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Newport News - 2019
8/3/2019
Officials cracking down on code violations in Glen Lyon
bkalinowski@citizensvoice.com

An angry couple gave Code Enforcement Officer Joe Hillan an earful Thursday morning after they spotted him taping a quality-of-life citation to the door of their Coal Street home in the township’s Glen Lyon section.
The four abandoned vehicles in the couple’s yard are an eyesore, Hillan told them.
“They’ve been warned and they keep violating the law, so we cited them,” Hillan said.
The couple will be cited $50 for each vehicle under the township’s Quality of Life Ordinance, he said.
The citation was one of 46 quality-of-life tickets township officials and police wrote out Thursday during a code enforcement sweep of the township’s Glen Lyon section. They also issued 10 property maintenance violations.
Most of the citations were issued for out-of-control grass and weeds and excessive clutter on properties, including abandoned vehicles One was issued to the owner of a boat that was in a parking lot being used to store items.
“That’s not being used as a boat,” Building Inspector Jeff Pisanchyn said. “You can’t imagine some of the stuff we see.”
Hillan, a lifelong resident of Glen Lyon, said he is mindful the town was named in one study in 2016 as the most distressed place in Pennsylvania. However, he doesn’t think that’s any excuse for people to neglect their properties.
“We are not asking for the world. Just clean up,” Hillan said. “It doesn’t take money. Just cut your grass and keep your property clean.”
Hillan was joined Thursday by Pisanchyn, of Pisanchyn Inspection Agency, and three Newport Twp. police officers.
At the time of the 2016 study, nearly a third of properties in Glen Lyon were vacant. Hillan said a portion of the township’s housing stock was purchased at sheriff’s sales and then neglected by the new owners.
Police Chief Jeremy Blank, who lives in Glen Lyon, said some people simply don’t do anything to the properties they own.
“For the most part, it’s a nice town, but you have certain people who refuse to do anything with their properties,” Blank said.
Hillan said more code enforcement pushes are planned for the future, issuing a warning to property owners to clean up or be cited.
“We do it everyday, but sometimes we try to do a bigger push like today,” Hillan said.

8/3/2019
Man who sliced own face after argument with girlfriend pleads guilty to assault charge
pkernan@timesleader.com

A Newport Township man pleaded guilty Thursday to charges stemming from allegations he injured his girlfriend during a fight.
Police said the defendant sliced his own face with a razor blade in an attempt to frame his girlfriend in the fight.
Patrick M. Kulina, 31, appeared before Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Vough on Thursday, where he pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count each of simple assault and filing a false report.
Prosecutors withdrew counts of strangulation and harassment.
Kulina was arrested in May after an altercation at the couple’s Old Newport Street apartment.
Kulina’s girlfriend told police that Kulina arrived at her place of work with her daughter, while drinking alcohol from a travel cup. He was denied entry to the building by security.
While the girlfriend was heading home, she spotted Kulina and offered him a ride.
Upon arriving at home, she told police, Kulina attacked her, struck her head off a counter and punched her in the head.
She allegedly fought back, punching him in the face causing a laceration near his eye as he strangled her.
She fled to a neighbor’s apartment.
When police arrived, Kulina denied he was drinking, but officers smelled alcohol on his breath. They also noticed a rolling pin and a bloody razor on the counter.
Kulina claimed the woman assaulted him, causing lacerations on his face, but officers then noticed the razor blade and the rolling pin were missing.
He later admitted to cutting himself with the blade in an attempt to have the woman arrested.
After Kulina pleaded guilty Thursday, Vough immediately sentenced to spend a year on probation.
He was ordered to have no adverse contact with either the victim or any of the witnesses. He also must maintain full-time employment.

