Kawneer Showcases State-of-the-Art Plant at September Business After Hours

Chamber members enjoyed delicious food and sweets from fellow member Lucy’s Kitchen & Catering and also had an opportunity to go on a tour of Kawneer’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Bloomsburg at September’s Business After Hours last Wednesday, Sept. 20. Those that went on the tour saw Kawneer’s massive plant where thousands of door and window frames, both standard and custom, are made each day. Attendees saw how the raw materials are molded into various shapes and sizes to fit all of the various orders that Kawneer receives from architects and builders all across the world, as well as how the frames are painted, welded and put through an automated production line run by robots.

Of course, in addition to the plant tour and outstanding food, attendees also enjoyed a chance to network with business colleagues and several also won prizes, which were provided by Kawneer and distributed to the winners by the Chamber later in the week. Attendees also were able to take home a puzzle of one of Kawneer’s most interesting and unique building jobs – the Museum at Prairiefire in Winona, Minn., for which Kawneer made all of the custom window and door frames at the Bloomsburg plant, as well as other building materials at other plants.

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 co-hosted by the Borough of Danville and SEDA-COG on Wednesday, Oct. 18 in the ballroom of the Danville Borough Hall, 239 Mill St., Danville. 

For more photos from last week’s event, check out the Chamber’s Facebook page

Member News – September 27, 2017

Member News

  • First Keystone Bank is lending a hand to support the relief efforts in Texas and Florida due to the recent hurricanes. It is holding collections for the Texas and Miami diaper banks through this Friday, Sept. 29. The goal is to fill a truck with baby items, and the bank will cover costs for the delivery of the items to Texas and Florida. They are currently in need of diapers of all sizes including adult diapers, as well as blankets, bottles, toys, wipes, pull-ups, books and any other baby items. Donations can be made at any one of First Keystone’s 18 branch locations.


  • The United Way of Columbia and Montour County held its 2017 Campaign Kickoff event last Tuesday, Sept. 19. Ronn Cort, president and COO at SEKISUI SPI served as the keynote speaker, while Kathy Lowe of Key Partners Realty sponsored the kickoff breakfast. If you or your organization would like more information about running a United Way campaign at your location, please contact campaign coordinator Bryne Lewis at 570-784-3134 or email.


  • The Bucknell Small Business Development Center will host a presentation from the Rural Business Innovation titled “Personal Credit Repair & Establishing Business Credit,” on Wednesday, Oct. 4, from 9-11 a.m. at the Bucknell SBDC in the DeWitt Bldg., 416 Market St., Lewisburg. This credit boot camp-type discussion will explore your personal credit, its effects on your business, establishing and keeping good business credit and what all these scores mean. The featured speaker will be John Yoder from the Hutchison Insurance Agency. Cost to attend is $10. Register for either event on the RBI website


  • State Rep. David Millard will host a Senior Caregiver Support Forum on Thursday, Oct. 5, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation, 725 West Front St., Berwick. Intended for people that help care for aging loved ones, this forum will provide attendees with an opportunity to learn about important resources available to them. It will feature some brief informative sessions, along with a chance to get questions answered. Organizations scheduled to be on hand include the Columbia Montour Aging Office, Commonwealth Home Health and Hospice of Berwick, which is affiliated with Berwick Hospital Center, and an elder law attorney from the Law Office of Lutz & Petty. RSVP to Rep. Millard’s office at 570-759-8734 or on RepMillard.com


  • Geisinger Health will hold its inaugural Dream Big Hot Air Balloon Festival on Saturday, Oct. 7, from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. at Spyglass Ridge Winery, 400 Plum Creek Rd., Sunbury. Proceeds from this event will benefit Geisinger’s Comprehensive Breast care Program. Activities include balloon rides (weather-permitting), live bands and food trucks, children’s activities and family fun, professional and amateur photo competitions, performances by local dance groups, a fresh food farmers market and family photo sessions in front of the balloons. Admission is free. For more information, read this flyer.Event organizers are also seeking donations of small items (approx. $10-20 in value) from area businesses and individuals for an auction. If interested in making a donation, please contact Linda Vaji at 570-214-2581 or email


  • Co., a social and professional networking group that is run by the United Way of Columbia and Montour County, will hold a pair of events during October. It will host a networking event on Tuesday, Oct. 10, from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Capitol Bar & Grille, 45 East Main St., Bloomsburg. It will also hold a fun evening at Can You XCape followed by a mixer at the Wagon Shed on Thursday, Oct. 26, beginning at 6 p.m. Co. was founded to give area residents the opportunity to take advantage of all the great things this area has to offer. This group is for everyone, which means any age, ability, or area of residence. It holds multiple events each month. For more information about Co., including future events, visit its Facebook page


  • As part of its 30th anniversary season, the Weis Center for the Performing Arts will celebrate the legacy, tradition and craftsmanship of Martin Guitars with a full day of events on Saturday, Oct. 14.

