Business briefs

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Emergency squad receives donation

First responders from the F.W.M. Emergency Squad have become some of the best-equipped in the nation to save a pet's life. The hose company received a donation of three sets of pet oxygen masks from Invisible Fence of Northeast PA. The company was equipped with the masks after a Jan. 14 training session and demonstration.

The donation is a small part of Invisible Fence Brand's Project Breathe, which was established with the goal of equipping every fire station in America and Canada with pet oxygen masks. The masks allow first responders to give oxygen to pets who are suffering from smoke inhalation when they are rescued from fires. The masks often save pets' lives.

The company has set up a website,, where people or companies can support the effort.

Utility company earns recognition

UGI Utilities Inc. was among 40 utility companies nationwide that were named a 2019 "Customer Champion" based on the Cogent Syndicated Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement Residential study from Escalent, a human behavior and analytics firm.

The Utility Trusted Brand and Customer Engagement: Residential study benchmarks and trends performance on a composite index of service satisfaction, brand trust, and product experience performance.

Escalent surveyed more than 67,000 residential electric, natural gas and combination utility customers of the 140 largest U.S. utility companies.

Local company expands services

The growing personal service company More Time 4U now offers corporate office services and event support in addition to myriad personal services. Business owner and Avoca native Andi Silfin has expanded her company's offerings to cater to the needs of small businesses in Northeast Pennsylvania.

Silfin and her staff of 12 team members continue to offer personal services to individuals, including home organization, relocation assistance, home or rental vacancy cleanings, personal shopping, pet sitting and one-time house cleanings, among other customizable one-on-one services.

More Time 4U is a fully insured and bonded personal service, providing assistance to clients throughout Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wayne counties.

Public media receives grant

Because of the generosity of the Robert Spitz Foundation Grant, VIA Public Media, in partnership with the Holocaust Education Resource Center (a division of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania), will continue the Holocaust Symposium Archive Project during the Holocaust Symposium in Scranton in May.

VIA is committed to preserving the voices of the Holocaust survivors so children in the future can learn from their unique and highly personal stories of pain and hope, fear and strength, and ultimately triumph over evil. Unfortunately, as the number of survivors of the Holocaust dwindles, the reality that their message could be lost becomes a vital concern.

The Robert H. Spitz Foundation is administered by the Scranton Area Community Foundation.

Law firm supports remembrance walk

Hospice of the Sacred Heart received a check for $2,942 from Colbert & Grebas PC, Certified Elder Law Attorneys, for sponsorship and donations related to the 2019 Hospice of the Sacred Heart Remembrance Walk.

The 2020 Hospice of the Sacred Heart Remembrance Walk is scheduled for Oct. 10 at McDade Park in Scranton.

Program provides coats to veterans

Nearly 30,000 winter coats from Ocean State Job Lot's "Buy, Give, Get" program are being distributed in partnership with the USA Veterans & Military Support Foundation throughout New England, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania to help local veterans stay warm this winter.

The "Buy, Give, Get" program at the closeout discount retailer's 139 stores in nine states ran from November-December. The program allowed customers to provide a brand new, warm winter coat to a veteran in their state and throughout the region. Customers purchased a quality, brand name men's or women's winter coat for $40 (retail value: $80-$120), then gave it back to the store for donation to a veteran. In appreciation of the donation, customers received a $40 Crazy Deal Gift Card to be used for a future purchase at Ocean State Job Lot.

The coats are currently being distributed to veterans' organizations throughout the Northeast, in partnership with a multistate network of more than 50 veteran support agencies, organizations, assistance programs and action groups serving New England, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Utility named best place to work

PPL has been recognized as a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality. The company received a perfect score of 100% on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Corporate Equality Index, a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices relating to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer workplace equality.

PPL earned the designation as a 2020 Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality for its LGBTQ-related policies and practices, including nondiscrimination workplace protections, domestic partner benefits, transgender-inclusive health care benefits, family-friendly leave policies, competency programs and public engagement with the LGBTQ community.

This is the fourth consecutive year PPL has received a perfect score on the Corporate Equality Index.

Foundation gets national recognition

The Scranton Area Community Foundation recently received reaccreditation with the nation's highest standard for philanthropic excellence. National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations establish legal, ethical and effective practices for community foundations everywhere.

The National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations program requires community foundations to document their policies for donor services, investments, grantmaking and administration. With over 500 community foundations accredited nationwide, the program is designed to provide quality assurance to donors, as well as their legal and financial advisers.

