Bloomsburg and Luzerne County Community College Nursing Programs Enter Into Agreement

Two Chamber members, Bloomsburg University and Luzerne County Community College, recently entered into a new agreement that will help facilitate the transfer of LCCC’s nursing program graduates to BU to complete their bachelor’s degree. Nationally, nursing is one of the most in-demand professions and with two of our area’s largest employers — Geisinger and Commonwealth Health-Berwick Hospital Center — both being affected by this national shortage of nurses, the Chamber hopes that this new agreement can, over time, help address this workforce shortage for this profession on a local level. 

Below is the official joint press release from BU and LCCC announcing this new collaboration. 

NANTICOKE–Luzerne County Community College and Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania have entered into a new agreement which will help LCCC nursing graduates transfer from the community college to Bloomsburg University to complete their bachelor’s degree.

The Guaranteed Admissions Agreement is designed to facilitate the transfer of LCCC nursing graduates from The Mary Gill Carrozza, R.N. School of Nursing and Health Sciences to the BU online nursing program. LCCC graduates will be guaranteed admission into BU’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) online degree program with third year (junior) status.

In order to take advantage of the program-to-program agreement, students must graduate from LCCC with an Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in nursing with a minimum grade point average of 2.0. LCCC nursing graduates are also required to successfully pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX) prior to beginning courses at BU. The application fee to Bloomsburg will be waived.

“We’re pleased to continue our valuable partnership with Bloomsburg University, which has consistently ranked among the most popular choices for our students to continue their education,” says Thomas P. Leary, president, LCCC. “The College has many nursing graduates who are employed in the region and this cooperative agreement allows them to continue their education online and obtain a bachelor’s degree while working in their field.”

“This is another fine example of the strong, collaborative efforts BU maintains with its significant community college partners in Pennsylvania, with the ultimate goal of student success,” says Dr. Bashar Hanna, president, Bloomsburg University.

For more information about the new partnership, contact Jim Domzalski, director of enrollment management at LCCC at 570-740-7342 or email, or Tom Fletcher, vice president of enrollment management at BU at 570-389-5161 or email.

PA Department of Revenue Reverses Pro-Business Policy on Capital Investments

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

Late last month, the state Department of Revenue quietly made a significant change to employers’ tax filings regarding capital investments. This action is in response to the 100 percent bonus appreciation deduction that will be allowed under the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The decision reverses a Corbett-era policy that allowed for this deduction at the state level. It requires taxpayers who take advantage of capital investments – primarily for the purchase of new equipment to expand or improve production at their facilities – to reflect those purchases when filing their income taxes.

The history of the agency’s changes regarding depreciation dates back to 2002, when in the wake of a Congressionally-approved “bonus” depreciation of 30 percent, the General Assembly enacted legislation to allow the same level of depreciation, but spread it out over multiple years to deflect a hit to the state General Fund. With that move to decouple the state’s depreciation policy from the federal policy, the legislature was clear about its intent – it would help businesses take advantage of the change. Fast forward to 2011, when the Corbett administration’s Revenue Department allowed state policy to mirror federal approval of a 100 percent bonus deprecation.  The new policy strips all that away and then some: it allows no depreciation until the asset is disposed of or sold.

State Rep. Frank Ryan, R-Lebanon, has since announced his plans to introduce legislation that would reverse the Revenue Department’s action in order to help business owners take full advantage of the bonus depreciation benefits enumerated under the new federal tax reform law. In a co-sponsorship memo that was circulated early last week, Rep. Ryan decried the department’s actions. “Under [Revenue Corporate Tax Bulletin] 2017-2, in the best case scenario, a taxpayer gets no deduction until the asset is sold or disposed of. If the taxpayer has equipment that may be used indefinitely, it could effectively get no depreciation write-off in Pennsylvania. This draconian pronouncement essentially tells business owners ‘thanks, but no thanks, Pennsylvania is closed for business,” Ryan wrote. The legislation to reverse these provisions will be introduced in the near future.

Member News – January 17, 2018

Member News

  • The Columbia-Montour Opioid Coalition, which is headed up by the United Way of Columbia and Montour County and of which the Chamber is a member, will host a lunchtime talk titled “Post-Holiday Depression and Addiction” on Tuesday, Jan. 23, from 12-1 p.m. at the Pine Barn Inn. This event is open to the public and a free lunch will be provided. Stephanie Fischer, clinical director of the Huntington Creek Recovery Center, will be the speaker. For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page

 

  • The Weis Center for the Performing Arts will host a free classical program titled “Children’s Corner” on Saturday, Jan. 27, at 2 p.m. in the Weis Center Atrium Lobby.

    Pianist Qing Jiang

    Tickets are not required. This concert, featuring pianist Qing Jiang, will include piano music, storytelling, acting, visual arts and poetry. Children are asked to bring a favorite toy for the toy parade. This event is part of the Weis Center’s Family Discovery series, which is suggested for ages 3 and older. The run time is 60 minutes with no intermission. Families are invited to stay afterwards for free kids’ activities in the Atrium Lobby from 3-4 p.m. Visit the Weis Center’s event page for more information about this performance. 

