Columbia Hopes To Land Downsized State Call Center, With 129 Jobs

A year after tabling a plan for a call center here, the state Department of Human Services now says it wants to put a smaller version of the call center somewhere in Lancaster County.

And even though the proposed call center has been shrunk by more than half, Columbia Borough is in hot pursuit of the venture, which would create 129 jobs.

Its Borough Council voted this week to spend $835,000 to support the effort of developer Bill Roberts to put the call center in a fire station at 137 S. Front St.

“Every now and then, when a municipality embarks on an economic development project, they need to be willing to put some skin in game,” said Mayor Leo Lutz.

Read more:

http://lancasteronline.com/columbia/news/columbia-hopes-to-land-downsized-state-call-center-with-jobs/article_cf7669f8-ffdf-11e4-ac60-370a1a706522.html

Susquehanna-Roseland Power Line, A $1.4 Billion Project, Switched On

The long-anticipated Susquehanna-Roseland power line was fully energized this week for the first time.

The 150-mile-long, 500-kilovolt line links PPL Electric Utilities’s switchyard at its Susquehanna nuclear power plant in Salem Township, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, to Public Service Enterprise Group Inc.’s switching station in Roseland, Essex County, New Jersey.

It cost $1.4 billion and is designed to bolster electricity reliability for the power grid run by Pennsylvania-based PJM Interconnection that serves 61 million people in all or parts of 13 states plus the District of Columbia.

“It’s all about reliability,” PPL Electric Utilities spokesman Paul Wirth said. “It prevents overloads on other power lines and gives electricity another path to travel, especially during period periods when it’s extremely hot or extremely cold.

Read more:

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/breaking-news/index.ssf/2015/05/susquehanna-roseland_power_lin_4.html

Lancaster, Strasburg Among Top 10 Most Beautiful Towns In Pennsylvania

WP_20150413_15_01_39_ProThe folks at the Culture Trip recently released its guide to the 10 most beautiful towns in Pennsylvania, and two of their choices are located here in Lancaster County.


Related: Central Market among top 10 fresh markets in the world


Lancaster city was lauded for its “unique shops and boutiques, a plethora of outstanding restaurants and a beautiful countryside,” while Strasburg was recognized for its railroad attractions and its countryside, which was described as “rich in history and beauty.”


Related: Lancaster dog park tops list of 10 best amazing dog parks in U.S.

Read more:

http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/lancaster-strasburg-among-top-most-beautiful-towns-in-pennsylvania/article_7642cca4-f00e-11e4-80fe-0fb071204e70.html

All Pennsylvanians To Pay More, GOP Gleans From Report On Wolf’s Tax Plan

HARRISBURG, PA — Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s tax plan would hit all income classes and amount to a “huge tax grab,” said a leading Republican lawmaker.

But John Hanger, Wolf’s policy director, on Friday disputed the Independent Fiscal Office report’s main conclusions. Wolf’s plan “would benefit most Pennsylvania homeowners making up to $100,000 and renters up to $50,000,” Hanger said.

The report released this week makes a key observation when it says all groups would pay more — including a small net increase for the lowest income group, those making $25,000 or less annually, said House Appropriations Chairman Bill Adolph, R-Delaware County.

That “directly contradicts” claims by Wolf and testimony of top staffers at appropriations meetings, Adolph said.

Read more: http://triblive.com/state/pennsylvania/8239869-74/tax-wolf-budget#ixzz3YKajHAhL
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Gov. Tom Wolf Preaches ‘Gospel Of Manufacturing’ During Lehigh Valley Visit (Video)

Gov. Tom Wolf said Friday that students educated at Lehigh Career & Technical Institute and Lehigh Carbon Community College will power Pennsylvania’s economic engine.

“If we’re going to have a future in manufacturing in Pennsylvania, what you learn here is really, really important,” Wolf told students after touring LCCC and LCTI, which sit on neighboring campuses in North Whitehall Township.

“I’m preaching the gospel of manufacturing,” he said.  “Manufacturing is making a comeback…Part of the reason manufacturing has a great future in Pennsylvania is because we have really good workers.”

Read more/watch video:

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/lehigh-county/index.ssf/2015/04/gov_tom_wolf_preaches_gospel_o.html

Giant Supermarkets To Boost Minimum Pay To $9 Per Hour

Giant Food Stores will boost its minimum pay to $9 per hour, effective June 7, the company said Tuesday.

The change applies to 197 non-union supermarkets run by Carlisle-based Giant and its Martin’s division.

Data from a website that tracks wages shows the decision will be worth as much as $1.67 per hour extra for the company’s workforce.

“Our associates are the foundation of our success and we have always believed in paying competitive wages to attract the best talent,” said Giant President Tom Lenkevich in a prepared statement.