7/12/2019
Developer plans hardware store in Newport Twp.’s Wanamie section
dallabaugh@citizensvoice.com

Luzerne County Planning Commission granted preliminary approval Thursday for developer Robert Cragle to begin site work to construct a 4,000-square-foot hardware store with 2,000 square feet for lumber storage in the Wanamie section of Newport Twp.
Cragle, a union electrician for 25 years, plans to build the store on a 3-acre vacant site at 1001 Center St. next to his home.
He said after the meeting that he originally wanted to open a sporting goods store. After seeing a demand for lumber and other materials in the area, however, he thought opening a hardware store with lumber storage would be a better idea.
There is no hardware store in Newport Twp. and not everyone in the area always wants to travel to big chains like Home Depot and Lowe’s, he said. If something breaks, he said he believes people just want a quick fix and they don’t want to travel far to get a part they need.
Cragle hopes to complete the store in two years. He is currently doing wiring work at True Value Company, which is occupying more than 1 million square feet in a distribution center in Hanover Twp. near Luzerne County Community College.
With his background in electrical work and construction, he said he could offer personal service and advice.
Luzerne County Planning Commission granted Cragle preliminary approval to add approximately 22 parking spaces to the site.
Heath Eddy, executive director of Luzerne County Planning Commission, said Cragle can start grading and improving the property but he still needs to receive permits before he can start building as well as final approval for his sewage plan from Newport Twp

7/11/2019
Glen Lyon teen charged in robbery
David Singleton - Citizens Voice

A Luzerne County teenager faces robbery, theft and other charges after city police say he stole $160 from someone he met in West Scranton under the pretext of selling a video game console.
Jaden Monche, 17, of 212 E. Main St., Glen Lyon, was arraigned Wednesday and held in Lackawanna County Prison on $25,000 bail.
Joshua Owen told police he met Monche and two other people May 3 at a convenience store on South Main Avenue after making plans to buy a PlayStation 4 console in exchange for $160 and his old PlayStation 2. Owen got into a car with the trio and handed $160 to Monche, police said. Monche then pulled a knife and ordered Owen out of the car before it sped away with the victim’s money, cellphone and a backpack with the old Playstation console.
Monche’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday.

7/2/2019
Wrongful death suit filed against Kingston nursing home
jhalpin@citizensvoice.com

The estate administrators of a Glen Lyon woman filed a wrongful death suit Monday against a Kingston nursing home, alleging caretakers failed to adequately treat bed sores that ultimately claimed her life.
Donna Ricketts, 67, died of septic shock and other ailments brought on by the lack of care she received at ManorCare Health Services-Kingston, according to the complaint.
The lawsuit, filed by Ricketts’ sons, alleges she did not have any pressure ulcers when she was admitted to the facility at 200 Second Ave. on Oct. 13, 2017.
The staff was aware that Ricketts, who suffered from leg swelling, was at risk for skin breakdown yet did not implement a plan for preventing pressure ulcers from developing, says the complaint by Pittsburgh-based attorney A. Michael Gianantonio.
Soon after being admitted, Ricketts began developing bed sores, yet the staff still failed to implement interventions, according to the complaint.
During her time at the facility, Ricketts steadily lost weight and developed more sores, including a large sore on her right hip that developed a “black necrotic cap,” the complaint alleges.
On Feb. 19, 2018, Ricketts was admitted to Wilkes-Barre General Hospital to be treated for sepsis and an acute ulcer, according to the complaint.
“Because of the infection developed as a result of the avoidable pressure wounds, Ms. Ricketts’s condition continued to deteriorate until she passed away on March 12, 2018,” Gianantonio wrote.
The complaint alleges ManorCare failed to take appropriate action to prevent and treat Ricketts’ pressure sores. The estate is seeking unspecified damages.

