Member News – May 24, 2017

Member News


Wild for Salmon to Host Spring Cookout

Wild for Salmon will host its spring cookout, customer appreciation and fisherman farewell event this Saturday, May 27 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at its retail store at 521 Montour Blvd. (Rt. 11), Bloomsburg. Join the owners and staff at Wild for Salmon for this free event as they welcome spring and say farewell to the fishermen before they depart for their annual Alaskan fishing trip in early June. They’ll be grilling sockeye fillets and sharing samples, and the crew will be on hand to discuss health benefits, cooking tips, and sustainability, and explain why wild salmon is the best choice to make for you and your family. 

 

Larson Design Group Among Best Firms to Work For

The Larson Design Group (LDG) was recently listed on ZweigWhite’s 2017 Best Firms to Work For, an annual list that recognizes top architecture, structural, civil, environmental and geotechnical engineering, landscape architecture and planning, and multidisciplinary firms on the in the U.S. and Canada based on workplace practices, employee benefits, employee retention rates and more. LDG ranked fifth in geotechnical firms, seventh in landscape architecture and planning, and 29th on the multidisciplinary list. This marks the second straight year that LDG has appeared on this list. LDG employs over 300 people in five states, with headquarters in Williamsport, Pa. 

 

Attend a Yoga Mala Event to Help Beautify Downtown Danville

Join your community in raising awareness and funds to help beautify downtown Danville as you help Mill Street become a thriving and vibrant downtown destination for everyone to enjoy. A yoga mala event will bring together community members to support this common cause on Sunday, June 4, at 2 p.m at Goose Cove Field at the Montour Preserve. Those that attend will be guided through 108 sun-salutations to honor growth, transformation, and new beginnings. This is a donation-based event, and the public is welcome. All donations raised will help provide for new public amenities such as bicycle racks, flowers and decorative plant potters, benches, and much more in downtown Danville.


Free Cancer Screenings in Bloomsburg

Geisinger Health System will provide free skin cancer screenings on Tuesday, June 6 from 1–4 p.m. at Geisinger Bloomsburg, 2407 Reichart Road, Bloomsburg. Appointments are required. To register, visit geisinger.org/events or call 800-275-6401.


Geisinger Seeks Community Members for Hot Air Balloon Festival Planning Committee

Geisinger Health System will host the inaugural Dream Big Hot Air Balloon Festival, October 6-7 at Spyglass Ridge Winery in Sunbury. In order to encourage participation and feedback from the community and gain more ideas, Geisinger is currently seeking additional community members to serve on a planning committee for this event. If interested in participating, please contact Linda Vaji at 570-214-2581 or email.

Pipeline Project Expected to Boost Local Economy

Mike Atchie from Williams gives the Chamber Board an update on the status of the Atlantic Sunrise project at last week’s Board meeting.

The Atlantic Sunrise gas pipeline project is expected to begin construction late this summer and be completed by mid-2018. Williams anticipates that the project will support over 1,000 jobs in Columbia County and create an economic impact of $85.5 million. The company seeks to promote local businesses to those who will be in the area working on the project.

While Williams is attempting to work with regional contractors, several workers will be from outside the area, staying in local hotels and campgrounds for up to a year. To help those workers find goods and services, a mobile app is being developed by Williams. Any local business that would like to be included on this app can register, free of charge. 

The long-discussed Atlantic Sunrise project includes construction of 183 miles of new greenfield transmission pipeline, 12 miles of pipeline loop, and two compressor stations in Pennsylvania. To expedite the process, the project will be divided into seven sections, all of which will be constructed simultaneously. A portion of the main pipeline and one of the compressor stations will run through Columbia County. The new pipeline will allow more efficient transmission of natural gas from the existing Transco pipeline to distribution facilities in southeast Pennsylvania.

Members Enjoy Evening at Columbia County Christian School

Chamber members enjoyed an evening of networking, outstanding food and drinks and learning more about the Columbia County Christian School last Wednesday evening at the first of two Business After Hours events in May. Attendees took a tour of the school and learned about all of its offerings for children in grades K-12, as well as its daycare and preschool services. For more information about CCCS and its various opportunities for children of all ages, visit its website or call 570-784-2977. 

Business After Hours provide regular opportunities to build business relationships while learning about the services offered by other Chamber members. Please join us at our next Business After Hours next Wednesday, May 31 at the Members Choice Financial Credit Union main branch in Danville. 

