Marywood University to Observe National School Psychology Week

During the week of November 7-11, 2022, schools throughout the country are celebrating National School Psychology Week (NSPW) to highlight the important work school psychologists do to help students thrive. Every year in November, school psychologists, professors, and graduate students gear up to bring awareness to the field of school psychology and highlight the work that school psychologists do to help students thrive. 

The theme for our 2022 National School Psychology Week is “Together We Shine”. This theme encourages us to see hope after a series of challenging years. It’s about offering hope as students move forward from the difficult COVID-19 pandemic. We have all faced difficulties created by the pandemic, social injustice and inequity, economic stress, and challenges to mental and physical health. For some, it has been a time of real challenge, and finding light is critical to building resilience and hope. Though each of us has our own inner light, when we bring together our ideas and actions to uplift each other, we shine even brighter, both as individuals and as a community. During the week, school psychologists will connect with students and staff to highlight how each person’s contributions can move us forward. Just as we continue developing our own skills individually and with support from others, we in turn can help others foster resilience and support those who need it as well. School psychologists are particularly skilled at assisting students and staff in thriving and working together, whatever the challenge.

With expertise in both education and mental health, school psychologists are uniquely qualified to help address the needs of students and schools. This means addressing challenges such as poverty, academic underachievement, mental and behavioral health issues, bullying, homelessness, increasing cultural and linguistic diversity, record high student enrollment—to name just a few. All argue for the critical importance of the services provided by school psychologists. School psychologists throughout the country are empowering students to deal with mental and behavioral health challenges, to connect with others, and to discover endless possibilities for academic success, as well as social and emotional well-being. 

Unfortunately, research suggests that longstanding shortages of school psychologists continue to threaten students’ access to needed school psychological services. Although this shortage continues to be a national problem, Marywood University officials are to be acknowledged and congratulated as they sought to address this critical issue shortage by recently reinstating its Ed.S. program in School Psychology. The program is directed by Dr. Stuart Badner. Under his direction and leadership, the School Psychology program at Marywood has been recruiting cadres of new school psychology students since Fall 2020 and are expecting to graduate its first class of entry-level school psychology professionals in May 2023. Moreover, the leaders of Marywood University are committed to developing a truly exceptional and much-needed program, aligned with National Association of School Psychology practice standards.

Greater Scranton YMCA Receives Grant

In October, 2022, the Trustees of The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation authorized a one year Capital Grant award to the Greater Scranton YMCA in the amount of $500,000. The grant will support capital renovations at the YMCA, including the re design of the welcome center, the newly constructed commercial and teaching kitchens, the creation of dedicated community space and aging infrastructure.

While a lot has changed at the Greater Scranton YMCA since March, 2020, our pledge has
remained, to always be here in times of need. When the devastating effects of COVID 19
swept across the country and landed on our doorsteps, we quickly mobilized to determine
how to best serve our community. Our capital renovations will continue to allow our Y to
address the growing needs our community faces as we work to heal the whole person and
return to normal. Construction began in September, 2021 and ended in March, 2022.

“We are so grateful to The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation for their incredible generosity in turning our dreams into a reality,” said Trish Fisher, President & CEO, Greater Scranton YMCA. “Our recently completed capital renovations have allowed our Y to increase the number of healthy meals and snacks we provide the children in our care; provide our members and community with space to convene; ensure for a secure welcome center; and address infrastructure concerns.”

NeighborWorks New Board and Staff

This past year, NeighborWorks Northeastern Pennsylvania (NeighborWorks) is pleased to welcome several new board and staff members to the team.

Joyce Avila is the President of CAFÉ Creating and Facilitating Equality. As a presenter, facilitator, keynote speaker and educator, she organizes and facilitates workshops in the areas of diversity, life change and transition, leadership, communication, conflict resolution, stress management and self-care.

Matthew Domines is the Director of Finance for the City of Scranton. He performs a variety of tasks in his role, including planning and coordinating all significant fiscal and related administrative functions for efficient accounting and financial systems, policies, and processes that meet the city’s current and future needs.

Damon Spady is a minority business owner who owns and operates his own travel company, Damon’s Getaways. A Dunmore resident, Damon also serves as treasurer for the NAACP Lackawanna County Branch.

Mary-Pat Ward is the Development and Fundraising Director for the Catherine McAuley Center. She is involved with the local arts community and enjoys traveling and visiting historical sites. She is a member of the regional roller derby team, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Roller Radicals and resides with her husband, Doug, and daughter, Izzy, in West Scranton.


David DePietro is our Accounting Manager, where he helps manage the day-to-day activities of all financial and business-related operations. He has a strong nonprofit and grant accounting experience background and worked in the nonprofit field for 10+ years.

