RailRiders Release 2024 Field Staff

The New York Yankees have announced the field staff for each of their minor league affiliates and the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders are pleased to welcome Manager Shelley Duncan back to the dugout in 2024. Duncan will see the majority of his 2023 staff return, including Pitching Coach Graham Johnson, Hitting Coach Trevor Amicone, Defensive Coach José Javier and Athletic Trainer Jimmy Downam.

Gerardo Casadiego joins the field staff as the Bullpen Coach while Danny Smith will be the club’s Strength & Conditioning Coach in 2024. Nori Subero has been added to the roster as the Assistant Athletic Trainer and Steven DiMaria is the new Advance Scouting Analyst.

Jim Billington and Sullivan Lyons return to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the same roles they held last season. Billington is the RailRiders’ Home Clubhouse Manager and Lyons is the Video Assistant.

Duncan, 44, was tabbed as the 20th manager in franchise history in January 2023 and led the team to a 73-75 mark last season. He was drafted by the Yankees in 2001; a second-round selection out of the University of Arizona. He reached Triple-A with Columbus in 2006 and spent portions of three seasons in an SWB Yankees uniform. Duncan appeared in 272 games for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre between 2007 and 2009. In 2009, he hit .277 with 30 home runs and 99 runs batted in over 123 games, garnering the nod for International League MVP. His Major League career spanned 330 games for the Yankees, Cleveland and Tampa Bay over seven years.

“Going into my second season with essentially the same staff is extremely exciting,” Duncan said. “We get to start this season with solid chemistry already in place. We know each other and that learning period won’t be there. It’s a great group and I’m excited to get to work.”

Johnson, 38, has served as the RailRiders Pitching Coach for the last two seasons, posting top-five I.L. finishes in ERA and strikeouts in both years. Before joining the Yankees organization in 2022, he served as a minor league pitching coach in the Houston Astros system. Johnson played at Culver-Stockton College in Canton, MO, before becoming a graduate assistant at Lindenwood University, completing his Master’s of Education with an emphasis in strength and conditioning degree in 2010. After a stint with Western Illinois University, he joined the staff at Morehead State. Johnson was the pitching coach for the Eagles from 2012-17 and also served as an assistant head coach, overseeing field maintenance and the academic development of all student-athletes involved in the baseball program.

Amicone, 36, also returns to the role he has held for the last two seasons with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The RailRiders hit a franchise-record 219 home runs last season, surpassing the previous mark of 2012 set in 2019. Amicone joined the Yankees organization in 2020 The Sandy, Utah, native has served as an assistant coach and camp coordinator for the Dixie State baseball program as well as the head baseball coach at Woods Cross High School in Utah. He has also worked privately with hitters at the professional, college, high school and youth levels.

Javier, 31, will once again serve as the Defensive Coach for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He was initially signed by New York as a non-drafted free agent in 2010 and played six seasons in the Yankees’ minor league system. 2024 marks the eighth season for Javier as a coach in the organization, having spent time at each level, including serving in the same role for the RailRiders last year.

Casadiego, 43, enters his 12th year within the Yankees organization. After playing 10 seasons in Minor League Baseball, including parts of two seasons at the lower levels for New York, Casadiego moved to the coaching ranks in 2014. In 2021, he served as the pitching coach for the Hudson Valley Renegades and spent 2022 in the same role with the Tampa Tarpons. His pitching staff finished second in strikeouts in their respective leagues the last two seasons.

Downam, 37, returns for a third season as the athletic trainer for New York’s top affiliate and his 12th year within the organization. He joined the Yankees in 2013 as the trainer for Staten Island and also spent three seasons with Charleston from 2014 through 2016. Downam spent five seasons as New York’s Double-A trainer between time in Trenton and Somerset. He attended Liberty University, where he received his B.S. in Athletic Training in 2009 and an M.S. in Sports Administration in 2012.

Smith, 31, joined the Yankees organization in 2017 and has advanced through the ranks. He spent 2017 with Pulaski in the Appalachian League and moved to Staten Island for the 2018 and 2019 seasons. After spending two years with Hudson Valley, including 2021 when he was named the South Atlantic League’s Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Year, Smith was promoted to Somerset in 2023. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford with a B.S. in Sports Medicine in 2014 and earned his M.S. in Sport and Exercise Science at Gannon University in 2015, where he served as a Graduate Assistant.
Subero, 28, enters her third season with the Yankees organization. She is a graduate of the University of Miami with a B.S. in Athletic Training and earned a Master’s degree in Exercise Science from Concordia University Chicago. Subero, a Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela native, spent 2022 with the FCL Yankees and was the Tampa Tarpons athletic trainer last season.

