Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Daily Briefing, 12/28/2011

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

Unemployment in the Valley remained at 8.6% in November.  George Hitcho, who killed Freemansburg police officer Robert Lasso earlier this year, may use the insanity defense.  In Palmer Township, Supervisors held the line on taxes in their 2012 budget.  Cable rates are going to increase an average of 10% in the Valley in 2012.

In national news, Sears and Kmart are set to close 120 stores after a slow holiday season.  Ben Nelson (D-NE) announced yesterday that he will retire in 2012.

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

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Daily Briefing, 12/27/2011

Good morning everyone, and welcome back to work after what we hope was a great Christmas!  Here is your Daily Briefing.

Tougher teenager driving are going into effect in Pennsylvania.  In Upper Saucon Township, supervisors adopted their 2012 budget that calls for no tax increases.  In national news, some good news when it comes to post-Christmas shopping: online shopping traffic on Christmas day increased 16.4%, while mall traffic on the day after Christmas also increased.

No surprise here, but it's been a slow news day, and that's it for now.  Have a good one, and we'll see you later!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Good economic news...yes, you read that right....

Over the past few years, we've gotten way, way to used to reading bad economic news.  Well, of late, there has been a spate of pretty good economic news, and it seemed worth summarizing.

It started with a record-setting Black Friday in late November, but it didn't end there.  Unemployment tanked in the latest report, dropping from 9% to 8.6%.  Combine that with the fact that the latest report on first-time unemployment claims hit 366,000 (lowest level since May 366,000), and there is reason to hope that the jobs market might, just might, be improving.

And there's more.  Manufacturing indexes are on the rise, as is housing construction.

This isn't to say that we are out of the woods yet, many dangers remain, particularly the ongoing debt crisis in Europe.  But, the news, for once, seems generally positive.

By the way, we will be out of the office on Thursday, Friday and Monday.  For those of you who celebrate, have an outstanding Christmas, and we'll see you again on Tuesday!

Daily Briefing, 12/21/2011

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

The House of Representatives approved a Congressional redistricting map yesterday that gives the Valley two Congressman; Governor Corbett still has to sign the legislation, but he is expected to do so.  PoliticsPA has a great breakdown of who crossed party-lines on the vote and their likely reasoning.

In national news, the House of Representatives voted against the two-month extension of the payroll tax-cut.  Republican Presidential candidate Gary Johnson has announced that he will now seek the Libertarian Presidential nomination.

We have one Chamber event today: a joint East Penn/Western Lehigh lunch featuring the Parkland Charole.

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

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Daily Briefing, 12/20/2011

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

In Easton, members of the Greater Easton Development Partnership have vowed to keep the Main Street and Ambassadors programs running despite the fact that the Neighborhood Improvement District, or NID, was voted down.  Bethlehem Township approved its budget yesterday; the budget keeps taxes steady.

In state-wide news, the State House shot down a Democratic redistricting map; a final vote on the Republican version of the map is expected today.

In national news, AT&T has dropped its bid to purchase T-Mobile.  House Republicans will vote today on a Senate bill to extend the payroll tax for two months after Speaker Boehner came out in opposition to the plan.

And that's it for now!  See you later today.

Monday, December 19, 2011

How to update your Chamber listing

If you are a Chamber member, you are probably familiar with our online business directory that lists every member.  One of the nicer features of our website is you can change and update your business information anytime you want, something that is obviously important for a variety of reasons, including Search Engine Optimization.  In the video below, I conducted a screen-cast that walks you through how to log-in and update your information.

As always, This Week With Tony is sponsored by our friends at M&T Bank.

Daily Briefing, 12/19/2011

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

First, the top story of the day is the death of North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Il, who died yesterday at 69.  Kim Jong Un, Il's son, is the new leader of North Korea.

An Express-Times story notes that Lehigh Valley cities are taking a big hit when it comes to federal funding this year.

In national news, House Republicans have rejected a deal struck by the White House and Senate to extend the payroll tax cut by two months.  Google has unveiled the top searches of the year: #1 was internet sensation Rebecca Black.

That's it for now!  Have a great day, and we'll see you later.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Daily Briefing, 12/16/2011

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

In local news, the fight over redistricting and war of words between Senator Lisa Boscola and Congressman Charlie Dent continues.  Northampton Community College has selected Mark Erickson, current President of Wittenberg University in Ohio, as its next President.  Police in Allentown evicted the Occupy Allentown protesters.

