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Board's refusal to accept apology triggers outburst

  • CHRIS PARKER/TIMES NEWS Panther Valley School Board president Jeff Markovich, left, warns an incensed Nesquehoning resident John Barna at Thursday's public meeting.
    CHRIS PARKER/TIMES NEWS Panther Valley School Board president Jeff Markovich, left, warns an incensed Nesquehoning resident John Barna at Thursday's public meeting.
Published October 14. 2011 05:01PM

A Nesquehoning man, whose angry outbursts at Panther Valley School Board meetings have resulted in police being called and threats of lawsuits, raised a ruckus again on Thursday after his attempts to apologize for a contentious incident at a committee meeting the day before were thwarted.

"I want to apologize for last night," John Barna said. At that point, school board President Jeff Markovich interrupted.

"Mr. Barna, I'm going to stop you right now. I don't think we're interested in hearing your apology. You made threats at last night's meeting," Markovich said, rapping his gavel.

That triggered furious indignation on Barna's part.

"You mean I can't apologize for something I did at a committee meeting?" he said. "Are you telling me that?"

"I'm just telling you the board is not interested in your apology," Markovich said.

School director Roy Angst said he did want to hear Barna's apology.

As Barna got loud, school director Anthony DeMarco called for the board to recess. With that, the board, except for Angst, Irene Genther and Bill Hunsicker, voted in favor and left the room.

Barna continued to talk.

"Last night, I did an awful thing," he said, explaining that a family problem had taken him over the edge.

"I blew my stack," he said.

School director Koreen Nalesnik asked Barna whether he said publicly at the committee meeting that he "gets violent."

At that point, Markovich returned to the meeting room and reminded Barna that the "board is in recess" and "there is no meeting being conducted right now. Next, we'll close the meeting."

The two argued, with Barna shouting.

"There is something wrong in this outfit," he yelled.

Audience members also began leaving.

In an effort to calm Barna, Genther said she accepted his apology. Angst and Hunsicker also tried to calm him.

A school board member called 911, and asked a security guard to detain Barna, but Barna left before police arrived.

Markovich, reached at home early Friday, said he plans to ask police to charge Barna.

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