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Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, in collaboration with United Concordia Dental, recently presented Allied Services Integrated Health System with a donation of $15,000. From left: Quinn Dufurrena, chief dental officer, United Concordia Dental; Ryan Leckey, reporter/producer, WNEP TV; Katie Kemmerer, senior community affairs analyst, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Jim Brogna, VP of corporate advancement and communications, Allied Services Integrated Health System.

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Leadership Lackawanna, in partnership with the Scranton Area Community Foundation, recently announced the creation of the H. Leigh Woehling Fund. From left: Nicole Morristell, director, Leadership Lackawanna; Mollie Woehling and Laura Ducceschi, president and chief executive officer, Scranton Area Community Foundation.



Aviation Technologies, Inc. (ATI), the Fixed Based Operator (FBO), at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport, supplying fuel to the scheduled air carriers, business and private aircraft, operates a Part 145 aircraft repair station, provides charter aircraft and operates a Flight School, which includes flight instruction for Marywood University.

ATI was recently presented a plaque from Patient AirLift Services (PALS). PALS is a non-profit charitable aviation organization who arranges free air transportation for medical, compassionate, humanitarian and military needs. The generosity of the aviation community is essential to the PALS program and mission. Over the course of the next year or so, PALS will present all the FBOs that support their program with plaques recognizing their good deeds for their community. FBOs often waive or reduce fees associated with the PALS fights, including landing and fueling, and make sure that the needs of the PALS pilots and passengers are met.

“We have and will continue to be very supportive of the PALS program which helps local Northeastern PA residents get to destinations to receive medical attention and other necessary services,” said ATI President and CEO Jim Gallagher in a news release.




Cheetah Chassis President Garry Hartman recently announced major job growth and investment due. Hartman pointed to assistance he received regarding tariffs as directly benefiting their workforce and helping to bring good paying jobs to the area.

“Support for regulatory changes in Washington DC has had a direct and positive impact on Cheetah Chassis and our current 160 + team members,” said Garry Hartman, President of Cheetah Chassis in a news release. “As a result, the playing field is being leveled against China and its state owned edentates, which over the past 10 years has been detrimental to our business. Thanks to positive economic policies, Cheetah Chassis and our team members are looking forward to substantial growth in the coming years.”

Over the past ten years, Cheetah Chassis has been affected by Chinese dumping in the chassis market. When at one point the factory was filled with more than 500 employees, Chinese dumping of chassis caused job loss. But because of recent economic policies, Cheetah Chassis announced the creation of 80 to 100 jobs for the local area. Hartman also touted the welding apprenticeship program at Cheetah Chassis that invests more than $50,000 in its team members complete with thousands of dollars in bonus incentives.



Community Bank N.A. branches across New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Massachusetts celebrated National Good Neighbor Day on Sept. 28 by engaging in neighborly activities and donating to community causes. In total, Community Bank N.A. donated $55,250 to local nonprofits throughout its four-state footprint, with 32 branches across Northeast Pennsylvania contributing $8,000 to local nonprofits of their choice.

From raking leaves and washing windows to hosting bake sales and food drives, more than 90 branches joined the celebration to spread neighborly spirit. Locally, nine branches in Northeast Pennsylvania participated:

Bowman Creek collected school supplies throughout September for students in the Lake-Lehman School District.

Meshoppen hosted a drive to collect cat food, cleaning supplies, toys and monetary donations for Meshoppen Cat Rescue.

Tunkhannock hosted a bake sale to benefit Interfaith Friends’ Christmas Bureau/Adopt-a-Family program during the Christmas season.

Wyalusing conducted a food drive during September for Helping Hands Food Pantry. In addition, the branch held a bake sale to benefit Wyalusing firefighters.

Pittston held a food drive and collected coat and winter items to donate to Care and Concern Free Health Clinic and Food Pantry.

Dickson City made a tree in its lobby where customers donated to purchase a leaf. All proceeds were given to Dickson City Civic Center’s youth programs.

