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:


8/3/21

- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today released new data showing an escalation in the number of Pennsylvania counties that have substantial or high levels of COVID-19 transmission. As of today, there are 25 counties – mostly in the higher population areas in the western and eastern ends of the state – that are showing a “substantial” transmission rate. This is in contrast to information from the CDC just Monday that showed only nine counties with high or substantial transmission rates.

Clinton, Centre and Lycoming counties continue to be in the moderate level of transmission; however, neighboring Clearfield County is among the counties listed as substantial. There are only two counties – Tioga and Fulton – that have what the CDC considers as a low rate of community transmission. For more information, go to: CDC COVID Data Tracker.

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 1,442 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,228,961. There are 563 people hospitalized with the virus, 110 of whom are in intensive care. The statewide percent positivity for the week of July 23-29 stood at 3.9%, up from last week and the week before that.

As of today, vaccine providers have administered 11,667,152 total vaccine doses; 5,727,429 people are fully vaccinated, with 14,038 vaccinations administered Monday and a seven-day moving average of more than 12,900 people per day receiving vaccinations. More data here: Department of Health: Over 11.6 Million Vaccinations to Date, 63.2% of Pennsylvanians Age 18 and Older Fully Vaccinated.

- Geisinger continues to offer walk-in and by appointment COVID-19 vaccines to anyone age 12 and older. In a news release issued today, Geisinger said vaccinations are available at its four vaccine centers (one of which is Jersey Shore Hospital) and at select Geisinger Pharmacy locations (including the Pharmacy at Geisinger’s Spring Street location in Lock Haven). Walk-in COVID-19 vaccinations will be available this Thursday, Aug. 5, at Geisinger Jersey Shore Hospital, 1020 Thompson St., Jersey Shore, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

In addition to appointments and walk-in times at vaccine centers, by-appointment COVID-19 vaccines are available at select Geisinger Pharmacy locations, including Lock Haven.

Geisinger is offering the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at all locations, which is a two-dose vaccine administered 21 days apart. The vaccines are available to anyone age 12 and over, but those under 18 years old must have a parent or legal guardian with them during vaccination. Appointments for a vaccine at one of the vaccine centers or a Geisinger Pharmacy can be made through myGeisinger or by calling 570-284-3657. To check on additional walk-in vaccine days and times, and for more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit geisinger.org/COVIDVax.

Masks are required for all patients and visitors (regardless of vaccination status) in all Geisinger buildings.

- Governor Tom Wolf and members of the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force last week sent a letter to the PA General Assembly, the Pennsylvania Congressional delegation, and county and local officials asking them to support vaccination efforts in PA and encourage their constituents to get vaccinated. More here: Gov. Wolf, Vaccine Task Force Ask Elected Officials to Support Lifesaving Vaccination Efforts (pa.gov).

- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Delta COVID-19 variant has caused over 75 percent of recent COVID cases in the U.S., according to estimates, and will likely cause more. The CDC has released a new video, The Delta Variant: What You Should Know, that provides information on the Delta variant and what people can do to help slow the spread. Watch the Video.

In all, 34,972,532 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the United States. The CDC says cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are increasing in nearly all states, fueled by the Delta variant. According to the CDC, the biggest increases in cases are happening in places with low vaccination rates and among unvaccinated people. Read more about COVID-19 trends, variants, and vaccination in the COVID Data Tracker Weekly Review.

- Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) borrowers with loans of up to $150,000 are eligible to submit their forgiveness application directly to the U.S. Small Business Administration rather than with their banks through the new PPP Forgiveness Portal. The portal will begin accepting applications tomorrow, Wednesday, August 4, and the application process should take about 10 minutes.

- The SBA also announced that the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program has awarded over $7.5 billion in total funding to more than 10,000 live venues and related businesses across America and U.S. territories. The SVOG portal remains open and funding is still available for all eligible applicants. Learn more.

- The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration collaborated with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to revise a handbook on workplace safety and health information for small business employers. The Small Business Safety and Health Handbook highlights the benefits of implementing an effective safety and health program, provides self-inspection checklists for employers to identify workplace hazards and review important workplace safety and health resources for small businesses. Read more: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDOL/bulletins/2eb32e9.

- Pennsylvania collected $2.7 billion in General Fund revenue in July, the first month of the 2021-22 fiscal year, Revenue Secretary Dan Hassell reported Monday. See more: Revenue Department Releases July 2021 Collections.

- PA Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman today announced that Pennsylvania’s insurance market expects to offer more options and greater competition than ever before based on the proposed health insurance plans for 2022. With eight insurers planning to offer plans in the commonwealth and multiple insurers in all 67 counties, Pennsylvanians will have more health insurance choices than ever before. Learn more: Insurance Department Releases ACA Plans; Pennsylvanians to See More Plans, Insurers, and Stable Premiums in 2022.

- PPL this week opened its major grant cycle, for nonprofit organizations seeking funding of $25,000 and above. These capacity-building grants support nonprofit organizations working to improve the lives and well-being of residents through:

  • Educational programs – such as STEM, college and career readiness, summer learning and literacy
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion – such as racial and social justice programs; minority-led organizations driving change; and empowerment programs for people of color, women, the disabled, LGBTQ and veterans
  • Sustainable communitiessuch as access to services such as housing and food access; environmental conservation programs and neighborhood improvement.

The grants are competitive; all applications undergo a review by a regional committee before being considered by the PPL Foundation board of directors. Applicants must operate within the PPL service territory. Interested organizations can learn more and apply at www.pplcares.com (click on Major Grants). Applications will be accepted through September 15.

- The Western PA Conservancy is now accepting applications for Watershed Mini Grants from organizations within a 28-county region of PA that includes Clinton County. Funding for this grant program is provided by BHE GT&S, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy. The Watershed Mini Grants can be used to cover expenses in three areas:

   - Water Quality Monitoring ($3,500 limit)

   - Restoration Projects ($3,500 limit)

   - Organizational Promotion and Outreach ($2,500 limit)

The deadline for applications is October 1. Click Here for all the details.

- The federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement is encouraging state partners, qualified non-profit entities, and academic institutions to apply for Watershed Cooperative Agreement Program grants that fund not-for-profit acid mine drainage reclamation projects. The deadline for applications is September 7. Click Here for all the details.

- PennDOT is alerting area drivers that a new box culvert on Marsh Creek Road in Centre County will open by the end of the day tomorrow, August 4. The box culvert spans an unnamed tributary of Marsh Creek on Marsh Creek Road (Route 1002) northwest of Howard. More information here: News Details (penndot.gov).

- PennDOT is seeking motorists’ input on traffic safety and driving behaviors through its annual online Highway Safety Survey found at www.PennDOT.gov/Safety. People can take the brief survey through August 23. See more: Details (penndot.gov).

- And, PennDOT’s annual report, highlighting accomplishments from 2020, is now available on the department website.  Read More

7/30/21

- For the second day in a row, the state is reporting more than a thousand new cases of COVID-19. The PA Department of Health today reported an additional 1,110 positive cases, bringing the statewide total to 1,224,500 (the Department reported 1,088 new cases on Thursday). Statewide, there are 473 people hospitalized with the virus – also a growing number – with 101 people in intensive care. More data here: Department of Health: Over 11.6 Million Vaccinations to Date, 62.8% of Pennsylvanians Age 18 and Older Fully Vaccinated.

- On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that counties showing substantial or high rates of COVID-19 transmission return to masking indoors, regardless of vaccination status. In Pennsylvania, most of the state is considered to be in either low or moderate transmission status as of July 25, with two counties showing high rates of transmission and five counties with substantial transmission. The high-rate counties are Crawford and Cameron counties, and the substantial-rate counties are Adams, Lawrence, Wyoming, Monroe and Northampton. (NOTE: Clinton, Centre and Lycoming counties are considered as being in the “moderate” level of transmission status). Read more: These 7 Pennsylvania counties should mask indoors regardless of vaccination status, per CDC guidance - pennlive.com. (Source: PennLive)

- Pennsylvania this week announced a new initiative to get more people fully vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus. Starting next week, the PA Health Department will send “second dose reminder” text messages to more than 250,000 people who got their first dose but missed their second appointment. Read more: Department of Health Launches Text Messaging Initiative to Get More Pennsylvanians Fully Vaccinated.

- Geisinger continues to offer walk-in and by-appointment COVID-19 vaccine events at its four vaccine centers, one of which is the Jersey Shore Hospital. Geisinger is offering the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at all locations, which is a two-dose vaccine administered 21 days apart. The vaccines are available to anyone age 12 and over, but those under 18 years old must have a parent or legal guardian with them during vaccination. Appointments for a vaccine at one of the vaccine centers can be made through myGeisinger or by calling (570) 284-3657. To check on walk-in vaccine days and times, and for more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit geisinger.org/COVIDVax.

- A case of COVID has resulted in the cancellation of a production at Millbrook Playhouse in Mill Hall. The Playhouse Thursday issued notice that the Grand Legends performance, which was to start tonight (July 30) and run through August 7, has been cancelled. The notification read, “Unfortunately, despite diligent safety procedures, including full company vaccination, one of our company members has tested positive for the coronavirus. Due to this situation, and for the safety of our patrons, performers, and staff, we will be canceling our production of Grand Legends. We hope that we can reschedule it in the future.”

The Playhouse will move forward with the production of the children’s performance, Snow White, which opens Saturday, July 31, on the open-air courtyard stage, as well as the Millbrook youth camps beginning Monday, August 2. The notification added, “Please know that the well-being of our company and patrons is paramount to us, and going forward with the fall season, we will continue to take all precautions to ensure the health and safety of our staff, which includes vaccinations and regular covid testing.”

- Governor Tom Wolf this week helped mark the 56th anniversary of Medicaid and the 2nd anniversary of Pennsylvania’s new state-based health insurance marketplace, known as Pennie, and to encourage people to visit pennie.com for affordable coverage options. Pennie replaced healthcare.gov as PA’s official destination for shopping for health insurance plans. Currently, there are more than 336,000 Pennie customers throughout the state. Since the COVID-19 enrollment period opened in mid-February, Pennie has seen over 55,000 enrollments. More information here: Gov. Wolf Celebrates Pennie and Medicaid Anniversaries; Reinforces Importance of Affordable, Quality Health Care for Pennsylvanians (pa.gov).

- The U.S. Small Business Administration is launching a streamlined application portal to allow borrowers with Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans $150,000 or less through participating lenders to apply for forgiveness directly through the SBA. The new portal is expected to streamline the loan forgiveness process for over 6.5 million businesses. Read more: https://www.sba.gov/article/2021/jul/28/sba-announces-opening-paycheck-protection-program-direct-forgiveness-portal.

- According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s weekly employment information….In the week ending July 24, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 400,000, a decrease of 24,000 from the previous week's revised level. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.4 percent for the week ending July 17, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending July 17 was 3,269,000, an increase of 7,000 from the previous week's revised level. Read more: https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/OPA/newsreleases/ui-claims/20211419.pdf.

- A workforce update from 25th District State Senator Cris Dush: The economic impact of the workforce shortage facing Pennsylvania employers was the topic of a public hearing Wednesday by the Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee. Pennsylvania is facing a serious workforce crisis that is threatening our employers and slowing our economic recovery. Businesses across the Commonwealth have been forced to curtail their hours of operation or even close because of a workforce shortage. The panel heard from the PA Chamber of Business and Industry, local employers and the PA Restaurant and Lodging Association in order to fully identify the employers’ needs and the role the General Assembly can play in creating an environment for economic growth and job creation. You can view hearing video and more here.

