LARKSVILLE — Randy Haines was reading in his recliner on the night of Aug. 27 when he heard his dog barking from the fenced-in back yard of his East Main Street home.

“We’re very close. I know all his barks,” Haines said of the Jack Russell terrier named Rocco. “He knew something was wrong and alerted me.”



“The bat hit me quicker than a rattlesnake, wrapped around my leg, bit me multiple times in a matter of seconds,” said Haines, 60.

Scars on his calf and right hand still bear testament to last week’s battle, but they’re not the only reminder.

“I called the Game Commission immediately. They came out to get the bat, sent it to the lab in Harrisburg, and the lab called me the next day and said it tested positive for rabies,” Haines said.

“This is the first time I’ve ever heard of anyone being bitten by a hoary bat,” said William M. Williams, a supervisor with the Game Commission’s Northeast Region office in Dallas.

Hoary bats are not common in Pennsylvania, but they do pass through the state when migrating between South America and Canada.

Williams described them as tree bats, explaining that they tend to roost in trees high above the ground, and that they do not commonly interact with humans.

However, as guidelines from the Agriculture Department note, rabies can cause infected animals to behave erratically, sometimes aggressively.

That said, Williams added that it’s still rare for bats to bite unless cornered or grabbed — which is what happened with Haines.

“I grabbed the bat, squished it in my hand as hard as I could and slammed it off the concrete,” Haines said.

“That only stunned the bat. The bat was still moving. So I went in the house, grabbed my razor knife and I slit the bat’s throat,” he added.

Waiting for the Game Commission to arrive, Haines took a photo of the bat splayed out next to an antique folding ruler passed down through the family from his grandfather, a coal miner in Nanticoke.

“It had a 16-inch wingspan,” Haines said, adding that the bat quickly began to shrivel up. “The body was the size of a small red squirrel. Its teeth were very long, and his nose pointed upwards.”

Haines, who said he spent much of his life on farms, never encountered anything larger than the more common brown and black bats, which are much smaller and often enter homes and barns.

“As soon as the lab called me in the morning I jetted right to the emergency room. I wasn’t wasting no time,” he said.

“The shots? Oh my God, I wouldn’t wish these shots on anybody in the world. They hurt so bad, and the needles are so big, but thank God they’re saving my life,” Haines said.

The good news for him — and for anyone reading this — is that the last diagnosed human case of rabies in Pennsylvania was in 1984, state records show.

Since 2000, between 350 and 500 animals in Pennsylvania are annually confirmed to have rabies, state Agriculture Department statistics show.

There were 233 animal rabies cases reported statewide through July, and raccoons made up the largest number, with 126. That was followed by 31 cats, 24 bats, 22 foxes, 14 skunks, eight groundhogs and a handful of other animals.

A department spokeswoman confirmed that the agency received the Larksville bat for testing, and that it tested positive for rabies.

If you discover a bat in your home, the department advises closing the door to the room where it’s located or, if possible, placing a box or large container over the bat to contain it. Then contact your local game commission office for assistance.

“I just want people to know there’s creatures out there like this, and they’re not little,” he said. “It’s a rare bat for this area, but they’re traveling through.”

• Rabies information from pa.gov: https://www.pa.gov/guides/foodborne-animal-transmitted-illnesses/#Rabies

• Pa. Agriculture Department rabies map: https://www.agriculture.pa.gov/Animals/AHDServices/diseases/Pages/Rabies.aspx

LARKSVILLE — Randy Haines was reading in his recliner on the night of Aug. 27 when he heard his dog barking from the fenced-in back yard of his East Main Street home.

“We’re very close. I know all his barks,” Haines said of the Jack Russell terrier named Rocco. “He knew something was wrong and alerted me.”

“The bat hit me quicker than a rattlesnake, wrapped around my leg, bit me multiple times in a matter of seconds,” said Haines, 60.

Scars on his calf and right hand still bear testament to last week’s battle, but they’re not the only reminder.

