Outreach Center Coordinates Toyland Workshop

Outreach – Center for Community Resources is currently coordinated its annual Toyland Workshop to provide pajamas, socks, books, educational toys, and grocery gift cards for children and families in our shared community.

Through an incredible outpouring of support, numerous contributions, grants, and in-kind donations by several foundations, corporations, local businesses, charitable organizations, and individuals were made to Outreach for its annual Toyland Workshop.

This year, Outreach is providing gift packages to over 200 participant families. Outreach Family
Development Specialists are delivering gifts to more than 330 children for the holiday season. Many
toys were purchased online through our Amazon Wish List. Contributors that were logged into Amazon Smile had an additional percentage of their purchase donated to Outreach by Amazon in support of the numerous programs provided to our shared community. Students from the University of Scranton and Holy Cross High School also shared their goodwill by collecting toys and adopting Outreach participant families this season.

For more information, please call Lori Ryan at (570)-558-7565. Outreach Center for Community Resources delivers parent/child and workforce development services and programs to the regional community to promote family stability and economic self-sufficiency. Outreach provides evidence-based early childhood programs that help families and children gain the skills needed to be healthy and productive members of the community. Outreach improves the lives of over 4,000 individuals each year with programs that support people as they navigate life’s challenges.

Marywood Associate Professor Publishes Research on Race, Drugs, Violence, and Criminal Justice

Patrick Seffrin, Ph.D., associate professor of social science, along with his graduate research assistant, Joseph Teeple, recently had an article, titled “Making Drug Use Dangerous for Black Men: Race, Drugs, Violence, and Criminal Justice,” accepted for publication in the journal, Race and Justice. Dr. Seffrin teaches courses in the areas of sociology, criminology, and criminal justice at Marywood University.

This study examined links between drug use, violence, and criminal justice involvement among Black and White men. Differential treatment under the law has historically been the case for African Americans. According to the article abstract, “This study theorized that the War on Drugs, which was waged disproportionately in majority Black communities, had the unintended effect of making drug use riskier for Black men by limiting the supply of drugs to high-risk populations who commit far more serious and violent criminal offenses.”

The study revealed that drug use was found to be less prevalent, overall, for Black men, but its association with violence was greater for Black men than White men. Differential legal treatment for violence and drugs was found to be greater for Black men than White men and had diminishing returns for deterring violence and negative returns for drugs by predicting greater use. Accounting for differential legal treatment did not significantly reduce predicted racial disparities in violence or drug use, and implications of these findings are discussed in the study.

The Dime Bank Announces “These Are My People” Contest Winner

The Dime Bank and Kasasa, an award-winning financial technology and marketing provider, announced the winner of the local “These Are My People” contest. Beth McElroy of Carbondale won $1,000.00 to help support human connection with her favorite people.

Kasasa’s “These Are My People” contest took place from November 7th through December 7th and provided entrants with the opportunity to share personal stories and how the prize money would help them connect with their loved ones.

Inspirational stories flooded in from entrants across the local area on how winning would impact their lives this holiday season. The Dime Bank’s local contest was part of a nationwide contest that included more than 150 community financial institutions across the country, with some offering cash prizes to their local community members. Additionally, Kasasa is awarding one grand prize winner with $25,000 and two runner ups with $10,000. In total, Kasasa and participating community banks and credit unions awarded over $150,000 in cash prizes.

“The holiday season is about love and sharing it with those we call our people,” said Gabe Krajicek, CEO of Kasasa. “This contest celebrated the incredible, loving individuals that create the fabric of their community. It’s this same network that our community financial institution partners across the country play such a vital part in – helping people stand strong in their financial world so they can stand strong for those they love the most.”

“It has been a long road this year and we are so excited that we will be getting my granddaughter and my daughter back home for Christmas, which is our Christmas miracle. Being chosen as the winner is such a blessing to my family and such a huge help. Thank you so much again,” said Beth McElroy.

President and Chief Executive Officer Pete Bochnovich stated, “Beth’s granddaughter is recovering from grade 4 medulloblastoma and their family’s story of strength and courage serves as an inspiration to many. The Dime Bank is happy to be part of helping to bring this family closer together this holiday season.”

Kasasa partners exclusively with community financial institutions – the only place consumers can find their innovative banking solutions. Kasasa serves hundreds of community financial institutions nationwide, representing over 3 million consumer bank accounts across 3,400+ branches in all 50 states. Since 2003, Kasasa financial institutions have given back nearly $3 billion in rewards to Kasasa account holders. 

