Pennsylvania Partners In The Arts Project Stream Grant Workshops

LVAC-4LinesCalling all artists, community groups and arts organizations!

The Lehigh Valley Arts Council invites you to apply for up to $2,500 from the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts Project Stream to fund arts projects or activities benefiting the communities of Carbon, Lehigh and Northampton counties. Anyone interested in applying is encouraged to join us for one of our free PPA grant workshops.

May 6th, 4 PM to 5:30 PM: Lehigh Valley Arts Council (Allentown)

May 8th, 4 PM to 5:30 PM: Sigal Museum (Easton)

Mark your Calendar! The PPA deadline for Project Stream Applications is June 20th, 2014!

Click here for more information: http://lvartscouncil.org/programs/workshops.html

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Steinman Family Foundations Merge, Form One Of The Largest Philanthropic Forces In Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

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

Uniting to be a stronger force for good in the community, two Steinman family foundations are now one.

Tuesday, the James Hale Steinman Foundation and the John Frederick Steinman Foundation, operating separately for 62 years, became simply the Steinman Foundation.

The new charitable organization, with combined assets of more than $85 million, will be one of the largest private foundations in the area, certainly the largest in Lancaster County.

The mission of the foundations has always been to improve the quality of life for people who live here.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/steinman-family-foundations-merge-form-one-of-the-largest-philanthropic/article_5105ba3e-aed1-11e3-928f-001a4bcf6878.html

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Wilkes-Barre Details Use Of $2 Million In Funding

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — The city’s director of Economic and Community Development on Wednesday detailed how his office spent nearly $2 million in federal money throughout the city last year.

The city receives three types of funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Decelopment each year and is required to hold a public meeting to explain how the money was spent in the previous year.

Office of Economic and Community Development Director Kurt Sauer presided over that meeting Wednesday in council chambers. The spending is detailed in a Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report, which is available for review.

In 2013, the city received $1,563,671 in Community Development Block Grant funding, $112,690 in Emergency Solutions funding and $264,880 in HOME funding.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news/1222522/City-details-use-of-$2-million-in-funding

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Church & Dwight To Manufacture Gummy Vitamins In York County, Hire 180 People

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

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

Church & Dwight plans to construct a new production line for gummy vitamins at its facility in Jackson Township.

A $55 million investment, the new production line will lead to the hiring of approximately 180 people, according to the company.

Construction will begin in January and the line is scheduled to be operational in the first quarter of 2015, according to a news release.

The company will also receive some state funds for the project via the Governor’s Action Team, which works with businesses that are considering locating or expanding in Pennsylvania.

Read more: http://www.ydr.com/business/ci_24655737/church-dwight-hire-180-people-manufacture-gummy-vitamins

Reading Fighting Hard For Redevelopment Designation

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

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

Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer said his staff knew they were in for a fight if they were going to beat out other Pennsylvania cities for two City Revitalization and Improvement Zone designations.

Today, Spencer said an application for the designation had been submitted and it was time to take the gloves off.

“It was a Herculean task from the start,” Spencer told a gathering in the former Citizens Bank building near the corner of Fifth and Penn streets.

Guidelines for the grants were issued Oct. 31, leaving only weeks to select an authority to oversee the CRIZ program; chose the 129 acres comprising 260 parcels; draw up a redevelopment strategy for the zone; and draft an application. The designation will allow the authority to take state and local taxes generated by properties in the zone and reinvest them in properties in the zone.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article/20131203/NEWS/312029867#.Up5KB7B3uM8

Crane Installs $40,000 Public Art Project In Lancaster

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

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

Workers used a crane this morning to install an “artwork cistern” on the Walnut Street side of the Lancaster Brewing Company building.

The cistern, commissioned by Lancaster city’s public art program, is made of steel and lengths of native wood.

Inside, a tank will hold 750 gallons of rainwater from the brewery roof. The cistern water will be used to support the plants in a rain garden along the street.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/912608_Pictures–Crane-installs–40-000-public-art-project-in-Lancaster.html#ixzz2jKNY9pnh

Construction Of Pottstown Mini-Golf Course Underway

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN, PA — Autumn may be here and winter may be coming — but so is mini-golf season.

Construction has begun on the course and officials say they hope it may be completed before winter.

The project has been at least three years in the making.

