1947 – 71 YEARS AGO
The Wyoming Servicemen’s, Committee along with the VFW, arranged for a dedication of a granite memorial erected near the “Town Hall” in honor of 20 Wyoming soldiers killed in action in World War I and II. The names of 17 heroes were embossed on a bronze plaque. On the World War II list were Frank L. Albert, John M. Benowski, Kenneth Brown, Carl Eckert Jr., Robert C. Eustice, William M. Fetch, Arthur Frith, Eugene Gibbons, Louis B. Konopka, Theodore Marshall, Bernard E. Papieka, Leonard E. Skolski, William R. Them, Victor Turini, John Zuba, Robert Dailey, and John P. Oponick. On the World War I list were John Calvey, Edward Hornvy and Alex Cavenski. Approximately 8 million people died during World War I. In World War II, 52.2 million people perished.
1949 – 69 YEARS AGO
Frank Blattner was the first person in Dupont to own a television, but he was not happy with his reception. He claimed the ignition systems of passing automobiles tended to create noise and blur the picture on his set. He decided to erect a 70-foot tower on the rear of his property to which he attached his antenna. Blattner claimed he saw a 50% increase in the quality of the reception. His only other complaint was that TV cameras were placed too far away from the action at televised events such as fights and ballgames, making the images too hard to see. Philo Taylor Farnsworth was only 21 years old when he invented the television camera in 1927. Farnsworth went on to invent over 165 devices over his troubled lifetime. He passed away in 1971.
An estimated 10,000 people filled Bone Stadium on Family Solidarity Day sponsored by St. John the Evangelist Parish. A living Rosary was formed by students of St. John’s High School. The honor guard of Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus surrounded a large altar erected for the occasion.
1950 – 68 YEARS AGO
While awaiting the release of the 1950 census figures, Mayor John Allardyce and the Pittston Chamber of Commerce were anxious after hearing semi-official reports that Pittston population figures would show a drop of some 3,000 residents. The 1940 census reflected a population figure of 17, 828. But after checking with census officials, Mayor Allardyce was informed that Pittston’s populations would range from 14,700 to 15,000. Officials were certain the reduction was due to the lack of jobs in the area. William Springer, census director, advised he expected all communities in Luzerne County would see the same outcome.
1960 – 58 YEARS AGO
The Gramercy Restaurant on South Main Street in Pittston advertised Tuesday as Family Day, offering spaghetti and meat balls for 50 cents between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 a.m. Theresa’s Beauty Salon on North Main Street featured cold waves for $6 and up.
The McPhillips-Widdal American Legion Post in Avoca presented the Americanism medals to two eighth-grade students, Linda O’Hop and Joseph Olsheski. The American Legion School Award Medal Plan is a project of the National Americanism Commission. According to the commission, the program has been in effect for a number of years, and encourages American Legion Posts to work out a program that fits their situation.
1964 – 54 YEARS AGO
Sixteen women graduated from Pittston Hospital School of Nursing during exercises in the West Pittston High School auditorium. Graduates were Theresa Alba, Charlene Berretta, Catherine Delaney, Sharon Telban, Joan Langendoerfer, Florence Vitek, Elizabeth Montante, Geraldine Zaleppa, Ellen Doyle, Virginia Dare, Darlene White, Michelene Slonina, Kathryn Watson, Lorraine Gobish, Mary Krempa and Pauline Mozal.
Twenty-three West Pittston men completed a radiological course conducted by Col. Leon Beiseli, under the sponsorship of West Pittston Civil Defense Organization. Paul Adams, Harvey Hudelson, Francis Vandenburg, Joseph Shultz, George Voight Reginald Ellis, George Cherba, Robert Pritchard, Stanley Yanik, William Matthews, Arthur Weaver, Walter Van Duzer, John Salerno, John Stanko, Charles Aquilina, Edward Connors, Chris Cunningham, Frank Green, Herman Jacobs, William Rule, William Stout, Caleb Tompkins and Walter Tompkins all successfully passed all requirements of the course.