“I called the Game Commission immediately. They came out to get the bat, sent it to the lab in Harrisburg, and the lab called me the next day and said it tested positive for rabies,” Haines said.

“This is the first time I’ve ever heard of anyone being bitten by a hoary bat,” said William M. Williams, a supervisor with the Game Commission’s Northeast Region office in Dallas.

Hoary bats are not common in Pennsylvania, but they do pass through the state when migrating between South America and Canada.

Williams described them as tree bats, explaining that they tend to roost in trees high above the ground, and that they do not commonly interact with humans.

However, as guidelines from the Agriculture Department note, rabies can cause infected animals to behave erratically, sometimes aggressively.

That said, Williams added that it’s still rare for bats to bite unless cornered or grabbed — which is what happened with Haines.

“I grabbed the bat, squished it in my hand as hard as I could and slammed it off the concrete,” Haines said.

“That only stunned the bat. The bat was still moving. So I went in the house, grabbed my razor knife and I slit the bat’s throat,” he added.

Waiting for the Game Commission to arrive, Haines took a photo of the bat splayed out next to an antique folding ruler passed down through the family from his grandfather, a coal miner in Nanticoke.

“It had a 16-inch wingspan,” Haines said, adding that the bat quickly began to shrivel up. “The body was the size of a small red squirrel. Its teeth were very long, and his nose pointed upwards.”

Haines, who said he spent much of his life on farms, never encountered anything larger than the more common brown and black bats, which are much smaller and often enter homes and barns.

“As soon as the lab called me in the morning I jetted right to the emergency room. I wasn’t wasting no time,” he said.

“The shots? Oh my God, I wouldn’t wish these shots on anybody in the world. They hurt so bad, and the needles are so big, but thank God they’re saving my life,” Haines said.

The good news for him — and for anyone reading this — is that the last diagnosed human case of rabies in Pennsylvania was in 1984, state records show.

Since 2000, between 350 and 500 animals in Pennsylvania are annually confirmed to have rabies, state Agriculture Department statistics show.

There were 233 animal rabies cases reported statewide through July, and raccoons made up the largest number, with 126. That was followed by 31 cats, 24 bats, 22 foxes, 14 skunks, eight groundhogs and a handful of other animals.

A department spokeswoman confirmed that the agency received the Larksville bat for testing, and that it tested positive for rabies.

If you discover a bat in your home, the department advises closing the door to the room where it’s located or, if possible, placing a box or large container over the bat to contain it. Then contact your local game commission office for assistance.

“I just want people to know there’s creatures out there like this, and they’re not little,” he said. “It’s a rare bat for this area, but they’re traveling through.”

• Rabies information from pa.gov: https://www.pa.gov/guides/foodborne-animal-transmitted-illnesses/#Rabies

• Pa. Agriculture Department rabies map: https://www.agriculture.pa.gov/Animals/AHDServices/diseases/Pages/Rabies.aspx

LEHMAN TWP. — Handing carrot slices, one by one, to cute little goats in the petting zoo area of the Luzerne County Fair was fun for Jameson Meixner.

But then the 6-year-old Old Forge boy spotted an animal even more fascinating — a larger goat with a long white beard hanging from its chin.

“Look at that!” Jameson said, his eyes wide with delight as he decided the big goat deserved a carrot, too. “I love him!”

Children weren’t the only fair-goers to enjoy the animals during Wednesday’s opening day of the annual fair, which runs through Sunday at the Luzerne County Fairgrounds on Route 118 in Lehman Township.

Ashley Rhodes, a grown-up from Kingston, said feeding a camel was a new experience — and its snout tickled. “The little squiggly part rubs on your hand,” she said with a smile.

In addition to the petting zoo, there were barns where city slickers could admire horses, chickens, rabbits, heifers and other livestock their rural contemporaries raised.

