A hotly contested GOP Primary race for Wyoming County Coroner will now become become an even more hotly contested race for Coroner, come Nov. 2, following Friday morning’s official count of write-ins.
On Tuesday night, Collin Lunger won the Republican race over Louis Marcho, 2,253-1,930, to claim the GOP spot for November, to replace the retiring Tom Kukuchka.
The Democratic vote Tuesday night showed some 766 write-ins cast for coroner.
Wyoming County Director of Elections Flo Kellett announced that Marcho would gain the Democratic nod with 379 write-ins cast for him, to 353 for Lunger, as well as a smattering of others.
Write-ins did not change the outcome of county row office races, the state court races, or constitutional amendment ballot issues but a couple of provisional ballots accepted Friday provided a modest adjustment, while one provisional ballot was rejected.
Tuesday night’s outcome showed Magisterial District Judge Carl Smith being renominated on the Republican ballot 1,351 to 566 for newcomer Scott Key. Smith will also be the Democratic nominee, having cross-filed, he received 571 votes to 11 write-ins cast for Key.
For District Attorney, incumbent Jeff Mitchell was re-nominated on the Democratic ballot with 1,311 votes. On the Republican ballot, Joe Peters was nominated with 3,577 votes. Both will square off in the fall.
For Treasurer, incumbent Patricia Crandall Mead, was renominated on the Republican ballot with 3,778 votes.
In most township supervisors’ races incumbency proved paramount in the 6-year term seats in Braintrim, Clinton, Eaton, Exeter, Falls, Lemon, Meshoppen, North Branch, Northmoreland, Noxen, Overfield, and Washington.
In Monroe Twp., Steve Traver defeated incumbent Edward Freeman II. In Nicholson Twp., incumbent Anthony Bellanco, not appearing on the primary ballot, won the Democratic nod by virtue of write-ins, and will be opposed by Republican Ross Parkison.
In Exeter Twp., Timothy Pierce was nominated to run for a 4-year term to the seat now held by Dustin Robinson; in Forkston, Almon Otten was nominated for the seat now held by Lance Wintermute; in Tunkhannock, Kevin Banos was nominated for the seat now held by Glenn ‘Ace’ Shupp; and, in Windham, Democrat Michael Stabinsky was nominated for the seat now held by Kevin Wood.
In Mehoopany Township no candidate achieved enough write-ins to be on the ballot for the post now held by Ryan Visneski.
Of the four mayors’ races on the ballot, incumbents Stacy Huber won in Tunkhannock, Gary Evans in Factoryville and Chuck Litwin in Nicholson. Jeffrey Shotwell was nominated for Mayor of Laceyville, for the post held by Randy Brigham.
Wyoming County Votes
Coroner: REP: Louis Marcho (1930); Collin Lunger (2253). DEM: Marcho (379), Lunger (353)
District Attorney: DEM: Jeff Mitchell (1313), Joe Peters (54 write-ins). REP: Peters (3577), Mitchell (126 write-ins).
Treasurer: REP: Patricia Crandall Mead (3778). DEM: Mead (49 write-ins).
Magisterial District Judge, District 44-3-02: REP: Carl W. Smith Jr. (1351); Scott Key (566). DEM: Smith (573) Key (11 write-ins)
Boroughs and townships
Braintrim Twp.: REP: Supervisor: Bradley Fassett (10 write-ins). DEM: Fassett (12 write-ins). Inspector of elections: Sherre Boyanowski (22).
Clinton Twp.: REP: Supervisor: Donald Chamberlin (136). Tax collector: Chelsey Gumble (141). Inspector of elections: Deborah Flynn (125). Constable: Steve Clancey (10 write-ins).
Eaton Twp.: REP: Supervisor: Paul Rowker (202); James Greenley (116). Tax collector: Becky Watkins (296). DEM: Rowker (45), Greenley (12).
Exeter Twp.: REP: Supervisor (6 yr. term): Richard Fitzsimmons (77). Supervisor (4 yr. term): Timothy Pierce (74). Tax collector: Carol Bardzel (11 write-ins). Judge of elections: Gayle Bodin (10 write-ins). Inspector of elections: Jeanette Line (76). DEM: Tax collector: Ann Marie Farley (49).
Factoryville Boro: REP: Mayor: Gary Evans (86). Tax collector: Florence Hayduk (88). Ward 1 Judge of elections: Mary Truitt (35). Councilman: Charles Wrobe1 (44), William Edwards IV (44). DEM: Elena O’Connor (28).