- Governor Wolf Wednesday joined President Joe Biden at Mack Trucks in Lehigh County, to highlight the President’s plan to Buy American and support jobs for American workers. See more: Gov. Wolf Joins President Biden for Announcement to ‘Buy American,’ Support American Workers (pa.gov).

- U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, in a guest editorial this week, cited child care as the number one reason many Americans do not want to get a job. Click Here for the U.S. Commerce Secretary file for the full article. 

- PBS News Hour reportsIn the year ending in June, wages and salaries jumped 3.5% for workers in the private sector, the largest increase in more than 14 years. That increase was driven by sharp rise in pay for restaurant and hotel workers of more than 6%.

- The U.S. Economic Development Administration is hosting a series of webinars in August about the newly announced EDA funding opportunities through the American Rescue Plan. The application process is now open. Deadlines vary based on program. An initial webinar to provide an overview of the new programs was held this week, and a second “EDA 101 and American Rescue Plan webinar will be held this coming Wednesday, August 4 at 2 p.m. EDT.

For those interested in one of the specific programs, following is a list of upcoming webinars. Click on the webinar topic to register:

 For a full list of webinars or learn more about the EDA’s American Rescue Plan programs, visit www.eda.gov/ARPA

- PA Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today encouraged farmers to apply for funding to strengthen the long-term health and vitality of PA’s farms. Nearly $763,000 of the $1 million Farm Vitality Grant Program remains available. The program opened in mid-April and will remain open until all funds are exhausted. See more: Secretary of Agriculture Encourages Farmers to Take Advantage of Grant Program to Pay for Business Planning Services.

- State officials and the State Police Thursday issued a reminder to PA residents to be wary of fraudsters who are using information stolen from private-sector data leaks to apply for unemployment compensation. They urge people to be vigilant of fraud and to take action if they become a victim. Learn more: PSP Warns Fraudsters are Using Information Stolen from Private-Sector Data Leaks to Apply for Unemployment Compensation Benefits (pa.gov).

- The federal eviction moratorium ends on July 31. But if you know of someone struggling to make rent or pay utility bills due to the pandemic, help is available via the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). Funds through the ERAP can also be available for landlords. In Clinton County, the Clinton County Housing Coalition is administering the program. Initially set to run through the end of this year, the program has now been extended into September of 2022. Learn more: https://www.dhs.pa.gov/ERAP/Pages/ERAP.aspx.

- PA House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) sent a letter to state agencies Monday telling them to prepare to have the nearly 500 waived and suspended regulations reinstated on September 30, while also working with House standing committees on reviewing which regulations should be permanently repealed or reformed. 

- PA Treasurer Stacy Garrity announced Thursday that the fifth batch of payments under the American Rescue Plan Act’s (ARPA) Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery program has been sent to qualifying Pennsylvania municipalities. Disbursements made this week include payments to 233 municipalities totaling $22.6 million. Combined with the 1,885 payments made previously, which totaled $441 million, that means 2,118 Pennsylvania municipalities have received more than $463 million. See more: https://www.patreasury.gov/newsroom/archive/2021/07-29-ARPA-Funding.html.

- Calling it a key security issue, the Internal Revenue Service today urged those entities with Employer Identification Numbers (EINs) to update their applications if there has been a change in the responsible party or contact information. Learn more: IRS: Businesses, charities, others with Employer Identification Numbers must update responsible party information within 60 days of any change | Internal Revenue Service.

- The IRS reports that another 1.5 million taxpayers will receive refunds averaging more than $1,600 as it continues to adjust unemployment compensation from previously filed income tax returns. See more: IRS continues unemployment compensation adjustments, prepares another 1.5 million refunds | Internal Revenue Service

- The IRS Thursday updated frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the paid sick and family leave tax credits under the American Rescue Plan Act. The updates clarify that eligible employers can claim the credits for providing leave to employees to accompany a family or household member or certain other individuals to obtain immunization relating to COVID-19 or to care for a family or household member or certain other individuals recovering from the immunization. Read more: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/paid-leave-credit-available-for-providing-leave-to-employees-caring-for-individuals-obtaining-or-recovering-from-a-covid-19-immunization.

- FirstEnergy customers: FirstEnergy Corporation this week announced the implementation of a new phase of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation (EE&C) programs offered to their customers – including businesses and industrial users – as part of Pa legislation known as ACT 129, which was designed to reduce energy consumption and demand. Click Here for the two-page FirstEnergy flyer for details or pass the info on to those in your business engaged in facility maintenance, physical plant or building and grounds.

- UPMC this week announced that its Board of Directors selected Leslie Davis to succeed the retiring Jeffrey Romoff as President & CEO, effective August 1. Board chair Nicholas Beckwith said, “During her 17 years at UPMC, Ms. Davis has demonstrated a commitment to both clinical excellence and building relationships with patients, doctors, employees, leaders, and communities. This experience leaves her exceptionally well-qualified to lead a large organization like UPMC to future success and growth at such a critical time for the health care and insurance industries. We are thrilled to announce Leslie as UPMC’s next leader. She brings a stellar track record built over three decades of leadership in health care with the background and expertise to propel UPMC into the next phase of growth.

- PennDOT announced today that the Transportation Revenue Options Commission (TROC) has submitted its report to Governor Wolf and the General Assembly. The TROC report presents an overview of transportation funding in Pennsylvania and outlines the commission’s review of several potential revenue sources including road user charges, tolling, redirection of funding, fees, and taxes. Analysis of each option includes potential revenue that a given solution could bring the commonwealth, concerns raised by commission members relating to each option, and suggested next steps. Read more: Article (penndot.gov).

- PennDOT is alerting regional drivers to traffic impacts on Route 4001 (Kettle Creek Road) in Clinton County. Work got underway this week to remove guide rail along a 4-mile stretch of the road. The work zone starts in Noyes Township about 4 miles northwest of Route 120 and stretches north for about four miles in Leidy Township. Once the guiderail is removed, installation of new guiderail will be delayed until paving takes place in mid-to-late August. Without guide rail along the road, drivers are advised to use caution and slow their speed while traveling Kettle Creek Road.

Meanwhile, work to place gabion baskets along this same stretch will occur from August 2 through August 20. Roadway flagging will be in place as needed for the guide rail and gabion basket work. Once gabion baskets are complete, paving will take place and new guide rail will be installed. More here: News Details (penndot.gov)

- Governor Wolf today highlighted the importance of outdoor spaces to peoples’ well-being during the pandemic as he announced Penn’s Parks for All – A Plan for Pennsylvania’s State Parks of Tomorrow. Read more: Gov. Wolf Says All People Need State Parks, Launches Effort to Sustain Them, Make Them Welcoming to All.

- The PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources announced the department will soon begin accepting applications for grants aiding snowmobile- and ATV-related projects. Applications will be accepted beginning Monday, August 2 through September 30 through DCNR's online grant application system. More information here: Wolf Administration Announces Grants to be Available (pa.gov).

- For those interested in applying for an elk hunting permit in Pennsylvania’s annual elk-license drawing, the deadline to enter is tomorrow, July 31. More here: TIME RUNNING OUT FOR PROSPECTIVE ELK HUNTERS (pa.gov).

- The PA Fish and Boat Commission today announced nearly $380,000 in grants to develop and implement projects that benefit fishing, boating and aquatic resources in nearby Cameron, Potter, Elk and McKean counties. More here: GRANTS AWARDED FOR SINNEMAHONING WATERSHED RESTORATION PROJECTS (pa.gov).

- PA CareerLink hosts a Zoom presentation on Unemployment Compensation on Thursday, August 5, from 10:00 a.m. until noon. Learn the latest about UC for your business from UC Workforce Development rep Nancy Smithbauer. Register to participate at: https://forms.gle/kPg7Zbf2cqqN4AE67.

- From the U.S. Chamber: Discover creative ways to tailor your social media content at our next CO— Roadmap for Rebuilding on Thursday, August 5 at 12:00 pm. Register now to learn more about choosing the right platform for you and building a marketing plan from our panel of small business leaders, and then ask your questions live.

- PA CareerLink hosts a Resume Review on Thursday, August 12, at 10:00 a.m. at their Clinton County office at 8 North Grove St., Lock Haven. The session will be conducted by a member of the UPMC Talent Acquisition Team and is open to anyone who would like to receive suggestions on their resume. Pre-registration is required by calling 570-893-4022.

7/27/21

- There continues to be an up-tick in COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania. The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 986 positive cases of the virus, bringing the statewide total to 1,221,657. The state has recorded 3,722 cases of COVID-19 in Clinton County since the pandemic began; 17,020 cases in Centre County; and 12,009 cases in Lycoming County. Statewide, there currently are 430 people hospitalized with the virus, 97 of whom are in intensive care, and the trend in the 14-day moving average number of hospitalized patients continues to increase. The statewide percent positivity for the week of July 16-22 stood at 2.6%. More data here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1537.

- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today reversed course on some masking guidelines, recommending that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the coronavirus is surging.

Meanwhile, Gov. Wolf was quoted in news outlets around the commonwealth as saying "I'm not considering any statewide [mask] mandate." He has made it clear the Administration's strategy for fighting the virus is through vaccines. The Administration released an expanded statement late this afternoon, which read, "The administration is not considering reinstating a statewide mandate; however, we recommend Pennsylvanians, including schools, follow CDC guidance. Further, businesses and local governments may adopt stricter COVID prevention strategies, including mask requirements."

- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs became the first federal agency to mandate coronavirus vaccination for employees Monday when its leaders gave heath care workers eight weeks to get inoculated. Read more: https://www.pennlive.com/nation-world/2021/07/veterans-affairs-tell-workers-they-have-8-weeks-to-get-the-covid-19-vaccine.html?e=1a2598713c24f3b9b618fcff2a4a0f97&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Newsletter_coronavirus%202021-07-27&utm_term=Newsletter_coronavirus (Source: PennLive)

Meanwhile, the U.S. has decided not to lift existing travel restrictions “at this point” because of the alarming surge of new COVID-19 cases nationwide and spread of the highly contagious delta variant. See more: https://www.pennlive.com/nation-world/2021/07/citing-the-delta-variant-us-reportedly-decides-not-to-lift-travel-restrictions.html?e=1a2598713c24f3b9b618fcff2a4a0f97&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Newsletter_coronavirus%202021-07-27&utm_term=Newsletter_coronavirus. (Source: PennLive)

- With Delta variant COVID-19 cases rising, click here for information on the symptoms to look for: https://www.pennlive.com/coronavirus/2021/07/with-delta-variant-covid-19-cases-rising-here-are-the-symptoms-to-look-for.html?e=1a2598713c24f3b9b618fcff2a4a0f97&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Newsletter_coronavirus%202021-07-27&utm_term=Newsletter_coronavirus.

- With the start of the 2021-22 school year about a month away, the PA Departments of Health and Education are offering recommendations to families and schools as they safely prepare for in-person teaching and learning. Vaccinations, school guidance, and face coverings/masks are highlighted. Learn more: Preparing for a Safe New School Year. 

