Prayers For Atlantic City As Closings, Layoffs Loom

English: Atlantic City (NJ) - The boardwalk in...

English: Atlantic City (NJ) – The boardwalk in a rainy day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ATLANTIC CITY – Members of the clergy locked arms as they led a march of about 400 Unite Here Local 54 members in “a prayer vigil for Atlantic City’s service economy” on Wednesday night.

“This is union territory,” the casino workers chanted as they marched along New Jersey Avenue amid car horns honking in support. Many held signs, including Linda Bragg, 56, of Atlantic City, who works at Bally’s. Hers read: “Atlantic City – Broken Promises.”

“We don’t want to be a forgotten town,” she said. “I grew up with all these people. We made millions for the state. It’s really heart-wrenching. A mess.”

The march, on the eve of three planned casino closures, started between the Revel and Showboat casino hotels on the Boardwalk at 6:30 and ended more than an hour later at New Shiloh Baptist Church on Atlantic Avenue. Several pastors and bishops held a prayer service in support of the employees, many of whom are members of their churches.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140821_Prayers_for_Atlantic_City_as_closings__layoffs_loom.html#OST66wvzBszPrqpJ.99

Mon Valley Transit Merger Decision Might Come Next Month

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Washington County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Washington County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The future of transit services in the Mon Valley and throughout Washington County likely will be decided in the next month.

The Middle Monongahela Transit Authority provides services for 21 Valley municipalities. It has been studying a possible merger with Washington County Transportation – also known as Washington County Rides – and the City of Washington Transit Authority.

The MMVTA board will discuss a possible merger in a closed-door meeting this week.

By the end of September, each transit agency is expected to vote on consolidation. The MMVTA board could vote either at its Aug. 28 or Sept. 25 public meetings.

Read more: http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yourmonvalley/yourmonvalleymore/6623980-74/transit-board-valley#ixzz3AlflikFi
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New Route 345 Bridges Open In Birdsboro

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BIRDSBORO, PA — Two new bridges carrying Route 345 over the Schuylkill River and the Norfolk Southern railroad are now open to traffic.

According to a press release from Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s District 5, traffic was directed over the two new bridges for the first time on Thursday. There is no weight restriction on the new bridges, which daily carry 6,189 vehicles, PennDOT said.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140815/new-route-345-bridges-open-in-birdsboro

Pottstown’s North Hanover Street Opens To Traffic

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN, PA – After four months of detours, North Hanover Street is open to traffic.

Workers removed barricades, and the road was opened Friday afternoon after the completion of a complicated sewer project.

Public Works Director Doug Yerger said the project, which was supposed to be completed in late June, went over-budget and beyond its schedule because of weather and “unforeseen conditions” underground.

Specifically, the project replaced a sewer main which had to be buried beneath an underground stream which runs beneath that section of Hanover Street between Jefferson Avenue and Fourth Street.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140811/pottstowns-north-hanover-street-opens-to-traffic

Website Ranks Centre Area Transportation Authority 8th In Nation For Per Capita Usage

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

— Steven Maria caught a few rays of Wednesday afternoon sunshine while waiting for his ride.

Maria, a 19-year-old Penn State student, sat on a bench along Beaver Avenue in front of the Centre Area Transportation Authority office — the nerve center for one of the nation’s busiest transit systems.

“I use the bus all the time to get home,” he said.

He’s one of the thousands of riders each day who prove that just because State College is a small town, it doesn’t mean it can’t hold its own with a major metropolis.

(Updated) Potential Pottstown Airport Operator Works From Limerick

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN, PA — Two proposals for becoming the next fixed base operator of the Pottstown Municipal Airport came in last week and borough council will likely approve the one from the company that already operates out of a nearby airport in Limerick.

Both Fare Share Ltd. of Limerick and Weston Inc. of Barto submitted proposals to succeed TNT Air Inc. as the Pottstown airport’s operator, council learned Wednesday at its committee-of-the-whole meeting.

