Wolf’s Pick To Lead Pennsylvania State Police Draws Ire Over Wearing Uniform On Job

HARRISBURG — Col. Marcus Brown, Gov. Tom Wolf’s choice to lead the state police, has served as a patrol officer, a SWAT commander and the second-in-command of the Baltimore police.

He has led the Maryland Transportation Authority and the Maryland State Police.

But since his swearing-in on the day of Mr. Wolf’s inauguration, a group of retired troopers has taken exception to his decision to don the gray uniform of the Pennsylvania State Police.

They post on a Facebook page created to protest his wearing of the uniform, and encourage others to contact state senators, who must confirm Col. Brown, 50, as state police commissioner. In interviews, retired troopers said their questions are not limited to the uniform but extend to other issues, such as an association with then-Gov. Martin O’Malley’s push for gun-control measures. (Col. Brown has said he supports the Second Amendment and that there are no firearm proposals on the Pennsylvania agenda.)

Read more:

http://www.post-gazette.com/news/state/2015/02/23/Wear-suit-not-state-police-uniform-retired-troopers-tell-nominee/stories/201502230017

Study Ranks York Area High As Location For Distribution Centers

A new report gives the York area high marks as a place for locating a distribution center.

Access to a rail line and the Port of Baltimore and comparatively low labor costs make the area one of the best places in the U.S. for siting a distribution center, according to a report from The Boyd Company, a Princeton, N.J.-based firm that advises companies on where they should locate.

The study comes after Target Corp. selected West Manchester Township earlier this month as the site for a massive facility to fill orders for its online customers. And auto parts maker Federal-Mogul is locating a distribution center in a new 708,000 square-foot building Chicago development firm First Industrial Realty Trust built in Manchester Township near Exit 24 on Interstate 83..

York does well when it comes to attracting such facilities “and we see that trend continuing,” John Boyd Jr., principal at The Boyd Company, said in a telephone interview.

Read more:

http://www.ydr.com/business/ci_27559916/study-ranks-york-area-high-location-distribution-centers

Turning Off The Gas: Region’s Last Exploratory Natural Gas Well To Be Plugged

Since the Marcellus Shale drilling boom started in 2008, seven natural gas wells have been drilled in and around Luzerne and Lackawanna counties.

Six of them were plugged when they failed to produce enough gas to market.

This week, the seventh — WPX Energy’s Martin well on state Route 487 in Sugarloaf Township, Columbia County, between Ricketts Glen and Benton — will also be shut down for good.

“From what I understand, we’re the last well to be plugged,” WPX Energy spokeswoman Susan Oliver said.

Read more:

http://citizensvoice.com/news/turning-off-the-gas-region-s-last-exploratory-natural-gas-well-to-be-plugged-1.1837326

Boston’s Policy On Affordable Housing Inspires Pittsburgh Task Force

The ultra-chic Residences at Mandarin Oriental in Boston’s Back Bay — a development with its own concierge and marble foyers, as well as rents that range from $4,700 to $17,000 a month — has been the province of the rich and powerful since opening in 2008.

But not exclusively.

Thanks to a 15-year-old city policy, teachers, police officers and other modest wage earners live next door to the wealthy at the Mandarin and other luxurious residential developments in Boston.

Because of the city’s inclusionary development policy, the Mandarin houses 10 affordable apartments — comparable in size and quality to the others — with rents ranging from $1,365 to $2,340 a month. The lucky recipients were chosen by lottery.

Read more:

http://www.post-gazette.com/business/development/2015/02/22/Boston-s-policies-on-affordable-housing-inspires-Pittsburgh-leaders/stories/201502220077

WATCH: Live Eagle Cam Spies On Liberty And Freedom In York County

Click on link and scroll to bottom of the page to find live video feed for the eagles.  There are two eggs in the nest so there is always an eagle to watch right now :)  I just saw the parents switch places and got to see both eggs.  Pretty cool!  Beautiful birds.

WATCH: Live eagle cam spies on Liberty and Freedom in York County

Could The Mall At Steamtown Reinvent Itself With An Open-Air Market Atmosphere?

SCRANTON, PA — The Mall at Steamtown hasn’t exactly been running at full power lately.

But a couple of brothers have gone to social media to pitch an idea to put more firepower in the ailing mall, and the public is starting to take notice.

Scranton natives Michael Boyd and his brother George think creating a marketplace similar to the long-standing Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia could be the key to the city’s revitalization.

The downward spiral of the once-vibrant downtown mall has been apparent in recent years. A walk through the two-story structure on Lackawanna Avenue last week showed 47 active store fronts and 23 shuttered ones.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/business/151922265/

Can The Wyoming Valley’s Platter Hold More Restaurants?

