Dunmore Accounting Firm Gets New Partner, New Name

Certified Public Accountant Michael F. McHale has joined the long-standing accounting firm Michael A. Barbetti, LLC as a partner. After operating for nearly 40 years as Michael A. Barbetti, LLC, the firm has changed its name to Barbetti McHale, LLC CPA to reflect the new partnership.

“We’re thrilled to bring Michael F. McHale aboard. His thirty years of tax preparation and auditing experience in Pennsylvania and New Jersey are an asset to all of our current and future clients,” said Mr. Barbetti.

“The company has a reputation for great working relationships between clients and staff. I’m proud to add my knowledge and experience to the team. Even though we will be operating with a new name, our clients can still rely on the same staff of professionals they’ve known and depended on in the past,” said Mike McHale.

McHale has worked extensively with C-Corporations, S-Corporations, Partnerships, Estates, Trusts and individuals. A graduate of the University of Scranton with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting, McHale is also a member of the American Institute, Pennsylvania Institute and New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Barbetti McHale, LLC CPA provides professional accounting and tax services to clients ranging from individual taxpayers and family-owned businesses to government agencies and nonprofit organizations.

Johnson College to Host Virtual and In-Person Fall Open House Events

Johnson College will hold a virtual Open House on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020 at 6 p.m. via Zoom and an in-person Open House on its campus in Scranton on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. To register for both or one of the Open House events visit Johnson.edu/openhouse or contact Johnson College’s Enrollment Department at 570-702-8856 or enroll@johnson.edu.

Both Open House events will include discussions about the admissions process, financial aid for those who qualify, and student services such student life, student support, and career services.

During the in-person Open House, same day acceptance will be available, if students bring their high school or college transcripts. Tours of each technical area will be conducted and department chairs will be available to review the specifics of their programs. Social distancing and sanitization guidelines will be followed and face coverings must be worn at all times while on campus. Attendees will receive a limited edition Johnson College face covering.

For additional information on Johnson College, please call 1-800-2-WE-WORK, email enroll@johnson.edu, or visit Johnson.edu.

Pediatrician Maria Alexies Osorio Samonte, M.D., Named Medical Director of The Wright Center’s Pediatric Services

Maria Alexies Osorio Samonte, M.D., a board-certified pediatrician with over 25 years of experience, has been named Medical Director of The Wright Center for Community Health’s Pediatric Services. She will practice at the Mid Valley location, 5 South Washington Ave., Jermyn, where she is accepting new patients, ages newborn to 18 years old.

Prior to joining The Wright Center, Dr. Samonte served as a general pediatrician and Regional Medical Director for Geisinger Northeast Pediatrics. She was also clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. Dr. Samonte now assumes the leadership role of Associate Program Director for The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education’s Family Medicine Pediatrics Program.

A Jenkins Twp. resident, Dr. Samonte earned her doctorate degree in medicine and surgery as well as a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Santo Tomas, Manila, Philippines. She also earned a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Scranton. Dr. Samonte completed pediatric residency training at Rush-Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center, Chicago, and fellowship training in pediatric nephrology at Children’s Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, Missouri. She is a fellow with the American Academy of Pediatrics and a member of the Philippine Medical Association.

The Wright Center offers primary care to all ages at eight clinical sites throughout Northeast Pennsylvania, with four pediatricians, seven family medicine doctors and numerous physician assistants and nurse practitioners who provide comprehensive and preventive health services to children and entire families.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Samonte, families can call 570-230-0019.

For more information, visit TheWrightCenter.org. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

POSH Gives Back to Scranton Tomorrow

Posh gives back & supports the initiatives of Scranton Tomorrow. Posh @ the Scranton Club, 404 N. Washington Avenue, in Downtown Scranton, is hosting a special promotion in support of Scranton Tomorrow on Thursday, October 22.

Dine In or Order Delivery, Curbside or Takeout and 10% of the proceeds from the night will be donated to Scranton Tomorrow. 

Click here to view the menu, and place your order by calling 570.955.5890 or texting 347.323.9334.

Geisinger Opens Dedicated Cold and Flu Walk-In Care Clinics

With respiratory virus season quickly approaching, Geisinger is making it easier for you to get care and treatment by opening Geisinger Convenient Care Cold & Flu Centers. These walk-in locations are the best place to go if you have cold and flu symptoms.

Existing Geisinger Convenient Care locations in Danville, Lewistown, Scranton and Wilkes-Barre are now Convenient Care Cold & Flu Centers. They offer dedicated care for cold, flu and respiratory virus symptoms, like a cough, fever, runny nose or sore throat, to anyone over age 1.

“This cold and flu season comes amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and the viruses have similar symptoms,” said Richard Martin, M.D., medical director of Geisinger Convenient Care. “By opening these dedicated cold and flu centers, we’re helping people get the care they need in the most efficient way.”

