7-1-7 Fest A Showcase For Local Bands

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

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

An avid music junkie in Lancaster would have no problem getting his daily fix of tunes, thanks to the prominent local music scene.

Whether it’s attending a show at one of the many local venues, or learning about the next up-and-coming bands through social media, central Pennsylvania and, more specifically, Lancaster, has grown into a hub for musicians looking to break through to the next level.

This week, promoter Jeremy Weiss and CIRecords will look to showcase some of the most promising young artists at the fourth annual 7-1-7 Fest.

The event, from 3 to 10 p.m. Thursday, will feature 15 area bands on multiple stages at the Lancaster County Convention Center.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/entertainment/fest-a-showcase-for-local-bands/article_f38357f0-0b4a-11e4-aea7-001a4bcf6878.html

‘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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Pending Sales Of ABC 27, CBS 21 Leave Uncertainty For Station Managers

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

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

The managers of ABC 27 and CBS 21 said Tuesday it was too early to tell what changes may be in store for both local television stations now that an agreement is in place that requires both to be sold.

“We don’t know much and it’s to be seen (what will happen),” said Joe Lewin, the general manager of ABC 27.  “We’re going to become part of the largest broadcasting group in the country. That’s what we know. That could be a very good thing.”

Lewin was referring to Sinclair Broadcasting Group, which on Mondayannounced a $985 million deal that includes the acquisition of seven ABC affiliates — including ABC 27 — and a 24-hour cable news network.  Those stations are being sold by Allbritton Communications.

Read more:  http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/07/potential_changes_yet_to_be_se.html#incart_river_default

HACC Placed On Accreditation Warning Status

The accrediting organization overseeing Harrisburg Area Community College has placed the system on warning status.

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education found HACC was lacking in three of its 14 criteria during the five-year periodic review.

But HACC and Middle States officials emphasized the system, which includes a York campus, is not in any immediate danger of losing its accreditation, which allows a college to grant diplomas.

The periodic review, done halfway after HACC was given its 10-year accreditation, helps make sure a college is fulfilling its obligations, said Middle States spokesman Richard Pokrass.

HACC had issues in the areas of Institutional Assessment, which deals with how well a college can monitor and show it’s doing everything it says its doing; Assessment of Student Learning, which deals with a collegetracking classroom learning and having a system to improve instruction; and General Education.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/787730_HACC-placed-on-accreditation-warning-status-.html#ixzz2DjFwCK3s

Farm Aid Sets The Stage In Central Pennsyvlania

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

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

For just over a quarter-century, Farm Aid has used pop music to try to help fix some of the problems in American agriculture: the disappearance of family farms, the corporatization of food, and the widening gap between producers and consumers.

The nonprofit organization will bring its annual fundraising concert to Hersheypark Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 22, to once again share its message in a very public way. Performers will include founders Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Neil Young, as well as Dave Matthews, Animal Liberation Orchestra, Kenny Chesney, Jack Johnson, Pegi Young & the Survivors, and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real.

The show came to Pittsburgh in 2002, and organizers say they are excited to be bringing it back to Pennsylvania.

“We looked at Hershey before,” said Carolyn Mugar, Farm Aid’s executive director. “It’s right in the middle of some the best farm country in the region, and the size is perfect. We’re going to change out all the concessions to be homegrown and regional, and it is really going to feel like the venue is ours that day.”

New Harrisburg Area Record Label Rock Paper Record’s Taking Off

New central Pennsylvania record label Rock Paper Records will host its first label showcase Tuesday night at Ceoltas in Harrisburg. RPR’s first signed band, The Teeth, will perform as well as Kills and Thrills and Dead Lizard.   

Rock Paper Records is owned and run by Jay Tran, Logan Betz and Sean Kunkle, who started the project out of a mutual love of music.
    
“The three of us have always filled our lives with music, whether playing, working or just being a fan of it,” Tran said. “I, along with my partners, believe in taking care of the artist, shaping and teaching them, along with giving back to the place where you conduct your business.

Read more: http://blog.pennlive.com/go/2012/01/record_label_rock_paper_record.html

Pennsylvania Fall Foliage News

Click on the link below if you are looking for information about fall foliage viewing in Central Pennsylvania:

http://www.wgal.com/news/29397588/detail.html

Central PA Flooding Claims Five Lives

Flood waters have claims five lives in the midstate and two people are missing.  Dauphin, York, Lancaster and Lebanon counties all reported deaths related to flooding.

