Wednesday, October 31, 2007


When I was growing up we always had Nanticoke's own easy listening station, WNAK, playing in the house. My parents were children of the 1930's, and came from somewhere in-between "The Greatest Generation" that fought World War II and the "Happy Days" generation of sock hops and submarine races. Technically, I believe they fell into what was called the "Silent Generation" - overshadowed by those who came before them, eclipsed by the Baby Boomers who came after them, conformist, moderately conservative, moderately progressive. Their music was not the rock'n'roll of Elvis and Chuck Berry, but was something smoother, mellower, gentler.

WNAK catered to their tastes, playing a mix of songs from their childhood by performers like The Andrews Sisters, The Mills Brothers, Bing Crosby, and Frank Sinatra, songs by their contemporaries such as Jim Reeves, Englebert Humperdinck, and Robert Goulet, Polkas (always popular in this Polish-dominated area), and hymns (also popular in a primarily Roman Catholic area), along with softer stuff by more modern artists like Elvis, Ray Charles, Jim Croce, Anne Murray, The Carpenters, and The Captain & Tennille. Each day would be punctuated by the ultra-conservative editorials of station owner Bob Nielson and pieces by Paul Harvey and "This Is Pennsylvania" by Peter C. Wambach (featuring the line "It's a beautiful day in Pennsylvania,"), even "Old-time radio dramas" - actually funny little 30-second melodramatic commercials for C.W. Schultz and Sons Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning. Each broadcasting day would end with Jim Reeves' version of "Night Watch":

Bright stars are watching the world as it sleeps
Shepherds watch over the little white sheep
The lighthouse is shining for ships far at sea
As God keeps the night watch for you and for me.

So sleep, sleep in peace and rest
Don't be afraid of the darkness
All's well for over the land and the sea
God's keeping the night watch for you and for me.*

I learned a lot of older songs back then, while other kids my age were growing up listening to The Who and The Doors, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. I would learn those songs, too, but later, as my older sister entered her teen years and blasted them from her stereo. (Later, during her college years, she would work as a DJ at WNAK for a while.) I think my childhood is richer for this layer of musical experience that many of my contemporaries, whose parents were sometimes ten to fifteen years younger than my own, never got to have.

Over time the artists I heard on WNAK have died off. Some, like Jim Reeves, died before I was born; others died when I was young. A few, like Englebert Humperdinck, are still alive and well, touring and performing.

WNAK itself has died, in a sense. Years ago Bob Nielson sold it to a corporation, which gradually morphed the station into a soft rock/easy listening format intended to appeal to the under-70 crowd. A while back Bob Nielsen died. A few weeks ago WNAK changed formats again, now into a Spanish easy listening station. It calls its format "Caliente", but the times I have listened to it - well, without the lyrics, you wouldn't know the music was any different; even polka and mariachi songs are fairly interchangeable.

Now another artist I learned to love from WNAK has passed away. Two days ago I learned that Robert Goulet was gravely ill and in need of a lung transplant. Yesterday he died. Tragically, the world has lost one of its great voices - and a pretty fair actor, too. He will be missed.

*Hearing this song on a Sunday evening was always one of the saddest experiences of my childhood, because it meant that the weekend was ending, and it was time to start thinking about whatever homework I might have been assigned on Friday.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Nanticoke City-Wide Yard Sale Part 2, Saturday October 6

Nanticoke will be having another citywide Yard Sale this Saturday, October 6 from 9 AM to 3 PM. Check out the (very spiffy) Citywide Yard Sale webpage on the official City of Nanticoke website. Here is the text of that page:

The Civic Pride Committee is planning another citywide yard sale for fall, but this one has a twist — it’s also a treasure hunt.

Sharpen that brain of yours and you might be $25 richer during the yard sale, which is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 6.

Also, the Salvation Army will have a truck by the old Nanticoke/West Nanticoke bridge where the Street Department used to be to take your useable or recyclable items from 3pm to 5pm that day.

Committee member J.D. Verazin, who brainstormed the idea, said that it will feature clues to street names in the town. For example: Where do people wear 10-gallon hats and pointy boots? Where do baseball players play?

If you figured “west” and “green,” then you’d be one step closer. Now you just have to visit a yard sale on West Green Street, and if you purchase an item that’s marked, you win one of six $25 prizes.

“Every year we’ll be coming up with something new like this treasure hunt to keep it exciting,” Verazin said. “The event keeps growing from last year.”

The first citywide yard sale was held during one weekend last summer, and the second was held in the beginning of this summer. Verazin said the committee decided to split the single event into one summer and one fall event. For this year’s summer event, Verazin said, about 280 residents signed up.

