Congressman Barletta Talks About Pennsylvania’s Economic Opportunities

A member of Congressman Barletta’s staff (right) shows a flow chart of how a federal transportation project like a new highway gets approved to illustrate the complexity of it all as Rep. Barletta (left at podium) makes his remarks.

Audio of Rep. Barletta’s remarks (.mp3)

U.S. Representative Lou Barletta conveyed optimism for the future of Pennsylvania and its economy to members of the Columbia Montour Chamber and Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau. The Commonwealth’s natural gas reserves and anthracite coal have considerable untapped potential according to the Congressman, while tax reform would put more money back in the pockets of the middle class. Barletta spoke with members at a breakfast event, sponsored by PPL Electric Utilities, held Friday, Oct. 20 at The Greenly Center in downtown Bloomsburg.

According to the Congressman, there are 1,000 natural gas wells in Pennsylvania ready to be drilled, but the pipeline infrastructure to get the gas to market is underdeveloped. He noted that there is more natural gas “under our feet” than oil in Saudi Arabia. Following Barletta’s remarks, Chamber President Fred Gaffney noted that construction of the Williams Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project is getting underway.

Pennsylvania’s anthracite coal also holds new opportunities, with uses in manufacturing processes and the possible extraction of valuable rare earth elements. Penn State has provided a $1 million grant to study extraction. If successful, these processes could lead to reclamation of former mining areas.

Rep. Barletta poses for a photo with representatives from Chamber member Red Rock Job Corps Center at the Oct. 20 Chamber breakfast.

To support industry, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act would reauthorize and update legislation to encourage increased engagement between employers and education so that future workers are better prepared. The current legislation provides funding to the Columbia Montour Area Vocational-Technical School for career and technical education.

Barletta once again emphasized the need for a long-term transportation funding bill.

“It’s a responsibility of the Federal Government to make sure…especially our interstates, that we can move commerce efficiently and effectively,” said Barletta.

In addition to the President’s $1 trillion package, Barletta talked about the efforts of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to reduce the environmental review and permit process for projects from 14-15 years to seven.

That Transportation Committee also has oversight over FEMA. With the increasing frequency of major natural disaster declarations in the United States, the agency is spending more on recovery for each subsequent event. Rep. Barletta believes more needs to be invested in pre-disaster mitigation to protect homes and businesses before disasters strike. He has also co-sponsored the Disaster Declaration Improvement Act, which would allow FEMA to provide assistance for more isolated events, such as localized flooding or snowstorms.

Proposed tax form that would replace the 1040 under newly-proposed tax reform legislation.

As Congress begins consideration of tax reform, Barletta emphasized that the primary goal is for taxpayers, particularly the middle class, to keep more of their money to spend and grow the economy. Under the Republican plan, the number of personal income tax brackets would be reduced to three, and the standard deduction would double to $24,000. Filing a tax return could be completed on a post card (right). Corporate tax rates would also be reduced and many loopholes eliminated in an effort to encourage domestic investment.

“Let’s get the IRS out of your house…off your back…and let’s get the economy going again,” said Barletta.

Prior to Rep. Barletta’s remarks, Tracie Witter, regional affairs director at event sponsor PPL Electric Utilities made some brief remarks about PPL’s most recent work in the local communities that it serves. Chris Stamatedes, regional operations director at PPL and a Chamber board member, also spoke about his recent experience in going to Florida last month with a PPL team of more than 400 individuals to assist with the recovery efforts from Hurricane Irma. Stamatedes and his team went to Fort Myers, Fla. for about two weeks to support one of the largest storm recovery efforts in U.S. history. 

PA Department of Labor & Industry to Hold Free Safety Webinars in November

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Health & Safety Division will offer a series of free webinars on workplace safety throughout the month of November.  Titled PATHS (PA Training for Health and Safety), these webinars will cover subjects such as emergency action plans, behavior-based safety, safe driving in inclement weather, hazardous waste management, dealing with angry people, and much more. Each webinar lasts approximately one hour depending on course material and viewer participation. 

