Wolf Administration Invites Pennsylvania’s Environmental Stewards to Apply for 2018 Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence

From PA Dept. of Environmental Protection

The Wolf Administration invites all Pennsylvanians who’ve recently worked on successful environmental projects to apply for the state’s top environmental recognition: the 2018 Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence, honoring individuals and organizations whose dedicated efforts have improved air, land, and water quality in Pennsylvania.

“The commonwealth would be a different place if not for the great work of many Pennsylvanians who tackle the full range of environmental challenges, from local creek cleanups to citywide sustainability,” said Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “It’s a pleasure to shine a light on their work with the Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence.”

DEP oversees the application and award selection process. Projects are evaluated on the basis of seven criteria: degree of environmental protection, climate change, sustainability, partnership, economic impact, innovation, and environmental education and outreach. A project doesn’t have to meet all criteria to merit an award.

The award is open to all individuals, whether a project leader or participant, and to all schools, nonprofit organizations, businesses, farms, and government agencies. Past winners may submit applications for new projects, but projects that have previously received a Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence are not eligible.

Applications are now being accepted online. The deadline for submission is Monday, Jan. 8, 2018, at 5 p.m. Eligible projects must have been completed before November 1, 2017. Submission guidelines may be found at the application page.

Last year, 21 organizations received awards. Their projects collectively saved 8 million kWh/year; reduced annual greenhouse gas emissions by 14,608 metric tons; captured 3.2 million gallons of stormwater runoff; saved over $105 million in operation, maintenance, and energy use expenses; conserved 3 million gallons of water; engaged 8,500 students in environmental issues; recycled 68,000 plastic bags; properly disposed of 5,287 tires; and treated 450.5 million gallons of stream water that had been laced with acid mine drainage.
The Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence have been presented since 1996.

Montour Address Updates Now a Waiting Game

Montour County Commissioners at a recent meeting

Updated addresses for Montour County were sent to companies that provide GIS mapping services in August. However, some County residents are experiencing difficulty in receiving deliveries using their new addresses. The Montour County Commissioners say the companies are updating their databases on varying schedules.

The County GIS office provided the new addresses to companies in August, with follow up in early November. According to Commissioner Ken Holdren, one company that provides GIS mapping to many in-car systems responded that updates would be made in early December, but are still pending. Mapquest updates could take 6-9 months, and Google provided no timeline for when updates would take effect. Residents and businesses are reminded that the Postal Service will recognize old addresses for one year from the date of notification.

Montour County Treasurer Jesse Kline also advises residents that when making online purchases with a credit card, they should use the same mailing address as the billing address associated with the card whenever appropriate.

Member News – December 13, 2017

Member News

  • It is the season of giving and the Ken Pollock Auto Group, is continuing its yearly tradition of collecting new or slightly used coats, in all sizes to benefit local families. From now through Dec. 15, Ken Pollock Auto Group will be collecting coats that can be donated at any of its auto dealerships, including locally at Ken Pollock Ford Lincoln in Berwick. All coats collected in our area will be donated to the Columbia Child Development Program – Head Start for distribution to families in need. For more information, contact the Ken Pollock Auto Group at 570-655-4575. 

 

  • Wild For Salmon will host a holiday tasting this Saturday, Dec. 16 at its store at 521 Montour Blvd. (Rt. 11), Bloomsburg, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Chefs Matt and Josh have created and prepared a delicious holiday-inspired menu and they invite the public to stop by and try some of their wild caught salmon treats and meet one of their fisherman. This event will feature salmon sushi rolls, cajun shrimp-stuffed keta fillets, whole roasted king salmon, halibut soup, holiday spread with dried cranberries and pistachips, cajun dip and smoked salmon (garlic pepper, traditional sockeye and traditional king). 

 

  • The Bloomsburg Area YMCA will be celebrating the holiday season with a senior Christmas party next Tuesday, Dec. 19, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. There will be a potluck-style meal, as well as fried chicken provided by the Y. Guests can come in their favorite ugly sweater and will be able to enjoy Wii bowling and a visit from Santa. Those interested in attending should register at the Y front desk by Friday, Dec. 15. There is no cost to attend this event. 

 

  • The Columbia-Montour Area Vocational Technical School’s adult nurse aide training program will hold a job fair on Tuesday, Dec. 19 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the main lobby of the school, which is located at 5050 Sweppenheiser Dr., Bloomsburg. This event will allow attendees to visit with representatives from local nursing homes, long term care facilities and home health agencies to discuss possible employment opportunities The CMAVTS adult nurse aide training coordinator will also be available to discuss admission in the program. A tour of the classroom and light refreshments from the CMAVTS food and preparation service program will be available. 