“It was great for Nanticoke,” he said. “We had people walking around 2 hours before the yard sale was scheduled to begin.”

This year Verazin is expecting a higher number of people to sign up for the fall and is asking residents of the Honey Pot and Hanover sections to call 735-2800 to register for October’s event. The address of everyone who registers will be printed onto a map that will be offered at Patriot Park on Oct. 6.

“This event brings a lot of people into Nanticoke,” Verazin said. “People from as far as Shickshinny were here, and it was great for local businesses.”

Larry Karnes, owner of Larry’s Pizzeria on the corner of Church and College streets, said tables were set in the back parking lot to satisfy the customers during this summer’s sale.

“We were selling anything that we had ready and it was going,” Karnes said. “People were walking around town hours before (the yard sale) started.”

And for residents participating in the sale, Verazin said it’s a perfect opportunity to lose the extra summer stuff and get ready for winter.

“It’s also great for the extra cash,” he said. “One lady made $350 selling only dollar items, so that tells you something.”

Karnes said he’s going to prepare more for October’s event, due to running low on everything during the summer sale. He recommends other businesses also better prepare.

“This is a great impact on Nanticoke,” Karnes said, who’s also a city fire officer. “I’ve never seen so many positive people come through Nanticoke on one day.”

Local merchants are encouraged to plan special promotions or sidewalk sales to coincide with the event.

Unfortunately, I will be working that day, so some other enterprising soul will have to take the initiative to sell soda and water to thirsty yard sale shoppers. Come to Nanticoke this Saturday and see what everyone has to offer!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Nanticoke Trojans Football Schedule

Here is the schedule for the Nanticoke Trojans football team, as reported on the Greater Nanticoke Area School District sports page.

ALL GAMES ARE SCHEDULED FOR 7 PM. Schedules are always subject to change; please check the GNA school district page linked above for the latest information, and for cshedules for other sports.

Home games are indicated in BLUE.

Friday 8/31 - Away
Central Columbia

Saturday 9/8 - Away

Thursday 9/13 - Away

Friday 9/21 - Home
Wyoming Area

Saturday 9/29 - Away
Holy Reedemer

Friday 10/5 - Away

Friday 10/12 - Home

Friday 10/19 - Home

Friday 10/26 - Away
Lake Lehman

Friday 11/2 - Home

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

School's Back in Session August 28

Classes will begin in the Greater Nanticoke Area next Tuesday, August 28. This means police will be out in force, ticketing people who exceed the 15 mph School Zone speed limit on Kosciuszko Street (which normally has a speed limit of just 25 mph, anyway.)

Students at Luzerne County Community College should be aware that police preferentially ticket vehicles heading south on Kosciuszko Street, towards L.C.C.C. While reasons for this are unclear - students driving towards the High School also exceed the speed limit on a regular basis, both at the beginning of the school day and after school lets out in the afternoon, when many of them also show off by stunt driving through the streets surrounding the school - there has been some speculation that it is connected to the fact that while most of the students attending the John S. Fine High School probably have relatives, or friends, or relatives of friends or friends of relatives who have city connections who would be able to get a speeding ticket overturned, most L.C.C.C. students are from outside of Nanticoke and do not.

On a related note, it seems unlikely that the construction on Kosciuszko and Main will be completed by August 28, so expect some congestion as a result of that. L.C.C.C. students should plan accordingly, allowing extra time to reach the school or considering an alternate route along Middle Road (exit 2 off of Route 29, heading west.) Note that Middle Road is a long, narrow, winding road through a residential area, and also has speed limits which are sometimes strictly enforced.

One last point: the street sign indicating "Kosciuszko Street" has been removed as part of the construction project, so incoming students may be confused as to where they should turn to get on this road. It is the north-south road that intersects with Main Street at the traffic light on the east side of Nanticoke. Just to make things more confusing, where the street continues north of Main Street for 50 feet towards the river, it is actually called "Jefkin Street" - and that sign is in place.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Pope John Paul II school library sale, September 8 - 10

The recent realignment of Catholic schools throughout the Diocese of Scranton has left many closed schools in its wake. One of those is Pope John Paul II school, located on the corner of Church and Hanover Streets, next to Holy Trinity Church. (This is the former Holy Trinity school building, but it was PJP II for at least the last 25 years, perhaps 27.)

There are many books that were a part of the Pope John Paul II school library that will not be being transferred to the new, central Catholic school for the region. These books are being put up for sale to the public.

