Mini Casino Survey Results

Last month, we asked our members to respond to a brief, three-question survey regarding a possible casino in our area, which followed the Bloomsburg Town Council passing a resolution that would allow a “mini casino” to locate within the town. Several other municipalities in Columbia and Montour counties have also indicated they are open to consideration. 

As a part of the 2017-18 state budget law that was signed last fall, Pennsylvania made 10 Category 4 casino licenses available through an auction process, which is currently underway. Under the legislation, local municipalities have the option as to whether or not they would allow such establishments.

Here are the results of the survey:

1. Do you think a mini casino located in our area would benefit your business?
Yes          29      40%
No           32      44%
Unsure   11       15%

2. Would you be in favor of a mini casino locating in our area?
Yes          35       49%
No           23       32%
Unsure   14       19%

3. What type of organization do you represent?
Retail                               8       11%
Restaurant/Food          11       15%
Entertainment/Arts     3        4%
Service                            25      35%
Manufacturing              7        10%
Non-profit                      18      25%

Thanks to all that took the time to respond, and congratulations to the winner of the free month of ads in E-Biz, JDog Junk Removal & Hauling.

Leadership Central Penn Learns Why Nothing is as Black and White as We Think

Pallets of grocery flyers wait to be stuffed in the newspapers at the Press Enterprise.

The Leadership Central Penn’s morning for its March class date started out at Press Enterprise, where not even the business model is about black and white print anymore.  Press Enterprise has evolved over the years from a newspaper to a commercial printing operation that produces a daily newspaper. Thanks to forward thinking and a little luck, the organization has weathered the challenges of print news. 

The class was treated to a tour of the Press Enterprise facilities where workers were busily bundling weekly grocery ads for distribution and shipping. As the class looked at the line, it saw the layers of ink being added, which changed the white paper into brilliant colors and bright ads. The digital media team works to assist clients with content and presentation, allowing small mom-and-pop grocers to offer the same vibrant, eye-catching ads of larger grocery chains. 

Following the tour of the Press Enterprise’s facilities , the class headed to SEKISUI SPI for the remainder of the day, where the group was greeted by fellow classmate and VP of People and Culture for SEKISUI, Sharon Haverlak. The first speaker of the day was Ronn Cort, COO and president of SEKISUI, who introduced the group to the innovative vision and culture of the company. SEKISUI has capitalized globally on opportunities of the growing middle class and the infrastructure needs of this group and their communities. The company produces plastic sheet for thermoforming products used in aviation, mass transit, construction and farming vehicles, and equipment housings like MRI

Ronn Cort gives a presentation to the LCP class.

machines and ATMs. 

SEKISUI has global leaders as partners on environmentally-focused, cutting-edge technology for the future. These include projects with Tesla for charging stations and the Hyperloop public transportation system. Thanks to the light weight, strength and thermal properties of their products, SEKISUI has helped save fuel without compromising style or comfort.

Following Cort’s presentation, the class welcomed Mike Ferlazzo, director of media relations at Bucknell University, for a discussion on the importance of public relations in leadership. The class heard about the importance of media relationships and the value of transparency. Mike shared that if you don’t control the narrative and provide factual information, the story will continue in a direction of its own making. This might not be the best light or even an accurate depiction, but it is what the public will be left with if not for a sound PR approach.

Mike Ferlazzo of Bucknell University speaks to the LCP class about public relations.

Before a lunch break, the class was joined by Tina Welch of Welch Performance Consulting to discuss “Generations in the Workplace.” Tina shared that there are four generations at work currently, Traditionalist, Boomers, Gen X and Millennials.  Each group has unique work ethic, communication preferences, motivations, and expectations of rewards, feedback and work/life balance. The class then learned the three main strategies for managing this multi-generational workforce:

  1. Mold your Culture
  2. Become Gen-Mixers: Assess Your Team
  3. Teach Your Workforce

Arthur Breese, director of diversity at Geisinger, talks about everyday bias.

After its well-earned lunch break, it was time to introduce the class to a presentation titled “Everyday Bias” led by Arthur Breese, director of diversity at Geisinger, Jimmy Muwombi, from the Coalition for Social Equity, and Jabari Johnson, Bloomsburg University student and intern at the United Way of Columbia and Montour County.  The class learned that based on where, when and how we were raised, and what life experiences we have had, we are all prone to pass judgment with our fast brain. The class saw a variety of videos and had discussions to prove the point that we all have both unconscious and conscious bias. We have two brains that don’t always see eye to eye, the fast (emotional) and slow (thinking) brain. Understanding and controlling these two sides of our brain requires us to take a P.A.U.S.E. before we react or act. 

