#SupportLackawanna: Celebrate Small. Celebrate Safe.

Support Lackawanna is a rally for support of our local economy. We’re telling the stories of gratitude, entrepreneurial spirit, and fearless commitment that have built an indestructible small business foundation in Lackawanna County. We’re celebrating the moments that have impacted our lives while creating new memories through a mutual support system that has left an indelible impact on our community.

While the holiday season will be a little different this year this spirit of kindness, generosity, and community is alive and well. We encourage consumers and businesses alike to come together under a common goal of supporting each other.

We invite businesses in Lackawanna County to join our movement. Download resources and share social media content, let us know about product features and special deals we can share with holiday shoppers, and remember, we’re here for you!

Join the Movement!

Charlie Brown Holiday Specials to Air on WVIA

WVIA is proud to announce that it will air “A Charlie Brown Christmas” on Sunday, December 13th at 7:30 p.m. on WVIA TV and WVIA’s PBS Kids 24/7 channel. The program will also stream live at wvia.org and on the PBS App.

From the PBS Press Release:

Peanuts fans will have even more ways to watch Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the gang on their holiday adventures as Apple and PBS team up for special, ad free broadcasts of “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” To complement their release on Apple TV+ this holiday season, “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” will also air on PBS and PBS KIDS on November 22, 2020 at 7:30 pm local time/6:30 pm CT (check local listings) and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” will air on PBS and PBS KIDS on December 13, 2020 at 7:30 pm local time/6:30 pm CT (check local listings).

The classic holiday Peanuts specials will also stream ad free and in HD on Apple TV+. “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” will start streaming on Apple TV+ November 18, and the special will be available for free from November 25 through November 27. The Peanuts gang will also deck the halls with the premiere of “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” streaming on Apple TV+ on December 4. The holiday special will be available to enjoy for free from December 11 through December 13.

NEPA AFP Philanthropy Day

Each November, the local Association of Fundraising Professionals NEPA Chapter celebrates Philanthropy with an annual luncheon by honoring nominated businesses, foundations, individuals, and families.

In lieu of an in person celebration, we are asking our community to virtually recognize all of those that have stepped up philanthropically during these trying times.

We invite you to use your personal and organizational social media pages to thank someone for their philanthropic efforts using the hashtag: #NEPAPhilanthopy. It’s a small but meaningful way to offer some public recognition and appreciation to those whose efforts ensure that charitable work carries on throughout this storm.

Geisinger Opens Cold and Flu Care Clinic in Mount Pocono

With respiratory virus season upon us, Geisinger is making it easier for you to get care and treatment by opening dedicated cold and flu centers, including one in Mount Pocono. The clinic offers by-appointment care for cold, flu and respiratory virus symptoms, like a cough, fever, runny nose or sore throat.

Located at Geisinger Mount Pocono, 126 Market Way, Mount Pocono, the clinic is 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.

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

The clinics can treat anyone over the age of 1, and same-day and next-day appointments are available. For an appointment at Mount Pocono, call 570-839-3633, or your primary care physician can refer you to the clinic.

“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 Cold & Flu Centers, visit geisinger.org/coldandflu. Additional cold and flu care centers are located in Danville, Jersey Shore, Lewistown, Scranton and Wilkes-Barre. To learn where to get a flu shot, visit geisinger.org/flunews. 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

YMCA Programs Help Prevent and Manage Diabetes

According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 34 million Americans are living with diabetes. Among those who have died from COVID-10, 40 percent were living with diabetes. Join the American Diabetes Association and the Greater Wyoming Valley YMCA, comprised of the Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA and the Greater Pittston YMCA, and the Greater Scranton YMCA and stand greater than diabetes this November, American Diabetes Month (www.diabetes.org/community/american-diabetes-month).   

If you have diabetes: The Greater Wyoming Valley YMCA supports healthy choices and safe access to physical activity for seniors living with diabetes through our online strength and cardio, water fitness and yoga fusion classes. Thanks to a partnership with the Area Agency on Aging and the AAA Health & Wellness Program, a no-cost Co-Pilot membership which provides free access to many classes is available for members of our community who are 60 or over. For more information, to review the schedule, or to check your eligibility, visit www.wbymca.org or contact Lauranel Banks, Wellness Director, at lauranel.banks@wbymca.org or (570) 970-5012.

If you are at risk for developing diabetes: Get ahead of holiday challenges. The Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA is now enrolling for the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program beginning in December. This year-long program is led by a trained life-style coach and will meet remotely. To enroll, contact Linda Reilly, Chronic Disease Prevention Director, at linda.reilly@wbymca.org.

The next session of the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program at the Greater Scranton YMCA will begin in Spring, 2021. For more information, visit www.greaterscrantonymca.org or contact Brandon Whipple, Health & Wellness Director, at bwhipple@greaterscrantonymca.org or (570) 828-3116.

The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is specifically targeted to adults with pre-diabetes, not people with diagnosed diabetes. Take the test at doihaveprediabetes.org to see if you are likely to be one of the estimated 1 in 3 adults who are pre-diabetic.

