The Seda-COG Report: February 2013

January 30, 2013
Masthead for February 2013 issue
 
Table of Contents
Getting to Know Their New Home
Region's Transit System to be Studied
The Role of Technology in Government Contracting
Financing News
Byte-sized News
Calendar of Events
 
 
 
 
 
 
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SEDA-COG primarily
serves the 11 Central Pennsylvania counties of Centre, Clinton, Columbia, Juniata, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Snyder, and Union.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Historic Factoid
 
 

2007 ─ The White Rock Quarry Track is opened in Centre County, marking the culmination of an 11-year effort. The SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority's $5.8 million project allowed Centre Lime and Stone to expand its shipments of limestone aggregate by rail, rather than truck.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Who will play the role of Joe Paterno in the upcoming film about the late Penn State coach?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Half of America's adults now have a mobile connection to the web through either a SmartPhone or tablet computer, and this has major implications for how news will be consumed and paid for.

 

News has become an important part of what people do on their mobile devices; 64% of tablet owners and 62% of SmartPhone owners say they use the devices for news at least weekly, equal to the time spent using tablets for e-mail and games, and just behind time spent on a SmartPhone with e-mail (not including talking on the phone).

 

This means a third of all U.S. adults now get news on a mobile device at least once a week.

 

Future of Mobile News

October 1, 2012

Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism

 

 
SEDA-COG is a publicly funded development organization based in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania and serving an 11-county region. We help the counties ─ and the communities and citizens within them ─ address challenges related to their economies and infrastructure, and we assist them in responding to new opportunities in such areas as energy, technology, market development, transportation, and locally-based resources.
 

New Apartment Building for Elderly Citizens Welcomes First Residents

 

Many of their belongings are still in boxes and some of the windows are waiting for curtains.  But many residents at Mann Edge Terrace have moved in and are turning their apartments into new homes.  Their favorite chair, grandchildren's photos, and timeworn cookbooks may be in new surroundings, but they're as familiar and comforting as ever.  

Mann Edge is Lewistown's brand new apartment building for the elderly.  Completing it was a community effort in every sense with financing provided through a number of state and local sources.  

Now the focus is on the building's new residents like Babe Thompson, who has lived in the area for 53 years.  Sitting at her roll top desk in her new apartment's

ladies by the fireplace
Enjoying the fireplace in the library at Mann Edge Terrace. 

living room, Babe looks forward to spring when she can walk to the nearby park or just across a small bridge to a shopping plaza.  "I love the location," she says, "I  

can walk to the drug store or pick up a few things at

the grocery store."  She thinks coming to Mann Edge was "...a good move..."

Loyce Huff, another resident, said coming to Mann Edge was just the second move in her life, yet leaving her home, five miles out of town, was not as difficult as she thought it might be.  "I was spending $100 a month on gas," says Loyce, "Now I can walk to Dollar General, the grocery store, even Burger King."  

Donna Potepan also found that it was "...not too hard..." to move from her home, where she had lived for 63 years.  "It had become too much and too expensive to care for," she says. 

The first few days at Mann Edge Terrace are spent exploring the building and, in terms of amenities, there's plenty to see.  The showpiece is the large community room with a fully-equipped kitchen and six banquet-style

Dottie Haines
Dottie Haines, enjoys her houseplants in her new apartment.

tables.  It can be used for everything from small groups playing cards or doing puzzles, to full-scale, pot luck suppers for the building's residents.  Just overlooking the community room is a sitting area with a gas fireplace, chairs and a couch, bookshelves, and computers for the residents' use.  Another large sitting room is found on the first floor and there's a three-season room with several large windows, surrounded by trees.  

For all its modern conveniences, there is a sense of history here.  For over 110 years this was the site ofMann Edge Tool Company.  A re-creation of the company's office anchors the corner of the new building.  Inside Mann Edge Terrace, the company's nameplate has been preserved and affixed to the wall outside the office.  

Now, however, new memories will be made here as residents get to know one another, meet in the community room, or take a walk to the park.  Mann Edge Terrace is becoming their home. 

 

Read more about Mann Edge Terrace. View photos on Facebook. Learn more about the SEDA-COG Housing Development Corporation.

