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Legislative Committee to meet today with school directors
Winners announced for Highmark/Chamber Golf Classic
Chamber Board approves 2011 Strategic Business Plan  
Dalecki approved as Marketing Vice-Chair
Members encouraged to testify on 814 area code issue 
May safety presentation will provide OSHA update 
GRYP Night at The Ballpark is tonight
It's time to lock-in residential electric rate
Only two weeks until Business Excellence Dinner
Chamber China trip: Eighty-four and counting
Deadline fast approaching for Hall of Fame applications
Congratulations . . .
Blue Card Discounts

Legislative Committee to meet today with school directors

How can Blair County’s public school districts meet the growing economic challenges facing them in the future and what impact can the business community have in helping find workable solutions? Those will be the hot-button questions that members of The Chamber’s Legislative Action Committee and representatives from local school boards will discuss this morning at 8 a.m. at the Devorris Center. “Our previous meeting with the school directors was extremely informative and we’re looking forward to continuing to help them search for reasonable solutions,” acknowledged Matt Stuckey, Vice-Chair of the Legislative Action Committee. “The business community has a vested interest in the educational process and also is defining ways to be more cost effective.” For more information on the Legislative Action Committee, contact Joe Hurd at 943-8151.   


Winners announced for Highmark/Chamber Golf Classic

The rain stayed away for all but 20 minutes and the 2011 Highmark/Chamber Golf Classic was an unquestioned success, thanks to great playing conditions, plenty of food and beverages and a high spirit of competition. "I’ve heard nothing but good things from those who participated,” reported Golf Committee Chair Barry D’Andrea. “The weather held-up and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. It’s a great networking event.” The competitive part of the event resulted in the following award winners: A-Flight -  1st Place – Jeff Adams, Jeff Eisaman, Al Weyant and Ryan Strickler; 2nd Place – Bob Bilger, Thad Will, Brenda Clapper and Dave Worthing; 3rd Place – John Bodine, Ed Bodine, George Goss and Damon Skiles.  In the B-Flight: 1st Place – Tim Nagle, Paul Leitz, Nick Gates and Rich Lasek; 2nd Place – Jerry Corle, Bob Steinbugl, Scott Weaver, Scott Schraff and Tim Parnell; 3rd Place – Jason Sipes, Neil Rudel, Ray Eckenrode and Dan Slep. In the Skill Prize category, Bob Bilger won the longest drive (male) and the closest to the pin on #16; Jackie Rummel won the longest drive (female); Jason Sipes had the straightest drive; Dave Cowger won closest to the pin on #3, Gary Zuckerman won closest to the pin on #9; and Jason Horomanski won closest to the pin on #13.



Chamber Board approves 2011 Strategic Business Plan

The Blair County Chamber’s Board of Directors unanimously approved a Strategic Business Plan last Thursday that will guide the organization’s efforts for the next 12 months. Among the newer initiatives included in the plan is a recommendation that The Chamber begin implementation of a webinar feature for its education program. That recommendation came from a focus group meeting held in January in which several members indicated a need to gain greater access to educational offerings without having to leave their offices. A more thorough discussion of the Strategic Business Plan will be available in the June 14 issue of the Blair Business Mirror. The Plan also will be on The Chamber’s website.    


Dalecki approved as Marketing Vice-Chair

Steve Dalecki of ARC Federal Credit Union was approved last Thursday by The Chamber Board of Directors as Vice-Chairperson of The Chamber’s Marketing Committee.  

Members encouraged 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. “This is an opportunity for our businesses to protect their interests,” admitted Chamber President Joe Hurd. “The change to a new area code will carry considerable expense in terms of changing signage, letterheads – anything that contained the 814 designation.” 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 OSHA update 
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.   


GRYP Night at the Ballpark is tonight
GRYP will take you out to the ball game at Blair County Ballpark tonight to watch the Curve take on the Bowie Baysox. Tickets have been set aside for GRYP Members at $5 each. Everyone will be on their own for food and drinks. The event is aimed to be a fun night of watching the game and hanging out. Bring your family members out the ball game. Please reserve your tickets ahead of time by contacting Mike McMullen or registering online.    


It’s time to lock-in residential electric rate

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 already have 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 of 2013. Two weeks ago, 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.     


Only two weeks until Business Excellence Dinner

With the month of June a little more than a week away, it’s time for Chamber Members to make their reservations for the 2011 Business Excellence Dinner, set for 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 China trip: Eighty-four and counting

The Blair County Chamber’s Trip to China on Nov. 3-11 continues to attract interested travelers. “We have 84 people signed-on and we’re confident that we’ll get at least a hundred,” acknowledged Chamber President Joe Hurd.  Hurd advised anyone still considering the trip to pick-up informational materials at The Chamber Office, located in the Devorris Center for Business Development. “We’re planning on cutting-off registrations soon,” Hurd admitted. “We want to be sure that we can accommodate the people that we have.” The cost of the trip is just $1999/person and is all-inclusive.    


Deadline fast approaching for Hall of Fame applications

Still haven’t nominated a Blair County business for the Business Hall of Fame? Your time is running out. Nominated businesses must submit completed applications by June 9. So the closer to that date you nominate them, the less time they have to complete the applications. 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!   


Congratulations . . .

. . . to Oak Spring Winery in Altoona whose blueberry wine brought home a gold medal from the Taster’s Guild 24th Annual International Wine Competition last month in Grand Rapids, Mich. The winery also won a silver medal for its Game Day white wine and bronze medals for its Niagara wine and Cherry Chocolate wine.

. . . to Altoona Regional Health System which recently received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s “Get With the Guidelines Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award.  The award recognizes Altoona Regional’s commitment and success in caring for stroke patients.     



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.

Franklin Frames Receive 10 percent off any custom framing order at Franklin Frames.   
G.B. Wineland & Son, Inc. Receive 10 percent off Polaris Insulated Doors OR receive 10 percent off your order of five or more Polaris Windows.
GO Time Promotions Receive a FREE business advertising consultation.  
GO Time Sports Performance Training Center Purchase two months of training, receive the third month for free.
Green Home Goods, Inc. Receive a 10 percent discount on gifts and accessories, or on eco-flooring and furniture.

May 23, 2011

Upcoming Events

Register online

GRYP Night at the Ballpark
Monday, May 23, 6:30 p.m. to ?
Blair 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 5/23/11

Coalition on Sustainability 
Tuesday, May 24, 11 a.m. 
Devorris Center
Retail Roundtable
Wednesday, May 25, 8:15 a.m. 
Devorris Center
Transportation Committee 
Thursday, May 26, 8:15 a.m.
Devorris Center 

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