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Chamber Joins Statewide Effort to Assist Community
New Membes Approved by Board of Directors
Green Home Goods to Host "Green Drinks"
Meetings to Address Commercial Electricity Rates Set for Tuesday
Commercial Electricity Renewals Underway for Chamber Members
New Residential Electric Program Seen as Community Benefit
Executive Roundtable to Hear Early Childhood Presentation
Foundation Board Applying for EITC Dollars
"Issues" Program Will Focus on Non-Profits
Chamber Accepts Board Member Resignation
Register Your Cell Phone for "Alert Blair County" Today
Scheeler to Speak to Coalition on Wind Energy
Blue Card Discounts 

Chamber Joins Statewide Effort to Assist Communities
The Board of Directors of the Blair County Chamber has approved an invitation extended to the organization by a statewide coalition known as “Chambers for Sustainable Communities” whose mission is to help Pennsylvania’s rural, suburban and urban communities to address growing economic and financial challenges.  “As one of those communities facing such challenges, we applaud The Chamber’s decision to get involved,” remarked Altoona Mayor Bill Schirf.  “I’ve had an opportunity to talk to several coalition members and I see them having a significant role in helping municipalities to more effectively address common problems.”  Participation from the Blair County Chamber was a no-brainer, according to Board Chair Ron Muffie of the Hite Company.  “The business community has a huge stake in what happens to our governmental bodies, particularly our Third Class Cities,” Muffie pointed out.  “We’re anxious to become more involved in this effort.”

New Members Approved by Board of Directors
Six new members were approved by the Chamber’s Board of Directors at last Thursday’s meeting.  The new members are:  Blair County Link to Aging and Disability Resources; Carlisle Barracks/Cumberland Valley Chapter, Association of the U.S. Army; Experience It, LLC; HomeWaters Retreats; Kerr Promotions; and Shoe Fly Stores (Tyrone).

Green Home Goods to Host "Green Drinks"
Green Home Goods, a Chamber-member business located at 5901 Sixth Avenue in Altoona, will host “Green Drinks” this Tuesday beginning at 6:30 p.m.  Green Drinks is a monthly networking program of The Chamber’s Coalition on Sustainability.  There is no cost to attend.  To register, contact Katrina Pope at kpope@ircenvironment.org or just show up.  It’s a fabulous opportunity to meet some really great “green” people!

Meetings to Address Commercial Electricity Rates Set for Tuesday
If your business is a member of The Chamber and still hasn’t signed-up for a discount electric program or is dissatisfied with your current program, it’s time to take a look at the ChamberChoice program.  That program, conducted through OnDemand Energy, currently has more than 300 Blair County businesses enrolled and needless to say, the level of satisfaction is high.  Like to know more?  The Chamber is holding informational meetings tomorrow (Tuesday) at 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. at the Devorris Center.  Cheryl Hefft of OnDemand will conduct the meetings and each will last no more than one hour.  If you’re tired of subjecting your business to high electric rates, stop-by and hear how you can save valuable dollars with a proven program.  No need to register – just show up.

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.

Executive Roundtable to Hear Early Childhood Presentation
Blair County’s future workforce needs to gain certain educational advantages from birth, advantages that are not evident in a high enough percentage of those young children.  That educational shortfall and its potential consequences will be the topic of a presentation to The Chamber’s Executive Roundtable on Wednesday morning at The Blairmont Club.  Dan Hoover of Roaring Spring Blank Book and Stephanie Doliveira of Sheetz, Inc. will be the presenters.  Hoover and Doliveira are members of The Chamber’s Subcommittee on Early Childhood Education as well as board members of the Pennsylvania Early Learning Investment Commission. For more information on the Executive Roundtable, contact Joe Hurd at 943-8151.

Foundation Board Applying for EITC Dollars
When the Board of Directors of the Blair County Chamber Foundation meets on Wednesday, much of the discussion will center on the importance of the Foundation’s participation in the Education Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program.  “The EITC program has been a huge factor in The Chamber’s ability to maintain Leadership Blair County Youth and BASICS (Businesses And Schools Investing in Cooperative Solutions),” admitted Foundation Board Secretary/Treasurer Cindy Cessna.  “Without that money, we’d really have a tough time.”  The Foundation has reapplied to take part in EITC but the real challenge is to find businesses willing to contribute funds in exchange for tax advantages.  “The premise behind EITC is great – send your tax dollars to an eligible agency like ours rather than to Harrisburg,” Cessna pointed out.  “We’re hoping that businesses recognize that they have a choice and that we’re doing great things with their money.”  For more information on the EITC program or on the Chamber Foundation, contact Cessna at 943-8151.

"Issues" Program Will Focus on Non-Profits
Non-Profit organizations made a considerable impact on the Blair County economy.  That impact will be a key part of the discussion at the next Chamber “Issues” program being taped this Wednesday at the Altoona Public Access Studio.  The title of the program will be, “Blair County’s Non-Profits: Rising to the Challenge.”  Panelists will be: Terri Grove of CONTACT Altoona, Jim Kilmartin of Joshua House, 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 will be 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 Accepts Board Resignation
The Blair County Chamber’s Board of Directors has reluctantly accepted the resignation of board member Ivan Riggle.  Riggle will retire in April from Albemarle Corporation in Tyrone.  “Ivan has been a stellar board member,” reported Chamber Board Chair Ron Muffie.  “In areas like membership recruitment, he’s made a considerable difference in what we’ve been able to accomplish.  We wish him well in his retirement.  He’ll be missed.”  Riggle’s position on the Board will be filled at the April Board of Director’s meeting.

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.

Scheeler to Speak to Coalition on Wind Energy
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.

. . . to Chamber members Joe Keller, Suzanne Thoma and Mary O’Leary Wiley who will be inducted into the Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School  2012 “Ring of Honor” on April 21st.

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.

Sam's Club

 Present your Chamber Blue Card to receive a $25 gift card when you join or renew as an Advantage Plus or Business Plus Member. Receive a $10 gift card when you join or renew as an Advantage or Busniess Member.

ServiceMaster Prof. Cleaning


Present your Blue Card to receive 10% off all commercial and residential cleaning services.

Shear Perfections

 Present your blue card and receive 50% off any service for first time customers. You then receive 10% off every service thereafter.

Smith Furniture - House of Fashion


Present your Chamber Blue Card to receive a 5% discount on your entire purchase. (Offer excludes sales tax or services.)

Steve Seltzer Honda


Present your Blue Card to receive half off of your Pennsylvania State Inpection for your motorcycle or motor scooter. (Not off the sticker but the labor portion of your inspection.) OR Present your Blue Card to receive 15% off regularly-priced parts and accessory items OR Present your Blue Card to receive an extra year of extended warranty with your purchase of a Honda motorcycle, Scooters or ATV. (Value of more than $200)




March 19, 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 3/19/12

Safety Committee
Monday, March 19, 2:00 p.m.
The Chamber

Executive Roundtable
Wednesday, March 21, 7:30 a.m.
The Blairmont

LBC Youth Committee
Wednesday, March 21, 3:30 p.m.
The Chamber

Golf Committee
Thursday, March 22, 9:00 a.m.
The Chamber

Regional BASICS
Thursday, March 22, 10:00 a.m.
Devorris Center

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