Back Mountain hosted a food drive and held dress-down days to benefit Blue Chip Farm Animal Refuge.

Lehighton held a food drive for Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church Pantry.

Hazleton North Church Street collected canned goods for the Salvation Army’s food pantry.

All Pennsylvania branches held dress-down days to raise money for United Way of Bradford County and he United Way of Susquehanna County to help with flood relief.

“As a community bank, being a good neighbor and an active participant in our community is part of our core values,” said Bob Cirko, Community Bank N.A. senior VP, regional retail banking manager. “We’re not just your local teller or branch manager — we live here in Northeast Pennsylvania and we’re invested in our region’s future. National Good Neighbor Day was a chance to thank and highlight our neighbors who do so much for our community.”

National Good Neighbor Day was created in 1971 by Becky Mattson from Lakeside, Montana, and proclaimed a national day by President Jimmy Carter in 1978 to raise public awareness that good neighbors help achieve human understanding and build strong, thriving communities. It is celebrated annually on Sept. 28 as a day of gratitude and community building.




The partnership between the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and Enterprise Rideshare – part of the global Enterprise Rent-A-Car network – began paying dividends less than three months after Governor Tom Wolf announced it in July.

PennDOT and Enterprise joined together in the summer and launched a new statewide public-transit program, the Pennsylvania Vanpool Incentive Program (PVIP).

The PVIP is designed to expand the availability of regional public transportation by subsidizing a portion of the cost of new Enterprise Rideshare-managed vanpools for local commuters who agree to share their ride to and from work in a vehicle large enough to accommodate seven to 15 people.

Like many state transportation departments – including those in Florida, Michigan, Nebraska and Vermont – PennDOT is expanding mobility options by launching this statewide program. The PVIP, available to all Pennsylvania commuters, is expected to decrease commuting costs for riders by more than 50 percent. Currently, there are more than 50 PVIP vanpools, with seven-passenger vans (an average of six passengers each) accounting for approximately 90 percent of the vehicles. Eventually, PVIP is expected to create 100 new vanpools statewide.

Through Enterprise Rideshare, PVIP participants will be able to choose a qualifying vanpool vehicle from an industry-leading selection of makes and models, including crossovers, SUVs, minivans and large passenger vans. Enterprise Rideshare will provide 24-hour roadside assistance, liability insurance and scheduled maintenance. Vanpoolers also can choose to upgrade their vehicles with optional high-end features, such as satellite radio, in-vehicle Wi-Fi service, and power ports for individual seats.

To learn more about commuting with Enterprise Rideshare, or to sign up for a vanpool, visit



Gary S. Olson, President and CEO of ESSA Bank & Trust, spoke about the bank’s participation in the Court-Assisted Re-Entry Program (CARE) and the Supervision to Aid Reentry (STAR) Program as part of the Reinventing Our Communities: Investing in Opportunity conference held in Baltimore. Hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, the national biennial conference draws hundreds of community development practitioners, planners, government leaders, bankers, researchers and foundation representatives to participate in forward-looking conversations around revitalizing our communities across the country in equitable and inclusive ways.

This year’s conference, Investing in Opportunity, looked at effective models and emerging research on investing and building four types of capital – financial, human, physical and social – to create an environment that enables every individual to contribute to and benefit from an expanding economy.

In an effort to support community stabilization ESSA joined a partnership (CARE) with Northampton Community College, Pyramid Healthcare, and the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in 2015 to help ex-offenders reintegrate into their communities. ESSA joined the STAR Program in 2017 in partnership with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. ESSA provides financial education and loans for housing, transportation, or education to participants of the CARE and STAR Program who are leaving the federal corrections system and transitioning back into the community.

“We were looking for ways to strengthen our ties and impact in the community and this partnership provides that opportunity,” said Olson. “Since the beginning of the loan program seven participants have received loans and all are in good standing. It has been rewarding to see their efforts pay off.”

