Barr: Redacted Mueller report coming ‘within a week’

WASHINGTON — Attorney General William Barr told Congress Tuesday he expects to release his redacted version of the special counsel’s Trump-Russia investigation report “within a week,” while Democrats criticized his handling of the long-awaited document and demanded he turn it over in full.

Barr bluntly defended his dealing with the report and said portions must remain hidden to comply with the law. He said he could be open to eventually releasing some of the redacted material after consulting with congressional leaders, but maintained he had no plans to seek a judge’s approval to disclose grand jury material. Democrats, he said, were “free to go to court” on their own to ask for it.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said he could issue subpoenas “very quickly” if Robert Mueller’s report is released with redactions after Democrats failed “to reach an accommodation with the attorney general under which we would see the report and the underlying evidence.” He said of Barr: “He has been unresponsive to our requests.”

The attorney general appeared before a House appropriations subcommittee to discuss his department’s budget request — normally a sleepy affair — but Democrats, in particular, were more interested in asking questions about the report. While opening the hearing, subcommittee Chairman Jose Serrano of New York called it “the elephant in the room.”

Barr wouldn’t discuss the substance of the special counsel’s investigation into possible connections between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, but he did explain some of what to expect when the report is released: He said the redactions will be color-coded and accompanied by notes explaining any decisions to withhold information.

“This process is going along very well and my original timetable of being able to release this by mid-April stands,” Barr said.

Congress, the White House and the American public have been anxiously waiting for Barr to release the report since special counsel Mueller concluded his investigation and sent it to the attorney general more than two weeks ago. Justice Department officials are scouring the nearly 400-page document to remove grand jury information and details relating to pending investigations, among other materials.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Democrats said they were concerned that a four-page summary letter of the report’s main conclusions Barr released last month portrayed the findings in an overly favorable way for President Trump. The letter said that Mueller did not find a criminal conspiracy between Russia and Trump associates in the 2016 campaign, and that Barr did not believe the evidence in the report was sufficient to prove the president had obstructed justice.

Barr said “the letter speaks for itself” and revealed that he gave Mueller an opportunity to review the letter but the special counsel declined.

Rep. Nita Lowey, the Democratic chairwoman of the full Appropriations Committee, said she was taken aback that Barr had reduced Mueller’s report to a four-page letter in just two days. “Even for someone who has done this job before, I would argue it’s more suspicious than impressive,” Lowey said, referring to Barr’s first tenure as attorney general in the early 1990s.

Barr said, “I felt I should state bottom-line conclusions, and I tried to use special counsel Mueller’s own language in doing that.”

Asked about reports that members of Mueller’s legal team were unhappy with his handling of the report, Barr said he suspected any discontent may have reflected their desire to put out more information.

Republicans defended Barr, with Alabama Rep. Robert Aderholt comparing Democrats’ questions to theories surrounding President John F. Kennedy’s 1963 assassination. “So many of the questions here today have gone toward a grassy knoll conspiracy theory,” Aderholt said.

Across the Capitol, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he had no concerns with the handling of the report: “I think it really comes down to a question of whether you trust Bill Barr or not. And I do.”

Barr said in the summary released last month that Mueller did not reach a conclusion on whether the president obstructed justice, instead presenting evidence on both sides of the question. Barr said he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided that the evidence was insufficient to establish obstruction.

Facing the intensifying concerns from Democrats that he may have whitewashed Mueller’s findings, Barr has moved to defend, or at least explain, his handling of the process since receiving the special counsel’s report. He said in a March 29 letter that he did not intend for his brief summary of Mueller’s main conclusions to be an “exhaustive recounting” of his work.

He is likely to be asked to further explain himself at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing Wednesday, though it’s unclear how much more he will say. At one point in the House hearing, he tried to cut off any more questions on the subject.

Barr said he would elaborate at hearings scheduled by the House and Senate Judiciary committees at the beginning of next month.

Wyoming Valley West Middle School students attended an awards ceremony April 9 at the Theater at North in Scranton.

