Chamber Helps Kick Off Rock God Brewing’s First Anniversary Celebration

The Columbia Montour Chamber had a chance to stop by its newest member, Rock God Brewing, on Thursday, April 12, to help kick off Rock God’s first anniversary celebration. While there, Chamber staff was able to get a first look at Rock God’s first ever bottled beer, the limited edition Blackened, which was served at Rock God’s anniversary bash on Saturday, April 14. 

Governor Wolf Renews Opioid Disaster Declaration

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

Last week, Gov. Tom Wolf held a press conference where he announced the renewal of a 90-day heroin and opioid disaster declaration that he originally issued in January. The use of this declaration has allowed for an “all-hands-on-deck” approach to opioid abuse, with the elimination of red tape that would otherwise slow down the ability to combat the crisis.

The renewal of the declaration comes at the same time that the PA Chamber is urging House lawmakers to pass S.B. 936, legislation that would help to mitigate the impact of this crisis as it relates to injured workers. The bill – which would implement a prescription drug formulary for workers’ compensation – could be brought up for a reconsideration vote as early as this month. Prescription drug formularies in WC have been effective in states around the country, which have experienced significant reductions in the number of opioid-dependent injured workers following implementation. This session, the PA Chamber has led a diverse coalition in support of the bill and has coordinated around 20 communications to lawmakers in support of the measure – 11 this year alone. Senate Bill 936 has also been the subject of several recent PA Chamber-authored letters to the editor;and we are traveling to editorial boards across the state to explain the benefits of this legislation and address misinformation disseminated by opponents of the bill, whose leaders appear to have a clear conflict of interest.

When the governor first announced the emergency declaration early this year, PA Chamber President Gene Barr issued a statement which pointed out that S.B. 936 is a critical piece of the overall strategy to combat opioid and prescription drug abuse and addiction among the injured worker population. “We fully support the governor and legislature’s bipartisan efforts to combat the opioid crisis that has touched every corner of the Commonwealth … Part of this strategy should be addressing the overuse and abuse of prescription drugs among injured workers by passing S.B. 936,” Barr said. “With the opioid crisis having officially reached emergency status, the time is now for Pennsylvania to adopt this important measure.”

The Columbia Montour Chamber is in favor of this legislation and was part of a coalition of several Chambers and other groups that sent a letter to legislators last year urging passage of this bill.

Pennsylvania American Water Celebrates 200 Years in Berwick

State Senator John Gordner (left) and Rep. Dave Millard (right) with members of the Berwick team of Pennsylvania American Water, which was presented with a citation from the PA Senate.

On Thursday, April 12, Pennsylvania American Water held a celebration to commemorate its 200th anniversary of being in operation in the Berwick area. Several local elected officials were on hand to participate in the celebration and recognize the company and its employees for their efforts in providing water service to the Berwick community and surrounding area. 

Chartered in 1818 as the Berwick Water Company, it built a water system using wooden pipes, some of which are still underground (although no longer in use today). It has merged with and been owned by a handful of other organizations over its 200 years, and in the late 20th century, was acquired by American Water, which owns and/or operates water infrastructure systems in 48 states, including in Pennsylvania, where its wholly owned subsidiary, Pennsylvania American Water, serves over two million people, including those in and around Berwick. The Berwick Water Company is American Water’s oldest predecessor company, as it has been around the longest out of American Water’s thousands of local water companies that make up the larger organization.

State Senator John Gordner was on hand to present the company with a citation from the Pennsylvania Senate in recognition of this achievement. Other local officials on hand included Rep. Dave Millard, representatives from Briar Creek Borough, Salem Township, Berwick Borough, the Chamber and Columbia County Commissioners. 

Pretty Petals & Gifts by Susan Holds Ribbon Cutting at New Bloomsburg Store

(L-R): Bloomsburg store manager Loretta Peters, owner Susan Adams, and Chamber president Fred Gaffney.

In a year in which spring has been slow to arrive here in Columbia and Montour counties, walking into Pretty Petals & Gifts by Susan in Bloomsburg immediately brings thoughts of spring with the colorful floral arrangements and pleasant smelling scents of various flowers. That pleasant sensory experience, as well as numerous other gift options are available at Pretty Petals, which opened at the end of 2017 at 158 East 9th St. in Bloomsburg. The store joins its sister store in Paxinos, which opened in 2014. 

