December 2nd, 2005

The Times-Tribune – Opinion – 11/26/2005 – Chris Kelly opines ‘CSI: Scranton’ to the rescue in Everhart whodunit


December 1st, 2005

The Times-Tribune – News – 12/01/2005 – Oh, those wacky criminals! It’s a laugh-a-minute when you’re a criminal in Scranton:

The car heist wasn’t planned, but police made it too tempting, he said. “It was there to be taken,” Mr. Quinn said. “The keys were in it. It was running.”


Mr. Quinn chuckled Wednesday while recalling one of the funniest moments of the Nov. 10 manhunt. While running full stride on Blackman Street, he said, he smacked into the side of a slowly moving television news truck, almost causing him to fall. The news crew didn’t notice him and the truck kept moving, he said.


November 29th, 2005

Penny-wise, but pound-foolish?

A recent Scranton City Council decision to “save at least $140,000 in annual fees by selecting Mellon instead of Morgan Stanley” to handle its Pension Funds, ignores that Morgan Stanely has out-performed Mellon by more than 3% over the past three years. Although the fees are higher, the city stood to make $1.4 million more.

Oh, well. At least Doherty didn’t get what he wanted, right?!!?

The Times-Tribune – News – 11/29/2005 – Mellon wins deal with city in a reversal


November 23rd, 2005

Some quick links to today’s Everhart articles, becuase I’m behind.

Also, I note that at least one of yesterday’s articles points out that the Everhart’s security cameras were being repaired. Well, perhaps my informant was wrong and the security system had been upgraded.

One can always hope.

In the Everhart’s defense, they’ve been underfunded and desperate for year, and have been making quite a comeback.

Unfortunately, it seems that this theft is only encouraging others.


November 21st, 2005

Nobody was awakened by the alarm at the Everhart last week, even though they are light sleepers. The lightest-sleeper of all was awake but at the Harry Potter premiere, which leads us to speculate: did the thieves intentionally use Harry Potter as a cover for their nefarious activities?

Unfortunately, since the Everhart’s “malfuctioning” security camera has no recording capability, we will never know if the thieves were dressed as Snape and Dumbledore, or what.

Previous post on the theft of Pollock(?) and Warhol.


November 20th, 2005

Seems like our local art thief is major art world news. It’s not everyday an $11+ million painting waltez out with no security cameras watching (official word is they weren’t working. unofficial word is, they never existed. They’ve got one camera, it’s connected to a monitor, and there’s no recording capabilities. whoops).

On the other hand, the much vaunted $11 million pricetag may be a bit spurious. Part of the inflated price is that the painting has never been photographed (except, uh, for the photograph in the paper; yeah, I know — that doesn’t count. That’s not art-world put-in-in-a-book documentary photography), never been existed prior to the Everhart in the past 3 years, and is not included in the Pollock catalog raisonne.

In other words, it’s not an authenticated Pollock. I’d like to see the insurance company shell out the cash on this one without a fight.

And the Warhol is barely worth mentioning. Okay, $15K. For me, that’s a lot of cash. But it’s nothing compared to the maybe-its-a-Pollock, and it’s nothing for a good Warhol.

There were three stories in the Times-Tribune today:

  1. Art theft could be biggest heist in city history — yeah, well, I can guarantee you that there has never ben a larger art theft in the cities history.
  2. Museum heist the buzz of the ball — the Museum’s big fund-raiser was the next night (Saturday). There’s speculation that the preparation traffic and the tent both played a role in the theft. Snide comment — the Everhart made about as much money with their $100/person fund-raiser as the Afa Gallery did with their $25/person art-auction the same night. And fewer painting were stolen from Afa.
  3. Everhart names new executive — poor thing. Plain bad timing.

The new curator is also profiled, but as the paper points out online:

Anonda Bell, the new curator of the Everhart Museum, is profiled on the cover of People (Section F) inside The Sunday Times today. The section was printed prior to Friday’s break-in at the museum and therefore has no reference to the theft of two major paintings

  1. Keeper of the Collection; Everhart Museum continues year of transition
    — yep. that’s an awkard headline, all right.


November 19th, 2005

Two paintings stolen from the Everhart Museum

Everhart heist worth millions

FBI: no market for stolen art

Pollack\'s Springs Winter 1949 stolen from the Everhart Warhol\'s Le Grand Passion stolen from the Everhart

BBC online article

AP wire story, with dimensions.


November 15th, 2005

Scranton Times-Tribune – 1/15/2005- On newly amicable Throop council, ‘circus is over’


THROOP — The Municipal Building held a Borough Council meeting without yelling, screaming, personal accusations or finger pointing.


It was an unusually cordial atmosphere at Monday night’s meeting. Bills were paid. Motions were passed harmoniously. And borough leaders assured employees that they’ll be paid every week.