The Scranton Area Community Foundation offers a range of charitable funds, allowing donors to advance a cause, support an individual organization, provide flexible support for community needs or recommend individual grants. In addition to affirming the organization's philanthropic services, the reaccreditation validates the Scranton Area Community Foundation's grantmaking practices for the nonprofit community.

Public television receives award

VIA Public Media has received the NETA award for Community Engagement — Local Project for its VIA's PBS Kids in the Classroom Program. The award was presented to Kirsten Smith, VIA's grants and education officer, and Chris Norton, VIA's senior vice president of community engagement, at the 2020 NETA awards gala held in Washington, D.C.

Created by Deborah Konnick in 2013, VIA's PBS Kids in the Classroom program brings fun and engaging curriculum featuring PBS Kids characters into elementary classrooms and Head Start programs in 22 counties throughout Northeast Pennsylvania and the Central Susquehanna Valley. In 2019 alone, the program visited with over 2,500 children. NETA awarded VIA specifically for when VIA's PBS Kids in the Classroom program visited Robert Morris Elementary this past year, bringing a fun curriculum and activities to over 50 kindergarten students and 18 students with special needs.

Real estate firm ranked on list

Weichert Real Estate Affiliates Inc. was recognized as a top franchise again by Entrepreneur magazine on its 41st annual "Franchise 500" list. The 2020 ranking, which spans the U.S. and Canada, marks the franchise's 16th consecutive appearance on the magazine's prestigious list.

Within the Real Estate category, Weichert was ranked the No. 5 traditional residential real estate franchiser. The franchise has seen a 25% increase in its national franchise footprint since 2015.

Bank donates to foundation

The Dime Bank donated $5,000 to the Greater Pike County Community Foundation through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development's Educational Improvement Tax Credit program.

Through the GPCF, the EITC program provides significant funding for innovative educational programming enhancements in science, technology, engineering and math at Delaware Valley School District. The funding will continue to support MakerSpace laboratory and summer science camp as well as help kick off a new after-school Lego-based computer coding club for elementary school students. This new program will explore hands-on learning and have a large impact on the students' education and preparation for an increasingly technology-based world.

Marywood chosen for program

Marywood University was recently named by the Association of American Colleges and Universities to host a Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Campus Center.

In partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation effort, AAC&U works with higher education institutions across the country to develop self-sustaining, community-integrated TRHT Campus Centers. Organized around the five pillars of the TRHT framework — narrative change, racial healing and relationship building, separation, law and economy — the Centers seek to prepare the next generation of leaders to confront racism and to dismantle the belief in a hierarchy of human value.

In June, the Marywood team, along with the other 12 selected TRHT Campus Center institutions, will attend AAC&U's annual Summer Institute on Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Campus Centers to refine its transformative action plans. At the institute, which is taking place in Atlanta this year, leaders from the first cohort of TRHT Campus Centers will mentor participating teams during topical workshops and consultation sessions. In addition, teams will practice designing and co-facilitating "Rx Racial Healing Circles," an integral component of the TRHT Framework.

Travel business marks first year

Tara Rhodes-Dream Vacations recently celebrated its first anniversary and has had a momentous year of training and business milestones. The full-service travel agency is based in the Wilkes-Barre THINK Center at 7 S. Main St.

Rhodes has participated in extensive training and certification programs so she can better serve her customers. Earlier this year she completed a certification course to gain expertise in accessible travel to help special needs clients plan their dream vacations.

Fire department receives donation

The Greenwood Fire Department received three sets of pet oxygen masks donated by the Invisible Fence of Northeast PA.

In November, the Greenwood Fire Department and Moosic police helped save one of their neighbors. The individual's daughter, who lives in Maryland, is involved in the pet industry, heard of Project Breathe and wanted to give back to the fire department for helping her mother. She contacted IFNEPA and started the process of setting up the donation.

The donation is just a part of Invisible Fence Brand's Project Breathe, which was established with the goal of equipping every fire station in America and Canada with pet oxygen masks.

The masks allow first responders to give oxygen to pets who are suffering from smoke inhalation when they are rescued from fires. The masks often save pets' lives.

Bank donates $2.6M in 2019

Throughout its more than 150-year history, Community Bank NA has remained committed to giving back to the communities it serves. In 2019, the bank's annual charitable giving reached more than $2.6 million in sponsorships, donations and grants, with its branches across New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Massachusetts donating to more than 2,500 local organizations.

Each individual branch follows the passions of its employees and customers to support causes that are important to its community. In addition to awarding corporate donations, branches often host fundraisers and collection drives as a way for employees, customers and community members to participate in the charitable giving.

