Manufacturing Roundtable Informs Legislators of Program & Policy Priorities for Growth

On February 1, 2022, Eric Joseph Esoda, President & CEO of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center (NEPIRC), hosted a manufacturing roundtable for a joint meeting of the PA House Democratic Policy Committee and the PA House Manufacturing Caucus in State College, PA. The roundtable consisted of 10 manufacturing executives from across Pennsylvania, including leaders within Metal Integrity East & West, Restek Corporation, Diamondback Covers, Lake Erie Rubber & Manufacturing, GeorgeKo Industries, ILSCO Extrusion, The Fredericks Company, C.L. Sturkey, Inc. and Lehigh Valley Plastics.

The roundtable was requested by Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, Chair of the House Democratic Policy Committee, and Rep. Mike Schlossberg, Chair of the House Manufacturing Caucus. “Manufacturing in Pennsylvania is important to our caucus because Pennsylvania is a place where businesses want to come and stay,” said Rep. Bizzarro. “We want to hear from manufacturers on what they need to make Pennsylvania more attractive for businesses,” he added.

Within the 90-minute roundtable, which consisted of live participation and virtual attendees, manufacturers expressed their greatest challenges, barriers, opportunities and advantages relative to workforce attraction and retention, the adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies and the mitigation of supply chain risks through reshoring and creating PA-based supplier networks. The participating manufacturers also offered suggestions and ideas as to what programs, policies and statewide initiatives should be created or expanded in order to accelerate their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and maximize their long-term growth and competitiveness. Increased funding for the statewide Industrial Resource Center program, creating more in-school awareness about careers in manufacturing, streamlining loan and grant processing and providing incentives to create Pennsylvania-based supply chains were among their recommendations.

The roundtable was facilitated by the Industrial Resource Center (IRC) network and moderated by an IRC host due to the Centers’ close connectivity to Pennsylvania’s manufacturing community and insight into the needs of the Commonwealth’s 15,000+ small and mid-sized manufacturers. “The importance of our manufacturing economy is a unifying topic that reaches across both aisles in Harrisburg – everyone agrees that we need to do all we can to strengthen and grow the Commonwealth’s second largest business sector with more than 585,000 employees,” said Mr. Esoda, who guided the event. “We were honored to put this venue together for the Committee and Caucus and hope we have the opportunity to host many additional events of this nature for our legislative leaders and policy-makers,” he added.

The IRC network is currently working with the PA Democratic Policy Committee to compile video highlights and a transcript of the event.

Penn State Scranton Offering Environmental Science Course for School Students

The DeNaples Family Environmental Program Fund at Penn State Scranton has been established thanks to a multi-year gift that will provide hands-on, experiential learning for participating students over the next four decades. Pictured are representatives from the DeNaples Family, Keystone Sanitary Landfill and Penn State Scranton; from left are: Dominick DeNaples, Dan O’Brien, Interim Director of Enrollment Services Terri Nealon Caputo, Director of Development Christine Ostroski, CBDCO Director John Drake, CBDCO Education Program Specialist Jo Ann Durdan, Chancellor Marwan Wafa, and Al Magnotta.

Thanks to a generous gift from the Keystone Sanitary Landfill and the DeNaples family, Penn State Scranton’s Center for Business Development and Community Outreach (CBDCO) will be coordinating a course for high school juniors and seniors that is part of a program focusing on environmental studies at the campus, as well as offering a youth summer camp program for younger children. 

The DeNaples Family Environmental Program Fund at Penn State Scranton has been established thanks to a multi-year gift that will provide $100,000 per year for the next 40 years, enabling educators at the campus to provide hands-on, experiential learning that encourages creative and critical thinking among participating students, while strengthening their bond with local and global environments.

“The course will explore the root causes of today’s environmental crises and consider scientific, technological, sociological, psychological, and personal responses to what is considered a very significant dilemma facing today’s world,” said CBDCO Director John Drake. “It will also engage students in recognizing how questions can be powerful catalysts for learning, how to see multiple perspectives in a situation, and what personal reflection can mean for both personal and global transformation.” 