For more information, to register, and for a complete listing of each webinar, visit the PATHS training calendar

Chamber Helps Cut Ribbon on Columbia Child Development Program’s Newly-Dedicated Playground

(L-R): Fred Gaffney, president, Columbia Montour Chamber; Cassie Weaver, administrator, Columbia Child Development Program; Debbie Jones, CCDP Child Care Coordinator; Sylvia Costa, CCDP board member; Jennifer Johnson, CCDP administrative assistant; Bernie Landers, CCDP board member; Virginia Thompson & Marge Duck, daughters of Florence Thompson


The Chamber had the pleasure of being on hand to help cut the ribbon on the newly-dedicated Florence Thompson Memorial Playground at the Columbia Child Development Program on Friday afternoon, Oct. 20. Nearly 20 friends, donors and board members of CCDP were on hand to celebrate the new renovations on the playground, which included new, softer artificial turf. Thompson, a long time board member of CCDP, bequeathed funds to CCDP to help pay for the improvements to the playground. Her two daughters were on hand for the event, which was followed by a brief reception for the attendees. 

Members Enjoy Local Food and Drink, Learn About Danville and SEDA-COG’s Latest Initiatives at October Business After Hours

A lively group of nearly 50 individuals enjoyed a catered meal and local beer and wine as they learned about the latest happenings in the Borough of Danville as well as some of SEDA-COG’s offerings at the Chamber’s October Business After Hours on Oct. 18, held at the Danville Borough building and co-hosted by Danville Borough and SEDA-COG. Attendees also had a chance to win a few prizes that were donated by Chamber member Service 1st Federal Credit Union.

Representatives from SEDA-COG made some brief remarks during the event and spoke about the history of SEDA-COG and how some of its programs, including a limited-time, ultra-low interest loan program, can help and benefit small businesses. 

Business After Hours provide regular opportunities to build business relationships while learning about the services offered by other Chamber members. The next Business After Hours will be held at Berwick Floral & Gift, located at 201 West Second St., Berwick, on Wednesday, Nov. 15, from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

What is Chiropractic?

From Bloomsburg Family Chiropractic, PLLC

Chiropractic is a conservative health care method to diagnose and treat disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. Conditions we treat include the following:

  • Low back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Disc Herniations
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Hip and Knee pain
  • Foot and Ankle pain
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Wrist pain
  • Carpal Tunnel
  • Back pain during pregnancy
  • Arthritis
  • Auto Accident Injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Sciatica
  • TMJ pain
  • Sports injuries
  • Fibromyalgia

Using a hands-on approach, multiple techniques are employed to increase joint mobility, decrease muscle tension, and reduce pain. These techniques include manipulation, muscle work, stretching, or lifestyle recommendations.

Chiropractic manipulation or “adjustments” help to increase mobility of a spinal segment or extremity joint that is restricted in its motion. This is also known as being hypomobile. Adjustments are performed by moving a joint to the end of its motion, and applying a quick, controlled force, either manually or with an instrument. This quick motion gaps the joint, which reduces the pressure within the joint capsule, causing carbon dioxide within the joint to be released. The release of gas is the audible “pop” or “crack” frequently felt in association with the adjustment. Manipulation is safe for all ages, and is very effective.

Myofascial release is a manual therapy technique to reduce muscle spasm. The chiropractor applies sustained pressure to the muscle or tendon, which causes the muscle to relax or lengthen. A variety of stretching techniques can help to reduce muscle spasm as well, including static stretching (traditional standing or sitting in one place with tension on a particular muscle) or post-isometric release (PIR) stretching. For PIR, a healthcare provider passively stretches a patient’s muscle, then the patient contracts the muscle against resistance for approximately 10 seconds. When the patient stops contracting the muscle, the healthcare provider is able to passively stretch that muscle even further than before, since the antagonist muscle (opposite) has relaxed.

In addition to the in-office treatments, chiropractors may recommend nutritional supplements to patients or lifestyle changes that will prevent musculoskeletal disorders in the future. Supplements are recommended on an individual basis, but for example, a patient who experiences frequent fatigue may be instructed to take iron or B vitamin complex depending on the cause of the fatigue. Lifestyle changes are also patient-dependent, but typically are based around activities of daily living that are perpetuating poor posture or poor spine health. An example of this would be lifting from a flexed position, rather than lifting with a neutral spine or “straight back.” Another example of a lifestyle change might be moving the height of the monitor for a person who sits at a computer daily for their occupation. Ideally, you want your computer screen to fall just below eye level, so that your neck does not need to be extended to look up at the screen, or flexed to look down significantly.

Overall, the goal of chiropractic is to find the cause of your pain/discomfort and reduce it or eliminate it so that you can function optimally. All treatments work together, and cumulatively aim to have this effect.

For more information on chiropractic, contact either Bloomsburg Family Chiropractic or Hoch Chiropractic Center