Unemployment In Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Metro Area Down, Lowest Since October 2008

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)

The unemployment rate in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area edged down by one-tenth of 1 percent in July to 6.8 percent, the lowest since October 2008, according to figures released today by the state Department of Labor & Industry.

A year earlier, the rate was 9 percent.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/news/50204988/Unemployment-in-the-region-down-lowest-since-October-2008#.U_z2hvRDsxI

Winter 2014-15 To Have More Snow Than Normal, But Less Than Last Year … And Less Cold Air

You may be reading this while wearing summer-ish shorts and a T-shirt, or standing in comfortable weather in your driveway after getting your paper.

But here’s a news flash — winter’s coming.

Even though it’s only late August, school’s just getting ready to start and winter doesn’t officially start for four months, forecasters are already getting a good picture of what to expect for winter 2014-15.

And the picture has both good news and bad news.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/winter—to-have-more-snow-than-normal-but/article_4cf8cd22-2a2e-11e4-8047-0017a43b2370.html

PLCB’s Biggest Store Opening In Shadyside Neighborhood

Locator map with the Shadyside neighborhood in...

Locator map with the Shadyside neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania highlighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pennsylvania’s largest wine and spirits store, a 17,000-square-foot mega-outlet, will officially debut today in Pittsburgh’s Shadyside neighborhood.

The renovated store, built around an existing state store at 5956 Penn Circle South, has been enlarged by about 35 percent, LCB officials said.

The larger, more upscale store is opening in an area experiencing residential, retail and restaurant growth for several years.

With that upswing continuing, LCB officials have pinned their hopes on history repeating itself with the renovated space. The agency has seen sales typically increase about 20 percent to 35 percent at revamped stores, in part because the layout and organization of products encourages shoppers to browse longer, according to officials.

Read more: http://triblive.com/state/pennsylvania/6642390-74/store-lcb-stores#ixzz3B2vjsvkw
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

MCCC, Kutztown University Officials Sign First ‘Reverse Transfer’ Agreement Between Community College And State System Institutions In Commonwealth

PHOTO: Montgomery County Community College President Dr. Karen A. Stout and Kutztown University Acting President Dr. Carlos Vargas-Aburto sign the first reverse transfer agreement between a community college and State System institution in Pennsylvania. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

PHOTO: Montgomery County Community College President Dr. Karen A. Stout and Kutztown University Acting President Dr. Carlos Vargas-Aburto sign the first reverse transfer agreement between a community college and State System institution in Pennsylvania. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Blue Bell, Pa.— Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) and Kutztown University (KU) signed a “reverse transfer” agreement on Aug. 20—the first agreement of its kind between a community college and a Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (State System) university.

Under the new agreement, students who complete at least 15 credits at MCCC now have the opportunity to transfer credits they earn at Kutztown back to Montgomery in order to earn an associate’s degree in a parallel field en route to earning a bachelor’s degree.

According to MCCC President Dr. Karen A. Stout, the agreement builds on Montgomery’s strategic efforts to increase student access, progression and completion rates, and on work being done nationally to support community college degree completion.

“The associate’s degree has value and is an important credential for community college students,” said Dr. Stout. “By earning an associate’s degree, students demonstrate their ability to complete an area of study, which can help them in the job market or with career advancement while pursing their baccalaureate degree. While we encourage our students to earn their degree before transferring, it’s important for us to understand that our students take multiple pathways to complete their education.”

Close to 70 percent of MCCC students enter the College each year with the intention to transfer to a four-year institution, and Kutztown is a popular choice. In fact, last year, 182 of the College’s students transferred an average 44 credits to KU.

The institutions’ leaders envision that the new agreement will serve as a model partnership for Pennsylvania community colleges and State System institutions. MCCC and KU are not strangers to such innovation; in 2007, Montgomery became the first community college with which Kutztown signed a dual-admissions and core-to-core transfer agreement.

“Kutztown University is excited to once again partner with Montgomery County Community College in developing another program to benefit students of our region,” said Dr. Carlos Vargas-Aburto, KU’s acting president.  “Serving students is at the core of all that we do, and this is truly a student-centric program.”

Gas Production From Marcellus Shale Sets Record Despite Fewer New Wells Going Online

English: Cropped portion of image from USGS re...

English: Cropped portion of image from USGS report showing extent of Marcellus Formation shale (in gray shading). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pennsylvania drillers are pulling record amounts of natural gas from the Marcellus shale even as they bring fewer new wells online, according to state data released on Monday.