In national news, initial filings for unemployment dropped to their lowest levels since May 2008.  Republicans held their final Presidential debate before the Iowa caucuses yesterday.  Democrats and Republicans have apparently reached a deal that would keep the government funded through October 2012.  Fitch's has downgraded many of the world's largest banks.

That's it for now!  We probably will not be back with another entry later today, so if we don't get back, have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Chamber on Redistricting

We've made a couple of previous blog entries, outlining the new State House & Senate districts in Lehigh & Northampton counties.  However, as has been made public recently, the Congressional redistricting maps have been released - and it brings terrible news for the Valley.


We will no longer be represented by one Congressman, but instead two: Charlie Dent and Tim Holden.  Easton, parts of Bethlehem and more than 20 Northampton municipalities are no longer in the 15th Congressional District.  The plan itself was approved by the State Senate yesterday by a 26-24 vote.

The Chamber opposes this plan.   From Michelle Griffin-Young, our Executive VP of Government & External Affairs:

"Our 5,000 members --employing 140,000 individuals-- are committed to the Lehigh Valley as a unified constituency.  The Chamber’s regionalization efforts have proven successful to our members time and time again.  Breaking up the Valley with two different Congressmen will be a detriment to the continuation of our region’s growth and prosperity.  We urge the House & Senate to work together as the Lehigh Valley delegation to replace Easton and the large portion of central and northeastern Northampton County back into the 15th District to keep our Valley strong!"


The legislation must still be approved by the House and signed into law by the Governor.  We urge our members - and every Lehigh Valley resident - to contact their Representative and tell them to oppose this plan.

Redistricting: Northampton Edition

We covered the Lehigh County redistricting on Tuesday - now, here's a look at how redistricting will affect the Valley in Northampton County, at least on a state-wide level:


