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CMYK 7 15 $ $ ONLY @ Time to start thinking spring Heartbreak for Nittany Lions Plenty to do once the flowers peek up from the ground Penn State out of NCAA tourney on last-second shot NEPA TODAY’S THE GUIDE, INSIDE SPORTS, 1B Sign up now at DEAL! DAILY FOR 273908 DEAL The Times Leader WILKES-BARRE, PA FRIDAY, MARCH 18, 2011 50¢ County hotel bill: $6 million The site has better odds of attracting development now, head of owner CityVest says. By JENNIFER LEARN-ANDES WILKES-BARRE – As the landmark Hotel Sterling potentially faces a wrecking ball, people have been questioning what happened to the $6 million that Luzerne County government allocated for the hotel’s redevelopment. A review of a large stack of checks and invoices in the county community development office shows that roughly half of the money –$3.09 million–wasspent on demolition and environmental abatement, primarily the 2006 removal of the 14-story high-rise and connector building at the rear of the original 113-year-old hotel. Chicago-based Brandenburg Industrial Service Co. received a total $2.5 million to perform the demolition, the records show. The second largest expense -$1.5 million – was to acquire property. CityVest, the property’s nonprofit owner and developer, used $325,000 of the county money to purchase properties adjacent to the hotel – 37-45 W. Market St. – in 2006. Another $303,000 was spent to pay off liens attached to those properties, records show. The property was purchased from Gregory Lull and Stephanie Jacobs, former Wilkes-Barre residents who bought the buildings in 1997, intending to create loft-style apartments. The two later moved See STERLING, Page 12A C R I S I S I N JA PA N MOTORCYCLE FUNERAL PROCESSION U.S. sees long nuke battle ahead As smoke continues rising from damaged reactor, Japan will accept help from U.S. By ERIC TALMADGE and MARI YAMAGUCHI Associated Press AIMEE DILGER/THE TIMES LEADER Riders wait to leave the Transfiguration Church in West Hazleton after a funeral Mass for Louis Sypeck, 75, whose memory was honored Thursday by his children with a motorcycle tribute. Louis Sypeck honored the memory of his wife, June, with a motorcycle funeral when she died in 2006. One final ride for Louie YAMAGATA, Japan — Emergency workers seemed to try everything they could think of Thursday to douse Japan’s most dangerously overheated nuclear reactors: helicopters, heavy-duty fire trucks, even water cannons normally used to quell rioters. But they couldn’t be sure any of it was easing the peril at the tsunami-ravaged facility, where smoke was reported to be rising later in the day. Three reactors have had at least partial meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, where wisps of white steam rose from the stricken units Friday morning. But Japanese and U.S. officials believe a greater danger exists in the See JAPAN, Page 12A INSIDE: Japan’s elderly hard hit, page 12A. Tribute similar to one for bike-partner wife in ’06 By STEVE MOCARSKY WEST HAZLETON – If there is such a thing as Harley Heaven, rest assured that Louis Sypeck was welcomed there last week by his wife, June. The couple spent much of their married life together on the backs of Harley-Davidson motorcycles, and Louis honored his wife’s memory with a motorcycle funeral when she died five years ago. It seems only fitting that the couple’s children sent their father off to his final resting place in the same style as the family did their mother – Sypeck with a final ride on the back of a Harley. After a service Thursday morning at the Hilary J. Bonin Funeral Home in West Hazleton, pall bearers in rid- ing attire carried Louis’ casket to a caisson-style hearse linked to the back of a Harley trike, a threewheeled motorcycle, for a short ride to Transfiguration Church just a block away. And after a Mass of Christian Burial, Louis’ casket was carried back to the hearse for a final ride, but not before fellow veterans honored him with a rifle volley and the playing of taps outside the church and presented his daughter, Deborah Sypeck, Data: LCCC student defaults higher Area private schools had default rates below national average, according to figures. By MARK GUYDISH tions – Wilkes University, King’s College, Misericordia University and Marywood University -- all had default rates below the national average for private schools. The Chronicle used “preliminary data” on defaults released by the federal government to calculate two-year and three-year defaults, and noted that the data could have errors. The information is timely because, as LCCC Director of Financial Aid Mary Kosin pointed out, the federal government has taken over administration of federal loans – making them “direct loans” by cutting out private banks and other institutions such as Sallie Mae that previous- Two years after they begin payments, Luzerne County Community College students are 35 percent more likely to default on federal college loans than students attending public institutions nationwide, according to new data compiled by the Chronicle of Higher Education. University of Scranton students, on the other hand, are 54 percent less likely to default in two years than private college counterparts across the country. The area’s other private institu- See DEFAULT, Page 9A with a U.S. flag. Twenty thundering motorcycles led the procession through the borough, into Sugarloaf Township along state Route 93 and into the Tomhicken area, where Louis grew up, played ball and hunted as a child and into his adult years. The procession returned through the borough and into the Green Ridge section of Hazle Township, pausing at his homestead, See LOUIE , Page 7A WEATHER Madelyn Evan Sprinkles, mostly sunny. High 60. Low 43. Details, Page 12B Corbett blasts PSU president’s complaints about funding cuts By BILL O’BOYLE 6 09815 10011 AP PHOTO Soldiers search though the rubble Thursday in Kesennuma, Japan. years they’ve (Penn State) received from the state,” Corbett said. “The same period of time, when they got the Corbett money they wanted, they increased tuition by 110 percent. Now who’s putting it on the backs of the students?” And Corbett took it a step further. “I think their four-year graduation rate is 60 percent,” Corbett said. “If a student takes longer SCRANTON – The hair seemed to bristle on the back of Gov. Tom Corbett’s neck when the question was asked. In a brief press conference after his address Thursday to the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, Corbett glared when asked about his proposed budget cuts to state colleges and universities. He was asked to respond to Penn State University President Graham Spanier’s comment that some, not all, of the budget cuts would be placed on the backs of students in the form of tuition See CORBETT, Page 7A hikes. “Let’s go back to the numbers, INSIDE: Visit protested, Page 7A the facts: 3 1/2 billion over 10 Poll has bad news for gov., Page 2A

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