Olson highlighted the CARE and STAR program on “The Economic Impact of Reentry and Returning Citizens” panel examining how criminal convictions, criminal justice debt and job qualifications create barriers to reintegration into the community for the recently incarcerated. These barriers also exacerbate financial instability for both individuals and their families and can hinder economic mobility for communities experiencing high levels of incarceration. Panelists examined the challenges associated with reentry, along with ways that communities are collaborating to reduce fiscal stress and invest in opportunities after incarceration.



As part of the opening celebration of its newest branch in the Back Mountain area, Fidelity Bank is proud to announce its IMPACT grant. Through IMPACT (Investing in Making Progress Across the Community Together), the Bank will award $15,000 to one local non-profit organization, with the community deciding the winner.

From now through the end of November, 501(c)(3)organizations throughout the Back Mountain are encouraged to submit an application for consideration. All applications must be received by Nov. 30, when Fidelity will select up to five finalists. Voting will begin at the grand opening of the branch on Jan. 12, running through April. During this time, supporters of the five organizations are encouraged to stop in and vote as many times as they’d like for their choice. The non-profit with the most votes on April 1 will win $15,000.

Fidelity Bank supports non-profit organizations and programs in the communities it serves that address community arts, economic development, education, family and health and youth services. The Bank’s IMPACT grant is designed to help a worthy organization produce tangible, sustainable results.

More details and complete rules for the IMPACT grant can be found online at



GIANT Food Stores recently opened its 71st Beer & Wine Eatery in Pennsylvania at its Cressona Mall store, 1544 Route 61 Hwy S., Pottsville.

Pottsville customers will find hundreds of domestic, imported and craft beers coupled with an immense wine selection in the Beer & Wine Eatery. Customers currently have a “mix-a-six” option where they can create their own six-packs from a variety of craft beers. Customers can also choose from eat-in and take-out selections offered, including sandwiches, wraps, subs and salads. The new eatery seats 30.




The Leadership Lackawanna Core program Class of 2018-2019 recently held its first session at Lackawanna College.

“I’m excited for the adventures and opportunities that lie ahead,” said Leadership Lackawanna Director Nicole A. Morristell in a news release. “This year’s participants have accomplished great things in their past, and I look forward to seeing how they will use the leadership skills they acquire over the next 10 months.”

In Leadership Lackawanna’s 10-month Core Program participants gain leadership, interpersonal and managerial skills, as well as an enhanced understanding of the issues relevant to the Greater Scranton area, through monthly sessions.

Areas of focus include community development, economic development, government, health care, law, education, quality of life, sustainability, history and media, with sessions featuring widely recognized specialists. Members of the class also devote a large portion of their time to developing and implementing community projects, hence enhancing their leadership abilities, fostering teamwork and benefiting local nonprofit organizations.

Members are:

Stephanie Longo, The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce

Jennifer Thomas, Penn Foster

Jill Krolikowski, Penn Foster

Tracy Supple, Tobyhanna Army Depot

Michelle McMaster, Fidelity Bank

Jaka Wescott, Ronald McDonald House

Erica Carrescia, Tobyhanna Army Depot

Brian Spinelli, Ingargiola Wealth Management

Michelle Lemoncelli, Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine

Judy Delaney, Prudential

Gopu Kiron, Lackawanna College

Lauren Rusen, Benco Dental

Kristen DePietro, Classic Properties

Alexandra Loder, Procter & Gamble

Rachel Sweeney, Geisinger Steele Institute for Healthcare Innovation

Sherry Frable, Marywood University

Lisa Wesneski, Tobyhanna Army Depot

Frank Ohotnicky, Keystone College

Jeff Bonczek, Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP

Vincent Yates, FNCB Bank

Justin Patchoski, PennWood Financial

Carmen Brutico, Sordoni Construction Services, Inc.

