United Way of Lackawanna, Wayne & Pike Distributed Grants at Campaign Kickoff

The United Way of Lackawanna, Wayne & Pike is delighted to announce the distribution of $63,000 in grants to several deserving Wayne County nonprofit organizations. These grants aim to empower and strengthen our community by providing essential support for a range of initiatives that benefit our residents and improve the quality of life in Wayne County.

With the United Way of Lackawanna, Wayne & Pike’s 2023-2024 Campaign in full swing, these grants were the result of generous contributions during last year’s fundraising efforts.

The recipients of these grants were selected through an application and review process, in which a group of Wayne County volunteers evaluated applications based on their potential impact, alignment with our community’s needs, and ability to make a difference in the lives of our neighbors.  The following nonprofit organizations, along with their program, have been chosen to receive funding:

The ARC of Northeastern PA: Advocacy Services

Child Hunger Outreach Partners (CHOP): CHOP in School Pantry and Backpack Programs

The Cooperage: Bright Kids

Diakon Child, Family and Community Ministries: RSVP of Berks, Pike and Wayne Counties Program

Girls on the Run – Lehigh Valley and Pocono: GOTR Wayne County Program Expansion

Habitat for Humanity: Multi-Family Home

Honesdale Communities That Care: Communities That Care – Scholarship Program

Hose Co. No. 1- Honesdale Fire Department: Can you lend us a Hand (Tools)

Lacawac Sanctuary: Youth Environmental Stewardship Institute

Maternal & Family Health: Nurse-Family Partnership Program

Salvation Army: Back-to-School Clothing Program

Second Harvest: Expanded Food Access

Victims Intervention Program: Victims Intervention Program

Wayne County Public Library: Wellness in Winter at the Wayne County Public Library

Wayne County Community Foundation: Wayne County Drug and Treatment Court Fund

Workforce Wayne: WP Shine

United Way of Lackawanna, Wayne & Pike is dedicated to fostering collaboration and innovation among local nonprofits, and these grants are just one way we work towards achieving that mission. We believe that by supporting these organizations, we can create a stronger, more resilient community for everyone.

A Campaign Kickoff event was held the night of Tuesday, September 19th at Wallenpaupack Brewing Company where the grants were distributed amongst Wayne County’s best.  The United Way formally began their campaign in Wayne and Pike County as they also welcomed Pike County under their wing of the 100+ year tradition of the United Way serving Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Marywood University to Host Forum Addressing Violence with Bestselling Author

The Defenders of Democracy, a nonpartisan grassroots advocacy organization currently focused on a collaborative community approach to violence prevention, will host a forum in response to the growing epidemic of violence in our country. The forum, “A Community Confronts Violence: A New Vision,” will be held on Thursday, October 12, 2023, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Nazareth Hall, Marywood University

The event is free to attend and is open to the public. Michael Fanone, the former District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Officer who nearly died on January 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., will be the keynote speaker. Officer Fanone will discuss his bestselling book, Hold the Line, which addresses many of today’s most critical issues and how they impact our lives.

Joining Officer Fanone will be Dr. Matthew Schaffer, the Director of Psychological Services at Marywood University and an expert in threat assessment, who will lead an interactive discussion about creating a community initiative to prevent violence in our region. The event’s goal is to bring together the various governmental, public, and private entities working on violence prevention and to explore models that have been effective in other communities and countries.

The Defenders of Democracy was established and is administered through the Scranton Area Community Foundation to foster issues in civic engagement. 

“The Scranton Area Community Foundation supports events that bring the community together to work on solutions that enhance the quality of life for all people in Northeastern Pennsylvania,” stated Laura Ducceschi, President and CEO of the Scranton Area Community Foundation. “This event aims to convene the community to work on solutions that address violence within our communities.  It is an important topic that has come up more and more frequently in community conversations, both locally and nationwide.” 

Copies of Officer Fanone’s Hold the Line book will be available for sale. Officer Fanone will stay to autograph copies following the event.

Munley Law is the presenting sponsor. 

While the event is free and open to the public, registration is required. Register at https://www.campusce.net/marywood/course/course.aspx?catId=62.

FNCB Bank Supports UNICO Scranton Coat Drive With $1,000 Grant

FNCB Bank, locally based since 1910, has announced a $1,000 grant to UNICO Scranton to help purchase new winter coats for children in need at Friends of the Poor in Scranton.

“We take for granted having a warm coat when temperatures drop, but for many in our community, this is not always the case,“ said Michael Cummings, FNCB Bank Senior Vice President, Marketing Manager. “In addition to our donation, we encourage folks to drop off new or gently used men’s, women’s, and children’s coats at any FNCB Bank location in Lackawanna County to help tackle this need.”  

