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Freckles & Frills First Lackawanna County SBA Fee Waiver Recipient

A South Scranton day care center is the first recipient of the Lackawanna County Small Business Administration (SBA) fee waiver funding, which was used for the purchase of a new building to expand its operation.

Freckles and Frills received a $12,054 SBA Guaranty Fee, paid by Lackawanna County, according to Commissioners Corey D. O’Brien, Jim Wansacz and Patrick M. O’Malley.

“This is great news,” said Commissioner Corey D. O’Brien.  “We are very happy to help a small business expand and be able to deliver additional service.  We hope this is the first of many more projects to come.  This was the purpose of this initiative and we are looking forward to assisting more Lackawanna County companies with their growth plans.”

“This is what we want to accomplish through our economic development program – keep firms here, help our communities to grow, and provide employment opportunities for our residents,” explained Commissioner Jim Wansacz.

“Not only is this our first loan, but it is also helping to assist a growing section of our population, the Hispanic community,” noted Commissioner Patrick M. O’Malley.  “This project has a dual purpose – it is helping a business to grow and serve more clients and also enabling families to go to work with peace-of-mind that their children are being taken care of in a safe atmosphere.”

Freckles & Frills is a daycare center and preschool that provides quality childcare to working families for children ages six weeks to 12 years old. It has been in business in South Scranton since 1977.

The center currently has a total enrollment of 120 children.  The facility serves a significant number of Hispanic children, utilizing a bilingual staff.

The company recently purchased a new, larger facility at 515 Fig Street, which is 10 blocks from its present site, 100 Pittston Avenue.  It will utilize the SBA loan to pay-off the new building purchase, complete renovations to the facility, market its services through a new website, upgrade its educational programs, and hire seven employees, which will increase its staff to 19 individuals.

The total project cost is $950,523.

The Fidelity Deposit & Discount Bank, an area leader in SBA lending, financed this venture.

Announced on November 28, the fee waiver program is designed to promote economic development, spur local growth, and encourage the private sector to create family-sustaining jobs in our community.  The County is allocating funds through its economic development budget line item for the SBA program.

For a business to participate in the waiver program, it must: be approved by the SBA; be approved by a local lending institution; deploy 100% of the SBA loan proceedings in Lackawanna County; and meet the SBA 7(a) or 504 Loan Programs’ job requirements and all other SBA and lending institution stipulations.  (Generally, a business must create or retain one job for every $65,000 guaranteed by the SBA.  Small manufacturers must create or retain a ratio of one job for every $100,000.)

In order for a qualified business to participate in this program, the firm’s qualified lender must submit an application form at least (30) days prior to the loan closing along with a corporate resolution agreeing to the terms and conditions of the program, an approved business plan, and SBA loan documents.

For further information on the SBA Fee Waiver Program, contact Mary Liz Donato, Coordinator, at (570) 963-6830.

Freckles & Frills Gets SBA Fee Waiver Check – Freckles & Frills Early Learning Center was the first recipient of the Lackawanna County SBA fee waiver program. The business received a $12,054 check from the Lackawanna County Commissioners for its project, which involved the purchase and renovation of a South Scranton building and the creation of five new jobs that were a combination of full-time and part-time positions. The four-star day care/learning center has 127 students and coordinates an after school program. L-r, Christopher J. Cawley, Managing Director of the Northeastern Economic Development Company of Pennsylvania-CDC, Inc.; Commissioner Corey D. O’Brien; Daniel Aguirre, Administrative Manager of Freckles and Frills; Elizabeth Keiper, Freckles and Frills owner; Commissioner Jim Wansacz; and George Kelly, Director of Economic Development for Lackawanna County.

Atty. Daniel T. Brier Named County’s General Counsel For Litigation

The Lackawanna County Commissioners Corey D. O’Brien, Jim Wansacz and Patrick M. O’Malley have announced the appointment of Atty. Daniel T. Brier as the County’s new General Counsel for Litigation.

Atty. Brier is a partner in the law firm of Myers, Brier & Kelly.

“I would like to welcome Dan to our team.  We are confident that Atty. Brier’s 25 years of trial experience will be beneficial to the taxpayers of Lackawanna County,” said Commissioner Corey D. O’Brien.

