PennDOT Invites Pennsylvanians to Share Feedback on Winter Services

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is seeking the public’s feedback on winter services through an online survey found at

“PennDOT is proud of our winter operations and communications,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “The results from this survey will help us measure public expectations and identify education opportunities.”

The survey is available through April 6 and should take about five minutes to complete. All responses are completely anonymous.

The 12-question survey asks respondents about their timeline expectations for safe and passable roadways, how they rank snow-removal priorities, and how they rate PennDOT’s winter services.

Respondents are also asked how they receive PennDOT roadway information, and whether or how they use the state’s 511PA traveler information services. During the winter, offers its standard traffic and incident information while adding PennDOT plow-truck locations, winter roadway conditions, and other services.

At any time, motorists can check conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles by visiting 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information, and access to more than 1,000 traffic cameras.

511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.

As construction season begins, information on projects occurring or being bid this year is viewable at Visit the “Regional Offices” page at to sign up for travel alerts in a specific area. Subscribe to statewide PennDOT news at Follow PennDOT on Twitter at, like the department on Facebook at and Instagram at

Ideaworks Marketing Wins “Best in Show” at AAF NEPA’s 2021 Virtual Addys

Ideaworks Marketing is proud to announce that the agency won four awards at the American Advertising Federation – NEPA Chapter (AAF NEPA)’s 2021 Virtual American Advertising Awards on Friday, March 12, including the coveted Best in Show Award.

The agency captured the Best in Show and a Gold Award for its integrated branded content campaign, snacktiME. SnacktiME is a pop-up concept the agency created for Sodexo (an international contract management company) as part of its Universities segment’s resident dining promotion series. The program itself includes 12 pop-up “snack spots” that will satisfy students, no matter what they’re craving. Each pop-up station name and design pulls in the word “ME” from the snacktiME logomark (e.g. Treat ME; Give ME Global), demonstrating the highly personal, functional benefits of foods and how they augment a customized dining experience for today’s discerning college students. Campaign materials included poster artwork, social media graphics, an easy-to-follow implementation guide for dining teams and more.

Ideaworks also took home two Silver Awards: one for its “Hide and Reveal” Limited-Time Offer collateral for Sodexo’s K-12 Schools segment, and another in the self-promotion category for the agency’s 2021 Calendar, “Together As One,” which celebrates the beauty of diversity with an originally created set of calendar cards that form a mural.

Ideaworks is a proud member of AAF NEPA and is humbled to have achieved the top honor at its 2021 Virtual Advertising Awards, as the team always strives to produce award-winning work for its valued clients. The agency congratulates all winners and would like to extend special thanks to AAF NEPA for a great event.

Lackawanna College Environmental Center Announces Free Core Manufacturing Program

The Lackawanna College Environmental Education Center (LCEEC) will host a free Core Manufacturing Skills certificate program beginning April 6 with in-person and online classes. The free 200-hour program will provide participants with skills necessary for entry-level positions in advanced manufacturing through classroom, simulation-based and online skill-building lessons.

“We are excited to be able to incorporate principles of sustainably into the third and final session of this popular program,” said Sharon Yanik-Craig, Center Director for LCEEC. “Green jobs aren’t just in renewable energy— existing manufacturing jobs can be enhanced by green knowledge to minimize negative environmental impacts, conserve energy and natural resources and maintain a safe working environment for employees”.

By completing the program and passing a final competency assessment, students will earn a Core Manufacturing Skills Certificate from Lackawanna College and NEPIRC, which is recognized by area manufacturing industry employers. The certificate will prepare graduates for positions in high-demand fields in environmental stewardship, maintenance, manufacturing, production, quality assurance and safety compliance.

For more information or to register, visit

Pennsylvania American Water Addresses Most Common Household Leaks During Fix a Leak Week

More than two in three Americans have experienced a leak at their home, according to a recent survey conducted by global research agency Opinium on behalf of Pennsylvania American Water in an effort to better understand Americans’ awareness of household leaks.

