$2.5 Million Grant To Aid Granite Building Hotel Project In Downtown Pittsburgh

DSC01828Gov. Tom Corbett delivered a $2.5 million state redevelopment assistance capital grant this morning to jump start Downtown’s latest hotel project — 104 rooms, three bars, and a brasserie-style restaurant at Wood Street and Sixth Avenue.

The $38 million independent boutique hotel will be housed in the Granite Building, a Romanesque-style structure built in 1889 and site of the former German National Bank. A building next door that once housed an Arby’s restaurant also will be part of the development.

The project is being developed by Holly Brubach, a former New York Times style editor who bought the Granite Building in 2006 with the intent of turning it into condominiums.

But that project was done in by the recession, prompting Ms. Brubach to change course.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2014/10/24/2-5M-grant-to-jump-start-Granite-Building-hotel-project-in-downtown-Pittsburgh/stories/201410240194

West Hazleton No Longer In ‘Distressed Municipality’ Status

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WEST HAZLETON — The state has rescinded the borough’s status as a distressed municipality. But while the borough has significantly improved finances since 2003, it’s not out of the woods yet.

State Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary C. Alan Walker determined that West Hazleton’s distressed status would be rescinded after a review of audits and financial data and the record from a public hearing on June 3, Gov. Tom Corbett’s office announced Thursday in a news release.

The hearing officer’s report revealed that in 2013, the borough had a $5,423 budget surplus, that finances were stable, and that the borough has the tools to make the decisions necessary to maintain responsible budgets, meet its obligations to vendors and creditors, and provide essential services to residents.

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Easton Bacon Fest Hopes 30,000 Pounds Of Bacon Lasts Through Two-Day Festival

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

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

The first year Easton hosted Bacon Fest, it sold out of bacon by 11:30 a.m.

The second year, all the bacon was gobbled up by 1 p.m. And that was with a crowd estimated at 17,000 people.

This year, the free festival will mark its third year by covering two days, Nov. 8-9.

And after Fest 300 named Bacon Fest as one of the top 300 festivals in the world in May, organizers are preparing for a crowd of 50,000. At a news conference Wednesday, Easton Farmers’ Market Manager Megan McBride says they expect guests to go through 30,000 pounds of bacon.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/food/index.ssf/2014/10/easton_bacon_fest_hopes_30000.html

Commissioners Award Second Contract In Norristown’s Lafayette Street Project

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

NORRISTOWN, PA – A little more than a year after construction crews broke ground on the first phase of the Lafayette Street extension project, the Montgomery County commissioners awarded a contract for the second phase of the project on Wednesday.

The $12.8 million dollar contract was awarded to J.D. Eckman, Inc. of Atglen, Pa. J.D. Eckman, Inc. is not the same company that worked on the first phase of the project. Construction on the second phase of the multi-million dollar project is slated to begin in the first quarter of 2015.

“It’s very typical for a transportation project of this size to be phased,” commissioners’ vice-Chairwoman Leslie Richards said. “It’s just easier. You don’t want to give the construction management of the entire project to one firm. It’s just kind of checks and balances.”

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20141023/commissioners-award-second-contract-in-norristowns-lafayette-street-project

HOOVER FINANCIAL ADVISORS ADDS TAX SPECIALIST

Malvern, PAJohnFureyHoverAssociates2014-0009-1, recently joined Hoover Financial Advisors as a senior tax advisor. His appointment was announced by Peter K. Hoover, CFP, president and HFA founder. “We are delighted to have someone with such impressive credentials on our team,” says Hoover. “He is an asset for clients, particularly seniors.”

Furey’s primary duties are to help HFA clients with tax planning and preparation. His expertise concerning executive compensation tax implications, stock options and restricted stock, 401(k), pension plans and employee benefits is essential in guiding clients to financial goals and comfortable retirement. In addition, Furey’s knowledge of the intricacies of incentive programs and deferred compensation is beneficial in the tax planning process. He is a volunteer preparer through the AARP tax aide program. “I enjoyed learning how to apply HFA’s state-of-the-art software to my job. I first came here as a seasonal tax preparer and it evolved into an exciting and challenging year ‘round position,” concludes Furey.

