Johnson College to Launch CDL Training

In response to the regional and national demand for CDL truck drivers, Johnson College has partnered with Ancora Education to offer a Class A CDL Driver Training course. The College is currently enrolling students for the course, which will begin on March 20, 2023, at the College’s new satellite campus, Johnson College at the CAN DO Training Center, in Hazle Township.

The course, which will be managed by Ancora, will feature a four-to-one student-teacher ratio, ensuring high-quality training with an industry professional. Students will learn to inspect and operate tractor-trailers and to assume driver responsibilities on the road and at pickup/delivery points. Emphasis will be placed on vehicle inspections, defensive driving, range maneuvers, motor carrier safety regulations (DOT 380 -397 and a certificate for entry-level drivers), trip planning, cargo handling, size/weight laws, general maintenance procedures, hours of service, and accident prevention. Participants in this 160-hour program can obtain their CDL in as little as four weeks.

“Johnson College has been committed to its mission of providing in-demand career training for over 100 years,” said Bill Burke, Vice President of Enrollment and Student Affairs at Johnson College. “Knowing that there is a shortage of truck drivers, we felt the addition of this program and partnership with Ancora could have an immediate impact on the Hazleton area.”

The course complies with the new Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT) rules established by the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA), which went into effect in February 2022.

After completing the CDL Training course, students will earn a CDL Training: Class A Tractor Trailer Certificate from Johnson College and the qualifications for one of the most in-demand careers in the nation. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual pay for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers in Pennsylvania is $49,270.

To learn more or to enroll in the Class A CDL Driver Training course, visit or contact the College’s Continuing Education department at

The Wright Center Receives Grant

The Wright Center for Community Health has received a $25,000 grant from The Scranton Area Community Foundation in partnership with the City of Scranton American Rescue Plan Non-Profit COVID Relief Grant program.

The grant will support a project to provide innovative IT infrastructure for data integration at the county level. It will enable nonprofit, community, and educational organizations, the city of Scranton, Lackawanna County, and health care, mental health, and social service organizations to collaborate on successful partnerships and community initiatives. It will create a shift from problem-focused to solution-focused analysis and has the capacity to provide the knowledge needed to optimize health and well-being while addressing structural racism, equity, privacy, and security.

The Wright Center for Community Health (TWCCH) was the first community health practice in Northeast Pennsylvania to offer outpatient COVID-19 testing and the first to roll out coronavirus vaccines for health care personnel. Overall, The Wright Center for Community Health’s network of primary and preventive care practices conducted more than 44,564 COVID-19 tests from 2020 through July 2022, with 11,150 performed at the Scranton Practice.

In the early days of the pandemic, TWCCH quickly responded to community and patient needs, acquiring personal protective equipment (PPE) and hygiene supplies to safeguard patients and health care providers throughout the region. The nonprofit enterprise implemented new policies to comply with the governor’s orders on matters such as social distancing, hand washing, and face masking.

The Scranton Area Community Foundation enhances the quality of life for all people in Northeastern Pennsylvania through the development of organized philanthropy. A public 501c3 community foundation, the Scranton Area Community Foundation serves as a steward, a grant maker, a charitable resource, and a catalyst for change.

The foundation manages more than 200 charitable funds established by philanthropic individuals in the community and have granted more than $18 million to assist the educational, human service, environmental, civic, and arts and cultural organizations in Northeast Pennsylvania. The foundation also manages assets of more than $31 million through two private foundations, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation and the Robert H. Spitz Foundation.

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 is a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill passed by the 117th United States Congress and signed into law by President Biden on March 11, 2021. Of the $1.9 trillion bill, $350 billion was allocated to state and local governments to enable them to address strategic economic and infrastructure investments and address governmental budget shortfalls.

The city of Scranton has been awarded $68.7 million in ARPA funds to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency and its economic impacts. Scranton City Council approved ARPA funding to be made available as grants to community organizations, nonprofits, and small businesses that have faced economic hardship resulting from or exacerbated by the pandemic.

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

Pennsylvania American Water Launches Water Service Line Material Inventory Project

Pennsylvania American Water wants to get rid of lead water lines – but to do so, will need your help. Today, the company announced it has reached the customer information-gathering phase of its statewide service line material inventory project and is asking customers to “pipe up” and tell the company what their water service lines are made of. Using this data, the company will publish a public-facing online map of service line material types and locations by October 2024, with the goal of ultimately removing identified lead and certain galvanized water lines from service.

