HOLLENBACK TOWNSHIP — A man swimming in Wapwallopen Creek has gone missing, according to police reports.

Brenden Snyder, 22 of Mifflinburg was last seen on Saturday night around 6:30 p.m. at the “Powder Hole” in Hollenback Township. Snyder and a friend were jumping off of a steel bridge structure down into the swimming hole.

Snyder attempted to jump from the bridge into the water, but fell instead. He went underneath the water and never resurfaced.

Multiple agencies responded to the scene in the hopes of a water rescue, but the conditions beneath the waterfall were much too turbulent to attempt the rescue.

Anyone with information regarding Snyder is asked to call the State Police at Hazleton at 570-459-3890.

WILKES-BARRE — U.S. Sen. Bob Casey on Wednesday said workers at the Tobyhanna and Letterkenny Army Depots “are serving our nation and deserve fair treatment” from the federal government.

Casey, D-Scranton, and U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Moosic, reintroduced legislation that would help put an end to what they termed the persistent wage disparities at the Tobyhanna and Letterkenny depots.

“All employees, regardless of pay schedule, should be treated equally,” Casey said. “It’s long past time that we address this ongoing issue at Tobyhanna and Letterkenny. This legislation would put an end to these pay disparities and create a more equitable compensation system.”

Casey said salaried employees at both facilities, served by the General Schedule (GS), are included in higher paying locality pay areas than their hourly employee counterparts, who are served by the Federal Wage System (FWS). Casey said the Locality Pay Equity Act would help put an end to the disparities by requiring the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to treat all employees working at the same locations equally.

“There’s no reason we should be using two different sets of pay boundaries, especially when it results in such an unfair wage gap,” Cartwright said. “Sen. Casey and I agree that it’s time to fix this outdated system. This is a simple solution that ensures all Tobyhanna employees are paid fairly for their work, regardless of whether they are paid a salary or by the hour.”

• Remain targeted in scope, exempting the “Rest of the United States” locality from the requirement.

Casey said within the federal workforce, hourly and salaried workers are paid using different pay-setting systems. He said hourly workers fall under the FWS, while salaried workers fall under the GS pay system.

Both systems allow for workers’ pay to be adjusted based on their location to account for differences in regional economic conditions.

However, despite the fact that salaried and hourly workers at federal facilities like Tobyhanna and Letterkenny live and work in the same areas, current law does not require that the boundaries used to set locality pay be the same for hourly and salaried workers.

As a result, salaried workers on the GS system are included in more generous locality pay and receive greater relative compensation than hourly workers on the FWS system.

These disparities dampen employee morale, create tensions within the workforce and can undermine the federal government’s ability to recruit for important positions.

KINGSTON — Fear of first graders overdosing on fentanyl simply by holding an addicted teacher’s hand. Unexpected connections made by municipal police doubling as school resource officers. The painful, unspoken addictions and even deaths of school board member relatives who took drugs and couldn’t quit.

It’s all spelled out through an in-depth narrative in a proposed decision regarding a teacher union grievance with the Wyoming Valley West School District, centered on the fentanyl overdose of a first grade teacher at State Street Elementary. The 14-page decision sketches how addictions to new, powerful drugs are rewriting the rules well beyond the walls of rehab centers.

In the end, Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board Hearing Examiner Jack E. Marino’s “proposed decision and order” dismisses the grievance, which alleged the district retaliated against a teacher who filed a grievance by extending a previous suspension. Marino found the union did not present adequate evidence to back its claim, and that testimony supported the district’s position even if it seemed to go against past practices.

• The teacher, Robert Panowicz, taught first grade and coached district swimming and water polo. He overdosed on fentanyl on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, and was taken to an area hospital. He did not report to work that Monday.

