Member News – August 30, 2017

Member News

  • Co., a social and professional networking group that is run by the United Way of Columbia and Montour County, will hold its fall kickoff event tonight, Aug. 30, from 5:30-8 p.m. at the Farmhouse at Turkey Hill’s Greenhouse. 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. Co. will also host a mixer on Wednesday, Sept. 13 at Old Forge, located at 298 Mill St., Danville. 

 

  • From the Bucknell Small Business Development Center: Students enrolled in a Markets, Innovation and Design course this fall at Bucknell University are offering to design websites free of charge for local businesses and organizations during the fall semester. The web design project will provide a hands-on learning experience for the students while benefiting local organizations. Recent examples of their work include Amami, West Branch Brewery and Beer Barn. If your business or organization would like to be considered for a free website design or redesign this fall, fill out an application to be considered. The application deadline is tomorrow, Aug. 31

 

  • For the past two years, Service 1st Federal Credit Union, Old Forge Brewing Company and Heart to Hand Ministries have been Going Gold and teaming up in September to raise awareness about pediatric cancer in Danville. The organizers are exciting to announce that this year, not only is Danville Going Gold once again, but Bloomsburg and Lewisburg are joining the fight against childhood cancer. Marley’s Brewery & Grill and the Town of Bloomsburg will both be involved. A series of upcoming events will each feature an official proclamation presented by the Mayor, live entertainment, chances to win raffle baskets and other Going Golf specials. The events will occur on the following dates:
    Thursday, Aug. 31, 6 p.m., Old Forge Brewing, 298 Mill St., Danville
    Wednesday, Sept. 6, 6 p.m., Marley’s Brewery & Grille, 1323 Columbia Blvd. (Rt. 11), Bloomsburg
    Wednesday, Sept. 6, 6 p.m., Brendan’s Towne Tavern, 600 Market St., Lewisburg
    Marley’s and Old Forge have collaborated on a special Going Gold Golden Nugget beer. $1 from each pint of Golden Nugget purchased throughout the month will be donated to the mission. All proceeds will benefit the ThinkBIG Pediatric Cancer Fund. For more information about Going Gold III, please call Service 1st’s contact center at 800-562-6049. 

 

  • Sea Island Gullah music by Ranky Tanky will be featured at the next free outdoor concert at The Weis Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday, Sept. 7 at 6 p.m. Tickets are not required for this family-friendly performance on the Weis Center Plaza. 

    Sea Island Gullah music group Ranky Tanky

    The rain location is the Weis Center Atrium Lobby. Patrons are encouraged to bring a lawn chair, blanket and picnic. A free pre-performance lecture and demonstration with the artist will take place the same day from 5:15-5:45 p.m. in the Atrium Lobby. Visit the Weis Center’s event page for more information about this performance.

 

  • Have you ever thought about starting your own business, but weren’t quite sure if it would be right for you? Or maybe you want to know what paperwork you need in order to open your doors? These and several other common questions for small businesses will covered at First Step Seminars during the month of September given by both the Wilkes University Small Business Development Center and the Bucknell Small Business Development Center. A seminar in Bloomsburg given by the Wilkes SBDC will be on Friday, Sept. 8, at noon at the Downtown Bloomsburg, Inc. Business Incubator, 151 E. Main St., Bloomsburg. Cost is $15 for the First Step book. Walk-ins are welcome but pre-registration is preferred. Register by calling 570-408-4334, email or online. A similar program given by the Bucknell SBDC will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 19 at the Albright Center, 450 Chestnut St., Sunbury. Cost is $25. Register online or by calling Shelley Gadoury at 570-577-1249. Topics discussed at both events will include different legal structures a business can be, how to write a business plan and create financial projections, and much more. 

