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Fire causes minor damage to apartment above Belski Community Pharmacy

MOUNT CARMEL — No injuries were reported in a fire Wednesday afternoon that caused minor damage to an apartment above Belski Community Pharmacy, 49 S. Oak St.

Mount Carmel, Atlas and Shamokin firefighters were pressed into service at 1:30 p.m. when flames reportedly broke out in the kitchen area of a second-floor apartment inhabited by Sonia Cosme, who was working at the Dollar General store in Danville at the time.

Hank Dorkoski, who lives in another apartment on the second floor, was sleeping before being awaken by Laurel Scicchitano, a pharmacist at Belski Community Pharmacy who helped escort Dorkoski from the building.

Mount Carmel Township Patrolman Daniel Politza and Mount Carmel Lt. David Donkochik were the first emergency personnel to respond and doused the fire with fire extinguishers before firefighters arrived and completely suppressed the fire and smoke.

Mount Carmel Fire Chief Jim Reed said the cause of the fire remains under investigation. He said only minor damage was reported to Cosme’s apartment.

The apartment building and Belski Community Pharmacy are owned by Deb Mekosh.

Reed commended the police officers and firefighters for preventing further damage.

Cosme and Dorkoski were able to return to their apartments.

Fire personnel remained at the scene until 2:46 p.m.

Mekosh and her staff thanked all the firefighters and police who assisted at the scene and kept damage to a minimum.

The pharmacy was closed as a result of the fire, but is scheduled to reopen this morning.

High school musicals showcased during "A Night of Broadway"

SHAMOKIN — Top student performers from local high school musicals were showcased at Northumberland Theatre League’s “A Night of Broadway” Wednesday at the Northumberland County Career and Arts Center.

WNEP-TV’s Jon Meyer served as emcee for the annual event, which featured both solo and group performances from Shamokin Area, Mount Carmel Area, Line Mountain, Our Lady of Lourdes Regional, Bloomsburg, Milton Area, Shikellamy, Sunbury Christian and Selinsgrove Area. He told the large crowd that hosting brought back fond memories of high school theatre.

More than 20 songs from such musicals as “Bells Are Ringing,” “The Wiz” and “Les Miserables” were presented. Between performances, Meyer described the upcoming musical selection and announced the students.

Autumn Martin, who portrayed Belle from Selinsgrove High School’s production of “Beauty and the Beast,” said putting her character’s costume on one last time brought back a slew of emotions. The senior expressed hopefulness for the future, even though she will no longer have the opportunity to perform with her classmates.

“It’s really nice to get back into costume again, it’s been so long,” Martin said backstage prior to performing “Home” and “A Change in Me.” “It’s a lot of mixed emotions — it’s happiness, sadness and hopefulness.”

Shamokin Area senior Arcadio Duganitz described the evening as amazing, adding that it brought a good feeling to be able to perform songs from “Les Miserables” one last time for everyone.

It was also an opportunity for Duganitz and many other student performers to take-in other high schools shows, the majority of which they could not attend because of their own practices or conflicts.

Duganitz said hard work during months of practices is offset by the joy of pleasing a crowd on show nights. He had some advice for underclassmen considering joining a school musical: “Get involved.”

“It is probably the greatest decision you will ever make,” he said of joining a musical. “It’s a lot of hard work, dedication and so much time, but it’s all worth it for pleasing everybody in the crowd, entraining people and being someone you will never be in the real world.”

City conducts Fifth Ward code sweep

SHAMOKIN — On Wednesday morning, the City of Shamokin’s code enforcement officers were joined by council members in conducting a thorough code sweep of the city’s Fifth Ward.

The goal was to check for unsightly clutter on front porches and sidewalks, tall grass and weeds, loose trash and bags of garbage, and structural issues which pose an imminent danger to the public.

The first major problem was identified at the adjoining properties of 212 and 214 S. Shamokin St. At 212, a large amount of clutter was collecting on both the front and back porches, while at the vacant 214, structural problems were noted, in addition to a large wood pile in the backyard of the property.

A short distance up the street and across the bridge, citations were issued to two property owners. The first at 245 S. Shamokin St. for tall grass and the second at 301 S. Rock St. for numerous violations.

“This is something we started about two years ago,” said Director of Public Works and Councilman Charlie Verano. “What we’re looking to do here is simply identify the problem areas, issue warnings, citations and write those addresses down. We don’t want these properties to fall into a state of disrepair and have to be torn down at an additional cost to taxpayers.”

