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Beyond the Byline: It will be a true Hall of Fame night

As Larry Newman, executive director of the Diamond City partnership, clearly detailed in his monthly report to the Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Association on Friday — the key to Downtown Wilkes-Barre’s recovery is to attract the jobs and talent of the future.

Newman said the ongoing mission of the DCP is to create a neighborhood where more people want to be.

“Whether it’s as a place to live, to dine or to enjoy themselves, we simultaneously create a place where more people want to work, learn and shop,” Newman said. “There’s economic value in the creation of great places.”

To prove his point, Newman noted that when it comes to people visiting for dining, shopping, events and other reasons, downtown’s recovery has been faster — last month’s total non-work visitation was 88% of the August 2019 total.

Another component of the strategy is the creation of new events to bring people downtown — and this summer, Newman said, has shown just how successful it has been with thousands of people attending several events.

When Newman ended his report, John Maday, president of the Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Association, offered the perfect comment.

“There’s a lot of good stuff going on in Downtown Wilkes-Barre,” Maday said.

And that provides the perfect segue to my topic for this Monday — the inaugural Luzerne County Arts and Entertainment Hall of Fame Induction Dinner, set for Oct. 14, at Mohegan Pennsylvania. Chelsea Strub of WNEP-TV, and Jumpin’ Jeff Walker of 98.5 KRZ will be the dinner co-hosts.

The inaugural class will be inducted and the evening will feature live performances by several of the first class of inductees.

Scheduled to perform at the dinner are:

• Jimmy Harnen — A native of Plymouth; with the song “Where Are you Now,” he is the only artist from Luzerne County to score a Top-10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.

• The Buoys — One of the first acts from Luzerne County to land a national recording contract and have national success. In 1971, the song “Timothy” was a Top-20 hit.

• The Badlees — This critically-acclaimed roots-rock band was signed to two national recording contracts and scored national hits with the songs “Angeline Is Coming Home” and “Fear of Falling.”

• Joe Nardone & The All Stars — Nardone devoted his entire professional life to music as a musician, concert promoter and retailer.

• Eddie Day Pashinski — He has dedicated much of his life to music as a performer and educator.

And there will be musical tributes representing inductees:

• Mel Wynn & the Rhythm Aces — Perhaps the most impactful band on the local music scene in the 1960s and 1970s. Melvin Samuel Wynn, the front man for the Rhythm Aces, was known for his electrifying on-stage presence.

• Lee Vincent — Vincent formed the Lee Vincent Orchestra after returning from World War II and rose to prominence shortly after playing locally and nationally.

• Bobby Baird — Baird took his first trumpet lesson 88 years ago and his career has spanned nine decades. A well-known area entertainer best known for Bobby Baird and the Dixieland Band.

• Brunon Kryger/The Kryger Brothers — The group played polka music from 1937 until 1996, locally and nationally.

• Breaking Benjamin — The explosive modern-rock band has sold over 19 million albums in the United States and have earned three platinum albums and two gold albums.

Arts category inductees are:

• Adrian Pearsall, architect and furniture designer.

• Barbara Weisberger, founder of the Pennsylvania Ballet.

• C. Edgar Patience, coal artist who took the ordinary piece of coal and sculpted it into something extraordinary.

• George Catlin, Native American painter.

• Hammond Edward “Ham” Fisher, comic strip writer and cartoonist.

• Sue Hand, artist, best known for her artworks in watercolor and her hexagon-shaped historical illustrations of mining.

• Jack Palance, actor.

• Santo Loquasto, production and costume designer for stage, film and dance.

For tickets

Tickets are now on sale for the dinner and can be purchased with cash or check at:

• Joe Nardone’s Gallery of Sound, 186 Mundy St., Wilkes-Barre.

• The F.M. Kirby Center, Public Square, Wilkes-Barre.

• Online sales via credit card can be purchased at

Tickets are $100 each and tables of 10 are also available at a discounted rate. Tickets include a full course meal and open bar throughout the evening. Sponsorship packages are also available.

For information contact the Luzerne County Arts & Entertainment Hall of Fame page on Facebook.