Downtown Lancaster Marriott’s Owner Proposes 96-Room, $23M Expansion

Lancaster MarriottThe math is simple.

If the Lancaster County Convention Center wants to attract bigger numbers of large conventions, it needs bigger numbers of nearby, convention-quality hotel rooms.

And right now, despite 299 rooms in the adjoining Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square, plus 134 more at The Hotel Lancaster two blocks away, research studies show that downtown is coming up short.

But a new proposal by the Marriott’s owner would make the convention center more appealing to the organizers of these big events.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/downtown-marriott-s-owner-proposes–room-m-expansion/article_b1b39a1e-a8da-11e4-b47b-3bbb05f76f38.html

Advertisements

Scranton Councilman Worries New Union Contract Ties Hands In Exiting Act 47

Scranton could have a difficult time shedding its distressed city status because of the pay raises and other perks in the revised police contract, a city councilman warned.

The city has until 2020 to successfully exit the state’s Act 47 financially distressed municipalities program. The new seven-year police contract approved by a split city council Thursday and signed by Mayor Bill Courtright Friday will hinder the city because the contract locks in pay raises and benefits beyond 2020, said Councilman Bill Gaughan.

He questioned whether the contract extension would “tie the city’s hands” by eliminating the possibility of negotiating in 2017 savings in a new police contract, while at the same time locking in raises and benefits a year beyond the Act 47 deadline of 2020.

Mr. Courtright disagreed that the contract extension will make it more difficult for the city to successfully exit Act 47.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/city-councilman-worries-new-union-contract-ties-hands-in-exiting-act-47-1.1825840

BNY Mellon Is Putting Iconic Citizens Bank Tower Up For Sale

The Citizens Bank Tower, an iconic building that was one of Pittsburgh’s first skyscrapers and remains among the tallest in its skyline, is up for sale as its owner hopes to capitalize on intense interest for Downtown office space.

Owner Bank of New York Mellon is shopping the building as part of plans to scale back its real estate footprint to cut costs. No price has been set, nor has the bank identified a broker to represent the property, said spokeswoman Lane Cigna.

However, BNY Mellon is eager to take advantage of a hot market in Pittsburgh.

“There is a lot of outside interest in Pittsburgh in terms of the market itself. If you’re an astute real estate investor, you see the building that’s going on,” she said. “It’s really good timing to start to market this.”

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/7665873-74/mellon-bank-bny#ixzz3QMvNTJPU
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Montgomery County Community College Receives $2 Million For Workforce Development Programs

Represents largest private gift ever to the College

PHOTO: Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) announced the receipt of the largest private gift in its history—$2 million from the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC)—during a celebration on Jan. 30. Making the announcement were (from left) Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh; MCCC Nursing student Mis Kulsum; MCCC President Dr. Karen A. Stout; MCCC Engineering Science student Nick Silva; Montgomery County Commissioner Chairman Josh Shapiro; and MCCC Board of Trustees Chairman Michael J. D’Aniello. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

PHOTO: Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) announced the receipt of the largest private gift in its history—$2 million from the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC)—during a celebration on Jan. 30. Making the announcement were (from left) Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh; MCCC Nursing student Mis Kulsum; MCCC President Dr. Karen A. Stout; MCCC Engineering Science student Nick Silva; Montgomery County Commissioner Chairman Josh Shapiro; and MCCC Board of Trustees Chairman Michael J. D’Aniello. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Blue Bell, Pa.—The Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) presented a check today for $ 2 million to Montgomery County Community College (MCCC), the largest private gift ever given to the College.

The $2 million gift will establish an endowment within the College’s Foundation. Annual interest from the endowment will fund workforce development programs and scholarships for students pursuing high-demand industries that support the continued prosperity of the County and its citizens.

“This is a gift that will keep on giving,” said Montgomery County Community College President Dr. Karen A. Stout. “The gift provides important new dollars to ensure student access to education and training programs that build the workforce pipeline in key areas.”

The gift comes as the result of an April 24, 2014 vote by the MCEDC Board of Trustees to dissolve the private, independent nonprofit organization and distribute some of its assets to the Montgomery County Development Corporation (MCDC) and the College to create efficiency in the administration of the County’s economic development programs. The selection of the College as a recipient of these funds reflects the College’s strong relationships with the County and business community as well as its past success in workforce development.

MCEDC has requested that the College leverage its gift by raising an additional $2 million in matching funds.