And, crowds swarmed to watch a “K-9’s in Flight” show as well as a “Wolves of the World” show, both of which are scheduled to be presented several times through Sunday.

“Let’s hear it for Lakota,” the wolf handler told her audience, after introducing the “alpha female” of her pack and sharing such wolf facts as jaw strength (twice that of a pit bull), and family ties (younger pack members will hunt and bring food to old and infirm wolves.)

Before she brought out several younger wolves, the handler explained that, while only the alpha male and alpha female will mate and have pups, other females in the pack will lactate if necessary to feed the babies.

The fair also includes plenty of food, carnival rides, antique cars and tractors, displays of prize-winning vegetables, flowers and art, live entertainment, and crafts.

Juliet Price, 12, of Pikes Creek, wearing her “Dairy Maid” crown, was prepared with supplies to help younger kids make paper bag puppets that would resemble a cow. “From 5 to 7 years old” was the age range she thought would most enjoy that.

Among the many vendors, master craftsman David Kline of Druids Workshop, dressed in a kilt, displayed his nautical lacework and handcrafted walking sticks, many of them thick, gracefully twisted and made from such unusual wood as poison sumac and poison oak, blueberry root and sweet alder, also known as golden birch.

“I spend a lot of time in the Highlands,” he said, meaning the Allegheny Highlands, not the Scottish ones.

If you attend the fair Thursday, admission is $5 for children 3 to 12, and for those age 62 and older; $10 for ages 13 to 61. Friday’s admission is $10 for all ages, but you can save $2 by donating a nonperishable food item for the needy. For more info, see luzernecountyfair.com or call 570-675-3247.

MOUNTAIN TOP – David Morris, of Mountain Top, died Sunday morning, Sept. 1, 2019, in the Wilkes-Barre General Hospital. Arrangements are being finalized under the direction of the Desiderio-Lehman Funeral and Cremation, 436 S. Mountain Blvd., Mountain Top.

SAYREVILLE, N.J. – John Bernosky, age 63 of Sayreville, N.J., passed away Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, after a 3 ½-year battle with brain cancer. Surviving is his beloved wife of 28 years Laurel (Lorenc) Bernosky. Funeral services will be at 8:45 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 4, from the Carmen F. Spezzi Funeral Home , 15 Cherry Lane, Parlin, N.J., with a 9:30 a.m. funeral service at Our Lady of Victories Church in Sayreville. Burial will follow at St. Stanislaus Cemetery in Sayreville. Calling hours at the funeral home will be Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

It is sad but true. We have failed to teach our children the importance of true history in education so they will not repeat some mistakes of people that have gone before. We have been erasing history and changing it so we don’t offend anyone.

You might want to look at a few other countries that do this by wiping out libraries, churches, museums and where they are now. The people that were on the anti-bullying campaign a few years ago are the ones now marching on Washington to kill babies and kill President Trump and spitting in the faces of people who want to see America a better place.

You want to take away guns. Look at the cities with strict gun laws. More people die there then anywhere. You have mass shootings is it really the guns fault? When you removed God from society something else would replace him . You may or may not believe it , but this was predicted to happen.

WILKES-BARRE — A long-running suit stemming from a 2015 hit-and-run in Harveys Lake may be nearing a conclusion, as suggested by a court document revealing a settlement conference had been scheduled between the parties.

Michael Scavone, 54, is currently around three years into a seven- to 16-year sentence in state prison, after having pleaded guilty in 2016 to the fatal hit-and-run that claimed the life of Paula Jones on June 7, 2015.

Scavone pleaded to charges of homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, two counts of driving under the influence and a count of accidents involving personal injury. A repeat DUI-offender, Scavone admitted to spending the day leading up to the accident drinking beer and Yukon Jack whisky. He fled the scene and was later found at his mother’s house, sleeping.

It wasn’t long after Jones’ death before her husband, Brian A. Jones, filed a suit against Scavone, along with Grotto Pizza in Harveys Lake and the American Legion Post 672 in Dallas, along with numerous bodies identified as Grotto’s owners, alleging they had a direct role in Jones’ death.