“The circus is over,” said new council President Thomas Lukasewicz. “We’re going to move forward from this point.”

Mr. Lukasewicz was appointed president, replacing Daryl Menichetti, who, along with Vice President Cindy Johnson, resigned their leadership positions.

Neither Ms. Menichetti nor Ms. Johnson attended Monday’s meeting. Councilman James Barnick was appointed vice president.

read more…


November 11th, 2005

Scranton Times-Tribune – 11/11/2005: Some Throop workers forced to go without pay


THROOP — Some borough employees did not receive paychecks Thursday, and payroll may be in jeopardy again next week.

Ten borough workers who use direct deposit went unpaid and are not expected to receive their pay until Monday. The other 35 employees received their paper checks.

“This is ridiculous. I have two kids in college and I can’t get paid,” DPW worker David Dozack said.

In the past two weeks, Councilwomen Daryl Menichetti and Cindy Johnson resigned as council president and vice president respectively, though they said they would remain on council.

Their signatures, along with Borough Manager Robert Hegedus’, are required on payroll checks.

According to Mr. Hegedus, no one came in to sign the checks this week, so minority Councilman James Barnick arranged it with the bank that he be allowed to sign off on them.

“The money is there to pay these people, and I signed the wire transfer, so I don’t know why it didn’t go through,” Mr. Barnick said.

Mr. Hegedus said he received notice from the bank that the wire transfer they wanted to use — which is faster — did not work. He said employees will receive their pay electronically by Monday.

“If we don’t have a meeting by next week, the payroll is in jeopardy again next week,” he said.

read more…


November 10th, 2005

Srcranton Times-Tribune: Without leader Throop has no one to pay bills

Without leader Throop has no one to pay bills

THROOP — Right now it seems no one wants to hold the reins in borough government.

In the past few weeks, both Council President Daryl Menichetti and Vice President Cindy Johnson have surrendered their leadership positions, citing conflicting opinions of the state of the borough’s finances with manager Robert Hegedus.

In the meantime, it’s unclear who will step up and take charge in this politically divided borough until a new majority voting bloc takes over in January.

Paychecks to borough employees must be signed off on by either the president of council or the vice president.

“Something has to be done. You can’t have these bills not being paid,” Mayor Stan Lukowski said.

Councilwoman Susan Shortz, — who sits on the majority voting bloc of Council with Ms. Menichetti, Ms. Johnson and Councilman George Marushock — said she’s not interested in assuming a leadership position. Efforts to reach Mr. Marushock were unsuccessful.

read more…


November 4th, 2005

Scranton Times-Tribune: Throop squabbling now affects payday


THROOP — Payday has become the latest cost of political squabbling in this tempestuous borough, as members of council’s majority and embattled manager and treasurer Robert Hegedus have failed to endorse payroll checks in a timely manner.

For years the borough has issued about 50 payroll checks on Thursdays, but last week they were issued a day late. It would have happened again this week if police Chief Neil Furiosi hadn’t brought the checks to Lourdesmont, where council Vice President Cindy Johnson works, and where she signed them at 2:30 p.m.

“Am I upset that our pay was not here? Yes,” Chief Furiosi said Thursday morning. “Do I depend on our weekly payday? Yes. Do I know why our pay is not here? The checks weren’t signed.”

Borough law requires paychecks to be signed by council president, the borough manager and treasurer. The council vice president can sign the checks as an alternate to the president. Since the beginning of the year, Ms. Johnson has endorsed payroll in the place of council President Daryl Menichetti, who recently tendered her resignation.

How the checks went unsigned the past two weeks is unclear. Mr. Hegedus claims council’s majority voting bloc is refusing to sign them to make him look bad. Ms. Menichetti claims Mr. Hegedus hid the checks from Ms. Johnson, who entered the Borough Building just before 10 p.m. Wednesday to endorse them.

“Where they were? I don’t know,” Ms. Menichetti said. “I believe he hid them.”

“I find that hysterical,” Mr. Hegedus said.

read more…


November 3rd, 2005

Scranton Times-Tribune: Throop owes $84,000


THROOP — As tensions among borough officials mount, they now face dealing with at least $84,000 in outstanding bills accompanied by various utility shut-off notices.

The borough has been receiving shut-off notices for its utilities and past-due notices on almost every service it has. Borough Manager/Treasurer Robert Hegedus said there are at least $84,722 in outstanding bills because council refused to pay them last week.

“The money is there to pay all of these bills,” Mr. Hegedus said. “But right now we’re a ship without a captain.”

On Friday, Councilwoman Daryl Menichetti submitted her resignation as president, citing the “financial chaos” as one of the main reasons. She will remain on council until her term ends Jan. 1.