The endowment created by the MCEDC gift and matching funds from the challenge will support workforce projects at the College such as:

  • Seed money for new programs and student scholarships in critical health sciences fields and other high-demand industries such as culinary arts, entrepreneurship, biotechnology, information technology, and environmental studies;
  • Funding for innovative incumbent worker training to attract and retain businesses in the County; and
  • Stipends for books, transportation, and childcare for veterans pursuing their education in high-demand or STEM fields, or for use of the College’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies incubator to start a business.

“Montgomery County is strongest when we create an atmosphere to promote job growth, while at the same time having well-trained individuals to fill those positions,” said Josh Shapiro, chair of the County Board of Commissioners.  “The generosity of MCEDC and the proven ability of Montgomery County Community College to create programs to answer the needs of its students and our workforce will help ensure a bright economic future for our county.”

“The MCEDC gift sets a great example we can build on,” Stout added. “We know that our tuition, while affordable, is not within financial reach for some residents in our area. For a long time, our focus was not on private fundraising. By establishing a tradition of philanthropy, Montgomery County Community College can achieve even greater progress in our workforce development efforts.”

To address the nearly $20 million in unmet student financial needs, the College launched the $9 million Futures Rising Campaign in November, during its 50th Anniversary year. This first-ever comprehensive campaign is designed to support student success, beginning with scholarships that broaden access to this education. The MCEDC gift is the largest the Campaign has received.

The gift recognizes the longstanding productive relationship between the County and the College and their joint ability to align training to business needs. One of only 50 institutions in the nation to offer training through the Global Corporate College international network, MCCC’s Center for Workforce Development partners with dozens of businesses annually to provide training.

The College recently added a Pennsylvania Real Estate Pre-licensing Fast Track Program and a Medical Office Assistant course, in addition to new certificate programs in Fall 2014 in the high-demand occupations of Biotechnology/ Biomanufacturing, Cloud Computing, Cyber Security, and an expanded Dental certificate. Currently under development are training programs for Physical and Occupational Therapy Assistants.

About Montgomery County Community College

Since its founding in 1964, Montgomery County Community College has grown with the community to meet the evolving educational and workforce development needs of Montgomery County. The College’s comprehensive curriculum includes 100+ associate degree/certificate programs, as well as specialized workforce development training and certifications. Students enjoy the flexibility of learning at the College’s thriving campuses in Blue Bell and Pottstown, online through an extensive array of e-Learning options, and at the Culinary Arts Institute in Lansdale. The College also offers first-responder training programs at the Public Safety Training Campus in Conshohocken. Supporting its mission to offer high-quality, affordable and accessible educational opportunities, the College is funded by the County, the State, student tuition and private contributions. Governed by a 15-person Board of Trustees appointed by the Montgomery County Commissioners, the College is fully accredited by the Commission of Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.

For more information, visit http://www.mc3.edu

Borough Of Pottstown & Pottstown School District Joint Meeting On Fair Funding For Schools

Join us at a joint meeting of the Pottstown School Board and Borough Council on Thursday, January 29th, 7:00 pm at Rupert Elementary School. Mr. Larry Feinberg, a member of the State Circuit Riders team, will talk and answer questions about what is being done to bring fair funding to public education. Hear what your elected officials from both the School Board and the Borough have to say about the issues. Before the meeting, a tour of Rupert will be given at 6:30 pm. See links below for more information.

Wellness Council Of Boyertown Presents The 10th Annual Wellness Fair​

WHEN: SATURDAY MARCH 21, 2015, 10AM – 1PM

WHERE: BOYERTOWN AREA SR. HIGH SCHOOL COMMONS, BEAR AND CUB GYMS

Click here for all the details:  http://www.boyertownwellness.com/wellness-fair.html

U.S. Steel Posts Strong Fourth Quarter

U.S. Steel today reported a fourth quarter profit of $275 million, capping its first profitable year since 2008.

The earnings, which amounted to $1.83 per share, topped Wall Street estimates. Sales fell 5 percent to $4.07 billion but also topped estimates.

The news sent U.S. Steel shares higher in after-hours trading.

For all of 2014, the Pittsburgh steel producer reported net income of $102 million, or 69 cents per share, vs. a 2013 loss of $1.65 billion, or $11.37 per share. Sales rose less than 1 percent to $17.51 billion.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2015/01/27/U-S-Steel-posts-strong-fourth-quarter/stories/201501270204

The 10 Best Cities For Millennial Renters – And The Five Worst

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) — Chew on this: in much of the country, it is cheaper to own than to rent. Read that again. A RealtyTrac survey of some 473 U.S. counties found that in 68% it is cheaper to buy than to rent. But there is a big exception. In many of the counties that are most attractive to Millennials, renting is significantly cheaper. That makes sense, because, so far, Millennials are shaping up as renters, and they are delaying home purchases.

