#ARTS: Mobile Technology For Dummies

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County

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

The Lehigh Valley Arts Council will host,#Arts: Mobile Technology for Dummies on Wednesday April 30th, 2014 from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m at the Butz Corporate Center, 840 Hamilton St., Allentown PA 18101

This interactive session focuses on the adaptation and implementation of mobile technology to help tell the story of your brand, expand your marketing efforts, and grow your sales and business. To hit the ground running, bring your laptop, tablet, and smartphone to this hands-on seminar. Refreshments will be provided.

The member fee is $25; nonmembers pay $45. Tickets are available at www.LVArtsBoxOffice.org 

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Tastykake Looking Fresh At 100

As an independent company, Tasty Baking Co. didn’t quite make it to Tuesday’s 100th anniversary, selling out to Flowers Foods Inc. in 2011 for $141 million to avoid bankruptcy.

But nearly three years after the rescue, the Tastykake brand – which drips nostalgia in the Philadelphia region, but had failed to break through nationally – has renewed strength.

The Flowers bailout has given workers at Tasty’s bakery in South Philadelphia and delivery-route owners throughout the Mid-Atlantic the chance to celebrate the brand’s centennial.

“Couldn’t be better,” is how Dom Rosa, who has owned a Tastykake delivery route in South Jersey since 2000, described life under Flowers Foods.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140225_Taskykake_looking_fresh_at_100.html#qDDZokmzwt3ebC40.99

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New Pittsburgh Government Set To Launch As Peduto Has Laid Out Some Lofty Goals

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Saturday, incoming Mayor Bill Peduto began his move into the mayoral wing on the fifth floor of the City-County Building in advance of today’s inauguration, when he will officially take the reins of city government.

The Rev. Terry O’Connor, son of the late Mayor Bob O’Connor and brother to Councilman Corey O’Connor, blessed the space with a sprinkling of holy water. The floors were mopped.

For a man who has pledged to “clean up city hall” and who gave his victory speech while clutching a broom, it was an apropos entrance.

Mr. Peduto has expounded on that theme for more than a year, calling the administration of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl corrupt and saying that the city needs to move away from the old-style politics if it wants to progress. And if he holds to his campaign pledges, he will represent a monumental shift in both style and substance in the mayor’s office.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2014/01/06/New-Pittsburgh-government-set-to-launch-as-Peduto-has-laid-out-some-lofty-goals/stories/2014010601030000000#ixzz2pdpIux3L

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Pottstown Police Hope Digital Mapping Tool Will Solve Crimes

Editor’s note:  Any use of technology can only help police zero in on problem areas and crime trends.  Targeted enforcement can then be used to clean up problem areas or reduce certain types of crime that are above an acceptable level.   Two thumbs up!

POTTSTOWN — A new digital tool is helping police and the community combat the age-old problem of crime.

While mapping the locations of crimes that have occurred in Pottstown is not new, the practice moved in the digital direction after Police Chief Richard Drumheller took over the department in the spring.

Instead of using thumbtacks and a paper map, the Pottstown Police Department is using www.crimemapping.com, to track crime and analyze trends in the borough.

The department pays for the services analysis and data but the interactive website can be viewed for free by the public.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20131111/pottstown-police-hope-digital-mapping-tool-will-solve-crimes

Pittsburgh Bridges A Showcase Of Engineering Ingenuity

English: The source of the Ohio River at “The ...

English: The source of the Ohio River at “The Point” in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. The Allegheny River (left) and the Monongahela River (right) join to form the Ohio here. The West End Bridge crosses the Ohio in the foreground. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Modern bridges are super-sized paths of steel with carpets of concrete that soar through the air.

As tour de forces of design, engineering and teamwork, bridges are our most functional visible form of public art. These sturdy structures afford us breathtaking views of the region while stoking our sense of optimism. From their portals, we cross deep ravines, wide valleys and rivers, especially rivers.

With a total of 446 bridges, Pittsburgh is a permanent showcase of inspired engineering.  Its rugged topography has made it a hotbed of bridge design since the city was named in 1758, and the region’s hills and geological formations afforded the natural resources, including wood and stone, to build the bridges needed to connect it.

The city’s first span, opened in 1818, crossed the Monongahela River on the site of the current Smithfield Street Bridge.  The first Sixth Street Bridge spanned the Allegheny River just a year later, ushering in a generation of covered wooden bridges.  Until the late 1800s, everyone — whether in a horse-drawn wagon or on foot — paid tolls to cross the city’s major bridges.  We still pay today — our tax dollars fund multimillion-dollar PennDOT projects.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/life/lifestyle/pittsburgh-bridges-a-showcase-of-engineering-ingenuity-696224/#ixzz2ZfxMNSfF

Turning Cow Dung Into Electricity

Picture 487Dairy farmer Ron Koetsier’s 1,200 cows produce roughly 90 tons of manure daily, and for the last three decades, he has tried unsuccessfully to turn the stinky dung into energy to power his 450-acre farm in Visalia.