1966 – 52 YEARS AGO
Army Pfc. Casimir L. Chernouskas, of Pittston, was assigned to the 39th Engineer Battalion in Vietnam. A graduate of Pittston High School, Chernouskas entered the Army in 1965 and completed training at Fort Jackson, SC. He was stationed at Battalion Headquarters in Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam. Cam Ranh Bay served as a United States Air Force tactical fighter base, the first in South Vietnam to base the F-4C Phantom II tactical fighter-bomber.
1972 – 46 YEARS AGO
Top Ten Songs
1. “Nut Rocker,” Emerson Lake and Palmer
2. “Doctor My Eyes,” Jackson Browne
3. “Betcha By Golly Wow,” Stylistics
4. “Run Run Run,” Jo Jo Gunne
5. “Day Dreaming,” Aretha Franklin
6. “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” Roberta Flack
7. “Mister, Can’t You See,” Buffy Saint Marie
8. “Rockin’ Robin,” Michael Jackson
9. “I Saw the Light,” Todd Rundgren
10. “Candy Man,” Sammy Davis Jr.
1976 – 42 YEARS AGO
In February 1976, an earthquake measuring 7.5 rocked Guatemala in what was called the “worst natural disaster in the history of Central America.” One of the first calls Disaster Relief Specialist Eugene Prinz made was to Leo Valenti, president of the board of Mar-Val Industries in Exeter. Prinz had become familiar with Mar-Val and Valenti during the Agnes Flood and requested the company provide all the modular buildings necessary for hospitals, housing and schools in the ravaged country. Valenti and Prinz set a plan in motion to construct a plant at the disaster site. The quake’s epicenter was located near the town of Los Amates, in the eastern part of the Motagua Fault. Over 23,000 people died, 80,000 injured, and many thousands were left homeless.
1980 – 38 YEARS AGO
Committee members Kenneth Scaz, Mrs. Maynard Grunstra, Mrs. Roger Beatty, Mrs. Michael Ciannilli, Mrs. Leo Crisci, Louise Hart, David Alberigi, Tom Ahearn and Joe Argenio were busy planning the Strawberry Festival sponsored by the First Presbyterian Church of West Pittston. In its fourth year, the festival also offered a mini flea market. According to about.com “American Indians allegedly invented Strawberry shortcake, mashing berries in meal to make bread, which the colonists enjoyed. It is believed they must have used wild strawberries since strawberries have only been cultivated in America since 1835.”
1986 – 32 YEARS AGO
Wyoming Area students Joseph Jeffery and Thomas Kolessar participated in the National Science Olympiad. Jeffery received the Olympiad medal for excellence in physics and Kolessar received the medal for excellence in chemistry. The first recorded Science Olympiad was held on Saturday, Nov. 23, 1974 at St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, North Carolina. Dr. Donald Barnes and Dr. David Wetmore were the originators of the event.
1996 – 22 YEARS AGO
Gold medalists Andrea Anushko, Laura Mudlock and Devon Roglish led the Pittston Area girls track and field team to a second-place finish at the district finals held at North Pocono High School. Anushko took the gold in the 100 meter, Mudlock in the javelin event and Roglich in the discus. All three qualified for the state meet.
Lori Ann Guitson, of Pittston, realized her dream of playing on a Little League baseball team as she took up the catcher’s position for the First Bank of Greater Pittston team on opening day.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1775 — North Carolina becomes the first colony to declare its independence.
1861 — North Carolina becomes the last state to secede from the Union.
1862 — President Abraham Lincoln signs the Homestead Act, providing 250 million acres of free land to settlers in the West.
1874 — Levi Strauss begins marketing blue jeans with copper rivets.
1927 — Charles Lindbergh takes off from New York for Paris.
1930 — The first airplane is catapulted from a dirigible.
1932 — Amelia Earhart lands near Londonderry, Ireland, to become the first woman fly solo across the Atlantic.
1768 — Dolly Madison, first lady of President James Madison
1818 — William George Fargo, one of the founders of Wells, Fargo & Co
1882 — Sigrid Undset, Norwegian novelist (Kristin Lavransdatter)
1908 — Jimmy Stewart, actor (“It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”)
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