Member News – April 25, 2018

Member News

  • The Bucknell Small Business Development Center will holds its next First Step workshop for aspiring entrepreneurs on Tuesday, May 1 from 9-11:30 a.m. at its location at 416 Market St., Lewisburg. This event is intended to help aspiring business owners begin the process of successful business ownership, including evaluating business ideas, developing a business plan and exploring financing options. Cost is $25 and pre-registration is required. To register, visit the link above or call 570-577-1249. 

 

  • The Bucknell Small Business Development Center will also present a workshop on utilizing Facebook for marketing purposes on Thursday, May 3, from 8:30-10:30 a.m. at its location on 416 Market St., Lewisburg. Titled “Mastering Facebook Marketing with Small Staffs & Budgets,” this workshop will feature tips to promote events, expand reach and increase engagement in only 18 minutes or less per day. Attendees will learn about Facebook posting frequency, post size and hashtags, the power of Facebook events and Facebook insights explained. Cost is $35 and registration can be done online or by calling 570-577-1249. 

 

  • PA CareerLink Columbia/Montour Counties will hold its 2018 job fair on Wednesday, May 9, from 4-7 p.m. at Columbia-Montour Area Vocational Technical School, located at 5050 Sweppenheiser Dr., Bloomsburg. There will also be job fairs during May just outside of the area at Shikellamy High School in Sunbury on May 2 and at the Selinsgrove VFW in May 30. Later in the year, there will be one at the Best Western in Lewisburg on Sept. 6. All of these events are open to the public to attend. See the flyer for more information. 

 

  • The Wilkes Small Business Development Center will hold its next First Step workshop for aspiring entrepreneurs on Wednesday, May 16 at 6 p.m. at its location at 85 South Main St., Wilkes-Barre. This event is intended to help aspiring business owners begin the process of successful business ownership, including evaluating business ideas, developing a business plan and exploring financing options. Cost is $20. To register, visit the link above or call 570-577-1249.

 

  • The Weis Center for the Performing Arts, in collaboration with the Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau and the Susquehanna River Arts initiative, is hosting a free art exhibit and installation featuring the work of 10 local artists from now through Friday, May 25 in the Weis Center’s upper Atrium Lobby. The exhibit is free and takes place on the upper level of the Atrium Lobby, which is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. Participating artists will include: Annie Barnhart, Robert Brown, Pete Grimord, Joan Grimord, Gail Fox, Glen Klein, Abigail Kurecian, Sara Mika, Pam Thomas and William Whitmoyer. Each artist will have several samples of artwork on display. 

 

  • Geisinger Health Plan and the Columbia-Montour Aging Office, Inc. are teaming up to bring “A Matter of Balance,” an award-winning program, to the area for a series of presentations in April and May. This program for older adults and is designed to manage falls and increase activity levels. It is available to the public at no cost and will be held each Monday, through May 21, from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at Maria Joseph Continuing Care Community, located at 1707 Montour Blvd. (Rt. 11), Danville. The program will also be held on Tuesday, May 29 due to Memorial Day, and this will be the last class. Attendees will learn to view falls as controllable, set goals for increasing activity, make changes to reduce fall risks at home and exercise to increase strength and balance. Registration is required, and to do so, call the GHP wellness team at 866-415-7138. 

Ken Pollock Ford Lincoln Cuts Ribbon on Newly Remodeled Showroom

Beginning last fall and all throughout the long winter, if you drove past the Ken Pollock Ford Lincoln automobile dealership on Route 11 in Berwick, you would see construction going on. The old showroom was being remodeling into a new, modern, spacious and pleasant space, and on Saturday, April 21, a ribbon cutting and grand reopening were held to officially unveil the new showroom.

The Chamber was on hand to help cut the ribbon, which kicked off a fun afternoon full of music, games, prizes, food and drink for all in attendance. It was a well-attended event, as the line for food spanned several yards for much of the afternoon, and attendees also had a chance to play some cornhole, listen to live music from local musicians, meet the ownership, management and staff at the dealership, and of course, check out Ken Pollock’s wide selection of new and used cars during one of the busiest times of the year at automobile dealerships following tax day. 

Members Check Out Aircraft, Learn About Numerous Services at Bloomsburg Municipal Airport at Business After Hours

Members had an opportunity to check out a few aircraft at April’s Business After Hours at the Bloomsburg Municipal Airport (owned by the Town of Bloomsburg), as well as check out the terminal, which was rebuilt following the 2011 flood, and learn about the various services and activities available from and that take place at the airport. 

The airport can offer its conference room, which can comfortably seat up to 12 board-room style and up to 30 theater style without tables, for rental on a full or half day basis. That fee is waived with aviation use. There is also a courtesy car available for use by pilots or passengers that stop in Bloomsburg. The airport is also home to the Bloomsburg Flying Club, which puts on a series of aviation education events through the year and also holds periodic Fly-In/Drive-In Days in which breakfast is served. The airport staff is also constantly working to make more private flying options available in Bloomsburg through a number of chartered air services. 