 

  • The Central Susquehanna Community Foundation will host a pair of identical presentations titled “Planning Ahead: The Importance of Planning for the Future,” featuring local elder law attorney Marianne Kreisher. The events will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 13,  from 8:30-10 a.m. at Bloomsburg University’s Monty’s on Upper Campus, and on Wednesday, Sept. 20, also from 8:30-10 a.m., at Susquehanna University’s Benjamin Apple Meeting Rooms in the Charles B. Degenstein Campus Center. Both events will feature a complimentary breakfast at 8:30 a.m., followed by the presentation. Attorney Kreisher will discuss the importance of open communication and collaboration between the investment advisor and attorney to achieve the best results for clients; well-drafted estate planning documents including power of attorneys, wills and trusts; understanding the lifetime and after death wishes of individuals; and examining the interplay of “gifting” on long-term care, taxes and asset protection. RSVP to Karri Harter by Sept. 6 by email or call 570-752-3930, ext. 6. 

 

  • The Bloomsburg University Department of Exceptionality Programs and the Jones Center for Special Education Excellence will host a screening and discussion of Mimi and Dona on Thursday, Sept. 14, from 5:30-8 p.m. at the Greenly Center, rooms 116 & 117, located at 50 E. Main St., Bloomsburg. This film by Sophie Spartain is an “unforgettable story of love and tough choices, exploring issues of disability, long term care and the realities of aging.” This event is free and open to the public but due to limited seating, pre-registration is encouraged. To register, call Tammy Pursel at 814-270-5556 or email

 

  • McBride Memorial Librarylocated at 500 N. Market St., Berwick, will host its next Entrepreneur Breakfast on Friday, Sept. 15, from 8-9 a.m. These breakfasts provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs and small business owners to network, get support, collaborate on projects, trade problem-solving stories and challenges, and much more. Attendees will also have an opportunity to learn about the services that McBride can offer small business owners and that they are able to take advantage of. There is no cost to attend, but pre-registration is requested. To register, call 570-752-2241 or email.

 

  • The Bucknell Small Business Development Center will host a three-part workshop titled “HR 20/20” that will provide an opportunity for small business owners to clearly understand and develop strategies for recruiting employees, reducing employee turnover, promoting employee development and retaining a talents, flexible and diverse workforce. The first part of this series will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 20 from 8:30-10:30 a.m. at the DeWitt Bldg. 3rd Floor, 416 Market St., Lewisburg. It will feature Tina Welch, the founder of Welch Performance Consulting, a human resources consulting firm. She will speak about developing a structured recruitment and selection process that will help small business owners find talent with skill and corporate culture fit. Topics include: the importance of structured recruitment and selection and how to develop one for your organization; maximizing your employment brand to attract and retain talent; and a special focus and attracting and retaining millennials/young professionals. Cost is $40 for one session, or $100 when registering and attending all three in the series. Register online or by calling Shelley Gadoury at 570-577-1249. 

 

  • 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

Chamber to Co-Host Candidate Forums for Bloomsburg and Danville Local Elections

Candidates for Bloomsburg Town Council and Danville Borough Council will share their thoughts on the issues facing these communities at public events this fall. Community members will also be invited to submit questions. The candidate forums are being presented by the Joint Governmental Affairs Committee of the Chamber and Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau.

The Candidate Forum for the Danville Borough Council candidates will he held Tuesday, Sept. 19, from 6-8 p.m. at the Danville Ballroom in Borough Hall on Mill Street.

The Forum for Bloomsburg Town Council candidates will be held Wednesday, Oct. 4 at the Alvina Krause Theatre, 226 Center Street in downtown Bloomsburg. The forum for general Council will begin at 6 p.m., followed by a second session for the registered Mayoral candidates beginning at 7:35 p.m.

All registered candidates have been invited to participate. A series of questions developed by the Committee will be presented to each candidate in rotating order. Written questions submitted by audience members will be presented, time permitting.

Member Spotlight: SEDA-COG

“The Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce has been a valuable partner with SEDA-COG, helping to make key connections between businesses and SEDA-COG’s services to advance the economic health of the region. From networking opportunities, training partnerships, workshop marketing, to referrals, the Chamber has been a wonderful resource for the business community and SEDA-COG.”