The centers are equipped with rapid respiratory panel testing capabilities. This includes testing for influenza strains A and B; respiratory syncytial virus (RSV); streptococcus (strep); and COVID-19. While testing for COVID-19 is part of the respiratory panel, these locations are not COVID-19 testing centers.

“Our cold and flu centers won’t turn away anyone with other illnesses and injuries, but it’s important for patients to know where to go for more efficient care,” Martin said. “Convenient Care is still here to treat your sprains, strains, cuts and other illnesses, but we’re making care easier by helping people get to the best location for treatment.”

While it’s important to know where to go or care, it’s even more important to get your flu shot this year, Martin said.

“While we’re adding these cold and flu centers as an additional level of care in our communities, it’s still crucial for you to get your annual flu shot,” Martin said. “Getting your flu shot this year is critical in helping to keep flu-related hospitalizations to a minimum so we don’t overwhelm the health care system with cases of the flu and COVID-19 viruses.”

To learn more about Geisinger Convenient Care Cold & Flu Centers, visit geisinger.org/coldandflu. To learn where to get a flu shot, visit geisinger.org/flunews.

Visit geisinger.org/urgent to hold your place in line and check wait times at any Convenient Care location. Online check-in allows physical distancing and minimizes time in the clinic’s reception area. To align with Geisinger’s COVID-19 policies, anyone entering the clinic should wear a mask, or ask for one upon arrival. If possible, patients should only have one person accompany them for care.

If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms, have been exposed to someone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19, or need a COVID-19 test, call Geisinger’s coronavirus hotline at 570-284-3657 for testing.

5th Anniversary of Children’s Center of Susquehanna & Wyoming Counties (CAC)

Family Service Association of Northeastern Pennsylvania (FSA) is excited to announce the fifth anniversary of its Children’s Center of Susquehanna and Wyoming Counties (CAC). The CAC is excited to be celebrating five years of service and the opportunity it affords for the communities to become further aware of its services.

“CACs are not a new concept. After the Jerry Sandusky scandal, the Governor of Pennsylvania made monies available to expand CACs in the Commonwealth. Wyoming and Susquehanna Counties had been using a center in Lackawanna County. This was a long distance for our families to travel. At that time, the quest began to have our own CAC that would serve our rural families. Now, we are celebrating our fifth year of service to the families of both counties. Combining the needs of Law Enforcement, District Attorneys and Children and Youth benefits the victims of sexual and physical abuse. Together, the victims and their families are not further traumatized and justice can be served.”

Patty Skrynski, retired Administrator of Wyoming County Children and Youth Services

CACs are neutral, child- friendly settings where children receive specialized forensic services, using nationally recognized protocols to assure legally sound, that are meant to decrease further trauma by making services available in one place at one time. The results of these services are shared with investigative team members so they can complete their investigations with less need to interview the children repeatedly.

“…. Transportation was often an issue….. We hoped for more communication and interaction between the disciplines involved in these child abuse cases and that is why we began the process of developing a CAC that would specifically serve Susquehanna and Wyoming Counties.”

Janet MacKay, Chief Executive Officer, Victims Resource Center

Forensic medical exams are performed by Pediatric Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners who conduct the exams using specialized equipment that helps to identify any anomalies or injuries a child may have. These exams play an important role in the healing process for children and their families. There is a sense of relief for them to know they are healthy after a traumatic event like sexual abuse. And if any medical concerns arise from this exam we can connect the family to the appropriate services.

The CAC also provides evidence based trauma therapy with a certified trained therapist. Therapy gives children and their families the chance to come to grips with what has happened and move forward to a fuller life.

“It was unprecedented for two small rural counties to create a CAC together and it was a lot of work to get it off the ground. However, it is a very important resource to have. Instead of relying on larger, distant counties for this expertise, we were able to develop it here. Having the CAC enables us to interview and examine children promptly, the staff are available to give us input and advice on cases and the staff have an investment in the counties they serve.”

Jeff Mitchell, Wyoming County District Attorney

Child sexual abuse cases occur 90% of the time at the hand of someone the child knows. This person is someone the child may have a close, trusting relationship with; a person the child’s family may know well and trust as well. By the time children reach the age of 18, 1 in 10 will have experienced sexual abuse.

CACs are designed to meet the unique needs of the communities they serve and, as such, no two CACs look or operate exactly alike. (Northeast Regional Children’s Advocacy Center) And that is precisely why the stakeholders of these two counties, Susquehanna and Wyoming, committed to the development of a CAC that would address the needs of our communities. Many of these original “stakeholders” of the Children’s Center of Susquehanna and Wyoming Counties (CAC) commented about their reasons for creating the CAC as opposed to continuing to utilize the existing CACs in our region.