The results coincide with the annual recognition of Fix a Leak Week (March 15-21, 2021), a national campaign led by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) each year that helps raise awareness about leaks and other water issues that contribute to water waste within homes.

This year’s Fix a Leak Week comes as we approach the one-year mark of COVID-19, when many people began spending more time indoors and water usage increased. In fact, since the start of the public health emergency, about a quarter of Americans say they have been using more water, meaning it’s more important than ever to be aware of common issues and know how to spot them.

“By conducting our survey, we were able to take a comprehensive snapshot of where we stand when it comes to water leaks and water conservation during this unprecedented time,” said Mike Doran, president of Pennsylvania American Water. “As part of our mission in helping to better serve customers, we are using this year’s Fix a Leak Week to help people understand where and how to spot common problematic leaks to help improve home safety and support water efficiency and conservation.”

  • More than half of Americans have experienced leaks in their bathroom (52%) and kitchen (50%). Here are some ways to keep track of some of those common leaks:
    • Test your toilet. Place a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. If any color shows up in the bowl after 10 minutes, you have a leak. (Flush immediately after the experiment to avoid staining the tank.)
    • Watch what you put down the drain. There are many things we put down the drain that don’t belong there. Check out our list of what should never go down your drain for items that may be hurting your pipes.
  • Up to 77% of Americans reported seeing signs of a potential water leak. Checking up on this can be as easy as doing the following:
    • Examine faucet gaskets and pipe fittings. Look for any water on the outside of the pipe to identify any leaks.
    • Check outside. Examine the exterior of your home if you think you have a leak. If hoses are left on even a little, they can drip, resulting in wasted water over time. Irrigation systems can leak underground, causing mushy sod and other above-ground indications of issues.
  • Nearly a quarter of Americans report using more water since the beginning of the pandemic. Here’s what you can do if you’re worried about your water usage:
    • Keep track of water usage, especially during cold winter months. If, during January or February, a family of four exceeds 12,000 gallons per month, there might be a leak.

Pennsylvania American Water is committed to fixing leaks by replacing or upgrading water infrastructure in order to provide clean, safe, reliable water to customers. Over the next 10 years, American Water will be investing $22 to $25 billion to replace and upgrade pipes, pumps, treatment and storage. Visit here for more information about Fix a Leak Week.

Marywood University to Hold Admitted Student Month

Marywood University will hold its Admitted Student Month during April this year. Due to pandemic restrictions, this traditionally one-day event has been reimagined to offer admitted students the flexibility and opportunity to either meet on campus or visit virtually. This specially designed event is free and open to all senior high school students who have been admitted to the University. To register, visit, email, or call the Office of Admissions, at (570) 348-6234.

Participants in Admitted Student Month will be able to chat with admissions staff, connect with faculty in their program of interest, meet with financial aid representatives, and can either tour campus in person or take a guided virtual tour.

For those still interested in applying to Marywood—there’s still time to apply, get accepted, and attend Admitted Student Month. Visit, or call the Office of Admissions at (570) 348-6234 to speak with an admissions counselor.

Greater Scranton YMCA Launching E-Sports Program

With a goal to promote teamwork, leadership, online safety, and individual growth steeped in YMCA Youth Development practices, the Greater Scranton YMCA is proud to announce its participation in the national Y’s E-Sports program.

The Y is made up of people from all backgrounds working side by side to strengthen communities. We are committed to advancing equity for all in everything we do so that everyone—regardless of who they are or where they come from—has an opportunity to reach their full potential with dignity. The E-Sports program will be another pathway for the YMCA to empower youth and teens to reach their full potential by providing them with access to nurturing environments, enriching experiences and support systems that reduce barriers and strengthen cognitive, physical and social-emotional development.

Registration is open for the program, which will be comprised of NBA 2K, Super Smash Bros. and Rocket League. Each league can serve up to 50 children in middle and high school. Registrants will make up the Greater Scranton YMCA team, which will compete against other YMCAs across the country. Interested participants will need to have the ability to play on a PC, Xbox, PlayStation or Switch. In its pilot session, there will no cost to participate in the program, which is open to existing YMCA members and non-members (in future sessions, registration fees will apply).

