More than One Million Pennsylvanians Have Gotten A REAL ID

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced today that it has issued its one millionth REAL ID product, a major milestone in its work to issue REAL ID-compliant products to customers.

“I am so proud that we have reached this milestone,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “From the beginning, customer service was at the center of PennDOT’s REAL ID program, and that continues to be our focus as the federal deadline approaches.”

REAL ID is a federal law that affects how states issue driver’s licenses and ID cards if they are going to be acceptable for federal purposes, such as boarding a domestic flight or entering a federal building that requires ID upon entry. A federally acceptable form of identification (whether it’s a Pennsylvania REAL ID driver’s license or ID card, a valid U.S. Passport/Passport Card, a military ID, etc.) must be used for these purposes on and after October 1, 2021. There is no requirement that any resident obtain a REAL ID; PennDOT continues to offer standard-issue driver’s licenses and photo IDs.

Based on data from other states with optional REAL ID programs, PennDOT anticipates that 2.5 million Pennsylvanians will choose to get a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or ID card, with 1.3 million obtaining them by October 1, 2021. Now that the million-product threshold has been crossed, PennDOT is positioned well to reach this target by the federal enforcement deadline.

PennDOT paused REAL ID issuance in March 2020 due to COVID-19, out of an abundance of caution and in the interest of public health. Additionally, the federal Department of Homeland Security postponed the enforcement date for REAL ID from October 1, 2020, to October 1, 2021, in response to COVID-19 and the national emergency declaration. PennDOT resumed issuing REAL IDs in September 2020.

“We want to do everything we can to encourage residents interested in applying for a REAL ID to start the process now and be aware of all the proper documentation needed,” said Gramian. “This will help ensure our customers have their REAL ID well in advance of the October 1, 2021 deadline.”

Customers can obtain a REAL ID by presenting documents for verification and processing at any driver license center. Federal regulations require that to be issued a REAL ID-compliant product, PennDOT must verify the below documents:

  • Proof of Identity: Examples include original or certified copy of a birth certificate filed with the State Office of Vital Records/Statistics with a raised seal/embossed or valid, unexpired, U.S. Passport;
  • Proof of Social Security Number:  Social security card, in current legal name;
  • Two Proofs of Current, Physical PA Address: Examples include a current, unexpired PA driver’s license or identification card, vehicle registration or a utility bill with the same name and address; and  
  • Proof of all Legal Name Changes (if current legal name is different than what is reflected on proof of identity document): Examples include a certified marriage certificate(s) issued by the County Court for each marriage, court order(s) approving a change in legal name or amended birth certificate issued by the State Office of Vital Records/Statistics. If current name is the same as what is reflected on proof of identity document (usually birth certificate or passport), a customer does not need to show proof of legal name changes.

Customers have three options for obtaining a REAL ID product: Customers may order their REAL ID online if they have been pre-verified and their REAL ID product will be mailed to them within 15 business days; they can visit any PennDOT driver license center that is open for driver license services, have their documents verified and imaged, and their REAL ID product will be mailed to them within 15 business days; or they can visit one of 12 REAL ID Centers and receive their REAL ID product over the counter at the time of service.

For a full list of driver license centers and their services, please visit the PennDOT Driver and Vehicle Services website.

When a customer gets their first REAL ID product, they will pay a one-time fee of $30, plus a renewal fee (current renewal fee is $30.50 for a four-year non-commercial driver’s license and $31.50 for a photo ID). The expiration date of their initial REAL ID product will include any time remaining on their existing non-REAL ID product, plus an additional four years, unless the customer is over 65 and has a two-year license. This expiration date structure means that the customer won’t “lose” time that they’ve already paid for. After the initial REAL ID product expires, the customer will pay no additional fee, beyond regular renewal fees, to renew a REAL ID product.

REAL ID-compliant products are marked with a gold star in the upper right corner, standard-issue (non-compliant) products include the phrase “NOT FOR REAL ID PURPOSES,” per federal regulations. Sample images can be viewed on PennDOT’s website.

More information about REAL ID in Pennsylvania, including frequently asked questions and information on documents required for REAL ID, can be found at

FNCB Bank Operation Elf Helps 50 Have a Brighter Holiday Season With $4,285 Donation

Employees from FNCB Bank, as part of Operation Elf, recently donated $4,285 to the Catherine McAuley Center to help 50 individuals have a brighter holiday season. The funds will be used to purchase toys and clothing for those in need.

More than 200 FNCB staff members participated in the Bank’s signature holiday gift-giving event. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the program shifted from gift buying for “adopted families” to monetary donations.

The mission of the Catherine McAuley Center is to meet the housing needs of women. In particular, they provide temporary shelter for women and children in crisis and assist women to obtain safe, affordable, permanent housing.

“This is certainly a challenging year with many more people in need because of COVID,” said Mike Cummings, Vice President, Marketing Manager. “When the call for donations for the Catherine McAuley Center went out, our team opened their wallets and hearts to help us raise the most money since the program launched eight years ago.”