These eighth-grade students, coached by Mr. Moran, had entered a video contest called “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” where they competed against 10 other school districts throughout Northeastern Pa. Each participating middle school had a team that was provided video equipment and training and was then matched with a manufacturing company.

The teams then spent a day interviewing workers, getting to know the company and creating short video profiles of the companies and the career opportunities they offer.

Wyoming Valley West traveled to Nivert Metal Supply where they filmed, edited, and produced a short video about what was cool about manufacturing there. Their hard work earned them the “Outstanding Career Pathway Award ” in recognition for educating the audience on pathways to careers.

WILKES-BARRE — Her shopping cart nearly empty, Georgette Nealon stopped to check out the mayonnaise selection.

Nealon and her son Justin Warman had just come into the new Deemer’s Discount Groceries on Coal Street Tuesday morning.

“It has a lot in it,” Nealon said of her first impression of the store. “I really didn’t think it had such variety in it.”

Name brand items lined the shelves. A small selection of fresh fruits and vegetables was available. A deli stocked with meats and cheeses was located in the rear next to the bulk food section. Freezers filled with packaged foods lined a wall and opposite them were refrigerated milk and dairy products.

It opened on April 11 with little fanfare and a spray painted sign outside the entrance across from Odyssey Fitness directed shoppers into the parking lot.

Deemer, his wife Sue, son Gabe and daughter Wendy work in the store along with approximately 20 employees. He previously operated a store in Bradford. Deemer, 47, who lives in Dorrance Township with his family and attends the Wilkes-Barre Mennonite Church on Blackman Street, liked the area and saw an opportunity here.

The selection will stay the same, but the brands could change based on what’s available, Deemer said. Constants will be dairy products from Kreider Farms and meats and cheeses from John F. Martin & Sons, both Lancaster County-based.

“Pretty much everything is at a discount,” said 16-year-old Gabe Deemer whose duties in the family business include store manager. “We don’t do coupons. We just try to keep it at everyday low prices.” The store can’t accept food stamps at this time, but should be able to within 45 days, he added.

Back on the floor Nealon said she liked the fact that the store was near her home on Coal Street. “It’s in walking distance,” she said and that’s how she and her son got there. ”It is convenient,” she said.

With completion of a new interactive online map years in the making, Wyoming Valley area residents can now see if their property would flood as the Susquehanna River rises.

The map is available through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s NWS Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service at https://water.weather.gov/ahps/inundation.php, using the “Susquehanna River at Wilkes-Barre” link under the Binghamton, New York, section.

After enlarging and zeroing in on the area of interest, users must select a Susquehanna River level from a table on the left, ranging from 10 feet to an unsettling maximum option of 46.5 feet.

For reference, the menu of levels notes the river’s record crest at 42.66 feet in 2011, when the Wyoming Valley Levee held back floodwaters in 12 municipalities it is designed to protect while low-lying areas in non-levee municipalities were inundated.

With each river level, the inundation area is shaded in blue. Clicking on the property will show how high the floodwaters would be at that location under each scenario.

The maps start at 10 feet in the Wyoming Valley because that’s when officials start activating levee system pumps, officials have said.

While longtime residents may be familiar with the river’s path up to the 2011 level, the map will be helpful to newcomers, said county Flood Protection Authority Executive Director Christopher Belleman.

The need for more public awareness became apparent during a mass evacuation in 2011, when it was unclear if the levee would hold, officials have said. The raised levee was designed to protect properties that had been inundated in the prior record 1972 Agnes Flood, but some were unsure if the evacuation applied to them because they were not here back then.

The map can help residents make decisions on moving vehicles and personal belongings to higher ground, Belleman said.

“Instead of having to rely on waiting to hear from local emergency management on what people should do, they can be proactive and go to this website tool to see how a forecasted event would impact them,” Belleman said.

The flood authority had voted in 2017 to pay $3,200 toward the mapping project, saying the federal government would provide the lion’s share of the estimated $349,000 in funding.

The Harrisburg-based Susquehanna River Basin Commission developed the tool in partnership with Pennsylvania Silver Jackets, according to a public release.

Silver Jackets is an inter-agency team that works with the state and other stakeholders to implement solutions to flood hazards. The commission is a federal/interstate government agency focused on protecting and wisely managing water resources within the river basin.

