Member News – October 31, 2018

Member News

  • Ken Pollock Ford Lincoln, along with all of the other Ken Pollock dealerships throughout northeast Pennsylvania, is hosting its fifth annual Trunk or Treat from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. on today, Oct. 31. All Ken Pollock dealerships will be loaded with treats and good eats. Wear your best costume and stop in for some fun.


  • Bloomsburg University will hold its fall 2018 Health & Human Career Connections Expo this Friday, Nov. 2, from 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Kehr Union multipurpose rooms A & B. This event brings employers seeking to recruit students interested in careers in health, allied health and human services for opportunities such as job shadowing, internships and full-time employment. This event is open to all BU students and alumni in these career fields. If you are an employer interested in attending, or have questions, contact Michael Babb via email. There will also be a networking reception with faculty, staff and students.


  • Service 1st Federal Credit Union has announced plans to expand into Elysburg.

    The future Service 1st location in Elysburg

    The credit union recently purchased the former Santander Bank building located at 196 West Valley Avenue (Rt. 487) and is looking forward to opening in Spring 2019. “The Elysburg office will mark our twelfth location,” said Bill Lavage, president/CEO, Service 1st. “We’re delighted to become part of the Elysburg community and look forward to providing affordable, quality financial services to residents in the Elysburg area.” Service 1st has offices in Bloomsburg, Danville, Lewisburg, Loyalsock, Mifflinburg, Montandon, Shamokin Dam, Sunbury and Wilkes-Barre. 


  • Commonwealth Health – Berwick Hospital Center will hold an open house and community hernia screening from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8. The open house will include tours of the hospital and blood pressure checks, informational stations on Berwick Retirement Village and the hospital services, and a meet-and-greet with the primary care physicians affiliated with Berwick Medical Professionals. An educational session and hernia screenings – both free to the public – will be offered at this time by general surgeons who are on staff at Berwick Hospital. Light refreshments will be served. Anyone interested in scheduling a hernia screening is asked to call 570-354-6515 or visit Berwick Hospital Center is located at 701 East 16th St., Berwick. 


  • Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital will once again offer a complimentary meal for veterans on Thursday, Nov. 8 in the GBH dining room. There will be four separate seatings – at 3, 4, 5 and 6 p.m., and the meal is complimentary for all U.S. veterans and one guest. Join GBH as they celebrate the service of our veterans to the U.S. Because seating is limited each hour, reservations are required by Friday, Nov. 2. Call 570-387-2145 today to reserve your seat(s). The buffet dinner includes carved roast beef, mashed potatoes with gravy, corn, green beans, beverages and cake and ice cream. 


  • The Penn State World Campus has a few upcoming information webinars during the month of November for those interested in learning more about classes and degrees from Penn State’s online classes. On Thursday, Nov. 8, from 9-10:30 p.m., there will be a virtual open house for military in which participants can meet staff and learn about the process for applying for and earning an undergraduate degree through the PSU World Campus. On Tuesday, Nov. 13, from 8-9 p.m., there will be an undergraduate admissions and career services webinar for perspective PSU World Campus undergraduate students interested in learning about the World Campus experience and career services offered to students. On Wednesday, Nov. 14, from 12-1 p.m., there will be a webinar to learn more about the Master’s in Professional Studies, applied demography degree. It will focus on how the program is designed for working professionals, and how it focuses on concepts, measures, data, software and analytical skills used in the public and private sectors. Finally, on Thursday, Nov. 15, from 12-1 p.m., there will be a Master of Science in Nusing (MSN) informational webinar for those interested in the nurse administrator or nurse educator options of Penn State’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program. As a reminder, employees of all Columbia Montour Chamber members, their spouses and dependents are eligible for a 5% discount on tuition through the PSU World Campus. 


