Hospice of the Sacred Heart To Deliver Thanksgiving Meals

On Thanksgiving morning, Thursday, November 24th, Hospice of the Sacred Heart will deliver meals to patients and their families. This is the 17th year the hospice will provide this service project. Over 700 meals complete with turkey, all traditional Thanksgiving sides and dessert will be prepared by Mansour’s Market Café in Scranton, packaged, and delivered by hospice staff members and volunteers.

“We so look forward to this day. The process is closer to normal this year as COVID-19 restrictions are somewhat relaxed, but the result is that we will safely deliver over 700 Thanksgiving meals to our patients and their families. This project once again demonstrates our gratitude for the blessings in our lives,” said Diane Baldi, CEO, Hospice of the Sacred Heart.

Greater Wyoming Valley Area YMCA Giving Tuesday Campaign

The Greater Wyoming Valley Area YMCA turns no one away for an inability to pay. We believe all children deserve to enter kindergarten ready to succeed, all seniors deserve to grow stronger together through membership to the Y and all people deserve to take part in lifesaving swim lessons.

That’s why on GivingTuesday, November 29, 2022, we’re asking for support. GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world. On GivingTuesday, our goal is to raise the funds needed to ensure those most in need from our community can benefit from our services.

“Through our GivingTuesday fundraising campaign, our goal is to raise the funds needed to allow us to carry out our mission. We feed hundreds of children and youth through child care and camp programs across five locations. We’re also serving seniors in chronic disease prevention programs and providing swim lessons to hundreds of children this fall,” said Jim Thomas, CEO, Greater Wyoming Valley Area YMCA. “We are so grateful to our community for continuing to rally around our Y to provide support for programs that so many people need.”

As part of the Greater Wyoming Valley Area YMCA’s fundraising efforts, the non-profit organization is proud to participate in AllOne Charities’ GivingTuesday Match Day initiative. From midnight November 28th through November 30th at 4:00pm, AllOne Charities will match contributions participating organizations raise up to $1,000. Donations can be made on AllOne Charities’ GivingTuesday donation form or mailed to 83 East Union Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701. Checks must be made payable to AllOne Charities. When donating online, be sure to choose either the Wilkes-Barre Family or Greater Pittston YMCAs.

For more information or for questions on how to donate to the Greater Wyoming Valley Area YMCA, contact Lindsay Landis, Financial Development Director, at lindsay.landis@wvymca.org or call (570) 970-5048.

The University of Scranton News

Scranton Cadets Earn Distinguished Military Status

Six members of The University of Scranton’s ROTC class of 2023 have earned Distinguished Military Graduate status by the U.S. Army, which designates placement in the top 20 percent of Army ROTC graduates in the nation for this academic year. Their distinction is based on their placement in the Order of Merit List, which ranks graduating ROTC cadets from across the country. The designation requires a superior grade-point average, strong performance in the Army Combat Fitness Test, and proven experience as an exceptional leader in college ROTC training.

“These cadets represent the next generation of our military leaders. They are ambitious, talented, intelligent and enthusiastic. The future of the U.S. Army is in good hands,” said Lt. Col. Jason Wenger, professor of military science who heads Scranton’s Army ROTC battalion. “Scranton’s ROTC program continually places in the top 25 percent in the country because of cadets like these.”

One Scranton cadet, Emma Coar of Dunmore, placed No. 9 in the nation on the Order of Merit list.

“Emma is an exceptional leader and excellent at planning and organization. She continually looks for opportunities to learn and improve herself even more. She has studied foreign languages and has taken on duties as battalion operations officer, which is one of the most competitive leadership positions in our program,” said Lt. Col. Wenger of Coar, who is majoring international studies.

Coar’s classmates who were also named as Distinguished Military Graduates are: Steven Gasperini, an international studies major from Denville, New Jersey; Sarah Kern, a nursing major from Monroe, New York; Declan Maurer, an accounting major and member of the University’s Frank P. Corcione Business Honors Program from Whitehouse Station, New Jersey; Josephine Middleton, a biology major from Sugarloaf, and Zachary Turnitza, a nursing major from Cumbola.

Together, the group of six Distinguished Military Graduates know nine languages, including Mandarin Chinese, Arabic and Russian. They have won _ military awards and participated in _ROTC enrichment programs, in addition to maintaining stellar G.P.As in their academic courses at Scranton. Each cadet is a Dean’s List student at Scranton.

“Scranton’s ROTC program is smaller, which has given us greater opportunities to participate in the leadership and development initiatives available to cadets,” said Middleton. “All six of us have had military (ROTC) internships.”