6/21/2019
Glen Lyon woman charged with threatening to blow up county building
elewis@timesleader.com

A woman from Glen Lyon was charged earlier this week after she allegedly threatened to blow up the Luzerne County Children and Youth Services building on North Pennsylvania Avenue.
Tina Marie Billotti, 42, of East Main Street, made the alleged threat that was overheard by another woman in the lobby on Monday, according to court records.
Billotti was charged by the county sheriff’s department with terroristic threats and disorderly conduct. She was released on $10,000 unsecured bail after she was arraigned by District Judge Alexandra Kokura Kravitz in Pittston.
According to the criminal complaint:
A sheriff deputy stationed at the building was approached by Children and Youth Supervisor Brian Steve at about 12:30 p.m.
Steve told the deputy there was a woman, identified as Billotti, in the lobby area who made threats to blow up the building.
Another woman with children in the lobby overheard Billotti saying if she did not get her children back after a hearing in October, she was going to return with a bomb and blow up the Children and Youth building, the complaint says.
Billotti was detained by the sheriff deputy.
After being read her Miranda rights, Billotti stated the reason she threatened to blow up the building was she was upset at Children and Youth and with her situation, the complaint says.
The alleged threat to Children and Youth is not the first time the county agency has been targeted.
Phillip Finn Jr., 49, of Plains Township, was charged in March 2017 after he allegedly firebombed Children and Youth Services after the agency took his 8-year-old daughter from him. Finn was indicted by a federal grand jury in July 2017, and a superseding indictment was filed against him in May alleging he attempted to get a witness to withhold information.

6/6/2019
Warehouse project eyed for coal land near LCCC
By Borys Krawczeniuk - Citizens Voice

A New Jersey developer has plans for up to 1.5 million square feet of new warehousing on reclaimed former coal mining land near Luzerne County Community College.
Earth Conservancy President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Dziak revealed the project after a news conference in downtown Scranton where a federal Environmental Protection Agency official announced another $500,000 grant to help the conservancy clean up more abandoned mine land near the college.
The New Jersey developer’s warehouse project would sit on about 130 acres in Nanticoke and Newport and Hanover townships. It is separate but not far from several warehouses built in the neighborhood by Missouri-based NorthPoint Development, Dziak said. Dziak declined to name the New Jersey developer because the deal remains incomplete.
The company would likely develop the 130 acres in 2021. Plans call for multiple buildings, but could change.
“We’ll see how they configure it,” Dziak said. “A lot depends on the market. Right now, big buildings are in vogue.”
In the last few years, NorthPoint has developed warehouses in the same neighborhood for Spreetail, an online home and garden products retailer; Chewy.com, a pet products manufacturer; Adidas, the sneaker company; Patagonia, a clothing retailer; and True Value, the hardware retailer.
Reclaiming the 130 acres will cost about $7 million by the time the land is ready for development, Dziak said. The project will include a roundabout at Middle Road and Prospect Street that feeds an access road to the land, he said.
He has no estimate of the number of jobs the project will create because its nature remains so uncertain, he said.
“We won’t know that for a long time,” Dziak said.
The $500,000 grant will help pay for the design of a $3 million project to clean up another 50 acres unrelated to the New Jersey developer’s project, Dziak said.
EPA has awarded the conservancy about $4 million over the years to clean up rocky and scarred abandoned mine land, a remnant of the region’s long-gone coal mining era. In all, the conservancy has cleaned up more than half the more than 16,000 acres of former Blue Coal Co. land in Luzerne County that it acquired in August 1994 for about $12.5 million. Former U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski helped obtain the land with a special $20 million federal budget earmark.

5/23/2019
Police: Man cut face in scheme to implicate girlfriend
James Halpin - Citizens Voice

