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Photo submitted by NEPA Alliance The Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance (NEPA) recently presented Stoker’s Brewing Company LLC with a $50,000 loan. From left: Anthony Mehling, Eyewitness News; Michael Prock, Mauch Chunk Trust; Bruce Krell, Congressman Lou Barletta’s Office; Douglas Drost, Stoker’s Brewing Company; Jeffrey Box, NEPA Alliance; Ken Doolittle, NEPA Alliance; Linda Miller, Representative Jerry Knowles’ Office; Dave Nat, NEPA Alliance; Marta Gabriel, Senator Toomey’s Office; Connor Corpora, Senator Bob Casey’s Office; Micah Gursky, St. Luke's Hospital Miners Campus, and Gino DeGiosio, Jim Thorpe Neighborhood Bank.

NEPA Alliance presents loan funds to Stoker’s Brewing Company LLC

The Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance (NEPA) presented Stoker’s Brewing Company LLC with a $50,000 loan.

Stoker’s Brewing LLC received a $50,000 loan through the NEPA Alliance Tri-District loan fund, which includes funds from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) as part of a total project costing $140,000. The total project included the purchase of land, building and equipment. NEPA’s loan helped the company purchase new equipment necessary to begin their operations. Other project funds consisted of $50,000 from Mauch Chunk Trust Company and a $40,000 equity injection from the borrower.

Stoker’s was formed in July 2017 and is a self-distributing small microbrewery with a tasting room located in the heart of downtown Tamaqua. The company fills a niche in the Schuylkill County beer market by producing their own beer on-site in small batches using only the highest quality ingredients and abiding by world class brewing standards. Stoker’s is the area’s only microbrewery, giving the business a distinct competitive advantage as it offers an alternative to other tavern concepts. Stoker’s offers more than eight high quality house-brewed beers on tap at all times. The owner, Douglas G. Drost, has extensive industry experience as an award-winning home brewer. He also attended America’s premier brewing school, The Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago, where he earned his Professional Brewer Certification.

NEPA’s loan helped Stoker’s purchase new microbrewery equipment that allows the business to keep up with the demand from customers. Brewing takes place every Monday with one additional brew day per month in order to produce the appropriate volume of beer.

NEPA Alliance is a full service economic development lender offering nine low interest loan programs for job creation and job retention in the region.

The regional community and economic development agency serves the seven counties of Northeast Pennsylvania including Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Schuylkill and Wayne. NEPA Alliance services include business financing, government contracting assistance, international trade assistance, nonprofit assistance, transportation planning, research and information and local government services.

For more information visit or call 866-758-1929.


Keystone College receives $9.9 million USDA loan

Keystone College received a $9.9 million loan from the United States Department of Agriculture which will have a positive impact on the college and the students it serves.

The USDA $9.9 million investment is in the form of a structured fixed-rate loan with an interest rate of 3.8 percent amortized over 35 years, enabling Keystone to refinance its debt at a more favorable and stable rate. Keystone qualified for the USDA financing program because of its position as a major employer and economic contributor in a rural location in Northeast Pennsylvania.

According to college officials, he USDA recognized Keystone as a major economic driver in Northeast Pennsylvania, particularly in the Factoryville, La Plume and Tunkhannock areas. During the last 10 years, Keystone’s total economic impact to the local and state economy has been more than $150 million. Keystone’s 200 full-time and 200 part time employees have an approximate annual take-home pay of about $9 million, most of which is spent in the local community, and taxes paid by Keystone employees exceed $300,000 each year.

Also, 83 percent of Keystone students reside in Pennsylvania and 37 percent are from rural counties such as Wyoming, Susquehanna, Bradford and others. Keystone has been included on the President’s Honor Roll for Community Service for five consecutive years, recognizing the 26,000 hours of service performed each year by Keystone students, faculty and staff.

Enrolling approximately 1,400 students, Keystone offers more than 40 undergraduate and graduate degree options in liberal arts and science-based programs in business, communications, education, fine arts, natural science, environmental resource management, geology and social sciences.


Hazleton airport receives $112,500 grant

Hazleton Regional Airport was awarded a $112,500 state grant on Dec. 6, announced Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Luzerne.

Mullery said the airport will use the funding to acquire equipment to maintain the airfield.

In total, 26 airports across the state will receive more than $6 million in state investment. Included in the grants is $2.2 million in state funding from PennDOT’s Aviation Development Program, which comes from the state’s jet fuel tax, and $4 million from the Multimodal Transportation Fund.


Landmark Community Bank Opens in South Abington Township

Landmark Community Bank announced the opening of its sixth branch location. Located at 900 Northern Blvd. in South Abington Township, the new branch will be managed by Trip Crowley, a long-time area resident.

Landmark Community Bank was founded in 2001 by a group of local investors. Still locally owned and locally operated, it is a community bank serving the banking needs of personal and business customers throughout Northeast Pennsylvania.

Landmark Community Bank is headquartered in Pittston and has five additional branches in Scranton, Pittston, Wyoming, Hazleton and Hazle Township, with assets in excess of $330 million.

