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

Thaddeus Stevens Bridge Opens To Traffic

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

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

“I was hoping the bridge would be open,” Robert Haehnle said. “I didn’t think I’d be the first car.”

But Haehnle happened to time it just right. He was the first motorist to cross the new Lititz Pike bridge — officially, the Thaddeus Stevens Bridge — when PennDOT opened it to southbound traffic about noon Wednesday.

Haehnle, a retired civil and environmental engineer who lives with his wife in Brethren Village, said he was on his way to Water Street Mission to have lunch with a man he mentors there.

He goes into Lancaster fairly regularly, so the construction has been a bother, he said. The congestion led to his being hit in a fender-bender about a month and a half ago.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/thaddeus-stevens-bridge-opens-to-traffic/article_44a4ab50-07c4-11e4-8c42-0017a43b2370.html

Festival Prep Kicks Into High Gear

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

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

Setup for large events like the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts and Philipsburg Heritage Days can create nail-biting situations.

Heritage Days Chairman Jim Pollock watched several years ago as a trailer traveled down Front Street facing the wrong direction. No damage was done, but it could have ended in disaster.

“He was a new vendor, and when he first pulled in, he would have been serving toward the sidewalk instead of the street,” Pollock said. “We tried to tell him how to pull out and come back, but he came down wrong and could have taken out several trailers.”

That was a challenge, Pollock said, “so we have to be clear in our direction, especially for new vendors each year when everyone wants to hook up at the same time with over 100 trailers. You have to keep your composure.”

Spooky Nook Sports To Expand With Hotel And Restaurant

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

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

Spooky Nook Sports is adding a hotel and restaurant within its sprawling East Hempfield Township facility.

The 130-room hotel will be independently branded, open to tournament attendees and the public year round.

The 260-seat restaurant will have an American cuisine theme and a family friendly environment.

Read more:  http://lancasteronline.com/business/local_business/spooky-nook-sports-to-expand-with-hotel-and-restaurant/article_a5bb80b8-05e3-11e4-bac4-001a4bcf6878.html

Pontoon Rentals Catching On With Recreational Boaters In Pittsburgh

10462720_10152543533522792_1994000995011631797_nIn a city of stunning views, Jim Malanos might have found the best one yet.

“I go near The Point, drop an anchor, and read a newspaper or a book,” said Malanos, 61, of Brighton Heights. “Sitting there on the water, looking back at the town and the North Shore — it’s beautiful. There’s no traffic, it’s quiet; it’s just very relaxing. Best view in town.”

Malanos is a repeat customer at Boat Pittsburgh LLC, a pontoon rental startup at the James Sharp Landing boat launch in Sharpsburg.

Owner Nicole Moga started the business at the end of May. Though other rentals offer kayaks and canoes, Boat Pittsburgh fills a regional void by offering the larger pontoons, which seat 10.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/6373132-74/boat-pittsburgh-moga#ixzz36Vph7jut
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We Were On Assignment In Pittsburgh Since Last Thursday But We’re Back

 

 

Make Pittsburgh Your 2014 Summer Destination

Make Pittsburgh Your 2014 Summer Destination.  Great promotional video from VisitPittsburgh.

Transportation Plan Calls For $4.7 Billion For Southwestern Pennsylvania

Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro ar...

Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro area in the western part of the of . Red denotes the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area, and yellow denotes the New Castle Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Pittsburgh-New Castle CSA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A draft plan for improvements to the region’s transportation system envisions $4.7 billion in spending in the 10 counties of southwestern Pennsylvania in the next four years, a 52 percent increase from the current four-year plan.

The plan for fiscal years 2015 through 2018 signals a reversal of years of diminished spending on infrastructure and public transit, bolstered by the funding bill that the Legislature and Gov. Tom Corbett enacted last fall. The draft Transportation Improvement Plan was released last week by the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, a regional planning agency.

“From my perspective, we were able to add significant projects that were simply unaffordable in the last TIP update,” said Dan Cessna, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s district executive for Allegheny, Beaver and Lawrence counties.

Among them is a $79 million rehabilitation of the Liberty Bridge in Downtown Pittsburgh, which at present is weight-restricted and rated structurally deficient, meaning its components are deteriorated but not yet unsafe. Numerous smaller bridge and paving projects were added as well, he said.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/frontpage/2014/06/23/Plan-calls-for-boost-for-southwestern-Pa-transportation/stories/201406230085#ixzz35UedvrMx

Riverfest Flows Through The Weekend

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

She ain’t exactly a thrill ride, and she ain’t always pretty.

And in the past she’s been downright mean.

But the Susquehanna River belongs to the region, and plenty of people love her just the same.

Dozens of them kicked off Riverfest 2014 Friday with a kayak trip, paddling several miles from West Pittston to Nesbitt Park in Wilkes-Barre.

Read more:http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1479470/Riverfest-flows-through-the-weekend

Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival Grows Into Separate Weekend

English: The source of the Ohio River at “The ...

English: The source of the Ohio River at “The Point” in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. The Allegheny River (left) and the Monongahela River (right) join to form the Ohio here. The West End Bridge crosses the Ohio in the foreground. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Like a maturing adult, the Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival is moving out on its own.