“The reason we decided to develop the CAC was 1. Because of the travel and distance. People are dealing with so much to begin with and going to an unfamiliar area can make them more nervous; and 2. It is better for the disciplines involved to work together with local resources and local teams…. It was an added blessing to do this with Wyoming County. I am proud of how far the CAC has come in 5 years.”

Honorable Jason Legg, President Judge Susquehanna County stated,

The number of CACs in Pennsylvania more than doubled from 2015 when the Children’s Center of Susquehanna and Wyoming Counties opened its doors to today. The Jerry Sandusky scandal opened Pennsylvanians’ eyes to the plague that child sexual abuse can be. Today the Advisory Board consists of: The District Attorneys’ offices, Children and Youth Services from each county, Victims Resource Center and Women’s Resource Center, and community members from each county, as well as FSA Board members.

In addition to these stakeholders, I spoke with other community members who expressed their sentiment about the Children’s Center of Susquehanna and Wyoming Counties.

“As a volunteer, I have been very honored to be part of the CAC. I am grateful that the children in our area have a wonderful place that provides support services for them.”

Ellen DiPhillips, Volunteer commented

FSA and its Board, leadership and staff offer a heartfelt thanks to all of those who dug their heels in, formed the planning committee, and did the work along with FSA to build the foundation that this CAC is now standing on.

“the communities coming together to offer this wonderfully healing service at the Children’s Center of Susquehanna and Wyoming Counties is the reward for the effort that FSA has undertaken. We could not do what we do without the dedicated staff and their tireless efforts. In the recent COVID 19 pandemic, the Center never stopped providing services, never closed. I am so very excited for the next five years and beyond.”

Gertrude C. McGowan, Esq., CEO of FSA

Quest Studio October Programs

Join us for our 4th Annual Black Light Barre Class on Monday, October 26 at 6:45pm. This 60 minute class is a fusion of Ballet, yoga, Pilates and strength training and is open to all levels. $10 drop-in for non-members to attend in person or live stream. Wear your best neon and white Halloween gear. Space is limited.

End your month with a little self love, taking time to rest & restore. Join Quest Instructor, Lindsey Riddell Live Stream on Sunday, October 25 at 10:00am for a Vinyasa and Yin yoga fusion that can be done at home to help relax the mind and restore the body! Be guided through a meditation to focus on restoring and renewing your mind, body, and spirit. Class is held on the last Sunday of every month. $10 Drop In for non-members. Please Pre-register HERE.

Celebrate Halloween and experience a Nightmare on 3rd St for a Pop Up Blackout Yoga class. Join Taylor Thursday, October 29 at 6:45 PM for an open level yoga flow in the dark with Halloween music. Bring your own mat. $10 Drop in for non members. Space is Limited. Reserve your spot for class HERE.

The full moon is a time of shedding and letting go. It is a time to release anything that is no longer serving you and step into a place of power and intention. Join Lindsey Riddell on Halloween at Quest Church for Full Moon Yoga Saturday, October 31 at 10:00AM where you’ll be guided through an open level yoga flow to match the energy of the full moon. Bring your own mat. $10 Drop in for non members. Space is Limited. Reserve your spot for class HERE.

Women’s Resource Center Safe Dates Program

For as long as there have been teenagers, there has been teen dating, and it has become increasingly more complicated over time. The Women’s Resource Center Safe Dates program is evidence-based and was created to educate youth on how to identify and prevent dating violence, including identifying aspects of healthy relationships, how to help friends in unhealthy relationships and how to communicate if you or someone you know may be in a dangerous dating situation. This education is designed to stay with teens into adulthood, as their relationships change and deepen.

We are proud to say that, over the past two years, we have reached over 2,000 middle and high school students in Lackawanna County public and private schools…always at no cost to the school district. This year, however, we are working closely with schools to determine how best to continue our program.

“The Safe Dates program might feel less of a priority right now, when schools have many competing priorities complicated further by COVID. But we know that dating and sexual violence don’t stop because other things in the world are happening; it doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Dating and sexual violence still need to be prevented. Youth still need to learn skills to stay calm, communicate, help friends and develop healthy relationships. These are just as relevant now…maybe more so than ever.” – Sarah Dawgert, WRC Education Manager

How Safe Dates is Evolving

We are ready and able to adapt in any way needed!

WRC’s Prevention Team is hard at work developing two virtual options for facilitating the Safe Dates program: a series of pre-recorded videos, and interactive live virtual classes. Both options will be led by a WRC Teen Educator and will keep in mind that, with students learning partially or fully from home, sessions will need to be altered slightly. Our team is eager to put these new plans into place!

Watch a recent WNEP segment about Safe Dates

AVP “In Concert with You”

All of us at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport (Team AVP) feel great about our future.

We don’t use the term “Team AVP” to refer solely to the airport. “Team AVP” refers to our partners in the business community, the aviation industry and our airport support entities such as aviation service providers and our passenger service colleagues at our restaurants and gift shops.  Rounding out the team are the passengers we serve. 

