Elder Abuse Lunch and Learn Session with Lackawanna County Deputy

Chinchilla United Methodist Church (CUMC) (105 Church Street, South Abington Township) is excited to host another Lunch & Learn dedicated to topics of interest to Senior Citizens.

This lunch and educational event is free to anyone who would like to attend. Although the educational topic is focused towards Senior Citizens, there is no age restriction on who may attend.

Beginning at 12 noon on Saturday, November 18th, 2023, CUMC will offer a free lunch followed by an educational session on Elder Abuse. This session will educate attendees on the signs and symptoms of Elder Abuse and will be presented by Lackawanna County Deputy District Attorney, Cathy Tully. During this hour-long class, Tully will be explaining how to recognize various types of Elder Abuse, explain who is most susceptible to such abuse, and teach attendees how to combat any instance of Elder Abuse.

This class is vitally important to anyone who is related to or knows a Senior Citizen and the information provided could result in saving someone’s life savings or their actual life.

Prospective attendees are asked to RSVP with Beth Kostelnik, Certified Lay Minister at Chinchilla UMC, at (484) 333-6602.

The Second TechCelerator Cohort Selects the Eight Participants

The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, Lackawanna County, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of NEPA, The Chamber’s IGNITE program, and tecBRIDGE announce the start of the second cohort and participants of TechCelerator @LackawannaCounty.

“We are really excited to again partner with Lackawanna County, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of NEPA, and tecBRIDGE on this initiative that opens the door for aspiring entrepreneurs to advance their dreams of business ownership,” shares Bob Durkin, president and CEO of The Chamber.

In another round of competitive application process, eight new participants were chosen. All eight were selected for their unique for-profit, tech-based business ideas, commitment to completing the 10-week program, and creating a company and jobs based in Lackawanna County.

The eight participants are: BarBase, INAS (I Need a Speaker), KM Arms, NEPA Lifestyle, Rentchexx, LLC, STAIPUT, The Brian Trust, and Washboard.

The second cohort started on Tuesday, October 3, at the Chamber’s TekRidge Center in the Jessup Small Business Park. Participants will walk away with solid networking skills and a foundational understanding of finances, marketing, business strategy, and more. For those who successfully meet the requirements, $10,000 reimbursement of business expenses will assist the participants in launching their venture.

PHOTO: Front Row from Left to Right: Don Webster, Executive Director of tecBRIDGE & TechCelerator @ Lackawanna County Program Administrator; Larry Puleo, TechCelerator @ Lackawanna County Program Instructor; Paul Capoccia, TechCelerator Participant; Robert Durkin, CEO and president of The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce; Chris Chermak, Lackawanna County Commissioner; Frank Sorokach, TechCelerator Participant; Michael Smitchell, TechCelerator Participant; Aileen Exeter, TechCelerator Participant; Nick Rosati, TechCelerator Participant; Brianna Florovito, IGNITE program manager; Back Row from Left to Right: Ken Okrepkie, Regional Manager for Ben Franklin Technology Partners of NEPA; Austin Dembesky, TechCelerator Participant

The Chamber’s 2023 Legislative Forums

The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce two upcoming Legislative Forums. The Forums will feature the Democratic and Republican candidates for the Lackawanna County Commissioner race: Bill Gaughan (D), Matt McGloin (D), Diane Campbell (R), and Chris Chermak (R). These Forums are scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 28, and Thursday, Oct. 5, beginning at 8:30 AM.

Hosted by Bob Durkin, president and CEO of The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, and Jerry Musheno, chairman of the board of directors for The Chamber, The Legislative Forum will engage candidates in open discussions regarding priority topics that are important to Chamber members and business community. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and gain a deeper understanding of the candidate priorities that influence our community’s economic growth.

The legislative forum will be held The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, located at 222 Mulberry Street. Member businesses wishing to attend the Forums should register at www.scrantonchamber.com.

The Scranton Area Community Foundation Creates Flood Relief Fund

Scranton, PA – In response to the severe storms that struck our county on Saturday, September 9th, 2023, the Scranton Area Community Foundation has established the Lackawanna County Flood Relief Fund to support community organizations directly affected by flood events and which are experiencing financial hardship as a result. 

Identifying the need for a rapid response to severe conditions brought on by flood events, the Lackawanna County Flood Relief Fund was created with seed money by the Scranton Area Community Foundation. The Lackawanna County Flood Relief Fund will solicit additional charitable donations from other organizations and individuals in order to respond effectively.

“In critical situations like this, we know the needs are going to be great, so as a Community Foundation we are trying to prepare for how best to serve those who will need assistance.  We have a very generous community, and I believe that others will also step up and support this very important cause,” said Laura Ducceschi, President & CEO of the Scranton Area Community Foundation.

