Johnson College Fall 2020 Semester President’s List

Dr. Katie Leonard, President & CEO of Johnson College, has announced the President’s List of students who have completed the 2020 Fall Semester with a grade point average of 3.90 or higher.

All students are from Pennsylvania.
Matthew Beavers, Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Clifton Twp
Brittany Bethel, Veterinary Technology, Dallas
Frank Buono, Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning, Clarks Green
Philip Davitt, Electrical Construction and Maintenance Technology, Dickson City
Brittany Gilley, Physical Therapist Assistant, Pittston
Michael Hannah, Carpentry and Cabinetmaking Technology, Dunmore
John Lee, Computer Information Technology, Old Forge
Cody Mackin, Architectural Drafting & Design Technology, Taylor
Alexander Nallin, Veterinary Technology, Scranton
Matthew Rosengrant, Electrical Construction and Maintenance Technology, Lake Ariel
Michael Salansky, Computer Information Technology, Uniondale
Christopher Taylor, Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning, Waymart
David Weaver, Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning, Carbondale
Evan Wilcox, Architectural Drafting & Design Technology, Milanville

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

Lobby Appointments at The Dime Bank

With COVID numbers on the rise, we need to limit our exposure to one another in order to keep everyone healthy and to keep our branches staffed to continue to be available for you.

Therefore, if you need in-person assistance, please call 570-253-1970, select option 8, and you will be able to choose your branch location. Our helpful and welcoming staff will prepare your documents in advance and set an appointment so that you can be in and out of our branch in under 15 minutes.

For your convenience, most teller line items can be processed at our drive through lanes without calling in advance. Our ATMs are a quick way to get cash, make deposits (except for downtown Hawley ATM, which does not accept deposits), and check your account balances. Our night drop banking is always available to securely drop off deposits after hours, available at all branches. 

The Dime Bank continues to be committed to servicing your accounts while following guidelines provided by our state officials. We are following all safety protocol measures to ensure a safe and healthy environment for our visitors.

We ask that you please:

  • Wear a mask. If you don’t have one, we will provide you with one.
  • Maintain social distance of six feet. 
  • For safety and security, please remove hats and sunglasses
  • Limit the individuals that accompany you to those who are necessary to complete your transactions.

If you are not feeling well, have a fever, or are awaiting test results, please schedule your appointment after you are feeling better.

For more information on The Dime Bank and Dimeco, Inc., please visit www.thedimebank.com

