Coronavirus-Related Information

The Partnership office at 212 North Jay Street, Lock Haven, is open to the public. Office hours are weekdays 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The front lobby, which displays free brochures on local attractions, maps, and dining & lodging information, is open 24/7.

Please contact us at 570-748-5782 or by email if you feel we can be of help: Mike Flanagan, President – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.Julie Brennan, Chamber/Tourism Director – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.April Bittner, Leadership Clinton County and Enterprise Zone Coordinator – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.Lisa Engel, Administrative Assistant – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Clinton County Economic Partnership offers the following information and resources for businesses and organizations:


1/14/21

- The U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the U.S. Treasury Department, will re-open the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan portal to PPP-eligible lenders with $1 billion or less in assets for First and Second Draw applications tomorrow, January 15, at 9:00 a.m. The portal will fully open on Tuesday, January 19, to all participating PPP lenders to submit First and Second Draw loan applications to SBA. Businesses interested in applying for a PPP should be seeking guidance from their lender. Read more: SBA Re-Opening Paycheck Protection Program to Small Lenders on Friday, January 15 and All Lenders on Tuesday, January 19.

The SBA has so far forgiven more than 1.1 million Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for over $100 billion, providing an extraordinary amount of critical relief to America’s small businesses just three months since the earliest PPP borrowers’ covered periods ended. See more here: 1.1 Million Paycheck Protection Program Loans Forgiven So Far Totaling Over $100 Billion (sba.gov).

- A reminder to all Partnership members to join us tomorrow, January 15, at 11:00 a.m. as U.S. Congressman Fred Keller provides an update on the most recent relief package passed by Congress and other legislative priorities. The event will be a virtual ZoomGov meeting and no pre-registration is needed. You can click on the following link to join the meeting: https://ushr.zoomgov.com/j/1609716674?pwd=USttYjZzbFNXNXpEbjlTSW15SThYQT09, or Click Here for the Fred Keller file for information on how to join the update online or by phone.

- As part of Pennsylvania’s effort to facilitate a safe, effective rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, Governor Tom Wolf has approved a temporary waiver allowing licensed pharmacists to order and administer COVID-19 vaccines without a physician’s order when vaccines are available to the public. Learn more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/State-details.aspx?newsid=445.

Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said Thursday that “we want to do more and we want to do better” in vaccinating state residents against COVID-19. In a media interview, Levine said she expects to soon announce new tactics toward that goal, including making the vaccine available at retail pharmacies and holding vaccination clinics, including what she called “mass vaccination clinics.” The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency will be involved, she said. Read more: Pa. plans mass clinics, other steps to speed up pace of COVID-19 vaccinations - pennlive.com. (Source: PennLive)

Meanwhile, Secretary Levine also spoke about the vaccine rollout process during a hearing this week hosted by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania. Click Here for the Vaccine Distribution file for more from that hearing.

- The Health Department today confirmed an additional 7,175 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 748,564. Locally, Centre County has exceeded 10,000 total cases as of today’s data, reporting 31, for a total 10,004 positive cases to date. Clinton County reported 16 new cases today, bringing the countywide case count to 2,295, and Lycoming County reported 67 new cases, bringing their total to 7,181 positive cases. Statewide, there are 5,069 people hospitalized with the virus, 1,035 of whom are in intensive care units. There were 313 new deaths reported Wednesday, for a statewide total of 18,742 deaths attributed to COVID-19. Clinton County deaths attributed to the virus remained at 37. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1250.

- As a result of the continued consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Alex Azar II has renewed, effective January 21, his determination that a public health emergency continues to exist. The initial 90-day public health emergency determination was made January 31, 2020, and renewed in April, July and October of last year.

- The Internal Revenue Service today reminded businesses and other payors that the revised Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income, and the new Form 1099-NEC, Nonemployee Compensation, must be furnished to most recipients by February 1, 2021. More here: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/businesses-have-feb-1-deadline-to-provide-forms-1099-misc-and-1099-nec-to-recipients.

- Taxpayers who paid too little tax during 2020 can still avoid a tax-time bill and possible penalties by making a quarterly estimated tax payment now, directly to the IRS. The deadline for making a payment for the fourth quarter of 2020 is tomorrow, January 15, 2021. More here: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-reminds-taxpayers-to-make-final-estimated-tax-payment-for-2020.

- State Senate President Pro Tempore Senator Jake Corman (R-Centre) has announced the chairs for each of the 22 Senate standing committees for the 2021-22 session. As we noted Wednesday, 25th District Senator Cris Dush, who represents Clinton County, was appointed to chair the Senate’s Local Government Committee. READ MORE.

- Governor Wolf today again urged the General Assembly to act now to allocate $145 million that is available to provide support to Pennsylvania businesses that have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 health crisis. See more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-democratic-leaders-urge-legislature-to-act-now-to-allocate-145-million-in-financial-support-to-businesses-adversely-affected-by-covid-19/.

- The PA State Police announced that the fourth quarter of 2020 was the busiest in the history of the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) – the state’s firearm background check system – breaking the previous record set in the third quarter of last year. Details here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PA-State-Police-Details.aspx?newsid=634.

- The Wolf Administration will host “Feeding Pennsylvanians, Reducing Waste,” a panel discussion on food security in Pennsylvania and how commonwealth programs, partners, and residents are taking steps to reduce food waste to protect the environment and the charitable food system, tomorrow, January 15 at 1:00 p.m. Learn more: https://www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/NewsRoomPublic/articleviewer.aspx?id=21910&typeid=1.

- Governor Wolf has announced more than $1 million in funding through the HOME Investment Partnerships Program to support affordable housing in nearby Centre County. Read more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/wolf-administration-announces-more-than-1-million-in-funding-to-support-affordable-housing-in-centre-county/.

- The PA Fish & Boat Commission is seeking applicants for a new grant program that will provide financial assistance to fisheries operations negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Qualifying participants include bait and tackle operations, recreational for-hire fishing businesses, and more. Applications are being accepted starting January 28 through February 26. Read more: FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE FOR PENNSYLVANIA MARINE FISHERIES INDUSTRY IMPACTED BY COVID-19.

 - The SCORE Central PA Chapter hosts an online workshop, A New Way to Look at Marketing, at 5:30 p.m. next Thursday, January 21. This no-cost Zoom session will focus on brand and trademark development; using a website and controlling SEO; online company listings; how to use email marketing; using social media; and how to use print marketing. Register HERE!

1/13/21

- A group of PA House Republican lawmakers has been tasked with coming up with a strategy to kickstart the state’s economic recovery as it climbs out from under the damage done from the COVID-19 shutdown. At a Tuesday Capitol news conference, House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre County, said the members of the Economic Recovery Task Force and other House Republicans have been listening to what their constituents have to say about the challenges they face and hearing their suggestions over the past few months. Now, the group is charged with taking that input and using it to examine how the state got in the shape it’s in and craft legislative policies and ideas to get the economy moving again. “Pennsylvania can be an example for the rest of the country, how to move forward, how to learn what we’ve been through how to build and recovery, how to move past the challenges of a difficult time,” Benninghoff said, standing at a podium bearing a sign that read, “Envy of the East.” Among the ideas they hope to incorporate into the upcoming budget discussions include providing regulatory relief for businesses as well as reining in the governor’s authority in emergency declarations and making some tax structure changes such as lowering the corporate net income tax rate. Representative Aaron Kaufer, R-Luzerne County, has been tapped to lead the task force. Kaufer said pandemic-related shutdowns have caused too many jobs to be lost and too many companies to close. Read More (Source: Harrisburg Patriot News)

- A reminder that all Partnership members are invited to participate in a Legislative Update with 12th District U.S. Congressman Fred Keller this Friday, January 15, at 11:00 a.m. Congressman Keller will provide an update on the most recent relief package passed by Congress and other legislative priorities. No pre-registration is needed. You can click on the following link to join the ZoomGov Meeting: https://ushr.zoomgov.com/j/1609716674?pwd=USttYjZzbFNXNXpEbjlTSW15SThYQT09, or Click Here for the Fred Keller file for information on how to join the update online or by phone.

- 25th District State Senator Cris Dush, who was officially sworn into office this month after being elected to the seat vacated by the now-retired senator Joe Scarnati, made a sweep through Clinton County today as he continues to familiarize himself with people across the District. Senator Dush stopped at the Clinton County Economic Partnership office for a brief meeting with CCEP President Mike Flanagan, who offered the Senator a local economic update. The Senator talked about his first few weeks in office and said he’s been named chair of the Senate’s Local Government committee and vice-chair of the State Government Committee. The Senator’s Clinton County constituents will continue to be served by Chuck Dillon and Deb Rudy (both of whom had worked for Sen. Scarnati) from his Wellsboro field office, (570)724-5231. For more on Senator Dush, visit www.senatorcrisdushpa.com.

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 7,960 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 741,389. According to the state, Clinton County reported 30 new cases today, bringing the countywide positive case count to 2,278. Centre County was up 133 cases, to 9,973, and Lycoming County reported 88 new cases, bringing their countywide total to 7,114. Statewide, thee are 5,204 people hospitalized with the virus, 1,060 of whom are in the intensive care unit. The state also reported 349 new deaths attributed to COVID-19, for a total of 18,429. Clinton County has seen 37 deaths attributed to the virus. More here: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19: 5,204 Patients Hospitalized and 1,060 Patients in the Intensive Care Unit.

- Governor Tom Wolf today reminded Pennsylvanians that this Friday, January 15, is the deadline to enroll at pennie.com for health coverage that includes free testing and treatment for COVID-19. Read more: Gov. Wolf: Friday, Jan. 15 is Deadline to Sign-up for State-based Marketplace Health Coverage (pa.gov).

- The National Restaurant Association today released its 2021 Restaurant Trends, a two-page report on operational services and menu items that most helped restaurants survive 2020 and that will likely continue through 2021. The full State of the Industry report will be released January 26. READ MORE

- The Department of Agriculture today released data related to COVID-19 restaurant enforcement actions from January 4-10, taken during routine food safety inspections and inspections prompted by consumer complaints. During that period, Bureau of Food Safety personnel conducted 729 inspections, 130 of which were following up on COVID-specific complaints. The department received 171 food facility COVID-19 related complaints, and 90 of those were referred to local and county health jurisdictions. Inspectors closed 24 restaurants for violating state COVID mitigation orders. According to the data, there were no Bureau of Food Safety inspections reported in Clinton County last week. More here: Department of Agriculture Releases COVID-19 Restaurant Enforcement Actions, January 4 – January 10.

- The Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021 permits businesses to deduct 100% of business meal expenses in 2021 and 2022. The National Law Review summarized the tax provisions of the Act; however, no further information has been released at this time. 

- During today’s virtual PA Farm Show, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding invited proposals for $460,000 in funding through the state’s Specialty Crop Block Grants. Learn more: Agriculture Secretary Invites Proposals for $460,000 State Specialty Crop Block Grants to ‘Cultivate Tomorrow’ (pa.gov).

Also at the Farm Show, Boom City Brewing Co. in Williamsport received two awards in the Show’s craft beer competition. Boom City was a top placer for their Amber beer under the Amber Lager category, and for their Last Raft Raspberry Wheat beer, under the Fruit, Herb & Vegetable category. A total of 22 craft brews from breweries in 10 Pennsylvania counties were judged. FYI, Pennsylvania ranks No. 2 in the United States for number of barrels produced at 3.6 million, according to the Brewers Association, a trade group. Those interested in sampling the winning brews can visit the Pennsylvania Farm Show Trail, an interactive map featuring commercial exhibitors and PA Preferred members who exhibit at the Farm Show.

- PA Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller today announced the selection of a vendor for Resource Information and Services Enterprise, or RISE PA, an upcoming statewide resource and referral tool. See more: Wolf Administration Announces Vendor Selection for Upcoming RISE PA, Statewide Resources and Referral Tool.

- National Taxpayer Advocate Erin M. Collins today released her 2020 Annual Report to Congress, focusing on the unprecedented challenges taxpayers faced in filing their tax returns and receiving refunds and stimulus payments during a year consumed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/national-taxpayer-advocate-delivers-annual-report-to-congress-focuses-on-taxpayer-impact-of-covid-19-and-irs-funding-needs.

- Younger adults living alone were more likely than older adults living alone to report symptoms of both anxiety and depression in recent weeks, according to new U.S. Census Bureau data. The Census survey provides insight into the mental health and well-being of adults living alone during the Coronavirus pandemic.  Read More.

- First Lady Frances Wolf today announced the launch of a statewide virtual photo exhibit, “One Lens: Sharing Our Common Views,” to document the story of Pennsylvania throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The photo submission period opens February 8 and remains open through March 8, with the exhibit to be released March 19. Details here: First Lady Frances Wolf Announces Statewide Virtual Photo Exhibit to Document Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 Experience (pa.gov).

1/12/21

- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has released the updated Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) application forms for (new) first draw and second draw loans: 

The PPP officially opened Monday for community financial institutions, such as CDFIs. All other lenders will be eligible to participate starting tomorrow, Wednesday, January 13.  Following are various PPP Guidance and Resources:

- The PA Restaurant & Lodging Association (PRLA) offers several updates of interest to the business community in general:

  • The Pa. Supreme Court has ruled that the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board must share "dead license" information. READ MORE
  • U.S. Department of Labor issued a final rule on the status of independent contractors under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The rule clarifies the standard for employees versus independent contractors and takes effect on March 8, 2021. READ MORE
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the restaurant industry cut 372,000 jobs in December, marking the first decrease since the start of the pandemic when the industry lost roughly 6 million jobs. READ MORE
  • The Pa. Department of Labor and Industry Acting Secretary Jennifer Berrier announced last Friday that the extra $300 per week in unemployment payments will be automatically added to each claimants' payment starting on Tuesday, January 12. READ MORE

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 7,275 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 733,429. According to the state, Clinton County reported an additional 23 new cases today, bringing the countywide case count to 2,248. Centre County reported 55 new cases, bringing their total to 9,840, while Lycoming County saw an increase of 117 new cases, bringing their countywide total to 7,026. Statewide, 5,232 people are hospitalized with the virus, 1,070 of whom are in the intensive care unit. There were 227 new deaths reported yesterday for a total of 18,080 deaths attributed to COVID-19. There were two new deaths reported in Clinton County, bringing to 34, the number of deaths attributed to the virus. More information here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1246.

- An orderly, planned distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine is a priority in Pennsylvania and today, Governor Tom Wolf and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine shared an update on the vaccine, stressing its safety and efficacy. See more: Wolf Administration Provides a COVID-19 Update, Stressing Safety and Efficacy of Vaccine (pa.gov).

Secretary Levine said Monday that the state will “soon” begin offering COVID-19 vaccine to people other than the health care workers and nursing home residents and staff who were given top priority in the state’s vaccine distribution plan. Levine said there are about 1 million people in the state’s Phase 1A of the vaccine distribution plan – health care workers and those living or working in nursing homes. She added though that the state won’t wait until that entire group has been immunized before moving to allow people in Phase 1B to get immunized. The state has been provided 827,300 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and expects to get another 138,000 doses this week, she said. “We are having those discussions now and we anticipate moving statewide into vaccinations of (Phase) 1B soon,” she said. At least 285,671 Pennsylvanians have gotten COVID-19 vaccine doses including 21,291 health care workers who have gotten two doses and are now fully-immunized against the virus, Levine said. She said the number of people who’ve gotten immunized is likely higher than the total being reported by the state because the Department of Health is waiting on a report from the pharmacy chain CVS to update the number of nursing home residents and staff that the pharmacy’s staff have immunized. Pennsylvania unveiled an updated vaccine distribution plan on Friday. Levine said the changes were made to align the state’s plan with recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The most notable change is the addition of a Phase 1C, including people ages 65-74, and those 16 and older with certain health problems, along with a variety of essential workers – those in construction, banking, transportation, and government. Read More (Source: The Tribune-Democrat)

- The Health Department today shared its weekly update on Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing data and continued to encourage Pennsylvanians to download the COVID Alert PA app. To date, more than 745,00 have accessed the app, which is designed to aid in contact tracing efforts. See more here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1245.

- PA Governor Tom Wolf today announced the approval of 26 rail freight improvement projects – including a $391,461 project in Clinton County to replace ties and raise, line and surface the industrial park tracks at South Avis Realty, Inc. in Pine Creek Township. More details here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/wolf-administration-invests-in-rail-infrastructure-supporting-business-development-and-200-jobs-statewide/.

- We recognize Partnership members, Lock Haven businesses Brite Laundry Center and the Texas Restaurant who are partnering to help local folks in need of a nutritious meal. Starting Monday, January 18 and running weekdays 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., people in need of a good meal can pick up a brown-bag lunch (prepared by the Texas), at Brite Laundry Center, 950 Bellefonte Avenue, Lock Haven. The four-week collaboration in the fight against hunger – called Brite’s Bag Lunch Program – will run through February 12. Click Here for the Brite Laundry flyer for details.

- The impact of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) on small business is huge: 7.1 million businesses received some form of aid in 2020 from the agency tasked with supporting U.S. small businesses and entrepreneurs. More than 5.2 million small businesses received a Paycheck Protection Program loan during the first and second tranches of the aid program; 1.8 million businesses received debt relief from the agency and more than 42,300 businesses received a loan through the SBA's flagship 7(a) loan program in 2020. Some of those numbers could keep growing this year. The latest COVID-19 stimulus bill allots $284 billion for PPP loans, which include a second-draw for borrowers who've already received a first PPP loan, as well as additional funding for the SBA's core lending programs. Click here for an Inc. magazine article on what role the SBA will likely play in the new Biden administration: https://www.inc.com/diana-ransom/karen-mills-ppp-small-business-administration-joe-biden.html?utm_source=incthismorning.

- In presenting a summary of 2020 activity by the PA Department of Community & Economic Development, Secretary Dennis Davin this week said the investments made in support of the state’s workforce and economy will help usher in a new year of recovery and promise for Pennsylvania. See more: https://dced.pa.gov/newsroom/2020-investments-represent-commitment-to-pa-workforce-and-a-brighter-economic-future/.

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry’s Bureau of Labor Law Compliance today released data related to COVID-19 enforcement actions for January 4-8. During that time, the department completed six investigations that were sent to the Department of Health. The actions are part of 262 case investigations to date that are specific to COVID-19 mitigation efforts related to businesses not covered by other state agencies, boards or bureaus. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Labor-and-Industry-Details.aspx?newsid=523.

 - The Internal Revenue Service today expanded the Identity Protection PIN Opt-In Program to all taxpayers who can verify their identities. The Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) is a six-digit code known only to the taxpayer and to the IRS. It helps prevent identity thieves from filing fraudulent tax returns using a taxpayers’ personally identifiable information. See more: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/all-taxpayers-now-eligible-for-identity-protection-pins. More here: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/all-taxpayers-now-eligible-for-identity-protection-pins.

 - The Center for Rural Pennsylvania today released its January/February newsletter. A legislative agency of the PA General Assembly whose board is chaired by Lycoming County State Senator Gene Yaw, the Center offers solid research and data of importance to rural Pennsylvania. The latest newsletter includes information on high-speed broadband service, Pennsylvania bridges, and housing values. View the newsletter here: https://www.rural.palegislature.us/publications_newsletter.html#story1.

- The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention this week issued a number of updates, including:

Click here: COVID-19 for more updates from the CDC.

- The Pennsylvania State Police today announced that the department has initiated a wide-ranging contact data collection program designed to capture demographic and other information related to traffic stops. The data will be analyzed to identify potential patterns of racial/ethnic disparities in policing and, if appropriate, make recommendations on changes to PSP policy or training. Learn more here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PA-State-Police-Details.aspx?newsid=632.

Meanwhile, PSP also announced today that troopers confiscated more than $15.2 million worth of cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, and other illicit drugs in the fourth quarter – and more than $45 million total – last year. Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PA-State-Police-Details.aspx?newsid=631.

- During today’s virtual 2021 Pennsylvania Farm Show, state Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced the availability of $500,000 through the Ag & Youth Grant Program to fund projects such as ag education and workforce development programs seminars and field trips, agricultural safety training, capital projects or equipment purchases that will help build a strong future workforce for the state’s agriculture industry. Read more here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Agriculture_details.aspx?newsid=1023.

- PennDOT today announced all driver license and photo centers will be closed this Saturday, January 16, through Monday, January 18, in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. Customers can still obtain a variety of products and services online through PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services website, www.dmv.pa.gov. More here: https://www.penndot.gov/pages/all-news-details.aspx?newsid=802.

- The U.S. Chamber will offer a live webinar, Pandemic Relief Small Business Update, Tuesday January 19 at 2:00 p.m. Click here to register to hear about the coronavirus relief aid that’s now available and what small businesses need to know.

1/11/21

- PA Governor Tom Wolf and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine today released their weekly status update detailing the state’s mitigation efforts based on the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System dashboard. The data highlights a seven-day case increase of 42,322 (up by 1,034 cases from the previous week), a statewide percent positivity of 14.4% (a decrease from the 15% positivity rate of a week ago), and all 67 counties continuing to have what the state terms as substantial transmission status.

Every county in the state has a concerning percent positivity above five percent, according to the data. Clinton County has seen a substantial jump, showing a 28.1% positivity rate this week, compared to 20% the previous week. Centre County has a current percent positivity rate of 12.5%, and Lycoming County’s rate is at 18.9%. Clinton is among 14 counties in the state with a percent positivity at or above 20 percent, which is a decrease of seven counties from the week before. Read more: Pennsylvania COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard Update for Jan.1-7: Case Increases Near 42,300; Percent Positivity at 14.4% and All 67 Counties with Substantial Transmission (pa.gov).

- The Department of Health today confirmed an additional 5,335 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 726,154. The department said case counts today are low as a result of technical maintenance to the data server on Sunday. Clinton County reported 19 additional cases of the virus today, bringing the county’s case count total to 2,225. Centre County saw 42 new cases reported today, for a total of 9,785 positive cases, and Lycoming County reported 51 new cases today, bringing their countywide total count to 6,909. Statewide, 5,201 people are hospitalized with the virus, 1,062 of whom are in the intensive care unit. There were 186 additional deaths reported over the weekend, for a total of 17,853 deaths attributed to COVID-19. Clinton County has reported 32 deaths attributed to COVID-19. County-specific information is available on the state’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard. Also according to the state, 285,671 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Pennsylvania through January 10. A spreadsheet of facilities that have received vaccine can be found here. More information here: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19: 5,201 Patients Hospitalized and 1,062 Patients in the Intensive Care Unit.

- The U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the U.S. Treasury Department, today re-opened the Paycheck Protection Program loan portal. Initially, this week, the program is limited to new borrowers and certain existing PPP borrowers and the initial draw-down of loan funds will only be made from participating Community Financial Institutions, which include Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), Certified Development Companies (CDCs), and Microloan Intermediaries. Eligible second-draw borrowers include businesses that have already exhausted their first PPP loans or will do so soon, have 300 or fewer employees, and suffered at least a 25 percent drop in quarterly revenue last year, compared to 2019. The PPP will open to all participating lenders shortly thereafter. The PPP loan program provides a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. The SBA will forgive the loan if all employee retention criteria are met, and the funds are used for eligible expenses. This round of funding, approved by Congress in December, authorizes up to $284 billion through March 31. Get more information here: Paycheck Protection Program (sba.gov).

- Governor Wolf today announced nearly $4.7 million in PAsmart Next Generation Industry Partnership grants were awarded to bolster workforce development across Pennsylvania. Two of the grants are for programs whose coverage area includes Clinton County: a $233,800 grant to Central PA Healthcare Partnership, and a $250,000 grant to Made in Central PA. Learn more: Governor Wolf Announces $4.7 Million for Job Training by Businesses Seeking Skilled Workers (pa.gov).

- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is currently accepting applications for its ‘Assistance to Firefighter’ Grant Program. The program supports firefighters and other first responders by providing critical emergency response resources. Interested departments must apply by 5:00 p.m. on February 12. FEMA is holding a series of live walk-through sessions , starting tomorrow, January 12, to help applicants navigate the grant application process. For more information, click here.

- The PA House of Representatives today appointed members of its standing committees for the 2021-22 legislative session. 76th District State Rep. Stephanie Borowicz, who represents Clinton County, was reappointed to four committees: Agriculture and Rural Affairs; Environmental Resources and Energy; Health; and Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness. The state Senate has not yet announced its committee appointments for the new session.

- Some timely information from the U.S. Chamber Foundation….. 

  • Can Employers Mandate Flu Shots? COVID-19 and the arrival of flu season create many unprecedented challenges for employers. It’s important to keep employees safe, healthy, and working. Read more.

  • Business Leaders Can Help Stop the Spread of Disease This Flu Season. Encouraging employees to get the flu vaccine is one of the best ways to help keep workplaces open and communities safe. Read more.

- We also came across some interesting survey statistics compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau, which has been tracking both business and household data during the pandemic. Click Here for the U.S. Census Bureau file for more information.

Meanwhile, the Census Bureau has launched a new tool the COVID-19 Data Hub — designed to help guide the nation as it begins recovery efforts from the COVID-19 pandemic by providing economic and demographic data. Version 2.0 is now available!  Read More

 - The SBA today announced it is extending “a crucial lifeline” to borrowers impacted by COVID-19 with debt relief. See more: https://www.sba.gov/article/2021/jan/10/sba-extends-crucial-lifeline-borrowers-impacted-covid-19-debt-relief.

- Another round of stimulus payments is part of President-elect Joe Biden’s plan to help the U.S. economy recover from damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Biden will unveil a new COVID-19 aid proposal this Thursday with a price tag he said will be in the “trillions of dollars.” “We’re going to be proposing an entire package” to deal with “the whole range of issues,” Biden said. Read More  (Source: Harrisburg Patriot News)

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 529 licensed liquor establishments over the weekend (January 8-10), issuing 16 notices of violation and 26 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 59 licensee checks during the period, issuing no warnings or notices of violation related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. (For last week - January 4-7 - the Williamsport office conducted 49 licensee checks, issuing two warnings and one notice of violation). More here: State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement January 8-10: 529 Compliance Checks; 16 Notices of Violation (pa.gov).

- If you’ve got students looking to attend college, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) has announced it is providing a variety of virtual webinars, beginning this week. The live, online sessions include an overview of how to apply for all types of financial aid, reviewing financial aid offers, financial aid for non-traditional students, and more. Learn more here: Financial Aid Webinars (pheaa.org).

- Pennsylvania’s first-ever virtual PA Farm Show is underway this week. The show began Saturday and will run through this Saturday, January 16. Click Here for the entire schedule and how to view the events. You can also visit the PA Farm Show Facebook page, Pennsylvania Cable Network and the PA Farm Show webpage.

- PA Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today launched “Cultivating Tomorrow,” a series of live panel discussions engaging experts from across the agriculture spectrum to delve into the issues challenging Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry. Sessions will be held twice a day – at 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., through Friday, January 15. Viewers can join the virtual conversation on the PA Farm Show Facebook page. More here: Agriculture Secretary Launches ‘Cultivating Tomorrow’ Farm Show Panel Series: Your Invitation to Engage in Issues Challenging Pennsylvania’s Top Industry.

- Ag Secretary Redding and Penn State Dean Rick Roush host a Farm Show 2021 Town Hall Meeting at 10:00 a.m. this Wednesday, January 13. The live meeting will include a discussion and Q&A on agriculture in Pennsylvania. Click here to register: Farm Show Town Hall Meeting with Penn State Dean Rick Roush and Secretary Russell Redding - Farm Show (psu.edu).

- The state Independent Fiscal Office last week issued an estimate that 2020 natural gas industry impact fee collections will total $144.9 million – a $55.9 million decrease from base collections the prior year. The primary reasons cited are a lower fee schedule (due to the price per MMBtu dropping below $2.25); reduced collections from aging natural gas wells, and payments for the prior year that were not received in time for disbursement. The IFO summary is available here. (Source: PA Chamber)

- The U.S. Small Business Administration, today announced the launch of Ascent, a first-of-its-kind, free digital e-learning platform geared to help women entrepreneurs grow and expand their businesses. Click Here for the ‘SBA Launches Ascent’ file for details.

- Governor Wolf today announced his intention to appoint Liz Gerloff Wagenseller to serve a six-year term as Executive Director of the state’s Office of Open Records, effective January 19. See more: Gov. Wolf to Appoint Liz Gerloff Wagenseller to Lead Office of Open Records (pa.gov).

- The PA Board of Game Commissioners will hold its first meeting of 2021 on Saturday, January 23. The online-only, 8:30 a.m. meeting, will include discussion and preliminary approval of hunting and trapping seasons for the 2021-22 license year. More here: COMMISSIONERS TO DISCUSS 2021-22 HUNTING, TRAPPING SEASONS (pa.gov).

1/8/21

- The U.S. Small Business Administration and the Treasury Department today announced that the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will re-open the week of January 11 for new borrowers and certain existing PPP borrowers. To promote access to capital, initially only community financial institutions will be able to make First Draw PPP Loans on Monday, January 11, and Second Draw PPP Loans on Wednesday, January 13. The PPP will open to all participating lenders shortly thereafter. More here, including the new PPP guidance: SBA and Treasury Announce PPP Re-Opening; Issue New Guidance.

- 12th District U.S. Congressman Fred Keller is inviting all members of the Partnership to participate in a virtual Legislative Update next Friday, January 15, at 11:00 a.m. where he’ll talk about the new federal stimulus package. We encourage your participation either online or via phone. No registration is needed for this free event, simply click here for the Fred Keller file for the online link / call-in number to join in.

- The PA Department of Labor today announced that thousands of Pennsylvanians will begin receiving an extra $300 per week in unemployment payments starting this week. The extension of the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program is part of the federal stimulus that Congress passed last month. The $300 is automatically added to each claimants’ payment; they do not need to apply. Approximately 127,000 claimants in the Unemployment Compensation and Extended Benefits programs will receive the $300 FPUC boost as soon as Tuesday, January 12. The program runs the claim weeks ending January 2 to March 13, 2021.

Labor & Industry is still awaiting additional information from the federal Department of Labor on the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) programs. Because of program changes made in the federal CARES Act extension, the state says additional information is necessary to ensure L&I follows the law. When payments resume, the department will backdate eligible claims to the week of January 2 and add on the FPUC to ensure claimants don’t miss out on any eligible weeks. Read more: Unemployment Payment Boost to Begin in Pennsylvania.

- Partnership President Mike Flanagan today offered an overview of the latest unemployment claims information from Pennsylvania: The number of first-time unemployment claims by Clinton County residents decreased during a two-week timeframe, according to information released Thursday by the state Department of Labor and Industry. The number of continued claims increased slightly during the same two week period.

There were 110 initial claims during the week ending January 2, with 40% of the filers in the construction field. That is down from 158 the week prior. Continued claims rose to 1,111, an increase of about 15, with 20% in the construction field.

During the same time frame, there were a total of 77 county residents who had unemployment insurance benefits expire. Approximately 25% of the 77 are in the food and accommodation field, and 21% were in the age group of 45 to 54 years old.

Clinton County’s November unemployment rate was 6.6%, the lowest in seven months since a pandemic high of 16.6% in April. The December unemployment rate for all 67 counties in the Commonwealth should be released at the end of January.

- U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia today issued the following statement regarding the December 2020 Employment Situation Report, saying, “Today’s report shows that the economy generally continues to recover, but that employment in certain sectors and States remains challenged. The 140,000 jobs lost in December were driven principally by the loss of 498,000 jobs in leisure and hospitality. Read more: Statement by U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia on the December Jobs Report | U.S. Department of Labor (dol.gov).

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 10,178 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 703,265. Clinton County reported 30 new cases today, bringing the county’s total case count to 2,138. Centre County reported 94 new positive cases, bringing their total positive cases to 9,538, and Lycoming County saw 155 new case reports today, bringing their countywide total to 6,700. Statewide, there are 5,491 people hospitalized with the virus, 1,113 of whom are in the intensive care unit. More here: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19: 5,491 Patients Hospitalized and 1,113 Patients in the Intensive Care Unit.

- Keystone Central School District Superintendent Dr. Jacquelyn Martin today said the District expects to move to their new Hybrid learning schedule beginning Monday, January 11. The Hybrid schedule has students returning to the classroom for two days a week and then learning virtually the other days. Click Here for the KCSD Update for details, including the Hybrid learning schedule for January.

- PA Governor Tom Wolf and State Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine today announced a new version of the state’s COVID-19 vaccination distribution plan, detailing the updates and how the state is working to ensure safe, swift implementation. Read more: Gov. Wolf: COVID-19 Vaccine Gives Us Hope as We Update Plans and Keep Fighting to Stop the Virus (pa.gov).

- Pennsylvania currently is in “Phase 1A” of the COVID-19 Vaccination rollout, during which health care personnel and long-term care facility residents are receiving the vaccine. According to the state’s new COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard, 327 people in Clinton County have received a partial (one dose) vaccine, while four people have received the full vaccine (two doses). In Centre County, 2,145 have received a partial vaccine, while 34 have received a full dose; and in Lycoming County, 1,978 people have received a partial dose, while 41 have received a full dose. Click here Vaccine (pa.gov) to see the latest on the vaccine process and access the new Vaccine Dashboard.

- Pennsylvania has begun COVID-19 vaccination of residents and staff at the state’s six veterans homes. More information here: All Six PA Veterans Homes have Begun Vaccinating Residents, Staff for COVID-19.

- UPMC has issued an update on where the health provider stands in COVID-19 vaccine distribution, noting that this week, they began giving the second dose of the two-dose vaccination to their front-line employees. As vaccination of health care workers and seniors continues, UPMC is planning for wider distribution in the coming months. Click Here for the UPMC Vaccine Update for more information.

- The Health Department today said Pennsylvania is above the average national COVID-19 testing rate, as noted in the White House Task Force Weekly Report dated January 3. According to the report, Pennsylvania was at the yellow level (2,000 to 2,999 tests per 100,000 population) for number of tests performed per 100,000 people for the previous week. Pennsylvania’s Director of Testing and Contact Tracing Michael Huff says the department  has so far collected results from 8,466,597 COVID-19 PCR and antigen tests statewide and for the past 30 days has been averaging 69,629 tests each day. Details here: Pennsylvania Surpasses Average National Testing Rate, According to White House Task Force Report.

Meanwhile, Secretary Levine today said regional drive-thru and indoor walk-in testing clinics will be held beginning January 12 in Bradford, Clarion, Fulton, Lancaster and Pike counties as the state works to host the pop-up free testing clinics across Pennsylvania. More here: Department of Health Announces Week-Six of Regional Testing Extension Across the Commonwealth.

- While the temporary COVID-19 mitigation measures put in place in mid-December were lifted this past Monday, January 4, all previous measures are still in place. You can stay up-to-date with Pennsylvania’s latest mitigation efforts using this guide. You can also access the guidelines using this link: https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/.

- Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic through Dec. 31, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued citations arising from 300 inspections for violations relating to coronavirus, resulting in proposed penalties totaling nearly $4 million. More information here: U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA Announces $3,930,381 In Coronavirus Violations | U.S. Department of Labor (dol.gov).

- A reminder: Pennsylvanians have until January 15th to shop for affordable health care coverage using the state-based marketplace, Pennie.com.

- The Pennsylvania State Police today announced that 51 cadets graduated from the State Police Academy in Hershey and have been assigned to troops across the commonwealth. The men and women represent the 160th graduating cadet class. Because of COVID-19 mitigation measures, the ceremony was closed to the public, but people were able to view the event via a live stream on You Tube. See more: Pennsylvania State Police Welcomes 51 New Troopers (pa.gov).

- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will hold its 22nd annual State of American Business event Tuesday, January 12 at Noon. The forum will explore how a united business community can rally a divided nation around a widespread economic recovery, restore good governance, and rebuild our economy for the future. You can click here to register.

- A webinar, The Impact of the COVID-19 Vaccines on the Hospitality Industry, will be held by Barley Snyder on January 12 at 1:00 p.m. REGISTER

1/7/21

- PA Governor Tom Wolf today announced that about 1,000 members of the Pennsylvania National Guard have been activated to support the January 20 presidential inauguration in the nation’s capital. Read more: Gov. Wolf: PA National Guard Activated to D.C. through Jan. 20 Presidential Inauguration.

- Pennsylvania’s Departments of Health and Education today provided school administrators and school boards with updated recommendations as to which instructional models they should consider using based on the changing levels of community transmission of COVID-19 in their counties. The state is recommending that counties with what’s considered “substantial” levels of transmission consider blended/hybrid learning for elementary school students. Learn more: Wolf Administration Updates Recommendations to Help Schools Safely Navigate COVID-19 During Second Semester (pa.gov).

- The Health Department today confirmed an additional 9,698 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 693,087. Clinton County saw 23 additional cases reported today, bringing the county’s total case count to 2,108. Centre County reported 96 new cases, bringing their total to 9,444, and Lycoming County reported 71 new positive cases, bringing their number to 6,545. Statewide, there are 5,613 people hospitalized with the virus, most of them age 65 or older. Of that number, 1,120 people are in the intensive care unit. There were 265 new deaths reported for a total of 17,179 deaths attributed to COVID-19. Clinton County deaths attributed to the virus increased by one, to 30. More information here: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19: 5,613 Patients Hospitalized and 1,120 Patients in the Intensive Care Unit.

- Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine today announced the first confirmed case of the COVID-19 variant, SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7, in Pennsylvania. The confirmed case is in Dauphin County. This variant is the same as the one first discovered in England last month. More here: Department of Health Confirms First Case with the COVID-19 Variant.

- The Center for Rural Pennsylvania will host a virtual public hearing next week on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in rural Pennsylvania. The Center’s Board of Directors, chaired by State Senator Gene Yaw of Lycoming County, said the hearing will take place Wednesday, January 13, at 9:00 a.m. Scheduled presenters include: Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine; Mr. Steven Johnson, President, UPMC Susquehanna; Dr. George Garrow, Chief Medical Officer, Primary Health Network (Sharon, PA); and Dr. Cary Funk, Director of Science and Society Research, Pew Research Center. Participants are asked to register in advance at: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ZaA2FdhAQjCV4HPcxfXxqA. For more on the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, visit www.rural.palegislature.us.

- With reports of an increase in COVID-19 vaccine scams around the country, Attorney General Josh Shapiro is raising awareness and offering tips to Pennsylvanians regarding these scams as distribution of the vaccine ramps up in PA. See more: OAG SCAM ALERT: AG Shapiro Warns Consumers To Watch Out For COVID-19 Test and Vaccine Scams – PA Office of Attorney General.

 - Starting this week, the U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service are sending approximately 8 million second Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) by prepaid debit card. These EIP Cards follow the millions of payments already made by direct deposit and the ongoing mailing of paper checks that are delivering the second round of Economic Impact Payments as rapidly as possible. More here: Treasury issues millions of second Economic Impact Payments by debit card | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov).

 - The PA Department of Environmental Protection today announced that the drought ‘warning’ status for Clinton County has been upgraded (improved) to drought ‘watch’ status, along with Centre and Clearfield Counties. An additional 20 counties have been removed from drought watch or warning status, returning them to normal status. Those are Bradford, Cameron, Columbia, Cumberland, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Juniata, Lycoming, McKean, Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Union, Warren, and Wyoming counties. DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell says recent rainfall brought good news for many counties, but the three counties still under drought watch “have a little ways to go to return to normal conditions.” He asked all water consumers on drought watch to continue to reduce their water usage. See more: DEP Lifts Drought Watch or Warning for 20 Counties; Three Counties Remain on Watch (pa.gov).

- The PA Department of Aging today announced it has awarded $2 million in grants equally among 405 Area Agency on Aging-affiliated Senior Community Centers for the fiscal year 2020-2021. Due to the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Senior Community Centers across the state and the resulting needs, the Department of Aging deviated from a traditional competitive grant process and disbursed the funding to the 52 Area Agencies on Aging to allocate among all of its eligible centers. Each AAA will receive nearly $5,000 for each eligible Senior Community Center. The funding was appropriated by the General Assembly from Pennsylvania Lottery funds. The Area Agency on Aging for Clinton and Lycoming counties falls under the umbrella of STEP, Inc. and operates a number of Senior Centers in both counties. More here: Department of Aging Awards $2 Million in Grants.

 - PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, in a message highlighting the department’s challenges and accomplishments last year, said DCNR’s work has never been more important to people than “during the darkness and uncertainty brought on almost 10 months ago by the pandemic.” Read more: PA Environment Digest Blog: DCNR Faced Never Imagined Challenges In 2020, And Helped 45.3 Million People Use Outdoor Recreation As Refuge From A Global Pandemic (paenvironmentdaily.blogspot.com).

- The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service yesterday issued final regulations regarding the credit for qualified carbon oxide captured using carbon capture equipment placed in service on or after February 9, 2018. More here: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/treasury-irs-provide-final-regulations-to-help-businesses-claim-credits-for-carbon-capture.

- With the first-ever virtual Pennsylvania Farm Show slated to begin this Saturday, January 9, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today highlighted the various ways to experience the 105th show. Learn more: Secretary of Agriculture Highlights Ways to Experience the 2021 Virtual Pennsylvania Farm Show (pa.gov).

Upcoming Webinars:

 The PA Restaurant and Lodging Association and the PA Bankers host a webinar, Getting Ready for the next Paycheck Protection Program, tomorrow, January 8, at 11:00 a.m. REGISTER

  • The Penn State Small Business Development Center hosts a number of webinars in January, including:
  • The First Step to Small Business Success – Tuesday, January 12, at 9:00 a.m. - Learn More
  • Quick Connect Coaching Sessions – Tuesdays at Noon - Learn More
  • Hiring & HR Legal Compliance for Small Business – Thursday, January 14 at Noon - Learn More
  • QuickBooks Online (a 3-Part Series) – January 15, 22, and 29 - Register for the First Workshop
  • Click here to see: All Upcoming SBDC Events.
  • The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) hosts a free webinar/information session on the SBA Surety Bond Guarantee Program, Tuesday, January 12 from 10am to noon. Surety bonds help small businesses win contracts by providing your customer with a guarantee that the work you’re contracted to do will be completed. This webinar covers the eligibility criteria, identifies participating Surety Agencies, and explains in detail how a small business can obtain a surety bond. Register at: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/us-small-business-administration-14061335130.

1/6/21

- The Partnership is pleased to announced that U.S. Congressman Fred Keller, whose 12th District includes Clinton County, is inviting all members of the Partnership to participate in a virtual Legislative Update next Friday, January 15, at 11:00 a.m. We encourage your participation either online or via phone. No registration is needed for this free event, simply Click Here for the Fred Keller file for the online link / call-in number to join in.

Congressman Keller on Monday was sworn-in for his second term in office in the U.S. House of Representatives. He said, “It has been the honor of my life to come to Washington and represent the hardworking people of Pennsylvania’s 12th District. Since our first day in office, we have worked hard to support small businesses and workers; back our agriculture community and farming families; ensure our rural hospitals have the resources they need to deliver high-quality health care; protect our home-grown energy industry; bridge the digital divide with broadband development; and take care of our veterans who fought for our freedoms. I am proud of the work our team has been able to accomplish and look forward to building on those successes heading into the new session.”

- Lock Haven University President Dr. Robert Pignatello today said the University will begin the spring semester on January 25 in a fully-remote learning format, after which, it’s hoped that some in-person classes can be held starting February 8. Click Here for the LHU Spring Semester Update for details.

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 9,474 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 683,389. According to the state data, Clinton County reported 19 new cases, bring the county’s positive case count to 2,085. Clinton County also reported three COVID-related deaths, bringing to 29, the number of deaths that have been attributed to the virus. Centre County reported 77 new cases today, bringing their total to 9,348, while Lycoming County saw 101 new cases, bringing their total case count to 6,474. Statewide, 5,684 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, 1,148 of whom are in the intensive care unit. There were 368 new deaths reported as of midnight, for a total of 16,914 deaths attributed to COVID-19. This was the highest single-day report since the pandemic began, although officials cautioned that the number likely includes reports from a several-day period. Read more: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19: 5,684 Patients Hospitalized and 1,148 Patients in the Intensive Care Unit.

- The U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service today issued guidance allowing deductions for the payments of eligible expenses when such payments would result (or be expected to result) in the forgiveness of a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). More here: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/eligible-paycheck-protection-program-expenses-now-deductible.

- PA State Police Commissioner Colonel Robert Evanchick today said that troopers and motor carrier enforcement officers are now distributing flyers with important COVID-19 mitigation information to travelers they encounter while on patrol. The information includes the latest from the Department of Health regarding testing, quarantine and masking requirements. See more: State Police Personnel to Provide Updated COVID-19 Health, Safety Information to Travelers (pa.gov).

- State Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today announced that the Pennsylvania Agricultural Business Development Center will offer ag businesses and aspiring ag entrepreneurs a series of free business planning and marketing workshops through a partnership with the PA Small Business Development Centers during the virtual 2021 PA Farm Show. Details here: Department of Agriculture Offers Free Agribusiness Planning Workshops through PA Farm Bill Ag Business Development Center.

- Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller today reminded Pennsylvanians that safety-net programs like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid are available to individuals and families who are struggling to afford food or access to health care. She also highlighted recent SNAP changes that will help people amidst the continuing public health crisis and heightened unemployment. More here: Department of Human Services Provides Update on Latest Medicaid, SNAP Enrollment Data, Announces Recent Changes to SNAP Benefits and Eligibility.

- The Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association, in conjunction with the PA Bankers Association, will host a webinar this Friday, January 8, at 11:00 a.m. on preparing for the latest round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Register today for this complimentary and interactive session. 

- CO-, the U.S. Chamber’s news magazine, Tuesday hosted a Small Business Update webinar during which Chamber executive Neil Bradley provided an excellent overview of the new federal stimulus package and answered questions from participants. The one-hour session is worth watching. Click here to view the recording: Re-watch today's event.

The next U.S. Chamber Small Business Update with Neil Bradley is scheduled for January 19 and is open to all. Bradley is expected to offer updates to the PPP, new tax credits, EIDL grants and more. To register to participate, click here.

And, the U.S. Chamber has also published an article to help businesses understand the latest changes in the Paycheck Protection Program, including expanded qualifying expenses, loan forgiveness, and more. Read up on the details.

- The PA House of Representatives this week took care of some beginning-of-session business. Majority Republican leaders announced who will serve as chairs of the House standing committees for the 2021-22 legislative session, and House Democrats announced minority chairs for all committees. Click Here for the PA House Committee file for details.

- PennDOT today said a new state law will improve peoples’ ability to obtain ID and update CDL license requirements. More here: Article (penndot.gov).

1/5/21

- Clinton County’s unemployment rate improved for the seventh straight month, according to information released Tuesday by the state Department of Labor & Industry. The unemployment rate in November was 6.6%, the lowest since the pandemic began. The October rate was 7.0%. The November 2020 number is up from the 6.0% recorded one year ago. Clinton County’s November rate ranked at no. 40 in the state’s 67 counties. Centre County checked in at 4.5%, which is ranked sixth. Adams County had the lowest number at 4.3% and Philadelphia County had the highest at 9.8%.

“We are glad to see that numbers are continuing to come down from the 16.6% reached in April,” said Clinton County Economic Partnership President Mike Flanagan. “We know that most of our manufacturers did well and remained open during the shutdown period. These recent numbers seem to show an increase in the return of hotels, retail, and food and accommodation sectors, which were hit hard. However, we still have some 1,200 people listed as being unemployed and the new unemployment insurance claim information increased slightly during the month of December. Plus, we have those who drop off the rolls when their benefits expire.”

The state’s unemployment rate for November was 7.3%. The December monthly unemployment figures are expected to be released in late January.

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 8,818 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 673,915. Due to technical maintenance to the state’s data server on Sunday, case counts today include data from the time the server was down on Sunday. Clinton County reported 12 new cases today, bringing the county’s total case count to 2,066. Centre County saw 66 new cases today, for a total of 9,271 positive cases to-date; and Lycoming County reported 92 new cases today, bringing their total case count to 6,373. Statewide, there are 5,630 people hospitalized with the virus, 1,182 of whom are in the intensive care unit. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1233.

- The Wolf Administration today presented an update on the state’s COVID-19 testing and contact tracing efforts, emphasizing the need for continued testing as Pennsylvania begins vaccine rollout. Director of Testing and Contact Tracing Michael Huff said over 8.3 million test results have been received in Pennsylvania so far, and the state’s COVID-19 testing provider continues to offer regional testing in five counties each week. Read more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/wolf-administration-provides-2020-testing-and-contact-tracing-update-reinforces-the-importance-of-testing-supports-for-those-contacted/.

- The Department of State’s Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation today released data related to COVID-19 enforcement actions from December 27 through January 3, as the Department continues with compliance enforcement as it relates to regulated boards and commissions. Details here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/State-details.aspx?newsid=443.

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry’s Bureau of Labor Law Compliance today released data related to COVID-19 enforcement actions for December 28 – January 1, as it relates to businesses that are not covered by other state agencies, boards or bureaus. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Labor-and-Industry-Details.aspx?newsid=521.

- The PA Department of Environmental Protection continues to issue permits, conduct inspections and respond to environmental emergencies while using COVID-19 mitigation measures. Click here for the department’s most recent update: http://paenvironmentdaily.blogspot.com/2021/01/dep-works-thru-pandemic-553-more.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+PaEnvironmentDaily+%28PA+Environment+Daily+Blog%29.

- Pennsylvania lawmakers returned to the Capitol today to be sworn in for the new, two-year legislative term. Republicans hold large majorities in both the House and Senate. The 203-member state House begins the session with 113 Republican seats and 90 Democratic, although one of the GOP districts is vacant following the death Saturday of Westmoreland County State Representative Mike Reese. Republicans hold at least 28 seats in the 50-member State Senate, although there is continuing litigation over the close reelection margin for Democratic Senator Jim Brewster of Allegheny County. There is also one independent, Luzerne Senator John Yudichak, a former Democrat who caucuses with Republicans. Four separate swearing in ceremonies – an effort to limit potential COVID-19 exposure – were held this afternoon. The House is expected to elect Lancaster County Republican Representative Bryan Cutler as speaker, and the Senate is poised to make Centre County Republican Senator Jake Corman its presiding officer, president pro tempore (now-retired Senator Joe Scarnati, who represented Clinton County, had served as president pro tempore). Along with a pandemic-driven, multibillion-dollar budget gap, legislators this year will also have to figure out how to redraw congressional district lines based on new census results that are expected to cut one member of Congress from Pennsylvania’s 18-member delegation. Later this year, the four caucus leaders will also begin redrawing General Assembly lines with participation from a fifth member they can select. If they remain deadlocked on the fifth member, a Democratic-majority state Supreme Court will choose the tie-breaking member for them. (Source: The Associated Press)

- The PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources offers the attached DCNR document, which highlights funding opportunities, and a wide range of resources, development and training information. The comprehensive, 60-page document was passed along by Rick Vilello, former Lock Haven mayor who now serves as Deputy Secretary of Community Affairs & Development with the PA Department of Community & Economic Development.

 - Penn State Extension is now offering 50 percent off 75 online courses if you register in January. Click Here for the news release for course information and how to access the discount.

- The U.S. Chamber hosts a 2pm webinar tomorrow, January 6, on Operation Warp Speed, the federal government’s initiative to produce and deliver 300 million doses of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines with the initial doses available by January 2021, as part of a broader strategy to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics. Retired Lieutenant General Paul Ostrowski, Operation Warp Speed’s head of supply, production and distribution will discuss where things stand with the vaccine rollout, the power of public-private partnerships, and how long it will take to get most of the country vaccinated against the coronavirus.  Register Now

- U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza hosts a live webinar this Thursday, January 7 at 1:00 p.m. to announce the launch of Ascent. Ascent is a first-of-its-kind digital online learning platform geared to help women-owned small businesses grow and scale their existing business. With Ascent, female entrepreneurs will be able to utilize this platform that brings a modern, e-learning experience specifically targeted for women business owners. Click here to register

- Non-COVID Items of Interest….

   • The State Game Commission is encouraging those who haven’t purchased their 2020-21 PA hunting or furtaker licenses to do so this week. PA’s Automated Licensing System (PALS) will be unavailable for a week beginning at midnight on January 12 to complete an upgrade to a new licensing system. PA Fishing licenses and permits also will not be sold during the system downtime. More information here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Game-Commission-Details.aspx?newsid=441.

1/4/21

- PA Governor Tom Wolf and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine today released their weekly status update detailing the state’s mitigation efforts based on the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard, highlighting a seven-day case increase of 40,407 (which is 8,476 fewer new cases than the previous week), a statewide percent positivity of 15.0% (down slightly from 15.1% last week), and all 67 counties with substantial transmission status. According to the state, every county has a concerning percent positivity above five percent, and there are 21 counties – including Clinton (currently at 20%) and Lycoming County (currently at 20.2%) with a percent positivity at or above 20%. Centre County’s most recent percent positivity rate is 12.1%. More here: Pennsylvania COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard Update for Dec. 25 – Dec. 31: Case Increases Near 40,400; Percent Positivity at 15.0% and All 67 Counties with Substantial Transmission (pa.gov).

Meanwhile, the Health Department today confirmed an additional 3,226 positive cases of COVID-19, in addition to 4,579 new cases reported Sunday, bringing the statewide total to 665,097. Over the long holiday weekend, 8,992 cases were reported December 31; 7,714 new cases January 1; and 9,253 new cases January 2. Clinton County reported 17 new cases today, bringing the countywide total to 2,054. Centre County saw an additional 34 new cases, bringing their total to 9,205; and Lycoming County added 42 cases, bringing their countywide case count to 6,281. Secretary Levine cautioned that today’s case counts are atypically low as a result of technical maintenance to the state’s data server on Sunday. To date, 3,301,186 people have tested negative for the virus. Regional drive-thru and indoor walk-in testing clinics are being held this week in Crawford, Dauphin, Lehigh, Somerset and Union counties. The counties with testing sites change each week as the Department of Health works to provide these free testing clinics across the state.

Statewide, there are 5,529 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 1,149 of whom are in the intensive care unit. There were 122 new deaths reported over the two-day weekend, bringing the total of deaths attributed to COVID-19 to 16,361. December saw more COVID-19-related deaths than any previous month during the pandemic.  

Pennsylvania hospitals began receiving shipments of the Pfiser-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in mid-December, and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine a week later. To date, 135,044 doses of the vaccine have been administered in Pennsylvania. A spreadsheet of facilities that have received vaccine can be found here. More information: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19: 5,529 Patients Hospitalized and 1,149 Patients in the Intensive Care Unit.

- Residents and staff at the County-owned Susque-View Home in Lock Haven are slated to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine this week. In his most recent update, Home Administrator Jamie Aurand said CVS Pharmacy will administer the vaccine to Susque-View residents and employees this Friday, January 8. To date, six residents and 19 staff members have tested positive for the virus. The Home continues to prohibit face-to-face and window visits and is following all recommended COVID-19 guidelines and protocols. Click Here for the Susque-View Home update for more information.

- The PA Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED) has provided an overview of the COVID-19 mitigation requirements that continue to be in-place now that the limited-time mitigation orders have expired. Click Here for the DCED file for details.

- Like many other businesses and organizations, the River Valley Regional YMCA today reopened its facilities – including the Lock Haven and Jersey Shore Branch YMCAs – after closing for three weeks as per the statewide limited-time COVID-19 mitigation orders. Click Here for the YMCA flyer for more information.

- The PA Department of Revenue today said Pennsylvania collected $3.7 billion in General Fund revenue in December, or 14.5 percent more than anticipated. Fiscal year-to-date General Fund collections total $18.5 billion, which is $467.1 million, or 2.6 percent, above estimate. More here: Revenue Department Releases December 2020 Collections.

- Newly-elected and reelected members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and State Senate will take their oaths of office tomorrow, January 5, at the state capitol, although there will be several smaller swearing-in ceremonies and guests will be limited due to restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. For Clinton County, 76th District State Representative Stephanie Borowicz will be sworn in for her second, two-year term in office. In the Senate, former state representative and now newly-elected senator Cris Dush will take the oath of office for his first, four-year term representing the 25th Senatorial District that had been served by now-retired Joe Scarnati.

- The Pa Chamber of Business & Industry today offered a quick update as the State House and Senate begin the 2021-2022 legislative session. Read more: https://www.pachamber.org/media/3317/A_Look_Ahead_Week_of_January_4/.


- The PA Chamber also weighed in on the recently-approved federal COVID-19 relief package. More here: https://www.pachamber.org/media/3316/Second_Coronavirus_Financial_Aid_Package_Approved/.

- CO-, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce online news magazine, will host another virtual Small Business Update tomorrow, January 5, at 2pm. Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley will talk about the latest federal COVID-19 relief package and take questions from the audience. Gain insider knowledge on the new relief provisions for small businesses; hear insights that will help you navigate this new round of funding; and ask the pressing questions most important to you. Click here to register for this complimentary event.

- The PA Chamber hosts a free webinar, COVID-19 Relief Bill: What PA Businesses Need to Know About the Latest Round of PPP, this Thursday, January 7, at 11:00 a.m. for the business community at large. The recently approved COVID-19 relief and stimulus package includes $284 billion in forgivable, federally backed loans for hard-hit small businesses, non-profits, and live venues across the nation – including those in Pennsylvania. The PA Chamber invites businesses statewide to hear directly from U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley as they share key insights into the latest round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, including important changes to PPP guidelines, eligibility, forgiveness and more.  Register Now 

- The Internal Revenue Service today urged people to visit IRS.gov for the most current information on the second round of Economic Impact Payments rather than calling the agency or their financial institutions or tax software providers. More here: Economic Impact Payments on their way, visit IRS.gov instead of calling | Internal Revenue Service.

- The U.S. Small Business Administration has announced that the deadline to apply for a COVID-19 pandemic Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) has been extended to December 31, 2021. To date, SBA has approved $197 billion in low-interest loans, which provide U.S. small businesses, non-profits, and agricultural businesses working capital funds. Economic Injury Disaster Loan applications will continue to be accepted through December 2021, pending the availability of funds. Loans are offered at affordable terms, including a 3.75% interest rate for small businesses and 2.75% for non-profit organizations, a 30-year maturity, and an automatic deferment of one year before monthly payments begin. Click here to Learn more and apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan.

- In their most recent inspections, PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 1,019 licensed liquor establishments last week (December 31- January 3), issuing 46 notices of violation and 37 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 33 licensee checks during the period, issuing two warnings and three notices of violation related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Details here: State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement December 31, 2020 - January 3, 2021: 1,091 Compliance Checks; 46 Notices of Violation (pa.gov).

- The PA Department of Banking and Securities will host and participate in a number of virtual presentations for groups of senior citizens, service providers and the public during January to promote financial capability as part of Governor Wolf’s Consumer Financial Protection Initiative. Details here: January 2021 Consumer Financial Protection Virtual Events Announced (pa.gov).

- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today issued updated information surrounding COVID-19. See more: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) | CDC.

- Governor Wolf today announced the availability of $5 million in funding for security enhancement projects for nonprofit organizations serving diverse communities throughout the commonwealth. Read more: Gov. Wolf: 2021 Nonprofit Security Grant Fund Program Now Open (pa.gov).

- Disrupted last year by the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual sale of tree and shrub seedlings from the State Game Commission’s Howard Nursery in nearby Centre County returns in 2021, starting today, January 4. More, including an order form, here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Game-Commission-Details.aspx?newsid=440.

- In response to the recent deaths of two Pennsylvania government leaders, one current and one former, Governor Wolf has ordered flags on all state buildings and grounds to fly at half-staff. Commonwealth flags were ordered to fly at half-staff on January 2, following the death of State Representative Mike Reese, who served the 59th legislative district representing portions of Somerset and Westmoreland counties. And all U.S. and Commonwealth flags were ordered to fly at half-staff last Thursday, December 31, following the passing of former Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thornburgh. The Commonwealth flag has flown at half-staff since March 11, 2020, in honor of the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to fly at half-staff until further notice.

Posted 12/30/20

- PA Governor Tom Wolf and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine this afternoon announced that the state will allow the time-limited mitigation orders imposed nearly three weeks ago, to expire as planned, at 8:00 a.m. this coming Monday, January 4, 2021. The Governor was quick to note that previous COVID-19 mitigation orders – such as those that require mask wearing, limits on gatherings, occupancy limits for businesses, and restaurant seating capacity limitations and self-certifications – remain in place moving forward as the state continues to ask for cooperation in flattening the curve of the coronavirus pandemic. See full details here: Gov. Wolf Announces Lifting of Time Limited Mitigation on Jan. 4, Dashboard to Track Progress of COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution (pa.gov).

- Health Secretary Levine today also announced the launch of Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard, now available on the department’s website. The dashboard includes information on the number of vaccinations administered by county, as well as demographic information about the people being vaccinated. According to the information, 162 partial vaccinations (meaning only the first dose has been given) have so far been administered in Clinton County. A total of 1,442 partial vaccinations have been administered in Centre County, and 825 partial vaccinations have been administered to date in Lycoming County. More here: Department of Health Launches COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard to Provide Updates on Distribution Process.

Secretary Levine also announced she has signed a new order that goes into effect on January 6, directing that a percentage of all vaccine distributions to hospitals, health, systems, federal qualified health centers and pharmacies be designated for health care personnel within Phase 1A, including those health care personnel working in Emergency Medical Services, that are not affiliated with a hospital or health system. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1225.

And, Secretary Levine announced the federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program has begun vaccinating residents and staff at 126 Pennsylvania skilled nursing facilities using the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1226.

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed 8,984 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 631,333. Clinton County reported 19 new positive cases, bringing the countywide total to 1,897. Centre County’s case count was up 76, to 8,910, and Lycoming County reported 116 new positive cases, bringing the countywide case count to 5,913. Statewide, there are 6,022 people hospitalized with the virus, 1,174 of whom are in the intensive care unit. An additional 319 deaths were reported today, bringing to 15,672, the number of deaths statewide that have been attributed to the virus. Clinton County reported two new deaths, bringing the county total to 24. More information here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1224.

- The Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department have announced that the federal government has begun delivering a second round of Economic Impact Payments as part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 to millions of Americans who received the first round of payments earlier this year. The government said initial direct deposit payments could begin arriving as early as last night for some and will continue into next week. Paper checks will begin to be mailed today, Wednesday, December 30. Read more: Treasury and IRS begin delivering second round of Economic Impact Payments to millions of Americans | Internal Revenue Service.