Attendees also had a chance to check out a few aircraft, including the gyrocopter (below). A brief video showing some aerial shots of Bloomsburg from up in the gyrocopter can be seen in the link below. 

Business After Hours provide regular opportunities to build business relationships while learning about the services offered by other Chamber members. The next Business After Hours will be held at the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, located at 226 Center St., Bloomsburg, on Wednesday, May 16, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. 

Geisinger Discusses Initiatives with Community Leaders

Leadership at Geisinger recently discussed a number of initiatives currently underway to deal with issues impacting the health system and the people it serves with community leaders. Among the issues are dealing with opioid abuse, better access to health care, and filling skilled positions at the system’s various facilities. Geisinger’s Chief Medical Officer, Jaewon Ryu, M.D., J.D. (in photo at left), led the discussion on behalf of Dr. David Feinberg.

Driving care initiatives is the recently updated Community Health Needs Assessment. Timely access to care, behavioral health issues, including substance abuse, and disease prevention were priority issues. Work teams have been formed and focus groups are being held to develop strategies. 

With 140,000 no shows for appointments annually, Geisinger is piloting a transportation program. The Chamber regularly hears from area human service agencies about the challenges of transportation among the low to moderate income population. While studies have shown that transportation does not improve medical visits, Geisinger is working with Rabbit Transit and other providers to provide transportation within a radius of the hospital.

Among the initiatives to help deal with opioid abuse, Geisinger has improved its prescription reporting system. In an 18 month period, the number of opioids prescribed was reduced by 50%. The system’s addition medicine department is also increasing its efforts in the area of treatment. 

The Fresh Food Farmacy being piloted at the Geisinger Shamokin Area Community Hospital is yielding significant positive results for patients with diabetes. With 300 people in the program, providing healthy food options with guidance is proving more effective than traditional prescription medicine. The successful program is being expanded to other Geisinger facilities. 

With the growth of the Geisinger system, so has the need for skilled positions. Bloomsburg University’s popular nursing program creates a valuable partnership for Geisinger, though clinical space remains a bottleneck. Initiatives to retain employees are showing success, though recruiting is a challenge. There was discussion among the group about the need for additional housing stock, and integrating new hires and their families into our communities. The Chamber has reached out to Geisinger representatives and other major employers to assist with these issues. Communities that are safe, vibrant, and welcoming are critical to the success and growth of area employers, as well as the health of its citizens. 

House Passes Several Tax Reform Bills to Help Small Businesses

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

The state House passed three PA Chamber-backed measures last week that would bring clarity to the state’s tax structure, improve competition and help level the playing field for small businesses.

House Bill 331, which passed by a nearly unanimous vote, aims to allow for “like-kind” exchange of tax deferrals when a property is exchanged with a similar property. This would put the Commonwealth in line with every other state, removing a disadvantage that Pennsylvania’s small businesses face when competing with businesses across state lines.

The House also passed H.B. 333, which would increase deductible amounts for qualifying small business equipment purchases. This move would bring Pennsylvania in line with the federal Internal Revenue Code, and with 33 other states that currently allow businesses to deduct the full purchase price of $1 million per year. To put that in context, under current law, businesses in Pennsylvania may only claim $25,000 for these purposes.  “Pennsylvania is unique in being the only state that allows for full Section 179 expensing for  larger businesses while not allowing small businesses to do the same,” PA Chamber Government Affairs Vice President Sam Denisco said in a memo to House lawmakers prior to the vote. “As we have all seen subsequent to the enactment of federal tax reform, employers are investing back into their companies, rewarding their employees, and hiring more workers. By coming into line with federal law, small businesses will have more resources and flexibility to grow and the PA Chamber asks for your support.”

Another important tax reform bill that House lawmakers passed unanimously last week was H.B. 994, which aims to bring clarity to the Gross Receipts Tax statute regarding wireless services.  Under current law, wireless services are subject to both of the Sales and Use Tax and GRT at 6 and 5 percent, respectively. However, while Pennsylvania follows clear and updated language under the federal Mobile Telecommunications Sourcing Act regarding the SUT on telecommunications, GRT definitions haven’t been modernized. This has created confusion as to whether wireless series are included in that tax base, which H.B. 994 would remedy by inserting the clear definitions from the SUT statute into the GRT statute. “This would bring consistency between the application of the sales and use tax and gross receipts taxes,” Denisco said in a memo to House members. “It would also eliminate confusion and uncertainty over which services were subject to taxation both now and in the future.”

Representatives Kurt Masser and David Millard voted in favor of all three of these bills.

All three bills now await further consideration in the state Senate.