PITTSTON TWP. — If you plan to travel by air, you will have to leave your rolling pin, meat tenderizer and, oh yeah, your knife and handgun in your checked baggage.

Transportation Security Administration officials held a media event Tuesday morning at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport to discuss the importance of travelers knowing what is in their carry-on and checked bags because prohibited items slow down the checkpoint.

TSA showcased prohibited items that have been confiscated over the past two months at the airport ‘s security checkpoint.

There were knives of all types, a saw, several pairs of scissors, a rolling pin and a cutting board, box cutters, adjustable wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, a mini baseball bat, a golf club and a BB gun that looked like a 9-millimeter, making one wonder if the carrier would kill you or shoot your eye out.

“The most common excuse/reason for having the prohibited item in their carry-on bag is that they forgot,” said Michael Kichline of TSA. “Next is they were in a hurry or their spouse packed their bag.”

Gary Borthwick, the airport’s assistant director, said having the items displayed for the public and media to see is a good way to show what travelers can’t take on a plane.

“That will speed up the waiting in lines,” Borthwick said. “And that keeps everyone happy and safe.”

Lisa Farbstein, spokesperson for the TSA Office of Public Affairs, said it’s important to avoid packing prohibited items in baggage when flying if travelers expect a smooth security checkpoint experience. She said TSA has tools that travelers can use to help ensure that passengers aren’t bringing prohibited items to the airport.

The best way to ensure that you know what can be packed in a carry-on bag, checked bag, either or neither is through any of these four options:

• Tweet or message AskTSA. Unsure if an item is allowed through security? Issues receiving TSA Pre✓ on your boarding pass? Get live assistance by tweeting your questions and comments to @AskTSA or via Facebook Messenger on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and on weekends/holidays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

• TSA’s homepage has a feature in the upper right-hand corner titled, “What Can I Bring?” in which travelers can type in the name of an item to find out if it is allowed in a checked or carry-on bag.

• Download TSA’s free app. The MyTSA app has a handy feature entitled “What Can I bring?” in which travelers can quickly search which items you can bring with you through the checkpoint onto the airplane.

• The TSA Contact Center is available to answer questions by email and phone at 1-866-289-9673. Staff is available from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekends/holidays; an automated service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

• Start with an empty bag when packing for the airport. This ensures that you haven’t forgotten that you had an item in the bottom of your carry-on bag.

• Prepare for security when packing. Put large liquids, gels, creams and aerosols, such as shampoo, conditioner, suntan lotion, shaving cream and antiperspirant into checked bags.

• Let the TSA officer know right away if you’re traveling with larger quantities of medically necessary liquid medications, or breast milk or formula for an infant as those can be screened separately.

• Consider minimizing items that you wear to the airport such as bulky jewelry, scarves, hair accessories, large belts and other bulky items as these articles are likely to require additional screening.

HANOVER TWP. — A convicted felon arrested last month on charges he was peddling crack cocaine swore on his mother’s life telling drug agents he did not have body armor and a firearm.

Authorities later found Ronald Cottle’s .38 caliber revolver and body armor hidden in an apartment closet inside Lee Park Towers on Lee Park Avenue, according to court records.

Cottle, 43, of 262 Lee Park Ave., was arraigned Monday on a firearm offense and additional drug trafficking charges.

He was one of four people arrested Sept. 26 when drug agents with township police and the Luzerne County and stat Office of Attorney General drug task forces executed search warrants at Cottle’s residence, the Lee Park apartment complex and 23-25 Barr Lane.

Authorities allege they found nearly $4,900 cash and crack cocaine at 262 Lee Park Ave. and Barr Lane.

When he was questioned, Cottle swore on his mother’s life he did not have a firearm and body armor.

After Cottle was questioned, authorities served a search warrant at an apartment in Lee Park Towers, allegedly finding the firearm and body armor hidden in a kitchen closet.

Cottle’s girlfriend, Jasmin Edna Breeland, 30, Shelia Marie Link, 41, and Allen Brady, 47, were also arrested Sept. 26.

A fifth person, Timothy Lance Buckner, 41, also known as “Lucky,” is wanted on drug trafficking charges.

