Dunmorean of the Month: Maria MacDonald

Maria MacDonald 1By Steve Svetovich

Dunmore’s Maria Pane MacDonald, program director for interior architecture at Marywood University School of Architecture, was named executive director of the national nonprofit, Center for the Living City.

The Center for the Living City was founded 15 years ago by friends of urban journalist and community activist Jane Jacobs who grew up in Dunmore.

Daughter of Michaelene and the late Francis Pane, MacDonald is a lifelong Dunmore resident and very proud of her roots in the borough.

“I see a lot of great architecture in Dunmore,” she said. “We have some great buildings and homes. But it is the community of Dunmore and the people in it who stand apart. All of the great things that are said about Dunmore and its citizens are true. This a borough I grew up in and never left.” 

MacDonald, who grew up in the same block in Dunmore as Jacobs, will become only the second director for the Center for the Living City organization. 

She replaces the center’s founding executive director, Stephen Goldsmith, who is stepping aside to focus his time on advancing the Center’s global Observation and Action Network. Goldsmith will remain on the center’s board of directors.

MacDonald is the founder of the Marywood University School of Architecture.

She continues to work as a practicing architect and specializes in adaptive reuse, preservation and restoration projects.

The Center for the Living City is a United States based nonprofit launched in 2005 by a group of activists, practitioners and teachers. It holds the distinction of being the only urbanist organization founded in collaboration with Jacobs.

The center’s governing board selected MacDonald from a strong field of more than 70 applicants.

Well versed and thought provoking, MacDonald received bachelor of arts degrees in both architecture and interior architecture from the University of Rhode Island School of Design, where she received the Excellence in Design award for her work on the “Reclamation of Forgotten Spaces.”

She utilizes a holistic, integrative design approach that aims to strengthen the relationships between the allied design disciplines and people and and the environments in which they live.

“I am thrilled to have been selected to work with the center’s board and staff to advance the mission,” MacDonald said. “This is an exciting time for Dunmore and Scranton and all of the universites and nonprofits.” 

MacDonald throughout her career has been team leader for many significant community projects. As an educator, her intense focus is on service and community outreach, providing community-based, experiential learning opportunities for her students and the people in the communities where they work.

She served for the past 15 years as Interior Architecture Program Director at Marywood University. She steered the program successfully through two full NASAD accreditations. 

“I am very proud to be a Dunmorean,” she said. “Jane Jacobs grew up on Monroe Avenue in Dunmore and I grew up and still live on Clay Avenue in Dunmore. She is an internationally known Urbanist and I am grateful to follow in her legacy.”

MacDonald has two sons. Her older son Neil MacDonald, 26, is a chemical engineer. Her younger son Ethan, 21, is a senior aerospace engineering major at the University of Maryland. Both are Scranton Prep graduates.

Her mom is a lifelong and proud Dunmore native. Her late dad died when she was young.

“We have a lot of great buildings in Dunmore,” MacDonald said. “that we can renovate and live in.

“We are now recognized both locally and on the international level. I think that is pretty great. We should be proud to maintain our identity. I am very proud to be a part of the Dunmore community my entire life.

“It is not a myth that we all know each other and you look out for your neighbors in Dunmore. We in Dunmore give back. There is a reason I never left Dunmore.”

The Marywood University School of Architecture is accredited with over 350 current enrolled students, MacDonald said.

MacDonald is a 1985 graduate of Dunmore High School. 

Dunmorean of the Month: Jerry Ferrario

By Steve SvetovichFerrario

Dunmore’s Jerry Ferrario is a local real estate developer who uses his skills to better the community.

Ferrario, 57, a Dunmore High School and Villanova University graduate with a bachelor of science degree. in finance, has been a real estate developer for the past three decades.

Married to his grade school friend and high school sweetheart, the former Nadine Lucas, the couple has three children: Jerry, 22, a graduate in economics from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School; Thomas, 21, a senior business major at the University of Miami; and William, a computer science major at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. All are Scranton Prep graduates. 

Ferrario and his brother Joe, 56, also a Dunmore graduate, rented the space and are the real estate developers of Monroe Plaza, the site of the old Price Chopper in Dunmore. His brother graduated from the University of Scranton with a bachelor of science. in business management.

The Ferrario brothers are equal business partners. Michael Marion, Scranton, is a minority partner in the Monroe Plaza development. 

Jerry’s focus for the past 30 years has been on commercial development in Dunmore. The lifelong Dunmore resident takes great pride in the this community. He regularly focuses on projects for the betterment of the borough.

Michele Neary, vice president of marketing for United Gilsonite Laboratories, works close to the Monroe Plaza. “Jerry has his focus on the betterment of the community,” she said.

“A true testament to that are the beautiful townhouses on Sherwood Avenue which was previously an abandoned building. Jerry is the developer there.

“We are blessed to have residents who want to bring lucrative businesses to Dunmore and beautify the community.

“As a member of the local business community, it is refreshing to have a business leader like Jerry who gives back double what he receives.”

