In 1964, why did the Sunday Dispatch report that “The first week in October is a week of reckoning for newspapers?”
1947 – 71 YEARS AGO
Two youngsters aged 12 and 6 were playing in a field between Seventh and Eighth Streets in Wyoming when they came upon a pistol. The younger boy picked up the weapon and pointed it at his playmate; it went off, striking the 12-year-old in the chest. The boy was rushed to Pittston Hospital where he was listed in serious condition. Police investigated ownership of the gun which was described as an old model.
Bail was set at $2,000 for a Pittston man accused of a sex crime. The Sunday Dispatch called sex offense laws too lenient and asked lawmakers to make the laws more stringent. The man in question attempted to assault a teenage girl but when his attempt failed, he then ran over the victim with his car. Fortunately, the girl survived her injuries but the perpetrator managed to come up with the money to cover the bail and was released from jail. According to the US Inflation Calculator, $2,000 would equate to $22,613 today.
1950 – 68 YEARS AGO
With a record number of fire calls in Pittston from January to October, city officials took a deep interest in the observance of Fire Prevention Week. The largest fire recorded in the city occurred in May 1950 and began on the 100 block of South Main Street. Before it was extinguished, five large buildings were destroyed. The second largest fire during that year occurred at the Pittston Stove Works on William Street. Pittston firefighters were called on 98 different occasions throughout the year. To observe the fire prevention campaign, a parade was scheduled along with prevention programs. Fire Prevention Week 2018 will be observed from Oct. 7-13.
The Sunday Dispatch Inquiring Photographer asked, “What qualities make up a typical American neighbor?” James Nocito, of Pittston, answered, “A friendly and considerate person who, when approached for a favor, can always be counted on to be helpful. He may agree or disagree with you but he is never indifferent to your problems.” Jerry Taroli, of Browntown, added, “At times, he may be argumentative but, after all, we have freedom of speech here, but there’s never any hard feelings.” Francis Loftus, Pittston, stated, “There are times when the neighbor’s kids cause a rumpus and then there is a little flare up, but these don’t last and the spirit of brotherhood wins out.”
1952 – 66 YEARS AGO
In a letter to the Sunday Dispatch editor signed by “Band and Majorette Admirer,” a reader wrote, “Last week I witnessed the Pittston High School/West Wyoming game. I like football but being a woman, the Pittston band and majorettes thrilled me more. The band was supreme and majorettes were sweet but will you please tell me where they pick up those long skirts? Compared to the West Wyoming majorettes’ skirts, they look as though they just came off a banana boat. Come on Pittston High, shorter skirts on our girls or let them continue wearing slacks.”
P.F.C. Robert Shimley returned home to Duryea for a 30-day furlough after serving as a machine gunner with B. Company 1st Bn, 7th Marine Corp. Shimley participated in several campaigns in Korea over a 12-month period.
1962 – 56 YEArS AGO
Stationed aboard ships positioned at different locations in the Atlantic, three local sailors were at the ready to pick up astronaut Walter “Wally” Schirra if Schirra’s Sigma 7 space capsule was forced to make an emergency re-entry there. Fireman Stephen M. Chopyak, of Hughestown, was aboard the destroyer USS Charles S. Sperry, Electronic Technician 3rd class Michael S. Swantkowski, of Duryea, was aboard the minesweeper USS Alacrity and Apprentice Seaman Thomas Shannon, of Pittston, was aboard the oiler USS Kaskraskia. In the Pacific, the targeted pick up location, Seaman Daniel P. Kulick, of Dupont, was stationed on the USS Kearsarge. The ship picked up Schirra’s capsule 40 minutes after successfully landing 4.5 miles from the target point and 0.5 miles from the Kearsarge. The capsule was hoisted aboard and Schirra blew the explosive hatch and climbed out to a waiting crowd. Schirra chose Sigma 7 for the name of the capsule to reflect the engineering focus of his mission. Sigma is a mathematical symbol for summation and represented engineering excellence to Shirra. It also reflected the fact that his mission was built on the work and experience of previous missions. Shirra flew the six-orbit, nine-hour, Mercury-Atlas 8 mission and became the fifth American and ninth human to travel into space.
1964 – 54 YEARS AGO
Officers for the Pittston Jr./Sr. High School Class of 1965 were elected by their classmates,. They were John Nardone, president; Charles Pirello, vice-president; Angeline Borzell, secretary; Sam Bufalino, Student Council president; Joseph Castellino, Student Council vice-president; Anne Montante, treasurer.
1972 – 46 YEARS AGO
Annette Meade, Mary Frances Jackson, Betty McAndrew, Helen Langan, Mary Park, Louise Bednarski, Mary Guide and Mrs. Donald Justick, members of the Avoca Women’s Club, decided to circulate a petition to fight the loss of the Laurel Line, which provided bus service to Avoca, Moosic, Dupont, Duryea and Pittston. The women sent 614 signatures along with a letter signed by club president Mrs. Donald Justick to PUC Chairman George Bloom in an effort to fight the decision to stop the bus service due to low ridership.
Pittston High School freshmen Jim O’Boyle and Bill Ames participated in a chess tournament sponsored by The Mo-Ritz Café in Duryea. After finishing with identical records, O’Boyle won over Ames in the intermediate class playoff. Tom O’Malley won in the novice category. Participating contenders were Paul Cawley, Mike Polak, Bill Warunek, Bryan Herron Stan Polak, Tom Karney, Gene Macium, Roman Misorek and Mike Lizonitz, all of Duryea; and Joe Ardoline, Len Jugus and Bonnie Jugus, of Pittston. Interest in the game spiked in 1972 after 24-year-old Bobby Fischer of the United States defeated chess champion Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union at the World Chess Championship in Reykjavík, Iceland. Dubbed the Match of the Century, Fischer’s win ended 24 years of Soviet domination of the World Championship.
In the first week of October of each year, newspapers were required to fill out a post office report listing a publication’s average weekly or daily circulation for the preceding year. In 1964, The Dispatch was proud to report the average circulation for the previous year was 9,368 which proved the growing popularity of the Dispatch as it was reported that, in July of 194, when the paper was about five months old, the circulation was 1,188.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1849 — Edgar Allan Poe, aged 40, dies a tragic death in Baltimore. Never able to overcome his drinking habits, he is found in a delirious condition outside a saloon that was used as a voting place.
1913 — In attempting to find ways to lower the cost of the automobile and make it more affordable to ordinary Americans, Henry Ford took note of the work of efficiency experts like Frederick Taylor, the “father of scientific management.” The result was the assembly line that reduced the time it took to manufacture a car, from 12 hours to 93 minutes.
1944 — A prisoner uprising takes place at Birkenau concentration camp.
1949 — Iva Toguri D’Aquino, better known as Tokyo Rose, is sentenced to 10 years in prison for treason.
1985 — Four Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) hijackers seize the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro and demand the release of 50 Palestinians held by Israel.
2001 — The US invasion of Afghanistan in reaction to the terrorist attacks of 9/11 begins; it will become the longest war in US history.
BORN THIS DAY
1900 — Heinrich Himmler, Nazi leader
1907 — Helen MacInnes, writer
1931 — Desmond Tutu, South African religious leader
1934 — LeRoi Jones (Imamu Amiri Baraka), playwright
1935 — Thomas Keneally, novelist, author of Schindler’s Ark, the basis for the film “Schindler’s List”
1952 — ladimir Putin, former prime minister and current (2013) president of Russia
1955 — Yo Yo Ma, cellist