The map covers shows where minor and major flooding would occur in and around Luzerne County along with points in Sunbury, Bloomsburg and Danville, commission water resources engineer Ben Pratt said in the release.

”It’s a valuable tool for community officials and emergency managers to plan and prepare for an impending flood, as well as provide the general public an understanding of the relative risk of flooding within their communities,” Pratt said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Weather Service and state and federal Emergency Management Agencies also were involved in the project.

The new forecasting maps were based on a federal government water analysis completed after the 2011 record flooding that focused on the massive 10,000-square-mile watershed that drains into the local stretch of the Susquehanna, officials have said. The watershed extends into the Finger Lakes and Catskills in New York.

After studying 2011 high water marks and water drainage patterns, the federal government concluded development in the northern watershed was sending more runoff into the local stretch of the Susquehanna as sediment and other changes to the river channel have reduced its water holding capacity during peak flows, officials have said.

WILKES-BARRE — The city’s misstep delaying work on the Solomon Creek wall project has turned into a campaign issue in the upcoming race for mayor.

Within an hour of each other incumbent Mayor Tony George and his Democratic challenger in next month’s municipal primary, former city councilman George Brown, held press conferences Monday morning a block apart along the creek.

George, whose administration secured more than $10 million in government grants for the project, downplayed the cause of the three-week delay and took a shot at Brown for coming up empty in past attempts for funding.

Since 1998, George pointed out, the city has tried to get money for a comprehensive infrastructure project to replace the stone and concrete wall built in the 1930s that channels the creek through the South Wilkes-Barre and protects houses, businesses, a hospital and schools from flooding as it meanders to the Susquehanna River.

“That was 21 years ago. To wait an extra 21 days is a lot better than 21 years, which the past administrations did nothing with this except for a Band-Aid approach,” George said.

Brown, who attended George’s press conference, acknowledged he and others traveled to Baltimore, Md. in 2015 while he was on city council to meet with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. George, a councilman at the time, declined the invitation to attend, Brown said.

They returned with no commitment of federal money. But, Brown said, the gains this administration made could be washed away by the blunders of George and his point person on the project, Office of Economic and Community Development Director Joyce Morrash Zaykowski.

“The funding could be in jeopardy. If that happens the funding falls on the residents of the city of Wilkes-Barre,” Brown said.

And if that’s the case, should he replace George next year, Brown said, “I’m willing to take on all challenges and any problems, any issues, situations as mayor and I’ll address them.”

The delay was cause for concern for Larry Watkins, who lives in the floodplain of the creek. “If I’m hanging for 21 days, that’s a long time to hang, if you know what I mean,” said Watkins, a Brown supporter.

George and Zaykowski characterized the problem as procedural, resulting from the missed publication of a legal ad requesting public comment for work in a floodplain.

“This was started with the previous director (Kurt Sauer),” Zaykowski said, explaining how the process went awry. George appointed her to replace Sauer and assigned her on the duties of the office in addition to her other job as capital projects program manager.

The city’s environmental review officer, Joe Rodano, followed past practices and felt he followed all the proper steps, but missed one, Zaykowski explained.

“It was an innocent mistake we all take responsibility for. And the most important thing is is we’re not losing much time,” Zaykowski said. “We’re rectifying the situation and we’re going to move on.”

The contractor has stopped working in the creek and switched to retrofitting the flood gates for the bridges, George added.

Sauer, who was among the group of approximately 20 people assembled for Brown’s press conference near the Barney Street bridge, defended himself against the attack from the George administration.

Since Sauer left in February 2018 the city has relied on him for assistance, he said, showing a reporter text messages from Zaykowski. “I did it to help,” he said. “No more.”

The project should not have been put out to bid until the environmental review was completed, Sauer said. “The environmental is a no-brainer. You do that first,” he said.

The city bid it last year and awarded the job to A.R. Popple Inc. of Wilkes-Barre, the low bidder at $1,548,448. The city pulled him from the job in July 2018 and has yet to explain why. Don E. Bower Inc. of Berwick, the second lowest bidder at $2,071,954 and was awarded the job last August.