Beginning with the Spring 2022 semester, CBDCO will offer this inaugural environmental science credit course to high school juniors and seniors in regional school districts. In addition to in-person sessions beginning in January, it will have an online component and potential field trips. The course will be taught by instructors from Penn State Scranton’s science degree program.

High school juniors and seniors who take the course will earn three college credits that can later be applied as either an elective or general education course, depending on the degree program and college they choose in the future. As the program expands, more school districts will be added.

Full scholarships are being provided through the program fund, which was established by the DeNaples family and Keystone Sanitary Landfill. 

“This gift comes at a critical time in our planet’s history, with so many environmental changes taking place around the world that will require research, analysis, study and creative problem solving to address,” said Penn State Scranton Chancellor Marwan Wafa. “Penn State Scranton is proud to be able to have the ability to offer a program like this that will encourage our young people to get involved in these issues and be part of making positive contributions and improvements to our regional, national and global environment. We are very grateful to the DeNaples family for making this kind of an educational commitment to our campus, and our region’s young people and future.”

To learn more about the environmental programming and what it entails, contact CBDCO at, or by calling: 570-963-2600.

This gift will advance “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21st-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by serving communities and fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit

National Guard Academy for At-Risk Youth Set to Open in PA

The Keystone State ChalleNGe Academy (KSCA) is currently accepting applications for its first-ever cadet class. Created in 2018 by legislation I co-sponsored, the academy is designed to give academically challenged teens a second chance at obtaining their basic education and learning leadership, self-discipline and responsibility, with the goal of building a brighter future.

As a former educator and guidance counselor, I fully understand the viability and worth of such a program. The award-winning National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program has been recognized as one of the nation’s most effective and cost-efficient initiatives for targeting high school dropouts or young people who are at the greatest risk for not satisfactorily progressing, or becoming unemployed or under employed. Since its inception in 1993, more than 179,000 young people have completed the program.

KSCA will be located at Fort Indiantown Gap (FTIG) in Lebanon County, joining 40 other sites in 31 states and territories operated by the program. The academy is open to 16- to 18-year-old male and female Pennsylvania residents. Applicants must be drug free, have no felony convictions and make a voluntarily commitment to attend.

The program lasts for 17 months, with the first five months consisting of residential training at FTIG followed by one year of mentorship back in the community. Graduates often receive high school credits, credentials or a GED. There is no tuition cost to attend. Meals, housing, uniforms and school supplies are provided at no charge.

I look forward to learning more about KSCA on March 2, when the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, which I chair, will hold an informational meeting at the state Capitol to hear from academy officials about their plans.

Additional information on KSCA is available on the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs website at

Penn State Scranton Hosting Events to Celebrate Black History Month

Throughout the month of February, Penn State Scranton will be hosting a variety of events to celebrate Black History Month, which honors the struggle of African-Americans as well as celebrates their history as it has shaped the current world.

It is important to learn about the true history of the African-American struggle in order to properly celebrate and honor Black History Month, said Julia Egan, coordinator for diversity,f equity and inclusion at Penn State Scranton. For example, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded in 1909 as an interracial endeavor to advance justice for African-Americans by a group, including W.E.D. DuBois, Mary White Ovington, Moorfield Storey and Ida B. Wells.

However, Black history does not begin with slavery, she explained. “Another important tenet of Black history that we must remember is that it is important to learn about the African diaspora and other cultural tenets of Black lineage and culture that were alive before the trans-Atlantic slave trade and were forever changed and disrupted by the injustice of colonialism.”

This month, the campus library has a variety of books, novels and DVDs on display and available for lending. Students, faculty and staff, as well as alumni and Pennsylvania residents are able to borrow books from the Penn State Scranton Library, and can visit the library to learn more about doing so. For more information, visit the libraries’ website.

