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Yuengling hops near head of sales among US brewers

Pottsville-based D.G. Yuengling & Son Inc., the country's oldest brewery, is closing in on annual sales of 2 million barrels and about to eclipse Boston Beer Co. as the largest American-owned brewer, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

A big reason is that foreign-based companies have acquired such beer behemoths as Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors. Another is the coal region beer's rapid growth. That said, Yuengling is still dwarfed by Anheuser-Busch, which rolls out 100 million barrels a year nationally, Gatza said.

Privately held Yuengling, which employs 225, does not release income or earning reports.

Still, Yuengling's sales growth is remarkable considering its beer is available in just a dozen states, mostly along the East Coast. And its sales, stale for decades, began bubbling up from less than 100,000 barrels a year as recently as 1985, when Dick Yuengling Jr. bought the company from his father.

Original Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Read the full story here.


Pennsylvania holding its own--ranked 17th in forecasted short-term employment growth

Pennsylvania has created an attractive business climate with $3B in investments and 100,000 jobs in last six years, reports Business Facilities magazine.

A study by Moody's Economy.com, an independent national economic research firm, says that Pennsylvania has weathered the economic downturn due to aggressive economic stimulus efforts, below average cost of living, a strong roster of leading educational institutions, and affordable housing relative to other Northeast states.

The study ranks the state 17th in its forecast for short-term employment growth (two years), which is the best ranking the sate has ever received and better then neighboring states. In addition, state exports have grown by $5.3 billion to a total of $34.4 billion since 2002, the 6th largest amount of growth in the nation, larger than New Jersey, Ohio, Maryland, Illinois, and Michigan.

Original Souce: Business Facilities
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Environmental sleuth seeks rare Indiana bat along transmission line route in Poconos

Pennsylvania Power & Light's plan for a new transmission line places an expert on the trail of a winged mammal whose flyways the company will need to protect, the Pocono Record reports.
Chris Sanders thinks bats are cute.

"They look like tiny dogs close up."

Sanders, an environmental scientist, works with the winged mammals every day. This month, Sanders will be in the Poconos as he prepares for an environmental survey along the proposed Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line.
Read the full article here.

Easton's $2.1M riverfront project wins support from Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission

The riverfront in Easton along Larry Holmes Drive will soon become a vibrant public space thanks to unanimous approval for $2.1 million in funding from the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission for the project's first phase, reports the Express-Times.

The commission, meeting in Solebury Township, unanimously agreed Monday to let the city use the $2.1 million as the sole source of funding for the project's first phase, which includes narrowing Larry Holmes Drive and adding lighted walkways in Scott and Riverside parks.

"I'm very pleased," Mayor Sal Panto Jr. said after the commission's unanimous decision. "Our waterfront will become the gathering place it should be."

The project aims to slim down Larry Holmes Drive to slow traffic, making it easier for pedestrians to reach Scott and Riverside parks and ''creating a public space that is more accessible,'' said Frank McCartney, the commission's executive director.

Read the full story here.

CA-based electrical supply plant to expand facilities in Northampton County

Myers Power Products,  an electrical supply company based in California, will replace its existing plant in the Lehigh Valley Industrial Park with a facility more than twice its size in nearby Hanover Township in Northampton County, reports the Morning Call.

The 93,472-square-foot production facility will be built on 7 acres at 34 S. Commerce Way. The structure will replace Myers' facility at 2000 Highland Ave., also in Hanover Township. The 43,000-square-foot facility opened in 2001.

The new space will also house 10,278 square feet of office space, the company said. Myers said the current facility employs about 60 workers and it is yet to be determined if the company will be hiring more employees for the new location.

"The new facility, which will be larger and more efficient, will allow Myers to continue providing outstanding service to electrical engineers and contractors worldwide," said Bruce Steigerwald, general manager for Myers, in a news release.

Read the complete story here.


New campus approved for Penn State Lehigh Valley branch

Trustees approved the $12 million purchase of Lehigh Valley College building and campus in Center Valley, paving the way for Penn State's Lehigh Valley branch to move from Fogelsville to the new campus 16 miles away, reports the Morning Call.

The move will more than double the 47,000 square feet of building space available at Penn State's Fogelsville campus. Although the Fogelsville campus is larger, with 40 acres to Center Valley's 29 acres, Fogelsville had limited room for expansion.

"There are many limitations to the [Fogelsville] campus," Ann Williams, chancellor of Penn State Lehigh Valley, said in a news release. "Much of the land on which it sits is unbuildable and limited by hilly topography and surrounding wetlands."

The Fogelsville campus is also in a primarily residential neighborhood, compared with the business parks and shopping mall near Lehigh Valley College, Williams said.

Read the complete story here.



Casino chips in for Carbon County industrial park

When county commissioners started to look for ways to finance a roadway to reach an industrial park that will benefit the region, neighboring Monroe County contributed revenues from Mount Airy Casino and Resort, according to the Morning Call.
Money from Poconos slot machines will help develop an industrial park in Carbon County.

County commissioners have agreed to accept $631,958 from the Mount Airy Casino Resort to improve Route 209 and build an access road to a Norfolk Southern railroad line at Packerton Yards.

Mount Airy generated $12.3 million that the host county, Monroe, is sharing with neighboring Carbon, Lackawanna, Wayne and Pike counties.
Read the full article here.