COVID-19 Relief Bill Update

The International Economic Development Council has outlined the important updates regarding the latest COVID-19 relief bill. Read below for details.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) – Small Business Administration
  • Program extended until March 31, 2021
  • Tax issues resolved:
    • Gross income does not include any forgivable amount of the PPP loan
    • Deductions are allowed for deductible expenses paid for by any forgiven amount from PPP loan
  • Forgiveness simplified:
    • Loans less than $150,000 require simple certification in the form of a one-page letter from the borrower to the lender stipulating basic criteria and providing simple, high-level details
  • Eligible uses formally expanded:
    • Covered operations (software, tech, human resources, etc), covered property damage (associated with ‘disturbances’ happening during 2020), covered supplier costs (supplies, inventory, etc), covered health and safety expenses (PPE, testing, etc) were further clarified as eligible uses of PPP loans and eligible for forgiveness
    • Benefits such as life insurance, disability insurance, vision and dental were also clarified to be eligible covered expenses
  • Borrower may select their covered period end date, between eight and 24 weeks after origination
  • $284.45 billion appropriated in latest round of PPP (program total authorization rises to $806.5 billion lifetime) and includes a number of carve-outs:
    • $35 billion set aside for first-time borrowers 
    • $25 billion is set aside for smaller organizations with 10 employees or less or loans less than $250,000 in low-income areas.
    • $15 billion in guarantees for CDFI’s and MDI’s to participate in the program
  • Establishes 2nd Draw criteria:
    • Max loan amount of $2 million
    • For organizations with less than 300 employees
    • Must have used or will use the full amount of first the PPP loan
    • Must show at least a 25% reduction in revenue in the first, second, or third quarter of 2020 as compared to the same period in 2019; applications submitted on or after January 1, 2021, may use a fourth quarter 2020/2019 comparison
    • 60/40 cost allocation between payroll and non-payroll costs to receive full forgiveness remains the same for 2nd Draw
Emergency Capital Investment Program – Treasury
  • A new program serving minority depository institutions (MDIs) and community development finance institutions (CDFIs) that are depository institutions
  • $9 billion in appropriations; $4 billion set aside for institutions with less than $2 billion in assets; $2 billion set aside for institutions with less than $500 million in assets
  • Long-term, low-cost capital investments for institutions who have a plan to significantly increase lending or investment activity in LMI minority communities
Unemployment Insurance
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is extended until March 14, 2021, and the maximum number of weeks of eligibility is extended from 39 weeks to 50 weeks
  • Pandemic Emergency  Unemployment Compensation (PUEC) is extended until March 14, 2021 and the number of weeks of eligibility is extended from 13 weeks to 24 weeks
  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation is reinstated at $300 per week from the week after December 26, 2020 and runs through March 14, 2021
“Stimulus” Payments
  • $600 to individuals earning $75,000 or less per year and plus an additional $600 for every dependent child; decreasing amounts for those earning $75,001 or more at a rate of -$5 for every $100 over the earning limit
Education
  • $22.7 billion for Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, including $1.7 billion for HBCU’s, tribal colleges and universities, and hispanic serving institutions
Housing
  • $25 billion for rental assistance
  • Eviction moratorium extended to January 31, 2021
Transportation
  • $2 billion for aid to airports, include airport retail 
  • $10 billion for highways for states to replace lost revenues that would support maintenance, operations, personnel, etc. 
  • $14 billion for mass transit operations
What isn’t in the bill?
  • The $900 billion legislation is a drastically different bill than what has been proposed throughout the spring and summer
  • Assistance for state and local governments was completely left out
  • The bill is silent on the Economic Development Administration as it relates to COVID-19 — though for full-year appropriations the agency did see an increase from $333 million in funding to $346 million for fiscal 2021

The Chamber will continue to monitor this legislation and report back to our members as more details emerge.

Additional information on this relief package can be found through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Pennsylvania American Water Urges Customers to Take Steps to Prevent Frozen Pipes

Pennsylvania American Water is urging homeowners to get “Winter Wise” this season by winterizing their homes. Freezing temperatures can damage plumbing inside and outside of the home and result in a loss of pressure or service.

“Sub-freezing temperatures for an extended period can cause pipes in vulnerable areas to freeze, burst and result in costly damage,” said Pennsylvania American Water Vice President of Operations Andrew Clarkson. “Making the necessary preparations for these conditions and learning how to respond to frozen pipes can alleviate the expenses associated with making major repairs.”

Property owners are responsible for maintenance of the water service line from the curb to the house, as well as any in-home piping. During extending periods of sub-freezing temperatures, if you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe.

The company advises customers to check with a neighbor on the status of their service if they suspect they may have frozen pipes. If the neighbors have water, then pipes may be frozen or there may a leak on the resident’s service line.

In addition, Pennsylvania American Water offers the following advice to customers to help them prevent frozen pipes and meters this winter:

Before the Cold Sets In:

  • Check your home for pipes in areas that might be prone to freezing, such as crawl spaces, unheated rooms, basements, garages, and exterior walls. 
  • Locate your main water shut-off valve. Hang a tag on the valve, so you can find it quickly in an emergency.
  • Where pipes are exposed to cold, wrap them with insulation or heat tape (even fabric or newspaper can help). 

When Temperature Stay Below Freezing:

  • If pipes run through cabinets or vanities, open the doors to let warmer room temperatures flow in.
  • Keep water moving through the pipes by allowing a small trickle of water to run. The cost of the extra water is typically lower than the cost of repairing a broken pipe.

If Your Pipes Freeze:

  • Don’t attempt to thaw pipes without turning off the main shut-off valve.
  • Melt the frozen water in the pipe by warming the air around it. Be sure not to leave space heaters unattended and avoid the use of kerosene heaters or open flames.
  • Once pipes are thawed, slowly turn the water back on and check pipes and joints for any cracks or leaks that might have been caused by freezing.

