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Mission statement: "To represent local employers in supporting vibrant,
sustainable communities in Columbia and Montour counties."

Injunction on RGGI a Win for Consumers and an Opportunity for Long-Term Solutions

July 9, 2022

From the PA Chamber of Business & Industry

PA Chamber President and CEO Luke Bernstein issued the following statement on the Commonwealth Court’s granting an injunction suspending the state’s implementation of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which took effect July 1:

“This delay is an important, much-needed step for Pennsylvania residents and businesses. We appreciate the Court pressing pause on this policy, which threatens to significantly increase energy prices at a time of high inflation, while also pushing more economic activity to states on our grid that are not in RGGI. Businesses and families are already facing high energy prices due to a lack of supply and infrastructure, and this is an opportunity for policymakers to embrace abundant domestic energy production, facilitate building new infrastructure, support competitive markets, and set long-term policies that encourage innovation.”

“As we noted at the onset, and as we did throughout the comment process and through an amicus brief, the regulation did not sufficiently protect the state’s electricity and manufacturing sector, nor did it guard against the potential for significant run-up in electricity or commodity prices. Businesses, whether they generate or consume power, need both affordable energy and long-term certainty. We look forward to working with the General Assembly, this administration, and the next governor on policy that leverages our state’s strengths for the benefit of our economy, national security, and the environment.”

Redesigned Website Offers Improved Access to Resources

July 7, 2022

The Chamber of Commerce’s website, columbiamontourchamber.com, has been recently redesigned to better provide information to area employers, residents, and people interested in coming to the area. Resources include news of importance to businesses, information on money-saving programs, job listings, wage rates, and cost of living comparisons. The new layout also improves functionality for mobile devices.

Individuals can connect with the Chamber’s 400+ members through the online directory, or search for products and services by category. Special offers from members are listed on the ChamberPack page. The public is also invited to connect with the Chamber’s social media through the site to stay up to date on the activities of the organization and its members.

 Visitors can learn about some of the area’s major assets and find restaurants and lodging during their stay. A link to the Columbia-Montour Visitor’s Bureau’s Calendar of Events provides a comprehensive list of festivals, carnivals, and other activities.

The News section also highlights members and provides information on legislation and other items impacting employers. Chamber programs that can help employers save on their energy costs, get money back on business insurance, and provide assistance with benefits and human resources are listed on the Member Benefits and Discounts page. Data that employers regularly request to assist in hiring employees is available in the About the Region section.

The website is designed to be a general portal to information about Columbia and Montour counties.

Member News – July 6, 2022

July 6, 2022

Member News – July 6, 2022

Integration of Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, Mansfield Universities Complete

After more than 18 months of work by nearly 1,000 individuals, the integration of Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield universities under the banner of Commonwealth University officially took place on Friday, July 1.

“My sincere thanks go to the teams at each of our universities who have dedicated themselves tirelessly to the integration process and to creating opportunities for a new generation of students to follow their dreams and pursue lives of meaning and success,” said Bashar W. Hanna, who will serve as president of Commonwealth University. “I’m confident that we have the right teams of people in place to proceed courageously and compassionately, grounded in the mission of supporting student success and changing lives through education.”

This spring, the integration process took several milestone steps to make the transition a reality. On March 15, initial approval by the institutional accrediting agency, Middle States Commission on Higher Education, confirmed the path to integration. Accreditation by Middle States is required by the U.S. Department of Education and assures students, families, and communities that the University has completed a rigorous review process and provides a high-quality education.

“Together, Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield embody the power of three, which will create a higher education experience, the likes of which is not possible without integration,” Hanna said.

In March, the Board of Governors of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education voted to approve the name Commonwealth University of Pennsylvania to represent the integrated entity for Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield universities.

The final piece of the puzzle came in late April when the NCAA approved to proceed with the proposed plan to retain a full complement of NCAA athletic programs on the campuses that currently host them. Each campus will maintain its full complement of sports offerings and will continue to use its respective location name, existing logos, colors, mascots, and traditions.

The integration of Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield universities under the banner of Commonwealth University is a bold investment in the communities and people of Pennsylvania. Our mission is to expand high-quality, affordable academic opportunities to support the needs of all learners. We’re building a powerful tomorrow by boldly changing the trajectory of public higher education to position ourselves for growth, increased access, and to meet economic and workforce development needs. Together we’re honoring our history, investing in today, and building a powerful tomorrow. That’s the power of three.


SEDA-COG Announces New Chief of Community Services

SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG) is pleased to announce that Teri Provost, a 15-year staffer, will be taking on the role of Chief in the newly formed Community Services Division.

