Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Forum, Call for Speakers

We’re looking for passionate speakers to join us as presenters for our third annual Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Forum, presented by the Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council and in partnership with our regional chambers! This year, we will be taking what used to be our webinar series and offering a full day of DEI-focused sessions. We are looking for diverse-owned businesses owners or entrepreneurs and individuals who have dedicated themselves to building diversity, equity, and inclusion practices in their workplaces and in the communities.

Presentations will take place over Zoom on April 12th and will be 30 minutes in length. Selections will be determined at the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council meeting in March and speakers will be notified of their selection soon after applications close. Complete the RFP form before the close of business on February 10th. For any questions, please email Everal at everal@wyomingvalleychamber.org.

The Waverly Community House to Host Frederick Douglass Talk

E. J. Murphy, Project Coordinator for the Waverly Community House’s Destination Freedom: Underground Railroad Walking Tour of Waverly will host a talk on Frederick Douglass and Northeastern Pennsylvania, entitled “But Because He is a Man”. This program will highlight the effect that Douglass’ influence had on local and national events during the Civil War era as well as his connections, both direct and indirect, to Northeastern Pennsylvania.

E.J. Murphy is an educator and public historian from Scranton, PA.

The talk, sponsored by Toyota of Scranton and Peoples Security Bank & Trust will be held on Sunday, February 20th at 1:00 PM in The Comm auditorium. This educational program is appropriate for school-aged children.

Free and open to the public. Donations will be accepted for the Destination Freedom Project.

Reservations suggested. Call the Comm office: 570 .586.8191 Or click HERE for online reservations.

Narayana S. Murali, M.D., Named Chief Medical Officer of Medicine Services at Geisinger

Geisinger announced that Narayana Murali, M.D., will serve as the new chief medical officer of medicine services at Geisinger. This leadership position will oversee Geisinger’s strategic plan and operations for the medicine, cancer, and women’s and children’s institutes throughout the system.

Dr. Murali has served as executive vice president of care delivery and chief strategy officer at Marshfield Clinic Health System in Marshfield, Wis., since 2014, where he was heavily involved in driving and shaping its transformation.

“Geisinger is always working on ways to make better health easier for our patients. Bringing Narayana Murali, M.D., on board as the new chief medical officer of medicine services will further our mission to enhance care for our patients, our members and our communities,” said J. Edward Hartle, M.D., executive vice president and system chief medical officer. “Given Dr. Murali’s wealth of experience and expertise and his passion for always enhancing patient care, we’re confident that he will continue to set the bar even higher for us to deliver a premier patient experience.”  

“After 15 fulfilling years at Marshfield Clinic Health System, I’m honored to be joining Geisinger,” said Dr. Murali. “This system has a longstanding history in the community and is nationally recognized for innovating healthcare. Geisinger’s patient-first mindset is one many in the healthcare industry aspire to follow, and I look forward to finding ways to transform the industry by creating an exemplary patient experience in our communities.”

As the new chief medical officer, Dr. Murali will work closely with institute chairs to develop strategic plans that address customer expectations, as well as quality and cost of care with the goal of driving change for the betterment of patient care and Geisinger communities.

Dr. Murali earned his medical degree at the University of Madras in India, completed his internship at Abington Memorial Hospital in Abington, Pa., and his residency at the Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education in Rochester, Minn. He also completed a National Institutes of Health-sponsored Clinician Investigator Training Program and a fellowship in kidney disease at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, as well as the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School.

City of Scranton Launches Online Permitting and Licensing Portal

Mayor Paige G. Cognetti announced that the City of Scranton has officially launched a new online permitting and licensing portal powered by cloud software provider OpenGov. The City is now inviting residents to apply for a select group of permits and licenses online via the new online service portal, accessible HERE. Over the next few months, more permit and license types will be added to the portal.

When the City of Scranton decided to make the transition to online permitting, its primary goal was to move away from a long-standing paper-based process. Along with streamlining internal processes, residents will experience convenient self-service, the ability to track, manage, and converse about applications in a single portal, and conditional forms that will improve application accuracy and reduce application time. Applicants will be able to print their permits and licenses from home and receive email notifications updating them when there are changes to their applications.

This move is part of a greater transformation of the City’s IT platform, which is rooted around four core applications: OpenGov Financials, OpenGov Citizen Services, NeoGov, and Cartegraph which will individually be utilized to modernize the City of Scranton’s Financial, License and Permitting, HR, and Fleet Management systems throughout 2022.

The City will continue accepting paper applications for the time being. The City will also maintain its current payment methods but will be moving to online payments soon.

“We are pleased to announce the launch of the city’s new online permitting and licensing portal powered by OpenGov’s Citizen Services Suite,” said Mayor Cognetti. “Maintaining long-standing, outdated processes is not a viable option for a modern city. Our taxpayers demand better services and replacing the City’s operating technology is an opportunity to change in how we meet our constituents’ needs and, especially with improved permitting services, support our economic development efforts.”