 

  • The athletics department at Bloomsburg University will host a series of events on National Girls & Women in Sports Day on Saturday, Feb. 3 in Nelson Field House. The events are open to all girls and boys in grades K-8. The day begins with a free basketball clinic at 10 a.m., following by a speed and agility clinic, activities fair and pizza party. All participants are then invited to attend the women’s basketball game vs. Lock Haven (admission is free to participants) and a post-game autograph session. For more information, including how to RSVP, see this flyer

 

  • GAF, one of the Chamber’s newest members and North America’s largest roofing products manufacturer, will host a job fair on Saturday, Feb. 10, from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. at its New Columbia facility, located at 2093 Old Route 15. GAF is looking for dedicated, safety-minded individuals with manufacturing experience to join its team. An iPad mini 4 will be given out to one attendee that has completed an online job application prior to arriving at the job fair and who also completes an information card at the event. Attendees will have an opportunity to learn more about GAF, meet its employees, tour the facility and learn about its hiring process. Refreshments will be available. For more information, see this flyer and visit GAF’s career website.

 

  • The Central Susquehanna Community Foundation will hold its Annual Meeting on Friday, Feb. 23, from 12-1:30 p.m. at the Pine Barn Inn. A lunch will be served and attendees will be able to hear four speakers. CSCF president and CEO Holly Morrison will talk about “Spreading the Message of Philanthropy” while board member John Kurelja will speak about the regional impact of the CSCF’s philanthropic activities. Two speakers from Wilmington Trust will also talk about the CSCF’s funds’ performances. For more information, see this invitation, and to RSVP, email or call Karri Harter at 570-752-3930, ex. 6, by Feb. 16. 

 

  • MePush is looking to hire a mid- to senior-level IT wizard! For more information on the position requirements, visit the job posting

 

  • Wesley United Methodist Church has been hosting the community friendship meal since 2002. Guests in need are able to be served a warm and nutritious meal every Saturday morning from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., free of charge. Volunteer groups are needed to keep this meal going in the future. If you have a group that is interested in volunteering for a few hours on a Saturday morning during the year, please visit the church’s website and click on “community friendship meal.” For questions, please contact Katy Miller at 570-441-2850. Please note that beginning Jan. 6, the community friendship meal will be held at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, 123 N. Market St., Bloomsburg, while the Wesley UM Church kitchen goes through a renovation that may last 8-12 weeks. 

Chamber Board of Directors Proposes By-Law Changes

Several modifications to the Chamber’s By-Laws are being recommended to the membership by the Board of Directors. The following three changes will be voted on at the Annual Meeting, sponsored by PPL Electric Utilities, on Feb. 8 at Rolling Pines Golf Course. Proposed deletions are signified by strikethrough, additions are underlined, with an explanation in italics following each section.

Any member with questions is welcome to contact Fred Gaffney by email or at 570-784-2522.

 

Article II
MEMBERSHIP
Section 1

ELIGIBILITY:  Any person, firm, corporation, association, or organization in Columbia or Montour County or vicinity may become a member of the Corporation upon application and payment of dues according to such schedule as may be adopted from time to time by the Board of Directors. Members in good standing of the Columbia Montour Tourist Promotion Agency, Inc. are automatically members of the Corporation.

When the partnership with the Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau was formed in 2014, the provision was added to the By-Laws to include all existing members of the Visitors Bureau into the Chamber. With the dissolution of the Partnership, this provision is no longer appropriate.


Article IV
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Section 1

NUMBER ELECTION AND APPOINTMENT:  The government of the Corporation, the direction of its work, and the control of its property shall be vested in the Board of Directors, consisting of not more than 23 representatives of current members.  Of these, four (4) shall be elected annually for a term of three years, three (3) shall be elected annually by the membership for a term of one year, and three (3) shall be appointed annually by the Chairman for one year terms or until their successor(s) have been duly appointed and qualified. Directors elected to one year terms may serve no more than two consecutive one-year terms, and no Director, shall serve more than eight (8) consecutive years on the Board, except that the out-going Chairman shall remain on the board in the capacity of Immediate Past-Chairman for one additional year as necessary.

This language is being added to clarify that Board members must represent Chamber members.

Article VIII
MEETINGS
Section 7

ANNUAL MEETING OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS:  The Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors for the Election of officers and for the transaction of such business as may be necessary, shall be held immediately following the Annual Meeting of the Corporation, or within two weeks thereafter.  At the meeting, the Board shall elect a Chairman, Vice-Chairman, President and Treasurer.  Additionally, the Chairman of the Columbia Alliance for Economic Growth, Inc. shall become Vice Chairmen for Community and Economic Development. All officers are elected to a one-year term, with the exception of Chairman, who shall be elected for a term of two (2) years.  The Chairman may not succeed himself/herself.  All officers shall serve their respective terms or until their successors are duly elected and qualified.

In 2016, the By-Laws were modified to change the Chair of the Columbia Alliance from an officer position to a regular Board member. This specific section was not included in that 2016 vote.

Governor Wolf Declares Heroin and Opioid Epidemic a Statewide Disaster Emergency

On Wednesday, Jan. 10, Governor Tom Wolf  signed a statewide disaster declaration related to the heroin and opioid epidemic to enhance state response, increase access to treatment, and save lives. The declaration will utilize a command center at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency to track progress and enhance coordination of health and public safety agencies.

Among the declaration’s specifics are 13 key initiatives that are the culmination of a collaboration between all state agencies, with focus on the departments of Health, Drug and Alcohol Programs, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, and the Pennsylvania State Police. Details are available here.

In October, President Trump directed the Department of Health and Human Services to declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency.

Substance abuse is a significant issue for local employers in hiring and retaining employees. To help deal with the crisis locally, the Chamber is a part of the Columbia-Montour Opioid Coalition, organized by the United Way of Columbia and Montour County. The Coalition meets monthly to share information and find solutions in the areas of prevention, treatment, and enforcement.