Welcome Pretty Petals & Gifts by Susan

More than 400 businesses and organizations belong to the Chamber to receive benefits and support efforts to strengthen their businesses and our region. Increased membership allows us to offer additional programs and benefits, have a stronger voice in advocacy and be involved in more activities and initiatives in our communities. The Chamber welcomes its newest member, Pretty Petals & Gifts by Susan, to help us fulfill our mission.

Founded in 2014 by owner Susan Adams in Paxinos, Pretty Petals & Gifts by Susan just opened a second retail store in Bloomsburg in November 2017. Located at 158 E. 9th St., Bloomsburg, Pretty Petals & Gifts offers a variety of floral arrangements and designs and gifts along with service that is friendly and prompt. It offers floral arrangements for all occasions including anniversary, get well, love & romance, new baby, sympathy, birthday, wedding, seasonal, just because and much more. It also carries an assortment of hand-crafted items, including some made by local artisans. The Bloomsburg store is open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturday. For more information, call 570-317-2753, visit its website or email

Pretty Petals by Susan will also be donating the floral arrangements for this week’s Holiday Open House, sponsored by Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital

PA Chamber Successfully Fights Back Against More than $1 Billion in Proposed Tax Increases as 2017-18 Budget Finalized; Continues to Oppose Additional Taxes on the Natural Gas Industry

From Gene Barr, President, PA Chamber of Business & Industry

As we approach the end of the year, the 2017-18 budget has finally been completed. In late October, the governor signed into law a revenue package to balance the $32 billion spending plan that had gone into effect in July. After months of a protracted back and forth, lawmakers came to an agreement on a revenue deal that relies largely on borrowing against the state’s Tobacco Settlement Fund; one-time fund transfers; expanded gaming; a fireworks tax and requiring online vendors to remit sales tax. Noticeably absent from the deal was a slew of proposed tax increases that could have significantly impacted the Commonwealth’s business climate.

Throughout this year’s budget process, the PA Chamber has been strongly advocating against punitive taxes that single out specific industries and hurt the Commonwealth’s overall competitiveness. This year, thanks to the help of our local chamber partners, the PA Chamber successfully fought back against more than $1 billion in proposed taxes that would have negatively impacted the Commonwealth’s business community and hard working families. Given the financial difficulties the state has found itself in over the past few years, the proposed taxes elected officials were considering were constantly evolving. Over the course of the elongated nine month budget negotiation process, the PA Chamber pushed back against numerous proposals – including: instituting combined reporting; a commercial storage tax; a hotel tax; a technology tax; and an increase to the insurance premiums tax. We also stood up against multiple attempts to enact higher energy taxes on Pennsylvania residents and businesses – including a proposed new tax on natural gas users; and increased taxes on energy and phone bills. And, we again spoke out against and eventually defeated efforts to increase the minimum wage to $12 an hour – a short-sighted move that especially hurts small businesses and makes it harder for low-wage workers to get their foot in the door.

Yet, despite the fact that a revenue package has been signed into law, there continue to be calls by some lawmakers to place an additional punitive tax on the Commonwealth’s natural gas industry. We have repeatedly warned lawmakers against this misguided policy because it will negatively impact the state’s overall business climate – further slowing Pennsylvania’s already stagnant economy.

There is a slew of misinformation regarding how Pennsylvania taxes the industry and if the industry is paying its “fair share.” Tax proponents often use the argument that Pennsylvania is the only state without a severance tax. However, Pennsylvania is also the only state to impose an impact tax on the industry. Since it was enacted, the impact tax has brought in more than $1 billion with revenues distributed to every single county in the Commonwealth to help fund critical local projects. Also, it’s important to note that the Commonwealth’s overall tax climate is more burdensome that other states with shale drilling. In fact, Pennsylvania’s Corporate Net Income Tax has the highest effective rate in the country. To say that the Commonwealth is letting drillers off the hook because we haven’t placed yet another punitive tax on this industry is comparing apples to oranges – especially since some drilling states don’t even impose a Corporate Net Income Tax.

Another fallacy is that the industry has to stay in Pennsylvania because the gas is here. But capital is fluid and companies will move capital if they are not able to be profitable in a certain location. For those that believe this will happen, all you have to do is look at the drilling counts – which have already seen a decline. Additionally, Pennsylvania’s burdensome regulatory and permitting climate place additional hardships on natural gas related companies that want to come and invest in the Commonwealth. The last thing we should be doing is singling this industry out by adding another punitive tax that will serve to make the Commonwealth even less competitive than other states in the Shale play.

As we repeatedly told lawmakers throughout the budget process, we cannot expect our economy to prosper if we continue to look to short-term solutions and target specific industries to solve our budgetary problems. Instead, we need to embrace tax policies that focus on our long-term economic future and entice new investment. By creating a competitive business climate, more job creators will be enticed to stay and locate in the Commonwealth – which will then generate more revenue for the state.