  • Allen:  In the House, 183rd Legislative District (Julie Harhart).  In the Senate, 14th Senate District (John Yudichak).
  • Bangor:  In the House, 137th Legislative District (Joseph Emrick).  In the Senate, 45th Senate District (Jim Brewster).
  • Bath:  In the House, 138th Legislative District (Marcia Hahn).  In the Senate, 45th Senate District (Jim Brewster).
  • Bethlehem City:  In the House, split between 133rd Legislative District (Joeseph Brennan) who has portions of the Southside) and 135th Legislative District (Steve Samuelson) who has portions of the entire city.  In the Senate, 16th Senate District (Lisa Boscola).  In the Senate, 16th Senate District (Lisa Boscola).
  • Bethlehem Township:  In the House, split between 135th Legislative District (Steve Samuelson), who has Ward 2 and part of Ward 3, and 138th Legislative District (Marcia Hahn), who has the remainder.
  • Bushkill:  In the House, 138th Legislative District (Marcia Hahn).  In the Senate, 45th Senate District (Jim Brewster).
  • Chapman:  In the House, 138th Legislative District (Marcia Hahn).  In the Senate, 45th Senate District (Jim Brewster).
  • East Allen:  In the House, 138th Legislative District (Marcia Hahn).  In the Senate, 14th Senate District (John Yudichak).
  • East Bangor:  In the House, 137th Legislative District (Joseph Emrick).  In the Senate, 45th Senate District (Jim Brewster).
  • Easton:  In the House, 136th Legislative District (Bob Freeman).  In the Senate, 16th Senate District (Lisa Boscola).
  • Forks:  In the House, 137th Legislative District (Joseph Emrick).  In the Senate, 45th Senate District (Jim Brewster).
  • Freemansburg:  In the House, 136th Legislative District (Bob Freeman).  In the Senate, 16th Senate District (Lisa Boscola).
  • Glendon:  In the House, 136th Legislative District (Bob Freeman).  In the Senate, 16th Senate District (Lisa Boscola).
  • Hanover:  In the House, 138th Legislative District (Marcia Hahn).  In the Senate, 14th Senate District (John Yudichak).
  • Hellertown:  In the House, 136th Legislative District (Bob Freeman).  In the Senate, 16th Senate District (Lisa Boscola).
  • Lehigh:  In the House, 183rd Legislative District (Julie Harhart).  In the Senate, 14th Senate District (John Yudichak).
  • Lower Mt. Bethel:  In the House, 137th Legislative District (Joseph Emrick).  In the Senate, 45th Senate District (Jim Brewster).
  • Lower Nazareth:  In the House, 138th Legislative District (Marcia Hahn).
  • Lower Saucon:  In the House, split between the 136th Legislative District (Bob Freeman) and 131st Legislative District (Justin Simmons).  In the Senate, 16th Senate District (Lisa Boscola).
  • Moore:  In the House, split between 138th Legislative District (Marcia Hahn) and 183rd Legislative District (Julie Harhart).  In the Senate, 45th Senate District (Jim Brewster).
  • Nazareth:  In the House, 137th Legislative District (Joseph Emrick).  In the Senate, 45th Senate District (Jim Brewster).
  • North Catasauqua:  In the House, 183rd Legislative District (Julie Harhart).  In the Senate, 16th Senate District (Lisa Boscola)  
  • Northampton:  In the House, 183rd Legislative District (Julie Harhart).  In the Senate, 16th Senate District (Lisa Boscola).
  • Palmer: In the House, split between the 136th Legislative District (Bob Freeman) and 137th Legislative District (Joe Emrick).  In the Senate, 16th Senate District (Lisa Boscola).
  • Pen Argyl:  In the House, 138th Legislative District (Marcia Hahn).
  • Plainfield:  In the House, 138th Legislative District (Marcia Hahn).  In the Senate, 45th Senate District (Jim Brewster).  
  • Portland:  In the House, 137th Legislative District (Joseph Emrick).
  • Roseto:  In the House, 137th Legislative District (Joseph Emrick).
  • Stockertown:  In the House, 137th Legislative District (Joseph Emrick).  In the Senate, 16th Senate District (Lisa Boscola).
  • Tatamy:  In the House, 137th Legislative District (Joseph Emrick).  In the Senate, 16th Senate District (Lisa Boscola).
  • Upper Mt. Bethel:  In the House, 137th Legislative District (Joseph Emrick).  In the Senate, 45th Senate District (Jim Brewster).
  • Upper Nazareth:  In the House, 137th Legislative District (Joseph Emrick).  In the Senate, 45th Senate District (Jim Brewster).
  • Walnutport:  In the House, 183rd Legislative District (Julie Harhart).  In the Senate, 14th Senate District (John Yudichak).
  • Washington:  In the House, 137th Legislative District (Joseph Emrick).  In the Senate, 45th Senate District (Jim Brewster).
  • West Easton:  In the House, 136th Legislative District (Bob Freeman).  In the Senate, 16th Senate District (Lisa Boscola).
  • Williams:  In the House, 136th Legislative District (Bob Freeman).  In the Senate, 24th Senate District (Bob Mensch).
  • Wilson:  In the House, 136th Legislative District (Bob Freeman).  In the Senate, 16th Senate District (Lisa Boscola).
  • Wind Gap:  In the House, 138th Legislative District (Marcia Hahn).  In the Senate, 45th Senate District (Jim Brewster).

Daily Briefing, 12/15/2011

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

In Allentown, developer J.B. Reilly unveiled proposals for a $50 million office complex near the incoming arena.  Allentown City Council also reviewed a waste-to-energy proposal yesterday. In Whitehall, property and earned income taxes are slightly increasing.  In Easton, taxes have been held steady.  Businessman Elmer Gates spoke at a Chamber event yesterday.

In national news, the Iraqi war has officially come to an end.  President Obama has dropped his demand for a surtax on millionaires in exchange for a payroll tax extension.

We have two Chamber events today: a Grand Opening at Tilted Kilt in Allentown and a Holiday Vendor Night at the Main Street Commons in Bethlehem.

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

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Daily Briefing, 12/14/2011

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

In Allentown, a fence has gone up around the arena site, preparing the area for demolition.  A new hiring survey shows that 7 in 10 Valley employers expect to do no hiring or firing in the first quarter of 2012.  In Easton, Met-Ed met with Easton City Council yesterday to discuss power outages during the freak October snowstorm.

In state-wide news, the Congressional redistricting map was revealed yesterday.  The Valley is now in two Congressional districts, with the Easton area going to Congressman Tim Holden.  The map has to be approved by the State House and Senate, then signed by the Governor.  In other news, Jerry Sandusky waved his preliminary hearing yesterday.

