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Wind Energy Topic of Wednesday's Coalition Meeting
Retail Roundtable to Discuss Strategy for "Buy Here. Live Here."
Municipal Forum Will Focus on Unfunded Mandates
Geist to Address Chamber Transportation Committee
Station Medical Center to Host Thursday's "Business After Hours"
"Issues" Program on Non-Profits Debuts April 2nd
Chamber to Hold Candidate Information Session
Commercial Electricity Renewals Underway For Chamber Members
New Residential Electric Program Seen as Community Benefit
WE-LEaD Workshop to Emphasize Customer Service
Register Your Cell Phone for "Alert Blair County" Today
Blue Card Discounts 

Wind Energy Topic of Wednesday's Coalition Meeting
Max Scheeler, Coordinator-Community Wind Project at Saint Francis University’s Renewable Energy Center, will speak to The Chamber’s Coalition on Sustainability at its next meeting, set for March 28th at 11:00 a.m. at the Devorris Center for Business Development. The Renewable Energy Center was awarded a grant from the USDA and the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies to provide wind resource reports to farmers/agricultural producers and rural small businesses in Pennsylvania. Scheeler will talk about the project and explain ways that wind power may be a cost effective answer for any of several locations in our area. All Chamber Members are invited to attend the Coalition meeting. Advance registration would be helpful. Call The Chamber at 943-8151.

Retail Roundtable to Discuss Strategy for "Buy Here. Live Here."
The Chamber’s new “Buy Here. Live Here.” program should benefit several industry sectors in Blair County but probably none any more emphatically than local retail.  For that reason, The Chamber’s Retail Roundtable will look at ways that retailers can maximize the exposure that BHLH is expected to deliver so that new customer relationships can develop.  The Retail Roundtable meets Wednesday morning at 8:15 a.m. at the Devorris Center.  Interested retailers are invited to attend.

Municipal Forum Will Focus on Unfunded Mandates
The Blair County Chamber’s Legislative Action Committee will begin a series of Municipal Forums to assist local municipalities in dealing with many of the funding and policy challenges that limit a municipality’s ability to finction effectively.  The first Municipal Forum, on unfunded mandates, will be held this Wednesday, March 28th from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the Penn State Altoona Devorris Downtown Center.  State Senator John Eichelberger, chair of the Senate’s Local Government Committee, will address the group about what he sees in terms of mandate relief and he will be inviting municipal officials to share which mandates currently cause the most heartburn.  The Municipal Forums are limited to elected officials in Blair County’s twenty-four municipalities and members of The Chamber committee.

Geist to Address Chamber Transportation Committee
State Representative Rick Geist will meet with The Chamber’s Transportation Committee on Thursday morning at the Devorris Center to update the committee on where the Commonwealth stands on transportation funding measures.  The committee has petitioned Governor Tom Corbett and the General Assembly to undertake some manner of funding to correct the state’s many eroding highways and bridges.  Geist is the chairman of the House Transportation Committee.  (For more information on the Transportation Committee, contact Joe Hurd at 943-8151.)

Station Medical Center to Host Thursday's "Business After Hours"
What promises to be one of The Chamber’s largest “Business After Hours” in quite some time will be held this Thursday, March 29th, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Station Medical Center, 1404 Ninth Avenue in Altoona.  The event will include tours of the facility and entertainment as well as great food and beverages.  The cost to attend is just $5.00-per-person.  To register, call The Chamber at 943-8151 or register online

"Issues" Program on Non-Profits Debuts April 2nd
Non-Profit organizations made a considerable impact on the Blair County economy.  That impact was a key part of the discussion at The Chamber “Issues” program which will debut on April 2nd at 9:00 p.m. on Altoona Public Access Channel 14.  The program will run every Monday at 9:00 p.m. and every Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. during the month of April.  The title of the program is, “Blair County’s Non-Profits: Rising to the Challenge.”  Panelists are: Terri Grove of CONTACT Altoona, Jim Kilmartin of Joshua House Community Center, Judy Rosser of Blair County Drug and Alcohol Program, Inc., Tim Salony of Blair County Library System and Chrissey Wagner of The Altoona Symphony Orchestra.  Carolyn Donaldson of WTAJ Your News Leader is the moderator.  Sponsors of this “Issues” program are: Allegheny Lutheran Social Ministries, Blair Senior Services, Family Services, Inc., Goodwill Industries of the Conemaugh Valley, Skills of Central PA and The Arc of Blair County.

Chamber to Hold Candidate Information Session
The Blair County Chamber will hold a Candidate Information Session on Monday, April 9th beginning at 10:00 a.m. at the Jaffa Shrine.  Dr. John McGinnis, candidate for the State House of Representatives in the 79th Congressional District will participate in a question-and-answer session moderated by former Blair County Commissioner Donna Gority, a member of The Chamber’s Legislative Action Committee which is hosting the event.  The committee had originally planned a debate between McGinnis and incumbent Rick Geist, strictly on issues related to business.  When Geist declined an invitation to participate, the event was modified to allow McGinnis to respond to the questions that Chamber Members had submitted to be used in the debate.  The Candidate Information Session will also be taped by the Altoona Public Access Studio for airing at times indicated by The Chamber that would allow those voters unable to attend the Session an opportunity to hear McGinnis’ views.  The Session will not be broadcast live nor will questions be taken from the audience.  For more information, contact Joe Hurd at 943-8151.

