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Selenski records handed over Prosecutors in the case of Hugo Selenski, charged in a double homicide, filed court papers Wednesday verifying they’ve handed over Selenski’s medical records. Prosecutors were ordered to do so last week after a county judge imposed sanctions after Selenski’s attorneys said prosecutors engaged in “misconduct” in obtaining the records. Judge Fred Pierantoni ordered the prosecutors to hand over any Selenski medical records and delete any related files from office computers. Selenski, 39, of Kingston Township, is awaiting a June 24 trial in the May 2002 deaths of Michael Kerkowski and Tammy Fassett, both 38 at the time. Selenski might face the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder. In December, his attorneys said prosecutors obtained medical and psychiatric records of Selenski, even though at no time has Selenski made either his mental or physical health an issue. Also on Wednesday, Pierantoni said a pretrial hearing will be held June 6.

THURSDAY, MAY 30, 2013

LOCAL No county action on vote expected Election Board solicitor doesn’t see county filing requests seeking new Hazleton Area School Board election. By JENNIFER LEARN-ANDES

Luzerne County Election Board solicitor Mike Butera doesn’t expect the county to file any requests seeking a new Hazleton Area School Board election as suggested by some residents and county officials. The results of that school board race are in question because Luzerne County’s election office failed to inform neighboring Carbon and Schuylkill

counties of Steve Hahn’s withdrawal from the ballot, and ELECTION he ended up receiving more than 500 votes in those jurisdictions. Candidates can file court paperwork in Carbon and Schuylkill counties seeking a new election before the counties submit their official certified results to the state on June 10, but some say that burden should fall on Luzerne County, which made the error. For starters, Butera said he does not know if the county would have standing to seek a special election. The election code says any can-


didate aggrieved by the actions of the election board can file petitions with the court, and Butera said that wouldn’t apply to Luzerne County. “Theoretically, Luzerne County is not aggrieved by anything,” Butera said. Timing concerns Timing also is an issue, Butera said. The county election board would have to discuss and decide to seek a new election and then obtain council approval to file litigation, which is required by home rule, he said. Butera said he wants to be upfront that he does not believe these steps would be completed before the deadline.

“I don’t think there’s enough time for all the wheels to get that done,” Butera said. Seven candidates competed for four Hazleton Area School Board nominations on each ticket — Thomas Chirico, Jared O’Donnell, Bob Mehalick, James Chapman, Frederick Mariano, Clarence John and Carmella Yenkevich. Hahn received 279 Republican votes in the two other counties. The unofficial Republican vote totals for the seven candidates: Chapman, 2,146; Mehalick, 2,125; John, 1,977; O’Donnell, 1,795; See ELECTION, Page 4A

Solicitor Pedri may represent Griffith



Luzerne Bank purchase OK’d Penns Woods Bancorp Inc. announced its shareholders approved the company’s pending acquisition of Luzerne Bank at the annual meeting held Wednesday. The shareholders of Luzerne National Corp. also approved the acquisition at their annual shareholders meeting Wednesday. The acquisition is expected to become effective on Saturday, subject to the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions. Penns Woods intends to continue to operate Luzerne Bank as a separate banking subsidiary of Penns Woods under the name “Luzerne Bank.” The existing members of the board of directors of Luzerne Bank will continue to serve as directors after closing, and Richard A. Grafmyre, Penns Woods’ president and chief executive officer, will join the Luzerne Bank board. In addition, at closing the Penns Woods board of directors will be expanded to include three current nonemployee directors from the Luzerne board of directors. Based in Williamsport, Penns Woods is the parent company of Jersey Shore State Bank, which operates 13 branches in Lycoming, Clinton, Centre and Montour counties. Penns Woods will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Luzerne for a total purchase price of $44.5 million. The combined company will have more than $1.1 billion in assets. PLAINS TWP.

Gift of Life fundraiser set The Polish American Veterans are holding a fundraiser/motorcycle ride for the Gift of Life organ donor program on Sunday, June 9. Registration begins at 10 a.m. at the organization’s pavilion at 2 S. Oak St., Hudson. The ride starts at noon. A picnic will follow at 1 p.m. at the pavilion with food, prize drawings and live music by Hat Tryk. Cost is $15 per rider and $15 per passenger. All proceeds go directly to Gift of Life program. FORTY FORT

Forty Fort Pool opens today The Forty Fort Pool will open 3 to 7 p.m. today and Friday. The pool will be open regular hours on Saturdays and Sundays. Beginning Monday and continuing weekdays through the week of June 10, the pool will be open from 3 until 7 p.m. Normal hours will begin on June 17. For more information, call the pool at 714-6261 or the Forty Fort Borough office at 287-8586. DURYEA

Police seek Binghamton man Police said they are searching for Monty Ramey, 22, of Binghamton, N.Y., on charges he interfered with the custody of a child on Monday. Police said New York State Police on Tuesday found the child safe with relatives in New York. Ramey is facing a charge of interference with custody of children that was filed with District Judge Andrew Barilla in Pittston. Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Ramey is asked to call Duryea police at 457-1721 ext. 2