In national news, the National Transportation Safety Board has recommended that states ban cell phone use while driving.  Donald Trump has cancelled his plans to moderate a Republican debate after only Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich accepted the debate invitation.  The House of Representatives approved payroll tax extension legislation, combined with a bill that would speed up government approval for the Keystone XL pipeline.  The Federal Reserve announced yesterday that they were keeping interest rates at record lows.

And that's it for now!  Have a good one, and we'll be back later today.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Redistricting: Lehigh County edition

As an article from John Micek of the Morning Call noted earlier today, redistricting is making its impact felt in the Valley.  Assuming the current map holds, below is a quick guide to who will represent the various municipalities in the Valley.  Today we'll run Lehigh County:

Alburtis:  In the House, 134th Legislative District, currently held by Representative Doug Reichley.  In the Senate, 16th Senate District, currently held by Senator Pat Browne.
Allentown:  In the House, split between 132nd Legislative District (currently held by Representative Mann) for parts of the Center City, the entire West End and most of the East Side and the new 22nd Legislative District (currently vacant), containing the entire South Side and most of Center City.  In the Senate, 16th Senate District, currently held by Senator Pat Browne.
Bethlehem:  In the House, split between the 133rd Legislative District currently held by Joseph Brennan  (10th, 12th and portions of the 13th Ward) and 135th Legislative District currently held by Representative Steve Samuelson (11th and portions of the 13th ward).  In the Senate, 18th Legislative District, currently held by Senator Lisa Boscola.
Catasauqua:  In the House, 133rd Legislative District, currently held by Representative Joseph Brennan.  In the Senate, 18th Legislative District, currently held by Senator Lisa Boscola.
Coopersburg:  In the House, 131st Legislative District, currently held by Representative Justin Simmons.  In the Senate, 16th Senate District, currently held by Senator Pat Browne.
Coplay:  In the House, 133rd Legislative District, currently held by Representative Joseph Brennan.  In the Senate, 18th Legislative District, currently held by Senator Lisa Boscola.
Emmaus:  In the House, 131st Legislative District, currently held by Representative Justin Simmons.  In the Senate, 18th Legislative District, currently held by Senator Lisa Boscola.
Fountain Hill:  In the House, 133rd Legislative District, currently held by Representative Joseph Brennan.  In the Senate, 18th Legislative District, currently held by Senator Lisa Boscola.
Hanover:  In the House, 133rd Legislative District, currently held by Representative Joseph Brennan.  In the Senate, 18th Legislative District, currently held by Senator Lisa Boscola.
Heidelberg:  In the House, 187th Legislative District, currently held by Representative Gary Day.  In the Senate, 14th Senate District, currently held by John Yudichak.
Lower Macungie:  In the House, 134th Legislative District, currently held by Representative Doug Reichley.  In the Senate, 16th Senate District, currently held by Senator Pat Browne.
Lower Milford:  In the House, 131st Legislative District, currently held by Representative Justin Simmons.  In the Senate, 16th Senate District, currently held by Senator Pat Browne.
Lowhill:  In the House, 187th Legislative District, currently held by Representative Gary Day.  In the Senate, 16th Senate District, currently held by Senator Pat Browne.
Lynn:  In the House, 187th Legislative District, currently held by Representative Gary Day.  In the Senate, 14th Senate District, currently held by John Yudichak.
Macungie:  In the House, 134th Legislative District, currently held by Representative Doug Reichley.  In the Senate, 16th Senate District, currently held by Senator Pat Browne.
North Whitehall:  In the House, split between 183rd Legislative District currently held by Representative Julie Harhart (4th Ward) and 187th Legislative District currently held by Representative Julie Harhart (Wards 1, 2 and 3).  In the Senate, 16th Senate District, currently held by Senator Pat Browne.
Salisbury:  In the House, split between 131st Legislative District currently held by Representative Justin Simmons (3rd Ward and 4-1), 133rd Legislative District held by Representative Joseph Brennan (1st and 2nd Ward) and 134th Legislative District held by Doug Reichley (4-2 and 5th Ward).   In the Senate, 18th Legislative District, currently held by Senator Lisa Boscola.
Slatington:  In the House, 183rd Legislative District currently held by Representative Julie Harhart.  In the Senate, 14th Senate District, currently held by John Yudichak.
South Whitehall:  In the House, split between the 132nd Legislative District held by Jennifer Mann (Wards 2, 4, 5 and 7), 134th Legislative District held by Doug Reichley (Ward 3) and 183rd Legislative District currently held by Representative Julie Harhart (Wards 1, 6 and 8).  In the Senate, 16th Senate District, currently held by Senator Pat Browne.
Upper Macungie:  In the House, 187th Legislative District, currently held by Representative Gary Day.  In the Senate, 16th Senate District, currently held by Senator Pat Browne.
Upper Milford:  In the House, 131st Legislative District, currently held by Representative Justin Simmons.  In the Senate, 16th Senate District, currently held by Senator Pat Browne.
Upper Saucon:  In the House, 131st Legislative District, currently held by Representative Justin Simmons.  In the Senate, 16th Senate District, currently held by Senator Pat Browne.
Washington:  In the House, 183rd Legislative District currently held by Representative Julie Harhart.  In the Senate, 14th Senate District, currently held by John Yudichak.
Weisenberg:  In the House, 187th Legislative District, currently held by Representative Gary Day.  In the Senate, 16th Senate District, currently held by Senator Pat Browne.
Whitehall:  Split between the 133rd Legislative District, currently held by Representative Joseph Brennan (all of Whitehall except the 7th and 10th Wards) and 183rd Legislative District currently held by Representative Julie Harhart (7th and 10th Wards).  In the Senate, 18th Legislative District, currently held by Senator Lisa Boscola.

