1949 – 69 YEARS AGO
Property owners in Pittston and Pittston Township were concerned the new State Tax Equalization Law set to go into effect for the 1950-51 school year would be a terrific burden and both school districts announced they would take action in protest. Under the law, if properties were not assessed by guidelines set by the Tax Equalization Board, school districts may not receive full state appropriations. Prior to the new law, taxes were paid on 38.8 percent of the property’s market value and millage, which was 25 at the time. The new law required 25 mills to be paid on the full amount of the property’s assessed value, increasing future taxes to be paid by 62 percent. According to the Pennsylvania Dept. of Community and Economic Development, the State Tax Equalization Board was established as an “independent state administrative board by the act of June 27, 1947 known as the State Tax Equalization Board Law. Its primary function is to determine the market value of property in each school district in Pennsylvania. These values determine state subsidies paid to each school district.
1952 – 56 YEARS AGO
The Duryea Clothing Factory at 726 Main St., Duryea, advertised ladies wrap-around skirts for 69 cents, sundresses for 98 cents and pedal pushers for $1.25.
William J Goldsworthy, of West Pittston, was promoted to sergeant first class while serving with the 7th infantry Division on the west-central front in North Korea. SFC Goldsworthy, a section leader, was awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge.
Sgt. Michael LePore, of Wyoming, was awarded the Army Commendation Ribbon for meritorious service in Korea with the IX Corps. He was decorated for his performance of duty as chief clerk in the personnel section of the 194th Engineer Combat Battalion.
With temperatures hitting a record-breaking 102 degrees, the Hughestown Board of Directors was in a big rush to conclude its regular meeting. Supervisors awarded bids, paid bills and closed the books for the fiscal year, hurriedly set the next meeting date and adjourned.
The Pittston Playground and Recreation Association marked the opening of Sullivan Park playground, billed as “The first site fully levelled and equipped under the newly formed association system in Pittston.” Chris Schultz, vice-president of the playground unit, and Attorney Anthony D’Iorio, president, served as chairmen. Eleanor Duke, 10, cut the ribbon under the archway at the playground entrance
1961 – 57 YEARS AGO
The Sunday Dispatch hunting and fishing columnist Joe Koval related the story of how smallmouth black bass came to be introduced to the Susquehanna River. “Our river had plenty of shad, eels and walleye, but no bass. The smallmouth black bass was native to Canada, the Tennessee water shed and the Potomac River. Some railroading fishermen captured and brought the fish by train and deposited them in the Susquehanna. The fish quickly propagated now provide good angling for our local fishermen.”
1964 – 54 YEARS AGO
The Sunday Dispatch “Inquiring Photographer” column marked the 15th year of its first printing. The column first appeared in June 1949 and the first question asked of Pittston High School grads was, “Now that you have graduated from high school, what are your plans for the future?” The Dispatch looked up some of the former students who answered that question in 1949 to see if those plans came true. James Dull said he would like to prepare for a radio announcer’s career. By 1964, Dull was living in New Haven, CT where he became a TV announcer. John Gillis wanted to learn more about chemistry; 1964 found him employed as a chemical engineer with Esso-Standard Oil Company. Mary Bonchonsky was hoping to find secretarial work. She did for a time, but soon married and became a stay-at-home mom, taking care of her four children. Marion Mikitsh hoped to work in an office and, after graduation, found a job with the Social Security Administration in Wilkes-Barre.
1972 – 46 YEARS AGO
There were weddings, picnics and graduation parties planned for the weekend of June 24 and 25, 1972. But all plans were halted as the Wyoming Valley struggled with the aftermath of Hurricane Agnes. Suddenly, the people of the Wyoming Valley were faced with the arduous task of picking up the pieces of their lives and rebuilding after flood waters destroyed many homes and businesses. Those who published the Sunday Dispatch were determined to tell the story. The Dispatch staff worked all day on June 24 but two “key men” James O’Donnell and Carl Rhodes, Sr., pressmen for the Dispatch, resided in an area beyond the flooded communities. Ettore Lorenzini, of Exeter, volunteered to go to their homes to let them know the Dispatch would be published and would contain the now historic aerial photos taken by a Dispatch photographer from a plane piloted by George Bone, of Pittston. Lorenzini drove O’Donnell and Rhodes to West Pittston but could not get a boat to take the men to the local bridges. Robert Campbell, West Pittston mayor, somehow managed to drive both men to the area of the Coxton Railroad Bridge. The two pressmen bravely traversed the railroad bridge over the raging waters below. Bill Corcoran, a Dispatch associate, picked the men up on the East side of the bridge.
According to the Luzerne County Historical Society, “After 18 inches of rain in Luzerne County, Agnes left six people dead, 25,000 homes nearly destroyed and $1 billion in damages. The river rose to 40.9 feet, 18.9 feet above flood stage, and four feet above the levees built after the flood of 1936, which crested at 33 feet. There were nine feet of water in Public Square in downtown Wilkes-Barre.”
1990 – 28 YEARS AGO
John Luvender, of Avoca, was named a finalist in the Hometown USA Video Festival Contest. In its 13th year, the National Federation of Local Cable Programmers recognized outstanding programs produced by or for local stations. Luvender’s documentary, “A Matter of Conscience,” about Vietnam Veteran and artist Bill Short, featured an original soundtrack, visual images with examples of Short’s work and was shown on local cable stations in the Boston area.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1664 — The colony of New Jersey, named after the Isle of Jersey, is founded.
1861 — Federal gunboats attack Confederate batteries at Mathias Point, Virginia.
1941 — President Franklin Roosevelt pledges all possible support to the Soviet Union.
1953 — John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier announce their engagement
1964 — The Federal Trade Commission announces that, starting in 1965, cigarette makers must include warning labels about the harmful effects of smoking.
1848 — Brooks Adams, American historian, son of Charles Francis Adams (The Law of Civilization and Decay)
1895 — Jack Dempsey, American boxer and world heavyweight champion
1915 — Fred Hoyle, British mathematician and astronomer
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