 

Exploring Our Region's Transit Options  

 

As Central Pennsylvania considers expansion of its public transportation programs, it wants to ensure existing programs are operating efficiently and that options to improve them are being fully explored.  To that end several counties plan to participate in a Regional Transit Consolidation Study, to be conducted by PennDOT's Bureau of Public Transportation.  The study will include Centre, Clinton, Columbia, Lycoming, Montour, and Northumberland counties.  

Currently the region is served by "fixed route" systems in Lycoming County and lower Northumberland County ─ systems available to the general public, operating

River Valley Transit
River Valley Transit, in Williamsport, is one of two fixed route systems in the region. 

over designated routes according to a fixed schedule.  There are five "demand responsive" systems, which provide access to daily needs, e.g., medical appointments, senior centers, and employment training.  Both types of system receive significant state and federal funds.  Counties contribute to their fixed route systems and, in many cases, individuals who use the transit programs pay a fee.  

"These programs essentially rely on public dollars," said Mark Murawski, Chairman, North Central Pennsylvania Public Transportation Taskforce (NCPPTT), "and we have to be sure we're using those funds as cost effectively as we can."  Among savings options the study will consider is the consolidation of administrative functions.

Vans for senior citizens
Vans utilized by the Union Snyder Transportation Alliance, one of several demand responsive systems in the region. 

Murawski suggested that, given today's communications technology, the five demand responsive systems could be operated from one central location, reducing space and staffing requirements.  

Management of existing programs will also be closely reviewed.  For instance, service delivery areas may overlap and could be reconfigured.  Many of the programs already transport individuals to the same locations, e.g., Geisinger Medical Center in Danville.  Organizational structures of the various programs will also be studied with an eye toward improving coordination among them.  

"Everything is conjecture at this point," said Murawski, "but everything is on the table for consideration."  The Transit Study is fully funded by PennDOT with no county or local dollars involved.  Moreover, the recommendations of the study, which will take a year to complete, are not binding, and will principally serve to provide direction to counties, transit services, and NCPPTT.   

 

View photos on Facebook.  Learn more about the NCPPTT.

 

Role of Technology Growing as Companies seek Government Contracts

 

Technology is taking on a greater role than ever in the world of procurement and government contracts.  New online programs allow companies to more easily enter the procurement system, if firms know how to use them.  The federal government recently introduced SAM, the System for Award Management, which combines several procurement programs.  According to Robert Brown, Director, SEDA-COG Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), "Once a company is in the system it only needs to update its data once a year, but the initial entry can be cumbersome, particularly for firms unfamiliar with

Rob and Kristen
Our Procurement Technical Assistance Center is staffed by (l. to r.) Kristen Moyer, Procurement Counselor; and Robert Brown, Director.

online registration programs.  Because SAM is essentially a merger of several other databases, registration can be a confusing process."

"For instance," said Brown, "the first step is obtaining aDun & Bradstreet number and that can take several hours."  More and more, the SEDA-COG PTAC is assisting companies with the initial set-up to become a government contractor.  "We've been trained, we've gone through the process several times, and we're available to help companies get started with SAM registration.  In addition, many of the federal small business certifications must be completed online and we can assist companies, if they qualify for the certification." 

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania also has a separate online vendor registration process and small businesses must now self-certify their business status, using the state system, in order to be considered for state contracts.  The state recently rolled out its Small Business Procurement Initiative (SBPI), and SEDA-COG can instruct companies on what they must do to take advantage of SBPI.

Brown also stressed the need for company web sites, "It's one more step in marketing yourself, to prove you're a viable, serious contractor."  SEDA-COG has nearly 400 active procurement clients, and Brown estimates that 30% have no credible online presence. 

"In the procurement world," said Brown, "nearly everything today is done electronically ─ marketing yourself, learning about opportunities, accessing data, and bidding on contracts.  Obviously companies need to know their business, whether it's construction, manufacturing, or providing a service.  But familiarity with the various online systems is a must if companies want to actively pursue and secure government contracts, and we can help."    

Small businesses may contact the SEDA-COG PTAC at570-524-4491, or e-mail rbrown@seda-cog.org.  
 
Read more about the System for Award Management.Learn more about the SEDA-COG Procurement Technical Asssistance Center.
 

Financing News . . .