The fund is currently accepting charitable donations, 100% of which will go toward supporting those affected in Lackawanna County.  Donations to the fund can be made online at https://scranton.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create/fund?funit_id=4598f.   Donations can also be mailed via check to The Scranton Area Foundation, 615 Jefferson Ave., Suite 102, Scranton PA 18510, and made payable to “Scranton Area Foundation” with “LC Flood Fund” in the memo line.  Donations may also be made by using the QR code below.

Additional program information, including eligibility, parameters, and how to apply for support from the Lackawanna County Flood Relief Fund, will be released early next week.

For more information about the Lackawanna County Flood Relief Fund, please contact Frank Caputo, Grants & Communications Coordinator at the Scranton Area Community Foundation.

PEMA’S Public Damage Assessment Link

The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) has launched a Public Damage Assessment Link (below) for area residents and businesses to report the damage done to their properties in the affected municipalities by the September 9 storm. 

PEMA and Lackawanna County 911 and EMA officials stress the reporting link is not an application for assistance nor a guarantee of assistance. 

It is a step in the State’s process to alert Commonwealth and local officials where to go for damage assessment. 

The link will be open from today (September 13) through Sunday, September 24. 

 The link of Public Damage Assessment is link https://damage-assessment-3-pema.hub.arcgis.com

After clicking on the link, residents must then look for the incident name/title from the drop-down box 09/09/2023 Northeast PA Flooding Public Report. 

This is the only location where the information can be submitted and accepted. It vitally important to fill out the assessment to help State and local officials gauge the damage and then plan the recovery effort.

County staff will be available at the Multi Agency Resource Center (MARC) to assist residents and business owners in filling out the assessment if they are experiencing difficulties in navigating the form.        

It is also very important that all residents and business owners document all of the damage to their property via written copy and photos.  Everyone should also keep track of the expenses and hold onto all receipts involved in the cleanup and recovery of their properties. 

Next Steps For Those Impacted By The September 9th Storm

Lackawanna County’s Emergency Management and 911 agencies are working with PEMA and State officials on the next steps needed to provide information to the residents and businesses affected by the Weather Event that occurred on September 9th.    

Lackawanna County EMA and 911 are also collaborating with PEMA and State officials on setting-up a Multi Agency Resource Center (MARC) where impacted residents and businesses can obtain information on available programs, learn what the next steps would be for their repair and cleanup work, and connect with resources and personnel that can help. The proposed dates for the MARC would be September 21, 22, and 23, with a location to be determined.

Over the next several weeks, State and local officials will be out assessing damages for the purpose of meeting State and Federal guidelines for Emergency Declarations.

The Lackawanna County Commissioners, Lackawanna County Emergency Management, and 911 stress once again that all residents and business owners must document all the damage to their property via written copy and photos. Everyone should also keep track of the expenses (receipts) involved in the cleanup and recovery of their properties in case individual assistance becomes available in the future. 

Residents and business owners should check the County’s website, social media, and the news for updates on the storm recovery initiatives.  

Commissioners Authorize Declaration of Disaster Emergency

The Lackawanna County Commissioners have authorized a Declaration of Disaster Emergency for the County due to the catastrophic storms that swept through the area on Saturday evening, September 9.

While the Declaration is for several specific areas hit the hardest, it also covers the entire County. Other communities that were affected and/or experienced damaged are encouraged to send in information requesting assistance.

State, County, local and EMA officials have toured several communities impacted the hardest to survey the damage. 

Government officials are advising residents and business owners to document all of the damage to their property via written copy and photos. The data should be sent to their respective city, township, or municipality. It will then be submitted to the County’s EMA office and then on to PEMA for assistance. 

Applications Open for the 2023–24 TechCelerator Program

A technology business idea in Lackawanna County could lead to $10,000 to jump-start an entrepreneur’s dream. The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce is announcing the second program year of TechCelerator @Lackawanna County: a collaborative effort of Lackawanna County, the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern PA, The Chamber and its affiliate IGNITE, and tecBRIDGE.

“Lackawanna County is thrilled to help facilitate the funding for entrepreneurs to see their dreams get started right in our county. Individuals who are even considering starting a tech-base business should apply to the TechCelerator @Lackwanna County program. Our goal is to see our community’s base diversify and new businesses be successful from start to finish in their entrepreneurial journey,” shared Jerry Notarianni, Chairman of the County Commissioners.

