Sweda Advertising Announces Promotion

Megan Kolis of Sweda Advertising has recently been promoted to Senior Account Executive. In her role, Megan manages day-to-day interactions between the agency and its clients. Her responsibilities also include social media, public relations, digital and traditional media, branding, and campaigns.

Megan joined Sweda Advertising in 2018 after graduating from the University of Scranton with a bachelor’s degree in Strategic Communication and a minor in Political Science.

Established in 2004, Sweda Advertising is a full-service agency that posts annual billings of $2M+ and provides professional services to some of the region’s most respected clients.

The Wright Center to Hold COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic

The Wright Center for Community Health is holding a Driving Better Health COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic at St. Francis Food Pantry, 500 Penn Ave., Scranton, on Friday, Feb. 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Driving Better Health is a 34-foot mobile medical unit that brings high-quality health care services directly to the underserved communities of Northeast Pennsylvania. The mobile medical unit has been serving populations of special concern since 2020. It is regularly deployed to senior living centers, regional schools, homeless shelters and other community gathering spots.

COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are available for anybody age 5 and up. A guardian must accompany patients who are younger than 17. Walk-up appointments are welcome depending on vaccine availability, but appointments are encouraged for the convenience of patients. Please go to TheWrightCenter.org or call 570-230-0019 to schedule an appointment.

The Wright Center for Community Health clinical staff will also offer COVID-19 testing and flu vaccines at the clinic.

Patients are asked to observe public safety measures, including masking and social distancing, during the clinic and bring identification and insurance cards.

University of Success Now Accepting Applications

The University of Scranton’s University of Success, a four-year pre-college mentorship program, is now accepting applications for the upcoming 2022 academic year that begins this summer.

The University of Success is an academic and enrichment program funded entirely by corporate and foundations grants, so there is no charge to students and their families. The program’s goal is to assist first generation bound students to successfully complete high school and gain entrance into a college or university.

Students who are currently in the eighth grade are eligible to apply.

Accepted students will begin the program with a two-week residential summer academy which will be held on the campus of The University of Scranton from July 10, to July 22. Upon completion of the summer program, the students will continue to meet for enrichment sessions during their high school career.

The deadline for submission of applications is Friday, April 1, 2022.

Applications may be obtained by emailing Margaret Loughney, University of Success program director, at margaret.loughney@scranton.edu. Applications may also be obtained online the University of Success web site.

PennDOT, State Police Highlight Law Awareness Week, Urge Safe Driving

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) came together today with Penn State Health at their Life Lion Hangar to highlight driver safety laws and urge motorists to put safety first.

According to early estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), national traffic fatalities in the first nine months of 2021 rose approximately 12 percent over 2020.

In Pennsylvania, 2021 preliminary data shows deaths on our roadways increased by as much as 10 percent, including increases in fatalities in speeding crashes, distracted driving crashes, crashes involving a 16- or 17-year-old driver, as well as unrestrained fatalities.

While fatalities in crashes involving impaired driving have remained relatively flat in recent years, data shows fatalities in crashes involving drinking drivers have been declining, while fatalities in crashes involving drugged drivers have been increasing.

“While we cannot definitively say what is causing fatalities to increase, we can definitively say that safety on our roadways is everyone’s responsibility,” said PennDOT Acting Executive Deputy Secretary Melissa Batula. “Please slow down, pay attention, never drive impaired, and buckle up. Buckling up is the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones in a crash.”

In 2020, it is estimated that 94 percent of unbelted occupants, or 305 people, who were killed in crashes while traveling in passenger vehicles, including cars, small trucks, vans, and SUVs, could have survived if they had been buckled up.

“We can all do our part to prevent crashes on Pennsylvania’s roadways,” said Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Robert Evanchick. “Please keep these important lifesaving laws in mind when you’re behind the wheel.”

PennDOT 2021 crash data is expected to be available by early June. All currently available data is publicly accessible online at PennDOT’s Pennsylvania Crash Information Tool (PCIT).