Read more:

http://lancasteronline.com/business/local_business/giant-supermarkets-to-boost-minimum-pay-to-per-hour/article_9581413c-e360-11e4-8edd-bfd0cd3f9d3d.html

Turkey Hill Customers Question Safety In Wake Of Robberies

When Turkey Hill comes to mind, most people think of flavorful ice cream and sweet iced tea. But in Wilkes-Barre, many mention the recent spike in robberies at the company’s stores before thinking of their signature snacks.

Since January 2014, city police have responded to at least 22 Turkey Hill robberies, 13 of which occurred in the last four months.

Frequent customers have not abandoned these stores, but some have questioned the safety during late-night hours.

Lisa Cummings of Mountain Top often visits the Turkey Hill on North Pennsylvania Avenue after work, but said she would probably not go to the store at 3 a.m.

Read more:

http://citizensvoice.com/news/turkey-hill-customers-question-safety-in-wake-of-robberies-1.1862265

Accepting Leadership Award, Gov. Wolf Says Hill School Prepared Him

POTTSTOWN, PA – Gov. Tom Wolf may not have learned everything there is to know about “Beowulf” when he was a student at The Hill School, “but I did learn how to ask questions; I did learn how to think and I did learn how to live.”

Those were among the short lessons Wolf had for the students and guests Thursday night when he accepted the school’s 17th Annual Sixth Form Leadership Award.

“I came to Hill in the fifth form, so I was only here a brief time, but it made a big difference in my life. I came away from this place a much better person that I was when I came in,” said Wolf, who attended the school from 1965 to 1967.

During those years, he was on the swimming and soccer teams, was assistant editor at The Dial and played the sousaphone.

Read more:

http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20150409/accepting-leadership-award-gov-wolf-says-hill-school-prepared-him

Restoring Aging Lancaster County-Owned Bridges Tied To Natural Gas Impact Fee

On sparsely traveled back roads across Lancaster County, more than two dozen narrow, unassuming bridges built in a simpler era are showing their age.

Concrete is weathered and cracking. The decks are no longer safe for even moderate loads.

The Lancaster County commissioners are addressing the problem by turning to impact fee revenue from natural gas drillers. As of February, the county had $2.2 million available, said county engineer Scott Russell of Rettew Associates.

The commissioners are counting on continuing impact fee revenue to help fund the replacement or repair of nearly all 44 county-owned concrete or steel bridges over the next five years.

Read more:

http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/restoring-aging-county-owned-bridges-tied-to-natural-gas-impact/article_8d404a12-3caa-5308-a5f6-14cb6f4abaae.html

Paychecks Shrinking In Delaware

Unhappy about the size of your paycheck?

A lot of folks in Delaware probably are.

Its nickname may be “the Diamond State,” but it’s the only state in the U.S. where nominal wages dropped between 2009 and 2014,according to The Economist.

That means people are earning less money even before inflation is taken into account. Wages are down 2 to 3 percent, according to the chart accompanying the British newsmagazine’s article.

Read more:

http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/paychecks-shrinking-in-delaware/article_e2c366cc-da1a-11e4-abb5-9b3cbecec6a2.html

Creepy ‘Spies’ Killing Live Music At Local Venues?

THREE-FIFTHS OF Chris Aschman’s jazz quintet managed to fit onto the tiny stage upstairs at Jose Pistola’s, where the crimson glow makes musicians look like they’re playing in Amsterdam’s red-light district.

Aschman, a 29-year-old trumpet player, stayed on the floor, next to the saxophonist.

Then, the bassist reached overhead and turned off the TV and the audience of 20-somethings switched their attention from NCAA basketball to a funky, odd-time-signature groove driven by a young drummer in a Phillies cap who stomps on the kick drum like he’s got something to prove.

The song, called “UCB,” short for “Undercover Brother,” is an Aschman original, as were nine of the 11 songs his group played at the Center City bar earlier this month.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150329_The_day_the_music_____spied.html#ys60mkcLZjZ5hOTi.99

Northeastern Pennsylvania Population Drops Slightly As South Population Rises

A lot of people in this part of the nation swore they’d move south during this year’s harsh winter. It appears many of them already have.

According to estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau, warm regions regained population growth momentum last year that was lost during the recession. But population fell in the area comprised of Luzerne, Lackawanna and Wyoming counties.

Fourteen of the 20 fastest-growing metropolitan areas were in Florida, Texas or the Carolinas, led by The Villages near Orlando, which grew by 5.4 percent between July 1, 2013 and July 1, 2014. In contrast, the fastest-growing metro areas in Pennsylvania grew by 0.6 percent.

The bureau estimated that the population in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area fell by 2,159, or 0.4 percent over the year. Within the three-county region, Lackawanna County lost the most, 1,115, or 0.5 percent. Luzerne County’s population declined 1,033, or 0.3 percent, and Wyoming County’s was relatively unchanged.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/152599118/

Watch: It’s An Eaglet! First Eagle Cam Egg Hatches, Lurches Around

Thousands got their first peek at the long-awaited first eaglet Tuesday morning when one of the parents stood up in its nest high in a tree near Codorus State Park in York County.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission’s live-streaming video on its phenomenally popular Eagle Cam captured the moment. To watch live, click here.

