February 2024 Happenings Magazine

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INBOX Dear Happenings, When I received my December issue of Happenings in the mail I thought it was the most beautiful cover ever! What a talented young artist who painted that scene. I love how your publication gives students this opportunity to have their artwork featured. I grabbed some delicious Eggnog from Mannings, sat down, relaxed and read the entire artist's story. This young girl is such an inspiration to other young people and I have no doubt that she will go a long way in life. I also appreciate reading about and seeing family photos of the staff at Happenings. I just love Happenings and can’t wait to receive it each month. –Lorita Smith –Scranton Good morning Happenings! I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the Christmas tea poem that was referenced in the December 2023 issue. It was absolutely beautiful and thank you very much for making me cry on an early Monday morning. Ha ha, I think we could all relate to that with a relative in our family. I know a while back I wrote an essay about my grandmother and my cousins. Every time I read it, I relive that joy. –Marianne Burke –Archbald


Paula Rochon Mackarey

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On the Cover: Ballet Theatre of Scranton ballerinas representing healthy hearts at the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel; Photo by Stan Warunek, Montage Photography Published Monthly. Also read at HappeningsPA.com ©2024 HAPPENINGS MAGAZINE All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced by any process except with written permission. Happenings Magazine published since 1969 Phone: (570) 587-3532

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Dear Happenings, We were very pleased with the design and layout of the Made in Pennsylvania feature in the December 2023 issue. It was very appropriate to be with another “fellow farmer” and having the barn along with the winter scene was so fitting and awesome. Over all the years advertising with you, this was by far our favorite one. Great Job! –Thanks again, –The Bosaks

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February 2024

contents FEBRUARY 2024


Go Red for Women’s Heart Health Meet the New Generation of Red Dress Ladies


Broadway In Scranton Lorenzo Pugliese Debut – Sonny & Cher Show


A 2013 Cover Flashback Catching up with Stephanie Jallen


George Toma Outstanding in his Field


The Lanterns Friends, Music and Fun

February 2024











Northeast Philharmonic, Sordoni Theatre Chamber 2

Groundhog Day





Winter Beer Fest, Skytop


National Fettuccini Alfredo Day




Valentines Dinner, Skytop





Annie, 2/16-18, Scranton Cultural Center, Broadway In Scranton

Valentine's Day

Dietrich Winterfest 2/16-3/7





Presidents Day and Washington's Birthday



10 Tribute To Johnny Cash – Terry Lee Goffee & Band, Theater at North

International Day of Women and Girls in Science


3 National Women Physicians Day

National Dark Chocolate Day




24 National Chili Day




National Clam Chowder Day

American Heart Month National Bird Feeding Month National Chocolate Lovers’ Month Responsible Pet Owners’ Month National Hot Breakfast Month Black History Month



February 2024

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Dear Readers,

“A New Day Has Come.”

This Celine Dion song, which first premiered on the radio on February 6, 2002, was my first thought when I saw the February 2024 cover. A new day has indeed come. You see, Happenings published its first Red Dress – Go Red for Women’s Heart Health issue in February 2004, exactly 20 years ago. At that time, none of the young ladies on the cover were even born. But since then, many strides have been made for women’s health. It is interesting to read that the mention of mental health or mood elevation was referenced frequently, which is so very different than a few decades before. A new day has indeed come– but there is still much work to be done. I am often asked how an idea begins for our cover stories. This one began when a friend shared her daughter’s semiformal picture in which she happened to be wearing a red dress. I also remembered that this young lady’s grandmother, who was a registered nurse, had survived a heart attack at age 49. It occurred to me that we need to begin reaching women at younger and younger ages to start the lifelong process of educating and modeling healthy behavior for them.


Stan Warunek has photographed our red dress photos for the past 20 years. While we were shooting at the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel in downtown Scranton, I had a flashback to our staff photoshoot in 2008. My husband had brought our 6 month old daughter to visit us on the photoshoot as a “bring your daughter to work” experience for her. She was incredibly intrigued by the beauty of the hotel. This restored train station never fails to lose its appeal to those of us who are proud of the architectural gems of the region. We wish you a very happy month, full of love and sweet memories. Fondly,


Paula Mackarey Publisher 1994-Present



2008 Staff

Photos: Stan Warunek, Montage Photography

Go Red for

Heart Health


n 2004, when Happenings Magazine published its first Go Red for Women’s Hearth Health issue, none of the six young ladies pictured above, who are all ballerinas with Ballet Theatre of Scranton were even born! Since that time, women have become more educated and in tune with the symptoms of heart disease. They have become more knowledgable about topics, such as the understanding of risk factors (which include genetics, hormones, stress, diet and exercise) and the specific female symptoms of heart attacks, which are often very different for men. February 2024

According to the American Heart Association, one in three women die of heart disease and stroke each year; yet it can be 80% preventable. To bring awareness to the cause, Happenings Magazine has reignited its participation in the Go Red for Women campaign. Read why these young ladies, ages 15-16, are each personally passionate about heart health. National Go Red Day is February 2.


Photos: Stan Warunek, Montage Photography 9

Gianna Vachino

Abington Heights High School, Grade 10 Ballet Theatre of Scranton dancing history I have been dancing with Ballet Theatre of Scranton for 10 years and I am currently taking ballet and tap classes. My favorite three dance roles include Dew Drop Fairy in The Nutcracker, Caterpillar in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and White Swan in the Apprentice Company’s Tchaikovsky Trilogy. Extracurricular activities I am a member of the Abington Heights High School Swim and Dive Team and a member of the Pacers’ Aquatic Club Swim Team. Connection to heart health Heart attacks, strokes and diabetes are heart problems that run in my family. I have close relatives that have been diagnosed with these threatening heart diseases in their 40s and 50s. Over the years they have had taxing experiences that affect their everyday lives. The influence of dance as part of a healthy lifestyle As a dancer, I am reminded everyday that my health is crucial. Dancing has improved my flexibility, muscle strength and overall endurance. It has also helped me become aware of my mental well-being, body positivity and recognizing my sense of discipline. Involvement in heart healthy activities and avoidance of unhealthy behaviors I understand that some health concerns are hereditary, but I can control these heart predispositions by eating in a healthy way and exercising daily.



February 2024


Madeleine Mackarey

Scranton Preparatory High School, Grade 10 Ballet Theatre of Scranton dancing history I began dancing with Ballet Theatre’s Mommy and Me classes. I currently take ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop and modern classes. I am also a teachers’ assistant/demonstrator for children ages 4 through 7. My favorite dance roles include Ribbon Candy corps and Snow Ballet corps in the annual Nutcracker production and the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Children’s Apprentice Company’s Production of Tchaikovsky’s Triology. I also enjoy dancing at La Festa Italiana each Labor Day weekend. Extracurricular activities I have been playing piano since I was 4 years old. I was a basketball cheerleader in my freshman year. I also enjoy skiing and photography. Connection to heart health My maternal grandfather, Philip Rochon, died quite suddenly from a heart attack. My Uncle Tom, his son, survived multiple heart attacks, so I know that some heart issues are genetic. The influence of dance as part of a healthy lifestyle Physically, dance is aiding me with strength, flexibility, mobility, balance and has been a great source of cardio fitness. Mentally, dance helps me with memorization and mood elevation. At dance, I am also surrounded by some of my closest friends. There is no feeling that compares to performing with them on stage for community events. Involvement in heart healthy activities and avoidance of unhealthy behaviors I try to stay heart healthy by eating a balanced diet that includes vegetables and fruit every day. I also try to include a daily form of cardiovascular fitness and I make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day. I am aware of factors that can affect the heart such as high blood pressure and diabetes. I avoid unhealthy activities that will put pressure on the heart such as smoking/vaping, alcohol and high amounts of stress.



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Katie Gutekunst

North Pocono High School, Grade 10 Ballet Theatre of Scranton dancing history I started taking classes at Ballet Theatre of Scranton when I was 3 years old. I now take ballet, tap, jazz, modern and hip hop. Additionally, I am a teachers’ assistant/demonstrator for young dancers. My favorite roles include performing as the Mouse King and in the Russian corps dance in The Nutcracker, and Rothbart in Swan Lake in the Children’s Apprentice Production of Tchaikovsky’s Triology. Extracurricular activities I am a member of The National Honor Society. I am also on the North Pocono Volleyball Team. I am also involved in the Red Cross Club, Mini THON, as well as the NP Buddies Club. Connection to heart health My maternal grandmother, Mary Ann Fuller, is a survivor after suffering a heart attack at 49 years of age. (You can find her heart story online in Happenings’ archives, February 2017 issue.) My maternal grandfather, Michael Glen Fuller, passed away from complications of diabetes three years ago, and my paternal grandfather, William Gutekunst, passed away from a heart attack a year before I was born. The influence of dance as part of a healthy lifestyle Being a dancer encourages me to eat healthy, as to maintain high energy throughout long dance nights, especially during rehearsals. Dance has also taught me lessons in discipline, dedication and self-control. Most importantly though, it has given me irreplaceable friendships that will last a lifetime. Involvement in heart healthy activities and avoidance of unhealthy behaviors I know heart health is a very serious issue, especially with my family history, which is why I work out regularly, eat healthful foods and take every opportunity to ensure a healthy and happy heart so I can live my life to the fullest!



February 2024


Mya Harrity

Dunmore High School, Grade 10

Ballet Theatre dancing history I began taking dance classes when I was 4 years old. I currently take ballet, tap, jazz and modern. In addition, I am a teachers’ assistant/ demonstrator for young dancers.My favorite dance roles were Ribbon Candy corps and Chinese corps in The Nutcracker and Snow Queen in the Children’s Apprentice Production of Tchaikovsky’s Triology. Extracurricular activities I am the treasurer for the Class of 2026 at Dunmore High School. I am also a member of the girls’ varsity tennis team. I also take weekly piano lessons with Mrs. Judy Fedor. Connection to heart health My grandfather, Roy, had scarlet fever when he was 11; this is what doctors believed caused his heart problems. In January of 2003, he heard a loud popping sound and felt like he was being crushed by massive weight. This turned out to be a type of aortic dissection. He was 16

rushed into surgery and woke up being told that he suffered a stroke from loss of blood. He had four other open heart surgeries over the 65 years of his life, each time being told by doctors that there was HappeningsPA.com

a less than 10% chance of survival. However, by some miracle, he proved the doctors wrong and is still alive and living without complications.

February 2024

The influence of dance as part of a healthy lifestyle In order to be a stable dancer, I must maintain a healthy diet and adhere to a consistent February 2024

exercise routine. Being a dancer motivates me to be healthier. Involvement in heart healthy activities and avoidance of unhealthy behaviors HappeningsPA.com

I often try to get myself away from unhealthy activities by eating healthy foods and participating in physical activities, such as dance, tennis or walking.


Annie Reilly

Scranton Preparatory High School, Grade 10 Ballet Theatre of Scranton dancing history I started dancing at Ballet Theatre of Scranton at age 4. I am currently taking ballet, hip-hop and jazz. A few of my favorite roles were Clara in the Children’s Apprentice rendition of The Nutcracker, Head Creampuff and a Little Angel in Ballet Theater of Scranton’s annual production of The Nutcracker. Extracurricular activities I am currently on Scranton Prep’s Football Cheerleading team and I also played soccer on the Scranton Prep Freshman Girls’ Soccer Team. Connection to heart health My grandfather, George Quinn, had triple bypass surgery when I was a child, ironically, on Valentine’s Day. I don’t remember much but it left a very big impact on my family and the focus of our family’s health. My mom is a part-time fitness instructor and always made certain we got involved in local classes, camps and programs that focused on physical wellness. At home, she made certain we ate well-balanced meals, including fruits and vegetables. I plan to instill these same healthy habits into my own family someday. The influence of dance as part of a healthy lifestyle As a dancer I have developed mental discipline, strength and poise which increases my confidence. Involvement in heart healthy activities and avoidance of unhealthy behaviors I regularly participate in Orange Theory Fitness and Hot Pilates for cardiovascular health and try to maintain a heart healthy diet. Thinking about the impact that unhealthy activities, like drinking or smoking will leave on my short and long term health causes me to avoid them.