More cold weather tips can be found by visiting the Pennsylvania American Water website, as well as its Facebook and YouTube pages.

Marywood University to Hold Its Inaugural FREE Virtual Conference for Educators

Marywood University’s Educational Technology Services, with the support of the Center for Transformational Teaching and Learning, the Continuing Education department, and the Education department will hold a free virtual conference for educators from across Northeastern Pennsylvania on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, from 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.   

With the aim of supporting educators across NEPA and beyond, the Supporting Next-Generation Andragogy and Pedagogy (SNAP) Virtual Symposium will support educators as they work to infuse technology into courses across multiple platforms, including in-person, online, hybrid, and hyflex.

Marywood University, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, pivoted from pandemic crisis mode. The pivot included transitioning in-person, on-campus classes to an online format so that students could complete their courses during the spring semester, to its HyBridge Education Model, an online pedagogy that emphasizes student-centered learning and active learning activities.

With the success of its HyBridge Education Model, Marywood sees the opportunity for other NEPA educators to benefit from Marywood University’s andragogy and pedagogy implementation. Marywood University’s HyBridge Education Model safely delivers a high-quality education by incorporating remote interactive and face-to-face personalized instruction, coupled with internships and clinical opportunities. In offering professional development to NEPA teachers to focus on the online andragogy and pedagogy, Marywood University hopes to secure a better learning experience for all students throughout NEPA and beyond.

Marywood University’s SNAP Virtual Symposium will offer five sessions, featuring concurrent sessions, including Engaging Virtual Techniques; Digital Models; Putting the ARC in Architecture; Be an Education McGyver; Embedding the Library in Your Virtual Classroom; Look, Collaborate, and Listen; Improv’ING Engagement; and New Tricks for All Dogs.

Presenters for the sessions include: Adam Balcziunas, electronic resources and systems librarian at King’s College; Rebecca Doglas, 5th-year architecture student at Marywood University; Lauren Esposito, assistant professor of English at Marywood University; Sue Jenkins, associate professor of art at Marywood University; Kate O’Connor, associate professor of architecture at Marywood University; Michelle Pannone, assistant professor of architecture at Marywood University; Amanda Avery, associate professor of library services at Marywood University; Kimberly Hagan, lecturer in the School of Architecture at Marywood University; Lindsay Morton, assistant professor in the psychology/counseling department; Isabella Parker, lecturer in the School of Architecture at Marywood University, and Katherine Fisne, senior associate director in the Educational Technology department at Marywood University.

For more information, or to register for Marywood University’s ‘SNAP’ symposium, please visit https://sites.google.com/maryu.marywood.edu/ets/snap, or contact Mrs. Katherine Fisne, at fisne@marywood.edu.

PennDOT Extends Deadline for ‘Innovations Challenge’

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today announced that the deadline for the fourth annual Innovations Challenge has been extended through Friday, January 15, 2021.

Students in grades 9-12 regardless of their school’s learning model are invited participate in this year’s Innovations Challenge, which encourages students to use their problem-solving, creative and strategic-thinking abilities to solve real-world transportation challenges in a competition among their peers.

This year’s Innovations Challenge asks students to develop an innovative and implementable solution that helps address Pennsylvania’s transportation revenue shortfall by identifying potential new funding streams, aside from additional gas taxes, tolls or mileage-based user fees, to help ensure adequate transportation funding for the future.

The Innovations Challenge aims to not only help students explore real transportation challenges that PennDOT is facing, but also open their minds to the very real possibility of working for PennDOT after graduation.

Regional Innovations Challenge winners will be selected and invited to compete for the state championship.

The Transportation Policy and Education Foundation, an educational arm of the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors (APC), the American Council of Engineering Companies of PA (ACEC/PA) and the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) are providing a combined total award of $5,500 to be divided among the first, second and third place statewide winning teams. For complete Innovations Challenge details, visit www.penndot.gov/innovation. Again, the submission deadline has been extended through Friday, January 15, 2021.

