Member News – May 22, 2019

  • Penn DOT is currently performing a job on a water main project along the southbound lane of Route 11 near Danville between Woodbine Lane in Mahoning Township and Ridge Drive in Cooper Township, Montour County. This work will be performed at night along the shoulder of the road. Traffic will be shifted away from the shoulder, but one lane will be maintained in each direction. Traffic patterns will return to normal during non-work hours. The contractor is scheduled to work through the end of this week (May 23). Motorists should be alert, drive with caution and watch for changing traffic patterns in the work zone. Subscribe to PennDOT news in Bradford, Columbia, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga and Union counties at


  • Bloomsburg University’s IT Outreach Webinar Series has a webinar on IT-related issues scheduled for today May 22, at noon. Ronald Fussell, program manager at Zel Technologies, LLC, will present “Software Systems Design Considerations.” BU’s IT Outreach Webinar Series engages its local constituents in a purposeful manner about the trending topics in the IT field. Webinars are approximately 30 minutes in length. There is no cost to participate, however participants must register. For more information on these webinars or the series, visit BU’s dedicated website page.


  • BIDA, Luzerne County Community College and the other tenants in the Eagles Building, located at 107 South Market St., Berwick, are hosting an open house today, May 22 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the building. There will be information regarding each of the organizations that have their offices in the building, including the dental clinic and VA Services. There will also be light refreshments and tours of the facility as well as the additional spaces that are currently available in the building. Employers, the general public and anyone interested in seeing available office space are welcome to stop by. 


  • The Central Susquehanna Community Foundation will hold its Berwick area luncheon on Friday, May 31, from 12-1:30 p.m. at Rolling Pines Golf Course & Banquet Facility. Twenty years ago, the Foundation made a commitment to invest in programs and projects that improved the greater Berwick area. Each year, this luncheon celebrates the continuation of this mission and recognizes the generous giving of local community members. Featured speakers will include fundholders, grantees, scholarship recipients, and board members who will reflect on the story of the Foundation and its 20-year history. See the invitation for more information, and to reserve your seat at this event, call 570-752-3930 or email by May 24. 


  • The Central Susquehanna Community Foundation is excited to announce the creation of a new donor-advised fund. Established by Denny Peters in memory of his parents, Roy and Iris Peters, and maternal grandparents, Sterling and Jennie Souder, the Souder/Peters Fund will provide grants for charitable purposes in the Columbia County area. 

    L to R: Kara G. Seesholtz, CSCF chief advancement officer; Denny Peters, fundholder; M. Holly Morrison, D.Ed., CSCF president and CEO

    As a way to honor the impact they had on his life, Denny has established a named fund to create a lasting legacy for the Peters and Souders in the community where he was raised. “I hope that the establishment of this fund will give other young people—especially those without positive mentors—an opportunity in life to reach their goals,” said Denny. Contributions can be made to this fund online at (click Donate and search Souder/Peters Fund), or mail to the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation, Attn: Souder/Peters Fund, 725 West Front Street, Berwick, PA 18603.


  • North Shore Railroad recently invested in regional growth with a sponsorship of $3,750 to Focus Central Pennsylvania. Jeb Stotter, NSR president, says Focus is an essential investment. “Our company strives to be civic partners with the communities we serve,” Stotter says, “and Focus Central PA plays an important part role in our communities. The work and commitment of Focus helps bring business and economic development to our region.” 

    Shown Left to Right: Joe Kantz, North Shore; Lauren Bryson, Focus Central PA and Todd Hunter, North Shore

    For the past 35 years, NSHR, a privately owned company, has provided rail freight service to the six short line railroads they operate. These short line properties span across almost 250 miles of track. The company’s mission is to be the most customer focused and safest transportation system possible, provide quality regional rail freight service to customers in Central Pennsylvania, conduct our business with the highest degree of integrity and professionalism, and be responsible civic partners with the communities we serve. Focus Central Pennsylvania is part of a committed team in the region that is driving economic development for communities in Centre, Columbia, Montour, Northumberland, Union, Snyder, and
    Mifflin communities.

Marr Development Breaks Ground on New Townhome Development Outside Berwick

(L-R): Fred Gaffney, president, Columbia Montour Chamber; Holly Morrison, CEO, Central Susquehanna Community Foundation and Chamber board member; Troy Prutzman, supervisor, Briar Creek Township; Susan McGarry, ArchCentral Architects, Inc.; Dave Kovach, Columbia County Commissioner; Nancy Marr, president, Marr Development; Dan Good, vice president, Marr Development; Josh Hoagland, Crossroads Group; Elaine Woodland, president, First Keystone Community Bank and Chamber board member

Officials from Marr Development, the Chamber, local elected officials and others involved with the project gathered on Tuesday, May 21 for a ceremonial groundbreaking for Marr Development’s new luxury townhome development at the corner of Martzville and Kachinka Hollow Rds. in Briar Creek Township.

This project will feature 14 units that can be built with customized layouts and finishes. Standard features will include either 3 or 4 bedroom options, 2.5 or 3.5 bathrooms, and 1 or 2 garage models. The building project is being financed by First Keystone Community Bank, with ArchCentral Architects serving as the architect and designer.

More information about this project is available on this flyer. For additional information about the project, contact Marr Development at 570-416-0570.

