Penn State Scranton Hosting Speaker on Race and Identity

Michael Sidney Fosberg, founder of Incognito Inc., grew up believing he was white; then, in his early 30s, he learned that he is actually black. On Thursday, Nov. 4 at noon in the Study Learning Center’s Sherbine Lounge, he will present, “Nobody Wants to Talk About It – Race, Identity and the Difficulties in Forging Meaningful Conversations”.

For more than a decade, Fosberg has toured the country performing his autobiographical play, “Incognito” at schools, colleges corporations, government agencies, community organizations and military bases. The play is based on his personal experiences in learning of, and discovering, his Black biological father.

After hundreds of presentations and in-depth dialogues, Fosberg has assembled a set of tools and takeaways useful in navigating uncomfortable conversations about race and identity. 

He will share these tools at this presentation, with the goal of providing a road map to more authentic and meaningful conversations and authentic dialogue.

This event is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Nicole Paolicelli in Penn State Scranton’s Student Activities Office at 570-963-2703 or email: You can also visit the speaker’s website at:

Designs by Olivia Grey to Celebrate One Year Anniversary

Designs by Olivia Grey will be celebrating their one-year anniversary of opening their storefront on November 4, 2021, from 5-7 pm. They will be hosting a meet and greet with their staff and some of their vendors. Pizza and wings will be served.

Designs by Olivia Grey takes great pride in offering the best all natural soy candles and accessories. They are a veteran owned and operated business dedicated to giving back to local veterans. They are proudly partnered with Camp Freedom, a local non-profit organization dedicated to helping veterans, first responders and their families. They collect donations in store and at all events to support this organization. 

In providing an all natural product, they only ever use three ingredients in every candle: all natural soy wax farmed here in The USA, phthalate-free fragrance and essential oils, and cotton wicks. Designs by Olivia Grey is also Leaping Bunny certified, meaning they are a cruelty-free recognized company. In addition, they hand pour each and every candle in small batches to guarantee customer satisfaction on every purchase. Designs by Olivia Grey is your ultimate candle destination. Stop by and wish them a happy one-year anniversary!

RailRiders to Host High School “Hackathon” at PNC Field

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders will host local high school students for a “hackathon” on November 6 in the Geisinger Champions Club at PNC Field during NEPA STEM Ecosystem’s Celebration of STEM in Industry.

A “hackathon” is an invention marathon. Programmers, designers, builders and more join together to learn, build, and share their creations. Hackathons are not limited to computer science interests — this “hackathon” is open to students who have an interest in technology and are eager to learn.

Teams of students (with diverse backgrounds and interests in areas like math, science, design, economics, etc.) will be given a “problem” and their challenge will be creating a mobile/web app that will help solve that problem. The “problem” for this event will relate to something at PNC Field, but students will not know the challenge until they arrive on the day of the event. Students will receive hints related to the task through social media during the week leading up to November 6 and multiple experts will be on-site that day to answer any questions they have regarding the challenge.

The students will be creating a “wire-frame” of an actual app, but not completing coding and creating a real app. At the end of the event, students will present their apps to the event judges and a winner will be announced. Cash prizes along with some special gifts from the RailRiders will be awarded to the winners.

Registration is still open for high school teams of three to five students and this event is not open to the public. School districts may register more than one team. Students can range between ninth and twelfth grade and a team should be comprised of three to five individuals. Districts are encouraged to create diverse teams of all abilities and aptitudes with a variety of talents with attention to skill sets such as coding and programming, graphic designers/artists and user experience design, as well as those who excel in science and math. It is suggested to have at least one alternate student per team. Districts can also register for all virtual participation in this event.

To register for this event, contact Stephanie Williams at For more information on other events happening during NEPA STEM Ecosystem’s Celebration of STEM in Industry, visit NEPASTEM.ORG.

NEPA Animal Welfare Collaborative Spay Neuter Effort a Success

On Thursday, October 28th the NEPA Animal Welfare Collaborative will host its last of three spay-neuter clinics in honor of Feral Cat Month. This spay-neuter clinic series, sponsored by the NEPA Animal Welfare Collaborative (AWC) in partnership with the Eastern Pennsylvania Animal Alliance (EPAA), covers over 80 percent of the associated spay/neuter and vaccine costs for cats. The event will be held from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Keyser Valley Community Center (103 N Keyser Avenue, Scranton) in Lackawanna County.