Located along High Street, west of Manatawny Creek and adjacent to the former Pottstown Metal Weld building, now home to the Carousel at Pottstown facility, the mini-golf course is meant to complement the carousel and be an attraction for users of the Schuylkill River Trail.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/20131014/construction-of-pottstown-mini-golf-course-underway

Wilkes-Barre Heralds New Garage, Bus Station Cameras

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Mayor Tom Leighton and city officials gathered at the Intermodal Transportation Center this morning to herald the recent installation of security cameras throughout the complex.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news//877135/WB-heralds-new-garage-bus-station-cameras

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport Applies For Grant To Expand Service

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

AVOCA, PA — The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport has applied for a $575,000 grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to help expand service and market the airport.

The application was filed this week with the FAA’s Small Community Air Service Development Grant program.

The grant would be used toward a nearly $1.2 million initiative that includes enticing airlines to add flights to leisure and business destinations not currently offered out of Northeastern Pennsylvania including Tampa, Boston, Pittsburgh, Washington and Las Vegas, said Barry J. Centini, the airport’s director.

Money would be used to help subsidize the airlines, could go toward landing fees and other offers making flying in to and out of the area more attractive, Centini said.  Additional money would be used to amplify marketing efforts for those airlines and existing airlines.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/792704/Avoca-airport-applies-for-grant-to-expand-service

Reading Police Pulled From The Citadel

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

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

City police officers have been pulled from their stations at the Reading Citadel intermediate high school while the school district figures out how it’s going to come up with the money to pay for them, district officials said Wednesday.

“We don’t have coverage in the building,” school board President Pierre V. Cooper told fellow board members at the end of their meeting.

“The police are circling and in the area, and they can be there at a moment’s notice,” Cooper said.  “But they are not in the building.”

The two officers stationed at the Citadel, who also serve the high school, were at the school for the first day but were reassigned to regular city patrols later in the week, Dr. Carlinda Purcell, superintendent, said after the meeting.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=505051

Reading Officials Anticipate Announcement Of Funding For Downtown Project

Picture 533Reading officials are hoping that a visit Wednesday from the state’s community and economic development secretary will result in millions of dollars in grant money to build a thriving business district downtown.

City officials are anticipating that the state has accepted the city’s application to be designated as a Keystone Community, which would provide access to economic development-related funds.

They say they haven’t been given the final word, but city officials said state Community and Economic Development Secretary C. Alan Walker is coming to Reading to make an announcement Wednesday.

“We’re hoping that’s part of the reason why he’s coming,” Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer said Monday.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=502229

Reading / Berks Crime Summit Initiatives Still Moving Ahead, Leaders Say

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

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

More than six months after a meeting of 100-plus public and private leaders put a sharp focus on curtailing crime in Reading and Berks County, initiatives spawned at the Jan. 18 crime summit remain active.

One of them, the formation of a joint law-enforcement intelligence committee, is a topic that Berks District Attorney John T. Adams did not want to discuss in detail, other than to say that meetings have been held.

But Adams and others provided progress reports on other crime summit initiatives.  They were cobbled together during the unique gathering at Crowne Plaza Reading, Wyomissing, that involved federal and state lawmakers, Gov. Tom Corbett, county officials and leading business people.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=500295

Laura Bush Foundation Grant To Barth Elementary Is Only One In PA

First Lady Laura Bush observes a fifth grade m...

First Lady Laura Bush observes a fifth grade math class at Lovejoy Elementary School in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN — Barth Elementary School has received a $5,000 grant from the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries, the only school in all of Pennsylvania to receive a grant from the former First Lady’s foundation.

Principal Ryan Oxenford was recently notified of the award.

In 2013, the foundation awarded over $1 million in grants to schools to update and diversify their library book collections.

“This is an incredible opportunity to expand the resources in our library.  The grant approval could not have come at a better time with the unveiling of our newly renovated library this fall,” said Oxenford.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130705/NEWS01/130709680/laura-bush-foundation-grant-to-barth-is-only-one-in-pa

Bus Route From Reading To Lebanon Might Be Ready Soon

English: BARTA bus in downtown Reading, Pennsy...

English: BARTA bus in downtown Reading, Pennsylvania, July 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BARTA bus passengers might be able to catch a ride to Lebanon by the end of summer.

The agency said Monday that it’s working with Lebanon Transit to throw together a makeshift Reading-Lebanon bus route to fill a service gap that will result when Bieber Tourways discontinues its Reading-Lebanon-Harrisburg route next week.