Pennsylvania American Water Systems Recognized for 20 Consecutive Years of Excellent Tap Water

Customers of Pennsylvania American Water can rest assured of the quality of their tap water, as 18 of the company’s water treatment plants were recently recognized with 20-Year Directors Awards from the Partnership for Safe Water for 20 consecutive years of water quality excellence. The national awards, which honor efforts to continuously optimize water treatment plant and distribution system operation and performance, were announced by the American Water Works Association.

“Safe, clean, and reliable tap water is critical to our customers and communities, which is why Pennsylvania American Water holds ourselves to high standards and is a proud and longstanding member of the Partnership for Safe Water,” said Pennsylvania American Water President Mike Doran. “We remind our customers that the next time they turn on their tap, please remember there’s a team in your community dedicated to delivering tap water that is safe, clean, reliable, and that meets or exceeds state and federal drinking water standards.”

This year, 18 Pennsylvania American Water treatment plants from around the Commonwealth received this prestigious award. A full list of the company’s awards can be viewed here. The company recently released a video recognizing its award-winning drinking water facilities featuring several of the employees who play a vital role in the company’s water quality success.

“We’re proud of our incredible team of expert scientists, treatment plant operators and engineers that support our water systems,” Doran continued. “This impressive award demonstrates their dedication and commitment to protecting the health and safety of our customers over the past 20 years and beyond.”

The following Pennsylvania American Water treatment plants were recognized this year for maintaining the Phase III Directors Award status for 20 years:

  • (Dauphin County)
  • Indiana (Two Lick Creek) WTP (Indiana County)
  • Kittanning Water Treatment Plant (Armstrong County)
  • Milton Filter Plant (Northumberland County)
  • Montrose Water Treatment Plant (Susquehanna County)
  • Nesbitt Water Purification Plant (Lackawanna County)
  • New Castle Water Treatment Plant (Lawrence County)
  • Philipsburg Water Treatment Plant (Centre County)
  • Silver Spring Water Treatment Plant (Cumberland County)

Nationally, just over 400 surface water treatment plants are part of the Partnership for Safe Water Program, a voluntary effort that is designed to increase protection against microbial contamination through treatment optimization. 

For more information, visit amwater.com and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

PennDOT Requests Public Feedback on Transportation Funding

As part of its ongoing work to explore sustainable transportation options, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is requesting public feedback for the PennDOT Pathways Program. Information is accessible at www.penndot.gov/funding and feedback will be accepted through December 17, 2020.

“A safe and reliable transportation network is critical to quality of life for those who travel throughout our state,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “We take our responsibility as stewards of mobility very seriously, which is why we must explore our options.”

The department faces an $8.1 billion gap in its annual highway and bridge transportation funding to keep the network in a state of good repair. Federal funding has remained essentially flat for several years despite rising inflation. Gas taxes, which comprise 74 percent of PennDOT’s funding, have become increasingly unreliable.

Through the PennDOT Pathways program, the department is launching an extensive initiative to examine possible near- and long-term funding solutions – and how they could potentially work in Pennsylvania. As part of this program, PennDOT recently launched an alternative funding Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) Study as part of the PennDOT Pathways program to explore options for funding the maintenance and improvement of Pennsylvania’s highways and bridges.

PennDOT encourages the public to review the information presented on its online engagement platform and to provide comments. Online comments can be submitted directly from the website, or through the below methods:

  • Email: PennDOTPathways@pa.gov
  • Hotline: 717-325-6129
  • Mail: PA Department of Transportation, Keystone Building, 400 North St., Fifth Floor, Harrisburg, PA 17120

For more information about PennDOT Pathways, visit www.penndot.gov/funding.

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year at Settlers Hospitality

Get ready to deck the halls and ring in the season at the properties of Settlers Hospitality. Socially distanced celebrations at The Settlers Inn, Ledges Hotel, Silver Birches, and the Hawley Silk Mill deliver the traditions, flavors and entertainment that are hallmarks of the holiday season in the Pocono Mountains.

Candlelight Christmas, December 4 through 6, at The Settlers Inn will help make spirits bright. The annual event is a signature celebration and an eagerly anticipated festivity in the Lake Region. Guests are greeted with live music and décor that features natural greens, artisanal and handcrafted decorations and an offering of mulled wine or syllabub. Horse and carriage rides plus an oversized gingerbread replica of The Settlers Inn enhance the festive atmosphere. A lavish holiday meal features entree such as pan seared halibut with mushrooms, thyme and garlic or plum and molasses glazed braised short ribs among other delectable options. Indulgent dessert choices include peppermint pillow bombe,  blood orange pavlova and spiced pear and mascarpone napoleon.

Shoppers to the Hawley Holiday Market on December 12 and 13 can wrap up their gift list with the purchase of distinctive finds. Vendors will fill the campus surrounding the Hawley Silk Mill offering fine artisanal goods and unique gifts. The open-air marketplace operates from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. each day.