The sale will be held at the former Pope John Paul II school at the corner of Hanover and Church streets in Nanticoke. The days of the sale will be:

Saturday, September 8, 3 PM to 6 PM
Sunday, September 9, 9 AM to 1 PM
Monday, September 10, 12 PM to 3 PM

Prices will be $0.10 - $0.25 for softcover books and $0.50 - $1.00 for hardcovers.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

South Valley Heritage Days, August 8-11 2007

In an earlier post I mentioned the "Nanticoke Heritage Days". Turns out I was wrong - these are the South Valley Heritage Days, going on on Lower Broadway in Nanticoke.

Here are the details, from an article in today's Times-Leader:

WHAT: South Valley Heritage Days
WHEN: Wednesday-Saturday
WHERE: Nanticoke Fairgrounds, Lower Broadway
NOTES: Admission is free. Food, crafts and games will be featured.
INFO: 735-6990

Music will be provided nightly, from 6 to 10, and will include:

Wednesday: Polka band Jolly Joe and the Bavarians
Thursday: Local recording band 40 Lb. Head
Friday: Oz Band
Saturday: John Stanky, from 3:30-5:30 p.m., followed by X Country at 6 p.m. during Bike Night.

Special events each night:
Heritage Days festivities kick off at 5 p.m. Wednesday when officials tap a keg of root beer.

Minivan shuttle service will pick up residents from the three senior citizen high-rise towers in Nanticoke hourly on Wednesday during the polka-themed night. Glen Lyon residents can be picked up at 5 p.m. at the senior citizen center with a return trip at 9 p.m.

Children may have their pictures taken while sitting in a race car Thursday during the motorsports-themed night.

The Danko race team from the Giants Despair Hillclimb in Wilkes-Barre Township will make an appearance, and antique, restored and stock cars will be featured.

Fire departments throughout the county have been invited to participate in a 6 p.m. parade on Friday during Fireman’s Night.

Motorcyclists will leave from Nanticoke High School on Kosciuszko Street at 2 p.m. Saturday on a course through Back Mountain, Glen Lyon, Wilkes-Barre, Hanover Township and Nanticoke.

Potato pancake eating contest at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Monday, August 6, 2007

National Night Out in Nanticoke, August 7 2007

Nanticoke will take part in the crime prevention event National Night Out on Tuesday, August 7 starting at 4:00 PM. Events will take place at the St. John's Picnic Grounds on Front Street in the Hanover Section of Nanticoke (click here for directions).

From the Times Leader website:
With talks by Luzerne County District Attorney David Lupas and the Nanticoke Police Department, food and beverages, music by OZ, face painting and games.
Phone: 570-735-3659

Nanticoke Heritage Days, August 8 - 11

NOTE: This event is actually the South Valley Heritage Days. Please see this post for more derails.

I am still looking for information on this event, which I just learned about by way of a sign on a bench at the bottom of Kosciuszko Street. All I know is that it will feature The Oz Band on Friday, and John Stanky possibly every day.

If anyone has any more information on the Nanticoke Heritage Days, please post it as a comment. Thanks!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Give Blood

The Red Cross Donor Center is conveniently located on Middle Road just a few minutes from downtown Nanticoke. Donating blood takes about an hour from the time you enter to the time you leave. You can give blood every eight weeks. Donating blood is one of the easiest and most effective ways of helping other people!

For directions to the Donor Center, click here.

Web site:

American Red Cross
Northeastern Pennsylvania Blood Region
29 New Commerce Blvd.
Ashley, PA 18706

Phone: 570-823-7164
Fax: 570-825-4264

To donate blood or plasma, call 1-800-GIVELIFE (1-800-448-3543).
For bone marrow donation, visit .
To schedule a blood donation online, visit .

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Cabbage Roll 2007 is this weekend!

Rock 107 DJs Daniels and Webster will be broadcasting live from Lower Broadway in Nanticoke (just outside of Honeypot, near the Weis Market complex) this Friday, July 27 to support this weekend's Honey Pot Fire Company #6 Cabbage Roll! From the latest bulletin from the Cabbage Roll 2007 MySpace site:

Live broadcast from the Cabbage Roll Festival Lower Broadway Nanticoke, a 6am to 10 am Friday July 27th features Daniels and Webster from ROCK 107 FM Guest appearances from The NEPA Miners; Coal City Rollers; Pioneer Dance Team "The Hottest Ticket in Town”, Gentlemen’s Club 10 girls, Diamond City Rollers and more. Come and join in the fun and wake up to the dawning of the Cabbage Roll. Music is great and IT'S FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And from the previous bulletin:

