Archive for April, 2015

National Weather Service – Severe Thunderstorm Risk Categories

As the spring storm season winds up, the National Weather Service has modified the way it categorizes the anticipated risk of severe storms.  Under the new definitions, “enhanced risk” means “numerous severe storms” are possible, which could be more widespread and persistent.  Details / descriptions in the image.

National Weather Service - Severe Thunderstorm Risk Categories

National Weather Service – Severe Thunderstorm Risk Categories

Leave a comment


In the March 10 “Disaster Preparedness” webinar, Church World Service Emergency Response Specialist Sandra Kennedy-Owes offered practical ways for congregations to prepare themselves for disaster – and to prepare to help their communities recover, too!

The recording of this hour-long webinar is now on the web at

To request the PowerPoint, contact Sandra Kennedy-Owes at

Leave a comment

Shickshinny Borough business loans available at very low interest rates (~1.0%)

Own a business in the borough of Shickshinny and want to improve / expand?  Or maybe looking to start a new business in the borough?  Are you aware there are low interest loans available to you via a grant obtained by the Luzerne Foundation / ShickshinnyForward and managed / administered by the NEPA Alliance?

Loans available from $5,000-$15,000.  The interest rate will not be greater than 1%. This rate is fixed throughout the loan term (2-5 years dependant on use)

Businesses must have 50 or less employees with annual revenue less than $1,000,000. Loan priority will be given to qualified business that have experienced flood related damage. Loan proceeds must be used for purchase of machinery and equipment (new or used) as well as associated delivery and installation costs, working capital, construction, renovation, and acquisition of real property.

Entrepreneurs and start-up businesses are required to submit a fully completed business plan with the loan application.  The Small Business Development Center at the Wilkes University provides assistance in the development of a busine plans at no cost to the entrepreneur/small business. Existing businesses must provide certain financial information including but not limited to Financial Statements, Income Tax Returns, Personal Financial Statement for the prior 3 years.

Borrowers are required to establish/retain one new job for every $10,000 in loan assistance. Self-employment is included with this requirement.

All businesses must be geographically located in the Borough of Shickshinny.  There is a non-refundable $100 Application Fee.

For more information contact: Dave Nat or Paul Macknosky at 570.655.5581 or 866.758.1929

1151 Oak Street • Pittston, PA 18640-3726 • Phone: 570.655.5581 • 866.758.1929 •

Leave a comment

Pennsylvania Insurance Department Urges Property Owners to Consider Flood Insurance & Provides Tips to Cut Premiums

Harrisburg, PA – Acting Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller today reminded Pennsylvanians that spring flooding is common throughout the state, and urged property owners to consider purchasing flood insurance to protect their homes, businesses, and possessions. The recommendation is part of the department’s recognition of National Flood Awareness Week, March 15-21.

“Melting snow, combined with spring rains, inadequate drainage, excessive runoff, or dam failure can cause major damage, so I recommend homeowners and business owners talk about flood coverage with their insurance professional as soon as possible,” Miller said. “Standard homeowner policies do not include coverage for flood damage, and there is a 30-day waiting period before a policy becomes effective. The sooner you get coverage the better.”

Figures from the Federal Emergency Management Agency show Pennsylvania residents filed nearly 18,000 flood insurance claims in the nine years from 2006 through 2014, and received more than $551 million in payments. Claims were filed from every county except Fulton. “These statistics show flooding is a serious problem throughout all of Pennsylvania,” Miller said.

Information detailing coverage and how to obtain flood insurance can be found at, the official site of the National Flood Insurance Program, a federally-funded resource for flood victims.

  • There are also certain precautions property owners can take to lower the chance of suffering major flood damage. Among these are:
  • Install a sump pump and make sure it is working; install a battery-operated backup in case of a power failure.
  • Install “check valves” to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.
  • Seal walls in your basement with waterproofing compounds.
  • Clear debris from gutters and downspouts.
  • Anchor any fuel tanks.
  • Elevate your furnace, water heater, washer, dryer, and electric panel, if you live in a high flood risk area.

“If you have taken these or other steps to lessen the potential for costly flood damage, make sure you talk with your insurance professional about any premium reductions for which you may be eligible under your policy,” Miller said.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is continuing an update of maps which show flooding risks for individual properties. If your property is mapped out of a high-risk area, your flood insurance costs will likely decrease. If you’ve been mapped into a high-risk area, you will be required to purchase flood insurance if your mortgage is through a federally regulated or insured lender. But you can save money with the Preferred Risk Policy (Eligibility Extension and through a process known as “grandfathering” provided by the NFIP. If your property was newly mapped into a high-risk flood zone after October 1, 2008, you may qualify for a PRP flood insurance policy.

Property owners can also challenge a flood map they feel is inaccurate. Information on how to challenge a flood map is available at

More information on what property owners can do to lessen potential flood damage, and possibly lower premiums, is available at

Also, for insurance purposes, be sure to keep a written and visual (i.e., video or photographic) record of all major household items and valuables, even those stored in basements, attics or garages. Create files that include serial numbers and store receipts for major appliances and electronics. Have jewelry and artwork appraised. These documents are critically important when filing insurance claims. For more information, visit

Additional information on preparing your family to meet an emergency is found at

For more information on insurance products and protections go to or call 877-881-6388.

MEDIA CONTACT: Ron Ruman, Insurance Department, 717-787-3289

Leave a comment

Long-Term Recovery Basics” webinar is April 14: Register now!

Church World Service will offer a webinar on “Long-Term Recovery Basics” from 2 to 4 p.m. eastern time April 14.

This webinar covers a wide range of topics designed to help communities rebuild and recover after a disaster. Presented by CWS Emergency Response Specialist Susanne Gilmore, it is useful for clergy, lay leaders and staff of any other organization who may provide disaster response or recovery assistance to people affected by disasters, and anyone planning to mitigate the hazards in their community before a disaster strikes.

Click here to register:

For more information, contact Susanne Gilmore:

Leave a comment