Shortly after 8 a.m., the two eagles did what is known as a  nest exchange, altering incubating duties. When one of the adults moved out of the way, a wet gray blob was revealed, partially still in the egg split in half. The adult eagles were vocal right before the eaglet is exposed.

“I saw it wiggle around in the nest. So cool,” exclaimed a viewer on the Hanover Eagle Watch Facebook page. More than 60,000 people have joined that online group to experience the drama playing out in the Eagle Cam nest.

Read more:

http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/watch-it-s-an-eaglet-first-eagle-cam-egg-hatches/article_7137061c-d222-11e4-b664-6764e837c516.html

Bolaris: Spring-Like Thunderstorms To Record Cold And Flakes

Get ready for the Jekyll and Hyde month of March to continue. Later this week you’ll need to break out the shorts before you scramble again for the winter coat and scarf.

On Tuesday, we’ll see some clouds to sun — along with a continued chill in the air — as temperatures will remain stuck in the unseasonably cold 40s. (Normal high is around 55 degrees).

On Wednesday, we will see a transitional day as milder air riding up over the chilly Canadian air will produce a few scattered afternoon showers as temperatures nudge into the 50s.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Bolaris_Spring-like_thunderstorms_to_record_cold_and_flakes.html#TRQAJQPx6L5JteRX.99

Gov. Wolf Says Manufacturing Tax Credit Could Boost Pennsylvania Jobs, Industry

Pittsburgh may not be the steel town it once was, with the economy of the state’s second largest city these days tied more to hospitals and higher education than smoke stacks. But manufacturing is still a huge part of Pennsylvania’s economy.

The sector employs more than 571,000 people in the commonwealth — including more than 30,000 in the York-Hanover area alone.

The average compensation for someone who works in manufacturing, not just assembly line workers but plant managers and other executives, is more than $69,000. That’s well above Pennsylvania’s median household income, which was $52,548 in 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

With manufacturing’s above-average wages, new Gov. Tom Wolf has identified increasing the number of manufacturing jobs as one of his top economic priorities.

Read more:

http://www.ydr.com/business/ci_27743500/gov-wolf-says-manufacturing-tax-credit-could-boost

Total Cost Of Pennsylvania’s Proposed Budget: $78.6 Billion

HARRISBURG, PA – Pennsylvania could own a bunch of professional sports team if it wanted.

OK, maybe we’re taking some liberty with that, but there is some math to back it up. If Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget is enacted exactly as he presented it earlier this month, the state’s total operating budget would soar to $78.6 billion, the highest level ever.

To put that in perspective, it’s enough to buy all 32 teams in the National Football League, based on average team values compiled by Forbes.com. And then for fun, the state still could buy all 30 teams in Major League Baseball and have enough left to build a few state-of-the-art stadiums.

Of course, that’s assuming the state would spend nothing on its actual responsibilities, like public education and roads and bridges. But for our purposes, it helps illustrate the sheer volume of state spending that’s on the table.

Read more:

http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20150319/total-cost-of-pennsylvanias-proposed-budget-786-billion

Wolf’s Sales Tax Proposal To Include More Goods, Services

HARRISBURG, PA — The Wolf administration this morning released estimates of the new revenue the state expects to bring in by expanding the 6 percent sales tax to include more items and services.

Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget proposal, which is the subject of ongoing hearings by the House and Senate appropriations committees, also would raise the rates of the sales and personal income taxes, while cutting corporate income taxes and providing homeowners with relief from school property taxes.

Applying a proposed 6.6 percent sales tax to a host of new purchases would bring the state approximately $1.16 billion in the fiscal year beginning July 1 and $2.97 billion in the following year, according to a memo released this morning by the Department of Revenue.

Read more:

http://www.post-gazette.com/news/state/2015/03/18/Wolf-s-sales-tax-proposal-to-include-more-goods-services-pennsylvania/stories/201503180188

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Area Loses Title Of Highest Unemployment Rate In Pennsylvania

After 57 months, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Area is no longer dead last in the unemployment rating for Pennsylvania Metropolitan Areas.  After expanding the eligible metro areas from 14 to 18, Johnstown and East Stroudsburg have pushed Scranton/Wilkes-Barre out of last place.  If nothing else, psychologically it gives the beleaguered Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Area a lift.

The Lonely Road To Work

The vice president of finance spends his time doing it listening to the radio, most preferably BBC Radio 2, the station he grew used to listening to when living in the United Kingdom.

The attorney recalls doing work and reading the paper while so engaged, except for the time that someone died.

The contractor said he was able to sleep and hold a book at the same time while he was doing it, and the construction supervisor has learned to calculate the amount of time he’ll be involved in it down to the minute — depending on the time of day he gets started.

What is it? The mundane but almost necessary practice of commuting to work.

Read more:

http://www.dailylocal.com/general-news/20150314/the-lonely-road-to-work