- “CO-“, which is a publication of the U.S. Chamber, today released an overview of the new Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 (CRRSAA), which was signed into law on December 27. The new stimulus package, part of a larger government appropriations bill, provides more assistance to individuals and businesses harmed by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The CRRSAA provides direct payments to individuals, revised key aspects of the CARES Act to provide more flexibility to businesses and offers enhanced federal unemployment benefits. Among many provisions, the CRRSAA includes:

  • Reopening and revisions for the Paycheck Protection Program:The PPP has been reopened so more businesses can apply for the first time, and some companies can apply for a “second-draw” PPP loan. On top of this, the bill expands what types of expenses can be paid for with PPP funds and makes forgiveness easier to obtain for businesses that took out loans worth less than $150,000. Applications for new and second-draw PPP loans are open until March 31, 2021, or until funds are exhausted.
  • Changes to business taxes:The CRRSAA makes PPP loans non-taxable and ensures that the majority of business expenses paid for with PPP loans are also not taxable. The legislation also makes businesses eligible to receive both PPP loans and the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), whereas they were not eligible under the original CARES Act.
  • Reopening of the EIDL grant program:The bill allocates more money for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) grant program that had been expanded in the CARES Act. This will allow some businesses to receive up to $10,000 in EIDL grants.
  • New grant program for live venues:The bill allocates $15 billion in grants for small venues like independent movie theaters and concert halls that have been financially harmed by the pandemic, with grants maxing out at $10 million. Grants must be used on expenses such as payroll, rent, utilities and personal protective equipment.
  • Enhanced federal unemployment benefits:The bill extends the amount of time people can collect federal unemployment benefits (pandemic unemployment assistance), and it restarts a supplemental federal benefit on top of state benefits. The extra benefit totals $300 per week and lasts through March 14, 2021.
  • Payments for individuals: Those who make less than $75,000 a year will receive direct payments of $600 per individual ($1,200 per joint return for couples making less than $150,000 annually) plus $600 per child.

 

To learn more:

- The U.S. Chamber provides a breakdown of all the federal programs and aid for small business coronavirus assistance here.

In addition, the U.S. Chamber offers the following resources for those applying for forgiveness for a Paycheck Protection Loan: Forgiveness for PPP loans

And, the U.S. Chamber recently established an information sheet on the COVID-19 vaccine, which highlights vaccine allocation, prioritization and timelines. Click Here for the U.S. Chamber file for that information.

- The Governor and Health Secretary’s announcement today lifting the limited mitigation orders on January 6 means youth and high school sports and extracurricular activities can restart next week. See more in this news report from PennLive: Pa. high school, youth sports get green light to start back up again on Jan. 4; here’s when games could start - pennlive.com.

- The PA Department of Agriculture today announced a new opportunity for Pennsylvanians to bring the 2021 PA Farm Show (scheduled to be held virtually January 9-16) into their homes, by inviting them to craft their own butter sculpture creations and enter them into the Butter Up! Contest for a chance to win a gift card from members of the Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association. Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Agriculture_details.aspx?newsid=1019.

- As we turn our attention to a new year, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) and Department of Health are urging people to “Resolve to be Ready” in 2021 by creating family emergency plans and emergency kits. Details here: Wolf Administration Urges Pennsylvanians to “Resolve to be Ready” for Emergencies as Year Draws to a Close (pa.gov).

Posted 12/29/20

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 8,545 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 622,349. Clinton County saw 28 new cases reported today, bringing the countywide total to 1,878 positive cases. Centre County added 63 cases, bringing their total to 8,834; and Lycoming County reported 123 new cases, bringing their countywide total to 5,797 positive cases. Statewide, there are 5,996 people hospitalized with the virus, 1,174 of whom are in the intensive care unit. Additionally, the Health Department reported 267 new coronavirus deaths today, bringing the number of deaths associated with COVID-19 to 15,353. More than 82,000 health care workers have so far received COVID-19 vaccines, with many more slated to receive the vaccine this week. Vaccines are also being given to residents and staff in nursing homes. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1223.

- PA Department of Labor & Industry Acting Secretary Jennifer Berrier has announced that Pennsylvania is preparing for the new CARES Act extensions for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs, while cautioning that delays by the federal government in approving the legislation will cause a gap in these benefits for more than 509,000 workers. Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Labor-and-Industry-Details.aspx?newsid=520.

- The U.S. House voted overwhelmingly Monday to increase COVID-19 relief checks to $2,000, meeting President Donald Trump’s demand for bigger payments. The bill was to the GOP-controlled Senate, where the outcome is uncertain. Read more: House approves Trump’s $2K checks, sending to GOP-led Senate - pennlive.com. (Source: The Associated Press)

- The PA Department of Agriculture today released data related to COVID-19 restaurant enforcement actions from last week (December 21-27). During that period, Bureau of Food Safety personnel performed 381 inspections, 54 of which were complaint-driven. Of those, 50 were COVID-19 specific complaints. The department received 42 food facility COVID-19 related complaints, and 20 of those were referred to local and county health jurisdictions. Inspectors closed 33 restaurants by order after confirming that each was open for dine-in service and refused to comply with the state’s order. According to the state information, there were two Bureau of Food Safety inspections in Clinton County last week, with no warnings, citations or closures ordered. More here: Department of Agriculture Releases COVID-19 Restaurant Enforcement Actions, December 21 – December 27.

- The Department of State’s Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation today released data related to COVID-19 enforcement actions from December 20-27, as they relate to regulated boards and commissions. During that period, BEI personnel performed 269 inspections and opened 13 investigations during which COVID-19-specific compliance was a focus. This week, the Bureau distributed two warning letters and one compliance letter related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Details here: Department of State Releases COVID-19 Enforcement Actions, Dec. 20-27.

- The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention this week issued a number of updates:

  • As of Monday, there have been 19,055,869 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States. In addition to cases, deaths, and laboratory testing, CDC’s COVID Data Tracker now has a County View to help make decisions about everyday activities. U.S. Cases 

- STEP, Inc., the community action agency serving Clinton and Lycoming counties, this week issued its annual report, highlighting how the agency has continued to serve people in our community during challenging times. Click Here for the STEP Annual Report.

Posted 12/28/20

- President Donald Trump Sunday night signed$900 billion pandemic relief package that will deliver long-sought cash to businesses and individuals. It also averts a government shutdown. Read more: Second stimulus check update: Trump signs massive funding bill that includes $600 payments - pennlive.com. (Source: PennLive Patriot News)

- PA Governor Tom Wolf today thanked Congress for passing the COVID-19 Emergency Relief package, but said further relief is needed. More here: Gov. Wolf Thanks Congress, Urges Lawmakers to Provide Further Relief (pa.gov).

- Partnership member Baker Tilly US, LLP, today issued the following update on the federal relief package: After several days of uncertainty, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which included a fourth round of COVID-19 stimulus and tax extender provisions, has been signed into law as it passed both chambers of Congress, which, among many other items, allows deductions for expenses funded by forgiven Paycheck Protection Program loans. Read more: President signs stimulus act into law - Baker Tilly.

- Governor Wolf and PA Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine today released their weekly status update detailing the state’s mitigation efforts based on the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard, highlighting a seven-day case increase of 46,777 (10,321 fewer cases than last week), a statewide percent positivity of 15.1% (down from 15.82% last week), and all 67 counties with substantial transmission status. Clinton County’s percent positivity rate also declined over the past week to below 20% and is currently at 19.8%. Centre County has a percent positivity rate of 11.3%. Lycoming County is at 21.4% positivity and is among 19 counties that currently have a percent positivity at or above 20 percent. Learn more: Pennsylvania COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard Update for Dec. 18 – Dec. 25: Case Increases Near 46,800; Percent Positivity at 15.1% and All 67 Counties with Substantial Transmission (pa.gov).

- The Health Department today confirmed an additional 3,779 positive cases of COVID-19, one of the smallest daily increases in a while. There were 4,884 new cases reported Sunday, 7,174 on Saturday and 7,581 on Christmas Day. The statewide case total surpassed 600,000 over the holidays and today stands at 613,804. Clinton County today also saw fewer cases, with 15 new cases reported (compared to 34 new cases reported Christmas Day, 27 on Saturday and 33 on Sunday). The County currently has 1,702 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 148 probable cases, and there have been 7,321 negative tests reported. Clinton County has also reported 22 COVID-related deaths. Centre County reported 26 new positive cases today, bringing their total to 8,771; and Lycoming County reported 74 new cases today, bringing their number of positive cases to 5,674. Statewide, there are 5,905 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 1,145 of whom are in the intensive care unit. More information here: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19: 5,905 Patients Hospitalized and 1,145 Patients in the Intensive Care Unit.

Meanwhile, Health Department-sponsored COVID-19 drive-thru and indoor walk-in testing clinics continue this week in nearby Clearfield and Potter Counties, as well as in Beaver, Juniata and Schuylkill counties. The counties with testing sites change each week over the next nine weeks so that 62 counties will eventually be covered by pop-up testing sites over a 12-week period.

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 1,187 licensed liquor establishments in the past week (December 21-28), issuing 31 notices of violation and 47 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 74 licensee checks during that period and issued no warnings and one notice of violation related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. See more: State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement December 24-28: 454 Compliance Checks; 16 Notices of Violation (pa.gov).

- From the U.S. Small Business Administration….

  •  Top Business Trends in 2021: For small businesses across America, 2020 has been one of the most challenging years in history. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, small business owners have been resilient, pivoting, and adapting their business models to navigate continually changing conditions. With the new year on the horizon, there are potential new opportunities to take advantage of and ways to adapt to challenges you may face. Here are a few business trends that are likely to dominate in 2021, along with tips on how to position your business for growth. Learn more
  •  If you are looking for ways to grow your clientele in 2021, consider doing business with the federal government. The federal government aims to award at least 23% of all federal contracting dollars to small businesses each fiscal year. The federal government exceeded this goal in fiscal year 2019, awarding 26.5% or $132.9 billion in federal contract dollars to small businesses. Learn more
  • SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza hosts a live webinar on Thursday, January 7 at 1:00 p.m. to announce the launch of Ascent, a first-of-its-kind digital online learning platform geared to help women-owned small businesses grow and scale their existing business. With Ascent, female entrepreneurs will be able to utilize this platform that brings a modern, e-learning experience specifically targeted for women business owners. Click here to register

Posted 12/23/20

- At a news conference Wednesday morning, PA Governor Tom Wolf announced he is moving $145 million into the state’s general fund and is calling on the legislature to appropriate those monies to industries hardest hit by the coronavirus. Read more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-initiates-transfer-of-145-million-in-funds-to-support-businesses-adversely-affected-by-covid-19-pandemic/

- President Donald Trump Tuesday night asked Congress to amend the nearly $900 billion stimulus and spending bill passed by the Senate just one day before, describing the groundbreaking legislation as “a disgrace” and suggesting he would not immediately sign off on aid for millions of Americans. In a video posted to Twitter, Trump called on Congress to increase the “ridiculously low” $600 stimulus checks to $2,000, and outlined a list of provisions in the final legislation that he described as “wasteful spending and much more.” He did not mention that the $600 stimulus check idea came from his own Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin. “I am also asking Congress to immediately get rid of the wasteful and unnecessary items from this legislation, and to send me a suitable bill, or else the next administration will have to deliver a COVID relief package, and maybe that administration will be me,” Trump said. The 5,593-page bill was introduced Monday afternoon and then passed the House and Senate later in the evening. It passed Congress with broad bipartisan support, clearing the Senate by a 92-6 margin. Trump’s aides had made positive comments about it but Trump had largely stayed out of negotiations. Last week, he had complained to some aides that he thought the $600 stimulus checks were too low and wanted them raised to $1,200 or $2,000, but aides had convinced him not to intervene, saying it could scuttle the whole package. Some aides were stunned that Trump weighed in the way he did after his economic team had publicly praised the bill. But administration officials had negotiated the bill with lawmakers in the final days without explicitly securing Trump’s approval, aides said. (Source: Washington Post)

- 12th District Congressman Fred Keller was among those to vote against the federal relief package. Today, he issued a statement on his reasons for opposing the measure. Click Here for the file for details.

- U.S. Chamber Executive Vice President Neil Bradley Tuesday provided a good overview of the business aspects included in the new federal COVID-19 Relief Package that is awaiting the President’s signature. If you didn’t see it, it’s worth a watch. Click here to see the recorded one-hour program.

- For our Partnership members in the restaurant industry, the National Restaurant Association has provided a breakdown of how the new federal COVID-19 Relief Package will impact restaurants.

- In the nine months since testing for covid-19 became available, the number of tests performed in one day across Pennsylvania has increased exponentially, and the state’s testing director said Tuesday he hopes testing capacity will continue to improve and turnaround time will continue to decrease. In early March, when the state’s Department of Health began performing its own testing rather than relying on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state lab in Chester County could test about six samples per day. Since then, nearly 7.4 million tests have been done across Pennsylvania, and the department receives around 70,000 test results per day, according to state health officials. The hope is to continue increasing testing capacity and decrease the turnaround time for results, said Michael Huff, the state’s director of testing and contact tracing. He pointed to the increased use of rapid antigen tests, which give results in hours rather than days, albeit they are not considered to be as accurate as the “gold standard” PCR tests. “More often than not, you’re doing a rapid antigen test and you may have to follow it up with a PCR test,” which can create delays and confusion, Huff said. He estimated that more accurate antigen tests could be on the horizon — possibly within the next six months — meaning test results that are accurate and quick, rather than trading one of those for the other. Read More (Source: Pittsburgh Tribune Review)

- The Department of State’s Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation (BEI) this week released data related to COVID-19 enforcement actions from December 13-20. DOS is continuing with compliance enforcement as it relates to state-regulated boards and commissions. During the most recent period, BEI performed 372 inspections and opened two investigations during with COVID-19-specific compliance was a focus. This week, the Bureau distributed four warning letters and five compliance letters related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Learn more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/State-details.aspx?newsid=441.

- The Departments of Labor & Industry and Human Services and the United Way of Pennsylvania want Pennsylvanians to know there are state and local programs and resources available for those who are unemployed. Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/DHS_details.aspx?newsid=642.

- While the state is encouraging people to celebrate the holiday at home this year due to the pandemic, with rain and snow in the forecast for this week, PennDOT is reminding drivers to be alert for changing roadway conditions. More information here: https://www.penndot.gov/regionaloffices/district-1/pages/details.aspx?newsid=1351.

- The PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED)’s Pennsylvania Tourism Office today announced a new virtual experienceHoli-stay PA, to encourage Pennsylvanians to stay home and stay safe this holiday season by taking advantage of virtual activities to explore Pennsylvania safely. These activities include live demonstrations, interactive learning sessions, holiday recipes, weekly dinner and movie pairings, activity sheets, and a calendar of other virtual events. See more: https://dced.pa.gov/newsroom/new-virtual-campaign-encourages-pennsylvanians-to-celebrate-the-holidays-at-home/.

- If one of the pastimes you enjoy is watching nesting Bald Eagles, the PA Game Commission today announced that its popular Eagle Cam from a bald-eagle nest near Codorus State Park in Hanover, PA, is now up and running. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Game-Commission-Details.aspx?newsid=439.

The Partnership team will take a few days off for the holidays. We thank you for putting your trust in us through this very challenging year and commit our ongoing support as we move forward together to get to the other side of this pandemic in 2021. Please reach out to the Partnership if you feel we can be of help to you. From our team to yours, we wish you a safe and healthy Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Posted 12/22/20

- Congress voted overwhelmingly Monday night to approve a $2.3 trillion spending package that delivers $908 billion in COVID-19 relief to Americans struggling with the pandemic and funds federal agencies through September 30. The COVID-19 relief measure provides another round of forgivable small business loans, $300 weekly supplemental unemployment benefits, and $600 checks to people making up to $75,000 and couples making up to $150,000 per year — with $600 additional payments per dependent child. The text of the 5,593-page legislation was distributed to lawmakers Monday after congressional leaders reached a deal over the weekend. In the early evening, the U.S. House approved the $1.4 trillion government spending bill by a 327-85 vote, then voted 359-53 to approve the COVID-19 relief package. The U.S. Senate, with less than an hour to spare before a government shutdown, approved both measures along with a one-week government funding bill to keep the government open while the paperwork heads to the White House. The Senate vote on the spending bills was 91-7. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the legislation soon. Read more: Congress approves COVID relief bill; $600 individual payments included - pennlive.com. (Source: PennLive/Associated Press)

- The U.S. Chamber this afternoon released a new ‘Guide to Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Loans’ to provide the latest information and answers to FAQs about the changes that have been made to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) Program as part of the end-of-year pandemic relief package Congress has just passed. Click here to view the new Guide, which will be updated as more information becomes available.

- Partnership member Baker Tilly US, LLP, offers a summary of the new stimulus legislation, now known as the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. Click here to read their insights: https://www.bakertilly.com/insights/alert-congress-agrees-to-additional-stimulus.

- PA Governor Tom Wolf today thanked congressional lawmakers for passing a second federal COVID-19 Emergency Relief Package. Read more: Gov. Wolf Issues Statement on COVID Relief Package, Reminds Lawmakers Some Needs Remain Unmet.

- The Wolf Administration says 22 additional hospitals have received 30,255 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and will begin distributing it to health care workers as outlined in the state’s interim vaccine distribution plan. To date, 109 hospitals in the state have received the vaccine. In addition, Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine is slated to be received by at least 51 hospitals throughout the state this week. See more: Department of Health: 22 More Hospitals Receive Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, Moderna Doses to be Shipped to 51 Hospitals This Week.

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 7,962 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 571,551. According to the state, Clinton County saw a jump of 133 new cases reported today, bring the countywide total to 1,674. Centre County was up 36 cases, bringing their total to 8,369, and Lycoming County saw 85 new positive cases, bringing their total case count to 5,059. Statewide, there are 6,090 people hospitalized with the virus, 1,217 of whom are in the intensive care unit. In addition, the state said 109 hospitals have so far received 127,755 vaccine doses and 26,563 doses of the vaccine have been administered. More here: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19: 6,090 Patients Hospitalized and 1,217 Patients in the Intensive Care Unit.

- Pennsylvania today announced it will extend the license renewal deadline for healthcare professionals licensed under the State Board of Medicine, it will extend emergency temporary licenses granted to licensed practitioners in other states and jurisdictions, and it will extend reactivated licenses for retired and inactive Pennsylvania-licensed practitioners. Read more: Pennsylvania Cuts Red Tape Again to Help Health Care Professionals Fight COVID-19 (pa.gov).

- The PA Departments of Labor & Industry and the PA Public Utility Commission want Pennsylvanians to know there are utility related assistance programs available. More information here: Wolf Administration Reminds Out-of-Work Pennsylvanians of Utility Related Assistance and Consumer Safeguards (pa.gov).

- Partnership member Intrada Technologies, Inc., is encouraging fellow members of the business community to watch for phishing scams. Intrada says it continues to see a huge increase in email scams designed to steal individual identity, access online accounts or control computers. To help people not get caught in a phishing scam, they’ve created the attached “Watch for Phishing Emails – 6 Red Flags” file to let you know what to be aware of before opening an email or clicking on any email links. Click Here for the Intrada flyer or click here to download the file.

- The Internal Revenue Service today issued the 2021 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes. Details here: IRS issues standard mileage rates for 2021 | Internal Revenue Service.

- The IRS also explained how expanded tax benefits can help both individuals and businesses give to charity before the end of this year. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, enacted last spring, includes four temporary tax changes that are designed to help people and businesses who give to charity this year. Here is a rundown of these key changes. See more: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/year-end-reminder-expanded-tax-benefits-help-individuals-and-businesses-give-to-charity-during-2020.

Posted 12/21/20

- Late Sunday, federal lawmakers released the details on a second round of COVID-19 related financial relief for American taxpayers that is expected to be passed by Congress today and signed into law by President Donald Trump. Read more about the proposed package from the PA Chamber: The Sentinel | PA Chamber.

- The U.S. Chamber will host a webinar, Pandemic Relief Small Business Update, tomorrow, December 22, at 2pm, to offer the latest on what the pandemic relief bill could mean for the small business community. Click here to register for the free briefing.

- A U.S. Chamber update says economic recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on a "K-Shape" with some industries doing well (top of the K) and others, mostly service-based businesses that require close personal contact, struggling to make it through until vaccines are widely distributed (bottom of the K). The U.S. Chamber has compiled employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics which demonstrates the varying conditions of the industries and how different industries' workers are faring. Click here to view that information.

- PA Governor Tom Wolf and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine today released a weekly status update detailing the state’s mitigation efforts based on the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard, highlighting a seven-day case increase of 57,098 cases (4,371 fewer new cases than the previous week), a statewide percent positivity of 15.8% (down from 16.2% last week), and all 67 counties (as was the case last week) with substantial transmission status. Every county except Sullivan County has what the state considers a concerning percent positivity rate above five percent, and 20 counties - including Clinton at 24.3% and Lycoming at 22.4% - have a rate above 20 percent. Centre County’s current percent positivity rate is at 14.5%. See more: Pennsylvania COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard Update for Dec. 11 – Dec. 17: Case Increases Close to 57,100; Percent Positivity at 15.8% and All 67 Counties with Substantial Transmission (pa.gov).

Meanwhile, the Health Department today confirmed an additional 7,887 new cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania, in addition to the 7,213 cases reported Sunday and 9,834 new cases reported Saturday, bringing the statewide total to 563,589. Clinton County saw 110 new cases, bringing the county total to 1,541. In addition, Clinton saw nearly 300 negative tests reported today, possibly indicating some of the results from the testing clinic held locally last week. Centre County reported 54 new cases today, bringing its total to 8,333, and Lycoming County reported an additional 228 new cases today, bringing their total to 4,974. Statewide, 6,074 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, 1,230 of whom are in the intensive care unit. More here: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19: 6,074 Patients Hospitalized and 1,230 Patients in the Intensive Care Unit.

- The Department of Health today unveiled a new digital case investigation tool, called the Connect & Protect Form, for Pennsylvanians age 19 through 64 who reside (like Clinton) in a county without its own county or municipal health department. Learn more: Department of Health Unveils New Digital Case Investigation Tool: Connect & Protect Form.

- The Health Department today also shared its weekly update on Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing data and encouraged Pennsylvanians to download the COVID Alert PA app to aid in contact tracing efforts. More here: Department of Health Dec. 6-12 Update on COVID-19 Investigations, Contact Tracing, Monitoring Efforts: Pennsylvanians Urged to “Answer the Call” and Download the COVID App.

- An expert panel that advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that adults aged 75 and older, as well as frontline essential workers, be designated as the second priority group to be vaccinated against Covid-19. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices also voted to recommend that the third stage of the national vaccination program should focus on adults 65 to 74, people 16 to 64 years old with high-risk medical conditions, and essential workers not included in the second phase of vaccination. The committee defined frontline essential workers as first responders, teachers and other education workers including day care workers, food and agriculture workers, correctional facility staff, postal workers, public transit workers, and people who work in manufacturing and in grocery stores. Read More (Source: Stat News)

- Geisinger employees last week were among the first in Pennsylvania to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Within 24 hours of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arriving at Geisinger facilities, front-line health care workers received their first of two doses. Read more here: https://www.geisinger.org/about-geisinger/news-and-media/news-releases/2020/12/16/23/50/geisinger-begins-providing-covid-19-vaccines-to-front-line-health-care-heroes.

Geisinger has established an online resource hub to help address questions about the vaccine. Available at Geisinger.org/COVIDvax, information includes details about the vaccine safety information, who Geisinger should vaccinate according to state guidance, and answers to frequently asked questions.

- UPMC has also issued an update on COVID-19 vaccine availability. Click Here for the UPMC file for more information.

- As the first round of vaccines began to be distributed across the Commonwealth, the PA Chamber sent a letter to Governor Wolf urging prioritization of the state’s critical infrastructure workers as it relates to the administration of the vaccine. -> Read More

- The Wolf Administration has released its update on Pennsylvania’s financial situation, following reaching the midway point last week of the state’s 2020-21 Fiscal Year. -> Read More

- The PA Department of Banking and Securities has responded to nearly 5,000 complaints and inquiries about financial transactions, companies, or products in fiscal year 2019-2020, according to its recently released Consumer Services Annual Report. The Department saw an 18% increase in inquiries over last year, largely a result of consumers impacted by COVID-19, including questions about mortgage forbearance, payment deferrals, and scams. Of the 4,970 inquiries, the most common (28%) was related to bank account/services, and the second most prevalent complaint (20%) was mortgage issues. Learn more: Department Aids Nearly 5,000 Consumers Amid COVID-19 Pandemic.

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 799 licensed liquor establishments over the weekend (December 18-20), issuing 28 notices of violation and 41 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 31 licensee checks during that time, issuing two warnings and one notice of violation related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. See more: State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement December 18-20: 799 Compliance Checks; 28 Notices of Violation (pa.gov).

- The Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association, in response to the state-ordered shutdown of indoor dining through January 4, 2021, says the PA Department of Revenue is willing to work with businesses struggling to make their sales tax payments due to the shutdown. According to PRLA, for assistance, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Additionally, the Department is reminding businesses that due to the decrease in sales in 2020, many businesses will go from a monthly to a quarterly payment in 2021.

- PA Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin today highlighted the new resources available to support the future of manufacturing in Pennsylvania through the “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” program, hosted by the Manufacturers Resource Center. More information here: DCED Highlights New “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” Video Library to Support the Future of Manufacturing in Pennsylvania - PA Department of Community & Economic Development.

- The PA Department of Education is reminding individuals and school communities that there are mental health and well-being resources available to help navigate the uncertainty of COVID-19. Read more: Mental Health and Well-Being Resources Available for Pennsylvania School Communities (pa.gov).

- With today marking the official start of winter, the Wolf Administration is urging Pennsylvanians to prepare for the health impacts that winter weather and extreme cold temperatures can have on their bodies. Health Secretary Levine said, “As the weather trends colder and we move to more indoor activities, we can expect an increase in the number of people with respiratory illnesses. Historically, we see increased cases of the flu in the winter, but this year, we remain concerned about the continued increase of COVID-19 cases.” Learn more: Wolf Administration Urges Pennsylvanians to Prepare for Health Impacts from Winter Weather and Extreme Cold Temperatures.

Posted 12/18/20

- The final westbound lane of Interstate 80 in Clinton County is expected to be reopened late this afternoon or early evening, following a multiple-vehicle accident Wednesday afternoon during the snow storm. The accident involved 55 commercial vehicles and 11 passenger vehicles and occurred in multiple crashes along about a one-mile stretch of I-80 West in Green and Lamar Townships. State Police this afternoon a 24-year-old female from Hollidaysburg was killed in the accident, and another person, a 56-year-old male from North Carolina, suffered a non-traffic related medical issue and died. State Police say all of the other crash victims are currently known to be in stable condition with varying degrees of injuries.

- Meanwhile, PennDOT is advising motorists who travel Route 414 in Brown Township, Lycoming County (Pine Creek Valley) that the road remains closed this afternoon due to a snow slide between Cedar Run and Slate Run that occurred yesterday, December 17. More information here: Details (penndot.gov).

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 9,320 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 538,655. According to the state, Clinton County reported 10 new cases today, bringing the countywide total to 1,457. Centre County reported 56 new cases, to 8,078; and Lycoming County saw 84 new cases, bringing their total case count to 4,524. Statewide, 6,209 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, 1,246 of whom are in the intensive care unit. There were an additional 216 new deaths reported, for a total of 13,608 deaths attributed to COVID-19. More here: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19: 6,209 Patients Hospitalized and 1,246 Patients in the Intensive Care Unit.

- From the PA Chamber…..Today will prove to be a crucial day of negotiations as Congressional leaders inch closer to securing agreement on a $900 billion pandemic relief package. According to multiple sources, all sides have coalesced around the broad outline of a deal – which would include $325 billion in aid for small businesses, additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, as well as an additional $300 in weekly unemployment payments and $600 stimulus checks for many individuals. However, finalizing the details has proven to be a challenge. Following last week’s bump in the road in which talks seemed to be at a standstill, movement on a deal began in earnest again earlier this week after two of the major sticking points – additional funding for state and local governments (an issue pushed by Democrats) and COVID liability protections (a cause championed by Republicans) – were moved to a separate bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, has said the Senate will not adjourn until an agreement on a pandemic relief package and a government spending bill can be reached (side note: a deal on a spending bill must be reached by midnight in order to avoid a government shutdown).

As Congress zeroes in on a new coronavirus relief deal that will include a new round of funds for small businesses across the country, businesses are invited to join U.S. Chamber representatives Tuesday, December 22 at 2:00 p.m. for a Small Business Update as they discuss what the new bill could mean for business.

  • Gain insider knowledge on the new relief provisions for small businesses.
  • Hear advice on how to take advantage of federal aid funds.
  • Ask the pressing questions most important to you.

Click here to register for this complimentary event.

- From Partnership President Mike Flanagan….The weekly unemployment claim information for the week ending December 12 presented a mixed bag for Clinton County, according to the state Department of Labor and Industry. The continued unemployment claims increased slightly to 923 as compared to 904 for the week ending December 5, according to department numbers that were issued Friday afternoon. The December 12 continued claim numbers showed 20% were in the construction field and 56% were male.

In initial or first-time claims, that number decreased. The December 12 number showed 161 new claims, and there were 187 new filings the week prior. The 161 includes 72% who are male, and 31% are in the construction field.

The department did not list any Clinton County residents exhausting their benefits during the week of December 12. The prior week, 43 had their benefits expire.

The November unemployment rate for counties is expected to be released by the state around January 5. The October rate for Clinton County was 6.9%.

- Meanwhile, the Department of Labor & Industry today released the statewide employment situation report for November 2020. Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate was down 0.8 percentage points over the month to 6.6 percent in November. Pennsylvania’s rate fell below the U.S. rate (6.7 percent in November) for the first time since May 2015. The commonwealth’s unemployment rate was 2 percentage points above its November 2019 level, while the national rate was up 3.2 points over the year. Details here: Pennsylvania’s Unemployment Rate Declines to 6.6 Percent in November (pa.gov).

- With two federal pandemic unemployment programs set to expire at the end of this month, the Departments of Labor & Industry and Agriculture want Pennsylvanians to know there are additional state programs available, including food assistance. Both the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs will end December 31 if Congress fails to pass an extension. More here: Food Assistance Available for Out-of-Work Pennsylvanians with Federal Unemployment Programs Ending Soon (pa.gov)

- Keystone Central School District students have two more days – Monday and Tuesday of next week – of remote learning before their winter holiday. In a letter Friday to families, staff and the community, superintendent Dr. Jacquelyn Martin said remote learning will continue January 4 – 8, 2021, after which, the District plans to move to a new Hybrid Schedule starting January 8. Click Here for the KCSD Update for details.

- Continuing to help students with remote learning during the pandemic, the state Department of Education today announced $500,000 in funding to support affordability and equity in higher education. The funds will be offered through a new Open Educational Resources Grant Program funded by the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, established by the CARES Act of 2020. The grant program will provide a series of mini-grants and stipends to encourage and support faculty in creating, adapting, and adopting Open Educational Resources and other zero-cost materials in postsecondary and high education institutions across the state. Read more: Pennsylvania Department of Education Announces $500,000 to Support Equity in Higher Education.

- About 1,200 Pennsylvania health care workers received Covid-19 vaccinations over the past three days as more shipments continue to arrive at dozens of hospitals statewide, Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said Thursday. Of the 1,205 vaccinations, no adverse effects have been reported, Levine said. Sixteen of the initial 87 hospitals chosen to receive the first shipments of the Pfizer vaccine have received those shipments. The remaining 71 hospitals will receive them by Friday’s end. “Things are moving smoothly in Pennsylvania,” Levine said. “Vaccine delivery has not been delayed because of snow so far, and hospitals are working as quickly as possible to administer the vaccine.” Health care workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities are the priority for the first round of vaccinations. Long-term care facilities could begin receiving the vaccine December 28. Read More

- Small businesses anticipate the worst of the pandemic is still ahead and half (50%) of small businesses see their operations continuing for a year or less in the current business climate before having to permanently close according to a new poll taken October 30 – November 10 and released this week by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and MetLife. See more: Small Business Owners Still Feel Pain of Pandemic and Fear More to Come | U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The survey also found that small businesses in the Northeast are particularly pessimistic about their own business health and the economy. Click here for Northeast region survey findings: Small Business Owners Still Feel Pain of Pandemic and Fear More to Come | U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

- Merchants in downtown Lock Haven are hoping for one final successful shopping push this Saturday as the Christmas holiday is fast approaching. The last of four ‘Small Business Saturday’ celebrations is tomorrow, December 19, with close to 40 downtown stores offering special savings and sales. Click Here for the “12.19.20 Specials” flyer for information from participating businesses.

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 1,324 licensed liquor establishments this week (December 14-17), issuing 11 notices of violation and 17 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements, including the suspension of in-person service that began last Friday, December 12 and will run through January 4, 2021. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 36 licensee checks during the period, issuing one warning and two notices of violation related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. More here: State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement December 14-17: 1,324 Compliance Checks; 11 Notices of Violation (pa.gov).

- The Internal Revenue Service today explained how expanded tax benefits can help both individuals and businesses give to charity before the end of this year. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, enacted last spring, includes four temporary tax changes that are designed to help people and businesses who give to charity this year. Click here for a rundown of the key changes: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/year-end-reminder-expanded-tax-benefits-help-individuals-and-businesses-give-to-charity-during-2020.

- The Penn State Small Business Development Center continues to offer it’s Tuesday, noontime “Quick Connect” coaching sessions. The last two of the year will be December 22 and 29. The SBDC also has a number of online training sessions scheduled in January, including Hiring & HR: Legal Compliance for Small Business on January 14 and Intro to QuickBooks Online on January 15. See the full list of SBDC events here: Events | Penn State Small Business Development Center (psu.edu).

- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers a number of recovery resources that can be of assistance as businesses work to pivot to a new economy. Learn more

- We’re just catching up to this post by the U.S. SBA, which offers advice on how to prepare and have a plan in place in the event of a winter storm, including steps to take to protect your business, your employees and your customers. Learn more

- PennDOT has announced that the deadline for the annual Innovations Challenge has been extended through January 15. Students in grades 9-12 regardless of their school’s learning model are invited to participate in the fourth annual Innovations Challenge, which encourages students to use their problem-solving, creative and strategic-thinking abilities to solve real-world transportation challenges in a competition among their peers. More information here: Article (penndot.gov).

- Pennsylvania pheasant hunters have one last opportunity this season to hunt newly-released birds. The PA Game Commission says the seventh and final pheasant releases of 2020 are scheduled for next Tuesday and Wednesday, December 22 and 23. Statewide, more than 23,000 pheasants will be stocked for the late season. See more: PHEASANTS TO BE RELEASED STATEWIDE (pa.gov).

- The PA Department of Agriculture today shared the schedule for the 2021 Pennsylvania Farm Show, which will be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The full schedule of events is available at farmshow.pa.gov. More here: Department of Agriculture Reveals Virtual 2021 Pennsylvania Farm Show Schedule of Events.

Posted 12/17/20

- As Clinton County homes and businesses continue to dig out from one of the heaviest snow storms the area has seen in some time, PA State Police and PennDOT, as well as local emergency responders are still working to reopen a stretch of Interstate 80 that was closed yesterday afternoon following a multiple-vehicle accident that has claimed several lives. While storm-related vehicle restrictions have been lifted along the Interstate, the westbound section between Loganton and Lock Haven remained closed as of the last PennDOT report around 11am today.

PA Governor Tom Wolf and Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, PennDOT  and State Police officials this afternoon provided an update on the winter storm yesterday and overnight. Read more: Gov. Wolf, Administration Officials Provide Update on Winter Storm (pa.gov).

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 9,966 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 529,335. According to the state, Clinton County reported an additional 44 new cases today, bringing the countywide total to 1,447. Centre County was up 103 cases, for a total of 8,022, and Lycoming County reported an additional 167 positive cases, bringing their case count to 4,440. Statewide, 6,346 people are hospitalized with the virus, which the state says is double the peak in the spring. Of that number, 1,238 COVID-19 patients are in the intensive care unit. The state today also reported an additional 224 new COVID-related deaths, bringing the number of deaths now attributed to COVID-19 to 13,392. More here: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19: 6,346 Patients Hospitalized and 1,238 Patients in the Intensive Care Unit.

- With COVID-19-related hospitalizations projected to peak in January and February, the PA Departments of Health and Education are urging colleges, universities and other institutions of higher education to use virtual instruction to the maximum extent feasible and consider the delay of students returning to their campuses for the traditional start date for the spring semester. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Education-Details.aspx?newsid=1009.

- The Clinton County Commissioners today announced the approval of $91,000 in Clinton County CARES grant funds to 19 “food serving establishments” in the county. The Commissioners initially had earmarked $50,000 in funds, but today said they were able to allocate an additional $41,000 to support a business segment that has been particularly hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Kari Kepler in the County Planning Department said the county received 25 grant applications, however, six applicants did not qualify because, according to CARES grant guidelines, franchise establishments were not eligible for the grant funds, nor were businesses that had received a CARES grant during the County’s first round of funding a few months ago.  

- In response to contact tracing data released by the state of New York that showed the bulk of COVID-19 case spread occurred in private gatherings, the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association (PRLA) is calling on PA Governor Wolf to reverse his decision to ban indoor dining. The New York data, which is more robust than Pennsylvania's, shows restaurants account for only 1.4% of COVID-19 cases while 73.84% of COVID cases were spread at private gatherings. READ MORE

PRLA president John Longstreet says the COVID-19 pandemic could force nearly half of Pennsylvania restaurants to close permanently in 2021 if business owners don’t get more relief soon. “Most of these are going to be the independent, beloved restaurants that are the heartbeat of many of our downtown areas. They don’t have the resources, or they don’t have restaurants in other states that are still operating at reasonable levels to help carry them through,” said Longstreet. According to PRLA survey data, roughly 12,000 restaurants – 45% of all the restaurants in the state – were in dire need of financial support, with the situation only being made worse by the state’s most recent mandate banning indoor activity at bars and restaurants until at least January 4.

- The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose again last week to 885,000, the highest weekly total since September. The U.S. Department of Labor today said the number of applications increased from 862,000 the previous week. Read more: https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/OPA/newsreleases/ui-claims/20202292.pdf.

- The Department of State’s Bureau of Enforcement & Investigation today released data related to COVID-19 enforcement actions from December 6–13. DOS is continuing with compliance enforcement as it relates to the regulated boards and commissions. During the most recent period, BEI performed 496 inspections and opened 16 investigations during which COVID-19-specific compliance was a focus. This week, the Bureau distributed three warning letters and one compliance letter related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. More here: Department of State Releases COVID-19 Enforcement Actions, Dec. 6 – Dec. 13.

- The Wolf Administration has issued recommendations to help individuals and families stay safe during the holiday season, encouraging families to hold virtual gatherings to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention indicates that small household gatherings are a large contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases, and exposure at these events can follow and spread after the holidays. See more: Wolf Administration Reminds Pennsylvanians Experiencing Anxiety, Loneliness, Stress Amidst Holiday Season That They Are Not Alone (pa.gov).

Posted 12/16/20

- With snow already falling throughout the region, PennDOT is alerting drivers that winter weather and challenging driving conditions are expected through tomorrow morning (Thursday, December 17) for areas covered by PennDOT District 2, which includes Clinton County. See more: News Details (penndot.gov).

- Clinton is among the counties named in a proclamation of disaster emergency signed yesterday by PA Governor Tom Wolf in anticipation of the major winter storm, which could bring as much as two feet of snow to parts of the state. The proclamation itself doesn’t restrict vehicular travel, but PennDOT can announce speed and travel restrictions, which will be communicated via variable message boards, the 511PA traveler information website at sss.511pa.com and smartphone apps. PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission are advising motorists to avoid all unnecessary travel during the storm and are anticipating that restrictions on trucks and other vehicles will be imposed on certain roadways around the state. Read more: Gov. Wolf Signs Winter Weather Emergency Proclamation, Advises State is Prepared for the Storm and Vaccine Distribution.

- FirstEnergy is also offering safety information and tips for dealing with the winter storm. Click Here for the FirstEnergy flyer for details.

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 10,049 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 519,369. According to the state, Clinton County reported another 38 new cases today, bringing the countywide total to 1,403. Centre County was up 105 new cases, to 7,919; and Lycoming County reported 165 new cases, bringing their total case count to 4,273. Statewide, 6,295 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, with 1,264 patients in the intensive care unit. The state also reported 278 additional deaths today due to COVID-19, the highest one-day total to date. A total 13,168 deaths in Pennsylvania have been attributed to the coronavirus. Details here: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19: 6,295 Patients Hospitalized and 1,264 Patients in the Intensive Care Unit.

- As the state continues to contract workers to conduct free COVID-19 testing, Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine today announced that beginning this Friday, December 18, COVID-19 testing clinics will be held in Cambria, Franklin, Mercer, Montour, and Luzerne counties. The testing site in Clinton County ended this past Monday. The counties with testing sites will change each week over the next 10 weeks so that 61 counties will eventually be covered by dedicated pop-up testing sites over a 12-week period. See more: Department of Health Announces Week-Three of Regional Testing Extension Across the Commonwealth.

- The PA Department of Banking and Securities and PA Housing Finance Agency are urging homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages to take advantage of options to lower or pause payments before some federal protections end of December 31. More information here: State Agencies Offer Tips to Homeowners Before Some Federal Mortgage Relief Ends (pa.gov).

- A November PA Department of Health nursing home report said surveyors conducted 395 inspections of 236 unique nursing homes, including 312 complaint investigations. Six sanctions were finalized against nursing care facilities in the last month, including the issuance of civil penalties. More here: Department of Health Highlights November 2020 Nursing Home Inspection, Sanction Information Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic.

- Governor Wolf today announced that the 2020-21 Veterans’ Trust Fund is accepting grant applications for programs and services benefitting Pennsylvania veterans. The Department of Military Affairs will aware up to $800,000 in VTF grants to nonprofit organizations, veteran service organizations and county directors of veteran affairs across the state. Grant applications are due by January 27, 2021. See more: Governor Wolf Announces Veterans’ Trust Fund Grant Opportunities (pa.gov).

- The PA Department of Agriculture today reminded private pesticide applicators whose licenses expire on March 31, 2021, that they will need to complete recertification credit requirements and pay a $10 renewal fee by the deadline. Expanded virtual and correspondence training options are now available for completing requirements without attending in-person training. Learn more: Agriculture Department Reminds Private Pesticide Licensees of March Deadline, Renewal Requirements.

- A Centre County woman is among the winners of the Ag Department’s “Oh Say, Can You Sing” contest and will have the video of her singing the national anthem played as part of the 2021 virtual PA Farm Show. Kara Eckert of Centre County is listed as one of the eight winners. The video submissions of the winners will debut at 7:00 a.m. daily, January 9-14 on the Pennsylvania Farm Show Facebook page and the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN). Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Agriculture_details.aspx?newsid=1012.

Posted 12/15/20

- The state’s distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine is underway. Following distribution yesterday of the vaccine to two hospitals, the Wolf Administration today announced that seven additional hospitals – including Evangelical Community in Lewisburg and Geisinger-Lewistown Hospital in our region – have received shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and will begin distributing it to health care workers as outlined in the state’s interim vaccine distribution plan. The initial 97,500 doses have been slated for 87 hospitals across the state – including UPMC Williamsport Hospital – identified to receive vaccine directly from Pfizer by this coming Monday, December 21. Details here: Department of Health: Seven More Hospitals Receive COVID-19 Vaccine.

- Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania have topped a half-a-million. The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 9,556 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 509,320. According to the state, Clinton County reported another 59 new cases today, bring the county total to 1,365. Centre County cases were up 77, to 7,814; and Lycoming County reported 156 new cases today, to bring their total case count to 4,108. Statewide, there are 6,026 people hospitalized with the virus, 1,249 of whom are in the intensive care unit. More here: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19: 6,026 Patients Hospitalized and 1,249 Patients in the Intensive Care Unit.

- Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine today urged Pennsylvanians to take COVID-19 and food safety precautions as they plan household celebrations this holiday season. More here: Department of Health Encourages Food Safety, COVID-19 Precautions for Upcoming Holidays.

- Governor Wolf this week held a virtual press conference to highlight Pennsylvania’s new state-based health insurance marketplace, known as Pennie, and to encourage Pennsylvanians to visit pennie.com for affordable coverage options. See more: Gov. Wolf Encourages Health Care Coverage Enrollment on Pennie.com, the State-Based Marketplace (pa.gov).

- The SEDA-Council of Governments today announced a new executive director in Kim Wheeler, who most recently has served as special projects coordinator and grants manager for the Borough of Lewisburg. Wheeler will begin her new role next month. Click Here for the SEDA-COG news release for details.

- In light of the predicted snowstorm this week, the PA Public Utility Commission is offering some safety advice for winter weather conditions. Click Here for the PUC file for details.

- The PA Game Commission today released a report detailing coordinated efforts of state and federal agencies and Pennsylvania research institutions to combat Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a contagious, fatal disease that threatens deer. Learn more: WOLF ADMINISTRATION REPORT DETAILS COORDINATED EFFORT TO COMBAT CWD (pa.gov).

Posted 12/14/20

- PA Governor Tom Wolf and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine today released a weekly status update detailing the state’s mitigation efforts based on the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard, highlighting a seven-day case increase of 60,412 cases, a statewide percent positivity of 16.2 percent, and all 67 counties with substantial transmission status. According to the state data, Bedford and Crawford counties have a percent positivity above 30 percent, and 15 counties – including Clinton at a 28.3 percent and Lycoming County at 20.9 percent positivity – are above 20 percent. Centre County’s latest percent positivity rate stands at 12.9 percent. See more: Pennsylvania COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard Update for Dec. 4 – Dec. 10: Case Increases Above 60,400; Percent Positivity at 16.2% and All 67 Counties with Substantial Transmission (pa.gov).

The Department of Health today confirmed an additional 7,962 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 499,763. The state reported 10,684 new cases on Sunday, and 11,084 on Saturday. According to the state, Clinton County reported an additional 39 new COVID-19 cases today, bring the total to 1,306. Centre County was up 49 cases, to 7,737; and Lycoming County jumped up 135 new cases, bring the case count there to 3,952. Statewide, there are 5,970 people hospitalized with the virus, 1,227 of whom are in the intensive care unit. More here: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19: 5,970 Patients Hospitalized and 1,227 Patients in the Intensive Care Unit.

- Today (December 14) marks the last of a five-day, free COVID-19 testing clinic in Clinton County. The state Health Department-sponsored clinic at the Castanea Fire Company Picnic Grounds is open until 6:00 tonight to anyone over age three, whether they have symptoms of the virus or not. About 185 people took advantage of the no-cost test yesterday, putting the four-day total at just shy of 900 people receiving tests, according to Andrew Kremser, director of the Clinton County Department of Emergency Services.

- Final Reminder: Food serving establishments throughout Clinton County have until 5:00 p.m. today (December 14) to apply for a CARES grant from Clinton County government. The County Commissioners have earmarked approximately $50,000 in grant funds for local restaurants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Click on the following link for the online grant application: https://www.clintoncountypa.com/departments/funding-opportunities. For information or assistance, contact Kari Kepler in the County Planning Department at 570-893-4080, ext. 2, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

- Governor Wolf today participated in a media call with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and others to make the case for immediate passage of a much-needed state and local bipartisan Congressional COVID relief package. Read more: Gov. Wolf, NJ Gov. Murphy, Protect Our Care Coronavirus War Room Call on Congress to Provide COVID-19 Relief Package Now.

- 12th District Congressman Fred Keller, whose district includes Clinton County, is also stressing the need for COVID relief from the federal level. On Friday, he said, “I stood with my fellow House Republicans to demand Speaker Pelosi take immediate action to reauthorize the Paycheck Protection Program and support our efforts to release the $138 billion in already-appropriated funds and provide much-needed relief to small businesses, workers, and families. Across our country, businesses are closing because of Speaker Pelosi’s blanket refusal to put their needs above her own political motivations. Enough is enough. It’s time Nancy Pelosi remembers who she works for—Congress must come together to benefit the American people.”

While Congressman Keller and Governor Wolf agree on the need for another federal COVID relief package, Congressman Keller has strong words for the Governor’s most recent COVID-19 mitigation orders, which went into effect over the weekend. “Since the start of the pandemic, small businesses and workers across Pennsylvania have suffered due to Governor Wolf’s chronic mismanagement and heavy-handed shutdown mandates. Now, two weeks before Christmas, the governor is once again taking unilateral action that will further devastate our economy and threaten the livelihoods of countless Pennsylvanians simply trying to earn a living,” said Keller, adding, “Shutdowns do not work. As with his previous order, the governor’s latest shutdown will advantage big box stores, destroy countless small businesses and restaurants, and cause more harm than it solves. The governor’s announcement Thursday showed a stunning lack of confidence in the people of Pennsylvania who have been living and learning through this pandemic for nearly a year. Pennsylvanians are smart, hardworking people capable of following common-sense guidance from healthcare professionals. The last thing Pennsylvania needs are more mandates and a one-size-fits-all shutdown order.”

- Meanwhile, Congressman Keller has introduced the Nurses CARE Act, bipartisan legislation designed to strengthen the healthcare workforce in nursing homes, long-term and skilled care facilities. This legislation recognizes the efforts of temporary nurse aides during the COVID-19 pandemic and would ensure their experience and hours spent serving the community count toward certification after the emergency declaration is ended. For more, visit Congressman Keller’s website at https://keller.house.gov/.

- Several Updates from the U.S. Small Business Administration:

  • Regarding the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)….if you received a PPP loan, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness. To apply for loan forgiveness, contact your lender and complete the correct form; compile documentation; submit the forgiveness form and documentation to your lender; and communicate with your lender throughout the process. Learn more

     In all, 5.2 million businesses received a PPP loan. The vast majority - 87 percent of the loans – were for $150,000 or less; 68 percent were for $50,000 or less. The average loan size was $101,000, and 75 percent of all PPP loans went to firms with nine or fewer employees.  

     The SBA is actively engaged in working with lenders across the country to forgive the PPP loans. So far, the SBA has remitted $50 billion in loan forgiveness payments and the organization is ramping up the process daily to forgive as many PPP loans as possible, while assuring compliance with program requirements and adequate oversight of taxpayer dollars.

     When the PPP program ended in August, there was more than $133 billion in funding still available. The SBA has encouraged the federal government to reinstate the program as part of another CARES relief package.

  • If your COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) was declined, you can request reconsideration within six months of the date of the decline letter. Include your application number and information required to overcome the reason for decline. You can send this information via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or mail to the U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Assistance Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, Texas, 76155. Learn more
  • The SBA encourages businesses to beware of malicious COVID-19 phishing. To protect yourself from identity theft and fraud during pandemic recovery, confirm any SBA disaster assistance emails by contacting (800)659-2955 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To avoid scams and fraud, visit www.sba.gov/COVIDfraudalert.

- Weekly information released Friday afternoon by the state Department of Labor and Industry continued to show an increase in unemployment claim categories for Clinton County residents. For the week ending December 5, there were 187 initial unemployment claims, up from 121 the week before. The new numbers showed 76% were male, and 30% were in the construction field. 

The continued claims were at 904 people, up from 766 registered in the week ending November 28. The 904 number included 55% who are male and 18% in the construction field.

Also, the state numbers showed that 43 residents had benefits expire during the week, up from the 35 who had exhausted benefits the last full week of November.

The monthly unemployment rate for November should be released in late December. The October rate for Clinton County was 6.9%.

- The Health Department has announced staffing adjustment to fulfill current needs to ensure long-term case investigations and contact tracing efforts. About 100 contact tracers have been promoted to case investigators, while the hours for about 500 contact tracers are being scaled back. More here: Department of Health Adjusts Supports to Fulfill Current Needs to Ensure Long-Term Case Investigations, Contact Tracing Efforts.

- Health Secretary Levine last week testified in front of a U.S. senate committee regarding transport logistics of the COVID-19 vaccine. More here: Secretary of Health Testifies on COVID-19 Vaccine in Front of Congress (pa.gov).

- Shipping of the first batches of the COVID-19 vaccine is underway, an unprecedented undertaking as the country confronts a winter of surging cases of the deadly virus. According to an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, complicating the matter in Pennsylvania is the fact that the state has not disclosed how many doses are anticipated or how the vaccine will be allocated once it gets here. The state released an interim vaccine plan Friday (COVID-19 Interim Vaccination Plan (pa.gov)), but it doesn’t detail which regions or facilities will get the initial doses, making Pennsylvania and Puerto Rico the only places that haven’t released that information, according to a New York Times survey. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration late Friday approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the highly contagious disease, following the recommendation the day before of an independent committee of experts. Hospitals and nursing homes will be first in line to get the shots. In Pennsylvania, nursing home residents accounted for 40,541 or 9.2% of COVID-19 cases, according to the state. Health care workers made up 3.6% of the total number of cases, or 15,766 people. The vaccine will arrive while Pennsylvania restaurants, bars and many other businesses have been ordered to close until Jan. 4 and hospitals are curtailing non-emergency medical procedures due to spiking COVID-19 cases. The government has hired FedEx Corp. and UPS Inc. to deliver the vaccine to hospitals and nursing homes from airports around the country. (Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

- A study from Penn State Harrisburg shows that the financial impact of COVID-19 on child care providers is more than $325 million across Pennsylvania. On Friday, Dr. Philip M. Sirinides, the Director of the Institute of State and Regional Affairs (ISRA) and an associate professor in the School of Behavioral Sciences and Education at PSU Harrisburg, discussed the statewide financial impacts of the pandemic on child care providers between June 19 and September 7. He was speaking at a Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce's virtual briefing. "The pandemic has emphasized how essential child care is to working families and employers in addition to highlighting the fragility of the entire child care system," said Sirindes. "It is also critical to keep providers informed about policy changes and opportunities for assistance." The study determined that facilities expenses during the state shutdown totaled $56,645,443; the two-week floating payroll to rehire and pay staff totaled $63,405,309; implementing COVID-19 guidelines totaled $89,335,752; and slow reopening, assuming 83.3 percent enrollment, totaled $115,731,403. The total of four areas was $325,117,907. Another study shows that the estimated weekly cost of childcare is $290 per child. To date, Sirinides said 90 percent of child care providers closed at some point and 423 never reopened. "We certainly have a concern here," he said. The study recommends financial assistant to resume operations, additional support in reopening to offset reduced enrollment and increased public awareness about the importance of child care. Read More (Source: The Daily Item, Sunbury)

- State Treasurer Joe Torsella is recommending exploring the use of pension obligation bonds to ease state pension burdens, saying this and other measures could help alleviate the state’s COVID-19 budget strain. Learn more: Pennsylvania Treasury, Joe Torsella - State Treasurer (patreasury.gov).

- Pennsylvania State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 526 licensed liquor establishments over the weekend (December 11-13), issuing 14 notices of violation and 24 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 12 licensee checks over the weekend, issuing one warning and three notices of violation related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. More information here: State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement December 11-13: 526 Compliance Checks; 14 Notices of Violation (pa.gov).

- The PA State Police today announced that Governor Wolf has granted an additional extension to license to carry firearms permits. Permits expiring on March 19, 2020 or later are now valid through March 31, 2021. The previous extension was set to expire on December 31. See more: Wolf Administration Grants Fifth Extension to License to Carry Firearm Permits (pa.gov).

- The PA Department of Health today said the state’s Medical Marijuana Program has operationalized its 100th dispensary. Of the 101 operational dispensaries, 99 of them are open and dispensing products to patients. 27 grower/processors (including the Terrapin Care Station operation in South Avis, Clinton County) are operational, with 22 shipping product to dispensaries. According to the state, many of the grower/processors are either expanding their locations (as is the case at Terrapin), or already have. In addition to the tremendous growth in the program, Pennsylvania early on in the pandemic made provisions to ensure the continued availability of product to certified medicinal users of medical marijuana. More here: Medical Marijuana Program Operationalizes 100th Dispensary (pa.gov).

- The Wolf Administration today shared resources for people struggling with anxiety, depression, loneliness, isolation, and other stressors this holiday season. Learn more: Wolf Administration Reminds Pennsylvanians Experiencing Anxiety, Loneliness, Stress Amidst Holiday Season That They Are Not Alone, Encourages Farmers and Rural Communities to Use Support Resources and Networks (pa.gov).

- Older adults and people with disabilities have until December 31 to apply for rebates on property taxes and rent paid in 2019. The departments of Revenue and Aging are reminding Pennsylvanians that the rebates are available through the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. Details here: Reminder: Deadline for Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is December 31 (pa.gov).

Upcoming Webinars:

  • Deepening Customer Relationships Through Technology – Tuesday, 12/15 at 2pm. The U.S. Chamber’s CO-, in partnership with Chase for Business and Salesforce, covers tactics and technologies you can adopt now to build an efficient and personalized customer experience, including tips on ensuring premier customer service; insights for how to integrate customer relationship management technologies with your business; and strategies for maximizing your engagement with customers and clients. Click here to register.

   Plus a bonus virtual session from Salesforce, How to Simplify Digital Transformation for Your Small Business – Thursday, 12/17 at 2pm. RSVP here

    • Learn How to Sell to the GSA - Wednesday, 12/16 at 10am. The U.S. Small Business Administration offers a one-hour, no-cost webinar on how to sell to the General Services Administration, the acquisition arm of the federal government. Takeaways include: how to become a GSA vendor; the different types of GSA contracts; and how to get on the GSA schedule. CLICK AND REGISTER

Posted 12/11/20

- The PA Health Department’s free COVID-19 testing clinic in Clinton County is into its second day of operation today. The drive-thru/walk-in testing site – open 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily at the Castanea Fire Company Picnic Grounds, 859 Lower Creek Road, Lock Haven, through this coming Monday, December 14  – saw about 280 people receive a test yesterday, according to the Clinton County Department of Emergency Services, which is working with the state to facilitate the clinic. The state has the ability to offer up to 450 tests a day, and county officials are encouraging people to get a test. Individuals three years and older qualify to be tested. You do not need to have COVID symptoms and you do not need to make an appointment to be tested.

- PA Department of Health officials today confirmed another record day of new COVID-19 positive cases – 12,745, bringing the statewide total to 470,034. According to the state numbers, Clinton County’s case count was also at a high, 114 new cases, bringing the total to 1,203 positive cases. Centre County was up 262 cases, to 7,456; and Lycoming County’s case count rose another 248, to 3,532. Statewide, there are 5,852 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 1,191 of whom are in the intensive care unit. More here: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19: 5,852 Patients Hospitalized and 1,191 Patients in the Intensive Care Unit.

- Keystone Central School District has announced it will remain in full remote learning through January 8, 2021, and all athletics and co-curricular activities are suspended through January 4. In a letter today to school district families, staff and the community, Superintendent Dr. Jacquelyn Martin said the district will plan to move to a new hybrid instructional model on January 11. Click Here for the KCSD Update for details.

- Keystone Central’s Career and Technology Center (CTC) is looking to partner with local employers to provide paid work experiences to 12th grade students. If your business currently has an employee shortage and you're looking to hire, contact Daci Killinger, Cooperative Education Coordinator for Keystone Central CTC, at 570-893-4900 ext. 4511 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Daci will answer any questions and share more information about the work experience program to assist businesses with new hires.

- Reaction to Governor Tom Wolf’s announcement yesterday of new, statewide COVID-19 mitigation orders was swift from the PA Chamber of Business & Industry. President Gene Barr said the Governor’s orders – which he said were announced without any consultation or feedback from the state’s business community – “will certainly wreak economic devastation upon numerous businesses.” Read Barr’s full statement here: PA Chamber Statement

- The Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association’s reaction to the Governor’s new orders was equally critical, with PRLA President John Longstreet saying, “This order will have a considerable impact - hopefully, one of them will be to lower case counts, though there is no data to support that. The short notice of the shutdown and timing could not be worse as employers will be forced to lay off thousands of more workers as we head into the holiday season.” See Longstreet’s full statement here: PRLA's Statement (pdf)

PRLA is conducting an impact survey, collecting data from the restaurant industry on how the indoor dining/private event shutdown will impact their business and their employees. TAKE SURVEY

Longstreet also said the hospitality industry is urging those in support of the restaurant and hotel industries to lobby for federal relief. Both the National Restaurant Association and the American Hotel & Lodging Association have issued action alerts on the bipartisan $908 billion relief package. With Congress nearing the end of their session, Longstreet said time is of the essence; if this package does not pass now, the next chance for a relief package would be March.

- A REMINDER:  Food serving businesses in Clinton County have until 5:00 p.m. this coming Monday, December 14, to apply for a Clinton County CARES grant to help offset pandemic-related losses. The Clinton County Commissioners specifically targeted support for the hard-hit restaurant related industry and have earmarked approximately $50,000 in grant funds. Click on the following link for the online grant application on the county website https://www.clintoncountypa.com/departments/funding-opportunities. The County Planning Department is coordinating the grant program. For questions or assistance with the application process, contact Kari Kepler in Planning at 570-893-4080, ext. 2, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

- The PA Department of Community & Economic Development has issued an overview of the state’s new, temporary COVID-19 mitigation orders. Click Here for the DCED file for that information.

- The impact of the Governor’s new orders, which take effect this Saturday, December 12, is being felt across Clinton County nonprofit groups as well. A number of local organizations have announced changes to their regular operating schedules in light of the orders, which will be in place for the next three weeks, until 8:00 a.m., January 4, 2021:

  • From the River Valley Regional YMCA, which includes the Lock Haven and Jersey Shore Branch Y’s: All River Valley Regional YMCA facilities will be closed starting Saturday, December 12 to Monday, January 4, 2021. Childcare Programs will still continue at all locations for those families who need to remain in the workforce. Facebook, www.rvrymca.org.
  • From Central Mountains ATV Association regarding a couple of upcoming events, including their planned gathering this Sunday, December 13, to deliver toys to the Mark the Shark Toy Drive. The ATV group will be delivering the toys and checks to the Toy Drive, but they ask that no members come to help. A select few members who have been storing the toys will take care of delivering them. Unfortunately, the new state orders have forced the cancellation of the group’s annual New Year’s Eve ATV ride in the Kettle Creek area. www.cmatva.org.