This month, customers whose service line material is unknown to Pennsylvania American Water will be sent a postcard in the mail with information on how to participate in this important identification effort. Customers can respond on the website featured on the postcard or by calling the number provided, which goes directly to the company’s project management firm, Greeley and Hansen. As part of this survey, customers will be asked to answer a few questions about their water service line and upload a photo of their service line material, if possible.

“Determining what material every customer’s service line is made of – including the lines owned by them and not just by us – is a massive undertaking, and we’re asking our customers to take this request seriously and please respond so we can take action accordingly,” said Pennsylvania American Water President Justin Ladner. “Although our company is in compliance with lead action levels in water due to our effective treatment controls, we believe that identifying and ultimately removing lead lines from service is the right thing to do for the health, safety and peace of mind of our customers.”

What is a water service line?

A water service line is a pipe that connects a customer’s house or building to the water main in the street. Typically, the service line is less than 2 inches in diameter and is made of various material. The most common material in use is copper; however other materials have been used including galvanized steel, iron, plastic, and lead. Pennsylvania American Water owns a portion of the service line, typically from the main to the curb stop, found near the street curb or sidewalk. The property owner owns the rest of the service line, from the curb stop all the way into the house or building.

How is the service line material data being gathered?

The company’s service line inventory project contractor, Greeley and Hansen, will be available by phone to answer questions about the inventory and identification process and can help customers schedule an in-home inspection to verify their service line material type, if needed. In addition to customer surveys, the project includes reviewing existing records, predictive modeling, and conducting field investigations, which can include in-home inspections and digging test pits to look at service lines.

All contractors representing Pennsylvania American Water in the field will be wearing logoed, high-visibility vests and carrying official photo ID badges. The company urges customers to participate in this important information-gathering project, while also being vigilant to check for proper identification before allowing anyone self-identifying as a utility representative into their home.

Why is the company undertaking this project?

The project is driven by EPA regulations that require water utilities to identify and publicly map lead service lines, which, for many utilities, will be the first step toward a proactive lead service line replacement program. Pennsylvania American Water already has a robust lead service line replacement program and has replaced more than 250 lead service lines to date. The company plans to invest approximately $15 million in 2023 to replace lead service lines, and the program will continue into future years. 

The company requested approval from the PA Public Utility Commission for a customer-side lead service line replacement program, citing that systematically replacing customer-owned lead service lines is a reasonable, cost-effective way to help avoid customer health and safety concerns associated with lead service lines.

How can I “pipe up” and provide my service line material?

If you receive a postcard in the mail, scan the QR code or visit the website Customers can also provide the information by phone at 877-201-7926.

About Pennsylvania American Water

Pennsylvania American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and wastewater services to approximately 2.4 million people.

About American Water

With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs approximately 6,400 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and regulated-like drinking water and wastewater services to an estimated 14 million people in 24 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to help keep their lives flowing. For more information, visit and Follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Media Contact:                                 

Susan Turcmanovich

External Affairs Manager


Keystone College Recognizes Austin Burke

Since the day he stepped on campus, Keystone College has been an integral part of Austin Burke’s life.

Austin, who retired in 2013 after a distinguished 40-year career as president of the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, has been involved with Keystone as a student, a proud alumnus, and, today, as an accomplished artist and art student.

“I have learned so much at Keystone that has helped me in all aspects of my life,” Austin said. “Most of all, I have met so many kind and talented people. It has been, and continues to be, a wonderful association.”

A native of nearby Archbald, Pa., Austin arrived at what was then Keystone Junior College in 1969, eager to continue his education after his service as a sergeant in the U.S. Air Force. After taking summer art classes from Keystone’s renowned professor Karl Neuroth, Austin enrolled as a full-time student. In 1970, he received his associate degree in general studies from Keystone and continued his education at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa., obtaining a bachelor’s degree in economics and a Phi Beta Kappa key. Upon graduating from Dickinson, he began his career in economic development.

After working for the Economic Development Council of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Austin, at the age of the age of 29, joined the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce and began a 40-year career as a key leader in the Scranton area’s economic renaissance from an older, industrial region into a metropolitan area respected for its progress and workforce excellence. For example, Austin played a major role in the development of the Montage Mountain area in Moosic, Lackawanna County, as an important employment, recreation, and residential center which is still one of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s major assets.

“We believed in our city and we believed in our region as we still do today,” Austin said. “We knew that working together, we could grow our local companies and bring national companies with well-paying, family sustaining jobs to the Scranton area and that’s exactly what we were able to accomplish.”  

Austin’s professional accomplishments were recognized not only regionally but across the state as he served from 2010-2011 as Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Community and Economic Development for Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.

