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User: rrusso Time: 02-24-2012 16:38 Product: Times_Leader PubDate: 02-26-2012 Zone: Main Edition: Main_Run PageName: features_f PageNo: 1 F Color: C K Y M








No idle moments for Scotty

By JON BREAM Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Down memory lane with a legendary figure from our comic history By MARY THERESE BIEBEL





What: “The Life and Work of Ham Fisher” dinner and talk When: 6 p.m. Wednesday Where: Westmoreland Club, 59 S. Franklin St., WilkesBarre Tickets: $75 More info: 823-6244

Look up “palooka” in Webster’s dictionary and you’ll see it means “a clumsy or oafish fellow, especially an inept athlete.” Listen to Marlon Brando’s character in the iconic movie “On the Waterfront” as he complains about his “one-way ticket to Palookaville,” and you know he considers himself a loser. But if you think about the heavyweight champion who starred for more than 50 years in a comic strip created by Wilkes-Barre native Hammond Edward “Ham” Fisher, you’ll realize he’s a nobler, heroic kind of Palooka, one who also was a sort of everyday Joe. The legendary Palooka, and his creator, will be commemorated during a “Stars of the Valley” dinner and talk on “The Life and Work of Ham Fisher,” set for 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Westmoreland Club in Wilkes-Barre. The event is sponsored by the Luzerne

MINNEAPOLIS — Scotty McCreery had just come home from school with an assignment: write essays for college applications. Wait a minute. Isn’t he the reigning American Idol? Isn’t he about to go on tour with Brad Paisley? The high-school senior plans to be on campus in the fall. Last month, he was putting the finishing touches on applications for four or five schools. He’s committed to his career but determined to go to college part time, too. “College is important to me. Education is important to me. You never know how far “One of my your job can sayings from take you,” said McCreery, my baseball who plans to days is ‘Go big study marketing or commuor go home.’” nications — — Scotty McCreery something that will help in his profession. “Being aggressive is something that needs to happen,” McCreery said from his family home in Garner, N.C., just south of Raleigh. “Even when I was on the show, I remember talking to the producers saying that I want my album to come out quickly because I don’t want the people forgetting about me. I’m going to work my tail off. “One of my sayings from my baseball days is ‘Go big or go home.’ We want to go big. Right now, we’re just trying to get out there and make sure people know we’re still around.” The people have certainly responded. McCreery’s album, “Clear as Day,” established two records: the first country newcomer and the youngest male to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. “That was something different,” McCreery said in his typically modest, aw-shucks way. “I was extremely humbled by it, but we were ecstatic. When I heard the news, I was running all around the house.” Neither of McCreery’s singles — “I Love You This Big” and “The Trouble With Girls” — has set country radio on fire, but he’s selling albums like a big-name star. In fact, he’s outselling the latest by “Idol” hitmakers Kelly Clarkson and Chris Daughtry. Of course, not everybody has warmed to the languid Southern crooner with the strikingly deep voice, Mad-magazine face and goofy eyebrow-raising gestures. Entertainment Weekly magazine named “Clear as Day” one of the five worst albums of 2011. “Is that so?” McCreery said the day after the magazine came out. “There you go. You can’t win ’em all. Maybe they’re R&B fans or something. You can’t please everybody.” He let the high-profile cheap shot roll off him like NFL quarterback Drew Brees dodging would-be sackers. He’s heard the cracks about looking like Mad mascot Alfred E. Neuman since he was a kid. It’s See SCOTTY, Page 4F

Pick a hot date off the shelves at the Pittston Library


Any date would be so much easier without any nervousness or awkward silences. Without the waiting afterward for a phone call or the fretting over what to wear for a dinner out. The Pittston Memorial Library knows this and is trying to make the process easier still, offering the opportunity for a date in which any and all judgments are passed by you and in which you (and only you) determine wheth-

er or not love might be in the air. The library, you might have guessed, is inviting readers to have “A Blind Date with a Book.” “We want people to explore new authors and subjects,” Patricia Joyce of children’s services at the library said. “Some people say, ‘Oh, I only read fiction,’ yet they never gave a non-fiction book a chance.” Library staffers have filled a basket, kept at the front desk, with several books wrapped in newspaper and available for

checkout. All you have to do is take a chance. Will your mystery date charm you? Intrigue you? Maybe even make you cry? The books are selected at random from library shelves and cover fiction, non-fiction and youngadult genres, so anything is possible. “We had a woman that was waiting here for her bus decide to randomly pick one up and check it out,” Joyce said. “Well, she started reading it

while she was here and fell in love with it. She grabbed a coffee and sat down and just kept reading.” Patrons can try for a “love connection” until April 10, which is in National Library Week. Each selection can be taken out for up to three weeks. Upon return, the reader can fill out the “Rate Your Date” slip, which not only allows them to say what they will about it (on a scale from “Train Wreck” to “Time of Your Life”) but to enter a drawing for a Barnes & Noble


What: Pittston Memorial Library Where: 47 Broad St., Pittston Call: 570-654-9565

gift certificate, which will be awarded during National Library Week. The idea stemmed from something Joyce saw on social-networking site Pinterest. If this go-round is a success, she said, the library hopes to do other similar events in the future and get children involved as well.


Winnie Williams and Patricia Joyce of the Pittston Memorial Library show off the ‘blind dates’ patron can take home.