About 5,400 shale wells produced nearly 2 trillion cubic feet of gas during the first six months of the year, a 14 percent increase in production over the past six months of 2013, the data from the state Department of Environmental Protection show.

Energy companies accomplished the record despite connecting fewer than 500 new wells during the period. Previous semiannual reports showed an average of 675 new wells every six months.

“We’re seeing the results of technical developments that allow much greater efficiency,” said Kent Moors, executive chair of the global energy symposium at the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/6636073-74/wells-gas-production#ixzz3ArYHVfvS
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Elizabethtown Fair Opens The Season In Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

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

The Elizabethtown Fair has a lot of fans. One of them is the chief executive of the commonwealth.

Gov. Tom Corbett will take part in the fair’s opening ceremony at 6:45 p.m. this evening, fair spokeswoman Sally Nolt said.

He’ll then be given a tour, she said.

This will be Corbett’s fifth trip to the fair, she said: He came three times as attorney general and once before as governor, she said.

“He’s been a good supporter for fairs,” she said.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/elizabethtown/news/elizabethtown-fair-opens-the-season-in-lancaster-county/article_ed0eb122-265b-11e4-ac4e-001a4bcf6878.html

“Creating Your Legacy,” At The Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum

Saturday ◊ September 20, 2014
10:30 AM – Noon

Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum
432 W. Walnut Street
Allentown, Pa. 18101

How will you be remembered?

History comes alive on Saturday, September 20, 2014, with “Creating your Legacy,” at the Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum from 10:30 a.m. to Noon. Arts Alive! is a three event series of behind the scenes cultural tours for members and their friends eager to engage their mind and spirit by rubbing shoulders with the creative process. Tickets $10 for members; $15 for nonmembers. Limited availability!

Learn how to uncover your heritage, enshrine your life and create your ultimate legacy!

The Lehigh County Heritage Museum touts itself as a “facility that houses one of the finest historical research libraries in the state of Pennsylvania,” with 6 galleries encompassing 13,000 square feet. The Heritage Museum is one of the Lehigh Valley’s greatest treasure troves; the entire 30,000 square foot facility houses a collection with “more than 35,000 historical artifacts, 80,000 vintage photographs, and nearly 3-million documents.” The Heritage Museum is also home to the caretakers of Lehigh Valley’s history—seven employees are responsible for maintaining the collection’s integrity.

Creating your Legacy, on September 20th, will be led by one of the Heritage Museum’s proud caretakers, Chief Curator Jill Youngken. She was awarded the “History Prize” for outstanding scholarship during her undergraduate education at Moravian College, before completing her Master’s Degree at Rutgers University. Certified in Archival Studies, she has presided over the Lehigh County Historical Society’s unique antiques for 17 years. Youngken began her career at the Historical Society as an educator before becoming the director of the Heritage Museum’s library and archives; her responsibilities now include overseeing the museum’s 3-million historical documents.

Chief Curator Jill Youngken will offer attendees a glimpse into the lives of notable Lehigh Valley natives through rare personal relics. She will show attendees how to uncover their family legacy—and leave one for future generations!

Click Here to
Buy Tickets!
$10 for members / $15 for nonmembers

LVAC-4Lines

Sex Trafficking On The Rise; Philly A Hub

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

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

THE YOUNG woman who befriended Tiffany on the Internet seemed innocent enough – so in the midst of a rough patch with her father, the 16-year-old Northeast Philadelphia girl let her new cyber-friend pick her up at home.

When she got into the taxi on that fateful day in January 2006, Tiffany didn’t know that she was stepping into a dark underworld of violence, drugs and sex slavery. The seemingly normal young woman she’d met on MySpace.com delivered her into the hands of Rahiim McIntyre, 36, a now-convicted violent sex trafficker who awaits sentencing in federal prison.

Over the next two weeks, she would face unimaginable horrors as she plotted to get away from her captor without being caught and beaten – or worse.

The experience of Tiffany – a pseudonym created by the Daily News to protect her identity – is not uncommon.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140805_NE_Philly_teen_s_sex-slave_experience_is_all_too_common.html#AcdIPfsVqMRObkto.99

Pennsylvania Boasts Progressive Movement To Preserve Farmland

Picture 487Before Bill Iams began raising beef cattle and planting acres of hay on a farm in southern Washington County, five generations worked the soil and raised livestock there.

Soon, Iams hopes to ensure the 155 acres in Amwell, which the king of England granted to his ancestors before the American Revolution, remain farmland forever.

“Look around at the changes in this area over the last 50 years, especially in the Washington area. North on Route 19 was all farms,” said Iams, 57, owner of Log Cabin Fence Co., a farming supply business off Interstate 79 in Amity. “Now you’ve got malls and everything else going on but farming.”