Furey was an executive for Campbell Soup Company for more than 25 years. He served as vice president and corporate secretary for 18 years and received Campbell’s prestigious Influence with Honor leadership award. He holds a bachelor’s of science degree in business administration from Villanova University. He earned a doctor of jurisprudence and master of laws in taxation from Villanova, as well. Furey and his wife Jill reside in Villanova.

HFA, which is headquartered on Moores Road in Malvern, was launched in 2005 by Hoover, who has been an independent financial advisor for more than 30 years.  Since its inception, HFA has tripled in size. Employees include client relationship managers, financial planners, insurance and tax specialists, investment analyst and an information services manager. Two years ago, HFA was selected as 2012 Small Business of the Year by Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry. For more information, visit its website at www.petehoover.com or call 610.651.2777. To reach Furey, call the tax department at 610.651.2777 (Ext. 123).

DCED Awards $938,000 For More Northwest Gateway Cleanup

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

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

The state on Tuesday awarded a $938,000 grant for further cleanup of the Northwest Gateway site at the northern edge of Lancaster city.

The Department of Community & Economic Development’s Industrial Sites Reuse Program funds went to EDC Finance Corp.

EDC Finance will put the money toward assessing and remediating about 27 acres, formerly home to the Dillerville Rail Yard.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/business/local_business/dced-awards-for-more-northwest-gateway-cleanup/article_257a742c-5958-11e4-b1df-001a4bcf6878.html

South Bethlehem Historic Board Approves 9-Story Building After Previously Panning It

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

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

After voicing strong opposition last month to a proposed 9-story building on West Fourth Street, the South Bethlehem Historic Conservation District voted 5-2 Monday to support the building’s design.

District board Chairwoman Beth Starbuck said she had been very troubled by the building’s height until she realized Hotel Bethlehem also was nine stories and doesn’t stick out badly on Main Street.

“I’m not happy with the scale of this, either, but I’m less freaked out about it — it just never occurred to me that the Hotel Bethlehem is that tall,” she said.

The board makes recommendations to Bethlehem City Council, and board Historic Officer Christine Ussler said there’s a fear if the board is often overruled by council “this developer and other developers will get the sense we don’t count.”

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2014/10/south_bethlehem_historic_board.html

Report: Bright Millennials Flocking To Center City

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

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

The number of educated millennials living in Center City ballooned 78 percent between 2000 and 2010, according to a report released Monday.

“The Young and Restless and the Nation’s Cities,” published by cityobservatory.org, found that 25 to 34 year olds with at least a bachelor’s degree have been flocking to major metropolitan areas, fueling economic growth and stimulating urban revitalization.

Philadelphia ranked sixth among major cities which have attracted young college graduates to their booming city centers. New York City topped the list followed by San Francisco, Washington D.C., Chicago and Boston.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Report_Number_of_educated_millennials_living_in_Center_City_skyrockets.html#MqLbhuE2OgqeDAdH.99

Shale Oil, Gas Finds Put Mon Valley On Path To Renaissance, Leaders Say

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Washington County

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

Lue Ann Pawlick never envisioned companies connected with oil and gas beating a path to Alta Vista Business Park when it broke ground in tiny Fallowfield, Washington County, in 2001.

Today, three of the five companies in Alta Vista work in the industry. An energy company is set to start construction in the spring, and at least one more is close to signing a deal to locate there.

“We’re trying to keep it a mixed-use business park, but we have to recognize the oil and gas industry is the biggest game in town right now,” said Pawlick, executive director of the Middle Monongahela Industrial Development Association. “They are the ones driving demand.”