While business and economic development may have been his professional calling, Austin’s longtime love for art and creativity has come to the forefront in recent years. His oil and water-color paintings highlighting numerous scenes and landscapes throughout the Scranton and Harrisburg areas have gained widespread acclaim from artists and art-lovers alike. In fact, Austin’s works include several paintings of Keystone’s scenic campus which are featured in Keystone’s 150-year anniversary publication. A complete selection of Austin’s work is available at

“Over the years, I’ve really come to enjoy painting a great deal. I especially find it gratifying to paint those local scenes and landmarks which make our area so beautiful and so unique,” Austin said.

He also credits his classes at Keystone with helping him improve.  

“In addition to being really interesting and enjoyable, my art classes at Keystone have really helped me enhance and refine my work. I really look forward to coming to campus and being a part of the Keystone community,” he said.

Austin credits art professors such as Ward Roe, and retired professor Cliff Prokop, among others, for helping him refine his talents

“Austin is a really dedicated and talented artist,” Ward said. “It’s a pleasure to have him in my classes. The other students really gain something from his presence. It makes for a wonderful mix to have younger students and returning alumni learn from each other.”

Whether he’s in class or visiting with Keystone students, faculty, and staff members in the student restaurant, Austin is a proud Keystonian. In fact, Keystone honored Austin in 2013 by presenting him with a Doctorate of Humane Letters during commencement exercises. 

“Keystone is really a special place,” he said. “It’s a great school with a proud tradition that has produced so many graduates who have gone on to be leaders in our area and in the nation. Most of all, it’s a college where people are valued as individuals and care about each other. That’s really what makes Keystone special to me.”

Austin still resides in his native Archbald with his wife, Marianne. They are parents of three adult children: Austin, III and wife, Christine (their children are Ella, Austin IV, and PJ); son, Tim and wife, Krista; and daughter, Judy.  

IRS Opens Free Portal to File Information Returns

The Internal Revenue Service announced today that businesses can now file Form 1099 series information returns using a new online portal, available free from the IRS.

Known as the Information Returns Intake System (IRIS), this free electronic filing service is secure, accurate and requires no special software. Though available to any business of any size, IRIS may be especially helpful to any small business that currently sends their 1099 forms on paper to the IRS.

“The IRS is excited to offer any business, especially small companies, a great new way to electronically file their 1099s for free,” said IRS Acting Commissioner Doug O’Donnell. “This simplifies filing for those issuing 1099s and helps recipients receive information timely. The launch of IRIS can help reduce the millions of paper Forms 1099 we project will be filed in 2023 and demonstrates our commitment to finding useful and innovative ways of reducing paperwork on the business community and others issuing 1099s. This is part of the larger effort underway to make improvements and transform operations at the IRS.”

Filers can use the platform to create, upload, edit and view information and download completed copies of 1099-series forms for distribution and verification.

With IRIS, businesses can e-file both small and large volumes of 1099-series forms by either keying in the information or uploading a file with the use of a downloadable template.

Currently, IRIS accepts Forms 1099 only for tax year 2022 and later.

The IRS encourages any business, especially those that now file on paper, to switch to e-filing through the platform and share in its benefits.

These benefits include:

  • E-file security standards keep information safe and protected.
  • The portal is an accurate filing method that automatically detects filing errors and provides alerts for missing information.
  • Filers can submit automatic extensions and make corrections to information returns filed through the platform.
  • The IRS acknowledges receipt of the return in as early as 48 hours.
  • The platform keeps issuer information from year to year, and prior years filed through this platform, providing convenience to 1099 filers.
  • E-filing eliminates trips to the post office and can reduce office expenses for paper, postage and storage space.

Enrollment for the IRIS filing platform is now open. Filers should begin the enrollment process immediately.

The Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE) system will remain available for bulk filing Form 1099 series and the other information returns through at least the 2023 filing season.

For more information about IRIS visit

Additional resources

HNB Launches Stegner Foundation

As announced by the trustee, The Honesdale National Bank, the greater Wayne County community will continue to experience the generosity of the beloved Honesdale family for years to come with the launch of and first disbursements of The Robert E. and Leila Stegner Family Foundation.

The Robert E. and Leila Stegner Family Foundation was created by siblings Dr. Robert, Joan and Janet Stegner of Honesdale, Pennsylvania, “in thanksgiving to the people of Wayne County and elsewhere for the support given to J.H. Stegner Grocery Store and Bakery, Robert J. Stegner, DDS, Joan M. Stegner and Janet T. Stegner, private music teachers.” The Foundation was established after the passing of the last surviving sibling, Joan Stegner, on October 7, 2022. The Honesdale National Bank has served as trustee since May 25, 2011. 