Cancer Institute Releases Latest Local Cancer Surveillance Report

The Northeast Regional Cancer Institute, a local community-based nonprofit organization, has released the latest report on cancer, “Cancer in Northeastern Pennsylvania: Incidence and Mortality for Common Cancers”.  The report is available at: http://cancernepa.org/ 

This unique, locally focused report was compiled by Cancer Institute Director of Cancer Surveillance, Karen Ryczak, RN and Medical Director, Samuel Lesko, MD, MPH. The report documents that both incidence and mortality rates for cancer are significantly higher in NEPA than the U.S. It also identifies those cancer sites for which there is a disparity in either incidence or mortality. In NEPA, we continue to see statistically significantly higher incidence rates for cancer of the lung, larynx, oral cavity and pharynx, esophagus, colon and rectum, urinary bladder, pancreas, thyroid, cervix, and uterus compared to the U.S.  Evidence based screenings are available for breast, cervical, colon and lung cancer that can reduce deaths from these cancers and in the case of cervical and colon cancer, prevent cancers from developing.  Primary care providers are well suited to direct individuals on what screenings are appropriate based on age, gender, personal and family history, risk factors and eligibility criteria for screenings. 

The goal in sharing these data is to raise awareness across the community and to promote collaborative efforts to reduce the risk of select cancers through healthy lifestyle choices and adherence to proper screening guidelines. The report offers important insight for Northeastern Pennsylvania residents, health professionals, and government leaders. 

For additional information or if you would like a hard copy of the full report, please feel free to contact the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute at (570) 904-8808 or admin@cancernepa.org

Women’s Resource Center Receives Grant

Economic abuse is more common than physical abuse and can leave a survivor with their entire financial support structure shattered. The Women’s Resource Center is excited to announce it’s been awarded an $8,000 grant from The Robert H. Spitz Foundation, administered by the Scranton Area Community Foundation to help alleviate some of this financial insecurity.

The grant supports WRC survivors in obtaining or maintaining a job or an education that will lead to their financial freedom.

“The only way for survivors to remain independent of an abusive relationship is to have access to a sustainable income to support themselves and their children. WRC seeks to increase the economic well-being of survivors by addressing the financial needs that are directly linked to their ability to escape violence and stay out of an abusive relationship.” according to Peg Ruddy, Executive Director, of the Women’s Resource Center.

Additionally, the grant also provides services for their pets. Often survivors are forced to decide between leaving their pets behind or staying to protect them. It is estimated that 65% of victims stay in abusive relationships for the safety of their pets. The availability of supplies and access to kenneling enable survivors to be able to leave an abusive relationship. Many times a pet can be a major source of comfort to a survivor and their family. It’s important WRC has resources to bring their pets to help during an extremely difficult time.

“The pet program is truly amazing, and a tremendous help. The advocate genuinely cared about my cat and the progress she made at becoming strong and healthy. They were also very attentive toward me with vet appointment reminders, recommendations, and resources. I am very grateful.” said Jamie, a WRC program participant.

A huge thank you to the Robert H. Spitz Foundation for making this grant possible. 

Treasurer Garrity Celebrates Congress Passage of the ABLE Age Adjustment Act

Treasurer Stacy Garrity and disability advocates across Pennsylvania today hailed Congress’s passage of the ABLE Age Adjustment Act, which will expand ABLE program eligibility to include an estimated 6 million more Americans, including one million veterans, by raising the age limit for onset of a disability from 26 to 46 starting in 2025. ABLE accounts are a tax-free way to save for disability-related expenses while maintaining means-tested government benefits.

“It’s a great day for people with disabilities not only in Pennsylvania, but those across the country, who will now have the ability to save for the future without jeopardizing benefits they currently rely on,” Treasurer Garrity said. “As a veteran, I’m especially grateful to know that my disabled brothers and sisters in arms, many of whom suffered disabilities after their 26th birthday while defending our great nation, will now have access to ABLE accounts and the tax advantages that come with them.”

The ABLE Age Adjustment Act was introduced by U.S. Senator Bob Casey. His bill was cosponsored by Senator Pat Toomey, and a corresponding House bill had 17 cosponsors from Pennsylvania’s 18-member delegation, including U.S. Representatives Brendan Boyle, Matt Cartwright, Madeleine Dean, Michael F. Doyle, Dwight Evans, Brian Fitzpatrick, Chrissy Houlahan, John Joyce, Fred Keller, Mike Kelly, Conor Lamb, Dan Meuser, Guy Reschenthaler, Mary Gay Scanlon, Lloyd Smucker, Glenn Thompson and Susan Wild.

“I commend Senator Casey for his dedication to helping people with disabilities live more independently and plan for a secure future for themselves and their families,” Treasurer Garrity said. “And I’m thankful to Senator Pat Toomey and the overwhelming majority of members in Pennsylvania’s House delegation who signed on as cosponsors.”

