.
The Greater Pittston Business and Professional Women’s Club honored outstanding area senior girls Sandra Begliomini, West Wyoming; Patricia Berretta, West Pittston; Lucille Maceina, Jenkins Township; Eleanor Jannings, Avoca; Helen Kravitz, Hughestown; Ruth Harmanos, Exeter; JoAnn Melone, Wyoming; Theresa Ann Pennachioli, Pittston and Lorraine Perrins, Pittston Township.
1970 – 46 Years Ago
The Pittston Rotary Club celebrated the 50th anniversary of its founding. Ninety-six members, their wives and guests celebrated along with Clyde Garrison, Rotary president.
“Bullitt,” starring Steve McQueen, was being shown at the Moonlite Drive-in. The Buoys were performing at a Saturday night dance at St. John’s Youth Center, admittance was $1.25. Sunday night TV listings included, “Lassie,” “Perry Mason,” “Wild Kingdom” and “The Ed Sullivan Show.”
Here was a typical school lunch at Pittston Area High School: Monday – whimpie, with corn, lettuce and apple. Tuesday, rigatoni, bread and cherry Jello; Wednesday — hot dog, cinnamon applesauce, chocolate cookie; Thursday — chicken noodle soup, sandwich, cookie and Friday — breaded fish, cole slaw, chips, and banana cake.
St. John Evangelist High School held a parents’ night and organizers thought it would be fun to have an exhibition game played between the boys varsity basketball team and the girls basketball team. In order to “equalize” the game, members of the boys team had to play wearing boxing gloves.
1980 – 36 Years Ago
Tara White was crowned Little Miss Cherry Blossom during the West Pittston Cherry Blossom Festival. Her court included Bernice Krifka, second runner-up; Valerie Evans, third runner-up and Antoinette Strucke, first runner-up. This year, seven Greater Pittston girls between the ages of 5 and 8 will compete for the annual title at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 30.
Tom Tigue, pulled off a “stunning” upset in the 1980 primary election, securing the Democratic nomination for the state legislature. Tigue “did not believe that his victory would create a split in the local Democratic party,” stating, “The only reason I was able to win the nomination was that a lot of people went out and worked – they won the election.” Tigue added, “My wife Dianne also worked very hard.” Tigue was first elected to represent the 118th legislative district in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1980. The late state representative was recently posthumously honored with the Sunday Dispatch Joseph F. Saporito Sr. Lifetime of Service Award.
Elaine Yurek and Bill McCabe participated in the Boston Marathon. Measuring 26.2 miles in length, McCabe, running his second marathon in the city, finished in the top 200 of the 6,000 competing. Yurek was in the top 50 of 450 women racing. In this year’s race, there were over 24,000 qualifiers out of 28,594 applications.
Answer: The officers of the Jefferson Park Playground Association offered their 2-acre site on Cornelia Street for the new location of the Pittston YMCA. When the park was founded in 1952, there were many active members, but over time loss of membership made it difficult to maintain. Chris Latona, former park president, said, “Children are grown, the younger crowd isn’t active, the association would rather give the land to a good cause then see it deteriorate.” The YMCA chose North Main Street for the location of their new building.
This Date In History:
1800 — The Library of Congress is established in Washington, D.C. with a $5,000 allocation.
1980 — A rescue attempt of the U.S. hostages held in Iran fails when a plane collides with a helicopter in the Iranian desert.
1981 — The IBM Personal Computer is introduced.
Reach Judy Minsavage at 570-991-6403 or on Twitter @JudithMinsavage