Wow.  We'll be back with Northampton County tomorrow!

Daily Briefing, 12/13/2011

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

In Salisbury, it appears that the township will slightly raise taxes to pay for new fire trucks.

In state-wide news, a Morning Call article looks at the effects that redistricting will have on the state, noting that Allentown will gain a legislative seat.  Today will be the first preliminary hearing in the Jerry Sandusky case.  In Harrisburg, City Council has announced that they will appeal a ruling that denies them the right to file for bankruptcy.

In national news, U.S. Supreme Court announced yesterday that it will hear a case on the constitutionality of Arizona's controversial immigration laws.  Occupy protesters successfully closed down ports on the West Cost.

We have one Chamber event today: the Women Business Council's 3rd Annual Tea & Tree event.

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

Monday, December 12, 2011

Pennsylvania is the 26th Best State for Business

Forbes Magazine has come out with its annual ranking of the best states for business.  It bases its rankings on a variety of criteria, including:

  • Business costs
  • Labor supply
  • Regulatory environment
  • Economic climate
  • Growth prospects
  • Quality of life
  • Population
Pennsylvania came in 26th.  Hurting the state was its relatively low business costs and labor supply ranking, though the state does have the 6th best quality of life in the survey.

As for the rest of the survey: Utah is the best while Maine is the worst (for the 2nd year in a row).  In general, the West ranked best in the entire region.  

A companion piece, the best states for jobs, showed similar rankings.

Daily Briefing, 12/12/2011

Good morning everyone!  Here is today's Daily Briefing (though I warn you, sorry, it's a slow Monday!).

Home sales in the Valley increased 13% compared to November last year.  As noted by WFMZ, heating assistance programs are in jeopardy this year.

Yeah...that's it for now.  Really.  I'm not being lazy, I swear.  Anyway, we'll be back later today.  Have a great day!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Daily Briefing, 12/9/2011

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

With a few weeks still to go, the Lehigh Valley has set an all-time participation record for the year.  Occupy Bethlehem was removed from its encampment yesterday after failing to get a permit.  In Northampton County, County Council voted to increase spending without increasing taxes, despite the objections of County Executive John Stoffa.

In national news, Democratic efforts to pass a payroll tax cut extension failed in the Senate yesterday.  The Senate also blocked President Obama's nominee to head the Consumer Protection Agency.  

We have two Chamber events today: a Grand Opening at Elaine Zelker Photography and a webinar on Identity Theft.

And that's it for now!  Have a good one, and we'll be back later today.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Chamber on Prevailing Wage

We wanted to let you know about the public policy position that The Chamber is taking - this one on the need to reform state's prevailing wage laws.