User: rrusso Time: 02-24-2012 16:39 Product: Times_Leader PubDate: 02-26-2012 Zone: Main Edition: Main_Run PageName: features PageNo: 4 F Color: C K Y M


County Historical Society. “I always thought of Joe Palooka as symbolic of this area,” said semi-retired local broadcaster David DeCosmo, who will speak during the event. “He’s a pullyourself-up-by-your-bootstraps, never-say-die sort of fellow, strong in the face of adversity.” During the strip’s 1930-1984 history, Palooka faced more than his share of adversity. Falsely charged with desertion from the French Foreign Legion during the 1930s, he was sentenced to death by firing squad yet spared in the storyline by the timely intervention of Franklin Delano Roosevelt himself. Back on this side of the Atlantic, Palooka calmly turned down the offer of a lucrative boxing match in Havana. “I got other plans,” he said, indicating he would enlist in the Army and help defeat the Fascists. By 1940 the boxer was on a troopship, sparring a bit when his opponent fell overboard. Plucky Palooka dove into the ocean for a rescue and ended up on top of a U-boat, where he single-handedly dispatched the officers as they emerged, one by one. In his private life, too, there were challenges, as when Joe’s girlfriend Ann Howe, suffering from amnesia after a plane crash, almost married a doctor in Colorado. Of course Ann, who had been serving as a World War II nurse, didn’t marry the doctor, but Joe. She also appeared in the comic strip as a beautiful heiress, one with “society friends” who mocked Palooka for his healthy habits. At least one newspaper writer praised the character for drinking milk and refusing to smoke “coffin nails,” even when he was ridiculed.

SCOTTY Continued from Page 1F

no big deal. Never mind his ears — what really stands out about McCreery is his poise, his maturity. On “American Idol,” he exhibited the confidence and charisma of someone twice his age. He credits baseball. “My dad pitched in college, and he raised me on the pitcher’s mound,” McCreery reflected. “If you’re the pitcher, all eyes are on you — everybody in the stands and the team is depending on you. Being on stage and having all eyes on me, it’s kind of a transition from baseball to the stage for me.” Although he’s writing songs, McCreery didn’t contribute any material to “Clear as Day.” Working with producer Mark Bright (Underwood, Luke Bryan, Reba McEntire), he picked pieces by such Nashville stalwarts as Craig Wiseman, Rhett Akins and Chris Tompkins. There’s nothing about drinking or cheating, though. McCreery, who turned 18 in October, stuck with age-appropriate material — singing about writing a girl’s number on his hand, living in a small town and appreciating the demands on his mom. “Going into the song-picking process, we all thought it was going to be a bigger challenge than it really was,” he said. “They had to be songs I could relate to. I don’t think there was one song on there that when I recorded it, I had to fake it or make something up in my mind to really believe it. All the songs speak to my life. “I’ve only had one serious girlfriend,” he said matter-of-factly. “And it was a 13-year-old serious relationship, so it wasn’t too much. I’ve kind of been flying solo for the last few years. But

heartbreak is heartbreak, whether you’re 18 or whether you’re 40.” Soft-spoken but thoughtful, McCreery is intent on enjoying his senior year at Garner Magnet High School. “My friends don’t treat me any different,” he said. And he made sure that this leg of the Paisley tour would be done before baseball begins. He’ll pitch if the North Carolina High School Athletic Association approves of his regimen of attending some classes and being tutored by his mother, a certified high school teacher, on the road. If he had his choice of being the American Idol or the winning pitcher in the final game of the World Series, McCreery would opt for vocal champ. “Baseball is something I’ve enjoyed doing, but singing has been a passion for me since I was little,” said McCreery, who sang the national anthem at the first game of the 2011 World Series. “This is what I want to do, be out there with the music and the guitar, making art.” However, there was no grand plan. He went to Milwaukee for the “American Idol” audition on a whim. And now he’s taking it all in stride. “I’m going to have to go out there and work hard and show them that I deserve to be here,” he said.

newspapers. The final strip was published in November 1984 and depicted Joe, Ann and their two children bidding farewell to a crowd. They were heading back to WilkesBarre, where Joe’s parents still lived. “What can I say … except I love you all! Goodbye … for now!” Joe Palooka calls in the penultimate frame. The last frame shows Palooka’s manager, Knobby Walsh, saying “Goodbye, Joey, Baby!!” as a tear rolls from his eye. The Joe Palooka character spawned comic books, movies and a 10-foot, 20,000 pound limestone statue in Oolitic, Ind., as well as the local monument. Fisher’s body of work included not only the creation of Palooka but a humorous history of Wyoming Valley that appeared in local newspapers in the 1920s and a




Max Bartikowsky treasures some ‘Little Max’ comics that were based on the image he presented as a youth. CLARK VAN ORDEN/THE TIMES LEADER Mr. Peanut advertisement that showed Christopher Columbus Max Bartikowsky shows off a comic book that features ‘Little happy to find peanuts in the New Max,’ a character created by Ham Fisher and based on a young Max Bartikowsky. World.

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After the couple wed, Joe and Ann lived in West Wokkington, Ohio, but never forgot Joe’s Wilkes-Barre roots. Various Wilkes-Barre residents appeared in the strip, among the most notable a young Max Bartikowsky. Bartikowsky, who grew up to own the downtown jewelry store that bears his name, as a child had an alter-ego known as “Little Max.” “We lived across the street from Ham Fisher on South Franklin Street,” Bartikowsky recalled. “I was a youngster, probably 5 or 6 years old, and he used to see me. I’d step into my father’s shoes and walk around the neighborhood with floppy hats and big shoes.” In the strip, Little Max wore oversize clothes and didn’t speak. “He had a halo over his head, and that would show what he was thinking,” Bartikowsky said. “I was so young, I probably didn’t talk.” Other area residents represented in the comic strip were DeCosmo himself, who was news director for WMJW radio at the time along with former Sunday Independent reporter Fred Ney, John Cicero of West Side Monument Co. and Sam Greenberg of Arrow Steel. The men were subtly mentioned in the strip as organizers of a “Miss 1776” pageant, which was already part of the storyline Fisher’s successor Tony DiPreta had conceived. DiPreta inserted the men’s names and images into the strip in 1976 as thanks for their efforts to replace the Joe Palooka monument along Route 309 between Mountain Top and Wilkes-Barre, after the original bronze marker had been stolen. Fisher was born in WilkesBarre in 1900 and began working for the Wilkes-Barre Record in 1920. He convinced the McNaught Syndicate to carry Joe Palooka in 1930, and at its height the comic strip appeared in more than 900


User: ljones Time: 04-25-2012 23:34 Product: Times_Leader PubDate: 04-26-2012 Zone: Main Edition: Main_Run PageName: news_f PageNo: 1 A


Color: C K Y M

SLIDE into spring

Hershey edges out Penguins with tense Game 3 victory

Area parks offer a welcome romping spot for one and all










The Times Leader




Official: Deal will keep SWB Yanks here

Vote on franchise sale this morning By TOM ROBINSON For The Times Leader



SCRANTON – Attorney Steven Labovitz, the chief baseball negotiator for Lackawanna County, told an audience of approximately 100 interested citizens Wednesday night the agreement to be voted on today regarding the sale of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees is a “better” deal than the original Memorandum of Understanding in November 2010.

