Man cut face in scheme to implicate girlfriend
James Halpin - Citizens
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
was being held at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility with a preliminary
hearing set for June 5.
Bureau of Forestry
probes wildfires around Nanticoke
Staff Report - Citizens Voice
Bureau of Forestry is investigating wildfires that were intentionally set around
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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anonymous tips also will be accepted but do not qualify for the reward.
Twp. man charged with cruelty to animals
Eric Mark - Citizens Voice
Newport Twp. man failed to provide veterinary care for his injured pit bull after
it was attacked by another dog last month, authorities allege.
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:
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.
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
Glen Lyon man sentenced
for child pornography
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.
haven’t been able to find a job,” Kazmierski replied.
“How do you support yourself?”
DeLuca said Kazmierski resides with his parents.
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.
Lyon’s enduring miracle
By William C. Kashatus, Citizens' Voice
correspondent / Published: December 14, 2014
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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
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
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)
Township man charged with child pornography
police arrested a man who allegedly downloaded child pornography on a computer.
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.
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.
tracked the computer to Rokosz's address where a search warrant was served Wednesday.
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.