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Cortez resigns positions to take DCED post
Presentation on workers' comp investigations Friday 
Chamber Members asked to help overturn tax bill
Electric program continues to enroll new participants
Increase customer base with a "Blue Card" offer
Fifty-one signed up for Chamber's trip to China
Transportation is topic of next "Issues" program 
Highmark/Chamber Golf Classic attracting golfers, sponsors
Save the date!! 
Congratulations . . . 
Blue Card Discounts

Cortez resigns positions to take DCED post

Mike Cortez resigned his position as general counsel at Sheetz last week as well as stepping aside as a member of The Chamber’s Board of Directors and Legislative Action Committee. He had good reason.  Cortez was appointed by Gov. Tom Corbett as a Deputy Security of the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED). "Mike did an exceptional job in helping develop an effective advocacy component to The Chamber’s Legislative effort," admitted President Joe Hurd. "We’re looking forward to working with him extensively in the future. We haven’t seen the last of Mike and he hasn’t see the last of us. We’re proud of what he’s accomplished and grateful for his contributions to what we do."  


Presentation on workers' comp investigations Friday

The next Chamber Safety program will be held this Friday, March 25 from 7:45 to 9:00 a.m. at Holiday Inn Express in Altoona. Robert Schirf of Gittings Investigations, Inc. will present, "WCI: Workers' Comp Investigation." The presentation will cover new investigative techniques and trends, criminal insurance fraud issues, pre-surveillance tools and investigative methods that can be useful to business. The cost is $15 for Chamber Members and $25 for non-members. To register, call 943-8151 or register online.  


Chamber Members asked to help overturn tax bill

The Blair County Chamber Foundation is seeking help from Chamber Members to overturn an effort by the Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee to redefine the types of organizations that would receive priority status under the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program. (Click here to view the bill and summary.) The Education Committee’s recommendation would make it virtually impossible for programs like BASICS or Leadership Blair County Youth to be funded with future EITC monies. "We would be the lowest priorities,” explained Cindy Cessna of The Chamber who serves as secretary/treasurer of the Blair County Chamber Foundation. "Despite our history of complying with the expressed intent of the EITC program, we were completely blindsided by this attempt to exclude non-school foundations. It’s important that our Chamber Members contact our elected officials in Harrisburg to seek their support in getting this redefined.” Click on the following links to access draft letters that you can send to our state senator or representative, your board of directors, a letter for your directors to state legislators, an email draft to send to your donors, or a form letter for your donors to send to legislators.   


Electric program continues to enroll new participants

The rumor that the deadline has passed for Chamber Members to enroll in the ChamberChoice Electric Energy program has absolutely no validity, according to Chamber President Joe Hurd. "We've heard that some of our members are lamenting the fact that it’s too late to get onboard," Hurd pointed out. "Both the commercial and the residential programs are open for business and will be indefinitely. Penelec will change the rates at three month intervals throughout the year which is why we encourage members to lock-in a rate." For more information on either program, contact The Chamber at 943-8151.  


Increase customer base with a “Blue Card” offer

There currently are 68 "Blue Card" offers listed on The Chamber website. Are any of them yours? If not, this might be a great time to establish a new customer base by placing an offer (or two) on the list. There's no cost to post an offer and the offer can expire whenever you stipulate. The Chamber is in the final stages of delivering Blue Cards to 44,000 Chamber Members. Can you really afford not to take advantage of having access to such a large group of consumers? To place a Blue Card offer, visit The Chamber website.


Fifty-one signed-up for Chamber’s trip to China

Sign-ups continue for The Chamber's China Trip which will take place from Nov. 3-11. A $200 non-refundable deposit is all that is necessary to hold your spot! Space is limited and the level of interest is extremely high, so don’t delay. As of last Friday, 51 people had secured spots with deposits. For more information, visit the Blair County Chamber Office, located in the Devorris Center for Business Development.   


Transportation is topic of next “Issues” program

With transportation such a major issue in Pennsylvania's future, how does Blair County stack-up in terms of infrastructure, public transit, air travel and other modes of moving people around? That question will be the focus of the next Chamber “Issues” program that will be taped on March 29 and aired on the Altoona Public Access Channel throughout April. Panelists for the program, entitled, "Moving People Around: Blair County's Transportation Challenges," are: Patrick Miller of Altoona-Blair County Development Corporation, Chuck Pillar of Altoona-Blair County Airport, Tom Prestash of PennDOT District 9, Jamie Van Buren of New Enterprise Stone & Lime Company and Eric Wolf of AMTRAN. Sponsors for the program are: Altoona-Blair County Development Corporation, AMTRAN, Keller Engineers, P. Joseph Lehman, Inc., Skills of Central PA, The Eads Group and Ward Transport & Logistics.   


Highmark/Chamber Golf Classic attracting golfers, sponsors

One of The Chamber's most heavily anticipated events is the Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield/Chamber Golf Classic. Once again this year, the Classic will be held at Iron Masters Country Club in Ore Hill. The date is May 16. Interested golfers and tee and green sponsors should contact Stacy Hoover at 943-8151.   


Save the date!!

The Chamber’s next “Backbone Bash,” an evening of networking and socialization for small businesses, will be held on Friday, May 6 at the Buccinese Club in Altoona from 6 to 10 p.m. Sponsorships are available at $500 and $100. Anyone interested should contact Mike McMullen at 943-8151.  


Congratulations . . .

 . . . to Steve Seltzer Honda which has earned the prestigious 2010 Council of Excellence Award for providing outstanding and wholesale financial services to its customers.

. . . to Home Nursing Agency which was selected as Agency of the Month in March by the Home Health Quality Improvement National Campaign, an effort spearheaded by The centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.   



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.

Fink Brothers Supply Receive receive 20 percent off PPG Paint in stock  
Park Audio & Video, Inc. Receive our $299 basic security system for only $99. Monthly monitoring is only $29.99/month with this offer, as well.
Park Hills Country Club Receive a FREE round of golf when you purchase three rounds for the same date and tee time. (Some restrictions apply.)
Peterman's Florist, Inc. Receive a 10% discount on any purchase of $25 or more. Offer is not valid for weddings.
Press Box Printing Receive 10% off of your total order. (Offer is good for one time only.)   

March 21, 2011

Upcoming Events

Register online

Business After Hours
Thursday, March 24, 5 to 7 p.m.
Hosted by:


Register here

March Safety Program
Friday, March 25, 8 to 9 a.m.
Holiday Inn Express

WCI: Workers' Comp Investigation
presented by
Robert Schirf of Gittings Investigations, Inc.

Register here

Follow The Chamber
on Facebook

Click here

 Upcoming Committee Meetings
Week of 3/21/11

LBCY Policy & Procedure Committee
Tuesday, March 22, 1:30 p.m.
The Chamber
Non-Profit Roundtable
Friday, March 25, 10 a.m. 
Devorris Center


WE-LEaD Workshop
April 6, 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Penn State Altoona
Devorris Downtown Center

If Your Heart had a Voice, What Would it Say?
presented by:
Angela Megasko

 Sponsored by:


 Register here

Sustainability Lunch 'n' Learn

Dr. Richard Flarend from Penn State Altoona spoke during last Thursday's Lunch 'n' Learn program. Flarend and two other speakers (Donna Fisher from Blair County Conservation Dept. and Colin Lennox from Eco Islands, Inc.) spoke about sustainability issues, such as alternative methods to save energy and money in your company and home. 

For more information, visit the website

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