The Community Services Division (CSD) will encompass SEDA-COG’s Community Development, Flood Resiliency, Housing Rehabilitation, and Community Revitalization programs. In the CSD, the intentionally coordinated efforts of these departments will further allow SEDA-COG to respond to community needs in a more comprehensive way. These efforts will ultimately provide improved service opportunities to our member counties and regional communities.

Provost worked in SEDA-COG’s Community Development Program for 9 years before becoming the Director of Housing Rehabilitation and Flood Resiliency. Throughout her 15-year career at SEDA-COG, she has prepared numerous grant applications and has proficient experience with Federal Emergency Management Agency and Housing and Urban Development programs.

Provost has been a member of The Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) since 2018 and serves as the Chapter District 2 Director. This position has a 2-year term.

She also serves as past chair of the Pennsylvania Association of State Floodplain Managers (PAFPM) board. Her board appointment is from January to December 2022. Before this appointment, Teri held the Vice Chair position with PAFPM from January to December 2021.

Provost has also developed and managed public works projects throughout the central Pennsylvania counties served by SEDA-COG. Additionally, she is a Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM) and has administered several state- and federally-funded buyouts and residential elevation projects in flood-prone communities.

“My top priority is to ensure that our Agency can serve the Region for years to come in a truly impactful manner, not only by leveraging grant funding opportunities, but also by building long lasting meaningful relationships. In the CSD, the orchestration of multiple aspects of municipal assistance will provide a comprehensive community approach to community resiliency, augmented by diversity in leadership and innovation,” Provost said.

SEDA-COG Executive Director Kim Wheeler said Provost’s background has prepared her perfectly to take on this role.

“Teri has been with SEDA-COG for 15 years and has had the opportunity to work in several departments and grow her expertise in each area. She embodies a collaborative spirit and I truly believe that her skills and abilities are going to take SEDA-COG to new heights in this role,” Wheeler said.

Provost earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Sociology from Clarion University in 2002.

Provost is grateful for the opportunity to deepen the partnerships between SEDA-COG and our surrounding municipalities.

“This role will allow our Region to maximize collaboration, funding opportunities and expertise.  I am looking forward to having the opportunity to work with so many talented staff in our communities, with our partners, with grant funding agencies, and certainly within our office location,” Provost said.


The Bloomsburg Children’s Museum Lists July Programs

The Bloomsburg Children’s Museum officially announced its July 2022 programs. The Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Click HERE to view the full calendar for July.


North Shore Railroad Assumes Operations of Selinsgrove Branch

On April 28 of 2022, it became official that North Shore Railroad assumed operations of the Selinsgrove branch (a new addition to the NSHR line). Soon after the transition, the Maintenance of Way team made improvements on the branch that led to increased operational efficiency and expanded customer opportunity.

This new branch for North Shore Railroad adds 7.7 miles of track from Selinsgrove, Pa., to Kreamer, Pa., and 1.3 miles of track from Selinsgrove, Pa., to Shamokin Dam, Pa. The addition of the line increases the overall network size to 256.2 miles of track.

West End and Fishing Creek Mitigation Studies Final Reports Posted Online

July 5, 2022

West End and Fishing creek mitigation studies final reports posted online

The final reports for the West End and Fishing Creek Flood Mitigation Studies are now posted online.

With the support of Representative Millard and Senator Gordner, funding was secured for these pioneering studies. The Columbia County Board of Commissioners, working with SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG), engaged Borton-Lawson to develop the West End Flood Mitigation Study and Herbert, Rowland & Grubic, Inc. (HRG) to develop the Fishing Creek Flood Mitigation Study. The goals of the studies were to:

  • detect flooding problem areas within the County’s 18 municipalities/West End of the Town of Bloomsburg,
  • identify best approaches that can be implemented by the County to mitigate flood impacts, reduce flood risk and improve residents’ quality of life,
  • highlight mitigation options for the problems identified and implementable projects offered as a solution to those problems.

Both final reports can be found on SEDA-COG’s website. The Columbia County Board of Commissioners have already begun the next steps and will continue to implement resiliency measures as a result of the studies.

The study kicked off with a combined public meeting in July 2021, two separate follow-up public meetings held at the end of November and beginning of December 2021, and final meetings held in March 2022. Presentation slides and other materials can also be found at the website link above.

SEDA-COG assisted Columbia County in the grant administration of the studies. The studies were financed by grants from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Commonwealth Financing Authority and the Department of Community and Economic Development.

