PennDOT Invites Public to Participate in New Safety Citizens Program

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) invites Pennsylvanians to participate in its new Safety Citizens program, which encourages community members to answer traffic safety questions in original and creative ways.

Bi-monthly traffic safety topics will be introduced, posing a question for the public to answer. Participants can answer by submitting a short video, a poem or an original piece of artwork. Selected submissions will be displayed on PennDOT’s statewide social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Being a Safety Citizen is being a leader by inspiring your family, friends and community to practice safe behaviors on the road. Whether traveling by vehicle, motorcycle, bicycle or on foot, everyone has the opportunity to be safer on the road.

Individuals, classes, families, clubs, or other groups are encouraged to consider this new safety initiative as a program challenge.

The program is now open, kicking off with Teen Driver Safety as the first topic. Participants are asked to submit a response to the question “What do you think every teen driver should know before getting behind the wheel?” Submissions are due by Wednesday, September 30.

Upcoming topics will include impaired driving, highway safety laws and distracted driving.

Additional information on the program, including the details and guidelines for participation, can be found online at www.PennDOT.gov/SafetyCitizens or questions can be emailed to SafetyCitizens@pa.gov. Interested participants are encouraged to check the website frequently for updates about future topics.

Scranton Area Community Foundation to Host Virtual Learning Conference

The Scranton Area Community Foundation, through its Center for Community Leadership and Nonprofit Excellence in partnership with Moses Taylor Foundation and The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, will host a 2020 Virtual NEPA Learning Conference on Thursday, September 17, and Friday, September 18, 2020. This event will offer nonprofit organizations and nonprofit professionals across the region the opportunity to receive in-depth training virtually from local and nationally-recognized presenters.

Keynote speakers will include Jessamyn Shams-Lau, Executive Director of the Perry Foundation and coauthor of Unicorns Unite: How Nonprofits & Foundations Can Build EPIC Partnerships; and Wes Moore, bestselling author, Army combat veteran, social entrepreneur, and Robin Hood’s Chief Executive Officer. Moore’s book, The Other Wes Moore, a perennial New York Times bestseller, captured the nation’s attention on the fine line between success and failure in our communities and in ourselves, and has been optioned by executive producer Oprah Winfrey and HBO to be made into a movie.

Attendees of this two-day learning conference will have an opportunity to learn from local and national experts in a variety of fields, network with peers, and discover how they can create a learning culture within their organization. The conference will share strategies for staying solvent during unprecedented times, share how to visualize an organization’s impact and sustainability, and teach how to maximize resiliency to thrive during tough times. Over 200 representatives from nonprofit organizations are registered to attend this virtual event.

This event was originally scheduled to take place in person in downtown Scranton but due to the public health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and to support the health and well-being of our of the region, the event will take place virtually through the conference platform, Whova. While attendance is geared toward nonprofit professionals, registration is open to the public. A registration fee of $49 is charged upon registration. Registration closes at 12:00 p.m. (noon) on Wednesday, September 16, 2020. Attendees can register at https://scranton.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/list/event?event_date_id=1099 or through the conference website https://nepalearningconference.com/.

“Through the Scranton Area Community Foundation’s Center for Community Leadership and Nonprofit Excellence, we prioritize the importance of enhancing organizational capacity building and view it as transformative to the region as a whole,” said Laura Ducceschi, President and CEO of the Scranton Area Community Foundation. “We are grateful for so many of our partnering foundations right here in Northeastern Pennsylvania supporting our efforts to bring this learning conference to the nonprofit community of our region.”

Sponsors include Moses Taylor Foundation, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, The William C. McGowan Charitable Fund, Geisinger, The Luzerne Foundation, McGrail Merkel Quinn & Associates, Goodwill Industries of Northeastern Pennsylvania, United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties, Edwards + Strunk, Center City Print, Agile Strength Fitness, AllOne Foundation and Charities, and GiveGab.

For more information on the 2020 NEPA Learning Conference, please visit nepalearningconference.com or contact Brittany Pagnotti, Communications Manager of the Scranton Area Community Foundation at 570-347-6203.  

Lackawanna College Partners with Local Organizations to Aid Local Restaurants

Lackawanna College, in partnership with the City of Scranton and Scranton Tomorrow, announced Rally for Restaurants, an initiative to support local restaurants that are struggling due to the COVID-19 health crisis.

Lackawanna College’s student-run restaurant, 409 on Adams, will open its doors to participating restaurants free of charge, including the use of their outdoor patio with heated tents, access to their kitchens, student chefs, wait staff, food and beverages. All proceeds from meals purchased during Rally for Restaurants will go directly to that night’s participating restaurant to help offset funds lost due to capacity restrictions. Additional funds are raised through direct donations and sales from Rally for Restaurants t-shirts.