A Newport Twp. man beat and choked his girlfriend while in a drunken rage, then cut his own face with a razor as part of a scheme to get her thrown into jail, according to police.
Police said the trouble began when Patrick M. Kulina, 31, of 143 Old Newport St., took a bus to his girlfriend's work, drinking alcohol from a travel cup with her 4-year-old daughter in tow. Security officers denied entry to Kulina, who was drunk, and his girlfriend, Sally Atkins, subsequently gave him a ride home, the charges allege.
When police responded to Kulina's apartment around 6:10 p.m. Tuesday, Kulina claimed Atkins attacked him with a rolling pin that was on the kitchen counter.
Kulina claimed he had not been drinking, but police said he smelled of alcohol and they observed an empty vodka bottle on the floor of the apartment, which was in a state of disarray and appeared to have been the scene of a struggle.
Officers also observed multiple bruises on Atkins' head, neck and chest, police said.
Atkins reported when they got to the apartment she told Kulina to leave but he pushed his way inside. Kulina then began throwing Atkins around the apartment, hitting her head on the kitchen counter and squeezing her neck so she could not breathe, according to police.
At one point during the struggle, Atkins punched Kulina in the face, causing a cut near his right eye with a ring, the complaint said.
Police said as Atkins was leaving the apartment, Kulina occupied himself by "throwing himself face first onto the floor."
After speaking with Atkins in another apartment, police noticed a razor that had been on the counter of Kulina's apartment had been moved and the rolling pin was gone. Kulina also had new injuries and was bleeding from his forehead and the right side of his face, police said.
Kulina claimed all the injuries on his face were the result of being attacked by Atkins, according to the complaint. However, Patrolman Thomas Nalbone had taken pictures of Kulina when he first arrived on scene, and the pictures showed Kulina sustained additional injuries while he was alone in the apartment, police said.
Confronted with the pictures, Kulina admitted he cut himself with the razor in an effort to have Atkins arrested so he could stay in the apartment, the complaint said.
Police charged Kulina with aggravated assault, strangulation, simple assault, making a false report and harassment. Magisterial District Judge Joseph D. Spagnuolo Jr. arraigned him on the charges Wednesday morning and set bail at $100,000.
Kulina was being held at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility with a preliminary hearing set for June 5.

5/7/2019
Bureau of Forestry probes wildfires around Nanticoke
Staff Report - Citizens Voice

The Bureau of Forestry is investigating wildfires that were intentionally set around Nanticoke.
The bureau is offering a $1,500 reward for information that leads to an arrest.
According to a news release:
Several wildfires were set the evening of April 3 in Newport Twp. and Hanover Twp. outside of Nanticoke.
At the time the fires were set, eastern Pennsylvania was under a "red flag warning," a warning issued by the National Weather Service to indicate increased wildfire danger.
The fires burned dozens of acres.
"Circumstances around all of these fires have led us to the conclusion that the fires have been intentionally set. Some of the fires have put public and firefighter lives and property at risk, which is of great concern," said Michael Kern, chief of the bureau's Division of Forest Fire Protection, in the press release. "Intentionally setting a wildfire is arson and we take that very seriously. We are asking for anyone who may have information to come forward."
Information can be forwarded to bureau Special Investigator Terry Smith at 717-362-1472 or at terrsmith@pa.gov. Anonymous tips also will be accepted but do not qualify for the reward.

4/25/2019
Newport Twp. man charged with cruelty to animals
Eric Mark - Citizens Voice

A Newport Twp. man failed to provide veterinary care for his injured pit bull after it was attacked by another dog last month, authorities allege.
Burton Steltz, 52, is charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, cruelty to animals and neglect of animals in connection with the incident.
According to an affidavit filed by a humane society police officer for the SPCA of Luzerne County:
An officer responded to Steltz’s Center Street home on March 16, after the SPCA received a call about an incident the previous evening in which a dog was allegedly hurt.
Steltz told the officer his dog Dusty had been attacked by another of his dogs and had a broken leg. Steltz allowed the officer to see the injured dog, which was lying on its side and unable to get up, with blood coming from its ears. The dog had visible puncture wounds, the officer observed.
The officer told Steltz the dog needed immediate veterinary treatment, but Steltz said he would not have the money until he got paid. He agreed to sign the dog over to the SPCA so it could receive immediate care.
The dog was taken to Northeast Veterinary Referral Hospital, where a veterinarian determined it had severe soft tissue injuries. After the dog was released to the SPCA, an examination revealed puncture wounds to its chest, neck and legs and other injuries.
Steltz was arraigned Wednesday and released on $50,000 unsecured bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 15.

