Atlantic City’s Aging Casinos, Storm Aftermath And A Glut Of Gambling Capacity Spell Trouble

English: Picture of the Tropicana from the Boa...

English: Picture of the Tropicana from the Boardwalk. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ATLANTIC CITY — Can this casino resort be saved?

Over Memorial Day weekend, it was easy to see all is not well here.  Eight of the 12 casinos predate the mid-1980s — carpets are grungy, paint is chipping off the walls, and far fewer employees are working the gaming floors.

As the sun broke through after a blustery Friday and Saturday, the Sunday crowds picked up on the Boardwalk. By midafternoon, it teemed with strollers and patrons at the outdoor restaurants.

But parking was available at several casino garages, a telltale sign it was not the hoped-for blockbuster weekend.  Business volume varied among properties.

At the newer Borgata, for example, there was a waiting list in the poker room and a steady stream of traffic throughout the casino.  At the barely year-old Revel, which just emerged from bankruptcy and opened new smoking lounges Friday, the sixth-floor casino parking level was filled with cars for the first time.  At dowdy Trump Plaza, meanwhile, an older generation half-filled the intimate gaming floor, and people in their 20s and 30s packed its outdoor beach bar.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/atlantic-citys-aging-casinos-storm-aftermath-and-a-glut-of-gambling-capacity-spell-trouble-689842/#ixzz2UsvznxAo

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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

Montco Chef To Appear On ‘Food Network Star’

English: Logo for Food Network

English: Logo for Food Network (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

AMBLER, PA — One local man will be cooking up quite a bit of national attention for the area now that he’s earned a spot as a contestant on a new reality show this summer.

Chad Rosenthal, 37, of Ambler, has been chosen to appear as a contestant on the Food Network’s ninth season of the “Food Network Star” competition, which begins airing Sunday, June 2, at 9 p.m.

Featuring celebrity judge mentors Alton Brown, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis, the show pits 12 contestants against one another in a series of weekly challenges for a chance to earn their own television show on the channel.

Born and raised in Upper Dublin, Rosenthal said he’s putting his hopes for stardom on his highly popular barbecue comfort food-style menu.  The owner of the former Rosie’s restaurants in Jenkintown and Ambler said patrons said his face belonged on the small screen.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130531/ENTERTAINMENT01/130539895/montco-chef-to-appear-on-food-network-star-#full_story

Labor Board Sides With Reading Teachers: District Negotiators Had Conflict

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

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

The state Labor Relations Board has ruled in favor of the city’s teachers union in a claim against the Reading School District.

The Reading Education Association had filed an unfair labor practice in February 2012, claiming two board members formerly on the district’s negotiation team should be removed.

The union claimed that Karen H. McCree should be barred from negotiations because she is a member of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, the Reading union’s parent organization.  McCree works for the Delaware County Intermediate Unit.

Robert F. Heebner Jr. should be taken off the negotiation team, the union claimed, because as a former Reading teacher he was a member of the Reading Education Association.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=481952

Detroit’s Davos: Op-Ed Piece From The NY Times

Map of Michigan

Map of Michigan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ONCE a year, business and political leaders from metropolitan Detroit travel to an island resort that bans all motorized vehicles and talk about the regional economy.

For me, memories of childhood vacations at that resort, Mackinac Island — the ferry ride, the fudge shops, the horse-drawn carriages — are primarily olfactory.  In the unlikely event I’m ever again hit with the dueling scents of confectioner’s exhaust and horse manure, it would probably trigger some kind of Proustian flashback.

For years, Michigan’s business community seemed bent on flashbacks of its own, to the days when the Big Three automakers towered arrogantly from the safe confines of an insular culture.  But now its buzzwords are “innovation,” “entrepreneurship” and a “21st-century global market.”  This week’s Mackinac Policy Conference has positioned itself as a sort of Midwestern Davos, with a roster of marquee speakers, including Michelle Rhee, Jeb Bush and the hosts of “Morning Joe.”

