Peeking Into the Past

June 27th, 2015 1:28 am

First Posted: 4/29/2013


In 1968, why were players on the Pittston Area baseball team under more pressure than usual at the start of their season?

1948 - 65 YEARS AGO

Pittston city officials strongly protested a 10 percent rate increase proposed by the Pittston Gas Company. The new rate, set for approval by the Public Utility Commission, was due to the increased cost of coal, oil and labor. The Pittston Gas Company was listed as part of a chain under the holdings of John W. Ware and served Pittston, Hughestown, West Pittston and Exeter. According to Act 43 of 1937, the General Assembly replaced the Public Service Commission with the Public Utility Commission, to better “supervise and regulate” all public utilities doing business in the Commonwealth.

St. John’s High School participated in the first Anthracite Track and Field Games sponsored by the University of Scranton. Having only a “few days to practice on a new field” the Johnnies held the lead in many of the events. Bernie Klemchak, Ozzie English, Leo Jordan and Tommy McFadden captured the 440 yard relay by 20 yards. Joe McGlynn, Joe Clark, Joe Loughney and Jim Manley took the second race by 40 yards and in the 880 yard relay Frank Doyle, John Connors, Marty Micklas and Joe “Dusty” Connors led the pack by 400 yards.

1958 - 55 YEARS AGO

Airman Third Class John N. Kavka, of Pittston, was awarded the American Spirit Honor Medal at Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming. The award was in recognition of his outstanding traits, honor, initiative, loyalty and high example to fellow airmen. Kavka was a 1956 graduate of Pittston High School. The award is a bronze medallion, 1 3/8 inches in diameter, on the obverse side a sunburst with the American Eagle rampant, superimposed. Around the perimeter are the words “American Spirit Honor Medal” and in an interior circle the motto of the Citizens Committee for the Army, Navy, and Air Force, Inc.: “Serve with Heart, Head, and Hand.” On the reverse side is a torch with the words “For High Example to Comrades in Arms.”

Louis Forlenza, of West Pittston, held the distinction of being the “first resident of Italian ancestry” to hold an elected office in the borough. Forlenza won the post of justice of the peace in the 1958 election. A well-known barber and resident of West Pittston for 25 years, Forlenza was honored at a banquet chaired by Nicholas Soricelli and Al Forlenza. Members of the planning committee included Joseph Chiampi, Peter Carozza, Al Balzano, Anthony Pugliese and Fred Ciampi.

The Sunday Dispatch Inquiring Photographer asked, “Would you say men are taking second place to women in today’s world?” Mary Ann Mazaitis, of Pittston, answered, “Yes, if women had the opportunities men have there would be no question women would be in first place and men in second. Jerome Lapansky, of Port Griffith, added, “No, I think when times change men will get back to work and women will go back to taking care of their homes.” Angelo Saia, of West Pittston, stated, “Yes, come to think of it hadn’t it always been like that? Maybe it’s just that men are beginning now to find out how things are.”

1968 - 45 YEARS AGO

Pittston and West Pittston joined forces by designating the month of May as Clean Up, Paint Up and Fix Up Month. Marilyn Van Duzer, of West Pittston, event chairman, Roy Stauffer, honorary chairman, Robert Loftus, Pittston mayor, Robert Campbell, West Pittston mayor, Robert Walsh, councilman, Vincent O’Hara, Chamber of Commerce executive director, and Paul Cadden, event chairman, gathered under the Japanese cherry blossom trees on the River Commons in West Pittston to sign the proclamation. According to the National Park Service, in 1885, Mrs. Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore, was the first person to approach the U.S. Army Superintendent of the Office of Public Buildings and Grounds in Washington, DC, “with the proposal that cherry trees be planted along the reclaimed Potomac waterfront.”

Her request was denied. Many years later, however, trees donated by the Japanese government were planted in Washington.

To read more about the history of their journey, log on to

1978 - 35 YEARS AGO

The Martin L. Mattei Junior High School constructed on the former Bone Stadium site in Hughestown invited the public to an open house.

Scheduled to speak at the event were Ettore Lippi, architect; Michael Hopkins, president of the PA Federation of Teachers; William Alaimo, Key Club representative; Carmen Montagna, school board president; Tino Turco, junior high principal; and Martin Mattei, Pittston Area superintendent.


The Pittston Area baseball team was off to a good season start, leading the league 2-0. But they were under additional pressure in 1968 to rival the Patriot football and basketball squads’ undefeated records.

Members of the Patriot baseball team in 1968 were Jim Salitis, Bruce Timchack, Carl Tomashunas, Ed Murphy, Mike Sperrazza, John Richards, Tony Testa, Marty Walker, Sam Chiarelli, student manager Jim Ardoline, Anthony Bantell, John Chimento, Richie Rava, Lou Loquasto, Paul Tylawski, Lou Tribbett, Charles Turco, Joe Neureuter , Jerry Daley and Steve Mudlock.

Did the team finish the season unbeaten?

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