Front Street in Harrisburg has flooded.  The Shipoke section of Harrisburg was evacuated along with the Governor’s Mansion.  Several blocks in Midtown had power shut off to force residents to evacuate.  An 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew has been issued by the mayor’s office.

The Susquehanna River at Harrisburg is predicted to crest at 26.5 feet at around 8 p.m. this evening.

Harrisburg’s 3rd In The Burg And Jazz Festival Tonight!

Recreation of the flag of the city of Harrisbu...

Image via Wikipedia

A great deal of activity is going on in our capital city tonight.  It’s 3rd in the Burg night (Harrisburg’s version of First Friday) and the Central Pennsylvania Friends of Jazz Festival takes place today, Saturday and Sunday, at venues around Harrisburg!

For more information about tonight’ s 3rd in the Burg events:

http://3rdintheburg.com/

For more information about tonight’s Jazz Walk and this weekends 31st Annual Central Pennsylvania Jazz Festival events:

http://www.cpfj.org/festival_2011.html

Get out there and enjoy the arts in PA!

Harrisburg’s Cultural Enrichment Fund (CEF) Exceeds Fundraising Goal

Recreation of the flag of the city of Harrisbu...

Image via Wikipedia

The Cultural Enrichment Fund (CEF) gives money to many worthy Central Pennsylvania arts and cultural groups.  This year the CEF saw an increase in fundraising donations to the tune of $15,000.  The group exceeded its $500,000 goal.  This was the first time in several years that the CEF was able to exceed their fundraising goal.

The top recipients are:

Harrisburg Symphony – $77,008

Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet – $45,903

Whitaker Center- $29,252

Open Stage of Harrisburg- $19,647

Theatre of Harrisburg – $19,609

Susquehanna Art Museum- $18,760

Thirteen groups will receive funding this year.

Lancaster And York: A Tale Of Two Cities

I just read a very interesting article from the York Daily Record comparing York and Lancaster.  I found the article very thought-provoking as a former Lancaster City and suburban Lancaster resident.  I also am somewhat familiar with York.

Of course, I will share my opinion with you since that IS what I do and offer some advice for York in the process.  There is a link at the bottom of this piece where you can read this article for yourself.

I must agree with Sonia Huntzinger, the Director of Downtown Inc. in York.  A comparison is not really fair.  Lancaster and York have some similarities and they are only about 30 miles apart, but that is about where it ends.  There are strategies York can use that Lancaster has already perfected and customize them for York, without reinventing the wheel.   BUT York must also embrace itself and be true to its own history.

The first thing that jumps out at me is that York needs to move on from its past.  Race riots in the late 60’s were 40 years ago and our nation and York have changed since then.  York was not the only city in America to have race riots and bad ones.  Pittsburgh had some humdingers and can anybody remember Watts!?!  But again, that is ancient history and holding on to a negative event from the past is unhealthy!  Let it go!

Secondly, York could be very successful and they are making great strides to that end.  Heritage Tourism in a historic city like York must be fully embraced.  It certainly worked for Lancaster and it will most certainly work for York.  Lancaster has been at this far longer so they are light years ahead of York because of a HUGE head start. 

More than 4 million people visit Lancaster each year as it is one of Pennsylvania’s largest tourist destinations.  York should piggy back on that phenomenon and say to those tourists visiting Lancaster, “Hey! Come on over!  York is only a short car ride away!”  It would enhance the experience for both 18th century cities.  (Lancaster being incorporated in 1742 and York being incorporated in 1787.)  If you take away the Amish factor, there are people who would be interested in touring another “period city” that nearby!

Thirdly, stop looking at each other as “foes” (White Rose vs. Red Rose) and look at each other as business partners.  Frankly, cooperation is a win-win for everybody.  That includes Harrisburg.  These three metropolitan areas are contiguous and should be marketed as a Triad like Winston-Salem, Greensboro & High Point, NC.  Between the Harrisburg, Lancaster and York metropolitan areas (latest population estimates) you have 536,919 HBG + 507,766 LANC + 424,583 YORK = 1,469,268 people!  This is a more accurate picture of what you really have to work with and market to. 