Per RealtyTrac numbers, in the 25 counties with the biggest jump in Millennial population in the period 2007 to 2013, fair market rental rates for a three bedroom dwelling average 30% of household income. Buying in those markets requires 36% of household income. In some markets, the spreads are even greater. Renting in Hudson County, N.J. – directly across from Manhattan, in Hoboken, Jersey City, Weehawken, etc. – runs around 33% of median household income. Buying takes a much bigger bite, around 47% of income to purchase a median priced home. Hudson County, by the way, ranks sixth in RealtyTrac’s tally of the places with the biggest influx of Millennials. Millennial population there grew by 35.67% in the 2007 to 2013 period.

Where else exactly are Millennials flocking? And where are they fleeing? Note: it is not cheap just about anywhere. RealtyTrac analysis pegs the average fair market rent in the top 25 counties for Millennials at $1,459. That’s 19% above the national average. But some towns that draw Millennials are dramatically more affordable than many others.

Read more: http://business-news.thestreet.com/philly/story/the-10-best-cities-millennial-renters-and-the-five-worst/1?page=1

Six Montgomery County Townships Ranked As Safest Places In Pennsylvania

Lower Salford Township, Franconia Township, Upper Gwynedd Township and Towamencin Township are among the safest municipalities in Pennsylvania, according to a real estate company that examined recent crime statistics in the state.

The 2015 edition of Movoto Real Estate’s annual “Safest Places in Pennsylvania” list names Lower Salford as the sixth-safest area, with Franconia at #15, Upper Gwynedd at #31, Upper Dublin at #36, Towamencin at #41 and Upper Providence (Montco) at #49.

Those rankings are based on numbers taken from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s 2013 Uniform Crime Report — the most recent statistics available — indicating the amount of murders, violent crimes and property crimes for places in Pennsylvania with populations over 10,000 that reported data to the FBI that year, according to Movoto.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20150127/six-montgomery-county-townships-ranked-as-safest-places-in-pennsylvania

U.S. Steel Warns It May Lay Off Almost 2,000

U.S. Steel Corp. said it will curtail production at pipe-making plants in Alabama and Texas and may lay off almost 2,000 workers because of “softening market conditions” in the oil and gas industries.

The Downtown-based steelmaker said late Monday that it would “temporarily adjust operations” at Lone Star Tubular Operations in Texas, Fairfield Tubular Operations in Fairfield, Ala., and Fairfield Works, the primary flat-roll supplier of rounds to Fairfield Tubular Operations.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/7645142-74/fairfield-operations-steel#ixzz3PyOuMJ4S
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Wilkes-Barre Among Nation’s ‘Cheapest’ College Towns, According To New Study

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Tuition, books and direct spending aside, Wilkes-Barre is among the 30 cheapest places to go to college nationwide, according to a new analysis. The big reason: Housing is dirt cheap — about 30 percent of the national average.

Wilkes-Barre was 26th in the list, which was topped — or bottomed, cost-wise — by Memphis Tennessee, where the overall cost of living is 26.7 percent less than the national average. Don’t bother asking for the college town with the highest cost of living; the website that devised the list is, after all, cheapestcolleges.org.

Wilkes-Barre’s overall cost of living was 79.8 percent of the national average, But a look at the numbers under that percentage show we aren’t all that cheap in most categories.

Of six categories used to judge the cost of living, Wilkes-Barre is higher than the national average in four — miscellaneous, transportation, utilities, and groceries — and just under the national average (97 percent) in health costs. But, boy, do we make up for it housing.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/151499742/

“Malls Have Been A Dying Thing For Us”: Who’ll Replace RadioShack?

Radio Shack has been trying to close more than 1,000 of its 5,000 stores for the past year; its lenders are resisting; bankruptcy threatens.

Meantime other retailers are weighing whether Radio Shack sites — 29 in Philadelphia and its nearby suburbs, a total of 130 from Wilmington to Princeton, each about 2,000-2,700 sq ft — would make good lunch spots, phone stores, massage salons.

