UNC Partners with WNEP-TV for Annual Feed A Friend Program

United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern Pennsylvania (UNC) is once again partnering with WNEP-TV’s Feed A Friend program to provide families in need with a Thanksgiving meal. The economic impact of COVID-19 has been devastating to some of our local families, and UNC anticipates providing up to 1,500 families with Thanksgiving meals with the help of community donations.

With COVID-19 still present in our community, the Feed A Friend program will look a little different this year to keep everyone safe. To reduce the number of people handling and distributing food, monetary donations are requested. Non-perishable food items will not be collected. These donations will be used to purchase gift cards to local grocery stores. A turkey voucher and gift card will be distributed to each registered family prior to Thanksgiving. A gift of $40 will sponsor one family, but any amount is greatly appreciated.

Here are a few ways that businesses and organizations can participate:

  • Request an electronic and/or printed WNEP-TV Feed A Friend poster that can be shared or posted at your location. The posters include a QR code that, when scanned, takes donors directly to WNEP.com, where they can select to donate to United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s Feed A Friend program.
  • Host your own Feed A Friend fundraiser! For example, schools or businesses can schedule $2 dress-down days between now and November 20th with the goal of sponsoring a certain number of families. (5 = $200, 8 = $320, 10 families = $400)
  • Post on your social media pages that you are supporting Feed A Friend and ask your followers to help you sponsor X number of families by donating at www.uncnepa.org/one-time-donation/ (select Feed A Friend Thanksgiving Program).

Organizations interested in participating can contact Susan Stopper at sstopper@uncnepa.org or at (570) 346-0759, ext. 111 to request printed or electronic posters. Donations can be made online at https://www.uncnepa.org/one-time-donation/ or by check made payable to United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA with Feed A Friend in the memo line and mailed to 425 Alder Street, Scranton, PA 18505.

If you or a family you know is in need this Thanksgiving, contact UNC at (570) 343-8835. Lackawanna County families with children age 18 and under in the household are eligible for the program.

PennDOT, Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Support Automated Truck Platooning Demonstration

The Smart Belt Coalition (SBC), a collaboration between transportation agencies, including the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC), as well as educational institutions in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio, conducted an automated truck platooning demonstration that began in Pittsburgh and ended in Michigan. The SBC partnered with Pittsburgh-based technology firm Locomation to complete the demonstration.

While performing the demonstration, the SBC coordinated food donations between The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank and the Forgotten Harvest Food Bank in Detroit.

Truck platooning is the linking of two or more trucks in convoy using connectivity technology and automated driving support systems. These vehicles automatically maintain a set, close distance between each other when they are connected.  Two automated and connected tractor trailers travelled from Pittsburgh, through Ohio, to Michigan.

“As a state that has always been at the forefront of innovation and industry, it should be no surprise that Pennsylvania is an epicenter for automated vehicle research and development, said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “As stewards of transportation safety and mobility in Pennsylvania, PennDOT has a critical role in helping to ensure that this new technology is developed and tested safely.”

“Many amazing things are happening in the automated vehicle space and truck platooning is an example of that,” said PA Turnpike Commission CEO Mark Compton. “However, we seek to be strategic about these developments and above all – safe. The Smart Belt Coalition is a coordinated effort which crosses state lines and makes it possible for us to be engaged in tech-enabled business and transportation trends. Working together, we will be able to more effectively advance these emerging technologies for all motorists.”

The SBC and Locomation demonstrated the agency coordination and administrative and procedural requirements necessary for a “truck platooning system to operate continuously through the three states.. This effort will result in a “lessons learned” document on the steps needed to facilitate a truck platooning and automated driving system operation across jurisdictional boundaries.

More on automated vehicle testing in Pennsylvania can be found on PennDOT’s website here.

Lackawanna College Sonography Program Holds Basket Raffle for Charity

The Lackawanna College Sonography Department is holding a basket raffle for Jack of Hearts, a nonprofit that provides education and resources to local families of pediatric cardiac patients and supports charitable organizations in Pennsylvania.

Jack of Hearts was founded by Lackawanna College Cardiac Sonography student Lisa Scarfo and her husband Donny. The Scarfo’s eleven-year-old son Jack was prenatally diagnosed with a congenital heart defect, which inspired the charity.

“It’s a privilege to work with our student Lisa and support Jack of Hearts,” said Stephanie McDaniels, Lackawanna College Director of Sonography Programs. “The students of the sonography program have stepped up to make sure the raffle will be a success, aiding the charity in its mission of helping families in need.”

Included in the winning basket is $200 in gift cards, a Vera Bradley lunch tote and other Vera Bradley accessories. Raffle participants can also win Lackawanna College and Jack of Hearts gear. All members of the community are welcome to participate in this raffle.

The winning ticket will be drawn on Tuesday, November 10 at 4 p.m. To purchase your ticket, visit lackawanna.edu/events/jack-of-hearts-basket-raffle.

For more information on Jack of Hearts, visit jackofhearts.org.

NET Credit Union Makes Career Moves

Two NET Credit Union employees recently received promotions. Mileise Allegrucci has been promoted to Vice President of Member Experience. Mileise will oversee Marketing and Business Development, as well as Branch Operations. Since becoming an employee of NET Credit Union five years ago, Mileise has assisted with multiple projects to help the credit union succeed.