– Liz Herman, Communications Manager, SEDA-COG

 

For 60 years, SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG) has partnered with central Pennsylvania’s governments, businesses, and communities to boost the region’s economy and address issues with a regional approach.

SEDA-COG’s origins date back to 1957, when community leaders from Columbia, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder and Union counties began meeting to help address common concerns of central Pennsylvania. These concerns evolved around inadequate transportation; deficiency in the availability of health care services; under-employment and unemployment conditions; and out-migration of residents to other areas with better employment potential. Although it was just a forum for discussion purposes, the original five counties formally organized and established the Susquehanna Economic Development Association (SEDA), a 501(c)(3). Ten years later, as a result of federal Appalachian Regional Commission designating SEDA a Local Development District (LDD), a small professional staff was hired and, in 1968, Centre, Clinton, Juniata, Lycoming, Mifflin, and Perry counties joined the other five, which is SEDA-COG’s current configuration.
 
SEDA-COG was established in 1972 as a county council of governments, which became the policy, planning, and implementation arm for the agency. SEDA-COG was organized under Pennsylvania’s Intergovernmental Cooperation Act. Its county-collaborative dominated regional approach remains its hallmark – a distinction that largely sets the organization apart from those whose concerns and obligations requires a much narrower program focus.

Today, SEDA-COG’s services fall into three broad categories: economic development, community development, and direct municipal and county support. It helps the region’s counties and local communities meet needs in areas such as business and manufacturing services, housing, community revitalization, water systems and other infrastructure, and energy conservation/savings. It provides supplemental financing to assist new and expanding businesses. The SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority (JRA) owns nearly 200 miles of rail line, preserving transportation service vital to key employers in the region. SEA-COG has established programs that help families rehabilitate or weatherize their homes, and its Natural Gas Cooperative formed in June 2016 helps businesses and neighborhoods gain better access Pennsylvania’s natural gas.

SEDA-COG has received Innovation Awards from the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Research Foundation. In 2016, the awarded areas include transforming a blighted site into new elderly housing; helping to increase access to natural gas utility service; and promoting the region’s visibility to increase foreign direct investment and job creation. In 2017, awarded areas were for economic development in a coal-impacted region and flood mitigation and resiliency planning.

 
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 Sept. 20 at Kawneer, 500 East 12th St., Bloomsburg.

Essential Oils 101

From Just a Drop Essential Oil

Why Use Essential Oils?

Essential oils are naturally occurring, volatile aromatic compounds found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. Essential oils are highly concentrated, 50-70 times per powerful than herbs! Did you know: 81% of body care products marked “gentle” or “hypoallergenic” contain ingredients proven to irritate skin, eyes, or allergies? Essential oils are safe support for the skin without preservatives, chemicals, or harsh ingredients.

If properly extracted, essential oils have the unique ability to benefit people in all areas of life, whether in food preparation, beauty treatment, or healthcare practice. You will be amazed with the diverse ways essential oils can help fulfill you and your family’s needs. dōTERRA essential oils are powerfully concentrated, so a little goes a long way. They are multi-purpose making them smart to have on hand.

How You Can Use Essential Oils

Essential oils are easy to use. Each oil can be used in one or more of the following three methods to promote ultimate health and happiness in your home:

  1. Aromatic – inhale or use an essential oil diffuser. When diffused, certain essential oils can be very stimulating, while others can be calming and soothing. Using essential oils aromatically can also purify the air of unwanted odors and enrich your home with the lively benefits of oil fragrances.
  2. Topical – Powerful! One drop of essential oil can service every cell of your body. From the bottoms of the feet it nourishes the bloodstream in 30 seconds. Apply to feet, ears, chest, back of neck, head and troubled areas. For sensitivity dilute with fractionated coconut oil (FCO).
  3. Internal – Many of dōTERRA’s essential oils can be used internally to support a variety of health needs. The internal use of oils provides a natural way to receive the health benefits your body needs. Just add to water, drop under the tongue or put in a capsule.

