PLAINS TWP. — After months of waiting, people wishing to place sports bets at Mohegan Sun Pocono will finally get their chance this fall.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on Tuesday approved the casino’s petition to offer all types of sports betting permitted by state law, Mohegan Sun Pocono President and CEO Anthony Carlucci said.

The casino gas inked a five-year deal with European-based Kindred Group, previously known as Unibet Group, to run the sportsbook. The deal also leaves the possibility of two additional five year extensions.

Carlucci said the sportsbook will be near the casino’s main entrance in a former electronics store next to Molly O’Shea’s Irish Pub.

With the Gaming Control Board’s approval, Carlucci anticipates approximately 10 to 12 jobs being created for the sportsbook.



According to Carlucci, games being offered include NFL, NCAA, MLB, NHL, NBA, golf, tennis, UFC, rugby, NASCAR, MLS, Premier League Soccer, La Liga, Bundesliga among many others. Bets and offers include straight bets, parlays, round robin, fixed odds, money lines, prop bets and in-play betting.

The 1,130 square-foot facility will have a total room capacity for 75 patrons, including 42 couch seats and 23 high chair seats. It will include an 8-foot by 15-foot high definition video wall with additional four 3-foot by 6-foot screens for various games.

The sportsbook will be a smoke-free environment. It will also feature seven betting terminals and up to three teller booths.

Gov. Tom Wolf signed Act No. 42 into law on Oct. 30, 2017, amending the state’s Gaming Act to allow slot machine licensees to conducting sports wagering. The law requires the licensee to submit a petition and qualify for a certificate to be issued.

Last May the U.S. Supreme Court determined that a federal ban on sports betting, established by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, was unconstitutional. That paved the way for Pennsylvania’s 12 casinos to apply to offer sports betting based.

Aside from the Keystone state, sports betting is legal in Delaware, Mississippi, New Jersey, Nevada, Rhode Island and West Virginia. New Mexico offers some sports betting, while Arkansas and Iowa recently passed legislation to allow sports betting. New York and Connecticut allow limited sports gambling.

According to www.legalsportsreport.com, Pennsylvania generated $32 million in revenue from six casino’s with three of them having only opened up their sportsbook in January. It’s imperative to note that none of the casino’s have an online sportsbook at the moment. Many expect mobile sports betting to launch later this month.

DUNMORE — The Water Street Bridge between Pittston and West Pittston will be closed until Monday afternoon, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said.

PennDOT issued the notice Thursday after receiving information from the Luzerne County Road and Bridge Department. The bridge over the Susquehanna River was closed Wednesday for repairs. Motorists should use an alternative route when traveling in the area, PennDOT said.

WILKES-BARRE — City police arrested Keith Jamie Golomb, 30, on charges he stole chocolate milk from a Turkey Hill store while swinging hedge clippers inside the store early Thursday morning.

Police said they found Golomb, of Plymouth, sitting inside a vehicle in front of the Turkey Hill on Carey Avenue just after 3 a.m.

Witnesses told police Golomb stated he was high on methamphetamine and was going to rob the Turkey Hill. He entered the store with hedge clippers he swung and nearly struck several customers, police said.

Police said Golomb went to the counter with a half gallon of chocolate milk and told the clerk he was not going to pay for the item. He left the store and sat in a vehicle where police arrested him.

Golomb was arraigned in Luzerne County Central Court on a single count of robbery. He was released on $5,000 unsecured bail, court records say.

WYOMING — A man facing charges he assaulted police officers while firefighters battled a blaze at a laundromat is now charged with setting the fire.

Michael Inman, 29, was arraigned Thursday on allegations he set a fire in the basement of 8th Street Laundromat on Aug. 16.

Authorities allege a surveillance camera recorded Inman inside the laundromat attempting to open interior doors before he goes to the basement. When Inman reappears on camera, a plume of smoke coming from the basement is recorded, according to court records.