Move to save county money could occur if a judge rejects an attempt to dismiss case. By JENNIFER LEARN-ANDES

work in “disruptive innovation” — the idea that changes starting on the fringe of an industry can shake that industry to the core. Think recorded music sales and iTunes. Christensen argued the next big such disruption

Luzerne County Chief Solicitor C. David Pedri said he will start representing county Controller Walter Griffith in a civil suit filed by Judd Shoval if a county judge rejects an attempt to dismiss the case. The issue came up at Tuesday’s county council meeting because some council members have asked Pedri if there’s a conflict of interest with Griffith’s current representation. The firm of Elliott, Green- Griffith leaf & Dean is defending Griffith and the county in the civil suit, which alleges the controller violated the state wiretap Pedri law. Griffith has privately hired one of the firm’s attorneys, Mark Bufalino, to represent him in separate criminal felony wiretapping charges recently filed against him. The county is funding Griffith’s defense in the civil suit, but Griffith must pay for his criminal defense. Pedri told council he won’t provide his personal opinion on the potential conflict. “That’s up to each attorney to make their own determination,” Pedri said. His decision to start representing Griffith stems mainly from the insurance carrier’s decision to deny coverage in the civil matter, Pedri said. The insurance coverage, which requires the use of outside legal counsel, would have funded expenses after a $150,000 deductible. “Where there’s no insurance coverage, I’m going to try to keep as much litigation as I can in-house,” Pedri said, citing the savings. Elliott, Greenleaf & Dean Attorney Jack Dean said Wednesday there is no conflict because the civil litigation is against the controller in his official capacity, which essentially makes it a claim against the county. Dean said the defense in that case focuses on the county’s interest, with no bearing on Griffith’s private interests. Dean said a conflict would

See SELINGO, Page 4A



Volunteers from Citizens Bank in Wilkes-Barre fold clothes donated to Ruth’s Place women’s shelter as part of the United Way of Wyoming Valley’s Day of Caring projects on Wednesday.

‘It doesn’t take much to help a lot’ More than 600 volunteers performed 3,700 hours of necessary work at about 34 nonprofit agencies. By BILL O’BOYLE

PLAINS TWP. — Malcolm Bradford finished his breakfast and was heading to his one-day, once-a-year job: He was one of 600 volunteers participating in Wednesday’s United Way Day of Caring’s Operation Dream. Bradford, 42, of Wilkes-Barre, an employee at Lord & Taylor, and his team of volunteers were assigned to clean the Back Mountain Trail— one of 34 main-

tenance projects completed Wednesday. “It feels good to volunteer and help out in the community,” Bradford said as he left The Woodlands, where the United Way of Wyoming Valley held its “Operation Dream” breakfast and awards ceremony. “It doesn’t take much to help a lot.” Bill Jones, United Way president/ CEO, said the impact of the annual Day of Caring is significant to the budgets of nonprofit agencies. Jones said 622 volunteers representing 43 businesses performed necessary work at 34 organizations by doing tasks ranging from painting to gardening to cleaning to serving meals to washing

windows to picking up litter to calling bingo at a pizza party for senior citizens. Jones said total volunteer hours exceeded 3,700, providing an estimated $82,000 in value to the groups helped. “Each of you are passionate about our community,” Jones told a sea of orangeclad volunteers at the breakfast. “You are all rolling up your sleeves to help people served by these vital agencies.” Theresa Porter, 33, of Wilkes-Barre, was with a group of volunteers from Benco Dental who were heading to the SPCA of Luzerne County in Plains Township to do yard work. See CARING, Page 7A

Valley West grad has advice for local college-bound Jeff Selingo convinced colleges are about to undergo tectonic changes. By MARK GUYDISH

Wyoming Valley West grad Jeff Selingo is coming back to town with a message for all his fellow Spartans — and everyone else poised to leave high school and start college: Higher education is changing, radically. “Every parent thinks the experience their kids will have in college will be the same experience they had 30 years ago,” Selingo, 40, said. “That’s not going to happen.”

A higher ed journalist for 16 years — he’s currently editor-at-large Selingo for The C h ro n i c l e of Higher Education and a senior fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based think tank Education Sector — Selingo will be at Burke Hall in King’s College at 4 p.m. today to talk about his book “College (Un)Bound.” “I try to explain, here’s what’s going on, here’s what’s happening, here’s how you can try to evaluate colleges,” Selingo said. “It’s meant as a primer.”



JEFFREY J. SELINGO Editor at Large, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Selingo became convinced colleges are about to undergo tectonic changes after hearing a lecture by Harvard Professor Clayton Christensen, known for his

What: Discussion of his book “College (Un)Bound” by Plymouth native Jeff Selingo Where: Burke Auditorium in the King’s College McGowan School of Business, West Union and North River streets, Wilkes-Barre When: Today, 4 p.m. Cost: Free and open to the public

Times Leader 05-30-2013  

The Times Leader

Times Leader 05-30-2013  

The Times Leader