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Save Money on Your Home Energy Costs

March 7, 2013
PPL Electric Utilities changed its generation service charge on March 1. The utility’s generation and transmission rates combined make up the “price to compare” for the purposes of shopping among alternative suppliers. For residential customers, the new price to compare is now 7.237 cents per kilowatt-hour, down from 7.544 cents per kilowatt-hour.  The small decrease to the price to compare for residential customers for the March through May period is due to lower market prices for power supply. PPL Electric Utilities does not profit on the generation portion of customers’ bills. It merely passes along the cost of that supply to customers without markup. PPL Electric Utilities’ primary focus is on electric delivery, billing and customer service. PPL Electric Utilities encourages its customers to seek opportunities to save on power supply costs by shopping for deals with competitive electric suppliers. ChamberChoice now offers a  Residential Energy Program through OnDemand Energy available to Chamber member employees and their friends and family.  This is a great way to bring value to your employees without touching your bottom line.  The ChamberChoice price to compare off is 6.45 cents/kwh fixed until December 2014! You can visit www.ondemandenergy.com to access this very low rate. If you would like a flyer promoting the Residential Program to highlight in your place of business please contact the Chamber office at 570-784-2522. For small business customers, the new price to compare will increase to 10.814 cents per kilowatt-hour, up from 10.206 cents per kilowatt-hour currently. A full list of PPL Electric Utilities’ new rates for all rate classes can be found at www.pplelectric.com/choice. More than 619,000 PPL Electric Utilities customers, or 43 percent of all customers, have already shopped and obtain their power from other suppliers. More than 74 percent of the total amount of energy delivered by PPL Electric Utilities comes from alternative suppliers, including almost all power used by large commercial and industrial customers.

Federal Government Announces $15 Million for Flood Protection

February 20, 2013

Today, officials announced $15 million in Federal funding to help provide flood protection to two Bloomsburg businesses which employ a combined 900 people. U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Matt Erskine and U.S. Representative Lou Barletta made the announcement this afternoon at Autoneum North America. The dollars will be combined with $12 million already committed by the Commonwealth and private funds to build flood protection systems around Autoneum and Windsor Foods.

Following the notification by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers last June that the long anticipated flood protection system was not viable, local leaders began meeting with State and Federal officials to try to find solutions for two of the largest employers in Bloomsburg and Columbia County. Chamber President Fred Gaffney was part of the team that submitted a $12 million application to the Commonwealth for funding last fall. SEDA-COG coordinated the Federal application, and will be overseeing the two projects. With the Federal funding now secured, it is anticipated that construction can be completed in approximately four years.

Following the announcement, Chamber President Fred Gaffney participated in an economic roundtable discussion with the Assistant Secretary, Representative and local business and elected officials.

In addition to supporting these important projects, the Chamber continues to advocate for other flood protection efforts including relocation of United Water’s Bloomsburg treatment facility out of the floodplain. During the flooding in 2006 and 2011, the Bloomsburg service area lost water service for multiple days, hindering or shutting down hundreds of businesses throughout the area. In 2012, United Water conducted an engineering study on constructing a new treatment facility away from the bank of Fishing Creek. The company is currently evaluating the results of that study and expects to determine a course of action this year.

Congratulations to All the Chamber Award Recipients

February 14, 2013

The 2013 Annual Dinner , sponsored by PPL Corporation, was held at the Rolling Pines Golf Course last Thursday, February 7th. This year’s event was the most highly attended Annual Dinner to date with 250 people in attendance.

The Chamber elected board members and honored the service of Rudy Singh, who has served on the board for 8 years. We also reviewed the activities of the past year and previewed the year ahead.

Each year the Chamber recognizes businesses and an individual that go above and beyond in the community. We presented 5 awards this year to deserving members of the Chamber:

Small Business of the Year, Old Forge Brewing Company

Business Longevity, Al’s Men’s Shop

Large Business of the Year, Berwick Offray LLC

Community Progress, Turkey Hill Brew Pub

Outstanding Citizen, Bette Grey of Columbia County Volunteers in Medicine

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For more pictures of the Annual Dinner and Awards visit the Chamber’s Facebook Page.

Thank you again to all of those that attended this great event and if you weren’t able to make it we hope to see you next year!

A big thank you to the businesses that chose to sponsor the Annual Meeting and Awards.

EVENT SPONSOR:

PPL Corporation

AWARDS:

Outstanding Citizen of the Year- Berwick Industrial Development Association Small Business of the Year- First Columbia Bank & Trust Co. Large Business of the Year- Columbia Alliance for Economic Growth Community Progress- Berwick Hospital Center

HOSPITALITY:

United Water Pennsylvania , Philadelphia Federal Credit Union, InnoTek Computer Consulting, MetroCast Business Services, Geisinger Health Plan

JobGateway Website Offers Free Employee Search Tools

February 7, 2013

The PA Dept. of Labor and Industry has updated its statewide job search website to make it easier for employers to post a job, connect with candidates and manage referral lists. JobGateway now features an employer portal designed to optimize the user experience. Employers can register to use the site free and anyone receiving UC benefits must register with the site to demonstrate active work search.