“The YMCA is excited to launch this new program as we continue to evolve to find ways to keep kids engaged with one another virtually during COVID,” said Wayne Stump, Branch Executive Director, Greater Scranton YMCA. “Not only do E-Sports require teamwork, communication, critical and strategic thinking, creativity, sportsmanship and leadership, but they also help kids develop friendships and provide an educational opportunity through developing STEM skills that can help with a future career path.”

Similar to in-person youth sports leagues, E-Sports will be held in eight-week sessions, with practice and games held twice per week. The program will run from April 5th through May 28th. The middle school group will practice and compete on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:00-7:00 p.m. and the high school group will practice and compete on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:00-7:00 p.m. Yearly league championships will lead to regional championships, which will then lead to the national championship. For more information, contact Wayne at or (570) 828-3266. To register, visit

MLB Announces Experimental Playing Rules to be Tested During 2021 Minor League Season

Major League Baseball (MLB) announced today the testing of a variety of experimental playing rules at various levels of the Minor Leagues during the upcoming 2021 season. These experimental playing rules have been approved by the Competition Committee and the Playing Rules Committee. MLB will closely monitor and analyze the impact of each rule change throughout the 2021 season and report to Clubs on their effects for further analysis. Consistent with the preferences of our fans, the rule changes being tested are designed to increase action on the basepaths, create more balls in play, improve the pace and length of games, and reduce player injuries.

Below is a summary of the experimental rules that will be tested during the 2021 Minor League
season, which will vary by level of play:

TRIPLE-A (LARGER BASES): To reduce player injuries and collisions, the size of first, second and third base will be increased from 15 inches square to 18 inches square. The Competition Committee also expects the shorter distances between bases created by increased size to have a modest impact on the success rate of stolen base attempts and the frequency with which a batter-runner reaches base on groundballs and bunt attempts.

DOUBLE-A (DEFENSIVE POSITIONING): The defensive team must have a minimum of four players on the infield, each of whom must have both feet completely in front of the outer boundary of the infield dirt. Depending on the preliminary results of this experimental rule change, MLB may require two infielders to be positioned entirely on each side of second base in the second half of the Double-A season. These restrictions on defensive positioning are intended to increase the batting average on balls in play.

HIGH-A (“STEP OFF” RULE): Pitchers are required to disengage the rubber prior to throwing to any base, with the penalty of a balk in the event the pitcher fails to comply. MLB implemented a similar rule in the second half of the Atlantic League season in 2019, which resulted in a significant increase in stolen base attempts and an improved success rate after adoption of the rule.


  • ALL LOW-A LEAGUES: Pitchers will be limited to a total of two “step offs” or “pickoffs” per plate appearance while there is at least one runner on base. A pitcher may attempt a third step off or pickoff in the same plate appearance; however, if the runner safely returns to the occupied base, the result is a balk. Depending on the preliminary results of this experimental rule change, MLB will consider reducing the limitation to a single “step off” or “pickoff” per plate appearance with at least one runner on base.
  • LOW-A SOUTHEAST: In addition to the limitations on step offs/pickoffs, MLB will expand testing of the Automatic Ball-Strike System (“ABS”) that began in the Atlantic League and Arizona Fall League to select Low-A Southeast games to assist home plate umpires with calling balls and strikes, ensure a consistent strike zone is called, and determine the optimal strike zone for the system.
  • LOW-A WEST: In addition to the limitations on step offs/pickoffs, following successful pace of game rules testing among Florida State League teams in 2019, on-field timers (one in the outfield, two behind home plate between the dugouts) will be implemented to enforce time limits between delivery of pitches, inning breaks and pitching changes. The on-field timer used in Low-A West will include new regulations beyond the system currently used in Triple-A and Double-A to reduce game length and improve the pace of play.

“We are listening to our fans. This effort is an important step towards bringing to life rules changes aimed at creating more action and improving the pace of play,” said Michael Hill, MLB Senior Vice
President of On-Field Operations. “These experimental playing rules have been approved by the
Competition Committee and the Playing Rules Committee to be tested and analyzed in a highly competitive environment.”

