American, US Airways Announce $11 Billion Merger

London Heathrow Airport (LHR/EGLL), London Bor...

London Heathrow Airport (LHR/EGLL), London Borough of Hillingdon, London, United Kingdom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

DALLAS — American Airlines and US Airways have agreed to merge in an $11 billion deal that would create the world’s biggest airline.

The combined carrier will be called American Airlines but run by US Airways CEO Doug Parker.

The boards of the two airlines unanimously approved the deal late Wednesday, and the companies announced the agreement early Thursday.

The merger would reduce the number of major U.S. airlines to four: the new American, United, Delta and Southwest.

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Scranton’s Parking-Garage Rates Won’t Decrease; Chamber Seeks Parking Input

As Scranton leaders are considering increasing hours, days and rates of downtown parking meters, some business owners want to see the city’s parking-garage rates reduced.

However, the court-appointed receiver in charge of the garages and their rates, Mike Washo, said he has no plans to lower garage rates, because a reduction would drain revenue from the authority and further burden city taxpayers to fund any shortfall that may arise from reduced rates.

“We don’t believe that any reduction in parking garage rates at this time will generate additional customers to justify the reduction in rates,” Mr. Washo said. “At the end of the day, we’ll end up with less revenue.”

In recent weeks, a plan by Scranton’s mayor and city council to hire a private firm, Standard Parking, to manage the city’s on-street parking meters has raised numerous questions and concerns among downtown businesses, residents and council members.  Citing Standard Parking’s estimates, council members think the city can net an additional $1.8 million a year by switching parking-meter management from the inactive Scranton Parking Authority to Standard Parking.  Under this plan, which was tabled Feb. 7 by council, meter hours would extend from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.  Ten-hour meters also would increase from $1 an hour to $1.50 an hour.

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Lancaster Inter-Municipal Committee Down, Not Out

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

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

Editor’s note:  We are always saddened when parties leave the table, especially with something as an important as this.  Cooperation between the city and the suburbs leads to smart growth, regional planning, inter-municipal cooperation and the list goes on and on.  Manheim Township is the largest suburb of Lancaster so one would assume their dues had something to do with their size.  In any case, $22,000 is a blip on their budget so not seeing where this will be a huge help to taxpayers.

Lancaster city and three of its suburban townships cross paths in Bridgeport, the busy little crossroads just east of town.

Two major state roads — Route 340 and Route 462 — meet there, and there is plenty of housing and other growth putting more pressure on roads and water in that area, East Lampeter Township Supervisor John Blowers said.

So he’s glad his township is part of the Lancaster Inter-Municipal Committee, Blowers said Wednesday.

In coming years, whenever the city and East and West Lampeter and Lancaster townships sit down to talk about solutions in Bridgeport, “we’re going to have a history of having talked and having worked together” as fellow members of the LIMC, Blowers said.

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Pottstown AFSCME Contract Extended A Year, Excludes Code Inspectors

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

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

Editor’s note:  I would get my resume updated and start looking for a new job…just sayin’….  As for the tardiness of the Codes Department review by Remington, Vernick and Beach, are we really surprised?  I hope not.  Another day in paradise.

POTTSTOWN — With a 5-0 vote Monday night, borough council approved a one-year extension of the contract with the union which represents borough hall, public works and parks and recreation workers.

However, it does not include the borough’s code enforcement officers.

With Councilman Joe Kirkland and Councilwoman Carole Kulp absent, the remaining council members supported the motion to extend the contract, which was recommended by Borough Manager Mark Flanders and Borough Solicitor Charles D. Garner Jr., the borough’s primary negotiators.

According to the information provided to council, the extension means no change in wages or health care contributions for either side.

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Route 222 Plans Accelerating

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

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

It’s the snippet of Berks County where time appears to stop, and progress means inching forward in a line of brake lights that doesn’t seem to end.

Drivers and public officials in Berks have complained for years that the northern part of Route 222 – particularly the 7-mile stretch between the so-called Road to Nowhere expressway in Ontelaunee Township and the start of the Kutztown bypass in Richmond Township – is a commuting nightmare.  It’s also a safety hazard and a roadblock to economic growth.

But that could all change if Pennsylvania’s coffers for road projects get a little fill-up, PennDOT says.

The agency has committed to making Route 222 a four-lane highway from Reading to Kutztown if legislators adopt Gov. Tom Corbett’s plan to boost transportation funds through increases in wholesale gasoline taxes and structural changes to PennDOT.

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Boyertown School Board OKs Preliminary Budget, Will Apply For Tax-Hike Exceptions

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

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

Boyertown School Board members voted 7-1 to adopt a $95.58 million preliminary budget for 2013-14, but not without airing concerns about tax hikes.

Before passing the preliminary budget Tuesday, the board voted 6-2 to pursue exceptions to exceed the state’s Act 1 index, which would otherwise cap the tax increase at 2.1 percent.

Ruth A. Dierolf and Joseph Nichols voted against pursuing exceptions, which would allow tax hikes as high as 3 percent and 2.4 percent in Berks and Montgomery counties, respectively.

The increases would raise annual taxes on properties assessed at $100,000 by $67 in Berks and by $55 in Montgomery.

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Warren Buffett Part Of Group To Buy Heinz For $23 Billion

NEW YORK — H.J. Heinz Co. has agreed to be acquired by an investment group including billionaire investor Warren Buffett in a deal valued at $23.3 billion.

The ketchup company says it’s the largest deal ever in the food industry.  Heinz shareholders will receive $72.50 in cash for each share of common stock they own.  The transaction value includes the assumption of Heinz’s debt. Based on Heinz’s number of shares outstanding, the deal is worth $23.3 billion excluding debt.

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