Cabbage Roll 07

Friday July 27, 2007 5-11PM
Saturday July 28, 2007 Noon -11PM

Lower Broadway Fairgrounds Nanticoke, Pa

Music - Rides - Fireworks - Bike Show - Arts and Crafts Fair


Fireworks; Rides; Food; Games; Motorcycle Show, Arts and Craft Show and of course 40 lb Head; Beyond Fallen (Melissa Records Artists)

Special Cabbage Roll Challenge Match
NEPA Miners Pro Football Team (with Cheerleaders)
- Versus -
Coal City Rollers (Flat Track Female Roller Derby Team)
Special Referee: WWF Legend King Kong Bundy


Arts and Craft Fair; Rides; Food; Games

Music by: RSO and Jolly Joe

Cabbage Roll on Cabbage Hill, Honey Pot with DJ Iceman 2-6 PM;
W-B Pioneers and Dance Team, Coal City Rollers and the NEPA Miners and Mystery Guests


From Harrisburg, Pa.
Take ramp onto I-81 NORTH toward HAZLETON/ALLENTOWN - go 97.3 mi
Take exit #164/PA-29 onto SOUTH CROSS VALLEY EXPY toward NANTICOKE - go 4.3 mi
Take exit #3 toward NANTICOKE - go 0.3 mi
Turn Left on SANS SOUCI PKY - go 0.4 mi
Continue on E MAIN ST - go 0.8 mi
Turn Right on N WALNUT ST - go 0.2 mi
Continue on ACCESS RD - go 0.0 mi

From Binghamton, NY
Bear Right onto I-81 SOUTH toward NEW YORK/SCRANTON - go 51.6 mi
Take exit #194/PENNSYLVANIA TURNPIKE onto I-476 SOUTH - go 16.1 mi
Take exit #115 onto PA-315 SOUTH - go 1.5 mi
Bear Right onto I-81 SOUTH - go 10.4 mi
Take exit #164/PA-29 onto SOUTH CROSS VALLEY EXPY toward
NANTICOKE - go 4.1 mi
Take exit #3 toward NANTICOKE - go 0.3 mi
Turn Left on SANS SOUCI PKY - go 0.4 mi
Continue on E MAIN ST - go 0.8 mi
Turn Right on N WALNUT ST - go 0.2 mi
Continue on ACCESS RD - go 0.0 mi

From Stroudsburg, Pa
Turn Right onto I-80 WEST - go 45.5 mi
Take exit #260B onto I-81
NORTH toward WILKES-BARRE - go 13.5 mi
Take exit #164/PA-29 onto SOUTH CROSS VALLEY EXPY toward NANTICOKE - go 4.3 mi
Take exit #3 toward NANTICOKE - go 0.3 mi
Turn Left on SANS SOUCI PKY - go 0.4 mi
Continue on E MAIN ST - go 0.8 mi
Turn Right on N WALNUT ST - go 0.2 mi
Continue on ACCESS RD - go 0.0 mi

From Williamsport, Pa
Starting in WILLIAMSPORT, PA on MARKET ST go toward CHURCH ST - go 1.1 mi
Bear Left on MONTGOMERY RD[US-15] - go 0.6 mi
Continue to follow US-15 SOUTH - go 15.3 mi
Take the I-80 EAST exit toward BLOOMSBURG - go 30.5 mi
Take exit #241B onto US-11 EAST toward BERWICK - go 25.9 mi
Turn Right on LOWER BROADWAY ST - go 0.6 mi
Turn Right on ACCESS RD - go 0.0 mi

Lots of stuff that is free:
Music, fireworks,meeting King Kong Bundy,Coal City Rollers,NEPA Miners, W-B Pioneers, enter the bike show, and watch the greatest sport in the World: Cabbage Rolling!

Hang with us Friday morning with Daniels and Webster
Rock 107 Legends at the Fairgrounds 6-10AM

Go to the official Cabbage Roll 2007 website for more details!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Great Nanticoke Yard Sale is this Saturday, July 14!

This Saturday, anyone driving through Nanticoke will be greeted with a strange sight: yard sale after yard sale, as Nanticoke holds what is now being billed as "The Great Nanticoke Yard Sale Part II A"! (Part II B will be held sometime in September.) Come to Nanticoke this Saturday and see what the people of this city have to offer!