The following campus events have been organized and are being sponsored in part by Penn State Scranton’s Black Student Union, Student Government Association, and Student Organization of Latinos.

Melanin Monday – Black History Month Kick-off — Monday, Feb. 21, from noon to 1 p.m. in The View Cafe:  You’ve heard of Black Student Union’s Melanin Mondays…now get ready for “Melanin Monday: A Black History Month Kick-off” event extravaganza! The theme of Black History Month at Penn State Scranton is “Blackness: An Identity with Multiple Meanings.” This event will feature games, music, and other tenets of Black, African, African American, African-diaspora, and Afro-Latin cultures to experience and participate in. Free food will be available during the event.  

Cultural Dialogues – Black Bazaar — Tuesday, Feb. 22, from noon to 2 p.m. in The View Cafe: As part of Black History Month, come out and celebrate the multiplicity of Blackness as an identity at the Black Bazaar. This event will feature five local black-owned and operated businesses and organizations from the surrounding Scranton-NEPA area who represent a diverse makeup of blackness and give it a multitude of meaning. They will be presenting on their role in serving the black community as well as offering some items for participants to take away with them. This event is hosted in partnership with external Diversity Award Recipient Rashida Lovely, Student Government Association, Student Organization of Latinos, and Black Student Union. 

African Dance-Drumming with Erico Ansuade —  Wednesday, Feb. 23, from 3 to 5 p.m., and also Thursday, Feb. 24, from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in The View Cafe: Please join Penn State Scranton in getting active in celebrating Black History Month with some drumming and dance workshops! In partnership with the Diversity Office, Penn State is thrilled to welcome master djembe player and dancer, Erico Ansuade to campus to host a two-day workshop in drumming and dance. The first day will feature just dancing, and the second day will feature dancing and drumming workshops with a break for lunch in the middle. The first day will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 23, from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Sherbine Lounge, and the second day will occur on Thursday, Feb. 24, from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in The View Café. Please note that the second day of drumming and dancing is open to the Penn State Scranton campus ONLY. 

Erico Ansuade hails from Ghana, Africa, and teaches a variety of dance-drumming styles from Ghana, Guinea, Senegal, Burkina Faso and other surrounding countries. He has performed with world-class national dance companies in West Africa and offers dance-drum workshops at the beginner, intermediate, and advanced level.  

Zuzu African Acrobats — Friday, Feb. 25, from noon to 1 p.m. in the Multipurpose Building (Gym): Penn State Scranton is excited to welcome the America’s Got Talent” Semi-Finalists Group, the Zuzu African Acrobats. Zuzu Acrobats is a five-person Kenyan Acrobatic show which embodies the Bantu culture of East Africa. The show lasts one hour and features fast pyramid building, limbo, chair balancing, comedy, fast skip rope, juggling and much more all set to high-energy Lingala music. There will be free Kenyan snacks given out at the event.   Students can sign up for the events through the campus’ Engage portal, here. For more information about these events and about Black History Month, you can reach out to Egan by email at

The Wright Center to Hold COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic at Carbondale Farmers’ Market

The Wright Center for Community Health is holding a Driving Better Health COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic at the Carbondale Farmers’ Market, 185 Fallbrook St., Carbondale, on Thursday, Feb. 17 from 2-4 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 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 during the clinic.

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

The Wright Center for Community Health is a Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alike. Community health centers offer affordable, safety-net health care and are the largest providers of primary care for the nation’s most vulnerable and medically underserved populations. Prevalent in both urban and rural settings, community health centers are located in regions with high-poverty rates and/or low numbers of private or nonprofit health systems and hospitals.

Allied Services Opens New Rehabilitation Medicine Center

Allied Services Integrated Health System hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony today at the new Rehabilitation Medicine Center. The facility at 475 Morgan Highway in Scranton is open to the public and offers patients access to Physicians experienced in Rehabilitation Medicine.

Allied Services Rehabilitation Medicine Center is an appointment-only facility providing medical evaluation and management of patients who are struggling with mobility, self-care, and independence in the home.

