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Vet group flags available

Order forms and a postage-paid return envelope for Memorial Day flags and markers were recently mailed to all American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts in Lackawanna County.

The Lackawanna County Bureau of Veterans Affairs encourages organizations to return forms as soon as possible so that the overall order can be submitted early.

The office is trying to avoid supply shortages or delivery problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The office will notify everyone when the shipment arrives and provide information on where to collect it so that the various organizations and groups can begin preparing the cemeteries for Memorial Day.

Program helps struggling teenagers

Keystone State ChalleNGe Academy is accepting applications for its first-ever class of cadets in July 2022.

Keystone State ChalleNGe Academy is designed to give academically challenged teenagers a second chance to receive their undergraduate education, learning leadership, self-discipline and responsibility as they work towards completing their education and building a better future.

The opening of the academy at Fort Indiantown Gap in County Lebanon officially establishes the National Guard Bureau’s Youth ChalleNGe Program

in Pennsylvania.

The program is open to 16- to 18-year-old Pennsylvania residents who are not making progress in high school or may not be on a clear path to graduation. Applicants must be willing to be drug free, free of criminal convictions, and voluntarily join the program. The program lasts 17 months, with the first five months consisting of residential training at FTIG, followed by a year of community mentoring.

“Sometimes teenagers take the wrong path and don’t reach their potential in life,” said Stephen Radulski, KSCA director. “This academy offers the disconnected youth of the Commonwealth a second chance, one that will help them fulfill their potential as productive citizens both socially and educationally. We encourage anyone who thinks they are suitable to attend the academy to apply immediately.”

You can find detailed admission requirements and the start of the application process at: KSCA application. If you would prefer to have an application mailed, or would like to speak to someone about this program, please email [email protected] or call 717-861-7767 or 717-861- 8831 to the Academy.

The KSCA is a joint effort of the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and the National Guard Bureau in consultation with the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Cadets are introduced to the military structure and focus on eight core components: academic excellence; Physical fitness; leadership/followership; responsible citizenship; Job skills; service to the community; health and hygiene and coping skills. Graduates often receive high school credits, diplomas, or a GED. There are no tuition fees for participation. Meals, lodging, uniforms and school supplies are provided free of charge.

Since the program began in 1993, more than 179,000 young people nationwide have completed the ChalleNGe program. This award-winning program has been recognized as one of the nation’s most effective and cost-effective programs for youth who have dropped out of school or are at greatest risk of not making satisfactory progress, are unemployed or underemployed.

The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program currently operates 40 Youth Challenge locations in 31 states and territories. The program is funded by both the federal and state governments.

Visit, or for more details.

PennDOT offers services online

Residents have a wealth of convenient transaction options available from the comfort of their own home thanks to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s website.

Customers can obtain a variety of driver and vehicle products and services, including all forms, publications and driver training materials, at

Driver and vehicle online services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and include renewal of non-commercial driver’s licenses, photo IDs and vehicle registrations; driver history services; changes of address; letters for the recovery of driving licenses and vehicle registrations; Ability to pay driver’s license or vehicle insurance reinstatement fee; Duplicate driver’s license and photo ID; and driver test planning. Additionally, customers can upload their emergency contact information, giving law enforcement the ability to quickly reach someone to speak for the individual if they are unable to speak for themselves. The information provided is stored in a secure database that only law enforcement agencies can access. There are no additional fees for using online services.

“PennDOT is proud to offer our customers comprehensive online services such as such as vehicle and driver’s license renewals, address changes, and more,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “However, it is important that customers ensure they are on PennDOT’s official website before completing a transaction.”

Third-party websites may appear official and often pay search engines to appear at the top of search results for common terms such as “renew vehicle registration” or “driver’s license”. Many third-party sites charge additional fees for completing transactions – there are no additional service or convenience fees for completing online transactions on PennDOT’s website.

To make sure you’re on PennDOT’s official website:

Instead of using a search engine to reach the PennDOT Driver and Vehicle Services website, enter the web address

  • straight to the address bar of your browser.
  • PennDOT does not charge any additional service or transaction fees for completing online transactions. If you are being charged additional fees, you are not on the PennDOT website.
  • Look for the words “An Official Pennsylvania Government Website” in the upper left corner. Many Commonwealth websites display these words as an extra security measure.

If a customer has concerns about a third-party website, they can contact the PA Attorney General Bureau of Consumer Protection at 1-800-441-2555 or visit their website.

Wright Center doc receives new certification


dr Linda Thomas-Hemak, President and CEO of the Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education, recently earned Board Certification in Obesity Medicine, better prepared to help patients manage obesity and its many comorbidities, and help them lose weight .

Obesity — the nation’s most prevalent chronic disease — is linked to many of the leading causes of preventable, premature death, yet physicians and patients sometimes struggle to address the sensitive issue head-on and create plans that enable long-term success.

Thomas-Hemak received certification from the Colorado-based American Board of Obesity Medicine, which provides physicians with the knowledge and tools to help patients struggling with the complex problem of obesity. The condition is associated with a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, sleep apnea, arthritis, certain cancers, and many more comorbidities. According to ABOM’s website, two-thirds of US patients are either overweight or obese.

Obesity Medicine is Thomas-Hemak’s fourth board certification. She is also a specialist in internal medicine, pediatrics and addiction medicine.

Thomas-Hemak teaches and provides comprehensive primary health care, including addiction and recovery and weight-related services at the Mid Valley Practice of the Wright Center for Community Health in Jermyn, and provides treatments for multigenerational families and individuals of all ages.

Wright Center healthcare providers are increasingly emphasizing prevention to improve the health of residents of Northeast Pennsylvania. In 2020, the Wright Center introduced both a lifestyle medicine curriculum in its graduate medical education programs and a related lifestyle medicine service line for the benefit of patients.

For more information or to schedule an appointment at the Wright Center for Community Health’s Mid Valley Practice, visit or call 570-230-0019.

About Cindy Johnson

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