“We have a lease” to take over a Philadelphia-area Radio Shack — he won’t say which, it’s still open — and are negotiating for others in Boston, Atlanta, Miami, and Austin, Tex., Todd Leff, CEO of Hand and Stone Massage and Facial Spas, a 200-store franchise chain based in Hamilton Township, N.J., told me.  Hand and Stone says it has 35 locations in the Philadelphia area and South Jersey, and plans up to 15 more. Each store employs 30, including therapists and aestheticians for massage and skin care. Hour-long treatments cost $49-99.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/inq-phillydeals/Malls-have-been-a-dying-thing-for-us-Wholl-replace-RadioShack.html#i6EFp5ErOlAswsiP.99

Quake Strikes Near Downingtown

A minor earthquake occurred near Downingtown on Sunday evening, possibly triggered by activity at a nearby quarry, Columbia University scientists said Monday.

The magnitude of the quake was measured at 2.7 and there were no reports of damage or injury, according to Patty Mains, a spokeswoman for the Chester County Department of Emergency Services.

The quake occurred at 6:25 p.m. Sunday with an epicenter located in the north end of East Bradford Township – about a mile south of a quarry owned by Lehigh Hanson Inc. in East Caln Township.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/science/20150127_Quake_strikes_near_Downingtown.html#eWi4ibY3dzB4vvkJ.99

Monessen Teenager Charged In Arson Spree

Monessen police have accused a 17-year-old boy of setting or attempting to set three fires Jan. 16 and 17.

The boy, who was charged as a juvenile and has not been identified, lives near the fire scenes, according to court documents.

The first fire occurred Jan. 16 at a building on 10th Street. No charges have been filed in that incident.

While firefighters were battling that blaze, the boy allegedly set a building on fire at 1220 Knox Ave.

Read more: http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yourmonvalley/yourmonvalleymore/7627912-74/fire-police-street#ixzz3PlY0ur7R
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Two Nabbed In Wilkes-Barre Drug Raid; Home Shut Down

Two men face multiple drug charges following a raid at a Wilkes-Barre home on Thursday.

Wilkes-Barre police and state police executed a search warrant at 284 N. Washington St. at about 12:30 p.m. Thursday, police said in a news release.

Police said they found “distribution quantities” of cocaine, heroin and marijuana in the home and arrested Louis Soto, 25, and Brian Lulewicz, 30. The men were taken into custody without incident, police said. An investigation by city and state police revealed that the two men were selling large quantities of heroin and cocaine from the residence and were armed, according to police.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/two-nabbed-in-w-b-drug-raid-home-shut-down-1.1822054

Plans To Transform Underperforming Burlington Mall

Over the next two to three months, officials in Burlington Township will be getting architectural and civil engineering drawings of what the new Marketplace at Burlington – formerly Burlington Center Mall – will look like, as well as a count of the traffic it is hoped it will generate.

By mid-spring of next year, owner Moonbeam Capital Investments L.L.C. of Las Vegas says, groundbreaking will begin to convert the underperforming mall into a must-see destination off Exit 47A of I-295 for shopping, dining, and entertainment.

If all goes as planned, the $230 million-plus phased conversion will also include manicured green spaces with benches and fountains that seamlessly tie a traditional mall with an open-air town center.

The full build-out is expected to take from two to three years and will be done in stages. The mall will stay open the entire time.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20150124_Plans_to_transform_underperforming_Burlington_mall.html#ryTRJvJqSdssWhue.99

Job Seekers Connection Improve Your Employability Skills

WHO:  Anyone looking for extra help with their job search

WHEN:  Wednesday evenings from 6:00pm to 8:00pm starting January 21st

WHERE:  YWCA Tri-County Area Adult Literacy Center, 1830 East High Street, Pottstown

WHAT:  A helpful supportive environment where you can get your resume revised, learn how to write cover letters, start and internet-based job search, maximize your visibility and talk to individuals from business and industry to aid in targeting your job search.

WHY:  Because you are not alone in your job search!

HOW TO CONTACT US:  (610) 326-7323

Philadelphia Region Braces For More Snow

The Philadelphia area is preparing for another round of snow to hit during the night.

The snowfall would be the second the area has seen this week, an unusual occurrence in a winter that’s been nearly snow-free thus far.

The biggest threat appears to be hazardous driving conditions overnight, from around midnight through around 6 a.m. Saturday, with snow, ice and a wintry mix threatening to hit much of eastern Pennsylvania and non-coastal parts of New Jersey.

Transportation officials were gearing up for plowing and salting operations. PennDot was warning motorists that clearing roads during a storm was a time-consuming operation, and drivers should use caution.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150124_Philadelphia_region_braces_for_more_snow.html#oKKHbQdlhTVGVMZ0.99