4/6/2019
Glen Lyon man sentenced for child pornography
elewis@timesleader.com

As a first time offender, a Glen Lyon man was eligible for a probationary sentence on charges he downloaded and viewed child pornography.
Instead, Kyle Christian Kazmierski will spend several months in jail.
Kazmierski, 28, appeared Friday before Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Vough to be sentenced on 13 counts of child pornography and a single count of dissemination of children engaged in sex acts. He pleaded guilty to the charges in January.
Kazmierski’s attorney, Vito DeLuca, told Vough his client was eligible for the county’s Intermediate Punishment Program for first time offenders. Kazmierski also has been attending counseling since his arrest by state police in July.
Vough asked Kazmierski if he was employed.
“I haven’t been able to find a job,” Kazmierski replied.
“How do you support yourself?” Vough asked.
DeLuca said Kazmierski resides with his parents.
Vough sentenced Kazmierski to nine-to-23 months in the county correctional facility followed by three years probation. He also must register his address with authorities for 25 years under the state’s Megan’s Law.
State police said they found 13 videos of children engaged in sex acts on a computer inside Kazmierski’s home on Engle Street. Kazmierski told troopers he had been viewing child pornography for four to five years, court records say.
Kazmierski had been free on $100,000 bail, and was sent to jail after the sentencing hearing.

3/21/2019
Glen Lyon’s enduring miracle
By William C. Kashatus, Citizens' Voice correspondent / Published: December 14, 2014
Newport Webdesign found this article (enjoy)

