Johnson College to Host Inaugural Fall Fest

Johnson College will host an inaugural Fall Fest from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on October 1, 2022, on the College campus in Scranton, PA.

This free-admission event will feature a variety of activities for all ages. Enjoy live music by The Hometown Boyz while browsing an array of handcrafted items from local artisan and craft vendors. Children can make their own crafts in a Kid’s Corner as families delight in free games, prizes, and activities throughout the day. Feeling hungry? Attendees can grab a bite to eat or warm up with some hot chocolate and cider from some favorite, local eateries.

Community members can explore the Johnson College campus by participating in an all-ages scavenger hunt or by viewing demonstrations from a variety of highlighted program areas across campus.

Additionally, Johnson College will hold its first-ever Cornhole Tournament presented in partnership with NEPA Cornhole. The tournament will feature two divisions so that anyone from beginners to pros can play with double elimination. The social division registration fee is $20 per two-person team and the competitive division fee is $40 per two-person team. Teams can pre-register online at, or register at the door from 11 to 11:45 a.m. Prizes for social division: 1st place is $100 cash; 2nd place is $50 in gift cards. Prizes for competitive division: 1st place is $300 cash; 2nd place is $150 cash.

Various sponsorships for the event as well as spaces for artisan, craft, and food vendors are available. Those interested in sponsoring the event or participating as a vendor can register at or contact College Advancement via email at or by phone at 570-702-8991.

Proceeds from Fall Fest will benefit the Johnson College Annual Fund, which helps to maintain important scholarships, programs, and facilities to continue providing hands-on learning to Johnson College students.

Valhalla Veterans Services Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training

Valhalla Veterans Services and the Scranton Counseling Center will offer Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) on Thursday, July 21, 8:00 AM – Friday, July 22, 8:00 AM at the Scranton Counseling Center located at 329 Cherry St, Scranton, PA 18505, USA

Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) is a two-day interactive workshop in suicide first-aid. ASIST teaches participants to recognize when someone may be at risk of suicide and work with them to create a plan that will support their immediate safety. The training helps people apply suicide first-aid in many settings:  with family, friends, co-workers, and teammates.

This Workshop will run from 8 AM – 4 PM Thursday and Friday.  You must attend both days to recieve a certificate.

ASIST is a two-day interactive workshop in suicide first-aid. ASIST teaches participants to recognize
when someone may be at risk of suicide and work with them to create a plan that will support their
immediate safety. Although ASIST is widely used by healthcare providers, participants don’t need
any formal training to attend the workshop—ASIST can be learned and used by anyone.

RSVP Today

CEU  – Participants who have completed an ASIST workshop in the USA are eligible to complete an online exam to obtain CEU credits. Fees for CEU’s are $60 for 12 credit hours.  These fees are paid online at the time of completion of the exam and are separate from the workshop fees.

Misericordia Honors Faculty for Teaching, Scholarship and Service Excellence

Misericordia University honored three faculty members for their excellence in teaching, scholarship and service during the May 14 commencement ceremony held at the university’s Anderson Sports and Health Center.

Mateusz Wosik, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology and program director, clinical laboratory science, is the 2022 recipient of the Judge Max and Tillie Rosenn Excellence in Teaching Award.

The award recognizes the outstanding contributions to student learning and development. It is presented annually by the Faculty Awards Committee to an outstanding faculty member as elected by a vote of the student body.

Based on the student nominations and teaching observations, it is evident that Dr. Wosik provides a supportive and engaging environment where learning occurs across a multitude of beneficial teaching strategies,” said David B. Rehm, Ph.D., vice president for academic affairs.

Dr. Wosik is known across campus as an incredibly knowledgeable and engaging teacher. The committee witnessed how he uses multiple visual aids and humorous in-class acting to drive home the point of what he is teaching. 

