11-10-2005 No more soul food

Dissent is the essential aspect of patriotism.--Thomas Jefferson

If I may, I'd like to paraphrase a scene from A Clockwork Orange. Here I go:

Well, well, well. Well, well, well. Well, well, well, well, well!

I see the copper dudes finally got their, um, girl. Yepper. The one and only High Priestess of the Vampires, Shakeya, formerly of Thompson Street, finally went and f>cked up enough to get herself a dose of federal drug charges.

From today's Times Leader:

Posted on Thu, Nov. 10, 2005

Eatery owner charged with selling drugs

Cops say Shakeya Craig, owner of Sylvia’s Soul Food in W-B, used her establishment to launder drug money.

By TERRIE MORGAN-BESECKER tmorgan@leader.net

WILKES-BARRE – A suspicious tow truck owner led police to the discovery of roughly $40,000 worth of cocaine hidden in the steering column of a vehicle owned by the proprietor of a downtown soul food restaurant, according to federal court papers filed Wednesday.

Federal authorities say Shakeya Craig was utilizing her business, Sylvia’s Soul Food Restaurant on Academy Street, as a front to launder money she earned selling large quantities of crack and powder cocaine over the past 1 1/2 years.

Craig, 28, last known address of Thompson Street, had been under investigation since at least May 2004, according to a search warrant affidavit for the restaurant filed by Joseph Coffay, a Wilkes-Barre police officer assigned to a federal drug task force.

According to the affidavit, police had made several controlled buys of cocaine from Samantha Bonomo, who police allege obtained her drugs from Craig. Police said Bonomo, 18, of Plymouth, had been selling drugs for Craig from an Orchard Street home in Plymouth since at least November 2004, when Bonomo was still a juvenile.

Craig and Bonomo were charged Tuesday with conspiracy to distribute powder and crack cocaine. Bonomo was released from federal custody Wednesday, according to a court docket sheet in the case. The docket sheet did not indicate whether Craig was in custody. The prosecutor in the case, William Houser, could not be reached for comment.

The charges followed the discovery Sunday of approximately 400 grams of cocaine inside the steering column of Craig’s 2001 Jaguar. The car had been towed by the city’s towing operator, L.A.G Towing, after Craig was stopped Sunday for having a counterfeit inspection sticker.

Leo Glodzick, owner of the business, said Wednesday he became suspicious after Craig repeatedly phoned the business, seeking access to the car. Glodzick refused, citing police orders. He phoned police after Craig offered someone at the business $200 to let her in the car, saying she had been smoking marijuana and did not want police to find it.

“She kept calling and came to my place of business three or four times, trying to get access to the vehicle. People don’t do that,” he said. “If they need medicines out of the vehicle, we call and bring an officer down. She didn’t want an officer there. We didn’t want any problems, so we called officers in and did the right thing.”

A drug sniffing dog was brought to the car Sunday and scored a hit. Police obtained a search warrant and found the cocaine.

Craig opened Sylvia’s Soul Food restaurant around April. Her arrest marks the third time in four months that an African-American business person has been charged with selling drugs.

Last month, Carmen Tinson, owner of Carmen and Company hair salon, was among several dozen people charged in connection with a large scale drug ring that sold cocaine in the Wilkes-Barre area. In July, William Currie, who was seeking to open a Park Avenue barber shop, was among several people charged with possession with intent to deliver crack cocaine and heroin.

Ron Felton, head of the local chapter of the NAACP, said he feared the rash of arrests would make it difficult for other African-Americans to open businesses.

“It’s going to put everyone under scrutiny,” Felton said. “It’s sad. People who seem to be doing progressive, positive things, to have this come, it hurts.”

Mayor Tom Leighton said the city is doing everything it can to encourage all potential business owners, to locate within the city.

“We do whatever we can to assist them as long as it’s within the legal limit of the law,” Leighton said. “We don’t care whether they’re white, black, pink, Irish, Catholic or Jewish. I can assure you that under my administration that everybody is treated equally and fairly.”

The federal charges are not the first time Craig has been charged with dealing drugs. In May 2001 she pleaded guilty to delivery of a controlled substance and was sentenced to two years probation for selling $600 worth of crack cocaine to a police informant .