• Larksville Police Juvenile Detective Matthew Stitzer also served as a school resource officer at State Street. Stitzer learned from another SRO at the high school about a weekend incident with a State Street teacher, and looked into police incident reports. He discovered Larksville police had been dispatched to the home of Panowicz for an overdose of fentanyl. As an officer he was aware of the extensive precautions take with fentanyl overdose cases because the drug can be absorbed through the skin and inhaled by first responders.

• Panowicz returned to work Sept. 11, Tuesday. On Wednesday Stitzer met with State Street Elementary Principal Jacob Sholtis and advised him about concerns regarding the risk of fentanyl among children, warning breathing particles could be fatal to them. Sholtis was also contacted by Superintendent Irv DeRemer who had heard about the incident from high school staff. DeRemer told Sholtis that, if the overdose was confirmed, Panowicz should be removed from class and coaching until the district contacted him.

• Sholtis and Panowicz met, with union representative Linda Houck on speaker phone. He confirmed the overdose. The district offered support in treatment, and Panowicz agreed to inpatient treatment with the district helping to secure health insurance coverage. He checked into Huntington Creek Recovery Center on Sept. 14, using sick days while in treatment.

Problems began when Huntington Creek called Houck after 21 days to say insurance would not pay for more rehab time, and certified Panowicz successfully completed treatment that same day. The district was suspect of the timing, and sought written certification from a doctor before allowing him to return to work. District officials and school board members familiar with addiction were also concerned 21 days of treatment was insufficient for fentanyl abuse recovery.

On Oct. 9, Panowicz had a meeting at the treatment center to set up a five-month aftercare program and drug testing. He came to work Oct. 10 for a full day and Oct. 11 for part of the day. Also on Oct. 11, Houck met with DeRemer and others, including then-District Solicitor Charles Coslett. Houck was informed of the school board’s concerns with Panowicz, and that the district wanted a second opinion from an independent medical examiner. A Huntington Creek doctor signed off on the certification of treatment Oct. 11. DeRemer and Coslett met with Panowicz and Houck Oct. 12 and let him return to work the rest of that day.

The school board called a special meeting Oct. 15 because members were unconvinced the treatment was sufficient, and because of personal experiences.

Board Member Dave Usavage related that he had two younger brothers who became addicts, went through treatment repeatedly yet still died from overdoses. Usavage also recounted his days as a first grade and kindergarten teacher, noting “How children of that age like to hold the teacher’s hand, especially at recess, which catches on with other children and soon everyone is holding hands.”

Board Member Brian Dubaskas talked of a niece with drug issues that prompted him to research fentanyl, learning “that as little as 2 milligrams, comparable to a couple grains of salt, is so powerful that it can be absorbed through the skin and could kill a person on contact.” Dubaskas also said his niece overdosed several times, and that the son of a teacher did the same, dying from fentanyl despite visits to two different rehab centers.

“The school board members expressed a lot of emotion about Mr. Panowicz’s recovery from fentanyl abuse,” Marino wrote. “Several board members have grandchildren in the District’s elementary schools. They were concerned that 21 days of inpatient treatment was insufficient.

A letter dated Oct. 15 and given to Panowicz on Oct. 16 voiced those concerns and notified him he must stay out of class for 60 school days. It stressed the move was not punitive, and that he could use sick and personal days. Panowicz refused to sign the letter. Marino notes the 60 days was not a maximum, and return to work was contingent on compliance with aftercare instructions.

Also on Oct. 16, Houck notified DeRemer of the grievance, delivered to the district the next day. Coslett was out of town and sent a letter to the union Oct. 18 saying Panowicz would be kept out of the classroom without pay “until the matters raised by the events of Sept. 8, 2018, are satisfactorily resolved.”

Marino dismisses the grievance for multiple reasons, arguing the union did not present sufficient evidence to show the district and school board failed to comply with the contract or the law. He found no evidence of animus on the board’s behalf, noting board members repeatedly stressed their concern both for Panowicz’ recovery and the safety of students. And he noted that extending Panowicz’s leave and requesting an IME evaluation were both discussed with Houck on Oct. 11, before the grievance was filed, so that the Oct. 18 letter could not be construed as punishment for filing the grievance.

