18 Member Organizations and Individuals Up For Chamber’s Four Awards to be Given at Annual Meeting

A total of 18 member organizations and individuals were nominated for the Columbia Montour Chamber’s four annual awards, which will be given out at the Chamber’s Annual Meeting, sponsored by PPL Electric Utilities, on Thursday, Feb. 8, at Rolling Pines Golf Course

Congratulations to the following individuals and organizations on their nominations, and special thanks to the following four organizations for sponsoring the annual awards: First Columbia Bank (Small Business of the Year), the Columbia Alliance For Economic Growth (Large Business of the Year), Commonwealth Health-Berwick Hospital Center (Community Progress) and the Berwick Industrial Development Association (BIDA) (Outstanding Citizen). 

The Outstanding Citizen Award goes to an individual that is an employee or volunteer for a member of the Chamber, and is involved in civic activities beneficial to the Columbia Montour region and projects a positive community image.

The Small and Large Business of the Year Awards are given to a Chamber member that demonstrates business leadership evidenced by diversification and creativity in the development of new products, services and/or markets, demostrates staying power and positive response to adversity, and demonstrates community involvement. 

The Community Progress Award is given to a Chamber member that shows improvement in the internal/external appearance of a commercial property through new construction, renovation/restoration or remodeling, and has completed that construction within the last three calendar years or be completed by Dec. 2017. 

Member News – January 24, 2018

Member News

  • The Early Bird Sports Expo will be held this weekend at the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds. The 2018 show gets underway tomorrow, Jan. 25 at 4 p.m. and runs through Sunday, Jan. 28 at 5 p.m. This annual event, focused on the outdoors, will feature a PA Hunters Safety Course, a 3D archery range, a turkey-calling contest and much more. Numerous vendors will be present, and fellow Chamber members Steph’s Subs and J.A. Aten Beef Jerky & Best Bar-B-Q Sauce will be two of the food vendors on site. For more information, visit the Early Bird Sports Expo’s website, or email

 

  • Exclusively You was recently named a winner of a 2018 “Best of Weddings” award from The Knot, a wedding trade website and app. These annual awards are given to wedding professionals in a variety of categories that receive the highest ratings in reviews by couples, their families and wedding guests. It marks the second straight year that Exclusively You has received this honor in the bridal salons category. Only about 3 percent of the approximately 300,000 wedding professionals listed on The Knot receive this honor. 

 

  • The Weis Center for the Performing Arts will host a free classical program titled “Children’s Corner” on Saturday, Jan. 27, at 2 p.m. in the Weis Center Atrium Lobby.

    Pianist Qing Jiang

    Tickets are not required. This concert, featuring pianist Qing Jiang, will include piano music, storytelling, acting, visual arts and poetry. Children are asked to bring a favorite toy for the toy parade. This event is part of the Weis Center’s Family Discovery series, which is suggested for ages 3 and older. The run time is 60 minutes with no intermission. Families are invited to stay afterwards for free kids’ activities in the Atrium Lobby from 3-4 p.m. Visit the Weis Center’s event page for more information about this performance. 

 

  • The Weis Center for the Performing Arts will also host a free jazz program featuring jazz group the Alicia Olatuja Quintet on Tuesday, Jan. 30, at 7:30 p.m. in the Weis Center Atrium Lobby.

    Jazz artist Alicia Olatuja

    Tickets are not required, and there will also be a free pre-performance talk with the artist from 1-2 p.m. in the same location. Olatuja first came into the national spotlight in 2013 while performing as the featured soloist with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir at President Barack Obama’s second inauguration. Shortly thereafter, she assembled her own jazz based ensemble and recorded her first solo album, Timeless (2014). Visit the Weis Center’s event page for more information about this performance.