“A new Minor League Baseball season is always exciting,” Duncan added. “We go into this year understanding it will be a completely different team. We are excited for those prospects and those challenges and to see the character of this team. On the winning side of things, you start off with a clean slate and get a chance to build something special together. You create that goal for everyone to rally around and try to achieve it. That is something you are always excited about.”

Please direct any interview requests to Adam Marco – amarco@swbrailriders.com

The RailRiders open their 2024 season on March 29 with a three-game weekend set at Buffalo. The home opener is set for April 2 at 6:35 P.M. as the Syracuse Mets come to PNC Field. Season tickets, mini plans and the flex plan are all available now. For more information, contact the RailRiders front office at (570) 969-BALL or visit swbrailriders.com.

Wayne Bank Announces Norwood Financial Corp’s Earnings

James O. Donnelly, President and Chief Executive Officer of Norwood Financial Corp (Nasdaq Global Market – NWFL), and its subsidiary Wayne Bank, announced net income for the three months ended December 31, 2023 of $355,000 compared to the net income of $7,140,000 earned in the three months ended December 31, 2022. The decrease in net income was due primarily to a $1,939,000 decrease in net interest income, and a $5,816,000 increase in the provision for credit losses. For the year ended December 31, 2023, net income totaled $16,759,000, a decrease of $12,474,000 from net income of $29,233,000 earned in year ended December 31, 2022. The decrease includes a $6,330,000 decrease in net interest income and a $4,648,000 increase in the provision for credit losses.

Earnings per share (fully diluted) were $0.04 and $0.88 for the three-month periods ended December 31, 2023 and 2022, respectively. For the year ended December 31, 2023, earnings per share on a fully diluted basis were $2.07, compared to $3.58 for the year ended December 31, 2022. For the year ended December 31, 2023, the return on average assets was 0.79%, and the return on average equity was 9.67%, compared to 1.43% and 16.11%, respectively, for the year ended December 31, 2022.

Total assets were $2.201 billion as of December 31, 2023. As of December 31, 2023, loans receivable were $1.604 billion, total deposits were $1.795 billion and stockholders’ equity was $181.1 million.

Loans receivable increased $129.7 million to $1.604 billion at December 31, 2023, from $1.474 billion at December 31, 2022. The increase in loans receivable in 2023 included an $83.9 million increase in retail loans and a $45.8 million increase in commercial loans. For the three months and year ended December 31, 2023, net charge-offs totaled $3,181,000 and $6,078,000, respectively, compared to $232,000 and $344,000, respectively, for the corresponding periods in 2022. The increase in net charge-offs for the three months and year ended December 31, 2023 was due primarily to losses on one credit relationship in the amount of $2,806,000 and $4,806,000, respectively.

Net interest income, on a fully taxable equivalent basis (fte), totaled $15,488,000 for the three months ended December 31, 2023, a decrease of $1,941,000 compared to the same period in 2022. For the year ended December 31, 2023, net interest income (fte) totaled $62,816,000, a decrease of $6,348,000 compared to 2022, due primarily to the increase in funding costs on interest-bearing liabilities in excess of the increase in
the yield earned on interest earning assets.

The provision for credit losses totaled $6,116,000 for the three months ended
December 31, 2023, compared to $300,000 for the three months ended December 31, 2022. The increase was required to maintain the allowance for credit losses at an adequate level based on the quarterly analysis and was due primarily to replenish the allowance for credit losses for charge-offs recorded during the period. For the year ended December 31, 2023, the provision for credit losses totaled $5,548,000 compared
to $900,000 for the year ended December 31, 2022. The $4,648,000 increase in the provision for credit losses was required to replenish the allowance for credit losses for charge-offs incurred during the year ended December 31, 2023.

Other income for the three months ended December 31, 2023, totaled $2,123,000 compared to $1,926,000 for the similar period in 2022. Gains on the sale of loans, securities and foreclosed real estate increased $98,000, while service charges and fees increased $51,000. All other items of other income increased $48,000, net. Other income for the year ended December 31, 2023, totaled $8,124,000 compared to $9,932,000 in 2022, a decrease of $1,808,000 due primarily to income recognized in 2022 on previously acquired purchased impaired loans that were carried at a discount. For the year ended December 31, 2023, gains on the sale of loans and investment securities decreased $152,000 in the aggregate, compared to the year ended December 31, 2022. Gains on sales of foreclosed real estate owned decreased $347,000 during the year ended December 31, 2023, compared to the year ended December 31, 2022.