Alexander Bricker, Procter & Gamble

Kevin Morgan, Montage Mountain Resorts

Jim Kuzmak, Sanofi Pasteur

Neil Prisco, WVIA Public Media

Edmund Hunter, Solar Plus

Mark Williams, Tobyhanna Army Depot

Jennie Garelli Davis, TMG Health—A Cognizant Company

Christine Healey, Penn State Scranton

Jennifer Mackey, St. Joseph’s Center

C.J. Rinaldi, Community Bank, NA




Skills in Scranton, the workforce development affiliate of The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, announced the expansion of its Educators in the Workplace program.

Educators in the Workplace is offered through a collaborative partnership between Skills in Scranton and the Lackawanna County Workforce Development Board. The program seeks to align and connect business and industry leaders with local school districts, the career and technical center and the local intermediate unit by providing Lackawanna County-based educators with a week-long industry immersion experience.

The initiative has grown to include four leading industry sectors: logistics and transportation, advanced manufacturing, health care and business finance and information technology, all of which drive the Lackawanna County labor market. The expansion will also allow 45 educators, guidance counselors, administrators and career and technical instructors from 10 Lackawanna County-based public school districts, the Career Technology Center and the local intermediate unit to participate, affecting approximately 1,200 students and exposing them to 12 in-demand occupations.

“With first-hand exposure, educators can enhance classroom activities, projects and work-based learning opportunities that will add relevance and meaning to students’ classroom learning,” said Lyndsay J. Grady, director of workforce development, The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, in a news release. “This is an opportunity to gain a fresh perspective that lets educators tie curriculum to real-world applications.”

For more information on the program, visit


Leadership Lackawanna announced it received a $1,000 sustaining grant from the PPL Foundation. These funds will be used in support of various programming efforts and to help offset operational expenses. It also compliments the organization’s mission of enhancing the skills and knowledge of the area’s emerging professionals through premier leadership development programs enabling them to better serve their organizations and communities.

The PPL Foundation awards annual grants through a competitive application and review process. There were nearly 300 applications requesting funding during this highly competitive grant cycle.

“PPL is committed to improving the communities where our customers and employees live and work,” said Alana Roberts, PPL Electric Utilities regional affairs director, in a news release. “Leadership Lackawanna does a fantastic job providing training to emerging leaders in the region. “


Each year, Leadership Lackawanna awards scholarships to qualified candidates who need assistance paying tuition. Typically, these funds are set aside for individuals from non-profit organizations or who are sole proprietors. Due to the generosity of past donors, different scholarship funds have been established and continue to make a significant impact in the community each year.

The scholarship recipients for the Core Program Class of 2018-2019 are as follows.

■ E.T. Hunter of Solar Plus received the William W. and Mary L. Scranton Scholarship.

■ Jim Kuzmak of Sanofi Pasteur received the H. Leigh Woehling Scholarship.

■ Jennifer Mackey of St. Joseph’s Center received the William Rinaldi Scholarship.

■ Michelle McMaster of Fidelity Bank received the Karen O’Connell Welles Scholarship.

■ Neil Prisco of WVIA Public Media received the H. Leigh Woehling Scholarship.

■ Jaka Wescott of the Ronald McDonald House received both the Margaret Briggs Scholarship and the Government Leadership Award Fund of the Scranton Area Foundation.


Leadership Lackawanna, in partnership with the Scranton Area Community Foundation, recently announced the creation of the H. Leigh Woehling Fund, which honors the late H. Leigh Woehling, a co-founder and first director of Leadership Lackawanna.

The Woehling scholarship fund will be awarded based on financial need to an incoming Leadership Lackawanna participant who aspires to become an emerging leader. Although he passed away before experiencing the success of Leadership Lackawanna’s first graduating class in 1983, Mr. Woehling’s vision and determination served as one of the pillars of the organization, helping the original founding committee transform his vision into a reality. The Woehling family has continued to remain active with the organization for the past 36 years.