“For more than 60 years, our non-profit health system has been committed to helping improve the quality of life for people in our community” commented Attorney Bill Conaboy, President and CEO of Allied Services. “The Rehabilitation Medicine Center provides us with a new medical setting in which to connect patients with the care and services that can help them to be as independent as possible in their own homes.”

Dr. Michael D. Wolk and Dr. Kenneth W. Genitlezza, board-certified in Physician Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R), will lead the Rehabilitation Medicine Center. The center will serve adult and geriatric individuals who will be able to schedule a rehabilitation medicine evaluation.  Following that evaluation, the patient will receive a plan of care that will address any rehabilitation needs and be shared with their primary care physician.

Speaking at the ribbon-cutting, Dr. Michael D. Wolk noted “All too often, patients who have been discharged from the hospital, patients living with a chronic illness or aging individuals living alone can find themselves falling through the cracks. The impetus behind developing the Rehabilitation Medicine Center was to provide another avenue to help these individuals.”

A rehabilitation medicine evaluation may be appropriate for individuals recently discharged from the hospital, individuals living with a chronic illness or disability that affects their mobility and independence, or geriatric individuals aging in place. Services and medical management will be provided as a complement to services delivered by Primary Care Physicians.  

“The goal is to quickly evaluate the health, well-being, and functional abilities of patients struggling at home and from there determine the most appropriate strategies to help them thrive and live safely at home” commented Dr. Wolk. “By addressing their functional difficulties, we can improve their safety at home and work to avoid hospitalizations.”

To learn more about the Rehabilitation Medicine Center call 570.348.1211 or visit

Nominations Accepted for Position on NET Credit Union’s Supervisory Committee

The Board of Directors of NET Credit Union is accepting applications from the general membership for a seat on the Credit Union’s Supervisory Committee.

Beginning January 1, 2022, applications will be accepted for consideration for a seat on the Supervisory Committee.  An applicant must be a member of the Credit Union and their accounts must be in good standing. 

The Supervisory Committee is a volunteer Committee appointed by the Board of Directors. The purpose of the Committee is to assist the Board of Directors and Management of the Credit Union in safeguarding the members’ assets, ensuring the reliability and integrity of financial and operational information, maintaining the effectiveness and efficiency of operations, complying with applicable laws and regulations, and fostering and evaluating enterprise risk management activities to ensure the long term viability and success of the Credit Union.

Per federal regulations, these positions are voluntary and do not receive any type of monetary compensation.  However, a member of the Committee does have benefits such as opportunities for education, reasonable travel expenses, excellent networking opportunities and the knowledge that you will be serving your Credit Union to help build its future and ensure its continued success.

Resumes should be sent to the Board Chairman, Don Bailey at or by mail to:

NET Credit Union
Supervisory Committee Application
Attention:  Don Bailey, Chairman
119 Mulberry Street
Scranton, PA  18503

All applications must be received by the end of business on March 31, 2022.

Valentine’s Day Eve Concert at the University of Scranton

On Sunday, Feb. 13 at 3 p.m., Performance Music at The University of Scranton will present a Valentine’s Day Eve Concert featuring The University of Scranton Jazz Band and special guest Arnt Arntzen. The 3 p.m. concert will take place in the Houlihan-McLean Center, Mulberry Street and Jefferson Avenue.

The concert is open to invited guests and all members of the University community. Admission is free, with seating on a first-come, first-seated basis. All audience members are required to wear a higher-grade mask (N95, KN95, KF94 or double masking) at all times. University campus access and other health and safety information will be updated throughout the semester and can be seen on the Royals Back Together webpage. Please check Performance Music’s website,, within 24 hours of the recital for the most current information on audience COVID-19 mitigation measures (e.g., masking, vaccination, distancing, etc.).