Court records say Cottle, Buckner and three other men were involved in the beating of a woman who was punched, stunned with a Taser and had boiling water poured on her free over an 18-hour period on Dec. 30 into Dec. 31, 2010.

Cottle and Buckner pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit aggravated assault. Cottle was sentenced to six to 12 years in state prison and Buckner was sentenced to four to eight years.

Cottle’s conviction in addition to trafficking illegal narcotics in a New Jersey school zone in 2003 prevents him from owning, carrying and possessing a firearm.

Cottle was arraigned Monday in Luzerne County Central Court on two counts of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, illegal possession of a firearm and receiving stolen property. He remains jailed at the county correctional facility for lack of $250,000 total bail.

ARCHBALD — A jackpot-winning Pennsylvania Lottery Cash 5 ticket sold for the Saturday, Oct. 5 drawing matched all five balls drawn, 01-18-21-24-43, to win $500,000, less withholding.

Winners can be identified only after prizes are claimed and tickets validated. Cash 5 prizes expire one year from the drawing date. The ticket holder should sign the ticket, call the Lottery at 1-800-692-7481 and file a claim at the nearest Lottery office.

More than 33,000 other Cash 5 tickets also won prizes in the drawing. Players should check every ticket, every time, and claim lower-tier prizes at a Lottery retailer.

Visit the Winners and Benefits pages at palottery.com to review how much money each county receives in Lottery prizes and funding to benefit older Pennsylvanians.

Visit palottery.com for winning numbers, rules, chances of winning, and to join the VIP Players Club to play online or enter for second chances to win. Install our Official App, like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter @PALottery. Use the hashtag #palottery to share your messages with us.

KINGSTON — The Municipality of Kingston’s regular monthly meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 7, in Council Chambers, 500 Wyoming Ave. Kingston.

LAKE TWP. — A man was killed when a tree he was cutting fell striking his head and back on Sunday, state police at Wyoming said.

State police said Robert E. Lee, 67, of Meeker Outlet Road, was using a chainsaw to cut a large tree on his property. Lee made a notch on one side of the tree and noticed the tree was a little off, state police said.

State police said Lee went to the other side of the tree and was about to make another notch when it fell on top of him.

HAZLETON – For more than thirty years, Grace Cuozzo has been described as a “watchdog” of Hazleton city government.

But, Cuozzo, who lost her battle with cancer early on Sunday morning at 63, never liked being called a “watchdog,” because the word, she said, didn’t convey that concern and commitment she had for the residents of the city which motivated her political activities.

When Cuozzo was asked why she began going to council meetings in 1986, she always began with saying that before she left for meetings, she made dinner for her family and that she often took her daughter, Sarah, with her to meetings.

To Cuozzo, the information was more than an antidote, it was her way of reminding city residents that it was important for everyone, no matter their gender, profession, social status or other responsibilities, to participate in the city’s government.

David Sosar, a political science professor at King’s College and former city councilman, said he was impressed with Cuozzo’s understanding of the city’s government structure.

“She had a mind like a steel trap,” he said. “She knew the law and the ordinances better than anyone else, especially the third-class city code.”

In the late 1980s, when the city was in transition from a commission form of government to an “optional plan,” which changed the balance of power between council and the mayor, Sosar remembers being at odds with Cuozzo.

And although, much of the time Cuozzo thought she could make the most impact simply as a concerned resident sitting in the first row of the council chamber and often stepping up the podium, she also threw her hat into city politics periodically.

In contrast, her loss in the Democratic primary to Jack Mundie in 2015 was a close one, and she continued to work with Mundie throughout his own campaign against Republican Jeff Cusat.

Following Mundie’s loss to Cusat, she was appointed as a council member in 2016, serving through the end of 2017.

Cuozzo’s most robust attempt at city politics was in 2011, when she won in the Democratic mayoral primary and lost by a narrow margin to Republican Joe Yannuzzi in the general election.

To Mark Rabo, a longtime resident of the city who has served on the water authority, Cuozzo served as a role model.

“She taught me that good government is not only possible, it is vital to helping the people who have nothing in life,” he said.