Verano also said that the city is willing to talk and work with any homeowners who are in need of help but are unable to perform tasks on their own, such as the elderly and physically handicapped.

“In some cases these people may have a physical handicap which prohibits them from seeing everything outside and may be unaware of certain issues that may be developing,” he added.

Assistant code enforcement officer Bruce Rogers also spoke of some of the warning signs of trouble.

“We look for warning signs such as mail piling up and overflowing their mailboxes or accumulating porch clutter,” he pointed out.

Extreme clutter at several adjoining properties located at 444 S. Shamokin St. prompted Verano to openly express his frustration.

“This is intolerable right here. There’s trash laying on the porches, a number of camping chairs, strollers, children’s bicycles and toys cluttering up a driveway. That’s a recipe for disaster right there,” he exclaimed.

The group then moved on to South Pearl and Vine Streets for the next portion of their sweep. Along the way, they expressed appreciation toward all those residents and property owners who keep up and maintain their properties.

As code enforcement officer Rick Bozza knocked on the door of a home at 308 S. Pearl St. the door began to slowly open but quickly closed when they saw Bozza and the others.

“That’s what a lot of people do when they see us coming. Instead of talking with us to resolve a code issue, they shut the door in our face,” said Bozza.

Rogers replied, “Well they just shut the door on a warning and now they’ll be getting a citation instead.”

On the sidewalk at 251 S. Vine St., two old furnaces were blocking the sidewalk directly in front of the property. A short distance away, a few doors down at 243 S. Vine St. a large number of items, including tires and children’s toys were accumulating on the front porch and blocking a large portion of the sidewalk.

“How’d you like to have my jobs — code enforcement and fire chief?” asked Rogers.

Following a warning, citations for code violators are as follows: first offense — $25, second offense — $50, third offense — $100.

Bozza and Rogers indicated that they typically give code violators several days to a week to comply.

Verano stressed that the code sweeps are all about cleaning up the community and not a money-making scheme.

“This is all about compliance and avoiding bigger problems down the road,” he stated.

At 10:30 a.m. as the team walked down Franklin Street they smelled what they believed was someone burning trash nearby but were unable to locate the source.

A short distance down the street, a resident of 43 S. Franklin St. who asked not to be identified, expressed his concerns over blighted neighboring properties located at 37-39 S. Franklin St.

“The roof is starting to collapse back there, along with heavy brush and animals running around,” he said.

At 26 S. Franklin St., a number of large black trash bags were laying on the front porch, which also had no railing. As Bozza knocked on the door, the resident came out and asked what was going on. Verano told him to shut the door. He responded angrily by saying he wouldn’t and told everyone to leave immediately, cursing and threatening them verbally.

A minivan with a flat tire parked outside of 8 S. Franklin St. had a least five tickets laying on its windshield, along with a police tow tag.

Music in the Park schedule set for this summer

SHAMOKIN — The schedule for this year’s Music in the Park summer concert series has been set. There will be a total of 17 concerts from May 26 through Sept. 22., with each concert event lasting from 6 to 9 p.m. and music starting at 7 p.m. Concerts are held at Claude Kehler Community Park.

The schedule, as announced by organizer Dave Spotts, is as follows:

  • Sunday, May 26 — Lite Switch
  • Saturday, June 1 — Kevin Ball and the Breakers
  • Saturday, June 15 — Strawbridge
  • Wednesday, June 6 — Deuce
  • Saturday, June 22 — Lunasea
  • Wednesday, July 10 — Keep Out Brass Band
  • Saturday, July 20 — Boppin’ with the Big Guys DJ
  • Wednesday, July 24 — Double Talk
  • Saturday, Aug. 3 — RATL
  • Wednesday, Aug. 7 — The Shoreliners
  • Wednesday, Aug. 14 — Grand Junction
  • Saturday, Aug. 17 — After Hours Big Band
  • Wednesday, Aug. 21 — Ann Kerstetter Band
  • Saturday, Aug. 31 — Breakfast Club
  • Saturday, Sept. 7 — Upper Cutt
  • Wednesday, Sept. 11 — Ricky and Harv
  • Sunday, Sept. 22 — Lite Switch

On Saturday, Oct. 19 a First Annual Fall Festival will be held in the park from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. with music by Memory Lane from 3 to 6 p.m. More details will be announced at a later date.


Lourdes’ Ty Klembara drives the ball against Mount Cavalry’s Tyler Masters in the first quarter of a PIAA Class 1A first round game Friday at Shamokin.