Ten years ago, Fort Worth-based Range Resources Corp. drilled the first Marcellus shale well in Washington County. Now the county — which dubs itself “Energy Capital of the East” — is home to about 1,000 wells, the most in Pennsylvania.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/washington/6815491-74/county-mon-valley#ixzz3GhruaosZ
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Large-Scale Batteries Are Integral In Shift To Renewable Energy

At Turkey Hill Dairy in Lancaster County, the secret ingredient in its ice cream is wind.

Along with conventionally derived power used to make its sweet treats, the dairy is the sole customer of a nearby wind farm, built in 2010, that provides 25 percent of its electricity.

“That’s honestly all we need,” said company spokeswoman Andrea Nikolaus.

Relying on wind for bigger operations, or to power the grid, is a different matter. As critics of renewable energy are quick to point out, the wind doesn’t always blow — or it does when customers don’t need it — and the sun doesn’t always shine on solar panels.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/6805730-74/battery-energy-power#ixzz3GhmVa9jx
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Dan DeLuca: Forbes Under 30 Fest A Big Sign Philly Is World-Class Cool

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

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

Way back in the 1990s, I started going to the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas.

Every March, I’d go back to find not only that the festival had gotten bigger and bigger – too big, it became clear this year, when four people were killed by a runaway drunken driver – but also that the city was mushrooming along with it.

In Austin, the livability factor is high – warm temperatures, live music, BBQ – and the stream of transplants so steady it doesn’t take long for new residents to start moaning about how everything was better before people who arrived after them came to town.

Which brings me to the latest indicator that everybody has figured out Philadelphia is a cool place to live. It’s the modeled-after-SXSW Forbes Under 30 Summit, the money magazine’s inaugural gathering of boldface billionaires and tech titans (and upstart entrepreneurs who wish to emulate them) that will take place in its planned-to-be permanent home from today until Wednesday.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/20141019_Dan_DeLuca__Forbes_Under_30_fest_a_big_sign_Philly_is_world-class_cool.html#L2smIJJ3RURuueoT.99

Colebrookdale Railroad Unofficially Opens With First Public Ride

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

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

Boyertown, PA – Stepping through a rock-strewn railyard in Boyertown, families lined up to board the historic train that made its unofficial debut on the Colebrookdale line Saturday.

Beginning with a 10:30 a.m. departure for the first train, hayrides on the “Secret Valley Line” offered by the Colebrookdale Railroad drew in patrons of all kinds.

They were treated to a two-hour ride in a train used in 1869 through a valley of scenic fall foliage and other natural and historic attractions, travelling from Boyertown to Pottstown through Colebrookdale and Douglass (Berks) townships. Throughout the ride, historical narration was provided by train workers to give context to the sights along the way.

The line follows the Ironstone and Manatawny creeks and passes by the village of Pine Forge.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20141018/colebrookdale-railroad-unofficially-opens-with-first-public-ride

EDMC Loses $664M; Executives Receive Six-Figure Bonuses

Education Management Corp. lost $664 million during a difficult year in which the operator of for-profit colleges struggled with declining enrollment and intense regulatory pressure.

Compensation for CEO Edward West and CFO Mick Beekhuizen plummeted, mostly on the lower value of stock options. But two executives hired last year to handle legal and compliance matters, issues that have dogged the company, received six-figure bonuses that were guaranteed by their contracts.

The year was a difficult one for EDMC, marked by ongoing lawsuits over its recruiting practices and pressure from lenders to collect on $1.5 billion in debt. The lawsuits could prompt potentially hefty financial penalties and add to the company’s financial troubles.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/6981929-74/compensation-total-executives#ixzz3GVevqNX1
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Pittsburgh Study Shows City’s Vibrancy Has Returned

DSC01844Editor’s note:  We found this to be true during our visit there this summer. Pittsburgh has drastically changed over the last 10 years and the improvement is palpable.

Pittsburgh has transformed from an economically stagnant, transient city to “somewhere people want to come to and stay for a long time,” according to Doug Heuck, director of Pittsburgh Today.

A new report from the statistics-based project reflects this trend in increased home ownership, showing more residents are making the city their home.

