1961 – 55 years ago
Justin Blewitt, attorney and Edwin A. Sites, executive director of the Pittston City Redevelopent Authority traveled to New York City to see about acquiring property from the Lehigh Valley Railroad. The authority was looking to purchase the “town track which extended from Dock Street in Pittston to a point above Fort Jenkins Bridge.” Acquisition of the properties were necessary to begin the city’s planned redevelopent project. Negotiations were also underway for the purchase of the Pittston Gas Company plant in the rear of the American Theatre.
A proposed closing by the Department of Labor and Industry of the Wilson and Washington Schools in Duryea was under appeal. A hearing was planned to discuss a reversal of the planned closings.
Army Pvt. Gerard P. Roginsky, of Duryea, completed an eight-week course for advanced individual missile training at the Artillery and Missile Center in Oklahoma. He was trained as a crewman on the Corporal surface to surface missile. The Corporal was the first U.S. guided missile system to be approved for nuclear armament and the first operational guided missile of the U.S. Army.
Sergeant First Class Eugene L. Homschek, of Pittston, who was wounded twice during his service in the Army, retired after 20 years. Homschek was first wounded in Germany in World War II and again while serving in the Korean War. Homschek’s brother, Joseph, was killed in action in India during World War II. Another brother Harold also served in the war. Their father, Bernard, served in World War I.
Teen Tappers Mary Ann Hines, Helen Gitkos and Carl Ann Reddington were scheduled to appear on Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour.
1971 – 45 years ago
James Melberger, president of the West Pittston Little League, was appointed to serve on the National Council of Presidents of Little League Baseball. The newly formed council named Melberger, along with four other Little league presidents across the nation, to “chart the future of the expanding Little League baseball program.” Melberger was affiliated with the Little League program for 22 years and was the co-founder of the West Pittston League. In 1966, an impressive state tournament held in West Pittston was said to have contributed to Melberger’s appointment. The tournament was listed as one of the best in the state by players, fans and league officials.
Wyoming Area School District added a new wrestling program. But organizers were not seeing the attendance that other sports in the district were experiencing. In an effort to help the public better understand the sport, an article in the Sunday Dispatch explained how points are obtained and described the ability needed to master the sport. Members of the new Wyoming Area team were John Kropp, P. Pugliese, John Brogan, S. Mattie, Jim Nocek, Peter Mattioli, Willis Hapeman, David Gravell, T. Marriott, T. Quandro, J. Simko, J. Manganiello, Pete Kendzor, Bob Roote, Mike Graham, Mickey Baloga, John Polak, Peter Podwika, T. Connors, Tony Baloga, J. Roback, Len Chesterifled, Robert Burry, Joseph Donahue, Bob Boos, Bill Salus. Team coach was Harry Cooper.
1981 – 35 years ago
Some Pittston moms were up for a challenge as they performed at a talent olympics held in Hershey as the Village Women, a take off on the popular 70s disco group the Village People. Judy Waligorski, Donna Marquez, Cathy Capozucca, Ellie Markavage, Barbara Melnick, Elaine Begley and Loretta Delconte took first place over six other competing parent groups. Mary Ann Arcurie, assistant manager of the David Blight Studio in Pittston, helped the moms choreograph their routine. With over 100 million recordings sold, the Village People received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Theresa Meade, a junior at Pittston Area High School, ranked as one of the top female divers in the region. She placed first six times in her first seven meets and held the Pittston Area team record. Her brother Tom, a 1975 graduate of Pittston Area, set many team diving records and won first place in diving in 33 consecutive league meets.
Debra Gross, of West Wyoming, was appointed commander of the ROTC Unit at Lock Haven State College, She completed Airborne School at Fort Benning, which conducts the basic paratrooper training for the United States armed forces. She was a member of Scabbard and Blade, a national honors society, recognized by Army, Navy and Air Force ROTC, as well as service academics.
1991 – 25 years ago
A deadline was looming and the world collectively held its breath waiting to hear whether the invading Iraqi military would leave its neighboring country of Kuwait peacefully as was mandated by a United Nations Security Council Resolution. Many local families who had loved ones in the military were focused on the news reports. The Boone family, of Avoca, had four sons in the armed forces at the time. Thomas Boone, the oldest, was a First Class Signalman in the Navy aboard a re-fueling ship. Michael, a weapons specialist, was stationed in England. John, a hospital corpsman, was scheduled to report to the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier to be deployed to the Persian Gulf. Paul, an electronic apprentice, was aboard the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt already in the Gulf. Everyone’s fears were realized on Jan. 17 when a 34-nation coalition force led by the United States initiated Operation Desert Storm which lasted until Feb. 28.
Reach Judy Minsavage at 570-991-6403 or on Twitter @JudithMinsavage