This fund will be housed at the Scranton Area Community Foundation and will make a permanent contribution to the life of this region.

For more information, visit To contribute to the H. Leigh Woelhing Fund, contact Leadership Lackawanna at 570-342-7711 or contribute online and earmark it for the Woelhling fund.




Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, in collaboration with United Concordia Dental, recently presented Allied Services Integrated Health System with a donation of $15,000. The contribution brings Allied Services closer to its goal of raising $500,000 through its annual fundraising campaign, WNEP’s Ryan’s Run.

Earlier this year, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and United Concordia Dental announced that they would join together as major sponsors of WNEP’s Ryan’s Run. The campaign centers on a team of 50 volunteers who are raising awareness and funds for Allied Services.

On Nov. 4, those volunteers participated in the TCS New York City Marathon. Funds raised through the charity campaign will enable Allied Services to invest in advanced rehab technology and services to support the rehabilitation and quality of life for children and adults with disabilities, life-changing injuries and illnesses in Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania.

A portion of the funds raised in 2018 has been earmarked for investment in the Indego, an exoskeleton that will give staff at Allied Services new tools and opportunities in the rehabilitation of patients with spinal cord injury or stroke. The device will be the first of its kind in Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania.




The Luzerne County Convention Center Authority alongside representatives from Mohegan Sun Pocono and the SMG-management staff at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre Township recently announced a contract extension for the naming rights of the Mohegan Sun Arena through January of 2030.

The Luzerne County Convention Center Authority along with Mohegan Sun Pocono unveiled a commemorative 20th Anniversary logo for the venue. Mohegan Sun Arena officially opened its doors on November 13th, 1999 for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey and hosted Neil Diamond as its first concert in December that year. Since that time, the venue has hosted nearly two thousand five hundred event performances and is planning to welcome its ten millionth fan to the venue over the course of the next year.

Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza is owned by the Luzerne County Convention Center Authority, a government body appointed by Luzerne County. The arena is managed by SMG, a leader in entertainment and sports facilities management with catering and concessions services provided by SAVOR… at Mohegan Sun Arena.



The Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance held its Annual Dinner recently at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, Pocono Manor. The dinner was attended by more than 330 business and community leaders from around the region.

During the dinner, NEPA presented the NEPA Alliance Regional Leadership Award. The award is presented to an agency, group or individual demonstrating a significant contribution to regional growth, development or cooperation within the seven county NEPA region. This year’s award recipient was Lamar Advertising for its impact on the regional economy and involvement in the regional community of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

This year’s Keynote Speaker was Department of Community & Economic Development Secretary, Dennis M. Davin. Secretary Davin provided insightful commentary on regional partnerships and program initiatives within the northeast region.



Scranton Tomorrow, on behalf of the Governor’s Arts Awards Committee accepted grant funding from the Scranton Area Foundation in the amount of $2,500. Scranton Tomorrow served as the fiscal institution in order to aid the committee in the administration and reporting of sponsorships and grants activities.

While planning the activities for the awards ceremony, held on Aug. 8, Scranton Tomorrow and committee members partnered with existing arts and cultural organizations in order to highlight their contributions to Scranton’s eclectic arts community.

Scranton Tomorrow’s mission is to establish the Downtown Business District of Scranton as a driving force in fostering and supporting economic revitalization utilizing the five-point approach including organization, design, economic revitalization, promotion and safe, clean and green. The Scranton Tomorrow vision statement encompasses livability, arts, economic development, promotion and educational partnerships all fostering positive quality of life initiatives.



Tobyhanna Army Depot’s environmental branch is progressively shaping the depot’s future through several projects that reduce energy and waste.

Recognized for many environmental awards over the years, including the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence, the depot’s environmental team has been recognized for innovation and new technology, as well as water conservation initiatives.