For more information, go here:

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Upcoming events

Upcoming events in and around Nanticoke:

Holy Trinity Church Annual Homecoming Festival, Friday July 6 and Saturday, July 7, 5:00 PM - Midnight on the grounds of Holy Child Church, Sheatown
(Saturday Outdoor Mass, 4:00 PM at Holy Child Grove)
- Entertainment by X-Country (Friday) and 40 Lb. Head (Saturday)
- Homemade Polish Foods, Games, Refreshments
- Stop in at the Holy Child Orphanage to browse their final "Flea Market" - Fill a bag for $2.00
- Flowers and plants donated by A&J Florist will be available to buy

Cabbage Roll 2007 T-shirts on sale Saturday, July 7, noon - 6:00 PM, Honey Pot Fire House, 13 Honey Pot Street, Nanticoke
- All sizes adult and children's, $10 each
- See their official website for more information

Greater Nanticoke Area Drug Task Force golf tournament July 9, 2007 at the Wyoming Valley Country Club
- Format is Captain & Crew
- Cost per foursome is $340.00
- For tournament information call Ken Malin at 814-9002 or Jim Samselski at 574-8111

City-wide Yard Sale, Saturday, July 14
Maps will be available at Patriots' Square on the day of the event, or just come to town and drive around from sale to sale!

Cabbage Roll 2007, July 27 and 28
See their official website for more information!

Sanitary Bakery

Sanitary Bakery
126 East Ridge Street
Nanticoke, PA 18634
(570) 735-6630
Phone orders accepted for worldwide shipping

Sanitary Bakery in Nanticoke is the oldest bakery in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Its name comes from a long-ago time when the word "Sanitary" indicated a level of quality and cleanliness beyond that of run-of-the-mill bakeries. In Nanticoke today, simply saying "Sanitary" brings to mind the best fresh-baked cakes, cookies, breads, and pastries this side of your grandmother's kitchen!

Block out plenty of time for your visit to Sanitary Bakery, because there's sure to be a line of people ahead of you. Walk in, take a number, look at all the delicious items in the glass cases, and if you're able, hold the door open for folks leaving the place with their arms full of boxes of goodies!

The mornings are always an especially busy time at Sanitary Bakery as people line up to get a fresh-brewed coffee and maybe a just-made donut or danish for the ride to work - or a box of them to share with their co-workers. Visiting Sanitary on Sunday morning after church is a tradition for many families. And their birthday cakes and cupcakes are the finest around, far better and less expensive than what supermarkets or big-box stores have to offer!

Seasonal and ethnic foods are a specialty, too. These include kruschicki (crisp-fried pastry bow-ties or ribbons dusted with powdered sugar) and, during the Lenten leadup to Easter, ponchki (also called paczki, punchki, or pounchki), dense, delicious, donut-like pastries traditionally filled with prunes or prune paste (lekvar) but also available with other fruit fillings.

And these treats are not solely available to residents of Nanticoke and surrounding areas! No, thanks to their website ( people from all over can see what Sanitary Bakery has to offer, and can order their favorite items by calling (570) 735-6630 (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express accepted). But if you are anywhere in or near Nanticoke, you must experience the sights and smells of Sanitary Bakery in person!

For directions to Sanitary Bakery, go here.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Nanticoke's amazing web presence

For a city as small as it is, there are quite a few websites about Nanticoke. Here's a sampling:

The Official City of Nanticoke web page.

The unofficial Home Page for Nanticoke Online. 9,082,000 square kilometers of land? I don't think so. If our city were a square, each side would be over 3000 kilometers long! I think they meant square meters. Maybe.

The Greater Nanticoke Area School District web site, complete with an interactive map of our schools. Kosciuszko Street used to be in the Guinness Book of World Records as the only street where you could go from Kindergarten through the second year of college (at Luzerne County Community College, a.k.a. L.C.C.C., a.k.a. the University of Nanticoke) without ever having to leave the street.

Here's some general data on Nanticoke, and here's some more detailed demographic data. Nanticoke has its own Wikipedia entry!

Then there are tribute pages, like Capt'n Clint's Place, with antique photos of Nanticoke. The Nanticoke Historical Society has some more old photos here.
Here's a really nice page, with maps and a history. Middle Road is as old as the United States itself...? Wow!

Nanticoke has at least one other famous citizen, the actor Nick Adams.

I blog a blog of Nanticoke

Sunrise over Nanticoke, October 20, 2005

I've lived in Nanticoke pretty much all of my life, with some time away in college and immediately afterwards. As an adult I've made a conscious decision to stay here, having recently bought the house that used to belong to my grandmother.

Nanticoke is the sort of town that Norman Rockwell used to paint, a genuine slice of Americana with tree-lined streets and kids playing in their front yards. It is not perfect - no place is - but it has a lot more to offer than many people realize.

I want to change that. Nanticoke already has a fairly strong web presence, but it could be better. This blog, and the things that will follow, are my attempt to improve Naticoke's online image, and to help people see this city as I see it.