Operation Elf is part of FNCB’s larger Community Caring initiative. As a true, local community bank, FNCB is making a difference through volunteerism, donations and outreach programs.

Tickets Now Available for Johnson College’s Designer Purse Lottery Fundraiser

Tickets are now available for Johnson College’s first ever Designer Purse Lottery to benefit the College’s Annual Fund. Only 500 tickets will be sold for this February 2021 fundraiser presented by ShopRite. For more details about the designer purses and purchasing tickets visit or contact the Johnson College Development team at 570-702-8991.

Each $25 ticket will list two, 3 digit numbers. Throughout February 2021, if one of the numbers on a ticket comes in during the evening Pennsylvania Pick 3 lottery, that ticket’s owner will win the designer purse of the day. The numbers on the tickets are valid throughout February, so participants can possibly win more than once. Purses being raffled off include Coach, Fossil, Kate Spade, Michael Kors, and Tori Burch. To celebrate Valentine’s Day the designer purse of the night, sponsored by ShopRite, will be a Louis Vuitton Never Full Classic Bag worth $1,500.

All money raised will benefit the Johnson College Annual Fund. The Annual Fund assists Johnson College in producing the best technicians and technologists for the future essential workforce.

For additional information on Johnson College, please call 1-800-2-WE-WORK, email, or visit

The Dime Bank donated $8,500.00 to St. Dominic’s Academy

The Dime Bank awarded St. Dominic’s Academy (SDA) $8,500.00 through the Penn Gift Foundation under the Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program. This gracious donation will be used to award scholarships to those families qualify. Many St. Dominic’s Academy families will benefit from this contribution from The Dime Bank.

SDA is an independent Catholic Montessori School. SDA offers a unique educational experience catered to each student’s level from Pre-K through eighth grade.

Board member Jennifer Suhosky said, “The families of SDA are so blessed and grateful to The Dime Bank for their generous contribution to the EITC Scholarship Program. This will allow even more students to grow spiritually and intellectually in their own unique way through SDA’s faith-based Montessori values.”

Marywood University’s Board of Trustees Establishes Endowed Scholarship

Sister Mary Persico, IHM, Ed.D., president of Marywood University, was recently honored by the Board of Trustees with an endowed scholarship in her name to celebrate her 50th Jubilee. Since professing her vows in 1970, Sister Mary has been, and continues to be, a servant leader.

Lisa Lori, Esq. ’93, chair of Marywood University’s Board of Trustees said, “She [Sister Mary] is an incredible leader and is an inspiration to many. She has been an inspiration to me, both professionally and personally. The Board wanted to endow this scholarship to honor her Jubilee Year, but, more than that, to signify the scope of her lifelong dedication to Marywood, as well as to her Congregation, which she loves and cherishes with all that she is. Through this scholarship in her name, generations of students, who might not otherwise have the means to do so will be able to pursue a Marywood education.”

Sister Mary Persico is the 12th president of Marywood University. She earned her undergraduate degree in education and French from Marywood, her master’s degree in French from Assumption College, and her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Lehigh University. Sister Mary has served as a teacher, an administrator, and a leader in educational, health care, and congregation settings. She was the treasurer, then the president of the IHM Congregation, serving eight years in each role.

Sister Terry O’Rourke, IHM said, “Sister Mary has always been a person of vision and a master of collaboration. Whenever Sister Mary served in her IHM Ministry, her many gifts and skills led her to ever increasing responsibilities and various leadership roles. Sister Mary has always been and remains a woman of prayer and discernment.”

Following her congregational leadership, Sister Mary went on to serve as executive vice president at Trinity Health, one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation. Her lifetime of leadership and service to Marywood University was brought full circle when she took the role as president of the University. In her position as president, she has thrived by guiding Marywood through tough, but prudent decisions to position the University for the 21st century. Marywood has prospered under her leadership, even when facing unforeseen challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic.

During her junior year as a student at Marywood, she entered the IHM community and finished her studies as a candidate. Sister Mary recalls, “I was attracted to the IHM Sisters because of their spirit at Marywood. I was impressed by the way they work, their community, and their sense of service to others, especially the poor and less fortunate. I was hooked.”

For additional information about The Sister Mary Persico, IHM, Ed.D. ’69 Scholarship, please visit Marywood University’s Advancement office, at

Lackawanna County Business Relief Grant for Retail Food Services Industry

Lackawanna County recently announced a grant program available for retail food service operations, bars, breweries, wineries and distilleries.Under the program, a one-time $10,000 grant payment, subject to application approval, will be awarded.

The resources can be utilized for expenses related to mortgage interest, rent, utilities, product/vendor costs, payroll, and general operating expenses.

Applications will be processed on a first come, first served basis.


A Letter to Governor Wolf

Dear Governor Wolf:

Urgent action is needed!

