Scranton Area Community Foundation to Host NEPA Gives

The Scranton Area Community Foundation, in partnership with The Luzerne Foundation, Greater Pike Community Foundation, Wayne County Community Foundation, Carbon County Community Foundation, The Community Foundation of the Endless Mountains, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Nonprofit & Community Assistance Center (NCAC), and other community sponsors, will host NEPA Gives on Friday, June 4, 2021. Promoted as the single largest day of philanthropy in Northeastern Pennsylvania, NEPA Gives is a one-day, 24-hour, online giving extravaganza that’s all about giving back to the community.

NEPA Gives aims to raise awareness about the critical work nonprofit organizations carry out across the region and aims to help charitable organizations raise much-needed funds, especially during these challenging times. Over 240 nonprofit organizations from across eight counties in Northeastern Pennsylvania will participate in NEPA Gives.

“NEPA Gives is all about supporting charities that are doing important work right here in Northeastern Pennsylvania,” said Laura Ducceschi, President and CEO of the Scranton Area Community Foundation. “We know that during these challenging times, nonprofits need our support especially now. We have teamed up with various community partners and businesses eager to provide support for NEPA Gives and we are thrilled to announce that we have secured over $450,000 in incentives, bonuses, and matching funds available to participating nonprofits which helps make charitable donations go further during NEPA Gives.”

Members of the community wishing to make a contribution for NEPA Gives can visit anytime between 12:00 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. on Friday, June 4, 2021, to make a secure donation to any of the 240 participating nonprofit organizations.

This is the second year for NEPA Gives. Last year, NEPA Gives raised over half a million dollars for 167 nonprofit organizations.

Offline donations are also accepted by check made payable to the Scranton Area Foundation indicating “NEPA Gives” in the memo mailed to the Scranton Area Community Foundation, 615 Jefferson Avenue, Suite 102, Scranton, PA 18510. Offline donations to the Scranton Area Foundation via check will be split evenly among all participating nonprofits. Donors wishing to contribute to a specific nonprofit organization offline should contact the specific participating nonprofit for further instructions. The Scranton Area Community Foundation is not able to accept offline donations to specific organizations for NEPA Gives.

To learn more about #NEPAGives, visit or contact Brittany Pagnotti, Communications Manager of the Scranton Area Community Foundation at 570-347-6203.

New Law Updates CDL Licensing Requirements

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today announced that a recently enacted state law, Act 131 of 2020, extends the validity period of a commercial learner’s permit and helps address the issue of human trafficking through severe penalties levied on commercial drivers or those who wish to obtain a commercial driver’s license.

“This law helps ensure commercial drivers have adequate time to prepare for their commercial driving test while also addressing punishment for a serious crime,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian.

Act 131 of 2020 extends the validity period of a commercial learner’s permit from 180 days to one year. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently changed regulations to allow a jurisdiction the choice of the 180-day commercial learner’s permit with an additional 180-day extension or a one-year commercial learner’s permit. A one-year permit is more convenient for customers, giving them more time to prepare for their skills test. Additionally, a longer validity period means that fewer customers will need to extend their permit, which will help decrease customer traffic in driver license centers. This section of the law became effective May 23, 2021.

Act 131 will also update requirements and restrictions for commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders, including reporting requirements for convictions and violations. One of these changes disqualifies an individual from operating a commercial motor vehicle for life if they are convicted of using a commercial motor vehicle to commit certain forms of severe human trafficking. This section of the law became effective May 25, 2021.

For more information on Driver and Vehicle Services, please visit

Driver and vehicle online services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and include driver’s license, photo ID and vehicle registration renewals; driver-history services; changes of address; driver license and vehicle registration restoration letters; ability to pay driver license or vehicle insurance restoration fee; driver license and photo ID duplicates; and driver exam scheduling. There are no additional fees for using online services.

Follow PennDOT on Twitter at, or on Facebook at

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Announces Northeast PA 2021 Man & Woman of the Year Winners

A local man and woman have been named the winners of this year’s Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Northeast PA Man & Woman of the Year.

The two winners, Frank Ruggiero of Greenfield Township and Kristen Schoemig of Albrightsville, raised $76,515 and $13,984 respectively to support LLS’s goal to find cures for blood cancers and ensure that patients have access to lifesaving treatments. The entire candidate class raised a record breaking $175,493 for blood cancer research. 

During a spirited 10 week fundraising period beginning with a virtual kickoff celebration, candidates across the country competed in honor of a local boy or girl who is a blood cancer survivor to raise the most funds to ensure a world without blood cancers. 

Candidates and their campaign teams were judged solely on fundraising success, each dollar counting as one vote. Their totals are then considered for the national title. Candidates in each LLS chapter across the country vie for the local title, and the highest fundraisers earn the title of National Man & Woman of the Year. The national titles will be awarded to the top fundraisers in the country, to be announced this summer. 

