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

October is Local Chamber of Commerce Month in Pennsylvania

Governor Tom Wolf has officially declared October 2018 as “Local Chamber of Commerce Month” in Pennsylvania. The Governor issued an official proclamation making that declaration. 

Below is the text of that proclamation.


It is my pleasure to join with the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business & Industry to support October 2018 as Local Chamber of Commerce Month in Pennsylvania. 

Since its inception, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry has served and advocated for Pennsylvania businesses. Our local chambers of commerce play a critical role in supporting the needs of our vibrant business community and are essential to the Commonwealth’s continued economic growth and advancement. As my administration works hard to retain current and create new family sustaining jobs by supporting business and industry throughout the Commonwealth, I am grateful for our local chambers of commerce for providing the invaluable role that they play in ensuring that businesses new and old can continue to prosper in Pennsylvania. I commend Pennsylvania’s local chambers of commerce for representing thousands of businesses, and I am certain their efforts to enhance our communities will serve as an inspiration across the Commonwealth for years to come.

As Governor, and on behalf of all citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I am honored to support October 2018 as Local Chamber of Commerce Month. Please accept my best wishes for continued success.

Tom Wolf
October 2018

Overcoming Social Isolation

From rabbittransit

October is Depression Awareness Month. Risk of depression increases when people experience social isolation, which is especially common among seniors. Social isolation and depression take a toll on physical and mental well-being. rabbittransit plays a critical role in the socialization of the lives of older adults. Transportation provides access to the senior center for a dance class or watercolor painting session, the gym or the hair salon, a friend’s house or a faith-based service. Being able to live fully by traveling safely offers seniors socialization to combat isolation and depression.

Seniors 65 years of age and older (and in some cases younger) are eligible for paratransit, often referred to as “Shared Ride,” in which a bus comes right to your door (co-pays may apply depending on many different factors). For more information about rabbittransit’s services or to sign up for free travel training, visit its website.

Public Meeting Scheduled to Discuss Routes 54 & 642 Safety Improvements in Danville

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is advancing a safety improvement project at the intersections of Route 54 and 642 in Valley Township, Montour County that began in 2015. Following several public meetings, a study was conducted with a community advisory committee to identify and evaluate alternative improvements to the Route 54 corridor between the Route 642 east and west intersections. A recommended alternative will be presented at public meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 6 p.m. at Danville Middle School, located at 252 Northumberland Rd. (Rt. 11) in Danville.  

The alternative removes a proposed roundabout along Jerseytown Road. The plan is available on PennDOT’s website. Included in the public meeting will be explanations of the design, benefits of this plan over previous configuations, as well as a simulation of traffic flow. The project is expected to begin in 2021 and take two years to complete at a cost of $16 million.