The Lackawanna County MultiPurpose Stadium Authority is scheduled to meet at 8 this morning to vote on the final approval of the $14.6 million sale of the Triple-A baseball franchise to SWB Yankees LLC, a joint venture of the New York Yankees and Mandalay Baseball Properties. In preparation for that meeting, the Lackawanna County commissioners and the Stadium Authority held a public hearing Wednesday

night at the Scranton Cultural Center. Labovitz was the first of five speakers who described the particulars of the deal and its associated reconstruction of PNC Field in Moosic in a presentation that took one hour, 18 minutes. “You are going to be able to keep the team here in a state-of-the-art ballpark for 30 years – and possibly 50 years – in a deal that is better than what was originally negotiat-

ed,” he said. Labovitz led a team of negotiators that represented the county in dealing with SWB Yankees to finalize the sale after the understanding between the parties in 2010. He brought many concerns of the new county commissioners into the negotiations and said he believes that from the Yankees’ reaction, the organization is committed to its future here. Proceeds from the sale of the team combine with a state grant to pay for the bulk of the costs in the $43 million reconstruction of PNC

Plan for fun ride running into snags



Draft Day


Chris Turcotte of Kingston adjusts the straps on the inside of one of the larger Zorb balls in which he and Wendy Turcotte hope to give rides.


B SPORTS Business 9B Weather 10B C LIFE: 1C Birthdays 3C Television 4C Crossword 5C D CLASSIFIED


BELOW: Jack Swiderski. Showers likely. High 57, low 38. Details, Page 10B.


oucouldcallitabigbubble, “Oh, I had no control, but I saw a a sphere, an orb or maybe flat field ahead of me,” Knappman, just a gigantic, inflatable 29,said,explaininghewasconfident ball. the ball would stop rolling near the Randy Knappman of Kingston baseball field. climbed inside early WednesJust last month the Turday afternoon, strapped him- FESTIVAL cottes, who live in Kingston, self to the harness and – PREVIEW invested $3,700 to purchase thanks to a hearty push from two large balls, each with a his friends Chris and Wendy For more indiameter of 10 feet, as well formation about Turcotte -- soon tumbled Wilkes-Barre’s as six smaller ones, from a head-over-heels down the lev- Cherry Blossom Chinese company. ee into Kirby Park. With a website set up at Festival, see Friday’s enterWhew!, they planned “That was wild,” he said af- tainment Guide to market themselves as terward, laughing as he in The Times “Goofballz …. NEPA’s home Leader climbed out. “My heart’s goof the Zorb ball,” and to ing fast.” show off the balls at area fairs and ba“I think that’s just about the best zaars, starting with the Wilkes-Barre thing ever,” said Jill Schwartz of Cherry Blossom Festival, where Kingston, one of several bystanders they had who gathered to watch. “How did See BALL, Page 12A you control it?”


09815 10011


Experts fault run by Holden

WILKES-BARRE – Gene Stilp, fresh off of his Democratic primary win, made good on his first campaign pledge – he delivered a “Clean Campaign Pledge” to the Hazleton campaign office of his opponent, U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, for his signature. Stilp then got on his pink pig bus and headed to Sunbury. “We’re thanking voters and meeting with people,” Stilp said. “We have a long road

ahead and a lot of campaigning to do.” Lance Stange, Barletta’s campaign manStilp ager, accepted the pledge and said Barletta, 56, will review it when he returns from Washington. “I signed it,” Stilp said. “I asked that it be given to the congressman for him to sign. I think this is a good first step for

There are plenty of reasons why U.S. Rep. Tim Holden lost his bid to earn an 11th term in Congress. The anti-establishment sentiment of voters, hundreds of thousands of dollars spent by outside committees attacking his voting record, and a poorly run campaign that rested on Holden Holden’s record and seniority rather than concentrating on getting his message out to voters in new parts of his congressional district all were cited by political pundits the day after Moosic attorney Matt Cartwright pulled off an upset victory in the Democratic primary. But one political consultant with years of campaign experience says Holden could have run a flawless campaign and still lost See HOLDEN, Page 12A

Super PACs played key role in 17th Randy Knappman of Kingston takes a test ride down the levee inside the inflatable Zorb ball owned by his friends Chris and Wendy Turcotte.

the campaign.” Stilp, 61, of Middle Paxton Township, defeated attorney Bill Vinsko, 37, of Wilkes-Barre, in Tuesday’s primary for the Democratic nomination in the 11th Congressional District. The two Democrats signed a similar pledge during the primary. Stilp said he will give 25 cents for every campaign sign collected and returned to him. When the district boundary lines were re-drawn, Vinsko, the assistant city attorney in


Supporting Stilp Vinsko said although he

During his victory speech Tuesday night, 17th Congressional District Democratic primary winner Matt Cartwright pointedly remarked that he received money from “750 individual donors, not a bunch of PAC checks, not a bunch of corporate checks.” But his campaign’s victory over 20-year incumbent U.S. Rep. Tim Holden was aided at least indirectly by a handful of outside organizations, including some that Cartwright spent hundreds of thousands of dollars running ads aimed at defeating Holden. Holden made reference to those campaigns and the role he believed they had in the outcome during his concessions speech inside the St. Clair Fish and Boat Club. “You had these Super PACs dumping $700,000, $800,000 against my candidacy. You had my opponent … put in $400,000 of