“I am very pleased to have Atty. Brier as part of the County’s legal team.  The breadth of litigation experience that he possesses will be very beneficial to the County,” explained Commissioner Jim Wansacz.

“Dan’s experience is second to none, and it will certainly be very valuable in handling issues that arise from time-to-time,” noted Commissioner Patrick M. O’Malley.

For the past three years, Atty. Daniel T. Brier was selected every year as one of the “Top 100 attorneys in Pennsylvania.” Every year since 2005, he has been named as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer. He was recently re-appointed to a three year term as a Hearing Committee Member of the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. Dan is a court-approved mediator for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.  He is also an arbitrator for the National Association of Securities Dealers.

His Bar Admissions include: Pennsylvania, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, U.S. Tax Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and U.S. Supreme Court.

Atty. Brier earned his Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Scranton in 1985 and received his law degree in 1988 from the Georgetown University School of Law.

He has served as a speaker at several local, state and national programs and has been involved in a number of educational, legal and business organizations.  Last year, he travelled to Cyprus at the invitation of the United States State Department to participate in the training of Cypriot judges and prosecutors.

Atty. Brier’s retainer is set at $36,000 and no benefits are being provided, which means a $24,000 budget savings.

Lackawanna County Veterans Affairs Office Achieves Tremendous Outreach & Benefits Assistance Service Milestones

“What a difference a year makes.”

That phrase aptly reflects the success and great service inroads that the Lackawanna County Veterans Affairs office attained in 2012.

Under the guidance of director Robert Tuffy, the office has experienced tremendous growth and success in providing onsite and offsite programs, service and benefits to our areas retired and active military personnel.

“The incredible success that we have enjoyed in aiding our veterans is a credit to our staff’s commitment to assist those who have served our country,” said Commissioner Jim Wansacz.  “We have taken our programs “to the streets” and gone to where our veterans are – at home, in the hospital or at an assisted living facility.  We have provided valuable help with programs, explained benefits, or assisted in completing various applications or forms.”

“We understand that sometimes everyone needs help, has a question, or requires information pertaining to service records or other military benefits and can’t get to us,” explained Commissioner Corey D. O’Brien.  “Not only are we honored to help our veterans with these and other issues through our Veterans Affairs Office, but we will go to them and their families to make it as easy as possible.”

“The freedoms and safety that we enjoy are a direct result of veterans and those who are defending our country today.  We appreciate their service and are committed to doing all that we can to help them with whatever issues they may have, provide benefit assistance, or direct them to the proper organizations or agencies that can offer help,” said Commissioner Patrick M. O’Malley.

Last year, the Veterans Affairs Office was moved into The Scranton Electric Building, saving the County over $30,000.  Several veterans organizations and affiliated groups were concerned about the move, but it has worked out tremendously.

The relocation proved to be not only frugal, but very beneficial.  The office has more space to offer assistance, elevator service, reserved parking and the convenience to the main courthouse for other business transactions.

While the location has worked out well for those who come to the office, it’s the personal visits that have become the trademark of the office.  Staff has initiated a tremendous outreach program for the veterans and their families.  Meetings have been conducted wherever necessary to explain vital programs and benefits.

Speaking of benefits, Anissa Fetchen, Veterans Service Officer and Office Coordinator, has helped the organization to make great strides in providing veterans with valuable financial support.  In 2011-12, claims reached $2,464,000.  In fiscal 2012-13, the benefits assistance stands at a record $2,551,120 and rising.  The Veterans Office expects the success to continue and the current record-setting pace to be surpassed in the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Ms. Fetchen has also made presentations to various community groups, spreading the word on the office’s operation and services.

In 2007, Mr. Tuffy undertook a major restoration project at Cathedral Cemetery, replacing over 3,500 missing flag holders from veterans’ graves, painted flag poles, and installed brand new flags.  This is in addition to the office’s other military graves’ ceremonial decorating activities.

Other key services provided by the office include: death benefits, pension benefits, veterans disability benefits, homeless veterans assistance, tax exemption for 100% service-connected disabled war time veterans, veterans DD 214 military records checks, and government headstones or markers.