Other expenses totaled $10,849,000 for the three months ended December 31, 2023, compared to $10,275,000 in the similar period of 2022. For the year ended December 31, 2023, other expenses totaled $43,497,000 compared to $41,044,000 for 2022, an increase of $2,453,000, or 6.0%.

Mr. Donnelly commented, “Our results in 2023 reflect decreasing net interest spreads due to rising interest rates, which have impacted our cost of interest-bearing liabilities more than the increase in yield earned on interest-earning assets. Our Return on Average Assets was 0.79%, and our Return on Average Equity was 9.67%. We have continued to grow our core business lines, including an 8.8% increase in loans outstanding and a 3.90% increase in total deposits. Our cash dividend of $0.30 per share declared in the fourth quarter of 2023, represents a 3.5% increase over the same period of last year. We appreciate the opportunity to serve our Wayne Bank customers and our customers at the Bank of the Finger Lakes and Bank of Cooperstown locations.

We continue to look for opportunities available to us as we service our growing base of
customers and enhance shareholder value in our Company.” Norwood Financial Corp is the parent company of Wayne Bank, which operates
from fourteen offices throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania and fifteen offices in Delaware, Sullivan, Ontario, Otsego and Yates Counties, New York. The Company’s stock is traded on the Nasdaq Global Market, under the symbol, “NWFL”.

Forward-Looking Statements

The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 contains safe harbor provisions regarding forward-looking statements. When used in this discussion, the words “believes”, “anticipates”, “contemplates”, “expects”, “bode”, “future performance” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Those risks and uncertainties include changes in federal and state laws, changes in interest rates, our ability to maintain strong credit quality metrics, our ability to have future performance, our ability to control core operating expenses and costs, demand for real estate, government fiscal and trade policies, cybersecurity and general economic conditions. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly release the results of any revisions to those forward-looking statements which may be made to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

This release references net interest income on a fully taxable-equivalent basis (fte), which is a non-GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) financial measure. Fully taxable-equivalent net interest income was derived from GAAP interest income and net interest income using an assumed tax rate of 21%. We believe the presentation of net interest income on a fully taxable-equivalent basis ensures comparability of net interest income arising from both taxable and tax-exempt sources and is consistent with industry practice.

The following table reconciles net interest income to net interest income on a fully taxable-equivalent basis:
(dollars in thousands)
Three months ended
December 31
Year ended
December 31
2023 2022 2023 2022
Net interest income $15,293 $17,232 $62,067 $68,397
Tax equivalent basis adjustment
using 21% marginal tax rate 195 197 749 767
Net interest income on a fully
taxable equivalent basis $15,488 $17,429 $62,816 $69,164

This release also references average tangible equity, which is also a non-GAAP financial measure. Average tangible equity is calculated by deducting average goodwill and other intangible assets from average stockholders’ equity. The Company believes that disclosure of tangible equity ratios enhances investor understanding of our financial position and improves the comparability of our financial data.

The following table reconciles average equity to average tangible equity:
Three months ended Year ended
December 31, December 31,
(dollars in thousands) 2023 2022 2023 2022
Average equity $168,320 $162,762 $173,274 $181,499
Average goodwill and other Intangibles (29,495) (29,582) (29,526) (29,618)
Average tangible equity $138,825 $133,180 $143,748 $151,881

    NeighborWorks Taking Applications for Beautiful Blocks Program

    Applications will be accepted beginning Monday, February 5 for the 2024 cycle of Beautiful Blocks, a home improvement program jointly sponsored by NeighborWorks Northeastern Pennsylvania and the City of Scranton, City of Pittston, and City of Carbondale. Beautiful Blocks provides matching grants of up to $1,000 per property to groups of five or more residents in participating communities to help them make exterior improvements to their homes.

    The Beautiful Blocks program seeks to make neighborhoods throughout Scranton, Pittston, and Carbondale more attractive places to live. Eligible exterior improvements include everything from landscaping and painting to larger projects like sidewalks, front porch repair, door and window replacement, and more!

    This is the first year Beautiful Blocks is available to residents of the City of Pittston. Also new this year, Scranton residents who decide to replace their front sidewalk are eligible for an additional $3,000 in grant funds, on top of the $1,000 standard grant and the property owner’s $1,000 match.
    Grants will be awarded through a competitive application process. Applications will be judged on the number of participating residents, project impact and coordination, and the likelihood of neighbors continuing to work together in the future. Pre-applications are being accepted until.