What would December be like without a brand new Christmas film? Since the 1930s, Hollywood has given us a long list of yuletide movies, including: “A Christmas Carol,” “Miracle on 34th Street,” “White Christmas,” “It’s A Wonderful Life,” “The Santa Clause,” and, of course, this year’s black comedy, “A Merry Friggin’ Christmas,” coming to theaters soon.
Few local residents realize, however, that “The Miracle of the Bells” was a popular TV re-run every Christmas for nearly a decade in many parts of the nation. Although the movie received mixed reviews after it premiered in 1948, later audiences came to appreciate the film’s simple but enduring message of “faith, hope and renewal.”
For those who live in the Wyoming Valley, “The Miracle of the Bells” represents a culture and a time we will never see again. It also continues to spark the interest of the movie-going current generation because of its fascinating — if not controversial — backstory.
Based on the best-selling novel by Russell Janney, “The Miracle of the Bells” told the life story of Olga Treskoff, an aspiring local actress and native of Glen Lyon, a once-bustling coal town in Newport Township. Some scenes were shot on location with as many as 600 residents being used as “extras” at $10 each. Also featured are several of the town’s prominent structures, including St. Michael’s Church and the once imposing coal breaker.
“Miracle of the Bells” is a touching story about an aspiring actress named Olga Treskovna (played in the film by Alida Valli) who escapes the sooty environment of Coaltown, Pennsylvania, for Hollywood. Through a series of incredible circumstances, Olga manages to land the highly coveted role of Joan of Arc in a film about the French heroine’s life. Tragically, Olga dies suddenly after wrapping up the film’s final scene.
Marcus Hook, a hard-nosed movie producer (Lee J. Cobb) wants to reshoot the film with another, better-known actress, rather than risk losing a fortune on an “unknown” who he can no longer groom for stardom. But press agent Bill Dunnigan (Fred MacMurray), who has journeyed to Coaltown to learn Olga’s life story, tries to persuade Harris to release “Joan of Arc” as originally filmed.
To create a national demand for the release of the movie, Dunnigan enlists the aid of Father Paul (Frank Sinatra), the priest of a poor parish named “St. Michael the Archangel,” and purchases a day’s worth of bell ringing from the local churches. In the middle of the publicity stunt, a miracle occurs at St. Michael’s when mine subsidence beneath the church causes the statues of the Virgin Mary and St. Michael to turn seeming to stare at Olga’s casket. As a result, the bells continue to ring for three full days.
This “miracle,” originating in the simple goodness of a young movie actress born and raised in Coaltown, not only convinces Harris to change his mind, but transforms the community from spiritual poverty to faith, hope and love for each other.
The inspiration for Janney’s novel was Olga Treskoff, who was born Anna Trotzski on May 7, 1892 in Glen Lyon. Her family lived at 66 E. Main St. and her father, Jan, and some of her brothers worked in the coal mines. After elementary school, Anna worked as a domestic servant for a wealthy family in Wilkes-Barre. By 1913, she had moved to New York City, changed her name to Olga Treskoff (after the title role of a 1913 film starring Helen Gardner), and appeared in several silent films.
In 1920, Olga met Russell Janney, a Broadway producer. They became business partners as well as lovers. Between 1921 and 1934 the couple co-produced several plays and musicals on Broadway and in London. The most successful of these was a 1925 musical titled, The Vagabond King, in which Olga had the role of Lady Mary. In mid-1937, Olga became ill with cancer and died a year later on April 21, 1938.
Devastated by her untimely death, Janney, at age 46, accompanied her body to Glen Lyon. Her funeral was held at St. Michael the Archangel Church and she was buried in the parish cemetery. Though he continued to produce plays, Janney often returned to Newport Township to visit Olga’s grave site. During one of these visits he was inspired to write the novel, “Miracle of the Bells.” Published in 1946, the novel became an immediate best seller.
In October 1946, Janney sold the rights to Jesse L. Lasky and Walker MacEwen, producers for RKO Pictures, which released the film two years later in 1948. The novelist netted $100,000 plus five percent of the producers’ gross up to the first $4 million. After $4 million, Janney was to receive 10 percent of the producers’ gross, with no maximum limit set.
Interestingly, Irving Pichel, who directed the film, did not want to shoot any of the scenes in Glen Lyon. The town’s well-constructed houses, paved streets and bustling business district did not meet his expectations of what a dilapidated mining town should be. Instead, he tried to convince producers Lasky and MacEwen that a sound stage with unpainted shacks, muddy streets and culm banks would make the scenery more realistic to the expectations of moviegoers.
Ultimately, a compromise was reached. While most of the filming would be completed at a reproduction movie set of a Pennsylvania mining town at RKO’s Forty Acres ranch in Culver City, Calif., some of the scenes would be shot on location in Glen Lyon.
Film location wasn’t the only sticking point, either. Frank Sinatra’s ties to organized crime almost prevented him from securing the role of Father Paul. Producer Jesse Lasky had to ask the Catholic Church for its approval before signing the star to the part. In return, Sinatra, who was born and raised a Catholic, donated his salary to the church.
The crooner actively pursued the role hoping to steal the spotlight from Bing Crosby, who also played a singing priest in the film, “The Bells of St. Mary’s,” three years earlier. To be sure, the two actors were competing for top billing at the box office in the 1940s. Although Sinatra insisted on having several songs written into his role, the only one the producers agreed to was “Ever Homeward,” a popular Polish folk song.