Inman was arrested at the scene of the blaze when he caused a disturbance demanding firefighters find his cell phone. After Inman was handcuffed, he was placed in the rear of a cruiser where he banged his head and kicked open a door that struck officers, court records say.

Police said Inman rushed inside and confronted firefighters about the cell phone. A police officer chased after him in an attempt to get him outside when he rushed at the officer causing the officer to stumble into several machines.

Police said Inman banged his head multiple times against a divider causing self-inflicted head injuries. He kicked the door that opened striking an officer in the shoulder and arm.

When the door was forced closed, an officer’s finger got caught in the door jam, the complaints say.

Police in the complaints say footage shows Inman appeared to be intoxicated as he stumbled inside the laundromat, falling to the floor. He attempted to open interior doors and went to the basement.

After six minutes, Inman reappears on camera emerging from the basement followed by a plume of smoke, the complaints say.

Police said no clothes were found in any of the dryers. A bag of clothes was found near the laundromat.

Inman was arrested at the scene for the alleged assaults on officers. He appeared before District Judge Donald Whittaker in Luzerne County Central Court where he waived his right to a preliminary hearing, sending charges of simple assault, institutional vandalism, disorderly conduct, obstructing emergency services and public drunkenness to county court.

Inman was also arraigned by Whittaker on allegations he set the blaze being charged with two counts of arson, and one count each of burglary, reckless endangerment, criminal mischief and risking a catastrophe. He remains free on $60,000 total unsecured bail and being monitored by pre-trial services.

While Luzerne County’s three main hospitals had average outcomes in treating most of 17 conditions listed in a new report, Wilkes-Barre General had above average mortality with intestinal obstructions and above average readmission for heart failure.

Geisinger Wyoming Valley had below average 30-day readmissions in angioplasty/stent procedures for heart attacks, heart failure and intestinal obstruction cases. Lehigh Valley-Hazleton also had below average readmissions in Intestinal obstruction.

The numbers were compiled by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council and released in an annual Hospital Performance Report for Pennsylvania. It covers inpatient hospital discharges of people 18 and older in all general acute care hospitals and several “specialty general acute care hospitals,” from October 2017 through September 2018.

The data includes the number of cases for each condition in each hospital, the average cost, and a look at mortality and readmission rates. Regarding the last, the report does not give numbers, but indicates if the rates were “not significantly different than expected,” “significantly higher” or “significantly lower.”

It’s not the first time Wilkes-Barre General had higher mortality rates, in fact it’s an improvement. Last year’s report had the hospital with higher than expected rates in treating three conditions: abnormal heartbeat, acute kidney failure and sepsis. The hospital responded by citing internal data that showed rates were not higher than expected, and that some cases were in patients transferred from nursing homes with complications.

Overall, the news was good locally, with limited variations beyond expected rates among the 17 conditions. Statewide, the report said, “in-hospital mortality rates showed a statistically significant decrease from 2013 to 2018 in eleven of the 16 conditions reported. The largest decrease was in Respiratory Failure, where the mortality rate decreased from 14.7 percent in federal fiscal year 2013 to 8.3 percent in federal fiscal year 2018.”

HANOVER TWP. — John Moran came back to his old haunts to pay back for help in overcoming clinical blindness to not only graduate from Hanover Area High School, but to graduate top in his class and become CEO of facilities management consulting firm. The meeting started with the news that Moran will pay the full cost of college for a current senior’s college.

“We’ll pay tuition, books, everything,” for two years at Luzerne County Community College, Moran said. “And if he goes on from there, we’ll pay that, too.”

Superintendent Nathan Barrett announced the gift at the start of the meeting. Moran said their were many hurdles to overcome in his school days and the district and students worked hard to help him overcome them, and he wanted to return the favor.

Barrett also gave recognition to retiring board members Kevin Quaglia and Joseph Steininger, who have served eight and 10 years on the board, respectively. Barring the need for a special meeting, this was their last. The board will reorganize with those elected on Tuesday at the next meeting Dec. 3. He also cited the eight years of Paul Holmgren who remains on the board.