Marino also rejects a union argument that the district treated Panowicz “very differently (and more harshly) than the other union members who, in the past, had substance abuse issues and were allowed back to work when they finished a residential treatment program.” He notes “the record does not establish this point of fact,” but delves deeper.

“Moreover, there simply is no comparison between Mr. Panowicz’s substance abuse problem with fentanyl and other employees who may have abused alcohol, and the District justifiably treated Mr. Panowicz differently for using fentanyl where the record is clear that, to the administrators’ knowledge, no other employee had ever been involved with that substance before.”

If no exceptions are filed with PLRB, the order becomes final 20 days after it was issued Dec. 5. The report is available online at the PLRB proposed orders site.

WILKES-BARRE — A trial date has been set for a West Hazleton man accused of fatally shooting a 17-year-old during a botched drug deal in the summer of 2018.

Brandon Joseph Gambardella, 20, appeared before Luzerne County Judge Fred A. Pierantoni III for a brief scheduling hearing on Wednesday, during which Pierantoni scheduled Gambardella’s trial for the week of March 9, 2020.

Gambardella is currently locked up in the Luzerne County Correctional Facility, facing an open count of criminal homicide after police said he shot and killed Anthony Bonney, 17, on June 18, 2018.

According to police, Gambardella fired shots at Bonney at a Freeland park after Bonney attempted to pass of drywall shavings and baking soda as cocaine.

Gambardella’s attorney, Mark Bufalino, along with the prosecution team, confirmed that the discovery process has been ongoing.

NANTICOKE — In the cafeteria, SHINE after-school students played checkers on a large rug-like board, worked with a zSpace virtual reality screen, and built things with LEGO and LEGO-like bricks. “I’m building a car!” one boy smiled as he proudly held up a boxy rendition of an automobile.

In the adjacent hallway near the entrance of Greater Nanticoke Area High School, which hosts one of the SHINE programs in Luzerne County, students Julia Harbert and Emily Yukenavage held signs and beamed as they participated in a check presentation by Cabot Oil and Gas, which donated $20,000 to SHINE on Wednesday, split equally between the programs in Luzerne and Carbon counties.

State Sen. John Yudichak, I-Plymouth Township, suggested to gathered media that the money would more likely go to items need for the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) lessons espoused by SHINE four days a week at area schools.

“Future engineers and energy engineers will be coming out of this program,” said Yudichak, a staunch supporter of SHINE since helping bring the private/public partnership to Luzerne County in 2015.

The program has state Educational Improvement Tax Credit status, meaning Cabot Oil and Gas will get a substantial tax credit for its $20,000, and Luzerne County SHINE Director Carol Nicholas said she is working on other partnerships with the company.

Alas, buying a new car as per Julia is not on the list, unless they make a little one with a 3D printer, one of the items the money will purchase, according to Nicholas. She also hopes to buy another zSpace machine.

BUTLER TWP. — As William Morse IV was in a bathtub waiting to die from self-inflicted slash wounds to his neck and arms, he allegedly made a confession to his mother about his missing father, William Morse III.

Robin Morse testified against her son at his preliminary hearing Wednesday on charges he killed his father outside the family’s home at 170 Hollow Road, Sugarloaf Township, on June 11, 2018.

Although investigators have not recovered the elder Morse’s body, his disappearance is considered a “dead missing person,” testified Luzerne County Detective Shawn Williams.

Morse IV attempted to take his own life Sept. 16, five days after state police searched the Hollow Road home and after Trooper Ed Urban told the younger Morse he was the target of the investigation.

Robin Morse testified she awoke on Sept. 16 and stepped in what she believed was water on a carpet inside their home. She initially believed a dog had an accident but soon realized there was blood going up stairs to a bathroom.