- Passing along a couple of updates from the PA Chamber: 

  • Negotiations on another federal COVID relief package broke down this week, with tons of finger pointing and blame to go around. There have been a number of sticking points on a proposed $900 billion bill – including funding for state and local governments (an issue pushed by Democrats) and targeted liability protections for businesses that are following public health guidelines (a Republican and Chamber priority). Earlier this week Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, offered to remove these two hotly debated provisions from the bill in order to move forward – a move that Democrats rejected. However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, has continued to attack the inclusion of safe harbor protections. Talks took a further turn when it was reported that McConnell’s staff told House leaders that the Senate GOP would “likely not support a $908 billion bipartisan proposal.” Adding another dynamic to the mix is yet another $916 billion package championed by the Trump administration. House and Senate Democrats have balked at the lack of a federal jobless benefit supplement in that plan. Given the state of negotiations, the House is adjourned until at least Tuesday.
  • There is light at the end of the tunnel as we head toward the New Year. This morning, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it plans to move forward with a COVID-19 vaccine created by Pfizer. According to US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, the FDA is quickly working toward “finalization and issuance of an emergency use authorization” of the vaccine and that “we could be seeing people get vaccinated by Monday, Tuesday of next week.” As noted in this CNN report, “Operation Warp Speed” – the name of the federal government’s initiative to develop a vaccine – will begin distributing the vaccine to states once the final authorizations and approvals are granted. Earlier this week, the United Kingdom became the first country to begin distributing doses of a vaccine to the general public. You can read more about this landmark move here.

 - The PA Department of State’s Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation (BEI) today released data related to COVID-19 enforcement actions for the period of November 29 through December 6. The enforcement involves regulated boards and commissions in the state. During the period, BEI performed 450 inspections and 86 investigations in which COVID-19-specific compliance was a focus, distributing three warning letters related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. More information here: Department of State Releases COVID-19 Enforcement Actions, Nov. 29 – Dec. 6.

- PA State Police Liquor Control Officers visited 766 licensed liquor establishments between Monday and Thursday of this week (December 7-10), issuing 10 notices of violation and 26 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 33 licensee checks during that time, and issued one notice of violation related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Read more: State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement December 7-10: 766 Compliance Checks; 10 Notices of Violation (pa.gov).

- American consumers spent an estimated $19.8 billion at independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday (December 5), according to data recently released by American Express, up from $19.6 billion from last year. Click Here for information from the U.S. Small Business Administration for more.

- Business has been brisk at small businesses across Clinton County this holiday season. Shops in downtown Lock Haven extended the December 5 Small Business Saturday celebration over three more weeks. Close to 40 downtown businesses are offering special sales and savings this Saturday, December 12 and next Saturday, December 19, so shoppers have the option of continuing to Shop Small and support friends and neighbors in the local business community. Click Here for the Small Business Saturday flyer for a listing of special offerings for tomorrow, Saturday, December 12.

- The U.S. Department of Labor announced that unemployment claims rose significantly last week. Some 853,000 people applied for unemployment, the biggest jump since September, as cases of COVID-19 continue to surge. Read more: News Release (dol.gov).

- UPMC this week provided a COVID-19 update, highlighting the health system’s preparedness, holiday guidance, and outlining how UPMC is preparing for COVID-19 vaccine distribution. Click Here for the UPMC file for more information.

- Governor Wolf yesterday announced that more than 327,000 Pennsylvanians will gain access to high-speed internet service through the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I auction. Thirteen providers in the state successfully bid in the auction and will provide high-speed internet access in locations that are underserved or do not have access to broadband that meets the current federal standard. Two providers bid for projects that will impact people in Clinton County. Learn more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-announces-327000-pennsylvanians-will-gain-access-to-high-speed-internet-through-federal-auction/.

- The PA Department of Corrections has announced it is reorganizing the state prison system to continue and improve its COVID-19 mitigation efforts. See more: Department of Corrections Reorganizes System for Continued Improvement Efforts to Mitigate COVID-19.

- PennDOT today said it has issued its one millionth REAL ID product, a major milestone in its work to issue REAL ID-compliant products to customers. More here: Article (penndot.gov).

Posted 12/10/20

- Calling the situation dire, PA Governor Tom Wolf and Health Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine today announced new, limited-time mitigation efforts to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The temporary orders announced this afternoon take effect at 12:01 a.m. this Saturday, December 12 and will be in effect through 8:00 a.m. on January 4, 2021. Details here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-sec-of-health-announce-new-protective-mitigation-efforts-to-put-pennsylvania-on-pause-through-early-january/.

Following are links to the new orders, as well as a frequently asked questions document from the state (files of the latest orders are also attached):

 

- As part of today’s announcement, Governor Wolf noted that, since his positive COVID-19 test result earlier this week, he has since tested negative for the virus. He said he will continue to quarantine at home for the required period of time. Meanwhile, First Lady Frances Wolf announced today that she has tested negative for COVID-19.

- Clinton County Government is encouraging county residents to take advantage of the opportunity to receive a free COVID-19 test locally. Contractors for the state Department of Health have set up a COVID-19 testing clinic at the Castanea Fire Company Picnic Grounds and saw drive-thru and walk-in patients starting at 9:00 o’clock this morning. The clinic will run daily, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. through Monday, December 14. Reports are that testing activity at the clinic was brisk this morning, then leveled off later this afternoon.

- The Health Department today confirmed an additional 11,972 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 457,289. According to the state, Clinton County saw an additional 54 positive cases, bringing the county total to 1,089. Centre County was up 118 cases, bringing their total to 7,194; and Lycoming County’s case count was up 227, to 3,284. Statewide, 5,852 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, 1,191 of whom are in the intensive care unit. https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1187.

- The Governor has proclaimed today, December 10, as Get Covered 2021 Pennsylvania Day, to encourage all citizens to support efforts to increase access to affordable, meaningful health care coverage. See the proclamation here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/get-covered-pennsylvania-day-2020/.

Posted 12/9/20

- PA Governor Tom Wolf today announced he has tested positive for COVID-19. In a statement released this afternoon, the Governor said he has no symptoms and is performing all of his duties remotely as he quarantines at home. Read more: Gov. Wolf Tests Positive for COVID-19 (pa.gov).

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 8,703 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 445,317. According to the state data, Clinton County reported an additional 41 cases today, bringing the number of positive cases to 1,035. Centre County’s case count was up 100, bringing their total to 7,076; and Lycoming County reported 79 new cases today, bringing their case count to 3,057. Statewide, there are 5,561 people hospitalized with the virus, 1,160 of whom are in the intensive care unit. More here: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19: 5,561 Patients Hospitalized and 1,160 Patients in the Intensive Care Unit.

Meanwhile, members of the Wolf administration today presented details on COVID-19 testing to date, upcoming expanded testing sites, and the contact tracing process. Learn more: Wolf Administration Provides COVID-19 Testing Update with a Focus on Contact Tracing (pa.gov).

- PA Department of Community & Economic Development officials and representatives from Ben Franklin Technology Partners Innovation Works today highlighted the development of a new COVID-19 treatment. More information here: Wolf Administration Highlights Development of Promising New Drug Candidate to Treat COVID-19 - PA Department of Community & Economic Development.

- In a letter dated today, the Pennsylvania Principals Association asked the Pennsylvania State Athletic Association to delay the start of the scholastic winter sports season. The PIAA Board of Directors is meeting virtually this afternoon for a regularly scheduled meeting.

- The Center for Rural Pennsylvania has issued its latest newsletter, Rural Perspectives. The November/December edition highlights research that looked at student participation in public school sports (researchers included professors from Lock Haven University); the impact of COVID-19 on drug overdoses; the decline in fire calls across Pennsylvania, and more. Click on the following link for the latest issue: https://www.rural.palegislature.us/publications_newsletter.html.

- The PA Department of Agriculture today released data related to COVID-19 restaurant enforcement actions between November 30 and December 6. Bureau of Food Safety personnel conducted 632 inspections during that period, 37 of which were complaint-driven; 16 were COVID-19-specific complaints. The department received 393 food facility COVID-19-related complaints, 219 of which were referred to local and county health jurisdictions. One formal warning letter was issued, and one citation was filed. According to the state information, there was one Bureau of Food Safety inspection in Clinton County during the period, and no COVID-19 related warnings or citations were issued. Details here: Department of Agriculture Releases COVID-19 Restaurant Enforcement Actions, November 30 – December 6.

In Non-COVID-Related News….

- PennDOT today announced the appointment of Clinton County resident Damon Wagner as the new Assistant District Executive for Maintenance in District 2, which includes Clinton and eight other central PA counties. More here: News Details (penndot.gov).

- Pennsylvania’s second annual PA Donor Day is January 8, 2021, and in preparation, Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine today urged all Pennsylvanians to participate and register as organ and tissue donors through Donate Life Pennsylvania, the state’s online donation registry. Learn more: Department of Health Encourages Residents to Participate, Register Online as Organ and Tissue Donors.

Posted 12/8/20

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 10, 170 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 436,614. Clinton County’s numbers are nearing a thousand, with 37 new cases reported today, bringing the county case count to 994. Centre County was up 87 cases today, to 6,976; and Lycoming County saw 65 new cases, bringing their total to 2,978. Statewide, there are 5,421 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 1,115 of whom are in the intensive care unit. Details here: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19: 5,421 Patients Hospitalized and 1,115 Patients in the Intensive Care Unit.

- PA Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine today announced that beginning this Thursday, December 10, regional drive-thru and indoor walk-in COVID-19 testing clinics will be held in five counties, including Clinton. Dr. Levine said the counties with testing sites will change each week over the next 11 weeks so that 61 counties will eventually be covered by dedicated pop-up testing sites. Clinton’s COVID-19 testing clinic will be held at the Castanea Fire Company Picnic Grounds, which those who want a test being asked to enter via the Lower Creek Road main entrance so that one-way traffic can be maintained. Tests will be given between 9am and 6pm through Monday, December 14 on a first-come, first-served basis, with up to 450 tests being administered per day. Read more from the state here: Department of Health Announces Week-Two of Regional Testing Extension Across the Commonwealth.

- The Wolf Administration today began distribution of the ninth allotment of COVID-19 antigen test kits provided by the federal government to certified facilities in Lycoming, Potter, Carbon, Clarion, Northampton and York counties. Health Secretary Levine said, “Antigen tests are a timely, quick and easy-to-use tool for communities to receive rapid COVID-19 testing.” Last week, 115,880 tests were distributed to 66 facilities in Clinton, Clearfield, Crawford, Erie, Forest, Fulton and Jefferson counties, and the state says additional tests will be provided to health care providers in those counties in the coming weeks. More details here: Department of Health Announces Week-Nine Rapid Antigen Test Card Distributions Across the Commonwealth.

- Governor Tom Wolf and religious leaders from across the commonwealth are asking Pennsylvanians to take COVID-19 precautions and help one another stay safe during the upcoming holiday season. Said the Governor, “…the truth is that COVID-19 is still as dangerous as ever right now, and the best thing we can do to protect our loved ones is to worship and celebrate at home this year.” See more: Gov. Wolf and Religious Leaders Ask Pennsylvanians to Help Keep Each Other Safe During Holidays (pa.gov).

- PA CareerLink Clinton County, Lock Haven University, and the Partnership are co-hosting a virtual webinar on Unemployment Compensation this Thursday, December 10, from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. UC Workforce Development Representative Nancy Smithbauer will cover UC claim volumes, new pandemic programs and UC’s response. Click Here for the PA CareerLink Webinar flyer for more information, or register at https://forms.gle/kn3qFmHYCZMB6wg99.

- Comcast yesterday announced that it will extend its commitments to help people connect to the Internet during the COVID-19 pandemic as millions continue to stay home while many workplaces and schools operate virtually. Comcast will continue to provide free Internet service for the first 60 days for new Internet Essentials customers, and free access to more than 1.5 million public Xfinity WiFi hotspots, through June 30, 2021. It’s the third time Comcast has extended these commitments. See more: https://corporate.comcast.com/press/releases/covid-support-extended.

- In light of the ongoing pandemic, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has announced another extension of student loan repayments, this one through January 31, 2021. Read more: Secretary DeVos Extends Student Loan Forbearance Period Through January 31, 2021, in Response to COVID-19 National Emergency | U.S. Department of Education.

- The Internal Revenue Service today encouraged taxpayers to take necessary actions in the final weeks of the year to help file federal tax returns timely and accurately in 2021. This year, there are some key items to consider involving credits, deductions and refunds. A special page, updated and available on IRS.gov, outlines steps taxpayers can take now to make tax filing easier in 2021. Learn more: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/get-ready-for-taxes-whats-new-and-what-to-consider-when-filing-in-2021.

- Roughly 800 taxpayers who are on payment plans to pay back personal income taxes owed to the commonwealth saw double payments withdrawn from their bank accounts last week due to a glitch in a Pennsylvania Department of Revenue system. Revenue spokesman Jeff Johnson said instead of initiating one electronic transfer of funds from those taxpayers’ accounts, the department’s tax system double dipped. “Fortunately, we quickly recognized this issue and we have been working with the commonwealth’s financial institution to credit these accounts as quickly as possible,” Johnson said. He said taxpayers should see the issue resolved in the coming days. Meanwhile, he said the department will work with affected taxpayers to refund any fees that they were charged by their banking institutions for the department’s error. Taxpayers in this situation should call 717-425-2495, Ext. 72841 or send a message through the department’s Online Customer Service Center. Read More (Source: PennLive)

- The PA Chamber of Business & Industry last week hosted a “COVID-19 Resurgences Planning” webinar featuring Governor Wolf and Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine. The hour-long event was open to the entire business community and provided an opportunity to gain key insight into the administration’s most recent COVID-19 mitigation orders. Those who were unable to participate can view a recording here.

- Penn State Extension is reaching out to get input. Extension offices in Clinton County and across the state are dedicated to helping address issues facing today’s communities. Do you have suggestions for a new workshop or training related to business, leadership and community vitality? What would you like to see from the Extension office? To make sure they’re developing research-based tools and products that meet local needs, Extension asking for input through a survey: GIVE YOUR INPUT

- The COVID-19 pandemic continues to plague the annual Pennsylvania Farm Show. The state today announced the popular butter sculpture will not be part of the January 9-15, 2021 Farm Show, which had previously been converted to an all-virtual format because of COVID-19. Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said the virus made the event too risky for the sculptors, Farm Show staff and those involved in recording and broadcasting the event. Read more: Department of Agriculture: 2021 Farm Show Butter Sculpture Cancelled Amid COVID-19 Resurgence.

- The PA Department of Environmental Protection last week published for comment significant and comprehensive revisions to the state's Chapter 105 wetlands requirements. Among the many proposed changes include expanded assessment, mitigation and compensation requirements for impacts during projects. Affected industries would include land development and linear projects, such as utilities, pipelines and road construction. The comment deadline will close February 3, 2021.

- The PA Department of Environmental Protection will host a December 15, 1:30 p.m. webinar on transitioning to the new ePermitting application for oil and gas well permits. The hour-and-a-half session will review the ePermitting application submission process and functionality with respect to oil and gas well permit applications. Click Here for a copy of the full announcementClick Here to register to join the webinar via WebEx.

- The Small Business Administration hosts a December 16, 10:00-11:00 a.m. webinar, How to Do Business with the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). The GSA is the purchasing arm of the federal government, the largest single purchaser of goods and services in the world. Participants in this free online session will learn how to become a GSA vendor, the different types of SGA contracts, and how to get on the GSA schedule. CLICK AND REGISTER

Posted 12/7/20

- PA Governor Tom Wolf and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine this afternoon sounded the alarm on the urgency of protecting the state’s health care system and workers as COVID-19 cases continue to surge. The Governor implored that mitigation efforts must be followed or there’s a risk of tragic consequences. See details from this afternoon’s press conference: Gov. Wolf, Sec. of Health Sound Alarm on Urgency to Protect Health Care System, Workers as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Surge (pa.gov).

- The Governor and Secretary Levine also released a weekly status update detailing the state’s mitigation efforts based on the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard, highlighting a seven-day case increase of 48,668 cases, statewide percent positivity of 14.4%, and 66 of 67 counties with substantial transmission status (Cameron is the only county with a low transmission status). Every county in the state has a concerning percent positivity above five percent. In addition, nine counties (Mifflin, Potter, Bedford, Montour, Juniata, Somerset, Tioga, Franklin, and Lawrence) have a percent positivity at or above 20 percent. See more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/pennsylvania-covid-19-early-warning-monitoring-dashboard-update-for-nov-27-dec-3-case-increases-near-49000-percent-positivity-at-14-4-and-66-counties-with-substantial-transmission/.

Meanwhile, the Health Department confirmed an additional 6,330 new cases of COVID-19 today, in addition to 8,630 cases reported Sunday and a record high of 12,884 cases reported Saturday. Today’s numbers bring the statewide total to 426,444 positive cases. According to the state, Clinton County reported an additional 13 cases today, bringing the countywide total to 957 cases. The county saw an additional 40 cases reported Saturday, and another 54 cases Sunday. Centre County today was up 23 cases, to 6,889; and Lycoming County’s case count was up by 64, to 2,913. Statewide, there are 5,300 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 1,107 of whom are in the intensive care unit.

- The Health Department has notified health care providers that, effective immediately, it has aligned its quarantine guidance for people exposed to COVID-19 with new guidance issued last week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that provides an option for a 10-day quarantine without testing or a seven-day quarantine with a negative test on or after day-five of quarantine. More here: Department of Health Aligns COVID-19 Quarantine Guidance With CDC.

- In addition to the coronavirus, flu season is upon us. The Department of Health says that, as of November 28, there have been 480 laboratory-confirmed flu cases and one flu-associated death statewide. Health Secretary Levine is urging Pennsylvanians to get a flu shot. Read more: Department of Health Provides Update on Flu Season, Urges Pennsylvanians to Get a Flu Vaccine.

- A free drive-thru/walk-in COVID-19 testing clinic will be held in Clinton County starting this Thursday, December 10 and running daily through Monday, December 14. Contractors with the PA Department of Health will be set up at the Castanea Fire Company Picnic Grounds, 859 Lower Creek Road, Lock Haven, between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., with the ability to test up to 450 individuals per day on a first-come, first-served basis. The County Community Emergency Coalition and the PA Department of Health are coordinating the testing clinic. People do not need an appointment, nor do they have to have COVID-19 symptoms in order to be tested; they are asked to bring a photo ID and an insurance card. The tests are for people ages three and up. Those seeking tests are asked to access the Castanea Picnic Grounds clinic via Hanna Street in Lock Haven, proceeding on Lower Creek Road in order to prevent a traffic back-up on Water Street/Island Route in the City. In order to keep traffic moving smoothly, cars will exit the picnic grounds via Bald Eagle Street and past the Clinton County Piper Building. The County Commissioners are urging the community to take advantage of the testing. “We are encouraging our community to take advantage of this opportunity. One of the proven ways to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 is through testing and quarantining. If we can test more and isolate the positives, hopefully we can slow the spread of the virus in Clinton County.”

- Food serving establishments in Clinton County can apply for a CARES grant through Clinton County government starting today. The County Commissioners last week earmarked approximately $50,000 in grant funds for local restaurants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Click on the following link for the online grant application on the county website https://www.clintoncountypa.com/departments/funding-opportunities. Applications are being accepted through next Monday, December 14. For questions or assistance with the application process, contact Kari Kepler in the County Planning Department at 570-893-4080, ext. 2, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 306 licensed liquor establishments over the weekend (December 4-6), issuing 16 notices of violation and 21 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 20 licensee checks during the period, issuing no notices of violation and 3 warnings. More here: State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement December 4-6: 306 Compliance Checks; 16 Notices of Violation (pa.gov).

- Governor Wolf today announced the approval of $36 million in funding through the Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) to support 214 community revitalization projects across the commonwealth, including one in Clinton County. According to the announcement, The New Love Center will receive $41,250 to purchase and renovate a vacant building in Pine Creek Township to expand their food distribution services to people in Clinton and Lycoming counties. Contributors to the project include Jersey Shore State Bank and The Muncy Bank & Trust Company. By providing tax credits to businesses that donate capital, NAP encourages private sector investment into distressed communities to support projects that address neighborhood and community problems. NAP can be used for projects in categories including affordable housing, community services, crime prevention, education, job training, charitable food, blight, special population issues, veteran’s initiatives, and long-term community revitalization. This year, the program also provided for COVID-19 and social justice related assistance. See more: Governor Wolf Announces $36 Million in New Funding to Support Community Revitalization Projects - PA Department of Community & Economic Development.

- With two federal pandemic unemployment programs set to expire at the end of this month, the PA Departments of Labor & Industry and Human Services are reminding Pennsylvanians that there are other state assistance programs available. Both the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs will end December 31 if Congress fails to pass an extension. Learn more: Wolf Administration Reminds Out-of-Work Pennsylvanians of Available State Assistance (pa.gov).

- With time running out, lawmakers on Sunday closed in on a proposed COVID-19 relief bill that would provide roughly $300 in extra federal weekly unemployment benefits but not another round of $1,200 in direct payments to most Americans, leaving that issue for President-elect Joe Biden to wrestle over with a new Congress next year. The $908 billion aid package to be released Monday would be attached to a larger year-end spending bill needed to avert a government shutdown this coming weekend. The cash payments were popular when they were first distributed after the pandemic hit, and Biden on Friday had expressed hope that a second wave might come after weekend negotiations. But senators involved in the talks said the checks won’t be included as part of the compromise, even as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and others said that could cause them to oppose the measure. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the second-ranking Democrat, indicated that excluding the checks while assuring small-business aid and renters’ assistance was the only way to reach agreement with Republicans who are putting firm limits on the bill’s final price tag. The plan being worked on by a group of Republican and Democratic senators is less than half of the Democrats’ push of $2.2 trillion and nearly double the $500 billion “targeted” package proposed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., agreed that a new round of direct checks “may be a go” at some point. “This is not a stimulus bill, it’s a relief bill,” he said. “And it’s something for the next three to four months to help those in greatest need. ”Both he and Durbin said that McConnell has shown interest in the bipartisan effort, and Cassidy said he was hopeful that President Donald Trump would embrace it as well. Read More (Source: The Associated Press)

- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has announced its strong support for the bipartisan group of lawmakers who have put forward a new pandemic relief package to be passed by the end of the year. U.S. Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley said, “For pandemic relief to become law, it must be bipartisan. We are greatly encouraged that a bipartisan group of House and Senate members along with the Problem Solvers Caucus have released an outline that can potentially break the partisan gridlock that has prevented long-overdue pandemic relief. Between this effort and the recent revisions to the Senate Republican proposal—which maintains critical elements especially with respect to liability protection–we believe there is an opportunity for Republicans and Democrats to negotiate a bill that can become law. While it is critical that lawmakers get the details right, time is of the essence. American families cannot wait until next year. The Chamber urges lawmakers to support bipartisan efforts to enact pandemic relief in the coming weeks. We also urge lawmakers to work with the business community to ensure that relief reaches small businesses as soon as possible and that liability reforms provide meaningful protections like in the ‘Safe to Work Act’.”

- Following are several updates from the U.S. Small Business Administration: 

  • With the pandemic impacting small businesses across America, National Write a Business Plan Month is a good reminder to review your business plan and make any necessary adjustments. Learn more
  • Small businesses impacted by the pandemic may qualify for tax credits and other relief. Find out what options are available. Learn more
  • If you are a small businesses, nonprofit organization of any size, or a U.S. agricultural business with 500 or fewer employees that have suffered substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, you can still apply for the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan. Learn more 
  • Are you looking to set up an e-commerce platform and grow international sales? Join the SBA on Tuesday, December 15 at 2:00 p.m. for a webinar to learn how to apply for up to $10,000 in grant money to help make it happen. Register today

   • State, local, and federal agencies are working together to maintain the safety, security, and health of the American people. Check out coronavirus.gov for updates from the White House's Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force. Go to cdc.gov for detailed information about COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Visit covid-sb.org, the official federal resource website for U.S. small businesses affected by COVID-19. Learn more about the federal government's response

- Virtual mentoring and training is available locally for small businesses. The Small Business Development Center at Penn State, directed by Tim Keohane, offers support for small businesses in Clinton, Centre and Lycoming counties. Tom Keiffer serves as the business consultant for Clinton, as well as Lycoming County-based businesses. For one-on-one support via phone, email and video, you can reach Tom at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

- The SBDC also offers a range of webinars for small businesses, including:

  • Quick Connect Coaching Sessions, Tuesdays at noon. Looking for a quick answer to a question related to disaster recovery, reopening, stabilizing, or projecting for growth? Attend a "Quick Connect" session to get your questions answered. Each week an SBDC consultant will address answers related to a specific topic. Learn More
  • The First Step to Small Business Success, Tuesday, December 8, at 9:00 a.m. Entrepreneurs across the country are launching innovative products and services that positively impact the health, well-being, and happiness of others. Do you have an idea that could make a difference? If so, attend this free webinar to learn about the process of starting a business. Learn More
  • Hiring & HR Legal Compliance for Small Business, Thursday, January 14 at noon. Having the right employees is essential to a successful business operation – but the legal requirements around hiring, firing, and managing employees can be confusing. Join this free legal webinar featuring Kathy Speaker MacNett, Attorney and Managing Member of SkarlatosZonarich,LLC, in Harrisburg, who specializes in labor and employment law, litigation, arbitration, and investigation. Learn More
  • QuickBooks Online (3-Part Series), January 15, 22, and 29. This series of three workshops will help users adopt and implement QuickBooks Online. The introductory workshop will review software benefits, choosing the right subscription, and transitioning from desktop to online. The second session will cover sales & revenue transactions, expense & purchase transactions, and reporting. The final session will focus on payments, payroll, and the Intuit app center. Register for the First Workshop

Click here for: All Upcoming SBDC Events

- The IRS is asking taxpayers to remember a few points when preparing for the 2021 tax filing season. Taxpayers may be able to claim the recovery rebate credit if they met the eligibility requirements in 2020 and one of the following applies to them:

  • They didn't receive an Economic Impact Payment in 2020,
  • They are single and their EIP payment was less than $1,200,
  • They are married, filed jointly for 2018 or 2019 and their payment was less than $2,400, and/or
  • They didn’t receive $500 for each qualifying child.

For more information, visit IRS.gov.

- With COVID-19 cases continuing to rise, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending people stay home for the holidays. Read more: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html.

Posted 12/4/20

- COVID-19 case counts continue to rise. The PA Department of Health today confirmed another record-high number – 11,763 positive cases of the virus, bringing the statewide total to 398,600. According to the state data, Clinton County reported an additional 28 cases today, bringing the total case count to 850. Centre County jumped 119 cases, to 6,657, and Lycoming County was up an additional 91 cases, bringing their total to 2,601 positive cases. There are 5,071 people hospitalized statewide with COVID-19, 1,065 of whom are in the intensive care unit. The state today also reported an additional 169 deaths attributed to the virus, bringing the state total to 11,113. Read more: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19: 5,071 Patients Hospitalized and 1,065 Patients in the Intensive Care Unit.

- Clinton County’s Department of Emergency Services today issued a news release detailing plans for COVID-19 testing next week in Clinton County. State contractors will be at the Castanea Fire Company Picnic Grounds between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. daily December 10 through 14, offering a free drive-thru and walk-in COVID-19 Clinic and are planning to conduct up to 450 tests per day on a first-come, first-served basis. Click Here for the ‘Clinton Covid Testing’ file for details.

- The County Commissioners today issued a news release regarding the second round of Clinton County CARES funding, which they will dedicate to local businesses dedicated to serving food. Click Here for the ‘Clinton County CARES’ news release for more information.

- Keystone Central School District Superintendent Dr. Jacquelyn Martin this afternoon announced that the District will continue with remote learning, and postpone all athletic practices and events, through next Friday, December 11. Dr. Martin said the District will continue to monitor the local COVID-19 situation to determine if in-school learning can resume on December 14. Click Here for the ‘KCSD’ update for more on today’s announcement.

- Initial unemployment insurance claims by Clinton County workers continued to inch up during the last part of November, while the number of continued claims decreased, according to information released Friday by the state Department of Labor and Industry. For the week ending November 28, there were 121 initial claims, up from 101 the week before. Of the new claims, 27% were in the construction field, and 74% of them were male. This is the highest initial claim number in the county in a few months, and some of the claims are likely “seasonal” workers.

Continued claims were 766 for the last full week in November, down slightly from the 799 registered the week before. The recent numbers include 16.7% who are in the construction field, and 55% who are male.

October’s Clinton County unemployment rate was 6.9%, the sixth straight month that the rate declined following the beginning of the pandemic. The November county unemployment information should be released near the end of December.

- The U.S. Small Business Administration this week revealed which Pennsylvania businesses and groups received loans of under $150,000, provided through the federal Paycheck Protection Program. View Pennsylvania's data HERE. | READ MORE

- The PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources today announced the cancellation of all in-person events at state facilities, beginning this Sunday, December 6, until further notice as a result of spiking COVID-19 numbers. This includes visitor center exhibit halls and interpretive areas, and all indoor and outdoor programs. DCNR will continue to keep state-owned land accessible for statewide recreation, and restrooms will continue to be available.

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 729 licensed liquor establishments Monday through Thursday of this week (November 30 – December 3), issuing six notice of violation and 28 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 31 licensee checks during the period, but issued no warnings or notices of violations related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Details here: State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement November 30-December 3: 729 Compliance Checks; Six Notices of Violation (pa.gov).

- PA Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine today emphasized regular hand washing as part of the effort to prevent the spread of germs amidst the coronavirus. More here: Department of Health: Clean Hands Save Lives.

- Shop small, shop local is the message as retailers in downtown Lock Haven celebrate the second of four “Small Business Saturdays” tomorrow, December 5. Nearly 40 downtown businesses are offering special sales and savings, and Downtown Lock Haven, Inc. is encouraging people to participate in a special passport program to be eligible for prize drawings following the final Small Business Saturday celebration on December 19. Tomorrow, Santa and Mrs. Claus will greet children in contactless fashion from inside the window at the Downtown Lock Haven, Inc. offices at 205 East Main Street between 10am and 2pm (children are invited to drop off their letter to Santa during the visit). Chainsaw carver Jeff Donoughe will be stationed in the Courthouse Parking Lot at Main and Jay Streets for chainsaw carving demonstrations starting at 10am and will also have finished carvings displayed along Main Street. And Triangle Park will be decorated for the season and will feature a Thomas the Train display. Click Here for the Small Business Saturday file for a list of stores offering specials this Saturday.

- There’s the potential for some winter weather this weekend, and PennDOT today encouraged motorists to “Know Before You Go” by checking conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles by visiting www.511PA.com. More here: Details (penndot.gov).

- State Representative Stephanie Borowicz supported a non-legislative measure this week as two state House members came together to ensure one of the Commonwealth’s most beloved traditions didn’t fall by the wayside. Upon hearing that for the first time in decades there wouldn’t be a tree in the Main Capitol Rotunda this December, State Reps. David Rowe, R-Union, and Andrew Lewis, R-Dauphin, took matters into their own hands and set up their own (albeit much smaller) tree (Rep. Borowicz and several others contributed toward the purchase of the tree). In a Facebook video posted last night, Lewis stated “the most important time to hold onto your traditions is during times of hardships and it’s been a really difficult year for everybody for a number of reasons…and if there’s ever a time that we need a tree it’s this year.” Once the tree was decorated, the duo took to separate pianos for a beautiful rendition of “Silent Night.” This isn’t the first time the pair has come together to help celebrate the true meaning of the holiday season. Last year, they posted a similar video of them playing the piano in front of the tree in the Rotunda after hours.

 - Governor Wolf has ordered United States and Commonwealth flags at all Commonwealth facilities to fly at half-staff on Monday, December 7, in honor of Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, a tribute to the tragic events that occurred at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The U.S. flag will be lowered to half-staff until sunset on Monday. The Commonwealth flag has flown at half-staff since March 11 in honor of the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to fly at half-staff until further notice.

Posted 12/3/20

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 11,406 positive cases of COVID-19 – the highest daily total by far – bringing the statewide total to 386,837. There are 4,982 individuals hospitalized with the virus, 1,048 of whom are in intensive care. According to the state, Clinton County saw an additional 30 new cases reported today, bringing the total to 822 cases of COVID-19. There were 65 new case reports in Centre County, bringing their total to 6,538; and 195 new cases in Lycoming County, bringing their case count to 2,510. More here: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19: 4,982 Patients Hospitalized and 1,048 Patients in the Intensive Care Unit.

- The Clinton County Commissioners today announced that PA Department of Health contractors will conduct free COVID-19 testing in Clinton County over a five-day period beginning next Thursday, December 10 through Monday, December 14. The drive-thru/walk-in testing site will be at the Castanea Fire Company Picnic Grounds, and people are asked to enter the grounds via the Lower Creek Road entrance, and then exit via Bald Eagle Street so traffic can be maintained in a single direction. Testing will occur between 9am and 6pm all five days on a first-come, first-served basis (no appointments or reservations needed or taken), with a maximum of up to 450 patients tested per day. You do not have to have COVID symptoms to get a test – the test sites are open to anyone who feels they need a test. People must bring a photo-ID or their insurance card to the test site.

A “strike team” from AMI Expeditionary Healthcare (AMI) is providing the regional testing for 61 counties across the state over the next several weeks. The test performed is called a mid-nasal passage swab PCR test. Patients must be ages three or older to receive a test. The turnaround time for testing results is two to seven days after testing. Individuals who test positive will receive a phone call from AMI while individuals who test negative will receive a secured PDF file emailed to them from AMI.

- The County Commissioners today also announced local support for one of the hardest hit segments of the business community, the restaurant industry. The Commissioners are earmarking about $50,000 in CARES grant funds to support ‘food serving establishments’ throughout Clinton County. According to the Commissioners, the online grant application will be available on the Clinton County government website, www.clintoncountypa.com at 8:00 a.m. this coming Monday, December 7, and the grant application period will close the following Monday, December 14, at 5:00 p.m. The one-week application window will be followed by a review of applications by the county planning department and the Commissioners, and the grant awards will be announced very quickly as the funds must be spent by the end of this year (the grant can be used to reimburse for eligible expenses already incurred during the pandemic). The commissioners noted that preference will be given to those businesses who have not yet received Clinton County CARES funding from the first round of the program. Kari Kepler in the County Planning office is overseeing the grant program and is available to answer questions at 570-893-4080, ext. 2, or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

- A reminder that the PA Chamber of Business & Industry hosts a free webinar tomorrow, December 4, at 2:30 p.m. featuring Governor Wolf and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine. The one-hour “COVID-19 Resurgence Planning Webinar” is part of the Chamber’s Bringing PA Back initiative. As COVID-19 case counts reach critical levels in Pennsylvania, Governor Wolf and Secretary Levine are expected to share insight into the Administration’s latest targeted mitigation orders. They will address the status of COVID-19 in the state, and offer critical clarity and guidance for the business community regarding liability protections, travel restrictions, mask wearing, mandatory telework requirements, and other health and safety measures impacting businesses statewide. There will also be time for questions and answers. Again, the webinar is FREE and open to Pennsylvania’s business community at large.  Register Now 

- The second of four “Small Business Saturdays” celebrations in downtown Lock Haven continues this weekend, with businesses promoting a safe shopping experience. Nearly 40 downtown businesses are offering special sales and savings, and Downtown Lock Haven, Inc. is encouraging people to participate in a special passport program to be eligible for prize drawings following the final Small Business Saturday celebration on December 19. Also this Saturday, Santa and Mrs. Claus will greet children in contactless fashion from inside the window at the Downtown Lock Haven, Inc. offices at 205 East Main Street between 10am and 2pm (children are invited to drop off their letter to Santa during the visit). Chainsaw carver Jeff Donoughe will be stationed in the Courthouse Parking Lot for chainsaw carving demonstrations starting at 10am and will also have finished carvings displayed along Main Street. And Triangle Park will be decorated for the season and will feature a Thomas the Train display. Click Here for the Small Business Saturday file for a list of stores offering specials this Saturday.

- PA Governor Tom Wolf today urged the federal government to continue federal programs for unemployed workers – set to expire later this month – through next year. The Governor joins PA Labor & Industry Secretary Jerry Oleksiak in calling for extensions to the pandemic-related unemployment programs. More here: Gov. Wolf Sends Letter Urging Congress to Extend Federal Programs for Unemployed Workers (pa.gov).

- Governor Wolf announced that U.S. Specialty Formulations LLC, a pharmaceutical manufacturing company, will expand its operations in Allentown, Lehigh County, to continue its work developing a COVID-19 vaccine in partnership with VaxForm LLC. Read more: Gov. Wolf Announces Life Sciences Partnership to Create Jobs, Develop COVID-19 Vaccine.

- Beginning Monday, December 7, the Pennsylvania Capitol Complex will be closed to the public due to the continued surge in COVID-19 cases. Operations of the Governor’s office and General Assembly will continue, but access to the Capitol Complex will be limited to employees and those with badge keycard credentials. More information here: Pennsylvania Capitol Complex will Close to Public Due to Rising COVID-19 Cases (pa.gov).

- The Internal Revenue Service today announced that interest rates will remain the same for the calendar quarter beginning Jan. 1, 2021. Details here: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/interest-rates-remain-the-same-for-the-first-quarter-of-2021.

- The IRS today also reminded employers that they must file Form W-2 and other wage statements by Feb. 1, 2021, to avoid penalties and help the IRS prevent fraud. Read more: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-to-employers-remember-february-1-2021-deadline-for-form-w-2-other-wage-statements.

- PA Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller today announced that DHS is altering payment schedules for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for the month of December to allow all benefits to be issued without risk of delay in case of a federal government shutdown. SNAP is a federally funded program and the federal government is currently funded through December 11. More here: Department of Human Services Announces Temporary Change to SNAP Benefit Issuance Schedule.

Posted 12/2/20

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 8,291 positive cases of COVID-19 – the second-highest day on record. The highest single-day case count was reported just last Thursday, November 26, when the one-day total was 8,425 positive cases. The statewide total of COVID-19 cases today stands at 375,431, with 4,744 individuals hospitalized, 967 of them in intensive care.

According to the state, Clinton County had 17 new cases reported today, bringing the county total to 792. Centre County was up 75 cases today, bringing their total to 6,473 positive cases, and Lycoming County’s case count increased by 72 today, bringing their total to 2,315. See more: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19: 4,744 Patients Hospitalized and 967 Patients in the Intensive Care Unit.

- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today changed the recommended COVID-19 quarantine period from 14 days to 10 days, reflecting recent research and data models studying virus spread. The updated guideline now recommends that someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and showed symptoms can be around others "10 days after symptoms first appeared, at least 24 hours with no fever-reducing medication, and other symptoms are improving." Individuals who tested positive but had no symptoms can be around others 10 days after testing positive. Read more here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/isolation.html.

- The Wolf Administration today began distribution of the eighth allotment of COVID-19 antigen test kits provided by the federal government to certified institutions in Clinton, Clearfield, Crawford, Erie, Forest, Fulton and Jefferson counties. More information here: Department of Health Announces Week-Eight Rapid Antigen Test Card Distributions Across the Commonwealth.

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry today cautioned that the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs are set to expire December 26. L&I Secretary Jerry Oleksiak said an estimated 400,000 PUA claimants and 109,000 PECU claimants will lose their critical benefits if the U.S. Senate does not extend the program. More here: L&I Urges U.S. Senate to Extend Pandemic Unemployment Programs.

Meanwhile, about 11,000 people in Pennsylvania who have filed for and received jobless benefits through the federal PUA program will have to repay some of those funds, state officials said Monday. According to news reports, those claimants had been receiving benefits through the PUA program, established through the CARES Act to provide assistance to gig workers, self-employed individuals and those who were not previously eligible for unemployment compensation. Overall, Pennsylvania has received about 2.2 million claims through the PUA system. Of those claimants, state officials have now determined about 11,000 individuals are not eligible for the program and may be on the hook to repay some of the funds they have received.

“We do have more staff able to begin examining claims for different eligibility issues and being able to then identify overpayments if they exist,” said Susan Dickinson, director of the Office of Unemployment Compensation Benefits Policy. The most common issue, Ms. Dickinson said, is a misunderstanding of who is eligible to receive PUA benefits. Based on CARES Act requirements, individuals must have lost their job directly due to impacts from COVID-19, Ms. Dickinson said. That means, for example, if someone lost their job in 2019 but was unable to find work in 2020, that individual would not qualify for PUA. “Unlike our other programs, PUA isn’t just about not being able to find work, being laid off. It's very specifically for those who are affected by COVID, who’ve lost their jobs due to COVID,” Ms. Dickinson said. (Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

- PA CareerLink Clinton County, Lock Haven University, and the Partnership are co-hosting a virtual webinar on Unemployment Compensation next Thursday, December 10, from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. UC Workforce Development Representative Nancy Smithbauer will cover UC claim volumes, new pandemic programs and UC’s response. Click Here for the PA CareerLink Webinar flyer for more information, or register at https://forms.gle/kn3qFmHYCZMB6wg99.

- River Valley Transit will cease public bus service to Clinton County at the end of this year. The bus service, which was being provided through a grant from PennDOT on a three-year trial basis, will be discontinued as of December 31, 2020. The trial was to have run through March 1, 2021, but PennDOT informed RVT and other local partners of the change recently, citing lower-than-targeted ridership, concerns that COVID-19 impacted ridership, and the need to make cutbacks due to strained transportation funds. While not a public transit system, STEP, Inc. does offer transportation services in Clinton and Lycoming counties. More information on their services is available at www.stepcorp.org.

- In response to an inquiry from Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, and in consultation with Senate leadership and the Governor’s Budget Office, Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella yesterday announced steps his office is prepared to take to ensure sufficient funds are available to prevent immediate shutdowns of highway and safety projects throughout the commonwealth that had been threatened as early as this month due to lack of funding. Read more: Pennsylvania Treasury, Joe Torsella - State Treasurer (patreasury.gov).

- PennDOT today announced that expiration dates for commercial driver licenses and commercial learner’s permits will be extended for Pennsylvania residents in response to statewide COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Details here: Article (penndot.gov).

- A precedent is being set for the 25-year-old state law that provides cost-of-living salary adjustments to state lawmakers and top state officials. The COLA is waived and salaries are frozen at current levels under a state law enacted last month to address the fiscal and economic turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The official notice is in the November 28 Pennsylvania Bulletin. Rank-and-file lawmakers will receive $90,335 in 2021, the same amount as in 2020, the notice said. This is not the first time a COLA hasn’t been applied under the 1995 Public Official Compensation Act, but it’s the first time a COLA was stopped due to a specific law. This law sets annual salaries based on the annual percentage change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) determined by the U.S. Labor Department for urban customers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. It also applies to the governor, lieutenant governor, elected row officers, department secretaries and commission heads and the judiciary. Twice before, most notably in 2010 during a recession, the COLA was suspended because the CPI showed no change or a negative one from the previous year. The pandemic COLA freeze bill, House Bill 2487, won unanimous approval in both chambers and was signed by Governor Tom Wolf in October. With businesses and families struggling with the pandemic, shared sacrifices are necessary to help restore fiscal stability, said Rep. Frank Ryan, R-Lebanon, the bill sponsor. While rank-and-file lawmaker salaries are frozen at $90,335, sixteen House and Senate leaders have their 2021 salaries frozen on a scale ranging from $141,109 - for the House Speaker and Senate President Pro Tem - to $103,007, depending upon the leadership position. Read More. (Source: Capitol Wire)

- Attention employers looking for new employees: the PA Department of Corrections and PA Parole Board are inviting employers to participate in a virtual job re-entry fair on Monday, December 7, for inmates from state prisons across Pennsylvania who will be looking for employment when they return to their communities in the next 12 to 18 months. Click Here for the DOC flyer for more information. Employers interested in participating should contact Lacosta Mussoline at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as soon as possible.

- The Internal Revenue Service announced today that starting in January the Identity Protection PIN Opt-In Program will be expanded to all taxpayers who can properly verify their identities. As part of this week’s National Tax Security Awareness Week, the IRS is urging taxpayers who want the proactive protection against identity theft to opt into the Identity Protection PIN program in 2021. The IP PIN is a six-digit number assigned to eligible taxpayers to help prevent the misuse of their Social Security number on fraudulent federal income tax returns. Read more: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/national-tax-security-awareness-week-day-3-irs-expands-identity-protection-pin-opt-in-program-to-taxpayers-nationwide.

- The PA Department of Education today announced that over 99 percent of public school entities have submitted their attestation forms to the department. The state says the forms ensure school communities are implementing mandated health, safety, and mitigation strategies when offering in-person instruction in a county with substantial levels of community transmission of COVID-19 for two consecutive weeks (66 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties currently have what the state considers substantial levels of community transmission). See more: Pennsylvania Department of Education Announces Over 99 Percent of Schools Have Completed Attestation Form.

- Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella announced today another fee reduction for the PA 529 College and Career Savings Program Investment Plan (IP). Learn more: Pennsylvania Treasury, Joe Torsella - State Treasurer (patreasury.gov).

- Independent, non-partisan newsroom Spotlight PA will host a panel of health experts for a live webinar, COVID-19 in PA and the Vaccine, on Monday, December 7, at 4:00 p.m. Panelists will talk about testing, schools, holiday stress, tracing effectiveness, what to expect from vaccines, and more. The webinar is free, and participants are encouraged to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. RSVP NOW

- The PA Department of Agriculture today released data related to COVID-19 restaurant enforcement actions from November 23 – 29. During that time, Bureau of Food Safety personnel performed 347 inspections, 15 of which were complaint-driven; nine were COVID-19 specific complaints. The Bureau distributed 31 COVID-19 complaint-driven educational letters; five COVID-19 related complaints were referred to local and county health jurisdictions; two formal warning letters were issued; and no citations were filed. In Clinton County, there was only one routine inspection conducted during the period, resulting in no warnings or citations. Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Agriculture_details.aspx?newsid=1005.

- The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission (PHMC) today announced it has awarded almost $2 million in grants to 155 eligible museums and official county historical societies from 58 Pennsylvania counties. The Clinton County Historical Society is among the grant recipients and will receive a $4,000 grant. More here: The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission Awards $2 Million in Cultural and Historical Support Grants (pa.gov).

- With special COVID-19 prevention and mitigation protocols in place, the PA Department of General Services will host a Commonwealth Auction next Tuesday, December 8, starting at 10:00 a.m. at Manheim Keystone Pennsylvania in Grantville. The event will feature nearly 300 vehicles that will be available for public purchase, including more than 70 motorcycles and a 1967 Mercedes UNIMOG. See more: 1967 Mercedes UNIMOG Among Nearly 300 Vehicles For Sale at December 8 Commonwealth Auction (pa.gov).

- Auditor General Eugene DePasquale today released a special report that raises questions about how the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) managed the COVID outbreak that led to dozens of deaths at veterans homes, with the vast majority occurring at the Southeastern Veterans’ Center (SEVC) in Chester County. Learn more: Pennsylvania Department of the Auditor General -Auditor General DePasquale Releases Follow-up Report on State Veterans Homes (paauditor.gov).

- Pennsylvania’s ‘Keep PA Beautiful’ initiative is inviting groups to adopt local roads, parks, waterways, trails, and neighborhoods to help reduce litter cleanup costs. Click Here for the Keep PA Beautiful file for more information. 

- The PA Game Commission today announced that Penn’s Woods Passages, a newly-released book by renowned wildlife artist and author Bob Sopchick, is among the gift items available for purchase through the Commission’s website. Other offerings include a 2021 Wildlife Calendar and a 2021 Bird Calendar, subscriptions to Pennsylvania Game News magazine, collectible patches, art prints, wildlife nesting boxes, and more. Click here for more information: NEW BOOK AMONG HOLIDAY GIFTS AVAILABLE FROM GAME COMMISSION (pa.gov) or go to www.pgc.pa.gov.

Posted 12/1/20

- PA Governor Tom Wolf and the state’s Director of Testing and Contact Tracing Michael Huff today announced the extension of the Department of Health’s contract with AMI Expeditionary Healthcare (AMI) to provide COVID-19 testing in five regions across Pennsylvania to help contain local spread of COVID-19. Beginning tomorrow, December 2, drive-thru and indoor walk-in testing clinics will be held to contain the recent rapid increase of virus cases in Tioga, Mifflin, Bedford and Northampton counties. Starting Friday, December 4, testing clinics will be held in Butler County. The Governor said the state anticipates testing clinics will be held in most counties during the month of December. Read more: Wolf Administration Expands Testing Sites Across the Commonwealth.

The Health Department today confirmed an additional 5,676 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 367,140. There are 4,631 individuals hospitalized with the virus, 970 of whom are patients in the intensive care unit. More data is available here.

- The PA Chamber of Business & Industry today announced it will host a webinar this Friday, December 4, at 2:30 p.m. featuring Governor Wolf and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine. The free, one-hour “COVID-19 Resurgence Planning Webinar” is part of the Chamber’s Bringing PA Back initiative. As COVID-19 case counts reach critical levels in Pennsylvania, Governor Wolf and Secretary Levine are expected to share insight into the Administration’s latest targeted mitigation orders. They will address the status of COVID-19 in the state, and offer critical clarity and guidance for the business community regarding liability protections, travel restrictions, mask wearing, mandatory telework requirements, and other health and safety measures impacting businesses statewide. There will also be time for questions and answers. Again, the webinar is FREE and open to Pennsylvania’s business community at large.  Register Now 

- Clinton County’s unemployment numbers continued to improve during the month of October, according to information released Tuesday by the state Department of Labor & Industry. Clinton County had a 6.9% unemployment reading for October, down from the 7.5% listed in September. October’s number is the lowest since February, and marks the sixth straight month that the number has decreased since a pandemic high of 16.6% in April. Clinton County had an estimated 1,200 unemployed during October. Centre County had a 4.4% unemployment rate for October, which was the lowest reading for the state’s 67 counties. Clinton’s October number came in at no. 28 for the state. The Commonwealth’s October rate was 7.3%.

“One of the more important numbers is that an estimated 100 more Clinton County residents  were working in October as compared to September and that’s good news,” said Clinton County Economic Partnership President Mike Flanagan. “But we also may have lost people off the rolls when the benefits expire. But the fact that we are getting to close to pre-virus unemployed and employed numbers is encouraging.

“We also have to keep an eye on the traditional seasonal layoffs, and our first time unemployment insurance claims and continued claims numbers seem to bounce around like a basketball. Although the numbers are better in most areas, we should note that Clinton County is still a full point behind the 5.8% unemployment rate recorded in October of 2019.”

- To continue supporting local business during the pandemic, the City of Lock Haven is extending its Commercial Loan Program (available to businesses within the city limits) through June 30, 2021. Special provisions – because of the impact of COVID on the business community – had been set to expire this month, but the City’s Commercial Loan Committee this week voted to extend the provisions – including an interest rate of one percent – into next year. Click Here for the  ‘Lock Haven’ flyer for more information, or contact City Planner and Development Coordinator Abigail Roberts at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 570-893-5903.

- SEDA-COG also has COVID-19 loan funds through the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) available for businesses throughout the region – including Clinton County – that have been impacted by the pandemic. Loans must be for at least $10,000 and can assist with working capital, equipment, real estate and more. No payments are due in the first six months, and there is a $500 underwriting fee and a $100 filing fee. Download the EDA COVID-19 Loan Fact sheet for more information, or learn more HERE.  

- The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) is now accepting applications from nonprofit organizations and local governments for the Keystone Historic Preservation Grant Program. PHMC will host two webinars – one January 12 and another on January 13 – about the Keystone Grant program guidelines and application process. Applications are due March 1, 2021. See more: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission Now Accepting Applications for Keystone Historic Preservation Grant Program (pa.gov).

- Governor Wolf this week signed a number of bills into law and vetoed others. See the news release from the Governor’s office on House Bill 770, which he passed, and HB 21 and HB 1737, which he vetoed: Gov. Wolf Signs HB 770, Vetoes HB 21 and HB 1737 (pa.gov).

The veto of HB 1737, which would have provided liability protections to businesses from unwarranted COVID-19 related lawsuits for employers complying with public health guidelines, drew criticism from the state’s business community. Read a statement from the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business & Industry: Press Releases | PA Chamber.

- Pennsylvania collected $2.3 billion in General Fund revenue in November, Revenue Secretary Dan Hassell reported today. Details here: Revenue Department Releases November 2020 Collections.

- A last-minute agreement between Governor Wolf and legislative leaders has averted the need for hundreds of road and bridge projects across the commonwealth to shut down today. Read more: Work on Pa.’s road, bridge projects given the green light to continue for now - pennlive.com. (Source: PennLive)

- Attorney General Josh Shapiro today issued a warning to Pennsylvanians of common online scams that may increase in frequency this holiday season. Learn more: AG Shapiro: Watch Out For Increased Scams This Holiday Season – PA Office of Attorney General.

Meanwhile, education and outreach staff from the PA Department of Banking and Securities are hosting and participating in numerous virtual presentations for groups of senior citizens, services providers, and the public in December. Details here: December 2020 Consumer Financial Protection Virtual Events Announced (pa.gov).

- The Wolf Administration today shared resources for people struggling with anxiety, depression, loneliness, isolation and others stressors, saying stress during the holiday season could be more acute because of the pandemic. The state also encouraged active duty military, veterans and their loved ones to use available support resources and networks. Read more: Wolf Administration Reminds Pennsylvanians Experiencing Anxiety, Loneliness, Stress During the Holiday Season That They Are Not Alone, Encourages Active Duty Military and Veterans Needing Help to Use Support Resources and Networks (pa.gov).

- Today is “Giving Tuesday” and if you are able, we encourage your financial support for local nonprofits of your choosing. The pandemic has resulted in many organizations struggling and in need of support. And in many cases, making a donation during Giving Tuesday might result in your contribution being matched by others contributors. For example….

  • Donations today to the Facebook page of the Clinton County SPCA (Facebook.com/clintonspca) will be matched by the Facebook Giving Tuesday Foundation.
  • Millbrook Playhouse this week announced a ‘Come Back Stronger’ initiative with a goal of raising $10,000 to support the 2021 performance season at the Playhouse. This year was the only time in the Playhouse’s 57-year history where the summer season was unable to take place, leaving a gap in funds to cover royalty costs, and cover actor’s fees and housing costs for the coming season. To help, go to https://millbrookplayhouse.org/support-us/.
  • STEP, the community action agency service Clinton and Lycoming counties, is also seeking support this Giving Tuesday for their Workforce Development Endowment initiative. People can donate securely at www.stepcorp.org/give.

Posted 11/30/20

- The surge in COVID-19 cases continues. PA Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine today released a weekly status update detailing the state’s mitigation efforts based on the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard, highlighting a seven-day case increase of 41,424 cases, statewide percent positivity of 11.7% (up from 11.1% last week), and 66 of the state’s 67 counties with substantial transmission status. Every county except Forest County (at 3.6%) has a concerning percent positivity above five percent, and five counties – Juniata, Mifflin, Bedford, Somerset and Tioga – have a percent positivity above 20 percent. Clinton County’s rate is listed at 12.5%; Lycoming County at 13.2%; and Centre County at 5.8%. More details here: Pennsylvania COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard Update for Nov. 20 - Nov. 26: Case Increases Top 41,000; Percent Positivity at 11.7% and 66 Counties with Substantial Transmission (pa.gov).

- The Health Department today confirmed an additional 4,268 new cases of COVID-19, in addition to 8,053 new cases reported Saturday and 5,529 new cases reported Sunday. The statewide total now stands at 361,464 cases of the virus. There are 4,405 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19, 918 of whom are in the intensive care unit. Clinton County’s case count was up eight today, to 754; Lycoming County added 40 cases, bring their count to 2,200; and Centre County was up an additional 30 cases today, bringing their total to 6,387. More data is available here.

- Secretary Levine and Acting Education Secretary Noe Ortega said today that, with parental permission, the state is now allowing young people ages 13 to 17 to download the COVID Alert PA app onto their smartphones. The state had previously only made the app available to Pennsylvanians 18 and older. More here: Pennsylvanians Age 13 and Older Can Add Their Phone to the Fight (pa.gov).

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania has begun using the national Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system to provide important public messages about the pandemic. The system is commonly used to issue time-sensitive and life-saving alerts, such as Amber Alerts or severe weather warnings to mobile devices. Read more: Wolf Administration to Use Wireless Emergency Alert System for COVID-19 Messaging (pa.gov).

- Pennsylvania currently ranks second-to-last (ahead of Puerto Rico) in the nation in terms of COVID-19 tests completed per 100,000 residents, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Read more here: As coronavirus enters deadly new phase, Pa. lags nation in testing: Here’s why - pennlive.com. (Source: PennLive)

- Last week, Governor Wolf signed a third renewal of his 90-day Proclamation of Disaster Emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic. The first proclamation was signed on March 6, following the announcement of the first two presumptive positive cases of the virus in Pennsylvania. See more: Governor Wolf Signs Renewal to COVID-19 Disaster Declaration (pa.gov).

- The Clinton County Commissioners today announced that due to rising numbers of COVID-19 cases locally, county government offices have moved to a staggered remote work/in-office schedule, with employees staggering their time between working from home and being in the office. The county encourages people needing county services to make an appointment ahead of time to assure the most efficient service possible.

- Keystone Central School District continues to operate this week in a full, remote learning mode. District Superintendent Jacquelyn Martin last week announced remote learning, as well as the postponement of all athletic practices and events, will continue through this Friday, December 4, as the District continues to monitor local data to determine if students can safely return to school next Monday, December 7. Superintendent Martin also noted that the District will have meals available for pick-up at all schools this Wednesday, December 2.

- PA CareerLink Clinton County has announced it has resumed 100 percent remote services in light of the surge in COVID-19 cases across the region. The local office at 8 North Grove Street, Lock Haven, is closed to the public until further notice and staff are working remotely. To contact the office, call 570-893-4022 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Click Here for the PA CareerLink flyer for additional details.

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited a total of 1,060 licensed liquor establishments in the past week (November 23-29), issuing 32 notices of violation and 52 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 40 licensee checks during that period, and issued two warnings and zero notices of violation related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Read more: State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement November 27-29: 314 Compliance Checks; 10 Notices of Violation (pa.gov).

- The PA Department of Agriculture today released data related to COVID-19 restaurant enforcement actions between November 16 and 22. Bureau of Food Safety personnel performed 667 total inspections during that time, 25 of which were complaint-driven; 19 were COVID-19 specific complaints. The bureau distributed 48 COVID-19 complaint-driven educational letters; eight COVID-19 related complaints were referred to local and county health jurisdictions; five formal warning letters were issued; and three citations were filed. According to the state, four routine inspections were conducted in Clinton County during that time, with no COVID-19 related warnings or citations issued. See more: Department of Agriculture Releases COVID-19 Restaurant Enforcement Actions, November 16 - November 22.

- The PA Department of Agriculture today applauded the state legislature for once again funding the Governor’s $16 million Pennsylvania Farm Bill in the 2020-21 state budget, and highlighted programs that have aided PA farmers through the pandemic. Details here: Wolf Administration Secures $16 Million Pennsylvania Farm Bill, Highlights 2019 Programs that Aided PA Farmers through Pandemic.

- Right before the Thanksgiving holiday, Governor Wolf signed into law a number of bills, and vetoed three others. For a full summary, click here: Gov. Wolf Signs Bills into Law, Vetoes Bills that Put Public Health at Risk (pa.gov).

- Another Republican effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election has been stopped, this time by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which on Saturday rejected a request that some 2.5 million mail-in ballots in the state be thrown out. Read More (Source: NPR)

- Today marks the start of National Tax Security Awareness Week, and the Internal Revenue Service is issuing warnings to all taxpayers and tax professionals to beware of scams and identity theft schemes by criminals taking advantage of the combination of holiday shopping, the approaching tax season, and coronavirus concerns. See more: National Tax Security Awareness Week opens with warnings to all taxpayers and tax professionals as holidays, 2021 tax season approach | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov).

- The IRS is also reminding taxpayers of a special new provision that will allow more people to easily deduct up to $300 in donations to qualifying charities. Because of special tax law changes made earlier this year, cash donations of up to $300 made before December 31, 2020, are now deductible when people file their taxes in 2021. Read more here: Special $300 tax deduction helps most people give to charity this year – even if they don’t itemize | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov).

- In celebration of Cyber Monday today, one of the busiest online shopping days of the year, the PA Liquor Control Board, via FineWineAndGoodSpirits.com, is offering a 10% discount on online orders placed until 11:59 p.m. tonight, November 30. Check details here: FineWineAndGoodSpirits.com Celebrates Cyber Monday with 10% Off Online Purchases (pa.gov).

- Trout Unlimited is bringing one of their outdoor programs indoors and online due to COVID limitations. TU will host an online STREAM Girls Outdoor Ed For COVID Times Training on December 3 starting at 8:00 p.m. as part of its Girl Scout STEAM Girls Program. An outdoor STEM program for girls, this watershed experience employs STEM-education (science, technology, engineering and math) plus recreation and arts to explore a local stream. Click Here to register or for more information.

Posted 11/24/20

- Michael Huff, the state’s Director of Testing and Contact Tracing, today presented an update on Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 testing and contact tracing efforts. Huff emphasized the need to prioritize case investigations and for those who test positive to participate in contact tracing. To date, Pennsylvania has conducted nearly 5-and-a-half-million tests, which equates to nearly half of the state’s population. See more: Wolf Administration Provides COVID-19 Testing Update, Reinforces Need for Those with Positive Result to Participate in Contact Tracing.

Meanwhile, the Health Department today confirmed an additional 6,669 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 321,070. Clinton County saw 10 new cases reported today; Centre was up 110 new cases; and Lycoming County reported 38 new COVID-19 cases. There currently are 3,459 individuals hospitalized with the virus, 767 of whom are in the intensive care unit. Most of the hospitalized patients are 65 or older. Additionally, there were 81 new deaths reported today, bringing the number of people whose deaths have been attributed to COVID-19 to nearly 10,000. County-specific information is available on the state’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard.