Organic food distribution company bringing natural choices, 125 jobs to Lehigh Valley

Tree of Life, Inc., a national food distribution company based in Florida and specializing in organic and natural products, expects to open a distribution center at an 84-acre industrial complex under construction in Lower Macungie Township, reports the Morning Call.

The company plans to move into a 580,000-square-foot warehouse by late summer or early fall, said Gene Carter, the company's senior vice president of logistics. It will replace a similar distribution center in New Jersey that the company plans to close in 2010.

Tree of Life will receive $400,000 in state funding for the project, according to the state Department of Community and Economic Development.As part of an agreement reached with the state, Tree of Life is required to create 121 jobs within a three-year period after it opens. The company said it would wait until later this year to release specific information about the jobs, salaries and how people can apply.

Read the full story here.

State Senator sees pro hockey team bringing new arena, urban development

State Sen. Pat Browne (R-Lehigh) believes future state and local taxes collected at an arena can help pay off the loans taken now to build it for the former Philadelphia Phantoms American Hockey League team, the Morning Call reports.

Both Allentown and Bethlehem are interested in luring the American Hockey League franchise--one step below the NHL--to the Valley.

Since the arena ''requires a lot of public investment, my preference would be for it to be an urban development,'' Browne said. ''Of course, I have some Allentown interest.''

The fundraising mechanism Browne sees is known in government-speak as a TIF, or ''tax increment financing,'' a tool commonly used to spur redevelopment of an economically distressed area.

Read the full story here.

Hockey rivalry roars over location of new Lehigh Valley arena

The Philadelphia Phantoms need a new home, and the contest to locate it is turning into a rivalry off the ice, the Allentown Morning Call reports.

In the Lehigh Valley's latest ''if you build it, they will come'' competition to have a venue for a minor league sports team, Northampton County's point man figures he has one advantage that's hard to match -- an unbridled passion for hockey.

Administration Director John Conklin started building the county's case 18 months ago, when he heard the Philadelphia Phantoms would need a new home. Now he's trying to package county and municipal taxes, grants and possibly loans in hopes of bringing hockey to Northampton County.

Read the full article here and an opinion of the Express Times here.

Survey finds large companies offer secure places to work in Lehigh Valley

Overall the picture for employment inched upward in the Lehigh Valley as the 2008 recession gave a nasty punch in other regions of the United States. The Morning Call examines how workers fared in Lehigh and Northampton counties.
Trimmed payrolls at Mack Trucks and Air Products and Chemicals were offset by gains at other employers, especially the local hospital networks...

At year's end, the top 25 private employers had 53,619 workers in the two-county region, up slightly from the 53,107 in 2007. That means employers on the top-25 list account for about one of every five jobs in the Lehigh Valley, which all told has 282,600 jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Read the full story here.

65 PA public high schools win medals in nationwide ranking

U.S. News & World Report examines the performance of 21,000 public high schools in the United States, and 65 high schools in 28 Pennsylvania counties rank among the gold, silver, and bronze medal winners in the rankings of the nation's best performers.

In conjunction with a Standard & Poor's service, the project evaluated school results on standard reading and math exams and factored in a school's percentage of economically-disadvantaged students. The performance of African-American, Hispanic, and low-income students were also compared to statewide averages.
U.S.News & World Report-in collaboration with School Evaluation Services, a K-12 education and data research and analysis business that provides parents with education data on schoolmatters.com-analyzed academic and enrollment data from more than 21,000 public high schools to find the very best across the country. These top schools were placed into gold, silver, bronze, or honorable mention categories.
Read the alphabetical listing of Pennsylvania high school rankings here and read about the nationwide project here. The Erie Times-News also reports on recognition of Northwest PA high schools here.

Northhampton CC students prepare to join green energy work force

Preparing Lehigh Valley students to work in a green labor force is becoming a part of the curriculum at Northampton Community College. The Express-Times reports on the latest course to be added to the college's curriculum.

Last month, the college won one of a dozen $15,000 grants from the Allentown-based private nonprofit Sustainable Energy Fund and PPL Electrical Utilities to build a 3-kilowatt array of solar panels on campus.

This is the third year of the Solar Scholars program, which started in 2005 with one Pennsylvania school and is up to 12 this year.

Read the full article here.

PA ready to invest in business, energy, and infrastructure to help economy

Pennsylvania has a backup plan for giving the state's economy a pickup. It is prepared to make long-term investment in state infrastructure, the Morning Call reported Monday.
The state has more than $2.5 billion earmarked for various business, energy and infrastructure projects, which will help soften the blow of the global economic meltdown on Pennsylvania, a state official said this afternoon at a meeting of municipal and business representatives.
Read the full article here.

New chemical operation in Lehigh Valley will create 32 jobs

With an investment of $16 million in a 67,000-square-feet facility in the Lehigh Valley, Wacker Chemical Corp., a German firm, will develop its North American headquarters in the Lehigh Valley’s Upper Macungie Township. 

Governor Ed Rendell welcomed the firm’s operation to Pennsylvania during its groundbreaking ceremony.  The new space will house research and development, marketing and business support operations for Wacker’s polymer division and is expected to be completed by next fall.

Read more about Wacker’s arrival in Pennsylvania in this news item.

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