The topic on everyone’s mind will be the fate of Detroit, which was placed under state control in March by Gov. Rick Snyder.  The governor, a Republican, is attending the conference, and four of the candidates running for mayor in November are scheduled to speak there today — among them, the front-runners: the excellently named former police chief Benny Napoleon, and Mike Duggan, who has a serious shot at becoming the first white mayor of Detroit in 40 years.

Read more:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/30/opinion/detroits-davos.html?_r=0

Man Admits Robbing, Beating Three Elderly Mennonite Women; Charge Of Ethnic Intimidation Dropped

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

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

Dereck Taylor Holt, well-spoken, polite and intelligent, pleaded guilty this morning to what he called “utterly loathsome actions” at the home of three elderly sisters in December.

Holt quoted C.S. Lewis, apologized to the victims and blamed prescription drugs for warping his mind during an elegant 5-minute statement before Lancaster County President Judge Joseph Madenspacher.

“I’m not a heartless being.  I’m not an empty carcass incapable of contributing to society,” Holt, 24, told the judge.  “But I can’t defend these actions.

“This was the culmination of a long, two-year addiction to substances.  These actions wouldn’t have happened without my alarming abuse of mind-altering prescription medication.”

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/855631_Man-admits-robbing–beating-three-elderly-Mennonite–women–charge-of-ethnic-intimidation-dropped.html#ixzz2UnI0JpjU

Surveillance System Change At Wilkes-Barre Garage Draws Rave From Board Member

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE — An upgrade to a fiber-optic connection improved the Hawkeye Security Solutions cameras in the Park & Lock East garage, said a member of the board of the nonprofit corporation overseeing the operation of the city’s surveillance system.

The switch from copper wire cost about $2,000 for hardware to make the connection, said Lou Lau, a Hawkeye board member and Wilkes-Barre city employee, at the board’s regular monthly meeting on Wednesday.  “The improvement there is fantastic,” Lau said.

The garage is located on the corner of North Washington and East Market streets, across from City Hall.

The Wilkes-Barre Parking Authority’s two other garages, Park & Lock Central and North, have wireless connections.  The Intermodal garage, operated by the city, should have more than 60 cameras operational in another month.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/555670/W-B-Hawkeye-upgrade-praised

Pennsylvania’s Bad Roads Costly To Drivers

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and ...

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and roads (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Two out of every three major urban roads in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre region are in poor or mediocre condition, underscoring the transportation dilemma the state faces, according to a report released Wednesday by a national transportation organization.

And using those roads is costing the average driver an additional $1,320 per year in extra vehicle operating costs as a result of driving on roads in need of repair, lost time and fuel due to congestion-related delays.

The report, “Future Mobility in Pennsylvania: The Cost of Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Pennsylvania:

• Thirty seven percent of major roads and highways provide motorists with a rough ride.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/554650/Pa.s-bad-roads-costly-to-drivers

Jobs In Lehigh Valley Hit New Peak

After more than three years of sluggish job growth, the Lehigh Valley has replaced all of the roughly 25,000 jobs wiped out during the country’s worst economic crisis in generations.

The region had 351,400 jobs in April, a new high, according to data released Wednesday by the state Department of Labor and Industry.  The old record of 350,200 was set in June 2007, just before the Great Recession hit, bringing 2 1/2 years of plant closures and cutbacks that put the local labor market in a tailspin.

The number of jobs in the Valley hit a recessionary low of 324,700 in January 2010 and has since been slowly recovering.

The private sector is driving job growth.  Gains in warehousing, tourism and business services were partially offset by cuts in government and public school jobs.  Warehousing and business services — a broad jobs category that includes bookkeepers, janitors, landscapers and engineers — both hit new highs in April.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-lehigh-valley-jobs-april-20130529,0,2958420.story

Allentown’s City Center Gets NIZ Pay Day Of $14.4 Million

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) i...

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) is the tallest building in Allentown, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Close to half of the $31.8 million in mostly state tax dollars swept up by Allentown‘s arena zone last year will go to the private developer erecting an 11-story office building across Seventh Street from the arena.