Pennsylvania’s Highway Safety Law Awareness Week is next week, February 20-26, and this year features safety laws that impact crashes and fatalities each year.

  • Distracted Driving: Pennsylvania’s Texting-While-Driving Ban prohibits as a primary offense any driver from using an Interactive Wireless Communication Device (IWCD) to send, read or write a text-based communication while his or her vehicle is in motion.
  • Seat Belts: Pennsylvania law requires any occupant younger than 18 to buckle up when riding in a vehicle, as well as drivers and front-seat passengers. Children under the age of two must be secured in a rear-facing car seat, and children under the age of four must be restrained in an approved child safety seat. Children must ride in a booster seat until their eighth birthday.
  • Impaired Driving: Pennsylvania law prohibits individuals from driving while impaired by alcohol and/or drugs. Penalties for driving while impaired depend on the individual’s level of impairment and prior offenses and can include up to $10,000 in fines, up to five years in prison, up to 18 months license suspension, one year of ignition interlock, and more. For more information on the penalties, check out Pennsylvania’s DUI Law.
  • Speeding: Pennsylvania law on speed restrictions requires motorists to drive at reasonable and prudent speeds for the current conditions. Drivers must drive at a safe and appropriate speed when approaching and crossing intersections, railroad grade crossings, when approaching and going around a curve, while approaching a hill crest, when traveling upon any narrow or winding roadway, and when special hazards exist with respect to pedestrians, other traffic, or weather or highway conditions. This law is sometimes called the “assured clear distance” rule because it requires motorists to operate at a speed at which they can stop within an “assured clear distance.” Drivers may be ticketed for rear-ending another vehicle because they violated this law by not stopping within the following distance they allowed.
  • Pennsylvania’s Young Driver Law: Pennsylvania licenses young drivers through a three-stage program, reflecting the driver’s gradual progression in skill, experience, and decision-making ability. The law has proven effective in reducing crashes and fatalities for 16- and 17-year-olds.

“In 2021, Life Lion responded to more than 1,950 motor vehicle crashes across central Pennsylvania, many of which involved traumatic injuries that resulted in transport to a hospital for further treatment,” said Keith McMinn, director of Penn State Health Life Lion Services. “Whether by ground or air, our first responders across the health system and Life Lion EMS are always prepared to provide high-quality, timely care – but many of these accidents are preventable. We encourage drivers buckle up and stay alert because this is one statistic we would like to see decrease.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently released their new comprehensive National Roadway Safety Strategy (NRSS), a roadmap for addressing roadway fatalities and serious injuries through the adoption of a “Safe System Approach.” Pennsylvania is in the process of updating the state strategy for reducing traffic deaths, which addresses safety across multiple contributing factors similar to the new national strategy. The updated 2022 Pennsylvania Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) – anticipated to be finalized later this month – will incorporate Safe System thoughts and practices.

For more information on PennDOT’s highway safety efforts visit, www.PennDOT.gov/safety.

For more information on the Pennsylvania State Police, visit psp.pa.gov.

PennDOT’s media center offers social-media-sized graphics highlighting topics such as seat belts, impaired driving, and distracted driving for organizations, community groups, or others who share safety information with their stakeholders.

The public can join the discussion on social media using the hashtags #BeSafePA and #PATrafficLaw.

Follow PennDOT on Twitter and like the department on Facebook and Instagram.

NBT Bank Welcomes Diana Hill as Human Resources Business Partner

NBT Bank’s Chief Human Resources Officer Cindy Smaniotto announced that Diana Hill has joined the team as Human Resources Business Partner. Hill is based at NBT’s Scranton Financial Center.

“Diana’s skillset is a great asset to our Human Resources Division as we continually seek new ways to enhance the employee experience,” Smaniotto said.

Hill brings more than 20 years of experience in human resources management, including employee engagement, talent acquisition, organizational development and performance management.

Hill earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Scranton. An active member of her community, Hill has served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Junior League of Scranton and volunteered with the St. Joseph’s Women’s House and the St. Francis Food Kitchen, as well as chaired many charitable fundraising events throughout NEPA.