- The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) has unveiled Pennsylvania: Work Smart, Live Happy, to help market the state, attract and retain top talent, and assist with business attraction and development. Learn more: Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Releases New Magazine to Help Promote the State - PA Department of Community & Economic Development.

- Responding to skyrocketing claims of Unemployment Insurance Fraud, the PA Department of Labor and Industry this week provided employers with helpful tips for reporting fraudulent claims. -> Read More (Source: PA Chamber)

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

  • The SBA Office of Capital Access will host a webinar series for small business owners to discuss the COVID EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loan) program’s small business loans. The EIDL program is a Federal small business loan program designed to support small businesses to recover from the COVID-19 economic recession by providing accessible and borrower-friendly capital. Information at each webinar will be the same. The webinar schedule includes:
  • Cyber attacks are a growing concern for small businesses. The types of threats include malware, ransomware and phishing. The SBA has tools and resources to help you protect your small business. Learn more. 
  • The SBA today reached a new milestone of successfully awarding over $7.5 billion in Shuttered Venue Operators Grants to more than 10,000 hard-hit live entertainment small businesses, nonprofits, and venues. The SVOG program is designed to assist in getting the nation’s cultural institutions back on track after being shuttered due to the pandemic. The SBA continues to accept applications for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant. To submit an application, visit sba.gov/svogrant.
  • As a reminderSBA directly communicates from email addresses ending in @sba.gov. SBA also communicates via email updates/notifications using an email marketing platform. Those emails end in @updates.sba.gov. One exception is noted: If you applied for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant and emailed the SVOG Support Center, you may receive an email back from a zendesk.com account. This is an authorized SBA contractor. If you are being contacted by someone claiming to be from the SBA who is not using an official SBA email address, you should suspect fraud. To report potential fraud, visit sba.gov/covidfraudalert.
  • The American Rescue Plan extends a number of critical tax benefits, particularly the Employee Retention Credit and Paid Leave Credit, to small businesses. Learn more.

- From the PA Chamber: 

  • A report released last week by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found that states and territories overpaid billions in unemployment benefits during the pandemic.Reporting shows that GAO identified $12.9B in overpayments made between March 2020 and April 2021 and noted the final total would be higher as several states had yet to report numbers for the period.
  • Amid discussions on plans for nearly $5T in federal spending, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) last week reminded lawmakersthat the 2019 suspension of the federal government’s statutory debt limit—the debt ceiling—was set to expire on July 31.  Without further Congressional intervention to raise or suspend the limit, the CBO expects the U.S. to be unable to meet its obligations in October or November.

- The PA Department of Environmental Protection is now accepting applications for up to $1 million Small Business Advantage Grants on a first-come, first-served basis. The Program assists small businesses undertaking energy efficiency, pollution prevention or natural resource conservation projects. For more information, visit DEP’s Small Business Advantage Grants webpage.

- DEP is also accepting applications for two Driving PA Forward funding programs-- the Truck and Bus Fleet Grants and Onroad Rebates to reduce diesel emissions. Details here: PA Environment Digest Blog: DEP Now Accepting Applications For Driving PA Forward Truck & Bus Fleet Grants, Onroad Rebates To Reduce Diesel Emissions (paenvironmentdaily.blogspot.com)

These other cleaner fuels funding opportunities are also open:

- In his latest weekly newsletter, 12th District Congressman Fred Keller notes that the IRS provides free interactive online training to help officers, board members, and volunteers maintain their organization’s tax-exempt status at StayExempt.irs.gov. The Maintaining 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Status course discusses what responsibilities organizations have and what activities can jeopardize an organization’s 501(c)(3) status. The Tax-Exempt Organization Workshop provides additional information on the benefits, limitations and expectations of tax-exempt organizations.

- The PA Department of Human Services today discussed the upcoming July 31 end of the federal eviction moratorium and urged Pennsylvanians at risk of eviction or utility shutoffs because of COVID-19 to apply for assistance available through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). Read more: Department of Human Services, York City and County Officials Urge Pennsylvanians to Apply for Rental Assistance Ahead of Federal Eviction Moratorium Expiring.

ERAP program assistance is available in Clinton County. Applications are being administered through the Clinton County Housing Coalition. Click here for a link to the ERAP online application.

- PennDOT today announced that the application period for grants under the Rail Transportation Assistance Program and the Rail Freight Assistance Program is now open. See more: Article (penndot.gov).

- The Wolf Administration this week announced that it will soon require all Pennsylvania landfills – including those that accept unconventional oil and gas waste – to conduct quarterly testing of leachate for radiological contaminants. More information here: Wolf Administration to Move Forward with Radiological Testing of Leachate at Landfills (pa.gov).

- The PA Board of Game Commissioners met Saturday in Harrisburg, the first in-person meeting in more than a year. Read about their actions here: HIGHLIGHTS FROM TODAY'S COMMISSIONERS MEETING (pa.gov)

Meanwhile, a former director of the Game Commission’s Northcentral Regional Office in Antes Fort has been named deputy executive director of the Game Commission’s field operations. David Mitchell, who had most recently served as director of the Southeast Region Office, will now be responsible for coordinating and advancing the wildlife management program in the Commission’s six regions. See more: GAME COMMISSION WELCOMES NEW DEPUTY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR (pa.gov).

- During its quarterly business meeting Monday, the PA Fish & Boat Commission gave preliminary approval to a proposal to establish a single, statewide Opening Day of Trout Season beginning annually in 2022. More details here: PFBC BOARD PROPOSES SINGLE OPENING DAY OF TROUT SEASON, ANNOUNCES FISHING LICENSE FEES WILL REMAIN THE SAME IN 2022, EXPANDS USE OF ICE FISHING EQUIPMENT, AND ELECTS NEW OFFICERS AT QUARTERLY MEETING.

- PA Acting Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson, DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell, and DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn today highlighted the prevalence of ticks in the state. More here: Prevalence of Ticks in Pennsylvania is High, Take Steps to Prevent Tick Bites and Tick-borne Diseases (pa.gov).

7/23/21

- Reports have cases of COVID-19 trending upward slightly. The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 557 positive cases, bringing the statewide total to 1,218,975. Across the state, 347 people are hospitalized with the virus, 75 of whom are in intensive care. The statewide percent positivity rate for the week of July 9 – 15 stood at 1.7 percent.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 62.2 percent of Pennsylvanians age 18 and older are fully vaccinated. More data here: Department of Health: Over 11.4 Million Vaccinations to Date, 62.2% of Pennsylvanians Age 18 and Older Fully Vaccinated.

- The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Tuesday renewed the COVID-19 public health emergency declaration for another 90 days. The declaration was first issued in late January of 2020. See more: https://www.phe.gov/emergency/news/healthactions/phe/Pages/COVID-19July2021.aspx

Meanwhile, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) report that the more that SARS-CoV-2 spreads, the greater the chance that its genetic material will change or mutate, and create new variants or strains. As it passes from person to person, the virus builds up mutations. Currently, there are four known mutations, known as variants of concern, with the highly transmissible Delta variant dominant across the country. The COVID-19 data hub created last year by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services indicates that, as of July 15, new cases across the country were up nearly 70 percent over the previous week; deaths were up 26.3 percent.

- Geisinger continues to offer free, walk-in and scheduled COVID-19 vaccinations at various locations, including at their community vaccination center at Jersey Shore Hospital as well as through the pharmacy at the new Geisinger facility on Spring Street in Lock Haven. Click here for the latest information or to schedule a vaccination: COVID-19 Vaccine | Frequently Asked Questions | Geisinger.

- The U.S. Economic Development Administration this week announced six programs, collectively called Investing in America’s Communities, that the EDA will execute to equitably invest the $3 billion it received from the American Rescue Plan. Read more: EDA Announces American Rescue Plan Programs (govdelivery.com)

The EDA will host a webinar to provide more information on the American Rescue Plan Funding Opportunities at 3:00 p.m. this coming Tuesday, July 27 and again at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 29.

- Keystone Central School District this week began communicating information about the District’s revised Health and Safety Plan and Learning Choices for the upcoming school year. Click Here for the KCSD file for the information released by Superintendent Dr. Jacquelyn Martin. 

- In a recent update, UPMC is encouraging people to stay diligent, take care of your health while traveling, and be mindful of others. Click Here for the UPMC Safe Travel Checklist highlights what to talk about with your doctor before traveling, immunization suggestions, and pandemic considerations.

- From the U.S. Department of Labor:  In the week ending July 17, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 419,000, an increase of 51,000 from the previous week's revised level. Read the full news release.

- The U.S. Census Bureau today posted results from its latest Small Business Pulse Survey. Based on responses collected July 12 through July 18, the Survey estimates that:

  • 25.2% of U.S. small businesses report a large negative effect from the Coronavirus pandemic in the last week. For responses collected 6/21/20 – 6/27/20, this statistic was 37.7% 
  • 20.3% U.S. small businesses report a decrease in revenues in the last week. For responses collected 7/5-7/11, this statistic was 19.6%
  • 15.8% of U.S. small businesses expect to make a capital expenditure in the next 6 months. For responses collected 7/5-7/11, this statistic was 16.2% 
  • 15.0% of U.S. small businesses report operating capacity to be affected by availability of supplies or inputs in the last week. For responses collected 7/5-7/11, this statistic was 14.4% 
  • 17.7% of U.S. small businesses expect to identify new supply chain options in the next 6 months 
  • 55.3% of U.S. Health Care and Social Assistance small businesses report a moderate negative effect from the coronavirus pandemic, higher than the national average of 42.4% 
  • 56.9% of U.S. Accommodation and Food Services small businesses expect to identify and hire new employees in the next 6 months.
  • The Overall Sentiment Index, which assesses the overall average effect of the pandemic on businesses, decreased to -0.41 from the prior week, indicating a more negative sentiment for SBPS responses collected 7/12 – 7/18

- In his weekly update today, 25th District State Senator Cris Dush highlighted a number of pandemic-related matters, including: Help for renters and homeowners; a legislative review regarding education; a new law that increases access to 5G; an update on the proposed integration of state universities; and information on a recent hearing on COVID-19 contact tracing. Click Here for the Senator Dush file for details.

- The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration this week announced funding opportunities for more than $21 million in training grants to help non-profit organizations. Read more: Apply Today for Department of Labor Funding Training on Workplace Hazards and Infectious Diseases (govdelivery.com)

- From the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association (PRLA):

  • PRLA Thursday was invited to attend a stakeholders' briefing by the Wolf Administration on proposed changes to existing regulations relating to Pennsylvania's Minimum Wage Act. The Administration is currently finalizing the proposed regulatory changes and will submit them to the Attorney General for review. After that, they will submit the proposal to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) where there will be an opportunity for public comment.
  • The PA Department of Labor & Industry is warning employers: unemployment compensation fraud attempts are on the rise across the nation and in Pennsylvania. Watch out for these warning signs of fraudulent unemployment claims filed involving you or your company.
    • Employers who can access the new UC system can use this guide to help you report fraudulent claims: https://bit.ly/3zhbqED
    • Employers who cannot access the new UC system can use the SIDE E-Response system to report fraudulent claims: https://bit.ly/3BnGp3A.
  • The Independent Fiscal Office recently released its July Labor Market Update showing an improvement in payroll job creation in the month of June. 23,100 part or full-time jobs were added in June. The Leisure and Hospitality industry saw an increase of 26,800 jobs, while healthcare saw 8,600 added jobs, retail 5,700 added jobs, manufacturing 4,800 added jobs, and construction 1,300 added jobs. Pennsylvania also saw a decrease in average weekly unemployment compensation (UC) claims, with 767,300 UC recipients receiving an average of $2,059, which is a 144,500 person drop from the number of UC recipients in May.
  • CBRE Hotels Research forecasts U.S. lodging demand will return to pre-pandemic levels by the fourth quarter of 2023. READ MORE
  • Lodging Magazine predicts that economy hotels and those within the limited-service segment are poised to outperform the rest of the industry this summer travel season. Click here for three reasons why.
  • FSR Magazine suggests five ways restaurant owners can entice workers to apply.