Bashar Hanna Named Bloomsburg University’s 19th President

The Board of Governors of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education unanimously selected Dr. Bashar W. Hanna to be the next president of Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania on Monday, effective July 1.

Hanna is a professor of biology and former vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty at Delaware Valley University in Doylestown. He previously was associate provost at Ithaca College and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and interim provost at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania.

“Bashar Hanna has a broad range of both teaching and administrative experience, and has worked closely throughout his career with both students and faculty,” said Board of Governors Chair Cynthia D. Shapira. “With his vast array of skills, his knowledge and his experience, we are confident he will be an excellent leader for Bloomsburg University.”

Hanna said he is honored to have been selected to serve as Bloomsburg’s next president and looks forward to returning to the State System.

“I am grateful to the Bloomsburg University family, especially the presidential search committee and Council of Trustees, and to Chancellor Brogan and his team as well as the Board of Governors for selecting me to serve as the 19th president of this wonderful university,” Hanna said. “I look forward to collaborating with Bloomsburg’s highly accomplished faculty, staff and administrators to help our students realize their personal and professional aspirations.”

The Board’s action comes at the conclusion of a national search for a successor to David L. Soltz, who will retire in July after serving for nine and a half years as Bloomsburg University president.

Hanna holds three degrees from Temple University, a Bachelor of Arts in biology, a Master of Arts in developmental biology and a Ph.D. in developmental neurobiology.

Hanna began his academic career at Temple University as assistant director of the Ronald McNair Faculty-in-Training Program, where he mentored McNair scholars, assisting them in gaining admission into doctoral programs at Harvard University and the universities of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Michigan, California-Berkeley and Florida. He later was an instructor in the departments of biology and mathematics at Temple; the founding director of the university’s Math & Science Resource Center; and served as assistant vice provost for research and sponsored projects and associate dean of the College of Science and Technology.

He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Drug Discovery Institute and the American Association of University Administrators, of which he was president for two years. He also has served with a variety of other organizations, including the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center of Bucks County and the National Council on Undergraduate Research.

Dr. Hanna’s comments during Monday’s announcement can be seen on the Chamber’s Facebook page

Legislation to Pay Down Pension Debt Earns Support from IFO

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

It’s been relatively quiet over the last several weeks on lawmakers’ plans to address Pennsylvania’s bloated and unsustainable public pension systems. However, earlier this month the state’s Independent Fiscal Office filed an actuarial note to a bill (H.B. 778) that would tackle the pension crisis in part by paying off the current unfunded liabilities of the State Employees Retirement System ($19.5 billion) and the Public School Employees’ Retirement System ($42.7 billion) within about 20 years.

The actuarial report projects increased costs in the short-term with the potential for “significant” long-term savings. It indicates that under H.B. 778, PSERS contributions would initially increase by 17 percent, and then by approximately 35 percent until the unfunded liability is satisfied. SERS initial contribution would be about $90 million lower for the first five years, after which they would be higher than the estimated contribution rates under current law until the SERS unfunded liability is satisfied. All told, these provisions could save as much as $18 billion.

The IFO notes in its report: “The projections show that the savings over the entire projection period are much more significant on a cash flow basis than when they are measured on a present value basis. This occurs because the bill shifts the timing of employer contributions to pay down the unfunded accrued liabilities, and the savings that occur at the back of the projection period are valued much lower when measured by current dollars.”

In its review of H.B. 778, Milliman – the actuarial firm used by the IFO – voiced support for the bill’s reduction of the amortization period (the length of time it will take to pay down the unfunded liability) because it would help to improve security, protection from adverse experience and intergenerational equity.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle offered some level of praise for the bill, with House Majority Leader Dave Reed, R-Indiana, saying, “I think John [Rep. John McGinnis, R-Blair, who sponsored the legislation] has done an excellent job of putting together half a proposal, on the accelerated payments, but, obviously, we’ve got to see the other half of his proposal of how we would make those additional payments up front.” In a Capitolwire story, House Democratic spokesman Bill Patton praised McGinnis for his focus in paying down the pension debt. “The 2010 law that it’s in place now [Act 120] has a schedule for paying the pension debt, but it could be done faster if larger chunks of taxpayer funds are redirected …. House Democrats are open to workable ideas that use sustainable revenue sources to pay off the pension debt.”