The concert will feature a variety of songs about love and heartbreak, according to Performance Music Conductor and Director Cheryl Y. Boga. Arntzen and the band will combine to perform a number of songs together, there will be several solo pieces during the concert featuring only Arntzen, and two pieces will feature the band alone. 

A very talented banjoist, guitarist and singer, Arntzen plays regularly with Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, as well as the Louis Armstrong Eternity Band at Birdland. He is a traditional jazz specialist who has performed with the Three Generations of Jazz band with his grandfather Lloyd, parents Georgina and Tom, brother Evan and a number of other family members and has also co-led the Brothers Arntzen with his brother Evan.

In addition, Arntzen has collaborated with numerous other ensembles in New York and Vancouver, including Baby Soda Jazz Band, Gordon Webster Swing Band, Avalon Jazz Band and many more. Though mostly a sideman, he also leads small groups exploring obscure parts of the American jazz lexicon from the early part of the 20th century.

The primary focus of Performance Music at The University of Scranton is its student choral and instrumental performing ensembles. There is no music major at the University, and all enrolled Scranton students (undergraduate and graduate) from every major are eligible for membership in the University bands, choirs and string ensembles, with neither an audition nor enrollment fee required for membership. Hundreds of students participate in the ensembles each year, and a number of University faculty, staff and alumni perform with them.

Performance Music’s large ensembles include Concert/Symphonic Band, Concert Choir/Singers, String Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble (big band format). Smaller groups are made up of members from within the large ensembles, and include Steel Drum Band, Percussion Ensemble, Flute Ensemble, Trumpet Ensemble and Clarinet Ensemble, plus other small vocal and instrumental groups in various formats. Solo, duo and trio performance opportunities are available to members of the ensembles through the general recitals held each semester.

Other programs within the department, including guest artist concerts, World Premiere Composition Series, Nelhybel Collection and Scranton Brass Orchestra, closely coordinate programming with the student ensembles and offer unique opportunities for student musicians in the ensembles to hear, observe, interact and perform with numerous world-class musicians and artist-teachers.

High school juniors and seniors who are considering applying to Scranton are encouraged to contact Performance Music to arrange to sit in on a rehearsal, meet the staff, attend a concert or tour the building.  

For further information on the concert, call 570-941-7624, email or visit For more info on Arntzen, visit

WVIA Announces New Original Documentary Film

This June marks the 50th anniversary of Hurricane Agnes’s devastation of Northeastern Pennsylvania. WVIA will commemorate the day with Agnes 50, a multiplatform initiative that will explore the events of June 23rd 1972, as well as the response in the years after. 

The initiative will include the original documentary film Agnes 50: Life After the Flood, focusing on different communities that were affected by the flood. Excerpts from the documentary will air on WVIA’s social channels in the weeks leading up to the broadcast premiere on Thursday, June 23rd at 9 p.m. 

Watch the trailer for Agnes 50: Life After the Flood here:

On the evening of June 23rd WVIA TV will present an evening of programming that will include a live hour-long episode of Keystone Edition with area experts discussing the impact of Hurricane Agnes on our region at 7 p.m., followed by a special broadcast of the 1997 historical documentary Remembering Agnes at 8 p.m. The WVIA original film, Agnes 50: Life After the Flood, premieres at 9 p.m., followed by the WSKG original production Agnes: The Flood of ’72.

In addition, Memories of Agnes, a digital series, will launch in spring 2022. This series will provide those who lived through the Agnes disaster the opportunity to share their first-hand accounts of the flood through user-generated content and archival film and photos. 

WVIA News will feature a companion series of stories on WVIA Radio and at throughout the coming months that will cover additional aspects of our region’s history with flooding.

Learn more about WVIA’s Agnes 50 initiative at

About Agnes 50: Life After the Flood

What have we learned in the years since Agnes? What actions have communities taken since that date? To properly explore the fallout from Agnes over the past five decades and to assess steps our region is taking or should be taking in order to prepare for the challenges of 

inevitable flooding in the future, WVIA will premiere a feature documentary directed by award-winning filmmaker Alexander Monelli that will cover key communities along the Susquehanna River, including Berwick, Bloomsburg, Danville, Forty Fort, Milton, West Pittston, Selinsgrove, Tunkhannock, Towanda, and Wilkes-Barre.  

