4-23-2005 Kids today!!!


Listen, lad. I built this kingdom up from nothing. When I started here, all there was was swamp. Other kings said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built it all the same, just to show 'em. It sank into the swamp. So, I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So, I built a third one. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp, but the fourth one... stayed up! And that's what you're gonna get, lad: the strongest castle in these islands.--This quote was attributed to a city politico, but I have no way to confirm it.

Kids today!!!

2 Coughlin frosh suspended for having sex in school

By Tim Gulla, Staff Writer 04/23/2005

A case of teenage love could lead to criminal citations against two Coughlin High School students.

A young man and woman, both ninth graders at Coughlin, allegedly engaged in sexual activity in a secluded hallway early Thursday before the start of school.

Now, the teens are suspended for five days and are facing the possibility of a disorderly conduct charge, confirmed Wilkes-Barre Area School District's superintendent, Dr. Jeff Namey.

The alleged tryst occurred at about 7:45 a.m. No one apparently saw the incident but another student brought it to the attention of administrators. When questioned, Dr. Namey said, the two teens admitted to having some type of consensual contact.

Oh, I am afraid our life must seem very dull and quiet compared to yours. We are but eight score young blondes and brunettes, all between sixteen and nineteen- and- a- half, cut off in this castle with no one to protect us. Oooh. It is a lonely life: bathing, dressing, undressing, making exciting underwear. We are just not used to handsome knights. Nay. Nay. Come. Come. You may lie here.--Zoot

Yeehaw! Sex education at it's very best. That oughta get WILK all abuzz on Monday morning. I have to admit, if there were girls willing to have sex in school during the seventies, I sure as heck didn't know any of them. Darn it.

This is what I got to thinking about after reading the entire Voice story from which I grabbed the aforementioned snippet: If I had to be caught in the act having sex with my nubile teen-aged girlie, would I rather be caught by some school administrator? Or would I prefer to be caught doing the ole in/out, in/out by her Green Giant of a father? Cast your votes now.

Kids today! When is the mayor going to transform the soul of this city already? When will moral absolutism make it to the top of his agenda?

Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say 'ni' at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land. Nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress at this period in history.--Roger the Shrubber

When I was a kid we never had sex in school. Fact is, we didn't even do drugs. They weren't invented until Ronald Wilson Reagan took the throne and ordered the CIA to cook some up and ship 'em to South Central. I don't remember anyone cursing, either. We had no weapons, nor any need for any. Back in the day, every day was just like living out a Donna Reed Show script.

Although, we did clog Mr. Herring's exhaust fan with a rag, which resulted in the school being evacuated and the fire department rushing into the basement of the old building. What's that four stroke plus-two cycle again? Oh, yeah. Intake, compression, power, exhaust, rag, fire department. I got the 'membering of a lot of things, heyna?

And there was that one incident when I pulled the bolt and wingnut out of Mr. Quinn's podium and he took a mighty fall on his face in front of the entire class. ROAR FROM THE CROWD! Thank you. You're welcome. No, no. Please...no autographs. If you think he looked like he was having a stroke when his point guard dribbled the ball off of the side of his Converse', you should have seen him that day. I cracked myself up. And everybody else.

There was that one time when I just about got Mr. Sallitt to punch me in the face. During class, one of those suck-up A students banged on the door and summoned me to the inforcer's office. I knew what it was all about. A few classes earlier, Mr. Hensley spotted myself and a few other misfits chomping on some Kresge's pizza in the middle of the Square. Being up in years, he was reduced to shouting horrible threats at us while we sprinted back to Coughlin laughing all the way.

You'll be paddled! You'll be suspended! Your parents will be getting a call from me!

Blah, blah, blah. What's tomorrow? Thursday? You guys up for some Frisbee at Kirby Park? My term paper for Mr. Petrini is due tomorrow and I didn't even start it yet.

So, anyway, Mr. Sallitt was fixing to beat me with his boat oar once again. Gee, I can't take it no more. Maybe I'll get me an AK and waste the band since school resource officers are still years and years away from being invented. I knew his routine all too well. He'd chirp, "Wallet and comb," which meant you had to remove both of those items from your back pockets so that he could beat your behind real savage like. So I wandered on down to his office scouring my smallish mind for a way to piss him off to the max and settled on the following. I barged into his office, smacked both my wallet and my comb on his desk in front of him and said, "There ya go, Champ. Can we f***ing get this over with?" We lurched from his seat, clenched his fist, pulled it back and caught himself before getting himself on the hot seat for a change.