Nearly 150 cats in Lackawanna and Luzerne counties will have been spayed or neutered by end of day Thursday, received rabies and FVRCP vaccinations and other treatment such as flea/tick and related care. The cost for these services is $10 for domestic cats and $5 for feral cats. The final day in the series is slated to serve 45 cats in Lackawanna County. The pause on spay/neuter surgeries during COVID-19 has significantly increased the need for these low-cost services, as evidenced by appointments booking up very quickly. About two-thirds of the cats served are domestic cats and one-third feral or stray cats that will be trapped, neutered and released.

The low-cost spay-neuter events were developed as part of the strategic plan of the NEPA Animal Welfare Collaborative, a collective of animal shelters, rescues, advocates and sanctuaries who come together to improve the lives of animals in our region. The NEPA AWC was established in 2019 as an initiative of the Scranton Area Community Foundation.

The purpose of Feral Cat Month is to create awareness and educate the public about the outdoor cats that live in our communities. It encourages people to care for, and help humanely reduce, the population of feral cats. One important strategy is Trap-Neuter-Release or “TNR” which provides a humane alternative to “catch and kill” for cats who cannot be placed in shelters or homes.

Other priority areas of the NEPA AWC include enhancing the availability of quality foster homes for homeless animals, establishing best practices for the care of animals and providing more resources and training opportunities for rescues and shelters. Funding for the NEPA AWC is provided by grants from foundations as well as donations from the public.

To date, the NEPA AWC has hosted a pet food pantry in 2020 that served over 560 pet owners and their companion animals, helping many people to keep their pets during challenging economic times. The collaborative has also held advocacy trainings with state and national organizations and established a code of ethics to guide recommended practices for animal care settings. It has also taken on an advocacy role in support of educating the public on the problems with puppy mills. The NEPA AWC also works with other organizations in the state of PA and on a national level to coordinate efforts.

The NEPA AWC is working diligently on additional initiatives to humanely reduce the feral cat populations in Lackawanna County and surrounding areas through trap-neuter-release programs and educational workshops. It has also supported the development of a NEPA Rescue Vet – still in the planning stages – which aims to help address the veterinary shortage in NEPA by offering low-cost appointments for animals in shelters, rescue or sanctuaries that are part of the Collaborative. In the spring of 2022, the NEPA AWC also plans to host a NEPA Animal Welfare and Animal Care Expo.

Convened by the Scranton Area Community Foundation, the NEPA Animal Welfare Collaborative includes over 30 organizations, shelters, rescues and community advocates in Lackawanna, Luzerne and surrounding counties in Northeast Pennsylvania. These include Scranton Animal Shelter Association, Animal Care Associates, Griffin Pond Animal Shelter, Pawsitively for the Animals, NEPA Pet Rescue, Indraloka Animal Sanctuary and others.

The NEPA AWC’s Vision is to set the standard for all animal welfare initiatives in NEPA and to work together, utilizing available resources to improve both the care and lives of animals. The Mission of the is to work on initiatives aimed at ensuring animals in NEPA achieve a happy and healthy life—free from abuse and neglect.

Those involved in animal rescue often do this work in addition to holding other jobs, and their free time is limited. The Collaborative works to ensure that resources are targeted to the needs of people that carry out this important work so that they can be effective caregivers to the animals they serve. The collaborative aims to help members develop effective grant writing, nonprofit policy/law, advocacy and other important skills.

Scranton Area Foundation President and CEO Laura Ducceschi states, “Animal welfare is a popular philanthropic interest, but it may sometimes be difficult to know where resources are best allocated. The NEPA Animal Welfare Collaborative continues to connect and coordinate efforts between those working in or volunteering in the animal welfare community with national and state resources, and with those who want to philanthropically support the welfare of animals.”

In addition to the NEPA Animal Welfare Collaborative, the Scranton Area Community Foundation spearheads initiatives such Women in Philanthropy, NEPA Moves, NEPA Gives, the Center for Community Leadership and Nonprofit Excellence, and the NEPA Equitable Housing Collaborative.