February 2024



Gabi Snyder

Abington Heights High School, Grade 11 Ballet Theatre of Scranton dancing history I began dancing at Ballet Theatre at the age of 7, having danced elsewhere for a few years prior. I currently take ballet (technique, pointe), tap and modern. My favorite roles include the Black Swan in the Children’s Apprentice Production of the Tchaikovsky Trilogy and as the Ribbon Candy Lead and in the Snow Ballet corps, both in the annual Nutcracker production. Extracurricular activities I am involved in Abington Heights High School’s Honors Choir, musical theater and I am a varsity cheerleader. Connection to heart health One of my grandfathers struggled with cardiovascular disease and had valve replacements. My other grandfather also struggled with diabetes that shortened his life. The influence of dance as part of a healthy lifestyle Dancing has always been a part of my life and has allowed me to stay active all year around. Dancing has also greatly improved my mental health; it is a stress reliever and has helped me immensely. Involvement in heart healthy activities and avoidance of unhealthy behaviors I follow a healthy diet and workout regimen to maintain an overall heart healthy lifestyle. As a young child, I was diagnosed with high cholesterol because of heredity factors, but I work through exercise and diet to try to keep it under control and give myself the best chance for a happy, healthy and positive life.

February 2024



Joanne Arduino “D

ance is so beneficial on so many levels... education, focus, discipline, artistic expression and, of course, exercise. Movement keeps your heart healthy and happy.” Heart health has a special place in my heart because my sister Maribeth passed of heart disease at the age of 50. Joanne Arduino Ballet Theatre of Scranton Artistic Director 1991-Present

Mary Ann Fuller I n 1995, Mary Ann Fuller, who was age 49 at the time, was working as a registered nurse. It was a Friday and she felt pain in her left arm, then blacked out. After being checked out at the hospital she was told that nothing unusual was found. By Sunday evening, however, she was experiencing chest pain and went back to the hospital. Her enzymes had gone up (which we now know can take 48-72 hours to show.) Her EKG had changed, and a blockage was discovered in an artery. Even as a registered nurse she didn’t realize that she had actually begun having symptoms two months earlier. She had had heartburn and back pain through the summer, leading up to this heart attack in October 1995. “It wasn’t common knowledge then that my symptoms were indicative of female heart problems, as women present differently than men. Back then, if your enzymes and bloodwork were good, generally speaking you were sent home, especially if you were in your late 40s,” she said. As a survivor today, helping women understand their heart health, especially young women such as her granddaughter, Katie Gutekunst, (featured on page 14) is very important to her. 22


February 2024

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J ack of Hearts


n 2008, Lisa and Donny Scarfo’s son Jack, a twin, was born with a congenital heart defect. He underwent open-heart surgery at just 3-months old. After Jack’s birth Lisa worked diligently with the American Heart Association and parents of children with heart defects to pass legislation in Pennsylvania that would affect the cardiac screening of new babies. The law was passed and as of October 1, 2014, all babies in Pennsylvania are screened with a pulse oximetry test before they leave the hospital. “One thing I learned on our personal journey is just how prevalent heart disease is across all demographics; it does not discriminate. It affects newborns, women and men,” she said. “One in 100 babies are diagnosed with a heart condition at birth,” she said. “It’s more typical than people realize.”

The Scarfos founded a nonprofit corporation, Jack of Hearts to support families of pediatric cardiac patients in NEPA. (jackofheartspa.org). The goal is to provide families with support and resources. “One

of the best parts about Jack of Hearts now is that it’s no longer just about Jack and our family. It has expanded to include so many heart warriors and their families, who have made this organization part of their purposes as well. That trickle-down effect has really come to be one of the greatest silver linings for us all, with connections that wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for all of these broken hearts. Sometimes, the worst things you can imagine really do lead to some of the best parts of your life,” said Lisa. Since 2018, Jack of Hearts has continued to provide support and resources to families of children diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. In 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, that support increased to include financial assistance to families of hospitalized children. During this time, traditional resources such as the Ronald McDonald House and public transportation weren't available, so Jack of Hearts paid for things like hotel rooms and Ubers for parents while their children underwent cardiac procedures. In the past four years, it has provided over 200 families with everything from gas cards to hotel stays (ranging from one night to six weeks)!

r since. He s been doing well eve ent in 2022, and ha and are looking forward to the em lac rep lve va ary l y. ent a pulmon p High Schoo Jack Scarfo underw Nathan, are freshmen at Scranton Pre rs old and attends All Saints Academ r, yea and his twin brothe son. Youngest brother, Nicholas is 8 sea upcoming baseball

Cooper's Seafood fundraiser and through the annual Stonehedge Festival of Lights, among others. “With the network of doctors I am fortunate to work beside, we plan to expand into concentrated, cardiac screening events for local athletic teams. We also plan to continue to grow our AED donation program, and hopefully contribute to research efforts,” Lisa said. Lisa Scarfo, pictured below when featured in the 2015 Red Dress Happenings issue, holds a , ay nw Co get JOH mom Brid Skyler and bachelor's degree in business s er ht ug with da featured as from Marywood University, Sadie, who was ican Heart the 2023 Amer chairchild but returned to school in PA NE Association 2019 to become a cardiac sonographer. She graduated from Lackawanna College In addition to individual family support, in 2021, and is now activities of Jack of Hearts include: board-certified in Y Sponsoring an annual scholarship adult and pediatric Y (since 2020) that is awarded to a echocardiography. Y West Scranton High School senior. She works for Y Participating in the American Heart both Geisinger Y Association Heart Walk annually, and the Children's Y serving as the community Congenital Hospital of Y Heart Defect information source. Philadelphia in Y Providing cardiac and nutritional their pediatric Y educational materials to area schools cardiology Y and sports leagues. departments. Y Sponsoring multiple donation drives Y and soda tab collections for the Y Scranton and Philadelphia Ronald Y McDonald Houses. Y Branching out into Sudden Cardiac Y Death Prevention, by participating in Y multiple screening events and providing Y the first AED to an area sports league. Y Attending this year's World Congress of Y Pediatric Cardiology in D.C., which was Y held in the United States for the first time Y in August. Thousands of cardiac clinicians Y from all over the world were present. Jack of Hearts has received financial support by means of a NET Credit Union's annual fundraising in 2019, and being the 2023 beneficiary of Dr. Jen's Hope Annual February 2024



n the United States, one in every 100 babies is born with a congenital heart defect. For two Northeastern Pennsylvania families whose mothers met in middle school, parenting children diagnosed with similar conditions has created an unbreakable bond.

Jack Christopher Scarfo

Jack Scarfo was the child chair for the American Heart Association’s 2011 START! Walk. In 2009, Mackenna Cole was the child chair for the American Heart Association’s 2009 START! Walk. Today Mackenna is doing very well with her cardiac issues. She is 21 years old and currently employed at the Jewish Community Center’s Daycare program. She will have lifelong monitoring by an adult congenital cardiologist.

Mackenna Leigh Cole

“Every single day, I get to do what I love, and encourage other parents while doing it. It is such sweet serendipity to be on the other side of the hospital bed now; to be able to

share parts of my journey with other parents, as I perform their kids' echoes,” said Lisa Scarfo. Husband Donny, is a police officer. H

Susquehanna County Interfaith Montrose - 526 Church Street Susquehanna - 695 Jackson Ave. Forest City - 500 Main Street arts d Tate. Jack of He – Katie, Dennis an enital heart defect diagily fam s gle En e Th during Tate’s cong come helped their family 2022, and since then they have be ing in ais dr ery rg fun su eir d th used nosis an ily. They have foc the part of the JOH fame, and are shown here presenting tiv tia ini . to our AED ue ag Le nmore Missy first recipient, Du


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ccording to the CDC, cardiovascular disease is the #1 killer of women. Cardiovascular disease can affect a woman at any age. It is vital for women to know their family history and personal risk factors. Pregnancy and menopause are times in a woman’s life when cardiovascular disease may occur. High blood pressure and gestational diabetes may occur during pregnancy and therefore create cardiovascular issues. Menopause is not a direct cause for cardiovascular disease, yet it creates many hormonal changes that can bring increased risk in the form of high blood pressure and cholesterol. There are some things out of our control such as family history. So let’s look at what is in our control... lifestyle! We know that high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes can all greatly increase the risk for cardiovascular disease. A good part of this can be prevented and protected by living a healthy lifestyle. Areas that affect and put women at higher risk for heart disease, include high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, excess weight, unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity, excessive alcohol, stress and depression. Some women may identify with one factor and others

52 28

February 2024

may relate to several. Lifestyle changes may sound overwhelming. If we take little steps at a time, we will eventually be on a healthy track.


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orenzo Pugliese will make his Broadway in Scranton debut in The Cher Show.

McDonald and the Green Ridge Youth Theatre, where my love for theatre was born when I was 11. Around the same time, I was also involved in the

Area native makes debut as

Sonny Bono Lorenzo Pugliese and The Cher Show

Lorenzo is a 2015 graduate of Scranton High School. He graduated from the University of the Arts in 2019 with a BFA in Musical Theatre. We recently asked Lorenzo for some insight into his life and career. Can you name any local individuals who contributed to propelling you on your theatre journey? There’s quite a list! It started with my piano teacher, Karl Sidnam, who introduced me to Linn 30

choir program at Northeast Intermediate, directed by Robert Lozada. I continued to pursue both theatre and choir into high school, learning from Lisa McConlogue and Ronelle Barrett in choir, and Jenny Brotherton in the drama department. During high school, I also found my way into the Act Out Theatre Group, where I learned from Candice and Conway Rowe, and Karl Barbee. I was also able to take a few dance classes at


the Ballet Theatre of Scranton thanks to Joanne Arduino. Many of these opportunities were given to me on scholarship, for which I’m very grateful. I believe I was able to grow immensely during this time. I’ve been lucky to have a few mentors at different points in my life thus far: Theo Lencicki really instilled in me a passion and a belief in myself to pursue theatre as a career, and Michael Bradshaw Flynn made that dream a reality by casting me in my first few professional productions, all the while imparting wisdom, guidance and friendship. Of course, my parents: Lawrence Pugliese and Holli Raines, my eldest sister, Chiara Pugliese, and my entire extended family and friends. Collectively the list is far too large to name individually; all encouraged, inspired and supported me in many ways both emotionally and financially, and I am endlessly thankful to each of them. I’m sure this answer is already too long. If someone who I haven’t mentioned happens to be reading this, know that I am thinking of you, and I am very grateful for your involvement in my life. List prior significant theatre roles that have been a part of your career thus far. February 2024


SpongeBob in the first national tour of The SpongeBob Musical, Ren in Footloose and Roger in Rent, among other productions at SSF. Briefly describe the process of securing the role of Sonny Bono. This one was a surprisingly brief process. After my agents got me an audition, I drove up to New York from Green Ridge in my 1997 Subaru Legacy with my little brother Walter. When we got there, I showed them what I had to offer, and then we drove back home. On the way back to Scranton, we stopped at Trader Joe’s for


food and had quite a feast in the parking lot. Someone should really bring a Trader Joe’s to Scranton. Anyway, the next day, I was offered the job. It was quite the turn around! Did you have any connection or appreciation of the music of Sonny prior to this audition process? Honestly, not much other than a few people cracking jokes about our similarity in stature. Since then, I’ve really come to enjoy The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, as well as their music. My favorite Sonny and Cher song is their rendition of It Never Rains in Southern California.


What are your favorite aspects of playing this role? I think the sense of freedom and fun that I’ve been able to sustain for all this time has got to be the best part of this for me. We had an unbelievable creative team who really set us up well for success, and I’ve also worked really hard over the past few years to develop a happier and healthier mindset, which has made this lifestyle loads more enjoyable. Also, singing I Got You Babe is really special and sweet. Provide advice to younger students who may be interested in

February 2024

following similar theatre footsteps. Before you make choices about your career path, figure out who you are. Expose yourself to different points of view, try so many different things, and never judge yourself or listen to fear. Figure out what you truly enjoy doing, regardless of what anyone else in the world thinks. And when you find something that you love that you can also make a living doing, do it. If you could change the entire world in one major

February 2024

way, how would that be? I wish that I could somehow melt away all of the social barriers that we’ve all built up as adults, so that all of humanity could interact and socialize authentically, free of judgement, shame, expectation or any other manifestation of fear. I dream so often of a world where we simply bring our true self to the moment, and interact freely with those around us; where everyone accepts themselves and every other person exactly as they are. What a joyous life that sounds like to me! Cite your favorite quote or line from a favorite production. I may be paraphrasing here, but there’s a line in


The Cher Show that says “There are only two emotions, fear and love. Fear holds you back. Love opens you up.” That line really resonates with me. Is there anything else that you would like Happenings’ readers to know about you or this role/production? This year, I will start releasing music on all major streaming platforms under the name Valerian. I’ve been writing this music since I was 19 and I’m so excited to finally start sharing it with the rest of the world. Give them a listen. I might be biased, but I think they’re pretty darn good! You can stay updated with me by following me on instagram @lorenzo_m_pugliese. H



FEBRUARY 16 - 18

MARCH 1- 3

The best-loved musical of all time is set to return in a new production – just as you remember it and just when we need it most.

The Tony Award®- winning musical of her story! It’s an unabashedly fabulous new musical that will have audiences dancing in the aisles!

APRIL 5 - 7

MAY 17 - 19

This New York Times Critics’ Pick takes you into the heart of the remarkable true story of 7,000 stranded passengers and the small town in Newfoundland that welcomed them.

Based on one of Hollywood’s most beloved romantic stories of all time! Get ready to experience this dazzling theatrical take on a love story for the ages.

For tickets and additional show information, visit

BroadwayInScranton.com Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple ANNIE: Christopher Swan and Rainier (Rainey) Treviño in the North American Tour of ANNIE. Photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade; THE CHER SHOW: Ella Perez as Babe and Lorenzo Pugliese as Sonny in THE CHER SHOW. Photo by Meredith Mashburn Photography; COME FROM AWAY: Touring Cast of COME FROM AWAY 2023 Credit Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade; PRETTY WOMAN: (L to R) Chase Wolfe and Ellie Baker Credit: Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade

February’s Birthstone

Romancing the Stone I

f you were born in February, your birthstone is amethyst – the purple variety of quartz that has captivated mankind for millennia. Because of its wine-like color, early Greek mythology associated the gem with Bacchus, the god of wine. Historically, royals have admired the deep purple hue of Amethyst since at least the days of Alexander the Great. Traditionally, only people of the highest social status wore amethysts because the color purple was associated with nobility. Amethyst can be found in the collections of royal families throughout Europe and Asia. Empress Catherine the Great of Russia had a penchant for the gem and decked herself in amethyst necklaces, earrings and other ornaments. Amethyst also has a place in England’s Crown Jewels, atop the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross.

In addition to regal appetite for 36

the gem, amethyst has strong connections to the month of February and love. According to legend, St. Valentine — whose day devoted to love we celebrate in February — wore an amethyst ring carved with Cupid’s likeness so that Roman soldiers could recognize him and ask for his help to marry them in secret. During the third century AD, the Roman Empire had outlawed marriage between young couples, for it was thought that unwed young men made better soldiers as they had no ties to a wife and children. Valentine defied the government’s ban and married couples in secret which ultimately led to his martyrdom. This is probably why Valentine’s Day became so popular a day for marriage proposals as it traces back to the forbidden

marriages facilitated by Valentine. For matrimonial celebrations, Amethyst is the commemorative gem for sixth and seventeenth wedding anniversaries.

Browse Nye Jewelers collection of amethyst birthstone jewelry, ranging from rings and earrings to pendants and bracelets. Featured, matching set of emerald cut Amethyst pendant and earrings with diamond halo. H

Loveis Air in the

Engagement Wedding • Birthstone Specialty Jewelry Watches • Engraving Jewelry Repair

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KEUKA LAKESIDE INN Hammondsport’s exclusive lakefront accommodations on the shores of Keuka Lake. This Inn offers 17 comfortable rooms and spectacular views with an on-site boat launch and docking available. Find us on Facebook and at 24 Water St., Hammondsport, NY 14840. (607) 569-2600, www.keukalakesideinn.com February 2024

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Weddings & Events

Full Service Wedding Venue On-Site Catering Coordination and Decorations Beautiful Bridal Suite & Groomsmen Lounge

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February 2024

The Sublime Sounds of Strings Katya Moeller returns for a performance of the Bach Double Violin Concerto with our beloved Concertmaster, violinist Ruotao Mao. Together, the pair brings an electric and contagious energy to the stage as they perform this highly technical and riveting piece of music with the orchestra. Also programmed are Elgar’s touching Serenade for Strings, Britten’s energetic Simple Symphony, Telemann’s playful and witty Don Quixote Suite, and the emotionally charged work Gabriel’s Oboe. This concert is dedicated to the memory of the well-known oboist and our good friend, Bert Lucarelli.


SAT., MARCH 2, 2024 | 7:30PM

Kirby Center for the Creative Arts, Kingston Wyoming Seminar y Upper School,

Chamber 3 Celebrate the advent of Spring with Astor Piazzolla’s thrilling Primavera Porteño and Schubert’s gorgeous String Trio in B-flat Major, performed by NEPP violinist Emily Garrison and violist Sharon Gunderson, together with cellist Sasha Ono. Alongside Piazzolla and Schubert come undiscovered gems by the Dutch Emmy Frensel Wegener, Auschwitz victim Hans Krása, and one of the best composers you’ve never heard of, Leo Weiner, known as the “Hungarian Mendelssohn.”


THURS., MARCH 21, 2024 | 7:00PM St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Scranton

www.nepaphil.org I 570-270-4444


Photo by Darren Elias Photography

a Musical Journey..

Wayne Bank Partners with the American Bankers Association for Lights, Camera, Save! hroughout the Fall of 2023, Wayne Bank partnered with the American Bankers Association Foundation for their Lights, Camera, Save contest. The contest is a national competition that encourages teens to use video to communicate the value of sound money management and set their peers on a sound financial path.


To participate, students ages 13-18, created a 30-second or less video on using money wisely. The contest was open to all filmmakers of all experience levels. They then submitted their entry forms and links to the videos to Wayne Bank’s promotional inbox. Wayne Bank hosted the first round of judging and selected one winning video to compete in the next round. Winners included: Rebecca Dadig, Brenna Dahlgren, Rony Decker, Brooklyn Moody and Zoie Hessling, all students from Honesdale High School. The students are part of the FBLA Club and had the guidance of their FBLA advisors Courtney Krajkovich, Lauren Cawley and Laura Lockwood. 40

Wayne Bank’s Steven R. Daniels, Senior Vice President and Director of Consumer Banking and Kristen E. Lancia, CFMP, Vice President and Marketing Manager, recently had the pleasure of gifting each winning student a $100 gift card as a token of appreciation and congratulations for their hard work and amazing talent. Wayne Bank wishes them the best of luck as they move forward in the next and final stages of the contest! These winners will now compete on the national level for one of three cash prizes, including $5,000 for first place, $2,500 for second place and $1,000 for third place. National contestants

will face off head-to-head in the first round of national judging on the ABA Instagram page, which will determine which videos advance to the second and then final rounds of judging. Videos are judged on their quality, message, content and the criteria set forth by the contest’s official rules. Learn more about Lights, Camera Save! by visiting lightscamerasave.com. H Wayne Bank is a subsidiary of Norwood Financial Corp., Member FDIC, and is located in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. The Bank has 29 Community Offices serving Wayne, Pike, Monroe, Lackawanna, and Luzerne Counties in Pennsylvania, along with Delaware, Sullivan, Otsego, Ontario, and Yates Counties in New York, including those offices operating under the Bank of Cooperstown and Bank of the Finger Lakes brands. The stock trades on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol— NWFL.

y Journey M Through Health


y health has always been a priority. From a young age, I dealt with a variety of health issues including being born with one kidney, suffering from a seizure disorder in grade school and, more recently, discovering that I have not one but two uteri. My grandfather, Joseph Carey, died unexpectedly in his 50s from a sudden heart attack and my family also has a history of diabetes and hypertension. Although our genes might influence our likeliness for developing a disease, our lifestyle can help treat or prevent certain genes from developing further. Nutrition and physical activity are two of the most critical factors in maintaining a healthy body. We often use nutrition to keep diseases from worsening, but we should also use it to prevent disease from occurring in the first place. I choose to be open about my health experiences because they are part of my story and perhaps by sharing it I may help others. My health disparities shaped my perspective on life and wellness and ultimately led me to my current career track. I always felt that consuming knowledge on how to properly nourish ourselves was important. By recognizing when our body is not feeling well, we can use the knowledge of nutrition to put us back on a path to wellness. The direct connection between nutrition and feeling well each day is why I chose to pursue becoming a Registered Dietitian. My interest in nutrition also led me to a love for yoga. As nutrition is an important foundation in health, physical exercise is a


Lily Mackarey

perfect side dish. In April of 2022, I began a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Certification Training which emphasized that an important part of healthyeating habits is listening to your body. At its core, Yoga is mind-body connection that encourages listening to your body to determine how far it can go and when it needs to go farther. I intend to bring yoga into my career as a Registered Dietitian. My personal health issues and nutrition classes helped me realize that I have a passion for women’s health. One of my future goals is to work with women throughout the stages of pregnancy, including pre-and post-natal care and during the breastfeeding phase. I want to help women navigate this time so that they can feel their best while taking care of themselves and their baby. I am also interested in researching the connection between nutrition and the menstrual cycle, and premenstrual syndrome and polycystic ovary syndrome. Through combining movement and nutrition, my goal is to help people take better care of their bodies and live life to the fullest. Lily Mackarey is a graduate student at Marywood University in the Master of Science in Nutrition program. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics in 2023 from Marywood University and graduated from Scranton Preparatory High School in 2020. Lily is also a 200 RYT Vinyasa Yoga teacher and received her certification in 2022.


February 2024

Photos: Mira Spott/for Jaya Yoga


I remember taking my first yoga class and how each pose was cued by the movement of the breath. I love bringing that awareness into my classes and making sure that regardless of the pose, everyone is paying attention to breathing.

On the yoga mat we slow down and take our time moving into each pose, which is the same way we should approach eating our meals. Thinking about what goes on our plate, stopping between bites to recognize when we’re getting full, and ending even if we still have food on our plate is the goal. Our yoga mat helps us work through the difficulties we might face in our diet, accepting that sometimes our eyes are bigger than our stomach and not feeling guilty for cleaning or not cleaning our plate. 44

February 2024

Learning to accept that some days we might be able to stand in a pose for ten minutes while other days we can’t balance for 5 seconds is healthy. I think one of the most difficult parts about changing our lifestyle is that we only focus on the result. We frequently associate diet changes with weight loss but if we can improve blood sugar, blood pressure, sleep habits or energy levels without the scale going down, we can still be proud of ourselves. Setting small goals like being able to carry groceries up the steps and not running out of breath, or learning how to stop eating when full, should also be celebrated. H


Test Your Knowledge of Financial Basics


ow well do you understand personal finance? This quiz can help gauge your knowledge of a few basics.


1. How much should you set aside in liquid, low-risk savings in case of emergencies? a. One to three months worth of expenses b. Three to six months worth of expenses c. Six to 12 months worth of expenses d. It depends 2. Diversification can eliminate risk from your portfolio. a. True b. False 3. Which is a key benefit of a 401(k) plan? a. You can withdraw money at any time for needs such as the purchase of a new car. b. The plan allows you to avoid paying taxes on a portion of your compensation. c. You may be eligible for an employer match, which is essentially getting free money. d. None of the above 4. Which of the following is typically the best way to pursue your long-term goals? a. Investing as conservatively as possible to minimize the chance of loss b. Investing equal amounts in stocks, bonds and cash investments c. Investing 100% of your money in stocks d. Not enough information to decide


5. In debt speak, what does APR stand for? a. Actual percentage rate b. Annual personal rate c. Annual percentage rate d. Actual personal return 6. Mutual funds are the safest types of investments. a. True b. False 7. I have plenty of time to save for retirement. I don't have to concern myself with that right now. a. True b. False 8. What is/are the benefit(s) of a Roth IRA? a. A Roth IRA can provide tax-free income in retirement. b. Investors can take a tax deduction for their Roth IRA contributions. c. Investors can make tax-free withdrawals after a five-year holding period for any reason. d. All of the above 9. What is considered a good credit score? a. 85 or above b. 500 or above c. B or above

d. 700 or above


February 2024

Answers 1. d. Although it‘s conventional wisdom to set aside three to six months worth of living expenses in a liquid savings vehicle, such as a bank savings account or money market account, the answer really depends on your own situation. If your (and your spouse‘s) job is fairly secure and you have other assets, you may need as little as three months worth of expenses in emergency savings. On the other hand, if you're a business owner in a volatile industry, you may need as much as a year‘s worth or more to carry you through uncertain times. 2. b – False. Diversification is a sound investment strategy that helps you manage risk by spreading your investment dollars among different types of securities and asset classes, but it cannot eliminate risk entirely, and it cannot guarantee a profit. You still run the risk of losing money.

February 2024

3. c. Many employer-sponsored 401(k) plans offer a matching program, which is akin to receiving free money to invest. If your plan offers a match, you should try to contribute at least enough to take full advantage of it. Some matching programs impose a vesting schedule, which means you will earn the right to the matching contributions and any earnings on those dollars over a period of time. If you selected b as your answer, you‘ll note this is a bit of a trick question. Although income taxes are deferred on contributions to traditional 401(k)s, they are not eliminated entirely. You will have to pay taxes on those contributions and any earnings on them, when you take a distribution from the plan. In addition, distributions taken prior to age 59½ may be subject to a 10% penalty tax. Some exceptions apply.



4. d. To adequately pursue your long-term goals, you might consult with a financial professional before choosing a strategy. He or she will take into consideration your goals, risk tolerance and time horizon, among other factors, to put together a trategy that's appropriate for your needs. 5. c. APR stands for annual percentage rate. This is the rate that credit card, mortgage and other loan issuers use to show borrowers approximately how much they are paying each year to borrow funds, taking into account all fees and costs. The APR differs from a loan's stated interest rate, which is typically lower than the APR because it does not take into account fees and other costs. Borrowers can compare the APRs on different loans to help make smart financial decisions. However, when it comes to mortgages, borrowers should use caution when comparing the APRs of fixed-rate loans and adjustable-rate loans, because APRs do not represent the maximum interest rate the loan may charge. 6. b – False. Mutual funds combine the money of many different investors in a portfolio of securities that‘s invested in pursuit of a stated objective. Because of this “diversification,” mutual funds are typically a good way to help manage risk. However, the level of risk inherent in any mutual fund depends on the types of securities it holds. You should always choose a mutual fund carefully to make sure its objective aligns with your own investment goals. Read the fund's prospectus carefully, as it contains important information about risks, fees and expenses, as well as details about specific holdings. 7. b – False. Although retirement may be decades away, investing for retirement now is a smart move. That‘s because even small amounts—say just $50 per month—can add up through the power of compounding, which is what happens when your returns eventually earn returns themselves. This means your money goes to work for you! 8. a. The primary benefit of a Roth IRA is that it provides tax-free income in retirement. 48

Contributions are subject to income limits and are never tax deductible. Withdrawals may be made after a holding period of five years, provided they are “qualified.” A qualified withdrawal is one made after the account holder dies, becomes disabled or reaches age 59½, or one in which the account holder withdraws up to $10,000 (lifetime limit) for a first-time home purchase. 9. d. Because different organizations calculate credit scores based on varying factors, there is no single agreed-upon definition of what constitutes a “good” score. Generally, though, a score of 700 or above would likely reflect favorably on someone applying for credit. Contact your financial professional to discuss your personal goals. H

Ryan Wilson, CPA, CFP®, CRPC, AWMA®, AIF® (Accredited Investment Fiduciary®) Executive Vice President/Wealth Management, Financial Advisor 72 Glenmaura National Boulevard, Moosic, PA 18507 800.638.4417 rwilson@janney.com www.WilsonWealthAdvisory.com

Janney Montgomery Scott LLC. Member: NYSE, FINRA, SIPC. For more information about Janney, please see Janney’s Relationship Summary (Form CRS) on www.janney.com/crs, which details all material facts about the scope and terms of our relationship with you and any potential conflicts of interest.


February 2024

Expansion Opening April 2024

St. Luke’s Monroe Campus... • delivers high quality, low cost healthcare for the residents of Monroe County. • is the leading healthcare provider in Monroe County, doubling the size of the hospital and adding cardiac rehab to meet your expanding healthcare needs. • the only hospital in Monroe County to earn Medicare’s five star rating (the highest) for quality, efficiency and patient satisfaction AND Leapfrog’s coveted “A” rating for patient safety. • is an accredited trauma center and part of St. Luke’s network of trauma centers, the largest in Pennsylvania.

100 St. Luke’s Lane Stroudsburg, PA 18360 sluhn.org/monroe


hoosing the right career can be difficult for many high school students as they also contemplate what college to attend and which major to study. Some may already know what they want to do; others will struggle with the plethora of choices. When making these difficult choices, it would be wise for students to consider their passions, hobbies, values, life expectations, the possible sacrifices and the subjects favored in school. Career decisions can also be derived from their hobbies. The best careers would be developed from the students’ passions which ultimately magnify their strengths, but most importantly ensure







for Life-Sustaining Careers

a financially secure lifestyle. So not only is it important for the students to pursue careers that they love, but it is also crucial that they consider their return on investment. Nearly every facet of life depends on science, technology, research, reading, engineering, arts and/or mathematics. Practical knowledge of these subjects can prepare graduates for the future. Science, technology, reading/research, engineering, arts, and mathematics are commonly grouped and known as STREAM for short. This acronym is meant to symbolize the relationship that each of these disciplines has with the other and serves as a designation for a group of careers that are in demand and a national focus. Whether students prefer humanities, fine arts, foreign language, science or math, everyone can benefit from these courses in high 50

school. According to the U.S. Department of Education, young people need the “skills to solve problems, make sense of information, and know how to gather and evaluate evi-


dence to make decisions.” Indeed, as future leaders, they will face increasingly complex problems, and knowledge in these disciplines can be a major help. According to the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity, the science and engineering workforce has shown sustained growth for more than half a century. In fact, seven out of ten of the fastest growing occupations (requiring at least an associate’s degree) are in these fields. Questions a student considering any of these fields may ask, Do you like to solve interesting and challenging problems? Do you like to be creative and work with others? Do you like to work on projects that make a difference? Do you understand the importance of earning a lifesustaining salary? Is job flexibility a critical factor? Do you want to change the world?


February 2024

Once the student has some ideas on possible careers, it would be prudent to research each career, take relevant career-related courses, engage in career-related activities; including internships (temporary work experiences related to field of study or career interest—virtual opportunities do exist) or career shadowing experiences (these may be live or virtual, involve shadowing professionals, and may include informational interviews, tours of facilities and participation in actual “on the job” projects). These types of experiences will allow the students to gain an understanding of what a particular career is like on any given day.

owing, contact a prospective company of alumni for available internships, do volunteer work, work a part-time job in the field, join career-affiliated associations and connect with people in their intended career fields. It is also important for students to stay current with any changes and new research, join student chapters of professionally affiliated organizations, research various companies and maintain an updated resume. To best prepare for college majors and future careers, students always should select rigorous and relevant high school classes (including College Prep, Honors and AP) and consider dual enrollment courses at post-secondary institutions. Participation in extracurricular and community service activities will also help them to increase their knowledge and prepare them for life-sustaining careers. H

Seek advice from a career counselor about various opportunities to learn about potential careers, network with friends and relatives for available internships or career shad-

Contact Jennifer Severini-Kresock at (570) 702-5700 or jkresock@nepacareerandcollegecounseling.com for career and college preparation.

“Ms. Kresock is a

master at navigating the labyrinth of the college application process. She has successfully assisted with expert guidance for two of our children.” —Mrs. T. Kehagias

College has changed. Need help preparing for it? February 2024


Jennifer L. Severini-Kresock, MS Private Career and College Counselor 570.702.5700 jkresock@NEPACareerandCollegeCounseling.com





National Women Physicians Day February 3 is National Women Physicians Day. In 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to receive a medical degree in the US.

Meghan S. Haggerty, M.D. • Radiation Oncologist • NROC

I “

especially love being able to care for women. As a woman myself, and as a mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend, I appreciate how unique we are and how unique our roles are,” she shares. A cancer diagnosis carries a unique burden for women, and I am here to help them through it. I


love being able to relate to my patients on a very personal level. We laugh. We cry.” Board certified in radiation oncology, Dr. Meghan Haggerty is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of the University of Scranton, where she was a Dean’s Scholarship recipient. She received her Doctorate from Drexel University


College of Medicine, Philadelphia. After completing an internship in Internal Medicine at Crozer-Chester Medical Center, Philadelphia, she completed her Radiation Oncology residency at SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, New York, serving as Chief Resident in her final year. “Our region is fortunate

February 2024

that she, like her physician partners at NROC, chose to come home to Northeastern Pennsylvania,” noted Kerry O'Grady, Director, Practice Development. Reflecting on her years of practice, Dr. Haggerty states, “Cancer and its treatment can affect women’s lives in so many exceptional ways. It can change them physically, affect them emotionally and interfere with their everyday family life. It can take away a lot. But in the face of it, my patients personify strength and courage. Honestly, they never cease to amaze me.” H

Fighting your cancer every day.

With your doctors. Your insurance. nrocdoctors.com 570-504-7200

February 2024



Deb Smarkusky Ph.D. Associate Professor of Information Sciences and Technology Penn State Scranton eb Smarkusky received her Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut in 2000, with a major of computer science and engineering; she received a Master of Science degree from the University of Scranton in 1996, with a major in software engineering and a Bachelor of Science, cum laude from Pennsylvania State University in 1990 with a major of computer science and a Bachelor of Science, cum laude, Pennsylvania State University, 1990 with a major in mathematics.


Dr. Smarkusky’s research interests include software performance engineering, component-based software architectures, distributed and realtime systems, music and technology and team-oriented software development. During her professional 54

provided opportunities for career, she published articles in undergraduate research which professional journals and comexpanded my knowledge pleted presentations at conferbeyond the classroom. I also ences and meetings. started tutoring math in the I enjoy teaching software design and devel- Learning Center at the campus. I opment, distributed computing and dis“The more diverse their crete mathematics coursdevelopment team, the more es and welcome opportudiverse the perspective will be nities to work with students on undergraduate when analyzing the problem, research. which results in a more

comprehensive solution.” I always loved math and wanted to be a math teacher. liked both math and computer During junior science, and decided to pursue year of high a major in each. With graduaschool, my tion approaching and seeking math teacher an entry-level position, computencouraged me er science had more opportunito enroll in this ties than teaching at that time. new course So, I accepted a software engicalled ‘computneering position in which I was er programdeveloping software for ming.’ I loved defense systems, working in a the problemteam environment and enjoysolving aspect ing what I did each day. of computer programming I was selected to complete a which led me to declare my Project Leadership Training, in major in computer science which I received the results of when starting at Penn State my completed Myers-Briggs Scranton. The computer sciType Indicator questionnaire. ence faculty at the campus One of the possible careers were always supportive and HappeningsPA.com

February 2024

Examples of new programs that may be of interest to students, include the Cybersecurity Option that prepares them to pursue careers, such as cybersecurity engineer or information February 2024

security analyst. The in computer science were few Application Development and far between. There were Option prepares students for several times that excellent design and development of grades and a good work ethic complex programming and technical “Unfortunately, due to stereotypes and skills to succeed in a expectations, women do not usually fast-paced pursue technical careers in which environment. having better math skills would The enhance their problem-solving skills Business Application in a technical environment.“ Option provides opportunities for careers in busiwere required to prove to oneness technology analysis, self, prior to earning respect project management and from others. I succeeded both consulting. academically and professionally because of my hard work, After I began teaching, I dedication and encourageattended a computer science ment from family, friends and education conference in colleagues. Today, students which faculty presented have opportunities to particiresearch about recruiting pate in STEM academies. more women into the field. I Female students who demonlearned that statistically strate abilities and interests in women are better at math these areas should be menthan men. Unfortunately, tored and strongly encouraged because of stereotypes and to pursue technical majors, so expectations, women do not they too may benefit from flexusually pursue technical ible, lucrative and careers in which having betrewarding careers. ter math skills would enhance their problem-solvDegree ing skills in a technical enviInformation ronment. Because women Driven by the continuously think differently than men, IT changing landscape of techcompanies are seeking nology, Penn State Scranton female graduates from techbegan offering a baccalaureate nical programs. The more degree in information technoldiverse their development ogy (IT) in the Fall 2021 semesteam, the more diverse the ter. This degree provides a perspective will be when broad range of technical skills analyzing the problem, which that can be utilized today and results in a more comprehenprovides a foundation for solvsive solution. ing challenges of the future. H When I first started, women

matching my personality type was teaching. I really missed teaching and decided to pursue a Master’s of Science degree in software engineering at the University of Scranton where I was offered a teaching assistantship position during my studies. It was during this time that my thesis adviser encouraged me to earn a Ph.D. so that I could teach in higher education. During my Ph.D. studies, I had various teaching and research assistantships that provided the framework for my success in higher education. I am grateful for the encouragement and guidance that faculty have given me over the years and try to do the same for my students. I have always had a passion for teaching. It's little rewards throughout the semester that keep me going. One of my favorite moments of satisfaction is what I call ‘The Light Bulb Effect,’ the moment when a student finally understands a concept that was totally confusing just a few minutes prior. I also very much enjoy receiving emails from students who let me know that they are happy and successful in their careers, and thankful for the help and support that they had received during their studies.



Fred Aebli Lecturer, Information Sciences and Technology and Information Technology program co-coordinator red Aebli is a 1991 alumni of Penn State University where he acquired a degree in science with a computer science/math option. Upon graduation, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant United States Marine Corps. While serving on active duty in various locations worldwide, he obtained a master’s degree in computer resource management from Webster University.


Upon departing the active duty Marine Corps, he entered the civilian job market to work for Bell Atlantic in Baltimore's Inner Harbor where he worked on database projects and early internet applications. He joined Scientech Inc. as an Oracle consultant where they developed a first of its kind, Decision Support System and Data Warehouse for the nuclear plant located in Berwick. His team of developers was instrumental in using the new Oracle Application Server technology. Upon completion of that assignment, he joined the faculty at Penn State’s Scranton campus to 56

help to establish the new Information Sciences and Technology (IST) degree and the Information Technology degree where he teaches courses in database development, programming, website design, project management and human computer interaction (HCI). This opportunity continues to allow Penn State University to educate the next generation of IT professionals for the global market. Additionally, he coordinates the IST & IT Internship Program in which he connects local businesses with IST/IT students as they attempt to fulfill their internship. While at Penn State Scranton, he has been part of the team, supporting the creation and management of the Scranton LaunchBox business pre-incubator. Aebli separated from the Marine Corps Reserves in 2002 at the rank of Major. In order to maintain currency and proficiency in the IT sector, Aebli is the creator of GetMeCoding.com designed to inspire young people wanting to dream, collaborate and HappeningsPA.com

problem solve while learning to write programming code and tinker with electronics. He is active in many local organizations fostering the connection of technology and business to include TecBridge and Tech Meetup. He and his wife, Jennifer, have three children and reside in Covington Township.

An unexpected encounter with my former computer science professor, Rich Dempsey, led me to my current career. This professor inquired if I'd be interested in teaching a course on Advanced PowerPoint. That class sparked my passion for teaching. Following that, I assisted in developing the IST degree courses and started teaching at Penn State, Scranton. I've been fortunate to be invited back each year to teach for the past 25 years. The source of my inspiration in teaching is clear: it's the vibrant energy that students bring to the classroom and

February 2024

We're witnessing a transformative era in technology, marked by the emergence of advanced language models and AI chatbots like ChatGPT, Claude and Bard. These tools are revolutionizing the way we work, prompting a reevaluation of the skills necessary for problem solvers in a tech-driven landscape. Despite this technological leap, it's vital to remember the central role of human insight and interaction. My experience in integrating these advancements into my teaching has

been eye-opening. It's not uncommon to see attendees It has enabled me progress from campers to to delve into new subjects more rapcounselors, to college freshmen idly and efficiently and even joining various than before, overadvisory groups on campus. coming previous limitations in access to learning cover new interests or further resources and time condevelop existing passions. straints. Such camps are vital for nurFor nearly 20 years, we've been hosting summer camps at Penn State University Scranton campus for 8 to 16-year-olds. These camps offer the opportunity to delve into various concepts of software coding. From crafting animated stories to understanding the essentials of successful video game design, participants are either able to dis-

Information Technology Penn State Scranton's Information Technology degree provides students with the knowledge, skills, applications and practices they need to make an immediate impact in the field. Students develop an understanding of core information technologies and prepare for the practical application of IT within all types of businesses and organizations. Students can also tailor their degree programs to suit their future plans by taking advantage of the degree program's application development option, business applications option, customized information technology option and the cybersecurity option. During their academic career at Penn State Scranton, they can also take advantage of internships, team projects, undergraduate research and complete a senior capstone project.

February 2024


turing future talent. Many of our IST/IT degree graduates were once camp participants. It's not uncommon to see attendees progress from campers to counselors, to college freshmen and even joining various advisory groups on campus. The camps consistently attract a balanced mix of young boys and girls, and are always wellreceived. Technology is constantly advancing, and our degree program is ideally tailored to adapt to these evolving demands. Our program offers a wide range of technologies for students to explore, coupled with real-world team project challenges. Additionally, there are numerous opportunities outside the classroom for students to refine their skills and to pursue their interests. This combination of elements creates an engaging and dynamic learning environment, equipping students to navigate any path that technology, especially AI, might take them in the future. H

campus. There's an indescribable thrill in teaching young people a concept or skill and watching them expand it in ways I could never have imagined.


Dr. Megan Van Etten r. Megan Van Etten holds a Ph.D. in Plant Biology from the University of Georgia, earned in 2009. Her research journey has been driven by a fascination with the intricate relationship between humans and plants. Her current research project explores the decline in native pollinators and its consequential impact on plant pollination—a vital ecological process. Past research endeavors have delved into understanding the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of herbicideresistant weeds and the possible transference of genes from genetically modified crops to their wild counterparts. She teaches a variety of courses including general biology, cellular and molecular biology, genetics, and plant biology.

Associate Professor of Biology; Biology and Science Program Coordinator at Penn State Scranton


“Teaching and higher education have always been an integral part of my life, significantly influenced by my family's strong educational background. Growing up in a family where many members were educators, the value of education and the pivotal role of teachers were instilled in me from a young age. This upbringing fostered my deep


love for learning, naturally steering me toward a career in academia. For me, teaching is more than just a profession; it's a continuation of my personal journey in learning and an avenue to ignite that same passion in others. The greatest satisfaction in my teaching career comes from witnessing the moments when students light up with excitement and curiosity. There's a profound joy in seeing their understanding deepen, concepts click into place, and a genuine enthusiasm for learning emerge. As the program coordinator for both the science and biology majors, my primary focus is to equip our students for diverse career paths. The spectrum of potential careers is vast, ranging from laboratory technicians HappeningsPA.com

and medical professionals to advanced research in graduate schools. Our curriculum is meticulously designed to provide students with the necessary skills for these varied roles. Understanding and responding to the ever-evolving nature of scientific fields is crucial. To ensure our students are best prepared, we continually update our programs. This involves regular dialogues with local industry leaders to gauge the skills most sought after in the professional world. We also stay abreast of the evolving requirements of medical and other professional schools, ensuring that our students are well-positioned to meet these demands. Navigating a science career as a woman presents a set of challenges unique from those faced February 2024

For me, overcoming these hurdles has been largely possible due to a robust support network. My Ph.D. and postdoctoral advisors were more than mentors; they were pillars of strength and guidance. Their support was instrumental in my development, and I attribute much of my success to their positive influence. They exemplified resilience in the face of setbacks and demonstrated strategic ways to thrive

amidst the challenges inherent to women in science.

“Navigating a science career as a woman presents a set of challenges unique from those faced by my male counterparts.”

Despite these obstacles, the landscape is gradually shifting. Positive societal changes are fostering increased interest among women in science. These changes include enhanced access to science education for girls, greater visibility of female role models in the scientific community, and broader societal support for women’s participation in science. In our biology program, for instance, we often see a higher percentage of women than men, a testament to these evolving attitudes. However, the challenge now is retention. Women leave science for myriad reasons, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The path forward

requires concerted efforts from institutions and society to create an environment where women in science don’t just enter but also thrive and lead. My advice to anyone interested in pursuing a career in science is simple: Find your people. Surround yourself with people who will challenge and support you, pick you up when you falter and be your unwavering advocates. In the end, these relationships are the bedrock upon which successful careers are often built. H

The Learning Never Stops Discover new K-12 education opportunities waiting for you at the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School!

Call 724.643.1180 or visit pacyber.org

by my male counterparts. The journey is often more arduous - we typically shoulder a greater share of caretaking responsibilities at home, contribute more to service roles within our workplaces and encounter biases in critical processes like grant applications and paper submissions. These challenges are not just anecdotal; they are realities that shape our professional landscape.

14 BACHELOR DEGREES 4 ASSOCIATE DEGREES GRADUATE PROGRAMS AND COURSES THE FIRST TWO YEARS OF 275+ PENN STATE DEGREES All at a campus that’s close to home and affordable. And, no matter where you start, or at what Penn State campus you finish, you get a PENN STATE DEGREE, recognized worldwide!


Sensible Senior Living



February 2024

A Red, Red Rose O my Love is like a red, red rose That’s newly sprung in June; O my Love is like the melody That’s sweetly played in tune. So fair art thou, my bonnie lass, So deep in love am I; And I will love thee still, my dear, Till a’ the seas gang dry. Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear, And the rocks melt wi’ the sun; I will love thee still, my dear, While the sands o’ life shall run.

Mary Erwine - RN, MSN President

And fare thee well, my only love!

270 Pierce Street, Suite 101 Kingston, PA

And fare thee well awhile! And I will come again, my love, Though it were ten thousand mile.


Robert Burns, 1794

Embrace the Golden Years! Enjoy life to the fullest at Wesley Village. We offer a vibrant community with social activities, wellness programs, dining options, and exceptional care for seniors.

Schedule a Tour Today! For more information about our wide range of senior care, call 570-655-2891 or email WesleyVillageAdmissions@umhwc.org UnitedMethodistHomes.org February 2024

209 Roberts Road, Pittston, PA HappeningsPA.com


McDade Chichilla Apartments

ocated in Olyphant, McDade Chichilla Apartments have provided one-bedroom accommodations for disabled and elderly people over the age of 62 since opening in 1983. Its location in the middle of town, close to shops and churches, provides accessibility and convenience to its residents. Many of the tenants have lived


in the apartments for over 20 years. “We are a very friendly high rise,” says manager Ruth Hannah. “The neighbors help and the working staff is awesome.” Amenities on-site include a laundry room and a large community room. For disabled tenants, accessibilities include pull cords, wheelchair-accessible elevators, and handrails in hallways. One of the most important values shared at McDade Chichilla is the relationship between the staff and residents. “We value the relationship with our residents,” Hannah says. “Most importantly we must treat each other nicely.” Call 570-489-4756 or email olyphantapts@verizon.net H

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McDade-Chichilla Apartments

ing ccepitons A Square w No plicat p A Apartments

62 or older, handicapped or disabled. Rent based on 30% of your income. Includes all utilities except cable and telephone.

62 or older, handicapped or disabled. Rent based on 30% of your income. Includes all utilities except cable and telephone.






230 Lackawanna Avenue • Olyphant, PA

145 Church Street • Montrose, PA


February 2024

Wesley Village


esley Village offers residents a safe and secure community where they can have peace of mind knowing that… as their needs change, additional services are available right on the same campus. Wesley Village offers the full care continuum including numerous independent living options, both cottage style or apartments, as well as personal care, short term rehab and long term nursing care. Residents can live worryfree without the stress of home maintenance and upkeep. At Wesley Village, residents feel that sense of belonging and are a part of a community. They can be as social and involved as they choose. Residents have access to numerous amenities, dining options, activities and programs right on campus.

Brooks Cottages

Small pets are allowed in the Brooks cottages and residences are able to walk them around the premises (provided they are leashed.) Throughout the community, programs and activities allow residents to get to know each other. Residents are very friendly and welcoming. Neighbors are often witnessed checking on each other and developing friendships organically based on where they live in the community. Activities for residents include art, music, exercise, yoga, wellness, social events, parties and community trips. Planned trips include shopping, theater, restaurant outings and ball games. The community staff of all levels is fully vetted including background checks and clearances. Staff is fully trained and oriented, and ongoing support and education are provided. Wesley typically has staff above required minimums. In terms of hiring staff, Wesley looks for individuals who are passionate about making a difference and contributing to a mission of providing excellent care with compassion. H

Rehab Gym

The services available through the Caregiver Support Program are specific to grandparents (age 55+) raising grandchildren and caregivers (age 18+) of older adults and include:

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Care Management; Benefits Counseling; Caregiver Education and Training; Reimbursement for ongoing expenses for caregiving-related services or supplies such as: Respite Care, Consumable Supplies, Supportive Services, Supplemental Services, Home Modifications and Assistive Devices

Apartments 62 or older, handicapped or disabled. Includes all utilities except cable and telephone. Contact the Lackawanna County Area Agency on Aging (570)-963-6740



499 Mulberry Street • Scranton, PA



February 2024


Boo k of the

Year 15% off Tip Lewis and His Lamp Use the coupon TL15 at checkout. Expires May 31st. Behold, if any man is in Christ he is a new creation. Old things are passed away, behold all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 Learn more at lamplighter.net or call 1(888) 246-7735.

Photo: Jay B. Pollack


All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost. J.R.R. Tolkien 1892-1973



February 2024

Ketamine Infusion Therapy

Ketamine Infusion Therapy is a cutting-edge

treatment that has shown significant promise in helping individuals with mental health disorders and chronic pain. Ketamine, traditionally an anesthetic, is administered at low, controlled doses, in a clinical setting under the supervision of medical professionals. Conditions Treated

Depression/Anxiety PTSD/Bipolar/Disorder/Suicidal Ideations Chronic Pain/Neuropathic Pain/Restless Leg Syndrome Fibromyalgia/Migraines Benefits of Rapid Relief from Ketamine Therapy

Many patients report feeling a significant reduction in symptoms within hours to days after treatment, making it especially beneficial for those with severe depression, suicidal ideations or treatment resistant conditions.

Call to schedule a complimentary appointment to determine if you are a candidate for either Ketamine infusion therapy or IV Vitamin therapy. Consults provided by our highly knowledgeable, dual certified medical doctor. Payment options available. THE GOOD DROP (570)-701-6044 www.TheGood-drop.com

February 2024







February 2024

www.endlessmountains.org • 800-769-8999

A Great Escape... Awaits in the Endless Mountains! Elk Mountain Ski Resort Elk Mountain history dates back to 1959, when Elk became one of Pennsylvania’s first commercial ski areas.

Bespoke Designs for Every Occasion Make it memorable! Call us today! Friday, February 16Thursday, March 7 Winter Fest 2024 Opening Night Friday, February 16 Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door Call 570-836-1022 x3 for tickets.

Visit DietrichTheater.com for festival films and schedule

DIETRICH THEATER 60 E Tioga St, Tunkhannock, PA 18657 Visit www.dietrichtheater.com or call (570) 836-1022 for details.

27 E TIOGA ST TUNKHANNOCK, PA (570) 836-5131

February 2024

Funded in part by the Wyoming County Room Tax Fund and the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau

HappeningsPA.com www.endlessmountains.org • 800-769-8999


Catching up with

Stephanie Jallen


S. Paralympic Ski Team Member Stephanie Jallen appeared on the January 2013 cover of Happenings Magazine. We recently checked in with Stephanie to get an update on her life: “I retired from skiing shortly after my second games in 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. I returned to Kings College to finish my degree in business management and human resources and graduated in 2019. I purchased my stepfather’s house in Lehman and my fiancè Dave and I built a small homestead. We raise all farm-totable meat and produce. We raised a beef cow, several pigs each year, egg laying and meat producing chickens, in addition to wild game. I plant a large garden every spring and fall and have two beehives as well. I have a draft

horse, Marmaduke, that I ride and drive. He goes to local nursing homes as a companion and he participates in Memorial Day and Christmas parades. I also have two pet mini donkeys, one of which is a 6 month old little baby, born on our farm. We also have a little goat named, Wilson. Currently I work as a Human Resources Generalist at St. Josephs Center in Dunmore. I continue to stay very active outdoors, camping, quad-riding, fishing, hunting, hiking and horseback riding. Our wedding is planned for September 2024.” H



February 2024

February 2024



Jay B. Pollack The Drive-By Shutter Photography Jay is a Scranton native, age 59, graduate of Scranton Central and Penn State.



PIAZZA 3rd Generation Tile Setter

PS Mortgage Helps Prepare You for Spring Homebuying Q and A with Lori Rudalavage fter running a successful mortgage business for over 16 years, Lori Rudalavage joined the PS Bank team in 2016 to establish PS Mortgage. Since then, PS Mortgage has repeatedly received recognition for its service throughout the region. Lori’s experienced team of mortgage professionals has helped hundreds of customers make their dream of home ownership a reality. To learn more, check out our Q & A with Lori Rudalavage.

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Why buy or build in NEPA? Situated just a few hours from New York City and Philadelphia, the northeast and north central areas of Pennsylvania are attractive to many different types of homebuyers. We have both rural and urban communities that satisfy different types of living. Our region is family friendly and provides access to great schools and quality healthcare. We also have thriving small businesses, parks and attractions that enhance all of our communities. From condos, to lake communities, our area is also a great place to own a second or vacation home. HappeningsPA.com

February 2024

Why choose a community bank for mortgage lending? We’re the ones who support your community, your schools, your teams. We buy your girl scout cookies and we answer the phone. PS Bank has 10 locations across northeastern and north central PA where we can service customers one-onone to walk you through the homebuying process. You’re not just a number in a community bank. Our staff are your neighbors and we treat our customers like family.

Spring into a new home with help from our team. A DIVISION OF PS BANK

223 Northern Boulevard South Abington Township PSBanking.com | (570) 586-1215

Should I buy or rent? If you’re in a position to buy, you should. Renting does not help you to build equity or improve your credit, in most cases. I once read the quote, “Date the rate, marry the house.” If rates come down, that may be an opportunity for you to refinance your loan at a later date. What trends are you seeing in our area? With a limited sales inventory, many people have turned to construction loans. For those choosing to build, a local lender like PS Mortgage offers locked-in rates, and helps customers to work closely with builders. For customers who are building, we offer one single closing and interestonly payments during construction build time. We are involved every step of the way. Do you have any advice for 2024 prospective homebuyers? Get prequalified before you shop. Prospective buyers should be ready to move fast when more inventory becomes available. I recommend getting educated on the homebuying process by an experienced lender. At PS Mortgage, we offer mortgage consultations, free pre-qualifications, and information regarding grant opportunities for those who qualify.


Contact Lori today, for more information: Lori Rudalavage Vice President Senior Mortgage Lender NMLS#142504 223 Northern Boulevard South Abington Township, PA 18411 570-586-1215 PS Bank NMLS#486076 H Lori s a graduate of the University of Scranton and resident of Greenfield Township. She joined PS Bank in 2016 after running her own mortgage business for 16 years.


ongtime paramedic Carmen Passaniti, NRP, knows that saving the life of a person in cardiac arrest often depends on what happens even before emergency responders arrive on the scene.

and Pediatric Emergency Assessment, Recognition and Stabilization (PEARS). For beginners, Passaniti will cover topics such as how to identify the signs of sudden cardiac arrest and how to use an automated external

The Wright Center becomes Training Site for Life Support

options. The debut of The Wright Center’s training site also coincides with a surge in public interest in CPR certification programs. A high-profile incident involving NFL player Damar Hamlin, who was resuscitated on the football field during a nationally televised game in January, brought the reality of cardiac arrest into people’s living rooms. “When it happens in a very public venue such as a Monday Night

The American Heart Association-designated site will offer CPR and related courses for cardiac emergencies

“If someone doesn’t start CPR,” he says, “the chance of a successful outcome is very, very small. Without that early intervention – without basic life support – nothing really matters.” Passaniti joined The Wright Center for Community Health as director of employee health and continuing medical education coordinator, where he is leading an effort to provide various levels of life support training to anyone in the region who wants or needs it, ranging from hospital and health center employees to people with no connection to the medical field. The Wright Center recently became an American Heart Association (AHA) training site, allowing it to begin delivering important services to the communities it serves. For professionals who are required to get certifications and recertifications, it will provide affordable trainings in Basic Life Support, Heartsaver CPR, Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) 78

defibrillator, the device used to jolt a heart back into rhythm. All trainings will adhere to the AHA’s training site guidelines, which are widely considered the gold standard. By establishing the new training site, The Wright Center will be able to efficiently certify and recertify its own employees, including physicians, nurses and other clinicians, while addressing broader community needs. A well-established AHA training center in Lackawanna County recently ended operations, leaving emergency responders, college students enrolled in health care programs, daycare workers, pharmacists and others searching for HappeningsPA.com

Football game with millions of people watching, it kind of brings more people to the classroom,” says Passaniti. “They say, ‘Maybe I should learn how to do that.’ Because it can truly make a difference.” Hamlin, who survived the incident and has since resumed playing, has partnered with the AHA to issue a social media challenge, the February 2024

“Damar Hamlin #3forHeart CPR Challenge.” The campaign urges participants to do three things: learn “hands-only” CPR, donate to AHA in support of CPR education and training and encourage three friends to do the same. Any first-timers who attend Passaniti’s basic-level training courses are coached in not only the skills they need but also the confidence. Many novices are understandably concerned that if they help a stranger in an emergency, they might do more harm than good. Others worry they might expose themselves to legal liability. Passaniti explains there are Good Samaritan laws in each state to protect helpers, and intervention is crucial for these lifeand-death situations. “Anything you do is a positive,” he says. “People may be worried about doing the technique wrong, they’re worried about causing injury. But it’s better to try. Some CPR is better than no CPR.”

Center, where he works among many familiar faces. “I’ve known Carmen for years,” says Sheila Ford, vice president of quality, safety, and enterprise policy compliance and integrity. “All of our doctors know him. For decades our physicians and residents, as well as clinical staff, have received BLS, ACLS and PALS training with Carmen.“Creating a clinical community gold standard is important for the patients and the communities we serve.” In 1972, at age 14, Passaniti became a junior firefighter for the Dalton Fire Company, where he continues to serve to this day as ambulance captain. In both volunteer and paid capacities, he has devoted decades to protecting lives and property. He served as a paramedic in Lackawanna County during the pioneering days of the profession. In addition to responding to calls, he then became active in managing training programs to properly prepare

others who work in the emergency response field throughout Northeast Pennsylvania. Passaniti’s duties include overseeing the health aspects of the new employees’ onboarding requirements and ensuring employees remain up to date on health mandates such as vaccinations. He will also spearhead a two-year effort to have The Wright Center’s new training site designated as an AHA training center, a distinction earned by training a certain number of people annually and meeting other standards. H

For information about life support training contact Carmen Passaniti at passanitic@TheWrightCenter.org or 570-335-3307.

More than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside of hospital settings each year in the United States, according to the AHA. Yet in only about 40 percent of those cases do the victims get the immediate help they need before the arrival of emergency responders. CPR, if administered immediately, can double or triple a person’s chance of survival, according to the AHA. That’s why people like Passaniti are eager to spread training throughout the community, increasing the odds that lifesaving help might be close at hand when needed at homes, houses of worship, workplaces, sports fields and other social spaces. Passaniti, 65, seems perfectly suited for his new role at The Wright February 2024



Leadership Lackawanna Core Program Class n Leadership Lackawanna’s 10-month Core Program, participants gain direct and indirect leadership, interpersonal and managerial skills, as well as an enhanced understanding of the issues relevant to the Greater Scranton region, through monthly ses-


sions. Areas of focus can include community development, economic development, government, health care, law, education, quality of life, sustainability, history and media, with sessions featuring widely recognized specialists. Members of the class also devote a large portion of their time to

Front row, left to right: Cali Rose Nataloni, Nunzi's Advertising; Hannah Shurtleff, First National Bank; Rachel Santoro, Goodwill Industries of NEPA; Amber Trunzo, Catherine McAuley Center; Kelli McCullough, The Wright Center; Rachel Brummett, The Honesdale National Bank; Abbey Merker, Montage Mountain Resorts; Isabella Ceccoli, ScrantonArea Community Foundation; Michaela Martines, The Wright Center; April James, Allied Services Home Health; Jenn Sosa, Penn East Federal Credit Union Second row, left to right: Philip Zvirblis, NET Federal Credit Union; Kim Lazuka, Greater Scranton YMCA; Chelsea Cadwalder, NBT Bank; Emily Pettinato, The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce; Dana Force, United Neighborhood Centers; Tara Floyd, Tobyhanna Army


develop and implement community projects, hence enhancing their leadership abilities, fostering teamwork and benefiting local nonprofit organizations. Leadership Lackawanna’s Core Program accepts applications from candidates who live, work or play in Lackawanna County. H

Depot; Stacy Cognetti, Lackawanna College; Emily Glodzik, Penn State Scranton; Jacob Torba, Griffin Pond Animal Shelter; Megan Kolis, Condron Sweda Advertising; Scott Burti, Tobyhanna Army Depot Back row, left to right: Steve Brown, LCBC Church; Kristi Cleveland, Fidelity Bank; Pam Fischer, Benco Dental; Parker Dorsey, NeighborWorks NEPA; Megan Benedict, Wells Fargo; Thomas Swope, The AZEK Company; Kaitlin Allard, Barry Callebaut; Jason Pozniak, Nibbles & Bits; Christopher Moshinskie, FNCB Bank; Tara Jones, Lackawanna River Conservation Association; Matthew Jones, Tobyhanna Army Depot; Richard Peters, Alleima USA LLC Absent from photo: Shaun Young, Tobyhanna Army Depot


February 2024



Practical Nursing • Dental Hygiene Dental Assisting • Medical Assisting HVAC • Commercial Truck Driving


855-445-3276 • WWW.FORTIS.EDU Financial Aid Available for those who qualify. Career Placement Assistance for All Graduates. For consumer info, visit Fortis.edu.

February 2024



Leadership Lackawanna Announces Tomorrow’s Leaders Today he Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce community leadership and professional development affiliate, Leadership Lackawanna’s youth program, Tomorrow’s Leaders Today, announces the program class of 2023–24.


Tomorrow’s Leaders Today (TLT) is a seven-month program that develops high school juniors' leadership, interpersonal and managerial skills in the greater Scranton region. Program participants will be provided with real-world experiences in financial literacy, health care, STEAM, philanthropy, crime and correc-

Front row:Kylie Krzak, Dante Pallazari, Ava Page, Isabella Moher, Gabriella Potis, Lilly Rozzi, Nicholas Giumento, Ashley Bossick, Abygale Plevyak, Faith Wormuth and Gia Ann Serge. Second row: Justin Osman, Mandie Martin, Reese Morgan, Maggie Pegula, Giada Costa, Chloe Dong, Abigail Harshbarger, Nico Warhola, Joseph T. Healey, Cole Johnston and Matthew Hill.


tions, nonprofit organizations and community service instructed by partnering organizations. Tomorrow’s Leaders Today accepts applications from sophomores who attend high school in Lackawanna County and its surrounding areas, as well as all charter, technical schools and homeschool students. H

Third row: Elizabeth Schneider, Ivy Neureuter, Gabriella Estadt, Isabelle Maurer, Elizabeth Washine, Hope Polishan, Declan Moran, Sarah McCullon, Sarah O'Brien, Makayla Walton and Jordan Malar. Back row: Akhilesh Velaga, Caroline Luyster, Clinton Muir, Dhruv D. Amin, Jacob Antolick, Roland McLaine, Anthony John Piestrak, Jack Maloney, Joseph DiStasi and Zachary Kovaleski.


February 2024

A Leadership Lackawanna Core Class of 2024 team will receive a $5,000 grant Leadership Lackawanna Core Class of 2024 team will be receiving a $5,000 grant from the Lackawanna County Community Re-invest Program, managed by the Lackawanna County Department of Economic Development. This project team is working with the Waverly Community House to overhaul its Scout Room, a versatile multipurpose space used for various activities, from yoga classes to community meetings and film screenings. The project involves historically appropriate wall painting, new flooring,


February 2024

ceiling tiles, furniture upgrades, mood lighting and archival photo displays. The total project cost is estimated between $8,000 to $10,000. “We truly appreciate the generous support from the Community Re-invest Program and the Lackawanna County Department of Economic Development,” said Michelle Hamilton, executive director of the Waverly Community House. Donations and contributions are still being accepted to help cover the remaining costs of the project and can be made through leadershiplackawan-


na.com/donate. The team will also be hosting a fundraiser at Mutant Brewing on Thursday, February 22 from 6-8 p.m. H

Photo caption: Back row: Emily Pettinato of the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, Thomas Swope of The AZEK Company, Kristi Cleveland of Fidelity Bank. Front row: Jessica Meoni of the Honesdale National Bank (advisor), Rachel Santoro of Goodwill Industries of Northeastern PA, Parker Dorsey of NeighborWorks Northeastern Pennsylvania.


Leadership Lackawanna Executive Program Graduates eadership Lackawanna’s six-week Executive Program deeply engages highlevel professionals in the greater Scranton region, broadens their social network and increases their overall knowledge of the community. It accepts applications from professionals in an executive-level (director or higher) position with extensive industry experience and demonstrated career progression.


“Our mission at Leadership Lackawanna is to enhance the skills, connections and knowledge of our participants,” said Nicole Morristell, executive director of Leadership Lackawanna. “I'm confident the 14 individuals in this year’s 84

Executive Level Program gained valuable insight into our mission and that they forged lasting connections that will strengthen them, both personally and professionally. It is my sincere hope that they will take these benefits and use them to positively impact the community.” This year, participants meet key business and community leaders as they receive an overview of Lackawanna County's history and culture, economic and political structures, community events, civic groups, recreational activities, and nonprofit organizations. Sessions were held one evening per week for six consecutive weeks at various locations in the greater Scranton community, including cocktails and dinner. H. HappeningsPA.com

Photo caption:(left to right) Front Row: Danielle Breslin, Moses Taylor Foundation; Michelle Hamilton, The Waverly Community House; Megan Walbeck, Geisinger; Sarah Marie Thomas, NativityMiguel School of Scranton; Tricia Zilaitis, City of Scranton. Middle Row: Nicole Morristell, Leadership Lackawanna; Meghan Lennox Gagorik, Children’s Advocacy Center of NEPA; Kristyn Smith, Tobyhanna Army Depot; Bethany Staples, Market Share Consulting; Ron Augelli, Talk Shirty to me; Jason Berger; Eugene Munley, EMPOWER and Leadership Lackawanna. Back Row: Brian Ross, Tobyhanna Army Depot; Neil Bresnahan, Big Bass Lake Community Association, Inc.; Kyle Lennon, Schulte Hospitality; Andrew Kudasik, PNC Bank

February 2024

John Mackarey, LUTCF, RICP® Agent, New York Life Insurance Company Registered Representative offering securities through NYLIFESecurities LLC (Member FINRA/SIPC), A Licensed Insurance Agency.

220 Penn Avenue, Suite 100 Scranton, PA 18503 Phone: 570-340-1320 Email: John@JohnMackarey.com



FIELD George Toma


eorge Toma was recently inducted into the Luzerne County Sports Hall of Fame. A groundskeeper all his life, he worked on countless fields for many sports events around the world. He has been especially known for preparing stadiums for the Super Bowl. Born 95 years ago at his grandmother’s house in Edwardsville, George grew up about 100 yards from a coal mine, where his father worked as a miner before dying of black lung disease. George, who was ten years old at the time of his father’s passing, understood that he then needed a job to support his family, but he knew the dangers of working in the mines. “A lot of the young boys were killed not 86 86

only by some type of rock fall, but also, and more commonly, by being kicked by mules,” he said. So George decided to work in a vegetable farm instead. He recalls working ten hours a day, six days a week for 10 cents an hour. At age 11, he got a job at a chicken and vegetable farm owned by a milkman of Glendale Dairy. He was paid 50 cents a day and was allowed to kill two chickens and take home all the eggs and vegetables that he could carry. “There’s a lot of things he taught me that I still use today and in my work,” said George. At age 12, George got a job with his neighbor, Stan Scheckler, who was the head groundskeeper for the Wilkes Barre Class A Eastern League at Artillery Park in Kingston. He worked for Scheckler until he

HappeningsPA.com HappeningsPA.com

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was 16 years old and amassed many great memories from Artillery Park. “We not only had baseball there,” he said, “but we also had football. Coughlin High School played there. The WilkesBarre Bullets in the Eastern League, a semiprofessional team, also played there. We also held rodeos and other events.”

1956, Detroit asked him to go to Charleston, West Virginia for the AAA American Association. He then had two job offers: head groundskeeper for the Kansas City Athletics or the Denver Bears. “I thought it over, and I said, ‘George, the best thing for you to do is take the Kansas City job because the field is so bad that if you screw up, no one would even notice,’” he said.

In 1957, George took the job of preparing Kansas City’s Municipal Stadium, which hosted games in baseball, football and soccer. Since he took over as In 1946, baseball franchise owner Bill groundskeeper there, the baseball team, Veeck made George head groundskeeper Athletics called the stadium “the best field after he bought the Cleveland Indians and in baseball.” The Chiefs, Kansas City’s footturned the Wilkes-Barre Barons into the ball team, referred to it as “the best stadium Wilkes Barre Indians. George attended in the NFL.” George also remembers when Edwardsville High School, which later soccer legend Pele, told became Wyoming the press that it was the Valley West. From second best field he George also remembers 1948 to 1950, Veeck ever played on. sent George with when soccer legend Pele, “He [Pele] said the best Emil Bossard, whom he played on was George calls ‘the told the press that it was one Wembley,” said George. greatest the second best field he groundskeeper on Pete Rozelle, who was Earth’, to Driver, the NFL commissioner ever played on. Virginia. In 1949, at the time, gave George and Emil George the task of went to Georgia to preparing the Los Angeles Coliseum for the work on fields. In 1950, they went to first Super Bowl in 1967. George, who had Daytona Beach to build the field where the five men on his crew and six days to get the Daytona 500 is today. Later that year, he stadium ready, asked Rozelle what he wantwas drafted into the US Army and served ed on the fifty-yard line. in the Korean War as a Sergeant First Class “Rozelle said, ‘George, it is your field; you in the Second Infantry Division from 1953 can put down anything you want,’” said to 1954. George. “I came up with a football with a Following his military time, George crown on it, and 'AFL' and 'NFL' on each became the head groundskeeper for the side. It looked great.” Detroit Tigers. In 1955, Detroit sent him to George continued to do all 57 Super Bowls. work on the field of the Buffalo Bisons. In He and his crew never spent more than February February 2024 2024

