Newport Township News - 2014
Glen Lyon men help lead woman, pets out of
Two Glen Lyon men rushed into a burning home Monday
afternoon and helped an elderly woman and two of her pets to safety.
Barbara Bralczyk, 69, said she had been watching TV in a bedroom of
her two-story home at 76 W. Enterprise St., and went downstairs to
make a sandwich. When she went to go back upstairs, she saw smoke
at the top of the staircase.
Bralczyk said she wet a towel to put over her mouth and nose and attempted
to climb the stairs to see where the smoke was coming from, but the
smoke was too thick, she said.
That’s when Harry Newhart and Danny Shimko, who both live across the
street, rushed into the home and found Bralczyk on the stairs, Newhart
“As you ran in the door, you could hear the crackling of the (burning)
wood,” Newhart said. “There was a lot of smoke. You could feel the
heat from the fire upstairs.”
“Danny got the dog. She picked up the cat, and I helped her out,”
said Newhart, who has lived across the street from Bralczyk and her
husband, Bolish, for about 30 years.
Bolish Bralczyk, 72, had left to tend bar at the American Legion not
long before the fire started, just before 4:30 p.m. When he arrived
back at the scene, he saw the home he and his wife have lived in since
1968 in ruins.
Newport Township Fire Chief John Floryshak said the both the first
and second floors of the home were totally engulfed in flames when
firefighters arrived. He estimated the house to be a total loss.
Floryshak said one junior firefighter was injured. The chief didn’t
have details on how the man was injured or the extent of his injuries,
but he didn’t believe those injuries were serious.
The firefighter was taken to an ambulance by stretcher and transported
to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Plains Township for
evaluation. His condition was not immediately available.
Floryshak also said the couple’s pet turtle perished in the fire.
The chief said he had not had a chance to speak with the homeowners
before briefing members of the press, and he couldn’t make a determination
as to the cause.
Barbara Bralczyk had confirmed to police that a space heater was in
use in the home, but it wasn’t yet known if it caused the two-alarm
fire. As firefighters began to battle the blaze, she stood on a sidewalk
across the street with her pets.
“We got there and the lady was just standing there. Then out of nowhere,
everybody started coming with blankets,” said Fawn Mukerjee, who lives
a few streets away and went to the scene because her neighbor is friends
with the Bralczyks.
Soon, another neighbor brought out a rocking chair, and Barbara Bralczyk
was sitting in it, wrapped in several blankets, when reporters arrived.
Mukerjee said a boy, about 10 years old, ran to his home several blocks
away and ran back with another blanket for the elderly fire victim,
concerned that she still wasn’t warm enough. The boy tried to comfort
the Bralczyks’ dog, as well, she said.
‘Your heart breaks’
“It’s little stuff like that, to see a community come together. Your
heart breaks, especially at this time of year,” Mukerjee said.
Bolish Bralczyk said he and his wife would stay with family, but he
didn’t know about their dog, Tyson, because the family pet doesn’t
get along well with other canines, and the couple’s relatives also
He said the home is insured, but he didn’t know if he would rebuild
on that property.
Nanticoke City, Hanover Township, Mocanaqua and Slocum Township fire
departments assisted Newport Township, as did Ashley Ambulance, Slocum
Township Ambulance, Medic 25 and Medic 9.
Man faces charges after fleeing police pursuit
Jacob Seibel - Citizens Voice
Newport Township police were clocking speeders in a
35 mph zone Oct. 29 on Roberts Street when a motorcycle zipped by
doing 80 mph.
The driver, identified as 22-year-old Eddie Vega-Pagan, turned right
on Prince Street leading toward Nanticoke, then looked over his shoulder
as police flipped on their emergency lights and sounded the siren,
The driver was doing 100 mph now, weaving in and out of traffic and
passing vehicles in oncoming lanes, and police stopped their pursuit
because Pagans recklessness could have jeopardized public safety,
Police were able to get the motorcycles registration number,
which came back to the owner of Kus New and Used Tires in Wilkes-Barre.
Police learned that the owner had sold the motorcycle to one of his
employees. Police said the fleeing driver had the helmets face
shield up during the pursuit and the officer who saw the drivers
face said the employee didnt fit the suspects description.
