Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Daily Briefing, 9/30/2009

Good morning everyone!  Here is today's Daily Briefing.

As previously expected, cases of the H1N1 virus are spreading through Pennsylvania schools, although none have been fatal as of yet.  In Easton, 4,000 people are late on their taxes after the city raised the earned income tax last year. In Bethlehem, an audit showed that the city overspent is $65 million budget by $2.7 million.  The city says it expects to make up the difference this year.  The 24th Senate district's special election was held yesterday, and Republican Robert Mensch easily defeated Democrat Ann Scheuring and Libertarian Barbara Steever, cruising to victory with 66% of the vote.  In Lehigh County, the Lehigh County Conservation District pressed County Commissioners last night to restore the $126,000 that had been cut from their funding in the proposed budget.  The President of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve was a speaker at Lafayette College yesterday.  In his speech, he said that the economy was getting better but that unemployment is likely to stay at 9% for years.


In national news, consumer confidence dropped last month, according to a report released yesterday.  On the health care front, two amendments to add a public option to a national health care bill were rejected in the Senate finance committee yesterday.

We have one Chamber event today: a meet and greet with the new CEO of Easton Hospital, Tim Trottier. 

And that's it!  Have a great day.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Top 5 Business Blogging Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

We found this blog entry from Mashable and wanted to share it with you.  It reviews mistakes commonly made by businesses when it comes to blogging - and how you can avoid them.  The mistakes are:

1)  Treating your blog like a press center
2)  Not blogging regularly
3)  Not enabling conversation
4)  Making new content hard to discover
5)  Expecting too much, too soon

What we found most interesting, and the most common mistake that we've seen made, was #1.  There are far too many businesses and professionals out there that use social networking simply as a tool to discuss themselves.  If you do that, you are missing the point.  Social networking is not supposed to be used as just another way of talking about yourself or your business - it is supposed to be more than that. Social networking should be used to provide value added content.  If you are going to promote yourself and your business on occasion, it should be more subtle (we couldn't resist!) and done sparingly. 

Daily Briefing, 9/29/2009

Good morning everyone!  Here is today's Daily Briefing.

For the 10th straight month, Lehigh Valley unemployment rose, this time hitting 9.3%.  The number is up .3% from the previous month.  When it comes to heating oil, experts are saying that we can expect prices to remain relatively stable this year, unlike last year.  In Bethlehem, city planners have given the green light to the SteelStacks arts center that is set to be build on the site of the former Bethlehem Steel plant.  There is some good news out of Northampton County, as the county's foreclosure program that mandates hearings between lenders and mortgages holders is getting results, with 45% of individuals being able to keep their home after an agreement is reached at these hearings.  The public comment is ending tomorrow for PennDOT's proposal to revamp two intersections on Route 22.

Business Matters aired yesterday, and the topic was a debate for the 24th Senate Seat, the special election of which is being held today.  The show will be available online later today, and you can check out the Business Matters blog to catch in the debate.

That's it for now!  We should have more for you later today.  Have a good one!

Monday, September 28, 2009

It's Monday. Need a laugh?

Well, if you are like the rest of us, you are probably wishing that it was still the weekend.  But, it's Monday morning, so we figured you could use a laugh. 

One of our staff members obtained a list from Lehigh County of all of the registered parties in Lehigh County (just to clarify, this list is public information).  Of course, the vast majority of voters are registered as either Democrats or Republicans.  But, those are not the only options...in fact, there are some very amusing political parties in the county!  We have plenty of registered voters in Lehigh, for example, that are registered members of the following political parties:

  • "Halloween Party"
  • "Go Steelers Party"
  • "Good Neighbor Party"
  • "I Don't Know Party"
  • "Jedi Party" (when they go to vote, do you think the Judge of Elections tells them, "May the force be with you?")
  • "Keg Party"
  • "Interesting Party"
  • "Bull Moose Party" (we thought that disappeared with Teddy Roosevelt?)
  • "Smuck Party" (yes, that is how they spelt it)
  • "S.Q.U.I.D. Party" (uhh...what?)
  • "Wild Party" (probably related to the Keg Party)
  • "Mark is God Party" (well, Mark certainly has a big ego)
  • "Might as Well Party" (might as well what?)
  • "The Party of Jay" 
  • "Pumpkin Party" 
And who says Democracy can't be fun?

Daily Briefing, 9/28/2009

Good morning everyone!  Here is today's Daily Briefing.

The 22nd annual Celtic Classic was held this past weekend, and the event was a success, with crowds approaching 240,000, likely guaranteeing that the Classic will be held next year.

In the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race, Attorney General Tom Corbett has secured two key endorsements: former Governors Tom Ridge and Dick Thornburgh. Meanwhile, State Representative Sam Rohrer (R-128) is expressing an interest in running for Governor.

In national news, although the economy has apparently begun to recover, gas prices have not, as prices are in a two-month slide, selling nation wide for $2.52.  CNNmoney.com also runs an interesting story on swine flu - almost half of America's workers can't take paid sick leave, which means they may come into work and spread the disease.

Business Matters is back today, beginning a brand new season. The first return episode: a debate between candidates for the 24th Senatorial District, the election for which is tomorrow.  The show airs at 8:00pm of WFMZ-TV and features State Representative Robert Mensch (Republican) and Barbara Steever (Libertarian) - but not Democrat Ann Scheuring.  Scheuring has been accused of ducking debates and did not appear on ours.  You can also get more information and comment live on the debate at the Business Matters blog.

That's all we have for this Monday.  Have a great day, and we'll catch you later.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Allentown Energy Expo

We received this information from Lauren Giguere at the City of Allentown:

I wanted to let you know about a fabulous event that the City of Allentown is hosting:  The Allentown Energy Expo.
It will be held on Saturday, October 17th, from 9 am to 3:30 pm at the Allentown Brewworks.  ADMISSION IS FREE.

It is geared to both homeowners and business owners.  There will be presentations by energy saving experts every 30 minutes.
And there will be over 2 dozen vendors representing windows, insulation, heating, cooling, lighting, gas, electric, solar, geothermal, energy audit
firms.  Additionally, 2 lending institutions that loan to homeowners and business owners will be there to tell people about their low interest
loans that will be even lower to residents and business owners within the City.  Please help us get the word out about this event.
Tell one and tell all.  Please let me know if you have any questions.  Early next week, our website will have all of the info
about who the vendors will be as well as the presentation schedule.  THANKS!!!!!!!!!!

Daily Briefing, 9/25/2009

Good morning everyone, and a happy Friday to you.  Here is today's Daily Briefing.