I did during the late 1980s, first in my beat up silver 1977 Toyota Celica and later in my blessed 1985 Ford Mustang LX equipped with an aftermarket Pioneer cassette stereo and amplifier. My cars had to be two doors as I believed four-door vehicles were for older people with kids.

Round and round we went around Public Square in Wilkes-Barre, across the Market Street Bridge into Kingston, Wyoming Avenue, Northampton Street and through Kirby Park only to return to Public Square to do it all over again.

There were more friends in my car than seat belts blasting Metallica, RUSH, Tom Petty and Guns and Roses on cassette tapes.

Most of the time, it took nearly one hour to drive around Public Square as it was jammed with other teen cruisers. It was a highlight to stop at a traffic signal next to a vehicle packed with teen girls. I’m sure there was a marriage or two as a result of traffic light hook-ups.

I was a scofflaw teen in the late 1980s joining hundreds of other scofflaw teens ignoring Wilkes-Barre’s cruising ordinance.

City council in September 1986 (two years before I obtained my driver’s license) passed the anti-cruising ordinance, a selective law that targeted teen drivers, making it illegal to pass a certain point three times within one hour or six times in three hours. Debate on the cruising ordinance included older people from searching out prostitutes.

“Something’s got to be done. We’re getting an awful lot of complaints from people,” said council Chairman Lee Namey in a Times Leader story about the ordinance published Aug. 13, 1986.

“Throughout the summer, teenagers in cars flock to and circle Public Square. On Friday and Saturday nights, the cars typically jam the square, backing up center city traffic,” the story reported.

Signs were posted along each entrance to Public Square and along South Main and South Franklin streets in December 1986.

“With the installation of signs Tuesday, the city made it official and enforceable – it’s illegal to ‘cruise’ on Public Square,” the Times Leader reported Dec. 4, 1986.

A first offense of the ordinance levied a $25 fine, $50 for a second offense and $200 for each subsequent offense.

“While the police do not intend to take any special measures to crack down on cruisers, they will arrest and cite violators when they are spotted,” a police watch commander told the Times Leader for the Dec. 4, 1986 story.

Almost as soon as the city erected those “It is illegal to cruise” signs on Public Square, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation ordered the signs down as Public Square is a state owned roadway.

After six months of legal haggling, PennDOT in June 1987 determined the city could enforce the anti-cruising ordinance. Signs went back up.

“Police wasted no time in enforcing the city’s re-born anti-cruising ordinance. Two youths were cited by city police for cruising around Public Square,” the Times Leader reported June 27, 1987.

The city’s anti-cruising ordinance remains on the books but it’s highly being non-enforced due to the lack of cruising teens.

For me, being much older, somewhat wiser and on cold mornings, slower, than I used to be (I can still run the 40 in 4.9 seconds), I’d rather stay home with my dogs on Friday and Saturday nights. But I’m still a Rebel Without a Cause blasting Rush, Tom Petty and Metallica whenever I drive my, ahem, four-door sport-utility vehicle.

WILKES-BARRE — The streets of Wilkes-Barre played host to a walk for a cause on Sunday, as the 12th annual Ruth’s Place Walk for Hope showcased many of the great women’s resources available in the city.

The mile-long walk took travelers past places like the Salvation Army, United Way of Wyoming Valley and many other spots that are essential to the fight against homelessness and as aids for women struggling to find a home. Despite a little rain, there was a large turnout as citizens and volunteers took the walk, starting and ending at the Volunteers of America site on River Street.

“We walk to raise awareness and support for women who are experiencing homelessness,” said Jodina Hicks, the executive director of Volunteers of America Pennsylvania.

Hicks added that the fundraiser was so crucial because of defunding that they, as well as homeless shelters around the country, are experiencing.

All of the proceeds from the event, generated by food and raffle sales, are going straight to Volunteers of America and Ruth’s Place to strengthen their ability to provide shelter for homeless women.

In addition to the walk, a resource fair was also held with multiple agencies from around Luzerne County representing themselves and offering further information to aid struggling victims of homelessness, drug addiction and more.

The speaker of note for the event was Susan Major, a former resident of Ruth’s Place. Major’s three sons were killed in an arson at her Laflin home in 2017.

