Firefighter Training Held at NET Credit Union’s New Location

Taylor Borough Fire and Rescue recently held a training session at NET Credit Union’s new location, 900 S. Main Street in Taylor, PA on Monday, April 26th, 2022. The new location is the former Via Appia.

Wesley Jones Jr., Rescue Captain with the Taylor Borough Fire Department, contacted NET to utilize the building before demolition begins.  The training was open to all local volunteer fire departments. Chinchilla Hose Company of South Abington Township, Greenwood Fire Resuce, Old Forge Fire Department and West Pittston Hose Company all joined the Taylor Fire Department. All participants practiced search and rescue and roof ventilation drills.

NET Credit Union plans to open their third branch location in Taylor sometime in 2023. NET Credit Union is currently working with architects, Hemmler and Camayd, on a plan. NET Credit Union is excited to be a part of the Taylor community and further this relationship with the fire department.

The Taylor Borough Fire and Rescue hosted an additional training session on Sunday, May 1st at NET Credit Union. The more trainings held, the safer our community will be. NET Credit Union appreciates all first responders and values their dedication to protect our communities.

Gerrity’s Increases Starting Rates

Gerrity’s Supermarkets is very proud to announce that they have raised the starting rates for all positions.  The family-owned business has also rolled out annual raises early for most existing employees.  As an added incentive, the company also continues to offer a new hire bonus of up to $500. 

According to Joe Fasula, Co-owner of Gerrity’s, the ongoing labor shortage continues to make it difficult to find and hire people.  “We know that our team is the reason for our success.  We want to reward the people who got us here and we want to find more people so we can make everyone’s job easier.  We recognize that the store with the best team is going to give the customer the best experience,” said Fasula.  

All full-time starting rates have moved to $14 per hour.  Skilled positions like butchers, cooks, cake decorators, and bakers start at $17, and butchers and cooks can go as high as $20 depending on experience.  On the job training is offered for all positions. Most part time positions start between $10 and $12 depending on position and availability.  The result of the rate adjustments is an increase in average hourly rate of 8% over 2021, and that was 10% higher than 2020. 

Fasula does not anticipate needing to increase prices as a result of this change.  “If it wasn’t for the higher sales that supermarkets have experienced over the past two years, we could never have been able to afford a wage increase like this.  We have more employees in our departments than most other stores because we make so many of our products from scratch.”

Knowles Insurance Announced Continued Family Participation

Matthew Knowles launched the fourth generation of his family’s participation in the insurance business when he recently joined Knowles Insurance, headquartered in downtown Scranton.

Matthew brings his large market, large client, cyber liability insurance experience to the agency as the firm’s cyber risk practice leader. He spent years in New York City specializing in complex cyber liability insurance programs for clients in the $100M – $5B revenue range. During his years with Willis Towers Watson, a multinational risk management, insurance brokerage, and advisory company, Matt managed the cyber insurance programs for numerous banks, private equity firms,
manufacturers, and health care organizations.

Over 30 years ago Robert J. Knowles, Jr. purchased the firm from the previous generation and has served as the agency’s principal since that time. “We’re delighted to have Matt return to northeastern Pennsylvania and bring his cyber liability experience to expand our agency’s expertise,” related Robert Knowles Jr. “And I’m equally proud to have Matt continue our history of providing a full range of insurance products and risk management solutions to our broad base of clients,” he continued.

Matt added, “This is an ideal time to join the company and offer enhanced cyber risk services to our business partners. This is a time when businesses throughout the country are challenged with technology risks in a digital environment and many business leaders are unsure where to look for guidance. We can assist them from both an insurance and risk management perspective. I am excited to join a company that continues to evolve and adapt in order to meet the needs of the market.”