The support of UNICO Scranton and the Friends of the Poor is part of FNCB’s larger Community Caring initiative. A true, local community bank, FNCB Bank is making a difference through volunteerism, donations, and outreach programs.

Marywood University Celebrated EMPOWER Campaign at Launch Event

On Friday, at an outdoor celebratory launch event, Marywood University announced the public phase of its comprehensive campaign, EMPOWER: The Campaign for Marywood. The event, which featured the popular local band, The Chatter, kicked off the campaign as well as Marywood’s Alumni and Family Weekend. Alumni, students and their families, faculty, staff, and members of the greater community attended the announcement and the celebration that followed.

EMPOWER is a multi-year effort to raise $30 million with three priority areas: to create access to education through scholarships for students with financial need, to reimagine campus through the construction, renovation, and renewal of buildings and spaces to support growing programs and next-gen learning, and to enhance the student experience through annual and endowed philanthropic support. To date, Marywood has raised $24 million from alumni, parents, and friends of the University during the quiet phase of the campaign.

During the event, Marywood University President Sister Mary Persico, IHM, Ed.D. introduced the official campaign video, and followed its presentation by stating, “Through the EMPOWER campaign, we are embarking on a journey that transcends the boundaries of our campus. The impact of this campaign will ripple far beyond these walls, reaching into the very heart of our local community and contributing to the development of the region.” She continued, “By empowering our students, by fostering innovation and learning, we are sparking a chain reaction that will uplift our local communities, stimulate economic growth, grow the workforce, and inspire a brighter future for all.”

Campaign co-chairs, Marywood Board of Trustees Chair Lisa Lori, Esq. and Marywood Trustee Robert Tamburro, followed Sister Mary, with Atty. Lori noting, “Marywood’s commitment to education has always been steadfast, empowering students to believe in themselves and serve their communities…Together, we will create, reimagine, and enhance the future of Marywood University.”

The Chamber Announces the 2023 SAGE Awards Finalists

The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce announces the finalists for the 2023 SAGE Awards, the Scranton Awards for Growth and Excellence.

The SAGE Awards honor outstanding local businesses and nonprofits for their talent, creativity, and innovation. The winners will be announced on Friday, November 3, at The Chamber Gala, a black-tie optional event that will be held at the Scranton Art Haus.

More than 90 applications were received for this year’s awards, and nearly 40 community leaders and professionals volunteered to review applications and select finalists. The Chamber is proud to honor businesses and nonprofits that are making valuable contributions to the region and contributing to our overall quality of life.

The finalists, in each category, are:

Business of the Year

BDA Architects, LLC.

Titan Tree Service, Inc.

United Sports Academy

Community Involvement Excellence

Alter House Restaurant

Sordoni Construction Services, Inc.

Tobyhanna Army Depot

Customer Service Excellence

NET Credit Union

Tech42 LLC.


Marketing and Communications Excellence

Posture Interactive

The Honesdale National Bank                                                        

Wayne Bank

New and Emerging Business of the Year

LFG Life Fitness Goals

Market Share Consulting

Serenity Care Personal Care Community

Non-Profit Organization of the Year

Scranton Counseling Center

Scranton Jazz Festival


Products and Services Excellence


Merut Construction

Reed Advisory Group, LC.

Small Business of the Year

Blu Elefante Events

Ski Shack

The Training Loft

Workplace Excellence

Children’s Service Center of the Wyoming Valley

The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education

Woodloch Resort

2023 Milestone Award Recipients

New for 2023, the Member Milestone Award recognizes businesses and nonprofits celebrating an anniversary in 5-year increments. Each business and nonprofit will be recognized and presented with a certificate.

American Heart Association

BDA Architects, LLC.

Fidelity Bank

Goodwill Industries of Northeastern Pennsylvania

Highland Associates, Ltd.

Inspired Studio

Montage Mountain Resorts

Needle Law PC

Outreach – Center for Community Resources

Ski Shack

Space Time Mead & Cider Works

Talerico’s Tropical Winery

Tobyhanna Army Depot



Additionally, all SAGE Award finalists can also win the People’s Choice Award, where the winner will be chosen by a community wide online vote, available on www.scrantonchamber.com from Monday, October 9 through Friday, October 13.

Keystone Mission Secures Public Shower Access

Keystone Mission successfully advocated and secured public shower access for the unhoused population it serves in the City of Scranton at its facilities open for public use. Guests at Keystone Mission’s Innovation Center now have access to showers at Scranton’s Weston Field House, to preserve their health, safety, and dignity just as all other members of the public, thanks to a meeting with agency leaders and personnel.

Shower access allows guests to clean up for job interviews, obtain job interviews, and other opportunities that would not be available to them.