And, the Wolf Administration today began distribution of the seventh allotment of COVID-19 antigen test kits provided by the federal government to certified labs in Bucks, Juniata, Mercer and Somerset counties. More here: Department of Health Announces Week-Seven Rapid Antigen Test Card Distributions Across the Commonwealth.

- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of November 23, there have been 12,175,921 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States. The CDC is recommending staying home this Thanksgiving and limiting celebration of the holidays to those within your household as part of the effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. See more from the CDC here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/?ACSTrackingID=USCDC_2067-DM43154&ACSTrackingLabel=Celebrating%20Thanksgiving%20%20%7C%20COVID-19&deliveryName=USCDC_2067-DM43154.

- The PA Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED) today offered an overview of the new COVID-19 mitigation efforts the state announced yesterday. Click Here for the “DCED COVID-19 Update” file for that information.

- With few exceptions, Lock Haven University students have gone home as the University compressed its fall semester due to COVID-19. As the unprecedented semester ends, LHU President Robert Pignatello today offered an update to the campus community. Click Here for the file for his overview.

- In a crisis officials say was created by the extended COVID-19 pandemic, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is seeking emergency legislative approval to borrow $600 million by December 1. Without the money, Transportation Secretary Yassmin Gramian told a joint state House and Senate Transportation Committee meeting Monday, PennDOT will have to stop hundreds of ongoing projects and delay others scheduled to start because it is out of cash. Legislators blasted the department for not bringing the issue to their attention until 10 days ago but indicated they would try to help. Under ordinary circumstances, the department funds road and bridge projects through vehicle registrations and license fees paid into the Motor License Fund; the gasoline tax; and federal funds. Little of its money comes from the state’s general fund, so it didn’t ask for an appropriation during last week’s unusual mid-year budget process created by general funding shortfalls due to the pandemic. Ms. Gramian said the department expects to lose $500 million to $600 million, mostly in gasoline taxes due to reduced driving during the pandemic. That’s less than the $800 million to $900 million it had estimated earlier in the year. Throughout the year, the department has been moving money from one line item to another to cover costs while waiting for an expected federal stimulus package to help the states. Because that hasn’t happened, the department has run out of money to shift around and is facing a crisis in the next week, Ms. Gramian said. “We’ve done everything we could do on our own to avert this situation, which is why we asked for authority to bond, and submitted our request through the normal budget process,” she said. “Without the ability to borrow, we will be forced to suspend nearly our entire design and construction program. There is not enough revenue to pay our contract bills.” (Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

- Pennsylvania’s Department of State today certified the results from the recent presidential election. Following certifications of the presidential vote submitted by all 67 counties late Monday, Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar today certified the results of the November 3 election, noting the following vote totals:

  • Electors for Democratic Party candidates Joseph R. Biden and Kamala D. Harris – 3,458,229
  • Electors for Republican Party candidates Donald J. Trump and Michael R. Pence – 3,337,674
  • Electors for Libertarian Party candidates Jo Jorgensen and Jeremy Spike Cohen – 79,380

See more: Department of State Certifies Presidential Election Results.

- The PA Departments of Aging and Human Services today reminded Pennsylvanians who serve as caregivers for either a family member or a close friend that there are resources available to help them as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise. Learn more: Wolf Administration Reminds Family Caregivers About Resources Available to Help Them During COVID-19 Pandemic.

- The PA Agriculture Department today announced that the Dairy Indemnity Program – funded through the CARES Act – has distributed $7.6 million in direct relief payments to 1,550 dairy farmers in the state. Any dairy farmer who experienced losses due to discarded or displaced milk during the COVID-19 pandemic was eligible to apply. See more here: Wolf Administration: CARES Act-Funded Dairy Program Provides $7.6 Million in Direct Relief to 1,550 Pennsylvania Dairy Farmers (pa.gov).

- The PA Liquor Control Board reminds customers that Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores across the state will be open through Wednesday night, closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday, reopening on Friday. Read more: Fine Wine & Good Spirits Closed Thanksgiving Day (pa.gov).

- As the holiday shopping season begins, the PA Department of Banking & Securities and the PA State Police are sharing tips to help people spot scams and protect their money and personal information. See more: Tips to Avoid Holiday Financial Scams (pa.gov).

- Production of natural gas in Pennsylvania saw a slight increase during the third quarter compared to a year ago, however, the price of natural gas in the state continued to decline, according to information released today by the state’s Independent Fiscal Office. Click Here for the “Natural Gas Production” file for details.

Posted 11/23/20

- PA Governor Tom Wolf and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine this afternoon announced new COVID-19 mitigation efforts, saying the number of positive cases in the state is reaching critical levels. The new mitigation measures target businesses and schools, set more strict limits on gatherings, provide recommendations for local government, and ramp up enforcement of mask-wearing, business safety, restaurant mitigation, gathering limits and out-of-state travel. In a measure aimed directly at restaurants bars and privately catered events, the Governor issued a one-day order prohibiting the sale or dispensing of alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption after 5pm on Wednesday, November 25. See additional details here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/as-covid-19-cases-reach-critical-levels-wolf-admin-announces-new-mitigation-efforts/.

Following are links to the new statewide mitigation orders:

Governor Wolf’s Mitigation, Enforcement, and Immunity Order
Governor Wolf’s Retail Food Services Mitigation Order
Governor Wolf’s Stay at Home Advisory
Governor Wolf’s Public School Attestation Order

Secretary of Health’s Mitigation and Enforcement Order
Secretary of Health’s Retail Food Services Mitigation Order
Secretary of Health’s Stay at Home Advisory
Secretary of Health’s Public School Attestation Order
Secretary of Health’s Elective Procedures Order

- The Health Department today confirmed an additional 4,762 cases of COVID-19 – in addition to 7,075 new cases reported Sunday and 6,778 cases reported Saturday – bringing the statewide total to 314,401. The Department said there are 3,379 individuals hospitalized with the virus, 775 of whom are in the intensive care unit. The trend in the 14-day moving average of number of hospitalized patients per day has increased by nearly 2,100 since the end of September.

The Governor and Secretary Levine today also released the state’s weekly status update detailing mitigation efforts based on the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard, highlighting a seven-day increase of 36,133 cases, statewide percent positivity of 11.1% (up from 9.6% last week), and a concerning 63 counties with substantial transmission status. Clinton, Lycoming and Centre are among the counties considered as having substantial levels of community transmission. Only Cameron and Sullivan counties are in the low level of transmission, and Pike and Wayne counties are in the moderate level. More details here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/pennsylvania-covid-19-early-warning-monitoring-dashboard-update-for-nov-13-nov-19-case-increases-top-36000-percent-positivity-at-11-1-and-63-counties-with-substantial-transmission/.

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry is warning of a national unemployment benefits scam, while at the same time, assuring the authenticity of a recent email to PUA claimants. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Labor-and-Industry-Details.aspx?newsid=506.

- 12th District U.S. Congressman Fred Keller is seeking input/support regarding use of funds remaining in the federal Paycheck Protection loan Program. The Congressman is asking for responses to a one-question survey: Currently, there is $138 billion remaining in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which provides forgivable loans to small businesses to allow them to keep their workers employed. Since PPP expired in August, Congress must reauthorize the program to drive out the remaining funds to those who need it the most. Do you support Congress immediately reauthorizing this critical aid? Click here to respond to the survey: https://iqconnect.house.gov/iqextranet/EsurveyForm.aspx?__cid=PA12FK&__sid=100080&__crop=15563.13626673.5131215.7219757.

- Following are several updates from the PA Chamber:

  • On Friday, November 20, the General Assembly sent a critical liability protections bill to Governor Tom Wolf’s desk. A Senate amendment adopted into House Bill 1737 earlier in the week aims to provide targeted and temporary safe harbor protections during the COVID-19 pandemic for businesses that are following state and CDC-issued health and safety orders at this time. Read more: https://www.pachamber.org/media/3278/PA_Chamber-s_Priority_Bill_Heads_to_Governor/.
  • The state’s 2020-21 budget process concluded last week with the passage of legislation that funds state government and related operations for the remaining seven months of the current fiscal year. More here: The Sentinel | PA Chamber.

UPDATE: Governor Wolf today signed the budget bill, with his office issuing the following: Today, Governor Wolf signed into law House Bill 2536 and Senate Bill 1350. These bills, which provide funding for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s budget through June 30, 2021, sustain commonwealth services and programs during a critical time as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. The 2020-21 budget prioritizes public education in the commonwealth, protecting more than $1.2 billion that the Wolf Administration has invested in public education during Governor Wolf’s time in office.

  • A significant number of Pennsylvania municipalities are considering applying for a state program for the severely financially distressed, while those already in the program appear to be weathering the coronavirus pandemic better than expected. In March, many city managers, mayors, and experts feared that 16 municipalities already enrolled in a state financial recovery program called Act 47 could suffer the most dramatically as the statewide economic shutdown undercut tax revenues. But many have remained stable and are braced for fallout from the current surge, while others in better shape before the pandemic are faring worse. A survey of 430 municipalities conducted this fall by the Pennsylvania Economy League, a civic leadership nonprofit, found that 23 townships, boroughs, and other local governments said they may now apply for Act 47 status as a result of their current financial pressure. While that’s a small slice of the 2,560 municipalities in the state, it’s a significant number considering only 31 have enrolled and 15 have exited Act 47 since its inception in 1987. The Act 47 program considers requests from municipalities that are struggling financially and decides whether they are qualified for a formal, state intervention with oversight that restructures debt, reins in costs, and bolsters tax bases. In some cases, technical assistance or grants are provided to tackle issues like insufficient housing and blight, or to invest in downtown areas. Read More (Source: Spotlight PA)
  • Last Thursday, November 19, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized an air quality rule effectively repealing an approach to air quality dubbed “once in, always in” for hazardous air pollutants. Prior to this regulatory change, EPA required installation and operation of controls for some sources of HAPs even if the facility modernizes or reduces emissions below permitting thresholds. The PA Chamber had advocated for this long-needed change, as the “once in, always in” did not reward improved sustainability. The PA Chamber previously commented in support of the change and raised the issue twice in Congressional testimony.

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 227 licensed liquor establishments between Friday, November 20 to Sunday, November 22, issuing 10 notices of violation and 33 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 17 licensee checks during that period, issuing four warnings and zero notices of violation related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PA-State-Police-Details.aspx?newsid=611.

- PA Auditor General Eugene DePasquale today announced the release of $384.99 million in municipal pension and volunteer firefighter aid, funding which helps to protect communities and reduce burdens on local taxpayers. According to the state information, more than a half-a-million dollars is earmarked for Clinton County organizations – including $298,081 in Municipal Pension funds and $211,017 to the Volunteer Firefighters’ Relief Association. Details here: https://www.paauditor.gov/press-releases/auditor-general-depasquale-releases-385-million-to-support-police-volunteer-firefighters-and-public-servants.

- Congressman Fred Keller has announced that the Pennsylvania State University was awarded a U.S. Department of Energy grant in the amount of $1.2 million to fund research for a project titled, “Design and Manufacturing of Ultrahigh Temperature Refractory Alloys.” Specifically, the Congressman said funds will go towards the development of innovative technologies for the aviation and power generation industries. “I look forward to seeing the positive impact that the project will have for Penn State and our region,” said Rep. Keller.

- According to reports from the weekend, Clinton County is among the top counties in successful bear harvests. To date, the reports say: 145 bears have been harvested in Potter County; Tioga, 124; Clinton, 122; Monroe, 111; Lycoming, 107; Clearfield, 98; Luzerne, 90; and Elk 88. The Game Commission says Pennsylvania hunters could be on their way this year to breaking last year’s record bear harvest of 4,653.

- The Partnership supports efforts of Downtown Lock Haven, Inc. and participating businesses in celebrating Small Business Saturday – a day traditionally set to highlight the importance of shopping local. Instead of one Saturday, this year’s ‘Shop Small, Shop Local’ campaign will be spread over four Saturday’s, starting this weekend, Saturday, November 28, and running through Saturday, December 19. We encourage all to “spend it in Clinton County” and support your fellow members of the business community. Click Here for more on special savings this Saturday in downtown Lock Haven.

- In conjunction with Small Business Saturday, the Small Business Development Center at Penn state is hosting a “Small Business Storefront Decorating Contest” to showcase small businesses across Clinton, Center, Lycoming and Mifflin counties. To enter, decorate your storefront to showcase your business’s specialties, then snap and post a picture on Facebook and/or Instagram with the hashtag #PSUSmallBusinessesSaturday. Entries will be accepted through this Friday, November 27. Throughout the week, the Penn State SBDC will highlight the top five submissions on its social media accounts. The post with the most likes will receive a customized consulting package from the SBDC! For questions about the contest, email Alice Liu at the Penn State SBDC at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Posted 11/23/20

- PA Governor Tom Wolf and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine this afternoon announced new COVID-19 mitigation efforts, saying the number of positive cases in the state is reaching critical levels. The new mitigation measures target businesses and schools, set more strict limits on gatherings, provide recommendations for local government, and ramp up enforcement of mask-wearing, business safety, restaurant mitigation, gathering limits and out-of-state travel. In a measure aimed directly at restaurants bars and privately catered events, the Governor issued a one-day order prohibiting the sale or dispensing of alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption after 5pm on Wednesday, November 25. See additional details here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/as-covid-19-cases-reach-critical-levels-wolf-admin-announces-new-mitigation-efforts/.

Following are links to the new statewide mitigation orders:

Governor Wolf’s Mitigation, Enforcement, and Immunity Order
Governor Wolf’s Retail Food Services Mitigation Order
Governor Wolf’s Stay at Home Advisory
Governor Wolf’s Public School Attestation Order

Secretary of Health’s Mitigation and Enforcement Order
Secretary of Health’s Retail Food Services Mitigation Order
Secretary of Health’s Stay at Home Advisory
Secretary of Health’s Public School Attestation Order
Secretary of Health’s Elective Procedures Order

- The Health Department today confirmed an additional 4,762 cases of COVID-19 – in addition to 7,075 new cases reported Sunday and 6,778 cases reported Saturday – bringing the statewide total to 314,401. The Department said there are 3,379 individuals hospitalized with the virus, 775 of whom are in the intensive care unit. The trend in the 14-day moving average of number of hospitalized patients per day has increased by nearly 2,100 since the end of September.

The Governor and Secretary Levine today also released the state’s weekly status update detailing mitigation efforts based on the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard, highlighting a seven-day increase of 36,133 cases, statewide percent positivity of 11.1% (up from 9.6% last week), and a concerning 63 counties with substantial transmission status. Clinton, Lycoming and Centre are among the counties considered as having substantial levels of community transmission. Only Cameron and Sullivan counties are in the low level of transmission, and Pike and Wayne counties are in the moderate level. More details here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/pennsylvania-covid-19-early-warning-monitoring-dashboard-update-for-nov-13-nov-19-case-increases-top-36000-percent-positivity-at-11-1-and-63-counties-with-substantial-transmission/.

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry is warning of a national unemployment benefits scam, while at the same time, assuring the authenticity of a recent email to PUA claimants. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Labor-and-Industry-Details.aspx?newsid=506.

- 12th District U.S. Congressman Fred Keller is seeking input/support regarding use of funds remaining in the federal Paycheck Protection loan Program. The Congressman is asking for responses to a one-question survey: Currently, there is $138 billion remaining in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which provides forgivable loans to small businesses to allow them to keep their workers employed. Since PPP expired in August, Congress must reauthorize the program to drive out the remaining funds to those who need it the most. Do you support Congress immediately reauthorizing this critical aid? Click here to respond to the survey: https://iqconnect.house.gov/iqextranet/EsurveyForm.aspx?__cid=PA12FK&__sid=100080&__crop=15563.13626673.5131215.7219757.

- Following are several updates from the PA Chamber:

  • On Friday, November 20, the General Assembly sent a critical liability protections bill to Governor Tom Wolf’s desk. A Senate amendment adopted into House Bill 1737 earlier in the week aims to provide targeted and temporary safe harbor protections during the COVID-19 pandemic for businesses that are following state and CDC-issued health and safety orders at this time. Read more: https://www.pachamber.org/media/3278/PA_Chamber-s_Priority_Bill_Heads_to_Governor/.
  • The state’s 2020-21 budget process concluded last week with the passage of legislation that funds state government and related operations for the remaining seven months of the current fiscal year. More here: The Sentinel | PA Chamber.

UPDATE: Governor Wolf today signed the budget bill, with his office issuing the following: Today, Governor Wolf signed into law House Bill 2536 and Senate Bill 1350. These bills, which provide funding for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s budget through June 30, 2021, sustain commonwealth services and programs during a critical time as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. The 2020-21 budget prioritizes public education in the commonwealth, protecting more than $1.2 billion that the Wolf Administration has invested in public education during Governor Wolf’s time in office.

  • A significant number of Pennsylvania municipalities are considering applying for a state program for the severely financially distressed, while those already in the program appear to be weathering the coronavirus pandemic better than expected. In March, many city managers, mayors, and experts feared that 16 municipalities already enrolled in a state financial recovery program called Act 47 could suffer the most dramatically as the statewide economic shutdown undercut tax revenues. But many have remained stable and are braced for fallout from the current surge, while others in better shape before the pandemic are faring worse. A survey of 430 municipalities conducted this fall by the Pennsylvania Economy League, a civic leadership nonprofit, found that 23 townships, boroughs, and other local governments said they may now apply for Act 47 status as a result of their current financial pressure. While that’s a small slice of the 2,560 municipalities in the state, it’s a significant number considering only 31 have enrolled and 15 have exited Act 47 since its inception in 1987. The Act 47 program considers requests from municipalities that are struggling financially and decides whether they are qualified for a formal, state intervention with oversight that restructures debt, reins in costs, and bolsters tax bases. In some cases, technical assistance or grants are provided to tackle issues like insufficient housing and blight, or to invest in downtown areas. Read More (Source: Spotlight PA)
  • Last Thursday, November 19, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized an air quality rule effectively repealing an approach to air quality dubbed “once in, always in” for hazardous air pollutants. Prior to this regulatory change, EPA required installation and operation of controls for some sources of HAPs even if the facility modernizes or reduces emissions below permitting thresholds. The PA Chamber had advocated for this long-needed change, as the “once in, always in” did not reward improved sustainability. The PA Chamber previously commented in support of the change and raised the issue twice in Congressional testimony.

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 227 licensed liquor establishments between Friday, November 20 to Sunday, November 22, issuing 10 notices of violation and 33 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 17 licensee checks during that period, issuing four warnings and zero notices of violation related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PA-State-Police-Details.aspx?newsid=611.

- PA Auditor General Eugene DePasquale today announced the release of $384.99 million in municipal pension and volunteer firefighter aid, funding which helps to protect communities and reduce burdens on local taxpayers. According to the state information, more than a half-a-million dollars is earmarked for Clinton County organizations – including $298,081 in Municipal Pension funds and $211,017 to the Volunteer Firefighters’ Relief Association. Details here: https://www.paauditor.gov/press-releases/auditor-general-depasquale-releases-385-million-to-support-police-volunteer-firefighters-and-public-servants.

- Congressman Fred Keller has announced that the Pennsylvania State University was awarded a U.S. Department of Energy grant in the amount of $1.2 million to fund research for a project titled, “Design and Manufacturing of Ultrahigh Temperature Refractory Alloys.” Specifically, the Congressman said funds will go towards the development of innovative technologies for the aviation and power generation industries. “I look forward to seeing the positive impact that the project will have for Penn State and our region,” said Rep. Keller.

- According to reports from the weekend, Clinton County is among the top counties in successful bear harvests. To date, the reports say: 145 bears have been harvested in Potter County; Tioga, 124; Clinton, 122; Monroe, 111; Lycoming, 107; Clearfield, 98; Luzerne, 90; and Elk 88. The Game Commission says Pennsylvania hunters could be on their way this year to breaking last year’s record bear harvest of 4,653.

- The Partnership supports efforts of Downtown Lock Haven, Inc. and participating businesses in celebrating Small Business Saturday – a day traditionally set to highlight the importance of shopping local. Instead of one Saturday, this year’s ‘Shop Small, Shop Local’ campaign will be spread over four Saturday’s, starting this weekend, Saturday, November 28, and running through Saturday, December 19. We encourage all to “spend it in Clinton County” and support your fellow members of the business community. Click Here for more on special savings this Saturday in downtown Lock Haven.

- In conjunction with Small Business Saturday, the Small Business Development Center at Penn state is hosting a “Small Business Storefront Decorating Contest” to showcase small businesses across Clinton, Center, Lycoming and Mifflin counties. To enter, decorate your storefront to showcase your business’s specialties, then snap and post a picture on Facebook and/or Instagram with the hashtag #PSUSmallBusinessesSaturday. Entries will be accepted through this Friday, November 27. Throughout the week, the Penn State SBDC will highlight the top five submissions on its social media accounts. The post with the most likes will receive a customized consulting package from the SBDC! For questions about the contest, email Alice Liu at the Penn State SBDC at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Posted 11/20/20

- House Bill 1737 – a measure that would provide limited liability protection for Pennsylvania’s business community during the COVID-19 pandemic – received final approval today in the state house of representatives. Clinton County’s two representatives in Harrisburg – State Representative Stephanie Borowicz and State Senator Joe Scarnati – both supported the measure, which now goes to the Governor for his signature. The following commentary is from the PA Chamber: Before the 2019-20 session is officially in the books (the final day for legislative action is Nov. 30), the PA Chamber’s No. 1 priority for businesses operating during the pandemic was passed by the General Assembly - and that is securing temporary and targeted liability protections for those taking the proper public health precautions during this ongoing crisis. We’ve been fighting on behalf of our members to prevent good actors from facing an avalanche of unwarranted lawsuits at the same time that they’re battling other COVID-related financial hurdles. House Bill 1737 includes language that would provide these critical safe harbor protections – and that bill was passed with bipartisan support in the Senate yesterday and secured House passage just this afternoon. As we said in a memo to Senate lawmakers yesterday, employers who are taking the necessary precautions to protect customers and employees should proceed with confidence knowing that they will not be targeted with frivolous, and potentially devastating, litigation. The bill now goes to the governor where we are strongly urging him to sign it into law. 

- Partnership President Mike Flanagan today provided his weekly update on the local employment picture: There is mixed employment news for Clinton County workers according to information released Friday by the state Department of Labor & Industry. The county’s first-time unemployment claims, as of the week ending November 14, climbed to 98 people, up from 81 the week before, and the highest initial claim number in weeks. Part of the claims may be seasonal workers, since 30% are listed in the construction field, and 68% are male.

The continued claims number fell to 793, down from the 928 listed for the week ending November 7. Of the 793, 51% were female, and the manufacturing and food/accommodations fields each accounted for 16% of the on-going claims.

The county monthly unemployment data for October should be released by the state on or around December 1. The September rate was 7.4%, the lowest since the pandemic began, and down from a yearly high of 16.6% in April.

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry today released its statewide employment situation report for October, which indicates the unemployment rate was 7.3%, down one percentage point from the previous month. The national rate fell to 6.9%, also down one point from its September level. The state’s unemployment rate was 2.7 percentage points above the October 2019 level while the national rate was up 3.3 points over the year. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Labor-and-Industry-Details.aspx?newsid=505.

- The Associated Press is reporting that the number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose last week for the first time in over a month. In addition, unemployment benefits for many will end the day after Christmas. READ MORE.

- There was a drop in the number of new COVID-19 cases reported today by the PA Health Department, but the 6,808 additional positive cases was still the second highest to date (yesterday was the highest report, with 7,126 new cases). There were 22 new cases reported today in Clinton County, 47 in Lycoming County, and 91 new cases in Centre County. The statewide case total now stands at 295,786, with the number of individuals now hospitalized with COVID-19 approaching 3,000. More information here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1149.

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine today announced the federal government will be distributing monoclonal antibodies – proteins built in a lab that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful antigens, like the COVID-19 virus – to healthcare systems throughout the state. Learn more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1151.

Secretary Levine today also encouraged people to educate themselves about diabetes and ways to reduce the risk of becoming diabetic. She noted people with Type 2 Diabetes are more likely to have serious complications from COVID-19, and added that diabetes is the third most common comorbidity reported in COVID-19 deaths in Pennsylvania. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1148.

- Keystone Central School District today provided a COVID-19 update to families, staff and the community. Superintendent Jacquelyn Martin said that because of community spread of the virus, the District will not only continue on remote learning, but athletic events are also being postponed until at least December 2. Click Here for the KCSD letter for details.

- The PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources – in keeping with the Governor’s new travel restrictions – today announced that out-of-state visitors to state parks and forest facilities are now required to either have a negative COVID-19 test or quarantine before visiting. In addition, while restrooms will remain open, visitor center exhibit halls and interpretive areas will be closed and all indoor programs will be canceled. Masks will also be required indoors and outside for all special events and gatherings and outdoors when people are unable to social distance. Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/DCNR_details.aspx?newsid=707.

- With bear season underway tomorrow, November 21, hunters will also notice changes due to the pandemic. The PA Game Commission is encouraging people to track the 2020 bear harvest by visiting the Commission’s website, www.pgc.pa.gov. Bear check stations, such as the one at the Chapman Township Fire Hall, will be limiting access to the public; only successful hunters and members of their hunting party will be allowed in the checking area. This year’s bear season runs November 21 – 24 and includes a day of Sunday hunting, November 22. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Game-Commission-Details.aspx?newsid=435.

- Penn State’s Small Business Development Center today ends a week-long series of events associated with their annual Global Entrepreneurship Week. One highlight of the week was a Tuesday panel discussion by three small business owners including Fabre Sanders from Lock Haven specialty food & gift shop It Is What It Is. For those unable to watch ‘live’, we’re passing along a video of the webinar, “Small Business Resilience: Thriving Through Change,” which focuses on how these small businesses are pivoting their operations to successfully get through the pandemic. Watch the discussion here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/18P2cCJoV1fF1yBvC48vlQV1FamEU8Ar4/view?usp=sharing.

- Lock Haven University’s food pantry for students, the Haven Cupboard, has announced a partnership with the New Love Center community-based food pantry serving Clinton and Lycoming county residents. Click Here for the news release for more details.

- The PLCB this week voted to extend the 2021 license renewal fee waiver to manufacturing licensees, as well as reiterated that it will issue a refund to licensees who paid their 2021 fees. They also announced that licensees will be required to put licenses back in safekeeping if they close for more than 15 days, but there will be no safekeeping fee. Further, if a licensee pulls the license out of safekeeping within 90 days there will be no additional inspections or processes needed. REVISED ADVISORY NOTICE NO. 27.

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 525 licensed liquor establishments Monday through Thursday of this week (November 16-19), issuing 11 notices of violation and 37 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 32 licensee checks during that time, and issued no warnings or notices of violation related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PA-State-Police-Details.aspx?newsid=610.

- The PA Department of Environmental Protection today announced some $6 million in grant funding to eight counties – including Centre County – to continue support for their accelerated progress in improving local water quality in the state’s share of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Read more: https://www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/NewsRoomPublic/articleviewer.aspx?id=21890&typeid=1.

- The PA Fish & Boat Commission issued a reminder today that applications for funds through the Boating Facility Grant Program are due by December 30, 2020. The program is open to townships, boroughs, municipal and county governments as well as nonprofit groups interested in the planning, acquisition, development, expansion or rehabilitation of public boating access areas. More information here: https://www.media.pa.gov/pages/fish-and-boat-commission-details.aspx?newsid=351&utm_source=hootsuite&utm_medium=&utm_term=&utm_content=&utm_campaign=.

Posted 11/19/20

- Spotlight PA news this afternoon is reporting that PA lawmakers are proposing to use the remaining $1.3 billion in federal CARES Act coronavirus aid to pay for the state budget. Read more: https://www.spotlightpa.org/news/2020/11/pennsylvania-budget-coronavirus-relief-aid-restaurants-providers/.

- PA Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine today discussed the state’s plan for COVID-19 vaccinations. The plan is now on the Department of Health website, along with COVID-19 vaccine frequently asked questions. View the plan and FAQs here: https://bit.ly/PACOVID19Vaccine

- The number of COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania continues to climb. The PA Department of Health today reported 7,126 positive cases – the highest daily increase of cases to date – bringing the statewide total to 288,978. There are just over 2,900 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state, 628 of whom are in intensive care. More data is available here.

Meanwhile, Governor Tom Wolf today announced that more than a half-a-million Pennsylvanians have added the COVID Alert PA mobile app to their phone. See more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/wolf-administration-more-than-half-a-million-pennsylvanians-have-downloaded-the-covid-alert-pa-app/.

- With the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, the Health Department is encouraging people to take COVID-19 and food safety precautions, and they are reminding Pennsylvanians of the new mitigation efforts regarding travel that go into effect tonight at midnight. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1147.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also discouraging travel in general. In an update today, the CDC said more than one million COVID-19 cases were reported in the U.S. over the last seven days, and as cases continue to increase, the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with. The CDC further said that gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu. Read more: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays/thanksgiving.html.

- Governor Wolf, as part of a coalition of northeast governors, today announced that colleges will be encouraged to provide COVID-19 testing for students before they leave for Thanksgiving break. Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Education-Details.aspx?newsid=989.

- Following announcements this week by the Pennsylvania State Athletic Association regarding sports, Lock Haven University has announced that its Division I men’s wrestling team – an affiliate member of the Mid-American Conference (MAC) - and the women’s wrestling program will not compete during the 2020-21 season. The University has cancelled all winter sports, with the exception of swimming. LHU does plan to compete in women’s swimming, as well as in men’s and women’s cross country. Both sports were recently deemed low risk by the NCAA’s most recent return-to-sport guidelines, released November 13. Lock Haven has the option to opt out at any time if it is believed the environment is unsafe for the student-athletes to compete. To date, the Atlantic 10 Conference (A-10) still plans for field hockey to compete in the spring. LHU’s Division I field hockey team is an affiliate member of the A-10 for the sport of field hockey.

In line with the recent PSAC announcement, LHU has committed to compete in a full regular and championship season for all spring sports as long as the student-athletes can compete safely. LHU’s spring sports include baseball, softball, lacrosse, women’s golf, women’s tennis, and men’s and women’s outdoor track & field. Additionally, the University reaffirmed its commitment to allow all athletic teams the opportunity to practice, train and potentially compete during the spring 2021 semester if a safe and healthy environment presents itself. Over the course of the last month, LHU athletics has returned to official team strength and conditioning and skill-development practices.

The NCAA previously announced that eligibility for all fall and winter student-athletes will not be impacted this year, meaning that no fall or winter sports student-athletes will lose a season of competition. The LHU Department of Athletics will continue to work with the coaches and student-athletes of each team to ensure the understanding of future eligibility status.

- The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) yesterday gave the go-ahead for high schools to begin practices tomorrow, November 20, for winter sports, advising schools to use ‘an abundance of caution.’ Read more: https://www.pennlive.com/sports/2020/11/piaa-advises-to-move-forward-with-winter-sports-practices-with-an-abundance-of-caution.html. (Source: PennLive)

- The Wolf Administration today announced it will be modernizing the state’s 911 emergency telecommunications system. The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) has selected Comtech Telecommunications Corp. to partner with PEMA and county-based 911 centers to upgrade to a Next Generation 911 platform. Click here for details: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PEMA-Details.aspx?newsid=151.

- The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the nation's tax industry today announced that the 5th Annual National Tax Security Awareness Week will take place between November 30 and December 4. This year, there’s a heightened need for security as fraudsters seek to use the COVID-19 to scam taxpayers and tax preparers. Read more: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/security-summit-partners-announce-national-tax-security-awareness-week-dates-urge-increased-security-measures-as-fraudsters-exploit-covid-19-concerns.

- There may be more hunters in Penn’s Woods this deer season, as growing numbers of people are taking to the outdoors during the pandemic. And for the first time in PA Game Commission history, deer hunters will have a Saturday-Sunday opening weekend. The firearms season opens next Saturday, November 28, continues Sunday November 29 – the only day of Sunday deer hunting during the season – then runs from November 30 through December 12. There are two PGC Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) in Clinton County – WMU 2G, which covers the central and northern sections, and WMU 4D in the southern part of the county – and there are different regulations in each. More from the PGC Here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Game-Commission-Details.aspx?newsid=434.

- The PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources today outlined final changes to its internal policy on ATV trails on state forest lands to respond to increasing demands for riding opportunities. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/DCNR_details.aspx?newsid=706.

- Upcoming Webinar: L&I Unemployment Compensation Workforce Development representative Nancy Smithbauer – an expert on UC issues – will headline a virtual webinar on Unemployment Compensation for local businesses on December 10 from 9-11am. The Zoom session is being hosted by PA CareerLink Clinton County in collaboration with the Partnership and Lock Haven University’s Workforce Development office and Center for Career & Professional Development. The program, titled “What’s New in UC”, will cover claim volume, new pandemic programs, and UC’s response. See the attached PA CareerLink Webinar flyer for details, and register at: https://forms.gle/kn3qFmHYCZMB6wg99.

Posted 11/18/20

- Pennsylvania again today reported a new high COVID-19 case count. The Department of Health confirmed an additional 6,339 positive cases of the virus, bringing the statewide total to 281,852. Clinton County also saw its highest number of cases  - 31 reported today – bringing the county’s positive cases to 452 (392 confirmed cases and 60 probable cases). The statewide update indicates 2,737 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19, and most of those patients are age 65 and older. Details here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1142.

PA Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine today announced another drive-thru and outdoor testing clinic will be established November 21 in Lackawanna County to help contain the recent rapid increase in cases there. The Health Department has signed a contract with AMI Expeditionary Healthcare (AMI) to provide testing in communities in need across Pennsylvania. AMI already has operations in neighboring Centre County, as well as Columbia, Indiana, Berks, Northumberland, Lebanon, Huntingdon, Westmoreland, Blair and Bradford counties. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1141.

Michael Huff, the state’s Director of Testing and Contact Tracing, presented an update on Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 testing and contact tracing efforts, including the state’s plans to distribute more than 3.8 million antigen rapid tests allocated to the state by the federal government. The tests, which have been arriving in weekly allotments since October and will continue through December, are used to test and protect vulnerable populations in counties demonstrating substantial risk for community spread. See more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/wolf-administration-provides-testing-and-contact-tracing-update/.

- Pennsylvania’s state Legislature is working this week to assemble a spending plan to carry state government through the rest of the fiscal year and fill, at least for the moment, a multibillion-dollar deficit brought on by the economic impact of the coronavirus. State lawmakers say they are not considering any tax increases to underwrite the new spending. November 30 is the last day of their two-year session and their most immediate deadline to act. Read More (Source: Associated Press)

- The PA Department of Education today announced the award of nearly $1.2 million in competitive grants to 32 Career and Technical Centers and Area Vocational Technical Education Schools and two school districts across the state for the purchase of new equipment aligned to training students in high-demand occupations. The state announcement indicates Keystone Central School District’s Career & Technology Center is the recipient of a $6,622 grant. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Education-Details.aspx?newsid=988.

- The PA Liquor Control Board today approved the forgiveness of an estimated $1.8 million in license fees in 2021 for manufacturing licensees (wineries, breweries, and distilleries). Additional details here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Liquor-Control-Board-Details.aspx?newsid=608.

- The PLCB also today approved grants totaling more than $2 million for 18 projects to increase the production of Pennsylvania-made malt and brewed beverages and enhance the state’s beer industry through promotion, marketing, and research-based programs and projects, and to enhance the state’s wine industry and increase production of PA-made wines. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Liquor-Control-Board-Details.aspx?newsid=607.

- The PA Department of Agriculture today released data related to COVID-19 restaurant enforcement actions from November 9 through 15. During that time, Bureau of Food Safety personnel performed 489 inspections, 21 of which were complaint-driven; 12 were COVID-19 specific complaints. The Bureau distributed 87 COVID-19 complaint-driven educational letters; 19 COVID-19 related complaints were referred to local and county health jurisdictions; and there were no formal warning letters or citations issued. According to the state’s information, there were four routine inspections in Clinton County during that period. None of the inspections were complaint-driven and there were no COVID-19 related warnings or citations issued. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Agriculture_details.aspx?newsid=998.

- PennDOT is requesting public feedback for its Pathways Program as part of ongoing efforts to explore sustainable transportation options. The department says it faces an $8.1 billion gap in its annual highway and bridge transportation funding to keep the network in good repair. Information is available at www.penndot.gov/funding, and comments will be accepted through December 17. More information here: https://www.penndot.gov/pages/all-news-details.aspx?newsid=785.

- The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC), of which Lock Haven University athletics is a part, has announced the cancellation of its mandated regular-season and championship competition for winter sports. Last week, the Board cancelled PSAC Championship seasons in fall sports, yet allowed for league championship opportunities in those sports should six or more schools elect to participate. All schools electing to play must abide by existing league rules and the NCAA Guidelines that have been set due to the existing Covid-19 Pandemic. The same requirements exist for the winter sports that have been cancelled. The Board last week also agreed to proceed with the intent to play a full regular and championship season for all spring sports in 2021.

Member institutions wanting to compete in fall and winter sport championship seasons are being asked to declare their intent by today, November 18. The PSAC office will review all notifications and make an announcement as soon as possible as to whether there is support to continue with a championship season in any of those sports. 

“With careful consideration to health concerns and realistic abilities to conduct sport seasons amid this pandemic, our conference and our membership is forced to make some very difficult decisions,” said PSAC Commissioner Steve Murray. “With the time we have to continue weighing our options, we are fully committed to playing a spring sports season. We will remain supportive of any other decisions to play sports and host championship events should our membership view it as a safe and reasonable opportunity.” 

Fall and winter sports that may be subject to cancellation include: men’s and women’s basketball, cross country, indoor track & field, soccer and swimming, as well as women’s sports in volleyball and field hockey, and men’s sports in football and wrestling. Any cancellation of league schedules or championships does not preclude individual institutions from participating in countable athletically related activities nor exploring competition outside of the previously mandated schedule.

- COVID concerns have prompted the cancellation of the popular open house events staged each holiday season by the Clinton Central Model Railroad Club at the Castanea Train Station. The first of eight open houses had been slated for next Tuesday, November 24. That date, as well as all others through January 23, have been cancelled. For more information on the Club, visit their website at www.ccmrr.org.

- Local nonprofits interested in seeking grant funding through the Clinton County Community Foundation have until December 15 to submit their application. Visit the Foundation’s website at www.clintoncountyfoundation.org/grants for more information.

- The SCORE Central PA Chapter hosts a free webinar, 21st Century Customer Service, tomorrow, November 19, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The online class focuses on the primary stages of customer service – assessment, solutions, and measurement. Register Now!

Posted 11/17/20

- PA Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine today announced four new mitigation efforts in an effort to slow the rise in COVID-19 cases. The new memorandums and orders focus on hospitals and health care systems and planning for increased hospitalizations, requirements of testing for travelers coming in and out of the state, increased masking, and recommendations for colleges and universities to implement a testing plan when students return to campus after the holidays. Details here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Education-Details.aspx?newsid=987.

Governor Tom Wolf today reminded Pennsylvanians that as COVID-19 cases continue to rise, the state’s existing mitigation efforts remain in place. Click on the following link for an overview of the current restrictions: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-covid-19-mitigation-efforts-in-place-are-vital-to-help-stop-the-spread/.

The Health Department today confirmed an additional 5,900 positive cases of the virus, the highest daily increase to date. According to the state, there are 2,575 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19. Of that, 558 patients are in intensive care. Most of those hospitalized are 65 or older. More data is available here.

Meanwhile, the state today began distribution of the sixth allotment of COVID-19 antigen test kids provided by the federal government to certified institutions in Bedford, Cambria, Franklin, Lancaster and Lehigh counties. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1139.

- Surging COVID-19 cases led all of Pennsylvania’s neighbors to enact new restrictions in recent days but Governor Wolf has avoided a statewide rollback so far. In recent weeks, the state repeatedly broke its single-day record for new coronavirus cases, with health officials warning of substantial spread in 59 counties. Read More (Source: Harrisburg Patriot News)

Meanwhile, the city of Philadelphia is imposing a number of COVID-19 restrictions that are set to begin this Friday, November 20, and extend at least through the end of the year. The ban includes indoor gatherings of any size, public or private, as the city battles a resurgence of the coronavirus, officials announced Monday, warning that hospitals will become overrun by the end of the year without dramatic action. Philadelphia also plans to prohibit indoor dining at restaurants, shutter casinos, gyms, museums and libraries, pause in-person instruction at colleges and high schools, and reduce occupancy at stores and religious institutions, the city’s health commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley, said at a news conference Monday.

- The Federal Reserve reports that industrial production rose 1.1 percent in October. The index has recovered much of its 16.5 percent decline from February to April, but output in October was still 5.6 percent lower than its pre-pandemic February level. More information here: https://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/g17/current/default.htm.

- The Internal Revenue Service today encouraged taxpayers to take necessary actions this fall to help them file their federal tax returns timely and accurately in 2021, including special steps related to Economic Impact Payments. See more: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/get-ready-for-taxes-get-ready-now-to-file-2020-federal-income-tax-returns.

- PPL is offering tips on how to avoid utility scammers, which they say is an issue in PPL’s service territory. Click Here for the ‘PPL Warns’ file for more.

- Clinton County, as well as McKean and Potter counties, remains in drought ‘warning’ status, although the PA Department of Environmental Protection today announced they are lifting drought ‘watches’ for 10 counties, returning them to normal status. Consumers on drought warning are asked to reduce their individual water use by six to nine gallons a day. See more: https://www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/NewsRoomPublic/articleviewer.aspx?id=21889&typeid=1.

- DEP employees continue to work through the pandemic. Between March 16 and November 17, DEP staff have conducted 54,552 inspections, processed 22,807 permit applications and authorizations, and responded to 205 environmental emergencies. More here: http://paenvironmentdaily.blogspot.com/2020/11/dep-works-thru-pandemic-597-more.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+PaEnvironmentDaily+%28PA+Environment+Daily+Blog%29.

- With the 2021 Pennsylvania Farm Show to be held virtually due to the pandemic, state Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today announced a statewide “Oh, Say, Can You Sing” contest, inviting people to participate by sending a video of themselves singing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Eight winners will be selected and a video will kick off each day of virtual Farm Show events. The contest deadline is December 7. More information here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Agriculture_details.aspx?newsid=997.

- While state and federal officials are not recommending travel over the upcoming holidays in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the Pennsylvania State Police and PennDOT are reminding those who must travel of the importance of safe driving and consistent seat belt use. See more: https://www.penndot.gov/pages/all-news-details.aspx?newsid=784.

- The PA Liquor Control Board today urged Fine Wine & Good Spirits customers to shop for wines and spirits ahead of the holidays. Learn more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Liquor-Control-Board-Details.aspx?newsid=606.

Posted 11/16/20

- PA Governor Tom Wolf and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine today released what they termed a “concerning” weekly status update detailing the state’s mitigation efforts based on the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard. The data highlights a seven-day increase of 26,215 cases, statewide percent positivity of 9.6% (up from 6.8% the previous week), and a concerning 59 counties with substantial transmission status. Secretary Levine said every county in the state has a concerning percent positivity above 5% except for Forest (1.8%); Cameron (2.1%); Union (3.2%); Wayne (3.7%); and Susquehanna (4.6%). See more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/pennsylvania-covid-19-early-warning-monitoring-dashboard-update-for-nov-6-nov-12-case-increases-top-26000-percent-positivity-at-9-6-and-59-counties-with-substantial-transmission/.

The Health Department today confirmed an additional 4,476 new cases of the virus, in addition to the 5,199 cases reported Sunday and 5,551 cases on Saturday, bringing the statewide total to 269,613. According to today’s Health Department information, there are 2,440 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19. Of that number, 531 patients are in the intensive care unit. Most of the patients hospitalized are ages 65 or older, and most of the deaths have occurred in patients 65 or older. More data is available here. You can also see more information here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1136.

Over the weekend, the Health Department announced the beginning of a drive-thru and outdoor walk-up testing clinic in Bradford County, and a drive-thru and indoor testing clinic in Blair County, to help contain the recent rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in those areas.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health today also shared its weekly update on COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing data and encouraged Pennsylvanians to download the COVID Alert PA app to aid in contact tracing efforts. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1137.

- The Centers for Disease Control today issued several COVID-19-related updates. View more here: //m.emailupdates.cdc.gov/rest/head/mirrorPage/@rIYinAcJxMdjMxHLPs0P5633AFZIa5hFpW1SEmmREaz8SvR0_WPatCy-vzust7LNMVbspiDoyqjF0aQ67xykjuCCfkti43GO86ikXmATgyNcYinC.html">https://m.emailupdates.cdc.gov/rest/head/mirrorPage/@rIYinAcJxMdjMxHLPs0P5633AFZIa5hFpW1SEmmREaz8SvR0_WPatCy-vzust7LNMVbspiDoyqjF0aQ67xykjuCCfkti43GO86ikXmATgyNcYinC.html.

- The initial and continued unemployment claims by Clinton County workers increased sharply between October 31 and November 7, according to information provided Friday by the PA Department of Labor & Industry. For the week ending November 7, there were 81 initial claims, the highest number in the county in almost two months. That number incudes 65% who are male and 21% in the  transportation and warehousing sector. For the week ending October 31, there were 61 new claims.

The continued claims shot up dramatically, with 928 listed. That compares to 546 the week before. The 928 figure is the highest continued unemployment claim number in the county since early October. Of the 928, 53% are female and 18% are in the manufacturing field.

The October unemployment rate for the Commonwealth’s 67 counties is expected to be released at the end of November. The September rate in Clinton County was 7.4%.

- Keystone Central School District students did not go back in the classroom today. In a letter to school district families, staff and the community, Superintendent Jacquelyn Martin Friday said because of additional cases of COVID-19 among two staff and a student and several others awaiting test results, the District would continue with full remote learning through November 25. The District’s Thanksgiving break runs November 26 through December 1. Superintendent Martin said the District would continue to monitor local data to determine if students can return to school on December 2. Click Here for the KCSD file for more information.

- The Partnership is partnering with the Penn State Small Business Development Center on their Global Entrepreneurship Week, all this week, November 16-20. GEW involves a series of virtual events designed to support small businesses. One event with local involvement includes a panel discussion tomorrow, November 17 at 9:00 a.m. that will feature three small business owners talking about the steps they’ve taken to help their business maneuver successfully through the COVID-19 pandemic. The “Small Business Resilience: Thriving Through Change” webinar is supported by the Partnership and the Centre and Juniata River Valley Chambers of Commerce. Fabre Sanders, co-owner of Lock Haven specialty food and gift shop It Is What It Is, will be one of the panelists. The one-hour discussion is free. Click here for the registration link, and Click Here for the Global Entrepreneurship Week schedule for more.

- The U.S. Small Business Administration  has announced the updated interest rates for the SBA’s 504 Loan Program. The program now allows for 10, 20, and 25-year interest rates at 2.231 percent, 2.364 percent, and 2.399 percent, respectively. More here: https://www.sba.gov/article/2020/nov/13/sba-announces-new-reduced-504-loan-debenture-rates.

- Moving to protect business taxpayers from identity theft, the Internal Revenue Service has announced that starting December 13 it will begin masking sensitive data on business tax transcripts. See more: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-to-mask-key-business-transcript-details-protect-taxpayers-from-identity-theft.

- The IRS today released the Criminal Investigation Division's annual report, highlighting the agency’s successes and criminal enforcement actions taken in fiscal year 2020, the majority of which occurred during COVID-19. A key achievement was the identification of over $10 billion in tax fraud and other financial crimes. Learn more: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-criminal-investigation-releases-fiscal-year-2020-annual-report-identifies-2-point-3-billion-in-tax-fraud.

- State House and Senate lawmakers met in Harrisburg last week to hold caucus leadership elections in preparation for the 2021-22 legislative session that will begin in January. See more: https://www.pachamber.org/media/3269/Lawmakers_Elect_Leadership_Teams_for_202122_Session/.

- With only a few weeks left until the official end of the 2019-20 session, state lawmakers are meeting in a “sine die” session starting this week to finalize key policy items – most notably, a spending bill for the second half of the current Fiscal Year-> Read More.

- PA Treasurer Joe Torsella today released the COVID-19 Debt Cost Reduction Review, a review of more than 30 Commonwealth authorities that either issue or hold debt. The Treasurer’s office identified seven possible opportunities for refinancing of $2.4 billion in outstanding bonds which could potentially reduce costs by as much as $179.5 million. The report represents the first modern, comprehensive review of the full scope of debt held by Commonwealth authorities and related entities. More information here: https://www.patreasury.gov/newsroom/archive/2020/11-16-Debt-Report.html.

- PA Department of Health nursing home surveyors conducted 396 inspections of 287 unique nursing homes, including 314 complaint investigations during October. Of those, 175 were COVID-19-specific complaint investigations. In addition, three sanctions were finalized against nursing care facilities in the last month. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1135.

- Pennsylvania State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 568 licensed liquor establishments from November 9-15, issuing 85 warnings and 26 notices of violations for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 27 licensee checks during the period, issuing four warnings and five notices of violation related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PA-State-Police-Details.aspx?newsid=608

- The U.S. Small Business Administration is reminding Americans that the deadline to register for an Economic Impact Payment (EIP) is this Saturday, November 21. People who don’t typically file a tax return, and haven’t received an Economic Impact Payment, should register as quickly as possible by clicking here. People can also speed up the arrival of their payment by choosing to receive it by direct deposit. Those not choosing this option will get a check. Beginning two weeks after they register, people can track the status of their payment using the IRS’ Get My Payment tool.

- The PA Council on Aging today released an interactive guide with information and resources to help older adults cultivate a healthy mind, body and spirit amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. More information here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/aging_details.aspx?newsid=277.

- PennDOT today reminded students in grades 9-12, regardless of their school’s learning model, to participate in the fourth annual PennDOT Innovations Challenge, which encourages students to use their problem-solving, creative and strategic-thinking abilities to solve real-world transportation challenges in a competition among their peers. This year’s Challenge asks students to develop an innovative and implementable solution that helps address Pennsylvania’s transportation revenue shortfall by identifying potential new funding streams, aside from additional gas taxes, tolls or mileage-based user fees, to help ensure adequate transportation funding for the future. The deadline to enter the Challenge is December 18. Learn more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Education-Details.aspx?newsid=983.

Posted 11/13/20

- New cases of the coronavirus continue to grow across Pennsylvania and the nation in what officials are calling a “fall surge.” The PA Department of Health yesterday confirmed an additional 5,488 positive cases – the highest daily increase – bringing the statewide total to 248,856. During yesterday’s press conference Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine continued to say there were no plans at this time for additional mitigation measures. Learn more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1129.

- Centre County legislator Jake Corman yesterday was elected as interim president pro tempore of the Pennsylvania Senate. Corman will be nominated by the Republican majority to serve in that position, replacing the retiring Joe Scarnati who represented Clinton County, when the Senate convenes for the 2021-22 legislative session on January 5. Read more: https://www.pennlive.com/news/2020/11/pa-senate-gop-majority-elect-new-president-pro-tempore-and-first-woman-to-serve-as-a-majority-leader.html?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=GMPA%20-%20111320&utm_term=Newsletter_good_morning_pa. (Source: PennLive)

- Governor Tom Wolf yesterday announced his intention to nominate Jennifer Berrier to serve as secretary of the PA Department of Labor & Industry following the December 4 retirement of L&I Secretary Jerry Oleksiak. Berrier currently serves as L&I Deputy Secretary for Safety and Labor-Management Relations. More here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-to-nominate-jennifer-berrier-to-serve-as-secretary-of-the-department-of-labor-industry/.

- L&I Unemployment Compensation Workforce Development representative Nancy Smithbauer will headline a virtual webinar on Unemployment Compensation for local businesses on December 10 from 9-11am. The Zoom session is being hosted by PA CareerLink Clinton County in collaboration with the Partnership and Lock Haven University’s Workforce Development office and Center for Career & Professional Development. The program, titled “What’s New in UC”, will cover claim volume, new pandemic programs, and UC’s response. Click Here for PA CareerLink Webinar flyer for details, and register at: https://forms.gle/kn3qFmHYCZMB6wg99.

- The Wolf Administration is urging the federal government to reauthorize Title 32 to allow Pennsylvania National Guard members to carry out missions that assist long-term care facilities affected by COVID-19. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1128.

- In what is positive economic news, three businesses host grand opening celebrations today to mark their entry into Lock Haven’s downtown business district:

  • Simone’s Bakery at 24-26 East Main Street opened election day and hosts a grand opening celebration today, complete with a ribbon cutting at 10am.
  • Momoyo Otsu, LLC, is a new boutique at 145-147 East Main Street that is opening their doors today for the first day of a week-long grand opening celebration.
  • A Little Bird at 310 North Grove Street, a gift shop, also hosts their grand opening today with a ribbon cutting at 11am.

- Governor Wolf this week announced the approval of six projects through the Municipal Assistance Program (MAP), including $10,000 to the City of Lock Haven for a Downtown Lock Haven, Inc. initiative to conduct a feasibility and market study on the repurposing of the Masonic Temple along Main Street as a cultural center. See more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/governor-wolf-announces-approval-of-six-projects-to-assist-local-governments-with-municipal-planning-and-shared-services/.

Posted 11/11/20

- The U.S. has surpassed 1 million new confirmed coronavirus cases in just the first 10 days of November, with more than 100,000 infections each day in a surge that shows no signs of slowing. Read more: https://www.pennlive.com/coronavirus/2020/11/us-surpasses-1-million-virus-cases-in-november-as-deaths-also-increase.html?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Newsletter_coronavirus%202020-11-11&utm_term=Newsletter_coronavirus. (Source: Associated Press, via PennLive)

- Pennsylvania has recorded record high cases of the virus the past several days, and today was no exception. The PA Department of Health confirmed an additional 4,711 positive cases today – the highest daily increase – bringing the statewide total to 243,368. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1127.

- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week updated their information on wearing masks to help control the spread of the Coronavirus. Read more: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/masking-science-sars-cov2.html.

- The CDC is also offering updated guidelines for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. See more: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays/thanksgiving.html.

- In election-related news….

  • Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella, a Montgomery County Democrat, has conceded in his reelection bid against Republican Stacy Garrity. Torsella announced in a video Tuesday that he was conceding the race. Garrity was leading by about 78,000 votes as of Tuesday evening, according to unofficial results. Some ballots had yet to be counted, but they were unlikely to change the outcome.
  • A federal judge in Lycoming County will decide if the Trump campaign organization has grounds to block the certification of the results of the November 3 election in Pennsylvania. U.S. Middle District Judge Matthew W. Brann in Williamsport on Tuesday evening denied a motion of Commonwealth Secretary Kathy Boockvar to transfer the case to Harrisburg. Boockvar, who had the support of election boards of Allegheny, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties, had argued the transfer would prevent her and key staff from traveling while in the process of certifying the vote results. Testimony of witnesses, if it becomes necessary, may be provided either in-person or virtually, Brann wrote. Boockvar disputes allegations in the suit of Donald J. Trump for President Inc. and two voters and says she intends to file a motion to dismiss with a request for expedited consideration. Election boards in Centre, Allegheny, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Northampton and Philadelphia counties are defendants along with Boockvar. Read More (Source: Harrisburg Patriot News)

- Lock Haven University President Dr. Robert Pignatello today updated the campus community on the proposed integration of LHU with Mansfield and Bloomsburg universities and also announced the launch of an integration website with information regarding the planning process and timeline, frequently asked questions, and an opportunity to share comments and questions.. Click Here for the LHU Integration Update for more information.

- LHU also passed along the following statement issued by the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference regarding 2020-21 athletic competition:

“The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) has announced the cancellation of all mandated regular season and championship competition for fall sports that were to take place over the 2020-21 season. The decision comes following a majority vote of the Board of Directors – the 18 presidents who reside over each of its member institutions. The decision on PSAC Fall Championships follows the same action by the NCAA, which earlier this year announced the cancellation of all 2020 Fall Championships for Division II. It affects the following league sports: men’s and women’s cross country and soccer, as well as women’s volleyball, field hockey and football. However, should six or more institutions commit to participating in any of those sports, the conference will reinstate a championship season.

The Board also voted to proceed with its intended mandated schedules and championships for 2021 spring sports.  PSAC sponsored sports this spring are: men’s and women’s outdoor track & field, tennis and golf, as well as baseball, softball and women’s lacrosse. A decision on winter championship seasons for wrestling, men’s and women’s basketball, indoor track & field and swimming is expected next week. 

The decision to cancel PSAC mandated competition does not preclude individual institutions from participating in countable athletically related activities nor exploring competition outside of the previously mandated schedule.”

Posted 11/10/20

- The Wolf Administration today began distribution of the fifth allotment of COVID-19 antigen test kits provided by the federal government to certified institutions in Armstrong, Dauphin, Delaware and Indiana counties. The Health Department anticipates receiving hundreds of thousands of tests over a number of weeks from the federal government and is continuing to provide kits to counties in need. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1125.

The Health Department today confirmed an additional 4,361 positive cases of COVID-19 – the highest daily increase of cases. The new data brings the statewide case total to 238,657. Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1124.

The Department also shared its weekly update on the state’s COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing data, and the state continues to encourage Pennsylvanians to download the COVID Alert PA app to aid in contact tracing efforts. Learn more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1123.

- The PA Department of Community & Economic Development today issued several reminders and updates on COVID resources for Pennsylvania communities and businesses. Click Here for the DCED Update file for details.

- The PA Department of Agriculture today released data related to COVID-19 restaurant enforcement actions from November 2-8. During that time, the Bureau of Food Safety performed 675 total inspections, 20 of which were complaint-driven; 15 were COVID-19 specific complaints. The Bureau distributed 35 COVID-19 complaint-driven educational letters; eight COVID-19 related complaints were referred to local and county health jurisdictions; five formal warning letters were issued; and two citations were filed. There were seven routine inspections in Clinton County during the period, with no COVID-19 related warnings or citations issued. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Agriculture_details.aspx?newsid=994.

- The Partnership is partnering with the Penn State Small Business Development Center on their Global Entrepreneurship Week, next week, November 16-20. GEW involves a series of virtual events designed to support small businesses. One event with local involvement includes a panel discussion on Tuesday, November 17 at 9:00 a.m. that will feature three small business owners talking about the steps they’ve taken to help their business maneuver successfully through the COVID-19 pandemic. The “Small Business Resilience: Thriving Through Change” webinar is supported by the Partnership and the Centre and Juniata River Valley Chambers of Commerce. Fabre Sanders, co-owner of Lock Haven specialty food and gift shop It Is What It Is, will be one of the panelists. The one-hour discussion is free. Click here for the registration link.

- PennDOT and the Federal Railroad Administration are inviting rail stakeholders and the public to provide input on the draft Pennsylvania State Rail Plan. Two public meetings – which will be held virtually due to the pandemic – are slated for November 16 and 17. More information here: https://www.penndot.gov/pages/all-news-details.aspx?newsid=780.

- In observance of tomorrow’s Veterans Day holiday, PA Department of Labor & Industry Secretary Jerry Oleksiak today recognized the sacrifices made by members of the United States Armed Forces and reminded current and former members of the military about the free employment and training services available every day to veterans through PA CareerLink. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Labor-and-Industry-Details.aspx?newsid=503.

Posted 11/9/20

- PA Governor Tom Wolf and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine today released a weekly status update detailing the state’s mitigation efforts based on the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard. The update compares the week of October 30-November 5 to the previous seven days, October 23-29, and indicates an increase of 15,989 cases and a statewide percent-positivity rate of 6.9%, up from 6.1% last week. Both Clinton and neighboring Lycoming County continue to be rated as having a moderate level of transmission, along with 24 other counties. A total of 38 counties, including neighboring Centre County, are considered as having substantial transmission; and three counties – Cameron, Forest and Sullivan – are considered as having low levels of transmission. See more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/pennsylvania-covid-19-early-warning-monitoring-dashboard-update-for-oct-30-nov-5-percent-positivity-at-6-9-and-38-counties-with-substantial-transmission/.

- The number of positive COVID-cases continues to be high. The Health Department reported an additional 4,035 positive cases Saturday, 2,909 new cases Sunday and 3,402 new cases today, bringing the statewide total to 234,296. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1122.

- The Sugar Valley Rural Charter School was closed today, with CEO Tracie Kennedy saying parents and staff were alerted to the presence of a case of COVID-19 within school staff. In a notice today on the school’s website, Kennedy said, “We spent the weekend in communication with PA Department of Health officials and medical personnel. According to state guidelines, anyone who spent more than 15 minutes within 6 feet of this individual would need to be contacted with further instructions. As of this morning, anyone that falls within those guidelines has been notified. No additional notifications are required at this time. School will reopen tomorrow (Tuesday, November 10) as planned. Please remember to monitor your child/children by checking for elevated temperature and/or other COVID symptoms every morning. Any students displaying symptoms should be kept home as a precaution.”

Keystone Central continues all-remote learning this week. The District went to all-remote classes last week following cases of the virus in several different schools.

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry has announced that the department will temporarily expand its ability to backdate Unemployment Compensation (UC) claims from six weeks up to 52 weeks. The change allows L&I staff to assist claimants who attempted to file UC claims during the first weeks of the pandemic but needed to be assisted and were unable to reach a staff member due to the sudden surge in claims. Details here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Labor-and-Industry-Details.aspx?newsid=502.

- Pennsylvania lawmakers will return to the state capital for a post-election session of the General Assembly, with their primary objective being to complete work on the 2020-21 state budget. -> Read More in this update from the PA Chamber.

- Over the weekend, perhaps the most hotly contested race in American history came to its (likely) end, with former Vice President Joe Biden being named the presumptive President-Elect and making President Donald Trump a one-term president. -> Read More (Source: PA Chamber)

As ballot counting continued in Pennsylvania Friday, Republican Tim DeFoor won the auditor general’s race, making him the first GOP candidate in that job in more than two decades. Republicans kept control of both chambers of the Legislatures. It was the first general election in which Pennsylvania voters did not need an excuse to vote by mail, and more than 3 million of them applied to do so.

- The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics has released information showing an increase of 638,000 jobs added during the month of October. Employment sectors reporting the largest job gains include some of the hardest-hit industries such as leisure and hospitality, which added 271,000 jobs; restaurants, bars and other food service places, which added 192,000; retail, which added 104,000 jobs; and arts, entertainment and recreation, which added 44,000 jobs. See more: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/economicdata/empsit_11062020.pdf.