State Sen. John Yudichak, D-Plymouth Township, and state Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Wilkes-Barre, who worked to secure funding through the state Department of Community and Economic Development and other sources, worried the city’s actions could put the project in serious jeopardy.

“However, this will not deter us from working with DCED to get the project back on track to achieve our goal of a comprehensive flood protection system for the residents of Wilkes-Barre,” the lawmakers said in an email.

DCED spokesman Michael Gerber said the city’s noncompliance was discovered earlier this year during routine monitoring of the funding requirements. The city did not publish a public notice as required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that awarded a $2,357,000 community development block grant through the Disaster Recovery Program.

“The funding for this project is not in jeopardy as the city is pursuing corrective action,” Gerber said in an email.

The city stopped the project on March 8 and has been working with DCED and HUD. A public notice was published in the Times Leader on April 3 for comments up until April 18. Two more public notices will be combined and published on April 19 with a seven-day comment period. The comments will be forwarded to HUD and pending approval, the funds can be released for the work.

LEHMAN TWP. — Citing concerns about time constraints and uncertainty on making it work, Lake-Lehman School District Superintendent Jim McGovern announced at Monday’s School Board meeting that Ross Elementary will not be closed next school year. But he noted the district still struggles with a $2 million deficit in next year’s budget and a sharp decline in enrollment.

The district hired Alloy 5 to conduct a feasibility study, then turned over the results to a study commission. Key issues included a decline in enrollment by 311 students since 2014-15, and a shortfall in the preliminary budget for next year of about $2 million, despite multiple moves to save money over recent years, McGovern said.

One of the options considered by the commission was closing one of the three elementary schools. “After considerable thought, Ross was chosen as the school due to proximity and having the lowest enrollment, projected at 188 to start next year, compared to 290 students at Lake-Noxen.

McGovern said he believes closing Ross is feasible, but decided against doing it this fall, primarily because of the time constraints. The board would have to advertise a public hearing on the idea, followed by 90 days between the meeting a board vote on closing the school. That means the vote couldn’t legally be made before July 29, giving scant time to make all the equipment moves and scheduling required in time for the first day of school set for Aug. 26.

If the students were moved to one of the two remaining schools, it could also mean getting a modular classroom, at a cost of $75,000 plus $2,500 a month, mitigating some of the savings.

In response to questions from the audience, McGovern said class sizes would probably shrink, rather than grow, if Ross were closed. That’s because the school is so small the district can’t often split a class of only 25 or 26 students without going below a state-minimum size, while merging with the other schools would make splitting grades more feasible. It also would shorten many bus runs, he said.

McGovern warned, though, that the projected deficit remains with few ways to eliminate it on an annual basis. He noted the district has not hired an elementary teacher in five years, has brought some special education services in-house and self-funded health insurance, all to save money.

Yet the district is considering raising property taxes by 5.06 percent, well above a state-set annual limit that, this year, is 2.8 percent for Lake-Lehman. Business Manager Tom Melone told the audience the district sought a required exception that would allow it to exceed the limit to pay for steeply-rising special education costs. Melone said that late last month the district was informed the request has been granted.

That doesn’t mean taxes will rise by 5.06 percent, The district has until the end of June to tweak the budget and give it final approval.

McGovern said he still believes the district can probably close Ross without cutting programs. Not closing it this year “does not mean the current elementary system will not change eventually,” he said.

EDWARDSVILLE — An Edwardsville man endangered a child in a drunken driving crash and injured a police officer during a scuffle late Saturday night, according to court records.

Borough police allege Saquan Washington, 28, struggled with officers when he was arrested and damaged a door handle and cage in the rear seat of a cruiser.

Police investigated a hit and run crash on Main Street just before 11:30 p.m. and spotted Washington stumbling around a vehicle in the parking lot of Turkey Hill.

Washington struggled with officers when he was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving. Officers had to use force to overcome Washington’s resistance before he was handcuffed, the complaint says.

Police said Washington yelled and acted disorderly and would not respond whether he would consent to a breath test.

