State Officials Promote Education Saving Program

Joe Torsella, PA Treasurer (second from left), was recently joined by PA Senator John Gordner (far left), Rep. David Millard (second from right) and Tom Leary, President of Luzerne Community College (far right), at the McBride Memorial Library in Berwick to announce the statewide launch of the Keystone Scholars program beginning in 2019.

Beginning in 2019, every child born or adopted into Pennsylvania will have $100 invested into an account for their future education. Funds can used up to age 29 for continuing education after high school to better prepare for the workforce. Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella was joined by other state officials in Berwick recently to celebrate the statewide launch of the new program to encourage education saving.

The Keystone Scholars program was piloted in seven counties in 2018 and uses Pennsylvania Treasury account earnings and philanthropic contributions, no general fund tax revenues. The goal is to encourage families to set up and fund private 529 accounts for children. Contributions to 529 plans are tax deductible, and earnings are tax free when used for qualified educational expenses.

Treasurer Torsella was joined by PA Senator John Gordner, Representative David Millard, and others at the McBride Memorial Library in Berwick on Sept. 7 to promote the program. Torsella, a Berwick native, celebrated the creation of Keystone Scholars as a bi-partisan effort. Senator Gordner applauded Torsella’s commitment to the program, noting that his swearing in ceremony in early 2017 was held at a school. 

Average student debt among college graduates in Pennsylvania ranks worst in the nation, according to Torsella. Regularly funding a 529 plan can significantly reduce, or even eliminate, the need for student loans. Additionally, children with a 529 plan are three times more likely to pursue additional education after high school, resulting in higher earnings over a lifetime.

More information about the Keystone Scholars program and 529 plans is available at the PA 529 website

Member News – September 19, 2018

Member News

  • Knoebels Amusement Resort, which is no stranger to industry awards, is once again the recipient of several Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket Awards, which annually recognize the “best of the best” in the amusement industry and are calculated from an international poll (See the complete rankings for all categories). The results come from a survey that is sent to a database of experienced and well-traveled amusement park fans around the world asking the to rate the “bests” in 25 categories. This year, for the first time, it received the Golden Ticket for best wooden roller coaster for the Phoenix, while the Grand Carousel again received the Golden Ticket for best carousel, a distinction it has received every year the award has been presented, and Knoebels also placed first for best food. In addition to its trio of first place awards, it also ranked third for best overall park, third for best dark ride for the Haunted Mansion, third for best Halloween event for the popular Hallo-Fun Weekends in October, fourth for friendliest park and fifth for indoor coaster for the Black Diamond ride. 


  • The Borough of Danville’s Flood Resiliency Task Force will host a flood insurance policy seminar at the Danville Borough building, 463 Mill St., Danville, tomorrow, Sept. 20, at 6 p.m. Stetler Insurance Associates will present information regarding what should be included on the flood insurance policy declaration page, review common mistakes seen on flood insurance policies, and answer questions. The Flood Resiliency Task Force is made up of representatives from real estate, banking and insurance industries, as well as local residents and Borough staff. See the flyer for additional information, or contact Jamie Shrawder at 570-275-3091 ext. 3 or email


  • The Penn State World Campus will hold an online MBA sample class in which interested individuals can discover what it’s like to be a student in the Penn State Online MBA program on Thursday, Sept. 27 from 7-8 p.m. For a complete listing of upcoming PSU World Campus information events and news, check out its Sept. newsletter for alliance partners, through which all employees of Columbia Montour Chamber members, their spouses and dependents are eligible for a 5% discount on tuition through the Penn State World Campus. 


  • The Central Susquehanna Community Foundation‘s Women’s Giving Circle will hold its annual celebration on Thursday, Oct. 4 at the Pine Barn Inn from 6:30-8:30 p.m. This event, sponsored by First Keystone Community Bank, will celebrate another successful year for the Women’s Giving Circle, which was established to empower, connect and inspire women and girls by supporting initiatives and resources that better their lives. This event is open to the public and those individuals that may be interested in joining the Women’s Giving Circle. For more information, see the flyer, and RSVP by emailing or calling Karri Harter at 570-752-3930 ext. 6. 


  • The Central Susquehanna Community Foundation will hold a luncheon on Friday, Oct. 5, from 12-1:30 p.m. at the Iron Fork’s banquet room to celebrate the grants made to community organizations through the Danville Area Community Foundation. Local nonprofit organizations will be presented with the 2018 grant awards. There is no cost to attend, but an RSVP is requested. RSVP online or by emailing or calling Karri Harter at 570-752-3930 ext. 6. 


  • NEPIRC, DRIVE and SEDA-COG will team up to host a Lunch and Learn titled “Cybersecurity Trends & Safeguards for Manufacturers on Tuesday, Oct. 23,  from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Monty’s on the Bloomsburg University campus. This free seminar is specifically intended for manufacturers and helping them respond to current threats and trends in the cybersecurity world. Topics covered will include ransomware, hacking, breaches and disasters, and safeguards will also be presented including best practices for prevention, mitigation and incident response. See the flyer for more information, and register online, by email, or call 570-704-0018. 