To conclude the day, the class was treated to a behind the scenes plant tour of SEKISUI. The class was shown production, development and corporate culture in action. This organization, that many in the class were unaware of prior to this day, impressed everyone with its approach, innovation and vision. If there were any preconceived biases about manufacturing, they were changed on this day and replaced by a new vision of the current state and future of this sector.

Chamber Board Welcomes New Members

With the start of the Chamber’s 2018-19 fiscal year on April 1, six new board members have officially taken their seats on and have been welcomed to the Chamber Board of Directors. Incoming board members are:

Donna Coombs, GordnerCoombs Insurance
Renee Gerringer, Ronald McDonald House of Danville
Sam Haulman, Service Electric
Vic Klein, Columbia Alliance for Economic Growth
Holly Morrison, Central Susquehanna Community Foundation
Tom Neal, Commonwealth Health-Berwick Hospital Center

2018-19 officers are:

Karen Wood, Chair, Service 1st Federal Credit Union
Dan Knorr, Vice Chair, Bloomsburg University
Denise Stone, Treasurer, Geisinger
Mark Gardner, Immediate Past Chair, M&T Bank
Fred Gaffney, President

Exiting the board are Jeff Cerminaro of Walker’s Jewelers and Diana Verbeck of Danville Child Development Center. Outgoing chair Mark Gardner expressed appreciation for their service at the March Board meeting, as well as at February’s Annual Meeting. 

Member News – April 4, 2018

Member News

  • North Branch Group/Thrivent Financial is seeking an office assistant to support the team at its Bloomsburg office located at 417 West Main St. Responsibilities includes handling incoming telephone calls,, routine administrative duties, and more. For more information, see the job description, or contact Kerry Maurer at 570-317-2111 or email


  • The Borough of Danville’s spring newsletter is now available. In it, you’ll find the President’s report that details some of the Borough’s efforts at flood insurance cost mitigation through the creation of a Flood Resiliency Task Force in conjunction with SEDA-COG, as well as additional information on flood awareness. Also, find information on upcoming events in the Borough throughout the spring and summer, such as the annual Spring Fling on Saturday, May 5. 


  • Overall construction is more than 50% complete on the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Project, a nearly $3 billion investment by Williams in Pennsylvania. The project is currently on schedule to be completed and have affordable, reliable and locally-produced natural gas flowing through by the end of this summer. The latest edition of the Atlantic Sunrise Construction Newsletter for our region (Schuylkill, Northumberland and Columbia counties) is now available, which contain more detailed construction updates and much more. 


  • Bloomsburg University will holds its third annual Advocacy, Connections and Empowerment for Older Adults Career and Community Expo tomorrow, April 5, from 3:30-5:30 p.m. in the lobby area of the 2303 auditorium in the McCormick building. The purpose of this expo is to connect undergraduate students from a variety of majors to professionals who work to meet the needs of and provide services to older adults. Following the expo, there will be a presentation by Amanda Cavaleri at 6 p.m. in the 2303 auditorium. Cavaleri is a entrepreneur from Colorado that is changing the landscape of careers in aging. Her current project is called “Connect The Ages,” whose mission is to “build multimedia awareness tools and grassroots campaigns to help younger generations see and experience the value in older generations and to bridge the gap between educators and students and the demands of an aging America.” Light refreshments will be provided. There is no cost to attend, however registration is required by contacting Mary Jo Larcom by email or phone at 570-389-4479. 


  • Geisinger Health Plan and the Columbia-Montour Aging Office, Inc. will team 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, beginning next Monday April 9 and running 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. 


  • Montour County, the Borough of Danville, and Child Care Information Services of Columbia, Montour & Northumberland Counties will celebrate the Week of the Young Child on Tuesday, April 10 at 10 a.m. on the steps of the Montour County Courthouse on Mill St. in Danville. The commissioners and mayor of Danville will read a proclamation of WOYC, there will be a reading of the children’s book My Cousin Momo by Zach O’Hara, and musical entertainment by “The Singing Mailman.” WOYC is sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) to raise awareness and advocacy surrounding the importance of early childhood programs and services.


