Peeking into the Past: Rave reviews for Wyoming Area Drama Club’s production of ‘Oliver’ in 1991

Peeking into the Past - Judy Minsavage | May 5th, 2016 11:39 pm


What is Pittston’s connection to the Aug. 21, 1959 NASA Mercury space flight that launched astronaut Alan Sheppard traveling 116 miles above the earth on Freedom 7?

1961 - 55 Years Ago

Fifteen young women graduated from the Pittston Hospital School of Nursing in 1961. They are Jean Burke, Ann Marie Shegelski, Marilyn Frostbutter, Dorothy Turkos, Alice Gavich, Patricia Rutz, Gloria Harcharufka, Margo Coppie, Joann Yedlock, Madeline Ezzo, Barbara Cigarski, Jane Roberts, Marie Lipka, Jeanette Bernardi and Mary Smith. The Pittston Hospital School of Nursing closed in 1984 and was the last hospital-sponsored nursing school in Luzerne County.

Boy Scouts Louis Mariana, Richard Bell and George Harmanos had a training session at the Pittston City Hall on the use of emergency radio operations. William Daileda demonstrated communication procedures that would be followed during a nuclear attack.

Radio City Appliance Store advertised the new Remington Monarch portable typewriter for $79. Features included column and indent set keys, erasure table on cylinder, variable line space, carriage centering lock, and 2-color ribbon and stencil control.

1971 - 45 Years Ago

The Moose Lodge in West Pittston admitted new members James Cartwright, Thomas McFadden, Frank Stella, James Golden, Ronald Ball, Joseph Linski, Robert Danks, Michael Nesgoda, Merrill Garrison, Joseph Kostick, Joseph Kryscin, William Golden, Edward Amsbury, John Martin, Willis Talmage, Alec Craig, Edward Kucharik, John Fiske, Joseph Musto, William Regalis, Frank Brannon and Lee Zurner. Established in 1888, the Loyal Order of Moose. had 247 members. In 1906, Supreme Organizer James J. Davis took the helm and by 1912, the lodge grew nationally to 500,000 members.

Pittston Area’s 108-42 high school track team win over Lake-Lehman in high school was capped off by Lee Monteforte’s excellent running long jump performance, Tom Pacuska setting a school record at 5-feet, 8-inches in the high jump, and Al Koytek’s double first place win in low and high hurdles.

Pittston City, school and chamber officials met to finalize plans for the Neighborhood Youth Corp (NYC) city beautification project. Five trainees from the youth corp would be assigned to work improving the appearance of the city during the summer months. The Neighborhood Youth Corps Program of 1964, was initiated by President Lyndon B. Johnson and ran in to the early ’70s. The program, provided paid work experiences for disadvantaged youth, aged 14-21. In 1973, many War on Poverty programs were stopped, including the NYC program.

1981 - 35 Years Ago

Mrs. Ed Fritz along with her children, Joe, Marie, Dave and Tom, unveiled a plaque honoring Ed Fritz, husband and father, who was instrumental in the development of the Avoca Little League. Those attending were Irene McDonald, Don George, Denver Naugle, Stanley Sanek, Mary Ann Tigue, Austie O’Malley and league president, Stanley Swanek.

The political primary races in the Greater Pittston area were expected to bring a large turnout at the polls. Many of the races were contested and advertising space in the Sunday Dispatch was at a premium. Jo Ann Turner, mother of seven, threw her hat in the ring to be the first woman candidate for mayor of Exeter. Active in the community for many years, Turner campaigned for lower taxes and promised to work closer with borough departments and residents.

Pittston Area High School came in fifth in the state-wide Marine Corps Youth Physical Fitness contest. Members of the team were Ed Zaleski, Art Faulkner, Ed Bannon, Mike Sobeski, Bill Timek and Jon McHale. Al Michalec took first place in the 300 yard run with a time of 44 seconds.

1991 - 25 Years Ago

The Wyoming Area High School Drama Club’s performance of “Oliver” met with rave reviews. With actors singing and dancing, it was a challenge for the cast and crew. The show was produced and directed by Barbara Bullions. Elizabeth Novack provided the musical accompaniment.

Cast members were Tim Webb, Renee McDonnell, Sharon McDonnell, Michael Pagliarini, Angela Chintala, Chad Webb, Michelle Sennick, Michael Nocera, Amy Novack, Lisa Ragantesi, Mark Migliore, Christine Gashi, Daryl Bowling, Elisabeth Stevens, Carl Smith, Mary Jo Cunningham, Steve Pizano,Lynn Morrow, David Giordano, Kristen Harry, Becky Bennett, Milissa Basco, Andrew Campbell, Christina Hosier, Elena Ragantesi, Jill Ralston, Leigh Ann Roberts, Melody Robinson, Joelle Sharisky, Katie Thyren, Bobby Bullions, Michael Burke, Robert Burke, Jon Gamble, David Giordano, Victor Pacchioni, Jeremy Rokosz and Chris Selena. The show was the first musical play ever performed by students at the school.


Pittston native Dugald O’Hara Black worked as a government research engineer for 16 years. Black along with 3 associates received an award for development of a system to suppress aircraft crash fires. In 1959, He was called to assist with Project Mercury as a top engineer. On May 5, 1961, Alan Shepard became the first American in space.

On the Date in History:

1794 — The United States Post Office is established.

1886 — Atlanta pharmacist John Pemberton invents Coca Cola.

1945 — The final surrender of German forces is celebrated as VE (Victory Europe) Day.

1967 — Boxer Muhammad Ali is indicted for refusing induction in the U.S. Army.

Wyoming Area Drama club performed the school’s first ever musical play Oliver in 1991. Pictured are some of the 38 member cast. Foreground, Angela Chintala and Tim Webb. On the steps, Victor Pacchioni, Jon Gamble, David Giordano, Robert Burke, Jeremy Rokosz, Michael Burke, Chris Selena and Bobby Bullions. Area Drama club performed the school’s first ever musical play Oliver in 1991. Pictured are some of the 38 member cast. Foreground, Angela Chintala and Tim Webb. On the steps, Victor Pacchioni, Jon Gamble, David Giordano, Robert Burke, Jeremy Rokosz, Michael Burke, Chris Selena and Bobby Bullions. Sunday Dispatch File Photo Dispatch File Photo

Peeking into the Past

Judy Minsavage

Reach Judy Minsavage at 570-991-6403 or on Twitter @JudithMinsavage