The Stegner siblings selected 13 organizations to receive annual donations from their Foundation based upon a set percentage of the minimum distribution requirement for private foundations code established by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The recipient organizations are: Bethany Cemetery; Honesdale Fire Department Hose Company No. 1, Alert Hook & Ladder Co. No. 2, Protection Engine No. 3, and Texas No. 4; Victims Intervention Program; Wayne County Food Pantry; Wayne County Children and Youth; Red Cross, Wayne County chapter; Salvation Army; the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester; Honesdale Ministerium; and the Wayne Memorial Health Foundation.

“It is an honor for HNB to assist in sustaining the memory and impact of the Stegner family for the greater Wayne County community,” said VP, Trust Officer Charles Curtin. “This Foundation is the epitome of a local family demonstrating its gratitude for the services that serve as the backbone for our area and ensuring others have access to those services for years to come.”

The Stegner name is iconic in the Honesdale area. Parents Robert Sr., and Leila Stegner owned and operated the J.H. Stegner Grocery Store and Bakery throughout most of the 20th Century. Many fondly remember its vast candy selection. Their children, Dr. Robert and twins Joan and Janet, were prominent citizens in their own right. Numerous young students were taught to love the piano by Joan and Janet in the family’s living room, while Dr. Robert tended to the community’s dental needs. A particular delight was to see Joan and Janet, in matching outfits, riding their tandem two-seat bicycle around town, waiving to all.  Although the scene of the three Stegner siblings languidly rocking on their 8th Street porch swing during long summer days is now just a memory, their generosity lives on.

The Honesdale National Bank, established in 1836, holds the distinction of being the area’s oldest independent community bank headquartered in Northeastern PA, with offices in Wayne, Pike, Susquehanna, Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties.  The Honesdale National Bank offers personal banking, business banking and wealth solutions. HNB is a Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender with NMLS ID # 446237.

Marywood Offers Health and Wellness Career Explorations for Prospective Students

Marywood University is hosting upcoming on-campus experiences to help prospective students explore two health and wellness careers, with its “Respiratory Therapist for a Day” and “Nurse for a Day” programs, set to take place in March.

Respiratory therapy is an allied health specialty that concentrates on the treatment, management, control, and care of patients’ breathing. The “Respiratory Therapist for A Day” event will occur on Friday, March 10, from 8:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m., at the Swartz Center, Room A, on Marywood’s campus. Check-in begins at 8 a.m., and a tour of the campus will be provided along with breakfast, at which students can meet with respiratory therapy faculty. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in cardiac arrest and manual intubation simulations, as well as sessions about mechanical ventilation, life support, and oxygen equipment. Those who would like to attend this free program should register by March 3 at

Nursing forms a major component of the health care provided within society and offers challenging, rewarding, in-demand career opportunities. The “Nurse for A Day” event will occur on Thursday, March 23, from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m., at Nazareth Student Center on Marywood’s campus. After a welcome session, attendees will have the opportunity to break into smaller groups to attend CPR training, visit the Nursing Lab, and engage in “Nursing Anne” medical simulation activities, plus tour campus and get financial aid and admissions information. Those who would like to attend this free program should register by March 8  at

For additional information about the respiratory therapy or nursing programs, contact the Marywood University Admissions Office at or 570-348-6234.

The Scranton Cultural Center to Host the Ultimate Elvis Experience

The Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple and JZ Tours will present “The Ultimate Elvis Experience starring Shawn Klush” on April 14 at 8:00 PM in the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Theatre.  The popular tribute artist, who hails from Pittston, last appeared at the SCC in 2015 to a nearly sold-out crowd.

Born and raised in the small coal-mining town of Pittston, Pennsylvania, Shawn’s love for music led him to begin imitating his musical idol, Elvis Presley.  He performed in the famous Poconos region followed by a tour of Canada where he entered and won the $5,000.00 prize in the “Worldwide Elvis Competition” in Montreal.  This caught the attention of the award winning Las Vegas show, “Legends in Concert” where for many years he starred as ‘Elvis’ in their Myrtle Beach, Las Vegas, Branson and Atlantic City show rooms.  Each January he stars in the “Elvis Birthday Tribute Tour”, an extravaganza with Elvis’ own musicians, singers, and friends, in major venues in multiple cities.

Shawn has released 5 CDs. He has performed with Elvis’ closest friends, musicians and singers such as JD Sumner and the Stamps Quartet, The Jordanaires, The Imperials, DJ Fontana, Charlie Hodge, Jerry Scheff, The Sweet Inspirations, Joe Guercio, Jerry Schilling and Joe Esposito. He portrayed Elvis in the hit TV miniseries “Shake, Rattle and Roll” which aired on CBS and VH1 and HBO’s Vinyl.