Fare Share, which runs a pilot school and a charter company at Heritage Field in Limerick, received the borough staff’s recommendation to take over duties at the Pottstown Municipal Airport.

“They put together a pretty strong proposal,” Assistant Borough Manager Erica Weekley told council. “We ranked them first.”

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140806/limerick-airport-operator-likely-to-add-duties-at-pottstown-municipal

National BMX Race Coming To Pottstown This Weekend

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN, PA — This will be a town of national champions this weekend.

That’s because the BMX Quaker State Nationals are coming to Pottstown’s Trilogy Park.

Winning the bid to host the race is no easy task, and although its not Pottstown’s first time, its never a sure thing.

“We were competing with about 400 other tracks to get the race, and we have to put out a proposal, which the Valley Forge Convention and visitors Bureau puts together for us,” said Cathy Knapper, president of the Trilogy Park organization, which is located in Memorial Park.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140804/national-bmx-race-coming-to-pottstown-this-weekend

Schuylkill River Trail Extensions Will Connect Pottstown, Phoenixville

POTTSTOWN — It’s a simple truth, one that Kurt Zwikl repeats often: the longer a trail, the more people it attracts.

So perhaps that’s why as executive director of the Schuylkill River Heritage Association, he is so excited about the nearly $10 million of work being planned for his trail along the Schuylkill River.

Listed among hundreds of projects approved for funding in Pennsylvania and New Jersey by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, two relatively little items in Chester County are big news in terms of the Schuylkill River Trail.

Though small, they form crucial connections between two completed portions of the trail — from Mont Clare to Phoenixville and from Parker Ford to Pottstown.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140801/schuylkill-river-trail-extensions-will-connect-pottstown-phoenixville

I-495 Southbound Reopens In Delaware

Weeks ahead of schedule, Delaware officials Thursday afternoon reopened the southbound lanes of the I-495 bridge that spans the Christina River in Wilmington.

The bridge’s concrete piers had started to lean sideways after a construction company stored 50,000 tons of dirt at its feet, compressing the soft, underlying soil.

Contractors have been working night and day to fix the problem since early June, first removing the dirt, then drilling 150-foot shafts to accommodate new underground concrete supports, and finally erecting steel towers so the bridge could be jacked back into a level position.

The northbound lanes are expected to reopen within two to four weeks after additional repairs are made, said Geoff Sundstrom, a spokesman for the Delaware Department of Transportation.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20140801_I-495_southbound_reopens_in_Delaware_.html#RVyzrRJA6kuxf6r3.99

Montgomery County Commissioners Happy With Progress Of Norristown’s Lafayette Street Extension

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NORRISTOWN, PA — The Montgomery County commissioners took a tour Thursday to see the progress of what county officials are calling “the largest local infrastructure project in Pennsylvania” and found they were pleased with it.

Leading the tour was Leo Bagely, a transportation planner at the Montgomery County Planning Commission, who has helped to oversee the first phase of the construction project.

“We’ve been at this for a long time,” said Bagely. “What this is going to look like, with the landscaping we’re doing, is we’re going to change the look of how people come out of Norristown.”

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20140731/montgomery-county-commissioners-happy-with-progress-of-norristowns-lafayette-street-extension

Armand Hammer Boulevard Bridge Over Route 422 Opens, More Work Coming

Location of Lower Pottsgrove Township in Montg...

Location of Lower Pottsgrove Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

LOWER POTTSGROVE TOWNSHIP, PA— Long-suffering Route 422 drivers may take heart in knowing that one phase of the work at the Armand Hammer Boulevard interchange is completed with the opening today of the bridge over Route 422, providing improved access into the former Firestone complex.

But more work is on the way, including the closure of the on-ramps and off-ramps on the eastbound portion of the highway.

As anyone who drives the highway regularly knows, for the past 16 months, PennDOT contractors have been working to replace the Route 422 bridge over the Schuylkill River between Lower Pottsgrove and North Coventry.