The report shows the Pittsburgh region has the highest percentage of owner-occupied housing compared to 14 other metropolitan areas with comparable size and demographics, according to U.S. Census figures.

Factors like employment opportunities, education and housing have turned the city into “somewhere people want to come to and stay for a long time,” Mr. Heuck said.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2014/10/18/Study-shows-Pittsburgh-s-vibrancy-has-returned/stories/201410180017

22-Year-Old Woman Shot To Death In Susquehanna County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Susquehanna C...

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

After plotting for months, a Susquehanna County man fatally shot his ex-girlfriend outside of her home early Friday and later confessed, police said.

Jonathan Kopacz, 34, 413 Jackson St., Thompson, is facing charges of criminal homicide, terroristic threats and recklessly endangering another person for the shooting death of 22-year-old Kelly Conklin of Susquehanna. He is being held without bail in the Susquehanna County Correctional Facility.William Conklin

The relationship between Mr. Kopacz and Ms. Conklin ended in May, according to police. On Friday, Mr. Kopacz followed Ms. Conklin to a local bar and then back to her home, where he opened fire with two 9-mm handguns as she got out of her car around 1:17 a.m.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/22-year-old-woman-shot-to-death-in-susquehanna-county-1.1772815

Pottsgrove Football Team Volunteer Was 1 Of 2 Shooting Victims

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

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

Washington Township, PA – State police are investigating the deaths of two young men whose bodies were found early Friday in the front seat of a car parked in an isolated wooded area near Barto.

Both appear to have died of gunshot wounds, police said.

One of the men found, Stephen Mixon, 27, of Walnut Ridge in Lower Pottsgrove, was a volunteer coach with the Pottsgrove High School football team and the retail manager of the Schuylkill Valley Sports store in Audubon.

The other man in the car was Joseph McCullough, 20, of Eighth Street in Pottstown.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20141017/pottsgrove-football-team-volunteer-was-1-of-2-shooting-victims

Oyster Festival Brings Food, Music To York Museum

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

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

York may not be known for its oysters, but according to the York County Heritage Trust, it hasn’t always been that way.

“When they were doing the restoration of the Colonial Complex, they found oyster shells in the ground surrounding the buildings,” said Melanie Hady, director of marketing and public relations at the trust.

“There was obviously some trade going on between our area and the Chesapeake Bay area.”

In tribute to that historic link, the trust is celebrating its 40th annual Oyster Festival 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Read more: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/breaking/ci_26746337/oyster-festival-brings-food-music-york-museum

PPG Profit Soars 64 Percent In Third Quarter

DSC01828Acquisitions remain a focus for PPG Industries Inc., which has $3 billion in cash that it can spend to increase performance, CEO Charles E. Bunch said Thursday when the company reported a 64 percent jump in third-quarter profit.

“We have a very active acquisition pipeline,” Bunch said. “Including the pending acquisition of Comex, we will likely spend at or above the top end of our previously announced range of $3 billion to $4 billion of cash in 2014 and 2015 on acquisitions and share repurchases.”

PPG’s latest deal is the purchase of Consorcio Comex S.A. de C.V., a leading paint company in Mexico, for $2.3 billion. The deal announced June 30 is expected to be completed by Dec. 31.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/6972135-74/sales-improved-percent#ixzz3GPZ9k5QG
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Southwestern Energy Snaps Up Assets In Marcellus, Utica From Chesapeake

Chesapeake Energy continued its sell-off of gas drilling operations in the Marcellus and Utica shales Thursday with its biggest withdrawal from Appalachia.

Pennsylvania’s biggest shale gas producer agreed to sell 435 shale wells, 1,100 conventional wells and the rights to drill in more than 400,000 acres to Houston-based Southwestern Energy Co. for $5.375 billion.

“I certainly think this is consistent with what we’ve seen from Chesapeake,” said Scott Hanold, an energy analyst at RBC Capital Markets.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/6974705-74/energy-southwestern-marcellus#ixzz3GPXRKihi
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