Citizens Savings Bank Announces Promotion

Citizens Savings Bank Clarks in Clarks Summit has announed the promotion of Eileen Applegate-Huegel to the position of Vice President of Information Technology. Looking back on her 41 years with the bank, Eileen started her career as a part time Checking Department clerk in 1981 and later transferred to full time clerk in the Mortgage Department. In November 1987, Eileen moved into the Data Processing Department as a Data Operations Assistant and then was elevated to Assistant Vice President of Information Technology in 2000.

In this new position she will continue to assist in the directing, coordinating, and installing all information technology operations bank wide as well as now playing an instrumental role in helping to advance technology strategies for the bank.

She resides in Scranton with her husband and 3 children.

University of Scranton Accounting Department on Top Research Productivity List

The Accounting Department of The University of Scranton ranked No. 4 in the world for accounting education research published in the most recent six-years in a listing considered to be the gold standard in accounting disciplines. The recently released 2021 Brigham Young University Accounting Rankings also recognized several accounting faculty members individually for their research publication success.

The Brigham Young University report ranks accounting programs and faculty throughout the world based on their success in publishing in 12 top-tier, peer-reviewed accounting journals. The report is updated annually and includes ranks for specific categories of research and for specific time periods. The 2021 update ranks Scranton’s Accounting Department at as the fourth most prolific department in the world for accounting education research over the most recent six-year period, following Brigham Young University (first), Texas Tech University (second) and Kennesaw State University (third), and preceding Indiana University – Indianapolis (fifth). The department was also ranked internationally for all methods, audit, managerial, experimental and archival accounting research.

With respect to authorships of individual accounting faculty in the area of accounting education, three Scranton faculty members were ranked internationally. Douglas M. Boyle, D.B.A., associate professor and chair of the Accounting Department and director of the DBA program, was ranked No. 7. James F. Boyle, D.B.A., assistant professor of accounting and director of the MAcc program, and Brian W. Carpenter, Ph.D., professor of accounting, ranked No. 18 (tied). Additionally, Dr. Douglas Boyle was ranked for all methods, auditing and experimental research; Dr. Carpenter was ranked for all methods; and Jeh-Hyun Cho, Ph.D., assistant professor of accounting, was ranked for all methods, managerial and archival.

“The University of Scranton’s listing near the top of the 2021 Brigham Young University Accounting Education Research rankings and the very high rankings of many of its individual faculty in a variety of sub-disciplines bear testimony to the Accounting department’s commitment to excellence in both teaching and research. I am very proud of the faculty’s research productivity and their skillful use of scholarship to inform and nourish teaching. This greatly benefits students in our many outstanding programs, but especially in our ground-breaking, research-focused DBA program,” said Michael Mensah, Ph.D., interim dean of the University’s Kania School of Management and professor of accounting.

This is the second consecutive year that the University’s Accounting Department was ranked No. 4 in the world for research success in the prestigious Brigham Young University Accounting Rankings. The Accounting Department and the prolific research of its faculty were also recognized by two academic journals in 2019 and 2020, including an article in Issues in Accounting Education that ranked Scranton No. 1 in the nation for accounting programs and faculty based on the number of publications in the leading five accounting practitioner journals.

The Wright Center Assists Drop-In Center with Services to Scranton’s Homeless

The Wright Center for Community Health partners with many of the region’s nonprofit groups to better meet the needs of Northeast Pennsylvania’s residents.

Bounced out of foster care when she turned 18, Angela Powers spent a “rough” five years dealing with homelessness, often staying on the streets of New York City’s Times Square.

She then moved to and worked in Scranton, where her fortunes seemed on the upswing. But the house in which she lived in 2007 was condemned, thrusting her back into an uncertain and unsafe situation. “I had no relatives in Scranton,” Powers recalls. “I had no friends.”

She turned to the Community Intervention Center (CIC) – a now 50-year-old nonprofit in Scranton that provides shelters, apartment-style supportive housing, case management and related services for historically marginalized populations such as adults who are experiencing homelessness.