He explains that his teaching philosophy is based on three foundational pillars: an accessible learning environment, a student-focused approach that encourages retention, and fostering a connection between academia and the public through science communication.  Each pillar is grounded in his personal life experiences, which began in Chicago as a young immigrant from Poland.  The nurturing and welcoming environment in which he was raised carries over to excellence and compassion in the classroom.

David Wright, Ph.D., professor of history, is the 2022 recipient of the Pauly and Sidney Friedmann Excellence in Service Award as selected by the Faculty Awards Committee.

Dr. Wright’s work is significant and spans decades. His service history to Misericordia University by participation on academic committees and governance is expansive. At various points of time over the past 34 years, he has served as an advisor of general studies, foreign studies, and the International Club. He served on the Foreign Languages Task Force to bring foreign languages back to campus. He was a member of the Faculty Senate, Core Review Committee, Curriculum Committee, and the Home Improvement Task Force.

“The committee was fascinated by the service work of Dr. Wright because of its consistent and significant impact on improving the lives of others.  His dedication to history, pop culture, and the community is unwavering.  Before coming to Misericordia University, he represented unionized farmworkers by highlighting the difficult conditions in which they work.  He served low-income families, youth and seniors and has championed for improved public housing by overseeing Housing & Urban Development programs,” said Dr. Rehm.

Dr. Wright has occupied a multitude of leadership roles at the University. While chairing the Faculty Development Committee, Dr. Wright did foundational work on the faculty grant program.  Also, under his leadership, a mentorship committee was developed, and he is the founding chair of the Faculty Awards Committee.  He has served on Middle States’ committees in 2003 and 2013 and was the first College of Arts and Sciences representative of the Graduate Council. He served as the Chair of the Senate from 2010 to 2014, and, most recently, he served on the Faculty Welfare Committee in the fall of 2021.  As chairperson of the History Department for 15 years, he sought to strengthen and expand the department by supporting the development of the Government, Law, and National Security major as well as coordinated the revised History and Government core curriculum.

Ryan Watson, Ph.D., associate professor of film and media studies, is the 2022 recipient of the Louis and Barbara Alesi Excellence in Scholarship Award.

“The committee was impressed not only with the expanse of the scholarship that he has conducted in his relatively short amount of time here at Misericordia, but its emphasis on social justice issues, as well as the level of national and international prestige. The contemporary nature of his work, its relevance to real-world events, both nationally and globally, and the level of prestige is reflected in his diverse scholarly focus,” said Dr. Rehm.  

From his earlier works on “Interactive Documentary and the Radical Tradition” and “Emergency Cinema: Abounaddara and the Right to the Documentary Image in Syria,” to his most recent accomplishment, his book entitled, Radical Documentary and Global Crises: Militant Evidence in the Digital Age, Dr. Watson has continued to explore social justice issues. He has stated himself, that his scholarly focus is on how amateur, activist, and artist produced digital documentary media can be accumulated and deployed as powerful effective and affective forces by people living in cultures suffering under war, occupation, and mass human rights abuses.”

Dr. Watson has disseminated his scholarship on media activism via multiple venues, including many peer-reviewed journal articles, book and film reviews, interviews, digital publications, and essays in top tier and premier outlets. Many of his contributions have been published in “Studies in Documentary Film,” a top ranked journal in his field; “Review of Middle East Studies,” a premier journal in the field of Middle East Studies; and “Media, Culture & Society” a top 10 journal in the world in media and communication studies.

“His expertise is valued by professors at other Universities across the nation. Many utilize his materials for their classes – demonstrating that his expertise impacts students well beyond the halls of Misericordia,” said Dr. Rehm.

Misericordia University was founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1924, in Dallas, Pennsylvania. It is Luzerne County’s oldest four-year college offering 37 degree programs in three academic colleges, including Health Sciences and Education, Arts and Sciences, and Business. Faculty at Misericordia are accomplished scholars and educators who prepare students to emerge into a challenging society as ethical leaders, through challenging academic standards and high levels of engagement with students, including research, service to others, and career preparation.