Senator Casey also spearheaded the original ABLE Act of 2014, allowing states to establish ABLE programs to make it possible for people with disabilities to save for the future without losing necessary benefits. Pennsylvania’s ABLE program, PA ABLE, launched in 2017 after being introduced by state Senator Lisa Baker.

“ABLE has been making a huge difference in the lives of people with disabilities for more than five years,” said Senator Baker. “Here in Pennsylvania, we have experienced tremendous success, with more than 7,000 individuals saving for their futures by opening PA ABLE accounts. I am encouraged by the actions taken to grow the program so millions of additional people who become disabled further into their adulthood can benefit, including our veterans, victims of vehicle accidents, and others experiencing a serious trauma.”

“The Arc of Pennsylvania is extremely excited for the people who will now be benefit from ABLE accounts,” said Sherri Landis, Executive Director, The Arc of Pennsylvania. “The adjustment will also allow people with disabilities to save additional funds for retirement. We applaud Senator Casey and members of Congress on passing the legislation and ensuring people with disabilities are not overlooked.”

“This is wonderful news,” said Susan Tachau, Chief Innovation Officer of Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation. “When the ABLE Age Adjustment Act becomes law, millions of newly eligible individuals will be able to save safely, and dream and plan for their future without fear of losing critical government benefits. Whether using their account for day-to-day living expenses or saving for assistive technology, such as an adapted vehicle, or for a home of their own, the ABLE program recognizes the importance of empowering individuals with disabilities with the ability to build a better economic future for themselves and their families.”

“We would like to thank and congratulate Congress and Senator Casey on the passage of the ABLE Age Adjustment Act as part of SECURE 2.0! His efforts brought bipartisan support for this critical legislation that removes barriers to economic independence for individuals with disabilities,” said Brandy Burnham, President & CEO, AHEDD. “It aligns well with other programs that focus on employment outcomes for working-aged people with disabilities and will allow more people to work and have increased savings. AHEDD has always promoted ABLE programs since its inception and we are so happy access has expanded, making it available to so many more.”

The changes to ABLE eligibility age limitations were included in the bill known as SECURE 2.0, which passed the House and the Senate last week and is expected to be signed into law by President Biden.

“The PA ABLE program has already helped more than 7,000 Pennsylvanians save more than $77 million in just five years,” Treasurer Garrity said. “And now more of our friends and neighbors will have the opportunity to save.”

PA ABLE is one of the fastest growing ABLE programs in the country, and the largest in the 18-member National ABLE Alliance – accounting for nearly 25% of total assets.

PA ABLE allows for up to $16,000 in savings per year (this limit will increase to $17,000 starting on January 1, 2023) and up to $100,000 total without impacting government benefits. Funds are easy to access and may be used for a wide-wide range of disability-related expenses.

Treasurer Garrity serves as the inaugural chair of the new ABLE Savings Plan Network, a part of the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST). Increasing the age limit for ABLE account eligibility has been a top priority of NAST since ABLE accounts first launched more than five years ago.

For eligibility information and program details, visit paable.gov or call (855) 529-2253.

Mohegan PA Events at the Taphouse

Launched this past summer as part of a major property upgrade, The Hive Taphouse at Mohegan Pennsylvania boasts a great lineup of local music as the winter months approach. New seasonal beers are also on tap, as is every big football game, every week. The Hive Taphouse is also home to two popular TopGolf Swing Suites, and special themed nights like Taco Tuesdays and Burger Wednesdays, where guests can take advantage of half-price tacos and burgers!

Live Entertainment Calendar (all performances begin at 9:30pm)

Hoopla Band Lite | Friday, December 30th 

Hoopla Band Lite brings an always energetic show playing nostalgic hits from yesterday and today. This band hailing from Wilkes-Barre, PA and fronted by female and male singers bring a dynamic performance every time it hits the stage.   Don’t miss them on Friday, December 30th on stage inside The Hive Taphouse!

Dueling Pianos featuring Doug Delescavage and Jennifer Hunter | Saturday, December 31st

Talented musicians with battle it out during a New Year’s Eve celebration not to be missed at The Hive Taphouse. Doug Delescavage is a Berklee College of Music alum, a vocal instructor, piano instructor and the front-man for Philadelphia Freedom – a Tribute to Elton John. Doug will face-off with another incredible piano talent in Jennifer Hunter, who graduated from West Chester University and now teaches music, in addition to serving as an acclaimed music director and keyboardist for over thirty musicals in NEPA! 

Stealing Neil | Saturday, January 7th, 2023

Stealing Neil is a four-piece high energy Rock band hailing from NEPA, playing rock hits from Pearl Jam to CCR to Bruno Mars!

