Member News August 18, 2021

The Exchange Hosting ArtFest this Saturday in Downtown Bloomsburg

After a year off due to the COVID crisis, ArtFest will take place on Saturday, August 21st, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. surrounding the fountain on the Square and up Market Street in downtown Bloomsburg, with more than thirty art and craft vendors, fine food vendors, and live music by local performers all day.

​For the complete line-up of vendors, non-profit partners, and music, click here.

The event provides a lively, comfortable atmosphere for the general public to see art, meet and talk with artists about their studio practices, and purchase fine artworks. Attendance has grown by 100% since the move to the Square in 2017; in 2019, approximately 3,000 people attended.

 


Service 1st Honors Duck Derby Tradition by Supporting Local Organizations Despite River Levels

Due to high river levels resulting in safety concerns for their dedicated staff and volunteers, Service 1st Federal Credit Union did not hold their Annual Charity Duck Derby event along the Susquehanna River in Danville this year. In honor of this special tradition, the Service 1st Duck Derby Committee wanted to show their support for the community.

“Unfortunately, Mother Nature did not cooperate this year and due to safety concerns for our staff and volunteers, we were forced to resort to our Plan B,” said Brett Johnson, Duck Derby Committee Co-Chair and Vice President Lending, Service 1st. “At Service 1st, we strongly believe in supporting the communities we serve, and we’re happy to carry on this tradition and make donations to each of these eight great charities. We’re looking forward to being back on the river in 2022.”

If the Derby was held on the water, eight volunteers representing local charities who also participated in the Service 1st Community Savings Challenge held earlier this year, would have raced to the finish line aboard a duck shaped float. Due to the change in the event, Crissie, the Service 1st mascot, along with representatives from the credit union held a random drawing to award donations to these charities.

The following charities received donations this year: Keystone Mission, Wilkes-Barre ($1,000); Animal Resource Center, Bloomsburg ($500); Caring for Kids Backpack Program, Sunbury ($100); DIG Furniture Bank, Lewisburg ($100); Elysburg Food Pantry, Elysburg ($100); National Alliance on Mental Health, Williamsport ($100); The Gate House, Danville ($100); and West End Library, Laurelton ($100).

In 2020, Service 1st made the tough decision to cancel the Derby due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They are looking forward to hosting the event again in 2022.


Bold Gold Media Group Employees Recognized

In the August issue of RadioInk, Michael G Stanton, General Manager of Bold Gold Media Group, was named as one of the Best Managers in Radio for 2021, out of all radio station managers in the USA. Stanton has spent over 30 years in the radio industry, with over half of those years as a manager of Bold Gold Media Group.

In July, Lisa Percevault, Senior Marketing Consultant with Bold Gold Media Group, was one of 20 women in the USA to be selected for the Radio Advertising Bureau’s “Rising Through the Ranks” program, which is held in conjunction with Broadcast Music, Inc (BMI) and Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio (MIW).


New Fund at Community Giving Foundation Supports Dementia Education and Advocacy in Region

The Community Giving Foundation is pleased to announce the creation of a new community impact fund in partnership with Dementia Friendly Susquehanna Valley (DFSV), a group whose mission is to bring awareness to the region about dementia through education, advocacy, and volunteer engagement in order to better support those living with dementia and their caregivers.

Marianne Kreisher and Marissa Marshall of Kreisher Marshall & Associates are the only certified elder law attorneys in Columbia and Montour Counties. They continue to dedicate themselves to the elder law profession, but always felt a desire to offer more to their clients and community. After becoming a Life Care Planning Law Firm, they were able to bring in social workers as elder care coordinators to better assist clients with care planning. They also partnered with Embodied Labs, a virtual reality platform that gives community members the ability to experience life in someone else’s shoes. Through all these progressions and experiences with clients and caregivers, Kreisher and Marshall recognized a need for community-wide education.

In early 2020, the staff of Kreisher Marshall & Associates became Dementia Champions through Dementia Friends Pennsylvania and spearheaded the Dementia Friendly Susquehanna Valley initiative in our region alongside a group of community leaders.

“Education and awareness are the foundation to making our region more dementia friendly. It’s our hope that by establishing this fund for DFSV, we will be able to provide dementia awareness and specialized programs to youth, first responders, financial institutions, and service industries,” explains Marshall.