- The PA Department of Community and Economic Development and the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority today announced that $14 million in Challenge grant funding has been approved for the Ben Franklin Technology Partners. Each of the four Ben Franklin partners (including the Central & Northern PA region, which provides support for businesses in Clinton County), will receive $3.5 million in funding. The partners provide access to capital, business expertise, technology commercialization services and a network of resources to advance the development of new technologies. More here: Wolf Administration: $14 Million in Challenge Grant Funding Approved for Ben Franklin Technology Partner Projects - PA Department of Community & Economic Development.

- The PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources this week announced new conservation measures in certain state forests – including Sproul, Bald Eagle, Tiadaghton and others in the region – where federally threatened and endangered bats are found. The new conservation measures address traditional firewood collection and cutting of standing dead trees and will limit firewood cutting and harvesting on designated roads in the impacted forests now through August 31. There will also be limited cutting enforced on designated roads in Bald Eagle State Forest September 1 – November 1, 2021, and between April 1 and May 14 of 2022. Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/DCNR_details.aspx?newsid=763.

- Students attending any of Pennsylvania’s six state universities slated for consolidation next year won’t notice much change any time soon, according to the leader of the state university system. State System of Higher Education Chancellor Dan Greenstein spoke with state senators on Tuesday about the plans to consolidate six universities into two institutions, including Lock Haven University, which will merge with Bloomsburg and Mansfield universities. Read more: Read More (Source: Harrisburg Patriot-News)

- UPMC Williamsport has been granted Level II Trauma Center accreditation, which goes into effect on September 1. Click Here for the UPMC Williamsport file for more information.

- Wolf Administration officials this week shared proposed nursing home regulations focused on increasing the quality of care received by residents by increasing the minimum direct care hours by 1.4 more hours each day. The current skilled nursing facility regulations have not been updated since 1999. Read more: Wolf Administration Announces Proposed Nursing Home Regulations Focused on Increased Quality of Care for Residents and Workers (pa.gov)

7/20/21

- New COVID-19 case numbers in Pennsylvania are mirroring those at the national level. The state reported nearly 1,500 new coronavirus cases over the past seven days. That's a big jump from the 907 reported the week before. It's the first time new cases have trended upward in Pennsylvania since the early spring, but the daily numbers are still a fraction of what they were during the winter-time peak. Read More (Source: WFMZ Radio)

- PA Labor & Industry on Friday released its employment situation report for June 2021, noting the state’s unemployment rate was down one-tenth of a percent over the month, to 6.9 percent in June. That rate was 6.4 percentage points below the June 2020 level. The U.S. unemployment rate rose a tenth of a percentage point from May, to 5.9 percent in June. More here: Pennsylvania’s Unemployment Rate Down To 6.9 Percent in June (pa.gov). 

- Instances of Unemployment Compensation fraud are on the rise. 25th District State Senator Cris Dush, as part of his weekly newsletter, has offered some good information on how people should handle Unemployment Compensation Fraud and Identity Theft. Click Here for the UC Fraud file for details. 

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry has announced the department’s partnership with virtual identity verification vendor ID.me has been extended to provide identity verification for all new UC Claims. For more, including an overview from L&I on how to deal with fraudulent claims, click here: L&I Extends Partnership with Identity Verification Vendor ID.me to Reduce Unemployment Compensation Claim Fraud Attempts.

- PA CareerLink hosts a Zoom presentation on Unemployment Compensation Thursday, August 5, from 10:00 a.m. until noon. Learn the latest about UC for your business. The session will be presented by Nancy Smithbauer, Unemployment Compensation Workforce Development Representative. Click Here for the CareerLink file for more information, and register at: https://forms.gle/kPg7Zbf2cqqN4AE67. 

- The PA Attorney General’s office has filed suit against a Florida business for scamming Pennsylvania business owners. The scammers sent letters to businesses, acting as the Commonwealth’s Department of State, claiming that business owners needed to apply for a certificate of good standing in order to lawfully do business in Pennsylvania (certificates are optional, not necessary). Business owners were sent legitimate certificates of good standing, but the scammers charged double the cost of receiving a real certificate from the Commonwealth. Anyone who received a letter from “PA Certificate Service” should file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General by visiting https://www.attorneygeneral.gov/submit-a-complaint/consumer-complaint/. Read more: AG Shapiro Files Lawsuit To Shut Down Business Certificate Scam – PA Office of Attorney General.

- A new report shows Pennsylvania is showing signs of a strong economic recovery in one key area. Researchers at the left-leaning Tax Policy Center found that the Keystone State had one of the steepest drops in sales taxes in the nation last year. But now, forecasters predict Pennsylvania will collect nearly 15 percent more this year than last. That would be the largest increase of any state. Read More (Source: WESA Public Radio)

- We’re passing along the following resources from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce: 

  • Grants and loans can help you endure tough times and expand as you scale your business. Thisguide differentiates between the two and outlines options to get you through both thick and thin.
  • More grant & program information can be foundhere.
  • Every small business should have business insurance, but it can be hard to sort through the options. See the different typesof insurance and learn what might work for your business.
  • Ransomware attacks are on the rise and can be hard to detect. This guideexplains what exactly ransomware is and provides strategies to protect your business.
  • Growing your business starts with finding the right people to help you reach your goals. Get ideas on which business operations to outsource, learn how to find the best freelancers, and get complimentary access to Fiverr Business’s new freelance management tool. Need talented freelancers? Here’s how to find them (for free).

 

- Resources from the U.S. Small Business Administration: 

  • If you own a small business in the construction or service industry, there's a good chance you'll need a surety bond. SBA-backed surety bonds can help you compete for larger contracts. Click here to Learn more about the SBA Surety Bond Guarantee Program.
  • Interested in government contracting? There are many opportunities available in the federal procurement market. Developing a marketing and sales strategy can help you achieve success. Join the General Services Administration for a webinar on July 20 at 2:00 p.m. to learn how to develop a targeted approach to contracting with the federal government. Register 
  • Attention, women in business: Register for upcoming webinars to learn how to get certified for the Women-Owned Small Business federal contracting program, what to do after you're certified and more. The webinars will be held from July-December 2021. Register
  • The SBA and Public Private Strategies Institute are hosting several webinars from July to August to help businesses get back on track. Join the next webinar this Thursday, July 22, at 2:00 p.m. to:
  • Hear about what steps you can take now to learn and take advantage of new and existing programs that are available at the SBA
  • Get an update regarding programs and recent policy announcements made by the Biden-Harris Administration
  • Have your questions answered by SBA Leadership and small business experts
  • Learn how you can become a vaccine leader in your community
  • Discover tools and resources you can use to take your business digital

Register

- From the PA Chamber of Business & Industry: 

  • Over the last 18 months, Pennsylvania employers and workers adapted to unprecedented challenges as shuttered schools and childcare facilities required typically full-time staff to care for their families on short notice. -> Read More
  • President Biden recently signed a sweeping executive order that could have profound impacts on employers, including policies that target specific industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, banking and telecommunications. -> Read More

- For those in the food industry: 

  • The National Restaurant Association will host a complimentary educational session, Maximizing Employee Retention Credit to Put Money Back into your Business, on July 22 at 2:00 p.m. The session will cover how to identify if your business is eligible for the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) and what to expect from the application process. REGISTER
  • ServSafe recently released the 6th edition of its COVID-19 Operating Guidance, which incorporates the latest recommendations and best practices from the CDC, FDA, and OSHA. DOWNLOAD
  • The National Restaurant Association is reporting that eating and drinking places added 194,300 jobs in June, marking the sixth consecutive month of staffing growth. Despite the growth, this segment is still nearly 10% below pre-pandemic employment levels. 

- PA Treasurer Stacy Garrity announced last week that the third batch of payments under the American Rescue Plan Act’s (ARPA) Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery program has been sent to qualifying Pennsylvania municipalities. More here: News Release (patreasury.gov).

- The Keystone Communities (KC) program encourages partnerships between public and private sectors that jointly support local revitalization initiatives for the growth and stability of neighborhoods and communities, social and economic diversity, and a strong and secure quality of life. Now through August 31, 2021, eligible organizations can apply for the KC program for the 2021 fiscal year competitive funding round. For program guidelines and to apply, visit the DCED website at https://dced.pa.gov/programs/keystone-communities-program-kcp/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=KC%20program&utm_campaign=KCP.

- The Small Business Administration’s Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program still has billions of dollars left. The program, which first opened in April, has received around 15,000 applications for about $11.7 billion in funding—billions short of the $16 billion allocation by Congress.

- The Center for Rural Pennsylvania has released their latest newsletter. Among other topics, this issue includes an article on projected changes for Pennsylvania employment between 2018 and 2028, showing an increase for Clinton County, with a greater increase for Centre and a lesser increase for Lycoming county.. The July/August edition of Rural Perspectives is now available online at www.rural.pa.gov.

- The PA Department of Health shared its monthly update on PA’s COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing data, and continued to encourage people to download the COVID Alert PA app. Learn more: Department of Health Offers Monthly Update On COVID-19 Investigations, Contact Tracing, and Monitoring Efforts.

- In its June report, the PA Department of Health notes that nursing home surveyors conducted 453 inspections, including 293 complaint investigations, of 322 separate nursing homes. Of those inspections, 55 were COVID-19-specific investigations. There were five new sanctions finalized against nursing care facilities resulting in $44,500 in fines. More here: Department of Health Highlights June 2021 Nursing Home Inspection, Sanction Information Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic.

- As part of the American Rescue Plan, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through the Health Resources and Services Administration, is providing $398 million in funding through the Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program to 1,540 small rural hospitals for COVID-19 testing and mitigation. Of that funding, $6,459,400 is earmarked for 25 small rural hospitals in Pennsylvania.

- The PA State System of Higher Education last week unanimously approved the proposed plans to integrate Lock Haven, Bloomsburg and Mansfield universities. In case you missed it, Click Here for the LHU news release for details.

For donors, friends and Lock Haven University alumni, Vice President of University Advancement Joe Fiochetta assured supporters that the foundations and alumni associations for each university will remain independent. Click Here for the LHU Advancement file for more.

While the integration process is slated to occur over the next few years, some pandemic-related funds will be used to support the process. The PASSHE board also last week laid the groundwork for spending $75 million in one-time funds the system will receive through the American Rescue Plan ($50 million) and the state employees retirement system ($25.1 million). The Pa. State System of Higher Ed. has $75M in one-time funds. Here's the preliminary spending plan | Pennsylvania Capital-Star (penncapital-star.com).