The agenda itself was light and took only a few minutes to get through. The board approved a new dress code Barrett said is more relaxed and will go into effect the week after Thanksgiving. He said it will be posted on the district website shortly.

The board appointed Robert Moulton as high school math teacher, Shelby Ranieli as elementary teacher, and David Jeckiel as substitute maintenance worker.

A parent asked about seventh grade students not getting the math lessons they needed at the start of the year, and Barrett said there was a problem getting substitute teachers when a teacher retired. He said he is working on finding additional sources of substitutes, but cited what has become a well-documented problem in many parts of the state: a growing shortage of teachers, and a resultant shortage of substitutes.

PLYMOUTH — In a special session Wednesday night, the Plymouth Borough Council voted to appoint Democrat Ron Kobusky to a vacant council seat.

Kobusky will fill the seat vacated by Clyde Peters, who resigned in October to move to Florida. The term will be for the remainder of Peter’s existing term, which is roughly 2½ years.

“I’m just excited to come back and help the rest of the council, and make Plymouth a better place to live,” said Kobusky after the session.

Kobusky previously served on council for 16 years, from 1998 to 2014. He’s been performing service for the borough for over 40 years.

“I missed it,” said Kobusky. “I saw what the council was doing for the town, and I got excited.”

This special session comes on the heels of Tuesday night’s elections, which saw councilmen John Thomas and Bill Dixon retain their seats, while Republican Alec Ryncavage defeated Adam Morehart for the third available seat.

Dixon, the council vice president and acting president after the promotion of Frank Coughlin to mayor, had nothing but kind words to say about Kobusky.

“I’m delighted, he has a lot of experience,” said Dixon. “He has a lot of knowledge and he could help us out in many ways. I think he’ll be a great asset.

Debra Williams, Laura Hudock and Morehart also submitted letters of interest to the council regarding the open seat, and the council put it to a vote to decide who the candidate would be.

The next order of business for Plymouth will be to fill the empty seat vacated by Coughlin, which will be done at next week’s regularly scheduled council meeting.

“We expect it to be one of the three who put their name in for Peters’ seat, though we don’t know for sure,” said Mayor Coughlin.

Also up in the air is the seat of Alexis Eroh, who was incorrectly appointed to the council and discovered her own errant appointment. She will have to run for the seat in yet another special election, the date of which has yet to be determined.

PLAINS TWP. — The day after an election that largely left a pro-consolidation majority intact on the Wilkes-Barre Area School Board, Superintendent Brian Costello gave a tour of the high school construction site to freshly reelected board member Shawn Walker, showing off athletic rooms already walled and roofed, beams for the gym roof going into position, and other considerable advancements in the project.

“This is good stuff,” Walker said after being impressed by the size and breadth of the project. Walker was initially critical of consolidation plans when first discussed four years ago, but his support has grown as the high school rises. He was one of three pro-consolidation incumbents on the ballot who won another term on the School Board in Tuesday’s election, which also saw two newcomers — Beth Ann Owens-Harris and Terry Schiowitz — win seats. Both have questioned the consolidation plans.

Costello eagerly discussed the variety of spaces students will have, including “flex rooms” for individual or small group work, a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) section with state-of-the-art equipment, new space for the district’s Creative And Performing Arts Academy currently housed at GAR Memorial High School, and a heritage room in homage to the history of the three schools merging into the new one.

Critics have repeatedly questioned the projected cost savings of consolidation and accused the district of picking a former mining site that, according to tests, has some elevated levels of elements deemed hazardous in the soil. District officials have insisted the site will be safe because the project is meeting or exceeding all requirements of government regulatory agencies.

Tuesday’s election included a slate of anti-consolidation candidates, several of whom promised to stop or at least delay the project while reviewing options. The tour suggested options are narrowing. Site work is progressing quickly, with roofs appearing since the October visit, the odds seem to increase that one hoped-for milestone will be met: At least two classroom wings completed by winter so work can continue inside.

