At Sheetz, Gas Is Secondary To Food Sales

Sheetz located in Frostburg, Maryland

Sheetz located in Frostburg, Maryland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gasoline may bring them in the door, but everything about a Sheetz store is geared toward filling customers’ bellies after they top off their tanks.

“We look at ourselves as primarily a purveyor of food,” Stan Sheetz, chairman of Altoona-based gas-and-convenience store chain Sheetz Inc., said this month during a tour of one of his company’s stores in Blairsville.

Sheetz, who was CEO from 1995 until October and oversaw growth from 195 stores when he took the helm to more than 460 today, waved a hand across the expanse of the store, pointing to shelves stocked with snacks, coolers full of drinks, and the kitchen where workers prepare made-to-order sandwiches, coffee drinks and other food.

Nearly everything sold inside a Sheetz store can be consumed within minutes of walking out the door.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/5270418-74/sheetz-stores-convenience#ixzz2oPartSJi
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Historic Rail Car Coming Home To Pennsylvania

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

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

BOYERTOWN, PA — A relic from the golden age of Pennsylvania’s railroading past is coming home.

Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) cabin car (known as a “caboose” on other railroads) #477768 was built in Altoona in 1941.

For the last six years, members of the Rivanna Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society (NRHS) have been restoring it at a location in Virginia, far from the car’s home.

Now it is being donated to the non-profit Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust in Boyertown. There it will be maintained and kept in operation on The Secret Valley Line tourist trains that will begin running on the eight mile track between Boyertown and Pottstown in the fall of 2014.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20131224/historic-rail-car-coming-home-to-pennsylvania

Act 47 Cities Elect New Mayors Amid Changes

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and ...

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and roads (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG – New mayors have been elected in four large cities under Act 47 status just as lawmakers are giving greater attention to urban fiscal issues.

Election Day brought victories to Democrat Bill Courtright in Scranton, Democrat Bill Peduto in Pittsburgh, Democrat Eric Papenfuse in Harrisburg and Republican Matt Pacifico in Altoona.

The mayors-elect came to office by various routes and campaigned on issues specific to their cities, but once in office they will face common problems with a shrinking tax base, greater demand for municipal services and the skyrocketing cost of unfunded pension obligations for municipal employees.

It could help matters that new elected spokesmen for cities will be on the scene while state lawmakers consider a wave of legislation to help municipalities address financial problems.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/act-47-cities-elect-new-mayors-amid-changes-1.1582982

Some At Altoona Regional Health System Urging Caution In UPMC’s Acquisition

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Blair County

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

UPMC‘s months-in-the-making acquisition of the Altoona Regional Health System may soon be finalized, but the deal is not sitting well with some employees and community residents.

Last week, a petition with some 2,000 signatures was delivered to Altoona Health officials, urging them “to slow down and stop exclusive talks with UPMC in order to re-examine the best future course for our hospital.”

The next day, Altoona president and CEO Jerry Murray sent a letter to the health system’s 6,000 employees that said the UPMC affiliation was on track for a July 1 completion announcement, pending final approval from the board and the state attorney general’s office.

“There are some very well-meaning people in the community who have concerns, and we appreciate the concerns that they have.  Unfortunately, there are also some with self-serving motives,” said Dave Cuzzolina, Altoona Health’s director of marketing and communications.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/some-at-altoona-regional-health-system-urging-caution-in-upmcs-acquisition-692480/#ixzz2WrrppOnu

Nonprofit Group Forming To Reduce Crime In Reading Area

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

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

Editor’s note:  Two Roy’s Rants thumbs up to Berks County and the City of Reading for tackling crime head on!

A Reading law firm has begun paperwork to form a new nonprofit group to focus on crime initiatives in much the same way that a private group did in the Altoona area.

The move comes after a January crime summit in which Gov. Tom Corbett urged local leaders to study a Blair County program called Operation Our Town, which was started by business leaders to help fund law enforcement and community efforts to stop young people from becoming criminals.

Daniel B. Huyett, a partner in the Reading law firm Stevens & Lee, said Wednesday that the group will be incorporated as an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

That decision was made at a meeting this week among Berks County business leaders with Michael A. Fiore, owner of an Altoona construction company who started Operation Our Town in Blair County after a series of shootings there.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=465771

Wawa vs. Sheetz: Fast-Food Chains Mark Their Own Territories

English: Interior of a Super Sheetz in Altoona...

