If you are having trouble reading this email, please read the online version.
Home | Programming | Member Benefits | Business Directory | Change an Email Address | Add an Email Address | Contact Us

Large Crowd to Attend Tonight's Business Hall of Fame Dinner
Legislative Alert: Chamber Members Need to Support Critical Bills
New Chamber Energy Rates Set for Residentail Re-Enrollment
Chamber to Offer Cruise to Bahamas, Trip to Italy in 2012
Jethro's to Host Tuesday's "Green Drinks"
Chamber Board to Consider 2010 Audit, Emergency Plan
Safety Program on Emergency Response to be Held Friday
Leadership Adult Session to Focus on Heritage
Economic Outlook to be Part of November Breakfast Club
Deputy Secretary to Speak at Farm-City Dinner
"Issues" Program on Higher Education Continues on Channel 14
Have You Regisgtered for the Regional Business Expo?
Flood Insurance is Topic of October Lunch 'n' Learn
Blue Card Discounts

Large Crowd to Attend Tonight's Business Hall of Fame Dinner
The Chamber’s Annual Business Hall of Fame Dinner will be held tonight at the Blair County Convention Center and, as of last Friday’s registration deadline, 529 people had registered to attend. Last year’s event drew less than 400. The event will begin with a reception at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 6:45. The Business Hall of Fame inductees will be Mountain Research of Altoona, Tyrone Hospital of Tyrone and Veeder Root of Altoona. Altoona Shoe Company will be inducted into the Hall’s Heritage category. Those to be honored with awards of distinction are: Excellence in Small Business – The Burchfield Organization, Boyer Refrigeration Heating & Air Conditioning and Razor’s Edge Salon & Hair Loss Center; Young Emerging Business – PPCS Consulting, LLC, and Quantum Health & Wellness; Community Service – Keller Engineers, Penn State Altoona and YTI Career Institute; Safety – Altoona Pipe & Steel; Technology – Albemarle Corporation; and Committee Choice – Gloria Gates Foundation. 

Legislative Alert: Chamber Members Need to Support Critical Bills
One of the biggest hindrances to business growth in Pennsylvania is the PA Prevailing Wage Act which mandates that workers on public construction projects costing over $25,000 be paid the local “prevailing minimum wage.”  The problem is the set wage is typically tied to the local union wage and therefore grossly inflated, burdening local governments and taxpayers with higher costs while providing no real public benefit.  The Chamber opposes this law because it forces employers to pay in excess of what workers might voluntarily accept; imposes extensive paperwork and administrative costs; and generally hinders job creation and economic growth.  Short of full repeal of the Act, The Chamber is asking its members to support a series of bills that aim to help mitigate the adverse impact of an archaic and increasingly harmful mandate, including those which passed the House Labor and Industry Committee on October 3rd.  The bills are:

HB 1271: Exempts certain road maintenance work which until a recent court decision had usually not been subject to the Act.  This decision has forced municipalities to curtail regular roadwork.
HB 1685: Directs the PA Department of Labor and Industry to adopt classifications and definitions for jobs subject to the Act.  No such guidance currently exists, which creates confusion for contractors who face stiff penalties for even accidental violations.
HB 1329: Raises the threshold for a project to be a subject to the Act to $185,000, up from the current threshold of $25,000 that was established nearly fifty years ago.
HB 1541: Stipulates that the Act will be imposed only on projects in which 51% of the funding is public.  Currently the Act is enforced even if projects are minimally financed with public funding.
HB 709: Provides that school districts are not subject to the Act unless they elect to opt in.
HB 1191: Provides that local governments are not subject to the Act unless they elect to opt-in.

Blair County’s three State Representatives are under siege from the labor unions looking to preserve the current Act.  There is reason to believe that despite supporting the business community in the past, that unless businesses step-up and strongly encourage our elected officials to support these bills that prevailing wage will continue as is.  Please call or email these State Representatives as soon as possible:

Rep. Mike Fleck – (814) 644-2996 – mfleck@pahousegop.com
Rep. Rick Geist – (814) 946-7218 – regeist@pahousegop.com
Rep. Jerry stern – (814) 695-2398 –

New Chamber Energy Rates Set for Residential Re-Enrollment
If you are one of the Blair County Chamber members who signed-on to the ChamberChoice residential electric program through OnDemand at the beginning of 2011, your rate of 6.99 cents/ kwh will expire on December 31st.  To continue saving on your electric bill, it’s now time to re-enroll.  When you sign-up now, you’ll get the low fixed price of 6.80 through January 2012, then 7.25 through December of 2013 from First Energy Solutions.  To continue saving, click the Enroll Now link: fes.com/renew-pn and enter offer code: BP78Q to re-enroll online or call ChamberChoice at 1-855-900-3637.