Alyssa Espinoza joins the staff as a full-year AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America) member. A West Scranton native and West Scranton High School alumnus, Alyssa will be serving as the volunteer coordinator for NeighborWorks projects throughout the year. This past May, she graduated with a BA in Psychology and Sociology from Ohio University.

Parker Dorsey recently concluded his own VISTA year and joins the staff in a full-time capacity as the Community Program Assistant. Parker will be continuing his role in building capacity and enhancing marketing and communications efforts across all program lines. This past May he received his MBA from Mississippi State University, and is a 2020 graduate of Wilkes University with a BA in Communication Studies.

Miranda Pace is our West Scranton Neighborhood Coordinator, where she manages various community development projects and programs as part of the implementation of the West Scranton Neighborhood Plan.

Fernanda Proaño is our HUD Certified Housing Counselor, she will help expand our Homebuyer Education, Counseling and Financial Coaching services to Wayne and Pike County. She has over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector with a focus on financial education and coaching.

Melody Robinson is our Aging in Place Specialist for Wayne County, where she has expand our Aging in Place services into Wayne County. She has a background in sales and comes highly recommended from established partners in Wayne County.

Tobyhanna Army Depot Latest Warfighters of the Quarter

Two devoted soldiers from Northeastern Pennsylvania were honored on Friday, November 11, as they were officially named Tobyhanna Army Depot’s (TYAD) Warfighters of the Quarter for the 3rd and 4th Quarter of 2022.

The award recognizes the relationship between employees at TYAD and the warfighters they work each day to support. The presentation was held at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre, PA, during Friday night’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey game versus the Hartford Wolf Pack. The recipients are just the latest honorees on a list of 35 distinguished soldiers.

The honorees are Sergeant First Class (SFC) Robert D. Walker and Staff Sergeant (SSG) Wesley A. Brand. With 15 and 9 years of military services respectively, these two soldiers have lived the Army Values for a long time and are the epitome of what it means to be Warfighter of the Quarter.

SFC Walker is currently stationed at the High-Tech Regional Training Site-Maintenance at TYAD, where he is responsible for the tracking of training for 14 full time staff on a daily basis. In addition, he has ordered over $500,000 in maintenance repair parts for equipment that improved unit equipment readiness by more than 60%, which contributed immeasurably to real-life training scenarios. He also worked with several quota sources managers to acquire class seats for critical unit requirements (both job-related and professional development) that vastly improved readiness and morale.

Over his 15-year military career, Walker has spent time in places such as Washington, Las Vegas, Texas and has also served as a reservist in Iraq. He is the recipient of four Army Commendation Medals (ARCOM), an Army Achievement Medal (AAM), two Army Good Conduct Medals, a National Defense Service Medal and an Armed Forces Reserve Medal.

Walker said that he didn’t necessarily know where the road would take him, but everywhere he has been presented new challenges and interesting opportunities, including this Warfighter of the Quarter award.

“I’ve been to many different places that I never expected before joining the Army, but things happen and you find yourself there and it always ends up being very rewarding,” said Walker. “I’ve always just tried to do what I can for everybody, so I never expected this award. It is a tremendous privilege.”

Master Sergeant David P. Indie commended Walker for his strong work ethic and selflessness.

“SFC Walker is dedicated to mission success by meeting every challenge head on. He continually goes above and beyond by completing maintenance tasks to ensure the High Tech’s equipment is mission capable and ready to train the new warfighters in the Signal Regiment,” said Indie. “He is sought out by the entire unit daily to assist in performing tasks and without hesitation, will stop what he is doing to help.”

SSG Brand is currently a member of the Wilkes-Barre Recruiting Company and has excelled as a recruiting non-commissioned officer (NCO). He was number one within the company for FY22 mission accomplishment in what is considered one of the more difficult recruiting areas. In addition to his duties with the recruiting company, he also spends time as a high school golf team coach, hockey team coach, and has organized numerous fundraising events in his community.

Over his nine years in the service, Brand has spent time at Fort Campbell, Fort Carson, Fort Knox, Afghanistan, Kuwait, and more. He has earned an ARCOM, three AAMs and has completed a show of force deployment in Germany. SSG Brand is also a graduate of the Army Recruiting Course and Air Assault School.

SSG Brand said that he was very caught off guard when he learned he’d been selected as one of the latest Warfighters of the Quarter – but was very honored.

“When I heard the news, I almost didn’t know exactly how to feel,” said Brand. “I don’t do the things that I do for awards but receiving them is a great honor and it is nice to know that there are people out there who notice.”

Captain Taylor Viotto spoke highly of Brand, praising his accomplishments both on and off duty.

“SSG Brand is a stellar NCO that is among the top 1% of Soldiers I have worked with in my career,” said Viotto.