A Winter Wonderland Brunch on December 12 and 13 at The Settlers Inn infuses the sights, sounds and flavors of the season into an elegant experience. Live music by Julie Eschler and Steve Fauble accompanies a prix fixe menu of holiday inspired fare. Guests may enjoy the meal amid the festive décor from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. both days.

New Year’s Eve celebrations run the gamut from elegant and intimate to laid-back and lively. There are two ways to send off 2020 at The Settlers Inn. The Undercroft provides a cozy setting for a Masquerade Ball from 8-11:30 p.m. Attendees will enjoy an elaborate farm to table meal and live music. Upstairs in the dining room, guests may linger over a special holiday menu while listening to live piano music by Dan Bradley.

Celebrate New Year’s Eve around the world without ever leaving The Waterfront at Silver Birches. Each hour welcome the New Year as it crosses the Atlantic from London and the Azores Islands to Greenland and Bolivia with a course and a cocktail inspired by the country.

New Year’s Eve at Glass- wine.bar.kitchen is cool and casual. Festivities include live music by Eric Rudy, hors d’oeuvres, champagne and a special tasting menu. Enjoy early seating until 7 p.m. and late seatings after 8 p.m.

Welcome the first day of 2021 with a New Year’s Day Brunch at The Settlers Inn. The holiday weekend features a prix fixe brunch on Friday and Saturday then an a la carte menu on Sunday.

A season-full of festive celebrations at the properties of Settlers Hospitality are sure to make hearts light. Beloved traditions and time-honored tastes ensure the merry making goes on this holiday season. For more information, visit settlershospitality.com

Stevens & Lee Appellate Team Saves Pennsylvania City $50 Million With Unanimous Commonwealth Court Victory

Led by Hon. Thomas I. Vanaskie (Ret.), a team of Stevens & Lee attorneys received a unanimous decision from the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania en banc, reversing the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County’s grant of peremptory judgment in mandamus to a group of taxpayers that will save the City of Scranton, a home rule municipality, more than $50 million. In St. Fleur v. City of Scranton, the plaintiffs contended that Scranton illegally collected non-property taxes since 2015 in excess of the aggregate tax revenue limitation imposed by Act 511, the Local Tax Enabling Act. Hon. James A. Gibbons’ opinion ordered Scranton to set aside approximately $10 million per year and to reduce certain tax rates going forward.

The trial court’s reasoning had the potential to cause severe financial consequences to approximately 17 other municipalities throughout the Commonwealth that are home rule municipalities and/or currently classified as distressed municipalities. As such, Scranton received amicus support from numerous Commonwealth and municipal partners.

The Commonwealth Court held that Scranton is not subject to Act 511’s aggregate cap because it is a home rule municipality, and home rule municipalities are not subject to Act 511’s limitations. Scranton was previously a city of the Second Class A, but elected home rule status in 1974. Under Pennsylvania’s Home Rule Law, 53 Pa. C.S. § 2901, et seq., a home rule municipality is no longer subject to the limitations of its former municipal classification, but it can still utilize the statutory powers granted to municipalities in its former class.

Further, the Commonwealth Court explained that, while the power of home rule municipalities to impose tax rates can be limited by “statutes which are applicable in every part of this Commonwealth,” 53 Pa. C.S. § 2962(c)(2), Act 511 is not applicable “in every part” of Pennsylvania because Act 511 only applies to specific categories of municipalities, and does not include home rule municipalities. Therefore, home rule municipalities are not subject to Act 511’s aggregate tax revenue limitations.

The Stevens & Lee team consisted of attorneys from various practice groups including appellate, litigation, tax, municipal finance and government affairs, allowing Stevens & Lee to handle all aspects of the appeal internally without the need for outside consultants. Along with Judge Vanaskie, Marianne Gilmartin of the Litigation group and Peter Adonizio, Jr. of the Litigation and Appellate practice groups devoted considerable time to the appeal. Stevens & Lee has assembled an elite
team of appellate practice specialists, led by Judge Vanaskie, to assist clients, on a national basis, with all appellate challenges they may face.

To learn more, visit the Stevens & Lee website or contact Judge Vanaskie at 570.969.5360.

Hospice to Deliver Thanksgiving Meals to Homebound Patients for 15th Year

On Thanksgiving morning, Thursday, November 26th, Hospice of the Sacred Heart will deliver meals to patients and their families. This is the 15th year the hospice will provide this service project. Over 700 meals will be prepared by Mansour’s Market Café in Scranton, packaged, and delivered by hospice staff members.

Hospice of the Sacred Heart staff and volunteers prepare food assembly line for 2019 Thanksgiving meal packaging and delivery

“We so look forward to this day. The process is changing this year due to the COVID-19 epidemic, but the result is that we will safely deliver over 700 Thanksgiving meals to our patients and their families. This project once again demonstrates our gratitude for the blessings in our lives,” said Diane Baldi, CEO, Hospice of the Sacred Heart.

Deacon Patrick Massino will bless the meals at 8 am and deliveries will begin immediately afterwards.