According to the federal affidavit filed Tuesday, Craig also had encounters with police in October 2002, when a residence she owned on Pennsylvania Avenue was searched as part of an investigation into drug traffickers from New York City.

Also, in May 2004, a passenger in a vehicle driven by Craig was found to have 5 ounces of crack cocaine, the affidavit says. Officers subsequently searched her home on Thompson Street and recovered a stolen handgun.

Yeah. The October 2002 encounter. That's nifty and all, but she barely escaped the October 2003 encounter whereby an internet blogger armed only with a Wilkes-Barre detective's cell phone number got all of her little druggie friends busted down at the end of the street. That was the night when Shakeya grabbed her garbage bag full of goodies and ran like hell up the alley and into the overgrown weeds.

I can't take all of the credit for that bust since a couple of city detectives and a few patrol dudes were doing their level best to either arrest her, or rattle her cage. But, trust me, I did all that I could to get that sort of parasite off of my street--much more than most average folks would dare to do. They could have stabbed me or shot me, but they didn't. Next thing they knew, they were in the middle of a real life episode of Cops sans the cameras. F>ck 'em!

And the only reason I brought that up today is because I heard that a bunch of bullspit went down on WILK this morning in response to Ms. Craig's legal undoing. I was being subjected to another round of company testing and upon completion of said tests, I turned on the pocket AM radio to hear Sue Henry mention that some of her previous callers had claimed that there was a racial component to Shakeya's arrest. See! That's one of the biggest problems with talk radio. Even the imbeciles are allowed to participate. Then again, it does present us with dipwads to laugh at. What the f>ck! One of WILK's talk jocks is an imbecilic dipwad, so why shouldn't the callers follow his lead? Anywho, the soul food restauranteur's arrest was long overdue and had nothing to do with her permanent tan. Plain and simple, she was a drug dealer. It may have taken awhile, but she done got herself busted. 'Bout freakin' time.

My thoughts from 3-5-2004:

And our Vampire High Priestess, Shaqia, alias "Nicky," is trolling for a new bat cave on a street near you. 34 Thompson Street, as well as 34 Thompson Street (Rear) have both been repossessed by Old Forge Bank. The "For Sale" signs went up this morning.

She was active today. A cube van (M.B. Bedding Co., W-B 822-2491) arrived and removed her couch. If you remember correctly, I told y'all these druggies moved in with no furniture, only Jaguars and Lincoln Navigators. Then a dark blue van (PA YBV-4882) took some smaller items about an hour later. Then Shaq' and her scummy-looking look-out chickie appeared in a brand new black Jaguar (PA FYL-1439) and drove away. Hopefully, for good.

It's sad that she's looking for another location from where to peddle her drugs, but I happen to know that all that could be done to arrest her and shut down that house was done. Once she was assigned a petrie dish of her own, she stopped selling from that location.

In a way, I'm almost glad that she lived here for a year. Before getting to meet her and all of her friends, many of which have already been busted after invading this street, drugs was a problem on Samborne Street. Or Madison Street. Or wherever. It never really mattered that much to me, because it never seemed that close to me. And I didn't know squat about the drug trade. Now I do. And I will remain forever vigilant no matter where I happen to reside. Thanks for the education Shaq'. I'll be watching for you out there.

Anyway. We've got a couple more properties available on Thompson Street.

Old Forge Bank
Brian or Trudy
Slumlords and drug lords need not apply.


Mucho thanks Joe.

For those of you who would stupidly argue that I should get off of the backs of those 'No habla!' illegal aliens and take myself some Spanish lessons, I offer the following Thompson Street update.

We've got even more new neighbors just two doors up a ways. Yeah, they moved in a little more than a week ago, but near as I can tell, their new home is completely devoid of furniture. Whatever. I've seen them out front a few times. They look normal enough. They've got some late model car about the size of my Zippo. Looks to be one of those hybrids the AIDs patients in San Fran Freakshow are so fond of. Betcha I could tip it over on it's side all by my lonesome. If not, I goll dern guarantee I could get my lower backside up against the rear bumper, buck it up and down a bit and spin it completely around, again, all by my lonesome. Whoa! There's a bit of an insight into my teen years. 'Nuf with the plastic and graphite imitation buggy already. Back to the new neighbors.