 

  • The Bloomsburg Municipal Airport, which is operated by the Bloomsburg Municipal Authority, will hold a free six-week Ground School course beginning on Thursday, Feb. 1, from 6-9 p.m. and running each of the next five Thursdays at the same time at the airport terminal building, 301 Airport Rd., Bloomsburg. This course is intended to teach prospective pilots about aircraft performance, flight mechanics, weight and balance, navigation, radio communication, weather and FAA regulations, as well as prepare students to take the written Private Pilot Ground School Exam, which is a requirement to obtain a private pilot certificate. For more information, see this flyer or email the airport coordinator. 

 

  • The athletics department at Bloomsburg University will host a series of events on National Girls & Women in Sports Day on Saturday, Feb. 3 in Nelson Field House. The events are open to all girls and boys in grades K-8. The day begins with a free basketball clinic at 10 a.m., following by a speed and agility clinic, activities fair and pizza party. All participants are then invited to attend the women’s basketball game vs. Lock Haven (admission is free to participants) and a post-game autograph session. For more information, including how to RSVP, see this flyer

 

  • GAF, one of the Chamber’s newest members and North America’s largest roofing products manufacturer, will host a job fair on Saturday, Feb. 10, from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. at its New Columbia facility, located at 2093 Old Route 15. GAF is looking for dedicated, safety-minded individuals with manufacturing experience to join its team. An iPad mini 4 will be given out to one attendee that has completed an online job application prior to arriving at the job fair and who also completes an information card at the event. Attendees will have an opportunity to learn more about GAF, meet its employees, tour the facility and learn about its hiring process. Refreshments will be available. For more information, see this flyer and visit GAF’s career website.

 

  • The Central Susquehanna Community Foundation will hold its Annual Meeting on Friday, Feb. 23, from 12-1:30 p.m. at the Pine Barn Inn. A lunch will be served and attendees will be able to hear four speakers. CSCF president and CEO Holly Morrison will talk about “Spreading the Message of Philanthropy” while board member John Kurelja will speak about the regional impact of the CSCF’s philanthropic activities. Two speakers from Wilmington Trust will also talk about the CSCF’s funds’ performances. For more information, see this invitation, and to RSVP, email or call Karri Harter at 570-752-3930, ex. 6, by Feb. 16. 

 

  • MePush is looking to hire a mid- to senior-level IT wizard! For more information on the position requirements, visit the job posting

 

  • Wesley United Methodist Church has been hosting the community friendship meal since 2002. Guests in need are able to be served a warm and nutritious meal every Saturday morning from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., free of charge. Volunteer groups are needed to keep this meal going in the future. If you have a group that is interested in volunteering for a few hours on a Saturday morning during the year, please visit the church’s website and click on “community friendship meal.” For questions, please contact Katy Miller at 570-441-2850. Please note that beginning Jan. 6, the community friendship meal will be held at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, 123 N. Market St., Bloomsburg, while the Wesley UM Church kitchen goes through a renovation that may last 8-12 weeks. 

PA Chamber Voices Support for Package of Regulatory Reform Bills at Press Conference

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

Pennsylvania’s business community has long protested against an onslaught of regulations from bureaucrats at all levels of government that make it harder to start and complete projects and grow the economy. Last week, PA Chamber Government Affairs Director Kevin Sunday spoke at a press conference in support of a package of bills that aims to reduce regulatory burdens at the state level.

According to state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler, who organized the press conference, the bills were introduced in light of the “Regulatory Overreach Report,” which was compiled following a series of public hearings where employers, organizations and experts on regulatory policy all reiterated the negative impact that overzealous regulation has had on private sector growth and job creation. The package of bills would accomplish several reforms in terms of cutting through regulatory red tape, not the least of which would be ensuring that the General Assembly – not agency bureaucrats – have more authority to set regulatory policy. In addition, the bills would establish the Independent Office of the Repealer to review existing regulations; process and deliver recommendations to elected officials; require that lawmakers must approve any economically significant regulation (one with an impact of $1 million or more) for it to go into effect; and improve wait times for what is now a lengthy permit approval process.

At the press conference, Sunday stressed that regulatory policies carry the full weight of the law and should not be set by agencies with no stake in their outcome. He also applauded lawmakers for working to re-establish the legislative branch as the primary branch of government for policy making. In a statement issued the same day as the press conference, Sunday also urged Congress to pass the Regulatory Accountability Act and reduce regulatory burdens at the federal level.