Tobyhanna Army Depot Artisans Recognized on National Tradesman Day

Tobyhanna Army Depot celebrated National Tradesman Day by shining a spotlight on some of its expert tradesmen and saluting all tradesmen who contribute to the organization’s mission.

The depot employs artisans in a variety of trades for both mission and base operations.

Many other tradespeople work in the Installation Services Directorate’s Facilities Maintenance Branch, providing vital support to base operations and tackling a broad mission that ranges from plumbing to electrical and beyond, according to Public Works Division Chief James Wisnewski.

“The Facilities Maintenance Branch defines what it means to be a customer service organization. No matter how complex or urgent the task is, they are always up for the challenge. Their efforts ensure that Tobyhanna can accomplish its C5ISR mission,” he said.

Scott Burti joined the Facilities Maintenance Branch three years ago, after a successful career as a commercial electrician. A father of five, he says he sought federal employment for opportunity.

“My family is the most important thing to me and my prior career had me consistently working 11-to-12-hour days, 7 days a week. I am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of Team Tobyhanna, where I can use my skills while also having great work-life balance.”

Burti lauded the depot workforce as one of the organization’s greatest assets.

“I have made some of the best friends I’ve ever had here. The people here are amazing.”

While the depot’s vast campus allows Burti to utilize his electrical knowledge, he considers himself a lifelong learner and recently shadowed Installation Services directors as part of the TOBY2035 Federal Wage System Directorate Internship Program. He says the internship was truly eye-opening.

“Shadowing Mr. Ramey and Ms. Leonard changed my perception of what is required to be a senior leader at Tobyhanna. Experiences like this [the internship] are key to dispelling myths and improving our culture,” adding that he hopes to use his dynamic background to benefit Tobyhanna’s business operations in the future.

A graduate of East Stroudsburg University, Burti earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in business with a concentration in psychology and is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration degree. He is also a current member of the Leadership Lackawanna Core Class of 2023-2024.

In his personal life, Burti enjoys golfing, spending time with his family and volunteering in his community.

Michael Gaudette is a Maintenance Mechanic in the Installation Services Directorate. He is known around TYAD for his wealth of abilities which include plumbing, fitting pipes, and managing the heat and boilers on base. Prior to joining Team Tobyhanna in 2008, he had 15 years of experience doing residential and commercial work of the same sort.

Although Gaudette has taken a few classes here and there, he considers himself trained on the job. He said he trained alongside individuals with years of experience and learned many best practices from those mentors. Although grateful for the experience he gained, he looked to TYAD in search of something better, citing the flexibility as one of the main things that brought him here.

As TYAD covers 2.4 million square feet of space, it’s easy to imagine that no two days repeat themselves. Gaudette said that is what he likes best about working here.

“For me it’s always something different. I’m not in the same place every day,” said Gaudette. “We have tons of different buildings around TYAD and I’m in different buildings all the time. No job is ever the same.”

One highlight of his depot career thus far came in 2010 when Gaudette served for six months in Afghanistan working on Counter Improvised Explosive Devices. Although never having formally enlisted, he said he viewed the eye-opening experience as his way of helping to give back.

Outside of TYAD, Gaudette enjoys the outdoors, describing himself as an avid golfer, hunter and fisherman. He also enjoys spending time with his family and watching his four grandchildren participate in youth soccer and baseball.

Daniel Unger is an Air Conditioning Equipment Mechanic in the Installation Services Directorate. Growing up in a nearby community, Unger said he’s known about TYAD and its mission of supporting the Warfighter for most of his life. He attended Johnson College where he graduated with a Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC) degree in 2019 and said that upon graduation, he wanted to try his best to join the Depot’s talented workforce.

Unger described himself as a hands-on person. He said knew early on that he wanted to enter an industry that allowed him to keep his hands moving. He took an interest in HVAC after shadowing a family friend who owned a HVAC business.

Unger officially joined Team Tobyhanna in 2020 as a contractor and was brought on as a full-time employee in May 2022. Like Gaudette, he said that his favorite thing about working at TYAD is that every day is different and presents a new challenge.

“The thing I like most about my job is that there’s so many different places and so many different types of equipment. I even have my own van,” said Unger. “[TYAD] is almost like its own little city so I don’t really work on the same equipment every day. It is always something new.”

When he’s not at work, Unger keeps busy by riding his 2021 Harley Davidson motorcycle around and working on his antique truck, a 1984 Ford F350. He also has his own HVAC business doing residential installations in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Facilities Maintenance Branch Chief John MacKinney III lauded the trio and emphasized their commitment to Tobyhanna’s mission.

“These are some of the most dedicated folks I have worked with.  They stay late or come in at all hours of the day to address emergencies,” he said. “I feel honored to lead this team, and hope we continue to exceed expectations.” Installation Services Director William Ramey agreed.