The special election to replace former Senator Rob Wonderling will be this Tuesday, September 29, and the Morning Call notes that turnout for the election is critical.  The candidates are Landsdale Borough Councilwoman Anne Scheuring (D) State Representative Robert Mensch (R) and Barbara Steever (Libertarian).  WFMZ also runs a story on the election.  Remember, you can also catch a debate between Mensch and Steever on Business Matters, this Monday at 8:00pm.  In Bethlehem, the annual Celtic Classic is this weekend, and organizers are hoping for good weather to help make the event a success.  Also in Bethlehem, schools Superintendent Joe Lewis works his final day for the district today, as he leaves to work for Moravian College.

In national news, Ron Kirk (D-MA) was appointed to fill the vacancy in the Senate left by Senator Ted Kennedy's death.  The appointment brings Democrats back to a critical 60 votes.  In other news, home sales dropped 2.7% after four months of increases, although analysts believe this to be only temporary.  A somewhat related report shows that less Americans are moving from state to state, with the number dropping from 2.5% last year to 2.4%. 

We have two Chamber events today: a build your pipeline networking event by the Small Business Council and a grand opening of Vintners Circle winemaking shop in Easton.

And that's it!  Have a great day and enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Lehigh Valley - workforce report

Thanks to Bob Wendt at the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation, this report was brought to our attention.  The report, put together by CareerLink Lehigh Valley.  The report, as you can imagine, summarizes the Lehigh Valley workforce.  A rough overview: 
  • Unemployment held steady in the from June 2009 - July 2009 (9%).
  • Unemployment at the same time in 2008 was 5.5%.
  • 421,400 are in the workforce right now and there are 330,400 jobs available. 
There is much more information available - take a look at the report for yourself and see what is useful to you.

Daily Briefing, 9/24/2009

Good morning everyone!  Here is today's Daily Briefing.

In Bethlehem, the Sands Casino sees table games (which are part of the agreed upon state budget deal) coming to the casino by April.  The casino will also add 250 more slot machines.  Also in Bethlehem, the Bethlehem Area School board voted to refinance $55 million in bonds, costing the district $4.5 million, as a way of dealing with earlier bond swap dealings.  In Allentown, anecdotal evidence shows that many are still looking for work - 5,287 attended a CareerLink Lehigh Valley job fair. 

In state-wide news, although a budget deal has been agreed to in principle, the specifics haven't yet been determined and opposition is beginning to form against elements of the deal.  Small games of chance, like small bingo games, will be taxed in the deal, and small clubs are afraid of the repercussions of the tax.

In national news, the federal reserve sees the economy recovering, and as such, will begin to slow its purchases of mortgages.  President Obama and the rest of the G-20 leaders are in Pittsburgh today for the G-20 summit.  Along that vein, CNNMoney runs a story on how the top six countries in the world are recovering from the recession.

Another busy day for the Chamber, as we have three events today: a mixer at ServPro of Western Lehigh County, a TRACC breakfast aboard a boat, the Josiah White II (hey, that's new!) and an event on state certification for women and minority businesses.

Have a great day!  We should be back at least once later.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Chamber website

We just got an interesting statistic in.  Apparently, since we revamped our website in May 2008, we have had over 500,000 views of our website.  That is clearly a pretty large number and represents, at some level, 500,000 additional connections with individuals that we may not have reached out to otherwise.

Are you using your website to its fullest potential?  How are you driving more traffic there?

Daily Briefing, 9/23/2009

Good morning everyone! Here is today's Daily Briefing.

The Morning Call runs a story on arts groups and their concerns over the proposed sales tax expansion to tickets. According to the article, affected groups are mobilizing against the tax, although the specifics remain unknown. At the Sands Bethlehem, revenue dropped last week, although officials are excited about the possibility to table games as a way of expanding business and creating jobs. There was also good news for Lehigh Valley International Airport, as traffic increased by 5.6%, the second straight month of traffic improvements.

In state-wide news, former Congressman and former Senate candidate Joe Hoeffel, currently a Montgomery County Commissioner, announced yesterday that he is running for Governor. The announcement came over Facebook.

And, complain though we may about traffic in the Lehigh Valley, we don't have the worst commute in America, although that distinction goes to a town nearby: East Stroudsburg, PA, with a 40.6 minute average commute. Locals chalk up the long time to trips to New York and New Jersey.

Today is a busy day at the Chamber, as we have four events: a Business Spotlight event by the Hellertown-Lower Saucon Chamber of Commerce, a Leadership Lunch series meeting, a LeBEAM Murder Mystery dinner (trust me, this one is a blast) and and a Social Networking Seminar by the Phillipsburg Area Chamber of Commerce.

That's it for now! Have a great day.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Daily Briefing, 9/22/2009

Good morning everyone! Here is today's Daily Briefing.

A Morning Call report notes that Lehigh County is one of the state leaders in a category it would rather not lead in - those lacking unemployment benefits because their benefits expired. The Call also runs a report on the Bethlehem Sands, noting that the lack of floor space that's being taken up by slots has lead for more available floor space for table games - and that is a very good thing for the Sands.

In national news, Sanofi is set to deliver swine flu vaccines to the United States around mid-October. Meanwhile, the U.S. House of Representatives is set to consider a bill that would extend unemployment benefits to more than one million jobless Americans who's benefits are set to expire. The bill would affect those who live in states with unemployment higher than 8.5%, including Pennsylvania.

Business Matters aired yesterday, and the topic was a one-on-one interview with former Congressman and Senate candidate Pat Toomey. You can watch the show online later today, and you can check out our Business Matters blog for more info and to join in the debate.

We have two Chamber events today: a Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce discussion on manufacturing and a Women's Business Council lunch on breast cancer awareness.

That's it! Have a great day.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Daily Briefing, 9/21/2009

Good morning everyone! We hope you had a great weekend. Here is today's Daily Briefing.

In Lehigh County, new Courtrooms are being used after years of construction - and at least one Lehigh County Judge isn't happy with the end results. In Wilson, the community is dealing with some different challenges as it tries to revitalize its downtown - the article quotes Sharon Davis of the Borough Business Revitalization Program and The Chamber. And, as reported yesterday, there appears to be good news in the budget for the city of Allentown, as the budget looks set to include a funding mechanism that would result in the construction of an arena by Allentown's downtown waterfront.

In state-wide news, it happened over the weekend, finally: we have a budget agreement, in principle. The nearly $28 billion deal involves draining the state rainy day fund, slightly expanding the sales tax and increasing some business taxes and the cigarette tax.

Business Matters airs tonight - the episode is another showing of our previous one-on-one interview with former Congressman and Senate candidate Pat Toomey. The show airs tonight on WFMZ at 8:00pm, and make sure you check out the Business Matters blog for more information.