SEDA-COG is a community and economic development agency in Lewisburg and is one of seven Local Development Districts in Pennsylvania. SEDA-COG enhances the quality of life and economic advantage for residents and businesses in the 11 central Pennsylvania counties through its vital partnerships and initiatives.

Coalition to Stop Bridge Tolling Applauds Court Decision

July 1, 2022

Coalition to stop bridge tolling applauds court decision

Commonwealth Court has voided the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) plan to begin tolling nine interstate bridges across the state. The June 30th decision from the majority of the Court found that PennDOT, the P3 Board, and Sec. Gramian exceeded their statutory authority under Act 88 of 2012 and failed to comply with its requirements. The No P3 Bridge Tolls Coalition praised the Court’s decision in the South Fayette Township case that voids the P3 Major Bridge Tolling Initiative.

“The Commonwealth Court has reinforced the arguments the members of the No P3 Bridge Tolls Coalition, the Legislature, and affected communities have been making to PennDOT since the tolling efforts were announced,” said John Stroup, former Mayor of Clarion. “Thank you for the leadership of officials in South Fayette Township, Bridgeville Borough, Collier Township, and the other entities who joined in this and the 1-83 bridge case. These challenges are neither cheap nor easy, but your efforts are winning the day.”

“This is a win for businesses, residents, and communities across Pennsylvania,” said Fred Gaffney, President of the Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce. “This ill-conceived plan would have created unnecessary disruptions for local communities. The decision by the Court should send a message to PennDOT that it needs to work with stakeholders to find better solutions for funding our transportation infrastructure.”

Katie Hetherington Cunfer, Director of Government & Community Relations for the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance said, “Berks County businesses and the rural communities surrounding the Lenhartsville Bridge project greatly appreciate this strong decision from the Commonwealth Court. We all hope the Wolf Administration and PennDOT will not appeal this decision. Instead, we hope they will reengage with stakeholders to find long-term, sustainable, and equitable funding solutions for our infrastructure needs.”

While PennDOT could appeal the decision to the State Supreme Court, the Coalition and legislators are urging the administration to abandon this plan once and for all.

Free Webinar Series Helps Spanish-Speaking Entrepreneurs

June 30, 2022

Free Webinar Series Helps Spanish-Speaking Entrepreneurs

The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center network is offering a free webinar series to Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs that want to work on their growth plans and learn what areas are important to bring their business to the next level. Bucknell SBDC, Wilkes SBDC, University of Pittsburgh SBDC and Widener University SBDC will be broadcasting four different webinars in Spanish, one each month, with different topics of Interest:

  • Financing Opportunities for Your Business, July 13, 12 p.m.
  • International Trade for Small Businesses, August 18, 12 p.m.
  • Digital Marketing – Online Resources, September 12, 12 p.m.
  • Marketing Plan and Corporate Image for Small Businesses, October 4, 12 p.m.

Interested individuals can register at https://pasbdc.ecenterdirect.com/events/29582.

PPL Offers Business Energy Efficiency Programs

June 29, 2022

PPL Offers Business Energy Efficiency Programs

There’s never been a more important time to take control of your business’ energy bill.

With costs rising due to inflation, everyday things are costing a little bit more each month. And no matter how that impacts your business, now is the perfect time to make a plan to save.

PPL Electric Utilities’ Business Energy Efficiency Program aims to give you easy and affordable opportunities to lower your annual energy costs, connect with local contractors, save on high-efficiency upgrades, and more. Whether your business is small but mighty, large yet local or anywhere in between, PPL offers a variety of flexible prescriptive and custom incentive options to help you reach your energy efficiency goals.

If you’re a small business looking for a place to get started, consider scheduling a no-cost energy assessment through the Small Business Direct Install Program. PPL will send a trained Energy Technician to complete complimentary product installations at your business and they’ll also perform an energy evaluation. These no-cost energy assessments, and the included free upgrades, are available to small business customers with a GS1 or GS3 rate code and a monthly peak demand of 200 kW or less.

PPL’s overall Business Energy Efficiency Program is open to all business customers with facilities located in its service territory. They will help you find the path that’s right for you and your business — from prescriptive and custom to Direct Discount, Direct Install and Instant Discounts — so you can start saving energy all year and take control of your energy bill.

To learn more about our various programs, and how to apply, call PPL at 1-866-432-5501 or visit pplelectricbusinesssavings.com.

Added from The Chamber with permission: The Chamber’s energy partner, World Kinect Energy Services, can also help businesses save money by offering options for energy suppliers. Simply provide them with some basic information, and they can provide options for electricity, natural gas, and liquid fuels. World Kinect is not a supplier, so their goal is to find the solutions to best fit your needs and comfort level. Contact them for a free, no-obligation consultation at 412-424-2599. You can easily sign up for the residential or small business fixed-rate program through columbiamontourchamber.com/benefits.