He installed a nearly $1-million renewable energy system in 1985 that used the methane from manure to create electricity for his farm.  In 2002, he replaced that system with newer technology, but he hit a snag when air-quality standards called for expensive retrofits to reduce air pollution; he eventually shut down the system in 2009.

In a few weeks, however, Koetsier’s renewable-energy efforts will get a reboot as a new company replaces his current system with one that is expected to satisfy strict air standards in the highly polluted San Joaquin Valley.

A decade or so ago, dozens of California dairy farmers built million-dollar systems called methane digesters that convert manure into power.  Then, unexpected pollution problems, regulatory roadblocks and low rates of return killed most such digester systems, leaving only a handful in operation.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/la-fi-dairy-digester-20130609,0,2083458.story

$2.3M Restoration Of Frick’s Lock Village Unveiled

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

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

EAST COVENTRY TOWNSHIP, PA — In its heyday, Frick’s Lock Village was one of dozens of stops along the Schuylkill Navigation for coal making its way from the coal regions and the river’s headwaters to energy-starved industrial cities like Philadelphia.

But it lost its economic lustre when the railroads took over the job of carrying the coal and it slipped from public view entirely in 1969, when it was purchased by PECO as part of the construction of the Limerick nuclear plant.

But it never slipped entirely from memory, at least not for people like Bill Carl, who lived in the former locktender’s house in the late 1930s, when it had no electricity and no plumbing.

“We rented this from the Reading Railroad Co. for $5 a month,” he said.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130512/NEWS01/130519819/-2-3m-restoration-of-frick-s-lock-village-unveiled#full_story

Merger’s Benefits Mulled At Antietam Meeting

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

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

If the Antietam and Exeter school districts were to combine in some form, students from both could take advantage of a minimum of 42 new course offerings.

They’d also have access to 10 different buildings and added athletic facilities.

And have the opportunity to take part in up to 31 new clubs and activities.

“You’d have the capacity to do a lot more,” Kerry Moyer told more than 150 parents and residents at Antietam’s Mount Penn Primary Center Wednesday. “And you’d have the capacity to accommodate a large enrollment (increase) if it does happen.”

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=472673

For Sale: Bridges, In As-Is Condition

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

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

If you believe one road’s trash can be another’s treasure, PennDOT has a bridge to sell you.

It’s on Christman Road, connecting Greenwich and Richmond townships over the Saucony Creek.

The 117-year-old span, known as Hummel’s Bridge, was a pioneer in its time.  It had pony truss construction that ushered in an era of similar bridges.

PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission consider it “historically and technologically significant.”

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=471598

Pottstown Purchase Of iPads Questionable

Editor’s note:  We SO agree!  Chief BM has a spending addiction.

Going paperless, going green, embracing technology are goals of government these days, and Pottstown borough is getting on board.

A positive path to be sure, but it comes with a cost.

At Pottstown’s council meeting last week, it was announced that the borough has purchased 23 iPads for members of borough council, the mayor, and members of the borough authority.

Each iPad cost $389 for a total of $9,960 with the cost of the covers, Borough Manager Mark Flanders reported.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130317/OPINION01/130319487/pottstown-purchase-of-ipads-questionable-

PennDOT Efficiency Drive Could Free Up Funds For Roadwork

Editor’s note:  Who ever thought we would see PennDOT and efficiency in the same sentence!

Extra taxes and fees aren’t the only tricks PennDOT has up its sleeves to round up more money for road projects.

The agency’s also turning to some less obvious solutions to its funding woes, such as mail-sorting machines and more durable highway paint.

PennDOT’s put together a list of technology investments, policy changes and other tweaks it thinks could save the state $50 million to $75 million a year and, in some cases, make the agency a little more pleasant to deal with.

The anticipated savings are a drop in the bucket compared with the $3.5 billion gap between available funding and the state’s transportation needs.  But it’s something.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=446586

Penn State Extension Nutrition Links: Teaching People How To Eat Better For Less!

