My Corner, Your Corner: A fine line between ballroom dancing and the casino

July 2nd, 2015 10:30 am

My Corner, Your Corner

Tony Callaio

I had the pleasure recently of accepting a photo assignment at the Area Agency on Aging, Luzerne & Wyoming Counties – Pittston Center. Locals usually refer to it as the Pittston Seniors Center.

Sunday Dispatch reporter Jimmy Fisher and I were assigned to cover a ballroom dancing class held every Thursday, but when we showed up, the class was a bit reduced. Apparently, there was a bus trip to a casino on the same day and many members of the dancing crew had made that trip.

One person I always look for at the center is Connie Andrews, who has been the director of the Center for… well, as long as I can remember. Connie also made the trip to the casino, giving her dancing shoes a break for the week.

You’ll always find Connie and her partner in crime, Tom Kokinda, drumming something up at the center where you can play games cards, shuffleboard, Wii bowling, bingo, pinochle, poker or bridge. Iff you like line dancing, ther’s a class for you. There are also ceramics and exercise classes, as well.

A summer picnic will beheld from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, July 17 at the Plains Pavilion. If you enjoy taking day trips, the center schedules plenty throughout the year. The next bus trip is to Woodloch Pines on July 19 with the bus departing at 9:30 a.m.

If you’re hungry, there’s a meal waiting for you at the center five days a week.

Center members are a great bunch of people and, if you’re spending your days alone or enjoy getting out or like a bit of travel adventure, these people would love to have you join them.

Connie runs a great facility in the junction of Pittston and if you’re of retirement age and looking for activities and companionship, call her at 570-655-5561. Better yet, stop by 441 N. Main St. from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

If you have computer access, go to for more information.

Reaching out to a friend

My childhood friend, Cheryl Butera, now Cheryl Brunet, has had a tough year. In January, she lost her husband and last weekend, she lost her dad and uncle within a few days of each other.

“Machine Gun” Lou Butera, 78, Cheryl’s father and billiards legend, passed away in California from complications of Parkinson’s disease. He was recently named one of the faces that will grace the downtown downtown commemorating Greater Pittstonians for their achievements in life.

Born in Pittston on May 15, 1937, Lou earned the name “Machine Gun Lou” in 1973 when he ran 150 balls in straight pool in 21 minutes.

He reached the pinnacle of his career in 1974 when he captured the United States Classic Pocket Billiard Championship and the All Japan Open.

Lou either appeared in or consulted on several feature movies and TV shows, working on “The Baltimore Bullet” in 1980, “Racing with the Moon” in 1984 and “Police Academy 6: City Under Siege” in 1989.

He was an inductee into the Billiards Congress of America’s Hall of Fame in 1986.

Lou’s wife, Caroline (LaNunziata), passed away in 2012. He is survived by his seven children, Cheryl, Patricia, Elisa, Rosalie, Caroline, Louis Jr., Salvatore and their spouses, as well as grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Cheryl’s uncle, Mike LaNunziata, owner of Crest Cleaners in West Pittston and Gateway Cleaners in Kingston, He passed away this past week from cancer.

Even though Mike was known as a businessman, he never let that get in the way of his golf game. He was a past president at Fox Hill Country Club and held the title of president at Emanon Country Club at the time of his death.

Mike and his son, Michael, took a big hit when Crest Cleaners was flooded along with adjacent properties he owned. They had to demolish the properties next door, but rebounded and kept the cleaners opened.

Mike leaves his wife, Dolores; sons, Michael and Paul; daughters, Paula and Lauren, as well as seven grandchildren.

Quote of the week

“There is only on happiness in this life, to live and be loved.” – George Sand, French romance writer.

Thought of the week

“The most dangerous of all falsehoods is a slightly distorted truth.” – Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, German physics professor.

Bumper sticker

“Friends are discovered rather than made.” – Harriet Beecher Stowe, American writer.

If you have a birthday, anniversary or special event you’d like publicized, email Tony Callaio at