- The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued guidance and an accompanying one-pager to help employers understand which standards are most frequently cited during coronavirus-related inspections. Read more: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/osha/osha20201107.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic through October 29, 2020, OSHA has issued citations arising from 179 inspections for violations relating to coronavirus, resulting in proposed penalties totaling $2,496,768. Details here: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/osha/osha20201106.

- Additional grant funding is available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for fire departments. $31 million has been allocated for firefighters and first responders who are managing emergencies during the COVID-19 pandemic. The application deadline is this Friday, November 13. Click here to apply.

- The U.S. Small Business Administration is reminding people that the deadline to register for an Economic Impact Payment (EIP) is now November 21, 2020. People who don’t typically file a tax return, and haven’t received an Economic Impact Payment, can register by clicking here.

- The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is warning Americans about a new text scam targeting individuals’ bank account information under the guise of receiving a $1,200 Economic Impact Payment. The scam text message states: “You have received a direct deposit of $1,200 from COVID-19 TREAS FUND. Further action is required to accept this payment into your account. Continue here to accept this payment …”  Note that this is not legitimate. Neither the IRS nor state agencies will ever text taxpayers asking for bank account information so that an EIP deposit may be made. For more information on how to recognize, avoid and report this scam, visit the IRS website.

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 287 licensed liquor establishments Friday through Sunday (November 6-8), issuing 18 notices of violation and 34 warnings for failing to following COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 11 licensee checks during the period, issuing three warnings and three notices of violations related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PA-State-Police-Details.aspx?newsid=606.

- The PA Department of Human Services today discussed state support for long-term care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic, through the Regional Response Health Collaborative program. Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/DHS_details.aspx?newsid=624.

- The PA Department of Military and Veterans Affairs today launched PA VETConnect, a statewide outreach initiative designed to better serve Pennsylvania’s nearly 800,000 veterans. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Military-and-Veteran-Affairs-Details.aspx?newsid=468.

As we prepare to celebrate and recognize all veterans this Veteran’s Day, Wednesday, November 11, the PA Department of Community & Economic Development has prepared a list of business resources and benefits available to veterans living in Pennsylvania. Learn more: https://dced.pa.gov/paproudblog/veterans-day-9-business-resources-pennsylvanias-veterans/.

- The PA Game Commission reports bear hunters are lining up to buy licenses at unprecedented rates. The Game Commission is advising hunters that they should be prepared for some changes at bear check stations that include limited opportunities, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, for the public to observe bears as they are checked. In addition, there is a change to the check station in Lycoming County in the PGC’s Northcentral Region: The check station initially planned at the Antes Fort Fire Hall will be moved to the nearby Game Commission Northcentral Regional Office at 1566 South Route 44 Highway, Jersey Shore. Read more for other changes that can be expected at all bear check stations, including the Antes Fort station and the check station at the Chapman Township Fire Hall in North Bend: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Game-Commission-Details.aspx?newsid=431.

Posted 11/6/20

- Clinton County Economic Partnership President Mike Flanagan today offered his weekly unemployment summary for Clinton County:

Unemployment claims continued to decrease in Clinton County for the week ending October 31, according to information released Thursday by the state Department of Labor and Industry. The state reported 61 new unemployment claims, which is down from 77 the week before, but a higher number than what was recorded during the first half of October. Of the 61, 69% were male and 31% were in the construction sector. 

Continued claims dropped significantly, from 737 in the week ending October 24, to 546. The 546 claims included 55%  who are female and 17% who are in the manufacturing field. The 546 continued claim number is on par with the weekly continued claims numbers that were registering earlier this year and prior to the pandemic.

The October monthly unemployment rates for counties should be released at the end of the month. Clinton County’s September unemployment rate was 7.4%.

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 3,384 positive cases of COVID-19 – including 13 new positive case reports in Clinton County. Both the statewide count and the local numbers are the highest to date throughout the course of the pandemic. Statewide, positive cases now total 223,950. Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1118.

- Keystone Central School District Superintendent Jacquelyn Martin today provided an update on COVID-19 cases within the district, quarantines and plans to resume in-person classes. Click Here for the KSCD update for details.

- Mail-in ballots continue to be counted across Pennsylvania, meaning elections results are still not official. For accurate results, you can go to VotesPA.com. The PA Chamber today offers the following election insights and updates:

  • Too Close to Call - We knew it would take a few days for the votes in many races – including the all-important presidential race – to be finalized. And while significant headway has been made over the past few days in counting the millions of mail-in ballots that were submitted throughout the state, as of Friday morning, we still don’t have a final answer who will take PA in the presidential race. Election Day saw President Trump ahead by nearly 700,000 votes. However, in the days since the election, Democrat Joe Biden has overcome that deficit to gain a slight lead. A total of 270 electoral votes are needed to secure a victory in the contest and Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes have made the Commonwealth a main target of both parties (something that pundits had been talking about for months now). Pennsylvania isn’t the only state that is still awaiting final results. The eyes of the nation are also watching Nevada, Georgia, Alaska and North Carolina. The past several days have not been without drama, with allegations of “vote stealing” by the president and the Trump campaign taking legal action to stop the vote count saying that their poll watchers weren’t being allowed to effectively monitor the situation. A Commonwealth Court judge sided in Trump’s favor yesterday, ruling that the president’s campaign poll watchers should have access to observe the ballot counting. While Pennsylvania’s final vote counts are anticipated to be finalized today, don’t expect that to be the end of things as both parties could mount legal challenges.
  • Split Ticket - Also on the ballot this year were the three state row offices – Auditor General, Attorney General and Treasurer. As with what feels like every race this year, the number of mail-in ballots is slowing the process to determine the final winners, however, as of this writing Republicans have captured the Auditor General post and could also potentially claim victory for the office of Treasurer. In the open Auditor General race, this morning the Associated Press declared Tim DeFoor the winner over Democratic opponent Nina Ahmad. In the Treasurer race, incumbent Democrat Joe Torsella is still slightly trailing his Republican opponent Stacy Garrity – although the gap has decreased and there are still mail-in ballots to count. In the Attorney General race incumbent Democrat Josh Shapiro is leading over Republican Heather Heidelbaugh by a little more than 200,000 votes. However, nothing is final until the mail-in ballots are counted.

- For PA Liquor Control Board licensees, if you accidentally paid your 2021 license renewal fees and those fees were eligible to be waived (the PLCB last week announced it would waive some of its 2021 license fees), the PLCB has stated that it will reimburse you.

- In what is exceptional news for the Clinton County area, three new businesses – all in downtown Lock Haven – will celebrate Grand Openings next Friday, November 13, and we encourage your support:

  • Momoyo Otsu, LLC at 145-147 East Main Street (the former Nittany Travel offices) opens its doors for the first of what will be a week-long grand opening celebration (running November 13-20). The boutique – in a totally renovated space – offers a great line of jewelry, women’s clothing, handbags and more. www.momoyootsu.com
  • Simone’s Bakery at 24-26 East Main Street (the former Inspirations Floral shop) has also transformed that space, and offers sweets treats from cookies, pies, cakes, cheesecakes and more. The shop opened their doors this week but will host a grand opening celebration November 13 that includes a 10:00 a.m. ribbon cutting. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • A Little Bird gift shop, at 310 North Grove Street, recently opened its doors and will also celebrate a grand opening on the 13th, with a ribbon cutting at 11:00 a.m. You’ll find a little bit of this and that – from candles and soaps to clothing – in this newly-renovated space. www.alittlebirddesigns.com

Posted 11/5/20

- The number of COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania has surpassed 220,000. The Department of Health today confirmed an additional 2,900 positive cases of the virus – the highest daily increase of cases reported to date. The statewide total of positive cases today stands at 220,566. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1115.

- The Penn State Small Business Development Center, which also supports small businesses in Clinton County and Lycoming County, hosts its annual Global Entrepreneurship Week, next week, November 16-20. There currently are more than 30 virtual events on the schedule. 

One GEW event with local involvement includes a panel discussion Tuesday, November 17, at 9:00 a.m. that will feature small business owners talking about the steps they’ve taken to help their business maneuver successfully through the COVID-19 pandemic. The “Small Business Resilience: Thriving Through Change” webinar is supported by the Clinton County Economic Partnership and the Centre County and Juniata River Valley Chambers of Commerce. Fabre Sanders, co-owner of Lock Haven specialty food and gift shop It Is What It Is, will be among the panelists. The one-hour panel discussion is free, but registration is required and we encourage CCEP members to participate. The link for Tuesday’s event can be found here, and for more on the week-long series of events, click here: https://sched.co/fRrb.

- The PA Liquor Control Board today released its Fiscal Year 2019-20 Annual Report, which details agency operations, sales trends, popular products, and financial results….and how the COVID-19 pandemic affected PLCB operations and sales. Learn more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Liquor-Control-Board-Details.aspx?newsid=604.

- PA Governor Tom Wolf today announced that nearly $20 million is now available to assist Pennsylvanians currently experiencing homelessness. The state received its second allocation of federal COVID-19 Homeless Emergency Solutions Grant funds, and has set aside a portion of those funds to be used toward emergency shelter in preparation for the winter months. More here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/governor-wolf-announces-new-funding-available-to-protect-homeless-pennsylvanians-during-covid-19-resurgence/.

-  The Internal Revenue Service today urged any eligible self-supporting college student who doesn’t need to file a tax return to register by Nov. 21 so they can receive an Economic Impact Payment before the end of the year. Read more: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/many-college-students-may-still-qualify-for-an-economic-impact-payment-review-the-guidelines-and-register-by-nov-21-at-irsgov.

- The Pennsylvania Lottery has begun sales of its special New Year’s Millionaire Raffle, which features eight $100,000 Weekly Drawings leading up to the January 2, 2021 drawing. More details here: https://www.palottery.state.pa.us/About-PA-Lottery/News-Events-Media/News/2020/November/Pennsylvania-Lottery-to-award-$100,000-weekly-lead.aspx.

Posted 11/4/20

- While some election results are not yet final, here’s what we do know of the unofficial results (all results are considered ‘unofficial’ until a formal certification count is conducted) from yesterday’s general election:

  • State Representative Stephanie Borowicz was re-elected to a second term in the 76th State House District. The 76th District includes all of Clinton County and parts of Centre County.
  • Chris Dush, who had served as a state representative in the 66th District, was elected as State Senator in the 25th District, taking over the seat of retiring State Senator Joe Scarnati. The 25th Senate District includes all of Clinton, Cameron, Elk County, Jefferson, McKean, Potter and Tioga Counties and part of Clearfield County.
  • U.S. Congressman Fred Keller was elected to his first full term in the 12th Congressional District. Congressman Keller won a special election in 2019 to fill the seat of Congressman Tom Marino, who had resigned. The 12th District includes all of Clinton County, as well as all or portions of Centre, Lycoming, Bradford, Juniata, Mifflin, Northumberland, Perry, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union and Wyoming counties.

- The PA Chamber provides the latest on yesterday’s election from the state level:

  • In an election year unlike any other, state and county election officials were anticipating an all-time high voter turnout.  The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, combined with this being the first year that Pennsylvanians could vote by mail, led to between 2.5 -3 million voters exercising that option.

Throughout Election Day, Republicans turned out in large numbers for in-person voting. Early returns showed Republican candidates leading in a number of races – including the presidential race, the three state row offices and many closely watched state legislative races. However, Democrats are expected to gain ground as mail-in ballots are tallied. More than 1.5 million registered Democrats requested mail-in ballots for this election, while Republican mail-in requests totaled a little over 600,000.

This year, more than 9 million Pennsylvanians were registered to vote, with Democrats holding a majority of voter registrations at 4.2 million compared to Republicans 3.5 million.

The 2016 election saw approximately 60 percent voter turnout, with Trump winning the state with 2,970,733 votes. As of this reporting, 2,851,172 registered Pennsylvania voters went with Trump this election. That number is not final, however, as more than 1 million mail-in ballots await to be counted throughout the state.

  • The results of several important races in the Keystone State hinge on mail-in ballots that continue to be counted statewide. As of this reporting, Republican candidates lead in all three state row offices for Attorney General, Auditor General and state Treasurer; and President Donald Trump is leading former Vice President Joe Biden in the race for president. However, as reported this morning at a press conference, Department of State Secretary Kathy Boockvar said that there are somewhere between 2.5 and 3 million mail-in votes that are being counted (50 percent of which have already been processed). While Boockvar said that county election offices are getting through these votes as accurately and quickly as they can, she reminded Pennsylvanians that patience will be necessary as every vote is counted and the democratic process works as it is intended to do. She directed Pennsylvanians to the DOS website, www.dos.pa.gov, to see where vote counts stand for the presidential, Congressional, state row office and statewide House and Senate races.

- The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax industry today warned of a new text scam created by thieves that trick people into disclosing bank account information under the guise of receiving the $1,200 Economic Impact Payment. See more: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/security-summit-partners-warn-taxpayers-of-new-covid-related-text-scam.

- The PA Department of Agriculture today released data related to COVID-19 restaurant enforcement actions from October 26 through November 1. During that period, Bureau of Food Safety personnel performed 697 inspections, 29 of which were complaint-driven; 12 were COVID-19 specific complaints. The Bureau distributed 75 COVID-19 complaint-driven educational letters; 15 COVID-19 related complaints were referred to local and county health jurisdictions; eight formal warning letters were issued; and two citations were filed. In Clinton County, the Bureau conducted five routine inspections during that period, one of which was complaint driven. There were no COVID-19 related warnings or citations issued. See more here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Agriculture_details.aspx?newsid=991.

- The state today announced that nominations for the 2021 Governor’s Awards for Local Government Excellence are now being accepted. The awards honor local government leaders and recognize exceptional dedication to improving public services through innovative initiatives. Nominations will be accepted through January 31, 2021. More here: https://dced.pa.gov/governors-awards-for-local-government-excellence/.

Posted 11/3/20

- If the lines at the polls are any indication, in-person voter turnout locally is strong for today’s general election. Polls are open until 8:00 p.m. this evening, so get out and vote if you haven’t already!

PA Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine are reminding Pennsylvanians who are currently in quarantine due to COVID-19 to contact their County Elections Office for an emergency absentee ballot if they were planning to vote in person but now cannot. The Clinton County Voter Registration office can be reached at 570-893-4019. More information here: https://www.media.pa.gov/pages/health-details.aspx?newsid=1108.

And, PA Governor Tom Wolf is encouraging Pennsylvanians to get election returns and information “from trusted and reliable sources and be on guard for disinformation.” The PA Department of State provides election returns on VotesPA.com and offers a new dashboard showing the progress of counting mail and absentee ballots. See more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/pennsylvania-provides-trusted-election-returns-and-information/.

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 2,875 positive cases of COVID-19 – the highest daily increase of cases – bringing the statewide total to 214,871. A total of 259,898 tests have been administered in the last seven days (October 27-November 2), with 16,301 positive cases. County-specific information is available on the state’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard.

The Department also today shared its weekly update on Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing data and encouraged Pennsylvanians to download the COVID Alert PA app to aid in contact tracing efforts. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1109.

And, the Wolf Administration today began distribution of the fourth allotment of COVID-19 antigen test kids provided by the federal government to certified labs institutions in Elk, Lawrence, Mifflin and Philadelphia counties. Learn more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1112.

- Lock Haven University President Dr. Robert Pignatello today provided an update to campus faculty and staff, saying that LHU has managed to retain five of the seven faculty members who had received a retrenchment notice as part of State System of Higher Education efforts to reduce costs and the proposed plan to integrate LHU with Mansfield and Bloomsburg universities. Click Here for the  LHU letter for more information.

- The City of Lock Haven continues to seek public input as part of an update to the city’s comprehensive plan. To that end, there will be a community workshop this Thursday, November 5, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. in Hangar 1 at William T. Piper Memorial Airport. Click Here for the City of Lock Haven flyer for details.

- A PPP factsheet for borrowers that provides a high-level overview of what they have to do as part of the PPP Forgiveness process has been developed for SBA field offices and SBA Resource Partners.

- PA Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin and Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today reminded Pennsylvania restaurant, bar and club owners that they may increase indoor capacity from 25 percent to 50 percent through self-certification, which they say will increase consumer confidence but will not lead to additional inspections or penalties. More here: https://dced.pa.gov/newsroom/wolf-administration-restaurants-can-safely-increase-indoor-capacity-to-50-percent-with-self-certification/.

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 288 licensed liquor establishments from Friday, October 30 through Sunday, November 1, issuing 20 notices of violation and 43 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted eight licensee checks during the period, issuing six warnings and one Notice of Violation related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PA-State-Police-Details.aspx?newsid=604.

- The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has announced that all Licensee Services Centers will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays from November 14 through December 27 to offer additional hours of operation during the holiday season. 

- We want to correct an item from yesterday’s email, and thank Jeff Rich with the Clinton County Housing Authority for offering clarification as well as some additional information. Jeff notes that it’s actually the Clinton County Housing Coalition, Inc. that was the recipient of a PA Department of Human Services grant, not the Housing Authority. He adds that the CCHC received a $2,000 grant that was used to install WiFi internet access for residents at the Life Center and Merit House shelters in Lock Haven. The grant was also used to purchase two iPads to assist children at the Life Center with remote learning. The grant was part of more than $400,000 in grants announced statewide to help families in shelters by improving internet access and purchasing computer equipment for parents and children to use while staying at a shelter.

- Eligible PA veterans and their beneficiaries who face an unexpected financial need for the necessities of life such as food, shelter, fuel and clothing can find help through the PA Department of Military and Veterans Affairs ‘Veterans Temporary Assistance’ program. You must apply for this program through the Clinton County Veterans Affairs office at 217 North Jay St., Lock Haven (570-893-4339 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, VA Director Jennifer Hagaman says the state is allowing those who may have received assistance through the program within the past 12 months to make a second application. Typically, people can only apply for the assistance once every 12 months. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Military-and-Veteran-Affairs-Details.aspx?newsid=466.

- The Internal Revenue Service has announced a number of changes designed to help struggling taxpayers impacted by COVID-19 more easily settle their tax debts with the IRS. Details here: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-makes-it-easier-to-set-up-payment-agreements-offers-other-relief-to-taxpayers-struggling-with-tax-debts.

- The Small Business Administration and the Scranton Small Business Development Center host a Zoom webinar, Holiday Marketing Tips for Your Business, tomorrow, November 4, at 8:00 a.m. The one-hour session will cover effective social media marketing, easy techniques to drive sales, economical holiday incentive ideas, and the 5 “must” promotions from Thanksgiving Thursday to Cyber Monday. Registrations are being taken through the Pike County Chamber at 570-296-8700 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Posted 11/2/20

- PA Governor Tom Wolf and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine today released the weekly status update detailing the state’s mitigation efforts based on the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard. This week’s update compares the seven-day period of October 23-29 to the previous seven days, noting that the statewide percent-positivity went up to 6.1% from 5.0% last week. In addition, there was a seven-day case increase of 14,516, compared to 10,127 cases previously. Clinton and neighboring Lycoming County are among 36 counties in what the state considers a ‘moderate’ level of transmission; neighboring Centre County is among 26 counties with ‘substantial’ transmission; and there are five counties, including Cameron, Forest, Sullivan, Warren and Wayne, considered to have a ‘low’ level of transmission. See more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/pennsylvania-covid-19-early-warning-monitoring-dashboard-update-for-oct-23-oct-29/.

- The state continues to see high case numbers of COVID-19. The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 2,060 new cases, in addition to 1,909 new cases reported Sunday, November 1, and 2,510 cases reported Saturday, October 31. The statewide total today stands at 211,996 and the Health Department says daily increases are now the highest they’ve ever been since the start of the pandemic. The number of tests administered within the last seven days (October 26-November 1) is 257,836, with 15, 907 positive cases. See more here: https://www.media.pa.gov/pages/health-details.aspx?newsid=1107.

- Keystone Central School District today moved to an all-remote system of learning in light of COVID-19 cases being identified within at least three different schools. In an email letter Sunday, KCSD Superintendent Jacquelyn Martin said the District hopes to resume in-class learning on November 16. Click Here for the KCSD letter from Superintendent Martin for details.

- Berkshire Hathaway Energy has completed its acquisition of Dominion Energy’s Gas Transmission and Storage business in the eastern region, which includes the Dominion Energy operations in Clinton County. Berkshire Hathaway Energy says the new company, BHE GT&S is now a standalone subsidiary of BHE’s Pipeline Group. The former Dominion operations locally are now part of Eastern Gas Transmission and Storage, Inc., one of the major operating companies in BHE GT&S’s eastern region. Click Here for the Dominion Energy news release for more information.

- The Clinton County Housing Authority is among the list of recipients of more than $400,000 in grant funding announced today by the PA Department of Human Services. The funds are headed to shelters serving families experiencing homelessness, domestic violence survivors and their families and others, and are to help improve internet access and support purchase of computer equipment for parents and children to use while staying at the shelter. Learn more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/DHS_details.aspx?newsid=622.

- With tomorrow’s November 3 general election on the horizon, PA Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar today alerted Pennsylvania voters who applied for but have not received their mail ballot that they can vote by provisional ballot at their polling place on Election Day. Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/State-details.aspx?newsid=428.

As a reminder, polls open Tuesday at 7:00 a.m. and remain open until 8:00 p.m. Please exercise your right to vote!

- Last week, the state’s Independent Fiscal office increased its official revenue estimate made in June, projecting that General Fund revenue will now total $36.524 billion by the end of June 2021. This is an improvement of $650 million – or roughly 1.8 percent – of the estimate it made in June. The office has credited consumer spending with the better-than-expected revenue performance, due in large part to the federal stimulus and unemployment compensation benefits. However, the IFO expects that trend to decline in the coming months as less federal support is coming into households in the fourth quarter of the year. The full IFO update can be found here

- Entrepreneurs across the Commonwealth are invited to attend Global Entrepreneurship Week Penn State, a week of virtual presentations, workshops, and networking opportunities presented by the Penn State Small Business Development Center and taking place November 16 - 20. Programs are designed for current or aspiring entrepreneurs looking to connect with collaborators, innovators, mentors and thought leaders. Read More.

One of the GEW presentations is a November 17, 9:00 a.m. panel discussion that will feature Fabre Sanders with Lock Haven specialty shop It Is What It Is, and two other small business owners from the region, talking about how their businesses have altered their operations to try and successfully make it through the COVID-19 pandemic. You can register to participate in that event at: https://pasbdc.ecenterdirect.com/events/27373.

- While these 10 tips for operating your business during a pandemic were developed by the National Restaurant Association, much of the information is applicable to the business community in general. MORE INFO.

- Want to know what the future of business looks like? Inc. magazine asked a series of top business leaders for their best predictions.

- The Internal Revenue Service has set next Tuesday, November 10 as “National EIP Registration Day,” as the agency and partners across the country launch a final push to encourage everyone who doesn’t normally file a tax return to register to receive an Economic Impact Payment. The IRS has already sent nearly 9 million letters to people who may be eligible for the $1,200 Economic Impact Payments but don’t normally file a tax return. The letters, along with the special November 10 event, both urge people to use the Non-Filers: Enter Info Here tool, available on IRS.gov. 

- The state’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) today begins accepting applications for assistance and will be available through April 9, 2021. LIHEAP provides assistance for home heating bills to support low-income Pennsylvanians, including renters and homeowners. More information here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/DHS_details.aspx?newsid=620.

- The Penn State Small Business Development Center hosts their Quick Connect sessions Tuesdays at noon, with the latest ones focusing on Gearing Up for Small Business Saturday. Learn More.

- The SCORE Central PA Chapter hosts a no-cost virtual seminar, 21st Century Customer Service, Thursday, November 19 from 5:30-7:30pm. The session focuses on the three primary stages of customer service: Assessment, Solutions, and Measurement, and then helps participants build a solution that works for their organization. Register Now!

Posted 10/30/20

- In his weekly update, Clinton County Economic Partnership President Mike Flanagan today said initial unemployment claims increased for Clinton County workers during the past week, while continued claims continued a declining trend.

According to information released Friday by the PA Department of Labor & Industry, the initial claims increased to 77 during the week ending October 24. A week earlier, there were 35 initial claims. About 37% of the new claims are in the manufacturing field, and 67% were male.

The continued claims numbers fell from 784 for the week ending October 17 to 737 a week later. For the first time since the pandemic began, the food and accommodations sector was not the highest sector field in the continued claims. Manufacturing accounted for 18% of the continued claims, and food and accommodations were listed at 15.5%. Just more than half of the continued claims were from males.

Earlier this week, the state released the monthly unemployment rates for September. Clinton County registered a 7.4% reading, the fifth straight month that the local rate has declined.

- COVID-19 precautions are prompting what can be viewed as a positive change for those who like to shop local. The traditional Small Business Saturday celebration in downtown Lock Haven will be expanded this year, and Downtown Lock Haven, Inc. is encouraging all businesses to get on board. Instead of one Saturday, this year’s celebration – called Small Business Saturday Countdown to the Holidays – will take place over four Saturdays, starting November 28 and running through December 19. Each week, participating stores in the downtown will offer special savings and sales, all designed to bring people into the downtown to shop for the holidays….but spreading things out so there isn’t a crush of shoppers on any single day. If your business isn’t already signed up to participate, contact Downtown Manager Marie Vilello at 570-748-1576 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to get involved.

- The PA Council on the Arts has announced the launch of a Creative Business Loan Fund, making $2.2 million available to creative businesses across the state. Under the program’s guidelines, creative, for-profit businesses include craft manufacturers, art schools, architecture, design and fabrication firms, media companies, and visual and performing arts production agencies. Find Out How to Apply!

- The Federal Reserve Board today adjusted the terms of the Main Street Lending Program to better target support to smaller businesses facing continued revenue shortfalls due to the pandemic. In particular, the minimum loan size for three Main Street facilities available to for-profit and non-profit borrowers has been reduced from $250,000 to $100,000, and the fees have been adjusted. Read more: https://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/pressreleases/monetary20201030a.htm.

- The Small Business Development Center hosts a free virtual webinar on Paycheck Protection Program Forgiveness Loans, Tuesday, November 3, at 1pm. Click here for MORE INFO.

- State-led contract tracing efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 are facing some headwinds, according to Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine. At a press briefing this week, Secretary Levine said that of the close to 10,000 confirmed positive cases reported between October 11-17, only 29 percent provided an answer to the question as to whether they spent time at a business establishment during the 14 days prior to the onset of their symptoms. Participation in the state’s contact tracing efforts has never been high; when they ramped up over the summer, less than half were answering questions about businesses they might have visited, and that number has been steadily declining. And as for the COVID-19 smartphone tracing app, only 2.8 percent of the state’s population have even downloaded it. Says Levine, “We cannot improve our public health response and protect Pennsylvanians if we don’t know what puts them at risk.”

- The state today again assured Pennsylvanians that rigorous COVID-19 precautions will be taken at polling places this Tuesday, November 3, to keep voters, poll workers and election officials safe. Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/State-details.aspx?newsid=424.

Meanwhile, don’t be surprised if the results of some of the more contested races are not immediately known. This is the first year that Pennsylvanians have the ability to vote by mail, and it is anticipated that up to 3 million Commonwealth voters will choose to cast their ballot via this method. That means county election officials are now faced with the added challenge of sorting through and tallying a higher amount of these types of ballots prior to finalizing election results. In Pennsylvania, mail-in ballots cannot begin to be processed until the morning of November 3. 

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 580 licensed liquor establishments Monday through Thursday of this week (October 26-29), issuing four notices of violation and 45 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 23 licensee checks during the period, issuing two warnings and no notices of violation related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PA-State-Police-Details.aspx?newsid=603.

- If you enjoy the food at the annual PA Farm Show, you might consider a trip to Harrisburg to attend a new, outdoor event in November at the Farm Show Complex. The state today announced a ‘Fall Food Fest’ will be held November 13-15 in a parking lot at the Farm Show Complex, featuring many of the food vendors that typically offer food during the annual Farm Show. The 2021 Farm Show will be held virtually, not in person, January 9-16, due to COVID-19 mitigation efforts.  See more on the upcoming Fall Food Fest: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Agriculture_details.aspx?newsid=990.

- With flu season right around the corner, many are wondering how to tell the difference between the flu and COVID-19. UPMC offers the following insights: Learn More

- For local events and activities….

  • The much-needed wet weather seems to be moving out of the area today. If you’re interested in getting out of the house, Click Here for the“Fall Events Flyer” for a variety of local happenings.
  • If you want to hit the open road yet stay close to home, the Partnership’s Visitors Bureau has five suggestions for scenic drives. Click Here for the flyer for details.
  • Be on the lookout for Trick-or-Treaters this weekend. If you’re looking for Halloween activities in the area, Click Here for the Partnership Visitors Bureau “Halloween Events” flyer.

- A few reminders….

  • Beginning November 1 and through April 30, all boaters – including hunters – are required to wear a life jacket while aboard boats less than 16 feet (including all kayaks, canoes and paddleboards). The state law is designed to protect people from drowning or being injured when falling into colder water during the winter months.
  • The PA Game Commission reminds motorists to be on the alert for deer on PA roadways. The combination of deer becoming increasingly active during fall rut and shorter daylight hours can lead to more encounters between drivers and deer. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Game-Commission-Details.aspx?newsid=429.
  • Don’t forget to turn your clocks BACK one hour Saturday before going to bed. Daylight Savings Time ends Sunday, November 1, at 2am.

Posted 10/29/20

- The U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the Treasury Department, has released a simpler loan forgiveness application for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans of $50,000 or less. SBA and Treasury have also eased the burden on PPP lenders, allowing lenders to process forgiveness applications more swiftly. The SBA began approving PPP forgiveness applications and remitting forgiveness payments to PPP lenders for PPP borrowers on October 2.

  • Click hereto view the simpler loan forgiveness application.
  • Clickhere to view the instructions for completing the simpler loan forgiveness application.
  • Clickhere to view the Interim Final Rule on the simpler forgiveness process for loans of $50,000 or less.

More information here: https://www.sba.gov/article/2020/oct/08/sba-treasury-announce-simpler-ppp-forgiveness-loans-50000-or-less.

- The SBA also announced it achieved an “historic” level of small business lending during fiscal year 2020. Loans guaranteed through traditional SBA lending programs exceeded $28 billion. However, through the pandemic-related CARES Act, the SBA processed an additional 5.2 million loans worth more than $525 billion through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), another 3.6 million small business loans valued at $191 billion through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, and another 5.7 million EIDL Advances worth $20 billion. See more: https://www.sba.gov/article/2020/oct/28/sba-achieves-historic-small-business-lending-fiscal-year-2020.

- The Clinton County Commissioners today gave approval to 13 grants to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The grants are through the Community Development Block Grant-COVID (CDBG-CV) program, which involves federal funds that are passed down through the state to the county level. The Commissioners and County Grants Administrator Kari Kepler said additional business information is needed from applicants before the awards can be finalized. Kepler said CDBG-CV program guidelines requires more detailed information and that she has started contacting the businesses who applied so the required information can be obtained. The County received $165,000 in CDBG-CV funds and has chosen to use the funds to award grants of around $5,000 to small businesses. In addition to the grants approved today, the county is looking at additional awards from the applications received.

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry has filed an emergency regulation that will allow unemployment claimants to receive claims backdated up to 52 weeks. This is to address all of the claims that have been filed but the system didn’t process and pay out and claims that weren’t filed but were eligible.

- The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has agreed to waive some 2021 licensing fees — totaling nearly $28 million — for restaurants and bars and other retail licensees struggling during the COVID-19 crisis. The state agency Wednesday voted in favor of waiving next year’s license renewal fees, a move that was publicly requested last week by Governor Tom Wolf. A few highlights for licensees include:

    • You must renew your license in 2021 but the renewal fees will not be collected (except for Wine Expanded Permits--the 2% renewal fee must still be paid in 2021).
    • If you do not renew your license by your renewal date, late fees will still be assessed.
    • All other operational fees not related to renewal (e.g., change in ownership/manager) will be collected.
    • Safe-keeping renewals will continue to be waived at this time.
    • READ NOTICE

- A recently-established Landlord Tenant Mediation Project – a program serving Clinton, Lycoming and Tioga counties – is designed to bring landlords and tenants together outside of a court setting to resolve disputes, prevent evictions, reduce homelessness and provide rental payments and other remedies to landlords. The Lycoming Law Association Foundation is overseeing this project, which is funded by a grant through the CARES Act and is available at no cost to qualified participants. Through mediation, parties are often able to reach agreements that benefit both the landlord and the tenant and consequently the community. The Landlord Tenant Mediation program enables both parties to come together outside of a Court setting to reach an agreement that would eliminate the need for court intervention. Mediators are currently available to meet with the parties and help them reach a mutually acceptable resolution for their dispute. If no agreement is reached either party is free to use the court proceedings to resolve the matters. With rental assistance programs set to expire early next month, landlords and tenants are encouraged to apply for the mediation program as soon as possible. For more information on the Landlord Tenant Mediation Project and to apply for mediation services, contact 570-220-5136.

- Governor Wolf signed a number of bills into law today. More details here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-signs-bills-to-expand-clean-slate-support-sexual-assault-survivors-mental-health-parity-and-veterans-among-other-bills/.

- With election day this Tuesday, November 3, Governor Wolf and Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar are again urging voters to immediately hand-deliver mail ballots to their county election office, saying that by returning their ballot now, Pennsylvanians can be assured their vote will be counted. Read more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-sec-boockvar-hand-deliver-your-ballot-today/.

Boockvar and State Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine also reminded people how to safely cast their ballots on election day. Details here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1102.

- State Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today commended Pennsylvania’s farmers who take part in the state’s Agricultural Surplus System for their contributions of more than four million pounds of food to date in 2020 to Pennsylvania’s charitable food system amid the coronavirus pandemic. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Agriculture_details.aspx?newsid=989.

- The PA Department of Environmental Protection has added Columbia County to the list of counties on drought watch, bringing the total to thirty, including neighboring Centre and Lycoming counties. Although the recent rains may help, Clinton, as well as Potter and McKean counties are on drought warning, which means residents are asked to reduce individual water use by 10 to 15 percent a day. The 30 counties in drought watch status are being asked to reduce their individual usage by 5 to 10 percent a day. For more information, go to DEP’s Drought webpage.

- The PA Department of Banking and Securities has added a weekly virtual series to its line-up of outreach events. Midweek Money Matters is designed to help consumers be more informed about their finances and will address topics such as saving and investing, budgeting, avoiding scams, and practical ways to navigate financial decisions. Learn more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/banking_details.aspx?newsid=321.

- The PA Department of Human Services today warned Pennsylvanians of a potential scam involving pandemic EBT benefits. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Education-Details.aspx?newsid=974.

Posted 10/28/20

- PA CareerLink Clinton County has announced its local office at 8 North Grove St., Lock Haven will re-open for in-person appointments on Monday, November 2. The office has been closed to the public the past several months due to COVID-19 limitations, with staff continuing to serve businesses and individuals remotely. People coming to the office for a scheduled appointment should now enter via Suite C, and there are new hours of operation. Click Here for the PA CareerLink Clinton County flyer for details.

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 2,228 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 200,674. There have been more than 252,583 tests administered between October 21-27, with 13,574 positive cases. Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1101.

- The state has initiated a campaign against COVID-19 that includes a new “PA Unites Against COVID” website with information for individuals as well as the business community. Click Here for the PA Unites Against COVID file for details.

- The Pittsburgh Foundation has released a report of how COVID-19 has impacted Pennsylvania nonprofits.

- With the general election right around the corner, Pennsylvania officials are discussing election security with U.S. Attorneys and the FBI. Learn more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/State-details.aspx?newsid=421.

- In what is a definite draw to the area, Pennsylvania’s general elk season begins this coming Monday, November 2. The one-week season runs through Saturday, November 7 and has the potential to see 104 elk harvested -- 26 tags for bull (antlered) elk were awarded and 78 tags were awarded for antlerless, cow elk. In the state’s Zone 14, which covers the Kettle Creek area in northwestern Clinton County, three antlered tags and six antlerless tags were awarded this year. The general season follows the archery elk season that ran September 12-26. A late season, for antlerless elk only, will be held January 2-9, 2021. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Game-Commission-Details.aspx?newsid=428.

Posed 10/27/20

- Clinton County’s monthly unemployment rate dropped for the fifth month in a row, according to information released Tuesday by the state Department of Labor & Industry. For the month of September, Clinton County had an unemployment rate of 7.4%, down from the 8.9% figure in August. The county had a high reading of 16.1% in April, which was at the peak of the partial COVID-related shutdown. Since that time, the county unemployment rate has fallen to less than half of the April number.

The September information shows 1,300 unemployed, down from 1,600 the month before. Clinton County’s rate was also better than the state (8.1%) and the national (7.9%) unemployment numbers. Of the 67 counties, Clinton County’s 7.4% rate in September ranked no. 24. Centre and Montour counties tied for the top spot at 5.0%, and Cameron County was no. 67 at 12.1%.

“The numbers look better but there is still some work to do to get back to where the county was pre-COVID,” said Clinton County Economic Partnership President Mike Flanagan. “We assume the drop is mainly due to people returning to work or finding new employment, but there may also be a handful who had their benefits expire and they drop off the rolls. But having the rate drop for five straight months is something that at least some of us didn’t see coming back in April. About 20% of the county’s continued unemployment claims are associated with the food and accommodations field. We know that restaurant and hotel industries are two areas hard hit by the virus implications, and we hope they can continue to slowly make their way back, as well as all the other impacted sectors.”

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 2,751 positive cases of COVID-19 – the largest daily increase to date – bringing the statewide total to 198,446. More information here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1098.

Meanwhile, the Wolf Administration today began distribution of the third allotment of COVID-19 antigen test kids provided by the federal government to labs in Blair, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Tioga, Venango and Wyoming Counties. Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1099.

- Geisinger today announced that due to the increase in COVID cases, the health care provider is taking steps to protect patients, staff and the community. Effective this coming Monday, November 2, Geisinger is temporarily restricting routine, in-person visits to hospitalized patients in their facilities until further notice. See more: https://www.geisinger.org/about-geisinger/news-and-media/news-releases/2020/10/26/20/45/increasing-covid-19-spread-leads-to-visitation-restrictions-at-geisinger.

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry today reminded residents to remain vigilant against scams amidst new reports of people posing as L&I employees on the phone. Department  Secretary Jerry Oleksiak said L&I employees never ask for personal, private information such as your full Social Security number, your username or password. And he said messages received over social media also are likely fraudulent. For more on identifying fraud, what to do if you’re a victim of fraud, or how to report fraud, visit L&I's website. More details here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Labor-and-Industry-Details.aspx?newsid=499.

- Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella along with Senator John Yudichak today announced the beginning of legislative efforts to implement the Pennsylvania Skills Compact - a two-year, tuition-free higher education program to expand opportunity for every Pennsylvanian. The two years of training could be used to attain associate’s degrees, technical certifications and other professional and occupational credentials. Learn more: https://www.patreasury.gov/newsroom/archive/2020/10-26-PASkills-Compact.html.

- The Pennsylvania House and Senate wrapped up their final scheduled session days of the 2019-20 session last week, taking action on various bills that the PA Chamber has been tracking and sending several measures to Gov. Wolf’s desk. -> Read More in this update from the PA Chamber.

- Legislation that builds on the “Clean Slate Law” – a measure supported by the PA Chamber – also made its way to Gov. Wolf’s desk last week. The original Clean Slate Law, passed in 2018, generally provides for automatic sealing of low-level criminal offenses if the individual has remained crime-free for 10 years. -> Read More.

- A new report by the Employment Policies Institute has shown that a nationwide $15 an hour minimum wage would mean the loss of more than 2 million jobs. -> Read More.

- Governor Wolf and Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar reminded people that today is the deadline to apply for a mail or absentee ballot for next Tuesday’s November 3 election. In addition, the state is urging voters who still have their mail ballot to hand-deliver their voted ballot to their county election office and/or ballot drop box (both the Clinton County Voter Registration office and ballot drop boxes are located at the County Piper Building in Lock Haven). The deadline to drop off your completed mail ballots is 8pm on election day. More than 3 million Pennsylvanians have applied to vote by mail. Counties will mail ballots to voters once the application is verified. See more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/pennsylvanians-urged-to-hand-deliver-mail-ballots-immediately/.

- The PA Department of Environmental Protection continues to conduct inspections, process permit applications and respond to environmental emergencies during the pandemic, all while DEP employees telework and use other COVID-19 mitigation measures. Read more: http://paenvironmentdaily.blogspot.com/2020/10/dep-works-thru-pandemic-737-more.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+PaEnvironmentDaily+%28PA+Environment+Daily+Blog%29.

- Want to recession-proof your business? Inc. magazine offers some tips: https://www.inc.com/magazine/202011/lindsay-blakely/competitive-advantage-strategy-data-customers.html.

- The Partnership Visitors Bureau continues to highlight fall events and activities being held locally. Click Here for the Fall Events flyer for several upcoming events, and Click Here for the Fall Scenic Drives flyer for several suggestions on getting out to see the fall foliage.

Posted 10/26/20

- Keystone Central School District this afternoon sent a letter to district families and school staff, updating them on precautions the district is taking in light of two new positive cases of COVID-19 identified Saturday and today. Click Here for the letter from KCSD Superintendent Jacque Martin more information.  

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 1,407 new cases, in addition to the 3,709 cases reported over the weekend (there were 1,666 cases reported Sunday, October 25 and 2,043 cases reported Saturday, October 24), bringing the statewide total today to 195,695. The Health Department said daily increases are now comparable with what had been seen in April. For more Health Department information on the virus, daily data is available on the website, with archived data also available. An increase in testing is contributing to the higher case numbers. The number of tests administered in the seven-day period ending October 23 was 232,253, with five percent of them (11,679) positive.

- Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine today released the state’s weekly status update detailing the state’s mitigation efforts based on the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard. According to the report, the statewide percent-positivity went up to 5% from 4.2% last week. Clinton County’s percent is now at 5.3%, which places it among the counties the state says have concerning percent-positivity rates. Both Clinton and neighboring Lycoming counties currently are listed among the counties with moderate community transmission, while Centre County continues to be ranked as having substantial community transmission. See more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/pennsylvania-covid-19-early-warning-monitoring-dashboard-update-for-oct-16-oct-22/.

- With ongoing concerns for the vulnerability of the state’s elderly population amidst the pandemic, the PA Department of Aging today highlighted the work on Ombudsmen in supporting older adults living in long-term care. Learn More: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/aging_details.aspx?newsid=275.

- The Internal Revenue Service today reminded businesses that the next quarterly payroll tax return due date is this Saturday, October 31. The IRS is urging business owners to use the speed and convenience of filing the returns electronically. See more: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-reminds-businesses-to-e-file-payroll-tax-returns.

- According to the National Cybersecurity Alliance, many small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have the misconception that their data is not valuable and that, in turn, they are unlikely to be the target of a cyberattack. However, 28% of cyberattacks involve small business victims. In short, all data is valuable – and there are simple steps that small business owners can take to protect theirs. During October’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month, small businesses are encouraged to leverage the following tips and resources to ramp up their cybersecurity safeguards. Learn more.

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 256 licensed liquor establishments over the weekend (October 23-25), issuing 10 notices of violation and 55 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 10 licensee checks, issuing three warnings and one notice of violation related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. According to LCE statistics, the Williamsport office has, since July 1, conducted 2,808 licensee checks, issuing 109 warnings and seven notices of violation. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PA-State-Police-Details.aspx?newsid=602.

Meanwhile, the PA Liquor Control Board (PLCB) today encouraged people looking for extra holiday cash to apply for seasonal job opportunities at Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores across the state. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Liquor-Control-Board-Details.aspx?newsid=600.

- In preparation for the November 3 general election, the PA Department of State today reminded Pennsylvanians to visit votesPA.com for election resources including where to drop off their mail ballotconfirm their registration statuslocate their polling place and more. Details here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/State-details.aspx?newsid=420.

- The PA Chamber hosts a no-cost “Bringing PA Back: Rise to the Challenge” virtual program this Thursday, October 29 at 1pm, that will provide exclusive insight into the 2020 General Election, forecast what businesses can expect in the year ahead and showcase Pennsylvania’s road to economic recovery. The hour-long program will feature national political columnists Michael Smerconish and Salena Zito; an overview of the VoteSafe initiative by former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge; and U.S. Chamber Senior Vice President of Emerging Issues Michael Carney. Register today!

- 12th District U.S. Congressman Fred Keller, whose district includes Clinton County, has been recognized with a “Guardian of Small Business” award by the National Federation of Independent Businesses. “As a former small business owner, I’m proud to fight for the folks who go to work every day and get the job done. I am pushing hard in Congress to drive out the remaining $138 billion in Paycheck Protection Program funds to our small businesses that need it most,” said Keller.

Non-COVID items of interest….

- The PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources is accepting nominations for the state’s 2021 Trail of the Year. Nominations are due by November 20 and can be made online through the Trail of the Year webpage. The Trail of the Year will be announced in early 2021. Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/DCNR_details.aspx?newsid=704.

- Pennsylvania’s fall turkey season kicks off this Saturday, October 31, in most of the state Game Commission’s Wildlife Management Units (WMUs), including the two WMUs that cover Clinton County – WMU 2G for the central and upper sections, which runs October 31-November 14 and also includes a three-day season November 25-27, and WMU 4D covering southern Clinton County where the season runs October 31-November 14 only. For the latest on fall turkey hunting, the season outlook, and West Nile Virus research on turkeys, click here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Game-Commission-Details.aspx?newsid=427.

- From the PA Fish and Boat Commission….anglers and hunters are reminded that the mandatory ‘Cold Water Wear It law’ goes into effect this Sunday, November 1. Learn more here: http://ow.ly/FUhA50BFwPl.

Posted 10/23/20

- Clinton County Economic Partnership President Mike Flanagan today said both first-time and continued unemployment claims continued a downward trend in Clinton County, according to information released Thursday by the state Department of Labor and Industry. For the week ending October 17, Clinton County residents filed for 35 initial unemployment insurance claims, compared to 52 the week before. Of the 35, 46% were in the construction field and 63% were male. The state said there were 784 continued claims from residents, down from 905 for the week ending October 10. That is the county’s lowest continued claim weekly number since the pandemic began over seven months ago. Of the 784 continued claims, 19% were in the food and accommodation sector, and 58% were female.

The state expects to release the September monthly unemployment rates next week for all 67 counties. Clinton County had an 8.8% unemployment figure in August.

- In positive economic news for Clinton County, the proposed Renovo Energy Center gas-powered turbine electrical generating facility at the former railroad shops in Renovo continues to move forward to hopeful reality. You may have noticed several full-page advertisements in this week’s The Express Lock Haven newspaper, detailing plans by REC to seek a new, expanded air quality permit through the PA Department of Environmental Protection. The permit is needed to make the project’s two turbines larger than originally proposed. The Partnership continues to work with REC representatives in support of the overall project and we remain optimistic that construction for the project could begin in 2021.

- Lock Haven University’s executive team met with a small group of community members – including the Partnership – this week to discuss the financial need for faculty/staff cutbacks, as well as provide updates on the planned Lock Haven-Bloomsburg-Mansfield university realignment now under consideration by the PA State System of Higher Education. There will be a public comment period on the proposal next spring,  although comments and/or questions can be sent to the State System Chancellor’s office at any time.

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 2,219 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 190,579. The Department said daily increases are now comparable with what was seen in April of this year, with today’s case count the largest one-day total. Details here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1093.

- With Pennsylvania’s coronavirus case numbers getting higher, Governor Tom Wolf on Thursday said that he would consider stiffening restrictions on a “targeted” basis but that he had no plans to issue another sweeping stay-at-home order. At least for now. Asked directly at a news briefing if such an order was in play, Wolf responded with an emphatic “No.” But after a pause: “Well, who knows, there’s a chance. We have done everything in Pennsylvania to make sure that doesn’t happen.” He added that the battle against COVID-19 is in an overall better place than it was two seasons ago. “We are in a very different place than we were back in March,” he said. He pointed to hospitalization numbers that are a third of what they were in the spring; the availability of almost 5,000 ventilators across the state; the compliance of most Pennsylvanians with mask-wearing, social distancing, and other measures; and increased testing. Still for the week of October 15 to 21, the state’s positive test rate was 4.5%, close to the World Health Organization’s 5% danger threshold. Read More  (Source: Philadelphia Inquirer)

- Governor Wolf’s call yesterday to waive next year’s liquor licensing fees for restaurants and bars crippled by the COVID-19-related restrictions is being questioned some state legislators and others. “As a former business owner, the governor should understand that his plan provides relief on the wrong side of the ledger,” said Senator Pat Stefano, R-Fayette County. “These employers need relief that increases revenue – not one that cuts expenses.” Stefano is the chairman of the Senate Law & Justice Committee, the starting point for liquor legislation in that chamber. He said, “We have heard time and again from restaurant and tavern owners that what they want is the ability to safely and effectively run their business, not a one-time handout.”

State Representative Tarah Toohil, R-Luzerne County, questioned whether the governor was calling on the right group of people to waive those fees. Wolf said he was asking the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to act at its next meeting on his fee waiver request for 2021, which he said would save the hospitality industry $20 million. Toohil said when she had asked the PLCB about discounting those fees back in May, the agency responded in a letter that authority fell to the Legislature. “The PLCB does not have authority, however, to reduce statutorily established license fees and surcharges. As you may know, the fees paid by licensees upon the renewal or validation of their license are primarily governed by” state law, she said, reading from the PLCB letter. Read More  (Source: Harrisburg Patriot News)

John Longstreet, President/CEO of the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association, issued the following statement in response to the Governor’s statement yesterday: “PRLA has been advocating for a number of industry "lifelines" since March 19. It's unfortunate that the Administration is only now, nearly 8 months later, taking our requests seriously. While our industry desperately needs support, these olive branches will not sustain businesses that are still reeling from closures, shrinking revenue, and well-intended but ineffective mitigation efforts unnecessarily targeting restaurant operators. For example, the $20 million in licensee fee waivers only accounts for 2021 fees, does not provide relief for 2020 fees, and only amounts to about $1,500 per licensee, which doesn't compensate for the daily losses in revenue licensees are facing under the current orders. The PRLA has asked for federal and state funding packages. However, those only help if the industry is returned to the safe and rational operating guidelines from pre-July 15, which House Bill 2513 would have accomplished, and the majority of the legislature has recognized. A true lifeline for the industry would have been permitting HB 2513 to become law. If the restaurant industry is the backbone of Pennsylvania’s economy, then our Governor needs to understand our backs are broken.”

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 473 licensed liquor establishments Monday through Thursday of this week (October 19-22), issuing six notices of violation and 44 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 24 licensee checks during the period, issuing five warnings and no notices of violations related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PA-State-Police-Details.aspx?newsid=601.

- An alert from the U.S. Small Business Administration: The SBA has discovered an email scam originating from sba-attorneys.com that seeks to create alarm among Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan borrowers. The email falsely warns that PPP funds were issued to the recipient in error, and that immediate action must be taken to avoid "potential criminal liability. If you receive such an email, consider marking the item as SPAM and deleting it from your inbox. Under no circumstances should you reply to the sender or click on any of the message's embedded links.

- There’s no guarantee it will happen, but reports are that the Trump Administration and Congressional lawmakers are trying to get a deal on a second COVID-19 stimulus bill prior to Election Day. According to information from the PA Chamber, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told reporters that he was hopeful agreement would be reached within the next two days; telling them that while the negotiators remain apart on a number of issues – namely, the amount each side of the aisle thinks is appropriate to spend – discussions over the last day or so “have moved the ball down the field.”

- The PA Attorney General office’s today said its PA CARE Package initiative, launched in March to bring additional financial resources to consumers impacted by COVID-19, has resulted in significant savings for Pennsylvanians. Through partnerships with financial institutions, thousands of Pennsylvanians were able to have millions of dollars in loan payments deferred and fees waived or refunded. See more: https://www.attorneygeneral.gov/taking-action/press-releases/ag-shapiro-millions-in-fees-waived-and-loan-payments-deferred-under-pa-care-package/.

- The PA Department of Environmental Protection says it continues to maintain environmental protections and has even increased permitting efficiency during the pandemic. See more: https://www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/NewsRoomPublic/articleviewer.aspx?id=21878&typeid=1.

- Pennsylvania’s voter registration has hit an all-time high this election cycle.  According to officials at the Department of State, more than 9 million individuals are registered to vote in the Commonwealth ahead of the November 3, 2020 General Election.  That breaks down to more than 4.2 million Democrats, more than 3.5 million Republicans and a little more than 895,000 Independents.  Approximately 400,000 individuals are registered with another party.  According to a PennLive report, while Democrats continue to hold the voter registration advantage in the state, Republicans have been gaining traction, partly due to “Democratic party-switchers.” In other election numbers, the DOS is reporting that as of last week, more than 683,000 mail-in ballots had already been submitted.

- The state today announced grant funding to plant trees along streams to improve water quality in Pennsylvania, and eventually the Chesapeake Bay. The Keystone Fund and other funds will invest $673,700 to support the planting of about 93 acres of streamside buffers, including several areas along the Susquehanna River Watershed in Clinton, Centre and Lycoming counties. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/DCNR_details.aspx?newsid=703.

Posted 10/22/20

- Less than a week after vetoing a bill that would have, among other things, allowed Pennsylvania restaurants to increase their indoor eating capacity, Governor Tom Wolf today announced plans to waive liquor license fees to provide financial relief to restaurants and bars, which have faced significant financial impacts during the COVID-19 public health crisis. The plan calls for waiving standard licensing fees through 2021, starting January 1, and, according to the Governor, would provide $20 million in relief to more than 16,000 restaurants and bars, clubs, catering clubs and hotels. See more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/governor-wolf-announces-plan-to-waive-liquor-license-fees-to-provide-financial-relief-to-restaurants-and-bars/.

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 2,063 positive cases of COVID-19, but said a faulty data file prevented some of the lab results from yesterday from being properly reported…meaning some of the cases reported today should have been counted as part of the positive test results for October 21. Allegheny, Luzerne, Philadelphia and Westmoreland counties are all reporting one-day case counts of more than 100. The number of tests administered within the last seven days (October 15-21) is 231,483, with 10,375 positive cases. The statewide case total as of today is 188,360. County-specific information is available on the state’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard.

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine today said that beginning this Saturday, October 24, an outdoor testing clinic will be held in Lebanon County due to the rapid increase of COVID-19 cases there. Lebanon County has seen an increase of 871 cases since the beginning of September and this week has the fifth highest percent positivity at 8.2 percent. Testing clinics are also being held in nearby Centre County, as well as in Columbia, Indiana, Berks and Northumberland counties. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/pages/health-details.aspx?newsid=1089.

- Secretary Levine today shared critical questions for Pennsylvanians to ask their health care providers so they improve their understanding of heath matters, especially as COVID-19 and the flu remain a threat. Learn more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1090.

- The Lycoming County commissioners recently awarded some $3 million in COVID-19 relief funds to 11 school districts serving Lycoming County students. Jersey Shore School District was among the grant recipients and received $328,600 in support of their 1,643 students. Click Here for the news release for more information.

- Acting PA Secretary of Banking and Securities Richard Vague today emphasized the importance of financial institutions to support businesses, workers and communities as Pennsylvania continues to recover from the economic toll of the pandemic. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/banking_details.aspx?newsid=320.

- The PA Department of Environmental Protection has four different funding programs for business owners, community organizations and government entities that want to transition from older diesel vehicles to cleaner fuel vehicles. The programs are open for applications now to support a switch to new engine technologies such as electric, compressed natural gas (CNG), propane, and clean diesel. These cleaner technologies can significantly reduce pollutants from freight and delivery trucks, transit buses, school buses, and other vehicles and transportation related equipment. For grant and rebate program information, visit Driving PA Forward

- The PA Office of Attorney General and the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association today announced collaborative efforts to ensure the integrity of Pennsylvania’s 2020 election. Learn more: https://www.attorneygeneral.gov/taking-action/press-releases/ag-shapiro-and-pennsylvania-district-attorneys-your-right-to-vote-is-safe-in-2020-election/.

Meanwhile, the state today urged Pennsylvanians who plan to vote by mail in the November 3 election to complete and return their mail-in ballot over the weekend. More information here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/State-details.aspx?newsid=418.

- The PA Chamber, as part of their Bring PA Back initiative, hosts a free, hour-long virtual program Thursday, October 29 at 1pm that will provide insight into the 2020 general election, forecast what businesses can expect in the year ahead, and showcase Pennsylvania’s road to economic recovery.  Register Today 

- As Pennsylvania continues to see strong interest in outdoor pursuits during the pandemic, the PA Organization for Watersheds and Rivers is now accepting nominations for 2021 PA River of the Year from nonprofit organizations. The deadline for submissions is November 16. Pennsylvania’s River of the Year is an honor designed to elevate public awareness of specific rivers and recognize important conservation needs and achievements. The 2020 River of the Year is the Lackawanna River (the West Branch Susquehanna River has been named as the PA River of the Year three times since the program began in the 1980s). Click Here to submit online nominations, and for more information, visit the River of the Year webpage.

Posted 10/21/20

- Seven months into pandemic that pushed millions out of work in Pennsylvania, the state Department of Labor & Industry continues to struggle to keep up with the demand for unemployment benefits.

That has state lawmakers feeling helpless when their unemployed constituents come to them with stories about losing their homes, having their cars repossessed, and threatening suicide after going months waiting for benefits to be paid. “It’s unacceptable what is happening at the Department of Labor & Industry,” said Rep. Kate Klunk, R-York County, at Tuesday’s House Labor & Industry Committee hearing that had state Labor & Industry Secretary Jerry Oleksiak on the hot seat to defend his department’s handling of jobless claims. Oleksiak said, "We are certainly not satisfied with the fact that so many of our fellow citizens have not yet received their benefits.” But he pointed out 97% of those seeking benefits have had their claims paid or were deemed ineligible for them, a percentage that has held steady for awhile. As for the 53,000 Pennsylvanians who comprise the other 3%, he said their cases are pending resolution due to fraud concerns and unresolved eligibility questions. Oleksiak told the committee that since March 15, the department has increased its staffing from 775 to nearly 2,000 to support the unemployment compensation service centers. He said staff has put in 360,000 hours of overtime, working evenings, weekends and holidays to respond to claimants' questions and assist in disbursing a total of $29.5 billion in total jobless benefits. The department also has provided some technology enhancements to help staff process claims more efficiently as well as accelerated the return of staff to state offices by installing Plexiglass and enhanced safety measures. Read More (Source: Harrisburg Patriot-News)

- The Centers for Disease Control this week issued a number of updates surrounding the coronavirus, including updated frequently asked questions (FAQs). Click Here for the CDC file for more information.

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 1,425 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 186,297. County-specific information is available on the state’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard.

- We’ve received word that, with the cooler temperatures, the City of Lock Haven has ended the pedestrian mall initiative that saw a section of Main Street closed to vehicle traffic Friday afternoons through Saturday evenings so restaurants and retailers could bring their business out into the streets and sidewalks. In addition, the outdoor dining park in the East Main Street parking lot is being disassembled. We thank the City for opening the streets over the summer months – creating the pedestrian mall and dining area was a strong show of support for downtown businesses, one that brought many people into Lock Haven to patronize local restaurants and shops.

- A measure that would have supported the struggling restaurant industry failed to gain enough support yesterday in the PA House of Representatives. Late Tuesday afternoon, the House held an override vote on House Bill 2513, which the Governor had vetoed last Friday. By a vote of 133-69, the override failed (two more ‘yes’ votes were needed to reach the 135-vote two-thirds majority of the House). The “no” votes fell along party lines -- 12 Democrats who were among the 145 votes to pass the bill originally, flipped positions and voted against the override. 76th District State Representative Stephanie Borowicz, who represents Clinton County, voted in favor of overriding the Governor’s veto.

John Longstreet, president of the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association issued the following statement on the override vote: “The failure to pass HB 2513 is devastating to the long-term survival of the restaurant, private event, and lodging industries. On behalf of 30,000 businesses and 700,000 hospitality employees across the Commonwealth, the PRLA will not relent in speaking up for the struggling restaurant, private event and lodging industries. The PRLA will seek support and continue to advocate for reasonable, well researched, and common-sense health and safety standards for restaurants to operate at 50% capacity, eliminate self-certification, allow bar seating and remove the required meal with the purchase of alcohol. While the PRLA is grateful to the legislators who stood firm with the industry, we are incredibly disappointed in those who succumbed to misinformation and pressure from the Wolf administration and chose to change their votes.”

- The PA Liquor Control Board yesterday issued updated guidance for licensees. Click here for that information: https://www.lcb.pa.gov/Legal/Documents/Guidance%20for%20Licensees%20in%20All%20Counties%2010-20-2020.pdf?trk_msg=SENT9E3Q03MKPFPCUS9RPF6GCC&trk_contact=3E11IUEGL0SQ1N2TG5MCKICCM4&trk_sid=DQC15PM446U9H4QR1EC74C7JAC

- The PA Department of Agriculture today released data related to COVID-19 restaurant enforcement actions from October 12-18. During that period, the Bureau of Food Safety performed 519 inspections, 15 of which were complaint-driven; four were COVID-19 specific complaints. The Bureau distributed 44 COVID-19 complaint-driven educational letters, referred 12 complaints to local and county health jurisdictions, and issued six formal warning letters. In Clinton County, there were two routine inspections conducted during that time, with no warnings or citations issued. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Agriculture_details.aspx?newsid=984.

- During its quarterly business meeting held virtually Monday and Tuesday, October 19 & 20, the PA Fish and Boat Commission Board of Commissioners adopted an experimental fishing regulation on a newly designated Keystone Select Stocked Trout Water on Bald Eagle Creek in Centre County. PFBC staff also announced the publication of the new Strategic Plan for Management of Trout Fisheries in Pennsylvania 2020-2024 (known as the “Trout Plan”), which will guide specific goals and objectives of the Commission’s trout management program. Executive Director Tim Schaeffer noted there has been a surge in fishing and boating activities across the state that has continued into the fall, citing a 20 percent increase in fishing license sales compared to last year. He also reminded boaters that from November 1 through April 30 (known as the cold water season), all boaters under 16 feet in length – including all canoes, kayaks and paddleboards – are required to wear a life jacket. Learn more from the meeting here: https://www.media.pa.gov/pages/fish-and-boat-commission-details.aspx?newsid=345.