Washington was placed in the rear seat of a cruiser where he kicked both doors and slammed his head against a partition. When officers attempted to secure Washington in the seat, he twisted an officer’s finger and attempted to bite the officer’s hand, the complaint says.

The infant child was evaluated by Kingston emergency medical technicians and turned over to his mother.

Washington, of Beverly Drive, was arraigned by District Judge James Haggerty in Kingston on charges of aggravated assault, simple assault, endangering the welfare of a child, resisting arrest, driving under the influence and institutional vandalism.

WILKES-BARRE — Attorney John Moses said of Children’s Service Center that in its first 157 years, it has grown deep roots and wide branches.

Moses was honored Monday by the agency with its “Commitment to Children Award,” and The Lands at Hillside Farms received the “Community Partner Award.”

The center’s 157th annual awards luncheon was held at the Genetti Hotel & Conference Center, Wilkes-Barre.

“Any honor, any award is only as meaningful as the presenting organization,” Moses said. “Children’s Service Center has deep roots in this community and wide branches. And the shade of those branches have helped and protected at-risk children for 157 years and will continue to do so into the future.”

“When I think of John Moses, I think top shelf — the highest quality,” Yudichak said. “He taught me that public service doesn’t always come with a title. It’s about caring for your community, and nobody cares more about this community than John Moses.”

“CSC does God’s work,” Yudichak said. “They have helped and continue to help so many children and their families.”

Mike Hopkins, president/CEO at CSC, said The Lands at Hillside Farms conducts a “living classroom” each week, bringing live animals and displays for the children.

“Here, any one of us can be a farmer, a historian, a scientist,” Hopkins said of the program. “But far more importantly, we can get in touch with values too many of us have forgotten in a busy world.”

Hopkins said the students work side by side with educators and they interact with the animals to learn valuable life lessons.

Chet Mozloom, executive director at the Lands at Hillside Farms, a non-profit educational dairy farm that hosts thousands of children and their families annually, said the award “validates our work.”

The 412-acre farm provides hands-on educational programs and a wide range of volunteer opportunities for everyone in the Wyoming Valley, he said.

“There’s always a connection between kids and animals,” Mozloom said. “And that sustains the fabric of our community.”

Moses served as the Chairman of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania since 1997 and as an attorney in private practice since 1971, including as Of Counsel at the law firm of Cozen O’Connor since 2009.

During his career, he has served as Chair of the Northeast Pennsylvania Heart Association and as Chairman and President of the Board of Governors of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (“St. Jude”), and as Chief Executive Officer for ALSAC, the fundraising arm of St. Jude.

PARIS — A massive fire engulfed the roof of Notre Dame Cathedral in the heart of the French capital Monday, toppling its spire and sending thick plumes of smoke high into the blue sky as tourists and Parisians watched in horror from the streets below.

A spokesman said the entire wooden frame of the cathedral would likely come down, and that the vault of the edifice could be threatened too.

“Everything is burning, nothing will remain from the frame,” Notre Dame spokesman Andre Finot told French media. The 12th-century cathedral is home to incalculable works of art and is one of the world’s most famous tourist attractions.

The cause of the catastrophic blaze was not known, but French media quoted the Paris fire brigade as saying the fire is “potentially linked” to a 6 million-euro ($6.8 million) renovation project on the church’s spire and its 250 tons of lead. Prosecutors opened an investigation as Paris police said there were no reported deaths.

Flames shot out of the roof behind the nave of the cathedral, among the most visited landmarks in the world. Hundreds of people lined up bridges around the island that houses the cathedral, watching in shock as acrid smoke rose in plumes.

French President Emmanuel Macron postponed a televised speech to the nation because of the stunning blaze and was going to the cathedral himself.

Paris deputy mayor Emmanuel Gregoire said emergency services are trying to salvage the famed art pieces stored in the cathedral.

Built in the 12th and 13th centuries, Notre Dame is the most famous of the Gothic cathedrals of the Middle Ages as well as one of the most beloved structures in the world. Situated on the Ile de la Cite, an island in the Seine, the cathedral’s architecture is famous for, among other things, its many gargoyles and its iconic flying buttresses.

