Welcome LIFE Geisinger

More than 500 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, LIFE Geisinger, to help us fulfill our mission.

A part of Geisinger Health, LIFE Geisinger is a unique and innovative program for eligible older adults designed to give them the support they need to live independently and remain in their homes. It is an all-inclusive program, meaning all of a participant’s healthcare needs are taken care of through the program, with the exception of emergency care. LIFE Geisinger also offers a separate adult day care service that is open to anyone, regardless of their eligibility for the all-inclusive program. Located at 1100 Spruce St., Kulpmont, LIFE Geisinger serves portions of Columbia, Montour, Northumberland and Schuylkill Counties, including the following zip codes in Columbia and Montour Counties: 17814, 17815, 17820, 17821, 17822, 17824, 17846, 17858, 17859, 17888, 17920, 18603 and 18631. For more information on LIFE Geisinger’s programs and eligibility, contact outreach and enrollment coordinator Wendy Rishel at 570-373-2100 or email

Last Week of State Fiscal Year Focuses on Gaming Discussions, Other Unknowns

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

With only a few days left in the 2016-17 Fiscal Year, lawmakers are scheduled to be in session through June 30, the state’s constitutional budget deadline. More session days may be scheduled as necessary.

Legislative leaders remain engaged in conversations over what the next year’s budget plan will look like, and details are scarce. There continue to be questions over what the Senate’s version of H.B. 271 – the gaming expansion bill – will contain, and based on a conversation that Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson, had last week with Capitolwire, they are a long way off in reaching agreement. “My experience with gaming in the Senate Republican caucus I can boil down real simply,” Scarnati told the media outlet. “We have a third of the members of the Senate Republican caucus that are opposed to gaming because they oppose gaming. We have a third of them that have gaming interests in their district so they are somewhat not in favor of competition for casinos. We’ve got a third of the members in the caucus that, you know, could be influenced possibly one way or the other to vote for something. But there is no strong consensus. And when you start out with two-thirds of your caucus that principally are either against it or certainly economically opposed to something, it’s difficult. That’s why we’re where we are at.” Meanwhile, the House remains ready to go “all in” on gaming expansion as a way to generate up to $270 million in annual recurring revenue, with its version of the bill containing sweeping changes and allowing for video gaming terminals in bars, taverns and the like.

There are also said to be conversations about other forms of revenue to fill a $1.2 billion budget hole in the coming Fiscal Year, including borrowing and/or using money from the state’s share of the nationwide Tobacco Settlement Fund. In speaking with reporters last week, the governor didn’t outright oppose these ideas, but voiced concerns. The Associated Press has said that while Wolf is counting on an extra $250 million in money from new forms of gaming, the Department of Revenue has said doing so could lead to losses from the Pennsylvania Lottery and at casinos. “I want real revenue, and I want net revenue,'” Wolf told the press. “I don’t want anything that we do in gaming or gambling to interfere with the revenues that are already in place. If it just cannibalizes and takes from one bucket called gambling to another, the commonwealth isn’t doing anything more than it has in the past.”

Chamber Supports Expansion of Telecommunications Infrastructure

Adequate infrastructure is critical to the health and growth of communities. In addition to good roads, water, and electricity, reliable telecommunications is essential for resident safety and business operations. Unfortunately, telecommunications service, especially broadband internet, is either limited or nonexistent in significant portions of Montour and Columbia counties. The Columbia Montour Chamber recently joined with municipalities in northern Montour County in asking state legislators to work with potential providers to improve telecommunications infrastructure.

In underserved areas, cellular technology could be a viable option for homes and smaller businesses. However, many of these same areas also lack adequate cellular coverage. While speeds and network coverage in more populated areas are being improved, the carriers do not appear to be investing significantly in our rural areas to expand coverage.

From a regulatory standpoint, only the public utilities are compelled to provide a basic level of service. Today’s telecommunications marketplace offers other potential vendors. The Chamber is suggesting that funding policies should be modernized to provide incentives and assistance to these companies that is currently only available to the regulated utilities. This deficiency not only puts public safety as risk, but may cost our area job creating opportunities.

Member Spotlight: Carr’s Sawmill

“Membership in the Columbia Montour Chamber has allowed for the opportunity to learn about other small businesses and share ideas from one small business owner to another. It has also generated sales through networking at Chamber events.”

– Dan Carr, owner, Carr’s Sawmill.

Carr’s Sawmill was added to the family farming operation in 1983 by Dan Carr as a way to be more self-sufficient. Having a sawmill on the farm and sawing the family’s own logs into lumber makes work for when the weather is not suitable for field operations. It also serves to provide a local market method for forest products. The business operates a historic 100-year-old Frick sawmill manufactured in Waynesboro, Pa. Unlike larger commercial mills, Carr’s Sawmill stocks a large inventory of quality hardwood for retail sales to local woodworkers. For woodworkers that want their own logs milled to lumber, Carr’s can provide pickup service for the logs and return delivery of the lumber.

Products and services offered by Carr’s include live edge hardwood slabs, framing lumber up to 2”x 8”-16’ (full dimension), and air dried native Pennsylvania woods including oak, ash, cherry, walnut, maple, pine and many other lesser species. Planning services are also available with lumber sales. Carr’s Sawmill has also donated lumber to numerous local non-profit projects over the years, and is active with the Central Susquehanna Woodland Owners Association (CSWOA), a local trade group.

Being part of a family farm operation, Carr’s does not maintain regular business hours, but rather is open by appointment at customers’ request any time of day or day of the week. Located at 308 Dahl Road in Bloomsburg, it can be contacted at 570-204-0673. For more information about Carr’s Sawmill, visit its Facebook page, which includes several photos of the mill and its operations, as well as a few videos of explosive log splitting like the one below.

Member spotlights are chosen via a random drawing from members that submit their business cards at a Business After Hours event. The next Business After Hours is scheduled for July 19 at the Columbia County Traveling Library, located at 702 Sawmill Rd., Bloomsburg. 

Expanded Maternity Center Opens at Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital

Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital recently opened an updated and expanded Maternity Center designed to create a family-friendly, comfortable space for expectant mothers, babies and their families.

The unit’s updates included more than doubling its previous space to create a new 6,385 square-foot postpartum unit, including eight large postpartum rooms and a nursery for infants and their families to recover and bond.

“Our goal is to provide a warm, comforting and homelike environment that lets the entire family stay together in one room to celebrate the birth of their new baby,” explained Lissa Bryan-Smith, chief administrative officer at Geisinger Bloomsburg. “We expanded the size of our patient rooms and bathrooms so moms and family members have plenty of space to be with their new babies. Our goal is to have babies spend 23 hours a day in the same room as their mother and to encourage family members to spend time there as well to help the family bond.”

The updated maternity unit is a low-risk, low-intervention option for women who want a family-friendly birth experience with the comfort of having a highly specialized medical center and neonatal intensive care unit nearby in Danville.

The unit is staffed by OB/GYN doctors, certified nurse-midwives and a dedicated support staff of registered nurses and licensed practical nurses. The Bloomsburg campus also houses Geisinger’s central region midwifery program.

“Some families don’t see the inside of a maternity unit until it’s time for the baby to be born,” explained Bryan-Smith. “So we invite our expectant moms and their families to schedule a tour of the maternity unit ahead of time so they can ask questions and get the personalized information they need to help make the upcoming birth as easy and joyous as everyone wants it to be.”

For patients interested in delivering their baby at Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital or scheduling a tour of the new Maternity Center, call 570-387-2474.

Geisinger Health offers two convenient birthing locations for expecting mothers in the central region with the expanded Bloomsburg unit and Geisinger Medical Center in Danville.