 - The personal protective equipment (PPE) stockpile currently being stored at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg will be moved to another site over the next few months, allowing the site to resume holding large events by mid-September. Read more: News Release (patreasury.gov).

- The PA Board of Game Commissioners will meet in-person this Friday and Saturday (July 23 and 24) for the first time in more than a year. During the height of the pandemic, the meetings were held virtually. More information here: BOARD OF GAME COMMISSIONERS TO MEET IN HARRISBURG (pa.gov).

Meanwhile, the Game Commission says the new system for using hunting licenses, has experienced slowdowns during peak sales periods. The Commission is working with the system vendor that operates the new HuntFishPA licensing system, hoping to find a solution that will speed up the sales process and improve system performance. See more: GAME COMMISSION ALERTS HUNTERS OF SLOWER-THAN-USUAL LICENSE FULFILLMENT (pa.gov).

- The PA Fish and Boat Commission will hold its quarterly business meeting next Monday, July 26, at the Commission’s Harrisburg headquarters. It will be an in-person meeting that will also be live-streamed. More here: PFBC QUARTERLY MEETING TO BE HELD ON JULY 26 (pa.gov).

- 25th District State Senator Cris Dush reports that legislation merging the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and the Board of Probation and Parole was recently signed into law. The new law transfers supervision of offenders and certain administrative functions from the Board to the Department, but preserves parole decision–making responsibilities within the Board. The merger is projected to save taxpayers $29.6 million through 2023 when fully implemented by eliminating redundant procedures and sharing of resources and personnel.

- The DOC today announced that four more facilities have finalized plans to resume in-person visitation, including the State Correctional Institution in Benner Township, Centre County. SCI Benner is slated to reopen to in-person visits July 29. The DOC last week announced that Rockview State Prison would resume in-person visitation beginning August 2. See more: In-Person Visitation to Resume at Coal Township, Benner Township, Pine Grove, Greene State Correctional Institutions (pa.gov).

7/13/21

- The Internal Revenue Service announced today it will issue another round of refunds this week to nearly 4 million taxpayers who overpaid their taxes on unemployment compensation received last year. More here: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-readies-nearly-4-million-refunds-for-unemployment-compensation-overpayments.

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry is reminding people receiving unemployment compensation benefits that the state’s work search requirements resumed as of Monday (yesterday). That means people must attest that they applied for two jobs and completed a “work search activity” like attending a job fair or posting a resume on a recruiting site, the week prior. Because claimants always file for benefits the week after they are unemployed, individuals will start certifying they looked for work beginning July 18. The requirement also applies to those in the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which expanded benefit eligibility to business owners, freelancers, and independent contractors. See more: Reminder: Work Search Requirements Resume Next Week (pa.gov).

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 334 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,214,654. Statewide, 256 people are hospitalized with the virus, 49 of whom are in intensive care. The statewide percent positivity for the week of July 2 through July 8 stood at 1.2 percent. More data here: Department of Health: Over 11.3 Million Vaccinations to Date, 61.3% of Pennsylvanians Age 18 and Older Fully Vaccinated.

- The PA Department of Corrections announced today that three additional facilities have finalized plans to reimplement in-person visitation, including SCI Rockview, which is slated to resume in-person visits August 2. On-site visits to DOC facilities were suspended on March 13, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. More here: In-Person Visitation to Resume at Mahanoy, Rockview, Huntingdon State Correctional Institutions (pa.gov).

- Members of Pennsylvania’s Environmental Quality Board (EQB) today voted to adopt the final-form rulemaking of the multistate CO2 budget trading program, also known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a regional CO2 Budget Trading Program. Pennsylvania’s participation in RGGI would establish a program to limit CO2 emissions from fossil fuel-fired electric power plants located in Pennsylvania. See more: Article Viewer (pa.gov).

- The PA State Police today announced that troopers confiscated more than $19.6 million worth of illegal drugs during the past three months. Read more: State Police Seizes More Than $19.6 Million in Illegal Drugs During the Second Quarter of 2021 (pa.gov).

Meanwhile, the State Police Monday announced two new community-based initiatives, the creation of an Office of Community Engagement, and the Community Access to Information Dashboard. More here: State Police Strengthens Community Engagement, Develops Public Dashboard (pa.gov).

- The PA Department of  Education this week announced that K-12 schools will have the option to continue offering free school meals during the 2021-22 school year. Learn more: Free School Meals to Continue in Upcoming School Year (pa.gov).

PDE and NextGenScience meanwhile today announced the launch of the Pennsylvania Science Education Leaders Network (PennSEL), a cohort of leadership teams representing 19 regions across the state with a goal of improving science learning for all students. Read more: Department of Education Announces Launch of Science Education Leadership Network.

- Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity today announced the PA 529 College and Career Savings Program (PA 529) had its best year ever in fiscal year 2020-21, adding 25,004 new accounts while bringing in more than $732 million in total contributions. These numbers are the largest in the nearly 30-year history of PA 529. Read more: News Release (patreasury.gov).

- From 12th District Congressman Fred Keller: 

  • All Department of Veterans Affairs facilities and clinics that administer COVID-19 vaccines are accepting walk-ins for eligible Veterans, spouses and caregivers. The VA encourages those who wish to get their COVID-19 vaccine without an appointment to check the walk-in hours and requirements at their local facility. Individuals taking advantage of walk-in vaccinations may need to wait for the vaccine to be prepared and will be screened when entering the facility. For more information about COVID-19 vaccinations at the VA, click here.
  • A Veteran ID Card (VIC) is a form of photo ID you can use to get discounts offered to Veterans at many restaurants, hotels, stores and other businesses. Find out if you’re eligible for a Veteran ID Card—and how to apply. VA Veteran ID Cards do not permit access to bases or commissaries. Learn more here.

- 76th State Representative Stephanie Borowicz this week announced that 20 volunteer fire and ambulance companies in Clinton County and another eight in Centre County qualified to receive approximately $328,612 from a grant program administered by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and Office of the State Fire Commissioner. Following is a list of grant awards for Clinton County emergency responders:

  • Avis Volunteer Fire Company, $11,876.
  • Beech Creek Blanchard Volunteer Fire Company, $12,589.
  • Beech Creek Blanchard Volunteer Fire Company, EMS, $8,993.
  • Castanea Volunteer Fire Company, $11,520.
  • Chapman Township Volunteer Fire Company No. 1, $11,520.
  • Citizens Hose Company No. 5, $14,550.
  • Citizens Hose Company of South Renovo, $11,520.
  • Dunnstown Fire Company, $12,411.
  • Goodwill Hose Company Ambulance Association, $8,993.
  • Goodwill Hose Company No. 3, $11,876.
  • Hand In Hand Hose Company, $13,659.
  • Haneyville Volunteer Fire Company, $11,520.
  • Hope Hose Company No. 2, $12,411.
  • Lamar Township Volunteer Fire Company, $12,504.
  • Lockhaven Emergency Medical Service, $8,993.
  • Nittany Valley Volunteer Fire Company, $11,876.
  • Renovo Fire Department Inc., $12,767.
  • Sugar Valley Community Volunteer Fire Company Inc., $11,520.
  • Wayne Township Volunteer Fire Company, $9,350.
  • Woolrich Volunteer Fire Company No. 1, $12,589.

All funding comes from proceeds from slot machine gaming.

- The U.S. Census Bureau by August 16 is set to release in-depth demographic statistics from the 2020 Census that will be used to redraw legislative voting districts. These follow the April 26 release of the first results from the 2020 Census, which showed that the total population was 331.4 million. The first release determined each state’s share of the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Read More

The August data release will provide the first look at the demographic characteristics of the nation by state, county and city, including:

  • Race and ethnicity
  • Voting-age population
  • Occupied and vacant housing units
  • People living in group quarters like nursing homes, prisons, military barracks and college dorms

For more about redistricting or redrawing political districts and/or a detailed demographic portrait of the nation’s population, Continue reading.

7/9/21

- PA Treasurer Stacy Garrity says the state has distributed more than $300 million of American Rescue Plan Act COVID funds to qualifying municipalities in the past two weeks, including some to Clinton County municipalities. Municipalities can use the funds to address negative economic impacts due to the pandemic, replace lost public sector revenue, support public health, assist essential works, and invest in infrastructure improvements such as water, sewer or broadband services. See more: News Release (patreasury.gov).

- The PA Department of Education this week provided information on a new law that permits parents, guardians, and students over the age of 18 to elect to have their children or themselves repeat their grade because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools and school districts will accept completed forms only through this coming Thursday, July 15. More here: Department of Education Provides Information on New Law That Allows Grade Level Retainment.

- Lock Haven University this week announced plans for a full return to the classroom for the upcoming fall semester but noted that some of the University’s COVID-19 modifications will remain in place. Click Here for the LHU news release for details.

Meanwhile, the State System of Higher Education has published a final version of proposed integration plans for six of the universities in the 14-university system. One of the proposals, called the Northeast Plan, would integrate Lock Haven, Bloomsburg, and Mansfield universities. The State System says the changes published Wednesday follow several weeks of public comment on the proposed integrations. The System Board of Governors is slated to act on the integration plans at their meeting next week. Click here to see highlights of revisions to the integration plan based on public input: https://www.passhe.edu/SystemRedesign/Documents/Guide%20to%20Plan%20Changes.pdf; and here for the Final Northeast Implementation Plan: https://www.passhe.edu/SystemRedesign/Documents/Northeast Plan 07.07.2021__CLEAN.pdf.

- The PA Department of Human Services today announced that all County Assistance Offices will resume in-person operations for clients this coming Monday, July 12. The Assistance Offices had been closed to in-person services throughout the pandemic. Read more: Department of Human Services to Reopen County Assistance Offices to the Public, Encourages Continued Use of Online Services.

- The Department of Human Services also announced that the Wolf Administration has reached an agreement with the Biden Administration that allows DHS to continue issuing about $150 million monthly in emergency food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to more than 1.8 million low-income Pennsylvanians. More information here: Wolf Administration Secures Agreement to Continue Issuing Emergency Food Assistance (pa.gov).

- As of early June, PPL Electric Utilities customers received more than $1 million in utility payments through the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program, representing 55 percent of the total utility assistance funds paid throughout the entire state. According to PPL Regional Affairs Director Tracie Witter, “PPL Electric Utilities is the front runner in the state as we help our customers utilize this new program. Our success is attributed to proactively embracing the program, strategic partnerships with the 29 counties throughout our service territory and our effective communications strategy.”

Witter notes that in Clinton County, 35 customers were assisted for a total of $30,759.

ERAP assistance continues to be available to both landlords and tenants. The Clinton County Housing Coalition is the agency accepting applications, determining eligibility, and making program payments on behalf of the County Commissioners. The ERAP program is to remain in effect until December 31, or until funds are exhausted. Click here for a link to the ERAP online application.

- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week said it is monitoring multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19, including four in the United States that seem to spread more easily than others. So far, studies suggest that current authorized vaccines work on these variants. The CDC is encouraging everyone ages 12 and older to get a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible. More Information.

- UPMC this week offered information on the COVID-19 Delta variant in their “Health Beat” newsletter. Click Here for the UPMC file for more.