Among the most celebrated artworks inside are its three stained-glass rose windows, placed high up on the west, north and south faces of the cathedral. Its priceless treasures also include a Catholic relic, the crown of thorns, which is only occasionally displayed, including on Fridays during Lent.

The cathedral was immortalized in Victor Hugo’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” published in 1831, and has long been a subject of fascination in popular culture as well as the traditional art world.

French historian Camille Pascal told BFM broadcast channel the blaze marked “the destruction of invaluable heritage.”

“It’s been 800 years that the Cathedral watches over Paris”, Pascal said. “Happy and unfortunate events for centuries have been marked by the bells of Notre Dame.”

Associated Press reporters at the scene saw massive plumes of yellow brown smoke filling the air above the Cathedral and ash falling on the island that houses Notre Dame and marks the center of Paris. As the spire fell, the sky lit up orange.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is in despair at the “terrible fire.” Hidalgo said in a Twitter message that Paris firefighters are still trying to limit the fire and urged Paris citizens to respect the security perimeter that has been set around the cathedral.

In Washington, Trump tweeted: “So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris” and suggested first responders use “flying water tankers” to put it out.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, said he was praying “to ask the intercession of Notre Dame, our Lady, for the Cathedral at the heart of Paris, and of civilization, now in flames! God preserve this splendid house of prayer, and protect those battling the blaze.”

PLAINS TWP. — Chants of “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!” could be heard echoing through the halls of Mohegan Sun Pocono on Monday, where hundreds of members of a nursing union gathered to hear the ideas of a presidential candidate who has made health care a consistent part of his platform.

Senator Bernie Sanders, D-Vermont, was a guest speaker at a conference held by the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, or PASNAP.

Sanders, who is more often registered as an Independent than as a Democrat, is one of the major players in an ever-growing list of Democratic contenders hoping to unseat President Donald Trump in next year’s presidential election.

The senator currently is in the midst of a whirlwind campaign tour, appearing in Wisconsin, Ohio and Pittsburgh in the past few days, before making stops in the Wilkes-Barre area and Bethlehem later on Monday.

Speaking to a room full of nurses and other healthcare professionals, Sanders focused his talk on Monday to healthcare, namely his plan to introduce legislation for “Medicare for All,” a keynote issue for Sanders in both this election and his run for the Democratic nomination in 2016.

Sanders opened his comments with a thanks for the work nurses do in the nation’s healthcare system.

“There is no profession in healthcare more important than nursing,” Sanders said to exuberant applause from the nursing audience.

“You’re there at the beginning; you’re there at the end; and you’re there at every day for everybody in between,” Sanders continued.

But Sanders said there are major overhauls of the nation’s healthcare system that are necessary to fix a system that he calls “dysfunctional.”

Sanders said, as president, he would fight for things that would make the hard work of healthcare easier for the healthcare providers.

“You need a limit to what you can effectively do, or you can’t do your job right,” Sanders said, explaining the importance of proper staffing for nurses.

Sanders quickly shifted focus to insurance, saying that it is simply “unacceptable” that millions of Americans don’t have the insurance necessary to survive without going bankrupt in the event of a medical emergency.

The senator thinks the solution to what he described as a crisis in healthcare is to extend the benefits of Medicare to all citizens.

Sanders suggested his critics, particularly those in the GOP, would claim that this system would be too expensive, but Sanders claimed it would truly be cheaper than the current system, saying the U.S. currently spends twice as much on healthcare as countries with a system similar to the proposed Medicare for All.

The senator’s efforts to enact Medicare for All are proving popular, with some polls suggesting a majority of Americans support it, and Sanders suggests that popularity comes from unions like PASNAP pushing for it.

After Sanders’ trio of appearances in Pennsylvania over the past few days, Val DiGiorgio, chairman of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, said on a conference call that Sanders represents the antithesis of what the nation stands for.

“Bernie Sanders is the grandfather of the new age of American socialism,” DiGiorgio said, calling to mind Trump’s assertion that America will “never” be a socialist country.