Falls Twp.: REP: Supervisor: Eugene Dziak Jr. (221). Tax collector: Melissa Bonnice (231). Judge of elections: Melodie Madus (231). DEM: Inspector of elections: Jeffery Zimmerman (81).
Forkston Twp.: REP: Supervisor: Almon Otten (27 write-ins); Tax collector: Mary Valentin (54). Inspector of election: Dawn Otten (55). DEM: Supervisor: Almon Otten (16 write-ins); Judge of elections: Ellen Otten (28). Inspector of elections: Leanora Dennison (26).
Laceyville: REP: Mayor: Jeffrey Shotwell (53). Councilman (4 yr. term): Nathaniel Lewis (41); Mary Robinson (46). Tax collector: Kara Davis (56). Judge of elections: Teresa Brewer (61).
Lemon Twp.: REP: Supervisor: Donald Wilson (190). Auditor (6 yr term): Cathy Barber (184). Auditor (4 yr term): Phyllis Leslie (185). Auditor (2 yr term): Angela Brown (180). Tax collector: Connie Lawrence (194). Judge of elections: Phyllis Leslie (187). Inspector of elections: Elaine Decker (190).
Mehoopany Twp.: REP: Tax collector: Kevin Powell (126). Judge of elections: Oradell Banker (130). Inspectior of elections: Linda Decker (57), Clifteena Furman (93). DEM: Auditor: Sharon Neumane (6 yr term) (26).
Meshoppen Boro: REP: Councilman: Bruce Priestner (13 write-ins). Judge of elections: Stephanie Carney (12 write-ins). DEM: Councilman: Jack Vaow (10 write-ins). Judge of elections: Stephanie Carney (10 write-ins). Inspector of elections: Georgette Voorhees (10 write-ins).
Meshoppen Twp.: REP: Supervisor: John Benninger (112). Tax collector: Boyce White (126). Auditor (6 yr term): Cristie Gacha (120). DEM: Auditor (4 yr term): Jennifer O’Brien (23).
Monroe Twp.: REP: Supervisor: Edward Freeman II (133), Steve Traver (225). Auditor: Susan Davis (318). Tax collector: Jodi Patton (164); Linda Searfoss (186). Inspector of elections: Laura Hadsall (336). DEM: Supervisor: Freeman (31 write-ins), Traver (33 write-ins). Tax collector: Jodi Patton (21 write-ins). Judge of elections: Roberta Daniels (83). Inspector of elections: Margaret Weiss (84).
Nicholson Boro: REP: Mayor: Charles Litwin Jr. (93). Councilman: Joan Jenkins (64), John Decker (77). Tax collector: Barbara Nichols (91). Judge of elections: Anna Aten (96). Inspector of elections: Carol Brecht (94). DEM: Councilman: John Kiryluk (26), Nathan Harpster (27). Inspector of elections: Marcy Freethy (39).
Nicholson Twp.: REP: Supervisor: Ross Parkison (130), Anthony Bellanco (47 write-ins). Tax collector: Tracy Dwyer (78 write-ins). Judge of elections: Cynthia Mecca (173). Inspector of elections: Jean Seamans (166). DEM: Supervisor: Bellanco (20 write-ins), Parkison (14 write-ins).
North Branch Twp.: REP: Supervisor (6 yr term): Leonard Traver (46), James Remington (38). Supervisor (2 yr term): Stephen Gurick III (70). Tax collector: Donna Gorencel (45), Becky Dziak (40). Inspector of elections: Nancy Traver (21), Judy Morris (58). DEM: Judge of elections: Marilyn Stark (13).
Northmoreland Twp.: REP: Supervisor: Harold Brown (220). Tax collector: Barbara Stephenson (252). Judge of elections: Donna Spudis (235). Inspector of elections: Kellie Rusinko (235). DEM: Tax collector: Barbara Stephenson (10 write-ins).
Noxen Twp.: REP: Supervisor: Carl Shook (109). Auditor (6 yr term): Doug Brody (34 write-ins). Tax collector: Wendy Hettes (12 write-ins). Judge of elections: Rebecca Keefe (127). Inspector of elections: Courtney Thomas (116). DEM: Auditor (6 yr term): Doug Brody (14 write-ins). Tax collector: Wendy Hettes (11 write-ins). Inspector of elections: Sarah Longmore (33).
Overfield Twp.: REP: Supervisor (6 yr term): Don Ames (168). Supervisor (2 yr term): John Manglaviti III (186). Tax collector: Robert Hug (13 write-ins). Judge of elections: Melissa Scott (180). Inspector of elections: Patricia Wall (180). DEM: Tax collector: Robert Hug (115).