DALLAS TWP. — She stood with a welcoming smile and a “let’s get it done” posture, the late morning sun alternately glinting mutely off her bronze dress or creating soft shadows in the folds. Catherine McAuley officially came to Misericordia University on Wednesday, 188 years after she formed the Sisters of Mercy and 95 years after they founded the school.

A large crowd of students, staff and Sisters of Mercy gathered Wednesday for the dedication and blessing of a 350-pound, life size (5 feet, 6 inches) statue of the petite yet clearly determined McAuley, born to wealth in Ireland yet most famous for helping the poor. Her choice to forego the luxury she inherited, Sister Cindy March said, exemplified McCauley’s approach to life: “Gifts given were gifts for others.”

Sister Jean Messaros, vice president for mission integration, recounted telling tidbits of McAuley’s personality from a book about the foundress.

“When a very young Sister died in Limerick, she gave hope to the grieving Sisters by writing, in a very gentle, loving letter of sympathy: ‘Some great thing which He designs to accomplish would have been too much without a little bitter in the cup.’

“She wrote to Dublin in genuine amusement of the hardships of their first foundation in Tullamore: ‘Rooms so small, two cats could scarcely dance there!’”

University President Tom Botzman noted McAuley was a “walking nun” who requested that her shoes be burned at her passing to signify her work with the Sisters of Mercy was complete.

Student Mitchell Rock recounted how a trip to Ireland and the first house of the Sisters of Mercy on Baggot Street in Dublin, where he came to appreciate the works of McAuley, and found inspiration at her tomb “located in the middle of a beautiful and expansive garden of yellow roses.” The students “came up with the idea to create our own miniature replica of the garden.”

Coupled with work of a staff leadership development class, nearly $40,000 was raised — spurred by a large contribution from an anonymous donor, and Sister Marie Henderson in Michigan was commissioned to make the likeness. Sister March read comments from Henderson written for the dedication.

The artist credited reading a book about McAuley in 1983 for changing her life while she worked as a lay art teacher at Mercy High School in Farmington Hills, Michigan. She was tasked with creating “something” for one school entrance. She opted to create her first McAuley statue. Two years later, Henderson became a Sister of Mercy.

“I hope that people would see the strength of Catherine,” Henderson wrote of the new statue at Misericordia, “her kindness and determination, and especially her affection for all of God’s people.”

The statue will become the center of a space that will later include a bench, table and possibly other elements inviting passersby to stop and enjoy McAuley’s smile, find strength in her determination, and consider her legacy.

WILKES-BARRE — Some assembly was required to put in place the floodgates over Solomon Creek on Wednesday during a training exercise on emergency preparedness.

Equipped with screw guns, pry bars, ratchets and sockets, pipe wrenches and a backhoe, just in case, approximately 20 Wilkes-Barre firefighters and Department of Public Works employees took part in the two-hour exercise on the four bridges at Waller, Barney, Regent and South Franklin streets.

For the most part, things went smoothly, said Fire Chief Jay Delaney. There were a few glitches with some of the drop-down panels and one of the I-beams used to connect swinging gates on the Waller Street bridge got stuck.

“When it’s raining in the middle of the night horrifically and the creek is coming up, we have a lot of challenges,” Delaney said. “This is the perfect conditions to do this training evolution to make sure that we’re really good at it, ’cause when that creek is coming up quick we don’t have the luxury of time. It comes up sometimes really fast.”

With a pen in one hand and notebook in the other Delaney kept track of problems to pass on to the engineer and contractor who did the retrofit for the floodgates as part of the creek wall reconstruction project.

“We’re finding some minor issues with what they have done so we’re making notes so we can correct them,” Frati added.

The gates were installed between 2006 and 2009 when the bridges were built protect the neighborhood in South Wilkes-Barre from flooding as development in the creek basin increased and sent more water downstream en route to the Susquehanna River.

