Clock Is Ticking On Consolidating 4 Pottstown Fire Companies

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN, PA — For more than three years, borough government has been urging Pottstown’s four independent fire companies to come up with some plan for consolidating.

Earlier this month, the clock started ticking for real when the borough issued a letter to all four companies notifying them that the fire service agreement between them and the borough would be terminated at the end of the year and starting in 2015, the borough will only sign one fire services agreement with a single, consolidated fire company.

Unlike the police department, fire protection in Pottstown is not under the direction of borough government, but instead is provided by four independent volunteer fire companies over which Pottstown Fire Chief Richard Lengel has operational control during a fire.

But in matters of their own affairs, such as finances, the election of officers and the like, the fire companies are independent.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140722/clock-is-ticking-on-consolidating-4-pottstown-fire-companies

Lancaster Mayor: Advantages Of College Use Of Former Armory Site Outweigh Price

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

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

When Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology officials came to City Hall and asked the city to sell them the former National Guard armory site, Mayor Rick Gray’s answer was “no.”

The armory was an unexpected windfall for the city, but the city needed it badly.

The buildings which had been used to service military vehicles would become a new maintenance garage to replace the city’s crumbling facility.

But, eventually, college officials persuaded Gray an expansion of the technical school was in the best interests of the college and the surrounding neighborhood.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/lancaster/news/mayor-advantages-of-college-use-of-former-armory-site-outweigh/article_1b928054-0646-11e4-b8d3-0017a43b2370.html

PhillyDeals: French Building Firm Chooses Malvern For New U.S. HQ

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

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

John Crowe is the top North American executive for Saint-Gobain, the $55 billion- a-year French construction- materials maker that traces its roots to the group that built Versailles for King Louis XIV. Crowe has been looking for a place to build another palace – in Pennsylvania – as Saint-Gobain’s U.S. base and showroom.

To replace the company’s aging U.S. headquarters near Valley Forge, Crowe scouted sites for “an absolutely spectacular building that will incorporate all aspects of what we know as a building-materials company in terms of energy efficiency and a sustainable, open, collaborative workplace,” he tells me. Plus, a research and development center to replace the old labs in Blue Bell.

The search, extended by the recession, took Saint- Gobain six years. The company plans to announce this week that it has picked a potentially spectacular fixer-upper, an $80 million-plus expansion of the once-innovative but now-rusted and vacant complex built in 1969 by the former National Liberty Life Insurance Co. on 65 acres north of Malvern, close to the new State Route 29 ramp from the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140413_PhillyDeals__French_building_firm_chooses_Malvern_for_new_U_S__HQ.html#2pYscMdh5kLGVKze.99

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Southwestern Pennsylvania Transit Merger Report Is Due Out In April

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 private firm hired by PennDOT to study the merging of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s 10 transit systems — which has drawn interest from county leaders across the region — said on Monday it will present its findings in April.

Officials from outside of Alle­gheny County said forming a regional transit system is a good idea but are wary of taking on the costs of the Port Authority of Allegheny County.

“We’ve got to look at it. All of these small transit systems are dying on the vine. There’s no federal and state funding. You want to see if you can consolidate some things, but a lot of details have to be worked out,” said Washington County Commissioner Larry Maggi. “I certainly don’t want to absorb (Port Authority legacy costs) to Washington County taxpayers.”

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/4961575-74/transit-county-authority#ixzz2j8v6KQEL
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PMMC To Consolidate Business Office, Move 30 More Jobs Out Of Pottstown

POTTSTOWN, PA — Pottstown Memorial Medical Center has confirmed that business operations for the hospital and several others owned by Community Health Systems will be consolidated in Easton, moving 30 jobs there.

Hospital spokeswoman Debra Bennis provided the following statement after The Mercury contacted her seeking confirmation of a tip: “Providing patients with quality health care while operating an efficient organization is one of our top priorities.  To keep hospital resources focused on our patients, we are moving our business office functions to a centralized, external office in Easton.  This transition will also enhance operational efficiencies through technological advances for scheduling appointments.  All 30 affected employees are being offered a position with the central business office or another area of our hospital. We value these individuals and appreciate the professionalism they bring to our organization.”

A business office worker who contacted The Mercury, and whose name has been withheld, said the office workers were gathered into a meeting Sept. 11 during which the hospital’s CEO and CFO informed them of the change.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20130919/pmmc-to-consolidate-business-office-move-30-more-jobs-out-of-pottstown

Relocation Of Downtown Reading Post Office A Lengthy Process

USPS service delivery truck in a residential a...

USPS service delivery truck in a residential area of San Francisco, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There seem to be few certainties surrounding the United States Postal Service’s plan to move its downtown Reading office from its landmark home at Fifth and Court streets.

But there’s at least one:  The change isn’t going to happen overnight.

Talking to City Council for the first time about the project Monday, Postal Service real estate specialist Richard Hancock laid out the lengthy process for finding a new home for the office and figuring out what to do with the old one.

“At a lot of these meetings people ask me:  Who’s going to buy the building?  Where’s the new post office going to go?” he said. “I have no idea.  This is just the beginning.”