Iams awaits approval by a state committee to sell development rights to his farm to Washington County through the county’s Farmland Preservation Program, part of a statewide initiative to make certain that fertile land is used for agriculture.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/washington/6506932-74/farms-county-iams#ixzz39RSdt66P
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Big Spring Distillery Soft Opening Helps Prepare For Grander Version In Bellefonte

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  The distillery movement is really starting to take off in Pennsylvania.  I keep running across these popping up around our great state.

Vana Dainty sat down with Kevin Lloyd to help him coordinate the final details of the grand opening for his Bellefonte distillery in two weeks.

Dainty, the borough’s Keystone Community development coordinator, said the Match Factory distillery, named Big Spring Spirits, will be good for the borough.

“Kevin has been a delight to work with, and this should really be a great part of Bellefonte that brings in new tourists and a part of the turning point for our economy,” Dainty said. “It’s different than anything else in Centre County.”

Lloyd said he has seen the value of a helping hand not only from Dainty, but from dozens of others as he opens his new business.

Speed Limit To Rise To 70 Mph On Stretch Of I-380

English: Interstate 380 northbound at the Inte...

English: Interstate 380 northbound at the Interstate 84 split south of Scranton. Picture taken by Chris Wilson on February 18th, 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG — A stretch of Interstate 380 becomes an experiment next month when state transportation officials boost the maximum speed limit to 70 mph.

Another pilot will raise the speed limit to 70 mph on a 100-mile stretch of the Pennsylvania Turnpike in southcentral Pennsylvania. If all goes well, the rest of the 550-mile toll road system, including the Northeast Extension, could follow suit next spring, said Turnpike Commission CEO Mark Compton at a press conference on Wednesday.

On I-380, a 21-mile section selected for the pilot program will extend from the Interstate 84 junction in Lackawanna County to Exit 3 (Pocono Pines/Mount Pocono) in Monroe County.

“It’s about time,” said Elwood “Butch” Perry, a 60-year-old independent trucker who lives in Dupont. “They built the interstate system so you can run, not so you can crawl. … We live in a fast-paced society now. Everything has to be there yesterday.”

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/speed-limit-to-rise-to-70-mph-on-stretch-of-i-380-1.1723951

York Mayor Kim Bracey: 5 Game Changers That Could Save York (Column)

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

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

As the 2015 budget season approaches, it is my duty to talk straight about our city’s fiscal challenges and pension legacy costs that have been growing since before the turn of this century. While laying out the dire conditions, leadership requires us to hold out meaningful hope by advocating for bold measures. Long term fiscal game-changers can stabilize our property taxes while enabling us to continue providing quality public services and infrastructure that our people deserve and demand.

At times, I feel like a night watchman of earlier centuries who witnesses a spreading fire and vigorously shouts and rings the bell to alert citizens of the imminent crisis. During the last two city administrations, we’ve been warning of the growing fiscal crisis for 13 years, and we’ve done as much as we can internally to make our budget process transparent, to seek sound recommendations from outside experts, to cut costs, and to be fiscally responsible. The list is extensive.

• In 2003, under Mayor Brenner, our city initiated its first open budget hearings, an annual tradition that continues to this year.

• In 2006, our city was one of the very first in the state to enter the Department of Economic and Community Development’s Early Intervention Program, which provided an analysis of York’s finances by outside experts. Their analysis concluded that York’s financial controls and management were strong but that systemic constraints beyond its control were leading to out-of-control costs. Recommendations included implementing a parking tax, which was done.

Read more: http://www.ydr.com/letters/ci_26165619/kim-bracey-5-game-changers-that-could-save

Weather Will Be A Bit Cooler Next Week, But Nowhere Near Icy

The logo of the United States National Weather...

The logo of the United States National Weather Service. The source page states that is not an “official” version but it looks very close to the version used on NWS’s website. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The term “polar vortex” has crept back into the news as a mass of cooler air threatens to descend on the Great Lakes and farther south. But experts are dismissing that talk as so much, uh, hot air.

If the long-range forecasts hold true — and they often don’t — it’ll be a bit cooler than normal and you won’t have to run the air conditioner. That’s about it.

“I would shy away from using the term polar vortex,” said Tim Axford, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Pittsburgh. “Over the past six months that term has been used a lot and gotten a lot of media buzz for something that happens quite often.”