  • The Berwick Elks Lodge 1138 will host a ceremony and dinner for Veterans Day on Sunday, Nov. 11 beginning at 4 p.m. at its location at 117 West 2nd St., Berwick. All veterans and the public are welcome to attend. The ceremony will be performed by the Elks Lodge beginning at 4 p.m., with a presentation of colors by the Berwick VFW. Guest speakers include state senator John Gordner and veteran Timothy Hutton. RSVPs are appreciated but not required at 570-759-8131, and please leave a message. 


  • LIFE Geisinger will host its annual Open House on Tuesday, Nov. 13, from 3-6 p.m. at its location at 1100 Spruce St., Kulpmont. There will be light refreshments, door prizes, tours of the facility, and an opportunity to learn about this innovative alternative care program for older adults intended to keep them living in their own homes. Please RSVP to Wendy Rishel by email or call 570-373-2100. 


  • The Montour Area Recreation Commission (MARC) is creating a new development advisory committee to advise and assist MARC with fundraising for MARC’s long-term general operations and site specific needs at the Montour Preserve, Hess Recreation Area, North Branch Canal Trail, Hopewell Park/Danville Borough Farm Trail System and other sites. The committee will begin to meet in January 2019 on a schedule to be determined by committee members. Committee members will serve on an unpaid volunteer basis. Letters of interest are now being accepted from community members with a background in fundraising and a demonstrated commitment to supporting outdoor recreation in and around Montour County. Interested individuals are asked to provide a brief one to two-paragraph statement of their background, skill set and willingness to serve. Information should be emailed to Bob Stoudt, MARC director, by email no later than Friday, Nov. 16. Candidates will be considered by MARC’s board on Monday, Nov. 19, during MARC’s regularly scheduled meeting. MARC anticipates appointing up to eight community members to this committee.



  • NEPIRC will conduct a free leadership training seminar titled “Leadership Development Essentials” on Thursday, Dec. 6, from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. at the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation, located at 725 West Front St. (Rt. 11) in Berwick. This program is intended to help individuals become stronger, more impactful leaders. While joining other managers and supervisors to discuss workplace challenges, attendees will explore topics that include self-awareness, power & authority, risk & failure and leadership style. Using self-assessment tools and experiential learning, attendees will examine their strengths and weaknesses while exploring best practices of exceptional leaders. Register via the NEPIRC event website


  • Wild For Salmon will host a holiday tasting event at its retail store on 521 Montour Blvd. (Rt. 11) in Bloomsburg on Saturday, Dec. 8, from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. There is no cost to attend. Much like its other public tasting events throughout the year, this event will feature some dishes specially prepared by Wild For Salmon’s in-house chef featuring salmon and other seafood for attendees to taste, only this time, there will be a winter and holiday theme to the menu selections. 


  • MePush will be hosting a series of study sessions throughout the fall at its conference room at 130 Buffalo Rd., Lewisburg, for information technology professionals that are taking and interested in getting together to study for the Cisco CCNA exam. This major certification in the IT industry is a big undertaking for some, so MePush would like to offer a forum to help other IT pros in the area improve their skills and certifications. If interested, please email Art so MePush can have a headcount. 

What HR Services Does Your Business Need?

Members often call the Chamber with human resource questions related to policies, compliance with state and federal regulations, employee management issues, etc. Recognizing that many small and medium-sized organizations do not have dedicated HR staff, the Chamber is exploring a program that would offer expanded resources. While members can currently contact ChamberChoice for some issues, this potential bundled program could provide access to forms, on-call access for quick questions, or representation in more in-depth issues.
The Chamber is working with local human resource consultants to determine interest in a group program. Members are asked to provide their input on their HR needs by completing a brief multiple-choice, 12-question survey by Wednesday, Nov. 14 (we estimate it shouldn’t take you more than five minutes to complete it). Based on the level of interest, we will move forward in developing a program. As a thank you for your time, all members that click on the link above and complete the survey by Nov. 14 will be entered into a drawing to win a free month of ads for their business or organization in E-Biz. The winner will be notified after the deadline to complete the survey. 

Thank you for your time.