Damn! So close.

We did sneak through that metal shop class, enter the ventilation ducts and feel our way along to the hatch that allowed us to enter the crawl space under the auditorium. I'd be really dissapointed to learn that our empty beer cans weren't still sitting there where we had discarded them so long ago. Budweiser. I think.

What was his name, Mr. Riememsnyder? That dude that was like 9 feet tall and would enforce the traffic rules between classes. Yeah, right. There'd be like 1,000 kids coming down the down stairwell when he'd sprint up the stairs right past him and tossing profanities his way. Again, he was too slow to do very much about us going against the flow for lack of any other cretinous thing to do.

Back in those days, there was a URS facility or something on the north side of the old building where that mini practice field now sits. If the teach was a couple minutes late for class, we'd hang out the windows cursing at them and working them into a twisted and garbled frenzy. Nothin' else to do. Let's agitate some unfortunate folks. In retrospect, I wish I hadn't done any of that.

Oh, and we did explode what Tommy Snyder claimed was a third-stick of dynamite in the basement boys room. The commode blew apart, some Special Ed kid that was in the wrong place at the wrong time stumbled out of ground zero and collapsed in a heap. The school was quickly evacuated. Some medics rushed in and tended to our victim. The fire department rushed in. And then the shop classes were all interrogated by city detectives. Not a single stoolie in the entire bunch.

And I did make Mr. Umla burst into tears from sheer frustration with me. ROAR FROM THE CROWD!!! Nope. No autographs. It didn't matter to me that I had detention study instead of music class for the rest of the school year. I don't care what he had to say about things. When I was 14 years-old, Beethoven sucked. I will admit to being wrong at that time. Oh, well.

I did toss a can of soda out of a third floor window resulting in a busted windshield for a passing motorist. Whoops! More cops. Another detective. More interrogations. No stoolies. Sorry, but that Barney Rubble impersonator really pissed me off, so I tossed his brown bag and his soda from the building. That little cheesedick.

And, yes, we would sneak into the teachers lounge when possible, kick the front of the soda machine and cause the door to swing open. We'd leave there with a gym back filled with cans of soda until the soda delivery guy finally replaced that aging machine. Drat!

It was cool to launch paper clips at girl's butts with rubber bands. Talk about pain. Hee hee. Thankfully, we never shot anyone's eye out or anything. We shredded quite a few window shades though.

I got suspended that one time after being caught with a huge buck knife on school property. They grilled me about why I'd bring a weapon (?) to school, but I couldn't tell them that we had intended to skip out early that day and play some Pull The Peg at Kirby Park.

And I did harrass Mr. Palka long enough to all but force him to pop me outside the band room. Temper, temper, Mr. teach. It seems he really didn't like being called Mr. Polak over and over again.

We used to run skateboards down that ramp in the hallway on the backside of the old building until they finally walled it off. If you remember the ramp off which I type, you are getting a bit long in the tooth.

Believe it or not, we once talked a substitute teacher just a couple years older than us into buying us some brews after last period. True story. You'll never know unless you try, right?

We had a steady diet of fistfights in the courtyard, fistfights on the front sidewalk and fistfights in the Thomas C. Thomas lot.

But sex in school? No. Not us. We were good kids.

Not like those kids today.


From the e-mail inbox Hey Wilkes-Barre Dude!

Yes, you have earned this title! Anyone who watches out for their neighborhood like you do deserves a great big "That a Boy"! Some may see you as a nuisance and some may see you as a problem child but if everyone would really look at what you are accomplishing by opening your mouth and reporting it as you see it, maybe those problem people would think before acting out with their wrong doings.

Maybe city hall and Wilkes-Barre police should refresh everyone's memory before all this goes too far! Get involved, report malicious crimes while in progress and stop standing in the background bitching that the police does nothing.

Back in the early 70's MR. Jerry Cookus, a retired and now forgotten Wilkes-Barre city detective introduced "CRIME WATCH" perhaps we can start a strong advertisement program again and show the people just how it works and what results may come of it if people stop turning their heads. Another thought I have is bringing in folks from Philadelphia who belong to a crime watch and let them explain how it works and where the city will go with out a program in full force. I for one am like you. I have a zero tolerance for where the city is headed. If I see it, I will report it! You can have dozens of extra police officers on the beat, if the public doesn't get involved and start opening up to the police, the tax payers are wasting their own money! You know the old saying, It's only as good as the time you put into it. From what I am observing, there is too many people turning their heads because they don't want to get involved, they are afraid or I am afraid of retaliation. That is so much the old days. We have to stop living in the past. The new residents, the new comers and bused in people have to learn, Wilkes-Barre citizens has a ZERO tolerance for problem causers.