Hmm...not much to report today! We'll catch you later.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Where has America worked?

We found this really nice site that we want to share. In graphical form, it displays the various jobs that America has worked on and what the trends of those jobs are. What was most interesting to me was the incredibly drop in farming as a national occupation - from roughly 45% of the population in 1850 to less than .5% in 2000.

Check it out.

Daily Briefing, 9/18/2009

Good morning everyone! Here is today's daily briefing.

In Lehigh County, at the Cunningham adminsitration said they do not plan to tap an emergency rainy-day fund to balance the budget, although they will tap a tax-relief fund. Meanwhile, across the river in New Jersey, the Phillipsburg Urban Enterprise Zone has received a 16 year extension from the state. The program cuts the state tax rate in half and Phillipsburg and allows for the UEZ zone to collect the tax revenue.

In state budget news, Governor Rendell has said that he is "cautiously optimistic" that he and the legislature can come to an agreement within the next few days about the state budget. The Governor met with Senate Republicans yesterday to discuss the budget.
And there was good news for Philadelphia, as a measure passed by the legislature yesterday will allow the city to raise its sales tax and defer pension payments, thus allowing to to essentially remain open for business.

In national news, in response to the still high level of unemployment, Congress is set to extend unemployment benefits by an additional 13 weeks. There is good news in the real estate front, as it appears that 1.4 million Americans have, so far, taken advantage of the $8,000 tax credit for first time home buyers.

We have one Chamber event today: a ribbon cutting at https://www.lehighvalleychamber.org/calendarsearch.aspx?Class=Event&SystemID=825782&PhoenixID=122203.

And that's it! Have a great weekend and we will catch you later!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor Race

Much attention has been paid to the upcoming Pennsylvania Gubernatorial Race, to take place in 2010. However, not much attention has been given to the election for Lieutenant Governor. Interestingly, in Pennsylvania primary elections, candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor don't run together - they run separately - making it possible that two candidates that don't support each other can wind up on the ticket together.

The http://www.ltgovernor.state.pa.us/ is State Senator Joe Scarnati, who became the Lt. Governor after Catherine Baker Knoll, the previous holder of that office, died.

Here is a rundown of the confirmed candidates for Lt. Governor:

Democrats:
- Jonothan Saidel, former Philadelphia City Controller

Republicans:
- Carol Aichele, Chester County Commissioner
- Nick DiFrancesco, Dauphin County Commissioner
- Steve Johnson, Businessman
- Tom Killion, State Representative
- Rick Schenker, former Erie County Executive

Daily Briefing, 9/17/2009

Good morning everyone! Here is today's Daily Briefing.

In Allentown, officials announced yesterday that a Brazilian steakhouse will be opening in the downtown Holiday Inn. In Lehigh County, conversations have begun to consolidate earned income collection as mandated by a recently passed state law - a move that the state says will save millions. Incidentally, The Chamber endorsed this policy when it was becoming law. In Bethlehem, Arts Quest has received a state guarantee on the last $2 million of a $25 million loan project. This loan guarantee will give Arts Quest enough funding to begin construction of SteelStacks in the fall.

In state budget news, Pennsylvania lawmakers said they would work through the night to try and develop a budget. As of 5:30am, we have no update.

In national news, the Senate has voted to cut off federal funding to the ACORN group in the wake of repeated scandals. The vote was 83-7, and Pennsylvania's Senator Bob Casey was one of the seven who voted against cutting off funding. In other news, the government now says that 70% of cash for clunker sales have been paid off. In the health care debate, Senator Max Baucus (D-MA), one of the "gang of six", has released his health care proposal - one that has no Republican cosigners. The bill "is expected to cost about $880 billion over 10 years and would use industry fees, taxes on gold-plated health care plans and mandates on businesses and individuals to keep the price tag from adding to the federal deficit."

And we have a very busy day today at The Chamber, with three events: a Morning with the Maestro's session, featuring PPL's CEO Jim Miller, our annual Environmental Innovations Conference, and a Northampton College Southside Bethlehem mixer.

And that's it! Have a great day - we'll have at least one entry for you later today.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Daily Briefing, 9/16/2009

Good morning everyone! Here is today's Daily Briefing.



In state-wide news, the Morning Call reports that the state's casino operators would be extremely happy if table games were legalized (surprising, we know), as the current legislative budget compromise calls for. The operators say that, in addition to the enhanced revenue, table games would increase attendance and stimulate other areas, like tourism and retail sales. In other news, deliveries for Mack Trucks fell 40% in August when compared to last year.

In state-wide news, Senator Arlen Specter said yesterday that he expects a compromise bill to be pushed in regards to the Employee Free Choice Act - and that he will support that compromise bill. In budget news, no breakthroughs took place yesterday, although Governor Rendell has said that he expects his veto to be overridden. And, in the long-term view - former Senator Rick Santorum is considering running for President in 2012.

There was good economic news yesterday, as retail sales and manufacturing both increased, according to recent reports. Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, said that he believed that the recession was "very likely over," although problems remain in areas like the labor market. In political news, the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday passed a motion, largely on party lines, that censured Congressman Joe Wilson for his outburst on the floor of the House of Representatives during President Obama's speech to Congress on health care. Speaking of health care, Senator Max Baucus (one of the members of the "gang of six") will release his health care proposal later today - although more conservative than other bills released by other members of Congress, his bill has no Republican co-sponsors.

And, we have one Chamber event today: a joint lunch between the East Penn and Western Lehigh Chambers of Commerce.

That's it! Have a great day.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Chamber's Annual Meeting!

The Chamber Annual Meeting is fast approaching!

Here is the information regarding the event and its related marketing and PR opportunities.

This is a great opportunity to make a name for yourself and your business. I’m sure many of your customers, prospects and competitors will be present or sponsoring this, our biggest event of the year.

Let me know if you have any comments or questions or if you would like to take advantage of any of the marketing and PR opportunities below.

Looking forward to serving you!

The Chamber Annual Meeting and Awards Show on Tuesday, November 3, 2009 (Election Day) at Stabler Arena: The Chamber’s Annual Meeting, which sells out every year with more than 1,000 people in attendance, is THE place to see your customers, prospects and competitors and to be seen by them! It is the biggest and best opportunity to promote yourself and your business and to connect with the leaders of the Lehigh Valley business community. Join The Chamber as we shine a light on our members through special appearances, updates and the annual awards presentation.

Doors will open at 10:00 AM to allow more time networking and to visit our sponsor’s exhibits. The program starts promptly at 11:30 AM and goes till 1:00 PM.