In addition to the tragic loss of her sons, Major was also left homeless. She was able to find shelter and start to put her life back together at Ruth’s Place.

She even was partially responsible for a rule change at the shelter, which now allows service dogs to stay with their owners.

“My message to you is to never give up,” Major said in her speech. “I not only had the support of the staff, but also the support of the other women in the shelter.”

Volunteers from the Salvation Army, Geisinger and King’s and Wilkes were on hand to ensure that the event ran smoothly.

Clubhouse Econo-Rhinovations, which recently received 501c3 nonprofit status, is a Jenkins Township-based charity that works to help small families who are struggling financially with issues of food, clothing and shelter, organizer Careen Pourmonir said.

The grassroots group has started with mobile food distributions, and also are looking to provide donated clothing to families in need.

Why the Rhinovation part? That has to do with another goal — helping renovate living spaces for families in need.

With food donated by the Commission on Economic Opportunity/Weinberg Northeast Regional Food Bank, Clubhouse Econo-Rhinovations began monthly first Friday food distributions from their parking lot at 1267 Main St. in September. The second monthly distribution was held on Friday.

Thirty-seven families signed up for the first month. For Friday’s distribution the number had grown to 97, Pourmonir said.

Food is delivered to the site by CEO and volunteers organize and bag items for area residents for pick up between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Anything left over is donated to the local Meals on Wheels and Pittston Senior Center to help others in need.

The group relies entirely on volunteers and donations — even the plastic folding tables used for the distribution were loaned by a local church, and Pourmonir said donations of new tables would be welcome.

This is very much a labor of love and giving for Pourmonir. She and husband Sharouz worked hard and raised four daughters, of whom three have served in the United States Coast Guard. Knowing how hard it is to support a family, she wants to do everything she can to help other families get by.

“Many of the people who come to pick up are walking,” Pourmonir said, and came from the Jenkins Township area.

Anyone wishing to learn more or to help out — or who may be interested in signing up for food donations — can contact Pourmonir at 570-899-8970. She also can be reached on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/deejay.crystal.3.

PITTSTON — Paint Pittston Pink wrapped up on Saturday with a series of events that brought residents to its Main Street for competition and camaraderie, while raising money for breast cancer research.

The day’s 5K race and gentlemen’s dash are becoming tradition for many Pittston area residents, the “Hammer Out Cancer” event, in its first year was very well received.

Mary Kay Jones, who lost her daughter Lisa Jones Kutra last year to breast cancer, opened the day reminding those attending of the importance of both faith and friends when experiencing a loss.

She also emphasized the importance of funding for cancer research, which she said she believed lengthened her daughter’s life.

“She was diagnosed in 2012, and though she had beat it,” Jones said. “She was rediagnosed in 2016.”

Research and clinical trials, she said, often offer new treatments to battle cancer, but they cost money.

Barbara Sciandra, who founded Paint Pittston Pink with Qiana Lehman six years ago, knows well the benefits of clinical trials and aggressive research.

Sciandra was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, participated in a clinical trial and is now seven years cancer free.

On Saturday, surrounded by about 100 runners and 400 walkers readying themselves for the 5K and the family run, Sciandra said she was more than grateful that the Greater Pittston community stepped up to raise money for cancer research.

Friends Emily Wanko and Caitlyn Inglesby, were running in a 5K race for the first time on Saturday, decked in pink and looking forward to being covered in pink chalk before the race was over.

The two friends, who said they had “practiced once,” said they decided to participate because the event raised money for such a good cause.

“My Nan had breast cancer, so it did affect our family,” Wanko said. “Now we run for other families who have been affected by cancer.”

Members of the Pittston Area volleyball team were on hand to make sure that everyone running got their share of pink chalk dust, which of course, stands for breast cancer and brought a smile to pink dusty racers and walkers.

Pittston Area Junior Tiara George, accompanied by dozens of her teammates, were headed with buckets of the pink chalk dust over to Kennedy Boulevard to “throw pink” at raise participants.

Jarrett Ferrentino who has been participating in Paint Pittston Pink activities throughout its six-year history, said the day was special because he was running with his son Dominick, 13.