I feel if a campaign was originated, flyers were distributed to each door by volunteers, and I am sure we could dig up people to participate in this, explaining proper procedure for reporting mischief and wrong doings. I really think the police would receive better cooperation from the citizen's. You ask, how do I know this? I have three elderly ladies who are scared shitless who live across the street from me. They live alone and they are the best eyes and ears of our neighborhood. Every time I talk to them they relate a wrong doing or a suspicious person lurking around. I ask if they called the police and one of them related to me, oh I can't do that, I am afraid they will do something to me or my home. Do you know how frustrated I get when I hear that! These woman are prisoner in their own home. They only come out during the day, mostly around noon.

In back of my house is what's called a lane. When we moved here I noticed approximately 2-3 kids playing or hanging on the lane. Now, there must be 10-17 on a nice day. Why the difference? Actually I would have to credit the lady who lives 2 doors down from me. She is a go getter when it comes to trouble makers. She voices her opinion and I mean in a loud manor. If a car is speeding, she shouts at them, if someone is doing something wrong she calls the police. I am proud to have a neighbor like this. To be totally honest, she rubbed off on me, this is where I got my attitude and learned to speak up for the neighborhood. She has two boys and raised them to be model children, these are the type of kids you would love to have in your neighborhood. Very polite, kind and caring kids, just like the parents. It nearly broke my heart when I was sitting on the back of my truck when she approached me and stated they may be selling their home because the house is too big and her one son is getting ready for college. This would be a tragic loss for the neighborhood. I really do wonder if it's the size of the house or if it's the surroundings? Recently we have adopted such a high population of Hispanic's families.

Maybe next week we can meet up for a bike ride? let me know...

PXXXXXX

Wilkes-Barre Dude? I could live with that. I'd prefer to be known as Narly Loud Music Dude, but being associated with Wilkes-Barre is perfectly fine with me. I'm not embarrassed in the least by the fact that I live in Wilkes-Barre. Other than being apathetic during my younger days, I doubt that anyone would dare to blame me for what has become of our city. And I offer no apologies for being apathetic a ways back. Sorry, but I was busy with other stuff while the folks duly charged with seeing to it that Wilkes-Barre prospered fumbled the ball more often than not. Rather than freaking out on the current group of elected types, we should be cursing the folks that preceded them. And as far as fumbling the city's future away is concerned, since the wheels came off during the former mayor's turbulent reign, the current elected folks seem to have found themselves some copious amounts of pine tar. Or some such thing.

A nuisance? A problem child? A big mouth? I suppose I'm guilty as charged on all three counts. And I really don't care. What I care about is where I live. And I will not sit idly by while the politicos screw up the works, pretenders to the throne offer us little more than regurgitated platitudes, and common criminals seek to run the entire show by running for elected offices. At this point in this city's storied, but later troubled history, Wilkes-Barre can neither afford, nor survive anymore outrageous errors in approach. We have reached the crossroads whereby we either get it right this time, or we join the long-running exodus out of town. I say we stay and fight. What say the rest of y'all?

If some of those living among us are not willing to volunteer some of their time, clean their own street once a year, or stick their necks out just a bit every now and again, then they really have no sense of community at all. And we'd be better served if they'd just run off and join the rest of the 'fraidy cats in the semi-gated bucolic hideaways of this county. In my mind, calling SAYSO is not doing anything remotely close to demanding better from one's leaders, or looking out for one's community. For me, paying close attention to detail, expressing your opinion and getting involved in a big way is the only way to go. And if that means one of my fellow Nord Enders is trying to figure out how to cause my untimely demise, so f**king be it. F**k him and all of his stupid posturing for the cameras, too. As grampy once told me during the waning days of his long run on this healthy planet of ours, "You'll never be able to convince the assholes that they are assholes." Turns out, he was dead-on with that one. And the current political environment in Wilkes-Barre proves him to be correct.

Dude, you said: Actually I would have to credit the lady who lives 2 doors down from me. She is a go getter when it comes to trouble makers. She voices her opinion and I mean in a loud manor. If a car is speeding, she shouts at them, if someone is doing something wrong she calls the police.