“These experimental rules are designed to put more balls in play, create more excitement on the
basepaths and increase the impact of speed and athleticism on the field,” said Raúl Ibañez, MLB Senior Vice President of On-Field Operations. “As another important goal of the rules approved by the Competition Committee and the Playing Rules Committee, we expect the new larger bases to increase player safety. We look forward to testing these rules in the Minor Leagues.”

“The game on the field is constantly evolving, and MLB must be thoughtful and intentional about
progressing toward the very best version of baseball – a version that is true to its essence and has enough consistent action and athleticism on display to entertain fans of all ages,” said Theo Epstein, Consultant to MLB. “These rules experiments will provide valuable insight into various ways to create a playing environment that encourages the most entertaining version of the game. What we learn in the Minor Leagues this year will be essential in helping all parties chart the right path forward for baseball.”

MLB also continues its three-year partnership agreement with the Atlantic League of Professional
Baseball (ALPB), which was announced in 2019. This partnership agreement allows MLB to test and adjust experimental playing rules and changes to equipment each season. Any new experimental playing rules for the 2021 season will be announced in the coming weeks.

Art in Bloom Returns to the Everhart Museum

The Everhart Museum announced today that Art in Bloom will return to the Museum on Friday, March 26th, and on Saturday, March 27th. Art in Bloom is a celebration of the Museum’s collection as interpreted through fresh flowers created by some of the region’s most talented designers. The event was sidelined last year due to the global pandemic. The phrase “Art in Bloom” was created by Lorriane M. Pitts, a volunteer at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. The original exhibition was previewed in 1976. It comprised traditional visual art pieces and flower arrangements done by local professional florists, designers, and garden club members. Art in Bloom is held at museums across the country.

Close to a dozen works and objects from the Everhart’s collection will be showcased alongside floral designs creating a visual juxtaposition that speaks to art and nature lovers alike. On Friday the 26th, the event will kick off at 6:00 pm with a Virtual VIP Preview of the art-inspired floral arrangements created by local designers and virtual entertainment coordinated by Scranton Fringe. The community will have an opportunity to vote for their favorite interpretation on Saturday.

On March 27th, the Art in Bloom exhibit will be on view from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm. Guests will have the opportunity to participate in mobile tours of the galleries, pick up crafts, and activities to take home or shop at our nature-inspired marketplace. Voting will open for the People’s Choice Award and be announced on Saturday afternoon. The event is pay-as-you-wish and open to all ages. 

Interested in participating? You can do so from home. The Museum will offer a series of uniquely designed floral-inspired virtual Live and Pre-recorded classes on Saturday, March 20th, between 10:00a and 4:00 pm. Some of the scheduled programs are a Pressed Flower Demo, Watercolor Painting, and Cookie Making Classes. Classes will be announced soon, and registration in advance is required. All scheduled programs will be free to the public, thanks to our generous sponsors, PNC and Toyota of Scranton. 

Join us for the perfect springtime event: an aesthetic marriage between art and nature. 

Lackawanna College Announces Three New Board Members

Lackawanna College has announced the recent appointment of three new members to its Board of Trustees, Debra Leftkowitz, Mark DeStefano and Thomas R. DePietro.

“We are delighted to welcome these exceptional members to the Board of Trustees,” said Dr. Jill Murray, Lackawanna College President. “They bring experience, talent and passion, which will help guide Lackawanna College as it continues to transform and fulfill its mission as an innovative leader in higher education.” 

Debra Lefkowitz is the President and CEO of Hocsocx, Inc., a line of bestselling protective shin guard socks for sports. Prior to the creation of Hocsocx, Inc., Lefkowitz owned a private practice working with patients on weight loss and nutrition for disease states. She has served on the board of directors for Temple Israel Wilkes-Barre, Jewish Community Center of Wyoming Valley, Maternal and Family Health Association and the Wyoming Seminary Parent’s Association.

