‘Embarrassing’ Article About Shamokin?

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SHAMOKIN—The city of Shamokin in Northumberland County is thousands of miles from Great Britain, but an article about the Pennsylvania city recently ran in a British newspaper and other several other newspapers, too.

That article was written by a reporter for Reuters news agency about the financial crisis in Shamokin. It is a city with hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid debts, too broke to get a loan from a bank.

“I think Shamokin is a pretty nice town, most people are pretty nice,” said Destiny Jones of Shamokin.

“I like coming to Shamokin because they have a lot here, it’s just you know, struggling,” said Vicki Reichner of Sunbury.

That story ran with several photographs of people in the community. Some claimed those pictures were unflattering and unfair.

They called it an ’embarrassment’ to Shamokin.

“I don’t really like the article and pictures but you know. It’s the way people have their opinions,” said Cindia Ruiz of Shamokin.

A Reuters spokesperson said, “We stand behind these photos and our news gathering approach. ”

Jessica Kruleski was among the people photographed.

She said she had no idea it was for a story about the problems in her city.

“There’s nothing wrong about Shamokin. I like it, so far. My son is 5-years-old and he’s going to school next year and everyone gave me a good report that Shamokin is a good place to go to school,” said Kruleski.

Not everyone in Shamokin had a problem with their story. Some people said it was spot on.

Wayne Derk was also photographed for the article. He owns a business in Shamokin and said it is sad but true, everything in the story is accurate.

“I’m sorry I ever came back to Shamokin. I lived in Florida 22 years. I could kick my rear end for ever coming back to this place,” he said.

Others said they love this place, but admit there are problems here.

“You can look around and tell, the run down buildings, the streets, I mean, you know? Stuff is rough here. Everybody wants to take pride in where they live,” said William Byrd of Shamokin.


  • Garrett smith

    And what would you expect the article to lie? Look at that lady wnep interviewed this morning and you’d know how many are crack heads

  • Ryan

    Shamokin is 80% drug addict deadbeat brain deads, 20% decent citizens who care about their community. I don’t see that town ever doing a 180 and progressing. The drugs play a big part of it. When everyone is doped out, you don’t seem to care much about anything about yourself and your habit let alone well being of the community.

    • Jason

      Right in to Vinny Clausi’s bank account. I’m sure Tony Rosini gets a cut of that too. Tony is a $180,000 a year misuse of taxpayer funds. what does that guy do all week in Sunbury?

    • TaxMan

      You ask where is the money going. A greater portion than you may realize go to pay for pension obligation of past and present employees. Then there is also other medical and dental benefits that are paid. Never forget that there are PUBLIC sector employees that receive their funding from all of us, either directly or indirectly. These obligations cannot be deferred. You can put all new people in these positions and they will be facing the same financial problems as the current ones do. Look up how many municipalities in our state are under Act 47. Population and geography change – the problems are the same.

  • Chuck R.

    Pottsville is even becoming pretty rundown.. buildings are crumbling, paint peeling..businesses closing, pawn shops out number real stores, empty building empty building after empty building..stroll down centre street from north to south.. notices on building after building from the city.
    Walk up market street from centre until you reach oh..12th street.
    Then walk up north 12th street to Mahontongo and walk down Mahontongo..
    Take notes of the structures and businesses and properties as you go..
    Not a pretty sight..

  • o-bob

    I will make this as simple as possible. The article could have been about any town in the Northeast PA coal region. It simply does not matter what town the article was written about. The entire coal region has been in decline for 15 – 20 years. There are no jobs in or around the area. There are no progressive metro areas within driving distance that offer decent employment The result: young people (motivated ones) that want a better life, move away and that leaves a vacuum for people on government assistance to occupy the inexpensive unoccupied homes. These type of people are social indigents that have absolutely no desire to contribute to society. They are takers and not givers. Their only concern is about themselves and they do not care about the community. What is left remaining are these people, the elderly that cannot afford to relocate and the local population that decided to stay. Once a community is in decline, the attitude of the people will also decline as they see no reason to fight the uphill battle. The state has no more free money to throw at these communities. This area is being left to die on the vine. I grew up in the coal region and have moved away many years ago and have not looked back. I only come back to visit my parents.