Robin Morse said she found her son sitting in a bathtub covered in blood. She said her son pleaded with her not to call 911.

“I said to him, ‘I wish your father would come home and see what he’s doing to this family,’” Robin Morse testified. “He said, ‘He’s not coming home. I killed him.’”

A hunter discovered a weathered notebook and other items, including an empty milk container, in woods about 800 feet from the Morse home on Nov. 11.

Urban testified the notebook contained a note allegedly written by Morse IV admitting to the killing. The trooper also noted the milk container had an expiration date of Sept. 20.

“I, William Morse IV, murdered my father, period. My mother knew nothing. I bludgeoned him on the concrete, then burned his body. Robin knew nothing,” Urban testified while reading the notebook.

Before Morse IV attempted to take his own life, he left his mother a note, a $200 gift card and cash that was found inside the home Sept. 16.

Urban testified investigators discovered several fragments in a burn barrel when the property was searched Sept. 11. A forensic anthropologist from Bloomsburg University indicated the fragments are bone and suggested the fragments be sent to the University of Akron in Ohio to be analyzed under specialized microscope.

Urban said representatives at Akron were not able to identify if the fragments are human or animal because they were destroyed by heat.

Investigators suspect Morse IV burned his father’s body on the Hollow Road property as three burn areas were found.

Robin Morse testified she met Morse III in 1986 and they married in 1990. They divorced in 1997, but reconciled in 2001 or 2002. Although they never re-married, she described their relationship as “boyfriend and girlfriend.”

She said Morse III moved out of the house sometime in April 2018 and was staying in different hotels, often patronizing the Inn at Jim Thorpe in Jim Thorpe on the weekends.

Jillian Berger, who works at Molly Maguires restaurant in Jim Thorpe, and Nicole Lang, who works at the Inn, testified Morse III on June 9 and June 10, respectively, talked about having a meeting with his son on June 11, 2018.

While in Jim Thorpe on June 11, 2018, Morse III was with friends, including Mary Ann Bonacchi, who took a picture of Morse III while attending a bridge dedication. The picture was widely used in the search for Morse III.

Robin Morse reported Morse III missing on June 17, 2018, and Morse IV reported his father missing June 20, 2018, testified Sugarloaf Township Police Chief Joshua Winters.

Investigators allege almost immediately after Morse IV reported his father missing, he began siphoning his father’s finances into his own accounts, including opening a money market fund and canceling service to his father’s cellphone.

Urban said state police took over the investigation in October 2018 and soon learned through a search warrant that Morse IV had searched on the internet about common-law marriages, common-law inheritances, murder and the use of lye to decompose bodies. Urban also said Morse IV searched for “no body, no crime,” and “murder convictions without a body.”

Morse IV searches on the internet began in April 2018 and continued after Morse III disappeared. One internet search Morse IV allegedly researched on Aug. 17, 2018, Urban said, was “life insurance on a missing person.”

Urban said Morse IV was able to close out Morse III’s bank accounts and a credit card when he became power-of-attorney on Aug. 22, 2018, over his father’s financial affairs.

After nearly four hours of testimony, O’Donnell forwarded charges of criminal homicide, receiving stolen property, tampering with evidence, obstruction of justice, abuse of corpse, acquiring proceeds from an illegal act and two counts of theft against Morse IV to county court.

KINGSTON — Corey Pries was home with his two children and the family’s two dogs when he heard footsteps — loud footsteps — on his front porch.

After Kingston Mayor Paul Roberts managed to find an outside electrical outlet, a bright light appeared on the Pries’ front lawn at 369 Osceola Ave.

There, in the shadow of the Wyoming Valley West Middle School, the much-coveted Kingston Christmas Water Heater landed on its 2019 lawn — an otherwise seldom seen and underappreciated household apparatus that was brightly lit for the world to marvel at over the next month..