    Monday, March 18. Awards will be announced in May, with work taking place throughout the summer.
    “We’re excited to kick-off the sixth year of Beautiful Blocks by expanding the program to the City of Pittston and offering a special incentive for Scranton residents to repair their sidewalks,” said NeighborWorks’ Director of Community Development, Todd Pousley. “Better sidewalks make a community more walkable, and other improvements to the outside of homes improve the quality of life for everyone who lives on a block.”

    Over the first five cycles of Beautiful Blocks in the City of Scranton, along with the first three Beautiful Blocks cycles in the City of Carbondale, more than 500 individual projects have been completed by participating residents, grouped into 69 block groups. More than $418,000 in grant funding has been distributed to as part of these projects, with participating residents contributing more than $1 million in matching funds to improving their neighborhoods.

    For residents in participating cities who are interested in applying for the 2024 program cycle, public information sessions will be held in each community next week:

    Monday, February 5, 5:30 p.m., Carbondale Public Library (Community Room)
    Tuesday, February 6, 6:00 p.m., Pittston Memorial Library (John P. Cosgrove Center)
    Wednesday, February 7, 6:00 p.m., Scranton Public Library (Henkelman Room)

    Scranton, Pittston and Carbondale residents interested in participating in the Beautiful Blocks program can download pre-application instructions and access the pre-application document (beginning Monday, February 5) by visiting www.nwnepa.org/programs/cd/beautiful-blocks.html.
    More information is also available by contacting Gerard Hetman, NeighborWorks Northeastern Pennsylvania Community Development Specialist, at (570) 558-2490 or ghetman@nwnepa.org.

    Primo Hoagies’ Wilkes-Barre Locations to Host Costumer Appreciation Day

    PrimoHoagies, known for its gourmet hoagies with high-quality meats and cheeses piled high on fresh-baked seeded rolls, announced today the Wilkes-Barre Arena Hub, Dickson City, Edwardsville and Wilkes-Barre 309 locations are now under new ownership by local couple, Michael and Rachel Davis. To celebrate and thank their loyal customers, the Davis’ will host a Customer Appreciation Day at the following locations:

    • Wilkes-Barre Arena Hub –      Tuesday, February 13, 2024

    395 Arena Hub Plaza              10am – 8pm

    Wilkes Barre, PA 18702

    • Dickson City –                         Tuesday, February 20, 2024

    1945 Commerce Blvd & Rt 6  10am – 8pm

    Dickson City, PA 18519

    • Edwardsville –                          Tuesday, February 27, 2024

    33B West Side Mall                10am – 8pm

    Edwardsville, PA 18704

    On these specified days, PrimoHoagies will offer the first 100 customers* in line a free Primo Size Hoagie. Throughout the celebration, customers who enroll in the rewards program will enjoy Primo Size Hoagies for just $6.99.

    In addition to the Customer Appreciation Day festivities, PrimoHoagies is launching a “Golden Ticket” promotion that will run throughout the month of February. Ten golden tickets will be randomly placed within hoagies, and lucky customers who discover these golden tickets can redeem them at the Wilkes-Barre Arena Hub, Dickson City or Edwardsville locations for a $25 PrimoHoagies gift card.

    Using recipes passed down through the generations for its iconic hoagies, PrimoHoagies layers Thumann’s gourmet meats and cheeses, a secret blend of spices, and locally sourced, fresh vegetables onto award-winning, seeded rolls that are baked fresh throughout the day. The casual restaurant’s diverse menu features a wide variety of cold and hot hoagies, cheesesteaks, wraps, vegetarian options, sides, chips, drinks, cookies, desserts, and more.

    Michael and Rachel, high school sweethearts from Mountain Top, PA, have built a life centered around family. Married with two young children, Natalie and Nora, family is paramount to them. Coming from backgrounds of entrepreneurship, Rachel and Mike are experienced business owners. Rachel’s family owns Herron Electric, an electrical company in Mountain Top, while Mike’s family is the former owners of Two Jack’s Cycle, a motorcycle dealership in Wilkes-Barre.

    With a passion for business and a desire to continue their entrepreneurial journey, the Davis’ started looking for another venture, which they found in PrimoHoagies, a local brand they were already familiar with and admired for its quality.

    “We can’t wait to embark on this new chapter with PrimoHoagies, where family values meet business passion,” said Rachel. “Every sandwich carries not just flavor but a piece of our commitment to quality and community. We can’t wait to share our journey with the community and create lasting memories, one delicious bite at a time.”

    The Davis’ also bought the Wilkes-Barre 309 location which will be relocated to a brand new PrimoHoagies in Pittston, with plans to open in early summer.