Workers’ Comp Fix Signed Into Law

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

In welcome news for the state’s business community, one of the PA Chamber’s top priorities this session – legislation that will save employers hundreds of millions of dollars a year – was signed by Gov. Tom Wolf last week.

Act 111 of 2018 (formerly H.B. 1840) addresses last year’s financially detrimental state Supreme Court decision in the Protz v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board case.  In Protz, the PA Supreme Court removed Impairment Rating Evaluations from the law, which for more than 20 years has provided a structured process for state-designated physicians to determine a patient’s level of impairment and how long wage-loss benefits should be paid. As a result of the ruling, the Pennsylvania Compensation Rating Bureau took the unprecedented action of filing for a mid-year loss cost increase, which industry experts are conservatively estimating is costing employers upwards of $300 million each year.

At the time of the Protz decision, the PA Chamber warned its members that the cost increase would be coming while also advocating for legislation to address the Court’s concerns.  Act 111 updates IRE-related language in the law to address the issues raised by the Supreme Court and requires the PCRB to file a loss cost decrease, which will spare employers from being forced into paying significantly higher insurance costs.

After the governor signed the bill, PA Chamber President Gene Barr issued a statement applauding his action. “This measure will go a long way to reining in future excessive workers’ comp costs related to the Supreme Court’s decision last year,” Barr said.  “We also commend the General Assembly – particularly House Labor and Industry Committee Chair Rob Kauffman and Senate Labor and Industry Committee Chair Kim Ward – for working in quick order to find a legislative solution to address the Court’s concerns.”  

Welcome JM Robbins & Associates

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, JM Robbins & Associates, to help us fulfill our mission.

JM Robbins & Associates is a business consulting group specializing in customer experience consulting, focusing on the areas of quality assurance, coaching and training. Based locally in Bloomsburg, they partner with organizations to develop quality assurance, coaching and training programs that deliver and drive sustainable performance improvement. Founder and CEO Justin Robbins is an author of industry research, articles and best practices content, is a member of the National Speakers Association and has been a featured expert for the New York Times, NBC Nightly News, Fox News and several other media outlets. JM Robbins & Associates can be reached by email, on Facebook, by calling 570-245-8335 or visit its website

Pursuing Health Insurance Options for Members

Gene Barr, President of the PA Chamber of Business & Industry; Bob Carl, Jr. , Chair of the Pennsylvania Association of Chamber Professionals; and Maggie Sheely, Manager, Great Lakes Region, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, discussed opportunities for offering association health plans in Pennsylvania at a statewide chamber conference held in mid-October in Schuylkill County.

In June, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a rule that allowed small businesses to once again band together for health insurance. However, Pennsylvania was one of 12 states that has thrown a bucket of cold water on the opportunity for chambers, and other associations, to offer lower-cost options for members. Organizations at the state and federal levels are working together to challenge these states in implementing association health plans.

The DOL tweaked the ERISA definition of “employer” to include “employer association.” This allows a group of small businesses to be treated as a single, large group in pursuing health insurance options that are more flexible than marketplace plans that must comply with the Affordable Care Act. In anticipation of this rule change, the Chamber’s benefits partner, ChamberChoice, had been in discussions with several health insurance providers about again offering health insurance options.

Attorneys general from eleven states and the District of Columbia filed suit against the DOL claiming the rule violated federal procedure. Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman also sought clarification from the Federal government on states’ ability to regulate health insurance and expressed concern over “sham” health insurance offerings. As DOL confirmed that states retain the right to regulate insurance, Altman maintains that Pennsylvania’s regulations, which closely mirror the Affordable Care Act, provide necessary protection for individuals. Most health insurance companies have not pursued association health plan discussions following the state’s positioning.

While Pennsylvania’s position on association health plans could change with a new governor, state and federal associations are not sitting on their hands. The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry and national associations are attempting to demonstrate to state policymakers that association health plans had been offered responsibly and are seeking flexibility in plan requirements. The Columbia Montour Chamber is supporting these efforts with the goal of offering cost-effective health insurance options for members.