Tunkhannock Boro: REP: Mayor: A. Stacy Huber (262). Tax collector: Kenni Parr (269). Councilman, Ward 1: Robert Robinson (46), Daniel Gay (47). Judge of elections, Ward 1: Steve Stone (43). Councilman, Ward 2: Lisa Tesluk (85). Councilman, Ward 3: David Wiggins (59). Councilman, Ward 4: Charles Mead (69). Judge of elections, Ward 4: Gloria Edwards (67). Inspector of elections, Ward 3: Nancy Stackhouse (51). DEM: Mayor: A. Stacy Huber (18 write-ins). Tax collector: Kenni Parr (13 write-ins). Councilman (2 yr term), Ward 3: Glenda Shoemaker: (23). Inspector of elections, Ward 4: Laura Cashmark (29).
Tunkhannock Twp.: REP: Supervisor: Kevin Banos (487), Veto Barziloski (15 write-ins). Tax collector: Kim Whipple (601). Auditior (6 yr term): Bridget White (558). Inspector of elections, precinct 1: Rosanne Womer (344). Inspector of elections, precinct 2: Marsha Frederick (203).
Washington Twp.: REP: Supervisor: Wayne Allen (172). Tax collector: Marjorie Winkler (180). Judge of elections: Mary Sayre (179). Inspector of elections: William Sayre (177).
Windham Twp.: DEM: Supervisor: Michael Stabinsky (35). Inspector of elections: Susan Fenton (39). REP: Supervisor: Stabinsky (16 write-ins). Tax collector: Carole Davis (122). Auditor (6 yr term): Cynthia Robinson (120). Judge of elections: Diane Bennett (117). Inspector of elections: Beth Tiffany (119).
Next Monday, May 31, is Memorial Day, and while most government offices are closed, solemn services all across Wyoming County will honor the memory of the brave men and women who have fought for our country.
A full list of the day’s activities follows:
Tunkhannock: The Annual Memorial Day Ceremony hosted by Dennis Strong American Legion Post 457 is at 10:30 a.m., on the Wyoming County Courthouse lawn featuring State Rep. Karen Boback, R-Harveys Lake, and Commissioner Tom Henry along with American Legion, DAR, and a barbershop quartet.
An unofficial ‘Tunkhannock Heroes Memorial Parade’ through Tunkhannock — not sponsored by the local American Legion Post — but following its usual path down Tioga Street leaving from near Curry Donuts at 10 a.m. Participants and observers are reminded that no parade permit has been issued by PennDOT to the organizers so there is a concern about public safety.
Black Walnut: The Rought-Hall American Legion Post 510, is hosting its annual Memorial Day Service at the Legion Hall, Black Walnut, beginning at 11 a.m., with Lt. Col. George Gay, USMC Retd., the featured speaker. Program also includes the presentation of the Don James Lighthouse of Tomorrow awards, patriotic music, and a wreath-laying ceremony.
Dalton: A Memorial Day service will take place at 9 a.m. in the Dalton Memorial Park, but no parade this year.
Factoryville: A Memorial Day service will take place in Evergreen Woodlawn Cemetery, Factoryville, at 10 a.m., but no parade this year.
Nicholson: A Memorial Day Parade begins at 11 a.m., starting at the trolley station and concluding at the Nicholson Cemetery, with Nicholson Mayor Charles Litwin the featured speaker.
Lake Winola: St. Mary of the Lake will conduct a Memorial Day service at the Fairview Cemetery, Fairview Road, Lake Winola, at 8 a.m. Community members are welcome.
Dennis Strong Legion Post 457 Commander Jerry Beauchene said that he’s hoping for a bigger crowd on the courthoue grounds compared to last year. He knows the coronavirus pandemic played a big part in a lot of people staying home, but with the restrictions being lifted, he thinks more people will come out.
“It’s always a very moving service,” Beauchene said. “With more people getting the vaccine every day, everyone is looking to resume their normal lives. Last year wasn’t anywhere close to normal, but I think this year will feel like a normal Memorial Day again.”
Although members of the Legion won’t be taking part in a Memorial Day parade through downtown Tunkhannock as in typical years, Beauchene is hoping that the celebration will be fully “back to normal” in 2022.
“We’re disappointed that this is the second year in a row that we can’t have our full celebration, but the point of the day is to honor those that we have lost,” Beauchene said. “I hope everyone takes a moment when they’re out to appreciate the freedom that they currently have.”
The sentiment is echoed by Legion Post 510 Commander Bob Rostosky, who said that even though the Black Walnut service is a relatively small celebration, it is still something that he hopes people will come out to remember fallen military personnel.