Ostrich Hat | Saturday, January 14th, 2023

From the Finger Lakes of New York to The Atlantic City New Jersey Boardwalk and back home in the Pocono Mountains, Ostrich Hat has been entertaining crowds for a decade.

Their high energy show contains all upbeat songs from every genre of Pop music. An Ostrich Hat show is entirely live, as no prerecorded backing tracks are used!

CC Music | Friday, January 20th, 2023

CC Music features musicians Chris Iorio, Cierra Cellerari, Michael Iorio and Zach Jones from the Northeastern Pennsylvania area. Their wide range of musical tastes allows for them to produce a sound and show suitable for audiences of all ages and musical interests. With nearly 20 years of experience between them, they offer a professional and polished sound every time they take the stage. 

The Beer

As the name suggests, the Hive Taphouse offers a serious range of beers on tap, including regional favorites like Broken Heels IPA by New Trail Brewing; Antler Brown Ale by Barley Creek Brewing and 570 – American Amber Lager by Benny Brewing. Current seasonal selections include draft beer from Pennsylvania brewers such as Wyndridge Cider; Tröegs Independent Brewing; Evil Genius Beer Company; Susquehanna Brewing and Wallenpaupak Brewing. And for current seasonal bottled options, guests can enjoy Sam Adams, Nimble Hill Brewing and UFO Brewery. Unique options like the Salt and Sea (Strawberry Lime) by Flying Fish Brewing out of New Jersey and the Mango Cart by Gold Road Brewing out of California, are also available. The Hive Taphouse offers energizing beer flights, including “The Fruit Flight,” which includes four fruity beers, “The NEPA Flight,” which includes beers brewed within 60 miles of Mohegan Pennsylvania, “The Seasonal Flight,” which combines the best beers of the season, “The Keystone Flight,” which includes some of the best beers brewed in Pennsylvania, and a “Build Your Own” option which lets you create your own flight. In total, The Hive Taphouse features 30+ beers by way of draft, bottle and can. To view the full drink menu, click HERE

Half-off Tacos and Burgers

Every Tuesday inside The Hive Taphouse, a menu of delicious tacos are offered at half price all-day! Favorites include Cajun Shrimp Tacos, BBQ Pulled Pork Tacos, Smoked Chicken Tacos and more. The Hive Taphouse also features “Burger Wednesdays” where options like the mouthwatering Lone Star (pulled pork, pepper jack cheese, smoke BBQ sauce and marinated banana peppers served on an 8oz beef patty and brioche bun) are also half-price all-day every Wednesday.

The Games

Pro-football fans can head into The Hive Taphouse to catch all the remaining action, including what should be an incredible post-season. Every game is available by way of 12 high-def flat screens that fill-up Mohegan PA’s latest and greatest venue. Big upcoming Pro football games include Buffalo @ Cincinnati on Monday, January 2nd (8:30pm). The first round of the playoffs also arrives on Saturday, January 14th! Not to be outdone, all the major upcoming College Football bowl games will also be featured inside The Hive Taphouse!

TopGolf Swing Suites

The Hive Taphouse also features its very own TopGolf Swing Suites located near the main bar. TopGolf Swing Suites is open for all ages, allowing for playful competition across various simulated sports, including golf experiences at virtual versions of Pebble Beach, Bethpage Black or 80 other famous courses. If guests aren’t up for golf, they can take a stab at the Quarterback Challenge, Hockey, Zombie Dodgeball, Soccer and more. Walk-ups are accepted as availability permits, though reservations are encouraged. Prices are $20 per person, and guests can visit MoheganPA.com or call 570.985.5759 for more information.

Nominations for the 2023 ATHENA Awards Open in a Week

Scranton, PA—The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that nominations for the 2023 ATHENA Award will open on Tuesday, January 3, 2023, at ScrantonChamber.com.

The ATHENA Award is presented to an exceptional individual who has achieved excellence in her/his business or profession, has served the community in a meaningful way, and has assisted women in their attainment of professional goals and leadership skills.

The ATHENA Award is sponsored by Michael A. Barbetti LLC Certified Public Accountants and will be presented at the Chamber’s International Women’s Day luncheon, sponsored by Honesdale National Bank, which will be held at Marywood University on Tuesday, March 8, 2023.

Nominations for the ATHENA Award will be accepted until 4:00 p.m. on Friday, January 20. Find application and eligibility criteria online at www.scrantonchamber.com.

About The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce
The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce is a not-for-profit organization that works to improve the area’s economic environment and quality of life by providing programs and services which stimulate economic growth, promote business prosperity and nurture educational opportunities. For more information about the Chamber, visit www.scrantonchamber.com.