Audience: Approximately 1,000, active chamber members, Lehigh Valley business leaders, executive and management level attendees.

Doors open at 10:00am again this year for networking and to visit the exhibitors.

Annual Chamber Awards Presentations: The highlight of The Chamber Annual Meeting! Awards are presented for Business of the Year, Chamber Foundation Award, Milestone Award, Volunteer of the Year and the Community Partners Awards.

The Business of the Year Award was created to recognize an organization that demonstrates successful business operations, displays broad interest and involvement in community affairs, and brings a notable measure of pride to the Lehigh Valley.

The Lehigh Valley IronPigs – Chuck Domino and Kurt Landes

The Chamber Foundation Award is presented to a successful and esteemed company or organization that is well-known to operate with integrity and that has been a long time member and premier supported of The Chamber and its mission and goals.

Lee Butz – Alvin H. Butz, Inc.

The Chamber Volunteer of the Year Award honors an individual who serves the Lehigh Valley community through service on a Chamber of Commerce board or committee primarily because they choose to do so. A member of The Chamber who embraces his or her participation as responsibility that comes with membership.

Henriette Frey – St. Luke’s Hospital & Health Network

The Milestone Award is presented to a member of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce who has reached a high point of superior commitment to the Lehigh Valley, its businesses and residents.

Ironton Phone Company (100 Years) – Bill George

The Community Partner Awards honor individuals and companies that work for the betterment of the entire Lehigh valley. These are people and businesses that know we are stronger together than we are alone.

Drew Maron – Maron Financial Solutions – Allentown
Barry Fisher – WFMZ – Allentown
Walt Sanders - PergolaWest, Inc. – Center Valley

PLUS:

The SBC Excellence in Business Awards – We will re-recognize the 2009 award winners at our Annual Meeting. (Suggest listing all the previous winners in the program).

Jack’s Glass (the company with 1-25 employees) – Donna Braden
Vistacom, Inc. (the company with 26-100 employees) – Jack Ferlino


We will also include a master list of all 2009 award winners from our major events in the Annual Meeting program which will be professionally produced again this year by Nacci Printing.

2009 Feature Appearance: Christine Todd Whitman, the 50th Governor of the State of New Jersey, serving as its first woman governor from 1994 until 2001. Ms. Whitman is the President of The Whitman Strategy Group (WSG), a consulting firm that specializes in energy and environmental issues and is also co-chair of the Republican Leadership Council (RLC), which she founded with Senator John Danforth. Governor Whitman served in the cabinet of President George W. Bush as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from January of 2001 until June of 2003. As Governor, Christie Whitman earned praise from both Republicans and Democrats for her commitment to preserve a record amount of New Jersey land as permanent green space.

Our Major Sponsors to Date:



Title Sponsor: Capital BlueCross

Presenting Sponsors: Sovereign Bank, AT&T

Platinum Sponsors: 69-WFMZ-TV & wfmz.com, Adams Outdoor Advertising
Caruso Benefits Group, Constellation Energy, Lehigh Valley Magazine, TechniCom Audio & Visual, Inc., Viamedia

Gold Sponsors: AccuWeather Channel, Alvin H. Butz, Inc., Crayola, Crystal Signatures, East Penn Bank, The Express Times, Highmark Blue Shield, Lehigh University, Lehigh Valley Easy Pages, Nacci Printing, PenTeleData, RCN, United Healthcare, Viamedia,

Plus many, many more Silver and Bronze level sponsors!

Daily Briefing, 9/15/2009

Good morning everyone! Here is today's Daily Briefing.

Whitehall Township has sent a letter to the state, saying that they will not accept PennDOT's plan to close the Fifth Street bridge during Route 22 revisions. When it comes to home sales, there is some mixed news - sales are rising while prices are falling, according to the Lehigh Valley Association of Realtors. The home sales are rising largely on the strength of first-time buyers, who are also seeking the $8,000 tax credit. The tax is set to expire on November 30. Meanwhile, in Northampton County, 600 homes may be sold in the very near future, as 2007 real estate taxes must be paid by 2007 in order to avoid being seized by the county.

In state-wide political news, Attorney General Tom Corbett made it official: he is running for Governor. In budget news, legislative leaders met with Governor Rendell yesterday - but produced "no major breakthroughs."

In national news, President Obama gave a speech to Wall Street yesterday on the one-year anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse. In the speech, Obama called for tougher financial regulations to prevent future collapses. In Congress, a sanction vote is expected today against Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC), who shouted "You lie!" at President Obama yesterday. In economic, a report is expected today on the impact of "Cash for Clunkers." The report is expected to show that car sales rose 2%.

Today is a busy day for The Chamber, as we have four events: a Two Rivers Area Chamber of Commerce mixer at Merchants Bank in Forks, a Dale Carnegie training on networking & seeking referrals, a grand opening at Central Pennsylvania College in Bethlehem and a kick-off lunch for the new Forks Business & Commerce Association.

And, Business Matters aired yesterday - the topic was Free Trade in America. The show will be available online later today, and you can also check out the Business Matters blog for more information.

This was a long one today! Hope you enjoyed it. We'll see you all later.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Energy Efficency Grant

We just got this information and wanted to share it with you all. There is a grant opportunity, for small businesses, if they are interested in increasing their energy efficiency. See the information below:

Sustainable Energy Fund, a Lehigh Valley-based non-profit organization that invests in renewable energy projects, energy efficiency projects, and energy education initiatives, announces a limited-time grant opportunity for small businesses in PA. Must be within the PPL Electric Utilities territory, and if the project yields at least a measurable 15% increase in energy efficiency, a business may be eligible for up to $20,000. Only one grant may be submitted per contractor or grant-seeking entity. Retrofits of existing buildings, ventilation systems, windows, automated control systems, lighting, or deployment of renewable energy technologies.

To view the entire program qualifications and eligiblilty, or to download an application, please visit www.thesef.org.

Daily Briefing, September 14

Good morning everyone! We hope you had a great weekend. Here is today's Daily Briefing.

In Bethlehem, the Loop, a shuttle that takes riders around the city, has been exceeding expectations for ridership. The article also quotes Lynn Logue, Vice President of Bethlehem Initiatives for The Chamber.

In state-wide news, a budget breakthrough was reached - only to be shot down by Governor Rendell. Senate Democrats, Senate Republicans and House Democrats all agreed to a compromise budget, which Governor Rendell said he would veto, saying that it didn't meet his expectations for spending and wasn't realistic. Yesterday, legislators sat down with the Governor to negotiate the budget. Meanwhile, in political news, President Obama will be in Philadelphia for a fundraiser with Senator Specter. The event will be tomorrow at the Philadelphia Convention Center.