Even though they looked normal at first glance, they had that stupor thing going on. I have seen that stupor thing going on many times before, but I didn't make the connection. Turns out, one of the neighbors told wifey that they are Russians and two of the three speak no English at all. But back to that stupor. Russians? I couldn't believe my ears! The stupor! That stupor nearly all of the Russian and East German olympians had going on during the "detente" Cold War years. You know that look I'm speaking of, don't you? That dumb-like-a-f>ckin'-stump, I've-overdosed-on-steroids-months-ago gaze? Nyet?

Hi there, Helga. You've got a great set of herculean biceps for a chick. Oh, and you have swollen gonads, too. How nice. Um, I'm married, Yeah, that's the gig. I'm married. But I know a nice single Norwegian fella.

Ah, forget it. Nevermind.

Anyway, I need some help from all of the do-gooders who were brave enough to chastise me for being a big meanie. What should I take first? The Spanish lessons? Or the Russian lessons? Wouldn't wanna put out any of those immigrants, would we?


And they wonder why nobody takes their third-party seriously.

From The Times Leader:

Posted on Wed, Nov. 09, 2005

Protester in W-B blocks the vote

W-B man spends half hour in booth protesting difficulties third party candidates have.

By JERRY LYNOTT jlynott@leader.net

WILKES-BARRE – By any measure, a half an hour in a voting booth is a long time. Even Tim Grier admits it.

The city man said it was necessary to spend 30 minutes behind the curtains to protest what he views as an unfair electoral process. It should be easier for independent and third-party candidates to get on the ballot, he said.

“I went in there with the intent of letting people know,” said Grier, 31, sitting in his home on Carey Avenue, a few blocks from the polling place in the city’s 15th Ward, 5th District.

He left the booth without casting a vote in Gilroy’s garage.

But Luzerne County Voter Registration Director Leonard Piazza sees nothing civil about Grier’s disobedience. “At the present time we’re considering pressing charges against Mr. Grier.”

Grier might be charged with the disobeying lawful instructions statute of the Pennsylvania Election Code. The misdemeanor offense is punishable by a $500 fine and up to one year in prison.

He learned of the problem at the polling place early Tuesday afternoon when Constable Walter Griffith called. At that time Grier had been in the booth for more than 20 minutes.

Griffith, who is on the ballot as judge of election at the polling place, said he phoned Piazza to inquire about how long a voter can spend in the booth.

“The judge of elections thought he might have been tampering with the machine,” Griffith said.

Piazza said state law says three minutes, but a judge of elections can use his discretion if there is no one waiting to vote.

A line was forming inside Gilroy’s garage, at the corner of Willow Street and Plymouth Avenue, said Griffith and judge of elections Elwood Rosengrant.

Piazza said he spoke to Grier twice inside the polling booth by way of a cell phone Griffith provided.

The second time Piazza instructed Grier to leave because he was holding up others from voting.

Grier confirmed Piazza’s account. “He kept asking me when I would leave. I said, ‘When I vote.’ ”

“When I give an instruction to someone, it’s on behalf of the county board of elections,” Piazza said afterward.

Adding to the delay was the presence of Griffith, Grier said. He thought Griffith had no business in the polling place because his name was on the ballot.

“It made me uncomfortable,” Grier said. “It made me take a long time.”

Piazza dismissed Grier’s claim, saying Griffith was allowed inside because he was not running for a municipal office.

During the second call, Piazza said, he told Griffith sheriff’s deputies would be dispatched to remove Grier.

At that point, according to Griffith, Grier tried to open the curtains but could not pull the handle to spread them. He left without opening them.

Rosengrant said the curtains would not open because Grier did not cast a vote.

Griffith followed Grier out of the garage and told him to stay put because the deputies were on their way. Grier said he asked Griffith if “he could lawfully detain him.”

When Griffith said he could not, Grier walked home with the constable following.

Police responded to Grier’s home from a call Griffith made to the county 911 center. A record’s check showed no outstanding warrants and Grier was free to go.