Essential oils are both exciting and promising when it comes to taking care of your own and your family’s health. Whether you’re applying essential oils topically, enjoying the aromatic benefits through diffusing, or taking essential oils internally, the positive, healthful effects of essential oils are boundless.

That’s why you’ll want to ensure that the essential oils you are using are capable of delivering on their promise. You’ll want to make sure that you are choosing essential oils for their purity and their potency.

For more information, contact Diana Leighow, dōTERRA Wellness Advocate at 570-849-0019 or email, or also visit Just a Drop’s Facebook page or website.

Contribution strategies: Reduce employer expense, increase take-home pay with FSA, HRA or HSA

From ChamberChoice and Smart Business Pittsburgh Magazine

A crucial health benefits decision an employer must make when it comes to an employee benefits program is the employee contribution strategy. 

“The contribution strategy should be carefully considered because employees rate their contribution (payroll deduction) more importantly than the benefit level and often more than the network providers,” says Ron Carmassi, sales executive at JRG Advisors. “A skilled, experienced benefits professional working in tandem with the company’s HR can save an employer time and money.”

Smart Business spoke with Carmassi about employee contribution strategies — the second of two articles on health insurance cost reduction (see previous article).

What types of employee contribution strategies should employers consider?
The consumer-driven health care approach and plan coupled with the correct contribution strategy can lower monthly premiums while engaging your employee population to manage more of their health care and make smarter decisions. The main accounts utilized in consumer-driven health plans are Health Savings Accounts (HSA), Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRA). All three are designed to get employees more engaged with health care decisions.

How can an HSA drive down costs?
An HSA is only available to individuals enrolled in a qualified high-deductible health plan that is approved by and meets the standards set by the IRS. This type of account can reduce employer costs because, typically, high-deductible health plan premiums are lower than traditional plans.

Individuals, employees and employers can contribute to the account. The insured’s funds, deposited pre-tax, can be used to cover qualified medical expenses. Withdrawals for qualified expenses or postretirement care, contributions, and gains or investment are also tax-free.

The IRS will allow a single insured person to deposit up to $3,400 in 2017, and anyone enrolled with a spouse or dependent up to $6,750 in 2017.

How does an FSA differ?
These accounts are similar to HSAs in that an employee can use pre-tax dollars to pay for qualified medical expenses. There are even options to use the account for certain dependent care and transportation expenses.

But this account is employer-established and only funded by the employee or the employer. An employee may choose how much to deposit in the account pre-tax from their paycheck and what qualified items to use the money for.

For 2017, the maximum that may be deposited in an FSA account is $2,600 and only up to $500 may be carried over. So, consider what the FSA will be used for to avoid overfunding and losing money. These  accounts don’t offer investment options and don’t earn interest, but they do allow a person to use pre-tax dollars for medical and non-medical items and services. It is important to verify items approved by the
IRS for purchase with an FSA. 

What is an HRA? How does it work?
With HRAs, an employer selects a plan with a higher deductible and a lower monthly premium. This account is employer-funded and the savings generated by the lower premium can be used to reimburse the employee for some portion of the deductible and out-of-pocket costs. These reimbursements are tax deductible for the employer and tax-free to the employee. This type is owned by the employer and typically administered by an insurance company or a third party administrator.

There are more restrictions on HRAs due to the Affordable Care Act. There may be limits on how much the employer may contribute. When considering an HRA, employers should work closely with an experienced benefits advisor to be sure to remain in compliance.

How should employers choose between the three options?
These reimbursement options should be studied and reviewed carefully to determine which type is best to help reduce your employee benefit program costs without lessening benefits. By better managing benefit costs, your employee benefits package can have even greater depth and flexibility, while also promoting employee wellness and healthy lifestyle alternatives.

JRG Advisors is available to Chamber members on a consultative basis for health insurance as a benefit of Chamber membership and can be reached at 1-800-377-3539.