In national news, today is the one-year anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse. To that end, President Obama is expected to give a major speech, announcing that it is time to scale back bank rescue efforts.

We have one Chamber event today: a ribbon cutting for Zoup on Airport Road in Allentown.

Business Matters airs today - the topic is free trade in America. You can catch the show on WFMZ at 8:00pm today, and don't forget to join in the debate at the Business Matters blog.

And that's it! Have a great day and we will see you later.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Five Rules for Better Web-writing

We caught this article in Mashable the other day and thought it would be really useful, especially for those of us who use the internet for writing on a regular basis.

To briefly summarize, the article encourages web designers (and, we assume by extension, bloggers) to ensure that their writings are at the same quality that print materials are. To that end, web designers and bloggers must ensure that they use appropriate style and formatting techniques. Those five techniques are:

1) Know your objective
2) Know your audience
3) Keep it short (this one really critical)
4) Make it scannable
5) Embrace constraints

Check out the article - it really is well worth the read, especially for the business community.

Daily Briefing, 9/11/2009

Good morning everyone. Here is today's Daily Briefing.

In local news, local utility UGI is facing a $160,000 fine for an error made by one of its contractors that resulted in the destruction of several homes in 2006. In Lehigh County, County Executive Cunningham's proposed budget will eliminate staff from the Farmland Preservation program by cutting $126,000 - the program will still operate, however. In business news, congrats to Air Products, who landed a $18.7 million contract with NASA to produces gases for the program. Community Services for Children is being forced to indefinitely postpone its pre-school program until the state budget is passed due to a lack of funding.

In state-wide news, a potentially huge story is brewing in Harrisburg, as it appears that the state may be close to a budget deal. The nearly $28 billion spending plan will apparently legalize table games and increase cigarette taxes to offset spending increases. In other news, Geisinger Health Systems in rural Pennsylvania is getting much more notice than usual after President Obama mentioned them in his address to Congress yesterday. The President praised the hospital for the innovative ways that it was driving down the cost of health care. The Morning Call also reviews the Pennsylvania Clean Air act that bans smoking inside many establishments, noting that 6,000 places have special exemptions. At a Chamber President's Roundtable yesterday, the President of the Sands, Robert DeSilvio, announced that the casino had filed the paperwork for more slots.

That's all that we have for you today. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Lehigh Valley Environmental Innovations Expo

Whether you own your building or lease your office space you will benefit from visiting the Lehigh Valley Environmental Innovations Expo on Thursday, September 17 at the Holiday Inn Conference Center (at I-78 & Route 100) between 1:00PM and 4:00PM. A variety of environmental engineering firms, land developers, energy providers, electrical contractors, architectural engineers, lighting manufacturers and heating and air conditioning contractors will be on hand exhibiting solutions for sustainable business facilities and operations. Attendance to the expo in the afternoon is free from 3:00 pm till 4:00 pm but you must register by calling or emailing Marta Anglade at 610-841-5863 or martaa@lehighvalleychamber.org. Any business can benefit from the information available at the expo!

Exhibitors include: Langan Engineering & Environmental Services, Avogadro Environmental Corporation, Environmental Liability Management, PA Department of Environmental Protection, Constellation NewEnergy, Lehigh Valley Land Recycling Initiative, Lutron Electronics, EWMI / Rapid Response, Ace Electric, American Society of Environmental Professionals, Elk Environmental Services, French & Parrello Associates, HDR Engineering, Inc., J.G. Petrucci Co. Inc., Ondra-Huyett Associates, Inc., Spotts, Stevens & McCoy, Inc., Tru Comfort, Inc. and more.

Daily Briefing, 9/10/2009

Good morning everyone! Here is today's Daily Briefing.

In local news, Allentown Councilman Tony Phillips apologized for his "salacious" conversation with what he believed was another woman via facebook and said he was remaining in the race for Allentown Mayor. In Easton, the city is set to begin construction work on its waterfront after Council unanimously approved the revitalization contracts. And good news for residents of western Lehigh County, as the Lehigh County Authority has lifted summertime water usage restrictions.

In national news, President Obama addressed Congress yesterday to discuss his health care proposal. The speech was interupted by Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC), who shouted "You Lie!" when President Obama said that his plan wouldn't cover illegal immigrants. Wilson has since apologized for the outburst. Meanwhile, a CNN instant poll shows that the speech was received very well, with 77% of respondents viewing it very or somewhat positively and approval of his plan jumping from 53% to 67%. In other news, a survey taken by the federal reserve has indicated that 11 of 12 chief indicators show that the economy has stabilized and the GDP is predicted to increase 3-4% during the 3rd quarter of 2009. There's more good economic news, as foreclosures dropped .5% in August from July, although there has been no change in the amount of Americans that are behind on their mortgages.

We have one Chamber event today: a President's Roundtable discussion with Robert DeSilvio, CEO of Sands.

And that's it! Have a great day, we'll see you later.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Retailers feeling the pinch

Hi everyone,

This article was brought to our attention by Mary Ellyn Voden, Chair of the Chamber Board of Governors. It details, in very emotional fashion, the struggle that many small business owners are facing right now.

We're sure that many of you can sympathize.

Want an internship with the Chamber?

Hi everyone,

We have a few internships available to interested high school, college students or volunteers who are looking to get more involved in Chamber activities. Here is a description of some of the possible activities:
-------
Marketing & Communications Internship:

This exciting internship will provide the student with many unique opportunities not available in the average office setting. The Bethlehem office of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce works directly with the City of Bethlehem on their marketing and community redevelopment initiatives. With the Sands Casino Resort recent opening, the intern can expect to play a critical role in the organization and implementation of the City’s newest marketing efforts. The intern will not only network with members of the City’s administration, but with owners of small and large businesses in the greater Bethlehem area. The experiences and relationships gained through this unpaid internship, will certainly equip any student with desirable professional qualities and set them apart in an ever-increasing difficult job market.

• Upbeat, energetic, willing to meet new people and take on new projects.
• Majoring or minoring in Marketing, Communications, Business Administration or a related field.
• Have a strong computer background, including the use of Office and the willingness/adaptability to learn new programs.
• Must have a drivers license and own transportation.
• Able to work at least 4 hours, but no more than 12 hours per week. May be asked, but not required to attend events in the evenings.


Contact Person: Melody Gardner, melodyg@lehighvalleychamber.org
Phone: 610-841-5862, Fax: 610-758-9533
-----------
Regional Council Internship:

- Coordination of Regional Chamber board meeting items
- Event planning assistance
- Create flyers for various Chamber events
- Compile historic statistics and create excel reports
- Outbound phone calls to members or potential vendors for events
- Basic office duties including photocopying, typing meeting minutes, etc.
- Attend Chamber events; some evenings possible

We will work with the student on a schedule to fit your needs as well as ours.

