University of Scranton Announces December Events

Note: Access to the campus is currently limited to members of the University community, invited guests and others as listed in the Royals Back Together plan. Campus access and other health and safety information will be updated throughout the semester and can be seen on the Royals Back Together webpage

Dec. 4      8 p.m. (Prelude begins at 7:05 p.m.) Performance Music: “54th Annual Noel Night” featuring The University of Scranton Singers, Instrumental Chamber Ensembles, and pianist Ron Stabinsky. Houlihan-McLean Center. Free. Call 570-941-7624 or email  

Dec. 12     7:30 p.m. Performance Music: “Empty Stocking Fund Benefit Recital.” Performance music student musicians perform solo, duet, trio, and small group renditions of a variety of Christmas favorites. Houlihan-McLean Center. Admission: one new unwrapped toy, new toiletry items, or a monetary donation. Call 570-941-7624 or email  

West Scranton Hometown Heroes Banner Program Open for Applications

Applications are now being accepted for the first full cycle of the Hometown Heroes banner program, an initiative jointly sponsored by NeighborWorks Northeastern Pennsylvania and the West Scranton Neighbors Association.

The Hometown Heroes program seeks to honor current and former members of the U.S military who have a connection to West Scranton. Banners will be hung along both Main Avenue, as well as Luzerne Street, in the Spring of 2022.

Family members wishing to honor a loved one for their military service can obtain an application by vising, or by visiting the NeighborWorks Northeastern Pennsylvania office at 815 Smith Street, Scranton, PA 18504. The office is open Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To complete an application, family members must submit a paper copy of the application form to the office, and also provide a photo of the veteran in military uniform, as well as proof of honorable discharge (a DD Form 214 is preferred.)

A cost of $250 per banner is assessed for printing and hanging; a check or money order for the full amount (payable to NeighborWorks Northeastern Pennsylvania) must accompany each application at time of submission. Banners will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis, and will be available until all spots are filled.

The Hometown Heroes banner program was initiated in West Scrantonby a project group from the Leadership Lackawanna Core Program Class of 2021, who organized an initial run of 30 banners. This project is part of the West Scranton Neighborhood Plan, a 10-year strategy for revitalizing West Side. NeighborWorks released the plan in the fall of 2020 and is currently leading its implementation.

Anyone interested in participating in the Hometown Heroes program is asked to contact Deborah DeFazio, NeighborWorks Northeastern Pennsylvania Front Desk Operations, at (570) 558-2490 or

Marywood Jazz Ambassadors Set Fall Concert for November 19

The Jazz Ambassadors of Marywood University’s music, theatre, and dance department will present their fall concert on November 19. The performance will take place at 7 p.m. in the Marian Chapel, Swartz Center for Spiritual Life, on Marywood’s campus. Admission is free and open to the public.

The concert will be directed by Vincent LoRusso, and the program will feature “Happy Blues,” “Morning Dream,” and “Big Swing Face” by Bill Potts; “Up Jumped Spring” by Freddie Hubbard; “Recorda Me (Remember Me)” by Joe Henderson, and “Swing, Swing, Swing” (from the movie, 1941) by John Williams.

For additional information on this and other concerts, please visit or call Marywood University’s music, theatre, and dance department at (570) 348-6268.

Geisinger ConvenientCare Opens Nicholson Location

Getting walk-in care in Wyoming County just became easier as Geisinger opens its second ConvenientCare location in the county.

Located at 2631 Lackawanna Trail (Route 11) in Nicholson, Geisinger ConvenientCare Nicholson is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Staffed by advanced practitioners, the walk-in clinic provides care for anyone age 1 and older.  ConvenientCare clinics are the best place to go for minor health issues that can be resolved in a single visit. These include cold and flu symptoms, allergies, earaches, tick removal, sprains and minor cuts.

“Our ConvenientCare walk-in clinics are designed to be there when you need it the most,” said Richard Martin, M.D., medical director of Geisinger ConvenientCare. “We’re glad to be providing care in Nicholson, and the addition of these services helps to make health care easier for our neighbors in the community.”

You can visit to check wait times at ConvenientCare locations and use the online check-in to hold your place in line to be seen. Geisinger also had a ConvenientCare location near Tunkhannock. To learn more about Geisinger ConvenientCare, visit The clinics accept most major insurance plans and offer reasonable copays.

The F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts and Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza to Present Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

The F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts in Wilkes-Barre and the ASM Global-managed Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre Twp. are teaming up once again to present a concert, this time featuring Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit LIVE at The F.M. Kirby Center on January 17th, 2022 at 7:30pm. American singer/songwriter, Adia Victoria, will be support on the show. This event will mark the first time the venues have partnered to present a show since the Trisha Yearwood concert hosted at the F.M. Kirby Center in 2019.

Tickets go on sale Friday, November 12th at 10:00 a.m. and can be purchased at the Sundance Vacations Box Office at the F.M. Kirby Center, by phone at (570) 826-1100 and online at A Kirby Member Pre-Sale will begin Thursday, November 11th at 10:00 a.m.

