This Year’s Top Weird And Wacky Stories
WILKES-BARRE — From juvenile jurors to outrageous artists to family food fights, 2018 saw some very unusual headlines.
Flying beach umbrellas, stolen meatballs and submerged trucks all made the news over the past year. Here’s a look at some of the wildest news as reported by The Citizens’ Voice:
Baby, it’s cold outside
Kevin and Kacy’s Ice Cream Shoppe at 41 S. Main St. in Midtown Village opened at the onset of winter. By the beginning of January, with temperatures hovering around 10 degrees and the wind chill making it feel much colder, owner Kevin Manning was making light of the situation: “We obviously had not planned on the coldest stretch in years. Maybe we’ll get some customers out of pity.”
Manning’s family runs the Manning Farm Dairy in Lackawanna County, where they have five stores. His roles are milking cows and delivering the farm’s products, such as milk, ice cream, cakes and pies.
The Wilkes-Barre location sells 36 flavors of Manning’s Ice Cream by the scoop, half-gallons to go, several varieties of milk, cakes and pies.
“While it’s not the optimal time to open an ice cream business, we did want to be an all-year-round business. We knew it would be slow going at first. We wanted to build a base of customers,” Manning said at the time.
The embattled Wilkes-Barre nightclub Ali Baba Liquor Lounge came under fire early in the year because of a scheduled performance of Tekashi 6ix9ine, a rapper who at the time was free on bail pending sentencing after admitting to posting lewd videos involving himself and a 13-year-old girl.
After a public outcry, the show was canceled, but another performance at Bentleys Nightclub 1.0 in Ashley went forward.
This fall, the rainbow-haired rapper was indicted on federal racketeering charges as his new album, “Dummy Boy,” was released. If convicted, Tekashi, whose real name is Daniel Hernandez, faces a maximum of life in prison.
A Drums man was charged in February with stealing a pot of meatballs from a garage in Hazle Twp.
When a homeowner returned to his residence on North Providence Road, he noticed that a man with sauce on his face and clothes was standing outside. After the owner realized that his pot of meatballs had been stolen, he called state police.
Troopers who responded found the pot on the street outside the home and located the suspect at home in Drums. The man was charged with burglary, trespassing and theft.
An argument over a steak dinner turned violent in April, leading to a man threatening his ex-girlfriend’s family with a kitchen knife and bashing her over the head with an empty bottle of Hennessy cognac, according to city police.
A Newark, New Jersey man was charged with aggravated assault over the fight at a South Meade Street home.
Police said a woman reported she was visiting her parents and cooking steak for dinner when “an argument erupted over the steak.” The woman’s ex-boyfriend then got on top of her and choked her for about 30 seconds, to the point she could not breathe and thought she was going to die, according to police.
Report for duty
Damien Shrader enjoyed playing T-ball and wasn’t quite old enough for kindergarten, but the 4-year-old was nevertheless summoned in the spring for jury duty in Luzerne County Court.
“He went to preschool that day. He said he was too busy to go to the courthouse,” Damien’s mother, Desiree Shrader, said at the time.
County officials were quick to share a laugh with the Swoyersville boy’s family over the mistaken summons — even writing him an official letter excusing him after they showed up at the courthouse with the document.
Firefighters from the Germania Hose Company went fishing in May and got a big one.
Water rescue crews went to the Breslau boat launch for a report of a truck in the Susquehanna River and found a silver Chevrolet Avalanche about 100 yards downstream.
The truck had been hauling a boat, which the owners retrieved from the river, and the truck ended up in the river after it jumped out of gear on the boat ramp.
No one was injured in the incident.
Firefighters who extinguished a burning shed in the East Mountain Ridge Mobile Home Park, Plains Twp. on Feb. 24 found a human skull and bones. State police later announced DNA testing determined the bones belonged to Shain Cori-Jesi D’Onofrio, who was Linasheri D’Onofrio’s disabled 24-year-old son.
D’Onofrio, 50, was hit with forgery and theft charges alleging she wrote nearly $3,000 worth of stolen checks to her missing grandmother.
But no charges have been filed in connection with the arson fire or the grandmother’s disappearance.
Local lawyers representing the Edwardsville Pierogi Festival settled a lawsuit brought by the Whiting-Robertsdale Chamber of Commerce in Indiana, which trademarked their annual Pierogi Fest in 2007.
The agreement reached over the summer ended a 10-month fight between the festivals dedicated to the favorite Polish treat. Whiting officials threatened a lawsuit in a July 2017 cease-and-desist order, prompting local attorneys to file a preemptive federal lawsuit.
The settlement called for the Edwardsville Hometown Committee to acknowledge the trademark while still allowing the group to operate the Edwardsville Pierogi Festival.
Last tent standing
A tornado that descended on Wilkes-Barre Twp. in June wreaked havoc on local businesses — but left a temporary flower tent untouched next door.
While nearby commercial buildings were destroyed by the 130 mph winds, the temporary tent was mostly unscathed.
Tim Ansilio, owner of The Flower Tent, said he would love to credit his craftsmanship in securing the tent to the ground in the parking lot of Ashley Furniture on Mundy Street, but he knows his tent remained standing due to “a lot of luck.”
“If the storm was over a little more, it probably would be gone,” said Ansilio, of Dallas.
Contact the writer: