Gallup: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Well-Being Could Be Worse, But Not Much

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton area’s overall well-being could be worse, but not much.

The metropolitan area ranked 94th overall out of 100 communities in the U.S. in Gallup opinion poll “State of American Well-Being: 2014 Community Well-Being Rankings.”

The survey issued Tuesday compares how people feel about and experience their daily lives in five areas:

■ Purpose: Liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goal.

■ Social: Having supportive relationships and love in your life.

Read more:

http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/gallup-scranton-wb-well-being-could-be-worse-but-not-much-1.1860711

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Northeastern Pennsylvania Population Drops Slightly As South Population Rises

A lot of people in this part of the nation swore they’d move south during this year’s harsh winter. It appears many of them already have.

According to estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau, warm regions regained population growth momentum last year that was lost during the recession. But population fell in the area comprised of Luzerne, Lackawanna and Wyoming counties.

Fourteen of the 20 fastest-growing metropolitan areas were in Florida, Texas or the Carolinas, led by The Villages near Orlando, which grew by 5.4 percent between July 1, 2013 and July 1, 2014. In contrast, the fastest-growing metro areas in Pennsylvania grew by 0.6 percent.

The bureau estimated that the population in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area fell by 2,159, or 0.4 percent over the year. Within the three-county region, Lackawanna County lost the most, 1,115, or 0.5 percent. Luzerne County’s population declined 1,033, or 0.3 percent, and Wyoming County’s was relatively unchanged.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/152599118/

Susquehanna River Ice Jam Grows To 11 Miles

A massive ice jam clogged the Susquehanna River for miles through the heart of Wyoming County on Tuesday, keeping riverfront residents and emergency management officials on edge.

The National Weather Service extended a flood warning for central Wyoming County, as well as low-lying areas immediately downriver in Lackawanna and Luzerne counties, another 24 hours until tonight at 7:15.

“We’re stable for now, but that could change in the snap of a finger,” Wyoming County EMA director Gene Dziak said. “The unpredictability of this thing is just incredible. You just don’t know what it’s going to do.”

The ice jam formed Monday on the river just south of the area in Tunkhannock Twp. where Route 307 intersects Route 92. By late Tuesday afternoon, broken ice behind the jam was backed up to the Vosburg Neck area of Washington Twp., a distance of 11 miles.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/susquehanna-ice-jam-grows-to-11-miles-1.1849795

Turning Off The Gas: Region’s Last Exploratory Natural Gas Well To Be Plugged

Since the Marcellus Shale drilling boom started in 2008, seven natural gas wells have been drilled in and around Luzerne and Lackawanna counties.

Six of them were plugged when they failed to produce enough gas to market.

This week, the seventh — WPX Energy’s Martin well on state Route 487 in Sugarloaf Township, Columbia County, between Ricketts Glen and Benton — will also be shut down for good.

“From what I understand, we’re the last well to be plugged,” WPX Energy spokeswoman Susan Oliver said.

Read more:

http://citizensvoice.com/news/turning-off-the-gas-region-s-last-exploratory-natural-gas-well-to-be-plugged-1.1837326

Report: NEPA Region Lags In Advanced-Skilled Jobs

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton area ranks near the bottom of the list of jobs leading the recovery that promise to revitalize the nation’s economy, according to a report from the Brookings Institution.

The Report, “America’s Advanced Industries: What they are, where they are, and why they matter” looked at those jobs in the nation’s 100 largest metros and ranked Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metro area 92nd.

These important jobs are leaving the area, the report noted, with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s employment in advanced industries falling about 2 percent every year.

Many terms have been used to describe the important sector: high-tech, STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) and now “advanced industries.” What makes understanding the sector more complex is that the field cuts across 50 industries from certain types of manufacturing and energy to computer software design and health care. A STEM job could be found just about anywhere, such as a computer programmer for a trucking company.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/report-nepa-region-lags-in-advanced-skilled-jobs-1.1826843

NEPA Gets Extra $500M For Projects

Counties constituting Northeastern Pennsylvania

Counties constituting Northeastern Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Northeastern Pennsylvania will get nearly $500 million more than expected for transportation projects over the next 12 years.

In 2012, area planners expected to spend $1.56 billion on transportation infrastructure in Lackawanna, Luzerne, Wyoming, Wayne, Pike and Susquehanna counties from 2013 through 2025, state Department of Transportation spokesman Michael Taluto said.

Gov. Tom Corbett signed the new transportation funding package in November, and transportation planners in the six counties recently allocated $2.03 billion to largely fix up the area’s roads and bridges from 2015 through 2027.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/nepa-gets-extra-500m-for-projects-1.1757716

Unemployment In Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Metro Area Down, Lowest Since October 2008

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The unemployment rate in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area edged down by one-tenth of 1 percent in July to 6.8 percent, the lowest since October 2008, according to figures released today by the state Department of Labor & Industry.

A year earlier, the rate was 9 percent.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/news/50204988/Unemployment-in-the-region-down-lowest-since-October-2008#.U_z2hvRDsxI

Tornado Confirmed Near New Albany: Over 1,000 Customers Remained Without Power Wednesday

Map of Bradford County, Pennsylvania, USA with...

Map of Bradford County, Pennsylvania, USA with township and municipal bondaries. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado touched down near New Albany Tuesday evening.

Tuesday’s storms blew a mobile home on Marsh Road off its foundation, collapsed a barn across the street, knocked down trees and power lines in several areas and caused the loss of power to thousands of electric customers, over 1,000 of whom were still without power Wednesday.

Downed trees and other storm damage was also reported in Overton Township, in the Wyalusing area and in Sullivan County.

A National Weather Service storm survey team confirmed Wednesday that a tornado occurred Tuesday in the New Albany area with damage of EF-1 magnitude, according to the NWS at Binghamton, N.Y. An EF-1 tornado has wind speeds of 86 to 110 miles per hour.

Read more: http://thedailyreview.com/news/tornado-confirmed-near-new-albany-over-1-000-customers-remained-without-power-wednesday-1.1716593

Northeastern Pa. Jobless Rate Falls

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA – Following a recent pattern, the unemployment rate in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre market fell in May, but so did the number of people with jobs.

The 7.2 percent rate was down one-tenth of 1 percent from April and 1.9 percentage points from the May 2013 rate of 9.1 percent, the state Department of Labor and Industry said. But the region that includes Luzerne, Lackawanna and Wyoming counties maintained the unenviable distinction of having the highest jobless rate in Pennsylvania.

Both the size of the labor force – people working or looking for work – and the number of people with jobs fell compared to April and over the year. So, while 6,100 fewer people were reported as unemployed than last May, some of them may have given up looking for work.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/business/1509561/Northeastern-Pa.-jobless-rate-falls

Study Showing Area’s Shaky Economy No Surprise

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Frank Nemeth, of Wilkes-Barre, doesn’t need a study to tell him the region is in rough shape.

Nemeth works at the Main Street Trading Post, a pawn shop south of Public Square, and he said his job has exposed him to the harsh realities of the city’s economy.

“I don’t see any recovery happening,” he said.

Instead, Nemeth said he sees some of the same people everyday — sometimes two or three times — trying to sell their belongings to afford necessities like food and gas.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/news/1334175/Study-showing-areas-shaky-economy-no-surprise

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Forbes Magazine Ranks Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 8th Best Place To Raise A Family

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Diamond City Partnership Executive Director Larry Newman said Friday he wishes he could be more enthusiastic about the Forbes Magazine ranking that put the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton metropolitan area as the eighth best place in the U.S. to raise a family.

“It’s difficult to get enthusiastic about these types of rankings because they come out a lot,” Newman said. “And they’re becoming increasingly more frequent. But don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that we’re being recognized in a positive way.”

The Forbes list had this to say about the region:

“One of the lowest median family incomes ($42,000) among U.S. metro areas, but crime is low, commutes are short and housing is affordable (87 percent of area homes are affordable at the median income level).

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1337182/Region-gets-high-praise-from-Forbes

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Poll: Those In NEPA Among Most Miserable In U.S.

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Lancaster, PA ranked 21st on the list 🙂  The happiest of any Pennsylvania Metropolitan Area.  Hey now!

People in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metropolitan area are among the most miserable in the nation, according to a report that ranks the area 177th out of 189 it surveyed to gauge residents’ sense of well-being.

Their continuing economic downslide, bad memories, misperceptions and even a lack of sunlight may play a part in Northeast Pennsylvanians’ gloomy outlook, some local experts say in commenting on the State of American Well-Being, the report released last week by Gallup and Healthways.

The highest-ranked area was Provo-Orem, Utah, and the lowest-ranked was the Huntington, W.Va.-Ashland, Ky. area. More than 178,000 people across the country were interviewed last year, including a sample size of 1,092 from the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area.

The survey asked people to rate their life evaluation – a combination of current situation evaluation and the anticipated situation in five years – emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors and basic access to health care and other necessities.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/poll-those-in-nepa-among-most-miserable-in-u-s-1.1663838

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Texting Citations In Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Area Drop

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Texting while driving citations for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metro area dropped 29 percent in one year, but the region still ranks 8th-worst in the state, according to data from compiled by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, the Philadelphia police and the U.S. Census Bureau.

There were 37 citations in Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wyoming counties from March 2013 through February – one citation fewer than the Lancaster metro area, though Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metro area has 36,806 more residents, There were 52 citations from March 2012 to Feb. 2013, making the metro area the 6th-worst in the state in 2013. The Philadelphia and Pittsburgh metro areas maintained the one and two spots respectively, though their populations are far greater.

No one reason can be attributed for the year’s decline in citations, area law enforcement officials said. An optimist might attribute part of it to increased awareness in the dangers of texting while driving, Lackawanna County Deputy District Attorney Robert Klein said. One reason may be a reduction of crashes caused by texting. Another reason could be as simple as fewer drivers getting caught.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/texting-citations-in-w-b-scranton-area-drop-1.1655025

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Wyoming Valley To See Up To 4 Inches Of Snow

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA – As the saying goes, March is coming in like a lion.

Three to four inches of snow is expected in the Wyoming Valley Sunday into Monday, according to a spokesman for the National Weather Service. The storm comes on the heels of a week of bone-chilling temperatures.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news//1228564/Wyoming-Valley-to-see-up-to-4-inches-of-snow

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Local Unemployment Rate Lowest Since July 2009

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The tri-county area including Luzerne, Wyoming and Lackawanna ended 2013 just like it began, with the highest unemployment rate of the state’s 14 metropolitan statistical areas. December also marked the 45th month in a row the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton region held that distinction.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/business/1171547/Local-unemployment-rate-lowest-since-July-2009

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Online Publication: Scranton Is Nation’s Most Hungover City

picture-0571Sam Bernardini had the Bog pretty much to himself Wednesday night.

The Scranton was packed with New Year’s Eve revelers the night before, but Bernardini rang in 2014 at home.

“Amateurs go out on New Year’s Eve,” he said, one of four patrons at the bar. Few city watering holes were open, and those that were had far more barstools than customers, suggesting that a study published by Business Insider might have merit.

The online publication ranked Scranton the “Most Hungover City in America” in a list of 25 communities where citizens were likely to be nursing sore heads and queasy stomachs Wednesday morning.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/online-publication-scranton-is-nation-s-most-hungover-city-1.1610427

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Area Bridges Are On Replacement List

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The state’s $2.4 billion transportation funding law will enable the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to use its Rapid Bridge Replacement Project on at least 200 more bridges than originally planned.

Among the 998 bridges eligible for replacement are eight in Luzerne County, seven in Lackawanna County and four in Wyoming County.

The project that will reconstruct at least 500 structurally deficient bridges of similar design across the state involves PennDOT reaching out to the private sector to submit statements of qualification.

Erin Waters, a PennDOT spokeswoman, said those interested in bidding must submit their statements of qualifications to the agency by Jan.31.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news/1052771/Area-bridges-are-on-replacement-list

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Metro Area Food Stamp Use Up 75 Percent In 5 Years

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Food stamp distribution in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metro area exploded by 75 percent between 2007 and 2012.

The number of households receiving federal assistance under the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program ballooned to 35,256 in 2012 from 20,195 in 2007, Census Bureau data reveal.

SNAP stamp benefits in 2012 went to 14 percent of the residences in Lackawanna County, 17 percent in Luzerne County and 20 percent in Wyoming County. More than 90,300 people in the metro area participate in the food-stamp program, according to federal data cited by U.S. Sen. Bob Casey’s office.

“Those numbers are staggering,” said Teri Ooms, director of the Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development, a regional research and analysis organization. “This is the eroding of the middle class.”

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/food-stamp-use-up-75-percent-in-5-years-1.1583475

Officials Break Ground On McGowan Center In Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

JENKINS TOWNSHIP, PA – Officials from the Commission on Economic Opportunity broke ground Monday for a $6.4 million center in CenterPoint Commerce and Trade Park East named after the late Monsignor Andrew J. McGowan and aimed at providing healthy food for the needy.

When completed next spring, the Monsignor Andrew J. McGowan Center for Healthy Living will store and distribute healthy food products for about 80,000 low-income residents of Luzerne, Lackawanna, Susquehanna and Wyoming counties, with an emphasis on children and the elderly.

The center also will provide nutritional information, said principal speaker Sue Gin McGowan, sister-in-law of the late Monsignor McGowan and wife of the late William McGowan, an Ashley native and business leader.

Sue Gin McGowan, president of the board of the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund, a major benefactor of the new center, said the new facility will dramatically expand the reach of the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Food Bank, which already serves Northeastern Pennsylvania’s neediest.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/officials-break-ground-on-mcgowan-center-1.1538590

Pipeline Giant Putting Down Roots In Tunkhannock

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Wyoming County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Wyoming County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

TUNKHANNOCK — Two months ago, Helen Humphreys sat in her cluttered Williams Energy field office downtown in this Wyoming County borough surrounded by exhibit displays and stacks of binders.

Outside the room, clerical employees and field workers shuffled around each other in the converted credit union building. Technicians’ gear and road signs were stacked in corners neatly, but obviously out of place in the former bank.

It was not a scene you’d expect for an operator of some of the country’s largest pipeline systems. Williams has grown from six employees in Northeastern Pennsylvania to more than 100 in a 2 1/2 years, and the growth has inspired construction of the company’s new field office on the outskirts of town, said Mike Dickinson, a Williams operations manager.

Humphreys, a strategic outreach coordinator for the company, kicked off a ceremonial groundbreaking Monday to announce Williams’ new 30,000-square-foot field office to be completed by spring 2014.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/711932/Pipeline-giant-putting-down-roots-in-Tunkhannock