PA Chamber Responds to Wolf “Restore PA” Push

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

Last week Gov. Tom Wolf held a press event in support of “Restore PA,” an initiative that would float a $4.5 billion bond to spend a few billion dollars on local projects now and be paid back over decades through higher energy taxes.  In response, PA Chamber President Gene Barr issued the following statement:

“While the PA Chamber agrees infrastructure development should be a priority, punitive energy taxes are not the best means to achieve this goal.  One of Pennsylvania’s greatest advantages is our affordable and accessible energy supply.  We are at risk of losing this competitive edge if state elected officials continue to call for higher energy taxes as a way to spend more government money. 

 “It’s important to note, despite tax proponents claims, the industry already pays state taxes.  In addition to paying one of the highest corporate tax rates in the country, the industry also pays the impact fee – which is unique to Pennsylvania.  Since it was enacted, the impact fee has generated nearly $1.7 billion, which has gone to every county across the state and has helped to fund critical local projects.

 “The administration has repeatedly touted the projects in the ‘Restore PA’ initiative as necessary for the public good.  As such, it shouldn’t fall on the back of one industry to pay for them.  We encourage policymakers to pursue pro-growth economic policies that will leverage our assets into greater opportunities for all Pennsylvanians. The Forge the Future economic analysis estimates this could mean more than 100,000 new jobs and billions in new state tax revenue as our energy and manufacturing sectors grow.”

Berwick Improvement Projects Discussed

Rick Vilello, DCED Deputy Secretary of Community Affairs & Development (left), recently toured downtown Berwick with local officials including Damien Scoblink, Borough Manager, and Paul Macknosky, DCED Northeast Regional Director.

A number of projects to enhance the downtown area of Berwick were discussed during a recent walking tour with state and local officials. Rick Vilello, Deputy Secretary of Community Affairs & Development with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), reviewed efforts to remove blighted properties and bring new development and investment to the community. Representatives of Berwick Borough, Columbia County, SEDA-COG, and the Berwick: The Next Step steering committee, including the Chamber, participated.

The Borough has been proactive in demolishing a number of blighted properties using available funds. Community Strategies Group, which received the Chamber’s Community Progress Award this year, has constructed new housing in formerly blighted properties in the Borough’s West End. The organization is also exploring other development, including commercial and recreational projects, in the downtown area.

Vilello and other officials on the tour suggested potential funding sources. The Deputy Secretary is experienced in these areas, having owned Vilello Building Inspections for over 17 years and having served as the Mayor of Lock Haven for 15 years before going to work for DCED in 2015. While the Department may not have the resources to assist with all of the projects discussed, Vilello pledged that agency staff would help to make the right connections in support the efforts to enhance Berwick.

NEPIRC Announces Grants for Regional Manufacturers


Through PA MAKES, an initiative funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission, NEPIRC is offering regional manufacturers grants of up to $10,000 to cover 50% of the costs of process improvement, industry certification, market diversification, advanced manufacturing technology and other growth-focused consulting engagements. Companies within NEPIRC’s 11 counties are encouraged to pursue these easy-to-qualify grants to expand and grow. NEPIRC Business Advisors stand ready to assist manufacturers with fewer than 250 employees in securing these grants.

For additional details, see below or check out NEPIRC’s website, and for more information, contact Eric Joseph Esoda, NEPIRC’s President & CEO, or Dale Parmenteri, NEPIRC’s Vice President of Consulting Operations, or at

The ARC PA MAKES Mini-Grant Program is funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission and features grants available only through local Industrial Resource Centers, including NEPIRC. The PA MAKES Mini-Grant Program is designed to assist manufacturers within regions of Pennsylvania that were once dependent upon the “coal economy” diversify and grow. As such, the mini-grants are intended to support small and medium sized manufacturers in their strategic efforts to increase production capacity, improve efficiencies and increase revenue. Ideally, those efforts will stimulate job creation and drive economic impact.

Funding Availability
Applicants may request a grant up to 50% of the total consultant costs, up to a maximum of $10,000 of grant funds, for eligible projects. This includes projects in Continuous Improvement, Industry Certification, E-Commerce/Security, Strategic Planning and other diversification and growth initiatives. Awards will be made on a first come, first served basis with priority given to first-time applicants. Mini-grant dollars may be used to support direct, project-related consulting costs, contracted services and similar one-time costs related to the implementation of the proposed project.

Program Eligibility
Applicants requesting mini-grant assistance through this program must meet all of the criteria listed below to be eligible for funding consideration:

• Be a privately held small to medium sized manufacturer, with fewer than 250 employees at the facility in which the project will be performed, located within NEPIRC’s 11 counties.
• Have not received a PA MAKES grant in the past.
• Have completed, or be willing to complete, a business assessment by NEPIRC to ensure that the proposed project will have strategic and meaningful impact.
• Provide at least a 50% match to total project cost. That is, applicants must be able to cover the total project costs until grant reimbursement is issued.
• Submit reasonable project paperwork upon request to allow reimbursement (ex: proof of payment to consultant, copy of consultant invoice, etc…).
• The proposed project must be complete by November 30, 2019.
• Participate in post-award survey to collect information on project status, economic impacts, and other information as requested.