Ferrentino, remembering the first year of the race and other activities, said organizers had hoped it would grow and are overwhelmed with the support the events have garnered from Greater Pittston area residents and beyond.

Following the 5K, 12 men decked in tulle, leotards and high heels who made their way down the city’s Main Street on Saturday were deemed the “$84,000 men,” by organizers of Paint Pittston Pink.

The number reflects the amount raised by participants of the Gentlemen’s Dash, many who said they had been touched by the effects of cancer in their own lives.

Peter Adonizio​, a lifelong resident of Greater Pittston, donned pink shoes and a great smile. He saidhad been practicing in the high heels which had been chosen by his wife Maria.

Times Leader publisher Mike Murray, also donning high heels and pink tulle, said he was participating because cancer affected the lives of nearly everyone, making research so necessary.

Murray, whose late mother battled cancer, said his open-toed heels had been handed down from a previous dasher.

Murray said the company is always willing to support the community, recently making a donation to the PPP effort.

Participation in the Gentlemen’s Dash seems to go far beyond simply the time it takes to run 50 yards down the city’s main street.

Jason Ferentino, who helped welcome participants from the the grandstand and himself a past participant, also called previous participants to the front for a round of applause.

The streets were lined with onlookers when the signal was given and the high-heeled dozen went galloping down the street at a pretty good pace.

The race ended with a bit of controversy, with a “photo finish” having onlookers and “dash” officials looking at videos to see who would take this year’s title.

Raymond Capozucca was ultimately named the winner, with John Rebovich coming in second place very close behind.

The two seemed to be enjoying good-natured ribbing about who had won, and stopped to provide an opportunity for people to take photos.

Also in the winner’s circle were those who had raised the most money, with Matthew Latona coming in first having raised $14,300, Ray Capozucca coming in second with over $10,000 and Lindo Sabatini​, taking third place having raised $9,400.

The Gentlemen’s Dash has become a mainstay of the event’s fundraising, providing an opportunity for local businesses to participate in a well-attended unique event, Paint Pittston Pink organizers said this year.

A ticket for the event meant the opportunity to swing a sledgehammer at large pink, pickup truck parked in the lot behind the band shelter.

Jones looked out at the truck as her husband, Ned, took a sledgehammer and did a bit of damage to its finish.

Jones said she thought the new event was a great opportunity to take out one’s frustration with cancer out in a safe way.

Jones also credited the committee with coming up with new events every year, which meant that the entire effort appealed to more and more people of all ages.

Jeanette Roundtree, decked in a pink wig, took a bit of time to decide if she was going to participate, but when she finally did, she did so with enthusiasm, taking out part of the front bumper.

As fun as it might be to swing a hammer with all her might, Roundtree said the reasoning behind her participation, was to benefit cancer research.

Latona said the event reflected the community’s commitment to cancer research and to their neighbors.

Event organizer Melissa Latona, who helped man the registration area for the “Hammer for Cancer” event, said she was pleased with the turnout, with dozens waiting to buy tickets for a chance to wield the hammer.

The event signaled the close of weeks of Paint Pittston Pink activities to raise money for cancer research.

About 150 guests brought their furry friends to Frances Slocum State Park for the 29th annual Walk For the Animals, held by the SPCA of Luzerne County.

Event coordinator Nancy Derwin took some time to photograph the dogs interacting before the walk, capturing everything from nose nudges to rolling around in the grass — all to the delight of their owners.

“It started as one of our biggest fundraisers, and through all the years has been such a loved event by the community, we just kept going with it,” Derwin said of the walk.

Two routes were available, including a shorter 1-mile walk through the lands led by WBRE’s Haley Bianco as well as a longer, 1½-mile route led by park volunteer George Hart.

A blessing of the animals was offered by Father Charlie Warwick of St. Clement and St. Peters Episcopal Church in Wilkes-Barre, and attendees were able to have their pets individually blessed before the walk as well.

Coaxing her bulldog, Chubbs, for a photo Larksville resident Sue Januski said she was excited to take part in the fundraiser for the first time.

“My mom wanted to bring the puppy and we like to take the dogs for walks. We wanted to see all the other animals here,” she said.