For more information, visit


Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce announces SAGE Award winners

The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce announced the winners of the 2018 SAGE Awards (Scranton Awards for Growth and Excellence), which honor outstanding local businesses for their talent, creativity and innovation. The winner of each award category was publicly announced at The Chamber Gala at the Hilton Scranton & Conference Center.

More than 80 applications were received. A group of volunteer community leaders and professionals teamed up to review applications and select finalists.

The winners, in each category, are:

■NET Credit Union - Best Practices in Community Involvement

■ Woodloch Resort - Best Practices in Customer Service and Best Practices in Marketing & Communications

■ Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control - Business of the Year

■ Pepperjam - Excellence in Leadership

■ Fidelity Bank - Fastest Growing Company

■ The University of Scranton: Downtown Scavenger Hunt - Hometown Star

■ Quest Studio - New & Emerging Business of the Year

■ Outreach Center for Community Resources - Non-Profit Organization of the Year

■ Lackawanna College - Pride & Progress: Exterior Renovations

■ AllOne Health - Pride & Progress: Interior Renovations

■ Gertrude Hawk Chocolates - Pride & Progress: New Construction

■ Posture Interactive - Small Business of the Year

■ Talia Walsh, Quest Studio - Woman of Excellence

■ Borough of Dunmore: Hometown Heroes Banner Project - People’s Choice Award


PharmaCann Penn Plant LLC Purchases Land in Scott Township

PharmaCann Penn Plant LLC, a PharmaCann Company, has purchased 18.28 acres of land from SLIBCO, the Scranton Lackawanna Industrial Building Company. The tract is located at Life Science Drive in the Scott Technology Park and will be used to construct a 36,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art pharmaceutical-grade medical marijuana growing and processing facility in accordance with Pennsylvania state regulations. PharmaCann Penn Plant LLC received a license in July 2018 during the second phase of the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana program.

The Scott Technology Park currently has five buildings totaling 201, 520 square feet, with businesses employing 787 people.

Founded in 2014, PharmaCann is the largest vertically-integrated and unified medical cannabis company, with four dispensaries and two cultivation facilities in Illinois, where it is the largest holder of medical cannabis licenses, and four dispensaries and one cultivation facility in New York, where it has been awarded the highest-ranked license. With more than 160 professionals, eight dispensaries and three cultivation sites, PharmaCann is focused on growth and pursuing emerging market opportunities every day, including researching opportunities in new states and for new licenses. PharmaCann was purchased in 2018 by MedMen Enterprises, a publicly-traded United States cannabis company, owning and operating 19 cannabis facilities in cultivation, manufacturing and retail.


Apple Watch now part of UnitedHealthcare Wearable Device Program

Starting mid-November, Apple Watch is officially part of UnitedHealthcare Motion, a wearable device program encouraging current participants in Pennsylvania and nationwide to walk more than 12,000 steps per day – more than double the number of the average American adult. (All UnitedHealthcare Motion results based on 2018 internal analysis of program participants.)

Apple Watch is now available to eligible employer-sponsored program participants, enabling people to use their Apple Watch or shop for a new one. An alternative payment option enables participants to receive and start using Apple Watch (initially paying only tax and shipping) and then apply program earnings toward the purchase price of the device. Participants may be able to own – with a zero balance – an Apple Watch after approximately six months of meeting daily walking goals.

UnitedHealthcare Motion provides eligible plan participants access to wearables that may help them earn more than $1,000 per year by meeting certain daily walking goals. (Financial incentives may be less due to limits under applicable laws.)

Since the program’s inception, participants have collectively walked more than 235 billion steps and earned nearly $38 million in rewards.

The program is part of UnitedHealthcare’s broader effort to provide people with wearables, digital resources and financial incentives that help them take charge of their health, better manage chronic conditions and make care more affordable. These efforts build on UnitedHealthcare’s existing consumer offerings, powered by Rally, which have enabled people to earn more than $1 billion in health-related financial incentives since 2016.

Among all eligible UnitedHealthcare Motion participants, more than 45 percent participated in the program – compared to some other employer-sponsored disease-management programs that report 5 percent engagement rates. Among people who registered their device, 59 percent stayed active for at least six months, a rate higher than gym memberships (29 percent). Current program participants walk an average of nearly 12,000 steps, or more than twice the approximately 5,200 steps logged by the average American adult.

The program has been particularly appealing to eligible participants with chronic conditions. People with such a diagnosis are 20 percent more likely to participate, and people who have diabetes are 40 percent more likely to participate than those who do not.

UnitedHealthcare Motion is available to employers with self-funded and fully insured health plans across the country. The program may enable employees to earn up to $4 per day in financial incentives based on achieving FIT goals (Financial incentives may be less due to limits under applicable laws):

■ Frequency: complete 500 steps within seven minutes six times per day, at least an hour apart

■ Intensity: complete 3,000 steps within 30 minutes

■ Tenacity: complete 10,000 total steps each day

Program participants can now use Apple Watch to see how they are tracking against the program’s three daily goals, helping integrate physical activity and engagement with their health plan.

Apple Watch is a health and fitness companion with intelligent coaching features, and water resistance, and now – with Series 4 – features a next-generation accelerometer and gyroscope. The program’s FIT targets are set in the UnitedHealthcare Motion app, which integrates with HealthKit to use data from Apple Watch to track daily goals.