“At first, there was a natural synergy,” says J. Kevin McMahon of the first three years of the festival, when it was held on a weekend with the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival. “But we found we were competing with ourselves.”

He is the president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, the organization that organizes the jazz festival. He has watched the festival grow during its first three years to the point where he and other planners decided it was time to move it to its own weekend — June 20 to 22.

It has drawn enough people — jazz fans, not simply strays from the arts festival — that it deserves to be on its own, he says. It adds another exciting weekend to the city, he says, and allows employees of the Cultural Trust to concentrate on the jazz festival rather than dividing their efforts.

Read more: http://triblive.com/aande/music/6252901-74/says-festival-locke#ixzz356TYLxQU
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Cross-State Cost On Pennsylvania Turnpike In 2015: $46.05

Pennsylvania Turnpike Ticket from the Warrenda...

Pennsylvania Turnpike Ticket from the Warrendale (30) Toll Stop. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike will increase 5 percent in 2015, effective Jan. 4.

The decision by the Turnpike Commission Tuesday to hike tolls for the seventh year in a row means the cash toll to drive from the Ohio border to the New Jersey border will be $46.05 for passenger cars, up from the current $43.85

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20140618_Cross-state_cost_on_Pa__Turnpike_in_2015___46_05.html#oMutHh3mv0r47KXy.99

SEPTA Regional Rail Strike Begins; Corbett To Seek Federal Help

SEPTA logo with text

SEPTA logo with text (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SEPTA railroad engineers and electrical workers went on strike early Saturday, halting commuter rail service in the Philadelphia region, after last-ditch efforts by federal mediators failed to break an impasse in the long-running labor dispute.

The strike shut down 13 Regional Rail lines that provide 60,000 passengers with 126,000 rides on a typical weekday. That promised to snarl already clogged highways with additional cars and to hamper commuters and their employers throughout the region.

Service on SEPTA’s buses, subways, trolleys and the Norristown High-Speed Line – which carry about 85 percent of SEPTA’s riders – were not affected.

Gov. Corbett was prepared to ask President Obama to quickly appoint a presidential emergency board to mediate the rail labor dispute. Under federal railroad law, the creation of such a board would compel the workers to return to the job for 240 days.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20140614_Last-ditch_talks_pending_as_Regional_Rail_strike_looms.html#v26c8poq4F1xhoJB.99

‘One Of The Most Special Places On Earth’: Raystown Lake Celebrates 40 Years With Weekend Events

English: The dam and spillway at Raystown Lake...

English: The dam and spillway at Raystown Lake on the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, USA. The dam was constructed in 1978 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for flood control and hydroelectric power generation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This weekend, Huntingdon County will celebrate four decades of life on the water as Raystown Lake hits the big four-zero. The Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau has an array of activities and entertainment planned all weekend to celebrate the popular recreation destination. Featuring behind-the-scenes tours of the dam, a Battle of the Bands, various demonstrations, cruises and fireworks, it is all but guaranteed that this will be one birthday bash that will not be soon forgotten.

“June 6 marks the 40th anniversary of the day Vice President Gerald Ford dedicated the dam that forms Raystown Lake in 1974,” said Matt Price, the executive director of the HCVB. “The lake’s history goes back more than 60 years, as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers first proposed constructing a high-level dam in the valley of the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River in the late 1940s.”

The largest lake entirely set within the commonwealth, the sheer size of Raystown is impressive and is more than capable of accommodating everything the HCVB has in store for the weekend.

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PEOPLExpress Coming To Pittsburgh International Airport

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

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

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – PEOPLExpress™, the iconic brand that made air travel affordable and accessible, returns to the skies June 30 with low-fare service from Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport to three cities: Boston, Newark, N.J., and Pittsburgh.

PEOPLExpress today announced its inaugural schedule, which includes four additional destinations: West Palm Beach, Fla. (July 15), Atlanta (Aug. 1), and St. Petersburg, Fla., and New Orleans (Aug. 28).

Vision Airlines d/b/a PEOPLExpress will operate scheduled flights from its base at Newport News with an initial fleet of three 737-400 aircraft, each with 150 seats – 138 with coach seating and 12 Living Large™ seats featuring more personal space for a fee. Both seating options will feature the same level of in-flight service.

Fares start as low as $76 each way.

Read more: https://www.flypex.com/

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Lancaster County Tourism: Report Shows Economic Impact

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

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

The tourism industry contributed $2.5 billion to the Lancaster County economy in 2013, supporting nearly 23,700 jobs here, according to a report released Friday by the Pennsylvania Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Without tourism, and the revenue it generates, Lancaster County residents would have to pay an additional $924 in taxes per household to maintain current levels of government services, the bureau said.

The report, prepared by international firm Tourism Economics, was released Friday (with an accompanying video) at a legislative breakfast the bureau hosted at Eden Resort.

It paints a picture of a vital local industry — and one that depends on a coordinated ongoing marketing effort to thrive.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/business/local_business/lancaster-county-tourism-report-shows-economic-impact/article_add789f0-e80a-11e3-a040-001a4bcf6878.html

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