See STILP, Page 12A

See ROLE, Page 12A

Stilp presses Barletta for ‘Clean Campaign Pledge’


See YANKEES, Page 12A


Everyone knows that Andrew Luck will be the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft. Sports writer John Erzar will tell you where everyone else is going to go. Page 1B

A NEWS Obituaries 2A, 8A Local 3A Nation & World 5A Editorials 1 1A

Field. The agreement includes the team leasing the stadium and, in one of the improvements to the deal for local taxpayers, committing to share in costs of maintenance and future repairs. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees are spending the entire 2012seasonontheroadtoallowfor the stadium reconstruction. “They put their team on the road at the cost of millions of dollars,” Labovitz said. “They really

Geography, poor campaign just two reasons for loss offered by pundits.




Wilkes-Barre, found himself residing just outside the district, but he decided to remain in the race. “I’m disappointed, but not sad,” Vinsko said. “We got our message out, and if anybody learned anything from these results, I hope they learned we have to move forward together.”

User: jmacintyre Time: 04-25-2012 23:35 Product: Times_Leader PubDate: 04-26-2012 Zone: Main Edition: Main_Run PageName: news_05 PageNo: 12 A






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want to be here. They would not have put in this much time and this much effort if they did not want to be here.” Stadium architect Craig Schmitt, stadium project construction manager Greg Butz, county financial adviser Michael Vind and county Chief Financial Officer Thomas Durkin also gave information about the sale and stadium reconstruction before the hearing was opened to the public. The largest share of the prepared statements was taken up by Schmitt, who gave a 37-minute description of the stadium revisions. When members of the public had their chance to ask questions, however, the biggest concern was in how strong the contract language was in terms of making the Yankees live up to their promises and not move the franchise out of the area in the future. Attorney John McGee, the original stadium authority solicitor and the man credited with leading the push to bring baseball to Northeastern Pennsylvania in the 1980s, said the county should have tried to take legal steps to void the Memorandum of Understanding from 2010. McGee said overnight is not long enough to digest the complex contracts that were made

because of simple geography. Ed Mitchell, a strategist who has worked on campaigns for former U.S. Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski and Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton among others, said the candidates’ place of residence was a key factor. Voters in the populous Scranton/Wilkes-Barre region had to choose between an out-of-town incumbent with seniority in Washington and the support of the party and a newcomer with a personal and professional connection to their communities. They chose the latter. “I think people didn’t want to lose their congressman,” Mitchell said, noting that for decades someone from Lackawanna or Luzerne counties had represented them, including Joseph McDade, Frank Harrison, Dan Flood, Kanjorski and Lou Barletta. Under redrawn congressional districts that placed WilkesBarre and Scranton into a district represented by Holden, of St. Clair, Schuylkill County, re-electing the incumbent would produce a sense of loss, Mitchell said. Cartwright’s 78 percent of the vote in Lackawanna County and 71 percent in Luzerne County support this theory, Mitchell said. Other observers agreed that parochialism may have played a part in Holden’s defeat by a 33,104 to 24,874 vote margin. But it was not the only reason, they said. Dave Sosar, a King’s College political science professor, believes Holden’s Blue Dog Democrat voting record and ideology were in line with voters in the district. But he thought Holden needed to be more visible in


Attorney Steven Labovitz, county chief baseball negotiator; Craig Schmitt, stadium architect; Greg Butz, construction manager; Michael Vind, county financial adviser, Thomas Durkin, county chief financial officer at Wednesday’s authority meeting.

public before the hearing. He asked authority members to review a Law Review article he provided titled "Non-Relocation Agreements in Major League Baseball: Comparison, Analysis and the Best Practice Clauses." “I urge you to read these documents and not act until they have been vetted,” McGee said. Attorney Gene Hickey of Moosic asked for assurances and clarifications the stadium would return to its original intent as a multipurpose facility and not just be for the Yankees’ use. County lawyers explained such provisions are included in the contract. After 16 members of the public asked questions and made comments for just minutes longer than the original presentation, stadium

Report: Stadium rehab money producer for area

authority member Joe DeAntona pledged his vote in approval of the sale. Stadium authority members and the Lackawanna County commissioners Patrick O’Malley, Jim Wansacz and Corey O’Brien added their comments just before the close of the more than three-hour hearing. “I believe the best days of baseball in Northeastern Pennsylvania are to come,” O’Brien said. McGee was the only speaker to refer to Luzerne County’s claims it is entitled to a portion of proceeds of the sale of the team. Litigation of a suit by Luzerne County and a countersuit by Lackawanna County are unresolved.

Wilkes-Barre assault probed

By TOM ROBINSON For The Times Leader

SCRANTON – Lackawanna County officials released a new economic impact study that projects Triple-A baseball and a reconstructed stadium will infuse $9.4 million annually into the regional economy and have an estimated annual economic impact of $47 million. Triple-A baseball was estimated at a $6.6 million infusion and a $32.8 million impact annually before the stadium reconstruction. The reconstruction plan will receive the go-ahead if the Lackawanna County Multi-Purpose Stadium Authority votes, in an 8 a.m. meeting today, to approve the sale of the Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre Yankees franchise to SWB Yankees LLC. Funds from the $14.6 million sale are needed for the funding of the $43 million reconstruction project. DRL Consulting & Development of Harrisburg created a four-page report titled “Triple-A Baseball: An Important Economic Engine for Northeastern Pennsylvania.” Lackawanna County Chief Financial Officer Thomas Durkin


Drawing shows proposed stadium renovations.

presented highlights of the study at a public hearing Wednesday at the Scranton Cultural Center about the sale and stadium reconstruction. “We anticipate it will have a significant enhancement on the economic impact on Northeastern Pennsylvania,” he said. Durkin said a “multiplier of five” was used to determine economic impact. Under that concept, he said, “one person’s spending becomes someone else’s income and some of the second person’s income is spent, becoming a third person’s income, and so on.” The study showed the Triple-A franchise spends $3,094,000 on the purchase of local goods and services annually and is expected to spend $4,458,000 in the future.