Tuesdays, February 5 – March 12, 5pm-6:30pm

Phoenixville Civic Center, 123 Main St., Phoenixville

Call to register: Dolores Winston 610-933-7728 ext.1

Come for a series of lessons and activities on various topics to help you care and feed your family a healthy diet on a limited budget.  Learn how to prepare low-cost, quick meals.  Develop new cooking and food safety skills.  Try new nutritious foods.  Participants of the Eat Smart Move More program will receive a certificate, cookbook, stretch band for exercising, food thermometer and tote bag upon completion.

In San Francisco, High-Rises By The Bay

The San Francisco Peninsula

The San Francisco Peninsula (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ROUGHLY two decades ago, during an earlier Internet start-up boom, many entrepreneurs and fast-typing coders and engineers set up shop in a still-gritty area of this city:  South of Market Street.

The young tech crowd rented — and sometimes bought — in commercial buildings in this former warehouse area, converting them into “work-live” spaces where they operated their nascent companies and slept (once in awhile).

The boom-and-bust cycles in the tech sector move quickly, and the pace of constant reinvention and innovation is relentless.

The same is true of tastes in real estate.  Today a new generation of tech dreamers is back in the South of Market area.  But this time they are breathing life into a start-up wave not previously seen in San Francisco:  high-rise condo living.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/21/realestate/in-san-francisco-glass-and-steel-condos-rising-by-the-bay.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0&hpw

Flying-Car Prototype Goes For Test Flight — And Drive

Map of Plattsburgh city

Map of Plattsburgh city (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Want to watch a car take flight? You are in luck. Terrafugia, makers of Transition — the world’s first flying car — has released video of a production-type prototype flying over Plattsburgh, N.Y. today.

The flight was the first successful test of the two-seat personal aircraft that you can park in your garage, drive on the road and fill up at a gas station.

“This is a very exciting time for Terrafugia,” said Carl Dietrich, the company’s CEO and CTO. “We are on our way up — literally and figuratively!”

The Transition reached an altitude of 1,400 feet during its first test flight, and spent a total of eight minutes in the air, company officials said.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/business/la-fi-tn-flying-car-test-flight-20120402,0,6282324.story

Clipper Magazine Lays Off 40

Clipper Magazine laid off 40 of the 600 employees at its Mountville headquarters Thursday, a company spokesperson said.

“Our business model has changed a little bit, and our efficiency has increased. So we eliminated positions we no longer need,” the spokesperson said.

The affected positions were in art production and sales support. New technology was one factor in the need for fewer people, the spokesperson said. The second and more significant factor was a change in how some markets are being served.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/575986_Clipper-Magazine-lays-off-40.html#ixzz1kikiyfBX

New Digitally Based Record Label Formed In Harrisburg

A new digitally based record label has been formed in Harrisburg by three friends with a passion for music and a desire to help local talent succeed.  Rock Paper Records will use the most current technology, including social media, to help their artists achieve notoriety and success.

Rock Paper Records offers management, development and viral/standard marketing strategies for their clients.  The trio brings 15 years of marketing, band management, operations, branding and tour management to the table.  This twenty something group, Jay Tran, Logan Betz and Sean Kunkle, are self-professed “music nerds” who love music and want to help “the little guy/gal” find success in the music industry.

Providing the best results at the lowest cost, having fun, helping the community and being environmentally conscious is the mantra for Rock Paper Records.

If you are a musician who would like to take your career to the next level, Rock Paper Records wants to help you get there.  Their goal is to get you to your musical goals!

Rock Paper Records is located at:

106 Calder Street, Harrisburg, PA 17012

Voice:  717-756-9890

Internet: http://www.rockpaperrecords.com

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/RockPaperRecords?v=info#info_edit_sections

Email and submissions:  info@rockpaperrecords.com / submissions@rockpaperrecords.com

Progressive Lancaster Takes Permit Parking Into The 21st Century

UPC-A barcode

Image via Wikipedia

Lancaster PA is a fairly progressive community that is embracing a modern technology to make permit parking easier for everyone.

Lancaster has 19 residential parking areas throughout the city.  Administration of the program is taking a giant leap forward that will make life better for everyone involved and save money.  Instead of issuing yearly parking stickers, the city will start issuing permanent parking stickers that will only need replaced if you sell your vehicle.  Most people keep a vehicle for at least four years so think of the savings right there!  There were nearly 2,500 stickers being issued every year.

The new stickers will be affixed to the right side of the vehicle’s rear window.  They will be round, orange and have a barcode.  The barcode will contain all the information parking enforcement needs to know about you and your vehicle.  This information will be available using the same technology as having your groceries scanned at the local supermarket.  Hand-held units will read the easy to find barcode and make enforcement a snap.

About 90 percent of all permit parking permit renewals have already been paid for 2011.  The low $20 fee pays for the administration of the program.  The fee has remained at $20 since 2003.