City Center Investment Corp. will get $14.4 million of the tax dollars generated by its projects to put toward its construction and land acquisition loans.  The Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone Development Authority will get $17.4 million to pay its debt for building PPL Center.

About $2 million would go into state coffers from a part of the city that is estimated to have been generating $22 million in state money before the Neighborhood Improvement Zone was created.

The figures were released Wednesday by ANIZDA Executive Director Sara Hailstone, a month after The Morning Call filed a Right-to-Know request for the information, which was compiled April 6 by authority consultants Compass Point and Concannon Miller.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-allentown-arena-zone-tax-dollars-20130529,0,4840494.story

Wendy’s Plans Pretzel Burger?!

Wendy's 02

Wendy’s 02 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s a fast-food idea that might make Philadelphia mouths water:

Wendy‘s is planning to serve a burger with a soft-pretzel-like roll.

“The Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger” is already “the buzz of fast food,” says USA Today.

“This could be a very, very big deal,” Boston University hospitality professor Christopher Muller is quoted as saying.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/food/20130530_Wendys_plans_pretzel_burger__.html#kleZcxS8kcuL1bkj.99

Bathtub Death Likely Accidental, Officials Say

Julia Papazian Law probably drowned in a bathtub, perhaps after a seizure, according to two law enforcement officials familiar with the investigation.

The tentative finding may sweep aside some of the speculation surrounding the death of the 26-year-old paralegal, found facedown Saturday morning in the Center City apartment belonging to her boss, defense attorney A. Charles Peruto Jr.

No drugs or alcohol were found at the scene, the room was undisturbed, and the liquor closet was closed, the officials said.  Nothing, they said, seemed out of place.

Investigators cannot be certain of the cause of death until they review toxicology reports, which are pending.  But they said Law had been frothing at the mouth, which they said seemed to indicate a seizure.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/breaking/20130530_Woman_in_bathtub_death_was_loving__vibrant__emotionally_vulnerable__family_says.html#1CTE0zlIUp0FjfHt.99

Birdsboro Man Pleads Guilty To Attempted Murder, Sex Assault, Attempting To Hire Hit Man

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

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

READING — The Berks County man accused of shooting a Limerick fire official in the head, sexually assaulting a minor and attempting to hire a hit man from jail to eliminate witnesses plead guilty to all charges against him on Wednesday.

Christopher Yingling, 43, of Birdsboro, received no special agreements in exchange for his guilty pleas and will spend the next 27 to 70 years in jail for his crimes, according to the Berks County District Attorney’s office.

“Given the brazenness of his crimes and the harm that he caused his victims, we are pleased with what is effectively a life sentence for the defendant,” said Berks County Assstant District Attorney Jesse Leisawitz in a statement late Wednesday night.

Berks County Common Pleas Court Judge Stephen B. Lieberman was scheduled to preside over Yingling’s trial.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130530/NEWS01/130529129/birdsboro-man-pleads-guilty-to-attempted-murder-sex-assault-attempting-to-hire-hit-man#full_story

Pottstown Relay For Life Kicks Off 16th Year Saturday

POTTSTOWN — The annual Relay for Life, a 24 hour walk to help raise money for cancer research, is right around the corner and this year will be packed full of activities that will help honor those who have fought back against cancer.

The huge event will start a 10 a.m. Saturday with the opening ceremonies and end on Sunday at 10 a.m.  The day-long event will be heralded in with Celtic pipes and drums along with the Springford Vocal Ensemble.

This year, 129 teams will cheer on the survivors in attendance as they take the first lap around the Pottsgrove High School track to kick off one of the highest grossing relays in the nation.

In its 16th year, the Pottstown relay has been ranked the fifth largest relay out of the 5,100 worldwide, according to Susan Schafer, a representative with the Pottstown Relay for Life.  As of Monday night, 1,966 participants have raised $352,590.62 and that number will rise because the last day to stop raising money is Aug. 31.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130530/NEWS01/130539985/pottstown-relay-for-life-kicks-off-16th-year-saturday#full_story

Pottstown Dragon Boat Team To Compete In Philly Regatta

POTTSTOWN — The first Pottstown team to compete in the Independence Dragon Boat Regatta in Philadelphia isn’t looking to just be an also-ran this weekend.