The two transit agencies already were developing plans for a Reading-Lebanon route, and the route proposed Monday would be a temporary measure to keep service between the cities alive while details of the permanent route are being worked out.

“What we’re trying to do now is just for the interim,” BARTA executive director Dennis D. Louwerse said. “The longer study is going to tell us if this is really going to work in the long run.”

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=487181

Support For ‘Secret Valley’ Rail Line From Boyertown To Pottstown Picks Up Steam

Plans for a tourist excursion railroad on the eight-mile Colebrookdale line between Pottstown and Boyertown are moving forward and picking up support, most recently from a team of 40-or-so volunteers to got together to do a clean-up along the route.

Last weekend, the volunteers, led by the Pottstown Roller Derby Rockstars and folks in Montgomery County’s ARD program performing court-ordered community service, picked up trash along the right of way.

Berks County Subway provided lunch for all volunteers, and the Pottstown Health and Wellness Foundation provided water.

J.P. Mascaro & Sons provided two dumpsters.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130617/NEWS01/130619394/support-for-secret-valley-rail-line-from-boyertown-to-pottstown-picks-up-steam#full_story

Pottstown Regional Planners Offer Park Improvement Grants

A mini-grant program for park improvements in the eight municipalities that comprise the Pottstown Metropolitan Regional Planning Committee is now accepting applications.

Eight grants of up to $25,000 each will be awarded to towns which participate in the regional planning effort to help fund park improvements that promote recreation.

Funding for the grants comes from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and is being facilitated by the PottstownArea Health and Wellness Foundation.

At this point, the “Request-for-Proposals” phase, the regional planning committee and the foundation are inviting the region’s eight member municipalities to apply for funding for the planning or development of park improvements.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130525/NEWS01/130529453/regional-planners-offer-park-improvement-grants#full_story

Hazleton Mayor: Graffiti-Marred Trestle Sending Wrong Message

Downtown Hazleton, PA

Downtown Hazleton, PA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hazleton Mayor Joseph Yannuzzi believes a railroad trestle that greets motorists who enter the city from South Church Street should serve as a welcome sign that leaves a lasting impression with people who pass beneath it.

But in its graffiti-covered state, the bridge is sending the wrong message, the mayor contends.

A racial slur that was spray painted on the bridge years ago greets northbound motorists shortly after they cross into city limits.  A pedestrian walkway beneath the trestle is deteriorated to the point where people must walk on the street.

“It’s like the welcoming sign to Hazleton and it’s got a nasty message beneath it,” Yannuzzi said.  “I don’t think it should be there.”

Read more:  http://standardspeaker.com/news/mayor-graffiti-marred-trestle-sending-wrong-message-1.1480501

Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority (PDIDA) Is On The Move!

180933_10150092018677029_7436728_nLike the little engine that could, Sheila Dugan has taken the throttle of the Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority (PDIDA) and is chugging uphill toward her vision of a revitalized central business district.

Unlike Main Street Managers in the past, this dynamo hit the ground running and is pulling PDIDA into the 21st century at warp speed.  The PDIDA board has been reorganized, assessments are being collected, activities are being scheduled and a new cooperation is being fostered between PDIDA, borough hall, PAID, the TriCounty Community Network and other entities in Pottstown.

Sheila actually lives in Pottstown, is a downtown business owner (she and her husband own Grumpy’s) and her children attend the Pottstown School District.  Sheila is INVESTED in Pottstown (a missing component in past Main Street Managers).

The perception of business owners in the downtown, by the general public, is poor.  Sheila is trying to raise awareness that most businesses downtown are Mom and Pop operations.  In many cases, one owner, one employee.  Trying to “do it all” six days a week from open to close does not leave much time for people to attend PDIDA meetings (or much of anything else).

To combat the time problem, Sheila has come up with an innovative solution – block captains.  The block captains will talk with their assigned business owners and attend the meetings to speak for the group they represent.  The block captains will then convey the meeting results back to their group.  Email is also being used to keep PDIDA members updated, in addition to block captains and meetings.

Sheila has been working closely with the Pottstown Police Department and Borough Manager Mark Flanders toward a solution for the vagrant problem downtown.  Sheila said Mark Flanders and the Pottstown Police Department have been extremely helpful and cooperative in working toward a solution for this problem.  You will see more police officers downtown walking a beat along with other measures that are aimed at making the downtown clean, safe and a welcoming atmosphere for shoppers, arts and restaurant patrons.