Contact: Marlyn Kissner, 610-841-5806, marlynk@lehighvalleychamber.org
--------
Easton & Phillipsburg internship:

- Draft Easton and Phillipsburg constant contact e-newsletters
- Attend Easton and Phillipsburg events committee meetings and take notes
- Develop comprehensive database of downtown P’burg/Easton businesses with contact info that are not Chamber members
- Develop/Draft marketing plan and materials for downtown businesses that emphasize the value of chamber membership and the low cost for the membership. Make the plan relatable to the merchant.
- Assist Alison Miers and Vice Presidents in developing programs designed to assist retailers
- Assist Alison and Vice Presidents in developing events to promote the two downtowns

Contact: Alison Miers, 610-841-5852, alisonm@lehighvalleychamber.org

Daily Briefing, 9/9/2009

Good morning everyone! Here is today's Daily Briefing.

Just in case you missed it, The Chamber came out against the Democratic Health Care Plan yesterday. For coverage of the press conference, check out the Morning Call, Express Times and WFMZ.

In other local news, Allentown Councilman and candidate for Mayor Tony Phillips has been revealed to have a "flirtatious" online conversation with a woman who represented herself as married. As a result, Phillips' campaign manager Ken Matthews has quit the campaign and Phillips himself may drop out. In Bethlehem, the South Bethlehem Historical Society has split on the question of whether or not portions of Bethlehem Steel should be torn down to make room for ArtsQuests' plans to built a cultural and performing arts center. In Easton, the city got some bad news, as the State Theater asked for financial help, saying that the theater will not be able to operate for more than six years otherwise. And in the 24th Senate district (portions of Lehigh, Northampton, Montgomery and Bucks counties), three candidates are racing to replace Senator Rob Wonderling, who resigned last month to head the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. The special election will be September 29.

In national news, President Obama is set to address Congress today on his proposed health care plan. The address will be at 8pm tonight. Meanwhile, Senator Mac Baucus, one of the "gang of six" who is trying to put together a bipartisan health care deal, has said that time is almost up for putting together that sort of plan. Meanwhile, there is some difference of opinion on whether or not Democrats will vote for a plan that doesn't include a public option.

We have two Chamber events today: a Southern Lehigh Business Organization (SOLEBO) breakfast and a Two River's Area Chamber of Commerce (TRACC) networking lunch.

That's it for now, we'll be back with more later. Have a great day!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Click and Mortar workshop

Hi everyone,

We just wanted to share this seminar with you. It is sponsored by the Greater Easton Development Partnership and Easton Main Street Initiative. The program is called a "Clock and Mortar" seminar and deals with one of this blogger's favorite issues: helping small business owners get on the internet. The seminar will be tomorrow, September 9, 8am - 10am at The Chamber's conference room, 158-A Northampton Street, in Easton. The program is free for any business in the Easton Main Street district and only $15 for other businesses.

Click here for more information. It sounds like a very useful and timely program.

Lehigh Valley Chamber is stretching its wings

This article ran in Sunday's edition of the Morning Call. It summarizes the Chamber's position on Health Care and discussing the press conference we will be having later today on the subject. The article is also copy and pasted below:

Lehigh Valley Chamber stretching its wings
The group is taking a rare formal public policy stand -- against Dems' health care plan
By Scott Kraus OF THE MORNING CALL

September 6, 2009

For years, the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce has sat out many of the highest-profile public policy debates.

The business group focused instead on expanding its regional influence, providing information and offering networking opportunities and services such as group health insurance.

With a new group of leaders, the Chamber is hoping to raise its public advocacy profile starting Tuesday by announcing its opposition to Democrats' health care reform proposals.

''I'd like to see us move into some more areas of public debate,'' said Gregg Feinberg, a South Whitehall Township attorney and newly elected chairman of the Chamber's public policy committee.

It's a delicate balancing act for the membership-dependent business group, which represents a diverse roster of 5,000 entities that don't always agree on politics or anything else for that matter.

An internal e-mail calling for members to attend Tuesday's event in Easton brought a terse response from Chamber and policy committee member and Plainfield Township entrepreneur Lazaro Fuentes, a longtime Barack Obama supporter who thinks the Chamber is overstepping its bounds.

The e-mail, from Michelle Young, the Chamber's vice president for public policy, asks members to ''PLEASE reply that you will stand behind your colleagues to show solidarity as business peopleÂ…to speak out against the proposed federal health care/health insurance legislation.''

Fuentes said in an interview: ''It's one thing to explain things to people and explain facts, and not provide conjecture and bias based on one or two members who are basically hijacking the agendaÂ…It makes it seem like 500 businesses are behind them on this. They are scaring people into thinking this will hurt their businesses, when in fact it will not.''

At least on the 15-member policy committee, Fuentes may be in the minority. Seven other members contacted said they thought opposition to the Democrats' health care reform proposal would be a stance that would get broad support.

Kevin Dellicker, owner of Dellicker Strategies, a Kutztown communications consulting firm, said the health care plan is ''the type of thing people can rally behind.''

Dellicker said he supports Feinberg's effort to make the Chamber a more relevant and vocal advocate, particularly for the interests of small business.

Without a vocal public policy advocate for businesses in the Lehigh Valley, their interests have sometimes been overlooked, some members said.

There is a call for such leadership, Dellicker said. ''We haven't really seen that much in the Lehigh Valley lately. As a result, I don't think the legislative officials really take us seriously as they would have otherwise.''

One reason the Chamber is able to step out now is that it has consolidated its leadership over the array of local Chambers that used to dot the Lehigh Valley, said Tony Hanna, a member of the policy committee and economic development director for Bethlehem.

''Finally they have an organization that thinks and acts like a Lehigh Valley body that represents a broad cross-section of the business community,'' Hanna said.

For roughly the last decade, the Chamber focused on creating a regional entity, Executive Director Tony Iannelli said. With that accomplished, it is ready to step out of its ''comfort zone.''

''We have decided we are going to take more positions,'' Iannelli said. ''We are large, we should use that size to work for the benefit of the business community.''

But there are pitfalls to taking public positions that don't have universal support. Just ask William Erdman, the last public policy committee chairman.

A civil engineer, Erdman and others tried unsuccessfully to get the Chamber to support raising the gasoline tax to support transportation improvements. The idea could never get wide enough support to make it through the Chamber's various committees.