“The coaches who do this for a living and are involved with Boathouse Row have given a lot of positive feedback about our team,” said Rob Matthews, the owner of Crossfit Pottstown where the 20 rowers train.  “If we can get their timing right, they’re going to be competitive.”

June 1 will mark the seventh annual regatta featuring 30 feet long boats with dragon faces, tails and paint jobs one might associate more with a Viking invasion than the Schuylkill River.

Beginning at 8 a.m., teams will begin the 500 meter races.  Each team participates in a qualifying heat,which determines what category the team races in.  The next round will take the top two boats from each heat and put them into a final race that will determine the winner.  A consolation race comprised of the boats that came in third and fourth in the semifinals also takes place.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130530/NEWS01/130529127/pottstown-dragon-boat-team-to-compete-in-philly-regatta#full_story

Postal Service Is On Its Last Legs, With Little Help In Sight

English: U.S. Post Office Lincoln Branch in Ma...

English: U.S. Post Office Lincoln Branch in Madison Township near Mansfield, Ohio. This United States Postal Service branch closed its doors at 4:30 p.m. on Friday February 11, 2011 due to the fiscal crisis that the United States Postal Service is in as of 2010-2011 and the drastic decline in mail volume. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON — With a wide grin and a quick step, letter carrier Kenny Clark brings more than the day’s mail to the people on his route in suburban Maryland.

Clark, 49, greets nearly everyone he sees by name. He puts packages under eaves on overcast days to keep them dry, reminds people to retrieve keys they might have left in keyholes, and shouts a quick “You OK?” at the doors of seniors.

“He’s a neighborhood icon — him and his truck,” said Amy Dick, who lives on Clark’s route.

But his future, and that of the U.S. Postal Service, is in doubt. The Postal Service lost $1.9 billion between January and March, and $15.9 billion last year. The 238-year-old institution loses $25 million each day, and has reached its borrowing limit with the federal Treasury. Daily mail delivery could be threatened within a year, officials say.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/la-na-postal-service-20130528,0,4812985.story

United Way Of Greater Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey

2-1-1

2-1-1 is a free, easy-to-remember phone number that connects people with important health and human services in their communities.

Help is available by phone seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. by dialing 2-1-1 or 866-964-7922 and 24 hours a day by visiting www.211sepa.org.

Callers can connect to:

Basic Human Needs Resources: food banks, shelters, rent assistance, utility assistance

Physical and Mental Health Resources: crisis intervention services, support groups, counseling

Employment Supports: financial assistance, job training and education programs

Support for Older Adults and Persons with Disabilities: Meals on Wheels, home health care, transportation, homemaker services

Support for Children, Youth and Families: childcare, after school programs, summer camps and recreation programs, mentoring, tutoring, protective services

Regional disaster preparation and response organizations

YWCA Tri-County Area Summer Outdoor Camp

June 24th through August 30th

Fernbrook Access Park in North Coventry

A Full Day School-Age Care Program

For Ages 6 to 12 –   $155.00/week

Transportation Provided

Subsidized families – call your case manager

YWCA Phone – (610) 323-1888, Renee Spaide, Child Care Director

New Pottstown Targeted Home Improvement Assistance Program

Genesis Housing Corporation

The new program offers small dollar grants and/or small dollar, low interest loans to resident homeowners meeting the eligibility requirements for owner-occupied properties located within the targeted neighborhoods. Examples of eligible work are roofs, windows, heaters, sewer lines, electrical upgrades and other general home repairs.

The eligible Pottstown neighborhoods are:
Schuylkill River to High St, Manatawny St. to Washington St.;

High St. to Beech St., Manatawny St. to Warren St.; and

Beech St to Wilson St., Hanover St. / Farmington to Adams St.

Applications are available by calling 610-275-4357, or on our website atwww.genesishousing.org or via email at info@genesishousing.org.