English: Interior of a Super Sheetz in Altoona, PA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pennsylvania divides a few ways: Phillies vs. Pirates. Democratic ex-factory towns vs. Republican ex-farming townships. Nittany Lions fans vs. everyone else.

And Wawa vs. Sheetz – though that might be the least bitter rivalry:  The state’s two big gas-and-milk, Cokes-and-smokes, Tastykakes-and-store-built sandwich chains try not to fight.  They’re not like Ford vs. GM. Instead, they have mostly drawn lines and split the land between them.  Like Comcast and TimeWarner Cable.

Which you prefer depends on where you were raised:

Wawa is Philly and the Shore from Jersey to Virginia Beach.  Also Florida, since last year.

Sheetz is Pittsburgh and the valley highways below the green ridges, all the way to Greensboro, N.C.

English: Wawa gas station located along Pennsy...

English: Wawa gas station located along Pennsylvania Route 611 (Easton Road) in Horsham, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Read more:  http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20130331_Wawa_vs__Sheetz__Fast-food_chains_mark_their_own_territories.html

Blair County Representatives Visit Reading

If law enforcement leaders can lay out a clear-cut strategy to reduce drug and gang activity in Reading and Berks County, there is a good chance businesses will be willing to pay for some of it.

That was the feeling of Ellen T. Horan, president and CEO of the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce & Industry, on Thursday after she and other area leaders got a rundown of how a business-fueled crime-fighting program has succeeded in Blair County.

“In our community, it would be helpful to have the business community step up, if we developed some strategies and expected outcomes,” Horan said.

The nonprofit program, Operation Our Town, was started by business leaders in Blair County to help fund law enforcement and community efforts to stop young people from becoming criminals.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=454375

Amtrak’s Regulars Treasure The Pennsylvanian

English: An locomotive arriving at the Johnsto...

English: An locomotive arriving at the Johnstown train station in Johnstown, . The train is Amtrak’s #42 Pennsylvanian. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ABOARD THE AMTRAK PENNSYLVANIAN — The steady rumble of steel wheels on tracks is punctuated by the wail of a locomotive horn and then, oddly, by the pop of a champagne cork.

It’s 8:30 a.m., and Amanda McCoy and Kim Christen are living it up in the cafe car. On the table are boxes of a Polish pastry called paczki, orange juice and a bottle of Barefoot Bubbly.

It’s mimosa time.

Ms. McCoy, of Indiana Township, and Ms. Christen, of West View, also have bread, garlic bologna, lettuce, tomato and a travel Scrabble set for the long ride. “We’re veterans,” Ms. McCoy says. “We know how to do it.”

Like many others aboard the train, they swear by it, and recoil at the possibility that the one daily Amtrak train serving Pittsburgh and Harrisburg will be eliminated in October.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/state/amtraks-regulars-treasure-the-pennsylvanian-675749/#ixzz2LDMwXNd9

Business Reaction Mixed To Reading Crime Plan

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Blair County

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

As Berks County political and law enforcement leaders attempt to reshape the future of crime fighting in the county, a third group of people – business leaders – have been pulled into the discussion.

One goal set at the Jan. 18 crime summit called for scrutiny of a Blair County program advocated by Gov. Tom Corbett.

The financial heart of the program is businesses donating money for police initiatives.

No such arrangement exists in Berks. Reactions of business leaders here have ranged from strong skepticism to strong interest.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=453351

Altoona-Area Leaders To Visit Berks County, Talk Crime, Revitalization

A contingent of Altoona-area leaders plans to visit Berks County to elaborate on a privately led revitalization and law enforcement effort in Blair County that has won praise from Gov. Tom Corbett.

A visit in the opposite direction – Berks officials going to Blair – was one of five strategy points that emerged from last month’s crime summit.

Officials in both areas said that visit was still likely to happen.  But Randy Feathers, named by Corbett’s office as a facilitator in getting the two communities together, said the Blair-to-Berks visit would happen first.  It is scheduled for Feb. 21.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=448703

Altoona Area School District Finalizes Bonds

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

Map of Blair County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Altoona Area School District recently refinanced a bond series of $46 million for a net interest savings of more than $2 million.

The district’s favorable A-plus credit rating achieved by years of good financial management, a Standard and Poor’s rating services report stated, is one reason the district was able to reduce the original 4.36 percent interest rate and obtain the savings.

Market conditions providing 40-year low bond interest rates were another reason.