“Bernie Sanders… has the wrong ideas for Pennsylvania and the wrong ideas for America,” DiGiorgio went on.

When asked by a Times Leader reporter if he thought the American healthcare system needed an overhaul, he agreed, but said it needs to be led by the free market. DiGiorgio did say that healthcare as a whole is something the GOP needs to focus on more in its policies moving into 2020.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department expects to make special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia investigation public on Thursday morning.

Spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said Monday the redacted report will be sent to Congress and made available to the public Thursday.

Mueller officially concluded his investigation late last month and submitted a nearly 400-page report to Attorney General William Barr. Barr provided a four-page letter to Congress that detailed Mueller’s “principal conclusions.”

Barr said the special counsel didn’t find a criminal conspiracy between Russia and Donald Trump’s associates during the 2016 presidential campaign.

But Mueller did not reach a definitive conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice. Instead, Barr said he did not believe the evidence was sufficient to prove that Trump had obstructed justice.

WILKES-BARRE — Members of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church on South Main Street held a Palm Sunday procession on Sunday in which children were able to take turns riding a miniature horse, in commemoration of Jesus riding a donkey during his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, which is what Palm Sunday celebrates.

It didn’t start until 10 a.m. but children began lining up hours earlier for an Easter egg hunt at Kirby Park on April 8, 1950.

An estimated 8,000 children took part in the search for plastic eggs at Kirby Park, one of 13 hunts organized across the Wyoming Valley that same day, the Evening News reported.

“One of the largest hunts will be held in Kirby Park under the sponsorship of Kingston Merchants’ Association. Almost 8,000 tickets have been distributed. No children will be admitted to the playground section of the park without passes,” the Times Leader reported April 7, 1950.

Easter egg hunts were such a big draw from the 1920s through the 1960s, committees were formed to organize the hunts and tickets were required for many of the events.

The Times Leader reported an estimated 25,000 children were expected to take part in the 13 organized egg hunts in 1950.

An Easter parade was held in Nanticoke on April 13, 1925, awarding prizes for best decorated bicycle, wagon and prettiest and funniest costumes before an estimated 5,000 children gathered at Lincoln Field for an egg hunt, the Evening News reported the same day.

Louis Kiscunas, chairman of the April 12, 1941, egg hunt at the Breslau baseball field between West End Road and Fellows Avenue, called the event a “success,” as more than 2,500 children scurried the field in search of eggs and prizes. Irene Bezdziecki, of Breslau, and Stanley Slabinski, of Lee Park, won the top prize of new Easter clothes, reported the Times Leader on April 14, 1941.

A hunt sponsored by the Wyoming Volunteer Hose Co. 2 on April 1, 1961, held at the Wyoming High School Football Stadium allowed children up to 10-years-old to participate.

Children up to 6 years of age searched for eggs on the playing field of the stadium while children 7 to 10 hunted eggs along the rim of the stadium.

“Only prize-winning eggs will be hidden and they will be numbered to indicate the nature of the prize. Children who did not find a prize-winning egg will be given a candy novelty on leaving the stadium,” the Times Leader reported March 30, 1961.

Kingston Township Constable Louis Banta organized a hunt at the Kingston Township High School in Trucksville on April 1, 1950. Prizes awarded to children were a radio, a record player, wrist watches, tennis rackets, an electric train and candy.

A search of the Times Leader archives for the earliest egg hunt in the area occurred at Riverside Park in Wilkes-Barre in 1917 for “poor children.” The egg hunts nearly came to an end in 1921 when the sponsors, Jacob S. Engle and Guy B. Flyte, were told they needed a permit by the Chamber of Commerce to solicit donations in excess of $1, the Evening News reported March 16, 1921.

For the 1920 hunt at Riverside Park, Boy Scout volunteers planted 25,000 eggs, chocolate bars and oranges throughout Riverside Park, awarding prizes that included bags of coal, stockings and shoes, hats and gloves and small wooden toys, the Evening News reported March 27, 1920.