Chamber to Offer Cruise to Bahamas, Trip to Italy in 2012
The success of The Chamber’s upcoming trip to China has led to numerous requests from Chamber members for the organization to do future trips.  Beginning in March, those requests will be honored.  The Chamber will work with work with two of its travel agency members – Heritage Adventures and Classic Travel – to provide fun and relaxation at prime destinations.  From March 18-25, travelers can cruise from Baltimore to the Bahamas on Carnival Cruise Lines, visiting Port Canaveral, Nassau and Freeport.  For details contact Heritage Adventures Travel Agency at (814) 946-1600.  From October 7-14, it’s “Italy’s Great Cities” with Classic Travel.  The trip includes visits to Rome, Pisa, Florence, Verona, Venice and Ferrara.  Call Classic Travel at 696-3558. Informational meetings about both trips will be held in either mid-December or early January.

Jethro's to Host Tuesday's "Green Drinks"
The Chamber’s Coalition on Sustainability invites all Chamber members to its monthly “Green Drinks” program to be held this Tuesday from 6:30 until whenever on the patio at Jethro’s Restaurant (indoors if it’s too cold!).  There’s no cost to attend and you only pay for what you eat or drink.  Green Drinks is a great way to engage others in conversation about issues of sustainability.  It’s an energetic and opinionated crowd so prepare to have a great time!  No need to register – just show up.

Chamber Board to Consider 2010 Audit, Emergency Plan
When The Chamber’s Board of Directors meets on Thursday morning at the Devorris Center, one of its initial tasks will be to approve the organization’s 2010 audit which was conducted by Young, Oakes, Brown & Company.  The Board will also be asked to support an extension of the City of Altoona’s emergency notification system to include service to the entire county.  The Board meeting begins at 7:30 a.m.  Any Chamber Member interested in addressing the Board should contact Joe Hurd at 943-8151 by no later than noon on Tuesday.

Safety Program on Emergency Response to be Held Friday
This month’s Chamber safety program will focus on emergency response. Having a plan in place is the first step to keeping employees safe in the midst of a crisis. To help us understand what that means, the first part of the program will review Albemarle Corporation’s disaster drill, an exercise focused on evaluating current response concepts, plans and capabilities. The second part of the program will take a look at Altoona’s EMA emergency notification system, its amazing capabilities and why there’s a need for expansion. Tim Hileman, Deputy Fire Chief for the City of Altoona’s Fire Department will present on the subject and even offer a demonstration to those in attendance. The event will run from 7:45-9:30 a.m. this Friday, October 21st, at the Hampton Inn Altoona. The cost is $15 for Chamber Members and $25 for non-members. You can register for this event  online or call The Chamber at 943-8151.

Leadership Adult Session to Focus on Heritage
The Chamber’s Leadership Blair County Adult class will have an opportunity to observe and contemplate the history, culture and heritage of Blair County at the class’s session this Friday.  The class will have the opportunity to tour several of the county’s major attractions and will then do group presentations to better gain an appreciation for what has made Blair County great.  For further information on the Leadership Blair County program, call The Chamber at 943-8151 or visit the Chamber Website at www.blairchamber.com.

Economic Outlook to be Part of November Breakfast Club
How did the Blair County economy weather the challenges of 2011 and what opportunities were created out of adversity for 2012?  Those two questions will be at the forefront of the 2011 Blair County Economic Outlook to be held as part of the November 16th Chamber Breakfast Club.  The Economic Outlook is a joint initiative of the Altoona-Blair County Development Corporation, the Allegheny Mountains Convention & Visitors Bureau and The Chamber.  In 2010, the Outlook was held in September as a separate event at the Blair County Convention Center and included a Job Expo.  Discussions took place in the months following to gage interest in holding a regional outlook that would involve Blair, Bedford and Huntingdon counties.  That concept never bore fruit and the decision was made by the Blair County group to use the Breakfast Club as a forum to encourage dialogue on how the county can stay on-track economically.  With the changes in the Economic Outlook from one year to the next, one critical component hasn’t changed.  That would be the bearers of the message.  Once again, research specialists Rose Baker and David Passmore of Penn State will enlighten the local business community with statistics and projections that will be quite informative.  The Chamber Breakfast Club begins at 7:45 a.m. at The Casino at Lakemont Park.  The cost to attend is $16.  To register, contact The Chamber at 943-8151 or register online.

Deputy Secretary to Speak at Farm-City Dinner
The Chamber will hold its annual Farm-City Dinner on Tuesday, October 25th beginning with a milk-punch reception at 6:30 p.m. followed by a family-style turkey dinner at 7:00.  The event will be held at The Park at Morrisons Cove.  Guest speaker will be Matt Meals, Deputy Secretary for Agriculture and Consumer Protection.  Meals, from Cumberland County, is responsible for the Bureau of Animal Health, Horse and Harness Racing Commission, Pennsylvania Equine Toxicology Research Lab, Livestock Evaluation Center, state-owned farms and other agricultural initiatives.  The highlight of the Farm-City Dinner is the presentation of the Agricultural Community Excellence (ACE) Award which this year will be presented to James Crawford of Sinking Valley.  Crawford has been a staunch advocate for Blair County agriculture for many years and currently serves as chairman of the Altoona-Blair County Development Corporation’s Agriculture Committee.  The cost to attend the Farm-City Dinner is $20-per-person and tickets can be purchased at The Chamber Office or from any Farm-City Committee member.  Sponsorships and or ads for the dinner can be secured by calling Jessica Meck at 943-8151.