For additional help applying online, you can come to the front office in City Hall when it is open to the public, or you can go to the Scranton Public Library. The library offers free access to computers and trained library staff to assist patrons one-on-one. In the near future, the Library will offer free classes to teach the public how to use the Citizen Portal. These classes will be held in the library’s Technology Lab and taught by the computer instructor. Community members can reach the library by calling (570) 348-3000.

Email ahallock@scrantonpa.gov with questions.

The Wright Center Distributing Free At-Home COVID-19 Test Kits

The Wright Center for Patient & Community Engagement is holding two drive-thru distribution events of free at-home COVID-19 test kits for the public on a first-come, first-serve basis on Saturday, Feb. 5 in Lackawanna and Luzerne counties. Each vehicle will receive five test kits while supplies last.

In conjunction with the Kingston fire and police departments, The Wright Center for Patient & Community Engagement will hand out test kits from 6-7 p.m. in the parking lot of the fire department, 600 Wyoming Ave. Guests are asked to follow this route: Go to West Dorrance Street off of Wyoming Avenue and take a left onto Welter Lane. Stay on Welter Lane until arriving at the fire department’s parking lot. Follow the traffic route outlined by orange cones and exit the event onto Sharpe Street.

The Wright Center for Patient & Community Engagement is also holding an at-home COVID-19 test kit giveaway at The Wright Center for Community Health’s Mid Valley Practice, 5 S. Washington Ave., Jermyn, from 6-7 p.m.

“Time and again, our community partners have come forward to work with us during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Laurie LaMaster, associate vice president of Patient & Community Engagement. “Thanks to Kingston fire and police officials, and the Jermyn and Archbald police departments, we are able to respond to the needs of the community and provide this needed public service.”

To help facilitate an efficient distribution, the public is asked to pre-register. Simply fill out the form at TheWrightCenter.org/covidtest, print out the confirmation page and present it to a volunteer handing out test kits. The pre-registration process does not guarantee the availability of a test kit.

The Wright Center is also reminding participants to abide by COVID-19 mitigation standards by wearing masks and remaining in vehicles at all times.

For complete and up-to-date information about The Wright Center for Patient & Community Engagement’s community distributions of at-home COVID-19 test kits, please follow the organization’s social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or go to TheWrightCenter.org.

The Wright Center for Community Health is respectfully asking the public to refrain from calling and going to clinical locations during normal business hours to ask about at-home test kits. Call volume and clinician capacity are reserved to address primary health services and prescription refills.

PennDOT Invites Public to Participate in Safety Citizens Program

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) invites Pennsylvanians to participate in its Safety Citizens program, which encourages community members to answer traffic safety questions in original and creative ways.

Traffic safety topics are introduced bi-monthly posing a question for the public to answer. Participants can answer by submitting an original piece of artwork, such as a short video, a poem, or a drawing. Selected submissions are displayed on PennDOT’s statewide social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

The program was recently updated to include new topics for 2022 and the addition of links to coloring pages and kids’ activities to encourage young Pennsylvanians to participate.

According to PennDOT data, in 2020 there were 1,129 fatalities on Pennsylvania roadways.

Individuals, classes, families, clubs, or other groups are encouraged to participate in this safety initiative as a program challenge.

The first topic for 2022 is Drowsy Driving. Participants are asked to submit a response to the question “What do you think are the best ways to avoid drowsy driving?” The kids’ challenge for the topic is to draw a picture of other ways to travel if someone is too tired to drive. Submissions are due by Monday, February 28.

Upcoming topics will include bicycle and motorcycle safety, commercial vehicle safety, seat belt and child passenger safety and impaired driving.

Safety is everyone’s responsibility. Being a Safety Citizen is being a leader by inspiring your family, friends, and community to practice safe behaviors on the road. Whether traveling by vehicle, motorcycle, bicycle or on foot, everyone has the opportunity to be safer on the road.

Additional information on the program, including the details and guidelines for participation, can be found online at www.PennDOT.gov/SafetyCitizens or questions can be emailed to SafetyCitizens@pa.gov. Interested participants are encouraged to check the website frequently for updates about future topics.

Young Professionals Conference Call for Speakers

We want YOU to present to our area’s emerging leaders at our 4th Young Professionals Conference on March 23rd, 2022, which is presented in partnership with the United Way of Wyoming Valley and our regional chambers. Because this conference is virtual just like the 2021 Young Professionals Conference, please note that you will be asked to film your segment a few weeks before the actual conference date. This day-long conference is aimed at developing our area’s talented professionals ages., featuring amazing speakers in our region between the ages of 20-45.

Presentations will be part of a break-out session format and will be 30 minutes in length. We are inviting proposals for presentations related to the topics below, but are open to new session topic ideas as well!