This year is the third year for this campaign in Northeast PA and 6 men and 3 women stepped up to the challenge to raise money for blood cancer research. This year’s class of candidates set a goal of raising $100,000 and a personal mission of not only raising funds to help create a world without blood cancers, but also raising awareness for LLS’s goal to cure blood cancers and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

“Congratulations to our winners, and to all of our candidates and campaign team members who participated in this year’s Man & Woman of the Year campaign,” said Megan Galko,  Campaign Development Manager of the Man and Woman of the Year campaign. “These exceptional volunteers are all passionate and determined individuals, and leaders in their communities. Together, we are getting closer to LLS’s goal of a world without blood cancer.” 

LLS is the world’s leading non-profit voluntary health organization dedicated to finding cures for blood cancers and ensuring that patients have access to lifesaving treatments. Every nine minutes someone in the U.S. dies of a blood cancer. Through programs like Man & Woman of the Year, LLS has invested more than $1.2 billion in research to advance breakthrough therapies. In 2017 alone, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved 18 therapies to treat patients with blood cancers, including some entirely new agents and some new uses for already approved drugs. The funds raised through LLS’s Man & Woman of the Year are used for:

  • Research to advance targeted therapies and immunotherapies that are saving thousands of lives;
  • Blood cancer information, education and support for patients;
  • Policies that ensure patients have access to blood cancer treatments.

Visit the Man & Woman of the Year website ( or email to learn how you can become engaged with LLS.

About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society® (LLS) is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world, provides free information and support services, and is the voice for all blood cancer patients seeking access to quality, affordable, coordinated care.

Founded in 1949 and headquartered in Rye Brook, NY, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit Patients should contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET.

For additional information visit Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Apply for a Free NEPA SHRM Membership

The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce would like to share with you an opportunity to apply for membership with NEPA SHRM at no cost through August 16, 2021.

NEPA SHRM is an affiliate Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) comprised of over 300 local Human Resource Professionals representing a large range of businesses in the area. NEPA SHRM chapter is looking to grow and connect HR professionals to continue their quest for ongoing professional development. Benefits of membership include the following opportunities:

  • Development of relationships and contacts with other HR professionals to share information on HR issues
  • Educational seminars and workshops to improve your HR competencies and help you maintain your professional certifications
  • Access to current best practices to make your organization more efficient, increase employee commitment, and help line managers carry out business strategies
  • Development of leadership skills through volunteer roles
  • Enhancement of your professional reputation and credentials in the HR field

You can view our full calendar of events at

NEPA SHRM’s success depends on talented, dedicated professionals like you and we hope you will consider joining.  While you do not need to be certified to be a member of NEPA SHRM, you do need to be a member of National SHRM.  If you are already a National SHRM member, you can join NEPA SHRM at and click on the JOIN NOW button. If you are not a National SHRM member, you may join at  The $25 membership fee to join NEPA SHRM has been waived through August 16, 2021. Please consider joining now to save $25!

Should you need any assistance or have any questions or comments about membership or benefits, please feel free to contact them at 570.899.1285 or email them at Thank you for your consideration.

Nearme Yoga to Host 8th Annual NEPA Yoga Festival

Join Nearme Yoga for the 8th Annual NEPA Yoga Festival from June 19-20, 2021, at Montage Mountain! 

We know that this last year has taken a toll on all of us, and we want to continue to hold Yoga Fest as a way to remind us of all the wonderful small businesses in our own backyard that support health & wellness. 

Please join us for the largest yoga event in NEPA, featuring over 40 offerings throughout the weekend – yoga, meditation, hiking, wellness and inspirational talks, social gatherings, kids yoga, and more! New additions this year include night swimming, optional camping, live music, self-guided hiking, and boxed lunches! Unique local vendors and artists will be providing a wide selection of goods as well as multiple healthy food options available for purchase.  

From novice to master, youthful to mature, rest assured that this event is for everyone. Foster a healthy lifestyle both physically and mentally, cleanse your heart, and recreate your best self!

Check out our Facebook page for more information about the event as well as the schedule for the weekend, and purchase your tickets through EventBrite. The sooner you purchase, the better the pricing and availability!

Facebook Event:
Facebook Page:

J. David Brown Joins NBT Board of Directors

NBT Bancorp Inc. announced that J. David Brown has joined the Boards of Directors for NBT Bancorp Inc. and NBT Bank, N.A.

Brown is President and CEO of the Capital District YMCA, where he has worked for 28 years to create better opportunities for all through community programs and services. A past member of the NBT Bank Capital Region Advisory Board, Brown also served on the Siena College Board of Trustees.