In fact, together, the group of six have had a total of 16 internships:

Coar: (3) Cadet Troop Leadership Training, Joint Base Lewis McCord, Washington; Cadet Summer Training 2022; U.S. Army Airborne School;

Gasperini: (3) Cadet Troop Leadership Training, Joint Base Lewis McCord; Cadet Summer Training 2022; US Army Air Assault School;

Kern: (2) Nurse Summer Training Program- Tripler Army Medical Center, Hawaii; Cadet Summer Training 2022;

Maurer: (3) Cadet Troop Leadership Training, Fort Sill; Opposition Forces Support, Cadet Summer Training 2021; Cadet Summer Training 2022;

Middleton: (2) Army Medical at Joint Base Lewis McCord; Cadet Summer Training 2022;

Turnitza: (3) Nurse Summer Training Program- Tripler Army Medical Center, Hawaii; Cadet Summer Training 2022; US Army Air Assault School.

Through these internships, the students not only gained experience in different aspects of military service and enhanced their leadership skills, but they also gained experience in their chosen professions. Nursing majors Kern and Turnitza and Middleton, who will pursue a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, gained clinical experiences in military hospital environments that are not common in traditional rotations.

Regional Economic Barometer Published

The University of Scranton economics professors have published an analysis of the Wyoming Valley of Northeast Pennsylvania’s job and housing market, as well as a look at the cost of living impact inflation has had on household purchasing power in the region.

The analysis, called the Brennan Barometer and completed by Aram Balagyozyan, Ph.D, associate professor of economics, finance and international business, and Satyajit Ghosh, Ph.D., professor of economics, finance and international business, is the second of a series of reports published by the faculty members of the Kania School of Management that look specifically at the economy of NEPA’s Wyoming Valley. The professors plan to publish two comprehensive reports in January and July and two shorter updates: one in fall and one in spring.

“The intent of the series of reports is to make a detailed analysis of economic data specific to NEPA available to area business professionals who might be able to use the information in their industries and organizations,” said Dr. Ghosh, who is frequently quoted about trends in the regional economy in area newspapers and publications.

Data in the most recent Brennan Barometer, published Nov. 8, indicate the unemployment in Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wyoming counties remained relatively unchanged in the period of April to August, 2022, which is the most recent month for which official data is available. The unemployment rate for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazelton metropolitan statistical area stood at 5.7 percent in April and has fallen to 5.2 percent for July and August, following national and Pennsylvania trends.

The professors noted that the total labor force and the total number of employed workers has continued to increase, while the total number of unemployed workers has declined. Charts published in the report show the total number employed rising from 257,000 in April, 2022, to 260,800 in August and those unemployed decreasing from 15,200 in April to 14,200 in August. They noted the employment growth was in the private sector with service-providing industries in the “Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities sub-sector” adding about 42 percent of the new private service-sector jobs. 

“What is important to note is that in August 2022, the Health Services sub-sector that includes Health Care, Social Assistance, and Hospitals, reported a modest (200) gain of jobs. Normally, this should not be viewed as a significant event. However, historically, this sub-sector has been a very significant source of jobs in the region,” wrote the professors in the report.

Their analysis of the housing market indicated the “tightening of the housing market in Scranton has occurred at faster pace than in the US. Between August 2021 and August 2022, Scranton has shed roughly 25 percent of its housing inventory, while in the United States, this number has declined by only 6.4 percent.” They also noted that “housing prices in the Scranton area outpaced growth of housing prices in Philadelphia and the U.S.” However, the average price of a house in the Scranton area “is much lower than the national average and the Philadelphia market. In August 2022, the value of a typical home in the Scranton area was $178,169, around half as much as it was in Philadelphia ($338,343) or the United States ($354,986).”

In looking at the impact of inflation, the professors reviewed the Cost of Living (or purchasing power) of the average household in Scranton, as compared to the Cost of Living for Brooklyn and Manhattan.

“For example, to have the same standard of living afforded by Scranton’s median household income of $41,687, a household in Queens, New York, would require $64,456, indicating a 55 percent higher cost of living. Similarly, a household income of $103,477 would be needed in Manhattan, New York, to maintain the same standard of living afforded by the median household income of $40,505 of Wilkes-Barre, indicating a 155 percent higher cost of living in Manhattan.”

The professors also noted that “it may not be much of a consolation that the costs of living in the region may be much lower than other big cities in the area if income in the MSA fails to keep up with inflation.”

The Wright Center News

Wright Center Names Dr. Shah as Medical Director of Behavioral Health, Associate Program Director, and Physician Faculty

A board-certified psychiatrist with more than 35 years of experience at clinical sites in Northeast Pennsylvania has joined The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education where she will train and educate the next generation of psychiatrists and provide behavioral health services to adult patients.