“Our local restaurants are doing their best to operate during COVID-19 while keeping their patrons safe,” said Lackawanna College President Jill Murray. “Unfortunately, this pandemic has caused a decline in or a loss of business for many of our restaurants. Lackawanna College’s goal is to offset the immediate costs that the industry has suffered to help get these restaurants back to business and reinvigorate our local economy.”

Local restaurants participating in Rally for Restaurants will also give students in Lackawanna College’s Kiesendahl School of Hospitality the chance to learn from some of the area’s top chefs. Participating restaurants will follow program curriculum and work with student chefs to create and serve menu items.

Rally for Restaurants will begin Sept. 29 with seatings from 5 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Reservations are required. All guests must conduct self-screening through CampusClear at campusclear.com before arriving at 409 on Adams and follow masking and social distancing guidelines.

Those wishing to donate to Rally for Restaurants can visit Lackawanna.edu/rally. All donations will help offset expenses forRally for Restaurants and remaining funds will be shared with the participating restaurants.

For more information, reservations and menus for Rally for Restaurants, visit Lackawanna.edu/rally.

PennDOT Accepting Applications For 2021-22 Improvements Under Multimodal Transportation Fund

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today announced that applications will be accepted to fund new transportation improvement projects under the Multimodal Transportation Fund (MTF) through November 6, 2020.

“The Multimodal Transportation Fund enhances connectivity in our state and allows local projects to benefit all regions,” PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian said. “Projects are selected based on safety benefits, regional economic conditions, technical and financial feasibility, job creation, energy efficiency, and operational sustainability.”

Eligible applicants include municipalities, council of governments, business/non-profit organizations, economic development organizations, public transportation agencies, public airports, airport authorities, and ports and rail entities.

Projects that will be considered should coordinate local land use with transportation assets to enhance existing communities; improve streetscape, lighting, sidewalk facilities, and pedestrian safety; improve connectivity or utilization of existing transportation assets; or advance transit-oriented-development.

In FY 2020-21, 27 projects were awarded more than $30 million in MTF funding throughout 23 counties, including construction of trail and road access to the new 10-acre Bridesburg Riverfront Park in southeast region of the state, the installation of 4,100 feet of curb and 2,100 feet of sidewalks/related streetscape work in the northeast region of state, and converting two traditional intersections into modern roundabouts to reduce congestion, improve air quality, and enhance pedestrian mobility in the southeast.

PennDOT expects to announce grant recipients next year, and funding will become available in July 2021.

Act 89 of 2013 established a dedicated Multimodal Transportation Fund that stabilizes funding for ports and rail freight, increases aviation investments, establishes dedicated funding for bicycle and pedestrian improvements, and allows targeted funding for priority investments in any mode.

For more information about the program and previous years’ applications and awards, visit www.penndot.gov and click on Multimodal Program under the “Projects & Programs” menu.

Marywood University Ranks Best Value among Northeast PA Colleges, Best College for Veterans, and Best Regional Universities North

Marywood University offers the “Best Value” among Northeast Pennsylvania Universities, according to the 2020 U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges ranking. Marywood was also one of only two regional institutions included in U.S. News “Best Colleges for Veterans” category.

At #20 of the regional universities (North) ranked for “Best Value,” Marywood ranked as one of the highest of the five local four-year private colleges included in this category. According to U.S. News, the “Best Value” ranking considers a school’s academic quality. The higher the quality of the program and the lower the cost, the better the deal. Only schools ranked in or near the top half of their categories are included because U.S. News considers the most significant values to be among colleges that are above average academically.

Marywood was one only two regional universities ranked in the “Best Colleges for Veterans” (Regional Universities North). According to U.S. News, these are the top-ranked schools in the 2020 Best Colleges rankings that participate in federal initiatives helping veterans and active-duty service members pay for their degrees.

For additional information about Marywood University, please visit www.marywood.edu, or call the Office of Admissions, at (570) 348-6234. For additional information about U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges rankings, please visit www.usnews.com/colleges.

Joseph Sileo Named Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for The Wright Center

Attorney Joseph Sileo has been named Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for The Wright Center for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education.

Prior to joining The Wright Center, he served as Of Counsel in charge of the McNees Wallace & Nurick Scranton law office and a partner in Ufberg Sileo Law Firm. Sileo brings 27 years of experience representing both private and public employers across a broad range of business industries, primarily in  management-side labor and employment law, as well as pro bono legal representation and working with local municipalities. He also serves as a frequent presenter on human resources and employment law topics to employers, human resource professionals and industry associations. 

Sileo’s new responsibilities include overseeing, planning, organizing and directing The Wright Center’s legal staff and the legal work of the organization’s Boards of Directors and internal stakeholders. He also will develop and implement the Integrity and Compliance Program for all non-clinical matters.

Sileo earned his bachelor’s degree in pre-law from The Pennsylvania State University and is a summa cum laude graduate of Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School. He resides in Clarks Summit with his wife, Susan, and has two sons, Joseph and Jonathan.