“We are excited to welcome David to board service at NBT,” said NBT Board Chair Martin A. Dietrich. “David’s valuable insights will help strengthen our efforts to be responsive to our customers and communities. His strong executive experience in the non-profit sector and knowledge of NBT’s Capital Region market make him a valuable addition to the Board.”

Brown’s experience also includes serving as a member of the Governor’s Regional Economic Council and the Diversity & Inclusion Council for the YMCA of the USA. His awards and recognitions include the Director of the Year from the Association of YMCA Professionals, NYS Governor’s African American Community Distinction, 40 Elite Alumni Honoree and 40 Under Forty Honoree by the Albany Business Review.

Tobyhanna, L3Harris Technologies Partner to Sustain Air Force MQ9 Reaper

Tobyhanna Army Depot has joined forces with defense contractor L3Harris Technologies to repair portions of a critical intelligence collection system for the U.S. Air Force.

The depot is scheduled to repair two types of line repairable units (LRUs) for the MQ-9 Reaper ground control station (GCS), part of a lucrative public-private partnership (P3) agreement between the organizations. 

The Reaper is an armed unmanned aircraft system that performs strike, coordination, and reconnaissance missions.  The asset is designed for long-endurance and high-altitude surveillance, with the ability to carry 15 times more ordnance payload than its predecessor.  The Reaper is monitored and controlled by an aircrew in the GCS.

The acquisition of this new workload is directly aligned with Tobyhanna’s long-range strategic plan, TOBY2028. The plan, which focuses on posturing the depot to be competitive in coming years, has lines of effort dedicated to expanding an already diverse portfolio through securing new workload, as well as connecting with community partners. The mission represents further growth for the depot’s support of assets used by the U.S. Air Force.

The workload’s arrival is the culmination of several years of effort, according to Logistics Management Specialist Christopher Volch.  Volch works in the Production Management Directorate.

“We have been working with L3Harris Technologies since 2016 to transition sustainment responsibility incrementally.  This measured approach ensures Tobyhanna is prepared to provide superior support to this program,” he said.

The cross-functional transition team included personnel from the C4ISR, Production Engineering and Production Management Directorates.

Much of the transition has focused on technical requirements, such as the development of test program sets (TPS).  Matthew Rhoades, chief of the Production Engineering Directorate’s Test Engineering Branch, says the TPSs serve an important purpose for the program.

“These TPSs will allow Tobyhanna’s electronics personnel to screen the LRU at the beginning of the process to identify where the asset requires repair.  Once repair is complete, the asset will be tested to validate the repair, ensuring the warfighter receives a quality product – every time.”  Rhoades noted the TPS development was only possible due to the P3’s collaborative working relationship.

“It has been a great experience working with L3Harris Technologies. Their personnel have been extremely good communicators and are willing to help however they can.”

The transition team has also focused on training to close the capability gap between the contractor and Tobyhanna personnel.  A cadre of depot subject matter experts traveled to an L3Harris Technologies facility in Salt Lake City, UT last month for side-by-side training and validation of technical documentation.  Attendees praised the experience, citing it as a valuable opportunity to collaborate and learn from subject matter experts.

Representatives from L3Harris Technologies say they are pleased with the depot’s efforts to prepare for the new workload.

“The entire team has been extremely accommodating.  We are very excited for this workload to come to Tobyhanna,” said Steven King, project manager for the Reaper transition.

Volch is hopeful that the already fruitful partnership will lead to more work for Team Tobyhanna.

“This partnership has been a fantastic experience, and we’ve been able to meet all of their expectations thus far.  I believe we are well postured to work together again in the future, “ adding that P3s allow the Department of Defense to leverage unique capabilities available in the private sector to support operational readiness in the most effective and efficient fashion.  The depot has entered into nearly 300 partnerships since the program began in 1996.

Geisinger Continuing Walk-In COVID-19 Vaccines this Week

Geisinger continues to make it easier to get a COVID-19 vaccine by offering walk-in vaccine events this week at its four vaccine centers.

Walk-in COVID-19 vaccinations will be available:

  • Wednesday, May 26, at the Geisinger Hughes Center Vaccine Center, 9 Stearns Lane, Danville, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, May 26, and Thursday, May 27, at the Geisinger Jersey Shore Hospital Vaccine Center, 116 Kerr Ave., Jersey Shore, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Friday, May 28, at the Geisinger CenterPoint Vaccine Center, 300 Keystone Ave., Pittston, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 29, at the Geisinger Lewistown Hospital Vaccine Center, 400 Highland Ave. Ext., Lewistown, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Geisinger is offering the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at all locations, which is a two-dose vaccine administered 21 days apart.

Walk-in vaccines are available to anyone age 12 and over, but those under 18 years old must have a parent or legal guardian with them to receive their vaccine doses. The vaccine centers are staffed with pediatric teams, including pediatricians, to answer any questions and assist with the vaccinations.