The original complaint suggested the establishments served Scavone, despite knowing he was a”habitual drunkard.” Scavone himself is also accused of negligence in the suit.

A filing by Luzerne County Judge William H. Amesbury issued in county court on Tuesday indicates that a settlement conference has been scheduled in the suit for Sept. 4. The terms of any possible settlement are not spelled out in the filing.

While the purpose of a settlement conference is to bring the parties to a conclusion, it’s possible the parties could come away without having reached an agreement, leading the case to still need to go to trial.

LONG POND — His social media post shows a digital image of legs walking in perfect stride superimposed over his own. The emoji, however, hides the delicate steps Robert Wickens takes while clutching the bars of a treadmill.

Wickens returned this week to a full training program after his rehabilitation was stunted by surgery to remove an infected screw in his left leg. His success is counted in muscle twitches, not the blistering speeds of an open-wheel car or podium finishes. The 30-year-old Canadian’s Instagram posts are stuffed with smiles and thumbs-ups and videos of seemingly insurmountable exercises.

The surgeries, psychological setbacks and flat-out hard days always lurk for Wickens, who hits the one-year mark this weekend of the horrific wreck at Pocono Raceway. His car shot into a fence, leaving the promising IndyCar driver paralyzed from the waist down. He remains resolute in his mission to race again. He also vows to dance with his fiance at their wedding next month.

“Hopefully we can sway a little bit,” Wickens said. “She might have to take the lead. I’ll just drag behind her. We’ll figure something out.”

Wickens has been trying to figure out a life thrown into chaos since the early-lap catastrophe at Pocono last Aug. 19. His biggest triumph came last month at Toronto when he led a ceremonial lap in a $160,000 Acura NSX modified that allowed him to drive with hand controls. The fans at Exhibition Place roared as Wickens, in the car with fiance Karli Woods, took off on his first time on a race track since the accident.

“We’re not even one year in of what’s going to be a very long recovery, but hopefully I can keep on driving,” Wickens said at Toronto. “I think that’s the best therapy I can have.”

IndyCar drivers return this weekend to Pocono with the driver in their thoughts. There is also the somber sensibility of racing on a track that has beckoned danger since the series came back to town in 2013. Justin Wilson died in 2015 at 37 from a head injury after being struck by debris from another car.

“Is it something that weighs on your mind? I’m human, yes, it does,” IndyCar driver Graham Rahal said. “I think everybody would tell you that. It’s hard not to think about those people when you’re there. At the end of the day, there is no hesitance. You know that’s your job and you go out there to do your best. You have to be safe, you have to be smart and know the balance between risk vs. reward.”

The best kind of race at the 2½-mile, tri-oval track where speeds hit 220 mph — in potentially the last IndyCar race at Pocono for the immediate future — is for every driver that starts the race to simply finish without raising the specter of mayhem and death.

“Is this track inherently dangerous for race cars? Yeah, I actually think so,” Pocono CEO Nick Igdalsky said. “I actually think it’s more dangerous than some of the tracks, not all of the tracks, but some of the tracks they go to. I don’t think it’s any more dangerous than Indianapolis or Texas. They’re carrying the same speed and have a bit of the same issues.”

IndyCar has worked on safety measures designed to cut down on the kind of accidents that led to Wilson’s death. Next season, a clear “aeroscreen” — anchored by and on a titanium framework — will virtually cover the open-air cockpit.

Its purpose is to protect drivers from debris or other blows to the head — two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon was killed in 2011 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway when his head hit a post in the fencing.

Some purists cringe at such radical change to the car. Plenty of drivers though have stumped for stauncher safety measures.

“It was the one thing we needed to do,” 2018 Indianapolis 500 champion Will Power said. “When you think about the last two deaths in IndyCar, a halo or screen would have prevented that.”