WILKES-BARRE TWP., PA — Five national chain restaurants opened in the area last year and two more are slated to open soon. Two others — Pizza Hut and Lone Star — went out of business last month.

So has area’s restaurant bubble finally popped?

No, said John Bartorillo, president of Maslow Lumia Bartorillo Advertising in Wilkes-Barre.

“Saturated? No,” said Bartorillo. “We have not reached that point yet.”

Read more:

http://www.timesleader.com/news/business-home_top/151817501/Is-there-room-for-more

Profane Name Changes Greet Some Customers Of Cable Companies

The names some cable customers are being called after contacts with the companies that provide them services can be staggeringly profane: scatological and sexual, with allusions to body parts and perverted acts.

They are often mailings of things like bills. Almost all of the names defy mention in a news story, but for some sense of it, here is one of the more temperate ones, received by a female Comcast customer: Super Bitch, which was first reported in the Chicago Tribune earlier this month.

On Wednesday, a Time Warner Cable Inc. customer in Orange County, Calif., received a cancellation letter with her first name changed to a derisive four-letter term for female genitalia.

Esperanza Martinez, 34, said she was shocked at the profanity. She had called Time Warner Cable about an issue with her set-top box and had what she thought was a satisfactory conversation with a representative Feb. 12. Then, bang, the Feb. 16 letter.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20150222_Profane_name_changes_greet_some_customers_of_cable_companies.html#1WSxt0EkF4FuZ0Oh.99

Half A Block Leveled Without Permits In Philadelphia

Little more than a year after a botched demolition triggered a Center City building collapse that killed six, a demolition company took down nearly half a block of buildings in Philadelphia’s Fairmount section without obtaining the required permits, an Inquirer investigation has found.

While dismantling five buildings last spring, Ashaw Demolition of Oxford Circle also brought down a house that had been in a family for four generations without informing the owner, the owner contends in court documents.

And Ashaw used at least some of the unsafe and discredited techniques that caused the collapse at 22d and Market Streets, city inspectors said.

The demolition violated tough new rules the city adopted so the tragedy of the collapse would never be repeated, inspectors said.

Read more:

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Building_anxiety_at_LandI.html

Friday To Feel Like Siberia In Lancaster County, But Saturday Snowstorm Now Not Looking As Serious Here

Some of the coldest Siberian-like air of the winter is going to be hovering over Lancaster County for the next 24 hours.

The expected low Friday morning should be around -2 degrees, which could equal the coldest temperature of the year so far.

And it will feel even colder, as the wind chill should make it feel like minus-20 or even colder.

But there’s good news: This weekend’s anticipated snowfall is now looking a little less severe than first feared, Millersville University meteorologist Eric Horst said midday Thursday.

Read more:

http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/update-friday-to-feel-like-siberia-in-lancaster-county-but/article_a4a72b96-b79f-11e4-b48d-23021d11af71.html

Cops: Irate Wawa Customer Tries To Strangle Worker

When Wawa employees told Terron Reed his order couldn’t be prepared as requested, he apparently didn’t take the news too well.

Instead of adjusting his meal, the 36-year-old Bear, Del., man threw a coffee display stand at a worker, then tried to strangle her, threw her to the ground, and threatened to shoot other employees before leaving the convenience store, according to Delaware State Police.

Police said the bizarre altercation happened at the Wawa at 1400 Beaverbrook Plaza in New Castle about 2:30 a.m. Thursday.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20150220_Cops__Irate_Wawa_customer_tries_to_strangle_worker.html#kVscl58Vque331mJ.99

Act 1DeSales University Performing Arts Presents: Dancing At Lughnasa

Friday ◊ February 20, 2015 ◊ 8:00 p.m.
Main Stage of the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts
2755 Station Avenue
Center Valley, PA 18034

By Brian Friel • Directed by Dennis Razze

“The poetry of this play…like the most fragrant music, strikes deep chords that words cannot begin to touch.” –The New York Times

This extraordinary Irish drama, set in the Autumn of 1936 near Ballybeg, Ireland, is a memory play about the five brave Mundy sisters and their older brother Jack, who has just returned home after 25 years as a missionary priest in Africa. As the sisters prepare to celebrate the festival of the God Lugh they erupt into a wild dance celebrating their way of life before it changes forever. Ages 13+

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Application Deadline For $10,000 Art Scholarship

Pottstown, PA –The deadline to apply for the 2015 Greater Pottstown Foundation Scholarship for the arts is February 28, 2015. The scholarship is open to Pottstown, Pottsgrove, Owen J. Roberts and Hill School seniors who will be pursuing either an arts major or an arts minor in college.