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=502204

Edgewood ‘Family’ Says Goodbye In Heartfelt Closing Ceremony

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN — The end of 44 years of educational tradition was marked Friday afternoon with closing ceremonies held at Edgewood Elementary School.

Students, teachers, staff, retirees, parents, administrators and school board members all gathered in the building’s steaming all-purpose room to say goodbye to the school they have called home for so many years, and to the people they have called “family” for just as long.

“This is a place that has welcomed every child as family,” Superintendent Jeff Sparagana told the assembly. “This is a school community that greets anyone who walks through the door as their own.”

He praised the work done at the school saying “never let anyone say our staff does not take the work they do seriously. If anyone in this region says the work we do here is not done well, I invite them to come here and visit and see for themselves.”

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130601/NEWS01/130539783/edgewood-family-says-goodbye-in-heartfelt-closing-ceremony#full_story

Wheels In Motion For Revitalization Of Empty Dames Chevrolet Building

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN – An empty High Street building will be returning to life over the summer.

Wheels in Motion Inc., an auto repair/body shop with two Pottstown locations, has announced that it has purchased the site of the former Dames Chevrolet dealership at 525 High St. and will consolidate its business into one location.  The building has been empty since the dealership closed in 2008.

Nick Yannessa, vice president of Wheels in Motion, said combining their services in one location will allow them to better serve the needs of customers.  He expects the new location to be easier for customers to find, and may also result in new customers.

“It’s going to be more convenient for our customers because they’ll be able to get all of their services done in one location – under one roof.  And it is High Street, so maybe people will walk around, or go get some food while they wait for their cars.”

Read more:  http://business-news.thestreet.com/the-mercury/story/wheels-motion-revitalization-empty-dames-chevrolet-building/1

Swoyersville Borough Council Calls For Fire Department Summit

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

Swoyersville Borough Council wants a summit meeting with the fire chiefs of the borough’s three volunteer companies in order to dampen a controversy and move toward a consolidated fire service.

A funds solicitation letter sent by Swoyersville Hose Company No. 1 has become the catalyst for council action on issues that need clarification, borough coordinator Gene Breznay said.  Those issues include the operational status of Hose Company 1, its finances, membership and leadership, fire engine use and insurance coverage.

Breznay is working to set the meeting between borough officials and the fire chiefs of the three volunteer companies. No date has been set.

Swoyersville’s volunteer companies date back to the beginning of the 20th Century.  Swoyersville Hose Company No. 2 started in 1912 as the Broderick’s Company named after the Broderick family.  Maltby Fire Company, dating back to 1915, was named after the Maltby section of the borough and the Maltby Colliery.  A recent fundraising letter sent out by Swoyersville Hose Company No. 1 boasts of 99 years of service, meaning a startup date in 1914.

Read more:  http://citizensvoice.com/news/swoyersville-council-calls-for-summit-1.1488144

West Reading Fires Police Chief, 2 Others

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

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

Editor’s note:  At least there are places in the universe where poor performance and bad behavior aren’t rewarded or tolerated!

After months of turmoil in its troubled police department, West Reading Borough Council voted Wednesday night to fire Police Chief Edward C. Fabriziani, Sgt. Richard Vetter and Officer Ronald E. Ladd.

“We had a rough night, as you can imagine,” Councilman James J. Gallen Jr. said after the vote, which was preceded by a 2½-hour executive session that left some council members teary-eyed.

Fabriziani and Council President Kevin M. Conrad declined to comment on the action, and Ladd and Vetter were not present.

Reached at home following the meeting, Ladd’s wife said that the couple needed a couple of days to deal with things before they would comment.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=428065

West Reading Committee Weighs Police Options

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

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

A committee formed by West Reading officials last month is looking into the possibility of consolidating the borough’s police force.

James Gallen Jr., a borough councilman and committee member, said the committee – rounded out by Council President Kevin M. Conrad, Councilwoman Elizabeth Heckler and Mayor Shane J. Keller – will enter into discussions with neighboring municipalities and the state police regarding the future of West Reading’s troubled police department.

“We’re exploring consolidation as a cost-saving measure,” Gallen said, adding that Wyomissing would be “a natural fit.”

The talks will extend to other nearby departments, which could include Shillington, and Cumru and Spring townships, he added.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=420092

Two Pottstown Fire Companies Moving In Together

Editor’s note:  Hallelujah!  This makes complete sense and will help the borough budget!  Two Roy’s Rants thumbs up!

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN, PA — One of the four firehouses in the borough is  up for sale and the fire company that has occupied it for 92 years will be moving into another firehouse by December.

Mark Gibson, a longtime member of the Empire Hook and Ladder Co. and its designated spokesman in this matter, confirmed that Empire will move into space at the Goodwill Fire Company on High Street and has put the 7,970-square-foot Empire firehouse at Chestnut and Franklin streets on the market.

The asking price is about $225,000.

Empire members voted overwhelmingly to endorse the move early in the year, he said.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20120928/NEWS01/120929441/two-pottstown-fire-companies-moving-in-together

Fulton Bank’s Expansion Grows By 75 Percent

Plans for Fulton Bank‘s expansion near Lancaster‘s Penn Square may have been delayed by two years, but those plans have also increased in size by 75 percent.