Geisinger Establishes Online Resource Center for COVID-19 Vaccinations

With a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine receiving emergency use authorization, Geisinger has established an online resource hub to help address questions about the vaccine. Available at Geisinger.org/COVIDvax, information includes details about the vaccine safety information, who Geisinger should vaccinate according to state guidance, and answers to frequently asked questions.

Geisinger will administer vaccines in accordance with state and federal guidelines. The Pennsylvania DOH has recommended health care systems prioritize vaccinating their own employees. In accordance with these guidelines, Geisinger will begin to provide vaccines to its front-line staff who provide significant care to patients with COVID-19 and to other front-line staff in critical departments. Vaccine eligibility will expand as supplies and distribution protocols allow.

The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses of the same vaccine which must be given 21 days apart. Geisinger is expected to receive 2,000 – 3,000 vaccine doses in this initial shipment and will begin providing vaccines to eligible employees within days of receiving the first allotment. 

Despite the anticipated distribution of a vaccine, it’s not a signal to end the preventive measures we can take to stop the spread of the virus. It’s expected that vaccines will not be widely available to the public until spring or summer of 2021. This means at no time — before, during or after — receiving a vaccine should people stop wearing a mask, avoiding large and small gatherings, physical distancing and handwashing. Geisinger continues to see rising rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations and positive test results across its hospital system. In the past two weeks, Geisinger is averaging more than one positive COVID-19 admission per hour to its hospitals, seeing more than 300 new positive outpatient COVID-19 tests per day, and has a positive testing rate close to 25 percent, meaning 1 in 4 people you encounter in the community may be infected with COVID-19.

Marion Munley Speaks at Minnesota Association for Justice Digital Seminar

Munley Law is pleased to announce that attorney Marion Munley recently spoke at the Minnesota Association for Justice Digital Seminar: Framing and Trying the Trucking Case. Her presentation was entitled, “Using the 30(b)(6) of the Safety Director to Set up Your Trial Story.”

Marion Munley is a champion of victims’ rights and the civil justice system. She is known for her compassionate approach to representing the catastrophically injured and her tireless devotion to her clients and their families. Triple Board Certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy in Civil Trial, Civil Practice, and Truck Law, Marion has earned an AV-Preeminent designation from Martindale-Hubbell, the industry’s highest ethical and client satisfaction rating.

Marion is an active member of the American Association for Justice (AAJ) and currently serves on the AAJ Board of Governors and on its Executive Committee. She was the first woman to become Chair of the AAJ Trucking Litigation Group in 2018 and is a past chair of the AAJ Women Trial Lawyers Caucus. Marion is the second woman in Pennsylvania to become Board Certified as a Civil Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Among her other professional affiliations are the American Board of Trial Advocates, the International Society of Barristers, and the Summit Council.

She has been named to the Best Lawyers in America list by Best Lawyers since 2012 and was selected as “Lawyer of the Year: Personal Injury – Plaintiffs” for the Allentown Metro Area this past year. Marion has also been selected to the list of Pennsylvania Super Lawyers for the last 15 years and has been consistently recognized as one of the “top 50 Women Lawyers in Pennsylvania” in Super Lawyers Magazine. A graduate of Temple University School of Law (J.D., 1986), Marion received her undergraduate degree from Scranton University in 1983.

Telespond Shares Advice for Supporting Older Loved Ones During 2020 Holidays

The holidays look different for everyone this year. Yet, it’s also more important than ever to stay connected with the older adults in our community. In a year where more than half of seniors feel isolated due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the holiday season serves as an opportunity to bring joy and cheer into the lives of elderly loved ones—even if physical gathering isn’t possible. Below, Telespond Senior Services’ social worker Julie Condrad shares suggestions for safe, socially distant festivities.

Gather Together Safely…

While traditional meals and large family gatherings may be canceled for the year in accordance with CDC guidelines, Julie recommends several ways to safely celebrate with seniors. Family members can organize holiday parades outside an older loved one’s home, allowing them to enjoy the festivities from the porch or window. Weather-permitting, loved ones could also sit outside (at least six feet apart) with older loved ones, admire light displays around the neighborhood and even enjoy a cup of hot cocoa. Taking a walk around the neighborhood or traveling to a drive-through lights display can also allow seniors to get into the holiday spirit, while still remaining socially distant. If choosing to gather in the home, Julie urges following the masking and social-distancing guidelines. “For those with conditions such as dementia, having visitors often increases stimulation and may cause anxiety,” she notes, “So be sure to limit visits, especially from those not common to the household.”