And therein lies the painfully simple RX fix for so many of our seemingly insurmountable problems. Get involved. Get off of the SAYSO hotline. Forget what the abject negativity hasn't done to improve the overall situation. Think positive, try, scream at the Jeff Gordon wannabes blasting past the house at speeds approaching Mach II and make a difference no matter how small that difference may end up being judged to be. It all adds up.

Someone polices their own street. Someone else keeps an eye on the lane out back. Other folks plant new trees and whatnot. Still others sweep the gutters out front. And one of the silliest among us rants away on the internet. We either fight for our city, or we abandon our city.

As for myself, remember, I've seen much more than what this troubled city has to offer us. I was born in New York and resided in New York, Connecticut, Maine, Florida and finally Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. During those mostly turbulent early years of mine, my ass may have been elsewhere, but my heart always yearned to be in Wilkes-Barre. In my opinion, we have a city well worth fighting for. But I fear that too many of us living here are too embroiled in negativity to ever contribute to the greater good.

We shall see, won't we?

Wilkes-Barre Crime Watch Coalition

Bike ride? Did somebody say bike ride? I'm thinking 1 p.m. come next Saturday.

Lemme know.


I'm sure that very many of you read this bilge this morning, but give it another look. See ya on the tail end.

County demands W-B's plan for revised council elections

By James Conmy, Staff Writer 04/23/2005

The blueprint for Wilkes-Barre City's revised council elections must be presented in the next 30 days to the Luzerne County Board of Elections.

Council delayed amending the city's charter because of five districts recommended in 2002 by an apportionment commission. The linear districts divided city neighborhoods and were supposed to serve as boundaries for a new council election format voters approved in 2001.

An April 21 letter from board Solicitor Neil O'Donnell directs the city to take formal action by May 21 on the commission's recommendation.

"The election board's powers are sweeping," O'Donnell said Friday night. "The board certainly has the power to request the municipality to do the right thing. If we don't receive an appropriate response, the board also has the power to pursue judicial intervention."

O'Donnell's letter was addressed to Wilkes-Barre Assistant Solicitor Bill Vinsko. On Friday night, Vinsko said he had not received a copy.

"I can't comment on the contents of the letter until I receive it and discuss it with city council," Vinsko said. "But I have confidence in city council and members of the administration that everything will be done appropriately, as it always has."

Council has revised the charter eliminating two of the current seven council seats. It has not implemented a district plan.

When asked if council can alter the districts recommended by the commission, Vinsko said, "we're still researching many issues related to the case and our city charter." The election board's unanimous concern was the amount of time between the voters' approval of the 2001 referendum, not the districts, O'Donnell said.

"The electorate is entitled to a quick and speedy resolution. That hasn't taken place," O'Donnell said. Commissioner Stephen Urban, a member of the election board, accused city council of stalling so the seven current members can keep their seats until 2008.

Urban continues to push for a special election later this year with five council members elected by district, not at-large.

"These guys don't want the will of the people," Urban said of the current council, specifically criticizing Councilman Bill Barrett.

"Here's a guy who was a cop and chief of police," Urban said, "but has no respect for the law or the will of the people." Barrett could not be reached for comment.

Commissioner Todd Vonderheid, election board chairman, believes the request is reasonable, but was not as critical as Urban.

"I don't believe anyone can order a special election until there are districts for people to run in," Vonderheid said. "We want to know what direction the city plans to take. Only the court and City of Wilkes-Barre can make the city hold a special election."

"These guys don't want the will of the people," Urban said of the current council, specifically criticizing Councilman Bill Barrett.

"Here's a guy who was a cop and chief of police," Urban said, "but has no respect for the law or the will of the people." Barrett could not be reached for comment.

Yikes! How should I respond to that?

Here's a guy who was a cop and chief of police...but has no respect for the law or the will of the people.

Hmmm. How about if I plainly state that your (not mine) minority commissioner is reprehensibly irresponsible, amateurish, unprofessional and no longer electable? How's that for a starting point?

To stand before the media and claim that Bill Barrett has no respect for the law provides a devastating insight into just how utterly and contemptibly clueless and inept this phoney baloney shill for the Luzerne County Taxpayer Party really is.

Bill Barrett toiled away for 27 years protecting the good guys from the bad guys. He was the chief of police in Wilkes-Barre until Tom McGroarty decided that mediocrity was preferable to professionalism. And if that's not enough, Bill Barrett also prowled the halls of the F.B.I. Academy long before Steve Urban had ever even dreamed of becoming an inept and unprofessional elected lackey.

So why does Steverino sound so stupid as of late?