Cell tower project to help area

The Monroe County Dead Cell Zone Project announced AT&T has increased its wireless connectivity in both Monroe and Northampton counties. The project is a group of dedicated citizens as well as elected and appointed officials focused on getting Monroe County the best broadband and cell service at the most affordable pricing. Since taking office in January, new Monroe County Commissioner Chairman Sharon Laverdure has made broadband and cell service a top priority.

The new AT&T site sits high above Wind Gap along Route 33 and will enhance coverage north toward Saylorsburg and south toward Ackermanville. These enhancements also bring Band 14 spectrum to the area.

Benco to partner with Dental Nachos

Through a new partnership, Benco Dental presents continuing education opportunities with Dental Nachos, a network of coaching, education and connections that includes a 21,000-member national and global Facebook group established by Dr. Paul Goodman.

Using his 360-degree view on the life of dentists inside and outside of their practice, Goodman created Dental Nachos in 2017 based on the philosophy, "Nachos are made to be shared, and so are good ideas." The roadmap for improving patient health and satisfaction, practice profits and personal joy is now available through the nation's largest independent dental distributor committed to driving dentistry forward.

Practicing dentists, dental students and dentist office team members — and now Benco customers — benefit from the "dentists helping dentists" perspective Goodman's organization offers members.

College ranked as military friendly

Lackawanna College earned the 2020-2021 Military Friendly School designation by VIQTORY, which has been evaluating schools for this ranking for 10 years.

Each year, the list of Military Friendly Schools is provided to service members and their families to aid them in selecting the best college, university or trade school to receive the education and training needed to pursue a civilian career. More than 1,000 schools participated in the 2020-2021 survey, with 625 schools earning the designation.

Being designated as military friendly means Lackawanna College shows a commitment to creating sustainable civilian opportunities for veterans.

Hospital earns distinction

Highmark Blue Shield has selected Wilkes-Barre General Hospital as a Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated health care facilities that show a commitment to delivering high-quality patient safety and better health outcomes, based on objective measures that were developed with input from the medical community and leading accreditation and quality organizations.

Facilities designated as Blue Distinction Centers for Spine Surgery demonstrate expertise in cervical and lumbar fusion, cervical laminectomy and lumbar laminectomy/discectomy procedures, resulting in fewer patient complications and readmissions compared to other hospitals. All designated facilities must maintain national accreditation.

Employees receive patient training

Geisinger's 65 Forward Health Center recently became even more well-equipped to care for patients 65 and older.

The primary care facility, which is already specifically tailored to the expanding 65-and-over population with small patient panels, longer doctor's visits, in-house lab and imaging services, and health, wellness and social activities, recently received accessibility training for blind and visually impaired patients from Northeast Sight Services.

Geisinger was the first organization to participate in the nonprofit's 2020 Community Accessibility Campaign.

Exeter-based Northeast Sight Services recognizes the need to provide resources for the fastest-growing segment of the United States population as the baby boomer generation continues to age into the 65-and-beyond bracket for the next nine years.

The presentation featured live demonstrations of sighted guide — the do's and don'ts of assisting the blind and visually impaired — and passing around glasses specially designed to allow wearers to experience the effects of age-related eye conditions, such as macular degeneration and glaucoma.

Invisible Fence dealers recognized

Invisible Fence recognizes top performers among their large network of authorized dealers.

The 2019 National Dealer Circle of Excellence Awards continues a decades-old tradition for the prominent electronic pet fence brand.

The award honored 30 local Invisible Fence dealerships, including Invisible Fence of Northeast Pa., for dedication to their communities, professionalism in the field and commitment to improving how people live with their pets.

Invisible Fence of Northeast Pa. has been part of the Invisible Fence network since 1992, serving over 6,000 customers in the Greater Northeast Pennsylvania region.

Over the past several years, Invisible Fence of Northeast Pa. has donated almost 100 mask kit sets to first responders regionally.

Production company offers new services

Video Innovations of Plymouth is offering two new services.

The first is a consultation service to help equip and train municipalities to be able to live-stream their public meetings to a Facebook and YouTube channel. This way, those who are unable to attend can stay involved.

The second service is an internet "Talk Show" program, where the production comes to the offices of the clients and produces a multi-camera, half-hour question-and-answer program on the client's services and products. The client can be the host asking questions to staff members, or Video Innovations can provide a professional host for them.

For more information about Video Innovations and the company's services, visit


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