The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce is the largest business association in Northeast Pennsylvania representing 1,400 plus members, a great number of which are operating in sectors that have been most dramatically disrupted by COVID-19. Restaurants, taverns, gyms, retail and others in the entertainment, travel and hospitality sectors have borne added costs related to health and safety measures, and weathered shutdowns and operating restrictions that have cost them patrons, employees and the revenue needed just to stay afloat.

While various levels of health, safety and financial assistance, and the mild summer and early fall weather were beneficial to many, the renewed restrictions announced by the Governor on December 10th represent another, perhaps fatal blow to the businesses in these sectors. Indeed, many have not made it this far, and for others this will signal the end.

While we respect the necessity of certain restrictions based on the input of health care leaders across the Commonwealth, such blanket pronouncements regarding targeted sectors fail to recognize that many affected small business owners in Lackawanna County and throughout our region have implemented safety measures and operational protocols that would allow them to remain open safely. Further, the timing of the action, with little notice, in the heart of the holiday season – which for many is their historically most profitable time will have an even more profound negative impact.

If a reversal or softening of the administrative orders is not forthcoming, then it is incumbent upon the Governor and the General Assembly to act immediately – with or without federal support, to provide these businesses and their employees with financial assistance to get them through this period.

It is past the time that all elected officials in the Commonwealth stand together for the health and safety of our citizens and the sustainability of our small business infrastructure.

The challenge ahead is one that can only be overcome with the cooperation and assistance of everyone.


Patrick Fricchione, Jr.
Chair of the Board
Robert Durkin
President & CEO

A Letter to Our Congressional Delegation

Dear Senator Casey, Senator Toomey, and Congressman Cartwright:

On behalf of the Board of Directors and Government Affairs Committee of The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, we want to express our strong support for the stimulus funding package currently being considered by the bi-partisan committee of the House and Senate.

There has been much talk centered around the job growth and national trends that suggested that the economy is recovering on its own.  But recent (November) jobs numbers show a dramatic cooling in the overall recovery – and what is more these figures and trends clearly do not reflect the realities of how this pandemic is impacting small business. 

The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce is the largest business association in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Of our 1,400 plus members, the vast majority are truly small businesses, with under 10 employees. Further, a great many operate in sectors that have been most dramatically impacted by COVID-19 – restaurants, taverns, boutique retail, travel, accommodations and service sectors.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently reported that nationally:

  • Nearly three times as many small businesses reported reducing their number of paid employees (12.2%) as reported increasing employment (4.3%).
  • More than four times as many small businesses reported reducing the number of hours worked by paid employees (21.4%) as reported increasing hours (4.6%).
  • Nearly seven times as many small businesses reported decreased revenue (38%) as reported increased revenue (5.8%).

Our Chamber staff has been in constant contact with member and non-member small business owners since March, informing and assisting them with health and safety protocols, as well as federal, state and regional stimulus resources. We’ve also been listening to and voicing their needs and concerns to all relevant authorities. Based on these communications, we implore you to support a meaningful stimulus package for small business.

While we do not embrace all the elements of the proposed legislation, we recognize that compromise is necessary in a political environment. We do want to underscore that we strongly back another round of Paycheck Protection Program funding that may allow businesses a second infusion of forgivable capital. We likewise have seen first-hand the benefits of support for local governments, which have demonstrated the importance of assisting our business community. Absent such federal action, we fear the network of small businesses that make up the foundation of our local economy is at risk of collapse.

We would appreciate your timely response to this request.

Patrick Fricchione, Jr.
Bob Durkin

Backyard Ale House to Offer Free Christmas Breakfast for Struggling Families

This holiday season will be particularly tough for many families, so the Backyard Ale House in downtown Scranton is offering a free Christmas breakfast on Friday, Dec. 25 from 9 a.m.-11 a.m.

For 11 years, Backyard Chef James Bodnar has volunteered on Christmas morning at the University of Scranton, and it became his favorite tradition. Each year, he helped prepare food for anyone that wanted to enjoy a warm breakfast and a little holiday cheer.

Due to COVID-19, the university decided to not hold the event in 2020, but Bodnar wants this event to carry on, so the Backyard Ale House has agreed to step in as the venue this time.

Anyone is welcome to enjoy a hot takeout breakfast and can also stop in to receive gently used clothing, toys, and nonperishable food items donated by the community and local businesses. Food for the breakfast will be supplied by local food purveyors.

The Backyard Ale House (523 Linden St., Scranton) is looking for volunteers as well as donations of clothing, new socks and gloves, and nonperishable food items. People interested in helping out can email

“We hope you have an amazing holiday season and would appreciate your help to make Christmas Day a little brighter for those less fortunate,” the staff posted on the Facebook event page.

The Backyard Ale House carries 450+ micro, craft, and import beers with 28 rotating drafts and four counter-pressure growler drafts. The restaurant features a hand-crafted American pub fare menu and offers catering, including holiday dinner catering for those who don’t want to cook this year.