Upcoming Webinar….

- The U.S. Chamber Foundation hosts another of its ‘Path Forward – Navigating the Return to Work’ series tomorrow, October 22, at 3pm. This session will focus on: Flu Shots, Masks, & COVID-19 TestingRegister here: https://events.uschamberfoundation.org/FluShots?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=SFMC&utm_campaign=&utm_content=.

Posted 10/20/20

- The Lycoming County commissioners today voted to award up to $1.5 million of their COVID relief funds to 165 businesses in Lycoming County. The county had received a $10.2 million COVID-19 County Relief Block Grant (CRBG) that had come from the federal government, down through the state. Click Here for the SEDA-COG news release for details. Clinton County received $3.4 million in COVID-19 Relief Block Grant funds and the Commissioners last month announced grants to support nearly 100 small businesses, nonprofits and government entities.

- Grant funding for energy efficiency and pollution prevention projects for small business owners and farmers is still available from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) through the Small Business Advantage Grant Program. Details here: https://www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/NewsRoomPublic/articleviewer.aspx?id=21877&typeid=1.

- The Wolf Administration today began distribution of the second allotment of COVID-19 antigen test kits to labs in Berks, Huntingdon, Union and Westmoreland counties, with more test kits to be provided across the state in the coming weeks. Last week, more than 70,000 tests were distributed to facilities in Centre, Bradford, Lebanon, Montour, Northumberland, Schuylkill and Snyder counties. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1087.

- The PA Department of Health today shared its weekly update on the state’s COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing data, and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine continued to encourage people to download the COVID Alert PA app to aid in contact tracing efforts. More information here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1083.

What to do if one of your employees tests positive for COVID-19 can be found on the state's general business guidance.

Meanwhile, the Department today confirmed an additional 1,557 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 184,872.

- State Veterinarian Dr. Kevin Brightbill today said Pennsylvania has confirmed its first COVID-19 positive cat, a 16-year-old feline in Cumberland County, who lived in a household with individuals who had previously been diagnosed with the coronavirus. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Agriculture_details.aspx?newsid=983.

- The Wolf Administration recently participated in a national project to look at reducing the state’s incarcerated population, as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/wolf-administration-participates-in-national-project-to-review-safe-inmate-population-reduction-during-covid-19/.

Non-COVID items of interest….

- The Pennsylvania Senate today honored 25th District State Senator Joe Scarnati for nearly two decades of service. Scarnati, whose district includes Clinton County, did not seek reelection and will retire from office by year-end. Click Here for the Senate Tribute file for more on today’s recognition.

- Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education Chancellor Dan Greenstein appeared before two House committees on Monday to discuss a proposal to combine six state universities into two institutions. The proposal would integrate Lock Haven University with Bloomsburg and Mansfield, and also integrate California, Clarion and Edinboro universities. Read more on yesterday’s hearing: https://www.pennlive.com/news/2020/10/pa-lawmakers-question-the-impact-of-combining-six-state-universities-into-two.html?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=GMPA%20-%20102020&utm_term=Newsletter_good_morning_pa. (Source: PennLive Patriot-News)

- PennDOT is alerting drivers that traffic along Interstate 80 eastbound will be impacted, starting tomorrow, October 21, as the Route 26 Local Interchange project in Centre County continues. The work zone includes the area between I-80 Exit 161 and Jacksonville Road, east of Bellefonte. Starting on Wednesday, the contractor will implement a long-term lane closure of the I-80 eastbound passing lane. The work is expected to run through November 6. More here: https://www.penndot.gov/regionaloffices/district-2/pages/details.aspx?newsid=1826.

- Pennsylvania is joining a national effort to encourage high school students to create a postsecondary plan as part of Pennsylvania’s College Application Campaign, an effort to increase the number of first-generation college students and students from low-income families choosing to pursue a higher education degree. Learn more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Education-Details.aspx?newsid=969.

- Pennsylvania voters have one week left to apply to vote by mail or to vote early in-person by mail ballot at their county election office. The deadline for both options is 5pm next Tuesday, October 27. Details here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/State-details.aspx?newsid=416.

Posted 10/19/20

- PA Governor Tom Wolf and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine today released the state’s weekly status update detailing mitigation efforts based on the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard. The Governor said both the statewide percent positivity and incidence rate increased again this week amidst what he called a “fall resurgence of cases in Pennsylvania.”

As of Thursday, October 15, the state had seen a seven-day case increase of 8,723 cases; the previous seven-day increase was 7,398 cases, indicating a 1,325-case increase across the state over the past week. The statewide percent-positivity went up to 4.3% from 3.9 percent last week. Ten counties, including Clinton, were in the low level of transmission, 46 counties – including neighboring Lycoming County – were in the moderate level, and 11 counties – including Centre - had substantial transmission. See more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/pennsylvania-covid-19-early-warning-monitoring-dashboard-update-for-oct-9-oct-15/.

Meanwhile, the Health Department today confirmed an additional 1,103 positive cases of the virus, in addition to the 1,269 cases reported Sunday and the 1,857 new positive cases reported Saturday, bringing the statewide total 180,943 since the beginning of the pandemic in March. Today marked the 14th day in a row that the daily case count topped the 1,000 mark (the state’s highest daily count was 1,989 on April 9). More than 2.1 million people have tested negative in the state. Also, 80 percent of people who’ve been diagnosed have recovered, meaning they’re at least 30 days after the onset of symptoms or a positive test.

Asking residents to “double down on efforts to keep ourselves and those around us safe,” the Governor cautioned, “We’ve seen what happens when masks aren’t worn and social distancing isn’t practiced – people get sick, so we need to stay vigilant and work together to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Secretary Levine today also encouraged residents to join the more than 322,000 Pennsylvanians who have added the COVID Alert PA mobile app to their phones. More information here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1080.

- The state House and Senate convenes this week for the final scheduled session weekdays of the 2019-20 session. There remains a strong possibility lawmakers will meet in what’s called a “sine die” session – i.e. voting session days after Election Day – in order to pass the second half of the 2020-21 Fiscal Year’s budget. The PA Chamber continues to advocate for responsible state spending in these challenging economic times, and is urging lawmakers to enact a budget that does not place undue burdens on business and individual taxpayers. -> Read More.

- Governor Wolf today urged the state legislature to act on funding small businesses while the body is in session this week. The Governor reiterated his call for the General Assembly to provide an additional $225 million in federal CARES Act funding in the form of forgivable loans and grants to small businesses through the COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance Program. The Governor also proposed $100 million in forgivable loans and grants for the hospitality, leisure and service industries, including restaurants and bars, salons and barber shops. Read more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-urges-general-assembly-to-support-small-businesses/.

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 241 licensed liquor establishments from Friday, October 16 through Sunday, October 18, issuing 11 notices of violation and 52 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 25 licensee checks, issuing one notice of violation and 5 warnings related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Details here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PA-State-Police-Details.aspx?newsid=600.

- If you are a small businesses, non-profit organization of any size, or a U.S. agricultural business with 500 or fewer employees that have suffered substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, you can still apply for an COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) through the U.S. Small Business Administration. Click here to get to program information: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/economic-injury-disaster-loans.

- The U.S. Small Business Administration reminds businesses to beware of malicious COVID-19 phishing and to protect yourself from identify theft and fraud during pandemic recovery. You can confirm any SBA disaster assistance emails by contacting the SBA at (800)659-2955 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For more information on scams and fraud, visit www.sba.gov/COVIDfraudalert.

- PA Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller and others today reminded Pennsylvanians of the resources available to help families protect their children from online dangers and to educate children about using the Internet safely and productively. Learn more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Education-Details.aspx?newsid=968.

- Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar today reminded Pennsylvanians to make a plan now for how they are going to cast their ballot in the November 3 general election. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/State-details.aspx?newsid=415.

Posted 10/16/20

- Clinton County Economic Partnership President Mike Flanagan today said positive signs continue for Clinton County’s jobless picture as recent unemployment claims again decreased, according to information released Thursday by the state Department of Labor and Industry. As of the week ending October 10, there were 905 continued unemployment claims by Clinton County residents, which includes about 18% in the food and accommodations sector, and 52% female. The newest claim figure continues a downward trend. As of the week ending October 3, there were 963 continued claims. In late September, there were 1,041 active continued claims.   

The initial claims, as of October 10, decreased by one from the previous week to 52. The state says  40% of the initial claims are in the construction field, and 73% are male.

The September county-by-county monthly unemployment rates should be released on or around October 27. The August unemployment rate in Clinton County was 8.8%.

- Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate dropped 2.3 percentage points, to 8.1 percent from August to September, according to information released today by the state Department of Labor & Industry. The national rate fell 0.5 percentage points from its August level to 7.9 percent. Pennsylvania’s 8.1 percent rate in September was 3.5 percentage points higher than it was a year ago, while the national rate was up 4.4 points over the year. Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Labor-and-Industry-Details.aspx?newsid=498.

- The PA Department of Human Services today reminded people needing FBI criminal history background checks as a condition of employment that the December 31 deadline to obtain the clearance is approaching. DHS is strongly encouraging people to start the clearance process now. Earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the state extended the time period for certain professions required by the Child Protective Services Law to obtain an FBI background check upon hiring. More information here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Education-Details.aspx?newsid=963.

- PA Governor Tom Wolf this afternoon acted on two pieces of legislation. He signed House Bill 2487, which provides for a temporary freeze on cost-of-living salary adjustments for certain public officials due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As expected, the Governor vetoed House Bill 2513 - which, among other things, would have allowed restaurants and event venues to open to greater levels - saying the measure could jeopardize the public health. Click here to view the Governor’s HB 2513 veto message. Read more here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-signs-cola-bill-vetoes-bill-that-jeopardizes-public-health/.

HB2513 is supported by the PA Restaurant & Lodging Association, which issued a statement in response to the Governor’s veto. The bill also drew broad support from the state legislature. State House leadership earlier this week announced their intention to hold a veto override on Monday, October 19.

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 315 licensed liquor establishments Tuesday through Thursday of this week (October 13-15), issuing seven notices of violation and 26 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which oversees Clinton County, conducted 13 licensee checks during the period. Two warnings were issued and there were no notices of violation. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PA-State-Police-Details.aspx?newsid=599.

- The PA Department of State today reminded voters who plan to mail their ballots for the upcoming election that they must seal their ballot in both the white inner secrecy envelope as well as the pre-addressed outer return envelope in order for their ballot to count. Details here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/State-details.aspx?newsid=414.

And a reminder….this coming Monday, October 19, is the last day to register to vote, change your registration or update your voter information before the November 3 election.

- The PA Department of Health continues to expand the number of COVID-19 testing sites in areas with high case counts. Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine today said testing sites will be launched tomorrow, October 17, in Allegheny and Dauphin counties. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1077.

Meanwhile, the Department today confirmed an additional 1,566 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 179,086.

- The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) today updated certain data elements on the Future Ready PA Index, the Wolf Administration’s public-facing dashboard for comprehensive information on student and school success. More information here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Education-Details.aspx?newsid=965.

- A new survey by the American Hotel & Lodging Association found 9 in 10 voters support Congress passing another COVID relief bill to help distressed businesses. Survey responders also feel that Congress should remain in session until reaching an agreement on an economic stimulus package. READ MORE.

- Some good news this week for ATV tourism in Clinton County: Central Mountains ATV Association has been awarded a $78,000 grant from the PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR) Community  Conservation Partnerships Program to complete design of an ATV connector trail in the Brewery Run area above Renovo. The connector is one of the key pieces in the planned trail that would connect the Whiskey Springs and Bloody Skillet ATV Trails.

The local grant is one of $7.6 million in grants announced by DCNR this week that will support 41 trail planning, construction and rehabilitation projects. Funding for the projects comes from the Keystone Recreations, Parks and Conservation Fund, the Environmental Stewardship Fund, ATV and Snowmobile restricted accounts and the federal Pennsylvania Recreational Trails Program. Click Here for a list of projects funded.

DCNR said today will begin offering a series of free workshops next month for those looking to apply for DCNR grant funding in 2021. Normally held in-person, the sessions will be online due to pandemic limitations. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/DCNR_details.aspx?newsid=701.

- The PA Department of Agriculture today expanded on competitive event opportunities for the virtual 2021 PA Farm Show. More than 20 opportunities will be available, with every competition having modified rules and regulations to effectively mitigate against COVID-19. Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Agriculture_details.aspx?newsid=982.

Posted 10/15/20

- Lock Haven University President Dr. Robert Pignatello today provided an update to the LHU campus community regarding the proposed integration of LHU, Bloomsburg and Mansfield following this week’s meeting of the State System of Higher Education Board of Governors. He also offered several highlights of the University’s plans for the coming semester. Click Here for the LHU file for the President’s comments.

- The PA Department of Insurance today announced Pennsylvania’s approved 2021 individual and small group Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance rates, highlighting a decease in individual market rates attributable to the new state-based exchange and reinsurance program. Learn more here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Insurance-Details.aspx?newsid=437.

For those with individual insurance (or those in the workforce who have been let go), Pennsylvania’s new state-based health insurance marketplace, called Pennie™ (PENNsylvania Insurance Exchange) will replace the federal marketplace, healthcare.gov, for accessing individual and family health insurance for under age 65, effective January 1, 2021. Open enrollment for health insurance coverage through Pennie begins November 1.

- To those businesses working through the Paycheck Protection Program forgiveness process, please note: The forgiveness for PPP loans under $50,000 is not “automatic PPP loan forgiveness,” as borrowers are still required to submit documentation to lenders on payroll costs, rent/lease payments, and utilities. INSTRUCTIONS | APPLICATION

- The PA Department of Health continues to set up outdoor testing clinics in areas seeing a substantial increase in COVID-19 cases. Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine today announced that a testing clinic will begin to operate tomorrow, October 16, in Northumberland County, which has seen an increase of nearly 600 cases since the beginning of September. The Department has signed a contract with AMI Expeditionary Healthcare to provide testing in communities in need across the state. AMI has already deployed to nearby Centre County, as well as to Columbia, Indiana and Berks counties to perform community testing.

Meanwhile, the Health Department today confirmed an additional 1,598 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 177,520.

- The Department of Health today highlighted information on nursing home inspections in September, noting that Department nursing home surveyors conducted 543 inspections of 361 nursing homes, including 366 complaint investigations, 230 of which were COVID-19 specific. Learn more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1075.

- State Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and Department of Community & Economic Development Deputy Secretary Carrie Lepore today reminded Pennsylvania restaurants of the benefits of participation in the state’s self-certification program, Open & Certified Pennsylvania. They said more than 7,500 restaurants have so far self-certified, confirming they are taking precautions, following all health guidelines, and keeping safety as a top priority. Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Agriculture_details.aspx?newsid=981.

The PA Restaurant & Lodging Association says they have been informed by the Department of Agriculture that their inspectors are issuing two inspection forms at an establishment’s annual inspection. One is the standard food safety inspection form, and the other is a COVID inspection that is specific to mitigation. Click here for a Sample COVID Inspection Form.

- The pandemic continues to push people to the outdoors. The PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources says September visitors to state parks again broke all records, increasing 31 percent over last year -- 4.7 million people compared to 3.6 million last year-- an over 1.1 million increase. Eight parks experienced over a 100 percent increase, including Denton Hill State Park (746.7%); Cherry Springs (230.6%); Patterson (168.6%); Hickory Run (136.5%); Susquehannock (127%); Tobyhanna (114.8%); Kooser (111.8%); and Cowans Gap State Park (109.8%). An additional 23 parks had attendance increases over 50%. Locally, Hyner Run State Park saw a 69.2% increase in visitors this September compared to a year ago; Hyner View State Park saw an increase of 68.6%; Kettle Creek State Park, 46.8%; Ravensburg, 50.8%; Bald Eagle State Park, 35.5%; and Little Pine State Park, 68.3%. Click Here for the September figures.

- Today is the final day to respond to the 2020 U.S. Census. Paper responses must be postmarked by today, October 15. Online responders at www.2020census.gov actually have a bit more time -- internet self-response will be available through 5:59 a.m. tomorrow, October 16.

Posted 10/14/20

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry today launched a redesigned PA CareerLink® website that they say makes it easier for Pennsylvania workers, employers and workforce development groups to connect to vital job search and career development tools. Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Labor-and-Industry-Details.aspx?newsid=497. Click here to access the redesigned PA CareerLink® website. 

- Pennsylvania residents who apply for pandemic unemployment assistance will be asked to work with an outside company to verify their identity as part of an ongoing effort to combat fraud, state officials said Tuesday. The state Department of Labor & Industry earlier this month announced it contracted with the security firm ID.me to develop a more stringent identity verification process for PUA applicants. Labor & Industry Secretary Jerry Oleksiak said applicants for PUA will now receive a notification that they must contact ID.me to verify their identities before payments are made. After the verification process is complete, payments may be released. Pennsylvania halted payments to new applicants September 21 after flagging a surge in suspected fraudulent applications while they worked to beef up identification checks.

- High-speed internet service is expanding in Clinton and three other nearby counties as the result of a $2.5 million grant awarded to SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG) on behalf of the counties. The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) POWER grant will fund internet expansion to unreached areas in Clinton, Lycoming, Northumberland, and Union counties, reaching over 1,500 households, including over 20 businesses. In Clinton County, the project will impact 360 homes and seven businesses in the area east of Loganton, and Bucktail Medical Center in Renovo, comprising 14 miles of fiber in a 7-mile area. Click Here for the SEDA-COG news release for more details.

Governor Tom Wolf today announced that a total of 15 projects in Pennsylvania will receive more than $15 million through the ARC POWER initiative. A list of all awardee projects is available online. More here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-more-than-15-million-in-funding-awarded-to-continue-economic-growth-in-coal-impacted-communities-in-the-commonwealths-appalachian-region/.

The Wolf Administration today began distributing the first allotment of 250,000 COVID-19 antigen test kits provided by the federal government to Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)-certified institutions across Pennsylvania. Distribution is starting with Bradford, Centre, Lebanon, Montour, Northumberland, Schuylkill and Snyder counties because of the recent high incidence rate in those areas. Learn more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Education-Details.aspx?newsid=959.

In addition to efforts to distribute the antigen test kits, Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine today highlighted the work under way to prepare Pennsylvania for a fall resurgence in COVID-19 cases, and to make sure all Pennsylvanians are as protected as possible from both COVID-19 and the flu. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1071.

Meanwhile, the Health Department today confirmed an additional 1,276 positive cases of the coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 175,922. More information is available on the state's Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard.

- Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro joined Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar in putting out guidance today for voters who say they received mail-in ballots that were not requested. Over a million Pennsylvanians who voted in the primary in June 2020 also opted-in to vote by mail in the general election this November. To check whether that includes you, go to: PA Voter Services. See more: https://www.attorneygeneral.gov/taking-action/press-releases/voter-alert-receive-a-mail-in-ballot-without-requesting-one-check-your-status/.

With three weeks to go before the November 3 election, more than 2.6 million registered voters have applied for a mail-in ballot in Pennsylvania. Of those applicants as of Tuesday, more than 1.7 million are registered Democrats and about 641,000 are registered Republicans, a three-to-one ratio, according to state data. Another 284,000 ballots were requested by independent or third-party voters.

- The Department of Agriculture has released its most recent restaurant enforcement actions data. For the period from October 5 through October 11, Bureau of Food Safety personnel performed 633 total inspections, 16 of which were complaint-driven; four were COVID-19 specific complaints. The bureau distributed 48 COVID-19 complaint-driven educational letters; 24 COVID-19 related complaints were referred to local and county health jurisdictions; and two formal Warning Letters were issued. There were two routine inspections conducted in Clinton County during that period, with no warnings or citations issued. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Agriculture_details.aspx?newsid=979.

 - As schools approach the end of their first marking periods while adjusting to instruction during the pandemic, the Department of Education is reminding educators, students and their caregivers that free school meals are now available to students for the remainder of the academic year. Today's announcement - made during National School Lunch Week - also recognized school and community efforts to feed students. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Education-Details.aspx?newsid=961.

-The PA Game Commission today said that hunters have a chance to break last year’s record bear harvest of 4,653 in the coming bear seasons. Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Game-Commission-Details.aspx?newsid=426.

Upcoming Webinars:

- The Penn State Small Business Development Center hosts a virtual workshop, Cybersecurity: Safeguarding Your Small Business, tomorrow, October 15, from 6:30-7:30 pm. The webinar features Samantha Prince, Associate Professor of Lawyering Skills at Penn State Dickinson Law and David Hozza, Lecturer at the Penn State College of Information Science Sciences and Technology. They will discuss legal aspects of cyber security, current cyber threats facing small businesses and strategies business owners can utilize to reduce their risk of attack.

Posted 10/13/20

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 1,342 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 174,646. Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine and Governor Tom Wolf also provided their weekly status update detailing the state's mitigation efforts based on the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard, which compared the period of October 2-8 to the previous seven days, September 25 to October 1. 

In the past seven days, the state's percent positivity and incidence rate both increased as the state has seen a resurgence of cases. As of Thursday, October 8, the state has seen a seven-day increase of 7,269 cases; the previous seven-day increase was 6,137, indicating a 1,132-case increase across the state over the past week.

The statewide percent-positivity went up to 3.9% from 3.7% last week. According to the state, counties with concerning percent-positivity include Northumberland (8.6%), Centre (7.6%), Bradford (7.4%), Lebanon (7.4%), Lawrence (6.9%), Potter (6.3%), Westmoreland (6.3%), Fulton (6.2%), Montour (6.0%), Berks (5.9%), Indiana (5.9%), Huntingdon (5.8%), Lackawanna (5.4%), Schuylkill (5.0%). As of Friday’s data, Bradford, Centre, Lebanon, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder and Union counties were in the substantial level of community transmission. The departments of Education and Health said they would be speaking with school district representatives in those counties to discuss the implications of this level of transmission.

For the week ending October 8, 14 counties - including Clinton - were in the low level of transmission, 46 counties (including Lycoming) in the moderate level, with seven with substantial transmission. Learn more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/pennsylvania-covid-19-early-warning-monitoring-dashboard-update-for-oct-2-oct-8/.

- Pennsylvania's is ranked eleventh in the country in the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus, according to statistics released over the weekend. California leads the nation in confirmed cases, with 855,457; the state has 2,165 cases per 100,000 residents. The other states with the highest numbers of cases, after California, include Texas, Florida, New York (474,286 cases); Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, Arizona, Tennessee, and New Jersey (213,628 confirmed cases). 

 - Governor Wolf today announced the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency is improving the COVID Relief Mortgage and Rental Assistance Grant Program to help more renters and homeowners remain in their homes. Effective this Saturday, October 17, landlords and mortgagees will have a new option to reach agreements with renters and homeowners for repayment of rent and mortgage payments above the program’s $750 monthly cap. The program previously required them to forgive the balance of the payment.

Earlier this week the governor signed an executive order extending the application deadline to November 4. See more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-more-pennsylvanians-to-benefit-from-rental-and-mortgage-relief-programs/.

 - PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn today announced the department is seeking applicants for five open positions on the 2021 Pennsylvania Trails Advisory Committee. DCNR is accepting letters of interest and resumes for committee members to represent People with Disabilities and Snowmobiling user groups and fill three Members-at-Large positions. Members will serve a three-year term starting Friday, January 1, 2021. A cover letter and resume are due by October 31. Learn more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/DCNR_details.aspx?newsid=698.

Posted 10/12/20

Grant and Loan Updates….

  • The Clinton County Commissioners today said they expect to announce awards for the County’s Community Development Block Grant–COVID (CDBG-CV) grant program at their October 29 commissioners meeting. It initially was thought the awards would be announced this Thursday, but the Commissioners said there are still some discussion items that need to be finalized, so the announcement date has been pushed back by a couple of weeks. The CDBG-CV grants are for small businesses who have been impacted by the pandemic, with the focus of the grants designed to support job retention.  
  • Clinton County Grants Administrator Kari Kepler today said the County has begun processing payments for the more than 90 local businesses, nonprofit and county government organizations who were awarded grants through the County CARES Relief Grant Program. Of note: there are still about a dozen recipients who have yet to sign and return the grant contract agreement to the County Planning Department at the County Piper Building in Lock Haven; their grant payment cannot be processed until there is a signed contract. Those with questions about the grant program can contact Kepler at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 570-893-4080, ext. 2.
  • For businesses within the City of Lock Haven, there continues to be funds available through the City’s Commercial Loan Program, and, through the end of this year, the terms of that program have been revised to reflect current economic conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through December 31, 2020, the interest rate for the loan program has been dropped to one percent, and payments are deferred for six months. The loan can be used for working capital, equipment and real estate. For more information on the program, contact City Planner & Development Coordinator Abbey Roberts at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 570-893-5903.

The SBA began approving PPP forgiveness applications and remitting forgiveness payments to PPP lenders for PPP borrowers on October 2. The Partnership encourages those who received a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program to work with their lender on the forgiveness process.

- Click here to view the simpler loan forgiveness application.

- Click here to view the instructions for completing the simpler loan forgiveness application.

  • Grant funding is available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for volunteer and combination fire departments. The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program – COVID-19 Supplemental grant is for firefighters and first responders who are managing emergencies during the pandemic. The application deadline for the grant is November 13. Click here to apply.

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 1,088 new cases of COVID-19, following 1,166 cases yesterday and 1,742 cases Saturday (the highest total in six months). The statewide total of positive cases today stands at 173,304. The state’s highest one-day number of positive cases was 1,989, on April 9. The more current higher numbers could reflect an increase in testing; the number of tests administered within the last seven days (October 5-11) was 239,484, with 9,117 positive cases.

According to the state’s COVID-19 Dashboard, as of this weekend, there were 723 people hospitalized with the coronavirus. More than 8,300 deaths have been attributed to the virus, most of those being residents of nursing and other care homes. Also, 81 percent of those diagnosed have recovered. Click here to view the information on the Dashboard: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Cases.aspx

- Whether for business or pleasure, if you travel out of Pennsylvania, the Health Department is recommending you quarantine at home for 14 days after returning if you’ve been in a state with high number of COVID-19 cases. That list of states now totals 26. The Health Department offers a list of frequently asked questions about travel and quarantine: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Guidance/Travel-FAQ.aspx.

The U.S. Department of State also offers COVID-19 traveler information on their website: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/covid-19-information.html.

- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will host a live Tele-Townhall for Pennsylvania veterans this Wednesday, October 14, at 4pm. Under Secretary for Benefits Dr. Paul Lawrence will host the telephone event, which will focus on the VA’s COVID-19 response and VBA program updates. The purpose of the call is to directly assist Pennsylvania veterans with benefits, inform them of new programs, and answer questions. To participate, dial-in at 833-380-0417. For more information, visit: https://www.benefits.va.gov/benefits/teletownhall.asp#schedule.

- A reminder: For taxpayers who requested an extension of time to file their 2019 tax return, that deadline date is this Thursday, October 15.

- Pennsylvanians have one week left to register to vote, and 15 days left to apply for a mail ballot for the November 3 election. The deadline to register to vote is next Monday, October 19, and the deadline to apply for a mail-in ballot is October 27. You can register to vote, check the status of your registration, and apply for a mail-in ballot online at www.votesPA.com.

- The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced it is extending flexibilities to allow free meals to continue to be available to all children throughout the entire 2020-2021 school year. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said this unprecedented move is part of USDA’s unwavering commitment to ensuring all children across America have access to nutritious food as the nation recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.  Learn more: https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2020/10/09/trump-administration-extends-free-meals-kids-entire-school-year.

Pennsylvania First Lady Frances Wolf was quick to applaud the USDA announcement. Read more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/first-lady-wolf-free-school-meals-extended-throughout-the-school-year/.

Upcoming Webinars:

  • The Penn State PA Technical Assistance Program will host a webinar on saving money on your company HVAC costs this Thursday, October 15, from Noon to 1:00 p.m. The Comfort Heating Systems webinar will focus on ways to save money on your building’s heating costs. PennTAP will review the best opportunities to reduce fuel cost at your site and will cover savings opportunities such as combustion adjustments, programmable thermostats, and insulation. In addition, PennTAP will review behavioral changes for staff that can save you money. Click Here for all the details. For more information on assistance available to businesses, visit the PA Technical Assistance Program website.
  • The SCORE Central PA Chapter hosts a no-cost Zoom seminar, A New Way to Look at Marketing, this Thursday, October 15, from 5:30 to 7:30pm. REGISTER NOW!
  • Penn State Extension hosts a webinar, Optimize Your Online Presence, next Thursday, October 22, at 12 noon. The session features simple tips to optimize your business in online searches, gain followers and convert those followers to sales. Visit the Event Website for More Details.

Posted 10/9/20

- Clinton County Economic Partnership President Mike Flanagan today said Clinton County’s job picture continued to show signs of improvement, according to unemployment claim information released Friday by the state Department of Labor & Industry. There were 53 initial claims for unemployment insurance by county residents for the week ending October 3, a decrease from the 64 recorded the week before. The construction field accounted for 23% of the new claims, and 62% were male. 

The continued claim number was 963, down from the 1,041 recorded during the week ending September 26. The 963 included 18% in the food and accommodation field, and 56% were female. The 963 was also the lowest continued claim number recorded in more than six months. The highest continued claim number during the pandemic was 3,219, which occurred during the week ending May 2.

Clinton County’s unemployment rate for August was 8.8%. The September monthly county-by-county rates should be released by the state around October 27.

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry this week announced that the additional layer of anti-fraud measures through “ID.me” is now in effect. L&I recently contracted with ID.me, a federally certified identity verification provider, in response to a nationwide scam targeting the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. The new measure will allow L&I to more quickly determine the legitimacy of new PUA claims and help legitimate claimants get the payments they need. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Labor-and-Industry-Details.aspx?newsid=496.

- The PA Department of Health announced today that, beginning Tuesday, October 13, another outdoor COVID-19 testing clinic will be held in Berks County to help contain the recent rapid increase of cases there. The department has contracted with AMI Expeditionary Healthcare (AMI) to provide testing in communities in need across the state, including at a site in Centre County at the Nittany Mall as well as sites in Columbia and Indiana counties. Other concerning counties – those identified with percent positive cases above five percent – are detailed on the state’s Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard. Learn more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1063.

The Health Department today confirmed an additional 1,380 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 169,308.

- The state's new guidelines for events takes effect today, Friday, October 9. However, the PA Restaurant & Lodging Association this week called the Governor’s amended orders confusing and a step backward. PRLA is encouraging restaurant and event venue owners to support House Bill 2513. The bill would restore the hospitality and private event industry to the standards that were in place before the July 15 mitigation announcement. Specifically, it would allow restaurant operations and private events to be restored to a minimum of 50% capacity with continued social distancing and barriers in use; it would eliminate the requirement that a meal must be purchased to get an alcoholic beverage; and it would allow for bar seating (again, with social distancing/barriers).

PRLA has developed a HB 2513 Action Page that provides a bill breakdown and talking points for businesses to use when contacting legislators to support the measure. HB 2513 currently is on Governor Tom Wolf’s desk. He has until October 16 to sign the bill, veto it, or take no action and allow the measure to become law, although he has said he will veto the bill. If that happens, the legislature has said it would consider taking a vote to override the veto.

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 246 licensed liquor establishments Wednesday and Thursday (October 7 & 8), issuing three notices of violation and 21 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 9 licensee checks during the period, issuing five warnings and zero notices of violations related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PA-State-Police-Details.aspx?newsid=597.

- Lock Haven University has announced that more than $100,000 was raised for students during LHU’s ‘All In’ Day of Giving, more than doubling the $50,000 goal for the day. The money raised during the 24-hour fundraiser last month will support LHU student-athletes whose scholarship dollars were severely impacted by the economic fallout from COVID-19. Click Here for the LHU news release for details.

- PA Treasurer Joseph Torsella has announced the establishment of the Keystone Green Bank Partnership (Keystone Green), in coordination with the Department of Environmental Protection. Keystone Green will provide attractive financing to projects that support clean and alternative energy sources, non-fossil fuel transportation, and other similar projects. More information here: https://www.patreasury.gov/newsroom/archive/2020/10-09-Keystone-Green-Bank.html.

- Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced a settlement imposing injunctive relief and a monetary payment of $110,000.00 against California-based clothing company, LuLaRoe, LLC and LulaRoe, Inc. This legal action is the result of numerous complaints from Pennsylvanians owed overdue refunds for returned merchandise. Read more: https://www.attorneygeneral.gov/taking-action/press-releases/ag-shapiro-lularoe-will-honor-its-refund-policy/.

- The PA Department of Human Services today discussed measures the state is taking to protect individuals with autism, intellectual and physical disabilities and older Pennsylvanians as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/DHS_details.aspx?newsid=610.

Posted 10/8/20

- PA Governor Tom Wolf today announced the State Fire Commissioner’s Office will be awarding $50 million in grant funds to fire, rescue and EMS groups across the state to offset expenses related to COVID-19. The list of grant recipients includes a number of emergency response organizations in Clinton County. See more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-50-million-in-grants-to-be-awarded-to-support-fire-rescue-and-ems-companies-negatively-affected-by-covid-19/.

- Pennsylvania’s daily report of COVID-19 cases continues to exceed the 1,000 mark. The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 1,376 positive cases of the virus, bringing the statewide total to 167,928. The report noted high case levels today in both Allegheny (128 cases) and Philadelphia (122 cases). County-specific information is available on the state’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard.

The state continues to encourage Pennsylvanians to download the new COVID Alert PA app. The free app can be found in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store by searching for “covid alert pa.”

- PA Department of Community & Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin today outlined efforts to ensure continued delivery of critical services to Pennsylvania’s communities and businesses amidst the pandemic. Read more: https://dced.pa.gov/newsroom/community-and-economic-support-investments-and-recovery-efforts-continue-amid-telework/.

- Governor Wolf today said more than $6.5 million in training assistance funding was provided to 715 Pennsylvania companies in Fiscal Year 2019-20 by WEDnetPA, an alliance of educational providers serving the state’s business community. Learn more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/wolf-administration-more-than-700-pennsylvania-businesses-received-workforce-training-assistance-in-fy-2019-20/.

- The Clinton County Voter Registration office this week mailed some 4,200 mail-in and absentee ballots to registered voters who had requested that type of ballot. Director of Voter Registration/Elections Maria Boileau says voters can return those mail-in/absentee ballots to the Clinton County Piper Building at 2 Piper Way, Lock Haven, using either the drive-up “Ballot Collection Box” or a similar box situated at the main entrance to the building. She cautioned that only the voter can return their ballot – no one else can bring it in for them. Voters have until October 27 to apply for a mail-in/absentee ballot for the November 3 election.

People have until Monday, October 19 to register to vote or change their registration before the November election. To register or make changes, you can go online at www.votespa.com or visit the County Voter Registration office. As of today, Boileau says Clinton County has 21,860 registered voters – 11,552 are registered Republicans and 7,538 are registered Democrats (the remaining are other party registrants).

In addition to voting by mail now and at the polls on election day, voters have a third option: voting early in person at their county election office. Boileau recommends anyone interested in that option call her office at 570-893-4019 and arrangements will be made for in-person voting. That option is only available through October 27, the same day as the deadline to apply for a mail ballot. Click here for more information from the state on the in-person voting process: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/State-details.aspx?newsid=410.

Pennsylvania’s Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar this week said voter registration for the upcoming presidential election is at an all-time high, with the state’s registered voter count nearing nine million people.

- The PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources today updated their Fall Foliage Report, and the latest information indicates Clinton and surrounding counties are at “Best Color” for the season, while some of the counties to our north are past the peak. The Partnership’s Tourist Promotion Agency has coupled the DCNR report with a list of five scenic drives that encourage people to gas up the car and enjoy a ride through different areas of Clinton County. Click Here for the Fall Scenic Drives flyer for details.

As part of efforts to encourage people to enjoy the outdoors this fall, the TPA is promoting a number of key local events, including several that are taking place this weekend. Click Here for the Fall Events flyer for more information.

And as people spend time outdoors during the fall, the state is reminding people of the dangers of tick and mosquito-borne illnesses and to take steps to protect themselves. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/DCNR_details.aspx?newsid=695.

- The PA Game Commission is now offering a Chronic Wasting Disease hotline where hunters with questions about where CWD is, what special rules apply in those places, how to handle deer they harvest in Disease Management Areas and more. The hotline number is 1-833-INFOCWD (1-833-463-6293). People can pose CWD questions to the Game Commission via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Click here for more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Game-Commission-Details.aspx?newsid=425.

- PA State Police today said they seized more than $13.4 million in illegal drugs in the third quarter of this year. Details here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PA-State-Police-Details.aspx?newsid=596.

Posted 10/7/20

- Lock Haven University today announced its plans for the spring 2021 semester, including starting the semester a week later (on January 25, 2021), the continuation of 85 percent remote learning and limited on-campus activities, and the cancellation of spring break. Click Here for the LHU news release for more.

Separately, LHU President Dr. Robert Pignatello today said the ongoing challenges of the pandemic has led the University to not have an in-person graduation ceremony this December. Pignatello said LHU will “attempt to find ways to celebrate and recognize the wonderful and deserving accomplishments our December graduates will achieve as they complete their Lock Haven University degrees.”

- Tomorrow, Thursday, October 8 at 5pm is the deadline for local businesses – businesses throughout Clinton County with the exception of those within the City of Lock Haven – to apply for a $5,000 COVID-related Community Development Block Grant (CDBG-CV) Business Assistance grant through Clinton County Government. The County received $165,000 in CDBG-CV funding and determined to offer grants of $5,000 to help eligible businesses recover from pandemic losses. The emphasis of the program is on job retention. Click here for the online grant application: https://www.gotomygrants.com/Public/Opportunities/Details/1f7135c6-50e1-4a2e-9726-4b0b8fd56dc7.

- There continues to be questions and confusion surrounding the specifics of yesterday’s announcement by Governor Tom Wolf and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine that the state, starting tomorrow, October 9, is amending existing COVID-19 orders for bars, restaurants, gatherings and telework. The state’s switch - from limiting the number of people  at both indoor and outdoor events, to percentages of occupancy - has raised a number of questions, and many establishments are wondering how to determine occupancy rates. The Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association offers the following guidance on how to make that determination if you don’t have a stated fire code occupancy: https://mailchi.mp/prla/covid19update_sept28?e=301a676970.

During its weekly update today, PRLA officials also noted that the Governor’s office is expected to provide clarifications to the amended orders. PRLA is encouraging those impacted to regularly check the state’s Targeted Mitigation Orders ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ document for updates at https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Guidance/Targeted-Mitigation-FAQ.aspx.

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 311 licensed liquor establishments Monday and Tuesday (October 5 & 6) issuing three notices of violation and 15 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 20 licensee checks during the period and issued two warnings and zero notices of violations related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. More details here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PA-State-Police-Details.aspx?newsid=595.

Meanwhile, the PA Department of Agriculture has also released data related to COVID-19 restaurant enforcement actions between September 28 through October 4, taken during routine food safety inspections and inspections prompted by consumer complaints. The Bureau of Food Safety performed 718 inspections, 19 of which were complaint-driven and 9 of which were COVID-19 specific complaints. The Bureau distributed 47 COVID-19 complaint-driven educational letters; nine complaints were referred to local and county health jurisdictions; and one formal warning letter was issued. There were five routine inspections in Clinton County during the period, with no complaints, warnings or citations issued. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Agriculture_details.aspx?newsid=976.

- PA Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today offered a preview of some of the events to be featured in January during the 2021 Farm Show, which will be held virtually. Learn more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Agriculture_details.aspx?newsid=977.

- The PA Department of Environmental Protection today announced the award of $4.9 million in Nonpoint Source Management Grants to 23 watershed restoration projects across the state, including a $95,595 grant to Trout Unlimited to develop a Watershed Implementation Plan for the Bull Run/Fishing Creek Watershed in Logan and Greene Townships and Loganton Borough in Clinton County. Read more: https://www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/NewsRoomPublic/articleviewer.aspx?id=21873&typeid=1.

Upcoming Webinars:


  • The U.S. Chamber Foundation hosts a virtual discussion tomorrow, Thursday, October 8, at 3pm on the COVID-19 vaccine supply chain, as part of their Path Forward: Navigating the Return to Work series.   
    Pfizer Vaccines’ David Hering and Irish Ambassador Daniel Mulhall will discuss where things stand in the search for a vaccine, the health of global supply chains, distribution plans and challenges, and how we can all better prepare for future health emergencies. The discussion is an opportunity to learn more about the ways business and government are collaborating in the fight against COVID-19.
  • The SCORE Central PA Chapter will host a no-cost virtual seminar, Building an Effective Nonprofit Board, tomorrow, Thursday, October 8, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Register HERE!
  • SCORE will also hold an online seminar, A New Way to Look at Marketing, next Thursday, October 15, from 5:30 to 7:30pm. REGISTER NOW!

Posted 10/6/20

- PA Governor Tom Wolf and State Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine today amended existing COVID-19 orders on size limits for indoor and outdoor gatherings. Starting this Friday, October 9, the Governor said the amended orders will allow for venue occupancy limits to play a bigger role in determining the number of people permitted at both inside and outside events or gatherings. The new orders include what the state calls “Maximum Occupancy Calculators.” More information here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1058. You can also view the Governor’s amended order here and the health secretary’s amended order here. Click here for frequently asked questions.

Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association (PRLA), of which the Partnership is a member, was quick to respond, saying the Governor’s latest action has not gone far enough. PRLA President John Longstreet labeled the maximum occupancy calculator provision as “cumbersome and illogical” and said the new mandates further victimize the struggling event industry. Click Here for the full PRLA statement is attached.

- The Health Department today announced that the department is extending the COVID-19 testing site in Centre County through this Saturday, October 10, and another outdoor walk-up and drive-thru COVID-19 testing clinic will be held in Indiana County this Thursday, October 8 to help contain the recent rapid increase in COVID-19 cases. Centre County continues to have the highest percent-positivity in the state, at 9.4 percent, which is the reason the testing site at the Nittany Mall will remain open another five days. Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1057.

The Health Department today confirmed an additional 1,036 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 165,243.

- Auditor General Eugene De Pasquale today released a status update on his ongoing audit of the PA Department of Community & Economic Development waiver process for businesses that appealed Governor Wolf’s COVID-19 closure order, saying the audit has discovered inconsistencies and puzzling decisions in the business waiver process. Learn more: https://www.paauditor.gov/press-releases/auditor-general-depasquale-discovers-inconsistencies-puzzling-decisions-in-business-waiver-process.

- The Internal Revenue Service has announced that the deadline to register for an Economic Impact Payment (EIP) is now November 21, 2020. This new date will provide an additional five weeks beyond the original deadline. The IRS urges people who don’t typically file a tax return – and haven’t received an Economic Impact Payment – to register as quickly as possible using the Non-Filers: Enter Info Here tool on IRS.gov. The tool will not be available after November 21. Read more: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-extends-economic-impact-payment-deadline-to-nov-21-to-help-non-filers.

- The Wolf Administration has announced $300,000 in funding is now available to connect businesses and schools and expand career and job training opportunities. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Labor-and-Industry-Details.aspx?newsid=494.

- The SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority today provided an update to an ongoing court case involving the JRA’s process for requesting proposals for a new operating agreement and assured rail service users along the Authority’s rail lines in Clinton and surrounding counties that they will continue to receive uninterrupted rail service irrespective of a final resolution of issues associated with the matter. The SEDA-COG JRA oversees short-line rail service to several local industries including First Quality Tissue, Jersey Shore Steel, Croda, Inc., Avery Dennison, and WSP Solvay. Click Here for the SEDA-COG news release for further information.

- PA CareerLink Clinton County will host two ‘Get to Know’ sessions with Walmart next week. The virtual Zoom events allow job seekers to learn more about the company. The sessions will be held Tuesday, October 13 at 10am and again on Thursday, October 15 at 3pm. Click Here for the CareerLink flyer for additional details. To have your company host a ‘Get to Know’ event, contact PA CareerLink’s Dorie Gilmore at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

- The PA State Police today said that the third quarter of 2020 was the busiest in the history of the PA Instant Check System (PICS) used to determine an individual’s legal ability to acquire a license to carry firearms or obtain a firearm through a purchase or transfer. PICS completed a record 406,151 background checks in the third quarter. Captain Mark Shaver, director of the PSP Bureau of Records and Identification, said the state began to see an increase in PICS activity in the first quarter as Pennsylvania and the rest of the country began learning about the COVID-19 pandemic, and that trend has continued. More details here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PA-State-Police-Details.aspx?newsid=594.

- The state continues to encourage Pennsylvanians to check their voter registration status at votesPA.com as the October 19 voter registration deadline for the November 3 presidential election approaches. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/State-details.aspx?newsid=409.

- PennDOT today announced that all driver license and photo centers will be closed this Saturday, October 10, through Monday, October 12, in observance of Columbus Day. People can still seek a variety of services online through PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services website, www.dmv.pa.gov. See more: https://www.penndot.gov/regionaloffices/district-10/pages/details.aspx?newsid=881.

- The Small Business Development Center at Penn State has the following offerings:

  • Quick Connect Coaching Sessions - Tuesdays at Noon. Looking for a quick answer to a question related to disaster recovery, reopening, stabilizing, or projecting for growth? Then attend a "Quick Connect" session to get your questions answered. Each week a consultant will address answers related to a specific topic. Learn More
  • The First Step to Small Business Success - Tuesday, October 13 at 9:00 am. Entrepreneurs across the country are launching innovative products and services that positively impact the health, well-being, and happiness of others. Do you have an idea that could make a difference? If so, attend this free webinar to learn about the process of starting a business. Learn More
  • Cybersecurity: Safeguarding Your Small Business - Thursday, October 15 at 6:30 pm. Experts from Penn State's Dickinson Law and the College of IST will share an overview of the cybersecurity legal landscape relating to data and web security/privacy, explore the current cyber threats facing small businesses, and discuss ways to reduce your risk of attack. Learn More

Click here: https://sbdc.psu.edu/events/ for a full list of Penn State SBDC offerings.

Posted 10/5/20

- PA Governor Tom Wolf today announced that an additional $96 million in state grants have been approved for 5,373 Pennsylvania small businesses that were impacted by the business closure order due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses in every countyincluding 8 businesses in Clinton, 30 in Lycoming, and 51 in Centre County – were approved for grants in this second round of funding under the COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance Program. Details here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-announces-additional-96-million-for-small-businesses-impacted-by-covid-19/.

- Clinton County small businesses impacted by the pandemic have an opportunity to seek a $5,000 grant from Clinton County government, and the deadline to apply is this Thursday, October 8. The Clinton County Community Development Block Grant-COVID (CDBG-CV) Business Assistance grant offers a $5,000 cash grant to help small businesses recover from pandemic losses. The emphasis of the program is on job retention. These grants are available to small businesses throughout Clinton County, with the exception of businesses in the City of Lock Haven (the City also receives CDBG funds and had its own grant program for businesses within city limits). Click here to see the online grant application: https://www.gotomygrants.com/Public/Opportunities/Details/1f7135c6-50e1-4a2e-9726-4b0b8fd56dc7.

- The PA Department of State says online voter services and election applications are now fully operational following an outage that began late Saturday, however, several other state services are still impacted by the outage, which was due to an equipment failure at a data center managed by Unisys for the commonwealth. The Department of State’s professional licensing services are among the applications that are still affected. Online services for the departments of Revenue and Human Services and the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board are also affected. The state and the contractor are working to restore those functions.

“The outage was due to an issue with the contractor’s equipment, and there is no evidence of malicious interference,” Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said, noting that all data was backed up. She said voters can once again go online to votesPA.com to register to vote, apply for a mail ballot, or check their voter registration, among other services.

- PA Department of Labor & Industry Secretary Jerry Oleksiak Friday announced Pennsylvania’s new overtime rule would become effective when the final, approved regulation was published Saturday, October 3, in the PA Bulletin. Details here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Labor-and-Industry-Details.aspx?newsid=493.

- For those in the construction industry, CLICK HERE for information from the PA Department of Labor and Industry regarding the E-verify law, which goes into effect this Wednesday, October 7. The legislation – Act 75 of 2019 – generally requires employers in the construction industry to utilize the federal E-verify program to confirm workers' legal status.

- The PA Chamber has announced a new virtual event, Bringing PA Back: RISE to the Challenge, a free, hour-long virtual program that will provide insight into the 2020 General Election from former PA Governor Tom Ridge, forecast what businesses can expect in the year ahead, and showcase Pennsylvania’s road to economic recovery. Part of the PA Chamber’s Bringing PA Back initiative, the RISE to the Challenge program will be broadcast statewide on October 29, from 1-2pm.  View Agenda    -    Register Today 

- We’re passing along a number of legislative-related updates from the PA Chamber:

- Governor Wolf and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine today released a weekly status update detailing the state’s mitigation efforts based on the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard. This week’s update compares the period of September 25 – October 1 to the previous seven days. The data shows that both the percent positivity and incidence rate for the commonwealth increased this week. As of October 1, the state had seen a seven-day case increase of 6.164 (the previous increase was 5,070). In addition, the statewide percent-positivity rate went up to 3.7% from 3.2%. Neighboring Centre County, with a rate of 9.4% continues to be among 11 counties with a concerning percent-positivity. Clinton County this week moved from moderate to a low level of transmission, according to the state information. Clinton joins 16 other counties in the low level of transmission; there are 46 counties in the moderate level, and four with substantial transmission. Details here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/pennsylvania-covid-19-early-warning-monitoring-dashboard-update-for-sept-24-oct-1/.

The Department of Health today also shared its weekly update on Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing data and encouraged people to download the COVID Alert PA app to aid in contact tracing efforts. More information here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1056.

The Health Department today confirmed an additional 672 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 164,207. Yesterday, the Department said there were 2,251 additional cases over two days. Those numbers were reported Sunday, the state said, when a technical issue caused a delay in Saturday’s reporting.

- Plasma from whole blood donations made through the American Red Cross that test positive for COVID-19 antibodies may now help coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions. The Red Cross says this new opportunity to help meet the needs of COVID-19 patients is especially critical as infectious disease experts express concern about a potential second wave of cases this fall.  Read more: https://www.redcross.org/about-us/news-and-events/press-release/2020/red-cross-blood-donation-testing-for-covid-19-antibodies-provides-new-opportunity.html.

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 839 licensed liquor establishments Friday through Sunday (October 2-4), issuing 10 notices of violation and 43 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 117 licensee checks in that period, issuing three warnings and one notice of violation related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PA-State-Police-Details.aspx?newsid=593.

- PennDOT today announced that maintenance work is scheduled for Allegheny Street in Jersey Shore (Route 3028) tomorrow, October 6. Maintenance crews will be performing patch work between 7am and 3pm at the intersection of Allegheny Street and Thomas Street, and motorists can expect single lane conditions with flagging. See more: https://www.penndot.gov/regionaloffices/district-3/pages/details.aspx?newsid=3190.

In Centre County, PennDOT Friday reopened a Route 1002 (Marsh Creek Road) bridge in Liberty Township. The bridge spans Marsh Creek approximately two miles northeast of Romola near Lower Polecat Road. Rehabilitation work on the bridge began in June 23, with the goal of improving ride quality, enhancing safety and extending the life of the bridge. The detour that was in place has been lifted.

- PennDOT meanwhile this week is highlighting winter-service preparations and how the public should also get ready for the upcoming winter season. The Department also announced it is actively seeking more than 700 temporary equipment operators statewide for the winter season to supplement their full-time staff. More here: https://www.penndot.gov/pages/all-news-details.aspx?newsid=775.

- The PA Department of Aging today reminded consumers that the annual open enrollment period for Medicare beneficiaries will begin next Thursday, October 15, and end Monday, December 7, with any new coverage selected taking effect January 1, 2021. Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/aging_details.aspx?newsid=274.

- The PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources Bureau of Recreation and Conservation is hosting virtual regional grant workshops in November for organizations looking for funding for a park, trail or conservation project. Clinton County falls into the Bureau’s Central Region, and that workshop is slated for November 12, from 9:30am until noon. Click Here to register.

Posted 10/2/20

- The PA Department of Revenue said today the state collected $3.3 billion in General Fund revenue in September, about 8.3 percent more than anticipated. Fiscal year-to-date General Fund collections total $9.9 billion, 4.9 percent above estimate. Details here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Revenue-Details.aspx?newsid=324.

- Pennsylvanians who download the COVID Alert PA app will now be able to get notifications to their smart phones if they are exposed to COVID-19 when they travel to New York, New Jersey or Delaware, according to information released by the state today. Learn more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-pennsylvanians-can-now-use-covid-alert-pa-app-when-traveling-to-ny-nj-de/.

The Wolf Administration today reminded Pennsylvanians about the need to protect their information online, in particular due to an ongoing surge of cyber attacks during the COVID-19 pandemic. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Education-Details.aspx?newsid=954.

Governor Wolf today unveiled a plan that addresses comprehensive health reforms focusing on both physical and behavioral health. Details here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/wolf-administration-announces-health-reform-plan-that-focuses-on-affordability-access-equity-and-value-for-all-health-needs/.

At today's press conference, the Governor said modifications are possible for crowd size limits at sporting events. READ MORE.

- PA State Police  Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 947 licensed liquor establishments Wednesday and Thursday (September 30-October 1), issuing nine notices of violation and 26 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which oversees licensed liquor establishments in Clinton County, conducted 48 licensee checks during that period and issued two warnings related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PA-State-Police-Details.aspx?newsid=592.

- The Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association this afternoon announced that the Hospitality Assistance Response of Pennsylvania (HARP) fund met its initial fundraising goal, raising $257,627 for front-line hospitality workers displaced from their jobs by the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, the HARP fund distributed 848 grants. More than 30 businesses and 100+ individuals supported frontline workers by contributing to the fund. PRLA is working on a second fundraising goal of $80,000 so it can reopen the grant application for another round of relief. DONATE online or text "HARP" to 44-321.

- The Internal Revenue Service this week launched a redesigned page on IRS.gov to help business owners navigate the federal tax steps when closing a business. During this difficult and challenging time, the IRS streamlined the "Closing a Business" page into simple steps, so business owners and self-employed individuals can quickly find the information they need. See more: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/redesigned-irsgov-page-helps-people-closing-a-business-page-features-steps-to-navigate-final-tax-actions.

- With cold and flu season approaching and the ongoing pandemic, the PA Department of Aging is stressing the importance of older adults getting their immunizations. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/aging_details.aspx?newsid=273.

- Penn State Extension offers a virtual webinar, Optimize Your Online Presence, on Thursday, October 22, at noon. Participants will learn simple tips to optimize your business in online searches, gain followers and convert those followers to sales. Visit the Event Website for More Details.

- The PA Chamber is holding a free, hour-long virtual program October 29 at 1pm to showcase Pennsylvania's road to economic recovery, forecast what businesses can expect in the year ahead, and provide insight into the 2020 General Election. MORE INFO.

Posted 10/1/20

- The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today said the Wolf Administration may once again enforce size limits on gatherings. According to a report from the Associated Press, the federal appeals court today temporarily restored Pennsylvania’s pandemic restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings, putting on hold a judge’s ruling that threw out statewide limits on crowd size. The Court said the Governor may once again enforce size limits on gatherings while it appeals the lower court order. U.S. District Judge William Stickman, an appointee of President Donald Trump, had ruled against the state’s size limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings, saying they violate citizens’ constitutional rights to assemble. The state has been enforcing a gathering limit of more than no more than 25 people for events held indoors and no more than 250 people for outside gatherings. Stickman’s September 14 order prompted many Pennsylvania school districts to allow more fans in the stands at high school football games and other athletic contests. The Governor had filed a motion to ‘stay’ the September 14 ruling, but Stickman denied it. The office of Attorney General Josh Shapiro asked the 3rd Circuit to intervene, saying crowd-size limits are a “life-saving mitigation tool’ to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

- The PA Departments of Community & Economic Development and Agriculture today reminded Pennsylvania restaurant owners that they may increase indoor dining capacity from 25 to 50 percent by completing a new self-certification process. Restaurants have been able to operate at 50 percent since the Governor recently announced the new self-certification program, however, restaurants have until this coming Monday, October 5, to complete the self-certification, when enforcement of the 50 percent indoor capacity begins. The self-certification process will continue to be available after October 5 for restaurants choosing to go to 50 percent after that date. The state has released a Frequently Asked Questions document as a reference for restaurant owners and the public, along with updated restaurant guidance. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Agriculture_details.aspx?newsid=974.

NOTE: The Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association (of which the Partnership is a member), has studied the self-certification requirements. During a webinar yesterday, PRLA officials said they feel the new program is unnecessary, however, they don’t see it going away, so they feel restaurants should complete the self-certification if they are going to increase their indoor capacity to 50 percent. More information is available on the PRLA website at www.prla.org.

Meanwhile, PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 1,119 licensed liquor establishments Monday and Tuesday (September 28 & 29), issuing five notices of violation and 18 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 115 licensee checks during that period, and issued one warning related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PA-State-Police-Details.aspx?newsid=591.

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry today announced they have contracted with security vendor ID.me to provide additional identity verification after a surge of fraudulent claims filed using stolen identities was detected recently in the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Individuals who have filed PUA claims in Pennsylvania may be contact in the coming days to complete additional identity verification steps through ID.me. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Labor-and-Industry-Details.aspx?newsid=492.

- PennDOT today announced that expiration dates for commercial driver licenses and commercial learner’s permits will be extended for Pennsylvania residents in response to statewide COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Details here: https://www.penndot.gov/pages/all-news-details.aspx?newsid=774.

- PA Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar today outlined steps for Pennsylvanians to vote by mail and urged voters planning on this option to apply now for their ballot. “Mail-in or absentee voting offers eligible voters a secure, convenient, accessible and, during the COVID-19 pandemic, an especially safe option of voting in the privacy of their own homes,” said Boockvar, “but it’s important that voters follow all the steps necessary so their mail-in ballot will be counted.” More information here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/State-details.aspx?newsid=406.

- Due to the continued economic uncertainty from the coronavirus response, the Federal Reserve Board on Wednesday announced it will extend for an additional quarter several measures to ensure that large banks maintain a high level of capital resilience. For the fourth quarter of this year, large banks—those with more than $100 billion in total assets—will be prohibited from making share repurchases. Additionally, dividend payments will be capped and tied to a formula based on recent income. The capital positions of large banks have remained strong during the third quarter while such restrictions were in place.

In June, the Board released the results of its annual stress test and additional analysis, which found that all large banks were sufficiently capitalized. Nonetheless, in light of the economic uncertainty, the Board put several restrictions in place to preserve bank capital, which provides a cushion against loan losses and supports lending. Later this year, the Board will conduct a second stress test to further test the resiliency of large banks. Results will be released by the end of the year.

- The Federal Reserve Banks conducts a voluntary Small Business Credit Survey and produces corresponding reports every year. This national sample of small businesses or firms with fewer than 500 employees provides insight into firms’ financing and debt needs and experiences. The 10-minute survey is best answered by an owner or key financial decision maker. Take the Survey!

Posted 9/30/20

- Clinton County’s job picture continued to improve during the month of August, dropping to 8.8% for its unemployment rate, the lowest monthly number since the pandemic began. According to county monthly information released Tuesday by the state Department of Labor & Industry, Clinton County had an estimated 1,600 people unemployed. In July, the number was 1,900 and the monthly rate was 10.7%. The county had seen double digits in unemployment numbers for four straight months. The last time that occurred was in 1994. Clinton County’s high jobless point during the pandemic was 16.6% in April.

Despite the improved numbers, the county still has about 500 people unemployed since the end of February. The pre-COVID February rate was 5.9% with 1,100 unemployed. Clinton County’s 8.8% number ranked  18th in the Commonwealth’s 67 counties during the month of August. Centre County had the lowest number in the state at 6.0% and Philadelphia County had the highest at 14.7%.

“The numbers are getting better every month, but there are still a lot more innings to be played,” said Clinton County Economic Partnership President Mike Flanagan. “Some people have returned to work or found new work, or dropped off the rolls. We still have a lot of ‘help wanted’ signs in various locations across the county. The restaurant and accommodation fields, as it has throughout most of the virus timeframe, still represents about 20% of the continued unemployment insurance claims.”

The state should release September monthly unemployment information on or around October 27.

- Clinton County has moved from drought watch, into drought warning status. The PA Department of Environmental Protection today moved both Clinton and McKean counties to drought warning and added 13 more counties to drought watch. Clinton and McKean join Potter county in the warning status. Residents in the three counties are being asked to reduce their individual water usage 10 to 15 percent or about six to nine gallons of water a day. Read more: https://www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/NewsRoomPublic/articleviewer.aspx?id=21872&typeid=1.

- The City of Lock Haven has been granted approval from PennDOT to extend the 3pm Friday through 9pm Saturday closure of Main Street another month. The so-called ‘pedestrian mall’, which runs up Main Street from Jay to Vesper Street and along a small section of Grove Street, allows restaurants to offer dining outdoors on the sidewalk and street, increasing their opportunity for business amidst ongoing indoor dining restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Retailers have the opportunity to bring their business outside as well. The street closure had been scheduled to end September 26, however, City Council was petitioned by both individuals and groups to request an extension through October, which PennDOT has granted.

- Penn College, BLAST-Intermediate Unit 17 in Lycoming County and several local manufacturers are hosting a virtual event next Wednesday evening to educate parents and students about the many career opportunities and different pathways that exist in manufacturing. The purpose of the October 7, 7pm “Spotlight on Manufacturing” event is to dispel some myths and misconceptions about manufacturing jobs and highlight some of the skill sets needed in today’s more high-tech workplaces. Two Partnership members, Clinton County manufacturers First Quality and Jersey Shore Steel, are among the participants in the one-hour session. Click here for more information and to register: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIsdOqpqzMjE9V8S82RsSnIMzW2PrWwt0ui.