Attendees were able to grab various pet-related supplies under a large tent during the walk, such as canine cookies, soups and even pet massages. About 40 raffle baskets were also donated, ranging from pet supplies to fall themes and housewares.

Proceeds from the event aid in the shelter’s mission, according to Derwin and SPCA executive director Todd Hevner, including food and supplies, vet bills and utilities.

“The proceeds from this walk help us to take care of the over 3,000 animals we take in each year,” Derwin said.

“It means the absolute world to us to see our community that we serve passionately and dedicated, to come out and support us and support the animals that find themselves in our care.” Hevner continued.

Plains resident Alison Ritsick said she’s happy to support the local SPCA, and has been attending the walk for a decade. This year, she brought along her 10-month-old Shih Tzu, Tyler.

“Our dogs have so much fun, we like to support the SPCA. It’s a beautiful day. It’s a great thing to do, socialize (the animals).” she explained. “I think it’s a great community event and I love to see that all these people came out for it.”

The SPCA of Luzerne Couny also has several upcoming fundraisers, including a children and pet trunk-or-treat at Subaru of Wyoming Valley on Oct. 26 in Plains Township.

AVOCA — At least one Republican is already eyeing the 2020 election. Teddy Daniels has announced his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 8th Congressional District.

The 8th District seat is currently held by Democrat Matt Cartwright of Moosic. The 8th Congressional District includes Lackawanna, Wayne, and Pike counties and portions of Luzerne and Monroe counties.

Daniels, 44, of Wyoming, said he has a combined 20 years in uniformed service to his community and nation.

“I’m a pro-Trump conservative Republican, I’m a wounded combat veteran, a retired police officer and a successful business entrepreneur,” Daniels said in a news release announcing his candidacy. “I’ve built and sold several companies for a profit. I understand how the economy works and I understand how to motivate and help hardworking men and women in this country.”

Daniels said Cartwright “is a weak Democrat incumbent who represents a district won by President Donald Trump in 2016.”

Daniels is married and has four children. He attended Valley Forge Military Academy, West Virginia University, Pennsylvania Police Academy, Pennsylvania Sheriffs Academy, and U.S. Army Infantry School.

”They have forgotten the hard-working men and women, they have forgotten about the people who sit at night and worry about putting food on the table and paying bills,” Daniels said. “I can be your voice in Congress, let me fight for you. Let me take the hits. I’ve taken them for 20 years as a police officer and as a soldier overseas in Afghanistan.”

”I’m pro-immigration reform and I believe Americans need to come first,” he said. “That’s the way it needs to be in this country — Americans first.”

”I don’t have a speech in front of me telling me what to say, how to say it or what special interest I have to bow down to,” Daniels said. “I’m a fighter and I’m here to fight for you. I don’t give up, I don’t back down and I don’t give in. I am here for you, for the American people. I have broad shoulders — let me carry your voice for you. Let me carry your voice to the House of Representatives. Let me carry your voice to Washington, D.C.”

Daniels said he is a man with morals, character, integrity and a backbone to stand up and fight for what’s right. He said the moral fabric of the country has been under attack by “the radical left” for the last several years.

“That’s not what we stand for,” he said. “That’s un-American. As Americans, we need to go back and we need to take the House of Representatives. We need to rebuild this country.”

“Help me fight for you to make this country better for blue-collar families, for the steelworkers, the cops, the firemen, the veterans, for everybody out there who looks at their paycheck and they look at the taxes coming out and then they see all the illegals coming across the border getting everything handed to them for free,” Daniels said. “It’s not right and as an American, it’s time to take a stand.”

Cartwright reported last week more than $1 million cash-on-hand after a third quarter fundraising haul.

“I am incredibly grateful for our campaign’s supporters who know I am fighting to protect Social Security, provide affordable healthcare, fully fund veterans’ programs, and create good paying jobs for the hardworking families of Northeastern Pennsylvania,” Cartwright said.

Cartwright, 58, of Moosic, is serving his fourth term in Congress. In 2018, he defeated Republican businessman, John Chrin by 9 points in the newly drawn 8th District.

Cartwright was named the fourth most-effective House Democrat in Congress by the Center for Effective Lawmaking.