Penn State Scranton LaunchBox’s New Fellowship Program

Mary McDermott graduated from Penn State Scranton this spring with her bachelor’s degree in business and is now using the knowledge and skills she gained earning her degree, and during an internship with the Scranton LaunchBox, to help budding entrepreneurs and local businesses in a newly created fellowship program there.

The LaunchBox, opened its doors in South Scranton in 2018 and is a pre-incubator/accelerator service that helps advance local entrepreneurial concepts to business plan development using the resources of Penn State. Services are provided to the community by Penn State Scranton faculty, staff and students free of charge.

As an undergraduate, McDermott’s internship included manning the LaunchBox office – answering phones, greeting visitors, assisting anyone who came in looking for help with their potential start-up business ideas, and helping with special events. Now as a LaunchBox fellow, she will spend the next year working in tandem with Penn State faculty, the Scranton Chamber and local community leaders in northeast Pennsylvania to promote a variety of entrepreneurial activities in the region.

The newly established Scranton LaunchBox fellowship program was established in part through a $50,000 grant from the Willary Foundation. It is the second part of a two-stage program currently being offered through Penn State Scranton’s LaunchBox. Eligible candidates must have completed a senior-year internship at the Scranton LaunchBox and be a graduate of Penn State Scranton.

The 45-week position consists of 24 hours per week over the course of one year, with the fellow overseeing the operational activities of the Scranton LaunchBox and reporting to the director of Penn State Scranton’s Center for Business Development and Community Outreach (CBDCO) and a business program faculty member charged with helping to oversee the LaunchBox operations.

In addition to working with University faculty and staff, the fellow also will interact with area business leaders as well as local and state government officials, non-profit executives and other regional community development principals – gaining exposure to economic development efforts in both the local community and the surrounding region.

The position is geared toward students with an interest in economic and small business development, entrepreneurship and community involvement.

“The fellowship program allows us to develop a student intern from just assisting entrepreneurs to a role that understands, and is active in, the larger operation — helping us to make a greater impact for our community,” said John Drake, director of CBDCO. “We are grateful for the Willary Foundation for the opportunity to better serve entrepreneurs, but also to give students an avenue to further engage in economic development.”

McDermott is the first campus business graduate to become a fellow with the LaunchBox, having completed her senior-year internship before graduating this past May. Now working in a more advanced role there, she is also an intern with the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce’s IGNITE Program, an entrepreneurship and business incubation affiliate that helps new businesses grow in Lackawanna County, further expanding her exposure to, and experience in, economic development initiatives in northeast Pennsylvania.

“Working at the LaunchBox is a great opportunity and it has exposed me to many different experiences and learning opportunities,” she said. “This experience is allowing me to apply the knowledge I have gained in my [college] courses and is an excellent place to help me to further my professional development.”

The Willary Foundation is a family foundation dedicated to developing ideas and projects that are interesting, creative and imaginative, and which benefit communities in northeast Pennsylvania. Willary seeks to foster groups with unique, innovative, or unusual ideas and efforts.

LaunchBox is a signature program of the Invent Penn State Initiative, a commonwealth-wide system to spur economic development, job creation, and student career success. It is a $30 million initiative to generate economic development, create jobs and drive student career success. The initiative, started in 2015 by Penn State President Eric J. Barron, redefines the University’s land-grant mission to include entrepreneurship and innovation programs, including the development of “Innovation Hubs” in campus communities across the Commonwealth.

Invent Penn State blends entrepreneurship-focused academic programs, business startup training and incubation, funding for commercialization, and University-community collaborations to facilitate the process of turning ideas into viable products and services.

Barry Isett & Associates Announces New Department Heads

Barry Isett & Associates is proud to announce the promotion of two long-time associates to department head positions within the company.