  • MePush will be hosting a series of study sessions throughout the fall at its conference room at 130 Buffalo Rd., Lewisburg, for information technology professionals that are taking and interested in getting together to study for the Cisco CCNA exam. This major certification in the IT industry is a big undertaking for some, so MePush would like to offer a forum to help other IT pros in the area improve their skills and certifications. If interested, please email Art so MePush can have a headcount. 

Increasing Awareness of Substance Abuse and Recovery

The United in Recovery coalition is participating in events throughout the fall to raise awareness of substance abuse issues and celebrate recovery. A display in the Education building at the Bloomsburg Fair is designed to help parents and guardians identify potential hiding places for drugs. The Hiding in Plain Sight display simulates a child’s bedroom and was recently unveiled at a high school football game.

The coalition, organized by the United Way of Columbia and Montour County, seeks to reduce substance abuse in our area through education, prevention, and recovery and treatment. Community organizations, including the Chamber, and concerned citizens meet monthly to coordinate efforts in all three areas. The most recent newsletter provides an overview of these efforts, as well as information on a 5K event to be held Oct. 13 at the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds.

Anyone interested in getting involved in the coalition should contact Adrienne Mael, United Way President & CEO, at 570-784-3134 or email.

Welcome Lapels

More than 400 businesses and organizations belong to the Chamber to receive benefits and support efforts to strengthen their businesses and our region. Increased membership allows us to offer additional programs and benefits, have a stronger voice in advocacy and be involved in more activities and initiatives in our communities. The Chamber welcomes its newest member, Lapels, to help us fulfill our mission.

Lapels is a locally-owned, full-service dry cleaner located in Bloomsburg that not only offers same day service if dropped off by 9 a.m., but also has several other services in addition to traditional dry cleaning of clothing. It also offers a cleaning service for items that may have been damaged in fire or by water, cleaning for other household items such as comforters, sheets, drapes, tablecloths and other similar delicate items, alterations, as well as wedding gown cleaning, pressing and preservation. Lapels also offers a loyalty program. For more information on Lapels, including its many services, rewards program and same day service details, visit their website or Facebook page. Lapels is located at 833 Columbia Blvd. (Rt. 11) next to Dunkin Donuts, and is open Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Sunday from 12-3 p.m. They can be reached at 570-387-1015. 

Bloomsburg Community Foundation Awards Over $10K to Local Nonprofits

Front Row (seated): Linda Resseguie, Friends of the Columbia County Traveling Library, Inc.; Ruth Joy Capozzi, Your Loving Choices, Inc.; Laurie Swank, AGAPE; Sandie Yule, AGAPE;
Second Row (standing): Kara Walsh, Friends of the Columbia County Traveling Library, Inc.; Heather Beagle, The Exchange; Anne Cosper, The Exchange; Jim Mccann, Central Susquehanna Sight Services; Debbie Jones, Columbia County Child Development Program; Ashley Miccio, Bloomsburg Area YMCA; Sue Jackson, Coalition on Social Equity; Lydia Kegler, Bloomsburg Public Library; Oren Helbok, The Exchange

The Bloomsburg Area Community Foundation (BACF), whose funds are administered by the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation, recently awarded $10,300 to local nonprofits during its competitive grantround. The awards were granted through the Bloomsburg Area Community Foundation Fund. The awards were given out at a luncheon at Monty’s on the Bloomsburg University, on Tuesday, Sept. 11, during which the BACF’s impact was also celebrated. Included in the 13 organizations that received awards were six Chamber members.  

The BACF focused its funding on organizations that invest in community programs and projects within Bloomsburg and surrounding areas.  Those grant recipients include:

  • AGAPE – Love from Above to our Community, Daily Bread Meal $1,000
  • Benton Area School District, Student of the Month Award Program $300
  • Bloomsburg Area YMCA, Summer Camp $500
  • Bloomsburg Public Library, Health Literacy Resources for Teens $700
  • Central Susquehanna Sight Services, Inc., Prevention of Blindness Services 500
  • Coalition for Social Equity in honor of former board member Isabelle Tarr $1,000
  • Columbia Child Development Program, Increase Mathematical Materials for 2-5-Year Olds $1,500
  • Friends of the Columbia County Traveling Library, Inc., Establishing Core Collection of Children’s Audiobooks $800
  • The Bloomsburg Salvation Army Service Center, Back to School Clothes Shopping $1,500
  • The Children’s Museum, Update and Improve Health and Nutrition Exhibit $600
  • The Dental Health Clinic, Financial Aid Awards to Help Individuals Pay for Dental Work $1,000
  • The Exchange, Creative Engagement with Youth-Artmaking Programs for Summer Camps $500
  • Your Loving Choices, Inc., Dad Parenting Curriculum $400

The Bloomsburg Area Community Foundation is an affiliate of the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation which helps administer BACF’s grant investments. Nonprofit organizations that provide programming in the Bloomsburg community and surrounding areas are encouraged to apply during the 2019 competitive grantround.  Details will be available on the CSCF’s website.

BACF Board Members are Fred Gaffney, Cleveland Hummel, Lauren Martz, Paul Reichart, Rev. Howell Sasser, Jr., John Thompson, Fred Trump, Rick Vanderpool