DTB HORIZONS JOINS THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

June 28, 2022

DTB HORIZONS JOINS THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

Have you ever wanted to find an expert who understands where you are and who understands how to help you get to where you want to go? Then Lenora Edwards and DTB Horizons is your place to go. Lenora specializes in helping people achieve the things they want in life by releasing the things that are holding them back.

Lenora works with people who want to improve something(s) about themselves or in their life. Whether you want to:

  • Release excess weight
  • Stop drinking/drug use
  • Resolve emotional pain (i.e. anger, guilt, sadness)
  • More satisfying relationships
  • More money
  • A positive mindset
  • Improved performance
  • Resolving traumatic experiences and/or PTSD
  • To feel better in their body

You can visit www.dtbhorizons.com for more information, or reach out to Lenora via email at DTBHorizons@gmail.com

DTB Horizons joins over 400 members of The Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce to receive benefits and support the Chamber’s efforts to enhance the region.

Member News – June 22, 2022

June 22, 2022

Montour Preserve 50th Anniversary Celebrated

The Montour Area Recreation Commission (MARC) celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Montour Preserve on Sunday, June 19th with a cookout, family activities, a short program, and music from Van Wagner. The Preserve was developed in conjunction with PPL’s construction of the Montour power plant. As part of the program, MARC Executive Director Bob Stoudt recognized retirees from PPL Montour, as well as MARC staff.

MARC took over management of the Preserve in 2015 through a $1/year lease agreement with Talen Energy, after PPL sold its generation facilities. Stoudt thanked Talen Energy as well as the Montour County Commissioners, Senator John Gordner, and Representative Linda Schlegel-Culver, for their support for ongoing Preserve operations and maintenance. Talen is currently in the process of converting the power plant to natural gas fired, which will help ensure the maintenance of the Preserve.


Berwick Health and Wellness Awards the Bloomsburg Children’s Museum Funds for STEM Programs

The Community Giving Foundation’s Berwick Health and Wellness Fund recently awarded the Bloomsburg Children’s Museum $13,500 to run STEM programming in the fund’s service area. 

As stated on their website, the Berwick Health and Wellness Fund is the largest charitable fund of the Community Giving Foundation. Its mission is to select, identify, and invest in programs and projects that improve the health and welfare of Berwick and the surrounding area—impacting the community’s overall well-being, growth, and success.

“The Bloomsburg Children’s Museum is proud to serve children, not only in Bloomsburg but all throughout Columbia and Luzerne county by providing mobile programs,” Dr. Ginny Weibel, Museum Director said. “We are very grateful to the Board of the Berwick Health and Wellness Fund for recognizing the positive impact our programs have on our community. This grant allows us to continue to run free STEM programs with partner organizations in Berwick and Benton and seek new partners in the fund’s target communities.”  

The Museum has previously offered classes such as Intro to 3D Printing at the For the Cause Berwick Teen Center, Simple Circuits at Benton Middle School, digital animation, and digital arts programs at the N4Cs Center, and provided take-away STEM kits to the McBride Library.


Come Help AGAPE Celebrate w/ Open House This Saturday

Guests will be able to tour the building and fellowship at their own leisure. The open house will be from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. at 851 Railroad Street in Bloomsburg. Click here to register.

“It is our great pleasure to invite you to this open house to demonstrate how God has showered his blessings upon the AGAPE ministry and his guidance and direction about how we can continue to improve our service to the brothers and sisters of our community. Please come as you are and bring a friend.” said AGAPE in an official statement.

Chamber Celebrates Summerhill Financial Coaching w/ Ribbon-Cutting

June 22, 2022

On Tuesday evening, The Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce was proud to hold a ribbon-cutting in Berwick for Summerhill Financial Coaching — Janet Hunsinger. Hunsinger is a certified financial coach with Ramsey Solutions. “There are so many people out in the community that need help,” said Hunsinger. “This drastically changed our lives. I went through training at Ramsey Solutions and became a coach. I went to the Master’s training program and the boot camp. It’s so rewarding and life-changing.”

The Chamber and Janet’s family were joined by Tim Burke, Berwick’s Mayor, Dave Kovach, Columbia County Commissioner, Jeff Cerminaro of Walker’s Jewelers, and Michelle Boone of Press Enterprise.

Janet and Summerhill Financial Coaching provides one-on-one guidance for cash flow planning, paying off debt, buying a home or car, college planning, building wealth, charitable giving, and saving for retirement.