“Memorial Day can be a somber day for all of us who are veterans,” Rostosky said. “We’re the lucky ones that are still here on this earth. Sometimes we forget about the ones who weren’t so lucky, and that’s what this day is all about.”
Staff writer Kevin McConlogue also contributed to this story.
Four individuals, once stung on the path of addiction, were given a new lease on life last Thursday during a graduation service of the Wyoming/Sullivan Counties Treatment Court graduation held at the Gathering Place near the Sunnyside ball fields.
Erin Lane, William Deacon Jr., Dylan Harvey, and Scott Carachilo each came forward with a sponsor to talk about how their life was and how after 30 months in treatment court, they themselves changed.
Wyoming County President Judge Russell Shurtleff presided and noted at the outset the afternoon was a milestone of sorts with the number of successful graduates now surpassing 100. As of last fall’s graduation, 98 persons had successfully completed the program, and by the end of the day’s activity it would jump to 102, since the program started on Oct. 4, 2007.
Not present Thursday was Sandy Vieczorek and her husband, whose family has underwritten the cost of treatment court graduations over the years. Shurtleff said she told him to tell the new grads how very proud she was of their accomplishments. “It is important for people to know that addiction is not the end of life, but with treatment court, can lead to something wonderful,” he quoted her as saying.
He also read a letter from Occu-Care which had become acquainted with the graduates and program classmates because of urine tests required of participants. “Everyone has had their ups and downs, but you’ve risen above that,” Shurtleff read from a letter specifically mentioning all four graduates.
Lane was up first, and noted that she had regained custody of her child March 17.
In introducing her, Lane’s sister said the day she was last arrested, “I was so angry, but grateful she would be safe.”
Lane said, “There’s no question I was on the fast track to death... Finally my life started turning for the better as I got into Treatment Court which gave me a second chance on life. Today, I’m a story of someone who made something of her life.”
Deacon was introduced by Judge Shurtleff as someone who had been a part of his life for 22 years. “I think I’m going to miss seeing you,” he smiled.
Deacon’s wife introduced him as a person “who was finally ready to be sober.” To the judge she said, “I thank you for this program to give us the pieces to get our lives back together.”
Deacon acknowledged when he started the program, he really wanted nothing to do with it. “I would rather go to jail,” he said. For the first couple of months he said he was sure, “I’m not going to make it.”
“But today, I can tell you, I don’t miss the old life anymore,” he said as he struggled to say thank you loud enough to his wife and mother-in-law “for making sure I got to all my meetings.”
Carachilo was introduced by his next-door neighbor, who called him a “gentle, kind man.”
He said he got through his first 30 years of driving before getting a DUI at age 44. When he got his second DUI, he didn’t realize where he was headed. “I blew a little hot,” Carachilo said of a breathalyzer test. I remember someone saying “take me away.”
Eventually, he said, “I was taken out of jail and straight to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.”
Carachilo said that was the start of realizing, “When you think nobody cares, you find out they do. Help was there without even asking.”
He acknowledged that 30 months did seem like a life sentence, “but it wasn’t so bad. It helped me to become a better person.”
The judge introduced Harvey “as someone who has come a long way, and now you’re engaged to be married.”
Harvey's sponsor was Trehab volunteer coordinator Ryan Taylor.
Taylor said, “I thank the Treatment Court for giving these graduates a happy and productive life.”
Harvey acknowledged growing up with the attitude, “Everything had to be my way.”
He said he was introduced to meth at age 15, “and honestly, it took over my life. My mom always worried about me and for good reason.”
“And fast forward to now with everything to look forward to. Thank you mom, for taking me to all those meetings. I love you.”
To the graduates, Judge Shurtleff concluded the program by noting, “You have the tools, people, support system to be successful. Please, use them. If you ever need a reality check, call Probation. They have your original picture from before you started this program.”
Shurtleff reminded the community that on July 11 at the NAPA Field in Tunkhannock Township, the annual softball game featuring the Sober Sluggers (including current members of Treatment Court) would be part of a 4-team tournament that itself celebrated recovery efforts, and he hoped people would patronize the game.
The Wyoming County Jail will soon be open to visitors again, and inmates will be given special incentives to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
At a virtual prison board meeting on Tuesday morning, the board voted to go along with the State Department of Corrections recommendation that visits can resume at prisons. Visitation at the jail will resume on Monday, June 7.
Warden Ken Repsher said that is enough time to prepare guidelines for visitors. Visitation has not been allowed at the jail since March 2020.