1. Wellness
2. Entrepreneurship
3. Personal Finance
4. Leadership Development
5. Innovation
6. Goal Setting

Complete the RFP form before the close of business on February 10th. For any questions, please email Michaela@wyomingvalleychamber.org.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Joins New MiLB Initiative ‘The Nine”

Minor League Baseball® (MiLB™) has announced the launch of “The Nine,” a new, Black-community focused outreach platform specifically designed to honor and celebrate the historic impact numerous Black baseball pioneers made on the sport, provide new opportunities for youth baseball and softball participation, further diversify the business of baseball, and embrace millions of passionate fans throughout MiLB’s 120 communities nationwide. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, Triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, are pleased to announce that the franchise will participate in “The Nine” starting this season.

Named for the number Jackie Robinson wore during his only season playing in MiLB with the Triple-A Montreal Royals in 1946, The Nine will connect MiLB teams’ existing, Black-community focused development efforts with new national programming and future special events in a coordinated and centralized campaign. The new inclusion initiative follows MiLB’s Copa de la Diversión Latino fan engagement platform introduced in 2017 that included 76 MiLB teams in 2021.

“This is a truly important initiative from Minor League Baseball and we are excited to join so many other teams in participating,” stated John Adams, Team President of the RailRiders. “There are so many great players to honor and stories to be told with Northeastern Pennsylvania ties. This will become both educational and engaging for everyone involved, and we look forward to watching the program grow.’”

Details on “The Nine” as well as other associated events will be available as the season approaches. For more information on the 2022 season, please contact the RailRiders front office at (570) 969-2255 or visit swbrailriders.com.  

The Scranton Area Community Foundation Announces Careers in Care Nursing Scholarship Applications Open

The Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation, administered by the Scranton Area Community Foundation has announced the 2022 Careers in Care Nursing Scholarship application deadline for students in Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Wyoming Counties who plan to pursue or who are pursuing nursing, and who will practice in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Interested nursing students or current nurses looking to advance their careers may apply online from February 1, 2022 through April 15th 2022 at CareersinCareNEPA.org.

To qualify for a Careers in Care Nursing Scholarship, individuals must show they have had a permanent address in Lackawanna, Luzerne, or Wyoming County for the last three years. Applicants may be new or continuing students interested in pursuing, or currently pursuing, nursing; traditional or non-traditional students pursuing qualification at any level of the nursing profession, including CNA, LPN, RN to BSN, BS (3rd and 4th year only), Master’s Degree/Nurse Educator; or non-traditional students looking to return to work or seeking a change in employment.

“Nursing provides the greatest honor in life – to be able to care for patients in their most vulnerable state and assist them when they need it the most. This scholarship is enabling me to enhance my skills from being a Licensed Practical Nurse to earning my Bachelors in Science degree in Nursing,” remarked Nicole Lubash, 2021 scholarship winner, mother of two young boys, and a Junior at Marywood University.

The Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation’s Careers in Care initiative is a$1.7 million commitment over a three-year period (2020-2023) focused on developing the regional pipeline of the healthcare workforce. Established through the Scranton Area Community Foundation, the nursing scholarship program aims to support the growth and development of the nurses at all levels in NEPA.

“We’re delighted that 19 previous scholarship winners are already pursuing nursing careers with awards from the Careers in Care nursing scholarship program. We are prepared to assist many additional nursing school applicants with scholarships during this enrollment period,” stated Laura Ducceschi, President and CEO of the Scranton Area Community Foundation.

Speaker and Sports Activist Kyle Richard Addresses Lackawanna College Students

Lackawanna College welcomed guest speaker Kyle Richard on January 27 to share his story with students and the Scranton community, promote active bystanders and speak about violence prevention awareness.

“Richard’s presentation is an important part of our initiative to educate and engage our students in bystander awareness,” said Tierny Ulmer Cresswell, Student Wellness Program Director. “We are honored to host Richard and provide our students with an opportunity to hear his heroic story.”

Richard is a former SUNY Cortland linebacker and football team captain who was shot twice during the summer of 2017 when he intervened to stop a sexual assault. Due to his experience, Richard has become a nationally known and influential advocate for bystander intervention and the prevention of sexual assault. Richard has received several awards for his heroism, including the notable Biden Courage Award for Bystander Intervention from It’s On Us and the Biden Foundation, the Orange Bowl Award and the Next Generation Award.

“I’m beyond excited to get the year kicked off at Lackawanna College,” said Richard. “I shared my story to provide a wide range of emotions through vulnerability & to motivate athletes, students and faculty to continue doing their part in preventing sexual & domestic violence.”

The Kyle Richard event was part of Lackawanna College’s “It’s On Us Lackawanna” project, which was funded by a grant award from the 2020-2021 Governor’s It’s On Us PA grant program.