A Prevailing Wage is the rate at which public employees must be paid when state funding is involved in a project. The goal of a prevailing wage is to ensure that workers on public projects receive a fair wage for their work. This prevailing wage must be tied closely to the wage paid in a competitive market for labor whether the work is performed for either public or private project owners. A mechanism needs to be exercised to set prevailing wages which more closely represent the actual wage rates for both public and private projects across the different regions of the state as well as the fluctuations in the labor market.

The Chamber signed onto the following letter that was sent to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives:

On behalf of our thousands of statewide member businesses of all sizes and crossing all industry
sectors, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry writes to express support for bills to reform the PA Prevailing Wage Act that the House may consider this week.

The PA Prevailing Wage Act (the Act) mandates that workers on public construction projects costing over $25,000 be paid the local “prevailing minimum wage”. The problem is the set wage is typically tied to union wages and therefore often grossly inflated, which burdens the Commonwealth and local governments with higher costs and triggers increases to property taxes while providing no real public benefit. Local governments and school districts are operating under increasingly restrictive budgets and the prevailing wage mandate is one more obstacle impeding efforts to balance budgets and improve communities through vital construction projects and infrastructure improvements.

The PA Chamber supports abolishing the Act. Short of full repeal, we support bills that aim to help mitigate the adverse impact of this archaic and harmful mandate:

HB 1271: Exempts certain road maintenance, which until a recent court decision, had usually fallen under the Act’s exemption for maintenance work. This court decision has forced municipalities to curtail regular roadwork, such as resurfacing, replacing guide rails and painting lines, when they cannot afford the inflated wages that result from the prevailing wage mandate;

HB 1685: Directs the PA Department of Labor and Industry to adopt classifications and definitions for jobs subject to the Act. No such standard guidance currently exists, which creates uncertainty for contractors who face potentially devastating penalties for even accidental violations;

HB 1329: Raises the threshold for a project to be subject to the Act to $185,000; up from the current threshold of $25,000 that was established nearly 50 years ago.

Daily Briefing, 12/8/2011

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

In Allentown, the Arena project demolition has been delayed by a few weeks.  Also in Allentown, City Council reversed itself and decided to hire EMTs; it's budget passed last night with increases to water, sewer and garbage fees.  In Hanover Township, a sinkhole is threatening properties.  Occupy Bethlehem has said that they will get the required paperwork necessary to stay in their current encampment.  In the Southern Lehigh School District, teachers and the board have agreed to a new four-year contract.

In state wide news, Jerry Sandusky was arrested once again on additional sexual abuse charges.

In national news, former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has been sentenced to fourteen years of prison on public corruption charges.

Today is an extremely busy day in Chamber world, with four events: a Grand Opening celebration at the Pennsylvania School of Business, a Hispanic Chamber celebration of Fiesta de Navidad, a Hellertown-Lower Saucon Holiday Dinner Mixer and a Holiday & Movie Mixer at the Roxy in Northampton.

And that's it for now!  Have a great day and we'll be back later.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Expand your network with Connections

If you are a Chamber member, you receive Connections.  Connections is our 48-page monthly publication.  We print about 6,000 copies that are sent throughout the entire Lehigh Valley, and it is one of the Valley's premiere sources of information for the latest business happenings in the area.  If used properly, it is also an outstanding way in which Chamber members can expand their business network.  Here are some thoughts on how you can specifically use Connections to do just that.

1.  Member News: Every month, we print news items that we are given by our members (this is totally free, and if you want to submit news, please send it along to me at mikes@lehighvalleychamber.org).  Make sure to check out the news items and drop the printed businesses a note, saying congrats.

2.  New Members:  New Members, and their contact information, are listed in Connections every month.  If you have a second, make sure to drop a note to the new members, saying welcome and describing your services.  Don't just sell, but use the new member section as a chance to build a relationship.

3.  Event attendance:  Connections always contains a flier that lists the latest events you can attend and RSVP.  On a budget?  No problem - in this month's Connections, eight of the events are totally free!

4.  Advertise:  You can get the word out about your business by advertising in Connections for as little as $75 per month.  Make sure to check out our rates.

Daily Briefing, 12/7/2011

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

This should be fun: expect 1-4 inches of snow later today.  In Hellertown, two police officers will keep their jobs after Borough Council decided to use $60,000 in casino money from the previous budget year.  In Bethlehem, the city appears set to start charging for police escorts at funerals.  New school board members were sworn in in the Parkland and Easton Area School Districts.

