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First Posted: 11/11/2014

Woman guilty of welfare fraud must repay $10,000

• A Wilkes-Barre woman charged with welfare fraud must repay more than $10,000 in restitution, the Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General has announced.

Brooke T. Jennings, 33, received more than $10,000 in cash assistance and SNAP benefits, pleaded guilty and was sentenced by Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas Judge Fred A. Pierantoni III to 30 months probation and 30 hours community service. She also was ordered to pay restitution, court costs and fees, the OIG said.

This is Jennings’ second conviction for fraudulently receiving SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits.

Steelers-themed bar Cuz’s to close its doors

Everyone’s favorite Steelers-clad “Cuz” will soon be closing his doors.

It wasn’t an easy decision for owner Francesco Stuppino and partner Maureen Noone to close Cuz’s Susquehanna Bar and Grille in Exeter, which has been in business since 2010. However, Stuppino’s health sort of made the decision for him.

“I’ve had two stents put in (since 2012) and I’m about to have hernia surgery in December,” said Stuppino, also known as Cuz. “I have a total of nine stents.”

Stuppino said he’s worked for restaurants all over the country, including in his favorite football team’s town, Pittsburgh. He said his bar in Exeter, though, is something he’s always wanted to do.

“This is what I wanted — I built this,” he said. “Now I can retire.”

Nanticoke man found passed out in Wilkes-Barre McDonald’s

• Police filed possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia and public drunkenness charges against Thomas Wade, 28, of West Broad Street, Nanticoke.

Police found him passed out at a table in the McDonald’s on East Northampton Street shortly after 10 p.m. Friday. Police arrested Wade and transported him to headquarters where they found alprazolam and suboxone strips on him.

He was held until sober and released.

Woman a big winner at Shoe Carnival opening

• Barbara Jamiolkoski, 72, leaned on her walker for support as Sharon Hale, regional manager of the new Shoe Carnival store placed ten crisp $100 bills into her shaking hands.

Jamiolkoski, of Wilkes-Barre, was the lucky winner of the $1,000 cash drawing during the grand opening of the discount shoe retailer in the Wilkes-Barre Township Marketplace near Walmart Saturday.

Edwardsville police discover suspected methamphetamine lab

• Police searching for a wanted person discovered methamphetamine being cooked inside a residence on Short Street, according to charges filed.

Shawn Miller, 42, and Kimberly Rittenhouse, 49, both of 132 Short St., were arraigned Tuesday on methamphetamine manufacturing related offenses. They were jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $25,000 bail each.

Police discovered evidence of methamphetamine manufacturing inside their Short Street house while searching for a wanted person on Monday, according to the criminal complaints.

Rockefeller Center’s Christmas tree has roots in Danville

• It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, or at least it will starting on Wednesday.

The iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree has been chosen, And the prize tree was selected from right here in our neck of the woods.

PennLive.com reports the 85-foot-tall Norway Spruce was found at the home of Dan Sigafoos and Rachel Drosdick-Sigafoos in Danville. Crews will cut down the tree at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. It will then be loaded on a flatbed truck and make the trek to Manhattan.

Stories differ on how Frein got facial injuries

• Conflicting statements from Pennsylvania State Police and U.S. Marshals have been reported about how Frein, 31, of Canadensis, Monroe County, got a gash on his nose and a scrape over his eye that were clearly visible in photographs and video widely disseminated in the media after his capture outside an abandoned airplane hangar in the Poconos.

State police Commissioner Frank Noonan had said in a news conference Thursday night that Frein suffered the wounds while still on the run prior to his capture.

However, the Associated Press reported on Saturday that U.S. Marshals Scott Malkowski and Scott Kimball said Frein suffered the injuries “while they had him down on the pavement.”

Wilkes University student found dead in dormitory

• A Wilkes University student was pronounced dead inside a dormitory on Monday evening.

Luzerne County Coroner Bill Lisman would not release any information on the student because efforts were still underway to notify the students’ family, who he said were out of town.

Lisman said the death is considered suspicious solely because of the student’s age, but “it doesn’t look like it’s anything criminal,” he said.