Various officials, residents, and community leaders will share memories of Agnes, describe how their towns were affected, and discuss the work that has been done over the years to mitigate the adverse effects of future flooding. Interviewees include David DeCosmo (former WYOU news broadcaster), Andrew Stuhl (professor at Bucknell University), Lara Fowler (professor at Penn State University), Wilkes-Barre Fire Chief Jay Delaney, Jim Charles (Selinsgrove Flood Task Force), Chris Belleman (Executive Director, Luzerne County Flood Protection Authority), among others.

“This documentary is really about the people of the Susquehanna watershed and how we’re all connected,” said the film’s director Alexander Monelli. “When I started this film, I never knew there were so many issues related to flooding, and they’ve been ongoing since 1972. What one town does to mitigate flooding may impact another town downstream. It raises questions about our responsibility to our own community, our neighbors downstream, and nature as a whole. I’ve met so many fascinating people while filming, and I can’t wait to share this documentary with everyone.”

“As the region’s premier storytellers, we believe sharing the stories of Hurricane Agnes and the communities affected will help shine a light for future generations to learn from,” said Ben Payavis II, WVIA Chief Content Officer. “The topic and its ramifications are so large that we knew one program alone wouldn’t be enough to cover its scope. That is why we have created this multiplatform initiative and full evening of programming.”

“Education is at the core of what we do at WVIA, and we believe that preserving and learning from our local history is essential to the growth and future of our communities,” said Carla McCabe, WVIA President, and CEO. “In addition to the creation of this new documentary, WVIA Education will be creating a curriculum plan based on WVIA’s Remembering Agnes and Agnes 50: Life After the Flood documentaries that will be made available to all area school districts.”

WVIA June 23rd, 2022, Television Programming

7 p.m. – Keystone Edition Reports: Agnes 50 – Live Broadcast

Fifty years ago, life in the Susquehanna Valley changed forever as Hurricane Agnes devastated the area, and the Susquehanna River inundated homes and streets, destroying everything it touched. Keystone Edition Reports takes a look back at the toll Agnes took, how the valley bounced back, and what the future holds. 

8 p.m. – Remembering Agnes – Remastered

A special presentation of the remastered 1997 historic documentary. Eyewitnesses reminisce about the hours just before, during, and after the worst natural disaster to devastate the east branch of the Susquehanna River Valley in the greater Wilkes-Barre/Scranton metropolitan area of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Hurricane Agnes and the resulting flood occurred in late June 1972 and affected thousands ever since.

9 p.m. – Agnes 50: Life After the Flood – Broadcast Premiere

On Friday, June 23, 1972, Pennsylvania suffered the wrath of Hurricane Agnes, which at the time was the costliest hurricane to hit the United States and would claim the lives of 128 people in the storm’s path. Now, at the 50th anniversary, WVIA explores what we as a region have learned from the Agnes tragedy. Half a century later, how did this epic event permanently change our communities – economically, physically, and emotionally? What have local communities done over the past decades to address and mitigate potential flooding in the future? Have we done enough?

Followed by Agnes: The Flood of ’72

On June 19th, 1972, the first hurricane of the season, Agnes, crossed over the Florida Panhandle and quickly headed back out to sea. With sustained winds of just over 75 miles per hour, Agnes was considered a low-level threat by most weather experts. They were wrong. By June 22nd the remnants of Agnes stalled over the northeastern United States, dumping up to 22 inches of rain in some areas, including the Elmira/Corning region of New York. The devastating flooding that followed would result in one of the worst natural disasters in the region’s history and change the landscape of the region forever. Produced by WSKG.

This special block of programming will re-air on Saturday, June 25th beginning at 7 p.m. and on Sunday, June 26th beginning at noon.