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$1,000 preparing the first 27 Super Bowls. “Now, we’re spending about a million dollars on the playing field, and they’re not as good as the fields in the early days,” he said. George met quite a few football players and coaches during the Super Bowl. He met Baltimore Ravens Head Coach, John Harbough, during a Super Bowl in Atlanta. Harbough gave George three hugs that day: one from him, one from his wife and the last one for his grandfather. The third hug was for George letting Harbough’s grandfather cut the grass at the Super Bowl at Stanford University between the Miami Dolphins

and the San Francisco 49ers. He also recalls NFL star Warren Sapp carrying him on his shoulders in honor of his work on the field. He became good friends with Al Davis, who owned the Oakland Raiders and Charlie O’Finley, who owned the Oakland A’s. “O’Finley was the greatest owner I ever met in my life,” said George. George remembers back in the 1960s when O’Finley allowed Black students in the A’s neighborhood to become part of George’s crew to maintain Oakland’s municipal stadium. “The Black students can drag that infield in the tenth inning in 21 seconds,” said George. “They can put the tarp down in 45 seconds.” More than 35 years ago, after attending a convention in Kansas City, George got together with fellow groundskeepers, Dick Ericson of the Minnesota Twins/Vikings, Harry Gill of the Milwaukee Brewers and Dr. Dan Daniels,



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professor at Perdue University and formed an organization called the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA.) The organization helps sports managers prepare a beautiful field. The organization currently has over 3,000 members and holds a national convention every year. During the

ball field in Gezer, Israel for the Macabee Games. He met a young boy, whom he tossed pebbles with in the field. The lad later became a pitching coach for the Cincinnati Reds.

convention, awards are presented including the George P. Toma Golden Rake Award, presented to someone who ‘does groundskeeping and then some.’ George has rehabbed sports fields ever since the 80s when he was sent to Candlestick Park in San Francisco, which was muddy at the time. “I couldn’t do much there,” he said. “All I did was take a machine that punched holes in the ground.” George and his crew filled the holes with calcined clay. Before the game, the fans gave the crew a standing ovation. Other rehabilitations included the Olympic Stadium during the 1996 Games and in Baton Rouge, Louisiana preparing the field for the New Orleans Saints after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. George’s profession has also taken him around the world. In 1997, he built a base-

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George currently lives in Westwood, Kansas with his second wife, Donna Toma, a real estate agent for Better Homes & Gardens. His three sons include Chip (age 67), who is a retired head groundskeeper for the NFL; Rick (age 59) who was a lieutenant in the US Army and tank commander in Desert Storm; and Ryan (age 40), who is a pilot for Delta International Airlines. George also has seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Although he hasn’t lived there since the 1950s, George still has close ties with Wyoming Valley. A lot of people ask George where his home is. “I always say Wilkes-Barre and Edwardsville, Pennsylvania in Wyoming Valley, he said. George was honored to be inducted into the Luzerne County Sports Hall of Fame. When he dies he plans to be buried at St. John’s Cemetery in Pringle. “It’s a big hill, the cemetery,” he said. “I’ll be able to look over a huge part of Wyoming Valley, the valley with a heart,” he said. H – Ben Freda



Who is the cutest of them all?



Anja enjoys car rides, walks and belly rubs from the Konopki family of Plains.

Brody loves his brothers, snacks and snuggles. He lives with the Moyer family in Clarks Summit.

DJ Catnip and Boris Karloff The Graham family from Waverly claim that DJ Catnip and Boris Karloff love wrestling with each other and cuddling under blankets.


Duncan Duncan is a happy, playful boy who lives with the Grzyboski family of Moosic. He enjoys playdates with his neighbor.

“The Kennel Alternative”

Denver & Phoenix Denver and Phoenix live with the Sites family of Monroeton. They love playing fetch and cuddles.

Guermo Guermo likes walks, car rides and bacon according to Kara Miele and Lily Rose of Scranton.

in... s arhee Month e t o v The ’s Pet of t

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Merle Dixon

Harley hails from Lake Ariel where she lives with the Stacey family. She is very spoiled and loved.

Meeko is a gentle giant who hails from Wilkes-Barre. The Otero family claims that he loves to go for walks in his kitty stroller and play in his kitty tent.

Merle Dixon lives with the Graham family of South Abington Township. He loves watching birdie and squirrel videos that put him in a place of zen.




Milo lives with the Otero family in Wilkes-Barre. He is in love with fuzzy blankets and sitting next to heat of any kind!

Seamus enjoys eating whipped cream out the can, according to the Babushko family of Factoryville.

Toto lives with the Propes family in Lake Ariel. She has a lot of energy and loves to go on adventures.


Dickson City







p u p p y p a r a d i s e . o r g

magically make everything


look bright By Christine Fanning

n the early days of the pandemic, six friends gathered around a fire ring, playing music and having fun.

“We weren't a band yet. We were simply in good spirits, singing, dancing and playing guitar. It was parlor music without the piano and in the woods. We surprised ourselves, it sounded pretty good,” said Meredith Ian, who sings background vocals in the band which became The Lanterns. The music that The Lanterns play is roots rock, a genre of rock music pulled from numerous decades. “In our sets you’ll hear everything—spanning the likes of Irving Berlin, Bob Dylan, The Grateful Dead, Gospel and music from New Orleans to Texarkana, all with


the color of The Lanterns sound.” The vocals feature three-part harmonies throughout, plus some special flourishes from the group's background vocalist and “rabble rouser”, Tom Kulesza. There is also bass guitar, rhythm guitar and percussion. “Sometimes we also feature special guest additions to the band, for example, a fiddle. We are open to meeting new soloists, who fit with our sound and are passionate about music, to sit in with us.” Joe Tristano , (lead vocals and guitar), searched for new songs in “vast hunting grounds.” Of all the quotes about lanterns, the phrase “a lantern is rooked when idled” reminded him that a lantern needs to be ignited in order to be used. “Joe shared


this with us,” said Meredith, “and it sparked more stories about lanterns, which serendipitously led to us choosing the name of the band.” There was one song, never shared, a dissonant Hokey Pokey, jagged not jaunty. It was like Tom Waits (American musician whose lyrics often focus on the underbelly of society and delivered in a deep gravelly voice – wikipedia) had put his left foot in and shook it all about. The unusual phrase in the lyrics: “a lantern is rooked when idled had Joe writing the phrase, not the title or artist, in his journal of potential songs to learn. He was intrigued by the word ‘rooked’, but the song was too clunky to sing around the fire. He shared the phrase with Meredith, and she said it reminded her of a story her

February 2024

grandmother once told. The story was about a carnival that visits a village and one performer creates an illusion involving light. During the show, the villagers go into a frenzy and can’t be stopped until the lantern is extinguished. “That’s it!” Meredith said, “The Lanterns!” That night, they gathered again around the fire ring and shared the story with the group. Alina recalled a fairy tale about a magic lantern that made everything look better than it actually was, making people happier. Meredith asked, “So, what do you all think?” Joanne said, “Well that’s obvious,” gesturing toward the fire, and Tom said, “Well folks, looks like we’ve got

ourselves a band name.” Soon after, Gene Hopkins joined the band, adding rhythm and color to the original sound. The Lanterns were ready to leave the fire ring and bring their music to NEPA. Beside Joe Tristano, (lead vocals, guitar;)

are Alina Reznitskaya, background vocals; Gene Hopkins, bass; and Joanne Weiss, (percussion). The band members are all from the Honesdale area. “We all live in the woods, and are big lovers of the outdoors and we still practice in the woods. “ Meredith said. “Our music is upbeat and designed for a good time and our fondest wish is to make new friends to dance with us.”

Meredith Ian, (background vocals;) Tom Kulesza, (background vocals;), other members

The Lanterns have played throughout Wayne and Sulllivan counties and are currently working on their 2024 season schedule. Follow the band on Facebook or Instagram for gig alerts and bookings for private parties. Check out YouTube to view the Lanterns playing at The Cochecton Pumphouse in Cochecton, New York; The Cooperage Project in Honesdale; The Wallenpaupack Brewery in Hawley, and a private party in Lake Ariel. H Band photos credit @jtotheshooter February 2024



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February 2024

The nation’s post-World War I prosperity was still at its height in 1925, when the planning stages of Skytop began. John Stubbs, Frederic Smith, Earl Mayne and Sam Packer had an idea to build a grand resort in the Poconos on a high plateau three miles north of the village of Canadensis.

February 2024




around the Region

1818 Deli & Catering Co. – Breakfast, lunch & catering. Stop in for a bite, stock up the fridge, or cater your party. Excellent coffee, soups, salads, sandwiches & more. 1818 Sullivan Trail. 570-629DELI (3354). Hours: www.1818deli.com. Abbiocco Try our signature dishes, such as Chicken Abbiocco, manicotti or blackened salmon. BYOB. Text Abbiocco to 51660 to receive our texts every Wednesday or see weekly specials. Tues-Thurs. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. and Fri. and Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., 639 N. Blvd., Clarks Summit. www.abbiocco.net 570-319-9633. Alter House Restaurant & Bar Introducing a farm-to-table restaurant with a vibrant ambiance! Enjoy our delectable cuisine made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Join us for a lively happy hour, indulge in our delightful Sunday brunch, and groove to live entertainment. Our versatile venue is perfect for hosting events. Open Thursday through Sunday for your enjoyment!

Anthony's Restaurant Anthony’s menu offers a variety of steaks, seafood and Italian specialities. Enjoy classic Old Forge pizza along with their popular thin crust. Dine in one of three elegant dining areas, including a full-service bar featuring speciality cocktails and a skillfully curated selection of wines. Hours are WednesdaySunday, 4 - 9 p.m. 202 S Main St, Old Forge, PA 570-451-0925. Barley Creek Brewing Co & Distillery Try our hospitality, it pairs well with our award-winning handcrafted brews, spirits and atmosphere. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner Hours: www.barleycreek.com 1774 Sullivan Trail, Tannersville 570-629-9399 Barley Creek Tasting Room & Pub @ The Crossings Grab a bite to eat and taste our PA craft brews, spirits, wines and cocktails. Check out our unique beer gear gift shop. Located at the Crossings Factory Outlets. 272-200-2922. Hours: www.barleycreektastingroom.com.

Mendicino’s Pizza and Family Restaurant Pizza, pasta, hoagies and more! Daily lunch and dinner specials. Full menu, dine in,take out and curbside available. Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Fri. and Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Closed Sundays. Located in the ShopRite Complex, Covington Twp. www.mendicinospizza.com 570-842-2070. Sibio’s Restaurant Our fettuccine Alfredo is a customer favorite! Lunch and dinner regular hours, full menu with specials. 1240 Quincy Ave., Dunmore. Sibiosrestaurant.com 570-346-3172. Stirna’s Our Stirnaburger is full 1/4 lb. top choice ground beef with tomato, bacon and American or Swiss on a semi-hard roll. Wed.-Sat. 4 p.m.-9 p.m. 120 W. Market St. Scranton. On/off premise catering daily. 570-961-9681.

Which restaurants should appear here? Call us at 570-587-3532 or email: info@happeningspa.com

February 2024



Everyone knows that chocolate is a classic on Valentine’s Day. Something about its smooth, decadent flavor makes it a bit sensual, especially when sharing it with someone special. Add strawberries for variation and it is a delicious nobake dessert.

Courtesy of JoAnn Finnerty, Bella Faccias







Chocolate Ganache Tart Preparation

: ookie Crust Chocolate C 36 Oreos elted ed butter, m lt sa n u k ic 1 st ling: Ganache Fil rsweet quality bitte * d o o g z. o 2 te 1 eet chocola or semi-sw avy) (Light or He m a e cr s p 1 ½ cu ocolate (gourmet) ch *Good quality is recipe! th is a must for

Cookie Crust: Add Oreos to bowl of food processor and pulse until fine crumbs. Transfer crumbs to a medium bowl, add melted butter and mix until well combined. Press mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of an 11-inch tart pan. Place crust in refrigerator for one hour before adding filling. Ganache Filling: Chop chocolate (if large pieces) and place in a heat-proof bowl with cream. Microwave and heat until cream boils. Whisk until smooth and chocolate is melted. Pour filling into prepared cookie crust. Place in refrigerator until set, about 4-6 hours or overnight. It is best to make tart ahead of time. When ganache is set, top chocolate tart with whipped cream or cool whip. Variations: Top tart with sliced strawberries and drizzle with chocolate. Substitute graham crackers for Oreo cookie crust if less chocolate flavor is preferred.


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