- The U.S. Small Business Administration this week released updated Restaurant Revitalization Fund data for individual states. Pennsylvania ranked 6th in total applications submitted, with 9,944 applications requesting nearly $2.5 billion in relief. The SBA approved 3,530 applications in Pennsylvania (or about 35% of submitted applications), totaling just under $950 million in aid. View the complete report here.

The SBA officially announced the closure of the RRF portal on July 14. According to the PA Restaurant & Lodging Association, the only way to get more funds into the RRF is for Congress to allocate additional funding.

- Recently, the IRS issued its "dirty dozen" list for 2021 with a warning for taxpayers, tax professionals, and financial institutions to be on the lookout for 12 schemes and scams. IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said scam artists continue to use the pandemic to steal money and information from honest taxpayers in a time of crisis.

Non-COVID Items of Note: 

- The Ben Franklin $50,000 Big Idea Contest – hosted by the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central & Northern PA - is looking for tech entrepreneurs or small manufacturers who are developing innovative, new products, processes, or software applications. Businesses in Clinton County are in the Ben Franklin coverage area. The deadline to submit your big idea is August 23. Learn More!

- SEDA-COG continues to encourage contractors to take advantage of project opportunities through their housing rehabilitation program. Click Here for the SEDA-COG news release for more information.

- The PPL Foundation this week announced the awarding of more than $450,000 in grants to 115 nonprofit organizations. Funds will be used to inspire students to explore career opportunities, facilitate community conversations on diversity and inclusion, encourage environmental conservation in the next generation and more. A complete list of grant recipients is available online.

PPL Foundation’s next grant cycle, which awards grants focused on major new initiatives and expansions of programs that align with the foundation’s focus areas, will begin in August. Applications for grants ranging from $25,000 to $100,000 will be accepted Aug. 1 through Sept. 15. Read the full news release here: PPL Newsroom - News Releases (mediaroom.com)

- The PA Department of Agriculture is calling for proposals for projects designed to increase consumer awareness of Pennsylvania agriculture products and increase sales and exports. The department will award up to $303,000 in matching funds to PA nonprofits to reimburse up to 50 percent of costs for promotional and educational projects. See more: Secretary of Agriculture: $300,000 Available to Promote Pennsylvania Agriculture Sales, Export Markets (pa.gov).

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry today announced it is taking steps to correct overcharges for some Unemployment Compensation fault overpayments during the years 2006 through 2016. L&I said 65 percent of those affected are owed less than five dollars, and 80 percent are owed less than $50. See more: L&I: Interest Refunds Coming for Certain Claimants (pa.gov).

- The PA Department of Corrections this week announced the creation of a specialized unit at nearby Rockview State Correctional Institution that is designed to serve the needs of incarcerated individuals diagnosed with dementia and other memory loss diseases. Learn more: Department of Corrections to Launch Innovative Neuro-Cognitive CARE Unit at SCI Rockview.

- The Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board will hold a meeting on Tuesday, July 13, to consider the final form rulemaking for Pennsylvania to take part in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The 9:00 a.m. meeting will be streamed at pacast.com/live/dep. More here: Article Viewer (pa.gov).

- The PA State Police this week announced second-quarter 2021 firearms purchase statistics. The April through June 2021 activity was not record-breaking, unlike the previous three quarters. More here:  https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/PA-State-Police-Details.aspx?newsid=710.

- PennDOT is alerting regional drivers to traffic impacts that are expected to begin Wednesday, July 14, along Route 64 from Zion to Hublersburg in Centre County as paving work occurs throughout July. Drivers should plan for short to moderate travel delays. See more: News Details (penndot.gov).

7/6/21

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed a four-day total (July 3-6) of an additional 547 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,213, 135. Across Pennsylvania, there are 293 people hospitalized with the virus, 53 of whom are in intensive care. The current COVID-19 positive case count for Clinton County is 3,717; 16,930 in Centre; and 11,970 positive cases to date in Lycoming County. There have been 67 deaths attributed to the virus in Clinton County, 228 in Centre and 296 in Lycoming County.

To date, vaccine providers have administered 11,759,994 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, 6,760,882 of which are first/single doses and 4,999,112 of which are second/full doses. According to the data, 2,669 people in Clinton County have received a partial dose, while 12,892 are fully vaccinated. In Centre, 10,296 are partially vaccinated and 76,753 are fully vaccinated. And in Lycoming County, 8,231 people are partially vaccinated while 45,154 are fully vaccinated.

The Health Department continues to urge Pennsylvanians to follow CDC guidance for wearing a mask where required by law, rule and regulations, including healthcare, local business and workplace guidance. They also encourage people who have not yet been vaccinated to wear a mask in public. Read more: Department of Health: Over 11.7 Million Vaccinations to Date, 63.0% of Entire Population Received First Dose, 60.5% of Pennsylvanians Age 18 and Older Fully Vaccinated, PA Ranks 9th Among 50 States for First Dose Vaccinations.

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

  • If you received a Paycheck Protection Program loan, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness. Follow the four steps below.
  1. Contact your lender and complete the correct form
  2. Compile documentation
  3. Submit the forgiveness form and documentation to your lender
  4. Communicate with your lender throughout the process    (Learn more)
  • Small business owners who are finding it hard to fill job openings may be eligible to petition the government for help. There are still 6,000 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services H-2B visas for people from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador who are exempt from the returning worker requirement. The supplemental visas address the needs of U.S. employers at risk of permanent and severe financial loss and supports the Biden-Harris Administration goal to expand legal pathways for hard-working individuals. Interested qualified businesses can petition for these visas before July 8, 2021. Learn more
  • The American Rescue Plan extends a number of critical tax benefits, particularly the Employee Retention Credit and Paid Leave Credit, to small businesses. Learn more
  • The SBA continues to accept applications for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant. To submit an application, visit sba.gov/svogrant.
  • For women in business: Tune in to SBA’s upcoming webinars and learn how to get certified for the Women-Owned Small Business federal contracting program, what to do after you're certified and more. Learn more
  • The SBA has extended the application date for the Community Navigator Pilot Program from July 12 to July 23, 2021, and anticipates making award decisions by September 2021. Established by the American Rescue Plan, the community navigator approach is designed reach the nation’s smallest businesses, with a priority focus on those owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, as well as women and veterans. Learn more
  • The SBA and Public Private Strategies Institute are hosting several webinars through August to help businesses get back on track. The next webinar is this Thursday, July 8 at 2:00 p.m. As part of the webinar, participants will: hear about what steps to take now to learn and take advantage of new and existing programs that are available at the SBA; get an update regarding programs and recent policy announcements made by the Biden-Harris Administration; have questions answered by SBA Leadership and small business experts; learn how to become a vaccine leader in your community; and discover tools and resources you can use to take your business digital Register

 - A reminder that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has postponed the enforcement date for REAL ID, extending the current deadline of October 1 of this year, to May 3, 2023. The department cited the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in extending the deadline. Learn more at PennDOT.gov/REALID. Read More

- 25th District State Senator Cris Dush holds Open Houses at his Brookville District Office tomorrow, Wednesday, July 7, from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. and at his Wellsboro District Office on Thursday, July 8, from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. Contact information for those offices is:

Brookville Office                               Wellsboro Office
73 South White Street, Suite 5           5 Main Street
Brookville, PA 15825                         Wellsboro, PA 16901
814-646-7272                                     570-724-5231

 The Senator will also host a Virtual Town Hall next Tuesday, July 13, at 5:30 p.m. People can access the event via live audio stream at https://senatorcrisdushpa.com/access-live/ or join in via Facebook Live at www.facebook.com/SenatorCrisDushPA. Sign Up Here.

- The Small Business Development Center at Penn State hosts a number of upcoming webinars on topics ranging from: the first steps to small business success, QuickBooks Online, Crisis Management with 360º Planning, and more. Click the following link to see All Upcoming SBDC Events.

- The PA State Police today announced enforcement statistics from the just-ended, four-day Fourth of July holiday weekend, including 503 arrests for driving under the influence, 8,935 speeding citations, and the investigation of 680 crashes which resulted in the death of nine people and injuries to 195 others. See more: State Police Announces Independence Day Holiday Enforcement Results (pa.gov).

- The PA Game Commission today said this coming Monday, July 12 is the first day for Pennsylvania hunters to apply for a doe license. Nonresidents can submit their first antlerless application a week later, beginning July 19. The Commission noted a slight fee increase (not in the license fee, but in the fee for a the vendor that operates the state’s licensing system) means the doe licenses now cost $6.97 for residents and $26.97 for nonresidents (an increase of .09 cents). The Commission said the change is an important one to remember, as checks or money orders written for an improper amount will result in the application being rejected. Details here: WHAT HUNTERS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT 2021-22 ANTLERLESS DEER LICENSES (pa.gov).

7/2/21

- Clinton County’s jobless picture continued to show improvement based on monthly information released this week by the PA Department of Labor and Industry. The county’s May unemployment rate was 5.8%, down from the 6.9% reading in April. A year ago, near the beginning of the pandemic, the county’s May jobless rate was 12.2%. Clinton ranked no. 24 out of the Commonwealth’s 67 counties with its 5.8% reading. Centre County was no. 11 at 4.8%. Chester and Montour counties tied for first at 3.9%. Philadelphia County was last at 8.9%. The state unemployment rate checked in at 6.9% and the United States was 5.8% for May.

“These numbers indicate some signs of a return to normalcy,” said Clinton County Economic Partnership President Mike Flanagan. “But we know that many of our businesses, including the service sector, are struggling for employees and that continues to be a major issue. We still have an estimated 1,000 people out of work, which is almost the number we were at prior to the pandemic in March 2020.”

- From the U.S. Department of Labor: In June 2021, the nation’s unemployment rate was 5.9% and 850,000 jobs were added to the economy, including 343,000 jobs in leisure and hospitality. The economy is growing faster than at any time in 40 years. Read the Bureau of Labor Statistics report and Read Secretary Walsh's statement.

Meanwhile, in the week ending June 26, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 364,000, a decrease of 51,000 from the previous week's revised level. This is the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020 when it was 256,000. The previous week's level was revised up by 4,000 from 411,000 to 415,000. The 4-week moving average was 392,750, a decrease of 6,000 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since March 14, 2020 when it was 225,500. The previous week's average was revised up by 1,000 from 397,750 to 398,750. Read the full news release.

- The U.S. Department of Labor this week also announced the funding availability of approximately $43 million in grants to help reemploy dislocated workers most affected by the economic and employment fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. See more: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/eta/eta20210629.

- The U.S. Small Business Administration will officially shut down the RRF portal on July 14 (the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, funded through the American Rescue Plan), unless Congress replenishes the fund (a possibility looking increasingly unlikely, according to the PA Restaurant & Lodging Association). The SBA will hold onto all applications if additional dollars are allocated to the fund. In a letter to RRF applicants, the SBA said it was able to provide grants to 105,000 restaurant operators before depleting the $28.6 billion fund. However, another 265,000 applicants were left disappointed. 

- Tourism and hospitality operations across the country are feeling the crunch from labor shortages, and many are turning to teenagers (Generation Z) to help fill their openings. Check out these tips on what zoomers are looking for in a job.