The Chamber stopped by on Wednesday morning, April 11, to celebrate the opening with a ribbon cutting, and it was joined by representatives from fellow Chamber member Dillon Floral, which is one of Pretty Petals’ wholesale suppliers and also supplies hundreds of other small, locally-owned florists just like Pretty Petals throughout Eastern Pennsylvania. Pretty Petals provides flowers for all occasions, as well as a wide selection of different types of gifts, including signs, vases, frames, decorations, and much more. 

Member News – April 11, 2018

Member News

  • DRIVE recently announced that USG has received a $250,000 grant from PennDOT’s Rail Freight Assistance Program to improve its operations in the region. The funding will be used to add 2,000 feet of track to its facility in Washingtonville to accommodate longer trains and increase efficiency to unload railcars. This marked one of several improvement projects that were announced by Governor Tom Wolf recently as part of a broader effort to help strengthen the local economy and fuel business growth in the region. 


  • Penn College was recently awarded nearly $50,000 in a grant by the PA Department of Labor & Industry to support two registered apprenticeship programs, one each in mechatronics and computer numerical control. These two high-demand programs serve the needs of at least 40 apprentices from at least 14 companies, including fellow Chamber members Kawneer, SEKISUI SPI and Autoneum. Read the entire press release from Penn College for further information. 


  • North Branch Group/Thrivent Financial is seeking an office assistant to support the team at its Bloomsburg office located at 417 West Main St. Responsibilities includes handling incoming telephone calls,, routine administrative duties, and more. For more information, see the job description, or contact Kerry Maurer at 570-317-2111 or email


Saxophonist Melissa Aldana.

  • Jazz saxophonist Melissa Aldana will perform tonight, April 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the Weis Center Atrium Lobby at the Weis Center For the Performing Arts. This performance is free and tickets are not required. Aldana is an acclaimed tenor saxophonist and native of Chile that NPR referred to as “one of the most compelling and prodigious saxophonists of her time. In 2013 she became the first female instrumentalist and the first South American ever to win the Thelonious Monk Competition. She is also a recipient of the Martin E. Segal Award from Jazz at Lincoln Center and a double recipient of the Altazor Award, Chile’s highly prestigious national arts prize.


  • North Branch Group/Thrivent Financial will host a tax reform workshop tomorrow, April 12, at 6 p.m. at the Bloomsburg Public Library. Find out how you and your family will fare under the new changes to the U.S. federal tax code, which was changed due to the new law passed in December. Learn about those tax law changes that could impact you, and get positive, professional guidance from the professionals from Thrivent. No products or services will be sold at this event. Light refreshments will be served and there is no cost to attend, however and RSVP is requested by calling Richard Keller at 570-317-2111 or email


  • French-Tunisian saxophonist Yacine Boulares

    World music from Tunisia will be featured in a performance titled “Suite for Abu Sadiya” on Wednesday, April 18 at 7:30 p.m. in the Weis Center Atrium Lobby at the Weis Center For the Performing Arts. The performance is free and tickets are not required. In this musical take on a North African myth, Brooklyn-based, French-Tunisian saxophonist Yacine Boulares and French cellist Vincent Segal will present an original suite of variations re-imagining the Tunisian healing trance music — Stambeli — for their trio with American drummer Nasheet Waits.


  • First Columbia Bank & Trust will holds its 8th annual Teen Star musical competition on Sunday, May 20 as Haas Auditorium on the campus of Bloomsburg University. Audition registration is now open through Friday, April 20. Auditions will be held at Millville Area High School on Wednesday, April 25 and Saturday, April 28. This annual competition is open to any freshman, sophomore, junior or senior that attends high school in Columbia County or the Danville School District, or that permanently resides in Columbia County or within the Danville Area School District but attends a school outside the county or district. For more information and to register, visit the Teen Star website