Jason Isbell has established himself as one of the most respected and celebrated songwriters of his generation. The North Alabama native possesses an incredible penchant for identifying and articulating some of the deepest, yet simplest, human emotions, and turning them into beautiful poetry through song. Isbell sings of the everyday human condition with thoughtful, heartfelt, and sometimes brutal honesty. Isbell broke through in 2013 with the release of Southeastern. His next two albums, Something More Than Free (2015) and The Nashville Sound (2017), won Grammy Awards for Best Americana Album & Best American Roots Song. Isbell’s song “Maybe It’s Time” was featured in the 2019 reboot of A Star Is Born.

His most recent full-length album, Reunions (2020), is a critically-acclaimed collection of ten new songs that showcases an artist at the height of his powers and a band fully charged with creativity and confidence. In April of 2021, it was announced that Isbell would appear in the upcoming Martin Scorsese film, Killers of the Flower Moon.

This October 2021, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit released a special new covers album, Georgia Blue. Created to celebrate Georgia’s role in the 2020 election, the record consists of new versions of thirteen songs with ties to the state, including tracks originally recorded by Georgia natives R.E.M., Drivn’ N’ Cryin’, James Brown, Cat Power, Precious Bryant, Otis Redding, The Black Crowes, Indigo Girls, Now It’s Overhead, Gladys Knight & The Pips, The Allman Brothers Band and Vic Chesnutt. All proceeds will benefit three non-profit organizations: Black Voters Matter, Fair Fight and Georgia STAND-UP.

Tickets Prices: $59, $79 & $99 and $125, plus fees

Swift Kennedy Welcomes Administrative Assistant

Casey Welby has been hired as an Administrative Assistant at the Scranton branch of Swift Kennedy & Associates, an insurance brokerage firm specializing in group employee benefits and senior insurance plans.

Ms. Welby’s previous work experience includes serving as the Lead Training Manager at Precision Software Innovations and working as a cosmetologist at All That Pizazz.

Ms. Welby graduated from Empire Beauty School in Moosic in 2002 and from Lackawanna Trail Junior-Senior High School in Factoryville in 2000.

Swift Kennedy helps businesses find affordable employee benefit plans, including medical, dental, vision, life, disability, and alternative funding options. This full-service agency works with all health insurance carriers in Pennsylvania and has offices in Scranton, Williamsport, DuBois, State College, Johnstown, and Virginia Beach.

PA Safety Partners Discuss Transportation Safety, Announce Results of Operation Safe Stop 2021

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) was joined today by the Pennsylvania State Police, the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Lower Allen Township Police, and West Shore School District transportation partners to reinforce the importance of school transportation safety and highlight the potential school transportation challenges posed by changing daylight conditions.

The results of Operation Safe Stop, an annual school bus enforcement and education initiative that was held on October 20 this year, were also announced.

Operation Safe Stop data revealed that participating school districts and law enforcement agencies reported 252 violations of the law, up from the 120 reported last year. The initiative is held in conjunction with local and state police departments, school districts, and pupil transportation providers to conduct enforcement, raise public awareness about the consequences of improper passing of school buses, and reduce occurrences. Convictions for breaking the School Bus Stopping Law decreased from 746 in 2019 to 314 in 2020.

“Although there were less convictions of the School Bus Stopping Law last year, one incident of passing a school bus is one too many, which is why we’re reminding motorists of its importance,” said PennDOT Deputy Secretary Kurt Myers. “With additional challenges such as darkness coinciding with more of our students’ school bus ride times and the distraction of the quickly approaching holiday season, it is important that motorists remain vigilant while sharing the road with school buses and students,”

The School Bus Stopping Law requires motorists approaching a school bus with its red lights flashing and stop arm extended, to stop at least 10 feet from the bus. Motorists approaching from all directions are required to stop. However, motorists who encounter a school bus stopping on the opposite side of a divided highway are not required to stop when lanes of the highway are clearly separated by a divider, such as a concrete barrier or grassy median.

“The penalties if convicted of disobeying the law are a $250 fine, five points on your driving record and a 60-day license suspension,” said Corporal Zeina Black, Permits and Bus Safety Unit Supervisor with the Pennsylvania State Police. “But even worse than these penalties, a tragedy could occur if either a driver or a student is not paying attention to their surroundings.”

Some safety tips for students to remember while waiting for or loading and unloading the bus include:

  • Get to the school bus stop five minutes early, so you won´t have to run across the road to catch the school bus.
  • When waiting for the school bus, stay away from traffic.
  • Line up at least five giant steps away from the curb or the roadway to wait for the school bus.
  • Never run after the school bus if it has already left the school bus stop.
  • Never push when getting on or off the school bus.

“Student safety at school bus stops is a top priority that requires the cooperation and attention of all motorists,” said John Kashatus, School Safety Education Advisor, Department of Education. “Local school districts work hard to identify the safest locations possible for school bus stops and to train their staff. But to ensure that students remain out of harm’s way, we urge all drivers to be attentive and watch for the flashing lights of school buses and always stop when students are getting on and off.”