Dave Ruskey, Environmental Engineer, developed a project utilizing innovative sensor and meter technology, automating process control improvements on many high energy comprehensive systems, which includes eight large paint booths and two large blast booths. Cost savings and energy reductions from this project led to the acceptance of the 2018 Secretary of the Army Energy and Water Management Award. Another significant benefit of this project is the reduction of hazardous waste.

In less than five months, this project proved that it was worth the initial cost.

Tobyhanna plans on expanding this effort in the future to larger centralized compressors and may also be able to assist other sites with the potential to implement similar projects.

Another recognition, received on Aug. 23, is the 2018 Secretary of the Army Energy and Water Management Award, given to Tobyhanna’s Environmental Protection Specialist, Thomas Wildoner for his water conservation initiatives. Tobyhanna volunteered for the U.S. Army Net Zero Water Pilot Program in fiscal year 2011 with a goal of achieving a 50 percent water reduction by fiscal year 2020. This goal was attained in fiscal year 2017, three years in advance.

A robust data collection and monitoring system helped achieve the water reduction goal as well as investments in water saving technologies such as rain water harvesting, wastewater reuse, acoustic leak detection equipment, water pressure monitoring and water valve monitoring. Water usage was reduced by 52 percent from 87.9 million gallons in fiscal year 2007 to 42 million gallons. This accomplishment saves the installation a total of $475,564 in water use and wastewater treatment costs.

Another environmental engineer, Jacob Gogno, was recognized with the Director’s Impact Award for the work he did at Tobyhanna’s hazardous material storage facility. Historically, collected hazardous material would have been issued to individuals or organizations that could beneficially reutilize it. However, due to a lack of demand and uncertainty of the responsibility, hazardous material has been accumulating over the last four years.

Since July 2017, Gogno has coordinated the removal of over 29,000 pounds of expired or unused hazardous material. He has also implemented an ongoing plan to continuously remove expired hazardous material, so that it will not significantly accumulate in the future. Removing this material eliminates the potential for spills and exposure to human health and the environment.

Gogno was also recognized with a Commanders Coin.

Jose Abrams, a production controller of Tobyhanna, was also recognized in Fort Hood, Texas, with a third Quarter Heroes Award for his Environmental Compliance Officer duties. Abrams and his team exceeded the established goals of all environmental audits during 2015-2018.

Along with these recognized projects, the Environmental team has numerous other projects that have been initiated in the past and are currently being introduced depot-wide.

Solar energy projects launched in recent years continue to provide return on investment for the depot, including solar wall panels. These panels have been strategically installed on seven buildings across the depot to take full advantage of the sunlight. As the sunlight strikes the surface of the panel, the solar heated air is drawn through perforations in the panel and distributed through the building’s duct work. Approximately 500,000 square feet is benefited by the panels, as fans distribute the warm air when needed in the adjacent bays.

Although the key feature of the panels is to heat buildings, the project has many other benefits. The panels act as sunscreen during the summer months, preventing the sunshine from directly striking the building wall. During cool summer nights, the panels can be used to pull cooler outdoor air inside. Some of the benefits include improvements in air quality, reductions in heating costs and a strong return on investment.

The team’s immediate upcoming plans include executing objectives from the Toby 2020 Invest in Our People line of effort initiatives that include continuing to reduce energy, reducing the quantity of unused hazardous materials and working toward the ISO 50001 Energy Management System.



Weis Markets recently completed the remodel of its Mt. Pocono store on Route 940.

The remodeled store now has:

■ An expanded selection of pre-prepared meals for takeout

■ An increased selection of natural, organic and gluten free products in produce, grocery, frozen and dairy.

■ A beer-wine café offering 550 varieties of domestic, imported and craft beer, including a local beer section and more than 300 varieties of imported and domestic wines, including a chilled section

■ New, more energy-efficient LED lighting.

At the grand re-opening celebration, store manager Stanley Kulakowski and the store’s associates presented $1,500 in donations to the Mt. Pocono Volunteer Fire Department, Pocono Mountain Regional Police and God’s People Helping People Homeless Advocates.