“Would you pay bills if you didn’t know how much money you had?” she said Tuesday. “I don’t feel comfortable paying bills because I don’t feel his records are accurate.”

read more…


October 29th, 2005

Curse leads Throop Borough council president to quit


THROOP — A cursing incident prior to a council meeting led Daryl Menichetti to step down from her position as council president Friday.

“It was a decision I had been thinking about for a while, probably since the beginning of September,” said Ms. Menichetti, who will remain on council until her term ends Jan. 1. “I tried to see it through but after last night I decided it’s not in my best interest to stay.”

The cursing issue — discussed in a closed-door session Thursday prior to the regularly scheduled meeting — was aired in public by Ms. Menichetti, who accused Borough Manager Robert Hegedus of cursing at her.

read more…


October 24th, 2005

mandatory evac

Courtesy the charming Mr. Ellis.


October 22nd, 2005

progresive.org: Catholic High School Teacher Forced Out over Flag

Thanks to Mike B. at Pie & Coffee. N.B.: I host Pie & Coffee.


October 18th, 2005

The Times-Tribune – News – 10/18/2005 – Boiling mad over bad water

More coverage on this, later.

This is in my parents’ neighborhood. Fortunately, they’re not on a well.


October 5th, 2005

First he quit. Then he un-quit. Now I just don’t know.

The Times-Tribune – News – 09/30/2005 – Political relations tense in Throop as withdrawn resignation accepted


THROOP — Bounced checks, declined credit cards and council members who barely speak to each other have relations in Throop borough government as tense as some people have ever seen them.

I’ve been through a lot of administrations, and I’ve never seen problems there like now,” Councilman Thomas Lukasewicz said.

Embattled Borough Manager Robert J. Hegedus Jr. said there’s plenty of money in the bank, and that the bounced checks — $77,309 worth — were the result of him not knowing the borough’s accounting software, not of malfeasance. As of Thursday, he said, the borough had $421,426.27 in its general fund. There is no money missing, he said, and the borough credit accounts are paid up or will be soon.

Mr. Hegedus unsuccessfully ran for council this spring with the current majority, but has fallen out of favor with his former allies — like Council President Daryl A. Menichetti, who says she wants Mr. Hegedus out.

“I’m sorry this had to happen,” Ms. Menichetti said. “I had a great deal of faith in him. I thought that he was intelligent and had integrity.”

Mr. Hegedus resigned Sept. 16 but took it back three days later, and is still on the job. However, The Borough Council voted 3-0 with three abstentions Monday to accept his resignation anyway, and Ms. Menichetti said she doesn’t think Mr. Hegedus is still a borough employee. She is awaiting an opinion from the borough’s solicitor.

If Mr. Hegedus didn’t understand the borough’s accounting software or was otherwise in over his head, Ms. Menichetti said, he should have asked for help.

Mr. Hegedus said he had hoped to play the part of Throop peacemaker when he took the job, but the majority got angry with him when he started talking with the minority.

“I was just trying to figure out ways to make the town better,” Mr. Hegedus said. “I never intended to keep anyone out of the loop.”

Mr. Lukasewicz and fellow minority Councilman James A. Barnick said the level of trust between them and the majority is so low they don’t talk without a third party — often the police chief — present.

A special meeting of the Borough Council has been set for 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Contact the writer: mmcnarney@timesshamrock.com


August 29th, 2005

The Progressive Magazine: Santorum’s People Toss Young Women out of Barnes & Noble, Trooper Threatens Them with Prison


August 18th, 2005

Gas prices in Scranton may seem pretty bad, but compared to the rest of the world, we’re pretty well off:

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) – Gasoline prices in the United States, which have recently hit record highs, are actually much lower than in many countries. Drivers in some European cities, like Amsterdam and Oslo, are paying nearly 3 times more than those in the U.S.

The main factor in price disparities between countries is government policy, according to AirInc, a company that tracks the cost of living in various places around the world. Many European nations tax gasoline heavily, with taxes making up as much as 75 percent of the cost of a gallon of gasoline, said a spokesperson for AirInc.


August 17th, 2005

Boing Boing: I feel safer: Homeland Security vs. San Francisco Bay Area Puppeteers Guild

After 20 years of safeguarding the
Guild’s finances, retiring treasurer
Pam Brown handed over the fiscal
reins to new treasurer Valerie Nelson
recently. The Guild’s bank account at
West America Bank was to be
transferred to a West America Bank
branch close to the new treasurer in
Yountville. But times have changed
since Pam first took charge of the
money, and transferring the account to
a new branch brought the Guild under
the watchful eye of Homeland
Security. As of this writing the
Guild’s finances are still frozen in
spite of having provided the bank
with a copy of Guild bylaws, a roster
of our officers and a copy of our
minutes. Negotiating past deadlines
and threats of account termination,
Valerie has struggled to meet
government demands for information.

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