JobGateway was launched in July, 2012 after it became apparent that the labor-exchange component of the Commonwealth’s system was very limited and had fallen behind in this increasingly mobile and technologically advanced society. JobGateway was developed in order to modernize the way in which job seekers find family-sustaining employment and employers find the skilled candidates that they need to remain competitive in this economy. Utilizing a phased approach, enhancements and improvements to JobGateway will continue to be incorporated. Some of the enhancements for employers launched last week include:

– Manage all of your candidate-search activities in one location through a new dashboard;
– Connect to candidates during the search process;
– More options to search based on a candidate’s location;
– Filter candidate referrals by education, job type, location, occupation and salary;
– Sort candidate referrals based on the number of candidate profile elements that match your job posting.

Visit www.jobgateway.pa.gov to see first-hand how you can find talent utilizing these new features.

Employers with questions can contact the Columbia/Montour CareerLink office for assistance at 387-6288.

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January 11, 2013

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January 10, 2013

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Bloomsburg Town Council Tables Vote on Sidewalk Obstruction Ordinance

January 9, 2013

On Monday, January 7th, Bloomsburg Town Council agreed to table voting on a proposed ordinance which would regulate “obstructions” after the Chamber and Downtown Bloomsburg Inc. expressed concerns. Both organizations and several other businesspeople in attendance felt an ordinance is unnecessary and would deter business growth in the Downtown. DBI with work with the Town to better promote existing guidelines and with businesses to address concerns over the next few months.

The ordinance would increase regulation of “obstructions” in the sidewalk rights-of-way in the “Downtown area”, which the ordinance defines as Main Street from West to East and East from Main to 7th Street. The ordinance would replace current guidelines which are in effect. The Chamber’s Board of Directors sent a letter to Council in late December urging them to table the ordinance and work with Downtown Bloomsburg, Inc., the Chamber’s subsidiary, to address this issue in a collaborative and positive way. Chamber President Fred Gaffney expressed to Council that a possible daily fine of $25 to $600 would be perceived as a threat to businesspeople looking to invest in the Downtown.

Following considerable discussion, Council agreed to table discussion until the April meeting of the Town’s Community and Economic Development Committee meeting. In the interim, DBI will obtain the existing guidelines from the Town, distribute them to all businesses in the Downtown and discuss specific areas of concerns with those business owners.

Campbell Printing Chosen for Chamber Spotlight

November 20, 2012

Campbell Printing Co. was selected at random as the October Business Spotlight winner. As a result, their business will receive an article featured both in E-Biz and on the Chamber’s website.

 
Campbell Printing Co. was formed in the 1940s by Harry Campbell. Originally located on 3rd and Spruce Streets in Berwick, it would later move to Monroe Street where it is located today. John and Sharon Getty purchased the company in 1974 and it’s remained in the family for the last 38 years.

 
Campbell Printing is the only full service printing company in the immediate Berwick area and its customers show their appreciation by being repeat buyers and by advertising through word of mouth. The current owners, Matthew and Jocelyn Getty, continue to carry out business with the same work ethics that were present when the company first began.

OPTiMO Chosen for Business Spotlight

September 20, 2012

OPTiMO Information Technology LLC was selected at random as the August Business Spotlight winner. As a result, OPTiMO receives an article featured both in E-Biz and on the Chamber’s website.

OPTiMO is a technology solutions provider that was founded in April 2008 by Michael Miguelez. Since then, the business has grown to include sixty full time employees with offices in Bloomsburg PA, Wilkes-Barre PA, Vienna VA, and the Washington DC Metro district. Business has steadily increased over the years and in 2012, Miguelez was awarded the Greater Susquehanna Keystone Innovation Zone (GSKIZ) Entrepreneurial Achievement Award.

What sets OPTiMO apart from other technology firms in the area is the wide variety of services that they offer. Their clients range from Fortune 100 companies to regional nonprofit businesses. Services provided include: Enterprise Software and Application Development, Application Modernization, Business Process Engineering, Program and Project Management, IT Operations, Digital Forensic and eDiscovery, ERP Systems, and much more. Additional information can also be found at www.optimo-it.com.

Berwick Travel Advisory

August 24, 2012

Berwick Route 11 Construction Update

Below is the schedule for planned construction on Route 11 in Berwick next week.

Beginning Sunday, Aug. 26 at midnight the contractor will begin Stage 3B on Front Street (Route 11 NB) between Oak and Mulberry streets. Work will be performed around-the-clock and is expected to be completed by Friday, Aug. 31, weather permitting.

Work will consist of closing the right lane, excavating, placing sub-base material and paving. During this time, traffic will be restricted to a single lane and intermittently stopped by flagger personnel to allow for dump trucks to be loaded. All businesses will remain accessible to their customers.

On Monday evening, Aug. 27, the contractor will also begin placing the final wearing course of pavement on Second Street (Route 11 SB) between Lasalle and Vine Streets. Traffic will be reduced to a single lane. Paving in this area will occur throughout the week.

The traveling public is reminded to slow down while driving through these areas and to stay alert for dump trucks entering and exiting the work zone.

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