At the same time, they have been working on reconfiguring the Route 422 interchange with Armand Hammer Boulevard, located on the east side of the bridge replacement project.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140731/armand-hammer-blvd-bridge-over-rt-422-opens-more-work-coming

$500M In Transportation Projects Listed In Montgomery, Chester Counties

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Plans to spend more than $500 million in the next 10 years on transportation projects in the Chester and Montgomery county areas around Pottstown will move forward thanks to the approval of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.

The planning agency for the nine-county region around Philadelphia announced Thursday that it has added an additional $10.5 billion worth of work to its list of projects through 2040 as the result of the passage of last year’s transportation bill.

Locally, the list of projects includes the replacement of the Keim Street Bridge, major repairs and bridge replacements on Route 422 from Royersford to the Berks County line, as well as connections on the Schuylkill River Trail between Pottstown and Parker Ford.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140729/500m-in-transportation-projects-listed-in-montgomery-chester-counties

New Solar-Powered Car-Charging Stations Unveiled In Robinson

The Mall at Robinson

The Mall at Robinson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  When we were on assignment in Pittsburgh a few weeks ago, we stayed across the street from the Mall at Robinson and walked right by these very charging stations.  Should have taken a picture….drat!  Oh well, hindsight is 20/20 but if you read the whole article the Post Gazette took a nice picture for your viewing pleasure.

In the parking lot outside the food court at the Mall at Robinson, a silver Chevy Volt sat in a space painted with a green and white electric vehicle decal, waiting for a jolt. Inside, representatives from Eaton and Wesco gathered by a gray kiosk that monitors the amount of energy being generated by the new 8 kilowatt solar panels on top of the mall.

By 11 a.m. the panels had generated 4.11 kw of energy, enough to power 46 laptops. They also generated enough power to give an electric car a full charge in two hours. That’s a perk for hybrid drivers because the mall’s newest car charging stations are connected to the panels.

The charging stations were officially unveiled at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday, but they have been operational since June. Beth Edwards, the mall’s general manager, said she has been surprised by the response.

“I’ve seen several cars using it. We actually had a mall walker who went out and bought an electric car so they could charge it when they’re walking in the mall,” she said.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/07/25/Mall-at-Robinson-unveils-new-solar-powered-car-charging-stations/stories/201407250036#ixzz38VRlqzoC

Speed Limit To Rise To 70 Mph On Stretch Of I-380

English: Interstate 380 northbound at the Inte...

English: Interstate 380 northbound at the Interstate 84 split south of Scranton. Picture taken by Chris Wilson on February 18th, 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG — A stretch of Interstate 380 becomes an experiment next month when state transportation officials boost the maximum speed limit to 70 mph.

Another pilot will raise the speed limit to 70 mph on a 100-mile stretch of the Pennsylvania Turnpike in southcentral Pennsylvania. If all goes well, the rest of the 550-mile toll road system, including the Northeast Extension, could follow suit next spring, said Turnpike Commission CEO Mark Compton at a press conference on Wednesday.

On I-380, a 21-mile section selected for the pilot program will extend from the Interstate 84 junction in Lackawanna County to Exit 3 (Pocono Pines/Mount Pocono) in Monroe County.

“It’s about time,” said Elwood “Butch” Perry, a 60-year-old independent trucker who lives in Dupont. “They built the interstate system so you can run, not so you can crawl. … We live in a fast-paced society now. Everything has to be there yesterday.”

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/speed-limit-to-rise-to-70-mph-on-stretch-of-i-380-1.1723951

All Aboard! $200K Grant Bolsters Plan For Boyertown-To-Pottstown Rail Service

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BOYERTOWN, PA — Progress on the revitalization of the Colebrookdale Railroad these days means more than pulling refurbished passenger cars along the picturesque 9-mile track on the shores of Manatawny Creek.

These days progress is being measured in cars and engines acquired, being fixed up and put into service.

And Wednesday marked another milestone on the railroad’s journey to full service when Executive Director Nathaniel Guest announced last week’s awarding of a $200,000 grant to begin construction of “railroad station infrastructure right here in Boyertown.”