Knowles Insurance is a full-service insurance firm serving corporations, organizations, and families throughout the 22 states from their corporate headquarters in northeastern Pennsylvania. The firm has provided a variety of specialized insurance services to businesses and individuals for almost 90 years.“We are fortunate to have a superior management team and devoted staff as we’ve grown the business over the last quarter century,” stated Robert Knowles, Jr. “Susan Kelly and Todd Zimmerman have been instrumental to our success during that time. With their dedication we have built a reputation on establishing long term relationships with our clients by reducing their total cost of insurance risk.”

The firm previously known as Knowles Associates has recently rebranded as Knowles Insurance with a new logo and signage for their corporate headquarters building.

3rd Annual NEPA Gives Raises Over $1.1 Million

On Friday, June 3, 2022—in just 24 hours—225+ local nonprofit organizations worked together across seven counties in Northeastern Pennsylvania to collectively raise a total of $1,119,661 for the third annual NEPA Gives.

Promoted as the single largest day of philanthropy in Northeastern Pennsylvania, NEPA Gives was hosted by the Scranton Area Community Foundation, in partnership with The Luzerne Foundation, Greater Pike Community Foundation, Wayne County Community Foundation, Carbon County Community Foundation, Posture Interactive, and other community sponsors to raise awareness about the critical work nonprofit organizations carry out across the region and to help charitable organizations raise much-needed funds.

Adding to the excitement, to celebrate NEPA Gives, the Scranton Area Community Foundation also hosted a free, in-person NEPA Gives ‘Give Gathering’ on Friday evening that was held outside of the Hilton Scranton Conference Center to coincide with First Friday Scranton. The Give Gathering included live entertainment by the local cover band Light Weight, giveaways, real-time and live-streamed updates on NEPA Gives, and opportunities for supporters to meet dozens of the participating nonprofits.

Over 5,149 donors generously supported NEPA Gives. NEPA Gives was also generously supported by numerous sponsors including Coterra, Hawk Family Foundation, Moses Taylor Foundation, The RailRiders, Neighborly, DiscoverNEPA, Cumulus Media, Shamrock Communications, Schwartz Mack Foundation, Fidelity Bank, Women in Philanthropy, the NEPA Animal Welfare Collaborative, the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund, and many others.

212 nonprofit organizations from across seven counties in Northeastern Pennsylvania received donations in the 24-hour fundraising event including The Diocese of Scranton, Equines for Freedom, Everhart Museum Museum of Natural History, Science, and Art, Countryside Conservancy, and NeighborWorks. To celebrate this historical day, both Scranton Mayor Paige Cognetti and Wilkes-Barre Mayor George Brown made official proclamations declaring June 3, 2022, as NEPA Gives Day.

Adding to the momentum, hundreds of thousands of dollars in prizes and matching incentives were awarded to participating nonprofits for notable achievements, all sponsored by generous businesses, foundations, and donors across the region.4

“We look forward to NEPA Gives because it really puts the fun in fundraising, not only for us but for our donors who show up in force and get excited watching the results all day,” said Sandra Snyder, Director of Foundation Relations and Special Events at The Diocese of Scranton. “Our donors love seeing the Diocese win bonus prizes during NEPA Gives and feeling like they are part of something larger than themselves,” she added. “We are especially grateful to the Scranton Area Community Foundation and all the foundations and sponsors who make the bonuses available during NEPA Gives. They really help us motivate our donors and have a huge impact on our programming capacity.”

“This year, we were grateful we had the opportunity to gather outside in Downtown Scranton to celebrate NEPA Gives and highlight the good work of the many participating nonprofits taking part in NEPA Gives,” said Laura Ducceschi, President and CEO of the Scranton Area Community Foundation. “The energy of the event was incredible as hundreds of supporters stopped by throughout the evening to enjoy the live entertainment and support their favorite charities.”

To learn more about #NEPAGives, visit or contact Brittany Pagnotti, Communications Manager of the Scranton Area Community Foundation at 570-347-6203.

Pennsylvania American Water Announces 2022 Camps

Pennsylvania American Water today announced the return of the company’s annual Wonderful World of Water Camp, to be held in Wilkes-Barre and Peckville this year. The camps are offered free to children of Pennsylvania American Water customers. Camps were last held in 2019 and postponed in the following years due to COVID-19.