Grier later went to Piazza’s office to file a complaint for his problem at the polling place.

Piazza said the only other major problem reported Tuesday was the late opening of the Plymouth Borough Ward 8 polling place. The other 315 precincts opened at 7 a.m., he said. “We’re very pleased with that.”

'Scuse me for being such an obvious dullard, but why should we make it easier for independent and third-party candidates to get on the ballot when they have no qualms about ignoring the rules, breaking the law, or regularly throwing what could be called prudent and even decent to the wind whenever it suits their self-serving needs?

A protest from inside of the voting machine's curtains? Well, isn't that just f>cking special. An aluminum bat to the skull could be special too depending on how long some malcontent makes you wait to cast a few votes. Lighter fluid and a match might somehow be deemed to be special iffin' the right lunatic goes torch on us.

These third party goobers just don't get it. Nobody takes many of them seriously because most of their time is devoted to acting like complete assholes in public. Sorry, but anyone who dares to claim some sort of off-kilter moral superiority only because they held a sparsely-attended candlelight vigil and sang kumbahya for all two of the assembled members of the press are idiots in need of a satisfying hobby. How 'bout penile taxidermy? That could be fun iffin' you're a screwball to begin with.

These people have never run across a protest not worth quitting their jobs over. They are wasting a ton of perfectly good candles. They send letters to the editors that they all but lifted from some web site somewhere. They stage protests without permits. (Right, Kurt? By the way, when are they going to serve the arrest warrant on him for skipping his date at the magistrate's office?) They protest at the St. Patty's Day parade. They protest on top of billboards. They protest in the voting booth. And they protest after the drugs make them black-out. Sorry nutballs, but your needless antics hold no sway with me. Get a f>cking job and try doing something productive for a change. I protest your Mommy and Daddy for not getting themselves sterilized a month before Woodstock.

Seriously. If the laws are ever changed making it significantly easier for these lawless, uncouth and perpetually perturbed people to get their names on the ballots, we're gonna have clueless loonies reporting for duty in Harrisburg one day. Think Cynthia McKinney. We've got enough problems without inviting the anarchists to the big debate.

From The Citizens' Voice:

Embattled mayor earns another term

By:Denise Allabaugh 11/09/2005

Sugar Notch voters re-elected controversial Democratic Mayor Patrick Mullin on Tuesday despite his plan to resign.

Mullin has been at the center of controversy over a $2,500 check he accepted from the borough for backhoe work after arranging a private vote of four council members. He is awaiting a federal trial on charges he illegally obtained a credit card.

According to unofficial votes tallied Tuesday night at Holy Family Church, Mullin won 76 votes. Councilman George Gushanas Jr., a Democrat write-in candidate, received 68 votes. Green Party candidate Mario Fiorucci received 57 votes.

"It's pretty pathetic when you can't beat a mayor who resigned and is disgraced," Fiorucci said.

Since Mullin was re-elected, Fiorucci believes the borough "will be regarded in even less of a light." He wants progress in opening public offices to more parties.

Mullin could not be reached for comment Tuesday. He submitted a letter of resignation last week to borough secretary Dorothy Namey. Council members will vote on the resignation Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m. They have 30 days to appoint a replacement if they accept the resignation, said Solicitor John Bednarz.

Council president Sharon Ellis could be appointed acting mayor, Gushanas said. Gushanas decided to run as a write-in candidate after Mullin said he would resign. Mullin still could change his mind about the resignation, Gushanas said.

Gushanas and incumbent council members James Mullin, brother of the mayor, Herman Balas and Dolores Gegaris were re-elected to four-year terms on council.

Gushanas won 96 votes; James Mullin, 107 votes; Balas, 120 votes and Gegaris, 127 votes, according to unofficial results.

He wants progress in opening public offices to more parties.

Yeah, well, he said it himself: "It's pretty pathetic when you can't beat a mayor who resigned and is disgraced."

Lemme guess, this defeat will be offered up as some sort of proof that "The Machine," that the "Good Ole Boys," conspired to keep another Green Party member from his rightful place at the top. Right?