DFSV’s vision is to make the Susquehanna Valley region a place where those living with dementia and their loved ones feel supported, understood, and included as valued members of our community. This new non-endowed fund will support projects and activities that promote this vision across Columbia, Lower-Luzerne, Montour, and Northumberland Counties.

Program to Develop Team Leaders and Managers Now Accepting Applications

The program developed in collaboration with Bloomsburg University to help people build basic management and team leadership skills is offering in-person and virtual options this Fall. In-person sessions are scheduled to begin September 21st and virtual sessions October 12th. This five-module Management and Leadership Certificate Program is appropriate for existing leaders, managers, and supervisors; or those who are new or emerging in any business sector.

Participants will receive a certificate from Bloomsburg University upon completion and will have identified personal development goals to provide to their employers.

The five, three-hour modules are:
-Supervisor Effectiveness
-Effective Communication for Managers
-Conflict Management
-Navigating a Multi-generational Workforce 
-Being a Great Mentor or Coach

 Full program is available here or by calling 570-784-2522.

The program qualifies for WEDnet funding. For eligibility information, visit wednetpa.com or contact Jennifer Williams at 570-389-4004.

Work Study Program Provides Students for Staffing Needs

Bloomsburg University is currently looking for organizations and nonprofits to create new, off campus work study opportunities for students.

Employers will work with the Bloomsburg University Financial Aid Office to create job descriptions, choose the eligible student(s) they wish to hire while deciding if they will continue to be employed each semester, monitor hours of work and ensure all duties are performed properly. BU pays the work study student directly through the program.

Employers interested in learning more or participating should contact Tim Pelton, Civic Engagement Coordinator, at 570-389-5437 or [email protected] 

Utilizing a Student Loan Repayment Program for Debt-Challenged Employees

Increasingly, individuals comprising today’s workforce are straddled with significant levels of student loan debt. At the same time, these workers are often conflicted as to whether they should focus on paying off their debt or set aside funds to pay for retirement. As an employer, adding a student loan repayment program to your employee benefit portfolio not only helps them address this dilemma, but also represents a tremendous opportunity to help attract and retain key talent.

To further benefit employers, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES ACT), passed in March of 2020, added a little-known provision regarding student loans. The provision allows an employer to make up to $5,250 in student loan payments for an employee within a year. Regardless of whether the payments go directly to the employee or to the student loan servicing entity, the money is considered tax-free to the employee and the employer is excluded from paying payroll taxes on the funds. As of this writing, the provision, originally set to expire at the end of 2020 has been extended through December, 2025.

By structuring the program as a part of your voluntary benefits package, you have the ability to customize the program according to your workplace demographics and budgetary capabilities.

Employers can utilize a variety of methods, including fixed contributions, matching contributions, consolidating loans or refinancing the loan. With these programs, the employer first decides how much, if any, they are willing to contribute into the program.

By creating a differentiated, unique benefit package that addresses a specific employee need, employers benefit by boosting employee engagement, increasing productivity levels, and improving employee retention rates.

The Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce offers its members access to My Benefit Advisor as a solution for employee benefits, including voluntary offerings. For more information about My Benefit Advisor, visit our website at cmcc.mybenefitadvisor.com or contact Tanya Ruiz at (800) 377-3536.

What Does CDC Masking Guidance Mean for Employers?

While Pennsylvania’s face covering order was lifted on June 28th, the PA Department of Health continues to urge individuals to follow CDC guidance for wearing a mask where required by law, rule, and regulations, including healthcare, individual businesses, and workplaces. The CDC requires individuals to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States, and in U.S. transportation hubs, such as airports and stations. Most recently, the CDC has added the recommendation that masks be worn, regardless of vaccination status, while indoors in areas of substantial or high transmission. As of August 16th, Columbia County is at a high transmission rate and Montour is at substantial rate. This latest guidance from the CDC is again causing confusion for employers.

The CDC guidance regarding masking indoors is not a legal requirement or OSHA regulation at this point. However, OSHA’s Wilkes Barre office has advised the Chamber that an employer could be cited for creating an unsafe working environment if a claim were filed by an employee. Businesses could also face litigation from customers as liability protections have not been provided by the state or federal governments.