    • Rose

      See, this is my point. Please, explain how people are to get jobs and progress the area, when everyone argues that there are no jobs. I do not live in shamokin, nor have I ever been there, but it IS a problem that extends almost the entire country, not just one area. I know many people that work, and have been jumping from job to job. Not because they want to, not because they are lazy, not because they are incompetent workers, but because jobs will hire for a short time and let go of workers before they qualify for unemployment. Why do this? Because it saves the business money. Less taxes. And also eliminates the need to give raises. In PA, working is considered a luxury, not a necessity. Where does that leave people? It leads people to welfare, and other means of steady income.Forcing people to be dependant rather than independent. It lowers self-worth. Then, discouragement also becomes an issue when many jobs have long hours, little pay, and an expensive economy.

      • Anonymous

        Your point is well stated, but as a Shamokin resident the point you are replying to is SPOT ON for this town. The people who want to better themselves leave, and the ones looking for a hand out migrate to the cheap housing and short welfare lines. I’ve lived here all my life, worked in the downtown area, and have seen a lot of people come and go, the ones that come are horrible for the town and let their properties become condemned and run down. Out of town land lords refuse to fix properties up to code, and refuse to run a background check before moving some unsavory types into what used to be a nice neighborhood. Heck, walk down town and smell the smell of the city, only half of it is from the destroyed creek that runs through it. The other half is from the people who aren’t familiar with what soap, or toothpaste is. My neighborhood alone there is so much drug activity, I’ve found empty heroin packets outside on the sidewalk, you can get just about anything within a 2 block radius.

        There are jobs in this town, there are very good jobs a short distance away as well. These beggars want a hand out, they “can’t” work because of some bogus disabilities, or they don’t want to work because Mcdonalds is beneath them. And lets not forget you have to pass a drug test for most jobs, and or a background check…which most of these leaches wouldn’t be able to pass.

  • Rose

    I was reading the comments,and with this I am so disappointed in the ignorance and arrogance of the views. If you ask me, the problem in this country yes, COUNTRY, NOT just individual AREAS, is pure ignorance. If you read the article, it talks about the FINANCIAL aspect of shamokin’s problems. Amazing how it turned into a debate of drugs and prison. How is a prison the reason the area went to hell? How could you blame one area for distributing drugs being the issue? How could anyone blame just welfare recipients for raising the problems? If you ask me, this article is self-explanatory. Pretty much the GOVERNMENT is going on WELFARE! The article clearly explains how this move could RAISE taxes….. AND cut JOBS! Well, that sounds like it will fix the lack of progression. The country has been losing the employment battle, and arrogance labels others to direct the attention elsewhere. Our constitutional rites and our social standing are being taken away from us. Slowly, we will no longer be America! Home of the FREE! Land of the BRAVE! We have a whole history of corruption in our governing officials, look at a more recent history, kids for cash. The Reagan administration. Lol and now even this crap stripping away what we were built on. With all this said. Everywhere you go, you get lazy people. Drugs. Crime. But it isn’t the ONLY problem! We live in a country where majority of our money goes to making rich people happy. Leaving those belowto making suffer. But, is this an issue in people’s eyes? No. Only weather or not a picture looks good is. Only being able to put blame on others. And it’s always easy to blame those less fortunate, but poverty starts at the TOP, NOT the BOTTOM! If there is greed above, that leaves less for those below. How disturbing! So disturbing! To know how little so many actually know. How ashamed everyone should be for their ignorance!

    • o-bob

      To answer your question regarding the prison being the cause of the drug problem in Shamokin, it most likely is attributed to the extended family of the prisoner. Upon visiting the prisoner, they see the area has cheap housing and a low cost of living. Many families of these prisoners are on government assistance so they have no problem relocating as they will just move to another government subsidized rented house By making this move, they are now closer to the incarcerated family member. I do not want to stereotype but, the prisoner may have had a drug issue and then one can assume that the family that just relocated may also have been exposed to drugs. The result: the drugs are introduced into the community. Once the prisoner is released, the family has already settled into the community. Multiply this over and over and now the drug problem becomes more evident. These relocated families also have a common bond with each other and develop ties within the local ex con community.

  • john

    Well even though I dont live here anymore but come up alot. I am a shamokin indian threw thick and thin graduated in 82… what is shamokin ?? Home

  • john

    Well Shamokin should be booming right now. You all are looking at it in front of your eyes. What is it :: COAL. .. Would keep energy cost down ect. But we have a admastration that dont believe in coal because of air quality ect.. bull we have used coal along time and nothing has happened. Man its ashame its just sitting there while the city is struggling. …. WHY ????? ALL I CAN SAY IS VOTE FOR PEOPLE WHO WANT TO USE COAL AGAIN….