    A Martin Guitar

    All of the day’s programming is free except for the 7:30 p.m. performance of the Del McCoury Band. The day includes facilitated workshops including blues slide guitar basics, guitar repair consultations, guitar theory, and a roots music recording session, as well as Martin Guitar displays and merchandise, a community guitar jam, a film screening and panel discussion, and evening performances. Visit here for a complete schedule and description of all events on this day. 


  • PPL Electric Utilities and its supply chain division is hosting a Diversity Meet and Greet event on Friday, Nov. 17, from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the PPL Conference Center at Walbert, 1639 Church Rd., Allentown. This event is designed for business owners who are veterans, women, minorities, LGBT and disabled, to have an opportunity to find out more about PPL and its opportunities for suppliers. Attendees will have a chance to meet and speak to PPL leaders and the staff that works with suppliers. There is no cost to attend, but those interested in attending should register online by Friday, Oct. 27. For more information, see this flyer


  • PA CareerLink of Columbia/Montour Counties, along with the Innovative Manufacturers Center (IMC), will host a collaborative robot workshop on Monday, Oct. 30, from 9-11:30 a.m. at the Pine Barn Inn, Danville. There is no cost to attend and a light breakfast will be served. Around the world, thousands of robots work collaboratively alongside humans with no safety guards and no problems. Come and learn about universal robots, robot programming, end effector solutions, stands and protective covering, and participate in hands-on activities. Visit online to register or learn more about this event. 


  • Innotek Computer Consulting will host its annual Technology and Security Expo on Wednesday, Nov. 8 at Sand Springs Country Club, 10 Clubhouse Dr., Drums. This annual event, billed as “Northeast Pennsylvania’s biggest technology and security expo,” brings together IT managers, executives and business owners to discuss the impact of technology and security on business. There is no cost to attend. For more information or to register, visit the event page on Innotek’s website, or the Facebook event page.


  • Along with the Bloomsburg University Regional STEM Education Center, the Foundation of the Columbia Montour Chamber will co-sponsor the Future Careers Expo on Thursday, Nov. 9, from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Kehr Union Ballroom on the BU campus. The annual event allows attendees to explore career in science, technology, engineering and math and it open to all students in grades 7-12, as well as their parents. Participants can receive a BU application fee waiver just for attends, and there will also be door prizes for those that sign up. For more information and to register, visit here. For businesses that are interested in participating as vendors, please fill out this form and return it to the email address on the form by Oct. 20. For questions from businesses, please call the Chamber Foundation at 570-784-2522 or email

PA Department of Health Seeks Input on Regulations for Medical Marijuana Program

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is seeking input from patients and their caregivers on what should be included in the proposed regulations for the state’s new medical marijuana program. The deadline to submit public comments is next Monday, Oct. 2. The draft regulations can be viewed on the PA Dept. of Health’s website. The draft regulations were posted just last Friday, so the public comment period is set for just 10 days. Anyone interested in making comments should go the department’s online form to submit. 

Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana was signed into law last year and is expected to be fully implemented in early 2018. The program allows residents of PA that have one or more of 17 medical conditions to access medical marijuana with a prescription. Locally, Green Thumb Industries (GTI) is in the process of setting up a medical marijuana cultivation center in downtown Danville, where it will grow (but not distribute) medical marijuana that will be distributed in other parts of the state. GTI expects its Danville operation to be up and running by the end of the year, and plans to add up to 100 jobs in Danville within the next three years. Earlier this month, it held a job fair and town hall at the Danville Borough building, both of which attracted hundreds of attendees. 

Revenue Deal Moves Closer to Conference Committee as State Credit Rating Gets Downgraded

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

The state Senate returned to Harrisburg last week, days after the House passed its version of a non-tax revenue package to pay for the $32 billion General Fund budget that became law on July 10. Senate leaders quickly made it clear that they didn’t support the House’s plan to fill a $2.2 billion revenue gap through one-time transfers, securitization of the Tobacco Settlement Funds and liquor and gaming expansion; and voted 43-7 on Wednesday to non-concur in the legislation.