Cartwright is a member of House Democratic Leadership and the House Committee on Appropriations. He serves as Vice Chair of the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee and is a member of Financial Services and General Government and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies subcommittees. He also serves on the Committee on Natural Resources.

WILKES-BARRE — It was announced Friday that Pennsylvania has recorded its first death attributed to “vaping.”

Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said the Pennsylvania Department of Health has confirmed the death and multiple cases attributed to lung injuries associated with vaping in Pennsylvania.

This issue has long puzzled me. And I come from a home of two loving parents who, for many years of their lives, smoked cigarettes. I never have. Never even was I curious about it. It just never appealed to me in any way.

So when this new e-cigarette craze surfaced in 2014, I became intrigued. I thought maybe this would be a way to offer smokers a healthy option and, more importantly, a way to wean themselves off of tobacco products and a healthier life.

In May 2014 the Times Leader assigned me to write a story about electronic cigarettes that had lit up the local scene, igniting a discussion around the country as to their popularity and safety.

Ted Cross, who was Wilkes-Barre’s director of health at the time, had researched the non-tobacco smoking industry and found pros and cons about the e-cigarettes and the lack of knowledge of the phenomena.

“We’ve really seen an increase in the use of e-cigarettes in our region,” Kross said. “A lot of experts have been crying out for some regulations and guidelines for the sale and consumption of these products.”

So we asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta for its opinion on electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes.

Depending on the brand, e-cigarette cartridges typically contain nicotine, a component to produce the aerosol and flavorings like fruit or chocolate.

• Potentially harmful constituents also have been documented in some e-cigarette cartridges, including irritants, genotoxins, and animal carcinogens.

• E-cigarettes that are not marketed for therapeutic purposes were recently regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, but in most states there are no restrictions on the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.

• Use of e-cigarettes has increased among U.S. adult current and former smokers in recent years; however, the extent of use among youths is uncertain.

In 2014, Kross said there were many concerns with e-cigarettes: the nicotine levels in the “juice” used to generate the smoke; the other ingredients used in the flavored juices; the effects on the smoker and second-hand smoke generated; the tendency for users to “progress” to tobacco or other smoking products; the lack of warning labels and/or childproof caps on the juices.

“We need safety measures taken as soon as possible,” Kross said. “The problem is that the research has not caught up to the usage.”

In the 2014 TL story, Brian King, senior scientific adviser to the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, said there was still not much research on the public impact of e-cigarettes.

“We’re not sure if they are a promise or a peril,” King said in 2014. “There are a lot of issues to consider — do they delay smokers from quitting tobacco, could use of e-cigarettes lead to relapse among former smokers, do they encourage young people and non-smokers to start smoking?”

King said — remember this was in 2014 — that some studies had found a host of potentially hazardous toxins and various other ingredients, such as metals, in e-cigarette products.

“There is also concern over the exposure to e-cigarette aerosol products,” King said. “Whatever is in them, when exhaled also exposes bystanders. Anything inside the cartridge could be cause for concern. Second-hand exposure is a legitimate concern.”

King said there was a sense of urgency to regulate the e-cigarettes because of the rapid increase in use of the products and the advertisement.

“It’s really become a Wild West in the market,” King said. “People should err on the side of caution until we have more scientific information and regulation.”

Now, here in 2019, we are being told by Levine that the lung injury cases are very serious, life-threatening and even fatal.

“We do not yet know what is making people sick, and whether the illnesses are related to products being used, or potentially the delivery of those products,” Levine said.

Pennsylvania has reported nine confirmed and 12 probable cases of the lung illness to the CDC and are investigating an additional 63 cases. One case was fatal. Each of the individuals involved in the cases have suffered serious lung injuries and most have been hospitalized.

Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle, or email at boboyle@timesleader.com.