After graduating from Villanova, Ferrario came back home and joined Ferrario Insurance and Real Estate which his late grandfather, Angelo, started and ran until his dad took over. He and his brother Joe operated the business after his late dad Jerry, Sr.

But real estate development and improving the Dunmore community was in his veins.

He developed 10 townhouses on Sherwood Avenue in 2008-2009. Currently nine are occupied and one is available. There is approval to build another six, he said. 

The Monroe Plaza is 44,000 square feet, of which 32,000 square feet are occupied, he said.

“There is 12,000 square feet vacant, but we have some interested tenants,” Ferrario said.

The current tenants of Monroe Plaza include Traditional Home Health Care, Great Wall Chinese Restaurant, Saint Joseph’s Day Care Center, Podiatrist Elmo Baldassari, Brian Clark Architecture, a mortgage company and the Haggerty, Hinton and Cosgrove Law Firm.

“My goal is always to help make Dunmore a better community,” Ferrario said. 

“I take a lot of pride in living in this community. We have really good people here. My brother is an equal partner. And Michael Marion is a big help as a minority partner. We are always looking to improve the Dunmore community.” 

Dunmorean of the Month: Sarah Naro

naroBy Steve Svetovich

When Dunmore’s Sarah Naro received her bachelor of science degree in nursing from Marywood University four years ago, she did not envision herself working during a world pandemic, but here she is.

Sarah, 30, takes her role as a home health registered nurse very seriously. She was more than prepared when the Covid-19 Virus hit the Northeast PA region.

A home health nurse for Comprehensive Home Health Services, Dupont, Sarah sees patients in the comforts of their home all day during her travels. Most of her patients are in Lackawanna County, but she also sees patients in Luzerne, Monroe, Wayne and Wyoming Counties.

Daughter of Lisa and Paul Rome, she is married to Jeff Naro, a 2006 Dunmore High School graduate. The couple has two boys and one girl, Mason, 7, Giovanni, 4, and Calli, 5. Mason and Calli are students at the Dunmore Elementary School. 

Her husband is the son of Sal and Theresa Naro, Dunmore. 

Sarah said she had a strong feeling since January that Covid-19 was coming to this country and she was preparing for it.

“I was tracking it quite a bit before it came to the United States,” she said. “I was tracking China and knew about it. I already had masks ready. I was not at all surprised when it came here, but I was still nervous.

“I worked in an operating room before, so wearing a mask was not new to me. I knew what precautions I needed to take when seeing patients in their homes. I have my masks and gloves and sanitizer. I wash my hands constantly. But I have to trust that my patients are taking the same necessary precautions that I am. I need to question and educate them.

“Obviously, I don’t want to pick up the virus. I don’t want to bring it home to my husband and kids. And I want to educate my patients and their family members so they don’t pick it up.” 

Sarah said initially, with Covid-19 in full force, she thought her patient load would be slowing down. And that was the case, but soon it picked up. 

“I thought it would be slow, and then I saw it happen when a few patients refused visits. They were afraid of the virus. But after they saw we were educating them and we were wearing masks and gloves they became more comfortable with the visits. We reassure them. We protect ourselves and our patients.”

Sarah takes every patient’s temperature prior to each visit and takes vital signs, including blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen level. She works closely with home health occupational, physical and speech therapists, certified nurse aides and administrative staff. 

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, before each visit she asks patients and family members if they have been in contact with anyone diagnosed with Covid-19 or if they or any members of the household have Covid-19 symptoms, including high temperature, cough, loss of taste and smell, weakness, fatigue and muscle aches. She asks if the patient or any member of the household has been out of the state or country. 

“I was initially worried about how our patients and family members would handle us coming in to see them because we see multiple patients in different homes. But they see us protecting ourselves and thus protecting them.”

Sarah said her husband is also taking all necessary precautions as an employee of Valley Distribution Company, Pittston, where he is involved in distribution of various supplies, including medical supplies. 

“I am worried that once people think they are comfortable, they can slack off. I have three kids who are home. And I think it is good they are home with all this going on. But I do not want to bring this virus home. That is always on the top of my mind.”

Sarah was raised in Hawley and graduated from Wallenpaupack High School in 2008. She moved to Dunmore in 2010 and has resided in Bucktown for the past decade. She attended Luzerne County Community College before transferring to Marywood where she received her nursing degree in 2016. 

Sarah started her nursing career in the Geisinger Wyoming Valley Hospital, working in the operating room for two years. She has been a home health nurse the past two years at Comprehensive Home Health Care, Dupont, owned and operated by Janet and Tony Trombetta. 

“I am really finding out quickly that nursing is what I was supposed to do in life,” the Dunmore nurse said. “I was a bit shell shocked when I started in clinical nursing, but I got used to it. Some days were very challenging, but I knew I could do it. It provided very good experience. And many days are challenging now with Covid-19 upon us.”

Sarah is in her nursing role on the front line as an essential worker everyday, mask, gloves, nursing bag, sanitizer, gown if necessary and a scrub cap for her long, flowing hair. She takes all the necessary precautions and that is one less worry for her patients. 

A salute to Sarah Naro, B.S.N., and all the essential workers on the front line.