IndyCar introduced a 3-inch titanium debris deflector mounted at the front of the cockpit as a temporary solution for this season until Red Bull Advanced Technologies finished its aeroscreen.

“The next big advancement they could make is catchfencing, something where the car slides along it and doesn’t get caught in it,” Power said.

Wickens raced hard early at Pocono and pushed the thin line of thrilling vs. terrifying when he tried to pass Ryan Hunter-Reay. Their cars slightly touched, and Wickens’ car soared into the catchfence. The fencing shredded, and Wickens’ car was reduced to just the tub, which came to a rest on the track along an interior wall.

He suffered a thoracic spinal fracture, spinal cord injury, neck fracture, tibia and fibula fractures to both legs, fractures in both hands, a fractured right forearm, fractured elbow, four fractured ribs and a pulmonary contusion.

The track repaired about 80 feet of fence and a few damaged posts and engineers made no additional safety requests for the 2019 season.

Wickens spent most of his career racing touring cars in Europe. He was largely unknown to American race fans when he won the pole in last season’s IndyCar opener in St. Petersburg, Florida.

He finished ninth as a rookie in the Indianapolis 500 and reeled off four straight top-five finishes headed into Pocono. Sam Schmidt, the quadriplegic owner of the race team, promised a car for Wickens if he is medically cleared to drive.

Sidelined in a wheelchair, Wickens talks with the conviction of a man who knows that seat will be his one day.

“I need to figure out at what point am I OK to start driving again and almost give up rehabbing,” he said.

The timeline for a return, however, doesn’t seem close, not when Wickens is strapped into a harness to take his steps or without extraordinary fixes to his nervous system that would defy medical odds.

“Anything is possible with this injury,” he said. “I think it’s not easy, but hopefully we can keep on keeping on.”

Last week, I walked into a small-town pharmacy in rural Canada in search of lifesaving medicine: insulin.

I don’t suffer from diabetes. But an estimated 30 million Americans do, and 1.5 million of them need insulin injections to stay alive. They’re facing a catastrophe: the price of insulin has nearly tripled over the last decade. Many cash-strapped diabetics without good insurance have resorted to rationing their supply. Some have died.

That shouldn’t happen in the world’s richest country. Nor does it need to happen. The proof is next door in Canada.

At Pollard’s Pharmacy in Parry Sound, Ontario, I asked if I could buy a 10 milliliter vial of Humalog, a fast-acting form of insulin that retails for $280 in Los Angeles.

“Sure,” the pharmacist said, and pulled a tiny bottle out of the refrigerator. The price was about 33 U.S. dollars, roughly 12% of what it would cost in the United States.

“Who’s going to buy insulin if they don’t need it?” he said. (He asked not to be identified by name; “I’m a pharmacist, not a policy expert.”)

I asked for a price check on another medicine: Ciprodex, an antibiotic I recently used for an ear infection. I paid $255 at home with a prescription. In Canada, I could buy the same drug for about $49 with a prescription from a local doctor.

The reason for those dramatic gaps in cost is simple: Canada’s federal government imposes price ceilings on prescription drugs.

Under Canadian law, the government can declare high prices an illegal abuse of patient rights. Drug companies can challenge the rulings, but they usually settle without court proceedings. Despite Canada’s low prices, its drug companies still manage to turn a profit. Prices are even lower in most European countries.

Thanks to brilliant lobbying by the pharmaceutical industry, federal law even prohibits Medicare, a major buyer of drugs, from using its purchasing power to negotiate prices directly. Manufacturers negotiate with private health insurers, but that’s a secretive process that produces the highest prices in the world.

It’s a system that gives the industry the benefits of a free market, but strips consumers (including the government) of bargaining power.

No wonder many Americans, especially from border states such as Minnesota and Vermont, are heading north to buy their prescriptions. It’s illegal to bring the drugs home, but hardly anyone is prosecuted.

