COLTS Resumes Normal Services Amid Pandemic

The County of Lackawanna Transit System (COLTS) returned to normal service with changes to 11 of its routes on Monday, Oct. 5. The changes will make these routes more efficient and provide more service for COLTS’ passengers. The routes affected are: #14 Drinker/Chestnut, #18 Petersburg, #21 Lake Scranton/Oakmont, #26 Mohegan Sun/Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center, #31 Old Forge/Stauffer, #36 Keyser Valley/Lafayette, #42 Olive/Providence, #43/45 Viewmont Bangor/Viewmont Express, #52 Carbondale/North Main Ave., #53 Marywood/U of S, and #54 Green Ridge/Dickson City.

“We took time during the pandemic to resize our bus system and reconfigure routes so that they best meet demand for service,” said Bob Fiume, COLTS Executive Director. “We are constantly looking to improve our system for our riders.”

Changes include service to the Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center, the renaming of some routes due to rerouting, combination of some routes on one paper schedule, and minor changes to routes and timetables. The #48 Dalton/Waverly/Clarks Summit and the #99 Minooka/Montage will be cancelled due to low ridership. The #48 route will be served through Demand Response Service, and employees of EDM Americas who take the #99 route will be served on the #42 Olive/Providence.

The list of changes is attached to the email with this press release, and the new schedules are posted on coltsbus.com.

Some bay assignments, or the bays that the buses pull into and out of, will also change. The bay assignment changes can be found on the COLTS web site at coltsbus.com.

PennDOT Extends Expiration Dates Due to Pandemic

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has announced that expiration dates for commercial driver licenses and commercial learner’s permits will be extended for Pennsylvania residents in response to statewide COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

Effective immediately, the following products’ expiration dates will be extended:

• The expiration date for a commercial learner’s permit scheduled to expire from March 16, 2020, through November 29, 2020, is extended through Nov. 29.

• The expiration date for commercial driver licenses scheduled to expire from March 16, 2020, through November 29, 2020, is extended through Nov. 29.

• The expiration date of a Hazardous Materials Endorsement (HME) for an individual who is a Pennsylvania-licensed commercial driver’s license holder and who held a valid, unexpired HME with a determination of no security threat on or after March 6, 2020, is extended until Oct. 29, 2020.

Expiration extension deadlines on non-commercial driver license, photo identification cards, learner’s permits and camera cards expired on Aug. 31.

For a list of open driver license and photo license centers and the services provided, as well as their hours of operation, please visitwww.dmv.pa.gov.  

Customers may continue to complete various transactions and access multiple resources online at www.dmv.pa.gov. Driver and vehicle online services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and include driver’s license, photo ID and vehicle registration renewals; driver-history services; changes of address; driver license and vehicle registration restoration letters; ability to pay driver license or vehicle insurance restoration fee; driver license and photo ID duplicates; and schedule a driver’s exam. There are no additional fees for using online services.

PennDOT will continue to evaluate these processes and will communicate any changes with the public.

Additional COVID-19 information is available at www.health.pa.gov. For more information, visit www.dmv.pa.gov or www.PennDOT.gov.

Friends of the Poor, Family to Family Plan for Thanksgiving

Friends of the Poor is proud to once again announce three community-based programs to help those in need this Thanksgiving: The Thanksgiving Dinner for Adults and Elderly, the Family to Family Thanksgiving Food Basket Program, and the Interfaith Prayer Service.  In light of the current pandemic, each will be carried out in a different style than they have for the past four decades.

The Interfaith Prayer Service, used to kick-off our holiday programming by celebrating the gratitude, joy, and hope that are a part of every faith tradition, will be held virtually on Friday, November 20that 7PM.  Guests are invited to join in via Zoom by making reservations with the Scranton Area Ministerium.

The Thanksgiving Dinner for Adults and Elderly, initiated by the late Sister Adrian Barrett, IHM in 1976 with 24 guests in need of a meal and family to share it with, will be held on Tuesday, November 24th.  Dinners will be packed as take-outs and handed out to those in need outside of the Scranton Cultural Center, 420 N Washington Ave, Scranton, PA 18503, from 3PM to 6PM in a drive by event.  Volunteers will distribute the meals on the corner of N. Washington and Vine.  Each takeout will include the traditional turkey dinner we have served for so many years, as well as candy, a roll, and a card crafted by students from local schools and universities.  We will also be providing meals to those adults and elderly that were previously bussed to our dinner through a wonderful partnership with the Lackawanna County Area Agency on Aging and Meals on Wheels of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

The Family to Family Thanksgiving Food Basket Program, directed by the Robeson family, will continue in the same manner as our COVID-19 Emergency Food Distributions that have been held since March 18th.  On Wednesday, November 25that Scranton High School, 63 Mike Munchak Way, Scranton, PA 18508, from 10AM to 5:30PM, volunteers will place the groceries needed for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner in the car trunks for all those who need it.  For the past decade, we have served over 2,500 families from our Thanksgiving basket program alone.  Since March 18, we have served 85,000 individuals through our drive through giveaways, and due to the pandemic, we expect to serve more than 3,000 families at this year’s Thanksgiving distribution.  We will have accommodations to serve up to 4,000 if needed.

Friends of the Poor and the Robeson Family, along with our partners Lackawanna County Area Agency on Aging, Meals on Wheels of Northeastern Pennsylvania, and the Scranton Area Ministerium, are proud that in times of great uncertainty and increased need, our community has come together to find a way to continue our great Thanksgiving traditions.

We humbly ask all people to reach into their hearts and donate whatever they can. The Robeson family has ordered over $140,000 in food items, including 3,000 turkeys and trimmings to make the baskets. A donation of $30.00 sponsors a family of four. Please send your donation of $30.00 or whatever you can to: Family to Family Program, PO Box 13, Scranton, PA 18501. www.ftfthanks.org  **Donations may also be made by texting “thanks” to 570-525-5956**

Friends of the Poor is looking for donors to cover the cost of the 76 30-pound turkeys that are ordered, along with other food and takeout items. Please call the Friends of the Poor office at 570-340-6086, email friendsofthepoor@fotp-ihm.org, or send donations to: Friends of the Poor, Thanksgiving Community Dinner, 2300 Adams Ave., Scranton, PA 18509.  www.fotp-ihm.org 

Friends of the Poor would like to note that 2020 marks 44 years of our community’s commitment to and compassion for our less fortunate neighbors, who would otherwise go without a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Please note that the success of this event would not be possible without your support.