    • Dan

      Nothing has happened? How about all those who died from black lung way before their time, or the above average number of respiratory illnesses due to that black death floating in the air. There are particles of coal dust in the air that will never go away in Shamokin. I would hardly call coal “clean”. It’s far from it.

  • Randy

    Maybe if you would give better raises to you local gov’t officials, they would give you better service. I have also noticed that a lot of our elected officials are having money problems too, and have resorted to crime to get money. People just need to start getting involved with local politics. Most large companies have lay off, it is the only way to budget money, they needs supplies to operate, they have control over income. The Govt, hardly have lay offs, just take out a loan to operate, “crazy” remember you all are responsible for that.

  • Deb

    THe economy doesn’t help the area. The local prisons were to bring in jobs but it seems they brought with it alot of other issues. I’ve grown up in Shamokin and always felt safe there until the prison. Also, with the constant building of malls our local businesses are no longer prosperous. Otherwise, most of the locals are good and caring people.

  • Mike

    What Shamokin needs is some new blood running things. 90 year old Ron Bradley isn’t going to fix things. Tobias is now the police chief. That was certainly a step in the right direction. He needs to focus on getting these drug dealers out of town. Shamokin PD has a list a mile long of drug abusers and dealers. It’s time to go after these scum.

  • Erica

    Indeed shamokin has gone down hill, HOWEVER what about all these other places? Williamsport being one of them!? Every other day someone is being shot at, robbed, stabbed, raped, should i go on???? Yeah drugs are bad in shamokin…they are bad everywhere, people seem to notice it more in shamokin because you can walk the whole town in an hour! Why don’t people let shamokin nights alone and worry about williamsport, where the real crime is!

    • Terry

      I was born and raised in Williamsport and now live by Shamokin. To compare the 2 is like apples and organes they are not even close. One there is things to do in Williamsport and Shamokin has really nothing or the entire area for that matter. And I was out at a place to eat in Shamokin a few days ago and other times and seems like people in that area dont want to make more because being in a service business myself u need to be on top of things and whether a waitress/waiter or a cashier u represent the business and if ur service is bad it puts a name out there and my point on that is that those people have jobs but seems they want to stay there and make little. So please dont compare these two places to one another. And if u notice I didnt say cities because Shamokin isnt that populated in my opinion to be a city.

  • Mike

    Scott Binsack had some great ideas. It’s just a shame that people in Shamokin don’t take kindly to the advice of outsiders.

  • Dave

    What you have are a lot of Older homes in need of repair and people unable to afford the repairs ..I wont place blame on drugs or lazy people I see others posting that’s obviously a part of any communities problem.. I see cities giving Mansions away with the clause that those who get it spend millions to repair it… Granted these homes are not mansions,but the cost to repair them is out of reach for most in our area living paycheck to paycheck. Stop blaming the people and look at what’s really the problem..

  • Snshn

    I’ve just have to agree that it is unfortunate that their are so many people who aren’t worried about the care and maintenance of their properties.
    Also, it is extremely sad that the drugs are so available to the young people and police do turn their heads to things that are happening right in front of their very eyes.
    Shamokin is Not the only place this is happening.
    In Scranton, for example, the drug dealers are allowed to sit right on Lackawanna Ave. in front of the mall loitering and selling their “wares”.

  • dan

    i read the Reuters news article and looked at the pictures… im not completely sure what everybody is so upset about. If the pictures are “unflattering” its because you didnt dress yourself very well that day. It looks like pictures of normal people to me. If a city wants to change it needs to start with the people that live in it and go up… sadly it sounds like that time is too short. I have no problems with shamokin and i dont know many who live there so i cant attest to its people, but every time i have been there it just looks so depressing due to the lack of either maintenance or care about maintenance. As far as the pictures of people go, I only saw one picture i would be embarrassed to be in and that is only because somebody didnt think “i am wearing a shirt with a really stupid quote on it, maybe i today isnt so good for a photo shoot”. If the pictures are unflattering it is because that is what you see, I am sure they didnt use photo shop to make things worse than they are, they are good pictures of some careless people.

