Pennsylvania Boasts Progressive Movement To Preserve Farmland

Picture 487Before Bill Iams began raising beef cattle and planting acres of hay on a farm in southern Washington County, five generations worked the soil and raised livestock there.

Soon, Iams hopes to ensure the 155 acres in Amwell, which the king of England granted to his ancestors before the American Revolution, remain farmland forever.

“Look around at the changes in this area over the last 50 years, especially in the Washington area. North on Route 19 was all farms,” said Iams, 57, owner of Log Cabin Fence Co., a farming supply business off Interstate 79 in Amity. “Now you’ve got malls and everything else going on but farming.”

Iams awaits approval by a state committee to sell development rights to his farm to Washington County through the county’s Farmland Preservation Program, part of a statewide initiative to make certain that fertile land is used for agriculture.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/washington/6506932-74/farms-county-iams#ixzz39RSdt66P
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Pittsburgh-Area Employers Added 22,300 Jobs In April

Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro ar...

Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro area in the western part of the of . Red denotes the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area, and yellow denotes the New Castle Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Pittsburgh-New Castle CSA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sunny Kourkoutis spent six months on unemployment and a couple more working in a job she hated before she found something that suited her restaurant experience.

“When I was on unemployment, I could have easily gotten a job as a server,” said Kourkoutis, 42, of Bridgeville. “But at my age, it’s not something I really saw myself doing.”

In April, Kourkoutis finally found a job she enjoyed. She was hired as reservations manager at Jacksons Restaurant in Cecil and since was promoted to assistant executive manager. In so doing, she joined a hospitality industry that added 8,100 jobs last month and has led growth in the local economy.

Employers in the seven-county Pittsburgh region added 22,300 nonfarm jobs in April, and the unemployment rate declined two-tenths of a percentage point to 5.6 percent, according to preliminary figures released on Wednesday by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. The decline occurred as 3,900 more people began looking for work, an expression of confidence in Pittsburgh’s economy.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/6188520-74/22300-added-april#ixzz338k1vjC0
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Verizon Wireless To Close Marshall, Cranberry Call Centers, Cut 1,000 Jobs

Map of Butler County, Pennsylvania with Munici...

Map of Butler County, Pennsylvania with Municipal Labels showing Cities and Boroughs (red), Townships (white), and Census-designated places (blue). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Verizon Wireless will slice more than 1,000 jobs in Western Pennsylvania when it closes customer call centers in Cranberry and Marshall in May, the company said on Wednesday.

“This was a very difficult but necessary business decision,” Verizon Wireless spokeswoman Laura Merritt said in a statement.

The Cranberry call center employs about 600 customer service workers in the Cranberry Woods business park. The one in neighboring Marshall will lose about 430 workers, including 200 in telemarketing and 230 in business and government support.

A Verizon regional headquarters for Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia will remain in Marshall, preserving 340 jobs.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/5584718-74/verizon-wireless-call#ixzz2tEyTkh5g
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Unemployment In Pittsburgh Region Falls To Lowest In Post-Recession Recovery

Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro ar...

Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro area in the western part of the of . Red denotes the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area, and yellow denotes the New Castle Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Pittsburgh-New Castle CSA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unemployment in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area fell to 6.8 percent in June, a rate one-tenth of a percentage point below May’s 6.9 percent but that marks a new low of the post-recession recovery.

The last time unemployment was at 6.8 percent in the region was in March 2009, when unemployment was rising in the midst of the Great Recession.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/unemployment-in-pittsburgh-region-falls-to-lowest-in-post-recession-recovery-697432/#ixzz2aYC55kY0

Marcellus Shale Yield Skyrockets In Allegheny County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

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

The amount of Marcellus Shale gas produced in Allegheny County more than doubled in the first half of 2012, with nine online wells concentrated in Frazer and Fawn producing more than 3.6 billion cubic feet of gas, according to new data released by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Even with the increase, the county still contributed a pittance to total statewide production figures.

Gas production across the state climbed from January to June, with 704 billion cubic feet of gas produced, up from the 630 billion cubic feet reported from July to December 2011.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/marcellusshale/county-marcellus-shale-yield-skyrockets-649379/#ixzz246GMjMrr

Potter County Woman Among 2 Dead After Intense Storms

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Potter County

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

PHILADELPHIA, PA (AP) — Authorities say a woman has been killed by a tree felled by powerful storms that left tens of thousands of customers without power, mostly in western and central Pennsylvania.

The Potter County coroner says 66-year-old Linda Button was killed Thursday evening in Genesee Township. That’s about 150 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, near the New York border.  State police in Coudersport expect to release more details later Friday.

First Energy Corp. reported about 70,000 customers without power on Friday morning, with the worst problems in Butler County, north of Pittsburgh, and Cambria County, east of the city.  Thousands more outages were reported by PPL Corp. in central Pennsylvania.

In New York City, the storm is blamed for killing a 61-year-old man who was struck by collapsing scaffolding outside a Brooklyn church.  Police say lighting brought bricks down onto the scaffolding.

Read more: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2012/07/storms_in_pennsylvania.html#incart_river_default

Poor Economy Boosts Mass Transit Ridership In Butler County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Butler County

Image via Wikipedia

When John Paul of the Butler Transit Authority saw the numbers of riders increasing in big numbers late last year, he thought, “Wow, that was a good month.”

When it happened again the next month, he thought it was a fluke.

Now that it has happened for six consecutive months, he’s calling it a trend.

In fact, overall use of public transit in Butler County is skyrocketing, a fact that local experts link to dual factors of a battered economy and improvements in the transit systems.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/12005/1201300-54-0.stm#ixzz1idLTnao0