- PA CareerLink Clinton County hosts a ‘Get to Know’ virtual session featuring First Quality. The October 2, 10:30 a.m. Zoom event is an opportunity for potential employees to learn more about Clinton County’s leading manufacturer. Click Here for the flyer for registration information. If your business is interested in offering a ‘Get to Know’ session, contact PA CareerLink’s Dorie Gilmore at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

- The SCORE Central PA Chapter hosts a no-cost Zoom seminar, Increase Profits/Donations through Strategic Pricing, tomorrow, Thursday, October 1, from 3-5pm. Recently retired LHU professor and author, Dr. Marlene Jensen, takes participants through the steps necessary to make your business or organization more profitable. Register HERE!

SCORE will also host a virtual seminar, Building an Effective Nonprofit Board, next Thursday, October 8, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Register HERE!

Posted 9/29/20

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry has delayed the launch of a new unemployment system meant to modernize the way workers can file for jobless benefits. The system upgrade, which has been in the works for years, was set to launch this fall. Following recommendations from various stakeholders, including legislators and the U.S. Department of Labor, state officials decided to postpone the rollout in order to avoid any disruptions to the thousands of people still relying on unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic. L&I has not a set a new date for when the system will launch. Read More. (Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

- The PA Department of Health today shared its weekly update on the state’s COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing data. For the period September 12–19, there were 1,303 contact tracing staff (32 of which are working in the state’s northcentral region) working with local and county health entities and partner organizations. In that period, there were 5,747 COVID-19 cases statewide and 55 percent of all cases had a case investigation started within 24 hours of receiving a positive report. Learn more here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1043.

Meanwhile, the Health Department today confirmed an additional 988 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 157,814. Neighboring Centre County continues to report high numbers, today adding another 103 new cases. County specific information is available on the state’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard.

- PA Governor Tom Wolf today said more than 165,000 Pennsylvanians have downloaded the COVID Alert PA exposure notification mobile app since it was released about a week ago, and the Governor continues to encourage people to add the app to their phone. See more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-announces-more-than-165000-pennsylvanians-download-covid-alert-pa-app-within-first-week-encourages-all-to-add-phone-to-the-fight-against-covid-19/.

- Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine today announced a statewide media campaign to increase awareness of and encourage people to get the flu vaccine as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1047.

- According to a new report by the National Safety Council, within six short months, COVID-19 has claimed more lives than accidental drug overdoses, motor vehicle crashes and falls combined. With states serving as the front lines of the pandemic, NSC created the State of the Response report to better understand the safety implications of each state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the report, 39 states, including Pennsylvania, did not go far enough to protect residents, jeopardizing the safety of the nation’s workforce. Learn more: https://www.nsc.org/work-safety/safety-topics/safe-actions-for-employee-returns-safer/state-of-the-response-report.

- The PA Department of Agriculture today released data related to COVID-19 restaurant enforcement actions from September 21–27. During that time, Bureau of Food Safety personnel performed 637 inspections, 14 of which were complaint-driven; four were COVID-19 specific complaints. The Bureau issued 47 educational letters and three formal warning letters, and 11 complaints were referred to local and county health jurisdictions. According to the state’s information, there were four routine inspections in Clinton County -- no COVID-19 related warnings or citations were issued. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Agriculture_details.aspx?newsid=973.

- The PA Department of Aging is reminding older adults to be informed about their options for voting in the November 3 General Election if they are concerned about being able to vote safely amid COVID-19. Learn more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/aging_details.aspx?newsid=272.

- The PA Department of Banking and Securities is hosting and participating in a number of virtual presentations for groups of senior citizens, veterans, service providers and the public throughout October. Details here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/banking_details.aspx?newsid=318.

- The PA Historical & Museum Commission has been awarded $246,500 in federal funds to design, produce and deliver new digital learning resources to support individuals and groups affected by COVID-19 in Pennsylvania. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PHMC-Details.aspx?newsid=376.

- Geisinger is undertaking a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) in an effort to gain a better understanding of health needs across the communities the health care provider serves, and they are inviting people to participate in an online survey. The latest Assessment builds upon our prior studies and will continue to guide Geisinger’s community benefit and community health improvement efforts. Click here to access the survey, which is available through October 14.

Posted 9/28/20

- Kari Kepler, Grants Administrator with the Clinton County Planning Office this week is starting to send out official awards notifications for the Clinton County CARES Act – County Relief Block Grant Program that was recently announced by the County Commissioners. The award notification includes a program agreement that grant recipients must sign and return to the County Planning office. The ‘original’ of the signed agreement must be either hand-delivered to the Planning Department at the Clinton County Piper Building, 2 Piper Way, Lock Haven or mailed via U.S. mail – it cannot be emailed back to the county. For questions on this process, contact Kepler at 570-893-4080, extension 2.

- Word is expected starting in early October on grant awards through the State’s COVID-19 Relief PA Statewide Small Business Assistance Program. Those were the grants that had to be applied for through one of the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) – either The Progress Fund or the Reinvestment Fund accepted applications from businesses in Clinton County. According to The Progress Fund, grantee announcements will be made on a rolling basis beginning early October. The notifications will be sent by email.

- A state grant program that helps companies increase export sales is funding new activities because of COVID-19 travel difficulties. The Global Access Program (GAP) is now providing grants for e-commerce, digital marketing, marketing media design, and certain certifications. SEDA-Council of Governments’ (SEDA-COG) Export Development program assists businesses with this program and is encouraging small- to mid-sized companies to apply for program funding. Click Here for the SEDA-COG news release for details.

- The Department of Labor and Industry plans to update employers regarding unemployment compensation taxes. By way of background, on March 27, the governor signed Act 9 of 2020, which amended several aspects of Pennsylvania’s UC law to account for circumstances during the course of the pandemic emergency declaration. The law provided that employers would be automatically relieved from charges for any worker who qualifies for benefits after separating from employed for pandemic-related reasons.  In other words, these employers will not experience an increase to their UC taxes – as is often the case under normal circumstances when a laid off employee qualifies for benefits. Despite this accommodation in Act 9, employers have reported that their accounts have mistakenly reflected charges from pandemic-related separations.  The department has acknowledged this error – CLICK HERE for guidance that L&I will be emailing to employers. (Source: PA Chamber)

- PA Governor Tom Wolf and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine today released a weekly status update detailing the state’s mitigation efforts based on the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard. The Governor said the both percent positivity and incident rate statewide decreased last week (Sept. 18-24) compared to the previous seven days. As of September 24, the state had a seven-day case increase of 5,070, while the previous seven-day increase was 5,551 – indicating a 481-case decrease. The statewide percent-positivity went down to 3.2 percent, from 3.7 percent the previous week. Centre County, at 12 percent, leads seven counties with what the state calls ‘concerning’ percent-positivity rates. The other counties are Northumberland (8.3 percent); Juniata (6.8 percent); Indiana (5.9 percent); Lebanon (5.7 percent); Snyder and York (both 5.2 percent). Clinton, as well as Lycoming county, continues to be among 47 counties in what the state calls a “moderate” level of transmission. Another 18 counties are in the low level of transmission. More here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/pennsylvania-covid-19-early-warning-monitoring-dashboard-update-for-sept-18-24/.

The Health Department today confirmed 676 new cases of COVID-19, in addition to 918 new cases reported Sunday, and an additional 1,029 cases reported Saturday. The latest numbers bring the statewide total to 156,826.

- Governor Wolf today announced that Pennsylvania is prepared with a stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) now and should it be needed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in the coming months. Read more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-pennsylvania-is-covid-19-prepared-with-ppe/.

Meanwhile, the PA departments of Health and Community & Economic Development have launched a new statewide public health awareness campaign – PA Unites Against COVID. Learn more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Education-Details.aspx?newsid=951.

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 816 licensed liquor establishments Friday through Sunday (September 25-27), issuing nine notices of violation and 22 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 54 licensee checks during the period, issuing no notices of violation and 3 warnings. More information here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PA-State-Police-Details.aspx?newsid=589.

- PA Chamber Government Affairs Director Kevin Sunday described the challenges that businesses have faced under emergency declarations from the Wolf Administration – both pandemic-related and others – at an informational hearing last week that was hosted by the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee. -> Read More.

- Pennsylvania’s business community has an opportunity to learn about next steps in the PA Chamber’s “Bringing PA Back” pandemic recovery effort. Hear from leading political pundits regarding the upcoming 2020 election and more during an upcoming, free virtual event. The “Rise to the Challenge” program will be held October 29 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. -> Read More.

- The PA Department of Human Services today sent a letter to U.S. Senators Pat Toomey and Bob Casey, urging them to grant DHS continued flexibility to manage changing needs during the COVID-19 health crisis, especially pertaining to Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) waivers. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/DHS_details.aspx?newsid=603.

Non-COVID items of interest….

- The PA Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the September 26 PA Bulletin of an opportunity to bid on a well plugging project in Lycoming County. DEP also has available a current list of Abandoned Mine Reclamation, Acid Mine Drainage, Surface Mine Reclamation, Cleaning Out and Plugging Oil and Gas Wells, Waterways Engineering (Concrete Dams/Concrete Lined Channels, Walls and Box Culverts, etc.), Hazardous Site Remediation, Removal and Disposal of Underground Storage Tanks, and Wetland Restoration projects available for bidding. Click Here for the list.

In addition, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has a current list of bid proposals for construction projects in State Parks and State Forests available online. Click Here for that list.

- The PA Game Commission Board of Game Commissioners met virtually Saturday for its quarterly meeting, acting on a number of items and adopting a new strategic plan that will take the organization into 2023. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Game-Commission-Details.aspx?newsid=423.

- The PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources today announced that hunters and other outdoors enthusiasts headed out into state-owned woodlands this fall will find additional roads open in 18 of the 20 state forest districts. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/DCNR_details.aspx?newsid=691.

- As of September 26, the Department of Environmental Protection reported seven more counties had mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile Virus-- Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Monroe, Perry, Schuylkill and Westmoreland. Read more here. This brings the total number of counties with positive mosquito results to 27. DEP previously reported Allegheny, Beaver, Berks, Bucks, Centre, Chester, Clearfield, Delaware, Fayette, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, Potter, Union and York with positive results. On July 23, the departments of Health and Environmental Protection reported the first human case of West Nile Virus in 2020 in Potter County. Read more here.

Upcoming Webinar:

- The SCORE Central PA Chapter hosts a no-cost Zoom seminar, Increase Profits/Donations through Strategic Pricing, this Thursday, October 1, from 3-5pm. Recently retired LHU professor and author, Dr. Marlene Jensen, takes participants through the steps necessary to make your business or organization more profitable. Register HERE!

Posted 9/25/20

- Clinton County Economic Partnership President Mike Flanagan today offered an update on the local employment picture: Clinton County’s jobless picture continues to show signs of improvement since the pandemic began in March, according to information released Thursday by the state Department of Labor & Industry. The initial unemployment claims and the continued claims were both down as of the week ending September 19. The initial claims were 45, down slightly from 48 the week before. The largest initial claim mark of 1,050 people came during the week ending May 4. The continued claims last week numbered 1,045, down from 1,115 during the week ending September 12. During the pandemic, the highest weekly unemployment continued claim number was 3,219, set during the week ending May 2.

The August unemployment numbers for all 67 counties should be released on September 29. The Clinton County rate in July was 12%, and 11% in June.

- The PA Department of Labor has provided additional information to employers about “relief from charges” relating to unemployment compensation claims. DOWNLOAD

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 761 licensed liquor establishments Wednesday and Thursday (Sept. 23 & 24), issuing seven notices of violation and eight warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which oversees licensed liquor establishments in Clinton County, conducted 41 licensee checks during the period. No warnings or notices of violation were issued. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PA-State-Police-Details.aspx?newsid=588

- Partnership member State Farm Agent Cara Montarsi today passed along information on State Farm’s Good Neighbor Citizenship Grant program, which offers grants to educational and government groups and select nonprofit organizations, in support of safety, education and community development project. Eligible organizations can apply for a grant starting October 1 through October 31. Click Here for the State Farm flyer for details.

- The PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources this week released a new Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan. DCNR Secretary Cindy Dunn says the plan, Recreation for All (PDF), is a blueprint including 20 recommendations and 70 actions steps for meeting the outdoor recreation needs of all Pennsylvanians. Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/DCNR_details.aspx?newsid=690.

- With the changing season, DCNR this week activated their fall foliage reports, which can be found online on the DCNR website. The reports, which are updated every Thursday, offer tips and resources to help residents and visitors experience a colorful autumn. More information here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/DCNR_details.aspx?newsid=688.

Posted 9/24/20

- Grant Opportunity for Small Businesses in Clinton County: The application window opened today, September 24, for small businesses to apply for a COVID-related grant program being administered through Clinton County Government. The Clinton County CDBG-CV Business Assistance grant will offer assistance in the form of $5,000 cash grants to help small businesses recover from COVID-19 pandemic losses. The emphasis of the program is on job retention. There is a two-week window to apply for a grant – the application period closes on October 8, and grant awards are expected to be announced on October 15. Click here to get to the grant application: https://www.gotomygrants.com/Public/Opportunities/Details/1f7135c6-50e1-4a2e-9726-4b0b8fd56dc7.

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry says that due to an alarming spike in suspicious applications for unemployment benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, additional anti-fraud and identity verification measures will be put in place. L&I says the new measures won’t impact people who already have an open PUA claim, however, payments for new applicants are being temporarily delayed. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Labor-and-Industry-Details.aspx?newsid=488.

- Amidst unprecedented numbers of unemployment claims - $28 billion has been paid out since March 15 – the Department of Labor & Industry says it is “pausing” the launch of a new system that will change how people file for and claim unemployment compensation benefits. The new system had been scheduled to come online in October. Read more here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Labor-and-Industry-Details.aspx?newsid=489.

- During Small Business Week, the Internal Revenue Service reminds business owners and self-employed individuals of the employer credits available to them during COVID-19. These credits were specially created to help provide some relief to small business owners during this unprecedented time. Details here: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-highlights-employer-credits-for-businesses-during-small-business-week.

- PA Governor Tom Wolf today discussed COVID-19 mitigation and government reform measures. More here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/governor-wolf-discusses-covid-19-mitigation-and-government-reform/.

The Governor also invited all Pennsylvanians to download and share the free COVID Alert PA app. Since the app launched on Tuesday, there have been more than 70,000 downloads. The COVID Alert PA app notifies users if they may have been exposed to COVID-19 without revealing their identity or location. See more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-encourages-pennsylvanians-to-download-and-share-covid-alert-pa-app-more-than-70000-downloads-since-launch/.

- Pennsylvania has developed an enhanced testing strategy that makes testing accessible, available, and adaptable as the state learns more about the coronavirus. PA Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine, the commonwealth’s Contact Tracing and Testing Director Michael Huff, and Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman yesterday provided a comprehensive look at testing for COVID in the state with details about who should be tested and when, and how everyone should know about their insurance coverage. Learn more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1037.

Meanwhile, the Health Department today confirmed an additional 853 positive cases of the virus, bringing the statewide total to 153,397. Neighboring Centre County continues to be a hot spot for cases, reporting an increase of 109 cases today.

- Keystone Central School District today announced it is providing free breakfast and lunch meals to all children through the National School Lunch Program’s Seamless Summer Option program. The program is open to all children in the community. Click Here for the KCSD flyer for more information.

- Attorney General Josh Shapiro today urged a federal appeals court in Kentucky to reverse a lower court’s order that would prevent states from enforcing price gouging regulations during times of crisis. Learn more: https://www.attorneygeneral.gov/taking-action/press-releases/ag-shapiro-tells-federal-appeals-court-states-must-be-able-to-regulate-price-gouging/.

- Legislation is on its way to Governor Wolf’s desk that would freeze lawmakers’ salaries – as well as the salaries of judges and top executive branch officials – at their current level through 2021. The Governor has signaled that he will sign it into law. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Frank Ryan, R-Lebanon, was offered in recognition of the economic hardships that the COVID-19 has had on the commonwealth as well as its citizens and businesses. “When Pennsylvania residents are making sacrifices and struggling just to put food on their table, it is no time for public officials to be taking a raise,” Mr. Ryan has said. The bill passed the Senate on Monday by a 48-0 vote. It passed the House in May by a 202-0 vote. Pennsylvania’s legislative, judicial and top executive branch officials — which includes the governor, lieutenant governor, Cabinet members, attorney general, auditor general and treasurer — have had their salaries frozen two other times since the 1995 Public Officials Compensation Law passed. The first time was in 2010 and the second, in 2016. Read More. (Source: Harrisburg Patriot News)

- Lock Haven University’s athletics program this morning kicked of its annual ‘All In Day of Giving’ – a 24-hour opportunity for Haven alumni and supporters to contribute to the success of the University’s athletic programs. Acknowledging that the COVID-19 pandemic has left a very large funding gap, the University says it is committed to providing student athletes with the scholarships and team resources to be successful in the classroom and on their respective fields of play. Those interested in contributing can visit allin.lockhaven.edu.

- There will be music in downtown Lock Haven this weekend. Three Main Street businesses – Stella A’s Bar & Grill, the Texas Restaurant and the Lock Haven Elks Lodge – are hosting live music Friday and Saturday evenings from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. as a tribute to the end of summer. The band Private Stock Trio will perform Friday night from within the cordoned eating area in front of the Texas Restaurant. On Saturday night, the group Frosted Mini Wheat will play from within the cordoned eating area in front of Stella A’s Bar & Grill. The two restaurants, as well as the Elks Lodge, will feature outdoor dining both nights. Main Street between Jay and Vesper Streets continues to be closed to vehicle traffic starting at 3:00 p.m. Friday through 9:00 p.m. Saturday to allow restaurants and retailers the opportunity to bring their business out into the streets. While encouraging people to come enjoy the music, the trio of businesses also encourages people to support social distancing, masking and other COVID-19 mitigation measures.

Posted 9/23/20

- Clinton County Government tomorrow, September 24, will open the window for applications for a new COVID-19 related grant program to support small businesses impacted by the pandemic. The county plans to award $5,000 grants to eligible businesses under the Community Development Block Grant-Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) Small Business Assistance Grant program. The online application will be available tomorrow and applications will be accepted for the next two weeks, through October 8. Click Here for the ‘Clinton County announces’ file for details.

Meanwhile, the $3.4 million in Clinton County CARES Relief Grant awards, which the County Commissioners announced last week, are being administered by the Clinton County Planning Department. Grant recipients likely have received an email message from the AmpliFund Administrator system the county is using, with the title “Award Activation” in the subject line. This email is simply a confirmation of your grant award and does not require any action on your part. Grant recipients will, in the not-too-distant future, receive an agreement from the County that you will need to sign in order to receive the grant. For questions on this grant program, contact Clinton County Grants Administrator Kari Kepler in the County Planning Office at 570-893-4080, ext. 2.

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry’s Office of Unemployment Compensation announced today that it has updated its UC Live Chat feature to include a virtual assistant to provide immediate assistance in general questions and guidance on UC-related information. In addition, UC has expanded access so that employers can now ask questions related to their business accounts. Learn more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Labor-and-Industry-Details.aspx?newsid=487.

- In the 24 hours since the new COVID Alert PA app became available, some 50,000 Pennsylvanians have downloaded the app, and the state is encouraging more to follow suit. The COVID Alert PA app can notify users if they may have been exposed to COVID-19 without revealing identity or location.  More here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/50000-pennsylvanians-download-covid-alert-pa-app-in-first-24-hours-governor-urges-everyone-to-make-your-phone-part-of-the-fight/.

- The Pennsylvania House of Representatives, in a specially-scheduled session this afternoon, voted 145-56 to pass the Senate-amended House Bill 2513, legislation that would eliminate most of the COVID-19 restrictions Governor Tom Wolf placed on restaurants and taverns. The measure is now on its way to the governor’s desk. HB 2513 would set minimum capacity for restaurants and taverns at a minimum of 50% and even beyond that if their premises allow. It further would allow them to permit patrons to sit at the bar provided they socially distance, and would eliminate the requirement that a meal must be purchased to get an alcoholic beverage. See more details in this PennLive article: https://www.pennlive.com/news/2020/09/pa-house-sends-bill-to-governors-desk-easing-restrictions-on-restaurants-and-bars.html.

Despite the bipartisan support, the governor has indicated he would veto HB 2513 when it reaches him. That could set up the potential for another veto override attempt by the Legislature on the heels of an  unsuccessful effort this afternoon dealing with school sports. The state House of Representatives this afternoon failed to garner enough votes to override Governor Tom Wolf’s recent veto of House Bill 2787, which would have allowed K-12 schools to make their own decisions about how many spectators can attend high school sports and activities. The Governor had vetoed the bill on Monday after it had passed both chambers of the legislature with bipartisan support earlier this month.

Meanwhile, while a federal judge in Pittsburgh yesterday denied the Wolf Administration’s request to delay enforcement of his ruling that many of Governor Wolf's pandemic shutdown orders were unconstitutional, the Governor has confirmed that the state will move ahead with an appeal of the decision to the Third Circuit Court. Wolf said at a news conference Tuesday that his administration will appeal to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.

- Morning Consult, a global data intelligence company, has been tracking consumer confidence throughout the pandemic. At the beginning of fall, trend data shows comfort levels are ticking up in areas such as dining out, shopping at a mall, going to the movies, and more. READ MORE.

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 1,107 licensed liquor establishments Monday and Tuesday (Sept. 22-22), issuing 13 notices of violation and 11 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which oversees licensed establishments in Clinton County, conducted 134 licensee checks during that period; no warnings or violations were issued. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PA-State-Police-Details.aspx?newsid=587.

- PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced state charges against 20 inmates and accomplices (including some in Centre County) in three state prisons in central and eastern Pennsylvania. The arrests are linked to at least two existing rings, or organized groups of inmates and outside accomplices who conspired to provide false information on COVID-19 unemployment benefit applications. More details here: https://www.attorneygeneral.gov/taking-action/press-releases/ag-shapiro-20-more-inmates-accomplices-charged-with-illegally-obtaining-300k-unemployment-benefits/.

- The PA Department of Human Services has submitted a request to the U.S. Department of Agriculture that would extend additional Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funds to all SNAP recipients. Especially during the pandemic DHS Secretary Teresa Miller said access to essential needs like food is more important than ever to help keep people healthy and mitigate co-occurring health risks. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/DHS_details.aspx?newsid=602.

- The PA Department of Health today encouraged an increased awareness about sepsis, a serious infection that is the most common complication observed in severe cases of COVID-19 and can lead to life-threatening complications and death. Learn more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1034.

Non-COVID items of interest….

- The 2020 Census ends next Wednesday, September 30. If you haven’t yet done so, please complete the Census and encourage your employees to do so as well, so we can all be counted. According to state statistics, Clinton County’s response to the Census is running behind the response from the 2010 Census, and the 61.5 percent response puts Clinton among the lower ranking counties in the state. As of September 21, Bucks County leads the state with a 78.6 percent response rate, while Forest County, at 26.7 percent, has the lowest response rate.

The federal government has made it easier than ever to complete the 2020 Census:

            - go to www.my2020census.gov to complete a survey online;

            - call 844-330-2020 to complete the census by phone; or

            - complete and mail back the paper questionnaire that was sent to your home.

The 2020 Census provides a snapshot of our nation—who we are, where we live, and more. The results of this once-a-decade count determine the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives. They are also used to draw congressional and state legislative districts. Over the next decade, lawmakers, business owners, and many others will use 2020 Census data to make critical decisions. The results will show where communities need new schools, new clinics, new roads, and more services for families, older adults, and children. The results will also determine how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding are allocated to more than 100 programs. Pennsylvania loses nearly $2,100 annually in federal funds for each person not counted. For more information on the Census, visit 2020census.gov.

- PA Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding encouraged young Pennsylvanians today to apply for an Agriculture Equipment Service Technician Apprenticeship where they’ll earn a paycheck while they learn hands-on skills in science, technology, engineering, and math. Pennsylvania will face more than 1,000 job openings in the field by 2030, as current farm equipment mechanics and service technicians retire. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Agriculture_details.aspx?newsid=969.

- PA CareerLink Clinton County hosts another ‘Get to Know’ session featuring First Quality. The October 2, 10:30 a.m. virtual meeting is an opportunity for those interested in employment with First Quality – or those who simply want to learn more about Clinton County’s leading employer. The session is being held in conjunction with National Manufacturing Day on October 2. Click Here for the PA CareerLink flyer for details or for more on the Get to Know sessions, contact PA CareerLink’s Dorie Gilmore at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

- The PA Departments of Environmental Protection and Transportation and other partners in the Drive Electric PA Coalition will hold a free public informational webinar on the benefits and basics of driving electric vehicles on September 30 at 11:00 a.m. and again on October 1 at 6:00 p.m. as part of National Drive Electric Week. Get additional details here: https://www.penndot.gov/pages/all-news-details.aspx?newsid=770.

- A newly updated map from the PA Game Commission is aimed at helping hunters know whether their woods fall within the boundaries of a Chronic Wasting Disease Management Area (DMA). The interactive map – available at bit.ly/PGC-CWDMap – shows not only DMA boundaries, but the location of head-collection bins, high-risk parts dumpsters, cooperating deer processors and taxidermists, and CWD DMAP units. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Game-Commission-Details.aspx?newsid=421.

Posted 9/22/20

- A federal judge today denied Governor Tom Wolf’s request for a stay on a federal court decision that found some of the Governor’s COVID-19 pandemic restrictions to be unconstitutional. The Wolf Administration sought the stay while appealing U.S. Western District Judge William Stickman’s order last week that ruled the governor’s closure of nonessential businesses, a stay-at-home order and an order to limit gathering sizes were unconstitutional. The Governor this afternoon acknowledged that today’s ruling does lift the prohibition of mass gatherings of people, but he added that the state continues to work with schools and other groups to provide guidance to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. See this PennLive article for more: https://www.pennlive.com/news/2020/09/federal-judge-denies-gov-tom-wolfs-request-for-stay-on-pandemic-restrictions-ruling.html.

- Governor Wolf and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine today launched the COVID-19 exposure notification mobile app, COVID Alert PA, to help fight the spread of the coronavirus. The app – which is available now free to smartphone users as a download from the Apple App store or Google Play store – uses Bluetooth technology to help notify people if they have been in contact with a person who has later tested positive for COVID-19, without compromising their identity or location. Details here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/wolf-administration-launches-covid-alert-pa-app-encourage-pa-to-unite-to-stop-the-spread/.

Meanwhile, the Health Department today confirmed an additional 834 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 151,646. Neighboring Centre County continues to be a hot spot, reporting an increase of 185 cases today. County specific information is available on the state’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard.

- The state’s new online self-certification form for COVID compliant restaurant businesses is now open on the Pennsylvania COVID website. According to information from the PA Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED), there is no cost to participate, enrolling in the program is voluntary, and participating restaurants receive:

  • Permission to increase indoor dining from 25% to 50% occupancy (began September 21)
  • A listing on the searchable public Open & Certified Pennsylvania Business Directory
  • Free Open & Certified Pennsylvania signs for the business’s physical location, website, and social media
  • Timely updates, reminders, and alerts for new business guidance and resources

According to the state, self-certifying will not lead to any additional inspections. DCED says if you have a COVID-19 related violation you will first get warnings and education, rather than fines or other penalties. For more about the self-certification program read the state’s Frequently Asked Questions or email DCED at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The PA Restaurant & Lodging Association’s (PRLA) weekly ‘Industry Update’ webinar tomorrow, Wednesday, September 23, at 11:00 a.m. will focus on an analysis of the new self-certification process. Interested restaurants are welcome to participate. Click here to REGISTER.

- The PA Department of Agriculture today released data related to COVID-19 restaurant enforcement actions from September 14 – 20. Bureau of Food Safety personnel performed 596 inspections, 18 of which were complaint-driven, 10 of which were COVID-specific complaints. The Bureau distributed 60 educational letters as a result, issued three formal warning letters, and filed one citation. In addition, 10 COVID-related complaints were referred to local and county health jurisdictions. Five of the most recent inspections were in Clinton County. None of them were complaint-driven and no warnings or citations were issued. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Agriculture_details.aspx?newsid=968.

- A reminder that PA CareerLink Clinton County, Lock Haven University and the Partnership are hosting an employer webinar tomorrow  morning (Sept. 23) at 10:00 a.m. on the WEDnetPA program and how to access WEDnetPA Training Funds for workforce development. WEDnet funds – up to $2,000 per employee; $100,000 per company – are available for employee skill building training. Training topics can range from customer service, to software engineering, to first aid and CPR. Register for tomorrow’s webinar at: https://forms.gle/b3rNuyg1wRMY6LyL9.

- PennDOT today highlighted ways in which Pennsylvanians and business partners have seen continued or enhanced services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more: https://www.penndot.gov/pages/all-news-details.aspx?newsid=769.

- The PA Department of Human Services today issued updated COVID-19 guidance for personal care homes, assisted living residences, and private intermediate care facilities covering screening and surveillance testing for residents and staff, expanding visitation, and circumstances when and how facilities can safely relax mitigation tactics. Learn more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/DHS_details.aspx?newsid=601.

- The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention this week issued guidance for the upcoming fall and winter holidays, including guidance for Halloween. The new guidance ranks activities from low risk to high risk for spreading COVID-19. See more: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html#halloween.

 

Non-COVID items of interest….

- SEDA-COG today announced it has been awarded two grants totaling more than $555,000 to support a proposed natural gas synthesis plant in West Keating Township, Clinton County. Click Here for the SEDA-COG news release for more information.

- Lock Haven University today said it has scheduled a Virtual Internship and Career Fair to be held Friday, October 2, at 2pm. Click Here for the LHU news release for details.

- In support of National Small Business Week – Sept. 22 to 24 – the Internal Revenue Service is emphasizing the many IRS online resources available to help small business owners and self-employed individuals handle the tax aspects of their business. See more: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-highlights-online-resources-during-small-business-week-many-resources-available-in-multiple-languages.

- 12th District U.S. Congressman Fred Keller is seeking military service academy nominations. The Congressman each year has the opportunity to nominate a number of young Pennsylvanians. If you know a qualified young man or woman interested in serving in the Armed Forces encourage them to apply to a U.S. Military Service Academy. The deadline to submit application materials is this coming Monday, September 28, 2020. Click here for more details or call Congressman Keller’s Tunkhannock office at 570-996-6550 if you have specific questions.

Posted 9/21/20

- Clinton County Government today announced a new grant program to support small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the Community Development Block Grant-Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) Small Business Assistance Grant program, the county plans to award $5,000 grants to eligible businesses. The program will start accepting applications this Thursday, September 24 through an online process and applications will be accepted until October 8. Click Here for the ‘Clinton County announces’ file for details.

- In response to a climbing COVID incidence rate within the Lock Haven 17745 zip code, Lock Haven City Manager Greg Wilson today said all events in any city park, as well as entertainment in the downtown pedestrian mall area, are canceled beginning tomorrow September 22 for at least the next two weeks. “The city's incidence rate has climbed to its highest point to date, 143.98 per 100,000 excluding LHU students who have tested positive, which are reported separate from the other residents of the city's zip code. Including LHUs new incidences reported today, the city's incidence rate is 458.59/100,000,” said Wilson. “Anything above 100/100,000 is considered a high-risk infection area by the CDC. For that reason, there will be a moratorium instituted tomorrow cancelling any event in any city park, including play in ball fields. The Pedestrian Mall (Lock Haven’s Main Street area that is closed to vehicle traffic Friday at 3pm through Saturday at 9pm) will not be permitted to have outdoor entertainment.” Wilson said outdoor dining and retail operations can continue in the pedestrian mall area, however, no music or other entertainment is permitted. He said City employees who are able should continue to work from home or reduce on-site hours to minimize contact with other employees. He further encouraged any operations in city-owned facilities to review their COVID-19 safety plans to ensure they are taking every precaution available to ensure the safety of the public. Click Here for the Lock Haven COVID Update for more information.

- Lock Haven University today resumed limited face-to-face instruction following what the University says was a good turnout for COVID-19 re-entry testing and a lower infection rate. More information here: http://www.lockhaven.edu/News/face_to_face_reopen_09.20.2020.html.

The University began the semester with 85 percent of the student population in online learning and only 15 percent in the classroom. In-person classes were suspended two weeks ago when the number of cases of COVID-19 began to rise. University officials said a new round of testing would be undertaken to determine whether the 15 percent in-person classes could resume. For more information on the testing, visit the University’s COVID dashboard at https://lockhaven.edu/Covid19Dashboard/index.html.

- The state today released its weekly status update on mitigation efforts based on the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard. PA Governor Tom Wolf said the statewide percent positivity decreased significantly in the past week, from 4.2 percent to 3.8 percent. However, the 7-day incidence rate increased by 526 cases. Centre County continues to be an area of concern, with a percent positivity rate of 12.1 percent. Nine other counties – Indiana, York, Juniata, Mercer, Lebanon, Berks, Chester, Crawford, and Bedford also have positivity rates above five percent. For the week ending September 17, 19 counties were in the low level of transmission; 46 counties (including Clinton and Lycoming) were in the moderate level; and Centre and Indiana counties had substantial transmission. More details here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/pennsylvania-covid-19-early-warning-monitoring-dashboard-update-for-sept-11-17/.

Meanwhile the Department of Health reported 1,162 new positive coronavirus cases on Saturday, 733 new cases Sunday and another 234 new cases today, bringing the statewide total to 150,812. Saturday’s numbers were the second time in a week and the fourth time this month that new cases exceeded 1,000. The month of August had no days in which the case counts topped 1,000.

- Six months after the first cases of COVID-19 were reported in Pennsylvania, Governor Wolf today highlighted efforts to respond to the critical need for personal protective equipment (PPE) and ensure that mitigation-related products (masks, medical equipment, cleaning and sanitation supplies, etc.) are available, accessible and plentiful. Read more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/wolf-administration-highlights-efforts-to-ensure-that-ppe-is-available-accessible-and-plentiful/.

- Restaurants, as of today, can fill their dining rooms to 50% capacity….if they complete a state-established self-certification process. While restaurants can increase their indoor eating capacity starting today, the self-certification doesn’t have to be completed for another two weeks, until October 5. The online self-certification form can be accessed at PA.gov/COVID. Learn more: https://dced.pa.gov/newsroom/restaurant-self-certification-process-now-open/.

The Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association is encouraging restaurant owners to hold off on immediately completing the self-certification until PRLA has a chance to review the details of the process.  State enforcement of the 50 percent indoor capacity will begin on October 5, so restaurants that choose to increase indoor capacity to 50 percent before October 5 must complete the online self-certification process by that date. However, the self-certification process will remain available after October 5 for restaurants that choose to self-certify in the future. For interested restaurants, PRLA will be reviewing the self-certification document in detail during their weekly Industry Update this Wednesday, September 23. Click here to REGISTER for that update.

From the enforcement end, PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 762 licensed liquor establishments Friday through Sunday (Sept. 18-20), issuing five notices of violation and 16 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 75 licensee checks over the weekend. No warnings or violations were issued. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PA-State-Police-Details.aspx?newsid=586.

- As promised, Governor Wolf today vetoed the so-called high school sports attendance bill, putting the ball in the General Assembly’s court, so to speak, on whether to hold a vote to override the Governor’s veto. Click here for a PennLive article on the Governor’s action: https://www.pennlive.com/sports/2020/09/pa-gov-tom-wolf-vetoes-high-school-sports-attendance-bill-setting-up-possible-override-vote-in-general-assembly.html?utm_source=Members&utm_campaign=ffcd19bdf5-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_cvupdate_sept21&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3e12cf0b7b-ffcd19bdf5-69005015.

Both the state House and Senate have said they would stage a vote to override the Governor’s veto. 25th District State Senator Joe Scarnati, who represents Clinton County, tonight issued a news release saying the Senate will take a vote to override the veto if and when the House is successful in an override vote. Click Here for the ‘Senator Scarnati’ news release for details.

Webinars this week….

- Penn State Extension hosts a Plan for Now, Prepare for the Future: Banking 101 webinar Tuesday, September 22 at 9:00 a.m. The session will include a panel of Bankers from various banks who will explain the basics of applying for a loan. Common mistakes and the important financial documents you should assemble prior to meeting with your banker will be covered. Visit the Event Website for More Details.

- Penn State Extension hosts a Mental Wellness during COVID-19: Substance Misuse in Times of Crisis live webinar Tuesday, September 22, at 11:30 a.m. The session will focus on tips and techniques for healthy coping and sources of additional support. Visit the Event Website for More Details.

- Partnership members are encouraged to participate in an employer workshop, WEDnetPA Training Funds, this Wednesday, September 23, at 10:00 a.m. to learn how receiving funds through the WEDnet program can bolster your workforce development needs. WEDnet funds – up to $2,000 per employee; $100,000 per company – are available for employee skill building training. Training topics can range from customer service, to software engineering, to first aid and CPR. Registration Link: https://forms.gle/b3rNuyg1wRMY6LyL9.

Posted 9/18/20

- Clinton County Economic Partnership President Mike Flanagan offers the following update today on the county’s employment picture:

   Clinton County’s ‘continued’ unemployment claims showed a decease during the last week, according to information released Friday by the PA Department of Labor & Industry. There were 1,115 continued unemployment insurance claims for the week ending September 12, a decrease of more than 100 from the previous week. The latest continued claims number includes 50.2 percent male, 21 percent in the food/accommodation field, and 24 percent in the age bracket of 25 to 34 years old.

   The ‘initial’ unemployment claims rose slightly, going from 43 to 48. Of the 48 initial new claims, 68 percent were male, 23 percent in construction, and 33 percent in the age bracket of 25 to 34 years old.

   Clinton County’s unemployment rate for July was 12 percent. The August monthly report is expected to be issued by the state on or around September 29.

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry today released its employment situation report for August 2020. The statewide unemployment rate was down 2.2 percentage points to 10.3 in August. The national rate fell 1.8 percentage points from July’s level to 8.4 percent. Details here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Labor-and-Industry-Details.aspx?newsid=485.

- Labor & Industry is advising organizations that interact with its Bureau of Workforce Development to be on the lookout for email messages impersonating staff. They say the messages contain links or attachments with malicious software that could infect computers or steal personal information. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Labor-and-Industry-Details.aspx?newsid=486.

- The state’s efforts to modernize its unemployment compensation benefits system continue to meet with delays, with the COVID-19 pandemic being the latest obstacle. Labor & Industry Secretary Jerry Oleksiak said a meeting Monday could determine whether to postpone next month’s planned ‘go live’ with the new system. He said the state’s readiness to implement the new system – Labor & Industry staff hasn’t been full trained, employers and the public haven’t been informed of the new system, and the system itself hasn’t been fully tested – has been impacted by the fact that the department has diverted more than half of its staff working on the computer modernization to assist with processing the historic number of claims for jobless benefits the department has received. In addition, L&I has had to build totally new systems to implement four new pandemic-related federal programs to provide benefits to the state’s unemployed. Click here to read a PennLive article on the issue: https://www.pennlive.com/news/2020/09/beleaguered-unemployment-compensation-computer-modernization-project-likely-to-be-delayed-once-again.html.

- Recognizing the unprecedented financial disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Reserve conducted a pair of surveys (one in April and the latest in July) to monitor changes in the financial well-being of Americans. The data showed that U.S. families were faring better financially in July than in April, but many still faced uncertainty regarding layoffs and prospects for returning to work. More here: https://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/pressreleases/other20200918a.htm.

- The PA Department of Health today announced that beginning next Friday, September 25, COVID-19 testing clinics will be held at locations in Centre and Columbia counties to contain the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases there. In addition, the department is working closely with Centre County in regard to the increase in cases there over the last several weeks. More details here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1027.

   The Health Department also said it will be closing the nine remaining Walmart drive-thru and parking lot COVID-19 testing sites across the state on September 25 due to the low number of people being tested. Of the nine remaining sites, one is at the Walmart Supercenter parking lot on North Atherton Street in State College. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1029.

   The Health Department today confirmed an additional 760 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 148,683.

- Starting this Monday, September 21, under a new order signed this week by Governor Wolf, restaurants can go from 25 to 50 percent occupancy for indoor seating….as long as they complete a state self-certification process by October 5. Today, the PA Restaurant & Lodging Association issued a statement (click here: our statement), saying the Governor’s latest actions do not go far enough to support the industry. The PRLA instead is supporting a measure in the legislature, House Bill 2513, which would restore more normal standards for restaurants. They say the measure could see action in the State Senate this coming week. The PRLA is also suggesting restaurants hold off on immediately self-certifying until the PRLA has an opportunity to review the self-certification document, which the state has said it will not make available until Monday.

- Meanwhile, PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 549 licensed liquor establishments Wednesday and yesterday (Sept. 16 & 17), issuing two notices of violation and 11 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 56 licensee checks during the period. They issued no warnings or notices of violation. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PA-State-Police-Details.aspx?newsid=585.

- The PA Department of Education today reminded school districts that the federal court ruling issued earlier this week is not a blanket end to the COVID-19 protection and mitigation orders that the state has in place. Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Education-Details.aspx?newsid=944.

- In some very cool news from the scholastic front…..a Central Mountain High School senior, Gianna Renzo, was part of a team that won a NASA/Texas Instruments-sponsored contest. According to a report in The Record newspaper, Gianna was part of a five-member team of students from PA, New York, New Jersey and Illinois called the Germaphobes, who were tasked with creating a solution to aid the astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Their robot, the Germaphobe, will be tasked with cleaning and sanitizing the space station. The article says a representative from NASA will be in touch with the winning team to assist with coordinating their trip to the space center in Houston. Congratulations!

- PA First Lady Frances Wolf joined First Spouses and Partners in 17 other states in urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Congress to further extend and fully fund child nutrition program operations throughout the entire 2020-21 school year. Details here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/pennsylvania-first-lady-frances-wolf-sends-letter-to-federal-government-urging-for-the-continuation-of-child-nutrition-programs/.

- The Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers and Penn State Nittany Lions football teams are ‘carrying the ball’ and supporting the Department of State through a new ad that encourages mail-in voting in PA. See more here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/State-details.aspx?newsid=404.

- Due to unforeseen circumstances, the City of Lock Haven today announced the Sealcoating Project along the Lock Haven Levee Riverwalk will extend into next week. City Public Works Director Tony Stopper says the contractor has so far worked well with the current pedestrian traffic and pedestrians are asked again to be cautious through an active work zone. Signs and barricades will again be placed on the access ramps and parking areas notifying pedestrians that the Levee walkway will be closed in that area for maintenance. Stopper says the City appreciates everyone's cooperation and patience while they continue to improve our community. The sealcoating project had been scheduled for earlier this year, but was delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Posted 9/17/20

- The Clinton County Commissioners today announced grant awards through the County’s CARES Relief Grant Program. The county received $3.4 million in federal CARES Act funds that were channeled through the state, and accepted applications from county entities, eligible local businesses, nonprofits and municipalities. Today, the Commissioners announced more than $3.3 million in grants to a total of 93 local entities, including:

  • 1,463,807 to 16 different departments within Clinton County government;
  • $488,458 to 35 small businesses;
  • $457,006 to 8 municipalities;
  • $285,000 to 6 first responders;
  • $276,334 to 12 nonprofit organizations;
  • $217,807 to 13 tourism related businesses & organizations; and
  • $168,200 to 3 behavioral health groups

According to the commissioner’s report, the county retained some $62,000 as contingency funds, and expects to use some $69,000 for costs associated with administering the grant program. The Commissioners said the County Planning Department will be reaching out to individual award recipients. Click here for more on the grant awards, including a list of individual recipients: https://www.clintoncountypa.com/Home/Components/News/News/79/15.

- Following COVID-19 guidelines, the Economic Partnership last night held its annual membership meeting. The session was held outdoors at the Clinton County Fairgrounds main pavilion. Four incumbents and one new representative were elected to the CCEP’s 15-member Operating Board during the meeting. Incumbents elected for three-year terms were: Cedar Run Environmental Services, Inc., represented by Steve Bason; First Quality, represented by Bill Garbrick; Harger Utility Contractors, Inc., represented by Dave Harger; and Lock Haven University, represented by Deana Hill. Newly-elected to the Operating Board is the Wayne Township Landfill, represented by Marci Orndorf. Jim Russo representing M&R Contracting, Inc., was announced as the new chairman of the Operating Board, taking over for Dave Harger who just completed his two-year term as chair. Also at the meeting, CCEP staff and committee chairs offered reports highlighting various Partnership activities.

- The U.S. Department of Labor today said the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell by 33,000 last week, to 860,000, but still remains at historically high levels. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people signing up for jobless benefits had never exceeded 700,000 in a week; now, they have exceeded that level for 26 straight weeks. See more: https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/OPA/newsreleases/ui-claims/20201770.pdf.

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry is reminding eligible Pennsylvanians to apply as soon as possible for up to six weeks of assistance through the federal Lost Wages Assistance Program (LWA), which provides up to $300 a week extra in additional funds to those unemployed or partially unemployed because of COVID-19. L&I has received about $2.8 billion from the Federal  Emergency Management Agency for the six weeks of the program. No more federal funds will be received, and the state will be unable to approve claims after the funding is depleted. More information here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Labor-and-Industry-Details.aspx?newsid=484.

- The Internal Revenue Service today released a state-by-state breakdown of the roughly nine million people receiving a special mailing this month encouraging them to see if they are eligible to claim an Economic Impact Payment. See more: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-releases-state-by-state-breakdown-of-nearly-9-million-non-filers-who-will-be-mailed-letters-about-economic-impact-payments.

- PA Governor Tom Wolf today again called on the General Assembly to provide additional funding for the COVID-19 Hazard Pay Program to support front-line workers during the pandemic. More here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-to-legislature-provide-support-to-front-line-workers-in-life-sustaining-industries/.

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 933 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 147,923. Centre County continues to be a hot spot, reporting an increase of 88 cases today. County-specific information is available on the state’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard.

- Governor Wolf today issued the order that would allow restaurants to return to 50 percent capacity for indoor dining, if they complete a self-certification process still being finalized by the state. Learn more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/wolf-administration-signs-orders-that-restaurants-may-increase-indoor-occupancy-to-50-percent/. Other key components of the order, which takes effect this Monday, September 21, include:

  • Last call will now be 11 p.m. with alcohol cleared by midnight.
  • The requirement that meals must accompany the purchase of alcoholic drinks and a ban on sitting at the bar remain in place.
  • Private events remain unchanged (25 people max are permitted at indoor events / 250 people at outdoor events).

This order does not restore the industry to the standards that were in place prior to July 15, which is why the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association has issued an Action Alert on HB 2513. The Senate could vote on this bill as early as Monday, September 21, and PRLA is encouraging restaurant owners to contact their state senators to support the bill. Resources such as a bill summary, talking points, and Senate contact information can be found here.

Also, the House Commerce Committee today unanimously voted out HB 2516, which creates a $250 million grant program for restaurants impacted by COVID and permits training as a permissible use of grant monies.

- A bipartisan group of 11 state treasurers, led by Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella and Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague, today asked Gilead to reconsider its pricing of remdesivir, the only antiviral drug authorized by the Food and Drug Administration to treat cases of COVID-19. More here: https://www.patreasury.gov/newsroom/archive/2020/09-17-Gilead.html.

- UPMC has announced it has collaborated with University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine scientists to create a new anti-COVID-19 drug, which has been licensed for worldwide development. Learn More

Meanwhile, UPMC offered several COVID-19 related updates, including:

- Positive news for Penn State football fans: Big Ten Conference football is back on the schedule. The Conference announced that the season will resume the weekend of October 23-24 and put a number of guidelines in place to ensure safety amidst the pandemic. Read more: https://bigten.org/news/2020/9/16/the-big-ten-conference-adopts-stringent-medical-protocols-football-season-to-resume-october-23-24-2020.aspx.

- Monday is the deadline by which Governor Wolf must make a decision about whether to deny or grant local officials the exclusive authority to make decisions about holding school sports and activities and who can attend them. Although the governor has publicly said he would veto the measure identified as House Bill 2787, a bipartisan band of House members gathered yesterday to urge him to change his mind. Read More (Source: Harrisburg Patriot News)

- Lock Haven University President Dr. Robert Pignatello has announced that Bloomsburg University will now be included in the LHU/Mansfield University study for potential integration. The PA State System of Higher Education announced in July that it would review the financial impact of integrating operations at select universities, with LHU and Mansfield University being one of the proposed integrations. President Pignatello said that initial pairing has now shifted to include Bloomsburg University. He said the study process is just beginning, with a financial review and assessment. An implementation plan will then be developed and a final plan is to be presented to the State System Board of Governors next July for implementation in the fall of 2022. Click Here for the LHU Integration Update.

- Interested Partnership members are encouraged to participate in a virtual employer workshop this coming Wednesday, September 23, at 10:00 a.m. on WEDnetPA Training Funds and how receiving funds through the WEDnet program can bolster your workforce development needs. WEDnet funds – up to $2,000 per employee; $100,000 per company – are available for employee skill building training. Training topics can range from customer service, to software engineering, to first aid and CPR. Click Here for the WEDnet flyer for registration details.

- The PA Department of Environmental Protection is offering $400,000 in grants for environmental education projects. Eligible applicants include schools, colleges, businesses, nonprofit community and environmental organizations, and county conservation districts. DEP will hold a free webinar on October 14 on how to apply. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Education-Details.aspx?newsid=942.

- The PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources will hold regional virtual workshops in November for recreation and conservations projects. The workshop for the central region – the one covering Clinton County – is scheduled for November 12. Click Here for the DCNR news release for additional information.


- The PA Supreme Court today granted the Democratic Party’s request to order an extension of Pennsylvania’s Election Day-deadline to count mailed-in ballots for three days after Election Day. Governor Wolf and PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro called the decision a victory for voters. See more: https://www.attorneygeneral.gov/taking-action/press-releases/gov-wolf-attorney-general-shapiro-pa-supreme-court-decision-is-a-victory-for-voters/.

- To comply with the state’s COVID-19 guidelines, the PA Board of Game Commissioners September 26 meeting will be held online. Details here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Game-Commission-Details.aspx?newsid=420.

Posted 9/16/20

- A reminder: the Partnership’s annual membership meeting is tonight (9/16), at 7pm in the outdoor pavilion at the Clinton County Fairgrounds, 98 Racetrack Road, Mill Hall (Mackeyville). The outdoor venue allows us to accommodate all members interested in participating and stay within COVID gathering guidelines. The meeting features updates on Partnership activities and the election of five members to the Partnership’s 15-member Operating Board. There are eight members seeking a seat on the board, including incumbents Cedar Run Environmental Services, Inc.; First Quality; Fish Real Estate; Harger Utility Contractors, Inc.; and Lock Haven University. Three additional members are new candidates seeking an operating board seat: Avery Dennison; Wayne Township Landfill; and Woodlands Bank. Operating Board nominations can also be made from the floor at the meeting. Partnership members whose dues are current and who have been a member at least 30 days are eligible to vote.

- The Clinton County Commissioners tomorrow (September 17) are slated to announce grant recipients for the County’s CARES Relief Block Grant program. The Commissioners plan to announce the grants during their weekly 10:00 a.m. meeting, held in the outdoor pavilion at the County Piper Building, 2 Piper Way, Lock Haven. The meeting is also live-streamed on the Clinton County Government Facebook page. The money for this program comes to county government from federal CARES Act funding and is designed to support small businesses, nonprofits and municipalities in Clinton County who have sustained losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

- PA Governor Tom Wolf and Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman are again calling on the legislature to take up legalization of adult-use cannabis, saying the COVID-19 pandemic has caused enormous disruptions to the state’s economy and legalizing adult-use cannabis would go a long way in helping the economic recovery. See more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-and-lt-gov-fetterman-message-to-legislature-now-is-the-time-to-take-up-legalization-of-adult-use-cannabis/.

- PennDOT today announced it has resumed issuing REAL IDs at reopened Driver License Centers offering driver license services. The Department paused REAL ID issuance in March due to the pandemic. Additionally, the federal Department of Homeland Security postponed the enforcement date for REAL ID from October 1 of this year to October 1, 2021, in response to COVID-19 and the national emergency declaration. Details here: https://www.penndot.gov/pages/all-news-details.aspx?newsid=766.

- The state is seeing a positive response to its efforts to recruit people to work the polls during the November 3 election. Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar today says the department has received about 35,000 applications from people wanting to serve as poll workers. Additionally, for the first time, the state is offering the opportunity for certain professional licensees to receive continuing education credits for serving as poll workers. Learn more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/State-details.aspx?newsid=403.

There continues to be a need in Clinton County for poll workers for the November 3 election. Those interested should contact the Clinton County Voter Registration office at 570-893-4019.

- State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 1,031 licensed liquor establishments Monday and Tuesday (Sept. 14 and 15), issuing one notice of violation and 16 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 112 licensee checks so far this week, and issued one warning related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PA-State-Police-Details.aspx?newsid=583.

- We hope you have a chance to browse through the “Partners” insert in today’s Express newspaper. The four-page insert, prepared quarterly by the Partnership, highlights our activities, our members, and local events.  

Posted 9/15/20

- A pandemic-delayed project is now underway in Lock Haven. The City of Lock Haven’s levee RiverWalk and ramps to the walkway will be closed temporarily starting tomorrow, Wednesday, September 16, as contractors carry out planned repairs and seal-coating. M&M Asphalt of Williamsport is the contractor for the walking path work. The project had been scheduled for this past spring, but was delayed until after Labor Day due to COVID-19 restrictions. The City says the seal-coating process is expected to run through this Friday, September 18. During that time, the Levee also will be cleaned of debris. The walkway will be closed until the seal-coat application is dry enough for pedestrian traffic.  

- PA Governor Tom Wolf today responded to the recent federal court ruling regarding the business closure order and the stay at home orders issued in March, as well as the 25-person indoor and 250-person outdoor gathering limitations, saying there’s “no sense debating a ruling that will be appealed. But what’s not up for debate is that our early and decisive action saved lives. While the federal government dithered, Pennsylvania took action….and research tells us thousands of lives were saved.” See more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-responds-to-federal-court-ruling/.

PA Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine reminded Pennsylvanians that the decision issued yesterday in the Butler County case is not a blanket end to the protection and mitigation orders in place to protect people from COVID-19. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1022.

The Health Department today confirmed an additional 1,151 positive cases of the virus, bringing the statewide total to 146,214. Centre County continues to be a hot spot, reporting an increase of 212 cases today. County-specific information is available on the state’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard.

- The Department of Health today highlighted August nursing home inspections, including sanctions against care facilities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Details here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1021.

- With only seven weeks left before the November 3 election, Governor Wolf is urging immediate legislative action to ensure voters receive their mail-in ballots early and give counties more time to process and count ballots before election day. The Governor also reassured Pennsylvanians that in-person voting is safe, and said all eligible votes will be counted. Learn more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-pass-legislation-to-enhance-secure-and-efficient-elections/

- PA Department of Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin today reminded restaurants that the state’s new self-certification process begins on Monday, September 21. Restaurants can increase indoor occupancy to 50 percent starting Monday, as long as they complete the self-certification. More information here: https://dced.pa.gov/newsroom/wolf-administration-reminds-restaurants-to-self-certify-beginning-september-21/.

Meanwhile, the PA Department of Agriculture today released data related to COVID-19 restaurant enforcement actions from last week (September 7-13). The Bureau of Food Safety performed 520 total inspections, 27 of which were complaint-driven, 12 were COVID-19 specific complaints. The Bureau issued two formal warning letters and 26 educational letters, and five COVID-related complaints were referred to local and county health jurisdictions. According to the state information, there were no Department of Agriculture inspections in Clinton County last week. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Agriculture_details.aspx?newsid=964.

- The U.S. Department of Agriculture will begin accepting applications for the Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guarantees Loans and Grants. Applications for grants of $20,000 or less and loan/grant of $20,000 or less are due by November 2. Other applications due March 31, 2021. Applications for loan guarantees are accepted on a continuous application cycle. The program provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements. Click Here for more details.

- PA CareerLink is hosting another virtual ‘Get to Know’ information session, this one for Lowe’s in Mill Hall, Tuesday, September 22 at 2pm. The sessions are designed to provide information for anyone seeking employment or wanting to know more about the company. Click Here for the PA CareerLink flyer.

- The PA Chamber is hosting a webinar, Covid-19 Business Lessons Learned & Strategies to Prepare for the Upcoming Flu / Pandemic Season, this Thursday, September 17 at 11:00 a.m. The session is $25 for members and $40 for non-members. MORE INFO 

- American Express is offering eligible small businesses free "Open for Business" kits. Order a free kit here (one kit per merchant, while supplies last). This year marks the 10th anniversary of AMEX’s ‘Shop Small’ initiative. The company created Small Business Saturday – celebrated the Saturday after Thanksgiving – in 2010 to encourage people to Shop Small and bring more holiday shopping to small businesses. Locally, Downtown Lock Haven, Inc. hosts a Small Business Saturday celebration, which this year is being planned for November 28. Learn more about AMEX's Shop Small initiative here.

Posted 9/14/20

- A federal judge today ruled that aspects of PA Governor Tom Wolf's COVID-19 mitigation strategies were unconstitutional, including the temporary business shut down and the limits on individuals congregating. The Wolf Administration announced that it would be seeking a stay of the decision and filing an appeal. READ MORE

- Governor Wolf and State Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine today released a weekly status update detailing the state’s mitigation efforts based on the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard. The update shows that Clinton County has moved back down into the low risk level for the virus. However, the statewide percent positivity increased again this week (September 4-10 date compared to August 28-September 3 data), even through the number of new cases dropped. As of September 10, the state has seen a seven-day case increase of 5,012; the previous seven-day increase was 5,502, indicating a 490-case decrease over the past week. The statewide percent-positivity went up to 4.2 percent from 4.0 percent last week. There are four counties listed as having ‘substantial’ transmission of the virus, including neighboring Centre County (9.2%), as well as Columbia (13.4%), Indiana (10.7%), and Juniata (10.3%). Another 43 counties (including nearby Lycoming, Mifflin and Clearfield counties) are in the ‘moderate’ level, while the remaining 20 counties (including Clinton and neighboring Cameron, Elk, Potter, and Tioga counties) are ranked in the ‘low’ level of transmission. Read more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/pennsylvania-covid-19-early-warning-monitoring-dashboard-update-for-sept-4-10/.

The Department of Health today confirmed an additional 638 positive cases of COVID-19 reported yesterday and 620 additional positive cases reported today, bringing the statewide total to 145,063.

Meanwhile, Secretary Levine on Friday introduced “COVID Alert PA,” an app that uses Bluetooth technology to notify users of a potential COVID-19 exposure. More information here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1016.

- The Partnership’s annual membership meeting will take place this Wednesday, September 16, at 7pm. To accommodate all members interested in participating and stay within COVID guidelines, the meeting will be held outdoors under the Main Stage Pavilion at the Clinton County Fairgrounds, 98 Racetrack Road, Mill Hall (Mackeyville). The meeting will feature updates on Partnership activities and the election of five members to the Partnership’s 15-member Operating Board. There are eight members seeking a seat on the board, including incumbents Cedar Run Environmental Services, Inc.; First Quality; Fish Real Estate; Harger Utility Contractors, Inc.; and Lock Haven University. Three additional members are new candidates seeking an operating board seat: Avery Dennison; Wayne Township Landfill; and Woodlands Bank. Operating Board nominations can also be made from the floor at Wednesday’s meeting. Partnership members whose dues are current and who have been a member at least 30 days are eligible to vote.

- The Clinton County Commissioners are slated to make an award announcement this week for the County’s CARES Relief Block Grant program. The Commissioners will announce the grants during their weekly meeting on Thursday, September 17, at 10:00 a.m. These grants are being made through Clinton County government from federal CARES Act funding and are designed to support small businesses, nonprofits and municipalities in Clinton County who have sustained losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

- Some word on the second round of funding for the state’s COVID-19 Small Business Assistance grant program is expected later this month. According to information on the Progress Fund website, approval notifications will be made on a rolling basis, starting September 24. Those grant applications have been under review since the second funding round window closed August 28. The Progress Fund is one of the Community Development Financing Institutions (CDFIs) small businesses were able to make application to. This program is providing grants ranging from $5,00 to $50,000 to small businesses impacted by the pandemic. During the first round of funding, six businesses in Clinton County received a grant through this program.

- PA House lawmakers will be in session this week. There are various public hearings and informational meetings scheduled that will examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on various industries and institutions statewide. Budget discussions for the second half of the 2020-21 year are also expected to get underway in the coming weeks. Pennsylvania faces a $5 billion budgetary shortfall resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. -> Read More from the PA Chamber.

- The PA Department of Community & Economic Development has updated the FAQ document regarding the Governor’s September 8 restaurant order that takes effect on Monday, September 21. The state order says restaurants can increase indoor seating to 50 percent capacity, as long as they complete a self-certification process. The FAQ document highlights the application process, which is free, and answers a range of questions about the new requirement.

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 1,049 licensed liquor establishments over the weekend (Sept. 11-13), issuing seven notices of violation and 32 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport enforcement office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 32 licensee checks during that period, issuing two warnings. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PA-State-Police-Details.aspx?newsid=582.

Non-COVID Items of Interest….

- UPMC Lock Haven President Ron Reynolds today said clean-up and repair work is underway in earnest following a fire at the hospital last Thursday. “We are aggressively working to remediate the fire fallout, and looking forward to re-opening,” said Reynolds. “We will keep the community well informed and look forward to returning stronger than ever. We appreciate the support of the Economic Partnership and our entire community.”

The Partnership extends a heartfelt thanks to the many area businesses who offered support to emergency responders as well as hospital team members during the emergency. UPMC Lock Haven has remained closed since the fire was discovered Thursday in a service tunnel connecting a boiler room to the hospital. Patients with upcoming scheduled surgeries or appointments are being contacted to reschedule, and those in need of emergency care should continue to call 9-1-1. “I credit the quick response of our staff and first responders for preventing this incident from escalating,” said Reynolds in a media report. “Hospital staff and EMS safely evacuated and transferred patients ensuring a minimal disruption of care, and firefighters were able to contain the fire to the tunnel structure located outside the hospital.” Hospital patients were evacuated and some were discharged and others were transferred to UPMC Williamsport and UPMC Muncy. The fire did not affect the residents at UPMC Haven Place or neighboring Susque-View Home. Safety personnel remained on scene as hospital workers and contractors assisted fire crews in digging open the tunnel, extinguishing the fire, and controlling smoke. Clinton County Department of Emergency Services declared fire operations complete at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 11. “Thank you to everyone who responded and supported the incident,” said Reynolds. “Your tireless efforts are why we’re now able to take the steps necessary to restore operations at the hospital. The community was there for us in our time of need, and we look forward to safely reopening the hospital and serving our community as soon as possible.”