The Pries family became the 35th recipient of the holiday tradition, bringing instant notoriety to an otherwise quiet residential neighborhood.

Pries’ parents, Rich and Diane Pries of South Gates Avenue, were the recipients in 2017, making them the first father and son to earn the distinguished yuletide award.

Pries said his wife, Joan, was at work, and “won’t she be surprised” when she returns a few minutes from the award presentation.

“This is a true Kingston tradition,” Roberts said. “This is a great group of guys who do this. And every year, I get asked so often, ‘Who got the water heater?’ It’s really a lot of fun.”

The group of about 35 volunteers, as always, held a clandestine meeting to discuss who would be worthy of the water heater. After much deliberation, the group piled into their vehicles and paraded around Kingston, with the water heater in tow.

The water heater comes completely decorated with Christmas lights and ornaments. The group of men delivering it stood and sang Christmas carols — at least the ones to which they could remember the words.

According to tradition, the recipient must keep the water heater on their front lawn and light it every night until after the new year.

The tradition began in 1984, when plumber John McGlynn, who was present Tuesday night, replaced a water heater for the late Tom Lahart on Loveland Avenue. When Lahart didn’t pay a $10 fee to remove the old one, McGlynn decided to leave it on Lahart’s lawn. He would later have some friends go back and decorate it as a Christmas joke, and a local legend was born.

McGlynn, Bernie Hurley, Tom Paratore, Doug Rush, Ned Delaney, Barry Blannet, Gordon Dussinger and many others turned out for the annual presentation.

Santa may be able to come down chimneys into lit fires and not get burned, but the rest of us aren’t so mystically capable.

And yes, that’s a lead-in for an annual safety tip editorial, but please take a few moments to run down the list (compiled from several safety-minded organizations). Even a small mistake can turn this happy season into a tragedy.

On the electricity front: Inspect electric decorations and cords for damage. Don’t overload outlets, no matter how humorous the scenes from “A Christmas Story” may seem. Limit the number of connected light strings to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Don’t run cords where they get pinched by furniture or go under rugs or rest against heat sources. Turn off decorations when you aren’t home or are heading to settle your brains for a long winter’s nap.

If you use a live tree, water it every day. And don’t pretend it lasts forever. When the tree gets dry, it’s time to take it outside.

Keep combustibles at least three feet from a flame source (fireplaces, candles, stove tops, etc.). According to the National Fire Protection Association, decorations too close to a heat source were a factor in half of home fires that begin with decorations. Be extra careful with candles, and consider using battery-powered ones for effect.

Use the right ladder when you decide your feet need to get off the ground (to string lights and decorations). Keep decorations from tangling when you are on a ladder. And consider having someone around when you go up there, to hold the ladder, untangle decorations and otherwise just be available while you are at risk. “This Old House” says more than half a million people are injured annually falling off ladders.

Make sure your tree, real or artificial, is securely set up and unlikely to topple. Use a stand rated for the size of the tree, make sure it’s secure and set on an even surface. And think like a kid. Will a tug here or a bump there send it merely shaking a bit or crashing down?

There are, of course, risks outside the house, especially when travelling. The most obvious one around here is weather, thanks to the temperature swings that can mean rain one minute and a sheet of ice the next. Keep your car in top shape and winterized. Stock it with an emergency preparedness kit (appropriate tools, jumper cables, flashlight, first aid kit and the ever adaptable duct tape).

Give yourself extra time to get anywhere. The closer to Christmas, the more time you should plan into any trips. Buckle up the seat belt, put away the phone, drive defensively. Oh, and don’t drink and drive, period.

Sure it can seem like a long list of downers in a season that’s supposed to be upbeat and cheery. But the truth is, most of the safety tips you’ll see and hear this month are just common sense. They are actually precautions you should be practicing on a daily basis, without much though. It’s just more important now because of the extra effort we put into making the holidays great.