Wolf Administration Reminds Drivers of the Threat of Snow Squalls

The Wolf Administration, along with the National Weather Service (NWS), is reminding drivers of the threat that snow squalls can pose during the winter months and advised them to observe warnings related to these dangerous weather hazards during Snow Squall Awareness Week, November 14 – 18.

“We all have a role to play in staying safe on roadways this winter,” said PEMA Director Randy Padfield. “When you get a snow squall warning, the safest thing to do is pause your travel to keep yourself and your loved ones safe, which will help first responders too.”

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), a snow squall is a brief but intense period of heavy snow (up to 2 inches in 30 minutes), strong winds (30+ mph), and whiteout conditions (visibility less than ¼ mile). Snow squalls often occur on days with otherwise partly cloudy skies. Coming on so suddenly, snow squalls can catch drivers off guard and lead to major transportation impacts, including deadly multi-vehicle accidents.

“One of the things that makes snow squalls so dangerous is their tendency to produce icy roadways, or what we call a flash freeze,” said NWS Meteorologist John Banghoff. “Because they come on so suddenly, snow squalls can catch drivers off guard and lead to major transportation incidents, including deadly multi-vehicle accidents.”

“The National Weather Service issues Snow Squall Warnings to alert for the sudden onset of life-threatening conditions encountered by highway travelers during snow squalls,” said NWS State College Warning Coordination Meteorologist Jonathan Guseman. “If you are driving on an interstate when a Snow Squall Warning is issued, the best thing to do is gradually reduce your speed and exit the roadway at the next opportunity.”

“PennDOT is prepared for the season and actively monitors conditions and forecasts, but we cannot prevent snow squalls or know exactly where they’ll hit,” PennDOT Acting Deputy Secretary for Highway Administration Mike Keiser said. “If you must travel in inclement weather, please allow plenty of space around other vehicles and our snow-plow operators so they can perform their jobs effectively and safely.”

“If you are caught in a sudden snow squall, it’s important to remain calm and not panic,” said Mark Compton, PA Turnpike Chief Executive Officer. “Don’t slam on your brakes, stay in your lane and slow down to leave plenty of distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. Also, turn on your head lights and hazard lights so others can see you. If you are on the PA Turnpike, dial *11 on your cell phone if you are in need of assistance.”

“Snow squalls have led to major pileup crashes with multiple injuries and deaths, ” said Major Robert Krol, Director of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Patrol. “If you are involved in a pileup crash, do not stand outside your vehicle if it is on or near the roadway. Instead, seek a safe place well off the roadway behind a guide rail, a concrete barrier or a large tree and if there is no safe place, stay in your vehicle with your seatbelt fastened.”

To help address traffic safety, Keiser explained that as part of a signage pilot project, the department will deploy variable speed limit, or VSL, signs – which quickly reduce speed limits when visibility or roadway conditions call for lower speeds – at 63 total locations:

  • 21 locations along I-80 in Clearfield (mile marker (MM) 100-133) and Clinton (MM 182-193) counties;
  • Six locations on I-80 in Clarion and Jefferson counties on the approaches to Emlenton Bridge (MM 42-45), North Fork Bridge (MM 78-81), and Kyle Lake Bridge (MM 92-95); and
  • 36 locations along I-81 from I-78 to I-80 in Lebanon (five locations), Luzerne (seven locations), and Schuylkill (24 locations) counties.

While the VSLs are in place through April, permanent speed limit signs will be covered, and the normal posted speed limit will be displayed on the VSL unless visibility or winter weather conditions call for slower speeds. When speed limits are reduced, a yellow light at the top and bottom of the VSL will be flashing to ensure motorists are aware of the change.

Earlier this year, the program was active in 12 locations along I-80 in Clearfield County. Preliminary results show this low-cost innovative solution effectively slowed traffic when needed and reduced or eliminated crashes. Locations were chosen based on crash and weather data, such as frequent wintry conditions and where crashes caused by whiteout conditions led to roadway closures of more than three hours.

Marywood University’s Students and Faculty Engage in Service

Students and faculty in Marywood University’s communication sciences and disorders (CSD) department have been engaged in several community service projects and events during the fall semester.

Hearing Screenings at Scranton Treasure House: Dr. Sheri Skrutski, assistant professor of practice, supervised students who completed hearing screenings at the Scranton Treasure House. All preschool students were screened at the center. If you are interested in information regarding screening opportunities, contact Dr. Skrutski at the Marywood University Speech-Language and Audiology Clinics by phone at 570-348-6299 or email at

Alzheimer’s Walk: Members of the National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association (NSSLHA)-Marywood Chapter participated in the 2.5 mile Walk to End Alzheimer’s held on Saturday, October 15. Team members walked throughout Marywood’s campus for the event. Locally, the walk raised $64,230. Marywood’s NSSLHA Chapter, composed of 19 members, raised $1,025 for the event. Money raised is providing funds for Alzheimer’s care, support, and research.