It wouldn't have anything to do with his annoying penchant for showing up at council meetings and then pontificating from the bully pulpit he imagines he's entitled to based upon his moral superiority? Would it? It couldn't be that the entire town hates his predictable antics? Could it? You don't suppose that the average salt-of-the-Earth types might take offense to a save-the-world fanatic turning his house into a life-sized Green Party bulletin board? Or might they? Maybe the majority of the residents of Sugar Notch think the twelve-strong 'State of the World' one-day Green Party think tanks turned peace-and-love jamborees are f>cking beyond stupid. Perhaps?

Nah, couldn't be. It couldn't be that the activists with nothing else to do but non-stop activism are getting on our last available nerves.

Or could it?

Wanna see your third-party thrive one day? Then Cool it with the accusations. Cool it with the self-righteous attitude. Cool it with the civil disobedience. Cool it with the "14 Points of Fascism." Cool it with the diatribes about the military/industrial complex ball that Eisenhower got rolling when he actually took a day off from golf. Cool it with breaking the law when it suits your needs. Cool it with the "social justice" gibberish, as if you're the only one that wants everyone to have a decent life. Cool it with the posters, the signs and the banners at our parades. Cool it at our polling places. Just cool it, enjoy life and maybe you won't have a freakin' stroke.

Maybe it'd be helluva lot easier to get yourselves elected if you weren't so f>cking annoying all of the time.

Just a thought.


Lately, all that Paul Golias of the Citizens' Voice has written about is regionalization. Yepper, he firmly believes that the key to better government in this state is convincing the tin-horn dictators to abdicate their miniaturized throwns and marshall their forces with other smallish municipalities. Far as I can figure, no one would dare take issue him other than those tin-horn dictators themselves. You see, they have and crave power. I fail to see how ruling over no police force, an undermanned volunteer fire department, a two-man DPW department and 1,000 or so residents can be confused with power, but I'm a simple man who is easily amused.

But I do differ with Paul Golias' position in as much as I think regionalizing simply doesn't go far enough. In my mind, most of these financially struggling podunks should just bite the bullet and merge with, or be absorbed by their larger, more financially capable neighbors. Should Ashley become the Ashley section of Wilkes-Barre, or Hanover Township? Sure it should. Forty Fort can no afford a police department of it's own? Well, it's time to add that tax base of Forty Fort's to Kingston and then bolster the size of Kingston's department. And nothing helps make my argument more than the results of the Sugar Notch mayoral race.

Here's those results again:

Mullin--76 votes
Gushanas--68 votes
Fiorucci--57 votes

I could be wrong, but I think these people are actually serious. 201 total votes for a mayoral race? It's kind of like being a twelve-year-old boy while your seven-year-old brother is raining punches all over you with all the strength he can muster. At some point you just gotta look down at him and say: "Give it up!"

It's futile. It's stupid. It's an antiquated system in an antiquated place that time has forgotten. This is a borough that needed a loaner when it's police cruiser went down. This is a borough that would take all of four minutes to traverse while on a lazy, lazy bikeabout. This is a borough that elects "men of vision" with less votes than Charlie Weiss could probably garner if he ran for a council seat in Wilkes-Barre.

Regionalization? No. Methinks definately not. It's time that wayward outposts such as Sugar Notch be gobbled up and assimilated into a larger community with a much larger tax base. Either we embrace a brighter future, or we stick with the past that has so many of us teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.

201 votes? For a mayoral race?

Give it up.

I found this letter published in the Voice, and although the author and I have diametrically opposed opinions of the Susquehanna's overall health, we did use the same pitch to get people to educate themselves whereas the river is concerned.

Get on out there on it and see it up close. That's pretty much the same invite Kayak Dude presented to me back in 2002 during the run-up to the 2nd Annual RiverFest event. If you're interested at all, it's really good advice.

Up close, the Susquehanna is reviving, not all polluted



In reading Mike McGlynn's article in the Nov. 4 edition of The Citizens' Voice it was pretty obvious that Mr. McGlynn hasn't seen the Susquehanna River up close for probably 20-plus years.