The scholarship is awarded based on two criteria:  artistic performance as displayed at the Greater Pottstown Foundation Scholarship Art Exhibit at ArtFusion 19464, and an essay on why the applicant wants to continue their education in the arts.  The essay and application are due by the 28th. The artwork for the mandatory show must be completed by May.

For complete rules and an application, candidates are asked to stop by ArtFusion at 254 E. High St.. A pdf copy can be requested by contacting info@artfusion19464.org, or by visiting artfusion19464.org.

ArtFusion 19464 is a 501(c)3 non-profit community art center located at 254 E. High St. in downtown Pottstown. The school offers day, evening and weekend classes to all ages. The goal of these classes is to help students develop their creative skills through self-expression. ArtFusion’s gallery hosts rotating shows featuring local artists. The gallery also sells handcrafted, one-of-a-kind gift items.  The gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 10am-5pm and Saturday 10am-3pm. The gallery is closed Sunday and Monday.

Montgomery County Community College President Dr. Karen A. Stout Tapped To Lead Achieving The Dream, Inc.

Blue Bell/Pottstown, Pa.—Karen A. Stout, president of Montgomery County Community College (PA), has been named the next President & CEO of Achieving the Dream, Inc., (ATD) the national, nonprofit leader in championing evidence-based institutional improvement across U.S. community colleges. She will remain at the College through the current academic year and assume leadership of ATD on July 1, 2015.

“Our College has been fortunate to have such a quality leader, mentor and individual as Karen Stout serve as the president of this great institution for more than 14 years,” said Michael J. D’Aniello ’78, Chair of the College’s Board of Trustees. “We wish her every success and look forward to all she will achieve in developing policies and strategies to extend access to quality community college education for minority and low income students nationwide.”

Stout’s 14-year tenure at Montgomery County Community College has been remarkable for the broad initiatives that both expanded the college’s footprint and strengthened student success.  She has led the development and implementation of three strategic plans and two facilities master plans that resulted in the expansion of the West campus in Pottstown, the expansion and near re-making of the Central campus in Blue Bell; a new Virtual Campus, a Culinary Arts Institute, new occupational and transfer programs, strong relationships with community partners, and new relationships with school districts and colleges and universities. In addition, the College’s 50th Anniversary, $9 million fully-private College Foundation campaign for scholarship support is on track to exceed its goal.

Stout has served at the helm of Montgomery County Community College since 2001. Her appointment is both a natural next step and a vote of confidence based on successful leadership of the College’s participation in the ATD program since 2008, her role as president of an ATD Leader College since 2011, and the winning of ATD’s prestigious Leah Meyer Austin award in 2014. She has led the College to statewide and national prominence in its work around student success, technology and analytics, and sustainability. The new post will enable her to make a broader impact; ATD reaches 200 community colleges and nearly four million students in 35 states.

“I am proud of our leading work at Montgomery in so many areas,” Stout said. “I’m eager to extend the learning from this work to help community colleges across the country. There is an increasing call for us to help the citizens in our communities gain access to affordable post-secondary education as well as complete an experience that leads to successful employment and citizenry.”

Stout succeeds Dr. William E. Trueheart, ATD’s founding president & CEO, who announced his retirement from the independent nonprofit on October 30, 2014. Robert G. Templin, Jr., Chairman of the Board of Achieving the Dream, Inc., made the announcement at the organization’s annual convening in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Stout leaves the College well positioned for the future. The College’s next president will arrive with the Middle States decennial review near completion, and the strategic plan to 2016 in its final year of implementation. A self-study conducted by the administration is complete and offers a new president a roadmap for the future based on the College’s strengths while the establishment of an early retirement plan offers a new president the opportunity to build, hire, and train the faculty of the future.  The College’s first facilities plan is complete and a second is underway with funding secured for renovation of a new Health Sciences Center, an expanded Science Center on the Central Campus, and a growth strategy in place for the West Campus. In addition, strategies for enrollment development and student success are in place and showing momentum.

D’Aniello and the Board of Trustees will conduct a nationwide search for a president who can build on Stout’s momentum.

“In 2000, when we embarked on a mission to find the College’s fourth president, the single most important character trait was to find and individual who truly carried in their heart our core mission: to provide the citizens of Montgomery County and all our students, no matter their economic status, the highest quality education at the most affordable tuition possible,” D’Aniello said. “In January 2001, we found that person in Karen Stout. As we look toward our next leader, those core values will remain paramount.”