And no wonder so many politicians, including Bernie Sanders and President Trump, have stampeded toward what looks like an easy solution: Allow U.S. drugstores to import drugs from Canada.

Last month, Trump announced that he’s ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to propose rules under which states, wholesalers and pharmacies could buy from Canada.

First, the plan Trump announced won’t cover some of the most expensive drugs, including modern forms of insulin and many cancer medicines. If you need insulin to stay alive, the president’s proposal is a Potemkin drug plan: a shiny facade with nothing behind it.

Trump didn’t actually change the rules; he merely asked HHS to support “pilot programs” in states that want to try importing drugs. It may take years before any plans are up and running, and that’s if the pharmaceutical industry doesn’t succeed in stopping them first. (The head of PhRMA, the big drug industry lobby, denounced the proposed plans as “failed polices” that could “jeopardize public safety.”)

Even then, Trump’s rules won’t allow individuals to buy across the border. The plan is aimed at states, wholesalers and pharmacies, so the Food and Drug Administration can make sure the drugs are legitimate. Some internet sites offer pharmaceuticals from Canada, but consumer watchdogs warn that it’s hard to be sure where the drugs really come from.

Second, we forgot to ask Canada what it thinks — and Canada isn’t capable of supplying the whole U.S. market. There are more than 329 million people in the United States; Canada’s population is 37 million, smaller than California’s. The Canadian pharmaceutical sector was never designed to handle our needs.

When Trump announced his proposal, Canadian politicians and media organizations freaked out. “Donald Trump, keep your hands off our drugs,” Toronto’s Globe and Mail editorialized.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who’s running for reelection this year, may make universal drug coverage part of his campaign. Under current law, most prescriptions are already free for Canadians under 26 or over 65; those in between have to buy private drug insurance or pay out of pocket.

And that’s the real point: There’s something deeply disturbing about Congress and the federal government standing powerless before U.S. drug companies and relying on little Canada to bail us out.

Are price ceilings the answer? Universal drug insurance? Better, more transparent subsidies for low-income patients? Freeing Medicare to negotiate prices down? Making it easier to bring cheaper generic drugs to market?

Maybe all of the above. We’re a big, smart, entrepreneurial country — at least, we used to be. We ought to be capable of solving this problem on our own.

WILKES-BARRE — East Northampton Street between South Main and South Washington streets will be closed Wednesday starting at 9 a.m. so Pennsylvania American Water crews can repair a water main leak. The repairs will take most of the day and motorists are advised to find an alternate route.

WILKES-BARRE — Police have been investigating three separate shooting incidents that took place in the city in less than 12 hours on Sunday, including an incident which ended in a self-inflicted gunshot death, an alleged drive-by that injured one man, and a shot fired at a home.

Officers on patrol encountered two men in the area of South Pennsylvania Avenue and East Northampton Street, at which time officers discovered one man had been wounded in a drive-by shooting that occurred at Hazle and Blackman streets.

“Neither the complainant nor his associate could provide a description of the suspect or vehicle nor could they provide a motive for the shooting,” city police said in a Facebook post.

The alleged victim was described only as a 41-year-old black male from Wilkes-Barre. The nature of his wounds was not disclosed.

Officers responded to a report of shots fired at a residence, city police said in a Facebook post. Officers spoke with the residents, confirmed no persons were injured by the shooting and collected evidence at the scene.

The suspect was known to the victims and the shooting is considered isolated to the residence and occupants, police said.

Further investigation led officers to a location outside Wilkes-Barre where the suspect was located by officers of that jurisdiction, dead of an apparent self inflicted gunshot wound, the post added.

Around 1 p.m., police were dispatched to 373 Madison St. for reports of shots fired. It is believed a single gunshot had been fired at the home, striking bushes in front of the property.

NEW YORK — The FBI is investigating the suicide of Jeffrey Epstein in jail, where he was awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.

The financier died by suicide while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges in New York, a former law enforcement official said Saturday.