Well...if we go with the voting districts that were completely and sadly gerrymandered a while back, Barrett would be facing a challenge from Steverino's trusty sidekick, one Christine Katsock.

Our county government is, like, $29 trillion in debt, but all that the littlest commissioner seems to be worried about these days is playing small town politics.

No respect for the law?

Not quite. It's more like Steve Urban has no respect for the law enforcement professionals that capably served, or capably serve this city.

And just to show how completely I vehemently disagree with his near sophmoric and completely needless electioneering from his temporary perch, I am going to send 4 large pizzas to police headqaurters later on tonight. I wholeheartedly support the folks wearing the guns and the badges in my city. It'd be really, really nice if all of my elected county commissioners could do the same.

Barrett bad/Katsock (just wait) good?

Spare me, you amateur politico.


I gotta tell ya, this East Fire Station brouhaha is starting to get on my last available nerve. Let's be serious, shall we?

When the regulars at a local tavern owned by a city councilman decide to bitch on cue for the media at a nearby church rather than the bar they normally call home, I'm starting to wonder why the local media outlets keep reporting the World According to Gentleman Jim.

From the Voice:

On Oct. 20, 2004, like a thief in the night, the mayor stole our fire station," said Denise Carey, who arranged the meeting.

Since then, she argues, response times have dropped - and since four minutes without oxygen can lead to brain damage, timing is crucial.

It took five minutes to get to an unresponsive elderly man at Heights Towers on Jan. 8, and on Feb. 27, it took six minutes for emergency services to arrive at an East Northampton Street address for an unresponsive 1-year-old baby. Fortunately, the mother performed CPR, Carey said.

Citizens Voice

Wilkes-Barre emergency personnel cited for saving choking child

By Denise Allabaugh, Staff Writer 04/23/2005

Bear Creek Township resident Sara Wade is eternally grateful to Wilkes-Barre firefighters and paramedics for saving the life of her 1-year-old son Kaleb Koonrad.

Kaleb turned blue after choking on a piece of chicken April 13 at a Wilkes-Barre restaurant. She called 911 and firefighters and paramedics were there in less than two minutes.

"Right after I called 911 and told them what was going on, it seemed the fire engine was here a minute later," Wade said. "I kept thinking please don't let him die, please let him be OK. The ambulance came and they got it out of his throat and saved his life. I can't thank them enough."

When Assistant Fire Chief Snarski arrived, customers were trying to rescue the boy, who wasn't breathing. Snarski began to do chest compressions.

"I just started to do the maneuver and I felt the resistance go away so I figured we dislodged it. I looked into his throat and there was still something there. He started to cry, which was a good sign," Snarski said. "We got the forceps out and pulled a chunk of meat out and he started to breathe. We gave him oxygen and he was good after that."

Mayor Tom Leighton presented a proclamation to honor Snarski, paramedic Sean Chandler, ambulance driver Ralph Graham, Capt. Chris Buchanan, Capt. Chris Williams and Firefighter George Liebman, at a press conference at city hall Friday. They received a round of applause.

"This just goes to show what a wonderful and excellent fire department and paramedic service we have in the City of Wilkes-Barre," Leighton said. "The job they do does not go unnoticed."

Fire Chief Jacob Lisman said the firefighters and paramedics who saved the boy's life truly are heroes.

"In our society, we look at our professional athletes and we call them heroes because they can throw a baseball 100 miles an hour or they can slam dunk a basketball," Lisman said. "These men are the real heroes. They go out to help people. To me, they're the ones who should be honored."

"Right after I called 911 and told them what was going on, it seemed the fire engine was here a minute later," Wade said.

Now lemme get this straight. Lives are being saved in Wilkes-Barre thanks to the tireless efforts of the hose dudes that run towards burning buildings and other equally devastating calamities rather than away from them as we are all prone to doing. And a kid up near the mall a ways is close enough to save, but the folks in the Heights have to wait too long for the very same services?

Is it me? Or are the folks in the Heights learning politics on the fly from someone who is about to bow out of the political scene?

Don't much matter to me. I gotta call Sammie and send those 4 pizzas down to police headquarters. And for some reason unbeknownst to me, I've got Van Halen on the brain tonight.

Everybody Wants Some!!!

Let's rock.

Later

You don't frighten us, English pig-dogs! Go and boil your bottom, sons of a silly person. I blow my nose at you, so-called Arthur King, you and all your silly English k-nnnnniggets. Thpppppt! Thppt! Thppt!


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