Wilkes-Barre police officer Robert Collins and others officers responded to the Turkey Hill store on Carey Avenue around 7:45 p.m. Wednesday for a reported assault. A large knife was seized, but it was not used in the assault, police said. The matter is under investigation.

STILP Continued from Page 1A

can’t vote for Stilp because he lives outside the district, he will help as much as he can. “We do need a congressman who will work for the people, and currently we don’t have that,” he said. Vinsko said he will return to his law practice and intends to spend “a colossal amount of time” with his family. “Campaignsarewonandcampaignsarelost,” he said. “I’m happy for the experience, and you never know what the future holds.” Christopher Borick, political science professor at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, said Stilp’s victory was “a bit of a surprise.” “It seems like (Vinsko’s) pull beyond Luzerne County was minimal,” Borick said. “With the really low turnout, it created a situation where it was possible for a strong grassroots campaign to succeed, thus advantaging Stilp.” Veteran political analyst Ed Mitchell said Vinsko “had a lackluster campaign and got bad advice from his handlers.”

BALL Continued from Page 1A

hoped to offer rides for a fee. They’ve since learned, it’s not so easy. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, which regulates carnival rides and amusements in Pennsylvania, so far has not approved the original, trademarked ZORB adventure globes, which come from a New Zealand-based company, or any copycat brands, such as the one from China, said Nicole Bucher, deputy press secretary for the department. The department did approve a globe with a similar appearance, known as the OGO ball, which is


Gene Stilp hands a signed copy of his ‘Clean Campaign Pledge’ to Lou Barletta’s campaign manager Lance J Stange Jr. in Hazleton Wednesday.

He said Stilp has a tough road ahead in trying to unseat Barletta. “For Stilp to win, he has to raise in excess of a million dollars and use TV,” Mitchell said. Name recognition factor Tom Baldino, political science professor at Wilkes University, said Stilp’s victory can be attributed largely to his greater name rec-

in use at the Roundtop Resort in York County, Bucher said. “That was a process that took a year or more.” Roundtop “built a special course for the ball, to make sure it’s not going to just roll away,” Bucher said, alluding to one concern. Other aspects of potential danger, she said, include “germs inside the ball if it’s unsanitized, oxygen levels inside the ball and, for someone like me who’s claustrophobic, what’s the game plan to get them out if they start to panic.” There’s also a need for a certified engineer to determine if the plastic is lead free, Bucher said. Wendy Turcotte said she’s actively seeking such a person. But, already, Turcotte believes

ognition as a champion of good government or government reform, a recognition he earned over many years demonstrating against the waste and corruption in Harrisburg. “Despite spending a fraction of what Mr. Vinsko did, Mr. Stilp relied on the public’s awareness of his pink pig as the symbol of his accomplishments,” Baldino said. “It clearly worked well for him.” Baldino said Stilp was helped by running a clean campaign, free of the negative ads that marked many of the other campaigns this primary season. “Mr. Stilp would not have had the money to counterattack or to defend his reputation had Mr. Vinsko gone negative,” Baldino said. David Sosar, King’s College political science professor, was not surprised by Stilp’s victory. “Neither one spent a lot of money, but Stilp has a bit more name recognition because of his pink pig bus,” Sosar said. “Stilp has been visible around the state with his bus and taking on a lot of state issues with state legislators.”

the balls are safe. “I’d put my own mother in there, and she’s 65.” As a mother of two herself, Turcotte said, she appreciates the Department of Agriculture’s diligence – even as it frustrates her. “I do appreciate it. That means when my kids go to a bazaar or a carnival, I know the rides they might encounter there are safe.” Chris Turcotte is a hibachi chef at Katana restaurant in WilkesBarre, and Wendy Turcotte has been a server there. They envision the inflatable balls as a nice sideline business. “Our ultimate goal,” Wendy Turcotte said, “is to rent them out for family reunions, graduation parties and to businesses for team-building.” The idea is not an unfamiliar one in Luzerne County, where the

idea of people riding adventure globes down a chute is one of many proposed activities in a master plan for the county-owned Moon Lake Park in Plymouth Township. While the Turcottes can’t offer rides for a fee unless or until the state approves the inflatable balls, they will put up a display during the Cherry Blossom Festival at Kirby Park this weekend. “This happens from time to time, when somebody buys a ride without realizing they need approval,” Bucher said, sounding sympathetic. “It’s an awfully big investment to make.” If the balls receive approval, Wilkes-Barre special events coordinator Lore Majikes said the city would welcome them as an attraction.

Lackawanna and Luzerne counties, whether by holding town hall meetings, making more public appearances or participating in debates. He blamed the campaign management team for the loss. Jeff Brauer, a Keystone College political science professor who has worked on campaigns in New York State, said Holden’s campaign was “very poorly run for an incumbent.” “He did a terrible job introducing himself in Lackawanna and Luzerne counties,” Brauer said. “He thought the endorsements would do it for him.” Those endorsements, which totaled 60 and included mayors, local political committees, legislators and even former Gov. Ed Rendell, might have done more harm than good for Holden, Brauer contends. He said in a year in which antiincumbency sentiment among voters is still high, the endorsements made a case for what Cartwright argued: That Holden was the choice of power brokers, not the people. Holden continuously touted his position as the most senior member of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation and his seniority on two key House committees. But by talking about length of service and power, “you’re taking a great risk,” Brauer said. “That was a bad message in this type of environment,” Brauer said. Mitchell said that while it wasn’t the downfall of Kanjorski, who lost to Barletta two years ago, that mentality is entrenched in longtime incumbents. “Holden made the same fatal mistake that we couldn’t break Paul of. You can’t expect people were going to respond to the seniority thing like they did years ago,” Mitchell said. “It doesn’t mean as much to people today. These elections are more about the future than they are about the past.”