Erdman said that if Feinberg wants the Chamber to have a stronger voice, he'll have to do it slowly.

Health care, despite its complexities, might be a good starting point, he said.

''If we have successes on some things that are fairly universalÂ…then hopefully when we take a position on something that is not universally popular, those who are not in favor will respect [that] the Chamber has done the right thing,'' Erdman said.

One thing the Chamber still lacks is a good mechanism to quickly take its members' temperatures on developing issues, he said.

Even in the case of the health care debate, the Chamber took months to develop a health care policy, sending it through various committees earlier this year.

The decision to take a formal position against the Democrats' plan was made by committee leaders and Chamber staff after members began calling for it to be addressed as the legislation took shape this summer, Young said.

To effectively advocate for business interests, the Chamber may have to risk alienating and potentially losing a few members, said Scott Allinson, a South Whitehall attorney and public policy committee member.

''I would say that if the public policy committee took the pulse and there was a clear majority voice and they ran it up the executive committee and the board of governors and they adopted a view, that is OK,'' Allinson said. ''If a small slice of the members would be very upset they took a position, then the members vote with their checkbooks.''

Go Green and Boost Your Bottom Line!

3rd Annual Lehigh Valley Environmental Innovations Conference & Expo

Thursday, September 17, 2009 from 7:30am to 4:30pm

at the Holiday Inn Conference Center in Fogelsville

7:30am Registration & Breakfast; Exhibit Hall Hours 8:30am - 4:30pm


The Lehigh Valley Environmental Innovations Conference & Expo (LVEIC) is the largest, most comprehensive conference and tradeshow for pragmatic environmental and energy resource conservation solutions in Eastern Pennsylvania. This annual conference showcases real world examples, emerging strategies, and technologies to improve environmental and energy performance. The goal of the LVEIC is to provide the Greater Lehigh Valley region high-quality, low-cost environmental and energy conservation guidance and information, as well as exclusive networking opportunities.

This is also the premier Environmental Tradeshow for product and service providers serving the region. Attendees will be encouraged to visit the Exhibit Hall during all meal and break times.

Every business will benefit, whether you're in need of fresh insight regarding environmental compliance and sustainability, or are looking for an innovative approach to go beyond compliance to grow your business. Attend the Lehigh Valley Environmental Innovations Conference and enhance your companies' environmental performance, increase energy efficiency and improve your profitability!

Click here for a sneak peek at our conference itinerary, including topics and times for our breakout plenary sessions!

To register, contact Marta at martaa@lehighvalleychamber.org. For sponsorships, contact Frank at frankf@lehighvalleychamber.org.

Daily Briefing, 9/8/2009

Good morning everyone! We hope you enjoyed your holiday. Here is today's Daily Briefing.

By all accounts, the Greater Allentown Fair was a success this year, with attendance numbers expected to meet or exceed the 570,000 that attended last year.

In state-wide news, the Express Times runs a story on the latest casualty of the budget crisis - adult literacy programs. Without state funding, local schools like NCC and local school districts are unable to run these programs.

In national news, President Obama is set to address the nation's schools today, urging them to take responsibility for their education. Here is the full text of the speech. Meanwhile, Congress returns from recess today, and health care is expected to take center stage.

Business Matters aired yesterday, and the topic was the debate about if America was becoming a socialist country. You can watch the show online later today, or check out the Business Matters blog for more information and to join in the debate.

That's it for now! Have a great Tuesday and enjoy the shortened work week.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Facebook quizzes - users beware!

For those of you who have Facebook, you likely know exactly what I am talking about here - you sign into Facebook and see that your newsfeed is clogged with "quiz results." People take quizzes and post the results: "What movie character are you?" or "How well do you know John Doe?" are two examples. These quizzes seem like harmless time-wasters, right?

Wrong. Check out this article in PC World. The summary of the article: if you take the quiz, companies have access to your Facebook profile. They then use that information to have access to your Facebook profile and all of your interests/contact information. If you take these quizzes, there is a pretty good chance that you will be hit with spam and unwanted marketing material.

Social Networking is an amazing tool, but like all great communication methods it has its downsides. Think twice before taking those quizzes!

Daily Briefing, 9/3/2009

Good morning everyone! Here is today's Daily Briefing.

Muhlenberg College played host yesterday to a health care debate between Congressman Joe Sestak (D-7) and former Congressman Pat Toomey. The debate between Senate candidates focused around the proposed health care plan. In business news, Crayola has announced that it will use a 15-acre solar power park to help power its operations. The facility will ultimately power 10% of Crayola's operations. In Northampton County, the county solicitor has released an opinion that states that the voluntary furlough program proposed by County Executive Stoffa violates a judge's order. And it isn't quite "local" but its a problem that all cities are struggling with - in Reading, the city has a $15 million deficit - and the likely result is budget cuts and employee layoffs.

In national news, the drug giant Pfizer has been fined a massive $2.3 billion for fraud - the company has been accused of marketing drugs for purposes that were not FDA approved. In other news, President Obama will make his case for health care reform via a speech in front of a joint session of Congress on September 9. Two key economic reports can be expected today - a labor report and a monthly look at service complaints. Both are expected to demonstrate economic improvement but still show that problems remain.

We have one Chamber event today: a mixer at Sam's Club in Whitehall.

And that's it! Have a great day. We should be back later today with another entry.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

August New Members

Welcome to our new members in August!

Ace Electric
813 North 4th Street
(610) 782-0275
www.aceelectric1.com
Business Type: ELECTRICIANS, EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES

American Laser Centers - Allentown
1405 North Cedar Crest Boulevard, Suite 55
(484) 221-6305
www.americanlaser.com
Business Type: MEDICAL SPA

Bollinger Home Services
514 North Madison Street
(610) 437-7900
www.bollingerhomeservices.com
Business Type: HEATING, VENTILATION, AIR COND & ENERGY MGMT

Cahill Properties LLC
One South Third Street
cahillproperties@rcn.com
Business Type: LAND DEVELOPMENT & BROKERS

CMX
941 Marcon Boulevard, Suite 801
(610) 266-3040
www.cmxengineering.com
Business Type: ENGINEERING

Delahanty's Tavern On The Square
62 South Main Street
(908) 213-3500
www.delahantys.com
Business Type: RESTAURANTS & CAFES

Emergency Dept.com
880 Yorkshire Road
(610) 392-0816
www.emergencydept.com
Business Type: CONSULTING SERVICES & TRAINING

Enter.Net, Inc.
815 North 12th Street
(610) 437-2221
info@enter.net
www.enter.net
Business Type: INTERNET SERVICES & TRAINING

Fedio Construction
2708 Jean Drive
(610)837-1707
Business Type:

