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Highmark/Chamber Golf Classic tees-off today
Chamber Board to consider amended Strategic Business Plan
Members invited to testify on 814 area code issue  
May safety presentation will provide update on OSHA
Informational meeting on China trip set for Wednesday 
Executive Roundtable to hear presentation from the Fed 
Residential electric rate climbs to 7.25 cents/kwh
Registration process begins for Business Excellence Dinner
Chamber Members among SBDC honorees
Nominated anyone yet for the Business Hall of Fame?
Blue Card Discounts

Highmark/Chamber Golf Classic tees-off today

The long-awaited Highmark/Chamber Golf Classic will have a noon tee-off at Iron Masters Country Club in Ore Hill following a pig roast luncheon provided by Holland Brothers of Duncansville. “We’re hoping for a good day, weather-wise,” explained The Chamber’s Stacy Hoover. “We have 125 golfers and a great group of volunteers to insure that the day is success.” Sponsors for the Golf Classic are: Main Sponsor – Highmark Blue Cross/ Blue Shield; Luncheon and Reception Sponsor – OnDemand Energy; Comfort Cart Sponsors – Zane Helsel Excavating, Saleme Insurance and Altoona Center for Nursing; Golf Ball Sponsor – Central Hydraulics; and Hole-in-One Sponsor – Gingrich Insurance. Tee-and-Green Sponsors are: Altoona Mirror, Altoona-Blair County Development Corporation, Altoona Lung Specialists, C&G Savings Bank, Concurrent Technologies Corporation, Crossroads Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, Culligan Water, First Commonwealth Bank, First National Bank, Goldstein, Heslop, Steele, Clapper & Oswalt, Home Health Resource, Independent Catholic Foundation, James P. Kimmel Insurance, Joe Krentzman & Son, Inc., Keller Engineers, Laurel Eye Clinic, Moses & Associates, P.C., New Look Uniform Shop, NPC, Inc., Oak Spring Winery, P. Joseph Lehman Engineering, Penn State Altoona, Preferred Benefits Specialists, LLC, Press Box Printing, Ravine Custom Apparel & Sporting Goods, Ritchey’s Dairy, Roaring Spring Water, Saleme Insurance, Secur-Tec, Seltzer Financial, Sheetz, Inc., The Casino and Snappy Chef, Ward Transport & Logistics, Young, Oakes, Brown & Company and YTI.


Chamber Board to consider amended Strategic Business Plan

A subcommittee of the Chamber Board of Directors has amended the organization’s current Strategic Business Plan and will present that plan for approval at Thursday’s monthly Board Meeting. “The subcommittee has done a great job looking at the components of the previous plan and incorporating some new directions,” explained Chamber President Joe Hurd. “The amended plan includes feedback from a focus group comprised of randomly selected Chamber members as well as some input from committees that target organizational goals.” Once approved, the amended Strategic Business Plan will be sent to the membership.   


Members invited to testify on 814 area code issue

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission will hold hearings to determine whether the region that includes Blair County will be issued a new area code or whether the Erie region will get that new designation. Blair County businesses are invited to testify at those hearings. Testimony should include significant reasons why a change in area code will have an impact on the business. The first public input hearing will be held on Tuesday, May 24 beginning at 6 p.m. at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel. The second hearing will be on May 26 at the Ambassadors Center in Erie. To submit a request to testify, call the Scheduling Office at (717) 787-1399.  


May safety presentation will  provide update on OSHA 
The Chamber's Safety Committee has arranged for Bob Carroll, Compliance Assistance Specialist from OSHA's Pittsburgh Office, to give a presentation at its next program. The OSHA update will be held from 8 to 9:30 a.m., Thursday, May 26 at the Hampton Inn. A light continental breakfast will be served at the presentation. The cost is $15 for Chamber members and $25 for non-members. Register by calling The Chamber at 943-8151 or online.  


Informational meeting on China t rip set for Wednesday

The Blair County and Huntingdon County chambers will hold an informational meeting on the upcoming China Trip this Wednesday, May 18 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Community Room at the Tyrone Hospital. People interested in learning about the trip are invited to attend. Sally Haas, President of the Pittsburgh Airport Area Chamber, will do a power point presentation. Her chamber recently completed its third trip to China. There is no cost or obligation associated with this meeting but registration is required because space is limited. Call The Chamber at 943-8151.    


Executive Roundtable to hear presentation from the Fed

The next meeting of The Chamber’s Executive Roundtable will be held on Wednesday, at 7:30 a.m. at The Blairmont Club. Guest speaker will be Luke Tilley, Regional Economic Advisor for the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. Mr. Tilley will give an overview of the national economy and a forecast from the Philadelphia Fed’s Survey of Professional Forecasters, including drivers of the recovery as well as risks. He also will examine Pennsylvania’s economic performance relative to the nation and give implications for inflation and monetary policy. For more information on the Executive Roundtable, contact Joe Hurd at 943-8151.     


