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CMYK Make a splash with a pitcher of summertime cocktails. Dallas tops Tunkhannock to win softball division title. TASTE, 1C SPORTS, 1B 10 ONLY@ 20$ $ TODAY’S DEAL FOR DEAL! DAILY 284748 Dallas gets its revenge. NEPA Cool drinks for a hot time Sign up now at The Times Leader WILKES-BARRE, PA WEDNESDAY, MAY 25, 2011 Pasonick pleads guilty to bribe Engineer sought school district work By TERRIE MORGAN-BESECKER Michael Pasonick (wearing hat) leaves the federal courthouse in Wilke-Barre with his lawyer, Joe Sklarosky Sr., after pleading guilty to a charge of bribing. Pasonick, 69, of Wilkes-Barre, plead2:44 ed guilty to one count of corrupt payp.m. ment to influence official action. Federal prosecutors say Pasonick paid more than $1,000 to the school board member, who has not been identified, to reward the board member for supporting Pasonick’s attempt to First reported at WILKES-BARRE – Prominent local engineer Michael J. Pasonick on Tuesday admitted he bribed a local school board member in hopes of obtaining future contracts so that he would not have to lay off employees. A haggard and disheveled looking Pasonick made the statement during a guilty plea hearing before U.S. District Magistrate Judge Malachy Mannion in federal court in Wilkes-Barre. See PASONICK , Page 14A People still traveling for holiday On Tuesday, another line of severe thunderstorms spawned tornadoes in Oklahoma and Kansas that killed at least six people. See STORMS, Page 4A See RESIDENTS, Page 14A Joplin, Mo., death toll reaches 122 Nine survivors have been pulled from wreckage in Missouri after the deadliest single tornado in 60 years. By ALAN SCHER ZAGIER, NOMAAN MERCHANT and JIM SALTER Associated Press JOPLIN, Mo. — Emergency crews drilled through concrete at a ruined Home Depot, making peepholes in the rubble in hopes of finding lost shoppers and employ- ees. A dog clambered through the shattered remains of a house, sniffing for any sign of the woman and infant who lived there. Across this devastated city, searchers moved from one enormous debris pile to another Tuesday, racing to respond to any report of a possible survivor. As the death toll in Joplin rose to at least 122, another line of severe thunderstorms spawned tornadoes in Oklahoma and Kansas that killed at least six people. Nine survivors had been pulled from the Political consultant rips officials for confiscating material Election Director says signs and poll cards taken if he got complaints they were illegal. By JENNIFER LEARN-ANDES DON CAREY/THE TIMES LEADER By MATT HUGHES aftermath in Missouri, and searchers fought the clock because anybody still alive after the deadliest single tornado in 60 years was losing precious strength two days after the disaster. And another round of storms was closing in. For Milissa Burns, hope was fading that her 16-month-old grandson, whose parents were both hospitalized after the twister hit their house, would be found. She showed up Tuesday at a demolished AP PHOTO Members of Missouri Task Force One search-and-rescue team work at a tornado-damaged Home Depot store Tuesday, in Joplin , Mo. A huge tornado moved through the city Sunday, killing 122 and damaging a hospital and hundreds of homes and businesses. Sugar Notch Mayor William Davis, left, and borough council President Patrick Dalton watch Wednesday as County Election Bureau Director Leonard Piazza flips a coin to break a tie vote count. Pittston residents concerned about alleged cancer cluster believe they hit another wall. PITTSTON – Organizers described it as an unprecedented gathering of state and local officials, but many residents concerned about an alleged cancer cluster in Pittston felt they only hit another wall following a meeting with the federal Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies Tuesday. The EPA hosted a public “I wasn’t meeting at the satisfied Martin L. Mattei Middle with what School on New they had Street about the Butler to tell Mine Tunnel, a me.” water drainage Chuck tunnel for the Menichini abandoned Resident mines below Pittston and an EPA Superfund site that in 1979 and 1985 discharged thousands of gallons of oil and chemicals into the Susquehanna River. Residents in the neighborhood around Carroll Street and Mill Street, led by Carroll Street resident Chuck Menichini and his family, have alleged that industrial waste dumped illegally in the tunnel in the 1970s has created a cancer cluster in their neighborhood. “I wasn’t satisfied with what they had to tell me,” he said after the meeting. Menichini, 58, was diagnosed in February with large B-cell lymphoma. His physician told him the cancer has an environmental cause, typically exposure to the chemical benzene; that led him and his family to survey his neighbors about cancer. The survey and some of its preliminary findings – three or four cases of esophagus cancer within a block radius, cancer striking in 14 of 16 houses on one block – caught the attention of the area’s representatives in Harrisburg and Washington, who called on the EPA to address the concerns of Pittston residents. The gathering brought togeth- By ANDREW M. SEDER See TRAVELING, Page 14A Residents unhappy with EPA answers DON CAREY/THE TIMES LEADER Same number of travelers expected over Memorial Day weekend; airlines get boost. Fewer Wilkes-Barre area motorists will hit the roads for the Memorial Day weekend compared to last year’s holiday, but more will fly the friendly skies. According to projections released Tuesday by travel club AAA, 37,796, or about 10 percent of the area’s residents, will travel 50 miles or more between Thursday and Monday. That’s just about the same number that did so last Memorial Day. Though there is no overall travel increase projected, Jana L. Tidwell, a spokeswoman for AAA Mid-Atlantic, said the rising gas prices, coupled with the high number of people that traveled last year, led to the travel projections being static. She said that in this case, flat is good. “They still want to travel,” Tidwell show. Even with gas prices hovering between $3.75 and $4 locally, people are still planning to travel. She said people dealt with $4 per gallon gas prices in 2008 that severely curtailed travel. In 2009, the recession also kept numbers down. Last year, locals traveling at least 50 miles for Memorial Day skyrocketed 14 percent. And to remain that high this year, with the high gas prices, is a positive sign, Tidwell said. “Despite near record-setting gas prices this spring, 70 percent 50¢ County Election Bureau Director Leonard Piazza said campaign material was confiscated if it did not contain legally required statements indicating who was funding and issuing the material. “As I’ve said time and time again, the days of campaign finance fraud in Luzerne County are over,” Piazza said. The issue surfaced the day before the primary because a unionendorsed slate of 11 Democratic Luzerne County Council candidates lodged a verbal offi- Local political consultant Bob Caruso says Luzerne County election officials had no right to confiscate some campaign signs and poll cards during last week’s primary. “The Constitution was under attack by the government itself. It’s your duty to preserve and protect the freedom of speech,” Caruso told the county Election Board Tuesday. See MATERIAL, Page 14A WEATHER INSIDE Brianna Brennan Mostly sunny, less humid. High 77, low 55. Details, Page 10B A NEWS: Local 3A Nation & World 5A Obituaries 8A, 9A Editorials 13A B SPORTS: 1B B BUSINESS: 8B Stocks 9B C TASTE: 1C Birthdays 3C Television 6C Movies 6C Crossword/Horoscope 7C Comics 8C D CLASSIFIED: 1D 6 09815 10011

The Times Leader 5/25/2011

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