Arrest papers do not indicate why someone else had the employees
Newport Township police Chief Jeremy Blank was off duty at the tire
shop Nov. 7 looking to get tire for his personal vehicle when he saw
the suspect and the motorcycle.
Blank contacted police, who stopped Vega-Pagan in Nanticoke and took
him into custody, according to the affidavit. He told police the man
operating the motorcycle was buying the vehicle from him and that
that man was taking the motorcycle for a test drive. Police told him
they thought he was lying, stopped the interview and told him charges
will be filed against him.
Vega-Pagan, of Wilkes-Barre, was charged with a felony count of fleeing
and seven summary traffic offenses. He was jailed Wednesday at the
Luzerne County Correctional Facility, unable to post $75,000 straight
cash bail set by Magisterial District Judge Donald Whittaker.
Glen Lyon post office could see hour changes
Given limited options regarding postal service in their
town, Glen Lyon residents chose the only one that means their post
office will remain open. Now, it’s just a matter of when.
Gregory Miller, manager of Post Office Operations for the Central
Pennsylvania District of the U.S. Postal Service, met with residents
at the Glen Lyon American Legion on Monday to discuss options for
the town’s post office.
The Glen Lyon Post Office, established in 1886, is one of thousands
across the United States that are slated for reductions in retail
service hours as part of the USPS’s efforts to streamline operations
and cut costs. The federal agency is bleeding billions of dollars
due to customers sending fewer first-class mail as well as hefty rises
in operational costs.
Miller told the approximately 60 residents who attended the meeting
that it was the largest turnout of any of the meetings that he has
conducted in the district pertaining to local post office retail service
hour reductions or closures. “Normally, we have 10 or 20 people,”
Miller said The USPS’s “Post Plan” entails reducing the retail hours
at post offices that have historically produced less revenue from
eight hours a day to two, four or six hours a day.
He 914 surveys were mailed to all households in Glen Lyon asking residents
to choose an option for service. Of the 239 that were returned:
• 96 percent preferred realignment of hours.
• 2 percent preferred closing the post office and having residents
utilize a nearby post office.
• 1 percent opted for a Village Post Office operation, which would
entail a local retail business providing postal services and products.
Miller said that based on what most respondents preferred, the new
hours will be 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and the Saturday
hours of 10 a.m. to noon would remain the same.
Some residents at the meeting said they never received surveys, and
many didn’t like the hours selected.
A vote was taken among meeting attendees, with 23 preferring retail
hours of 8 a.m. to noon, four preferring 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and
22 voting for 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Cameron Whitemire said those hours wouldn’t allow him to ever get
to the post office because of his work schedule.
“The post office is not being flexible in any way, shape or form,”
Miller said that if more people returned surveys, which he will make
sure are available at the post office over the next few days, the
USPS can adjust the hours “to meet the needs of the community.” He
expects a decision will be made within 10 days, and the decision will
go into effect within 45 days after that.
An audience member asked if the post office can be open in the morning
on some days and in the afternoon on others, Miller said it’s “not
completely out of the question.”
Lorrie Materewicz, president of the Glen Lyon American Legion Auxiliary,
urged residents to utilize the Glen Lyon post office for all their
mailing and purchasing of stamps, money orders and other items to
help ensure that the office is not considered for closure sometime
in the future, given that decisions are based on post office revenue.
Several residents asked that a wider variety of products be sold at
the Glen Lyon Post Office. They said post offices in Nanticoke and
Wilkes-Barre have better selections.
Miller said it’s difficult to make such changes because, even though
Congress doesn’t provide funding to the USPS, all decisions have to
be approved by the legislators.
Newport Twp. couple arrested in domestic
Jacob Seibel - Citizens Voice
Newport Township police arrested a couple after the
boyfriend choked his girlfriend for throwing rocks at him, according
to police affidavits.
Richard L. Rudy Jr., 39, of 1012 W. Main Ave., Nanticoke, and April
L. Mitchell, 23, of 331 W. Shawnee Ave., Plymouth, were jailed Thursday
at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility on assault charges.