Mark DeStefano serves as the CFO of Pagnotti Enterprises, Inc. and for the Latona Group of companies. DeStefano serves as a trustee and was the former President of the Board of the Women’s Resource Center. He also serves as trustee and was the former chair of the Everhart Museum, trustee of Broadway Theater League of Northeast Pennsylvania, and has served on the boards of the United Way of Wyoming Valley, Scranton Cultural Center, Keystone College, and several other local non-profit organizations.

Thomas R. DePietro is a pharmacist and owner of DiPietro’s Pharmacy, an independent pharmacy located in Dunmore, Pa. The pharmacy has received numerous awards and recognitions over the past eight years from the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce. DePietro has been recognized for his philanthropy by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, NEPA Chapter. He is actively involved in promoting the pharmacy profession and serves on the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association Independent Pharmacy Owner Committee and on the Board of Directors for the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Care Network.

Johnson College Receives Grant from the United States Department of Agriculture

Johnson College has been awarded a $490,381 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as part of the agency’s Telemedicine and Distance Learning Program. This grant will support the College’s goal to implement a distance learning program improving access to higher education opportunities for rural areas in Wayne, Pike and Susquehanna counties.

The project will link Johnson College with four rural high schools: Forest City Regional High School, Honesdale High School, Wallenpaupack Area High School, and Western Wayne High School.  As well as three libraries: Lakewood Library, Newfoundland Library, and Pleasant Mount Library by high-tech telecommunications equipment.

Both high school and adult students will have interactive, two-way access to Johnson College faculty and will participate in remote education, discussions, testing, and skill demonstrations. Laboratories and classrooms at Johnson College will be similarly equipped to enable maximum interaction between faculty and students. In addition, the three rural libraries will be equipped with laptops to give community residents access to career exploration services and information about courses at Johnson College. Students participating in the distance learning program will be able to work towards completing any one of the 15 academic programs Johnson College offers.

The project will create a direct route to career technology education (CTE), a college degree, and ultimately a fulfilling career with family-sustaining wages for students in rural Northeastern Pennsylvania. For many families, this will be the first generation empowered to attend college and removes several barriers like transportation to make college possible. We will focus on a distance learning platform using the latest in two-way interactive telecommunications technology to create an environment that is as close to the Johnson College onsite classroom and laboratory experience as possible while being delivered in the high school community.

The rural nature of the region presents several barriers to students and community residents in accessing higher education. The high schools collaborating on this project are between 21 and 31 miles from Johnson College. Because of family responsibilities, cultural norms, or factors related to working while enrolled in school, many students stay close to home for college. When there are no institutions of higher education close by, transportation and distance become barriers to upward mobility, fulfilling careers, and financially rewarding positions. This program can change that through distance learning and telecommunications. This strategy has several benefits for the individual student, the community, the industry partners needing more workers, and the state/regional/local economic development efforts.

This project also benefits Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education which is integral to the College’s curriculum for all students attending Johnson College, whether through distance learning, online learning, or on-campus learning. The specialized STEM training made possible by this grant funding will give students the opportunity to start their college degree while still in high school and complete earlier for in demand positions throughout the region, as well as provide an opportunity to train non-high school students for new careers due to job loss or the desire for positions with higher family-sustaining wages.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with these schools and libraries to bring the Johnson College experience to those who otherwise might not be able to take advantage of it,” said Dr. Katie Leonard, President & CEO of Johnson College. “Everyone should have the opportunity to learn skills that can lead to family-sustaining wages for in-demand careers.”

U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright (D-PA-08) congratulated Johnson College and applauded the project. “As the internet fuels more innovative higher learning options, we need to invest to make sure they are accessible,” said Cartwright. “Projects like this open the door to exciting educational opportunities that give more students a shot at a fulfilling career, regardless of their zip code. I want to congratulate Johnson College on this well-deserved federal award.”

In addition to the distance learning opportunity this funding provides, students will also have access to Johnson College’s full array of on-campus support services including tutoring, counseling, career advisement, financial aid, internship opportunities, and exposure to industry from day one. Distance learning will help high school and adult students reach their full potential, and connect with the region’s essential careers already in demand.

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