  • The Bloomsburg Area YMCA will hold Healthy Kids Day on Saturday, April 21 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. There will be games, activities and more to get kids thinking about healthy lifestyles. Snacks will be available, along with information about youth development programs at the Y, such as its upcoming summer camp. To give children an adventurous, active and healthy summer, the Y will be waiving its $35 camp registration fee on this day. For more information, visit the Facebook event page


  • Ken Pollock Ford Lincoln will host a ribbon cutting and grand reopening of its new showroom at the Berwick dealership on Saturday, April 21, from 1-3 p.m. After the Chamber joins the Ken Pollock Auto Group staff for a ribbon cutting at 1 p.m., enjoy food, beverages, prizes and outstanding entertainment from local musicians, as well as a special guest star. There will also be a cornhole tournament. There is no cost to attend and registration is not required. However, to participate in the cornhole tournament, registration is requested. See the flyer for more information. 


Double bassist Xavier Foley

  • Double bassist Xavier Foley will give a classical performance on Sunday, April 22 at 2 p.m. in the Weis Center Atrium Lobby at the Weis Center For the Performing Arts. The performance is free and tickets are not required. The classical repertoire will include a world premiere work and a Weis Center commission by composer Daniel Temkin. As a winner of the 2016 Young Concert Artists (YCA) International Auditions along with four Performance Prizes, Foley gave his New York and Washington, D.C. debut recitals this season, which included two of his own compositions. Foley is only the second double bassist in the 57-year history of YCA to win and join its roster.


  • State Rep. David Millard will host a drug forum on Tuesday, April 24 at Benton High School, from 6-8 p.m. Adults and children are invited to attend these events, which are designed to share information about drug abuse, the opioid crisis and how to avoid drug addiction. Speakers include Jeremy Reese, Columbia County coroner, representatives from Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital, and representatives from a local rehabilitation facility. These forums are free and open to the public, and registration is not required. Visit Rep. Millard’s website or call 570-759-8734 or 570-387-0246 for more information. 


  • The Bucknell Small Business Development Center will host a workshop on how to become an Amazon seller on Wednesday, April 25, from 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. at its location of 416 Market St., Lewisburg. Learn tips and best practices that will give you an edge rather than going it alone through trial and error. Amazon has surpassed Google as the starting point for online shoppers, making the Amazon Marketplace an appealing channel for sellers. A discount on the registration fee is available using the code “AMZN101LEWISBURG” when registering.


  • The local PA CareerLink centers have scheduled their 2018 job fairs. The local one in our area will be held on Wednesday, May 9, from 4-7 p.m. at Columbia-Montour Area Vocational Technical School, located at 5050 Sweppenheiser Dr., Bloomsburg. There will also be job fairs during May just outside of the area at Shikellamy High School in Sunbury on May 2 and at the Selinsgrove VFW in May 30. Later in the year, there will be one at the Best Western in Lewisburg on Sept. 6. The registration links for employers are now open for the three May events. See the flyer for more information as well as registration links. 


  • The Weis Center for the Performing Arts, in collaboration with the Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau and the Susquehanna River Arts initiative, is hosting a free art exhibit and installation featuring the work of 10 local artists from now through Friday, May 25 in the Weis Center’s upper Atrium Lobby. The exhibit is free and takes place on the upper level of the Atrium Lobby, which is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. Participating artists will include: Annie Barnhart, Robert Brown, Pete Grimord, Joan Grimord, Gail Fox, Glen Klein, Abigail Kurecian, Sara Mika, Pam Thomas and William Whitmoyer. Each artist will have several samples of artwork on display. 


  • Geisinger Health Plan and the Columbia-Montour Aging Office, Inc. are teaming up to bring “A Matter of Balance,” an award-winning program, to the area for a series of presentations in April and May. This program for older adults and is designed to manage falls and increase activity levels. It is available to the public at no cost and will be held each Monday, through May 21, from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at Maria Joseph Continuing Care Community, located at 1707 Montour Blvd. (Rt. 11), Danville. The program will also be held on Tuesday, May 29 due to Memorial Day, and this will be the last class. Attendees will learn to view falls as controllable, set goals for increasing activity, make changes to reduce fall risks at home and exercise to increase strength and balance. Registration is required, and to do so, call the GHP wellness team at 866-415-7138.