Mr. McGlynn's opinion on the condition of the river is typical of those whose "up close" contact with the river is driving over one of the local bridges. Those of us who spend a lot of time on the water of the Susquehanna at Wilkes-Barre seeing the river up close see a different river.

We, the members of the Suskie Bassmasters, and those who fish our tournaments on the river at Wilkes-Barre, see the ducks, geese, herons, white herons, rabbits, minks, crayfish, minnows, and multitude of other wildlife that live on or near the river. We see the river with clear running water.

Why don't the local officials and media, except a few like Tom Venesky, talk to those of us who are "on the water" the most. Talk to Vinny Catrone, Penn State Urban Forester. Talk to Holly Frederick of the PA Environmental Council. Talk to Dr. Gerald Reisinger with the Riverwatch Group. Talk to the anglers who fish the river practically every week - the Suskie Bassmasters, Pennsylvania Anglers Sportsman's Association, East Side Anglers, Penn/Jersey Deaf Bass Anglers, and many others.

Yes, there are still problems. The sewage overflow needs to be fixed. The remaining mine water flowing into the river needs to be stopped. But the river of today is not the river of 25 years ago. It is the negative attitude of people like Mr. McGlynn that hurts the river the most. It perpetuates the impression of a completely polluted river, which is simply not true. The October 2005 issue of Bassmaster magazine, the official magazine of the B.A.S.S. organization that runs the Professional Citgo Bassmaster Tour named our Susquehanna as number two of the top five smallmouth bass fishing rivers in the country. Why didn't the local media blast that on their front pages and newscasts? If the only time you pay attention to the river is when the water is high you will only see muddy, dirty looking water. Go down to the river when the water is at average level and flow of four feet or under at Wilkes-Barre. Walk the river's edge and look into the water. You will see a healthy river. Turn over rocks and see the hoards of crayfish and insects. The river is loaded with fish, some of the best fishing in the state. There are even trout in the Susquehanna, nice ones. I caught some myself.

I usually don't read McGlynn's articles because of his negative sarcasm. However, the title of this one caught my attention. I invite McGlynn or any other member of the media, to come to the Nesbitt Park launch for one of our tournaments on Sunday Nov. 20 for an up close look, and to talk to anglers who use the river. I will even take you on a boat tour of the river so you can see it "up close."

Norm Gavlick
Suskie Bassmasters

From my 6-7-2004 post titled RiverFest 2004:

Let's cover the quote of the day. Uncle Paul Kanjorski wants to dam this river. All of the folks that own a paddle or two will tell you he's clueless, but that never stopped any politico before. The river has all sorts of nasty stuff flowing into it right now, so why in the heck would we want to pool that mostly awful stuff? If we listen to Uncle Paul tell it once again, he'll tell us that pooling pollutants will attract tens of thousands of visitors each and every year. He also told us that the $9 million in federal pork he funneled to his relatives would result in NEPA becoming the water-jet capital of the world. So much for his tomfoolery.

Anyway, would a dam on the Susquehanna at Wilkes-Barre cause Rehobeth Beach to close up and file for bankruptcy anytime soon? While we were making our way past the site of the Knox Mine disaster, we paddled close to Dave, one of the organizers of this event and he and Kayak Dude launched into some of their water type back-and-forth. At some point thereabouts, Kayak Dude proceeded to ask Gage what he thought of the river rushing past him. The little guy panned his head about the scene and quickly replied with, "It's chocolate water."

"It's chocolate water."

He's barely three freaking years-old, but he can clearly see what our out-of-touch Congressman wishes to ignore. Who the hell is going to be attracted to our "chocolate water" other than the dedicated river diehards Mr. Congressman? Appropriate some serious federal pork to clean the river already and then we'll talk about your ridiculous deflatable dam proposal after the sewage is removed from the floating equation.

One guy sees hoards of crayfish and insects. And another guy sees floaters, foam and acid-stained rocks all along the shoreline. And a little guy a week short of his third birthday saw chocolate water.

I've seen the river "up close." And trust me, it needs a lot of help. And the very last thing it needs is to be dammed by a damn politician who picks and chooses which environmental studies to cite.

I'd better quit before I get everyone to trying to turn me into a hood ornament.