Shawn was a featured performer on the Late Show with David Letterman performing to over 5 million viewers with the entire CBS Orchestra on Network Television and portrayed Elvis in HBO’s Vinyl. produced by Martin Scorsese and Mic Jagger.

Tickets start at $40.75 (includes fees) with VIP Ticket Packages also available.  They are available for purchase at the Fidelity Bank Box Office at the SCC in person or by calling (570) 344-1111, or via Ticketmaster.

For more information or to view a full schedule of events, visit

The Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple’s 2022-2023 Season is sponsored by Fidelity Bank and LT Verrastro and supported by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the Lackawanna County Office of Arts and Culture, and Commissioners Jerry Notarianni, Debi Dominick, Esq. and Chris Chermak. A special thank you to its media partners: Access NEPA, Allied Services, Audacy, Citizens’ Voice, Lamar Advertising, MAC Signs, The Times-Tribune and Times Shamrock Communications.

PennDOT to Host In-Person Public Meeting

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), Engineering District 4-0, will present preliminary plans to the public for the Interstate 81 (I-81) Reconstruction Project at a plans display meeting on February 15, 2023, from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM at the Dunmore Elementary Center gym at 300 West Warren Street in Dunmore, Lackawanna County. Attendees can learn about the planned improvements to roadway surfaces, structures, interchanges, and future traffic flow on the seven-mile stretch of I-81 between Exit 178 in Avoca and Exit 185 in Scranton. The public is invited to submit their feedback and questions at the meeting, by mail, or online throughout the comment period, which extends from February 15 to March 15, 2023.

PennDOT will deliver a formal presentation and host a question-and-answer session during the meeting at 6:00 PM. An informational video illustrating the final condition of the highway will also be available. During the comment period, digital copies of the project plans, the project video, and a comment form will be available for the public to view on the project webpage, which can be found on the PennDOT Engineering District 4-0 website at Click on the Lackawanna County box, then choose the tile marked “SR 81 (Interstate 81) Section D46 (Avoca to Scranton) Reconstruction Project”.

The project area begins at the northern end of the existing Avoca Interchange (Exit 178) and includes the Moosic Interchange (Exit 180), Davis Street Interchange (Exit 182), and River Street and President Biden Expressway Interchange (Exit 184 and 185).

“Our main goal is to reduce the frequency of crashes and traffic congestion along this corridor,” said Richard N. Roman, P.E., District Executive for PennDOT Engineering District 4-0. “We’re planning to widen the highway from two lanes to three lanes and improve the location of exits, as well as correct issues with roadway curves and lanes. These upgrades will improve the driving experience once the project is complete.”

The proposed design calls for the removal of left-hand exits and standardizes roadway curves and lane widths. The new roadway will widen into the existing median and, upon completion, will include three 12-foot travel lanes and two 12-foot shoulders in both directions. Traffic along the new highway should flow freely based on predicted vehicle usage data for the year 2055 (or about twenty years post-construction) developed for traffic studies.

PennDOT also studied various environmental and historic factors while developing the preliminary roadway designs. These factors included (but are not limited to) socio-economic features, waterways and wetlands, historic properties, and waste concerns. Overall, the design avoids impacts to most of the identified environmental and historic resources in the project area. 

The I-81 Reconstruction Project (Avoca to Scranton) is just one of six highway improvement projects in the region that are advancing through design or construction under the direction of PennDOT and/or the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. In-depth planning and design work for the SR 81, D46 project is still underway and will continue through the end of 2027.

“Because we are in the early stages of this complex project, construction isn’t expected to start until Spring 2028,” Roman said. During construction, PennDOT will maintain two lanes of traffic in both directions.

In total, the planned improvements are estimated at $500 million.

The project documents can be made available in alternative languages or formats if requested. If you need translation/interpretation services, have special needs or concerns that require individual attention, or would like to submit a general question or comment, please contact the project team at

Pursuant to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, PennDOT does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability. If you feel that you have been denied the benefits of, or participation in a PennDOT program or activity, you may contact the PennDOT, Bureau of Equal Opportunity, DBE/Title VI Division at 717-787-5891.

Motorists can check conditions on major roadway 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.

511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.

Subscribe to PennDOT news and traffic alerts in Lackawanna, Luzerne, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne, and Wyoming counties at

Information about infrastructure in District 4, including completed work and significant projects, is available at

Follow local PennDOT news on Twitter and like the department on Facebook and Instagram.