Mitchell was sitting on a guardrail with Rudy beside her when police
pulled up to them near Mill and Jim’s Parkway Inn on the Kirmar Parkway,
according to affidavits. As Chief Jeremy Blank got out of his vehicle,
Rudy told him he was too late and he had already been hit with the
rocks, arrest papers said.
Mitchell told the officer that Rudy choked her, according to arrest
papers. Blank said there was redness and slight swelling around Mitchell’s
throat where she said Rudy had both his hands around her neck. Mitchell
told police Rudy threatened to kill her and slammed her off the guardrail,
according to arrest papers.
Police also charged Rudy with possessing drug paraphernalia after
they found two marijuana pipes on him, which arrest papers said he
denied were his.
The couple’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. June 25 before
Magisterial District Judge Donald Whittaker, who set Rudy’s bail at
10 percent of $10,000 and set Mitchell’s at 10 percent of $2,500.
|As the Commissioners
come closer to beginning the construction of the new municipal
building, a loan must be obtained to complete the financing.
The total estimated cost of the new building is $650,000.
The Township has received a $500,000 grant from the Commonwealth
Financing Agency and needs to borrow another $150,000. At
its regular meeting the Commissioners approved an Ordinance
to provide for the borrowing, as well as, the note that will
be executed with Franklin Securities. Attached is a copy of
Ordinance and Note.
Thief ordered to stay away from most cemeteries
Admitted thief Scott Wylie is no longer allowed where
other people are dying to go.
A Luzerne County judge on Friday banned Wylie from entering any cemetery
unless he's visiting the grave of a "loved one."
Wylie, 27, was in court for sentencing after pleading guilty in February
to a theft charge related to him stealing 500 feet of fencing, fence
posts and rails, and two gates from the Newport Township Cemetery
in Newport Township.
Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Vough determined the 214 days Wylie
had already spent jailed for the crime was sufficient. Wylie was jailed
from March 14 to Dec. 13 after he was arraigned by Magisterial District
Judge Donald Whittaker, of Nanticoke, who ordered Wylie in prison
on $100,000 cash bail.
While on parole for the next year and five months, Wylie must attend
the county's Day Reporting Center, a facility in Wilkes-Barre that
nonviolent drug offenders attend for court-mandated drug-and-alcohol
testing and treatment plans, Vough ruled.
Wylie, whose last known address is 219 W. South St. in Nanticoke,
stole the cemetery's fencing to get money to buy synthetic marijuana,
Newport Township police said at the time of his arrest. Wylie told
police he was addicted to the drug, arrest papers say.
According to a police affidavit, officers received a tip that Wylie
was heard talking about fencing and selling it to ABC Auto Parts in
Hunlock Township. Police went there and found the missing fencing,
police said. Workers at the facility said Wylie often came to sell
metal and had just came days earlier with an "unusual" 500-pound
In addition to being banned from cemeteries, Wylie must pay $7,000
restitution to the Newport Township Cemetery Association, Vough ruled.
Work can begin on new Newport Twp. building
The Luzerne County Planning Commission on Thursday cleared
the way for Newport Township to begin work on a new municipal building.
The township plans to build a 3,600-square-foot facility along West
Kirmar Parkway to replace the current township building, which was
built in 1911, township Manager Richard Zika said. The current facility
is not handicapped-accessible, with the police department on the second
floor, and is "terrible to heat," he said.
"We've been fighting for a long time," Zika said after the
board gave its approval.
Last March, the Commonwealth Financing Authority awarded the township
$500,000 in gaming funds as part of $12.5 million in funding for 37
projects throughout Luzerne County.
Zika said that while the township had requested nearly $800,000, leaders
were still grateful for what they got and didn't put in a request
for more funding this year. The township scaled down the size of the
project and had to get $150,000 in bank financing to cover the project's
$650,000 budget, he said.
The board discussed two main issues with the proposal on Thursday
- a financial security guarantee and a fire hydrant.
The fire department issued a letter saying it could adequately provide
coverage for the site, although the chief recommended a hydrant be
installed on location.
Thomas Barna, an engineer with Penneastern Engineering, said installing
a 6-inch line from the nearest mains on Miner Avenue or Main Street
would cost another $45,000-$55,000. He noted that the building will
be equipped with a sprinkler system and that the hydrant at the old
municipal building will be about 1,600 feet away.