The announcement came after the train — pulling cars packed with more than 70 federal and state legislators, county commissioners and municipal officials of all stripes — arrived at the downtown yard to the applause of a crowd that had gathered to welcome it.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140723/all-aboard-200k-grant-bolsters-plan-for-boyertown-to-pottstown-rail-service

If 4 Atlantic City Casinos Close In September, Then What?

English: Atlantic City (NJ) - The boardwalk in...

English: Atlantic City (NJ) – The boardwalk in a rainy day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – This resort faces the prospect of having four major vacancies on its famed Boardwalk come mid-September.

The grim reality sank in July 14 when Trump Plaza issued layoff notices and targeted Sept. 16 as the date to cease operating as a casino.

Perception is reality in tourism, experts say, and the Boardwalk is synonymous with Atlantic City. How will four hulking, empty buildings sit with visitors – especially at night – and will they impede tourism when Atlantic City needs it the most?

“When an area goes dark, and there are increased vacancies, it generally sends out more than a subtle message that things are not promising on the horizon,” said Don Moliver, dean of the Leon Hess Business School at Monmouth University.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140722_Atlantic_City_lights_dimmer_in_September.html#LRbj1JvhlyPXrwkJ.99

ArtsQuest Announces Next President & CEO‏

Kassie-HilgertOver the past 30 years, ArtsQuest has been honored to share some huge news with the community, most recently through the development of the SteelStacks arts and cultural campus. Today, we’re excited to share one of the biggest announcements in our history.

This afternoon, we announced that ArtsQuest Senior Vice President of Marketing and Advancement Kassie Hilgert will be named the next President & CEO of ArtsQuest.

Since joining ArtsQuest in 2008, Kassie has demonstrated amazing leadership abilities, an incredible passion for our arts and cultural mission and a thorough understanding of the Lehigh Valley and the many elements that make it so special. Kassie has developed numerous partnerships with local, regional and national corporate partners, community organizations and foundations, helping ArtsQuest greatly expand its arts and cultural programming in recent years. As Senior Vice President of Marketing and Advancement, she is responsible for overseeing the sponsorship, marketing, development, ticketing, public relations and volunteer departments, which include 27 full- and part-time employees dedicated to supporting our mission.

Over the next several months, Kassie will work closely with ArtsQuest Founder and current President Jeff Parks while meeting with ArtsQuest staff, board members, volunteers, sponsors, partners and members of our community. She will officially assume the President & CEO’s responsibilities when Jeff retires in January 2015.

As for Jeff, while he may be retiring after three decades dedicated to arts, culture and our community, he won’t be riding off into the sunset just yet. Starting in May 2015, Jeff will assume the part-time role as the new Executive Director of the ArtsQuest Foundation, the nonprofit foundation established to help ensure the long-term sustainability of our organization as we continue to grow and expand our programming for the region.

I invite you to congratulate Kassie on this great accomplishment when you see her. Under her leadership, along with the support of our dedicated and creative staff, board and volunteers, ArtsQuest will continue be a national leader in providing access to exceptional arts and cultural programs and events.

Joe Pietrantonio
President, ArtsQuest Board of Trustees

Testimony: Luzerne County Transit Authority Employees Worked In Fear

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ROYALTON, PA — Employees at the Luzerne County Transportation Authority worked in constant fear of losing their jobs unless they fraudulently inflated ridership numbers, and the former chairman of the board knew about it years ago, according to testimony heard Monday.

Prosecutors began laying out their case against Executive Director Stanley J. Strelish, 60, and Operations Manager Robb Alan Henderson, 58, who were charged last month with conspiring to inflate senior citizen ridership numbers in the “ghost rider” scandal.

Both men, who are free on unsecured bond and remain suspended without pay, declined to comment following an all-day preliminary hearing held Monday before Magisterial District Judge David Judy. The hearing, which continues today, represents the first public testimony in the case.

Robert Turinski, former LCTA board chairman, testified that he suspected Strelish was inflating senior ridership numbers as far back as 2007.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/testimony-lcta-employees-worked-in-fear-1.1719124