Welcome Lackawanna College

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, Lackawanna College and its Sunbury Center, to help us fulfill our mission.

Lackawanna College’s main campus is located in downtown Scranton, and the Sunbury Center opened in July 2017. Since its formation in 1894, Lackawanna College’s mission has been to provide a quality education to all people that seek to improve their lives and better their communities. Lackawanna’s hallmarks of focused class sizes, progressive curriculum, and student support, have expanded higher education opportunities for students in the Susquehanna River Valley and surrounding regions. Associate degrees that can be completed in Sunbury in include accounting, business administration, criminal justice, human services, professional studies and sport management, as well as certificate program as a licensed massage therapist. Additional program and partnerships are also a possibility as the Sunbury Center continues to grow. For more information, visit the Sunbury Center’s website, call 570-988-1931, or visit its location at 1145 North 4th St. in Sunbury. 

Listening Sessions to Gauge Public Input About Regional Transportation Services

Transportation planners from the SEDA-COG and Williamsport Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) areas will be holding three listening sessions this fall to hear from the public about transit and transportation service needs and issues.

These sessions are an opportunity for residents who do not drive or who rely on transportation services to speak directly with planners about service gaps, scheduling issues, delays, reliability, affordability issues and other concerns. When one or more of these issues gets in the way of reaching jobs, medical appointments, food stores, pharmacies and other services, our region falls short.

Understanding who is affected—whether seniors, minorities, low-income individuals, people with disabilities, individuals with limited English language skills or even the general public—will help quantify needs and prioritize areas of improvement.

Three sessions have been scheduled to hear from residents in Clinton, Columbia, Juniata, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder and Union counties. 


Session #1:         Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, 1pm – 4pm  
Union-Snyder Community Action Agency
713 Bridge Street, Suite #10, Selinsgrove, PA 17870

Session #2:         Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018, 2pm – 5pm
River Valley Trade and Transit Center II
144 W 3rd Street, Williamsport, PA 17701

Session #3:         Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, 1pm – 4pm
Geisinger’s Justin Drive Office Building #2 (behind outpatient center)
35 Justin Drive, Danville, PA, 17821         

Each three-hour session is designed for people to drop in and stay as long as they prefer to share their needs and concerns about transportation services. Each facility is accessible and has convenient parking. Caregivers, advocates and service agencies are also welcome to attend.

Those not able to attend a listening session in person are encouraged to participate in an online survey by Oct. 29.

Alternative Graduation Requirements Bill Clears House in Unanimous Vote

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

The House unanimously passed legislation last week that would expand options for fulfilling high school graduation requirements in Pennsylvania.

Senate Bill 1095 – which also passed the Senate unanimously in June – would allow students enrolled in career and technical education or other alternative pathways to opt out of taking the Keystone Exams.  The exams were developed as a way to ensure that Pennsylvania students graduate high school as prepared as possible for the next phase of their lives and were planned to take effect for the 2016-17 school year, but have been delayed.

The PA Chamber is among a broad group in support of strong graduation requirements because we support a public education system based on rigorous standards, with appropriate transparency and robust accountability measures.  When S.B. 1095 was first introduced, our organization opined that while we understood that graduation requirements should reflect the diversity of the student body, the bill swung the pendulum too far back and threatened the accountability standards we wanted to see implemented.  Since that time, however, those concerns have been addressed through negotiations with lawmakers.

Shortly before the House’s vote on S.B. 1095, the PA Chamber joined Excellent Schools PA and Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children in sending a memo that urged lawmakers to engage in oversight to ensure that the standards in the legislation are being met.  “To be sure, the impact of added transparency and accountability measures, and the extent to which the bill in general benefits students, is entirely based on how it is carried out by schools in partnership with state officials and with vigorous oversight from the legislature,” the coalition wrote.  “Passing this legislation is an important, but early step in the process and we urge all stakeholders to maintain a commitment to the principles now encompassed in this bill.”

PA Chamber Government Affairs Director Alex Halper was quoted in a Pennlive story about the House’s passage of the bill, saying that while rigorous standards for graduating high school students must be met, the PA Chamber understands that a blanket approach to graduation requirements might not work for everyone. “When this legislation is implemented, it will be a significant improvement over the status quo,” Halper said.  

A Fair STEM Competition

The second place team from Berwick High School

As September draws to a close, everyone looks forward to the Bloomsburg Fair. The images conjured include concerts, rides, games, pizza, fries, funnel cake and everything else to excite one’s taste buds. 

For the second year in a row something else also caused some excitement at the Fair — a STEM competition between area high schools.  This year’s event was sponsored by The Foundation of the Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce (with the help of First Columbia Bank & Trust and PPL Electric Utilities), Martz Technologies. the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation and Bloomsburg University, and featured five area high school teams and awarded $17,500 in grants.

The third place team from Central Columbia High School

The theme for this year’s projects was “Energy and Efficiency in the Community.” The teams all used their STEM skills and found creative ways to solve the problems face by harnessing the power of rain, sun or wind, to making trash produce energy.  The judging panel included Greg Martz, president of Martz Technologies; Al Neuner, VP of facilities operations at Geisinger; Kurt Aaron, WNEP-TV meteorologist; Robert Foster, president of Volunteers in Philanthropy and retired physics Teacher; and Jeffrey Emanuel, director of The Foundation of the Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce. The schools were judged on written reports, posters, prototypes and oral presentations according to a predetermined rubric.  When the scores were tallied the winners were:

  1. Midd-West High School – Reclaiming What’s Lost – the project harnessed naturally occurring wind, and wind created by vehicles traveling on I-80 to generate electricity.
  2. Berwick High School – The Solar Energy Solution: Squashing the “Duck” – the project used solar panels to create a net zero school, the strived to put energy back into the grid.
  3. Central Columbia High School – A Road to a Better Future – the project proposed utilizing solar parking lots and highways to generate electricity.