Residential electric rate climbs to 7.25 cents/kwh

Chamber Members looking to save money on electricity rates at their homes should not procrastinate in selecting a program that will keep their energy costs manageable.  That was the message from OnDemand Energy which oversees the ChamberChoice program.  The Blair County Chamber offers that program to our members and hundreds of those members have already signed-on. “Most were able to lock-in the 6.99 rate for the remainder of 2011,” reported Chamber President Joe Hurd. “In April registrations for that program closed and a new program offering of 7.15 came into effect that locked subscribers in until June 2013. Last week, that rate jumped to 7.25.”  Hurd believes that the most recent jump was in anticipation of another increase in Penelec’s rate which can take effect on June 1. The Penelec rate is currently at 7.68. “We’re speculating that the rate will increase, simply by watching what other providers have done once the rate caps were removed,” Hurd explained. “Whether it does or it doesn’t, I’d recommend that Chamber Members who haven’t already locked-in a low rate, look to do so as soon as possible due to the volatility of the market.” To sign-up for either the commercial or residential program, Chamber Members should go online to www.fes.com/chamberchoice. From there, the promotional code is chamberchoice. Businesses can access an enrollment form; individuals looking to lock-in a residential rate can do so by entering the customer number on their electric bill. Direct any questions to 1-866-699-9968.   


Registration process begins for Business Excellence Dinner

Invitations are in the mail for The Chamber’s 10th Annual Business Excellence Dinner to be held June 7 at The Casino at Lakemont Park. Barry Smith, founder and owner of Smith Transport in Roaring Spring, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for Business Excellence that evening and he will have an impressive array of friends to sing his praises. Keynote speaker will be longtime NASCAR driver Mike Wallace who has been a key figure in the Nationwide Series since his debut in 1990. Wallace and Smith have been close friends and business associates for several years. Among the three people providing testimonial comments about Smith at the dinner are NPC Chairman of the Board Mark Barnhart, retired U.S. Congressman Bud Shuster and legendary automotive designer Carroll Shelby.  Shelby will be unable to attend the dinner so his comments will be videotaped and played at the event. The Master of Ceremonies for the Business Excellence Dinner will be Attorney Mark Gordon of the law firm of Pietragallo, Gordon, Alfano, Bosick & Raspanti, LLP.  Invitations to the Business Excellence Dinner have been mailed to Chamber Members. Non-members also can attend but must pay in advance. To register, contact The Chamber at 943-8151 or register online.      


Chamber Members among SBDC honorees

Among the honorees at the St. Francis University’s Small Business Development Center’s Small Business Awards Luncheon will be three members of the Blair County Chamber. Linzi Biesinger of Altoona Beauty School will be honored as Women in Business Advocate of the Year, Mike Lamb of Wessel & Company will be named Accountant Advocate of the Year and Renee Staines of Altoona Dance Theatre will receive the Young Entrepreneur of the Year designation.


Nominated anyone yet for the Business Hall of Fame?

Nomination forms are available online or by calling The Chamber at 943-8151. The Business Hall of Fame Dinner will be held on Oct. 17 at the Blair County Convention Center. Nominate your own business or somebody else’s but do it today!   



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 Mike McMullen at The Chamber at 943-8151.

Fiore Furniture Take an extra discount equal to the sales tax on all furniture and matress purchases. (Discount not available on Tempur-pedic products.)   
Firestone Complete Auto Care Receive a standard lube, oil & filer change for $21.99 + tax OR receive a PA state inspection and emissions test for $39.99 + tax.
Forney Financial Solutions, LLC Receive a FREE financial planning/wealth management review AND/OR receive a FREE Retirement Plan/401(k) Benchmarking.  
Natural Gains Save 10 percent on your purchase of a new treadmill or elliptical trainer OR receive 15 percent off the purchase of a new bicycle OR receive one FREE bicycle tune-up OR receive 15 percent off any brand of Whey Protein.
State Chemical Solutions Non-state funded agencies can present their Blue Card and receive 25 percent on products. State-funded agencies are eligible for other discounts and benefits.

May 16, 2011

Upcoming Events

Register online

GRYP Night at the Ballpark
Monday, May 23, 6:30 p.m. to ?
Balir County Ball Park

Come out and watch the Altoona Curve take on the Bowie Baysox.

Register here

May Business After Hours
Thursday, May 26, 5 to 7 p.m.
Imler's Poultry

Route 764, Duncansville 

Register here

Safety Presentation
Thursday, May 26, 8 to 9:30 a.m.
Hampton Inn, Altoona

Bob Carroll from the Pittsburgh Office of OSHA will give an update on the office's initiatives and regulations.

Register here

 Upcoming Committee Meetings
Week of 5/16/11

Safety Committee 
Tuesday, May 17, 9 a.m. 
The Chamber
Marketing Committee 
Tuesday, May 17, 2 p.m. 
Devorris Center
Executive Roundtable 
Wednesday, May 18, 7:30 a.m.
The Blairmont Club
Leadership Blair County Youth Committee 
Wednesday, May 18, 3:30 p.m. 
Devorris Center
Board of Directors Meeting 
Thursday, May 19 7:30 a.m. 
Devorris Center
Non-Profit Roundtable

Friday, May 20, 8:15 a.m. 
Devorris Center
Farm-City Committee
Friday, May 20, noon 
Hoss's in Duncansville

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