“As federal mandates continue to place a major strain on both business and state and local governments, we also applaud Congress for its continued consideration of the Regulatory Accountability Act … to obligate agencies to take the most cost-effective regulatory path to achieve the state policy goals of the legislative branch and to bring more accountability and transparency to the rulemaking process,” Sunday stated.

The bipartisan Regulatory Accountability Act has already passed the U.S. House and has been reported out of a Senate committee; the PA Chamber is encouraging Senators Toomey and Casey to vote for this important legislation.

Welcome Keystone Insurance Associates, Inc.

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 Keystone Insurance Associates, Inc., to help us fulfill our mission.

Founded in 1988 and under new ownership as of 2017, Keystone Insurance Associates is a locally-owned, independent insurance brokerage. It prides itself on being a one-stop shop for insurance. It offers home, auto, life, general liability and business, group benefits, worker’s compensation and other types of commercial insurance. It also provides access to various other types of personal insurance, such as umbrella, landlord protection, student housing and flood. Located at 507 Market St. (rear) in Bloomsburg, it can be reached at 570-784-0114, or visit its website

Here We Go Again: IRS Extends Information Reporting Deadline

From ChamberChoice

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) an Applicable Large Employer (ALE) must report its offer of affordable coverage to its full-time employees. This reporting is achieved by providing a Form 1095-C to full-time employees (and any covered individual under a self-insured plan). In order for an individual to demonstrate having minimum essential coverage (MEC) and avoid a tax penalty under the individual mandate, insurers and small employers with self-insured health coverage, must provide a Form 1095-B to any covered responsible individual.

In 2015 and 2016 the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) extended the deadline for issuing certain required reporting forms. Recently, the IRS issued Notice 2018-06 which again provides a similar extension regarding the reporting of health coverage provided during the 2017 calendar year. Just as before, this Notice provides an automatic 30-day extension to the deadline for issuing Forms 1095-C and 1095-B from Jan. 31, 2018 to March 2, 2018.

Since the IRS is providing this extension to all employers, no additional extensions can be requested or submitted using Form 8809. Any extensions that were already requested by an employer will not receive an additional extension.

However, a word of caution, the filing which is due to the IRS has not been extended. The due date for filing Form 1094-C to the IRS, with copies of Form 1095-Cs provided, remains at Feb. 28, 2018 if not filing electronically (less than 250 Forms). If filing 250 or more Forms, and electronically, the deadline is April 2, 2018. The ability to request a 30-day extension for this remains an option.

As in the previous extensions, this notice also provides certain “good-faith compliance” with the reporting rules. Substantial penalties may be avoided where an employer or an insurer can show that they have made good-faith efforts to comply with the information-reporting requirements (both for furnishing to individuals and for filing with the IRS). Another note of caution however, this relief only applies to missing and inaccurate taxpayer identification numbers and dates of birth, as well as other information required on the return or statement. Relief is not provided in the case of reporting entities that do not make a good-faith effort to comply with the regulations or that fail to file an information return or furnish a statement by the due dates (as extended under the rules described above).

An employer needs to be aware of the importance of the receipt of these documents by their employees. The extension of the reporting deadlines should not be interpreted as a repeal of the ACA’s individual mandate. The individual mandate, and the penalty for not having “minimum essential coverage” remains in effect for 2017 and 2018. The Notice confirms that employees need not wait to receive either a Form 1095-C or 1095-B before filing their tax returns. Instead, an employee may rely on information provided by their employer.

In summary, the IRS again has provided an extension for the distribution of Forms 1095-C and 1095-B to full-time employees and covered individuals. An extension has been granted from Jan. 31, 2108 until March 2, 2018. This extension however, is not applicable for Forms 1094-C and 1094-B which must be filed with the IRS. In addition to extending the distribution deadline, the IRS continued the interim good faith compliance standard that was in effect for the 2015 and 2016 years of ACA reporting.