"Issues" Program on Higher Education Continues on Channel 14
The Chamber’s latest “Issues” program is being aired on the Altoona Public Access Channel (14) on Mondays at 9:00 p.m. and Wednesday’s at 9:00 a.m. throughout the months of October. “The Role of Higher Education in Regional Development” is the title of the hour-long program that is moderated by WTAJ’s Carolyn Donaldson. Panelists are: Dr. Lori J. Bechtel-Wherry, Chancellor of Penn State Altoona; Dr. Wayne Powel, Provost of Saint Francis University; Dr. Walter Asonevich, President of Pennsylvania Highlands Community College; John Hille, Executive Vice-President of Juniata College; and Dr. Thomas Foley, President of Mount Aloysius College. Sponsors for the “Issues” program are: Altoona Mirror, Keller Engineers, McCartney’s, Inc., Mount Aloysius College and Penn State Altoona. 

Have You Registered for the Regional Business Expo?
The Blair County Chamber will once again partner with twelve other chambers throughout the region in presenting the Central PA Regional Business & Industry Expo, to be held Thursday, November 3rd from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Bryce Jordan Center in State College. To obtain a registration form for the event, click here.

Flood Insurance is Topic of October Lunch 'n' Learn
Recent hurricanes and other types of weather-related disasters makes it more important than ever that businesses and homeowners understand the financial and property repercussions of flooding. For that reason, The Chamber is holding a Lunch ‘n’ Learn program on Thursday, October 27th from noon to 1:30 p.m. at Park Hills Country Club entitled, “Flood Insurance and Mortgages: Keeping Your Head Above Water.” Presenters will be: Theodora (Teddie) Kreitz of Keller Engineers, State Farm agent Lisa Mancinelli, Donna Myers of Reliance Bank, Cassandra Schmick of Logan Township and A. Jane Beveridge of the City of Altoona. The topic to be discussed will be the National Flood Insurance Program and its impact on local communities and residential and commercial property owners. The cost to attend is $22 for Chamber Members and $30 for non-members. Lunch is included. To register, call The Chamber at 943-8151 or register online.

. . . to Keller Engineers of Hollidaysburg which was recently named one of the 100 Best Place to Work in Pennsylvania for the second consecutive year by Team Pennsylvania Foundation, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, the PA State Council of the Society for Human Resource Management and the Central Penn Business Journal.

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.

Advanced Regional Center for Ankle and Foot Care

Present your blue card to receive $15.00 off any in-stock Crocs OR receive $25.00 off in-stock sandalistas OR receive Formula 3 Nail Fungus Treatment for $30.00

Imler's Poultry, LP A 5% discount on all purchases at the Route 764 Outlet Store. Please present your card at checkout to receive your discount
Indoff- Lori Beck Present your Blue Card to receive a free box of letter size, 1/3 cut, manila folders (item # UNV-12113). Excludes ink and toner purchases.
Laurel Eye Clinic Present your Blue Card to receive $350 per eye discount on Lasik surgery OR buy 1 pair of prescription glasses at regular price to receive half off a second pair of equal or lesser value.
Sylvan Learning Center Present you Blue Card to receive 10% off of all courses and services.






October 10, 2011

Upcoming Events
Register online

Hall of Fame Dinner

Monday, October 17, 2011
5:30 p.m. - Reception
6:45 p.m. - Dinner
Blair County Convention Center

Register Here

GRYP Networking

Thursday, October 20, 2011
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
US Hotel Restaurant & Tavern

Register Here

Safety Program

Friday, October 21, 2011
7:45 - 9:30 a.m.
Hampton Inn

Register Here

Farm-City Dinner

Tuesday, October 25, 2011
6:30 p.m. - Milk/Punch Reception
7:00 p.m. - Dinner
The Park at Morrisons Cove

Register Here

Business After Hours

WEDNESDAY, October 26, 2011
5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Hosted by:

hampton inn for web

Register Here


Upcoming Committee Meetings
Week of 10/17/11

Safety Committee
Tuesday, October 18, 9:00 a.m.
The Chamber

Finance Committee
Tuesday, October 18, 2:00 p.m.
The Chamber

Hotel Roundtable
Wednesday, October 19, 8:15 a.m.
Ramada Altoona Conference Center

Chamber Foundation Board
Wednesday, October 19, 8:00 a.m.
Devorris Center

Chamber Foundation Fund Dev. Committee
Wednesday, October 19, 9:00 a.m.
The Chamber

Leadership Blair County Youth Committee
Wednesday, October 19, 3:30 p.m.
Devorris Center

Chamber Board of Directors
Thursday, October 20,7:30 a.m.
Devorris Center

BASICS Career Development Subcommittee
Thursday, October 20, 3:30 p.m.
Devorris Center

Follow The Chamber
on Facebook

Click here



For more information, visit the website

To subscribe or unsubscribe, email