“The savings are higher than the estimate we had in September,” Business Manager Michelle Krebs said.

Read more:  http://www.altoonamirror.com/page/content.detail/id/566933/Altoona-finalizes-bonds.html?nav=742

Thousands Still Without Power In Altoona And Surrounding Area

English: Undetailed map of Altoona, Pennsylvan...

English: Undetailed map of Altoona, Pennsylvania and some surrounding areas From my talk page: :I drew the map of Altoona in xpaint from a map on the Internet and a Rand-McNally atlas. It’s in the public domain. — Djinn112 04:40, 28 Sep 2004 (UTC) –$ 02:38, 2 Oct 2004 (UTC) Category:Altoona (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Four buildings partially collapsed Monday night in Altoona, according to city police.

Emergency crews kept busy tonight with flooded basements, damaged structures and downed trees and power lines as now-post-tropical Sandy continues its march into the mid-Atlantic states.

The humongous storm also brought a wintry mix as far north as Johnstown.

Around 9:45 p.m. Monday, police said they would likely close Fifth and Sixth avenues near Union Avenue in Altoona for the entire night after winds blew a huge chunk of a brick building onto the roadway.

High winds whipped against nearby pedestrians as emergency vehicles blocked the roads.

Read more: http://www.altoonamirror.com/page/content.detail/id/565627/-Updated-11-45-p-m—Thousands-still-without-power.html?nav=742

Bedford, Blair, Center And Huntington Counties Brace For Hurricane Sandy

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Blair County

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

As Hurricane Sandy continued to batter the East Coast and mid-Atlantic states, county officials in central Pennsylvania moved Monday to enact emergency disaster declarations ahead of the storm’s expected turn toward the area.

Bedford, Blair, Centre and Huntingdon counties issued emergency disaster declarations, and other Pennsylvania counties are expected to follow suit.

The declarations mean emergency management officials and first responders have greater access to resources necessary for relief efforts without the “red tape” of soliciting bids or other typical government procedures, Bedford County Director of Emergency Services Dave Cubbison said.

“We’re definitely going to have water,” Cubbison said.

Read more: http://www.altoonamirror.com/page/content.detail/id/565622/Counties-brace-for-Hurricane-Sandy.html?nav=742

City Of Altoona Accepted Into Act 47 Distressed Municipalities Program

Undetailed map of Altoona, Pennsylvania and so...

Undetailed map of Altoona, Pennsylvania and some surrounding areas From my talk page: :I drew the map of Altoona in xpaint from a map on the Internet and a Rand-McNally atlas. It’s in the public domain. — Djinn112 04:40, 28 Sep 2004 (UTC) –$ 02:38, 2 Oct 2004 (UTC) Category:Altoona (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  More bad economic news! Altoona joins Reading and Harrisburg as the latest Pennsylvania city to have major financial problems!

The state on Thursday accepted Altoona into its Distressed Municipalities Program.

City officials hope “going distressed” will help avoid insolvency by relaxing restrictions on property and income taxes and by helping adjust operations in a framework that has virtually strangled all third-class cities in Pennsylvania.

“Altoona needs more than a short-term or week-by-week fix from its creditors and obligations,” stated Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary C. Alan Walker in a news release. “It needs a comprehensive recovery plan that will lay the groundwork for long-term financial solvency.”

Walker will have 30 days to appoint an Act 47 coordinator for Altoona, and the coordinator will then have 90 days to propose a recovery plan.

Read more: http://www.altoonamirror.com/page/content.detail/id/560502/City-receives-entry-into-Act-47-distressed-program.html?nav=742

City of Altoona Sells Naming Rights For Sixty Days

The City of Altoona, located 85 miles east of Pittsburgh in Blair County, is getting a name change for sixty days starting on April 27th.  The city sold the naming rights for $25,000 to benefit the police department.  Altoona’s new very long name is a movie title “Pom Wonderful Presents the Greatest Movie Ever Sold”.  Try and fit that on a municipal marker!

The Morgan Spurlock mockumentary will premier in Altoona on April 27th.  The city will hold a ceremony prior to the screening.  According to IMDb, the movie is a documentary about branding, advertising and product placement that is financed and made possible by brands, advertising and product placement.   The stars of the documentary are Ralph Nader and Morgan Spurlock.  You may remember Morgan Spurlock from Super Size Me.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morgan_Spurlock

Altoona is Pennsylvania’s tenth largest city with a population of 46,320 (2010).