PDIDA is also working with the numerous social services agencies in Pottstown.  These agencies will also play a role in managing the homeless and idle population that have been congregating downtown and hampering revitalization efforts.

Sheila works hand-in-hand with Pottstown Area Industrial Director Executive Director Steve Bamford to help market Pottstown and fill empty store fronts with new businesses.  She said Steve Bamford has been great to work with.  Marketing Pottstown is not an easy job.

Another important cooperative effort taking place is between the Pottstown Codes Department and PDIDA.  Every building within the PDIDA zone is being reviewed and code violations are being identified where they exist.  Clean and safe buildings are certainly more appealing to consumers!

Like many organizations, PDIDA has lost a large percentage of its funding.  Sheila said individual and corporate sponsors are desperately needed as well as volunteers.  For example, the PDIDA office downtown needs volunteers to help staff the office.  Sheila is also working on fundraising efforts and is applying for grants to help fund events and projects.

While we are on the subject of funding and budgets, Sheila is Pottstown’s official Main Street Manager but receives only a fraction of the salary the former managers were paid.  This is due to the loss of funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development for the Main Street Program.  Pottstown is fortunate to have someone willing to take on this herculean task, put in the time, do the hard work and get results on a shoestring budget.

One last thing before I give you a list of upcoming events downtown.  A while ago, one of my readers asked me if the façade program was still in existence.  I emailed the former Main Street Manager, identified myself and posed my reader’s question.  I never received the courtesy of a reply.  I asked Sheila about this during our conversation and she told me that the façade program does indeed still exist and there is still money available.

Some exciting PDIDA events to look forward to include:

June 8 – 2nd Annual Iron Horse, motorcycle show

June 20 – Rumble Downtown (includes Misty May-Treanor and live music).

July 20 – 2nd Annual Sidewalk Sale

October 12 – 6th Annual Riverfest – PDIDA is taking on this event and adding an evening component from 6pm – 8pm which will include live bands, artists, beer garden, a Bike/Art event and a TriPAC show at 8pm. Downtown restaurants will be participating.

Sheila said she is always looking for participants, live music, artists and street performers for PDIDA events.  I will again put in a plug for individual and corporate sponsors.

The Pottstown Visitors Center aka the PDIDA office is located at 17 North Hanover Street in downtown Pottstown.  The phone number is (610) 323-5400.  Sheila Dugan is the Main Street Manager and her direct line is (484) 948-6061.  The website is http://downtownpottstown.org/

Hazleton Area Rail-Trail Bridge To Get Historic Support

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

A 117-foot bridge that will take the Greater Hazleton rail-trail over an active Norfolk Southern railroad line will be held by supports built more than 120 years ago by the Coxe coal barons.

The bridge will be delivered to the site on May 23.

Tom Ogorzalek, a trail volunteer and local history buff, said the abutments were built by the Coxe family when they owned and operated a railroad near the turn of the last century.

“They were built in 1890 by the Delaware, Schuylkill and Susquehanna (DS&S) Railroad, which was run by the Coxe family to haul their coal,” Ogorzalek said. “Other railroads also hauled their coal.  They made a deal with Lehigh Valley Railroad to haul all of their coal.  Lehigh Valley acquired DS&S, and almost immediately abandoned that track sometime between 1900 and 1905.”

Read more:  http://standardspeaker.com/news/rail-trail-bridge-to-get-historic-support-1.1476971

Regional Recreation Coordinator Pitched To Pottstown Council

Editor’s note:  We are all for regional planning and cooperation.  This approach will help unite the Greater Pottstown area and that would be a good thing!

POTTSTOWN — Borough council may vote Monday on endorsing a proposal that could, at very little cost, provide support and technical services to regional recreation efforts and perhaps draw more financial support for large events like the Fourth of July and Volleyball Rumble.

The proposal has been discussed for several months by the Pottstown Metropolitan Area Regional Planning Committee and would be jointly funded by the Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation and a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

The idea is to use the funding to hire what the state calls “a circuit rider” and what David Kraybill, executive director of the foundation, calls a “regional recreation coordinator” to help organize, provide technical and marketing support and write grants for the eight municipalities which comprise the regional planning area.

To benefit, each municipality would have to sign on and pay what the foundation’s Anna Brendle-Kennedy called “an escalating” fee which begins with several hundred dollars and ends, after five years at $5,000, so long as all municipalities participate.