WILKES-BARRE — The Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce recently donated $2,000 to Family Service Association of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Last month, at the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber Annual Dinner, Family Service Association was honored as the Charitable Organization of the Year. A portion of the proceeds raised from the annual dinner were donated back to Family Service Association.

Family Service Association is proud to enter its 124th year of service as a nonprofit organization dedicated to working with children, individuals, families, and communities to help them achieve their full potential.

Last fiscal year ending June 30, 2,458 kinship connections and 69 kinship placements were made through the Family Finding program; trauma was reduced for 84 children through the provision of coordinated forensic interviews in their Children’s Center; there was a 87.2% non-recidivation rate through the High Risk Youth Program; and 211 NE/Help Line connected 96,408 people to resources.

WYOMING — The state Department of Environmental Protection closed out a complaint of a blocked floodway by Charles Flack Memorial Field after the fill was removed by the borough earlier this month.

A report provided Tuesday by Colleen Connolly, a spokeswoman at DEP’s Northeast Regional Office in Wilkes-Barre, said a follow-up inspection of the site on Dec. 5 found no violations. The complaint was closed out that same day, she said.

On Nov. 20 DEP responded to a complaint about fill being dumped without a permit on land owned by Wyoming and the Luzerne County Redevelopment Authority near Colonial Drive and inspected the site. Representatives of the borough and LCRA accompanied DEP during the initial inspection.

Aerial photography showed that “a small amount of fill was placed” in the floodway for Abrams Creek between May 2014 and June 2016. “It appears that during the time the fill was placed on the properties, a stormwater swale was partially filled in, restricting the flow to the swale that runs north along the property.”

Neither the borough nor LCRDA took responsibility for depositing the fill, but agreed to remove it and restore the swale to correct drainage problems. They had until Dec. 6 to file corrective action plans for DEP’s approval. The plans were to include the dates of restoration, what the restoration entailed, included what equipment would be used and where the fill would be moved to.

Connolly said the plans were submitted by Nov. 22 and between Nov. 26 and 27 the borough removed the dirt and relined the swale with stone.

Efforts to reach Wyoming Mayor Joseph Dominick and Andy Reilly, executive director of the LCRDA, were unsuccessful.

Luzerne County real estate taxes will increase 3.25% next year under a budget county council adopted late Tuesday in a 7-4 vote.

County taxes are currently 5.9754 mills, or $597.54 on a $100,000 property. A mill is $1 tax for every $1,000 in assessed value.

With the increase, the millage will rise to 6.1696, for a total payment of $616.96 on a $100,000 property, or about $19 more.

Council members approved numerous budget amendments to reduce the administration’s proposed 5% increase.

The following council members approved the budget: Patrick Bilbow, Tim McGinley, Rick Morelli, Sheila Saidman, Robert Schnee, Matthew Vough and Chris Perry, although Perry abstained from voting on the court portion due to his married daughter’s longtime employment in the court system.

Council spent several hours discussing and voting on more than 100 proposed amendments and came up with $1.9 million in cuts and additional revenue.

Council would have to come up with $5.25 million in cuts or new revenue to avoid a 5% tax increase. Each percentage of the tax increase generates a little over $1 million.

• Nonunion raises. Proposals to remove the entire $236,756 requested or cut the allocation in half both failed to secure a majority vote. A majority ended up supporting McGinley’s proposal to cut the earmark by 10%.

• New positions. Council rejected two of the three new positions requested by Pedri to save more than $79,000, leaving only one new information technology position paying $50,000. Because a custodial position was not created, council agreed to include $6,200 in funding to hire a company to clean the records storage facility in Hanover Township. Urban did not secure enough support to also eliminate a vacant county detective position.

• The reserve fund, a pot of money set aside for unforeseen situations, was reduced by $200,000, leaving a $300,000 cushion. However, council later added another $78,000 into the reserve from unfilled positions.