“They bring a wealth of knowledge to support our critical infrastructure requirements. Their commitment to teamwork and solving complex problems contributes to the success of our entire installation,” said Ramey.

Joshua Ward is one of Team Tobyhanna’s newest members, serving as a Heavy Mobile Equipment Mechanic in the Production Engineering Directorate’s Mobile Equipment Branch.  Ward and his colleagues in the depot Motor Pool sustain mission-critical equipment such as forklifts, utility vehicles, excavators and much more.

A Northeastern Pennsylvania native, Ward worked in the private sector as a plumber prior to his depot career.  He says his current role is a better fit for his abilities.

“I worked as a mechanic in the Army, so being a part of the Motor Pool allows me to use that experience.  Every day here is unique, and I like being able to work on different types of equipment for different reasons. Some days, I’m fighting to fix a door latch and others, I am changing batteries.”

Among Ward’s key roles is serving as Tobyhanna’s roll back operator – a role pivotal to Tobyhanna’s mission supporting military readiness.  Roll back materiel movement is required to relocate assets from one part of the depot to another, as well as to transport equipment on-and-off post for service not available in the Motor Pool.

While he’s only worked as an Army Civilian for a few months, Ward is no stranger to Tobyhanna Army Depot – he previously served on post as a member of U.S. Army Reserve’s 392nd Signal Battalion.  Ward continues to serve his nation as a member of the 412th Engineering Company, headquartered in Scranton and has more than 10 years of military service under his belt.

Like others, Ward noted the immense number of opportunities available at Tobyhanna Army Depot and says he is setting big goals for himself.

“In the future, I want to move into leadership, and I’m working now to identify courses that can help me grow. I also want to continue my education.”

In his limited free time, Ward enjoys do-it-yourself projects on his home, spending time with his two young children, and fishing – especially at Barney’s Lake.

Ward’s supervisor, Michael Fedorisin, celebrated Ward and the impact he has made in such a short time.

“Josh is a great worker and a true asset to our Motor Pool team.  He doesn’t hesitate to take on a repair that is out of his normal day-to-day routine, as he is always looking to expand his skill set.  His drive and strong work ethic show his passion to support his fellow warfighters.”

UNC’s Carbondale Farmers Market Introduces New Program

United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s Carbondale Farmers Market is happy to introduce a new program to stretch the food dollars of SNAP/EBT recipients called Fresh Produce Food Bucks, thanks to a Nutrition Incentive Program in partnership with The Food Trust in Philadelphia. The Food Trust Fresh Produce Food Bucks program helps make fresh produce and other healthy foods accessible and affordable. Food Bucks are SNAP incentives earned at the point of purchase by shoppers paying with SNAP.  At Carbondale Farmers Market, for every $4.00 in SNAP benefits spent, the customer will receive $2.00 in Fresh Produce Food Bucks with no limit each week. Individuals that spend $20.00 in SNAP/EBT will receive $10.00 to shop for fresh produce every week. Individuals are encouraged to speak with the Market Manager during market hours to learn more about the program.

SNAP/EBT benefits can be utilized at any vendors who sell SNAP qualified products. Food Bucks can be redeemed at any of our produce vendors including Halstead’s Farm, Sturdy Greens and Mid-Valley Organics; to purchase local, fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and mushrooms. Carbondale Farmers Market provides space for our customers to shop with local businesses and farmers every week, year-round.

PennDOT Invites Pennsylvanians to Share Feedback on Construction and Maintenance Services

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is accepting construction and maintenance services feedback through an online survey. The public can take the survey through October 20 by visiting 2023 PennDOT Construction/Maintenance Customer Satisfaction Survey.  

Construction and maintenance work has been underway across the state this year. From January through August, 485 bridges were put out for bid to be repaired, replaced or preserved by PennDOT or industry forces. So far this year 161 state and local bridges were completed, 17 of which went out for bid this year. Additionally, from January through August more than 3,100 roadway miles were improved by department or partner crews. This includes 1,065 miles of paving.

“The PennDOT team and our industry partners work hard to keep people moving and our economy growing,” PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll said. “This survey is one way that we continually look for educational opportunities and areas of success or potential improvement.”

The 24-question survey asks respondents how they receive PennDOT roadway information and how often PennDOT meets or exceeds expectations in construction and maintenance activities. Respondents are also asked about experiences with reporting concerns to the department, and whether or how they use the state’s 511PA traveler information services.

Motorists can check conditions on major roadways by visiting www.511PA.com. 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

Subscribe to statewide PennDOT news and traffic alerts at www.penndot.pa.gov/news or choose a region under “Regional Offices.” Information about the state’s infrastructure and results the department is delivering for Pennsylvanians can be found at www.penndot.pa.gov/results. Find PennDOT’s planned and active construction projects at www.projects.penndot.gov.