June 27th, 2015 1:38 am

First Posted: 9/23/2013


What Avoca miss was crowned “Miss Little League” in 1965.

1955 - 58 YEARS AGO

Pittston City Police Department received a brand new Harley Davidson with a sidecar. Mayor Joseph F. Saporito turned over the keys to Police Chief Patrick O’Brien, while Justin Blewitt, city solicitor and James Halford, city mechanic, looked on. Patrolmen Joseph Delaney and Bing Bussacco were “assigned to duty with the cycle.” Harley Davidson’s sidecar production began in 1914 and ended in 2011.

St. John’s Central Catholic High School’s new cafeteria service was receiving praise from parents and teachers alike. Children were served “tasty meals” “right in the building” and therefore not forced to “travel the street and highways” back and forth to class, enabling an earlier dismissal.

No one was really sure who the actual winner was of a bet made between baseball fans “Gabby” Rizzo and Carl “Juggy” Dorbad, both of Pittston. As the story goes, Rizzo bet Dorbad the Yanks would win the playoffs for the 1955 World Series. Dorbad disagreed. It was decided the “winner” of the bet would be allowed to push the “loser,” dressed in his pajamas in a wheelbarrow up Main Street to Assembly Hall then to the Fort Jenkins Bridge and back to the heart of town. It was reported Rizzo won, but actually lost, as Dorbad weighed about 240 pounds. Rizzo ended up soaked with perspiration and weary at the end of the long journey while Dorbad was comfortable in his pj’s and none the worse for wear. This left most thinking the fellows had their roles reversed or the story of the wager confused. The 1955 World Series pitted the Brooklyn Dodgers against the four-time Series champs. the Dodgers took the Series in seven games to capture their first championship in franchise history.

1965 - 48 YEARS AGO

The writer of the Sunday Dispatch nostalgia column asked readers to remember “the vigorous competition in regional politics and when bets other than money were featured in the voting days in the region” it also clears up the confusion as to who is the winner and loser of the “wheelbarrow ride.” After the 1948 Truman-Dewey election, Truman supporter Edward Gromelski was “pushed” by loser Charles Sealy, both of Duryea, after the stunning outcome of that presidential election. It was also reported that the only newspaper in the state and probably the nation that predicted Harry S. Truman’s victory over Thomas E. Dewey was the Pittston Bulletin, a weekly newspaper operated by Joseph Linskey Sr. He was also the telegraph editor for The Times Leader.

The Project 70 Program enabled Pittston City to purchase 26.1 acres of land from the Pennsylvania Coal Company. The Title VII open-space land grant under the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1965 provided Pittston with 50 percent of the acquisition cost. Plans were formulated for the creation of Albert West and Sullivan Parks and an increase in acreage to the Upper Pittston Park.

1975 - 38 YEARS AGO

Her name was Eloise and she left a path of destruction some residents equated to her predecessor, Agnes, but others said did not compare. Congressman Dan Flood arrived in Avoca to announce the availability of assistance and relief provided by the federal government under the Disaster Relief Act of 1974. The legislation was drawn up in the wake of the Agnes storm of 1972. For the second time in a decade, the Susquehanna overflowed its banks and residents on both sides of the river started the arduous recovery process. Seven to 10 inches or more of precipitation fell throughout parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. The storm killed 80 people along its entire track; due to the severe damage, the name “Eloise” was retired from the Atlantic tropical cyclone naming lists.

1985 - 28 YEARS AGO

A decade later, the headline in the Sunday Dispatch read: “Gloria was no Lady.” Four homes were washed away with the rushing water of a creek flowing from the Springbrook Reservoir and one running through Pittston Township, uprooting homes in the Glendale Section. Dupont and Avoca were hit hardest as Mill, Lidy and Collins Creek went over their banks. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the Lackawanna River Valley and affected New York and Long Island directly.

1995 - 18 YEARS AGO

At issue in the contract negotiations between the Wyoming Area teachers and school board were salary raises and health care carrier options. Teachers, who had not had a contract since 1993, agreed to compromise, allowing raises that would keep them on a level with their peers. The biggest concession under discussion was the ability of the district to approach insurance carriers other than Blue Cross for coverage. Although teachers would approve the choice of carrier, board members believed receiving proposals from a variety of suppliers would result in the savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars.


Yes, there once was a “Miss Little League.” Avoca Mayor James McLane crowned Phyllis Robbine at the annual field day of the Avoca Little League. Her attendants were Noreen Tobin and Debbie Drouse.