Matt Cartwright addresses his supporters Tuesday night in Scranton.

the League of Conservation Voters, which he said he worked with to put a half-billion dollars in the last farm bill for conservation in the Chesapeake Bay WaContinued from Page 1A tershed. “They don’t like my voting rehis own money, plus raise another $400,000. So I’ve been taking a cord in supporting anthracite pretty good pounding on the tele- mining, even though this town vision,” Holden said about an you’re in right now is surrounded hour after polls closed, as Cart- by anthracite mines and 20 peowright established a sizable lead ple out there working (in the that Holden would never over- mines) are my dear friends,” Holden told The Times Leader. come. One of the earliest political acHolden was most critical of The Campaign for Primary Ac- tion committees to go after Holdcountability, which spent en was Blue America PAC, which $194,000 on mostly anti-Holden spent $15,000 on billboards throughout the district television ads. portraying Holden as a Holden said “four “You had friend of the controverRepublican billionaires from Texas” these Super sial gas drilling technique known as frackdecided they wantPACs dumping ing. ed to beat Democrat $700,000, That PAC “was the incumbents and first national progresmisrepresented his $800,000 sive group to endorse record. against my Cartwright for the new Curtis Ellis, spokesman for the candidacy…” 17th District in Pennsylvania and our memorganization, said Tim Holden bers were thrilled to Holden continually D-17th District contribute to the billmischaracterized board campaign that what the group is and does and took pride in what drew attention to his opponent it was able to accomplish in the Tim Holden’s conservative record. We knew that the voters of 17th District. “The Campaign for Primary this newly drawn district weren’t Accountability achieved its goal going to be content with a Blue of helping voters hold elected of- Dog Democrat who voted like a ficials accountable through com- Republican if they knew what he petitive elections. (The group) was all about,” spokesman Howorks to encourage informed wie Klein said in a statement. Though he outraised Holden voter participation in competitive primary elections,” Ellis in money from individual donors within the district, political comsaid. “Though this was largely a mittees weren’t completely abnew district, Rep. Holden still sent from the Cartwright camhad all the benefits of incumben- paign donor list. He received cy. Beltway lobbyists showered $8,200 in total from three such their longtime friend with in- groups: American Association sider money … The Campaign for Justice, Friends of Edd Brofor Primary Accountability acted minski and Democracy for Ameras the equalizer, so voters were ica. Holden raised nearly able to learn the facts about $400,000 from PACs and politiHolden and make an informed cal committees since the start of 2011, more than $300,000 of that decision,” he said. Holden also pointed a finger at since January.


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It’s high time to get in the Active Zones By MARY THERESE BIEBEL


Associated Press


EW YORK — The claws and teeth of wild things are a nearnightly affair at bedtime for Gregg Svingen’s 2-year-old, Tessa.Sheraisesatinyindexfingerandissuesaclearandforceful “Be still!” to knock Maurice Sendak’s monsters into shape. “Thisevolvedintotellinganythingscaryorthreateningaconfident ‘No!’, again with an empowered toddler digit,” said Svingen, an American living in Brussels who keeps two copies of “Where the Wild Things Are” on hand. Count Svingen, other grateful parents and their children among those around the world to bid Sendak a fond farewell on Tuesday, when he died in Connecticut at age 83. “Sendak reminds adults about the best parts of childhood: the freedom, the boundless energy, the

possibilities, the security, the fantasies, a time where the rules can bend any way your imagination desires,” said Nicole Forsyth, whose 4-year-old, Audrey, likes “In the Night Kitchen” the best. “But he also reminds us of the pain of childhood: the frustrations, fear, loneliness and confusion, the unfinished mind in its extremes of pure joy and raw, untempered ego,” said Forsyth, in Sacramento, Calif. From the naughty Max of “Wild Things” to the foul-tempered Pierre from Sendak’s bite-size Nutshell Library, parents said Sendak understood the inner world of childhood like few other writers for kids. Sendak


Down below was the “mule team,” seven or eight people wearing helmets and supplying the muscle power. Up above was Donna Cox, harnessed into a rope-and-pulley system and, with every tug the team gave the rope, soaring higher toward the tree branches. “Be careful, Grandma!” called 8-year-old Arielle Cordova, who had just tried The Giant Swing at Bear Creek Nature Camp herself. When Grandma was as high as the rope would reach — a good 30 feet off the ground — she let go of a strap. Yee-haw, suddenly she had an exhilarating, Tarzanin-the-jungle kind of experience, except she was attached to wires instead of clutching a vine. “It was pretty cool,” Cox, 51, of Gouldsboro said after she stopped swinging and climbed down a ladder during a recent Earth Day event at the camp. “When I try something, I really like to go for it.” This spring and summer, hundreds of area residents like Cox and her family will try new things as they “get outside, get exploring, get going” with the 2012 Keystone Active Zone passport program. And don’t worry – you don’t have to be so daring as to try the Bear Creek Nature Camp’s Giant Swing. Walking through parks, riding a bike, paddling a kayak and casting a fishing line are other ways to participate in the Keystone Active Zone program, which includes 30 Luzerne County locations and at least that many possibilities for outdoor fun. Last year, between 500 and 700 people registered for the program, spokeswoman Michele Schasberger said. To get started this year, you can download a Keystone Active Zone passport and visit such places as Frances Slocum State Park, the Mocanaqua Loop Trail, the Lands at Hillside Farms, the Nuangola Bog or the Susquehanna Riverlands. The passport program, which runs through Sept. 30, suggests See KEYSTONE, Page 4F

KEYSTONE ACTIVE ZONES Future Keystone Active Zone activities include: ••• Open house/orienteering at Camp Kresge, Route 437 near White Haven. May 20. 823-2191 ext. 152. ••• A ‘Y Walk Wednesday’ walk on the levee in downtown Wilkes-Barre. Meet at 6 p.m. June 6 at the Wilkes-Barre YMCA. ••• Mocanaqua Loop Trail hike. Meet at 10 a.m. June 2 at trailhead. ••• Back Mountain Bike Ride. 10 miles to the Riverfest. June 23. Meet at 9:30 a.m. at Dallas High School. ••• Opening day at the Hazleton Farmers Market. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 14