He was found in his cell at the Manhattan Correctional Center Saturday morning, according to the official, who was briefed on the matter but spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss it publicly.

The Fire Department said it received a call at 6:39 a.m. Saturday that Epstein was in cardiac arrest, and he was pronounced dead at New York Presbyterian-Lower Manhattan Hospital.

Epstein’s arrest last month launched separate investigations into how authorities handled his case initially when similar charges were first brought against him in Florida more than a decade ago. U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta resigned last month after coming under fire for overseeing that deal when he was U.S. attorney in Miami.

A little over two weeks ago, Epstein was found on the floor of his jail cell with bruises on his neck, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity. At the time, it was not clear whether the injuries were self-inflicted or from an assault.

Epstein’s death is likely to raise questions about how the Bureau of Prisons ensures the welfare of high-profile inmates. In October, Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger was killed in a federal prison in West Virginia where had just been transferred.

The Justice Department and the federal Bureau of Prisons did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Saturday.

Cameron Lindsay, a former warden who ran three federal lockups, said the death represents “an unfortunate and shocking failure, if proven to be a suicide.”

“Unequivocally, he should have been on active suicide watch and therefore under direct and constant supervision,” Lindsay said. “When you have an inmate as high profile as Epstein, it’s absolutely imperative the warden set the tone with his or her leadership to ensure these kinds of incidents don’t happen.”

Epstein’s arrest drew national attention, particularly focusing on a deal that allowed Epstein to plead guilty in 2008 to soliciting a minor for prostitution in Florida and avoid more serious federal charges.

Federal prosecutors in New York reopened the probe after investigative reporting by The Miami Herald stirred outrage over that plea bargain.

But his lawyers maintained that the new charges brought by federal prosecutors in New York were covered by the deal and were improper.

They said he hasn’t had any illicit contact with underage girls since serving his 13-month sentence in Florida.

Before his legal troubles, Epstein led a life of extraordinary luxury that drew powerful people into his orbit.

He socialized with princes and presidents and lived on a 100-acre private island in the Caribbean and one of the biggest mansions in New York. A college dropout, he became a sought-after benefactor of professors and scientists, donating millions of dollars in donations to Harvard University and other causes.

Still, it was never entirely clear how the middle-class Brooklyn math whiz became a Wall Street master of high finance.

The somewhat reclusive Epstein splashed into the news in 2002 after a New York tabloid reported he had lent his Boeing 727 to ferry former President Bill Clinton and other notables on an AIDS relief mission to Africa.

Magazine profiles followed and established Epstein’s reputation as a stealthy yet exorbitantly successful money man with a gilded social circle and as somewhat ascetic streak.

Vanity Fair in 2003 described him entertaining real estate tycoons, business executives and the scions of some of America’s wealthiest families at his New York mansion — while also spending 75 minutes a day practicing yoga with a personal instructor and eschewing email, alcohol, tobacco and drugs.

His friends over the years have included Donald Trump, Britain’s Prince Andrew and former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz.

But Epstein also enjoyed surrounding himself with women much younger than he, including Russian models who attended his cocktail parties and beautiful women he flew aboard his plane, according to the Vanity Fair profile.

PLAINS TWP. — There was a heavy police presence at the Red Roof Inn on Route 315 on Saturday evening following 911 calls for a reported shooting at the motel around 7:30 p.m. Further information […]

PLYMOUTH — Hundreds came out to Huber Field at Wyoming Valley West High School in Plymouth Saturday to pay their respects during a ceremony for The Wall That Heals. The event honored the more than […]

HAZLETON — A man has been taken into custody on charges related to shots fired in the city earlier this summer, Hazleton Police Chief Jerry Speziale said. Christopher Paniagua, 18, of Hazleton was wanted in […]

WILKES-BARRE — Pennsylvanians who harvest deer, elk, mule deer or moose out-of-state likely can’t bring them home without first removing the carcass parts with the highest risk of transmitting chronic wasting disease (CWD). Pennsylvania long […]