The Waller Street bridge was the focus of attention in the exercise because it underwent the most work to replace a cracked concrete pillar supporting the hinge for a gate on the Brook Street side of the structure.

“We have several new employees, so we’re going to do the total build of the bridge floodgates right here on this one,” Delaney said.

That meant unlocking all four gates, swinging them into place, loosening the bolts on the panels on the exterior face of the gate, dropping them onto a gasket rolled out below on the bridge deck, connecting the gates together and reversing the sequence to put everything back in place.

It took about 50 minutes to work on the Waller Street bridge. The three other bridges didn’t get the full treatment and instead were checked to ensure they were in proper working order.

“It’s like putting a puzzle together. Most of these guys have done it in the past,” Delaney said. “Again, it’s teaching the new firefighters in perfect conditions like we have today, rather than three o’clock in the morning and the creek is on the rise and it’s at 5½ feet.”

WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Moosic, announced the hiring of Matthew Slavoski, a Holy Redeemer High School graduate from Shavertown, as Press Secretary for his Washington, D.C., office.

Slavoski is a third-generation resident of Northeastern Pennsylvania. His father Michael, a pharmacist, and mother Linda, a physician, raised him in Shavertown, along with his two younger sisters, Nicole and Lauren. Since childhood, Slavoski has been active in his local parish, St. Therese’s Church, previously serving as an altar server and a sacristan.

Graduating from Holy Redeemer School in 2013, Slavoski went on to graduate summa cum laude from St. Joseph’s University in 2017 with a bachelor of arts in political science. After college, he interned for a Senate campaign before eventually working at TechNet, first as a staff assistant, and then as the Federal Policy and Communications coordinator.

This was a common question my late mother would ask me whenever I got a McDonald’s Happy Meal. As a kid, I remember whenever payday rolled around, my father would buy us food from McDonald’s. That included a Happy Meal for me.

If you’re just as nostalgic as I am, McDonald’s is bringing back some of the most celebrated Happy Meal toys this Friday in honor of the meal’s 40th anniversary. The toys include McDonald’s character Grimace from 1990, a Hot Wheels Thunderbird from 1993, a My Little Pony toy from 1998 and a Furby from 1999. There are 15 iconic figures in all.

I started collecting Happy Meal toys when I was 6 years old back in the 1980s. The McDonald’s commercials were just as exciting as the Saturday morning cartoons I watched. A trip to the drive-thru was met with anticipation. Would I get the toy I wanted from the collection? Most of the time, it was the exact one, but I was happy to have something new to play with.

But as I got older, it was time to step away from the toys. At least that was what my parents told me. Most of my Happy Meal toys were given away when I was 10 and was about to move to a new city. Luckily, my mother saved some of the figurines she liked, including Disney-themed ones from the 1988 rerelease of “Bambi” and “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”

While I was sad to see my little toys go away, I rekindled my love for them as a collector. It helped learning about a high school senior in my drama class collected them, too. My mother and I started picking up Happy Meals again in my teens in the mid-1990s, sometimes getting two of the same toys and leaving one in the original wrapping. That way if the toys became valuable later we could sell one of them and keep the other.

I was one of those collectors crazy about Beanie Babies in 1997, which are included in this weekend’s toy revival. College care packages were filled with toys my mother got for me. Nearly anything Disney-related had to be in my house. My recent favorites are the Madame Alexander dolls for Halloween and mini Barbies featuring different careers.

McDonald’s is marketing the comeback as a limited-edition Surprise Happy Meal with toys representing the last four decades. If you didn’t get that Power Rangers toy in 1995 you wanted, you get another chance now. Remember Tamagotchi? That’s another toy that is a part of this run. The campaign allows parents to introduce the toys of their youth to their children, from the hamburger that changes into a robot to the aforementioned Beanie Babies.