RON SWANSON: ‘Gothic Memoirs’ not your average bloodsuckers simply irresistible BOOKSHELF

By MARY MCNAMARA Los Angeles Times

Nick Offerman plays Ron Swanson on NBC’s ’Parks and Recreation.’

ing, of hair, makeup and wardrobe. AndIlovehimwithallmyheart. My love for Ron Swanson is so fairandwildandtruethatithasbecome difficult for me to appreciate even the cockeyed wonder that is Amy Poehler’s Leslie Knope or the comedically perfect pairing of April (Aubrey Plaza) and Andy (Chris Pratt) if Ron is not in the scene. My love for Ron Swanson is so close to devotion that I have begun to measure every man on television (and more than a few in real life) against him. Which shouldn’t surprise me. Though there are plenty of “guys”

LOS ANGELES — There are many reasons to watch NBC’s marvelously funny “Parks and Recreation,” but at this point I only need one: Ron Swanson. Swanson is played by Nick Offerman, an actor blessed with a melodious voice and wickedly expressive eyebrows who has mastered, if not invented, the art of over-the-top understatement. But Swanson is a sum of several parts — an exquisite creation of Offerman’s talent but also of writing and direct- See SWANSON, Page 4F


What:“LuciferRising,”book3in the “Gothic Memoirs” series Author: Rebekah Armusik Publisher: Lady Noir ••• It’s no secret the supernatural has grabbed hold of society lately, with much of the focus falling on vampires. While Rebekah Armusik’s tales are laden with the bloodsuckers, labeling them as strictly “vampire fiction” would not be right. “There’snothingsotriteandbor-

ing and formulaic about it,” Armusik said. “It’s not like anything you’ve ever read before.” The WilkesBarre native, who now resides in Hamburg, is in the midst of a13-book“GothicMemoirs”series. The first two works, “Memoirs of a Gothic Soul” and “Mariposa,” have been out, with “Lucifer Rising” released this month and “Vlkolak King” coming out around Hallo-

ween. The series focuses on Nadija, a college graduate who travels to Prague to research her Slavic ancestors. What she finds is a world of fallen angels, vampires and Guardians, a group of protectors whose bloodline goes back to Adam’s first wife, Lilith. Much to Nadija’s surprise, she’s actually a key component in such a world. The rich story, much of which is based on Slavic folklore and JudeoChristian mysticism, is a major draw for those willing to pay attenSee BOOKSHELF, Page 5F


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PAGE 4F SUNDAY, MAY 13, 2012


Continued from Page 1F Don’t just watch a movie, experience it! All Stadium Seating and Dolby Surround Sound



Lizzy Redmond, 13, of WilkesBarre rides The Giant Swing at the Bear Creek Nature Camp.

did last weekend at Bear Creek Nature Camp, where the “Earth Day” program offered nature hikes, an animal program, lake See KEYSTONE, Page 6F






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you attend certain events, from Wednesday walks through downtown Wilkes-Barre and Hazleton with a guide who will explain the history or botany of the area to learn-to-canoe and learn-toclimb clinics at the YMCA’s Camp Kresge near White Haven. You’re also encouraged to visit various locations on your own, and in some cases the passport asks you to investigate until you find the answer to a question: What are the names of the two alpacas at Hillside Farms? After you cross the wooden bridge at The Tubs Natural Area, what color markings will you see on the trees? How many bike racks are in Fairview Township Park? Participants can answer the questions and log their visits online, which makes them eligible to win prizes. But the real prize is spending time, preferably active time, outdoors, co-coordinator Carol Hussa said. That’s what dozens of people

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on television, there are very few men. Ron Swanson is a man. He wears slacks, not skinny jeans or even pants, and his sweaters are collared. He is comfortable with firearms. He can fix things and solve riddles. He is quietly rude and quite often chivalrous. He plays the saxophone. He doesn’t wear vests and drink tea, doesn’t pop Vicodin and sexually harass his staff, doesn’t live with two other goofy guys and a girl, or another man and his child. He isn’t a smart-mouth member of law enforcement; neither does he murder people ritualistically and then blame it all on a traumatic childhood incident. Ron Swanson understands things that other humans of his chromosomal order appear to have forgotten, including: 1. Hair. A man should comb his hair, after which it should appear combed. I could write a sonnet to Ron’s Elvis-wave hair. 2. The mustache. After years of enduring the mixed message of carefully tended scruff — “I’m too busy/ disaffected to shave! But I manage to be unshaven in an even andmeticulouslyshapedway!”— it is a relief to see a man with real facial hair. Sorry, Selleck, there’s a



Continued from Page 1F




new ’stache in town. 3. The bod. Ron Swanson does not look like he weighs less than I do. What with the general waifishness of men on TV, I cannot overstate the aphrodisiac effect this has on a woman. 4. The diet. Steak, bacon and Scotch. Three of the best-tasting, best-smelling things in the world. 5. The attitude. Ron is not apathetic; Ron is Zen. He is a public servantwhohates99percentofthe public, a government official who does not believe in government. He will not suffer fools at all, save the fools he has come to love and those he will protect with his life. Over the years we learned of Ron’s bizarre psychosexual past, of his strange childhood spent learninganachronisticskillsandhisfirm belief that most government is a waste of time and money. Even so, Ron remains a man of mystery. His true feelings are revealed only by his actions. Unlike the multitude of fractured and unforthcoming antiheroes that crowd the screen, Ron is all action and little talk. And whatever his past, he is past desiring help in dealing with it. Ron isn’t nursing some tragic hurt that needs a woman’s love to heal; he doesn’t need to be fixed; he just needs to be accepted. In fact, he doesn’t actually need that, or at least not nearly as much as a Buck knife, a roll of duct tape, a T-bone and a little peace and quiet.