“Things like appointments for visits were required before the pandemic,” Repsher said. “We do have enough space to accommodate people as they would come in. All state COVID-19 guidelines set by the Department of Corrections will be in place.”
The board also brought up the possibility of getting inmates vaccinated against COVID-19. Some prisons across the state are offering inmates a $25 commissary package to get the shot. Board members agreed that is a good idea, and would make the jail a safer place for inmates and employees alike.
County Commissioner Tom Henry said he guaranteed the public that none of this money will come from the hands of Wyoming County taxpayers, and that the state is picking up the tab.
“This money is coming out of a state fund, and will go into a promissory account for them, so it’s not going right into the inmates hands,” Henry said. “It’s not costing our residents anything. The only thing that it’s doing is making everyone safer.”
President Judge Russell Shurtleff brought up the issue of someone not being at the facility long enough to receive both doses. The board made a provision that inmates must be in the facility the required amount of time to receive both shots of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, unless they consent to receive the one shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Repsher also revealed that there are currently 55 inmates-44 male and 11 female- at the jail.
At the County Commissioners meeting, it was revealed that the demand for COVID-19 vaccines has dropped in the county.
Because of the low demand, there will not be any more planned county mass vaccine clinics moving forward.
“The clinics that we have been doing in Falls, Noxen and Meshoppen are all currently for people getting their second shots,” Wilbur said. “We don’t see the need to schedule more big clinics because the number of people showing up has been less every week.”
Anyone who has not gotten a vaccine however, will still be able to set up an appointment. Rural Health Corporation, which has sponsored the clinics, will continue to take appointments at its offices in Falls and Noxen.
There will be a public hearing on the proposed Human Services Block Grant Plan for the 2021-22 fiscal year. The meeting will take place on Wednesday, June 2, from 10 a.m. to noon, and 5 to 7 p.m., so any interested individual can testify about the plan. The meetings will be on Zoom, and the link will be posted at www.wycopa.org.
Commissioners said that the county is awaiting paperwork, to allow Tunkhannock Ford to begin construction on its new property in Eaton Township. The Ford dealership is looking to begin construction before obtaining all of the needed Department of Environmental Protection Permits. The paperwork will relinquish the county and Eaton Township of any liability should something go wrong during construction.
The county has not yet signed any releases.
Wilbur also announced that the county election results have been certified and that there were no issues at any county polling places or with counting the votes.
In other business, commissioners approved,
Wyoming County Commissioners next meeting will be Tuesday, June 8, at 9 a.m.
The Elk Lake School Board introduced the 2021-22 preliminary budget to the public on Thursday night.
At the monthly board meeting held in the high school auditorium, Superintendent Ken Cuomo introduced a preliminary budget in the amount of $23,756,284, which is $1,738,210 more than last year’s budget. He said that there is currently a revenue shortfall of $686,986.
“We have seen a lot of increases in the past year,” Cuomo said. “A lot of those increases have come in retirement and salaries, but we have also seen other areas increase as well.”
Cuomo said that there was a $217,000 increase in special education and a $208,000 increase in vocational education. There was no increase to medical insurance for employees for next year.
The millage rates will only rise “a little bit” according to Cuomo, as the millage rate for Wyoming County residents will be 62.23, which is an increase of 2.04 mills. The rate for Susquehanna County residents will be 49.76, which is an increase of 2.1 mills.
“Remember there are a lot of other things that have to be accounted for here, including the need for things such as extra cleaning supplies and technology upgrades during the past year,” Cuomo said. “These are necessary for the students’ education.”
There is help with some of the shortfall however, the district was awarded $1.9 million in grants from the state Department of Education and various COVID-relief bills, which Cuomo said will help out with some of the shortfall.
High School principal John Warnero announced that plans for graduation have been set. The ceremony will take place on Saturday, June 12, at 10 a.m., in the high school gym. Each senior will be given four tickets. Only individuals with tickets will be admitted and masks will be required. In his address to the board, Warnero said that although this has been a tough year at times, he has learned a lot.
“We’ll be excited to close out this school year, like we are every year,” Warnero said. “But this year has really taught me how to appreciate all of the little things. As we go towards more normalcy, it’s great to see kids being kids again.”
Cuomo also announced that the graduation ceremony for the Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center will be held on Thursday, June 10, at 6 p.m., in the EL Elementary School gym. Each graduating student will receive three tickets.
The board also approved:
The resignation of Kristen Bassett, paraeducator, at the end of the 2020-21 school year.
The Elk Lake School School Board will hold its next meeting on Wednesday, June 23, at 7 p.m., in the high school auditorium.