- The PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today released its 2019 Oil and Gas annual report, which indicates that natural gas production in Pennsylvania increased while new well drilling decreased in 2019. Learn more: https://www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/NewsRoomPublic/articleviewer.aspx?id=21864&typeid=1.

- PennDOT is inviting Pennsylvanians to participate in its new Safety Citizens program, which encourages community members to answer traffic safety questions in original and creative ways. The program kicks off with Teen Driver Safety as the first topic. More here: https://www.penndot.gov/pages/all-news-details.aspx?newsid=765.

- Pennsylvania’s elk hunting season began Saturday, September 12, with the archery elk season. Now through September 26, 26 archery hunters selected by lottery will be in pursuit of 10 bulls and 16 cows, hunting in nine of the state’s 14 Elk Hunt Zones. The general elk season runs November 2-7 (26 bulls, 78 cows are able to be taken); and a late season runs January 2-9, 2021, during which 34 cows can be taken. Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Game-Commission-Details.aspx?newsid=417.

Upcoming Webinars….

  • 9/15, 3 p.m. | American Hotel & Lodging Association | Loan Forgiveness under the Paycheck Protection Program | REGISTER
  • 9/16, 11 a.m. | PA Restaurant & Lodging Association | Industry Update with Melissa Bova | REGISTER
  • 9/16, 1 p.m. | ServSafe |  The Dos and Don’ts of Virtual Food Inspections | REGISTER
  • 9/17, 10:30 a.m. | PRLA | Building Consumer Confidence as the Industry Reopens | REGISTER
  • 9/17, 11 a.m. | Ecolab |  Health Inspections: What you need to know Now and Then | REGISTER 
  • 9/18, 11 a.m.  | National Restaurant Association & Tork |  From Outbreaks to Pandemics: Why the Essentials of Managing Food Safety Risk Matter | REGISTER 
  • 9/22, 2 p.m. | AHLA | Enhanced Guest Technology Opportunities and Insights | REGISTER
  • 9/22, 4:30 p.m. | One Degree Coaching | The Missing Link - Advice for Managers to Improve their Connection & Engagement with their Team | REGISTER
  • 9/23, 1 p.m.  |  Ecolab  |  Demystifying Sanitation in Foodservice: New Procedures and Approaches | REGISTER 
  • 9/23, 2 p.m.  | Food Management | Plant Based Across the Menu, presented by Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN, Plant-Powered Dietitian, and James Beard Award-Winning Chef JJ Johnson of FIELDTRIP | REGISTER 
  • 9/24, 9 a.m. | Post & Schell | Vaccination Protocols and Regulatory & Legal Considerations for Employers | REGISTER
  • 9/30 & 10/1, noon-5 p.m. | National Restaurant Association | Finance, Tax & Audit Expert Exchange Virtual Event | REGISTER
  • 9/30, 2 p.m. | Ecolab |  Dining and Food: The Future State  | REGISTER
  • SBDC is offering numerous webinars relating to COVID-19. Search All Offerings

Posted 9/11/20

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed another 1,008 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 142,885. Nearby Centre County continues to be a hotspot, reporting 137 new cases, with Allegheny County reporting an increase of 100 cases. Clinton County reported one additional positive case since yesterday, bringing the county total to 149 confirmed and 17 probable cases, while 3,744 of those tested were negative for the virus. According to the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard, Clinton County’s current percent-positive rate is 3.7 percent, a downward trend from last week’s rate. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1015.

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry said today it has received notification from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program – which provided an additional $300 weekly benefit to unemployed workers – ended this past Saturday, September 5. LWA payments will be made in a lump sum for the claim weeks from August 1 through September 5. The state said no other unemployment benefits programs are affected. More information here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Labor-and-Industry-Details.aspx?newsid=481

- Clinton County Economic Partnership President Mike Flanagan provided an update on the local employment picture today: Clinton County’s continued unemployment claims saw an increase during the last week while initial claims were slightly lower, according to information released today by the state Department of Labor & Industry. The continued claims were 1,246 for the week ending September 5, up from the 1,161 recorded the week before. The latest numbers include 53% who are female, 20% in the food and accommodations sector, and 22% in the age bracket of 25 to 34 years old. There were 43 initial claims, down from 54 a week prior. The 43 claims include 53% females, 26% in the construction field, and 21% between the ages of 35 and 44. Clinton County’s July unemployment rate was 12%. The August monthly report should be released by the state at the end of September.

- As the demand increases in Pennsylvania for long-term care services due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Labor & Industry announced that $4 million in Direct Care Worker Training Grants is available statewide to improve the quality of care provided by direct care workers – those who assist patients unable to look after themselves in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes. Details here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Labor-and-Industry-Details.aspx?newsid=482.

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 1,167 licensed liquor establishments Wednesday and Thursday (Sept. 9 & 10), issuing three notices of violation and 23 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. In the Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, officers conducted 22 licensee checks during that period. There were no warnings or violations issued. Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PA-State-Police-Details.aspx?newsid=581.

- Republican leaders in both the Pennsylvania Senate and House are in support of the so-called ‘Let them Play’ bill that deals with school sports and fan attendance. The Governor says he will veto House Bill 2787; however, the legislature says if that happens, they will move to override the veto. According to State Senator Joe Scarnati, who represents Clinton County, House Bill 2787 would allow school districts to develop their own health and safety plans that reflect the realities facing schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. The health and safety plans would be required to be posted online and submitted to the Department of Education. The bill would prohibit any individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 in a transmissible stage from participating in any sporting event or extracurricular activity.

“As I have been saying since March, every area of our Commonwealth has been impacted differently by this public health emergency, and a one-size-fits-all approach does not work,” Scarnati said. “The legislation would remove the uncertainty that has been created by the unclear and constantly shifting guidance that schools have been given.” House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre County, issued a statement yesterday saying at its first opportunity, the House will attempt to override the Democratic governor’s planned veto of House Bill 2787. The bill drew strong bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, where it passed in each chamber with enough votes to exceed the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto. The bill passed the House last week by a vote of 155-47. It passed the Senate on Wednesday by a vote of 39-11 and was sent to the Governor’s desk for his signature. Governor Wolf had recommended the cancellation of all fall sports this year, but the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) later voted to allow school sports to continue.

- With COVID19 protections in place, the PA Department of General Services has announced it will hold an auction of more than 600 vehicles – one of the largest Commonwealth Vehicle Auctions ever – on October 13 in Grantville. Highlights among the items up for bid are 60 Harley-Davidson, Kawasaki and Yamaha motorcycles. Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/DGS_details.aspx?newsid=149.

Non-COVID Items of Importance….

  • UPMC Lock Haven Hospital was the scene of a fire last night, and today, UPMC Susquehanna President Steve Johnson provided the following update to the health system’s advisory boards: After smoke and subsequently fire was detected in the tunnel below UPMC Lock Haven last night at approximately 8:00 p.m., staff worked diligently to safely evacuate and transfer patients to our Williamsport and Muncy facilities. Thanks to the timely and professional actions of our staff and safety personnel no patients or staff were injured. The residents of UPMC Haven Place were not impacted. Fire crews were able to contain the fire to the tunnel outside the hospital. UPMC Lock Haven will remain closed until UPMC officials and safety personnel determine services can be safely restored for patients and staff. Thank you to our exceptional UPMC Lock Haven team for their responsiveness and care of our patients during this emergent event.
  • Following a meeting of the Commonwealth Drought Task Force, the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) this week moved neighboring Potter County to drought ‘warning’ status and added three counties — Elk, Lycoming, and Tioga — to drought ‘watch.’ There are now 18 PA counties – including Clinton – on drought watch: Armstrong, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Fayette, Huntingdon, Indiana, Juniata, Lycoming, McKean, Mifflin, Perry, and Tioga, and residents in the ‘watch’ areas are asked to reduce individual water use 5 to 10 percent (approximately three to six gallons of water per day). Potter County residents are asked to reduce their water use by 10-15 percent (six to nine gallons/day). Learn more: https://www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/NewsRoomPublic/articleviewer.aspx?id=21862&typeid=1.
  • Two Lock Haven University volunteer boards have announced new leadership. Both the LHU Foundation and Alumni Association remain optimistic about future growth opportunities for the University despite challenging times. Click Here for the LHU news release.
  • The Lock Haven Area YMCA (and the entire River Valley Regional YMCA system) is offering a special promotion that supports both the Y and local businesses. Between September 15 and 30, anyone interested in joining the Y can bring in a receipt from a local business and receive a discount on their Y joiner fee in the amount of the receipt (up to $30). River Valley Regional YMCA Chief Executive Officer Chad Eberhart says the goal is to promote local businesses as well as encourage new members to the YMCA. Click Here for the YMCA flyer.
  • We remember. Like other Americans, we remember where we were on this day 19 years ago, as terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center, attacked the Pentagon, and crashed a plane believed headed for the nation’s Capitol into a Somerset County field. Nearly 3,000 people were killed, another 6,000 injured on September 11, 2001. As he addressed the nation that evening, then President George Bush had these words of strength, which resonate even today: “These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed; our country is strong. A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve. America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.”

Both President Donald Trump and Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden were in Pennsylvania today to visit the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, where a remembrance ceremony is held each year. Due to COVID restrictions, this year’s ceremony was not open to the public, but was streamed online on the Flight 93 Memorial website.

In remembrance of the victims of 9-11 and in honor of Patriot Day, Governor Wolf ordered all United States and Commonwealth flags on the Capitol Complex and Commonwealth facilities throughout the state to be lowered to half-staff today. The commonwealth flag has flown at half-staff since Wednesday, March 11, 2020, in honor of the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic and should continue to fly at half-staff until further notice. All Pennsylvanians are invited to participate in the tributes.

Meanwhile, the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) was among the agencies that responded to the September 11 tragedy. Click Here for the DEP article in remembrance.

Posted 9/10/20

- Calling the COVID-19 pandemic not only a health crisis, but also a “harsh economic crisis,” PA Governor Tom Wolf today called on the legislature to provide additional funds from the state’s CARES Act reserves to support small businesses. The Governor is asking the General Assembly to allocate an additional $225 million for forgivable loans and grants to small businesses through the state’s COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance Program, which has already provided 5,000 businesses some $96 million in grants. In addition, the Governor is proposing $100 million in forgivable loans and grants specifically for hospitality, leisure and service industries, including restaurants and bars, salons and barber shops. Read more here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-calls-for-legislative-action-to-support-small-businesses-impacted-by-covid-19/.

- Governor Wolf is dedicating $15 million for schools to secure broadband, mobile hot spots, and other platforms that increase equitable access to remote learning during the pandemic. The Governor says the initiative will employ a multi-pronged approach that includes the use of state library networks and other partnerships. Learn more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-dedicates-15-million-to-connect-students-to-high-speed-internet-remote-learning/.

- Businesses within the City of Lock Haven are asked to complete a survey to gauge the impact of the Pedestrian Mall the City has put in place Fridays and Saturdays this summer in the downtown. Businesses located within the City can click on the following link and complete the City’s survey by this Saturday, September 12: https://forms.gle/GAcp1qH6WnDwdTvE8. Interested businesses have also been able to offer input during in-person meetings this week, with the final in-person session set for this evening (September 10) at 6:00 p.m. in the Downtown Lock Haven, Inc. office at 205 East Main Street. The City established the Pedestrian Mall earlier this summer, closing sections of Main and Grove Streets to vehicle traffic to allow restaurants and retailers to expand their business out onto the sidewalk and into the street, as indoor activities have seen operating restrictions due to COVID-19.

- The U.S. Chamber Foundation hosts a special edition of their Path Forward series next Thursday, September 17 at 3:00 p.m.  U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams, will talk about the state of the pandemic, the link between community health and economic prosperity, what businesses should be doing to prepare for the coming months, and more.

Non-COVID Items of Interest….

- Governor Tom Wolf has received the American Political Science Association’s Hubert H. Humphrey Award, which honors notable public service by a political scientist. See more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-receives-hubert-h-humphrey-award-for-public-service/.

- Loganton resident Cathy Pickett, an education guidance counselor at the State Correctional Institution at Muncy, is the recipient of this year’s Dean’s Salute to Excellence Award from Bloomsburg University. The award recognizes Pickett for being one of the University’s first partners in delivering college-level instruction for incarcerated students. Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/corrections_details.aspx?newsid=473.

- Following months of hyper-focus on the availability of food, the PA Agriculture Department and Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences are urging Pennsylvanians to act now against the Spotted Lanternfly for the sake of food security. More information here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Agriculture_details.aspx?newsid=963.

Posted 9/9/20

- Pennsylvania’s statewide positive test rate for the coronavirus rose over the past week, and Clinton as well as neighboring Centre County were among 11 counties Governor Tom Wolf’s administration is saying bears watching for COVID-19. The positive test rate rose to 4 percent over the past week, up from 3.2 percent the previous week. The 11 counties listed as having concerning percent-positivity include Columbia (18.9%), Armstrong (8.6%), York (7.9%), Clinton (7.4%), Beaver (6.4%), Northumberland (5.7%), Indiana (5.6%), Blair (5.2%), and Centre, Dauphin and Lancaster, (each at 5.0%). Those percent-positive rates for the week ending September 3 left 20 counties being listed in the state’s low level of transmission, 45 counties (including Clinton and Lycoming counties) in the moderate level, and two (Centre and Columbia) at the substantial transmission level. Read more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/pennsylvania-shares-update-on-covid-19-early-warning-monitoring-dashboard-county-transmission-levels-cases-traced-to-businesses-3/.

The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 931 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 141,290. County-specific information is available on the state’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard.

- Auditor General Eugene DePasquale today said his audit of the waiver process for businesses that appealed Governor Wolf’s COVID-19 shutdown order is progressing and he will have a substantive update by October 6, including information about the call center process and other important details. More here: https://www.paauditor.gov/Media/Default/Print/RLS_DePasquale_waiver_UPDATE_090820_FINAL.pdf.

- The Department of Labor & Industry today reminded unemployment compensation claimants who apply and qualify for the federal Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program that they will begin receiving the extra $300 weekly benefit as early as this Monday, September 14. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Labor-and-Industry-Details.aspx?newsid=479.

- With 1 in 4 Americans collecting unemployment compensation in 2020, the IRS is reminding anyone who received UC in 2020 that it is taxable income. MORE INFORMATION.

- Governor Wolf announced yesterday that restaurants could expand their operations to 50 percent of capacity beginning September 21, if they completed a self-certification process to assure compliance with state COVID-19 guidelines. The Wolf Administration then released frequently asked questions for restaurant owners to reference following the newly announced self-certification process. Read the state’s complete news release here: https://dced.pa.gov/newsroom/wolf-administration-releases-faqs-for-restaurant-self-certification-process/.

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 2,389 licensed liquor establishments from Friday to this past Tuesday (September 4-8), issuing 22 notices of violation and 36 warnings for failure to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 214 licensee checks during the period and issued one warning related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. More details here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PA-State-Police-Details.aspx?newsid=580.

Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture today released COVID-19 restaurant enforcement actions taken between August 31 and September 6. Bureau of Food Safety personnel performed 607 inspections, 30 of which were complaint-driven, with another 15 being COVID-19 specific complaints. The Bureau distributed 69 COVID-19 complaint-driven educational letters, issued three formal warning letters, and filed four citations. In addition, 19 COVID-19 related complaints were referred to local and county health jurisdictions. In that time period, the Bureau of Food Safety conducted five routine restaurant inspections in Clinton County. No warnings or citations were issued. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Agriculture_details.aspx?newsid=962.

- The PA Department of Environmental Protection today said that while DEP employees continue to telework and use COVID-19 mitigation measures, their organization last week issued 576 more permits and conducted 1,491 more inspections. Since mid-March, DEP has conducted 36,432 inspections; processed 15,556 permit applications and authorizations; processed 94 percent of Permit Decision Guarantee applications and authorizations; and responded to 169 environmental emergencies.

- The Department of Human Services today reminded Pennsylvanians of options available for working families of school-age children who need flexibilities to balance the demands of work, home and school life during the pandemic. Details here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Education-Details.aspx?newsid=935.

- The Department of Human Services also announced the distribution of $31.5 million to Pennsylvania direct care workers who have continued to work through the COVID-19 crisis, making it possible for individuals with disabilities and older Pennsylvanians to live safely in their homes and near their families. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/DHS_details.aspx?newsid=595.

- The U.S. Department of Agriculture and federal partners have programs that can be used to provide immediate and long-term assistance to rural communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. These programs can support recovery efforts for businesses, and rural residents and communities through technical, training and management assistance; financial assistance; and state and local assistance. Access the Resource Guide here: https://www.rd.usda.gov/sites/default/files/USDA_COVID-19_Fed_Rural_Resource_Guide.pdf.

Non-COVID Items of Interest….

- The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission today announced the award of $2.6 million in Keystone Historic Preservation grants to help historical and heritage organizations, museums and local governments in 24 counties. The Commission awarded 52 grants, including a $10,000 grant to Downtown Lock Haven, Inc., to be used for a feasibility study and market analysis for repurposing the historic Masonic Temple in Lock Haven as a cultural business and performing arts center. More information here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PHMC-Details.aspx?newsid=374.

- The Internal Revenue Service today reminded the self-employed, investors, retirees and others with income not subject to withholding that third quarter estimated tax payments for 2020 are due Tuesday, September 15. See more: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/third-quarter-estimated-tax-payments-due-sept-15.

- The State Board of Education today advanced new proposed science standards that align with current research and best practices and will serve to modernize science education. The proposed standards will soon be opened for a public comment period. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Education-Details.aspx?newsid=936.

Governor Wolf applauded the State Board of Education action, saying modernizing standards for how science is taught in schools is vital to the future success of students and important to strengthening Pennsylvania’s economy and creating jobs. Read more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-applauds-state-board-of-education-for-advancing-modern-science-standards/.

- The state has announced that The School Safety and Security Committee within the PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency is seeking grant applications for projects designed to reduce or prevent community violence. A total of $7.5 million will be made available for eligible applicants, which include municipalities, counties, institutions of higher education and community organizations. Details here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/wolf-administration-announces-7-5-million-funding-opportunity-to-address-community-violence/.

- The PA Department of Military and Veteran Affairs is encouraging people to light a candle at 8:00 p.m. tomorrow, September 10, in observance of World Suicide Prevention Day. The annual observance is organized by the International Association of Suicide Prevention. Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Military-and-Veteran-Affairs-Details.aspx?newsid=459.

Upcoming Webinars….

  • On Sept. 10 at 10:30 a.m., the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement will review What you need to know when the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement (BLCE) comes to your business. Submit your questions in advance of the webinar here. Register for the webinar here.
  • The SCORE Central PA Chapter hosts an online seminar, Beginners Guide to Corporate and Foundation Fundraising, on Thursday, September 10, from 3:00-5:00 p.m. Register Now!
  • The PA Restaurant & Lodging Association hosts a webinar on Building Consumer confidence as the Industry Reopens, September 17, at 10:39 a.m. REGISTER
  • The SCORE Central PA Chapter hosts a no-cost, online seminar, Money from Home – Considerations for Home-Based Businesses (Building an Online Business), Thursday, September 17, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. This seminar is designed to point out the considerations that must be made in starting and operating a home based business selling goods and services online. Register Now!
  • Penn State Extension hosts, Plan for Now, Prepare for the Future: Banking 101, webinar Tuesday, September 22, at 9am. The session will include a panel of bankers from various banks that will explain the basics of applying for a loan, common mistakes, and the important financial documents you need to assemble prior t meeting with your banker. RSVP early as space is limited. Visit the Event Website for More Details.
  • Interested Partnership members are encouraged to participate in a September 23, 10am webinar on WEDnetPA Training Funds and how receiving funds through the WEDnet program can bolster your workforce development needs. WEDnet funds – up to $2,000 per employee; $100,000 per company – are available for employee skill building training, and training topics can range from customer service, to software engineering, to first aid and CPR. Learn more about the upcoming seminar HERE.
  • The Small Business Development Center offers a number of COVID-19 related webinars. Search All Offerings

Posted 9/8/20

- PA Governor Tom Wolf today announced that restaurants may increase indoor occupancy from the current 25 percent to 50 percent starting September 21….as long as they “commit to strictly complying to all public health and safety guidelines and orders.” To assure this, the Governor says restaurants will be required to “self-certify” they are complying with all state requirements. Restaurants wanting to increase to 50 percent capacity must complete an online self-certification process by October 5. Restaurant owners with questions about the self-certification program can contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The governor’s announcement also said that, starting September 21, restaurants that have alcohol sales must stop selling alcohol at 10:00 p.m. See more here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/governor-wolf-announces-restaurants-may-increase-indoor-occupancy-to-50-percent-starting-september-21/.

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry has announced that Pennsylvania will complete implementation of the federal Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program ahead of schedule and begin making payments to eligible individuals by this Thursday, September 10. Those who apply and qualify will begin receiving payments as early as Monday, September 14. LWA payments will be made for the five claim weeks in August. Learn more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Labor-and-Industry-Details.aspx?newsid=478.

- The IRS has announced that, later this month, they will start mailing letters to roughly nine million Americans who typically don’t file federal income tax returns who may be eligible for, but have not registered to claim, an Economic Impact Payment. The letters will urge recipients to register at IRS.gov by October 15 in order to receive their payment by the end of the year. Read more: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-to-mail-special-letter-to-estimated-9-million-non-filers-urging-them-to-claim-economic-impact-payment-by-oct-15-at-irsgov.

- The City of Lock Haven today announced steps city government will take, starting tomorrow, September 9, to reverse a growing incidence of COVID-19 positive cases within the 17745 zip code. A news release from City Manager Greg Wilson reports that, excluding COVID-19 positive tests from Lock Haven University, the 14-day incidence rate within the 17745 zip code has climbed from 16 positive cases per 100,000 people two weeks ago, to 117 per 100,000, putting the City into a ‘high risk’ incidence rate as defined by the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In an effort to mitigate the spread of infection, Wilson says the City is limiting in-person services and meetings, and closing certain facilities to the public. Click Here for City of Lock Haven news release.

- As of today, Lock Haven University’s COVID-19 Dashboard (https://lockhaven.edu/Covid19Dashboard/index.html) indicates 1,033 people have been tested for COVID-19 since August 19, with 58 positive results and 975 negative tests, giving the University a positivity rate of 5.6 percent. The University last Wednesday suspended all in-person instruction for two weeks in anticipation that the positivity percentage would exceed their 5 percent target. President Robert Pignatello said that before face-to-face classes can resume on September 21, there will be reentry COVID-19 testing available to both employees and to all students living on or off campus and/or taking face-to-face classes. The voluntary testing is to be done next Wednesday and Thursday, September 16 and 17, with the results processed before September 21.

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the state has exceeded 140,000. The 496 additional positive cases reported today brings the statewide total to 140,359. The number of tests administered within the last seven days (September 1 – 7) was 147,207, with 5,838 positive cases. There are 7,791 deaths attributed to COVID-19. According to Department of Health data, Clinton County has 143 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 17 probable cases. As of today, 3,681 tests have been negative. County-specific information and a statewide map are available on the state’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard.    

- As rent and mortgage debt continues to mount for many Pennsylvanians due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Wolf is calling on the General Assembly to take action to help homeowners and renters avoid eviction. More here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-calls-for-legislative-action-to-help-homeowners-and-renters-avoid-an-eviction-cliff/.

- It may take years for the U.S. economy to fully recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. (Source: NPR)

Non-COVID Items of Interest….

- The PA Chamber reports that the state House Finance Committee advanced a bill (House Bill 2420) that would provide a welcomed tax reform for Pennsylvania employers by eliminating the expiration period on Net Operating Losses. Pennsylvania is currently one of the only states that caps NOLs, which limits the number of years a loss can carryforward. This harms our state’s competitiveness, particularly as the Commonwealth has the second highest corporate net income tax rate in the nation. In a memo to committee members, the PA Chamber urged support of this legislation to help job creators mitigate times of financial distress and increase cash flow. The bill now awaits further consideration by the full House.

- The PA Chamber today – in response to Governor Wolf and Lt. Gov. Fetterman’s call last week to legalize recreational marijuanaissued a statement urging lawmakers to proceed with caution on the issue and carefully consider the impact it would have on the employer community. -> Read More

- PennDOT today announced that applications are being accepted through November 6 to fund new transportation improvement projects under the Department’s Multimodal Transportation Fund. Eligible applicants include business/nonprofit organizations, municipalities, council of governments, economic development organizations, public transportation agencies and airports, airport authorities, and ports and rail entities. Read more: https://www.penndot.gov/pages/all-news-details.aspx?newsid=763.

- The PA Department of Military and Veterans Affairs is seeking veterans to apply for two member-at-large positions on the State Veterans Commission. The Commission advises the Department on matters pertaining to the state’s nearly 800,000 veterans. At-large-members serve a four-year term. Applications must be submitted by October 23. Learn more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Military-and-Veteran-Affairs-Details.aspx?newsid=458.

- The PA Game Commission is reminding hunters who harvest deer, elk, mule deer or moose out-of-state that there are Chronic Wasting Disease rules they must follow in order to bring that animal into PA. There are now 25 states and four Canadian provinces from which high-risk cervid parts cannot be imported into Pennsylvania. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Game-Commission-Details.aspx?newsid=416.

Upcoming Webinars:

  • The Penn State Small Business Development Center (SBDC) hosts Quick Connect Coaching Sessions Tuesdays at Noon. Looking for a quick answer to a question related to disaster recovery, reopening, stabilizing, or projecting for growth? Then attend a "Quick Connect" session to get your questions answered. Each week a consultant addresses answers related to a specific topic. Learn More
  • The Penn State SBDC also hosts Quickbooks Online (3-Part Series), September 11, 18, and 25. In a series of three workshops, the SBDC breaks down the benefits of QuickBooks Online. The Intro course is currently full but another offering will be available in October. If you already use the tool and want to learn more functionality, register for the level 1 and level 2 courses. Learn More

Posted 9/4/20

- Clinton County Economic Partnership President Mike Flanagan today provided an update on the local employment picture:

Clinton County’s continued unemployment claims decreased by over 100 within the last week while initial claims held fairly steady, according to information released Friday by the state Department of Labor & Industry. As of the week ending August 29,  the county had 1,161 continued cases, down from the prior week’s listing of 1,301. The latest unemployment claims showed that 51% were female, 18% were in the food and accommodation field, and 24% were in the age bracket of 25 to 34. The August 29 figures are the lowest since the pandemic hit in March.

The initial claims filed last week were 54, up two from the 52 registered the week before. Of the 54, 57% were male, 20% were in construction, and 30% were ages 35 to 44.

Clinton County’s overall July unemployment rate was listed at 12%, up slightly from 11% in June. The August county by county monthly rates should be released by the state in late September.

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 1,149 licensed liquor establishments Wednesday and Thursday of this week (Sept. 2 & 3), issuing five notices of violation and 28 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 88 licensee checks Wednesday and Thursday, issuing two warnings related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. More details here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PA-State-Police-Details.aspx?newsid=579.

Meanwhile, the PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 891 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 137,662. County-specific information – including information on Clinton County – is available on the COVID-19 Data Dashboard.

- The PA Restaurant & Lodging Association is working with state legislators to advance several pieces of legislation in support of the restaurant industry, which continues to be the focus of strict COVID-19 mitigation guidelines. The following bills that support PRLA's priorities were filed in the PA Senate this week:

    • SB 1299 – Removing the Food Requirement and Ban on Bar Service
    • SB 1300 – Expanding Outdoor Dining to Non-Contiguous Areas
    • SB 1301 – License Renewal Fee Waiver
    • SB 1302 – Removing the 25% Occupancy Requirement

In addition, PRLA today reported that the state Senate Law & Justice Committee is scheduled to meet this Tuesday, September 8 at 11:00 a.m. to move House Bill 2513 (sponsored by Rep. Garth Everett—R, Lycoming). According to PRLA, the bill will be amended with language that allows restaurants, hotels, clubs, distilleries, wineries and breweries to open at a minimum of 50 percent occupancy with social distancing/barriers in place as  permitted by the CDC and Department of Health. Identical language is also included to have the same provisions apply to “event venues”.

Of note, State Senator Joe Scarnati, who represents Clinton County as part of the 25th Senate District, is a member of the Law & Justice Committee. If you want to contact him to request his support for this legislation, he can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (717)787-7084. In a virtual roundtable this week, both Senator Scarnati’s office and 76th District State Representative Stephanie Borowicz expressed support for PRLA’s legislative priorities for restaurants.

- The City of Lock Haven is reaching out to the Lock Haven business community, requesting their input regarding the Downtown Pedestrian Mall and its effect on business. Director of Community Life Kasey Campbell is asking businesses within the city to complete a survey, and they can also participate in one of three in-person meetings scheduled for Tuesday, September 8 at 10:30 a.m.; Wednesday, September 9, at 3:00 p.m.; or Thursday, September 10 at 6:00 p.m. at the Downtown Lock Haven, Inc. office at 205 East Main Street. Lock Haven businesses can click on the following link and complete the survey by next Saturday, September 12: https://forms.gle/GAcp1qH6WnDwdTvE8. The City established the Pedestrian Mall earlier this summer, closing sections of Main and Grove Streets to vehicle traffic to allow restaurants and retailers to expand their business out onto the sidewalk and into the street, as indoor activities have seen more strict limitations due to COVID-19.

- President Donald Trump's payroll tax deferral began this week. Trump's executive order offers the possibility for workers to temporarily collect more money in their paychecks. But the money must be paid back later, and it's the employer's choice whether to opt in. READ MORE

Non-COVID related, but of local interest….

- The PA Department of Environmental Protection this week announced $25 million in funding for abandoned mine land reclamation and economic development projects, including one project in Clinton County. The Fivemile Hollow Project will reclaim 10,850 feet of dangerous highwall in Leidy Township. In all, 74 acres of Sproul State Forest property will be reclaimed.

This area of Clinton County has been an ongoing focus for mine reclamation work, which has resulted in some success in cleaning up polluted tributaries flowing into the Susquehanna River. As has been the case in the past, the most recently announced project, unfortunately, will likely require the closure of the Whiskey Springs ATV Trail system during the work. There is not yet a start date established for the project. See more: https://www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/NewsRoomPublic/articleviewer.aspx?id=21859&typeid=1.

Posted 8/3/20

- An attempt to override PA Governor Tom Wolf's veto of House Resolution 836, which would have ended the governor's disaster declaration, failed by a vote of 118 to 84 yesterday in the state House of Representatives, meaning the Governor’s veto stands. The vote was the latest attempt by House republicans to curtail the Governor’s emergency powers and end the state’s coronavirus disaster declaration (the Governor this week renewed the disaster declaration for the second time). Nine Democrats voted with all Republicans in favor of overriding the veto, but the vote failed to meet the two-thirds of members requirement, or 136 votes. Republicans argued that the state’s case count and hospitalization rate have fallen to a level that should allow businesses, including bars and restaurants to open at full capacity; however, the Wolf administration has repeatedly said ending the declaration would not lift those restrictions. Democrats also argued the threat of the coronavirus is still imminent, and new cases and outbreaks are being reported daily.

The Health Department today confirmed 1,160 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 136,711. It’s the first in a while that cases have exceeded 1,000. According to today’s information, Allegheny county reported an increase of 105 cases; Philadelphia an increase of 257 cases; and York an increase of 128 cases. According to the state’s data, Clinton County as of today has 127 confirmed and 16 probable cases of the virus; 3,558 negative test results; and five deaths. County-specific information and a statewide map are available on the COVID-19 Data Dashboard.

- Governor Wolf and Lt. Governor John Fetterman today called on the legislature to take up legalization of adult-use cannabis to help with the state’s COVID-19 recovery. See more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-and-lt-gov-fetterman-renew-call-for-legislature-to-take-up-legalization-of-adult-use-cannabis-to-help-with-covid-recovery-restorative-justice/.

- The U.S. Small Business Administration is restricting Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness for rent paid to a “related party,” according to guidance issued on August 24. In summary: an eligible small business that accepted a PPP loan, and has a business owner that also maintains ownership in the property of the small business, will not be allowed forgiveness for the total rent paid to the owner-landlord. In these cases, the SBA plans to restrict loan forgiveness for rent limited to the amount of “mortgage interest owed” on the property during the Covered Period – not the full monthly rent payment as designed by Congress or reflected in the many SBA/Treasury rules issued since April 2020.

- The Internal Revenue Service today announced that interest rates will remain the same for the calendar quarter beginning Oct. 1, 2020. Read more: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/interest-rates-remain-the-same-for-the-fourth-quarter-of-2020.

- The PA Department of Health today released updated skilled nursing facility guidance that includes recommendations on COVID-19 screening, testing and visitation guidance in skilled nursing facilities. Details here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1002.

- The Wolf administration has also updated return to sports guidance, providing more leeway in attendance at K-12 sporting events amidst the pandemic. The changes allow parents and family members to attend games and events, though individual school districts will have to decide how to make that work while staying within the state’s occupancy and group gathering limits. For more on the updated guidance, go to: https://www.governor.pa.gov/covid-19/sports-guidance/.

- The Wolf administration’s Food Security Partnership this week joined the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and Feeding Pennsylvania to recognize Hunger Action Month and encourage continued support for Pennsylvania’s charitable food network, which has seen an unprecedented rise in need amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying economic downturn. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/DHS_details.aspx?newsid=594.

- The PA Liquor Control Board today reported record net income despite a sales decline in fiscal year 2019-20 that was attributed to the pandemic. Until the COVID-19 public health crisis, the PLCB had achieved year-over-year sales growth each year for the past 26 years. Details here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Liquor-Control-Board-Details.aspx?newsid=596.

The PLCB has also updated two advisory notices:

    • Advisory Notice #25: eliminates the prohibition of the use of the word “wine” for products sold in distributors. It does not change the prohibition on distributors selling actual wine.
    • Advisory Notice #27: allows license renewals that occur prior to December 1 to continue to operate without renewing the license.

- With record-setting use of outdoor spaces during the pandemic, the PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources today offered tips for recreating responsibly over the Labor Day holiday weekend. Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/DCNR_details.aspx?newsid=685.

- Along with the record numbers of outdoor recreators, the state is seeing an increase of litter, and the Department of Environmental Protection and PennDOT are seeking volunteers for a ‘Pick Up Pennsylvania’ litter campaign that is underway now through November 30. Additional information is available at the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful website.

Articles of Interest….

- Expect to start seeing a push for people to get a flu shot this fall. Doctors are saying a flu shot won’t prevent COVID-19, but could prevent people from getting the flu and COVID simultaneously. More information in this article from PennLive: READ MORE ›

- There are four primary ways to reduce workforce costs. Use this guide to decide between them. (Source: Inc. magazine)


- Private payrolls rose by almost 500,000 in August, but almost none of it came from small businesses, according to a new report. (Source: CNBC)

Non-COVID News of Interest….

- PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro is seeking an immediate halt to what the state alleges are illegal service changes at the U.S. Postal Service. Shapiro today filed a preliminary injunction on behalf of seven states seeking an immediate halt to changes they claim prevent Postal workers from effectively delivering the mail. Learn more: https://www.attorneygeneral.gov/taking-action/press-releases/ag-shapiro-seeks-immediate-halt-to-illegal-service-changes-at-postal-service/.

- The departments of Agriculture and Health today announced a new partnership to make PA’s six medical marijuana testing labs available to the agriculture industry for testing hemp crops for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels. Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Agriculture_details.aspx?newsid=961.

- The PA Game Commission is commending new PA Department of Agriculture regulations dealing with Chronic Wasting Disease in captive deer. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Game-Commission-Details.aspx?newsid=415.

- The Wolf Administration today encouraged all Pennsylvanians to participate in statewide September celebrations of individuals in recovery and offer hope to those battling substance use disorder. National Recovery Month is a national observance held every September, with this year’s theme ‘Join the Voices of Recovery; Celebrating Connections.’ Learn more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/DDAP_details.aspx?newsid=153.

Posted 9/2/20

- Are you having issues finding qualified employees? There are two separate opportunities this month to have input on workforce development efforts in our region:

  • Businesses are invited to participate in a September 14, 9:00 a.m. #Prepared4PA virtual Zoom assembly to kick-off a statewide workforce development initiative hosted by Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. The session is an opportunity to have input on workforce development efforts and discuss skills that are in highest demand by industry. Registration for the September 14 kick-off is due by tomorrow, September 3. Click Here for the Prepared-for-PA flyer, click here to Learn more about the assemblies, and register online at: https://www.prepared4pa.org/assembly-registration.
  • A Rural Community Action Assembly on September 24, at 9:30 a.m. will explore the job training needs in the state’s rural communities. This virtual meeting is the first in a series of Rural Community Action Assemblies. This series will focus on actionable research and programmatic models to promote a strong and equitable recovery for rural communities. This series is cohosted by the Philadelphia Fed’s Community Development and Regional Outreach Department, Penn State’s Center for Economic and Community Development, and the Center for Rural Pennsylvania. Register here

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 1,243 licensed liquor establishments Monday and Tuesday of this week (Aug. 31-Sept. 1), issuing five notices of violation and 12 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers licensed liquor establishments in Clinton County, conducted 126 compliance checks Monday and Tuesday, issuing 1 warning related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PA-State-Police-Details.aspx?newsid=578.

Meanwhile, PA Department of Environmental Protection employees are teleworking and using COVID-19 mitigation measures as they continue to work through the pandemic. DEP today said that from March 16 to September 1, employees have conducted 34,941 inspections; processed 14,980 permit applications and authorizations; processed 94 percent of Permit Decision Guarantee applications and authorizations; and responded to 160 environmental emergencies.

- The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) this week released an analysis on the economic and human struggle of the hotel industry six months into the COVID-19 pandemic. DOWNLOAD REPORT. Key findings include:

    • 4 out of 10 hotel employees are still not working. 
    • Almost two-thirds (65%) of hotels remain at or below 50 percent occupancy, which is below the threshold at which most hotels can break-even and pay debt. 
    • Consumer travel remains at all-time low, with only 33 percent of Americans reporting they have traveled overnight for leisure or vacation since March and just 38 percent saying they are likely to travel by the end of the year. 
    • Urban hotels are suffering the most and facing collapse with cripplingly low occupancies of 38 percent, significantly below the national average. 
    • COVID-19 has left hotels in major cities across the country struggling to stay in business, resulting in massive job loss and dramatically reducing state and local tax revenue for 2020 and beyond. 

- The Clinton County Housing Coalition, Inc. today passed along a report from Pennsylvania 211, United Way supported call center to connect those in need to localized social services. The report indicates a large number of calls are COVID-19 related. Click Here for the PA 211 Report.

- The Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations (PANO) is encouraging all Pennsylvania non-profit organizations to respond to the Statewide COVID-19 Nonprofit Impact Survey. The Survey seeks to compile high-level data about COVID-19’s statewide impact on Pennsylvania nonprofits, with a particular emphasis on estimated revenue loss.  The data will be used to determine needs for support caused by the impacts of the pandemic and to inform advocacy for public support. The effort is a collaboration of The Pittsburgh Foundation, the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations (PANO), The Forbes Funds, the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, professional organizations, human services providers and community foundations state-wide. TAKE THE SURVEY NOW!

CCEP Updates:

  • The Partnership’s annual membership meeting is scheduled for two weeks from today, on Wednesday, September 16. However, in light of COVID restrictions for indoor gatherings, the 7:00 p.m. meeting will be held outdoors, under the Main Stage Pavilion at the Clinton County Fairgrounds, 98 Racetrack Road, Mill Hall (Mackeyville). All Partnership members are invited to participate. The meeting features updates from Partnership staff and the election of five members to the Partnership Operating Board. The Operating Board terms are for three years. If you are interested in running for one of the seats, please contact Partnership President Mike Flanagan (570-748-5782 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) prior to 3:00 p.m. on September 11.
  • The Partnership’s September, October and November ‘Time Out’ networking events have been canceled due to limitations associated with the pandemic. The Sons and Daughters of Italy Loggia Giosue Carducci Lodge 146 had planned a September 17 ‘Time Out’ at their outdoor Italian patio; Schlesinger Communication, Inc.’s planned to celebrate their 10th anniversary during an October 8 ‘Time Out’ at WSQV/WBPZ radio station; and Lock Haven specialty shop It Is What It Is and Sanders Window Fashions were planning a joint ‘Time Out’ on November 19. The Partnership is working with members who were scheduled to host a ‘Time Out’ this year but had to cancel due to COVID; we hope to be able to re-schedule them.

Upcoming Webiner:

- Interested Partnership members are encouraged to participate in a September 23, 10:00 a.m. webinar on WEDnetPA Training Funds and how receiving funds through the WEDnet program can support your workforce development needs. WEDnet funds – up to $2,00 per employee; $100,000 per company – are available for employee skill building training, and training topics can range from customer service, to software engineering, to first aid and CPR. Click Here for WEDnet Funds flyer.

Posted 9/1/20

- Clinton County’s unemployment rate for July increased slightly, according to information released today by the state Department of Labor & Industry. This is the fourth month in a row that the county has been in double digits for the unemployment rate, something that has not occurred since 1994. The July rate was 12.0%, up from the June reading of 11.0%. July’s numbers showed a labor force of 17,800, with 15,700 residents employed, and 2,100 unemployed. June showed an estimated 1,900 people unemployed.

Montour had the lowest July unemployment reading of the state’s 67 counties with a rate of 8.4%. Centre County was second with 8.8%. Clinton County’s number put it at 19th in the state. Lycoming’s 13.3% checked in at no. 30, and Fulton was no. 67 with 19.2% unemployment. The four months in a row for double digits for Clinton has not happened since a six month run of double digits from June to November 1994.

“Although the overall numbers have improved since the pandemic began, we still show 2,100 people unemployed,” said Clinton County Economic Partnership President Mike Flanagan. “In February, we had about 900 people unemployed, so about 1,200 have not yet gone back to work or lost a job since March. The positive sign is that the ‘continuing’ and ‘new’ unemployment claims were going down slightly during the month of August. But there’s no reason to sugar coat it, we all know the virus and subsequent actions have hit us hard in many sectors, including the small business, restaurant and  hotel sectors.”

- Lock Haven University has announced that, effective tomorrow, September 2, the university will transition to 100 percent remote instruction for approximately a two-week period due to an elevated number of positive COVID-19 cases. With the two-week suspension of face-to-face classes, LHU’s intention is to stop any further spread, allow those infected to isolate and recover, and set up for a safe return and continuation to the semester’s activities, said University President Dr. Robert Pignatello. With very few exceptions, campus facilities will be closed and only essential employees will be permitted on campus for the two-week period. Before face-to-face classes resume on September 21, the university plans to make available reentry COVID-19 testing for all students and employees. Click Here to view details.

- PA Governor Tom Wolf yesterday signed a second renewal of his 90-day disaster declaration for the COVID-19 pandemic. He originally signed it March 6. See more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-signs-second-renewal-of-covid-19-disaster-declaration-for-state-response-and-recovery/.

- Pennsylvania collected $2.5 billion in General Fund revenue in August, which was $209 million, or 8.9 percent more than anticipated. Fiscal year-to-date General Fund collections total $6.7 billion, which is $210.3 million, or 3.3 percent above estimate. The Department of Revenue says about $187 million of the August collections can be attributed to extending the due date for corporations that had annual corporate net income tax payments due in April, May, June or July. Additional information here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Revenue-Details.aspx?newsid=323.

- The SEDA-Council of Governments has been awarded $6.3 million in federal CARES Act funds and is offering small business relief through a new Revolving Loan Fund to alleviate sudden and severe economic issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The loan fund is for small businesses in SEDA-COG’s region, which includes Clinton and 10 other counties. Businesses can apply for loans of at least $10,000, and no payments are due in the first six months. Interested business owners should visit https://seda-cog.org/covid-19/ for application materials and send completed applications to SEDA-COG at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Read more HERE.

- In response to statewide COVID-19 mitigation efforts, PennDOT has announced that expiration dates for commercial driver licenses and commercial learner’s permits will be extended through September 30. Extended deadlines for non-commercial drivers license, photo ID cards, learner’s permits and camera cards expired yesterday, August 31. See more: https://www.penndot.gov/pages/all-news-details.aspx?newsid=760.

Meanwhile, all PennDOT driver license and photo centers will be closed this Saturday, September 5, through Monday, September 7, in observance of Labor Day. Customers can still get a variety of driver and vehicle products and services online through PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services website, www.dmv.pa.gov.

- The Wolf Administration today announced the completion of baseline universal testing for long-term care facilities. All 1,363 state-licensed personal care homes, assisted living residences, and private intermediate care facilities completed the testing by the August 31 deadline. In the state’s northcentral region, Geisinger Clinic assisted with the baseline testing. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/DHS_details.aspx?newsid=593.

Long-term care facilities have seen the majority of the state’s COVID-19 cases, and the most deaths from the virus, according to the Department of Health. The Department today reported 770 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 134,795. There have been 7,691 deaths attributed to the virus. County-specific information is available on the state’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard.

- Governor Wolf was joined by several other state officials today in urging the legislature to quickly pass legislation to protect homeowners and renters from eviction. Details here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/governor-wolf-urges-legislature-to-protect-homeowners-and-renters-from-eviction/.

- The PA Department of Agriculture today released data on COVID-19 restaurant enforcement actions from last week (August 24-30). During that period, the Bureau of Food Safety performed 624 inspections, 39 of which were complaint-driven and 13 of which were COVID-19 specific complaints. The Bureau distributed 74 educational letters, five formal warning letters were issued, and two citations were filed. In addition, seven COVID-19 related complaints were referred to local and county health jurisdictions. According to the state’s data, one COVID-19 complaint-driven inspection was conducted last week in Clinton County. No warning or citation was issued. See more here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Agriculture_details.aspx?newsid=960.

- Education and outreach staff from the PA Department of Banking and Securities will be involved in a number of virtual programs and presentations during September. More information here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/banking_details.aspx?newsid=317.

- In honor of National Poll Worker Recruitment Day the state is encouraging all eligible Pennsylvanians to sign up to serve as poll workers. Pennsylvania and the nation are facing a shortage of poll workers due to factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/State-details.aspx?newsid=396.

Clinton County Voter Registrar Maria Boileau confirms there is a need for more poll workers locally, especially in Porter and Lamar Townships and in the City of Lock Haven. Poll workers receive pay to be trained and to work on election day. To become a poll worker, call the Clinton Voter Registration office at 570-893-4019 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

- Geisinger and several community health partners are undertaking a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) to gain a better understanding of health needs across the communities they serve, including Clinton County. Geisinger is asking for participation in the CHNA process via a survey that seeks input on a wide variety of health issues. Click here now through October 14 to take the survey.

Posted 8/28/20

- Clinton County Economic Partnership President Mike Flanagan today provided the following update on the county’s employment picture:

   Clinton County’s initial and continued unemployment claims were virtually unchanged within the last week, according to information released Friday by the state Department of Labor & Industry. For the week ending August 22, there were 1,301 continued claims, down slightly from 1,312 that were listed for the week ending August 15. Of the 1,301, 54% were female, 22% were in the food and accommodations field, and 21% were ages 25 to 34. The August 22 reading of 1,301 continued claims  is the lowest in the county since late March.

   The initial claims increased slightly, going from 50 to 52 in the week ending August 22. The 52 new claims included 65% who were female, 27% in the construction field, and 31% in the age group 35 to 44.

   The state is expected to issue July monthly unemployment rates for all 67 counties on September 1. Clinton County’s June rate was 10.9%.

- Small businesses have until 11:59 p.m. tonight (8.28.20), to apply for funding during the second and final round of the COVID-19 Small Business Assistance Grant program, designed to help businesses impacted by the pandemic. The PA Department of Community & Economic Development is overseeing this grant program, and all applications must be made online through a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). Two CDFIs – The Progress Fund (www.progressfund.org) or The Reinvestment Fund (www.reinvestment.com) are accepting applications from Clinton County businesses. The PA Wilds region – of which Clinton County is a part – was identified as a priority investment area for this program, which provides grants ranging from $5,00 to $50,000. During the first round of funding, six businesses in Clinton County received a grant through this program.

- Businesses in Lycoming County can apply for a COVID-19 County Relief Block Grant from Lycoming County government, starting Monday, August 31. Click Here for the ‘Lycoming county Block Grant’ file for more information.

Centre County government is also accepting applications from Centre County-based small businesses for the county’s CARES  Relief Block Grant.  More information here: https://centrecounty.iad1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_7P8zTYo6DbP7gTb.

The application period for Clinton County government’s CARES Grant program ended yesterday (8.27.20). Following a review of the applicants, word on grand awards is expected sometime in mid-September.

- PA Governor Tom Wolf today announced plans to distribute more than $117 million in CARES Act funding to child care providers across Pennsylvania, the third of three distributions. Read more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-pa-to-distribute-117-million-in-cares-funding-for-child-care-providers/.

- The Internal Revenue Service today announced it will temporarily allow the use of digital signatures on certain forms that cannot be filed electronically. The change is designed to help reduce in-person contact and lessen the risk to taxpayers and tax professionals during the pandemic, allowing both groups to work remotely to timely file forms. Details here: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-approves-temporary-use-of-e-signatures-for-certain-forms.

- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today authorized the first COVID-19 antigen test where results can be read directly from the testing card, similar in design to some pregnancy tests. Learn more: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/covid-19-update-fda-authorizes-first-diagnostic-test-where-results-can-be-read-directly-testing-card.

Meanwhile, the PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 835 positive cases of the virus, bringing the statewide total to 131,991. There are 7,655 deaths now attributed to COVID-19. County-specific information and a statewide map are available on the state’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard.

- Covid testing in the workplace? Here’s what experts are recommending, according to the following article from Inc. magazine: https://www.inc.com/brit-morse/covid-testing-workplace-cdc-guidelines-employees.html?utm_source=incthismorning.

- A recent National Restaurant Association survey of consumers found that the majority of U.S. adults say they know of a restaurant in their community that has permanently closed during the coronavirus outbreak. 

- A reminder for our Partnership member restaurants: the PA Restaurant & Lodging Association (PRLA) will host a regional roundtable (virtually) with PA legislators this coming Monday, August 31, at 2:00 p.m. via Zoom. The purpose of these meetings is two-fold…to garner legislative support for a series of bills that support the restaurant industry (VIEW SUMMARY), and to offer an opportunity for restaurant/venue owners to let legislators know, first-hand, how the pandemic has devastated their business. You do not have to be a PRLA member to participate, but you must pre-register at: Keystone.

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 1,004 licensed liquor establishments Wednesday and Thursday, August 26 and 27, issuing two notices of violation and 18 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County licensed liquor establishments, conducted 83 licensee checks over the past two days, issuing one warning. There were no notice of violation issued. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PA-State-Police-Details.aspx?newsid=576.

Non-COVID News of Interest….

  • Pennsylvania offers many resources for minority-owned businesses to help them, along with all Pennsylvania businesses, build a bright future for themselves, their families, and their communities. In recognition of National Black Business Month, the PA Department of Community & Economic Development compiled a list of the go-to resources available to minority business owners across the commonwealth. See more: https://dced.pa.gov/paproudblog/8-resources-minority-owned-businesses-pa/.
  • The PA Department of Health today announced partnerships with Saint Joseph’s University and the University of Pittsburgh’s Program Evaluation and Research Unit to provide education and training to first responders across the state. Training will be provided on the topics of substance use disorder, the use of naloxone, and stigma and implicit bias to help groups continue to respond to the opioid epidemic. More information here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=991.

Posted 8/27/20

- Those working on an application for the Clinton County CARES Relief Block Grant program have until 5:00 p.m today (8-27-20) to complete and submit the online application at https://www.clintoncountypa.com/departments/funding-opportunities. These grants are being made through Clinton County government from federal CARES Act funding and they are designed to support small businesses, nonprofits and municipalities in Clinton County who have sustained losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following a review of the applications, the county expects to make announcements on grant awards by mid-September.

- Small businesses have until 11:59 p.m. tomorrow, August 28, to apply for funding during the second and final round of the COVID-19 Small Business Assistance Grant program, designed to help businesses impacted by the pandemic. The PA Department of Community & Economic Development is overseeing this grant program, and all applications must be made online through a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). Two CDFIs – The Progress Fund (www.progressfund.org) or The Reinvestment Fund (www.reinvestment.com) are accepting applications from Clinton County businesses. The PA Wilds region – of which Clinton County is a part – was identified as a priority investment area for this program, which provides grants ranging from $5,00 to $50,000. During the first round of funding, six businesses in Clinton County received a grant through this program.

- PA Governor Tom Wolf today announced $10 million in grant funding through the COVID-19 Vaccines, Treatments and Therapies (CV-VTT) program to support the rapid advancement of vaccines, treatments and therapies by qualified biotechnology entities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/wolf-administration-awards-10-million-to-23-entities-to-develop-effective-covid-19-vaccines-treatments-and-therapies/.

- Governor Wolf today urged the state legislature to quickly pass his plan for safe and secure elections to ensure voters receive mail-in ballots early, have time to return them, and that counties will have the time they need to quickly count the anticipated historic number of votes cast. The governor also reminded voters that the best way to make sure their vote is counted is to sign up now for a mail-in ballot and return it well before the November 3 general election.

The primary in June was the first time voters could use mail-in ballots, and nearly 1.5 million Pennsylvanians cast a mail-in or absentee ballot – more than half of all votes cast. Despite a record increase in mail-in ballots, and pandemic-related challenges, the primary was administered with few disruptions. More details here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-urges-legislature-to-pass-proposals-for-safe-and-secure-elections/

In Clinton County, 3,500 voters requested mail-in and absentee ballots for this past June’s election, and of the 7,598 people who voted, 2,900 did so by mail-in and absentee ballot. There currently are 21,174 eligible voters in Clinton County. For those who requested a mail-in ballot and opted to have “permanent” status, a mail-in ballot will automatically be mailed to them for the November election. The Clinton County Voter Registration office plans to mail out those ballots the week of September 14. People should allow 7 to 10 days for delivery, but if you haven’t received your mail-in ballot by October 1, it’s suggested you contact the Voter Registration office at 570-893-4019.

In order to vote in the November 3 election, the last day to register to vote or change your registration is October 19. The last day to apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot is October 26.

- Lock Haven University is into the first week of the fall semester, and, in a letter yesterday to the campus community, LHU President Dr. Robert Pignatello acknowledged the multitude of changes that have been made to maximize everyone’s health and safety. He also commended students, faculty, staff and coaches for their hard work to adapt to the changes necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Click Here for the ‘LHU Campus Update’ from the President.

According to the University’s COVID-19 Dashboard, http://www.lockhaven.edu/Covid19Dashboard/, 716 people have been tested for the virus, with four positive test results and 687 negative, and a percent-positive rate of .58 percent.

- The Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations (PANO) is encouraging all PA nonprofit organizations to respond to a statewide COVID-19 Nonprofit Impact Survey. The survey seeks to compile high-level data about COVID-19’s statewide impact on PA nonprofits, with particular emphasis on estimated revenue loss. The data will be used to determine needs for support. Click here to take the survey: https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/5753134/NPO-COVID-Impacts.

Non-COVID Notes of Interest….

  • The PA Liquor Control Board today announced the return of more than $1.9 million in licensing fees to 1,301 municipalities in which licensees are located. Twice a year, by law, the PLCB returns liquor license fees paid by PLCB-approved licensees to the municipalities that are home to those licensees, with the municipalities using the returned fees to help meet local needs. The PLCB returned a total of $1950 to the 19 Clinton County municipalities in which licensed establishments are located. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Liquor-Control-Board-Details.aspx?newsid=593.
  • Governor Wolf today ordered the commonwealth flag on all commonwealth facilities, public buildings and grounds in Clinton County to fly at half-staff in honor of firefighter David Closs of the Avis Fire Company, who died this past Sunday, August 23. Earlier this month, Closs was among the Avis Fire Company members who responded to a residential structure fire, during which Closs suffered a medical emergency. The order states that the commonwealth flag is to be lowered to half-staff until sunset tomorrow, August 28, the day of Closs’s funeral. We extend our condolences to Mr. Closs’s family, including his family at the Avis Fire Company.

Posted 8/26/20

- ATTENTION Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Municipalities: tomorrow, Thursday, August 27, at 5:00 p.m. is the deadline to apply for a grant program being administered through Clinton County Government. The County Commissioners received federal CARES Act funding that came down through the state to counties to support the Clinton County CARES Relief Block Grant program. In addition to supporting county government services, the county intends to award grants to eligible businesses, nonprofit organizations and municipal governments impacted by COVID-19. We urge you to review the guidelines and consider applying for funding. Click here for more information and the online application: https://www.clintoncountypa.com/departments/funding-opportunities.

- Small businesses have until this Friday, August 28, to apply for funding through a statewide grant program, the COVID-19 Small Business Assistance Grant program, designed to help businesses impacted by the pandemic. The PA Department of Community & Economic Development is overseeing this grant program, and all applications must be made online through a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). Two CDFIs – The Progress Fund (www.progressfund.org) or The Reinvestment Fund (www.reinvestment.com) are accepting applications from Clinton County businesses. This is the second and final round of funding for this grant program.

- Lock Haven University’s office of Workforce Development & Continuing Education is a partner in the WEDnetPA initiative, and as such, can offer up to $2000 per employee ($100,000 per company) for employee training. Click Here for the WEDnetPA letter for more information (including what type of training is eligible and what type of businesses qualify), or visit www.lockhaven.edu/workforce.

- While PA Governor Tom Wolf yesterday presented his fall legislative agenda, which focused on relief and protection for workers and families, recovery for small businesses, and reforming government, protecting elections, both state Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman and House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (both Centre County legislators) issued statements responding to the Governor's fall agenda. 

- More than half of the states in the U.S. – including Pennsylvania – are now approved for the extra $300 per week in unemployment insurance, with more likely to receive approval. PA announced this week it had received approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to receive the funds, which follow a recent executive order by President Trump. According to reports, workers also need to receive at least $100 in state benefits to be eligible for the $300 from the federal government. Read the following news report for additional details: https://billypenn.com/2020/08/25/pa-unemployment-benefits-300-dollars-extra-lost-wages-assistance-trump-fema-eligibility/. (Source: BillyPenn)

- PA CareerLink Clinton County is hosting a virtual ‘Get To Know’ session featuring Community Services Group, a mental health and intellectual & developmental disability services provider. The September 14, 10:00 a.m. Zoom session is an opportunity for anyone interested in employment with CSG or who want to learn more about the services they provide. Click Here for the flyer for more information, including the link for the ‘Get to Know’ session or the call-in phone number. People with questions can contact PA CareerLink’s Dorie Gilmore at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

- While many state employees continue to telework during the pandemic, the PA Department of Environmental Protection says it continues to meet its mission. DEP reports that between March 16 and August 25, it has conducted 31,734 inspections, processed 13,562 permit applications and authorizations, and responded to 158 environmental emergencies. More here: http://paenvironmentdaily.blogspot.com/2020/08/dep-works-thru-pandemic-674-more.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+PaEnvironmentDaily+%28PA+Environment+Daily+Blog%29.

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 1,245 licensed liquor establishments Monday and Tuesday of this week (Aug. 24 and 25), issuing one notice of violation and 21 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which includes Clinton County liquor licensees, conducted 126 licensee checks during the past two days, issuing five warnings and no notices of violations related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Details here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PA-State-Police-Details.aspx?newsid=575.

- Because of the pandemic, more people than ever voted by mail during the June primary election. Today, the Wolf Administration announced the first statewide enhanced post-election audit overwhelmingly confirmed the outcome of both the Democratic and Republican Presidential Primary races. Counties conducted an audit using a statistical sample of 400 ballots cast during the June 2 primary election. Based on the results of the random sampling, the state says the chance that the audit gave a false-positive result is less than 0.1 percent. Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/State-details.aspx?newsid=395.

- As it continues to monitor the impacts COVID-19 has on the 2020 Census operations, the U.S. Census Bureau is changing its operations to ensure the safety of staff and the public while maximizing the number of households that respond on their own to the 2020 Census. To that end, people who have not yet responded to the Census may get an email, a phone call or another paper survey in the mail before a census taker comes to their door in-person. The Census will end collection of information on September 30, so people are asked to respond now, either online at www.2020census.gov, over the phone, or by mail. Learn More

Non-COVID News of Interest….

  • The Clinton County Commissioners Office is seeking a college-level student intern for the fall semester. Applications are due Tuesday, September 1, for the 11-week paid position. Click Here for the Clinton County Government Intern file for a job description and the application. If you have questions, contact County Human Resource Administrator Cathy Dremel at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Posted 8/25/20

- PA Governor Tom Wolf today presented his fall legislative agenda, urging the legislature to take immediate action on a series of proposals for worker and family support and protections, COVID-19 recovery, and government reform. His remarks focused on a number of items, including providing recovery for small businesses, grants and loans for businesses, alcohol tax cancelation or reduction, and legalizing recreational marijuana to fund ongoing business grants and restorative justice. Details here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-calls-on-legislature-to-act-immediately-on-covid-19-recovery-and-government-reform/.

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry today announced the Pennsylvania will get nearly $1.5 billion to provide an extra $300 per week to eligible unemployed workers. The funds are coming from the temporary  federal Lost Wages Assistance Program, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). More information here, including who qualifies: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Labor-and-Industry-Details.aspx?newsid=477.

- The PA Health Department today rolled out a new, first-in-the-nation COVID-19 Mobile Response Unit to provide testing and education to underserved communities. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=984.

- Governor Wolf and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine yesterday released a weekly status update detailing the state’s mitigation efforts based on the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard. The updates, which will now be released every Monday, include information on the level of community transmission as a basis for the recommendations for Pre-K to 12 schools; cases that have reported visiting a business among potential locations where exposures may have occurred; and updated travel recommendations. Read more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/pennsylvania-shares-update-on-covid-19-early-warning-monitoring-dashboard-county-transmission-levels-cases-traced-to-businesses/.

Meanwhile, the state says nine counties bear watching because they have a higher rate of coronavirus infections. They are: Perry (9.1%), Huntingdon (7.8%), Northumberland (7