New Pressure to Remove Mellow’s Name from Landmarks

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PECKVILLE -- The new round of corruption charges now facing former State Senator Bob Mellow again raised the question whether Mellow's name should still be on theaters, parks and roads .

Peckville borough officials are expected to decide Monday if they should remove Bob Mellow's name from a park in his hometown of Peckville.

Theses criminal charges may be adding pressure to a pair of local colleges to take Mellow's name off well-known buildings on campus.

Marywood University in Scranton named several important buildings in honor of leaders who made personal or financial contributions.

Marywood`s athletics center is named in honor of Bob Mellow.

"To an extent it is kind of embarrassing, but it`s not our fault," said Marywood student Brandon Terlizzi, a lacrosse player who uses the Mellow Athletics and Wellness Center on campus every day.

The first thing students and visitors see when they step inside the Mellow Center is a large portrait of the disgraced former State Senator, and a plaque commemorating his, "...steadfast commitment to the service on behalf of all citizens of Northeast Pennsylvania."

With a new round of criminal charges this week, Bob Mellow is accused of abusing the citizens' trust.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane said Mellow used his position as a powerful state senator to intimidate businesses into contributing to his political campaigns.

Prosecutors said Mellow steered lucrative contracts with the Pennsylvania Turnpike to some of these businesses.

This came just as Mellow started serving time at a federal prison camp in South Carolina after pleading guilty to corruption and tax evasion.

Action 16 Investigative Reporter Dave Bohman asked Marywood University Vice President Joe Garvey why the university would keep the name of convicted criminal on the side of the Athletics and Wellness Center.

"Senator Mellow, through his office at the time he was serving Pennsylvania was good to the (Marywood) University and to the community as a whole," said Garvey who added it will be up to Marywood trustees if the school will remove Mellow's name.

Two miles east of Marywood, Lackawanna College officials face the same question about the Mellow Theater.

After trustees voted to keep Mellow`s name on the theater after he pleaded guilty to federal charges, will the new criminal charges force Lackawanna College to reconsider?

"We are saddened by all the developments in the case," said Lackawanna College Vice President Paul Strunk.  "But at the same time, our board has given us guidance that we should not discuss the situation."

The heads of the board of trustees, businessman Dominick De Naples of Lackawanna College, and Attorney Marian Munley of Marywood did not return our calls seeking comment.

Students at Marywood say enough is enough.

"At least take the name down," said Marywood freshman Tim Kane of Bethlehem.

"It`s kind of sad that he messed up, and I think they should change the name," added fellow student Brandon Terlizzi.

Privately, trustees of both Marywood Universtiy and Lackawanna College said they will discuss the possibility of removing Mellow's name from campus buildings at their regular meetings next month.

In Peckville, borough officials are considering a plan to change Bob Mellow Park, to Jan Argonish Park. Argonish was a soldier from Peckville who died in Afghanistan in 2007.