What may happen is a dip in the air currents that will send cooler air from Canada, giving us a few days of high and low temperatures about 10 degrees below normal, Mr. Axford said.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/region/2014/07/12/Weather-will-be-a-bit-cooler-next-week-not-nowhere-near-icy/stories/201407120015#ixzz37GuhWCLC

York Lawmaker: CRIZ Decision A ‘Setback’

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

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

The chance that York City will get a shot at a City Revitalization Improvement Zone designation this year just got much slimmer.

During the debate over the state’s 2014-15 spending plan, lawmakers nixed a proposal that would have opened the next round of CRIZ applications to more cities earlier than originally planned.

The version of the fiscal code approved by the state Senate included three new CRIZ designations in 2014 and two more in 2015, said state Rep. Kevin Schreiber, D-York City.

But, Schreiber said, Republican members of the House Rules Committee voted to remove “anything having to do with CRIZ” from its version of the fiscal code, a companion bill to the state’s annual budget.

Read more: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/breaking/ci_26094527/york-lawmaker-criz-decision-setback

Geisinger Health System Freezes Open Positions

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montour County

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

Geisinger Health System this spring temporarily froze about 400 open positions, bracing for an estimated $50 million reduction in profitability in fiscal year 2015.

The decision reflects cuts in federal reimbursement payments and the health system’s effort to extensively evaluate each opening, officials said.

About 225 positions remain unfilled, with about 30 percent of those jobs located in Northeastern Pennsylvania, said chief human resource officer Amy Brayford in an emailed statement.

She said the openings span the entire health system, which serves more than 2.6 million residents across 44 counties in central and Northeastern Pennsylvania. Most of the positions do not provide direct patient care.

Geisinger Health System employs about 21,000 people.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/geisinger-freezes-open-positions-1.1714049

Transportation Plan Calls For $4.7 Billion For Southwestern Pennsylvania

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 draft plan for improvements to the region’s transportation system envisions $4.7 billion in spending in the 10 counties of southwestern Pennsylvania in the next four years, a 52 percent increase from the current four-year plan.

The plan for fiscal years 2015 through 2018 signals a reversal of years of diminished spending on infrastructure and public transit, bolstered by the funding bill that the Legislature and Gov. Tom Corbett enacted last fall. The draft Transportation Improvement Plan was released last week by the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, a regional planning agency.

“From my perspective, we were able to add significant projects that were simply unaffordable in the last TIP update,” said Dan Cessna, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s district executive for Allegheny, Beaver and Lawrence counties.

Among them is a $79 million rehabilitation of the Liberty Bridge in Downtown Pittsburgh, which at present is weight-restricted and rated structurally deficient, meaning its components are deteriorated but not yet unsafe. Numerous smaller bridge and paving projects were added as well, he said.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/frontpage/2014/06/23/Plan-calls-for-boost-for-southwestern-Pa-transportation/stories/201406230085#ixzz35UedvrMx

Going It Alone: America’s Top 15 Hubs For Solo Entrepreneurs

English: City of Allentown from east side

English: City of Allentown from east side (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  A big congrats to Allentown, Pennsylvania’s third largest city and metropolitan area, for being the only Pennsylvania city on the list.  Big things are going on in the Lehigh Valley, making us Pennsylvania Proud :).

Solopreneurs (a mash-up of the words “solo” and “entrepreneurs”) may freelance, consult, coach, offer services or sell products. The defining characteristic is that whatever they do, they do it without the help of a single employee. And that means they do everything, from product design to marketing to customer service, whether it’s fun or not.

$1 Trillion in Revenue
No matter what they make, sell or do, solopreneurs are becoming more common. In 2012, the latest year for which data is available, the U.S. economy had a total of 22.7 million solo businesses, a gain of almost 245,000 from 2011. Those businesses had total revenue of $1 trillion (yep, trillion) in 2012, up from $41.3 billion in 2011.

These statistics made us wonder. Where is solopreneurship especially popular? Where is it boosting the local economy? Where are solopreneurs reaping the most financial rewards?

See the list and read more: http://blog.sparefoot.com/6384-top-places-for-solo-entrepreneurs/

Report: Foreign Dollars Bring Many Jobs To Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Area

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)

Foreign direct investment has increased jobs in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

It accounted for 14,050 jobs in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in 2011, an increase of about 4,300 in the past two decades, according to a new report that looked at data for the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas.

That’s 6.2 percent of total private sector employment, above the national rate of 5 percent.

The data comes from a new report that tries to gauge the local impact of “Foreign Direct Investment,” defined as a company in a foreign country investing enough to gain a controlling share of an American company.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1479223/Report:-Foreign-dollars-bring-area-jobs