“They have helped me in every way possible,” says Powers, 43, who now lives in an apartment and is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in human services. “There’s no limit to the help that they try to give you. They do things from the heart.”

The Wright Center for Community Health – a nonprofit with a similarly long presence in Lackawanna County and a heart for helping people – is proud to routinely partner with the CIC, supplying its clients, like Powers, with the primary health care and other forms of compassionate assistance they deserve.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, The Wright Center dispatched its mobile medical unit, Driving Better Health, multiple times to CIC’s daytime drop-in center on Sixth Avenue, enabling clients there to receive coronavirus tests and vaccines. On the mobile unit’s first trip to the CIC in April 2021 nearly 30 people received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Flu vaccines also have been made available.

While at the drop-in site, The Wright Center’s team will sometimes distribute hygiene products, blankets and other essentials to those who want them. And the team offers “to-go packages,” each containing bottled water as well as easy-to-carry foods such as sandwiches and breakfast sandwich bars.

“The CIC’s clients are so appreciative of the items and services that we are able to provide them during our visits,” says Allison LaRussa, director of health humanities at The Wright Center. “It’s a privilege to get to know these individuals and to spend time talking and sharing stories with them, as I have, while recently assisting in the painting of a mural there that enlivens the space and reflects their hope for brighter days ahead.”

The Wright Center and CIC not only share a common purpose when it comes to helping marginalized communities, they also share proximity. The nonprofits’ headquarters in the city are about 1-mile apart. That’s especially convenient if CIC clients require speedy treatment for a health-related issue, says longtime CIC employee Jason Griffiths.

“The Wright Center allows us to make an appointment for our clients, and they get right in,” says Griffiths, a permanent supportive housing case manager. “That’s great for us, and for the client.”

At The Wright Center’s Scranton Practice, for example, patients have the convenience of going to a single site to access medical, dental and behavioral health services. No patient is turned away due to an inability to pay.

Beyond primary care, The Wright Center’s team tries to provide CIC clients with an emotional boost by scheduling occasional social activities at the drop-in centernear downtown Scranton, which on most days draws 60 to 80 people.

CIC’s drop-in center can trace its roots back to 1972. It historically has served adults facing homelessness as well as individuals who are coping with substance use disorders or behavioral health issues. Today, the center offers a safe and sober environment that furnishes everything from essentials (shower and laundry facilities, food and coffee) to recovery services to occasional chiropractic care and yoga. For some clients, it’s purely a place to socialize among friends.

The Wright Center’s Patient & Community Engagement team goes to the CIC regularly, with trays of pizza in hand, engaging clients in fun activities such as bingo games and holiday crafts. Most recently, with guidance from LaRussa, about 15 CIC clients completed the mural project titled, “Instilling Hope.”

Hope can sometimes be hard to find for people in Lackawanna County who are classified as homeless, previously estimated at 150 or more individuals who are unsheltered or are sheltered in emergency/transitional housing. That’s why, after a half-century of service, the CIC’s daily operation continues to be so essential to individuals – and to the Greater Scranton community.

“We have 26 apartments in which we’ve taken 26 people off the streets who used to live in abandoned buildings and under bridges and put them into permanent supportive housing,” says Griffiths. “They have us as a case manager to help them get back on their feet.”

Powers can attest that the CIC and its community partners are able to successfully deliver the services – and, just as important, the psychological boost – to change the trajectory of a person’s life.

“This drop-in center is where you can get a fresh start,” she says. “It’s not just about taking a shower. It’s not just about having somewhere to have a cup of coffee. It’s about feeling cared for and accepted.”

Single-Game SWB RailRider Tickets for 2022 Season on Sale March 8

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, Triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, have announced that single-game tickets for the upcoming 2022 season will go on sale March 8. The RailRiders begin the season on the road in Syracuse on April 5 before opening PNC Field for the first time on April 12.

Starting on March 1 at 10 A.M., season ticket members will have the opportunity to purchase additional single-game tickets as well as exchange their current game tickets for other dates.