Sponsored and run by Pennsylvania American Water, the Wonderful World of Water Camp provides an opportunity for area children to enjoy outdoor fun while learning about water. Day campers, ages 7-11, explore watershed basics, learn how human activity on the land affects the quality of water in rivers and streams, and discover solutions to water pollution. Campers also learn about the importance of watershed protection along the banks of our local rivers, the Susquehanna River and the Lackawanna River.

The company is again partnering with Penn State Extension/Master Watershed Stewards and the Riverfront Parks Committee to host a Wonderful World of Water Camp at Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, July 11-14. Registration for the Wilkes-Barre camp opened June 1. Forms are available online at or by calling Penn State Extension at 570-825-1701.

Pennsylvania American Water and the Lackawanna River Conservation Association are gearing up for another year of water camp at the Valley Community Library, Peckville, August 1-4. Registration opens July 1. Forms are available online at, by calling 570-347-6311, or by e-mailing

Registration for each camp is limited to 25 campers. A deposit of $10 will hold a child’s space, and the deposit will be refunded at the end of camp.

“Our Wonderful World of Water Camp is back, offering a unique experience that takes children into the environment for hands-on learning about one of our most precious resources,” said Susan Turcmanovich, external affairs manager, Pennsylvania American Water. “We’re so fortunate to have our local rivers as the focal points of these camps, allowing campers to learn how they can help protect them while learning from local environmentalists.”

The Wright Center News

The Wright Center’s Dr. Mark Madhok Presents Study at a National Conference

Mark Madhok, M.D., Ph.D., FACP, associate program director of the Internal Medicine Residency at The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education, recently made an oral presentation at the Digestive Disease Week: Discover. Comprehend. Advance. meeting in San Diego, California.

Digestive Disease Week is the world’s premier meeting for physicians and researchers in the fields of gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy and gastrointestinal surgery. It enables them to explore exciting new developments with leaders in their specialty field.

He presented, “Overall Polyp Detection Rate (PDR) from Screening, Surveillance and Diagnostic Colonoscopies Shows Excellent Equivalency with Screening PDR: A Study from the National Institutes of Health Repository of 298,920 Colonoscopies.”

Madhok’s research study identified the issue that lower-quality colonoscopies are linked to a higher incidence and mortality of colorectal cancer. The quality of colonoscopy varies widely among physicians performing colonoscopies and the Adenoma Detection Rate (ADR), which is the percentage of times a gastroenterologist detects a precancerous polyp during a colonoscopy. The 298,920 colonoscopies studied were performed by 421 gastroenterologists at 83 sites. Four groups of polyp detection rates were studied for each endoscopist: Screening PDR, Surveillance PDR, Diagnostic PDR and Overall (combined) PDR.

The study concluded the Overall PDR shows a high level of agreement with all three methods of polyp detection rates (screening, surveillance and diagnostic), regardless of the number of procedures performed by the colonoscopist. In addition, there is no difference in the ratio of benign tumors to cancerous polyps for the first and middle parts of the colon compared to the lower part of the colon by all 421 doctors in the study.

The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education offers residencies in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Internal Medicine, Regional Family Medicine, National Family Medicine and Psychiatry, as well as fellowships in the specialty fields of Cardiovascular Disease, Geriatrics and Gastroenterology.

A board-certified internal medicine physician, Madhok also is a primary care and internal medicine physician at The Wright Center’s Scranton and Scranton Counseling Center practices. In addition, he is a clinical associate professor of medicine at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine and an adjunct clinical associate professor of medicine at A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona.

For more information about The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education, please go to or call 570-230-0019.

The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education Presents Scholarly Work at the Beyond Flexner 2022 Conference

The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education recently made seven scholarly presentations at the annual Beyond Flexner Conference, “Moving the Dial on Social Mission: Ensuring Health Professions Education Meets the Challenges of Today,” in Phoenix, Arizona.