TechCelerator @LackawannaCounty returns this fall. The program is a ten-week, in-person experience where participants have access to mentors, educational opportunities, and access to subject matter experts on topics like business formation strategies, customer discovery, marketing, financial planning, and risk management. The result of the ten weeks is to build, share, and pitch for their early-stage start-ups. The program is presented in collaboration with the University of Scranton’s Small Business Development Center, Carbondale Technology Transfer Center, Penn State Scranton’s Launchbox, and the Venture Lab at Lackawanna College.

“Supporting entrepreneurship is at the core of the Chamber’s mission—to Attract, Sustain, and, in this case, Grow in our region. This is a natural extension of our ongoing efforts to assist business start-ups through the IGNITE program, where our regional network of partners is working together to provide the platform for entrepreneurial success,” says Bob Durkin, president of The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce.

TechCelerator @LackawannaCounty is a competitive application process. All Lackawanna County residents with tech and for-profit business ideas or early start-ups are encouraged to submit applications, but not all will be selected to participate.

To apply, visit the Chamber’s entrepreneurship and incubator affiliate, IGNITE, website, www.IGNITE.ScrantonChamber.com/TechCelerator. Applications will remain open until Thursday, September 14, 2023.

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 offering programs and services which stimulate economic growth, promote business prosperity and nurture educational opportunities. For more information about The Chamber, visit www.scrantonchamber.com.

Governor Shapiro Nominates LC Police Academy Director for Commission Position

Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro nominated Lackawanna College Police Academy Director and retired Pennsylvania State Police Lieutenant Kevin F. Mahoney to serve on the Municipal Police Officers’ Training Commission (MPOETC). Mahoney’s nomination was unanimously approved by the Pennsylvania Senate on June 21, 2023.

The Municipal Police Officers’ Education & Training Commission, consisting of 20 members appointed by Governor Shapiro, began in 1974 to establish certification and training standards for Municipal Police Officers in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. One seat on the Commission is appointed to a certified Police Academy Director, previously held by Harrisburg Area Community College Police Academy Director Patricia Dombrowsky.   

Mahoney served with the Pennsylvania State Police for over 25 years before joining Lackawanna College in July 2021 as Assistant Director of Police Academy Operations, and was appointed Director in May of 2022. At the time of his retirement from the State Police in June of 2021, he served as Commander of the Criminal Investigation Section for Troop R – Dunmore, encompassing Lackawanna, Susquehanna, Wayne and Pike Counties.

“I am honored to have been selected by Governor Shapiro to serve on the Commission, and look forward to working closely with my fellow Commissioners to accomplish our shared goals in support of Law Enforcement Training in the Commonwealth,” Mahoney said.

Lackawanna College operates Police Academies at both their Hazleton and Scranton campuses. The enrollment period is currently open for both programs, which are scheduled to commence in October 2023 (Hazleton) and January 2024 (Scranton). For more information, please visit https://www.lackawanna.edu/certificates/police-academy-act-120/.

NeighborWorks Northeastern Pennsylvania Holds SafetyWorks Week for Seniors

NeighborWorks Northeastern Pennsylvania (NWNEPA) will serve 30 older adult homeowners in West Scranton with much needed interior and exterior painting and small repairs throughout Lackawanna County as part of SafetyWorks Week for Seniors, July 3th – 7th, 2023.

More than 200 volunteers will be coming from all over the northern portion of the United States through a partnership between NeighborWorks and Group Mission Trips, Inc. to make the weeklong event possible. As NeighborWorks has recently kicked off West Side Scranton’s ten-year plan to increase livability in the area, the focus of the volunteer work for the week will be the West Scranton community.

Throughout the week volunteers will provide exterior painting to whole homes, window frames and porches and steps. Interior painting of kitchens, dining rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms will spruce up older homes adding value and increasing the quality of life for older adults who can no longer tend to their homes safely.

NeighborWorks has hosted Group Mission Trips, Inc. volunteers for seven previous workcamps, mobilizing 2,158 volunteers, equating to approximately 50,000 hours of volunteer labor (worth over $1.4 million) to make needed repairs to over 320 separate properties in Lackawanna County. This year Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, along with Lackawanna County Area Agency on Aging, donated funds to provide the materials for the volunteers to use while serving the older adults in Scranton.

Commonwealth of PA Holds Community Meeting to Discuss the Region’s Access to the Internet

The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce’s government affairs and advocacy committee is committed to representing and being a voice for the business community to the local, state, and federal legislators. A priority for The Chamber’s government committee is access to broadband internet across the Wyoming Valley for its residents and businesses.

On Tuesday, July 11, at 11 a.m., The PA Broadband Development Authority (PBDA) is holding a community meeting to hear from the general public’s experience with internet access. The community meeting will be at the Lackawanna County Center for Public Safety in Jessup, PA.