Adam Smith, PE, will now lead the Civil Land Development Department. An Isett company shareholder with more than a decade and a half of experience in Civil Engineering, Mr. Smith will oversee 18 associates and serve as a technical resource for projects as well as play a leading role in client management, staffing, department planning, and quality control and assurance. Mr. Smith holds a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Delaware and a Master of Business Administration from DeSales University. He is a contributor to the company’s Employee Stock Ownership Program committee, 401K committee and a past member of the company’s Board of Directors.

Company shareholder Kathryn Forry, MCP, BCO, has been named Department Head of Isett’s Code Inspection & Plan Review team. Ms. Forry has been a vital contributor to the department’s growth since joining the firm in 2011 and will manage a team of more than 70 associates across eight offices as Department Head. Prior to her promotion, she held the role of Wyoming Valley Operations manager from 2018 to 2022 where she assisted with Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code (PA UCC) inspections and plan reviews for the boroughs of Dallas, Stroudsburg, and East Stroudsburg as well as New Milford and Penn Forest Townships. Ms. Forry is also responsible for property code inspection services for the City of Scranton’s OECD Homebuyer Program and Housing Rehabilitation Program. She holds a degree in Architectural Drafting from the Lincoln Technical Institute and is active in the Pennsylvania Association of Building Code Officials (PABCO), PA Building Officials Conference (PENNBOC), and the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI).

Now in its 45th year, Barry Isett & Associates, Inc., is a full-service engineering and consulting firm headquartered in Allentown, PA. Isett is an employee-owned company and has seven offices elsewhere in eastern and central Pennsylvania— Hazleton, Mechanicsburg, Phoenixville, Furlong, Stroudsburg, Wilkes-Barre, and Wyomissing.

For more information on Barry Isett & Associates and a full overview of the engineering firm, its projects and its services, visit

Big Brothers Big Sisters of NEPA Hosts 2nd Annual Rhythm & Wine Festival

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeastern Pennsylvania is excited to announce its 2nd Annual Rhythm & Wine Festival on Saturday, August 27 from 12-4pm. The event will be held again this year at the Moonlite Drive-In, 1190 Shoemaker Ave., West Wyoming. This year’s presenting sponsor is M&T Bank.

Come join us for a fun-filled afternoon with your friends, family, or business partners to enjoy a variety of wineries, cideries, breweries, food vendors and live music. Back by popular demand is the contemporary rock band, “Down by Five.”  Festival chair Dave Kuharchik says “We’re excited to have this fun event returning for 2022 after a successful first year.  All proceeds benefit critical one on one mentoring relationships through Big Brothers Big Sisters of NEPA.  Please consider supporting this great cause.”

Our alcohol distributing vendors include Deep Roots Hard Cider, Staggering Unicorn, Stone Lake Winery, Lucchi Family Cellars, Susquehanna Brewing Company, Nomad Distilling Company, Case Quattro Winery, and Bartolai Winery.

Food vendors include, Keystone Farms and Cheese, Fondippity, Sugar Plum Chocolates, Pittston Popcorn, Yogi’s Potato Pancakes, Marianacci’s Restaurant, and Fiamma Rosa.

General Admission Price is $40 (includes drink samples, & tasting glass). Designated driver tickets are just $10.  General parking is $10.  VIP Parking is $20 (limited to 100 spots – includes a tailgate spot & closest spots to the music stage.) Tickets can be purchased online at: Tickets go on sale Monday, June 6th.

If you are interested being a sponsor for Rhythm & Wine, please contact Camille Sicolo at or visit

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s mission is to match children in need with an adult role model & mentor.   Please call 570-824-8756 or visit  to learn more about our program or to become a mentor or refer a child.

Loan to Grant Program (HUD)

This federally funded gap loan program was developed to enhance job creation by providing assistance to existing businesses looking to expand, for starting up a new business, or for businesses looking to relocate to Scranton. As per the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) guidelines, borrowers must create one full time equivalent job for every $35,000 borrowed. If job creation and guidelines are met, the loan can transfer to a grant, with no repayment necessary.