Casting presented other problems, too. Clark Gable and Cary Grant were considered favorites for the lead male role of Bill Dunnigan. Either heart throb would have been a much better choice than Fred MacMurray, who eventually landed the role. Gable and Grant were more suave and debonair than MacMurray, who is best remembered as the father-figure from the 1960s TV sitcom, “My Three Sons.” But neither of those leading men was available at the time of the filming.
Several actresses were also considered for the part of “Olga,” including Ingrid Bergman, who played opposite Crosby in “The Bells of St. Mary’s.” But she was filming her own Technicolor version of “Joan of Arc.” Thus, Alida Valli, an Italian actress who resembled Bergman, was given the part of Olga. Just 26 years old, Valli was already widely regarded as the “most beautiful woman in the World” by the motion picture industry.
Perhaps the most damning obstacle to the film’s success was the employment of three different screenwriters. Originally, Janney was given sole responsibility for the screenplay. But producers Lasky and MacEwen reconsidered because of the novelist’s lack of experience with the silver screen.
Instead, Ben Hecht, one of Hollywood’s most popular screenwriters, was hired. But Hecht only agreed to the assignment if he didn’t have to read Janney’s novel. Insisting that reading the book would “interfere with his creative genius,” Hecht’s resistance was probably due to laziness.
To appease Janney, Quentin Reynolds, a good friend and editor of “Collier’s” magazine, was hired to read the novel and report the contents to Hecht. Further complicating matters, playwright DeWitt Bodeen was assigned to produce the screenplay for the role of Father Paul.
“The Miracle of the Bells” premiered in New York City on March 16, 1948. But “The Hollywood Reporter,” one of two national rags devoted exclusively to the movies, announced the previous October that the film was to be shown in Los Angeles in December 1947 in order to qualify for the 1947 Academy Awards.
Despite the finagling, the movie received mixed reviews and failed to receive a single Academy Award nomination. “New York Times” film critic Bosley Crowther attributed the failure to the mediocre screenplay produced by three different writers who “conspicuously overlooked several of the morally-salvaged characteristics of Janney’s novel.”
The film lost approximately $500,000 at the box office; a debt that was never repaid to the Bank of America. Instead, the Bank assumed the copyright of the film and joined with Paramount Pictures to find a television audience to recoup their losses. Nor did the controversy end there.
According to the American Film Institute, Raymond Polniaszek, Glen Lyon’s sole undertaker, sued RKO for $500,000 in damages in August 1948. Polniaszek claimed that he had been negatively caricaturized as “Nick Orloff” in the film and that he participated in a number of real-life events that were depicted, including the burial of a woman named Olga Trotski. The disposition of that suit was never disclosed.
The film’s success finally arrived in the mid-1950s, when “The Miracle of the Bells” was shown in southern California at Christmas time for nearly a decade – a holiday tradition that was replicated by many television stations nationwide — and scored the highest viewer numbers of any television program.
Sadly, Glen Lyon, the bustling coal town of the 1940s, no longer exists. Its anthracite industry is long gone and with it went some of the most prominent structures in town, including the breaker and St. Michael’s Church.
But thanks to Russell Janney’s novel and the re-release of the film in 2013 by Olive Productions in DVD and Blu Ray formats, future generations have the opportunity re-live “The Miracle of the Bells,” and discover a mining town that, for a brief moment, captured the hearts and imaginations of moviegoers across the nation.
William Kashatus teaches history at Luzerne County Community College. Email him at Bkashatus@luzerne.edu. The author wishes to thank Elaine Slabinski for the inspiration for and assistance with this column.
For further reading: Russell Janney, “The Miracle of the Bells” (1946)

2/8/2019
Newport Township man charged with child pornography
elewis@timesleader.com

State police arrested a man who allegedly downloaded child pornography on a computer.
Michael Vincent Rokosz, 28, of West Main Street, Wanamie, admitted he began viewing child pornography for personal gratification because mainstream pornography would not "work" for him, according to arrest records.
Rokosz was arraigned Wednesday by District Judge Thomas Malloy in Wilkes-Barre on 17 counts each of dissemination of photos or videos of children engaged in sex acts and child pornography plus a single count of criminal use of a communication facility. He was jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $50,000 bail.
According to a criminal complaint:
State police with the Computer Crime Task Force learned in early December that a computer was being used to share child pornography.
Investigators tracked the computer to Rokosz's address where a search warrant was served Wednesday.
Rokosz admitted to investigators he views pornography for gratification. He claimed there was a point in time when mainstream pornography would not "work" for him and began viewing child pornography.
Rokosz alleged he has been viewing child pornography for about five years using certain search words. He would search for child pornography every four or five months and delete the images or videos from his computer.
Investigators allege they found 12 images or videos of child pornography on Rokosz's computer.
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