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Primo parfait is mixed up with berries

FRESH SEASONAL strawberries are a true treat of summer in Northeastern Pennsylvania. They bring back great memories of picking and eating wild berries on hot summer days. They are plentiful during the warm summer months and can be used in everything from breakfast smoothies and fruity cocktails to homemade jams, pies or the freshest of summer desserts. Here’s a dessert you’re sure to love that combines the great taste of lemon with berries and cream. ••• NIKO J. KALLIANIOTIS PHOTOS/FOR THE TIMES LEADER

Donna Gard, center, talks with Lisa Burke about the salad she brought to the first NEPA Swappers event at the Scranton Cultural Center. At right is Mark Bonfiglio, who brought some homemade pasta.


Lemon pound cake Mixed berries Whipped cream Lemon sorbet


4 cups mixed berries, cleaned Recommend: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (optional) Toss berries with sugar and let sit or leave berries plain. Lemon Cake

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature 1 cup granulated sugar 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature Zest of 4 lemons 1.5 cups flour 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice 1/3 cup buttermilk 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract Preheat the oven to 350. Grease and flour one loaf pan. Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and the lemon zest, and mix on medium speed until well-combined. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the lemon juice, buttermilk and vanilla. Alternately combine the wet and dry ingredients into the butter mixture, mixing well. Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely.


f you’re looking for Elaine Waskovich of Moscow, chances are she’s picking cucumbers, canning tomatoes or chasing a groundhog out of her garden. Then again, she could be browning the elk sausage a hunter friend gave her husband or checking the progress of the cabbage she’s fermenting into sauerkraut. Or she might simply be rejoicing that her 12-year-old son enjoys natural food. “He’ll just pick some rhubarb and eat it raw,” she said. “He’s Applesauce and cinnamon peaches were among the homemade bounty Elaine Wasdefinitely becoming a good eater.” kovich of Moscow brought to the Food Swap. Other participants in a recent Food Swap in Scranton don’t come so close to living off the land, but it’s safe to say their ears perk up at the words “homemade,” “locally grown” or “here’s the recipe.” “I cook a lot, I bake a lot, and I want to share with other people,” said Danielle K. Fleming of Dunmore, who arrived at the Scranton Cultural Center with glass jars of her orange-rhubarb jam as well as bottles of sweet syrups flavored with apple mint

and lavender from her home garden. Fleming planned to give those items to people who attended the first meeting of the NEPA Swappers, a group she organized, and to return home with items they had brought – perhaps pickles from Waskovich, herbal tea from Donna Czarkowski, maybe a bag of heart-shaped sugar cookies from Barbara Torda or a spicy sal-

Whipped cream


2 1/4 cups chilled heavy whipping cream 5 tablespoons powdered sugar 1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract Beat cream, powdered sugar and vanilla in large bowl until peaks form. Just before serving, cut lemon cake into cubes. In 8 to 12 parfait or large wine glasses, alternate 2 layers of each of the following: cake cubes, berry mixture and freshly whipped cream. Prior to topping final layer with whipped cream, add a scoop of lemon sorbet, top with cream and garnish with mint. Serve immediately.

Danielle Fleming hopes to arrange a second NEPA Swappers event in October to take advantage of the fall harvest and in December to celebrate the winter holidays. For info, contact her at or 570-815-2100

See SWAP, Page 3C

Hail to kale, the sturdy green vegetable By JOE GRAY Chicago Tribune

Kale, with its sturdy leaves, feels like a winter green (and it does fit well, of course, in coldweather cooking), yet the farmers markets and groceries are full of it now. Whether White Russian, red, lacinato or other varieties, kale is in its ascendancy, with baby kale leaves especially popular. The baby leaves are so tender, they go beautifully in fresh salads, no cooking needed. It seems that every restaurant, new cookbook or food blog has a kale salad these days, using the mature leaves as well. (Dressing mature kale ahead of serving allows the leaves to soften enough to eat raw.) Our favorite? A twist on a Caesar, which friends call

Kale, Caesar! — saluting Roman style, in partial jest to its mighty deliciousness. The kale recipe here works in any season. Baby or mature leaves can be used, just adjust the cooking time. You’ll want the leaves just cooked through. The rich sausage helps coat the leaves; the sun-dried tomatoes add a bit of tartness. ••• KALE WITH GRILLED SAUSAGES AND WHITE BEANS Prep: 10 minutes Cook: 25 minutes Makes: 4 servings 4 links Italian pork or turkey sausage, sweet or hot 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 white onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 teaspoon salt 3 bunches baby kale,

stemmed, or 2 large bunches regular kale, stemmed, sliced in 1/2-inch ribbons 1/2 cup each: white wine, water 1 can (14 ounces) white beans, drained, rinsed 1/2 cup thinly sliced sun-dried tomatoes Directions: 1. Prepare grill for medium high heat; grill sausages, turning, until done, 5-8 minutes. (Or brown sausages in a skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through.) Slice sausages into 1/2-inch rounds. 2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic; season with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften. Add kale, wine and a half cup or so water, if needed. (You may need to add the kale in batches, allowing the first batch to cook down a bit to make room for the rest.) Stir to coat kale; season with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook until kale


Grilled sausage and white beans are mixed into kale for this colorful, meal-worthy salad. wilts, 6 minutes. 3. Stir in beans and sun-dried tomatoes; cook until heated through, 5 minutes. Serve topped with the grilled sausages.

Nutrition information per serving: 570 calories, 39 g fat, 12 g saturated fat, 62 mg cholesterol, 35 g carbohydrates, 23 g protein, 1,308 mg sodium, 10 g fiber


Ruth Corcoran created this berry dessert at Cork restaurant in WilkesBarre. EDITOR’S NOTE: If you are a chef who would like to contribute to Chef’s Corner, contact or 570-829-7283.

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