WILKES-BARRE — A 112-year-old office building has begun its new life as a place for those learning to design structures and technology of their own. The former Spring Brook Water Supply Co. building re-opened in […]

PLYMOUTH — They are calling it “The Welcome Home Ceremony.” It will be held at 11 a.m. today at The Wall That Heals in Plymouth. The Wall That Heals has been staged at Huber Stadium […]

WILKES-BARRE — The Bard is coming to the banks of the Susquehanna. The Gaslight Theatre Company will present “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged),” in three locations around Luzerne County this month, including two […]

LARKSVILLE — Randy Haines was reading in his recliner on the night of Aug. 27 when he heard his dog barking from the fenced-in back yard of his East Main Street home. “We’re very close. […]

Members of Greater Pittston Regional Ambulance (GPRA) were over the moon when they accepted the 2019 Pennsylvania EMS Agency of the Year Award at a ceremony on Thursday during a ceremony in Manheim. The state […]

PLYMOUTH — They are calling it “The Welcome Home Ceremony.” It will be held at 11 a.m. today at The Wall That Heals in Plymouth. The Wall That Heals has been staged at Huber Stadium […]

WILKES-BARRE — After suffering a devastating ceiling collapse at their church, one congregation is being welcomed into another congregation’s house of worship to have services there. Earlier this week, the ceiling at Ministerios Casa de […]

WILKES-BARRE — An attorney for homicide suspect Christopher Cortez is seeking to have the Luzerne County district attorney’s office prevented from prosecuting the case, questioning the actions of an assistant district attorney during an interrogation. […]

Today we must begin with a rather unusual request: Will all law-and-order liberals kindly butt out, just this once? We don’t need your help on this one. We are talking today only to the millions […]

Luzerne County boasts a glut of neglect. On Thursday, King’s College unveiled a stellar example of the exact opposite. We spent millions to save the Hotel Sterling before razing it. We made big plans for […]

Many Republicans are worried about America’s changing demographics. But it was a Republican president — Ronald Reagan — who set the country on its irrevocable course toward greater diversity. And they should honor Reagan’s vision. […]

Diamonds to the Luzerne County Fair, which began Wednesday and runs through tomorrow (Sunday). It may not be of the size and caliber of the fabled Bloomsburg Fair, but it’s no runt either. Nestled in […]

Wilkes University will hold its summer commencement ceremony on Sept. 8 at 1 p.m. in the Henry Gymnasium of the Arnaud C. Marts Sports and Conference Center. More than 400 graduates will receive bachelor’s, master’s […]

On Sept. 6, 1869, a sad chapter in Northeastern Pennsylvania history happened. That day, 108 men and boys walked into the Avondale Mine in Plymouth Township and perished at the site where they spent days […]

LONDON — From the moment President Trump succeeded in his 2016 election promise to deliver “Brexit times 10,” through to Boris Johnson’s election in July as the new leader of the Conservative Party and British […]

No one should be surprised at the Luzerne County Transportation Authority’s decision this week to terminate Norm Gavlick as executive director, since the board was signaling its intentions for many months. That doesn’t mean we […]

Imagine for a moment if Barack Obama embraced Black Lives Matter over white America. Imagine if he promoted fiscal policies that exploded the national deficit. Imagine if he alienated allies, while embracing enemies. Imagine if […]

WASHINGTON — If the economy slides into recession in the next 12 months, Democrats will be handed a ready path to run against President Donald Trump. They’ll blame him for the downturn and point to […]

As federal border patrol efforts have intensified along the southwestern U.S. border, those activities have suffered along the 4,000-mile-long border between the United States and Canada. U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents say that staffing […]

4 Way Stretch Knit Fabric

I’ve watched hundreds of video snippets from press conferences involving the National Football League. Ninety% of them are boring and predictable, sacked for a loss by tired sports cliches, obligatory responses and polished coach-speak. And […]

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