“Community colleges are at a crossroads in redesigning their work to support the economic and civic needs of our country for the next 50 years,” said Stout. While she is drawn to the challenge, Stout acknowledged that moving on was a difficult decision.

“I love Montgomery,” Stout said. “Mostly, I will miss our students and our alumni who show us in so many ways why the work we do is important.  Their stories of aspiration and success motivate me to serve.”

Latrobe Revitalization Program Shifts Focus To Facade, Beautification Projects

Executive Director Jarod Trunzo detailed several projects the Latrobe Community Revitalization Program hopes to advance in the coming year at last week’s Latrobe City Council meeting.

Trunzo wanted to give council a “snapshot” of what the group is working on as it changes its focus on development instead of events.

The revitalization program will continue to operate the Latrobe Farmers Market, but has turned over Steelers Fest and the Great American Banana Split Festival to the Greater Latrobe-Laurel Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Some projects will start in March when the weather breaks, then continue through the summer, Trunzo said.

Read more: http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yourlatrobe/yourlatrobemore/7751678-74/latrobe-trunzo-development#ixzz3S2xupFNs
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Pennsylvania Shale Gas Production Eclipsed 4 Trillion Cubic Feet In 2014

Pennsylvania shale drillers produced more than 2 trillion cubic feet of gas in the second half of 2014, setting another record despite low prices that have prompted a cutback in activity, the state reported Tuesday.

Producers pulled more than 4 trillion cubic feet of gas from shale last year, a 30-percent increase from the year before.

Industry groups applauded the numbers while sounding a cautious tone about what they see as threats to development: depressed prices and a proposal by Gov. Tom Wolf to impose two new taxes on sales and production.

“This is a tremendous success story – a story about jobs and opportunity,” said Frank Macchiarola, executive vice president for government affairs at America’s Natural Gas Alliance. “We hope the story continues, and that the next few chapters include sensible tax policy and new infrastructure so that Pennsylvania residents can fully benefit from the commonwealth’s abundant natural gas supplies.”

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/7748482-74/based-wells-gas#ixzz3S2v34nob
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Tankers In West Virginia Explosion Were Newer, Supposedly Safer Model

The railroad cars involved in the fiery derailment in West Virginia on Monday were a newer model that was supposed to be safer than older tankers blamed in other oil train explosions.

The ruptured cars were built to specifications adopted by the railroad industry in 2011 amid criticism that older tankers were dangerously susceptible to puncture and a risk of explosion. Called CPC 1232 cars, they were also involved in an April 2014 derailment and explosion in Lynchburg, Va.

The specifications for the newer cars were issued by the Association of American Railroads, whose members include major freight carriers in North America. They came amid concerns that older models called DOT-111s, which still carry a majority of the crude oil shipped by rail, were unsafe.

CSX spokeswoman Melanie Cost today confirmed that the ruptured tankers that caught fire were CPC 1232 models.

Read more:

http://www.post-gazette.com/local/region/2015/02/17/Derailed-CSX-train-in-West-Virginia-hauled-newer-model-tank-cars-oil/stories/201502170171

Kmart To Close At Schuylkill Mall

FRACKVILLE, PA — Kmart at the Schuylkill Mall will close later this year.

Howard Riefs, director of corporate communications for Sears Holdings, said in an email today the Kmart store will close.

Employees were notified this morning of the closure, he said.

“We did not renew the lease for the Kmart store in the Schuylkill Mall and the store will close to the public in mid-October. Until then, the store will remain open for customers,” Riefs said.

A liquidation sale will begin July 19.

Read more:  http://standardspeaker.com/news/kmart-to-close-at-schuylkill-mall-1.1834328

Center City District: Housing Boom Continues

The housing boom rolling across central Philadelphia showed no signs of weakening last year, according to data released Tuesday, but a population exodus could be on the near horizon if little is done to fix the city’s schools and tax structure.

The news was mostly positive out of Center City District’s annual housing report, which found that 1,983 new apartments, condos, and houses between Girard and Tasker Avenues, and the Schuylkill and Delaware River hit the market in 2014, thanks to an influx of empty nesters and young professionals, said CCD chief executive Paul Levy.

That number was down 8.5 percent from the record-breaking 2,168 logged a year earlier. But Levy and his staff concluded that demand for the torrent of new construction of homes and apartments would be strong for at least several more years.

“Property is selling for more. It’s selling more quickly,” Levy said.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150218_Center_City_District__Housing_boom_continues.html#gfAQAl0PUIx9wOV9.99