“Parents tell us how fondly they recall their favorite toys,” said Colin Mitchell, McDonald’s Senior Vice President, Global Marketing, in a news release. “So, unboxing the Surprise Happy Meal together creates a real moment of bonding with their children. We hope these toys are something that they will treasure and remember.”

There’s a Mickey Sorcerer’s Apprentice figurine from “Fantasia” that will match my 2002 White Rabbit one from “Alice in Wonderland” I would like to add to my collection.

HARRISBURG — Acting Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar reported that Tuesday’s municipal election saw no widespread problems as 67 percent of Pennsylvania’s counties deployed new voting systems that are more secure, accessible and auditable.

“We are very pleased to report that the election was carried out statewide with little incident. That’s especially impressive given that 45 counties were using new voting systems today,” Boockvar said. “Thanks to hard-working county election officials, well-trained poll workers and well-informed voters, the majority of the state saw only isolated issues.”

The election response team assembled at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) responded to and monitored 29 issues throughout the day. The issues ranged from reports of a gas leak in one precinct to power outages at several polling places. County election officials worked with local authorities to resolve the issues, and voters still cast their ballots in those locations.

In York County, several precincts experienced problems primarily related to ballots being printed on incorrect paper stock size, causing scanner feed problems. Poll workers isolated those ballots, which will be counted by hand tonight. Once the problem was identified, new ballots were printed on the correct size paper. The department will follow up with York County election officials, as well as the voting system manufacturer and the printing company, to prevent future occurrences.

Based on anecdotal reports from county election officials, turnout was better than expected for a municipal election, Boockvar noted. The Department of State will have an unofficial estimate of turnout in a few days.

By the time polls closed at 8 p.m., Department of State staff and volunteers from other state agencies had answered about 1,200 calls received via the commonwealth’s voter help line (1-877-VOTESPA). Most callers asked if they were registered or for help in locating their polling place.

This was the second time that the Pennsylvania Inter-Agency Election Preparedness and Security Workgroup and other security partners monitored the election from PEMA headquarters. PEMA’s state-of-the-art facilities and technology enhanced communication, collaboration and preparedness among the commonwealth’s federal, state and local election security partners.

Boockvar noted that Pennsylvania has 9,145 polling places. She thanked the tens of thousands of poll workers who assisted with the election.

“Poll workers play a critical role in our democracy. They interact directly with voters as they administer fair and reliable elections. In addition, today, in most Pennsylvania counties, poll workers helped voters learn how to use new voting machines, Boockvar said. “As a former poll worker, I know they work long hours and have a strong sense of civic responsibility. We are grateful for their service.”

For unofficial election results, visit the Department of State election night returns website at electionreturns.pa.gov. The site provides statewide totals as well as county-by-county breakdowns of each race.

Two more Northeastern Pennsylvania Kmart stores are slated to close, the chain’s parent company announced Thursday. The stores at 910 Wilkes-Barre Township Boulevard (Route 309) and in the Berwick Shopping Plaza are slated to shut […]

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WILKES-BARRE — City police arrested Keith Jamie Golomb, 30, on charges he stole chocolate milk from a Turkey Hill store while swinging hedge clippers inside the store early Thursday morning. Police said they found Golomb, […]

WYOMING — A man facing charges he assaulted police officers while firefighters battled a blaze at a laundromat is now charged with setting the fire. Michael Inman, 29, was arraigned Thursday on allegations he set […]

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PLYMOUTH — In a special session Wednesday night, the Plymouth Borough Council voted to appoint Democrat Ron Kobusky to a vacant council seat. Kobusky will fill the seat vacated by Clyde Peters, who resigned in […]

PLAINS TWP. — The day after an election that largely left a pro-consolidation majority intact on the Wilkes-Barre Area School Board, Superintendent Brian Costello gave a tour of the high school construction site to freshly […]

DALLAS TWP. — She stood with a welcoming smile and a “let’s get it done” posture, the late morning sun alternately glinting mutely off her bronze dress or creating soft shadows in the folds. Catherine […]

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