Trunk or Treat Event: NSSLHA-Marywood Chapter members also held a Trunk or Treat event for clients, siblings, and friends of the Marywood University Speech and Language Clinic. Students in the CSD department, from undergraduate to graduate level, along with faculty, participated in the event. The event included decorated cars, treats, and costumes.

PennDOT Provides Winter Driving Advice

With the first significant winter weather event forecasted, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), is providing motorists the below winter driving advice to consider if traveling is necessary. 

Winter Driving Advice

While PennDOT recommends not traveling during winter storms, we provide the following advice to those who need to drive in winter weather.

  • Carry a winter emergency travel kit. (including layers of clothing and blankets)
  • Listen to weather and travel advisories, but if you do not have to travel in bad weather don’t.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full.
  • Slow down and increase following distance.
  • Avoid sudden stops and starts.
  • Beware of roads that may look wet, but are actually frozen, often referred to as ‘black ice’.
  • Use extra caution on bridges and ramps, where ice can often form without warning.
  • Carry a cellphone.
  • Do not use cruise control while driving on snow-covered roads.
  • State law requires you to turn on your headlights when your wipers are on.
  • Use your low beams in particularly bad weather, especially in cases of heavy or blowing snow.
  • Remove ice and snow from windows, mirrors, and all vehicle lights before you drive and as often as needed.
  • Remove snow and ice from the hood and roof of your vehicle. State law states that if snow or ice from your vehicle strikes a vehicle or a person and causes death or injury, you can be ticketed.
  • Do not park or abandon your vehicle on snow emergency routes.
  • Do not pass or get between trucks plowing in a plow line (several trucks plowing side by side).
  • Make sure someone else knows where you are going and when you expect to arrive in case you run into an emergency and need help, someone will know where to look for you.
  • If you do become stranded, it’s better to stay with your vehicle until help arrives. Run the engine every hour or so, but make sure the tailpipe is clear and keep the downwind window cracked open.
  • Do not drink and drive, and always wear your seat belt.

Snow Squalls

Snow squalls are common and could create white out conditions which could virtually eliminate a driver’s visibility. They can also create treacherous travel conditions for drivers where roadways quickly become snow covered and slick.

Motorists always should be alert during the winter season for sudden squalls which can strike with little or no warning.

If motorists do encounter snow squalls while traveling, PennDOT offers this advice:

  • Slow down gradually and drive at a speed that suits conditions.
  • Turn your headlights on.
  • Stay in your lane.
  • Increase your following distance.
  • Stay alert, keep looking as far ahead as possible and be patient.
  • Reduce in-car distractions since your full attention is required.
  • Use defroster and wipers.
  • Turn four-way flashers on.
  • Keep windows and mirrors free of snow and ice.
  • During whiteouts, come to a complete stop only when you can safely get as far off the road as possible or when there is a safe area to do so.
  • Do not stop in the flow of traffic since this could cause a chain-reaction collision.
  • Do not pass a vehicle moving slowly or speed up to get away from a vehicle that is following too closely.
  • Always buckle up and never drink and drive.

While snow is falling, PennDOT will have crews treating roadways around the clock, but the department aims to keep the roads passable rather than completely free of ice and snow. PennDOT will continue to treat roadways through the storm until precipitation stops and roads are clear.

While PennDOT recommends not traveling during winter storms, motorists can check conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles, including color-coded winter conditions on 2,900 miles, by visiting  511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 1,000 traffic cameras.  

Nominate a Hero to the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania is currently seeking nominations for those who have performed a heroic act in Bradford, Sullivan, Wyoming, Luzerne, Lackawanna, Carbon, Monroe, Pike and Wayne Counties or has performed a heroic act and lives in one of these counties.

If you know of someone who you believe should be honored, please consider submitting a nomination for them at Winners will be recognized during our annual NEPA Heroes Telethon broadcast on Blue Ridge Cable Channel 13 on February 19, 2023 from 3:00pm until 6:00pm.

Each year the American Red Cross is proud to recognize unsung heroes in our community — individuals or teams whose courage, kindness and quick thinking has saved lives or greatly impacted the lives of others. It’s our honor to be able to hear their stories and inspire others to go above and beyond to serve their community.


  • 911 Dispatch Hero
  • Fire Safety Hero
  • Medical Hero
  • Law Enforcement Hero
  • Emergency Services Hero
  • Adult Good Samaritan (18+ years)
  • Youth Good Samaritan (17 years and under)
  • Military Hero
  • Animal Rescue Hero
  • Community Impact Hero
  • Give Life Hero