- The PA Department of Community and Economic Development this week announced that due to an extension granted by the U.S. Department of Treasury, local governments still have time to request their portion of federal Local Fiscal Recovery funding provided by the American Rescue Plan Act. DCED Secretary Dennis Davin said, “This federal funding can be used to help support COVID-19 response efforts, replace lost revenue, and support economic stabilization for businesses and households. As our communities plan for long-term economic recovery, it’s important that every municipality utilizes the resources available to them.” More here: Wolf Administration: Not Too Late for Local Governments to Request American Rescue Plan Local Funding Allocations - PA Department of Community & Economic Development.

- Pennsylvania ended the 2020-21 fiscal year on June 30 with $40.4 billion in General Fund Collections, about 9.3 percent above estimate, according to the Department of Revenue. Read more: Revenue Department Releases Fiscal Year 2020-21 Collections.

- PA Governor Tom Wolf this week signed the state’s new $40.8 billion budget. Read more: https://www.pennlive.com/news/2021/06/pa-gov-tom-wolf-signs-408-billion-budget-with-more-money-for-public-schools.html?e=1a2598713c24f3b9b618fcff2a4a0f97&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Newsletter_coronavirus%202021-07-01&utm_term=Newsletter_coronavirus.

- Governor Wolf says the new budget makes an historic investment in the PA State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). He announced distribution of the first $50 million of a $200 million three-year commitment for all PASSHE schools, which include Lock Haven University. The Governor said PASSHE is also working with system faculty and staff unions to use a portion of the state’s investment to support its workforce, including extending the time faculty at any of the 14 universities who are facing “role elimination” have to work to find alternatives to their retrenchment. There is also an effort being made to ensure no functions are outsourced that would impact current AFSCME employees within the state system. Learn more: Wolf Administration Announces Historic Investment in PASSHE.

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 304 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,212,561. Statewide, there are 310 people hospitalized with the virus, 59 of whom are in intensive care. The Health Department said vaccine providers have administered 11,711,557 total vaccine doses as of today, July 2, with 6,738,627 of those being single/first doses and 4,972,930 being second/full doses. More data here: Department of Health: Over 11.7 Million Vaccinations to Date, 62.9% of Entire Population Received First Dose, 60.3% of Pennsylvanians Age 18 and Older Fully Vaccinated, PA Ranks 9th Among 50 States for First Dose Vaccinations.

- More than one million Pennsylvanians have missed their second coronavirus shots, a no-show rate among the nation’s highest and a gap that could prove critical as the country braces for the spread of the newer, more transmissible Delta variant, according to a report this week in the Philadelphia Inquirer. By June’s end, 70% of Pennsylvania adults should have been fully vaccinated. Instead, the state had only reached 60%, meaning many who got their first doses in May skipped the second shots. With both doses likely needed to protect against the Delta variant — a single shot is only about 33% effective against Delta, one study found — getting the second shot has become more urgent than ever. Yet the share of Pennsylvanians not completing their immunizations has been rising over the last two months, reaching nearly 17% this week, according to an Inquirer analysis of CDC vaccination data. The reasons so many are skipping or delaying second shots are unclear — particularly since Pennsylvanians have done better than many in other states at showing up for their first shots. And understanding why could prove difficult: The Pennsylvania Department of Health is not tracking missed second doses, meaning state officials don’t know who skipped the shots or what demographic groups they belong to, information that could be critical for addressing the problem. Read More (Source: Philadelphia Inquirer)

- Employee vaccinations have been a widely discussed and contested issue regarding the return to the physical workplace. If you’re requiring the vaccine for your staff, here’s how to discuss and promote your policy without potentially alienating any employees: Communicating about vaccine requirements. Source: U.S. Chamber of Commerce

- Governor Wolf Thursday vetoed Senate Bill 618, which would have prohibited local, county, and state offices, as well as public schools and publicly funded universities from requiring Pennsylvanians to prove that they’ve been vaccinated. Details here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-vetoes-anti-vaccination-legislation/.

- Starting on Tuesday, July 6, it’s back to the office for some state government employees who have been working from home throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Read More (Source: Harrisburg Patriot-News)

- The PA Department of Agriculture is seeking projects that strengthen the state’s competitiveness of horticultural specialty crops and combat food system shortfalls associated with COVID-19. Proposals are due July 30. Details here: Department of Agriculture: $1.4 Million Available to Strengthen Specialty Crop Market, Combat COVID-19 Food System Impacts.

- The Ag Department is also calling for research proposals on issues critical to sustaining and growing the state’s $132.5 billion agriculture industry. A total of $1.29 million is available to support eligible projects. More here: Agriculture Secretary Calls for Innovative Research to Grow Pennsylvania Ag Industry (pa.gov).

- Natural gas production in Pennsylvania increased while new well drilling decreased in 2020, according to the 2020 Oil and Gas Annual Report released today by the PA Department of Environmental Protection. See more: Article Viewer (pa.gov).

- In addition to being Independence Day, this Sunday, July 4, is “Fish-for-Free Day” in Pennsylvania, a day when people of any age can fish on waterways without a license (all other fishing regulations still apply). Read more: SUNDAY, JULY 4 IS A "FISH-FOR-FREE DAY" IN PENNSYLVANIA! (pa.gov).

- The PA Fish & Boat Commission says it will enhance boating under the influence enforcement over the July 4th Holiday Weekend. More information here: "OPERATION DRY WATER" ENHANCED BOATING UNDER THE INFLUENCE ENFORCEMENT SET FOR 4TH OF JULY WEEKEND (pa.gov).

- The PA Game Commission announced that completing the National Rifle Association’s free hunter-education online course will satisfy the prerequisite for obtaining a hunter or furtaker license in the state, giving prospective hunters who need to become certified before getting their license yet another option to do so. The NRA course will be offered free of charge in addition to the in-person and online courses currently offered by the Game Commission. In-person courses are now back up and running after a year of being available on a limited basis during the pandemic. People can find course information on the Commission’s hunter-education page at www.pgc.pa.gov.

- 25th District State Senator Cris Dush will host a Virtual Town Hall on Tuesday, July 13, at 5:30 p.m. People can access the event via live audio stream at https://senatorcrisdushpa.com/access-live/ or join in via Facebook Live at www.facebook.com/SenatorCrisDushPA. Sign Up Here.

Senator Dush is also holding Open Houses at his Brookville District Office on Wednesday, July 7, from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. and at his Wellsboro District Office on Thursday, July 8, from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. Contact information for those offices is:

Brookville Office                               Wellsboro Office
73 South White Street, Suite 5           5 Main Street
Brookville, PA 15825                         Wellsboro, PA 16901
814-646-7272                                      570-724-5231
FAX: 814-646-7275                            FAX: 570-723-5119

 

- Penn State Extension is offering 25 percent off enrollment in over 75 online courses, but only if you enroll before July 6. View the online course catalog and register for courses here: VIEW COURSES

- The PA Department of Banking will host and participate in a number of virtual presentations during July to promote financial capability. Find out more – including presentation topics – here: July 2021 Consumer Financial Protection Virtual Events Announced (pa.gov).

6/29/21

- Cases of COVID-19 continue to decline across the state as well as locally. Governor Tom Wolf and Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam today issued the weekly status update on Pennsylvania’s mitigation efforts based on the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System dashboard, highlighting a seven-day case increase of 995 (389 fewer new cases across the state over the past week compared to the previous week) and a statewide percent positivity of 1.2%, down slightly from 1.4% percent last week. Clinton County this week has a percent positivity of 1.6%, down from 1.9% a week ago. The percent positivity rate for Centre County also declined, from 1.7% last week to 0.7% this week, and Lycoming County’s percent positivity is 2.8% this week compared to 3.0% last week. In all, 65 of the state’s 67 counties have a positivity rate lower than 5 percent, and there are no counties reporting over a 10 percent positivity rate. 

Clinton and Centre counties continue to be among the 55 counties in what the state considers a “low” level of community transmission. Twelve counties – including Lycoming – are in the “moderate” level, and no counties are in the “substantial” level of community transmission – the second consecutive week without any counties in the substantial range. 

The Governor said 75 percent of Pennsylvanians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. As of early Monday, the Health Department said 59.8% of Pennsylvanians 18 or older are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and 75.2% have received at least a first dose. The mask-wearing order tied to the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer in effect (as of Monday), but businesses are permitted to require masks should be so choose. 

With the continued decline in cases, the state said today’s update is the last that will be issued via a news release, although the COVID dashboard will continue to be updated every Friday. More information here: Pennsylvania COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard Update for June 18 – June 24 (pa.gov).

- The Health Department today reported 162 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,211,869. Statewide, there are 341 people hospitalized with the virus, 57 of whom are in intensive care. Across the state, vaccine providers have administered 11,635,434 total vaccine doses, 6,704,974 of which are first/single doses and 4,930,460 of which are second/full doses. More data here: Department of Health: Over 11.6 Million Vaccinations to Date, 62.6% of Entire Population Received First Dose, 60% of Pennsylvanians Age 18 and Older Fully Vaccinated, PA Ranks 7th Among 50 States for First Dose Vaccinations.

- Updates from the PA Chamber:

  • Ahead of the June 30 Constitutional deadline, the General Assembly and Wolf administration reached agreement on a $39.78 billion budget for the 2021-22 Fiscal Year. The final budget does not impose any new or additional tax increases on employers. -> Read More.
  • Among the numerous policies included in budget-related legislation passed last week was a one-sentence provision that has significant implications for many Pennsylvania employers. -> Read More. 
  • In the rush to finalize the state budget, legislation that would have provided restaurants with more flexibility and revenue options failed to get to the governor’s desk.  House Bill 1154would have allowed restaurants to continue selling cocktails-to-go and utilizing outdoor space. -> Read More. (Update: It’s being reported today that State Senator Scott Martin of Lancaster County has sent a letter to Senate leadership urging it to call senators into session (before a rule permitting them to vote remotely expires on June 30) to consider the cocktails-to-go legislation. There has been no formal response as of yet to that request).

- From the U.S. Census Bureau….Based on responses collected June 14 through June 20, the Small Business Pulse Survey estimates that:

  •  22.7% of U.S. small businesses have experienced little or no effect from the coronavirus pandemic. For responses collected 5/24/20 – 5/30/20, this statistic was 11.4%
  • 13.2% of U.S. small businesses experienced an increase in operating revenues in the last week. For responses collected 6/7 – 6/13, this statistic was 12.1%
  • 35.8% of U.S. small businesses believe they will need to identify and hire new employees in the next 6 months
  • 61.8% of U.S. Manufacturing Small Businesses experienced domestic supplier delays in the last week. The national average for this statistic was 36.7%
  • 39.1% of U.S. Wholesale Trade Small Businesses experienced foreign supplier delays in the last week.  For responses collected 6/7 – 6/13, this statistic was 40.2%
  • The Operational Challenges Index, which assesses the overall effect of the pandemic on business operations increased to -0.09, indicating fewer challenges
  • 5.9% of U.S. Small Businesses have experienced a large negative effect from the coronavirus pandemic. For responses collected 5/17/20 – 5/23/20, this statistic was 45.0%

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry today said jobs in public safety and emergency response are in high demand. More here: L&I Highlights Fast-Growing Careers in Public Safety and Emergency Response During Tour of HACC’s Senator John J. Shumaker Public Safety Center (pa.gov).