…Or Keep in Touch While Apart.

If physical gatherings are not feasible or safe for your family this season, staying connected is still possible thanks to the post office and modern technology. Families can mail cards and ship or drop off packages for senior loved ones so they have something special to open during the holiday season. Zoom and Facetime are also great options for connecting face-to-face (via screen); however, Julie has some words of caution for using the platforms. “Keep in mind that it may be especially confusing or distracting for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia, depending on degree of their condition,” she says. “Similarly, using speakerphone may cause distortion if seniors are unsure of where the sound is coming from.” In such cases, she says that telephone calls are a simple but effective resource. Additionally, Julie recommends caregivers work with their senior loved ones to send out handwritten Christmas cards. Not only will seniors be able to share messages with their faraway loved ones, but this also gives them a chance to reminisce with caregivers. “If you have one of those old address books with everyone in them, that’s a great starting point,” Julie says.

Look to the Past…

Reminiscing with older loved ones is always meaningful during the holidays, especially in a year where many much-loved traditions may have to be put on hold. In addition to looking through old address books, Julie recommends that seniors and caregivers pull out cookbooks and holiday cookie recipes. Asking older loved ones, “Where did these recipes come from?” “What was your favorite?” “What’s the difference between how they first made it and how it’s made today?” can encourage them to share memories of holidays past. Julie also advises caregivers and family members try their hand at a few of the traditional dishes, involving seniors in the preparation either in-person or through phone call or video call. “Even narrating and joking about different tasks through texts can help pull out those memories and keep them alive,” she says.

…And Preserve Memories for Years to Come.

Along with reminiscing with senior loved ones about past traditions, Julie urges caregivers and loved ones to preserve those cherished memories for future generations. She gives an example from her own family, in which she gave her mother a blank cookbook so she could write down family recipes for cookies, pasta sauce and other dishes. “Even if seniors aren’t able to write out the recipes themselves, caregivers can ask about and record the recipes,” Julie says. “It’s a valuable memory and gift to have in hand, especially in your loved one’s handwriting.”

Cherish Extra Time Together…

Caregivers of older adults will likely enjoy even more time than usual with their loved ones this holiday season, and Julie encourages taking advantage of this by carrying out old traditions and starting new ones. For example, watching Christmas movies from the timeframe seniors would enjoy could spark even more remembrance of prior holiday seasons. Though many seniors enjoy attending Christmas Eve church services, Julie suggests watching virtual services can still allow them to connect with the spirit of the season. Seniors who attend programming at Telespond Senior Services will find a similar balance of old and new—our adult day care program spaces are decorated festively, holiday crafts and activities are available during the month of December, and holiday tunes serve as festive background music throughout each day.

…But Remember to Take Breaks, Too! 

Though spending time with the older loved ones you live with is incredibly meaningful this year, Julie also stresses the importance of caregiver respite. “Have someone come and visit with your family member, either so you can go out or simply sit in another room and listen to music, look at lights, and have time to reflect,” she says. If caregivers are becoming overwhelmed with expectations and restrictions, Julie recommends reaching out to other family members, friends, or trusted medical providers for extra support. Additionally, organizations like Telespond Senior Services and the Alzheimer’s Association offer resources for both seniors and their loved ones, and programming like Telespond’s adult day services provides a safe, comfortable environment for older loved ones in that also allows family members the opportunity to work, run errands, or perform other daily tasks. Finally, Julie advises struggling caregivers to give her a call. You can reach her at 570-346-7860.

The 2020 holidays bring a unique set of challenges, but there is also potential for this to be a joyful, festive season for you and your older loved ones in which old traditions can be revisited and new ones begun. Telespond Senior Services remains committed to supporting families in Lackawanna and Luzerne counties, both during the holidays and throughout the rest of the year.