Colson Whitehead to Deliver American Masters Lecture

Colson Whitehead, the American novelist whose bestselling book, Underground Railroad, won the National Book Award in 2016 and the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2017, will deliver the Lackawanna County Library System’s 2018 American Masters Lecture on Thursday, November 15, 7 PM, Scranton Cultural Center.

Tickets are now available online and at Lackawanna County libraries.

Whitehead, 48, has had six novels and two works of non-fiction published. In addition to the National Book and Pulitzer awards, he has also received a MacArthur Fellowship (the so-called “Genius Award”) and a Guggenheim Fellowship.


But it is The Underground Railroad that catapulted Whitehead into the ranks of leading American authors.

The book follows a young African-American woman named Cora in her flight from slavery. Whitehead created a physical railroad that runs in underground tunnels as a metaphor that moves Cora on a journey with stops that illuminate the story of the slave-era South as it was experienced by the victims of slavery.

It was an Oprah’s Book Club selection and was awarded the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction by the American Library Association. It was also a New York Times #1 Bestseller.

“We are delighted to be able to announce that Colson Whitehead will deliver the American Masters Lecture in 2018,” said Mary Garm, library system administrator.

“His books tell stories that are uniquely American in a voice that is strong and courageous,” she added. “He is also a wonderful speaker. He will add to the rich tradition that has been established here for offering people in our community the opportunity to hear some of the best minds in America.”

Whitehead’s other novels are: The Intuitionist, a finalist for the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award; John Henry Days, a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist; Apex Hides the Hurt; Sag Harbor; and Zone One.

His non-fiction books are The Colossus of New York, a history of that city; and The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky & Death, a book about the World Series of Poker, which Whitehead, a non-gambler, competed in to fulfill a magazine writing assignment.

He has also written non-fiction articles for a number of leading periodicals including The New York Times, The New Yorker, Granta, and Harper’s.

A New York City native, he attended Trinity School in Manhattan and graduated from Harvard University.

In addition to his writing, he has taught at Princeton University, New York University, the University of Houston, Columbia University, Brooklyn College, Hunter College, Wesleyan University, and been writer-in-residence at Vassar College, the University of Richmond, and the University of Wyoming.

Previous American Masters Lecture speakers have included historians Douglas Brinkley and James McPherson, author, journalist and film maker Sebastian Junger, author, actress, social critic and humorist Fran Lebowitz, theoretical physicist and futurist Michio Kaku, undersea explorer and Titanic discoverer Robert Ballard, and legendary Dallas Cowboy running back Emmitt Smith.

Last year’s speaker was Derek Thompson, a senior editor at The Atlantic magazine and author of Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction, a book that explores why some ideas take off, while others disappear.

According to Mrs. Garm, tickets for the event will be free.

Rep. Boback Announces November Outreach Hours


HARRISBURG – Rep. Karen Boback (R-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Wyoming) today announced her outreach events for November. Representatives from several different organizations will offer assistance at her district offices throughout the month. Please note these events are weather permitting.

“My staff and I are here to help with state-related issues,” said Boback. “I offer these monthly outreach hours to ensure residents of the 117th District have access to the great opportunities for veterans’ assistance, help with federal issues, information about starting a small business, and more.”


  • On Wednesday, Nov. 7, an American Legion representative will hold office hours from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Tunkhannock district office, 133 W. Tioga St., Suite 4, Tunkhannock. Area veterans may seek assistance and information pertaining to specific benefits and programs. Additional meetings will be held on the first Wednesday of every month. Please call the office (570) 836-4777 to make an appointment.
  • On Tuesday, Nov. 13, veterans outreach hours will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Dallas district office, 105 Lieutenant Michael Cleary Drive, Dallas. A claims consultant from the Wilkes-Barre VFW will be on hand to address questions and concerns of local veterans and their families.
  • On Nov. 20, a representative from the Center for Independent Living will be available for appointments at the Tunkhannock district office. Please call (570) 836-4777 to make an appointment.
  • On Monday, Nov. 22, the Mobile Vet Center will be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Ace Hardware-Brady and Cavany Store parking lot in Eaton Township. Some of the services available for veterans and their dependents include individual, group, family and bereavement counseling; medical referrals; assistance in applying for Veterans Affairs benefits; employment counseling; guidance and referrals; and alcohol and drug assessments.
  • On Wednesday, Nov. 28, a representative from the University of Scranton Small Business Development Center will visit the Tunkhannock district office from 10 a.m. to noon. The University of Scranton Small Business Development Center provides educational programs and no-cost, confidential consulting services to entrepreneurs looking to start or grow a small business.

For more legislative information, visit Boback’s website at

Sho Technology Solutions


Avish Shah was recently hired as a software engineer at Sho Technology Solutions. Mr. Shah is an experienced software developer who primarily works with Android, iOS, and JavaScript programming at SHO. His previous experience includes CSS, HTML, Thymeleaf, and BootStrap, among others. Before coming to the United States, Mr. Shah spent nearly four years in an internship position at Lifecare Hospisoft Pvt. Ltd., a startup in India.

Misericordia University




Misericordia University recently named Charles Richardson, Jr., D.P.S., as the dean of the College of Business. Dr. Richardson comes to Misericordia University after serving as the dean of the School of Business and associate professor of marketing at Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina.

Wayne Bank




Robert Sebastianelli has joined Wayne Bank as an assistant vice president and security/fraud officer. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in political science from Wilkes University and served as a criminal investigator with the Pennsylvania State Police for 25 years. He is a member of the Pennsylvania Homicide Investigators Association.

Horizon Dental Care




Dr. Jack Lawrence, DMD, has joined the staff of Horizon Dental Care and will see patients in both its Scranton and Hawley offices. Dr. Lawrence earned his bachelor’s degree at Johns Hopkins University and received his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from Temple University’s Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry.  He completed his residency through New York University Winthrop Hospital. He is a member of the American Dental Association, Pennsylvania Dental Association and Academy of General Dentistry.

Mohegan Sun Pocono



Gary DeWitt Jr. has been named assistant general manager at Mohegan Sun Pocono. He has been a consultant for Mohegan Sun Pocono over the course of the past year and, prior to that, played an instrumental role in the spring 2017 opening of ilani, a Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment partnership with the Cowlitz tribe of southwest Washington. At Mohegan Sun Pocono,  Mr. DeWitt will focus largely on the casino, hotel, security and facilities departments, with an emphasis on delivering exemplary service, both internally, as well as to guests.

Skelly and Loy Welcomes Three New Principals

Sandra K. Basehore, Executive Vice President of Environmental Services; Gerald W. Longenecker, PE, Executive Vice President of Engineering Services; and James T. France, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; have become Principals of Skelly and Loy, Inc.





Ms. Basehore is responsible for all aspects of personnel and project management, client satisfaction, and business development for environmental services company–wide. She joined Skelly and Loy in 1990 and most recently served as vice president in charge of Skelly and Loy’s Harrisburg Environmental Services Group.








Mr. Longenecker has company-wide responsibility for personnel and project management, client satisfaction, and business development associated with Skelly and Loy’s engineering services. He joined Skelly and Loy in 1993 and most recently served as vice president in charge of Skelly and Loy’s Environmental Engineering Services Group.









Mr. France came to Skelly and Loy in 2007 as chief financial officer. He is responsible for the financial management and the daily activities of the accounting department. He also serves as project coordinator for the implementation of a dynamic web-enabled and company-wide software solution.