Member News – May 25, 2022

Bloomsburg Children’s Museum Announces Pennsylvania’s State Junior Academy of Science State Winners

The Bloomsburg Children’s Museum hosts a science fair for local students every January. This past January, 35 students from 8 schools competed in the fair which was held at the Bloomsburg Fire Company. From that, 17 students were sent to the regional Pennsylvania Academy of Science (PJAS) fair at Susquehanna University on February 26. At the regional fair, students from 10 counties compete for a chance to move on to states. Seven of the 17 students the Museum sponsored at this fair moved on to the PJAS state science fair.  

This past Monday, May 16th, these 7 students joined over 1200 other students from across the state at Penn State University to showcase their work and compete for prizes.  

Philip Polstra Jr. (Bloomsburg Christian School) captured a First Award in Junior High School Chemistry for his project “Acid Erosion.” Kathryn Polstra (Bloomsburg Christian School) was awarded a Second Award in Highschool Biochemistry for her project “The Digestibility of Gum.” Brooke Rhoads (Bloomsburg Christian School) was awarded a Second Award in Highschool Chemistry for “Freezing Point Depression.” Josiah Stoffer (Bloomsburg Christian School) won a Second Award in Highschool Biology for his project “How Well Brine Shrimp Hatch in Different Salinities.” Kaitlyn Westover (Benton Area High School) was awarded a Second Award in Biology for her presentation on “What Fruit Produces More DNA?” Brooke Woll (Danville High School) took home a Second Award in Highschool Behavioral Science for her project “Does highlighting text help or hinder memorability.” Gwendolyn Greene won a Third Award in Highschool Biology for her project “Beet This.”

“We want to congratulate each of these amazing students. They worked for months on their projects and rose to the top level of competition,” Dr. Ginny Weibel, the Director of the Bloomsburg Children’s Museum said. “I also want to recognize the contributions of the students’ parents and teachers who worked with the students and supported them through this.”  

Sekisui/Kydex, the PPL Foundation, and The Friends of the Bloomsburg Children’s Museum helped to sponsor these students as they advanced through all levels of the science fairs.  

The Bloomsburg Children’s Museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit overseen by a board of directors. This organization strives to offer unique, sustainable, and dynamic learning opportunities for youth through year-round interactive exhibits, programming, and community outreach. For more information, please visit

Bloomsburg YMCA Announces EITC Accreditation

The Bloomsburg Area YMCA (BAY) has announced its approval as an accredited Educational Improvement Tax Credit Organization for its Summer Day Camp and Afterschool programs. The YMCA now is approved as both an Educational Improvement Organization and a Pre-k Scholarship Organization.

The approval will allow BAY to continue its commitment to youth and families throughout Columbia County by partnering with local businesses that can help ensure quality programs while earning valuable tax credits.

“The Bloomsburg Area YMCA offers an array of innovative educational and socialization programs that address the needs of youth of all ages in Columbia County,” said CEO Wayne Stump. “The EITC accreditation will help us grow and enhance our school age childcare program that are vital to so many families in our area.”

The Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program, administered by the PA Department of Community and Economic Development, allows the business community to get more involved in children’s education by redirecting their tax dollars to support local non-profit scholarship organizations.

By contributing to an authorized non-profit organization like the Bloomsburg Area YMCA, EITC will provide companies with a 75% tax credit for a one-year commitment, or 90% for a two-year commitment. Credits are awarded on a first-come-first-served basis, with the maximum tax credit companies could earn of $750,000.

“EITC scholarships have provided thousands of opportunities to families throughout the state, and we are proud to offer this incentive in our own community,” Stump said. “This funding is a chance to reaffirm BAY’s commitment to young people today and in the years to come. We’re excited to welcome delegates from the community to join us in this journey.”

“This accreditation is just one example of how BAY is deepening its commitment to the development of our youth, and how it enables the business community to help young people achieve their goals every single day,” Stump said. “We have seen first-hand how the local business community has overwhelming supported our programs, and we are hopeful this new funding opportunity will continue that support.”

Congratulations to the LCP Class of 2022

Leadership Central Penn (LCP) celebrated the graduation of the class of 2022 last Thursday at the Pine Barn Inn.  This year’s class was the largest in history with 25 graduates and marked the 23rd cohort. The program included a Keynote address from Holly Morrison, President and CEO of the Community Giving Foundation. Holly shared that she has seen first hand the benefits of LCP on individuals as a donor, employer and mother. She hopes that everyone in the program grew in their capacity as community leaders as she has seen with so many graduates in the past. This program allows you to develop the 76% of leadership that is learned according to statistics Holly has seen. It is up to all of us to work on understanding ourselves, our capacities and our areas for improvement. The class is the start of that journey, and it should continue.