Leveraging all three areas as one tourist destination would totally make sense and everyone would benefit.  Combine resources folks!  Many hands make light work and all that.  From a financial prospective, during a recession, working together makes sense.  Combine budgets, cut costs and everyone benefits.

Fourth, I will disagree with Sonia Huntzinger on this point (no offense, Sonia).  She stated in the article that Central Pennsylvania can not support another arts district like Lancaster’s.  With a draw of 1,429,268 people you certainly can.  Furthermore, Harrisburg is going great guns in Midtown to set up a big arts community there as well (I guess they didn’t get the memo, haha).  Each city should have an individual, size appropriate, arts area.  The “arts” are a huge tool in the redevelopment process.

Fifth – “Eds and Meds” are vital to redevelopment.  I do not care if York Hospital and College are not downtown.  They are large employers and stakeholders whether they like it or not.  As downtown York prospers, so will they.  Scranton and Wilkes-Barre have made their colleges partners in their redevelopment.  A healthy York will help York College attract more students and help the hospital attract more young people as employees.  You want more young people downtown like Lancaster?  You must get the hospital and college onboard.

Sixth – the perceived safety issues in York need to be overcome.  Sorry but there are stabbings/shootings in Lancaster too.  Anybody who says not is delusional.  Lancaster has a lower crime rate than York because redevelopment does that.  In addition, Lancaster has a surveillance camera system in place and a noticeable police presence downtown.  Until York can get those numbers down, they need to beef up police foot patrols in the downtown to make people feel safer.  Those surveillance cameras only cost $9,000 a piece, installed.  They might be something for York to consider going forward.  Saying we have no money is not a solution.  Find money to pay for foot patrols and cameras.  There are grants out there.  You can not afford to not spend money on public safety if you want to be like Lancaster.  You must overcome the crime stigma yesterday!

Lastly, private sector funding is the wave of the future because of budget constraints with our state and federal governments.  There is still money available but finding ways to involve the private sector is becoming increasingly important.  Large employers in York County need to be made to understand the importance of “giving back” and that they will reap benefits by doing so.  Groups like YorIT will also play an increasing role in moving York forward (http://www.yorit.org/).

Here is a link to the article that spurred my post:

http://www.ydr.com/ci_17425140?source=rss_viewed

It is vital that Pennsylvania’s cities be robust and growing.

Business Incubator Hatches At York College

Map of York County, Pennsylvania, United State...

Image via Wikipedia

I am always excited to report on these things! 

The 7,100-square-foot Kings Mill Depot is now open to any for-profit corporations in the start-up phase, small businesses entering a growth phase or existing companies launching new projects.  The best part is that the incubator is for firms dealing with technology, health care, sciences or engineering.  The incubator is all about creating good paying jobs that have a high growth potential.  Lord knows Pennsylvania needs decent paying jobs that will support families!

Applications are being accepted through the J.D. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship at York College.  Faculty, staff and students are available to help with business development! 

Contact Jeff Vermeulen at (717) 815-6639 if your firm would like to take advantage of the awesome opportunity!

Bethlehem also has a very successful job incubator at Lehigh University.  You can also read about that here: http://roysrants.wordpress.com/2010/04/13/bethlehem-job-incubator-recepient-of-6-million-dollar-federal-recovery-act-grant/

York’s Olde Towne East Neighborhood Transformed

Olde Towne East was a down and out neighborhood in York.  Blight, crime, vacant buildings and low property values.  Read this article about how Olde Towne East rose like a phoenix from the ashes and now their neighborhood is a source of pride in York!

http://www.newpa.com/strengthen-your-community/success-stories/million-dollar-makeover/index.aspx

Bad Economy Is Good For Harrisburg Area Community College

Ever since the economy nose-dived in 2008, enrollment at Harrisburg Area Community College has increased dramatically.

In 2008 enrollment at HACC’s 5 campuses was 19,866.  Last year enrollment hit 22,529.  This year enrollment is expected to come in at 25,000 students!

Community college offers students a close to home and much less expensive educational alternative versus going to one of Pennsylvania’s universities and staying in a dormitory or apartment.  The cost per credit hour and the ability to avoid paying for room and board, on top of tuition, is economically achievable for many students.

Montgomery County Community College has also experienced an enrollment boom from the bad economy.  Our own West Campus here in Pottstown continues to exceed enrollment expectations.