Hobby Lobby
3750 Easton Nazareth Highway
(610) 258-8678
www.hobbylobby.com
Business Type: RETAIL SALES

Infini-Tee
224 Stockton Street, Suite 18
(908) 454-0610
www.infini-teegolf.com
Business Type: GOLF COURSES & PRO SHOPS

Joma Contractors
2600 Bonnie Lane
(610) 559-0959
Business Type: CONTRACTORS

Le Femme Boutique LLC
2145 West Highland Street
(610) 392-6760
info@lefemmeboutique.com
www.lefemmeboutique.com
Business Type: FORMAL WEAR

Lehigh Valley Healthy Vending
951 Juniper Road
(610) 217-6258
pjp62@rcn.com
Business Type: VENDING

Liberty Power Corporation
1901 West Cypress Creek Road
(954) 489-7161
www.libertypowercorp.com
Business Type: ENERGY


Mas Energy Solutions
2410 South 4th Street
(610) 769-0775
scott@masenergysolutions
www.masenergysolutions.com
Business Type:

Money Mailer of Bethlehem
4915 Long Drive
(610) 419-6373
www.moneymailer.com/bethlehem
Business Type: ADVERTISING, MARKETING & PUBLIC RELATIONS

The No Daddys
3222 Watermill Drive
(610) 390-0778
www.thenodaddys.com
Business Type: ENTERTAINMENT & FESTIVALS

Pappy's Orchard
2475 Urffers Road
(610) 462-2734
pappysorchard@gmail.com
www.pappysorchard.com
Business Type: BAKERIES & SUPPLIES

PM Design Group Inc
P.O. Box 1485
481 Vera Circle
(610) 867-1771
pmdietrich@aol.com
www.pmdesigngroup.com; www.pamelagladding.com
Business Type: ART CONSULTING & DESIGN

Pre-Paid Legal Services - L Jones
P.O. Box 627
(610) 381-6488
www.prepaidlegal.com
Business Type: ATTORNEYS, JUDGES & LEGAL SERVICES

Prestige Dry Cleaners
200 State Route 57, Suite 8
(908) 454-8807
clean15@rcn.com
Business Type: DRYCLEANERS


Runs4You.Com
855 Garden Court
(908) 319-3644
www.runs4you.com
Business Type: BUSINESS CONSULTANTS, DEVELOPERS & INCUBATORS

Sal's Spaghetti House Home Pasta Party
502 Slate Belt Boulevard
(484) 347-2894
www.salsspaghettihouse.com
Business Type: CATERING

SMP Property Services
841 Uphill Road
(610) 248-3150
Business Type: CONTRACTORS

Stortz & Associates - Northampton, Inc.
4510 Bath Pike, Suite 200
(610) 861-4400
www.dstortz.com
Business Type: ACCOUNTING & BILLING SERVICES

Surgery Center of Allentown LP
250 Cetronia Road
(484) 223-2880
Business Type:

Total Marketing Resources Inc.
5910 Hamilton Boulevard, Suite 250
(610) 398-8688
www.tmradvertising.com
Business Type: ADVERTISING, MARKETING & PUBLIC RELATIONS

UtiliTech, Inc.
3020 Penn Avenue
(610) 777-3200
www.utilitech.com
Business Type: COMMUNICATIONS & CONSULTANTS; ENERGY

Value Place Hotel
One South Third Street
cahillproperties@rcn.com
Business Type: HOTELS, MOTELS, BED & BREAKFASTS


Vintner's Circle
1700 Sullivan Trail, Suite 11
(610) 438-8660
easton@vintnerscircle.com
www.vintnerscircle.com
Business Type: WINERY & VINEYARDS

Daily Briefing 9/2/2009

Good morning everyone! Here is today's Daily Briefing.

Once again, Sands Bethlehem found itself in 4th place state-wide when it comes to revenue brought in, raking in $66 million. In Easton, the Easton Area School Board gave its final offer to striking secretaries, with the conflict existing over the "bumping" process that would allow more senior secretaries to bump less senior ones out of a job if necessary. And, its that time again: the 157th Great Allentown Fair opened yesterday.

In state-wide news, the state budget panel held its first public meeting in over a month yesterday, with Republicans offering a $27.5 billion spending plan. The current Democratic plan is $28 billion.

In national news, a new poll contains troubling information for President Obama: his approval rating is at an all-time low (53%), while for the first time, a majority of independents disapprove of his performance. Meanwhile, a story on CNNMoney.com looks at the creative and non-traditional ways that small businesses are now seeking loans, including help from the government and credit unions.

That's it for now! Have a great day.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Mass Media on Twitter

We write a lot about Social Networking and the affect it is having on the business community. As many of you are aware, it is also having a noticeable affect on how people get their news and information on current events.

We thought it was worth pointing out that the big three national news networks all have multiple Twitter pages: CNN, MSNBC and FoxNews. CBS News, NBC News and ABC all have Twitter pages as well.

However, it isn't only national firms that are in the act: WFMZ, the Express Times and Morning Call also have their own Twitter pages.

That's good news, because the nature of media is changing. According to a very interesting story that we got from our friends at Mashable, newspaper revenue has dropped 29% in the past year. It's good to see that our local media outlets are adjusting to the changing times

Who else do you know that has a Twitter feed and has been able to really adapt to it?

Daily Briefing, 9/1/2009

Good morning everyone, and a happy September to you! Here is today's Daily Briefing.

The unemployment rate in the Valley held steady last month at 9%, although first-time unemployment claims were the lowest of 2009. PennDOT will not widen Route 22 - instead, they will make renovations to the Macarthur Road interchange and do bridge repairs to the Lehigh River Bridge.

In state-wide news, former Secretary of Homeland Securtiy (and Pennsylvania Governor) Tom Ridge made headlines, when in his book he claimed that politics influenced the decision to raise the terror alert shortly before former President Bush's reelection in November 2004. The former Secretary is now back-tracking on those words, saying that he isn't "second guessing" his colleagues. In other news, a survey by the National League of Cities notes that more than nine in ten cities have cut spending as a result of the economic recession, with 2010 and 2011 looking bad as well. There is some good news today, as banks that the government invested in after the 2008 have made a profit for the U.S. government of about $4 billion. This comes after TARP investments have been paid back.

We have one Chamber event today: a question and answer session with Senator David Argall (R-29).

Business Matters aired yesterday - the show was a one-on-one interview with Congressman and Senate candidate Joe Sestak (D-7). The show will be available online later today, and you can head over to the Business Matters blog to join in the very active conversation.

That's it for today - have a great day and we'll talk to you later!