The interprofessional forum focuses on advancing health equity and social justice through health professions education. The annual conference brings together leaders in change to share new strategies and tools, identify and address challenges, and organize to advocate for meaningful change.

Meaghan P. Ruddy, senior vice president of academic affairs, enterprise assessment and advancement, and chief research and development officer, made the oral presentation, “An Addiction Medicine Fellowship’s Innovative Approach to Patient Care.” Co-authors included Drs. Karen E. Arscott, a primary care physician, addiction medicine specialist and internal medicine faculty; Jumee Barooah, designated institutional official; and Linda Thomas-Hemak, president and CEO.

Dr. Isaac Navarro, faculty physician in the Advanced Education in General Dentistry residency, offered the oral presentation, “Developing and Implementing an Advanced Education General Dental Residency Program during a Pandemic.” The presentation’s co-authors included Drs. Barooah and Thomas, and Ruddy.

The oral presentation, “Transformation Opioid Use Disorder Recovery in a Teaching Health Center: Healthy MOMS,” was presented by Ruddy. Co-authors included Maria Kolcharno, director of addiction services; and Drs. Lekha Yadukumar, an internal medicine resident, and Thomas-Hemak.

Drs. Barooah and Erica Schmidt, a psychiatry resident physician, made the oral presentation, “A Northeast Pennsylvania-Based Psychiatry Residency’s Innovative Training Program.” The presentation’s co-authors included Drs. Vinod Sharma, associate Psychiatry Residency director and psychiatrist; Barooah and Thomas-Hemak.

The workshop, “Teaching Health Center Programming Toolbox: Tools for Community Health Centers to plan for Physician Workforce Development,” was presented by Drs. Douglas Spegman, chief clinical officer of El Rio Health in Arizona; and Thomas-Hemak, and Ruddy.

Drs. Lawrence LeBeau, program director of the National Family Residency; Barooah and Thomas-Hemak, and Ruddy presented the research poster, “Development and Outcomes of a National Graduate Medical Education Safety-Net Consortium.”

The poster presentation, “Community Health Center-Based Training and Practice: Developing Master Adaptive Learners Through Integrate Care Quality Improvement,” was delivered by Drs.

Ray Wagner, assistant professor and regional director of medical education El Rio Health, and Valerie Sheridan, dean, A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA); and Lisa Tshuma, assistant professor, ATSU-SOMA; Sue Dolence, a licensed clinical social worker, El Rio Health; Anna Tanguma-Gallegos, data informatics specialist, ATSU-SOMA; and Ruddy.

Lackawanna College Dual Admission Transfer Agreement

Susquehanna University and Lackawanna College have signed a transfer agreement allowing qualified students to earn their bachelor’s degree at substantial tuition savings by transferring after earning their associate degree. 

Through this partnership, qualified students also can receive merit-based scholarships of up to $32,000 a year, with an additional $5,000 scholarship available per year for students in Phi Theta Kappa, the college’s academic honor society. 

The agreement, which waives the university’s application fees, also requires students to complete an “intent to enroll” form with a Lackawanna College transfer advisor prior to having earned 30 credits. Interested students can apply by June 1 for fall semester enrollment or by Oct. 1 for spring semester enrollment this year. All scholarships may be renewed for up to four semesters for students earning an associate degree contingent upon students earning at least 30 credits each academic year at Susquehanna.

“Few investments have a greater impact on our nation or more substantial return than access to higher education,” Susquehanna University President Jonathan Green said. “On average, college graduates earn more than $1 million in lifetime income above those who do not complete college degrees and are more likely to remain employed in times of high unemployment. We look forward to ensuring a smooth transition for Lackawanna College graduates who come to Susquehanna to complete their bachelor’s degrees in preparation for an even brighter future.”

“This agreement gives Lackawanna College students a pathway to continue to complete their degree in their field of choice,” said Dr. Jill Murray, Lackawanna College President. “We are always looking for more opportunities to offer an affordable, accessible education, which leads to family-sustaining jobs in our community.”