This makes it all the more likely that the revenue deal will ultimately be decided through a conference committee in the coming weeks. This little-utilized procedural move will form a committee comprised of lawmakers from both chambers to reach consensus on a revenue plan that will then be voted up or down in the House and Senate. The need for them to act has hastened quite a bit, as the Commonwealth was met with the unwelcome news last week that credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded the state to an A+ rating; which is only better than two other states well known known for their financial problems – Illinois and New Jersey. According to S&P, among the reasons for Pennsylvania’s downgrade were a “misalignment” of revenues and expenses in the 2016-17 fiscal year that triggered the current deficit; failure to finalize the revenue package for the $32 billion budget that became law in July; and state Treasurer Joe Torsella’s decision to stop extending a line of credit to pay the state’s bills, which has resulted in missed payments due to cash flow problems.

Following the Senate’s non-concurrence vote last Wednesday, the chamber recessed to the call of the President Pro Tempore (a six-hour call) meaning that they will be ready to return to the Capitol should a revenue resolution be reached.

Grandfathered Versus Grandmothered Health Plans

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) “grandfathered plans” are group health plans (or health insurance coverage) that were in existence on March 23, 2010, and have not undergone certain prohibited design changes since then. Those prohibitions, in summary fashion, are: an elimination of benefits, an increase in percentage cost-sharing requirements, and an increase in a fixed amount cost-sharing requirement other than a co-payment (with some limitations) or a decrease in employer contributions by more than 5% of its established contribution on March 23, 2010.

Needless to say, not many grandfathered plans remain. In the Kaiser Health Organization 2016 Employer Benefit Survey it was noted that only 23 percent of employers nationally, maintain at least one grandfathered benefit option. Grandfathered plans are excused from some of the requirements under the ACA, such as coverage of preventive health services without any cost-sharing and the expanded appeals process and external review.

However, they still must comply with other provisions, including: (1) provide a uniform explanation of coverage, (2) report medical loss ratios and provide premium rebates if medical loss ratios are not met, (3) prohibit lifetime and annual limits on essential health benefits, (4) extend dependent coverage to age 26, (5) prohibit health plan rescissions, (6) prohibit waiting periods greater than 90 days, and (7) prohibit coverage exclusions for pre-existing health conditions.

Employers of grandfathered plans have a notice requirement where the plan must provide, in any plan materials describing benefits for participants or beneficiaries, (a) a statement that the plan or coverage is believed to be a grandfathered plan, and (b) contact information for questions or complaints. Failure to provide this notice can result in loss of grandfather status. Another condition of retaining grandfather status is that as long as the status is asserted documentation must be maintained to show that the coverage in effect as of March 23, 2010 has not made any of the prohibited changes. This requirement reinforces the importance of a plan sponsor having and keeping an updated plan document, which must be available for review upon request. Grandfathered status can be maintained indefinitely as long as no prohibited plan changes are made, however, once lost, it cannot be regained.

In contrast, the ACA did not make any particular allowances for individual and small group plans that became effective after March 23, 2010. It was expected that these plans would terminate at the end of 2013 and be replaced with ACA compliant coverage. However, due to multiple problems for small groups with ACA implementation, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued transitional relief that allowed states to permit non-grandfathered plans to renew their pre-ACA plans.

Therefore, a “grandmothered plan” (also referred to as a transitional health policy) is a non-grandfathered health plan that is subject to a HHS transition policy. This policy allows insurers to extend coverage which are free from certain ACA reforms, basically, they are non-compliant plans. The main insurance market reforms to which grandmothered plans are not required to comply are the premium rating rules, guaranteed availability and renewability and the requirement to provide the ten Essential Health Benefits.

Originally issued in 2013, transition relief for grandmothered plans has been extended several times with the most recent extension permitting insurers that have continually renewed grandmothered plans since  January 1, 2014, to renew such coverage again for any policy year beginning on or before Oct. 1, 2018 (However, the insurance policies must not extend past Dec. 31, 2018). As a reminder whether a plan can be grandmothered is governed by state insurance law, and not all states have adopted the transitional relief. Additionally, an insurer that renews a grandmothered plan is required to provide an annual notice explaining the right to retain existing coverage to affected individuals and small businesses.

If you have a grandfathered plan you can keep it indefinitely, as long as your plan does not make any of the certain prohibited plan design changes which causes the loss of grandfather status. Likewise, if you have a grandmothered plan, you can keep it (at least in Pennsylvania) through Dec. 31, 2018. You should continue to stay updated on the status of the ACA and how your grandfathered or grandmothered plan can be affected.