WILKES-BARRE — At what was supposed to be a scheduling conference for potentially moving the cases of two defendants accused of killing an Edwardsville man to juvenile court, the attorney for one of those juveniles […]

HANOVER TWP. — A convicted felon arrested last month on charges he was peddling crack cocaine swore on his mother’s life telling drug agents he did not have body armor and a firearm. Authorities later […]

DANVILLE — Geisinger Medical Center in Danville says it is transferring some infants following a bacterial infection in its neonatal intensive care unit that affected eight newborns, three of whom have died. Geisinger Medical Center […]

ARCHBALD — A jackpot-winning Pennsylvania Lottery Cash 5 ticket sold for the Saturday, Oct. 5 drawing matched all five balls drawn, 01-18-21-24-43, to win $500,000, less withholding. Smoke Rings, 7 Kennedy Drive, Archbald, earns a […]

KINGSTON — The Municipality of Kingston’s regular monthly meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 7, in Council Chambers, 500 Wyoming Ave. Kingston. / / https://s24526.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/web1_KingstonSignGraphic-JPEG.jpg

LAKE TWP. — A man was killed when a tree he was cutting fell striking his head and back on Sunday, state police at Wyoming said. State police said Robert E. Lee, 67, of Meeker […]

Panzitta Enterprises Inc., of Wilkes-Barre, has received a $159,030 contract to repair the stairway and elevator access tower at Luzerne County’s Water Street parkade near the courthouse, according to a contract recently approved by county […]

Big-ticket property assessment refunds have forced Luzerne County’s administration to make a budget transfer to cover bills, records show. The administration had requested $500,000 for refunds this year, but council ended up reducing the allotment […]

HAZLETON – For more than thirty years, Grace Cuozzo has been described as a “watchdog” of Hazleton city government. But, Cuozzo, who lost her battle with cancer early on Sunday morning at 63, never liked […]

BAGHDAD — Twelve anti-government demonstrators were killed Sunday in ongoing protests in the capital Baghdad, the latest fatalities in six days of clashes that have left more than 100 dead and thousands wounded. Iraq’s government […]

Does anyone still cruise anymore? I did during the late 1980s, first in my beat up silver 1977 Toyota Celica and later in my blessed 1985 Ford Mustang LX equipped with an aftermarket Pioneer cassette […]

WASHINGTON — A second whistleblower has come forward with information about President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, adding to the impeachment peril engulfing the White House and potentially providing new leads to Democrats in their […]

Last week actress Diahann Carroll died of complications from breast cancer. On average, one in eight U.S. women will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives. Let that sink in, because the statistic […]

In our fast-paced world, driven by technology, it is no wonder that the quiet simplicity of the Amish lifestyle continues to fascinate. Away from the complexity of the modern world, their culture is driven by […]

Finally, one GOP senator had the guts to tweet the obvious: “The President’s brazen and unprecedented appeal to China and to Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden is wrong and appalling.” Thank you, Mitt Romney, but […]

WILKES-BARRE — It was announced Friday that Pennsylvania has recorded its first death attributed to “vaping.” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said the Pennsylvania Department of Health has confirmed the death and multiple cases […]

WILKES-BARRE — Gov. Tom Wolf last week took executive action instructing the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) — a market-based collaboration among nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic […]

You’ve probably noticed a nip in the air lately, at least at night. You’ve almost certainly seen ads for pumpkin spice — well, pretty much everything. (A recent comic strip portrayed a store display of […]

Pennsylvanians have many choices to seek an advanced degree, including a range of high-quality private colleges and universities that not every state can boast. These private institutions of higher education award more than 75,000 degrees, […]

Because all budgets are limited, whether they be those of a family, a business or a government program, choices must be made. Families try to make these decisions based upon what products or services they […]

Diamonds to Lori Masi of Bear Creek Township and ADT for using a happy ending to a potential disaster as a cautionary tale for the rest of us. Masi invited the media to her home […]

28mm Cap

One of the nation’s emerging public health issues seemed to be making headlines from hour to hour this week. On Thursday, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Delaware health officials announced their state’s first death of […]

The article “House GOP leaders: ‘No interest in legalizing recreational marijuana’” by Bill O’Boyle published on Sept. 29 highlights the GOP’s opposition to the overwhelming public support for legalizing adult-use cannabis. A survey conducted during […]

Imagine you see someone standing on the sidewalk as a car passes by, going through a mud puddle that splashes all over him. The next day you read about the event in a newspaper. The […]

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