 

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has completed the financing of a $1,967,500 SBA 504 loan for a new hotel in Chambersburg, PA. Riyan Hospitality, LLC is the owner of the new 70-room, three-story Candlewood Suites. In addition to the SBA 504 loan, financing has been provided through equity and F & M Trust Bank. The SBA 504 loan for the construction project was reviewed and approved by the SEDA-COG Local Development Corporation (LDC) before submission to SBA for final action. More details here.

 

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SBA also completed the financing of a $300,000 SBA 504 loan for the purchase of a commercial building in Centre Hall, PA. JR's Quality Tile & Hardwood has purchased a 10,000 sq. ft. building located on General Potter Highway in this Centre County community. JR's has been located there since 2008, when it entered into a "lease to own" arrangement with the former owner. In addition to theSBA 504 loan, financing has also been provided through equity and First National Bank of Pennsylvania. The SEDA-COG LDC reviewed and approved the project before submission to SBA for final action. More details here.

 

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SEDA-COG has provided a loan of $100,000 to Old Forge Brewing Company, a brewery pub and restaurant in Danville. Old Forge is now canning a variety of its beers, which are sold through area distributors. Our loan assisted in the purchase of equipment, furniture, and fixtures for the company's building expansion in Danville. The project was also financed through company equity and a private loan. As a result of the project Old Forge retained two full-time and 23 part-time employees. The company expects to add three full-time and three part-time employees over the next few years.

 

 

For more information on SEDA-COG's Business Development Financing program, contact John Reichard at 570-524-4491, ext. 7251, e-mail reichard@seda-cog.org, or visit us on the web.

 

Byte-sized News . . .

 

Last fall, students from Penn College assisted the Borough of Montgomery by planting shade trees at gateway locations around town, including sycamore trees at the public river access. In March the Borough will partner with Penn College, the Black Hole Creek Watershed Association, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and SEDA-COG to use a $5,000 mini-grant from the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership for tree plantings within the floodplain of the West Branch Susquehanna River, along Black Hole Creek.

 

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The SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority (JRA)SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority (JRA) is featured in the Economic Development Administration's (EDA) online newsletter as an EDA success story. The article traces the beginnings of the JRA in the 1980s, through its growth as more rail lines were added.

 

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Juniata County's new emergency communications toweris standing and will be ready to go as soon as radio equipment is installed in it. As administrator of the County's Community Development Block Grant program, we've been working on the project for the past few years. The tower will correct emergency communications reception in the western end of the County. The total cost of the project was $620,000.

 

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Cleveland Brothers was recently featured in  Construction Equipment Distributors magazine, a national publication.  The company, which has a facility in Bellefonte, distributes used and new heavy equipment and parts, particularly Caterpillar products.  In the article Cleveland Brothers attributes much of its international sales success to the Regional Export Network, which includes SEDA-COG. Click here for more details and a copy of the article.

 

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Pennsylvania's civilian labor force was up by 17,000 in December 2012 to a new record high of 6,559,000. It is the fourth consecutive month of a record labor force level. Based on the latest county figures, all the counties in the SEDA-COG region recorded increases in their employment. Click here for details.

 

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In February, the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs will offer training in neighborhood revitalization and community planning. Several webinars are planned on issues related to municipal government. Details can be found on the training schedule at the Association's web site.

 

Upcoming Events & Activities
 

Government Contracting Seminars
Bellefonte ─ Apr. 4
Harrisburg ─ Feb. 20 & 27, Apr. 17 & 24
Lewistown ─ Apr. 16
Lock Haven ─ Feb. 12
Shippensburg ─ Mar. 20
State College ─ Mar. 7
Williamsport ─ Apr. 11
  
Roadway Maintenance & Safety Training for Municipalities
Bloomsburg ─ Apr. 11

North Bend ─ Mar. 13
Yeagertown ─ Mar. 15

 
SEDA-COG Board of Directors
Lewisburg ─ Feb. 27
  
SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority
Lewisburg ─ Feb. 13
 
SEDA-COG Rural Planning Organization

Lewisburg ─ Feb. 1 

 

 
For further information or questions about The SEDA-COG Report, contact Steve Kusheloff, Manager, Public Information, tel. 570-524-4491, ext. 7217; or e-mailskusheloff@seda-cog.org
 
 
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