SCRANTON — A federal judge has issued an order granting the motion of a former part-time cop accused of sexually assaulting woman, staying the federal suit against him until the completion of the criminal case. […]

Wyoming Valley West Middle School students attended an awards ceremony April 9 at the Theater at North in Scranton. These eighth-grade students, coached by Mr. Moran, had entered a video contest called “What’s So Cool […]

WILKES-BARRE — Her shopping cart nearly empty, Georgette Nealon stopped to check out the mayonnaise selection. Nealon and her son Justin Warman had just come into the new Deemer’s Discount Groceries on Coal Street Tuesday […]

With completion of a new interactive online map years in the making, Wyoming Valley area residents can now see if their property would flood as the Susquehanna River rises. The map is available through the […]

WILKES-BARRE — The city’s misstep delaying work on the Solomon Creek wall project has turned into a campaign issue in the upcoming race for mayor. Within an hour of each other incumbent Mayor Tony George […]

LEHMAN TWP. — Citing concerns about time constraints and uncertainty on making it work, Lake-Lehman School District Superintendent Jim McGovern announced at Monday’s School Board meeting that Ross Elementary will not be closed next school […]

EDWARDSVILLE — An Edwardsville man endangered a child in a drunken driving crash and injured a police officer during a scuffle late Saturday night, according to court records. Borough police allege Saquan Washington, 28, struggled […]

WILKES-BARRE — Attorney John Moses said of Children’s Service Center that in its first 157 years, it has grown deep roots and wide branches. Moses was honored Monday by the agency with its “Commitment to […]

PARIS — A massive fire engulfed the roof of Notre Dame Cathedral in the heart of the French capital Monday, toppling its spire and sending thick plumes of smoke high into the blue sky as […]

PLAINS TWP. — Chants of “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!” could be heard echoing through the halls of Mohegan Sun Pocono on Monday, where hundreds of members of a nursing union gathered to hear the ideas of […]

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department expects to make special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia investigation public on Thursday morning. Spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said Monday the redacted report will be sent to Congress […]

WILKES-BARRE — Members of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church on South Main Street held a Palm Sunday procession on Sunday in which children were able to take turns riding a miniature horse, in commemoration of Jesus […]

In the category of Mad magazine’s “scenes we’d like to see,” comes President Trump’s threat to transport migrants to cities and states that have declared themselves sanctuaries. Apparently he thinks such a move would force […]

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s competition to get ideas for work zone safety is a noble concept, but the story got hijacked. Many problems I see in work zones are caused by the engineers designing […]

PLYMOUTH — It was the spring of 1972 and I was bouncing a basketball past the S.J. Grontkowski Funeral Home on West Main Street in Plymouth. I was on my way to Huber Field for […]

WILKES-BARRE — Auditor General Eugene DePasquale this week urged the General Assembly to reduce Medicaid prescription costs by increasing the transparency of how pharmacy benefit managers do business. Pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, act as […]

I just got back from my weekly trip to the local supermarket. I usually count of the number of items I get, but this week, I also counted hugs. Hugs are free, no purchase required. […]

Michael Smerconish came to Kingston with a sensible message we hear too little these days. It’s time we started listening. Anyone who has followed the son of parents who once lived in Hazleton knows this […]

Hey, who doesn’t enjoy shopping? I know I do. But as a fellow shopping enthusiast I can guarantee there are some things you absolutely will not go looking for this weekend, even though your parents […]

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, recently proposed an interesting idea — taxing unrealized capital gains. There are advantages and disadvantages to this idea, which shares some similarities with a wealth tax. But ultimately, adopting this […]

My fellow Penn Staters, As you get ready to cast your vote for alumni trustees, please cast one of them for Jeffrey P. Ballou. Jeff is one of my former students who impressed me many […]

People can be cruel and sick. The pages of this and most newspapers remind readers about human depravity on a daily basis. It is not a surprise, but every so often a case comes along […]

After many years of our city streets needing to be paved, Mayor Tony George did not deliver once again on his promise. Tony George, you again forgot about your residents on Mayock, Hughes, Scott, Meade, […]

About the time that the #MeToo movement really started to get traction in 2017, I compared it to the Salem witch trials. I wasn’t the only one, and it was hardly an original idea, but […]

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Post time: Apr-17-2019
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