City Of Reading Buys iPads For Some Employees

iPad wordmark.

Image via Wikipedia

An interesting article from the Central Pennsylvania Business Journal about Reading buying 11 iPads for some city employees as a cost saving measure.  Make sure to read the comments.  I suppose this would be considered a one time investment and would pay for itself over time.

http://www.centralpennbusiness.com/index.php?showpage=bloglists&url=thegadgetcube/?p=529

Scranton Police Department Gets New Crime Fighting Software

Police officer of the United States Park Polic...

Image via Wikipedia

Scranton has purchased new software that will enable their police department to get a better handle on crime.  

For a very low price tag, $6,000, this software will enable police to do crime-mapping, tracking and facilitate anonymous tips from residents.  This sounds like something we could easily do in Pottstown.  The $6,000 price tag is a blip on our $3 million police budget. 

Anonymous tip reporting will get citizens more involved with law enforcement which is something that has been discussed here.  Citizens can get on their computer or phone, from the safety of their home, and report crimes or suspicious activity to the police.  It is completely anonymous.

The software pinpoints crimes on a map by location, type of crime and the time the crime was committed.  In Scranton’s case the data will go back as far as 2003!  What an awesome tool for such a rock-bottom price!  This technology will give police the opportunity to analyze trends and find creative ways to combat crime.

Scranton had a crime index in 2009 of 306.7, which is slightly below the US average of 319.2.  Pottstown had a crime index in 2009 of 454.7.  Scranton falls into the low category.  350 – 699 is considered moderate which is where Pottstown scores.  A score of 700 – 999 is considered high. 

The point of my comparison is that even with a lower crime rate; Scranton is being proactive and spending a few thousand dollars to reduce crime in their city with the use of technology.  It would seem this is something Pottstown should seriously consider.  I bet Scranton PD would give us a demo :)

Statistical information is from City-data.com

Chester’s $500 Million Dollar “Renaissance On The River”

PPL Park during the inaugural match between Ph...

Image via Wikipedia

It all began when PECO Energy closed its inefficient Delaware County Power Plant along the banks of the Delaware River in Chester.  The 400,000 square foot structure and the surrounding site needed some serious clean up.  After all, for most of the last century the 100 acre site was home to a huge coal to steam to electric power plant!  PECO sold 63 acres to Preferred Real Estate Investments (PREI).  They gave the City of Chester seven acres and PECO operates some small peak generating units and a substation on 20 acres.

PECO and PREI spent 1½ years and $10 million dollars on environmental clean up and demolition so that this structure could be turned into a mixed-use Class A office and retail space.  The Wharf at Rivertown is also located in a Keystone Opportunity Zone (KOZ) which gives amazing tax incentives to companies who open a business within its borders. (Pottstown has a KOZ off College Drive).  This project is an example of adaptive reuse.  From 10,000 tons of scrap metal to 20,000 tons of bricks (and everything in between) were recycled in this project.

This $60 million dollar project has 1.4 million square feet of space, two marinas, restaurants and a river walk.  Tenants include Wells Fargo, Synergy, AdminServer, Achristavest and the Power Home Remodeling Group

Also included within the larger Rivertown complex is the $120 million dollar, 18,500-seat, PPL Park.  PPL Park is the home of the Philadelphia Union, a Major League Soccer team, and was financed in part by a $25 million dollar economic revitalization package given by the state of Pennsylvania.  Chester also received another $7 million dollars from the state to be used towards a two-phase project in the Rivertown complex which includes 186 townhouses, 25 apartments, 335,000 square feet of office space, a 200,000 square-foot convention center, 20,000 square feet of retail space and a parking structure for 1,350 cars.  The second half of the project will include 200 apartments, 100,000 square feet of office space and 22,000 square feet of retail space.

The Pennsylvania State Corrections Institution Chester and the 100,000 square-foot Harrah’s Casino and Racetrack are also located within Rivertown.  Originally, this land was part of the Sun Shipbuilding Complex that at one time employed 40,000 people!

The Wharf at Rivertown has added 1,200 jobs to Chester.  It is expected to eventually add 2,500 jobs.  Other projects such as PPL Park, the prison and Harrah’s significantly add to that total.  PPL Park, which opened June 27, 2010, is seen as “the spark” that will ignite a full-scale renaissance of Pennsylvania’s first city, Chester.

Another benefit of this project is that a half mile of riverfront was opened back up to the community after nearly 100 years.

Sounds better than senior rental apartments, now doesn’t it!

Hat tip to Jeff Leflar for suggesting I write about this.