Geisinger continues to offer COVID-19 vaccines by appointment at its four vaccine centers, and those can be made through myGeisinger or by calling 570-284-3657. To check on additional walk-in vaccine days and times, and for more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit

Elizabeth Graham – Empower Conference Speaker

Elizabeth “Liz” Graham is chief operating officer and co-owner of Riggs Asset Management Company, Inc. Riggs is one of Northeast Pennsylvania’s largest independent investment advisory firms building and preserving wealth for families and institutions for more than 30 years. Ms. Graham works with individuals and families to manage their investments as well as serve as a financial sounding board during periods of transition from selling a business to retirement or career change to death or divorce.  Devoted to her clients, she endeavors to help clients understand the financial dynamics at play in the investment markets and bring a strategic and common-sense approach to growing their wealth.   

With a passion for giving back to the community, Ms. Graham is the Immediate Past Chair of the Board of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry, the first woman to Chair that Board in the Organization’s 135-year history. She has served as Chair of the Boards of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce; The Diamond City Partnership; and The Nuangola Lake Association and the Bear Creek Association.   In June 2009, Ms. Graham was recognized by the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce with the ATHENA Award.  This award is given out once a year to the woman who has made significant contributions to the business and local community.  In March 2009, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Business Journal recognized her as one of the “Top 25 Women in Business” and in 2001 that same publication recognized her as one of the “Top 20 Executives Under 40.”  In 2003, she co-founded Circle 200 a by-invitation only forum for senior executive women in Northeastern Pennsylvania where she continues to serve as an Advisor and Member of its Board.  Today, Circle 200 counts more than 100 women leaders in its membership.  In 2021, Ms. Graham was asked to help develop Fork Over Love, a non-profit organization geared toward providing financial support to restaurants hit hard by the pandemic and providing food to those dealing with food insecurity.  In five months, Fork Over Love has reinvested more than $80,000 into local restaurants and provided more than 8,000 meals to families in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Ms. Graham speaks regularly on topics centered around finance and leadership.

Lackawanna College Signs Transfer Agreement with SUNY Orange

Orange County Community College (SUNY Orange) and Lackawanna College Lake Region Center have jointly approved a transfer agreement that provides a seamless and smooth pathway for SUNY Orange graduates to transfer to Lackawanna and remain on track to earn a bachelor’s degree in four years.

For qualifying SUNY Orange graduates who intend to transition immediately to Lackawanna College after earning their associate’s degree, Lackawanna will waive the transfer application fee, extend students a $1,250-per-year scholarship, consider them for tuition discounts if they are eligible, and provide access to Lackawanna advising while the students are still enrolled at SUNY Orange to facilitate an easy transfer process. For their part, SUNY Orange graduates must maintain at least a 2.8 grade point average and enroll full-time at Lackawanna in one of the College’s seven bachelor’s degree programs.

“I’d like to thank President Dr. Jill Murray and her team at Lackawanna for collaborating with our staff, led by Dr. Erika Hackman, vice president for academic affairs, to provide SUNY Orange graduates with a viable and a seamless pathway to a bachelor’s degree at an institution that is close by,” said Dr. Kristine Young, SUNY Orange president. “A handful of Lackawanna’s bachelor’s degree programs align perfectly with our degrees, specifically in the areas of accounting, business, criminal justice and human services, and I’m confident their RN-to-BSN program will be of interest to our nursing grads.”

“This agreement is a culmination of our efforts to partner with SUNY Orange to create streamlined pathways for students who desire to continue their education at Lackawanna College, where they will achieve bachelor’s degrees in high-demand fields and make a difference in our communities,” said Jennifer Passenti, director of the Lackawanna College Lake Region Center.

Nestled in the heart of downtown Scranton, Lackawanna College remains one of the oldest educational institutions in the region. For more than 120 years, the College has been empowering students to become the next generation of leaders, and its roots in Scranton run deep. Since its formation in 1894, the College’s mission has always been to provide a quality education to all persons who seek to improve their lives and better their communities.

Presently, the College has five satellite centers in Hawley, Hazleton, Sunbury, Tunkhannock and Towanda, Pennsylvania; an Environmental Education Center in Covington Township; and a rapidly expanding main campus in Scranton. Lackawanna College is accredited by the Commission of Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

The College prides itself on its focused class sizes, which allow for personalized attention from skilled and extremely passionate faculty; its progressive curriculum, innovative programs, and cutting-edge learning studios that better prepare students; and the unparalleled student support services and active student life community that deepens each student’s college experience. For more information, contact the SUNY Orange Academic Advising office at or call (845) 341-4070. For additional information about Lackawanna College, contact Jennifer Passenti at or call (570) 226-4625.