  • The Bucknell Small Business Development Center will offer a First Step Workshop on Wednesday, April 11, from 1-3 p.m. at Service 1st Federal Credit Union, located at 1985 Montour Blvd. (Rt. 11), Danville. This “pre-business” workshop is intended to assist potential entrepreneurs that are considering starting a business but might not know where to start. Attendees will learn about legal structure, selection a location, licenses and forms, insurance needs, business planning, small business taxes, hiring employees and more. Cost is $25 for each workshop, and those interested can register online or by calling 570-577-1249. 


Saxophonist Melissa Aldana.

  • Jazz saxophonist Melissa Aldana will perform on Wednesday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the Weis Center Atrium Lobby at the Weis Center For the Performing Arts. This performance is free and tickets are not required. Aldana is an acclaimed tenor saxophonist and native of Chile that NPR referred to as “one of the most compelling and prodigious saxophonists of her time. In 2013 she became the first female instrumentalist and the first South American ever to win the Thelonious Monk Competition. She is also a recipient of the Martin E. Segal Award from Jazz at Lincoln Center and a double recipient of the Altazor Award, Chile’s highly prestigious national arts prize.


  • North Branch Group/Thrivent Financial will host a tax reform workshop on Thursday, April 12, at 6 p.m. at the Bloomsburg Public Library. Find out how you and your family will fare under the new changes to the U.S. federal tax code, which was changed due to the new law passed in December. Learn about those tax law changes that could impact you, and get positive, professional guidance from the professionals from Thrivent. No products or services will be sold at this event. Light refreshments will be served and there is no cost to attend, however and RSVP is requested by calling Richard Keller at 570-317-2111 or email


  • First Columbia Bank & Trust will holds its 8th annual Teen Star musical competition on Sunday, May 20 as Haas Auditorium on the campus of Bloomsburg University. Audition registration is now open through Friday, April 20. Auditions will be held at Millville Area High School on Wednesday, April 25 and Saturday, April 28. This annual competition is open to any freshman, sophomore, junior or senior that attends high school in Columbia County or the Danville School District, or that permanently resides in Columbia County or within the Danville Area School District but attends a school outside the county or district. For more information and to register, visit the Teen Star website


  • The Bloomsburg Area YMCA will hold Healthy Kids Day on Saturday, April 21 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. There will be games, activities and more to get kids thinking about healthy lifestyles. Snacks will be available, along with information about youth development programs at the Y, such as its upcoming summer camp. To give children an adventurous, active and healthy summer, the Y will be waiving its $35 camp registration fee on this day. For more information, visit the Facebook event page


  • State Rep. David Millard will host a drug forum on Tuesday, April 24 at Benton High School, from 6-8 p.m. Adults and children are invited to attend these events, which are designed to share information about drug abuse, the opioid crisis and how to avoid drug addiction. Speakers include Jeremy Reese, Columbia County coroner, representatives from Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital, and representatives from a local rehabilitation facility. These forums are free and open to the public, and registration is not required. Visit Rep. Millard’s website or call 570-759-8734 or 570-387-0246 for more information. 


  • The local PA CareerLink centers have scheduled their 2018 job fairs. The local one in our area will be held 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. The registration links for employers are now open for the three May events. See the flyer for more information as well as registration links. 


  • 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. 

Welcome Rock God Brewing Co.

More than 400 businesses and organizations belong to the Chamber to receive benefits and support efforts to strengthen their businesses and our region. Increased membership allows us to offer additional programs and benefits, have a stronger voice in advocacy and be involved in more activities and initiatives in our communities. The Chamber welcomes its newest member, Rock God Brewing Co., to help us fulfill our mission.

Opened in April 2017 by co-owners and Danville residents Ben Yagle and Gary Ernest, Rock God is a brewery/brew pub that brews its own hand crafted beers and serves them up in its music-themed pub. It will be celebrating its one-year anniversary next weekend on April 14, during which time it will also unveil its first limited-release bottled beer. It has various special events each month, including live musical acts and different musical genre-themed nights, trivia night, educational seminars and more. It also partners with different food trucks each month that come to its parking lot to serve food to its patrons to go along with the beers poured inside. Located at 459 Rooney Ave. in Danville, behind the Danville Borough building, it is open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3:30-9 p.m., Fridays from 3:30-11 p.m. and Saturdays from 1-11 p.m. For more information and for a schedule of its various special events, check out its website or Facebook page