Commercial Electricity Renewals Underway for Chamber Members
If your business has been enrolled in the ChamberChoice electric program through OnDemand Energy, you’re probably anxious to renew that coverage.  The renewal period for the program has begun and you should have received information about new rates, participation guidelines, etc.  If, for some reason, you haven’t received that information, contact The Chamber at 943-8151.

New Residential Electric Program Seen as Community Benefit
According to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s latest statistics, about 25% of Pennsylvania residents statewide have taken advantage of electricity deregulation for their home residences, many through The Chamber’s energy program.  “Our estimates show that if the residential subscribers in Blair County currently paying the tariff utility default rates switched to the lower Chamber residential rate, over 1.5 million dollars annually could be put into the local economy,” acknowledged Chamber President Joe Hurd.  “At a time when we’re rolling out “Buy Here. Live Here.” that’s a significant dollar figure to begin circulating.”  The decision has been made, therefore to open-up the ChamberChoice residential program to all Blair County residents.  Residential homeowners interested in this program should visit www.ondemandenergy.com and click on the residential savings button.  With a residential bill in hand, citizens can sign-up online for the lower ChamberChoice rate in a matter of minutes.  Homeowners may also call 1-866-699-9968 to speak to a program representative.  Customers who choose to sign-up for the lower rate will continue to receive one bill and the same level of service from their utility.  The ChamberChoice commercial electric program will continue to require Chamber membership as a prerequisite for participation.

WE-LEaD Workshop to Emphasize Customer Service
Customer Service will be the topic of the annual Spring Workshop of The Chamber’s WE-LEaD program.  The workshop will be held on Tuesday, April 17th from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Penn State Altoona Devorris Downtown Center.  The presenter will be John Rodgers, Jr., an experienced executive coach who has been a Dale Carnegie trainer for more than 25-years.  Businesses and individuals may sign-up for the workshop online or by calling The Chamber at 943-8151.  The cost to attend is $60 for Chamber Members and $70 for non-members.  The price includes a light breakfast, lunch and training materials.  Exhibitors from women-focused businesses will also be featured as part of the event.  WE-LEaD is an acronym for Women Encouraging: Leadership, Education and Development.

Register Your Cell Phone for "Alert Blair County" Today
The Chamber has partnered with the Blair County Local Emergency Planning Committee to alert Blair County residents and their families of important local level emergencies.  In all probability, your residential and business telephones are already on the contact list.  But your cellular telephones and smart phones are not.  To register them, log on to www.blairco.org and click on the “ALERT BLAIR COUNTY” icon.  Persons without Internet access can contact EMA Administrative Assistant Cris Stacey at 940-5901 for assistance.

. . . to Concurrent Technologies Corporation which was recently named one of the world’s most ethical companies by Ethisphere Institute, an international think-tank.  The sixth annual list highlights organizations that demonstrate leadership in promoting ethical business standards and practices.
. . . to FirstEnergy, the parent company of Penelec, which received the Emergency Recovery Award from the Edison Electric Institute for the company’s response in restoring power to its customers following Hurricane Irene in August, 2011.

Blue Card Discount offers
Here are a few of the discounts you can receive with your Chamber Blue Card. Click here to see the full list of Blue Card Discounts. To have an offer listed contact Stacy Hoover at The Chamber at 943-8151.

Stuckey Ford & Stuckey Subaru

Present your Chamber Blue Card to receive a FREE tire rotation ($14.95 value) with Oil and Filter Change at regular price. (Cars and Light Trucks only) 

Sylvan Learning Center


Present you Blue Card to receive a free diagnostic assessment and one free week upon enrollment

Tammy Kehr, Agent - State Farm Insurance

 Present your Blue Card to receive a FREE State Farm Insurance and Financialreview. The review is your opportunity to look at your overall financial picture and protection needs, clarify your goals and help ensure all your immediate and long-term protection and planning needs are being met.

The Building II Athletic Club


Present your Blue Card to receive 10% off our regular membership fee.

The Cashman Financial Group, Inc.


Attention Business owners: Call 1-800-722-0610 to learn how to receive a FREE Copy of National Best Seller "Tax Free Retirement" by Patrick Kelly.




March 26, 2012

Upcoming Events

Register online

Business After Hours

Thursday, March 29, 2012
5:00 - 7:00 p.m.

station med

Register Here

Breakfast Club

Thursday, April 12, 2012
7:45 - 8:55 a.m.
The Casino at Lakemont Park

Register Here 
WE-LEaD Spring Workshop

Tuesday, April 17, 2012
"Attitudes for Service"

7:30 a.m - Continental Breakfast/Exhibits
8:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. - Program
12:30 p.m. - Lunch
Penn State Altona Devorris Downtown Center

Sponsored by:

blair medical

Register Here 

GRYP Networking Event

Thursday,April 19, 2012
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Oak Spring Winery

Register Here
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Chamber Golf Classic

Monday,May 14, 2012
11:00 a.m. - Lunch/registration
Noon - Tourament starts

Register Here




Upcoming Committee Meetings
Week of 3/26/12

Business Opportunities Committee
Tuesday, March 27, 8:00 a.m.
The Chamber

Retail Roundtable
Wednesday, March 28, 8:15 a.m.
Devorris Center

Coalition on Sustainability
Wednesday, March 28, 11:00 a.m.
Devorris Center

Attractions Roundtable
Wednesday, March 28, 2:00 p.m.
Peoples Natural Gas Field

Transportation Committee
Thursday, March 29, 8:15 a.m.
Devorris Center

Community Benefit Coalition of Non-Profits
Friday, March 30, 8:15 a.m.
Devorris Center

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