First place got $10,000, second place got $5,000 and third place got $2,500 in grant funds for the schools’ STEM programs.  While not everyone could win, the schools from Montgomery (Biogas Food Digestor) and Shikellamy (Gravitational Microturbine) High Schools definitely showed that this generation takes our energy consumption seriously. They are already thinking and planning for a better future, and we are in good hands. The competitor’s projects were on display in the technology building all week long during the fair. 

The Foundation would like to thank First Columbia Bank & Trust and PPL Electric Utilities for their support of the 2018 Bloomsburg Fair STEM Competition.  Without their support of The Foundation, programs like this would not be possible.

Danville Area Community Foundation Awards Over $44K to Local Nonprofits

(L-R) Ken Ackerman, DACF Board Member; Jim McCann, Central Susquehanna Sight Services; Greg Cole, DACF Board Member; Bonnie Trump, DACF Board Member; Randy May, DACF Board Member; Diana Verbeck, Danville Child Development Center; Rebecca Dressler, Danville Business Alliance; Heather Laubach, Danville Area Community Center; Shannon Butters, Girls on the Run of the Greater Susquehanna Valley; Lois Hess, PA P.E.T.S.; John Moyer, Danville Fire Department; Jennifer Powell, Central Pennsylvania Food Bank; Sue Tinsley, Montour County Historical Society; Patrick Derrickson, Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble; Kathleen McQuiston, Thomas Beaver Free Library; Michelle Difebo, Danville Lady Railers; Anne Poler, Columbia-Montour Council No. 504 Boy Scouts of America; Stephanie Hamme, North Branch Young Life; Ginnetta Reed, Ronald McDonald House of Danville; John Brady, Zing Productions; Bob Stoudt, Montour Area Recreation Commission

The Danville Area Community Foundation (DACF) presented $44,360 to local nonprofit organizations during a celebratory luncheon held on Friday, Oct. 5, at The Iron Fork restaurant at Frosty Valley Resort. The 20 organizations receiving these grants included nine Chamber members.

These grants were awarded through the DACF’s recent competitive grantround supported by the following DACF funds: Joan and Fred Miller Family Fund, Holdren Family Fund, Jim and Jackie Shutt Fund, May Family Fund, Metzer Fund, Neighbors Helping Neighbors Fund, Eleanor M. Burke Fund, Terry and Sandy O’Rourke Family Fund, The Booth Family Fund, Ackerman Family Fund, and The Cole Family Fund.

The DACF administers a total of 69 endowed and pass-through funds investing over $240,000 annually to local nonprofits and students. These funds include scholarship, donor-advised, field-of-interest, designated, agency and unrestricted funds. A complete listing of DACF funds can be found on the Foundation’s website.

The 2018 Grant Recipients Include:
Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, North Central Secure Treatment Unit After School Drama Program Support Grant $500
• Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, Food Security Network in Greater Danville Area $1,000
Central Susquehanna Community Foundation – Youth in Philanthropy Fund, Danville High School Youth in Philanthropy Program Support 2018-19 Academic Year $2,460
• Central Susquehanna Sight Services, Inc., 2018/2019 Prevention of Blindness Programs for Young Children and Adults $1,000
Columbia Montour Council No. 504 Boy Scouts of America, Financial Assistance for Scouts $5,500
• Danville Area Community Center, Organization Support & Making Community Connections $3,000
• Danville Area Diaper Bank, Danville Area Diaper Bank $1,000
Danville Business Alliance, Organization Support & 2018/2019 Bicycle Rack Initiative $2,000
Danville Child Development Center, DCDC’s Out of School Time program: Ensuring High Quality Afterschool Environments $2,000
• Danville Fire Department, Ladder truck replacement $1,000
• Danville Lady Railers, Hess Field Revitalization $1,000
Geisinger, Support of Geisinger Nurses $3,000
• Girls on the Run of Greater Susquehanna Valley, Financial Assistance Initiative $500
Montour Area Recreation Commission, Organization Support & Equipment Trailer Purchase $6,500
• Montour County Historical Society, Organization Support & Boyd House Project $7,100
• North Branch Young Life, North Branch Young Life Mentorship Expansion $1,000
• Pennsylvania Pets Inc., Organization Support $1,000
Ronald McDonald House of Danville, Inc., Share-A-Night Program $500
Thomas Beaver Free Library, Support of Science Fiction Collection in memory of Pat Ackerman & Organization Support $2,800
• Zing Productions, Community Outreach Project $1,500

The Danville Area Community Foundation’s mission is to provide for charitable needs in the Danville area. DACF is an affiliate of the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation (CSCF) which administers DACF’s grant and scholarship programs. For more information, please visit csgiving.org or contact Christine Pangelinan, CSCF Program Officer, via email.

DACF Board Members are Jean Knouse, Chair, Bonnie Trump, Second Vice Chair, Wendy S. Tripoli, Financial Liaison, Ken Altenbach, Secretary, Ken Ackerman, Robert O. Booth, Greg Cole, Donald G. Cotner, Jr., Bonnie L. Johnson, James D. Kishbaugh, II, Mark LaMotte, Linda Marks, R. Randolph May, Robert J. McWilliams, Jr., O. Fred Miller, III, Robert W. Snyder, Gary W. Visneski, Martin L. Walzer