• Chief Public Defender Steven Greenwald lost his plea for $92,658 for expert examinations and witnesses, with a majority reducing the earmark to $85,000. A majority also reduced another public defender’s office line by $18,000.

Greenwald told council he was “disturbed” that his office is being cut, while the district attorney’s office is not.

• The earmark for assessment refunds, which cover overpayments to property owners who successfully challenge the tax value of their real estate, was reduced by $25,000 cut, leaving $525,000

• Council unanimously denied a $62,000 increase in the county’s annual allocation to the Luzerne County Community College. The county currently provides $6.2 million.

Several council members had questioned the urgency of an increase when college President Thomas Leary recently received a 9% raise of $15,300.

Council failed to pass proposals to cut allocations for outside inmate housing at the prison and payroll processing through human resources management company ADP.

WILKES-BARRE — It’s a chair and a screen, not a ball and a field, but e-sports continues to boom in the area, with King’s College announcing entry into the virtual competitive world beginning fall 2020.

“Coupled with the college’s other men and women sports, e-sports represents a significant growth potential in attracting and retaining students,” Associate Vice President Cheryl Ish said in a media release. Also the Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation, Ish said that e-sports “will add another dimension to the landscape of extracurricular offerings for our students. We hope to get out in front of the e-sports movement that’s evolving on scholastic and college campuses nationwide.”

King’s will join the National Association of Collegiate Esports, only three years old and already the largest governing body of intercollegiate e-sports in the United States, with more than 130 member institutions. Misericordia University is one of them, having unveiled plans in January to complete in NACE.

With the addition of King’s, NACE will have nine Middle Atlantic Conference schools sponsoring e-sports teams. Along with Misericordia, the others are Albright College, DeSales University, Hood College, Lebanon Valley College, Stevenson University, Widener University and Arcadia University.

King’s will dive into the realm of e-sports with three games: League of Legends, Rocket League and Hearthstone — a particularly popular trio that were also the starting point for Misericordia. And, no, they are not virtual versions of traditional sports.

The most popular competitive game in the country, League of Legends is a battle arena where players summon and control heroes working their way through places like the Summoner’s Rift, Twisted Treeline and Howling Abyss. Hearthstone is a virtual version of classic collectible card games summoning minions to destroy the other player. Rocket League is a turbo-charged virtual field game, with players using rocket-powered vehicles to get a ball past opponents and score goals.

King’s is converting the former Leo’s on Mane restaurant, at the corner of North Main and East North Streets, into a dedicated e-sports facility, promising a “state-of-the art” arena “with 1,625 square feet of gaming space” using “high-performance Intel-based gaming desktops with elite competitive peripherals.” A Gigabit fiber network will be dedicated solely to the arena.

In the media release, King’s President The Rev. John Ryan did not say what e-sport he prefers, but did pitch the trend as in line with King’s goal of preparing well-rounded students.

“One attractive feature of Esports is the coming together of individual ‘gamers’ and learning to operate as a team, developing the social and technical skills necessary to make both a living and a life,” Ryan said.

WILKES-BARRE — Wilkes University will announce its seventh president at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 12.

Speakers include Interim President Paul S. Adams, Wilkes Board of Trustees Vice Chair Bill Miller, and senior communication studies major Caroline Rickard.

Former Wilkes President Patrick Leahy Leahy announced his departure last December to become president at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, New Jersey.