"They can provide service through the existing facility at its
location now," Barna said.
Solicitor Stephen Menn advised that the county should not have a liability
issue given the letter from the department indicating it will be able
to provide adequate fire protection, saying a new hydrant appeared
to be "a matter of convenience" for the department.
The township also sought a waiver of a financial security guarantee
- money put up to ensure the promised improvements will be made.
"Usually we're very strict on requiring financial guarantee,"
Chairman N. Brian Caverly said. "The main exception is when it's
a municipal body. We certainly go out of our way to support the municipality,
particularly for something like this."
The board waived the guarantee and approved the project subject to
receipt of a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation highway occupancy
Zika said the township hopes to put the project out for bid in May
or June and begin construction on the four-month project by late summer.
Newport Cemetery group missing money
The Newport Cemetery Association is facing dire financial
With only about $2,000 in funds available to the association, which
represents the Newport Cemetery, thousands of dollars are unaccounted
for, said association president Christiane Fox.
According to Fox, board members are seeking an audit to determine
what happened to the unaccounted money - but they cannot afford an
"We can't pay an auditor," Fox said. "Now we have people
who are driving on our tombstones down there because we have no fence
up there. We have no money to even get a fence to put up."
Thieves in May stole the chain-link fence surrounding the cemetery
in two separate heists, according to reports previously published
in The Citizens' Voice.
Fox said the fence was eventually recovered when someone attempted
to pawn it for money, but it was already cut into pieces, rendering
it useless as a fence.
Former Luzerne County Community College secretary Janet Griffith served
as the association's secretary-treasurer from 2007 until last year,
Fox said. Griffith in September was sentenced to six months of house
arrest after pleading guilty to a felony count of theft. Authorities
said Griffith took at least $16,800 that was supposed to be deposited
in the school's coffers between 2009 and 2011.
Fox stressed no wrongdoing has been proven on Griffith's part concerning
the missing funds within the association. Fox said the missing funds
"could be people that are just not paying."
"I do really 100 percent believe people are not paying,"
But it is difficult to determine what is what because the former secretary-treasurer
"wasn't very good" at keeping records, she said.
A message was left Monday attached to Griffith's home mailbox, asking
her to offer comment regarding the unaccounted-for records. The message
was not returned Monday night.
Fox said she would prefer to handle the financial situation internally,
but that would be difficult considering the records the association
is left with.
"(There are) no receipts, hardly any records," Fox said.
Hundreds of people dating back to the 1700s have been interred at
the Newport Cemetery. Some families pay for perpetual care, but many
others are supposed to pay dues for the upkeep of the cemetery.
The Newport Cemetery Association will hold its annual meeting at 6
tonight at Guardian Eldercare, 147 Old Newport Road, Nanticoke. Fox
said the room is usually empty for these meetings, with few, if any,
residents besides the eight board members attending. But with the
possibility the cemetery "would just have to go under" if
help is not offered, Fox said she hopes those with loved ones buried
at Newport Cemetery will attend and volunteer.
"It's just disappointing that it had to come this far,"
Fox said one of the expenses that cannot be accommodated this year
is grass-cutting, as the landscaper for the season would be paid $2,000,
which would wipe out the association's funds.
"We can't do that. We can't pay someone $2,000 tomorrow,"
Fox said. "We pay someone $2,000 tomorrow, we're wiped out, we're
According to Fox, she and her husband plan to voluntarily keep up
with maintenance at the cemetery, hoping others follow suit.
Commercial structure damaged by fire in Newport
Josh Horton - Citizens Voice
Newport Township and Nanticoke fire departments were called to a commercial
structure fire at 110 W. Kirmar Ave. on Wednesday afternoon.
Newport Township Fire Chief John Floryshak said the fire broke out
from the side of the building and spread to the back. Firefighters
arrived and put the fire out within 10 minutes. No one was hurt, Floryshak
Although the fire is under investigation, Floryshak didn't believe
there was anything suspicious about the blaze.
Floryshak said the back of the building is used by Mel Dudeck's business
Dudeck Heating & Plumbing; he was unsure who used the garage area
in the front.
commissioners, tax collector sworn in at Newport Township board of
Commissioners reorganization meeting..click here to read