No Lack Of Ideas For Steamtown Mall’s Future

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

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

As Betty Lou and Larry Stevens carried bags of heavily discounted merchandise out of the closing Bon-Ton store, the Moosic residents hoped Ikea will take its place at the Mall at Steamtown.

The couple currently drives to Philadelphia’s branch of the Swedish store when they need furniture and thought Ikea could provide a major draw to the downtown Scranton mall.

“I think people would come to Steamtown for Ikea,” Mrs. Stevens said.

John Topa, the mall’s director of marketing and specialty leasing, told The Times-Tribune last week mall officials have a replacement lined up for the departing anchor store that would revitalize the downtown shopping center.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/no-lack-of-ideas-for-mall-s-future-1.1605656

Scranton To Host ‘The Office’ Wrap Party

English: Logo of the fictitious Dunder Mifflin...

English: Logo of the fictitious Dunder Mifflin paper company. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The paper-pushers of Dunder Mifflin will make one last stop in Scranton before closing their doors next month.

The Office” Wrap Party will celebrate the upcoming conclusion of the Scranton-set television show with several activities throughout the city on Saturday, May 4.  The event was announced between the seventh and eight innings of Thursday’s Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders game.

A group of cast and crew members from the show – which ends its nine-year run on NBC on Thursday, May 16 – are expected to attend.  An official announcement about who will participate will come next Thursday, said Timothy L. Holmes, regional director of marketing & events for Times-Shamrock Communications.

“We do know there’s definitely a strong contingent of writers and cast members coming out,” he said.

Read more:  http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/scranton-to-host-the-office-wrap-party-1.1468059

SAPA Plan Included In Scranton’s Updated Recovery Plan

More than two years after Scranton City Council slammed the door on a regional planning initiative, the Pennsylvania Economy League has pushed it wide open.

Tucked inside Scranton’s 60-page updated 2012 Recovery Plan, which council accepted Thursday, is one paragraph suggesting council will reconsider joining the Scranton-Abingtons Planning Association Comprehensive Plan.

“The PEL sneaked it in the recovery plan at the 11th hour, right before our final vote,” Councilman Jack Loscombe said. “I still feel the same way, though. I don’t see how the plan benefits the city economically.”

The plan, which has been adopted by nine municipalities, provides a policy guide for future land use, economic revitalization, open space conservation and historic resource preservation among the SAPA members. Scranton is the last SAPA member, of 11, to consider adopting the comprehensive plan, according to the updated recovery plan.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/sapa-plan-included-in-the-city-s-updated-recovery-plan-1.1364607

Blue Cross Sues Scranton After City Defaults On $2 Million Note

Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Scranton seeking $2.05 million owed by the city in a promissory note from last fall.

The city executed a note on Oct. 27 promising to pay Blue Cross $2 million in unpaid bills by Jan. 5, the lawsuit states. But the city failed to pay and that constituted a default, the lawsuit states.

As of Wednesday, no payment had yet been made and the lawsuit seeks the principal amount of $2 million as well as 5 percent interest that accrued to $58,904 from Jan. 6 to Wednesday, for a total amount sought of $2,058,904, according to the complaint.

Blue Cross has been one of the city’s largest vendors with bills that have gone unpaid under the city’s financial crisis. As such, the lawsuit was not necessarily unexpected, said Mayor Chris Doherty, adding that he is in contact regularly with Blue Cross about the situation and the firm is continuing to provide health care coverage for the city’s employees.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/blue-cross-sues-scranton-after-city-defaults-on-2-million-note-1.1356343

Mail Processing To End At 10 Pennsylvania Postal Service Sites

USPS service delivery truck in a residential a...

Image via Wikipedia

United States Postal Service mail processing facilities in Altoona, Erie, Greensburg, Lancaster, New Castle, Reading, Scranton, Washington and Williamsport, as well as the Southeastern operation are slated to close.

Read entire article: http://www.ydr.com/state/ci_20029285

Poverty Rate Climbing In Pennsylvania

Number in Poverty and Poverty Rate: 1959 to 20...

Image via Wikipedia

According to statistics released from the U.S. Census Bureau, families in Pennsylvania are worse off than they were 10 years ago.

Cumberland County saw its poverty rate for families increase from 6.2 percent in 1999 to 7.8 percent.

Dauphin County saw its poverty rate for families increase from 12 percent to 20 percent!

Lebanon County saw its poverty rate for families increase from 8.9 percent to 15.2 percent.

York County saw its poverty rate for families increase from 7.1 percent to 11.4 percent

Crawford County saw its poverty rate for families increase from 16.2 percent to 20.7 percent.

Erie County saw its poverty rate rise to 17.4 percent while the City of Erie’s poverty rate increased six percent to 30.2 percent and is the second-highest poverty rate in Pennsylvania.

The City of Reading has a poverty rate of 41.3 percent and comes in at numero uno!  Poverty rates for other major Pennsylvania cities are Allentown 27 percent, Philadelphia 26.7 percent, Pittsburgh 22.3 percent, 21.1 in Scranton and 20.9 in Bethlehem.

The poverty rate for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is 13.4 percent or more than 1.6 million Pennsylvanians.  More than half a million people living in poverty are children under the age of 18!

These rates are higher for minority families.  For example, 45 percent of blacks and Hispanic families in Erie live under the poverty level.  The poverty rate is 25 percent for white residents.

The U.S.poverty rate hit a 17 year high of 15.1 percent.  46.2 million people in the United States were living below the poverty level in 2010.  The federal poverty level for a family of four is a yearly income of less than $22,314.