For more information on school transportation and other safety subjects, visit and under “Travel in PA” look under “Safety,” then click on the “Traffic Safety and Driver Topics” tab.

Pediatrician joins The Wright Center for Community Health’s Mid Valley Practice

The Wright Center for Community Health has named Dr. Manju Mary Thomas, a pediatrician, as medical director of Pediatrics and Community-Based Medical Home Services. She is accepting infants, children and adolescents as new patients beginning Dec. 20 at the Mid Valley Practice, 5 S. Washington Ave., Jermyn.

Thomas, board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics, will also be a pediatric physician faculty member for The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education. The Palmer Township resident completed her residency in pediatrics at Brookdale University Hospital, Brooklyn, New York. She received training in a busy community-based hospital and gained experience in inpatient and outpatient settings, including the pediatric intensive care unit (ICU), neonatal ICU, and general pediatric and adolescent care.

Prior to joining The Wright Center for Community Health, she was an attending pediatrician at Lehigh Valley Health Network. In addition, she was an attending faculty pediatrician at St. Luke’s Hospital – Sacred Heart Campus, Allentown, and chief faculty pediatrician of the family practice residency program at Sacred Heart Star Wellness, a Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alike similar to The Wright Center for Community Health.

She will provide primary and preventive care for pediatric and adolescent patients at The Wright Center for Community Health. Go to or call the Mid Valley Practice at 570-230-0019 to schedule an appointment with her.

Robert H. Spitz Foundation Grant Supports Outreach Center for Community Resources

In photo (left to right): Frank Caputo, Grants & Communications Coordinator, Scranton Area Community Foundation, Administrator of the Robert H. Spitz Foundation; Cathy Fitzpatrick, Grants & Scholarship Manager, Scranton Area Community Foundation; Eve Schell and Alicia Olivetti, Outreach Early Head Start Family Development Specialists, Jack Nogi, Trustee, Robert H. Spitz Foundation

The Robert H. Spitz Foundation awarded a $25,000 grant to support the programs and services that Outreach provides to the regional community. Outreach serves a broad population of those affected by poverty and other challenges: single parents, unemployed workers, educationally at-risk children, veterans, individuals with health, behavioral and cognitive issues, individuals in recovery, and others in transition. Outreach improves the lives of over 4,000 adults and children each year with award-winning workforce and family development programs that support individuals as they navigate through life’s challenges.

The support from the Robert H. Spitz Foundation supports Outreach programs and services that are being provided at the Center on Seventh Avenue, virtually, and through home visiting child-serving programs. The Robert H. Spitz Foundation grant will provide the operational support necessary for Outreach to respond to the increased need being experienced in the community for workforce and family services and programs.

The Robert H. Spitz Foundation supports initiatives and programs serving the residents of Lackawanna County and Northeastern Pennsylvania. Robert H. Spitz was born in Scranton and was a 1955 graduate of Scranton Central High School and the University of Miami, Florida. Before retirement, Mr. Spitz had been employed by the U.S. Department of Labor and was also the owner of several local Arby’s restaurants. Since 2015, the Robert H. Spitz Foundation has provided over $3.7 million in funding to the community. The Scranton Area Community Foundation serves as the administrator of the Robert H. Spitz Foundation.

The University of Scranton Adds Public Policy and Service Major

The University of Scranton now offers a new undergraduate major in public policy and service, which will prepare students for careers in the public, nonprofit and private sectors or to pursue specialized graduate training in public administration, public policy and nonprofit studies and nonprofit management. The new major, housed in the University’s College of Arts and Sciences and Department of Political Science, is currently enrolling students for the fall 2022 semester.

“A public policy major acquires the knowledge and skills from political science, business, theology and other areas of the curriculum needed to successfully analyze and propose solutions to some of the most complex problems confronting our region, country and world today,” said Michael Allison, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Political Science at The University of Scranton.

The new interdisciplinary major combines coursework from public policy, public administration and nonprofit studies. Students will learn the fundamentals of administration and policymaking in the United States and acquire skills in budgeting, personnel management, policy analysis and program evaluation, in addition to expertise in a specific policy area. Courses include Political Science Research, Policy Analysis, Women’s Right and Status, Environmental Policy Process, Economic Policy and Public Budgeting and Social Welfare Policy, among others.

Students majoring in public policy and service will also complete an internship, community-based learning course or independent study to apply firsthand what they learned in the classroom.  Several internship opportunities relevant to the program already exist in the local area in government agencies, nonprofits and the Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development. Students will also be able to complete coursework in Washington, D.C., through the Washington Internship Institute and the Washington Center where the University has articulation agreements already in place. The University’s new Center for Ethics and Excellence in Public Service provides opportunities for student internships, research projects, and training programs, as well as networking opportunities with public officials and alumni working in public service careers.

For additional information, contact the University’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions at 888-727-2686 or email, or Dr. Allison at 570-941-4392 or