Any business located in the City of Scranton may qualify for a Small Business Loan. You can borrow up to 30% of total project costs. Therefore, you should speak to your lending institution first about financing options. Businesses can potentially access $35,000 to $245,000 of funding.

Eligible Uses of Funds:

  • Inventory
  • Procurement of machinery, furniture, fixtures and equipment
  • Working/Operating capital (not to include interest or finance charges)
    • Defined working/operating capital – Utilities, taxes, rent, employee payroll (owner’s payroll is exempt)
    • Construction, building or other improvements when Davis Bacon and Related Acts must be applied (prevailing wage rate requirements for all construction employees)

Ineligible or Restricted Uses of Funds:

  • The repayment of existing debt
  • Construction, building or other improvements when Davis Bacon and Related Acts are not applied to the project (prevailing wage rate requirements for all construction employees)
  • Reimbursement of costs incurred prior to loan/grant award
  • Reimbursement for interest charges or finance changes of any kind with no exceptions
  • Political or religious activities
  • Lobbying any governmental entity

Interested in Applying:
If you are interested in learning more and applying for this program, please email Tiffany Cross-Luciani at who will email you the application.

Geisinger Health Plan Medicaid Coverage Expands Statewide

Geisinger Health Plan Medicaid coverage will be available to Medicaid-eligible recipients statewide beginning Sept. 1, 2022, as part of an expansion of HealthChoices, Pennsylvania’s Medical Assistance managed care program.

“We’re excited to expand our services throughout Pennsylvania and make healthcare more affordable for eligible individuals,” said Kurt Wrobel, president of Geisinger Health Plan. “Our Medicaid plan, Geisinger Health Plan Family, helps ensure that people throughout the commonwealth have access to quality care.”

Geisinger Health Plan currently serves more than 200,000 Medicaid members. If you’re an eligible Medical Assistance recipient in Pennsylvania, GHP Family can provide comprehensive health insurance coverage. Many services are covered at no cost, including doctor’s visits, preventive services, diabetes care, prescription drugs and more. Coverage also includes valuable extras like health and wellness programs, mental health and substance abuse resources, online tools, and enhanced vision and dental benefits.

You must be enrolled in Medicaid with the Department of Human Services (DHS). You can then choose a plan and enroll online using the PA Enrollment Services website or by calling 800-440-3989 (TTY: 800-618-4225) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Learn more about Geisinger Health Plan Family Medicaid coverage at

RailRiders Sweep Weekly International League Awards

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders swept the International League awards for the week of June 27 through July 3. Outfielder Estevan Florial and left-handed pitcher Matt Krook were tabbed by Minor League Baseball as the best-of-the-best for their efforts as the Player of the Week and Pitcher of the Week, respectively.

Florial hit .550, playing in all six games with 11 hits over 20 at bats. He his four home runs, including two on Saturday night, drove in seven, scored ten times and stole three bases while helping pace the RailRiders’ offense to a series sweep against Buffalo. Florial, 24, was signed by the Yankees in 2015 and made his Major League debut in 2020. This season, the Barahona, Doinican Republic native sports a team-best .311 batting average with nine home runs, a team-high 28 runs batted in and leads the international league with 28 stolen bases.

Krook pitched 7.2 perfect innings on Friday evening as Scranton/Wilkes-Barre beat Buffalo 8-1. The lefty struck out 10 and didn’t allow a hit until an infield single in the eighth. Krook, 27, is a native of Hillsborough, CA, and was selected in the Triple-A phase of the 2020 Rule 5 Draft from the Tampa Bay Rays. He has gone 4-6 this season with a 4.01 ERA. The southpaw has 90 strikeouts over 74 inning pitched, good enough for second among all International League pitchers this season.

Florial and Krook are the first Scranton/Wilkes-Barre players to be honored by the International League this season.

The RailRiders are on the road in Worcester this week. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre returns to PNC Field on Tuesday, July 12, to host the Louisville Bats. Tickets and promotional information can be found on