A graduate of M.P. Shah Government Medical College in India, Dr. Jyoti R. Shah is an American Psychiatric Association Distinguished Life Fellow. She completed a psychiatry residency, including a rotation in neurology, at St. Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center in New York. She will provide patient care, and education and administrative leadership as the medical director of The Wright Center for Community Health Behavioral Health Service Line. She will begin seeing patients ages 18 and above at the Scranton Practice, 501 S. Washington Ave., Scranton, on Nov. 1.

In addition, she will serve the nonprofit enterprise as a psychiatric physician faculty member and as the associate program director of the Psychiatry Residency. Shah will provide administrative and clinical oversight of the educational program, ensuring high-quality patient care, teaching and supervision of resident physicians. Overall, more than 250 resident physicians are enrolled in The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education’s five residency and three fellowship programs.

For the past two years, Shah has served as the medical director of Behavioral Health Services at Commonwealth Health First Hospital in Kingston after being the assistant medical director for nine years. She began her professional career in the local health care system at the VA Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre as a staff psychiatrist, before assuming the roles of acting chief and chief of the psychiatric service line for 20 years.

Shah is also active in her profession and community. She is a member of the American Psychiatric Association, and served as vice chairperson and chairperson of the National Alliance for Mentally Ill Keystone Pennsylvania chapter and president of the Pennsylvania Psychiatry Society. At King’s College in Wilkes-Barre and Penn State School of Health and Sciences in Williamsport, she held academic appointments in clinical medicine.

Patients can schedule appointments for behavioral health services by directly calling the primary care practice. To find a convenient location, go to The Wright Center’s website at TheWrightCenter.org. To learn more about The Wright Center’s mission and integrated health care services, call 570-230-0019.

Wright Center Employee Receives Apex Honor for Customer Service Excellence

The Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers has presented Kari Machelli, R.N., the associate vice president of Integrated Primary Health Services at The Wright Center for Community Healthy, with the Awards for Primary Care Excellence (APEX) in recognition of her stellar customer service.

An APEX represents the pinnacle of service, quality, innovation and achievement in primary health care. The association bestows its awards in 10 categories to recognize the outstanding efforts of dedicated individuals and teams who work or volunteer for Pennsylvania’s community health centers.

Machelli received the award at the Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers Annual Conference and Clinical Summit in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

“Kari Machelli ranks as one of the most competent and patient- and family-centered nurses I have ever encountered,” says Dr. Linda Thomas-Hemak, president and CEO of The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education. “She is most deserving of the APEX Customer Service Award, and our organization is privileged to have her on our team. My career continues to be tremendously enriched by the honor of working with Kari.”

In her executive leadership role, Machelli oversees the nurse care managers and community health workers across the organization who provide medical and socioeconomic support services for patients. She also supervises and supports the case managers and certified recovery specialists within The Wright Center’s Opioid Use Disorder Center of Excellence.

A resident of Blakely, Machelli began her career at The Wright Center as an R.N. care manager and has been with the organization for more than 20 years. She earned her nursing degree from The Pennsylvania State University and remains passionately committed to providing high-quality, compassionate, whole-person care to each of her patients and their families. She and her husband, Anthony, have two daughters, Mia and Gianna.

Patients can schedule appointments at the most convenient location in Northeast Pennsylvania by using the express online scheduling service at TheWrightCenter.org. To learn more about The Wright Center’s mission and integrated health care services, call 570-230-0019 or visit TheWrightCenter.org.

Karen Boback Named Legislator of the Year


Rep. Karen Boback (R-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Wyoming), majority chairman of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, has been named the 2022 Legislator of the Year by the Ambulance Association of Pennsylvania (AAP). The award is in recognition of her “dedication and tireless efforts on behalf of emergency medical services in Pennsylvania.”

The Scranton Public Theater Presents “The Last Thoughts of Gino Merli”

The Scranton Public Theater will perform “The Last Thoughts of Gino Merli” written by Tom Flannery on Thursday, November 10 at 7 p.m. in the Peoples Security Bank Theater. Bob Shlesinger, executive director, Scranton Public Theater, will perform the role of Gino Merli. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets may be obtained from Jim Sagona at 570-815-7568. The play is presented by the Scranton chapter of UNICO National and Lackawanna College.

The play will be preceded by the Gene Dempsey orchestra. Gene Passarella, World War II Veteran, contemporary of Merli and Normandy Beach survivor with two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star, will lead the orchestra.

PS Bank Hosts Ribbon Cutting

PS Bank has officially opened its newest Northeast PA location in South Abington Township. The PS Bank Business Center houses the PS Mortgage division, commercial and retail lending, and regional bank administration, providing increased resources for lending in Lackawanna County as well as surrounding communities.

PS Bank marked the occasion with a Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening on Wednesday, November 2nd. The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce facilitated the ribbon cutting where board members, staff, community representatives, and customers came together.