This year’s class presenter was Brian Houser, PPL. The first focus of his speech was about the Leadership component of the program. He shared the program was never just a lecture or death by Power Point but was an engaging experience in a safe and trusted environment. This was created by Jeff Emanuel, Director and Rick Flynn, Leadership Facilitator. Brian shared that the theories taught in the program were immediately useful back in the work setting. The second focus was on the community portion of the program. The class introduced the class to many organizations that help our community move and thrive. Brian shared his appreciation for the challenges facing the people of our communities and all the organizations like nonprofits, the judicial system, education, economic development and more that work together to help. Brian shared this experience made him realize “it turns out there is a lot more to leadership than just commanding a group. It isn’t about forcing others to listen, but about listening to others.” After going through this program, he understands why there are over 60,000 books for sale on leadership and he appreciates having more insight and knowledge thanks to LCP.

Before the certificates were awarded, there was a third component of the celebration. Recognizing the community impact projects of this year’s class. The first was group that assisted AGAPE with their move to their new location. They loaded food, clothing, pet food, household items and more onto pallet, into trucks and relocated and organized it all to help AGAPE continue its mission from their new home. The second group shared with involvement with the Bloomsburg Children’s Museum’s Hak4Kids program. This kid-friendly hacking event is the only one of its kind in PA. The event was free and included 28 workshops and activities for kids ages 7-17. Finally, the third project was in partnership with the United Way of Berwick and their Day of Caring. This project included alumni from previous LCP cohorts who work at First Keystone Community Bank. The team assisted with clean-up of the Berwick YMCA to assist with preparing the facility for construction project improvements in the coming weeks. All of the projects were demanding, but fulfilling to the LCP members, nonprofit partners and community members served by these organizations.

The event concluded with honoring the LCP Graduating Class of 2022:

Kevin Ball – Geisinger
Scott Bellum – SEKISUI KYDEX
Tiffany Bienkowski – First Keystone Community Bank
Lisa Brelsford – Columbia Child Development Head Start
Audra Briggs – Bloomsburg Carpet
LuCinda Craig – Rural Business Innovation Corp.
Taryn Crayton – Press Enterprise
Daniel Diehl – First Columbia Bank & Trust
Benjamin Gonzalez – Geisinger
John Harahus – Geisinger
Brian Houser – PPL Electric
Trygve Jensen – Geisinger
Hamid Khan – Autoneum
Holly Madden – Hope Enterprises, Inc.
Christopher Matthews – First Keystone Community Bank
Alyssa Meyers-Sanonu – Berwick YMCA
Dawn Orzehowski – Maria Joseph CCC
Jessica Pastuszek – Geisinger
James Pensyl – Girton Manufacturing
Angela Prajzner – Autoneum
Kristy Strain – Geisinger
Melisa Thomas – Service 1st FCU
Danielle Velkoff – United Way CMC
Rebecca White – Columbia Child Development Head Start
Phillip Yoder – Columbia County EMA

Chamber Supports Bill to Lower CNI

The Chamber’s Board of Directors unanimously supports legislation that would reduce Pennsylvania’s Corporate Net Income tax rate from the second highest in the nation. Senate Bill 771, co-sponsored by Senator John Gordner, would begin to reduce the current rate of 9.99% as of January 1, 2023, to 6.99% in 2025, and even as low in 5.99% by 2026 should revenue exceed projections for 2025 at the 9.99% rate.

The bill is currently under consideration in the Senate and has bipartisan support. Governor Wolf called for an immediate reduction in the CNI to as low as 4.99% in his 2022-23 budget plan.

Judge Temporarily Halts PennDOT Bridge Tolling Plan

On Wednesday, May 18th, a Commonwealth Court Judge issued a preliminary injunction on PennDOT’s plan to implement tolling on nine interstate bridges, including the Nescopeck Creek bridges in lower Luzerne County. The order prevents PennDOT from executing any other agreements or contracts, conducting hearings or meetings, or moving forward with design or construction of tolling structures identified in the Major Bridge P3 Initiative. A lawsuit challenging PennDOT’s process and authority was filed in March by Cumberland County and seven municipalities.

Click here for more from the Associated Press. 

PennDOT can appeal the decision to the State Supreme Court. The Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce will be participating in a rally in Harrisburg on June 8th with other members of the No P3 Bridge Tolling Coalition from across the state to urge PennDOT to abandon this plan altogether.

Columbia County Farm Bureau of Pennsylvania Joins The Chamber

The newest member of The Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce is the Columbia County Farm Bureau. Located in Nescopeck on 612 Hetlerville Road, the Farm Bureau is an organization representing farm families engaged in all types of agriculture – from farms of every size and commodity to craft breweries, distilleries, wineries, and cideries to farm-to-table restaurants and agritourism experiences.

Its mission statement includes growing communities, many voices, united vision. Farm Bureau members are leading together from the grassroots up. The direction of the organization and its stances on issues are shaped by the men and women of Pennsylvania agriculture.

“People united around food, environment, and community.” Reads the mission statement from the Columbia County Farm Bureau. You can find out more information at

The Columbia County Farm Bureau joins over 420 members of The Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce to receive benefits and support the Chamber’s efforts to enhance the region.