The county’s largest bank now plans an eight-story office building, with a two-level underground parking garage at 23 E. King St.

Project planners on Tuesday provided no cost estimate for the 159.000-square-foot building which will replace the former Sovereign Bank building now on the site.

The building was originally slated for completion in 2013.  In May, Fulton announced it would be begin construction next spring of a 91,000-square-foot, six story building that was due to be completed in spring 2015.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/728196_Fulton-Bank-s-expansion-grows-by-75-percent.html#ixzz25t5BQYml

Mount Penn Borough and Lower Alsace Township Agree To Merger Study

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

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

After much discussion and two joint meetings, Mount Penn Borough Council and the Lower Alsace supervisors agreed Monday to move forward with a study of the pros and cons of merging or consolidating the municipalities.

Council then voted to approve a $22,500 contract with the Pennsylvania Economy League for the study. Lower Alsace had approved the contract in May after the first joint municipality meeting, contingent on Mount Penn’s involvement.

Councilman Thomas Smith said the study would provide the information needed to help supervisors and council decide whether merging or consolidating would be beneficial to both municipalities and their residents.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=399499

Mount Penn Borough, Lower Alsace Township Meet, Talk Merger

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

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

Claudia Hurwitz and Josh Nowotarski were there to find facts.

John Theodossiou wanted to promote moving forward with an open mind.

Hurwitz, a Mount Penn council member, Nowotarski, the Mount Penn mayor, and Theodossiou, a Lower Alsace Township supervisor, were speaking at a joint public meeting on the possibility of pursuing a study that would examine the advantages and disadvantages of merging the two municipalities.

For weeks the borough and township discussed whether they wanted to meet with one another to discuss a potential study. After deliberating at meetings, they independently decided to meet Tuesday at the Antietam Junior-Senior High School in Lower Alsace.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=386464

Crayola Moving Distribution To Majestic Bethlehem Center

Crayola will shift its distribution operations to the Majestic Bethlehem Center next year, becoming the first tenant for the undeveloped property on former Bethlehem Steel land.

The crayon maker will shutter its distribution centers in Hanover Township, Lehigh County, Bethlehem Township and Fredericksburg, Lebanon County, next year and move into the 800,000-square-foot Majestic facility straddling Lower Saucon Township and Bethlehem, Crayola officials announced Wednesday.

The company plans to employ 60 to 80 workers at the distribution hub, including workers from existing facilities, Crayola spokesman Eric Zebley said.

Mike Perry, Crayola’s CEO and president, labeled the move in part a way to save money and boost efficiency.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/business/mc-bethlehem-crayola-majestic-bethlehem-center-20120328,0,5754477.story

T-Mobile Closing Lehigh Valley Call Center

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County

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

Editor’s note:  This news sucks!

More than 600 people will lose their jobs at the end of June — unless they relocate to other states — when wireless communications company T-Mobile closes its Lehigh Valley call center as part of a company-wide cost-cutting maneuver.

The Bellevue, Wash., company announced Thursday it is closing seven of its 24 call centers in the country, including one on Roble Road in Hanover Township, Lehigh County. T-Mobile also is closing call centers in Florida, Texas, Kansas, Colorado and Oregon.

“Concentrating call centers is an important step to achieve competitive cost structures to successfully compete … in the wireless market,” Philipp Humm, CEO and president of T-Mobile, said in a news release. “These are not easy steps to take, but they are necessary to realize efficiency in order to invest for growth.”

The fate of T-Mobile’s Valley call center came in question last year when the company’s bigger competitor AT&T proposed buying T-Mobile for $39 billion. AT&T dropped its T-Mobile bid in December, citing objections from federal regulators who were concerned the deal would limit competition in the wireless industry and potentially increase prices for consumers.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/business/mc-t-mobile-call-center-closing-20120322,0,5402783.story

Antietam School District Exploring The Possibility Of Merging With Exeter SD

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

Image via Wikipedia

It’s a tune the Antietam School District has heard before: The district is once again exploring the possibility of merging with Exeter Township School District.

This is not the first time the neighboring districts have considered merging, nor the second. Or even the third. The idea has been discussed, repeatedly, as far back as the 1960s.

And for some Antietam residents, the history of failed mergers clouds their opinion of a new consideration.

“I don’t think they’ll merge,” said Brandy High, a Lower Alsace Township mother with two children in Antietam schools. “They’ve been saying it for a long time and never did.”

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=362292

Fire Companies Consolidate In Eastern Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Image via Wikipedia

Three Berks County fire companies that have fought fires together for decades will be merging to form the Eastern Berks Fire Department in January.

The Goodwill Fire Co. in Bally, Volunteer Barto Fire Co. and the Keystone Fire Co. of Bechtelsville will join for what they say will provide better service, according to a news release.

“After three years of talks, negotiations, forms, inventories and legal approval, the three will begin operating as a single department at 4 p.m. on Jan. 3,” Rev. Paul Bartlett of the fire department said in the release.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-berks-fire-company-merger-20111226,0,7133192.story