    *To enjoy the Customer Appreciation Day Specials, customers are encouraged to join PrimoHoagies complimentary Rewards Program. By texting “Primo” to (484) 270-4000 or visiting the Rewards Program Page, customers can access exclusive offers and start saving on their favorite hoagies!

    The Robert H. Spitz Foundation Awards Grant to the Greater Scranton YMCA

    In September 2023, the Greater Scranton YMCA was awarded a 20 ,000 grant from the Robert H. Spitz Foundation. Grant funding will support
    the expansion of the Y’s Early Learning Center.

    Since the onset of the COVID 19 public health emergency, the need for child care services in our community has grown substantially. Enrollment in the Greater Scranton YMCA’s early childhood education programs has grown significantly with the YMCA’s waitlist for services capped at 150 children.

    The Greater Scranton YMCA is limited in space and at maximum capacity. In order to open an additional 30 child care spots each year, the Greater Scranton YMCA will renovate its second floor, which was previously being used for storage and the location of H VAC.

    Through renovating the space, the Greater Scranton YMCA will create three new classrooms, each licensed to serve up to 1 0 children. The classrooms will specifically serve children ages zero to two, as the need for infant care is great.

    “We are so grateful to the Robert H. Spitz Foundation for their generosity,” said Trish Fisher, President & CEO, Greater Scranton YMCA. “The need for child care services in our community is great and this project will allow us to serve more children and families in need. Parents will be able to return to work knowing their child(ren) are in a safe and nurturing environment while in our care.”

    Construction is estimated to be complete and students enrolled in the new classrooms in quarter three, 2024. For more information about the Greater Scranton YMCA’s Early Childhood Education Programs, contact Tressa Parker, Education Director, at tparker@gsymca.org or visit the Y online at www.greaterscrantonymca.org

    NEPIRC Announces Benefits and Impacts Reported by Manufacturers

    According to data voluntarily provided by 575 small and mid-sized manufacturing firms across Pennsylvania throughout 2023, the statewide Industrial Resource Center (IRC) initiative, the Commonwealth’s flagship program for strengthening the competitiveness and resiliency of smaller industrial firms, generated significant positive results among users of their services. Over the past 12 months, manufacturers that utilized IRC professional services avoided 7,197 layoffs while adding 1,462 full-time workers to their rosters. They also realized $796.8 million in retained sales and secured $256.4 million of new customer orders as results of their IRC advisement and engagements.

    In addition to growing their workforces and increasing their top-line revenue numbers, companies that performed consultative projects with their regional IRC reduced their non-personnel operating costs by $187.1 million over the past 12 months, avoided $36 million of unnecessary expenditures, and invested more than $376.8 million in new equipment, facility expansion, advanced technologies and workforce training. 

    Pennsylvania’s IRC initiative consists of seven affiliates: DVIRC, Catalyst Connection, the Innovative Manufacturers’ Center (IMC), MANTEC, the Manufacturers’ Resource Center (MRC), NEPIRC and NWIRC.

    “Over the past year, more than 1,100 manufacturers called upon their regional IRC to help them grow their business, implement new technologies, overcome strategic challenges and build a more robust and skilled workforce. We’re impressed with the results reported by this sampling of our client base while also acknowledging that the true extent of the IRCs’ impact upon our manufacturing economy are well in excess of those represented here,” said Eric Joseph Esoda, president & CEO of NEPIRC, the IRC that services manufacturers across northeastern, northern and north central Pennsylvania. 

    The revenue, cost savings, regional investment and job impacts reported by 575 IRC clients was gathered by an independent market research firm and confirmed by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

    Allied Services Partners with Local Church to Support Injured Ukrainian Soldiers

    Allied Services partnered with Father Myron Myronyuk, Pastor of St.Vladimir Ukrainian Catholic Church in Scranton, to donate rehab equipment and medical supplies to benefit injured Ukrainian soldiers. The donated equipment will be part of a shipment of supplies heading to Ukraine thanks to the efforts of St. Vladimir Ukrainian Church and its friends.  

    On Thursday, January 25, 2024, a shipping container arrived from New Jersey at the warehouse at Allied Services in Taylor for loading. Allied Services, a nationally-ranked non-profit rehabilitation provider, donated a significant volume of lightly used rehabilitation equipment including stationary bikes, treadmills, and parallel bars. The donation, estimated to be in the tens of thousands of dollars, also included hospital beds, gowns, walkers, wheelchairs, and other supplies. The donation will assist rehabilitation centers working with Ukrainian soldiers injured since the war started in 2022.