Over the past several years of working with the business and travel communities in Northeastern Pennsylvania, we have expanded flight options, enabling more travelers to visit additional destinations. Likewise, we have been able to provide the unique opportunity for people from other locations to experience the beauty of our area.  In fact, in 2019, we set a record for the amount of passengers that used our airport.

I know I don’t have to remind you that the past seven months have been like no other in our history. COVID-19 has dramatically impacted our health, our jobs, and our regional economic engine. One of the biggest impacts has been to our travel and tourism industry. Airlines reduced flights as people slowed their travel amidst concerns of a spreading pandemic.

I don’t want this letter to be a rehash of the challenges of COVID-19. Rather, I want to report our actions and identify the future course that we can all participate in to succeed for Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Fortunately, our community has benefitted significantly from funding provided by the federal government through the CARES Act – as has AVP. We have judiciously used these resources to continue maintaining our airport to the high standards that travelers expect. We also have used a portion of funds to reduce costs of operating at our airport for tenants and concessionaires.  The people who operate these airport services are, first and foremost, part of our collective neighborhood.  In our minds, it is always right to help our neighbors when necessary.

Our first step was to listen to our passengers, to the airlines, and to our other stakeholders. They told us that they wanted a safe airport that put health first and gave travelers confidence. The airlines told us they needed customers to return to using the airport so that their flights would be viable.  And we told the airlines the service and routes our community expected. Our stakeholders told us they needed a work environment that was safe for their employees so that they could resume serving our many customers.

We understood our assignment and got to work. We collaborated with airlines to create an end-to-end healthful environment at the airport, which made our airport cleaner than ever. We put in new procedures, requiring masks and social distancing; giving our customers, our airline partners, and our stakeholders the confidence to come back.  And they did!

Now, we must prepare for the opportunities still ahead. We believe our success will continue by making sure we stay “In Concert with You.” Team AVP believes a successful operation is a blend of viewpoints working toward a common solution.  To be successful, the team must include local governments and their residents, business leaders, chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, and destination marketing organizations (DMO), and along with the local airport.

Team AVP is working toward this goal through development of a community-based airport partnership, which has proven successful in other communities around the country. The objective in working with our regional partners is to capitalize on the relationship between the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport (AVP) and the community. We recognize that the AVP “asset” needs to continue to be positioned as a business enterprise and as an engine for economic growth. 

AVP is a committed and proactive partner to the business community. We accomplish this through the development and implementation of programs and services designed to increase contracting, professional services, and procurement opportunities at the airport.  We are also actively working with the area’s top employers. These community-based partnerships have helped airports and communities discover issues surrounding the growth of their airports, and inspired solutions, which created a sense of ownership throughout the process. 

A second component of Team AVP’s strategy to seize these opportunities will be to stimulate passenger growth by working with Destination Marketing Organizations (DMO) throughout the Northeastern Pennsylvania region.  We will partner with them to bring visitors back to the levels prior to the pandemic.  Our goal in working to increase visitors to Northeastern Pennsylvania by way of air travel into AVP is to work with our DMO partners to design effective communication, business, and marketing strategies targeted to potential vacation travelers.  This type of vacation traveler was among the first to resume travel plans to areas with outdoor and open space attractions.

As we begin moving around for work and for play, AVP is here when needed. Passengers can travel with confidence knowing that health and satisfaction are our #1 priorities. Our community will put the past months’ struggles behind us, as we move forward, together, to create an even better Northeastern PA. We will do our part, “In Concert with You.”

Carl R. Beardsley, Jr.
Executive Director
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport

Action Lift, Inc. Celebrates Its 35th Anniversary

In December 2020, Action Lift, Inc. will reach a milestone—35 years of doing business in the material handling industry. Under President William F. Medico and veteran managers Bernie Thoma, Chet Williams, and Joe Mikiewicz, the company has enjoyed success and grown from four employees to over eighty. Today, Action Lift is the largest, locally owned material-handling equipment supplier in Northeastern Pennsylvania, providing top-notch equipment with the region’s best service.

The company is the authorized forklift dealer for Crown Equipment Corporation and UniCarriers Americas Corporation in NE Pennsylvania. Also, Kelley, SkyJack, JLG, Genie, Taylor Dunn, and Cushman are other leading brands that are carried by the company.

Action Lift, Inc. has received numerous awards for excellence in the industry, including the prestigious James F. Dicke Pioneer Award as Crown Equipment’s top-performing dealer in North America. The company has also been awarded twenty Crown Summit Awards throughout the years for outstanding achievements in sales and customer satisfaction and numerous Goal Buster Awards for forklift and parts sales presented by UniCarriers Americas Corporation. For information, contact info@actionliftinc.com.