Marc Michalowski has been promoted to Vice President of IS&T, Information Systems and Technology. Marc will manage the IT and the Back Office Departments. Marc’s experienced background in IT has helped NET Credit Union grow and develop.

Both Marc and Mileise have been charged with improving digital member touchpoints, internal and external efficiency of our new systems, product development, and front line operations to include the contact center.

Geisinger Encourages Community to Download COVID Alert PA App

Geisinger is encouraging Pennsylvania residents to download and use the COVID Alert PA smartphone app launched last month by the Pa. Department of Health.

The app, which is free to download and available for Apple and Android devices, alerts users if they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Users who receive an exposure alert can choose whether they want to receive a call from a contact tracer, and can track their symptoms through the app.

The app’s alert system uses anonymous Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology and an exposure notification system designed by Apple and Google. No personal or location information is collected through the app.

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Geisinger established a contact tracing program to help identify those who may have been exposed to the virus and encourage self-quarantine to prevent further spread. The DOH is now overseeing contact tracing efforts in Pennsylvania. Contact tracers call those who have tested positive for the virus to determine whom they have been in close contact with, and then reaches out to those contacts to advise them of potential exposure. The app is designed to complement this process.

“Contact tracing is one of the most effective ways to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Karen Murphy, PhD, Geisinger’s chief innovation officer. “The COVID Alert PA app quickly notifies users who may have been exposed to COVID-19, preventing outbreaks and keeping our communities safe.”

For more information about the COVID Alert PA app, visit www.pa.gov/covid/covid-alert-pa.

Marywood University to Hold Panel Discussion, “The Exercise of Political Love: Pope Francis, the Election, and a Vision for Our Future”

Marywood University faculty and staff representatives will hold a panel discussion on the important issues from Pope Francis’ Social Encyclical, Fratelli Tutti. The panel discussion, “The Exercise of Political Love: Pope Francis, the Election, and a Vision for Our Future,” will take place Thursday, October 29, 2020, at 6 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. To register, visit https://forms.gle/FFQZC67EPfjnYnpk9.

With the publication of his latest social encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis has called the entire world to fraternity and social friendship. This is particularly an important call in light of the upcoming U.S. presidential election. A panel of Marywood faculty staff will discuss the important issues from this letter and how it impacts our world. Panelists for the discussion include Daniel Cosacchi, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Religious Studies department; Joshua Deckman, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Foreign Language department; Yerodin Lucas, Ph.D., interim director of Equity & Inclusion and Title IX coordinator; Erin Sadlack, Ph.D., professor in the English department; Kielty Turner, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Social Work ; and Sister John Michele Southwick, IHM, assistant director of campus ministry at Marywood University.

Social Encyclicals, according to the Social Encyclicals entry in Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought, Social Science, and Social Policy are: “A large-scale, detailed letter sent out by the Pope to everyone in the world, treating social issues (usually economic ones) with a combination of critique and counsel, defining paramount principles, pointing our urgent problems suggesting direction for solutions.”

For additional information about Marywood University’s panel discussion, please contact Erin Sadlack, Ph.D., professor of English, program coordinator of English in the Department of Communication, Language, and Literature, at easadlack@maryu.marywood.edu.

Phishing Scam Targeting PPP Borrowers

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has discovered an email scam originating from sba-attorneys.com that seeks to create alarm among Paycheck Protection Protection (PPP) loan borrowers. The email falsely warns that PPP funds were issued to the recipient in error, and that immediate action must be taken to avoid “potential criminal liability.”

If you receive such an email, consider marking the item as SPAM and deleting it from your inbox. Under no circumstances should you reply to the sender or click on any of the message’s embedded links.

Joseph J. Grilli, MPA, DPA, Joins Senior Day Services as its President and CEO

Joseph Grilli recently joined Senior Day Services as its President and CEO. Grilli is a seasoned professional with over 15 years experience in home health and services to seniors as well as 10 years experience in higher education instruction and administration.

As president and CEO of Senior Day Services, formerly Telespond Senior Services, Grilli will oversee day-to-day operations, programmatic expansion, community awareness campaigns and fundraising. Senior Day Services, a non-profit founded in 1974, provides on-site adult day care services, in-home personal care and a robust, volunteer-led senior companionship program to the residents of Lackawanna County and surrounding communities.

Prior to his current position at Senior Day Services, Grilli served as Division Director for Private Duty Services at Caregivers America in Clarks Summit. Before joining Caregivers America, Grilli held distinguished teaching and management positions in higher education, primarily at Misericordia University. He first began working in the healthcare industry as Vice President of Planning and Marketing in the Mercy Health Care system and gained the bulk of his experience at Home Health Care Corporation, Inc., where he served as Chief Operating Officer.

Grilli earned his Master’s and Doctorate in Public Administration from Nova Southeastern University. He received his bachelor’s from Wilkes University. He is a lifelong resident of northeastern Pennsylvania, and he has served as a volunteer on many boards and commissions. He currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Luzerne County CARES commission and several United Way of Wyoming Valley committees. He was the past chair of V.I.S.I.O.N. men’s homeless shelter and serves on the board at Wyoming Valley Alcohol and Drug, Inc., the CYC, Luzerne County Community College and Northeast Services.