WILKES-BARRE — Dr. A. Gregory Cant has been named the seventh president of Wilkes University. Cant, who succeeds Patrick Leahy, comes to Wilkes from Montclair State University in New Jersey, where he has served as […]

WILKES-BARRE TWP. — The Luzerne County Convention Center Authority on Wednesday discussed two projects with direct effects on the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. The much anticipated WiFi upgrade at the facility has yet […]

WILKES-BARRE — U.S. Sen. Bob Casey on Wednesday said workers at the Tobyhanna and Letterkenny Army Depots “are serving our nation and deserve fair treatment” from the federal government. Casey, D-Scranton, and U.S. Rep. Matt […]

KINGSTON — Fear of first graders overdosing on fentanyl simply by holding an addicted teacher’s hand. Unexpected connections made by municipal police doubling as school resource officers. The painful, unspoken addictions and even deaths of […]

WILKES-BARRE — A trial date has been set for a West Hazleton man accused of fatally shooting a 17-year-old during a botched drug deal in the summer of 2018. Brandon Joseph Gambardella, 20, appeared before […]

Although it was around 11 p.m. at the close of a marathon five-hour meeting Tuesday, Luzerne County Council members took the time to offer parting words to four colleagues, including Stephen A. Urban. A retired […]

NANTICOKE — In the cafeteria, SHINE after-school students played checkers on a large rug-like board, worked with a zSpace virtual reality screen, and built things with LEGO and LEGO-like bricks. “I’m building a car!” one […]

BUTLER TWP. — As William Morse IV was in a bathtub waiting to die from self-inflicted slash wounds to his neck and arms, he allegedly made a confession to his mother about his missing father, […]

MADRID — Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg said she was surprised and honored Wednesday to be named Time’s youngest Person of the Year, while adding that others in the global movement she helped inspire deserve […]

KINGSTON — Corey Pries was home with his two children and the family’s two dogs when he heard footsteps — loud footsteps — on his front porch. After Kingston Mayor Paul Roberts managed to find […]

Santa may be able to come down chimneys into lit fires and not get burned, but the rest of us aren’t so mystically capable. And yes, that’s a lead-in for an annual safety tip editorial, […]

WILKES-BARRE — The Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce recently donated $2,000 to Family Service Association of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Last month, at the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber Annual Dinner, Family Service Association was honored as the Charitable […]

This space is used periodically to tout local entertainment options, but there is unlikely a time of year when they are so abundant. Along with the lure of TV specials, blockbuster movies at the multiplexes […]

Whenever a business or nonprofit/religious organization requests and is granted a local property tax reduction or total exemption for a number of years, this means that other taxpayers will be paying more to make up […]

Why should the lovely, smart and funny 19-year-old student who works in my office feel more single this time of year than at any other? The holidays make her feel as if she’s supposed to […]

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections dictates the definition of what they consider a major assault on a corrections officer to be — with little or no scrutiny. They spin to the media that Dallas hasn’t […]

Consider the remarkable dedication Charlotte Raup has shown in seeking a safer community. After 25 years, the veteran Crime Watch volunteer just stepped down from the role of president of the Wilkes-Barre Crime Watch Coalition […]

For a town where friendship is really a matter of expedience, where Best Friends Forever, or “BFF” in kiddie talk, has become “BFT,” Best Friends Temporarily, we sure have conjured up many sound bites about […]

Over the last two weeks, we’ve discussed both arrhythmia in general and its most common form, atrial fibrillation, or A-fib. In doing so, we’ve laid the groundwork to discuss the wide spectrum of options available […]

School district fund balances have been a favorite target for conservative-leaning think tanks for years. The argument makes sense on the surface. As the Commonwealth Foundation once put it, “Is it possible to justify higher […]

Maybe House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler didn’t choose the best word when, in his opening statement before the committee’s first public hearing last week, he called the facts connected with the Trump impeachment inquiry […]

Republicans have gotten used to defending President Trump’s statements or tweets by saying he meant something else. He was speaking in a form of verbal shorthand. There’s an important backstory. If you saw the big […]

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The evidence keeps piling up: President Trump broke the law and abused the power we gave him by asking Ukraine to interfere in American elections by blocking military aid to a U.S. ally, by tying […]

WILKES-BARRE — Identity thieves can use victims’ personal data to file fraudulent tax returns and obtain taxpayer refunds. With that in mind, the Department of Revenue last week called on Pennsylvanians to protect themselves against […]

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