In state-wide news, former Montgomery County Commissioner and Lt. Governor candidate Jim Matthews has been arrested on perjury charges.

We have two Chamber events today: a workshop on Transmedia Marketing and a Grand Opening at Regus.

And that's it for now!  Have a great day, and we'll be back later.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Daily Briefing, 12/6/2011

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

The Bethlehem Area School District could raise taxes by 4% and cut more programs and staff.  In Allentown, the city has settled an excessive force lawsuit involving their police department.  In Nazareth, the Mayor Daugherty has stopped his efforts to join the Colonial Regional police department.  The Northampton County Courthouse celebrated its 150th anniversary yesterday.  In Bethlehem Township, tax and sewer rates appear set to hold steady this year.  New school board members were sworn in yesterday in the Allentown and East Penn School Districts.

In state-wide news, the House of Representatives is set to upgrade it's Megan's Law regulations.  State Senator Dominic Pileggi has said that he will not run against Senator Bob Casey.

In worldwide news, the S&P has put every Eurozone government on notice for a credit downgrade.

And that's it for now!  Have a great day, and we'll be back later.

Monday, December 5, 2011

How to promote your Facebook page

I was chatting with a friend the other day about how awesome Facebook is (yes, I realize how corny that sounds, and yes, I actually have these conversations in real life) when he mentioned his dilemma to me.  He had just started a business page on Facebook and was happy to finally get around to it...but, he wasn't sure how to promote it to the masses.  After all, what good is a business page if you cannot get anyone to actually like it?

Fair point.  How do you get someone to discover your Facebook page?  Here are five easy ways:

1)  Your Website:  If you have Social Media, you need to link to it on your website.  Fortunately, there are plenty of different ways to do so: something as simple as a hyperlink that leads to your Facebook page, a logo that says "Find me on Facebook" or a Facebook widget that shows viewers a snapshot of your page.


2)  Google:  Google loves Social Media.  Need proof?  Type in "Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce" in Google, and four of the top ten results are links to Social Media.  How do you make your Facebook profile Google friendly?  Fill out every field - including address, description (make sure to laden it with words that are SEO-friendly to your business), phone number, the works.  From there, update constantly. Google loves fresh, interesting content.

3)  Your business card:  Check out the back of Chamber business card:


On the back of all of our business cards, we have links to our Social Media.  We also have a QR code that leads to our webpage, but that's a whole other blog survey.


4)  Your E-mail signature:  This is what my E-mail signature looks like:


Mike Schlossberg
Vice President, Member Relations & Applied Technology
Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce
Bethlehem Office
561 Main Street, Suite 200
Bethlehem, PA 18018
Phone:  484-809-1796
Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce
Fax:  610-758-9533

Follow the Chamber on: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, The Chamber's Blog


Yup - we link to our Social Media in every E-mail that we send.  And why not?  Think about how many E-mails you send a day.  This is an easy one!


5)  A big old E-mail blast:  Like most businesses, you probably have a collection of E-mails or some sort of e-Newsletter.  Make sure to E-mail the entire list and let them know where to find you.  From there, make sure to include links to your Social Media presence in every E-mail.

6)  Your own network:  If you are the administrator of a page, you can "suggest" that others like your page from your personal profile.  Some people aren't comfortable with bridging their personal & professional lives like this, and that makes sense, but this is a pretty easy way to instantly get likes.

Any tips to share with us?  Let us know in the comments!

Daily Briefing, 12/5/2011

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

In Bethlehem, the city has told members of Occupy Bethlehem that it has to get a permit for the city site on which they have been camping.  Members of the Southern Lehigh School District held a memorial service for their recently deceased former superintendent, Joseph Liberati.

In national news, the U.S. Postal Service will be announcing $3 billion in reductions.  According to published reports, Hermain Cain is set to endorse Newt Gingrich today.  Senate Democrats will be introducing a new version of the payroll tax cut extension.  European leaders will be meeting again today in an effort to draft  new fiscal union in an effort to save the Euro.

Business Matters airs today at 8pm on WFMZ, featuring a debate on whether or not Queen City Airport should be sold for redevelopment.

And that's it for now!  Have a great day, and we'll be back later.