At 10 A.M. on March 8, individual tickets for all 75 home games at PNC Field in 2022 will go on sale online only at www.swbrailriders.com.

The RailRiders host 11 games in April, 14 in May, 14 during June, nine in July, 14 during August and close with 13 games at PNC Field during September. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre will welcome the top affiliates of the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Miami Marlins, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Toronto Blue Jays and Washington Nationals throughout the year.

2022 homestands will follow the standard set in 2021 with a six-game series against each opponent with one exception at the close of the year when SWB plays Buffalo in a three-game series. Each day of the week will once again feature promotions that appeal to fans of all ages and interests.

Tuesdays are two times the fun each and every week. The RailRiders will offer Two-for-One Lawn or Bleacher Seats for each Tuesday game this season. This tremendous ticketing promotion will be available online only and details on how to redeem the offer will be announced soon. Plus… our friends at Northeast Eagle are pleased to present $2 Landshark Lager Tallboys for two hours after gates open during Tuesday home games this season (excluding Opening Night).

Mid-week goes to the dogs on Waggin’ Wednesdays. Fans can bring their four-legged besties to Wednesday home games during the 2022 season. There is no cost to bring your pup to the park, but the RailRiders encourage a donation to their weekly animal-friendly non-profit of choice. Fans may purchase seats on the lawn or in the bleachers if they bring their dog out on a Waggin’ Wednesday. It’s also our Dollar Dog night with $1 hot dogs for two hours after gates open courtesy of Sahlen’s Hot Dogs.

Thirsty Thursdays return with $1 Bud Light drafts and $1 Pepsi Fountain drinks for two hours after gates open.

As a token of thanks, the RailRiders will offer complimentary tickets to the brave men and women that have kept us safe over the years on our First Responders Fridays. 50 tickets will be given away to our first responders each Friday. Tickets are given away on a first-come, first-serve basis and are limited to four per week per first responder. First responders will be able to register for complementary tickets by completing the form under the Community tab at www.swbrailriders.com.

Beginning on May 27, fans can finish the work week with a bang! Friday Night Fireworks will light up the night throughout the summer with the best pyrotechnic show in NEPA.

Saturdays will once again feature great giveaway items all season long. Giveaways will be announced over the coming weeks leading up to single-game ticket sales.

Bring the whole gang every Sunday for a Geisinger Family Fun Day! There is no better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than at PNC Field with family-friendly fun. Gates open at noon and kids can play catch on the field until 12:20 P.M. During the game, kids can get $2 Dippin Dots. After the final out, children 12 and younger can run the bases.

Additional promotions, giveaways and theme nights will be announced soon. All promotions are subject to change.

Please note that May 11 and May 25 are School Day Games and the two Wednesday promotions are not applicable on those dates. Additional terms and restrictions may apply during each promotional night.

Ticket memberships, including full, half and partial season plans, as well as a wide range of mini-plans, are on sale now. For more information, please visit swbrailriders.com or call (570) 969-2255.

Lackawanna College Receives Grants

Lackawanna College has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Hawk Family Foundation to support the purchase of an Anatomage Table, a state-of-the-art anatomy education and virtual dissection-teaching tool. Students enrolled in the College’s Health Sciences programs will use the table to improve their anatomy knowledge with interactive hands-on experiences.

According to the manufacturer Anatomage, the table is the world’s first virtual dissection table featuring a fully segmented real human 3D anatomy system. Leading medical schools and institutions use the table worldwide.

“It’s exciting for Lackawanna College to have access to this cutting-edge technology,” said Meegan Murray, division lead for the College’s Health Sciences Division. “Students in this field tend to be visual and kinesthetic learners. This technology will lead to deeper learning and understanding of the human body that is essential when taking care of patients.”

Students are currently learning about anatomy through a mobile application called Visible Body, along with the use of textbooks and anatomy models. Murray believes that the new table will be a game-changer.

“Having this technology at Lackawanna College will catapult student learning into the future, producing healthcare professionals with a thorough understanding of human anatomy and physiology,” said Murray.

The College expects to have the table available for the Fall 2022 semester.