  • Emily B

    Sure, that is how outsiders view Shamokin. What no one ever thinks about are the people like me that speak proper English, bathe daily, and aren’t on welfare. I should be proud to say that I’m from Shamokin, a city with great historical value. But instead, when someone asks where I’m from, I hesitate a little before the whole spiel about how it really isn’t so bad.
    I know so many great people that don’t fit the Shamokin stereotype, and it’s really so sad that we have to prove it wrong every time we are out of town. I won’t deny though, it DOES have its fair share of deadbeats, but when did anyone ever refer to Chicago as being the murder city? So why should we act as if Shamokin is the poorest city? I highly doubt it is.

    • Mike

      What about the people in town who sell drugs to pay their bills? Hmm? Know anyone like this, Emily B? I’m sure you do and I’m sure you condone it. That makes you a huge part of the problem as well. ;-)

  • Kevin

    Min wage and well fair were not invented to be able to live off of, it is just supposed to help. In shamokin, people move here so they can live like that. Which the people moving here aren’t trying to better there lives or this town, they are just trying to get through easy…by living jobless and bringing cheap drugs to sell to us town folk. I’ve seen it, lived it…and now trying to leave it. I’m ashamed.

  • eric

    I was pictured in this article. The full article from the UK newspaper. They made me look like a scumbag which I am not. I work for a living, take care of my responsibles, and contribute to the community in which I live. I don’t even live in Shamokin.

    • shamokinite

      Eric you are a scumbag. I see everyone in that group pictures daily walking in town and you’re are all dressed like scum and live off my tax dollars. Thanks to your lack of knowledge on how to dress yourself or simply care about your appearance you made us all look like bums. Stop being scum and keep the needle out of your arm.

      • eric

        Like I said I have a job pay my taxes. How is that living off of you? And as far as the use of drugs go sorry I didn’t fall into your social group. What you need to do is go back to school and learn to compenhend what you read before you voice you opinion. Other wise you just look ignorant.

  • Steph

    Well if people in these small towns would Stop blocking any kind of treatment center they would see such large numbers of drugs. But because of the NEPA not in my town attitude the world can see what jokes these towns really are.

  • Blaise

    i lived here 20 years and to me personally cant find a job that school teaches you nothing but crap i even went to vo-tech for computer technology an searched for a job for over 3 years an nothing good i agree with mike though 100% true on that drugs violence that’s what this town is all about the city pays for stupid crap an not worried about the personal things that can be helpful in this community a change is what we need an i haven’t seen change for at least 20 years

  • Christina

    The articles focus is for the most part pretty spot on. But what the article fails to mention is the hardworking people who live here, that take care of their homes, who are trying to raise a family & by no means what so ever are addicted to drugs! Couples like my fiance & I who bust our butts everyday for our family (of 6 & 2 dogs) but know that owning our home in the “suburbs” is out of the question financially for some, us. The city you live in does not define who you are as a person. There are some good people here, beautiful views & fun activities for the whole family. But no one would ever want to know anything about Shamokin after reading articles like this one. What exactly was the author trying to accomplish by this anyway?!

  • lenny

    There is hope with an ATV park coming to town soon. But nonetheless, it’s going to be a long road trying to turn the financial problem around.

    • Mike

      That was just an excuse for the politicians of Northumberland County to pad their retirement funds. Vinny Clausi Inc. had its top men working on that for the past 8 years so his retirement will be nice and enjoyable. They’re all crooks. That off road park will be a landfill in 10 years.

  • carsy

    I suppose Hughesville Muncy and surrounding towns seem the same too then there’s the heroine problem so come again what’s the actual problem around this area

    • Mike

      Coke and heroin are huge in Shamokin. The police know who the players are, but do nothing about it.

  • Sierra Seiler

    Ha I’m sorry but Shamokin is a horrible place to live the teaching is good but the bullying there is horrible I went to school
    There from k-4 up to almost half of 7th grade and honestly I got bullied numerous times and most people that love there are backstabbers and liers so if you have a kid going to school for the first year ever re think your picking of the location

    • Dan

      Well, if you take a look at some of these Ho Butts raising children, you know why things are the way they are in the schools. It’s hard for 3 year old “Timmy” to know what is right when daddy is smoking pot and playing Grand Theft Auto all day long. There’s a lot of that in Shamokin. They need to get the county’s children and youth more involved. Start drug testing these deadbeat parents. If they want to smoke pot, perhaps their children will be better off in a foster home.

  • Jane Doe

    Things must be really boring in Great Britain. They’ve had a recent interest in all things NEPA. Perhaps it is better than their own dirty laundry.

Comments are closed.

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