- The Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department released information today detailing how many people in each state received the third round of Economic Impact Payments through early June. The new details, available on IRS.gov, are through June 3 and provide a look at the number of payments by state, income category, filing status and other features. Read more: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-treasury-release-state-by-state-data-on-third-round-of-economic-impact-payments.

- Treasury and the IRS today also issued guidance for taxpayers developing renewable energy projects to address delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic. More here: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/treasury-irs-extend-safe-harbor-for-renewable-energy-projects.

- According to UPMC’s latest COVID Update today, more than 140 million Americans are now fully vaccinated, with UPMC having distributed more than 595,000 doses of vaccine to-date. For those wanting to schedule a vaccine appointment, visit Vaccine.UPMC.com. To schedule an appointment for a child between the ages of 12 and 17, call 844-UPMCVAC (844-876-2822) between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., 7 days a week. Click Here for the UPMC file for the full newsletter.

- The PA Department of Education today announced the availability of the Emergency Connectivity Fund, a program that will help eligible schools and libraries close the digital divide and homework gap. Learn more: Department of Education Encourages Schools and Libraries to Apply for Federal Assistance to Help Close the Digital Divide.

- PennDOT today announced that the application site for the 2021 Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside of the Federal Highway Administration’s Surface Block Grant Program is now open, and applications will be accepted through October 15. Some $18 million is available statewide for eligible projects. See more: Article (penndot.gov).

- PennDOT also announced today that work to place a new box culvert along Marsh Creek Road in Centre County will begin next Thursday, July 8. The box culvert will replace a large cross pipe on an unnamed tributary of Marsh Creek on Route 1002 (Marsh Creek Road) northwest of Howard. Work is expected to last through August 6. Beginning July 8, the road will be closed at the work site and a detour will be in place using Route SR1001(Howard Divide Road), Route 150 (Bald Eagle Valley Road), Route 4007 (Moose Run Road), and Route 1002 (Marsh Creek Road). This detour will be used for the duration of the project, which is a joint effort between Centre County PennDOT Maintenance and Nestlerode Contracting, Inc. of Lock Haven. PennDOT will perform excavation, removal of the pipe, and back-filling. The contractor will set the new box culvert, pave the roadway approaches and install guide rail. 

- In advance of the upcoming holiday, PennDOT today said all driver license and photo centers will be closed Saturday, July 3, through Monday, July 5, in observance of Independence Day. People can still obtain a variety of driver and vehicle products and services, including all forms, publications and driver training manuals, online through PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services website, www.dmv.pa.gov.

- The PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources today announced the opening of an ATV Regional Trail Connector pilot program in neighboring Potter and Tioga counties that will provide opportunities for riding enthusiasts to travel on more miles of roadways opened to ATVs. Read more: DCNR Set to Open ATV Regional Trail Connector Pilot Area July 16 (pa.gov).

6/25/21

- The PA Department of Health today announced that the order requiring universal face coverings will be lifted statewide this coming Monday, June 28. Read more: Department of Health Lifting Universal Masking Order on June 28, Urging Pennsylvanians to Follow Mask-Wearing Guidance Where Required.

While the mask mandate in Pennsylvania ends on Monday, the Centers for Disease Control, Occupational Safety & Health Administration, and other federal agencies still require a mask for unvaccinated individuals. The Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association is among those groups suggesting businesses consider having unvaccinated employees continue to wear a mask until the federal guidance changes.

- A reminder that Lock Haven University, in collaboration with UPMC and Clinton County Government will host a free COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Monday, June 28, from 12:00 noon – 4:00 p.m. The drive-thru clinic – open to anyone age 12 and older – will be held at the LHU Student Recreation Center parking lot, 550 Railroad Street, Lock Haven. No registration is required.

- The Health Department today confirmed an additional 258 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,211,299. There are 380 people hospitalized with the virus, 75 of whom are in intensive care. To date, vaccine providers have administered 11,555,953 total vaccine doses, 6,672,317 of which are first/single doses, and 4,883,636 of which are second/full doses. More data here: Department of Health: Over 11.5 Million Vaccinations to Date, 62.2% of Entire Population Received First Dose, 59.4% of Pennsylvanians Age 18 and Older Fully Vaccinated, PA Ranks 8th Among 50 States for First Dose Vaccinations.

- The PA Senate this week confirmed the nominations of Jennifer Berrier as Secretary for the Department of Labor & Industry, and Noe Ortega has the state’s Education Secretary. Both had been nominated by Governor Tom Wolf. Berrier had been the acting Labor & Industry secretary since December 4, when her predecessor Jerry Oleksiak resigned. While senators voiced concerns about the delays and problems their constituents encountered in applying for unemployment compensation benefits during the height of the pandemic, the Senate Labor & Industry Committee voted to support Berrier’s nomination with a favorable recommendation. Ortega had been serving as acting education secretary since October 1 when his predecessor Pedro Rivera resigned to become president of Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in Lancaster. Ortega’s nomination, however, was advanced out of the Senate Education Committee with no recommendation, as some on the committee were critical of the department’s COVID-19 mitigation guidance to school districts and what they called a lack of communication with them about it.

- The Governor this week announced the resignations of his Chief of Staff Mike Brunelle and Budget Secretary Jen Swails, both of whom have accepted jobs in the private sector. Elena Cross, Deputy Chief of Staff to the governor (who hails from State College and attended Penn State), assumes the role of Chief of Staff effective June 26. Gregory Thall, Special Advisor to the Budget Secretary, will assume the role of Budget Secretary on July 31. Read more: Governor Wolf Announces Staffing Changes (pa.gov).

- In the week ending June 19, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims was 411,000, a decrease of 7,000 from the previous week's revised level, according to information released by the U.S. Department of Labor. More here: News Release (dol.gov).

- The U.S. Department of Labor this week announced funding opportunities for more than $21 million in Occupational Safety and Health Administration training grants for non-profit organizations. Details here: US Department of Labor announces availability of more than $21M in grants for training on workplace hazards, infectious diseases | U.S. Department of Labor (dol.gov).

- 12th District Congressman Fred Keller will host a Telephone Town Hall on Monday, June 28 at 7:30 p.m. He is inviting constituents to dial-in at 866-641-6837 or listen in live at keller.house.gov/live.

- Businesses interested in exploring the state’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program have an opportunity to support Keystone Central School District students via the Keystone Central Foundation. The EITC provides companies with a 75% tax credit for donations to nonprofit educational improvement organizations, such as the Keystone Central Foundation. For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 570-660-1306.

- PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Dunn – who was in Clinton County this afternoon – said the crush of people using state parks and other public spaces during the pandemic is a trend that continues today. Dunn joined the Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy, Clinton County Commissioners, Clinton County Tourist Promotion Agency and others in a dedication ceremony at the Phelps Mill Canoe Launch along Pine Creek (known as the Avis canoe launch), which is now overseen by the Tiadaghton State Forestry Office. A $4,300 Clinton County Tourism/Recreation Grant was among the funding that helped establish what had previously been private property into a public canoe/kayak launch. Read more: DCNR Joins Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy to Dedicate Canoe Launch at Pine Creek in Tiadaghton State Forest (pa.gov).

- The Wolf Administration this week recognized the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of State Parks staff for ongoing efforts to keep Pennsylvania’s 121 parks open and safe for visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic, and for finding new ways to engage the public through virtual programming. Read more: Profiles in Service: DCNR Staff Recognized for Keeping State Parks Accessible, Safe for Visitors During Pandemic.

- The PA Department of Health this week commended Pennsylvania skilled nursing facilities (nursing homes) for their ongoing efforts to report information on the vaccination status of residents and staff. Because more than 90 percent of the nursing homes in the state are reporting vaccination status data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Healthcare Safety Network system, the state this week lifted its order for vaccine data reporting. Read more: Department of Health: PA Nursing Homes Providing Prompt Information on Vaccination Status of Residents and Staff, Vaccine Needs Assessment Survey Order Lifted Today.

- The PA Department of Human Services has announced the start of distribution of $224 million in federally funded food assistance to low-income Pennsylvania families of about 223,000 young children. The funding is designed to help eligible families cover the cost of breakfasts and lunches their children might have otherwise received in child care or school settings that were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More here: Department of Human Services Announces Distribution of $224 Million in Food Assistance for Families with Young Children.

- The PA Fish & Boat Commission today held a graduation ceremony in Bellefonte for the six members of the 23rd Class of Waterways Conservation Officers. The officers begin their duties next week. See more: NEW WATERWAYS CONSERVATION OFFICERS GRADUATE, PREPARE TO REPORT TO REGIONS FOR DUTY.

- Governor Wolf announced that, for the first time ever, Pennsylvania was named one of the best employers in the nation for new graduates in a survey conducted by Forbes and market research company Statista. Learn more: Gov. Wolf: Forbes Survey Ranks Commonwealth of PA Among the Best Employers for New Grads.

- Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Patrick McDonnell announced yesterday that 1,000 Level 2 electric vehicle chargers have been installed statewide with funding from the DEP Driving PA Forward program. See more: DEP Celebrates 1,000 Electric Vehicle Chargers Installed Statewide with ‘Driving PA Forward’ Funding.

- A section of Main Street in Lock Haven is again closed to vehicle traffic through Saturday (June 26) at 10:00 p.m. for the downtown Pedestrian Mall, which allows restaurants and retailers to bring their business out onto the sidewalks and street. This weekend also marks the start of the City of Lock Haven’s 2021 Free Summer Outdoor Concert Series. The popular Lindy Sisters trio perform from the Main & Grove Streets stage Friday evening from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., and American Idol star Aaron Kelly will be the first this season to perform on the floating stage at the Corman Amphitheater Saturday evening from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. Also on Saturday, Downtown Lock Haven, Inc. hosts the annual Best of Clinton County summer festival along Main Street, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The day includes a street festival, street bingo, and a 1:00 p.m. parade up Main Street. Saturday also marks the conclusion of a successful 35th Sentimental Journey to Cub Haven Fly-In at the Piper Memorial Airport and Castanea Fire Company Picnic Grounds.

6/22/21

- Cases of COVID-19 continue to decline statewide, and Clinton County today saw a much improved percent positivity rate compared to a week ago. The state today provided its weekly update, noting a seven-day case increase of 1,370 cases (858 fewer new cases across the state compared to the previous week), and a percent positivity at 1.4%, compared to last week’s 1.9%. According to the data from the state’s COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System dashboard, Clinton County this week has a percent positivity of 1.9%, compared to 8.2% a week ago and 4.6% two weeks ago. The percent positivity rates for Centre and Lycoming counties saw little change: Centre this week was at 1.7% compared to 1.6% last week and 1.8% two weeks ago, and Lycoming County this week has a percent positivity of 3.0% compared to 2.8% last week and 4.9% the week before that. In all, 64 of the state’s 67 counties have a positivity rate lower than 5 percent, and there are no counties reporting over 20 percent positivity rate.

Governor Tom Wolf said no counties have what the state considers “substantial” transmission status this week. Clinton is among 37 counties in the “low” level of community transmission, while Centre and Lycoming counties are among 30 counties listed in the “moderate” level of transmission. See more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/pennsylvania-covid-19-early-warning-monitoring-dashboard-update-for-june-11-june-17/.

- The PA Health Department today confirmed an additional 177 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,210,646. Clinton County’s current case count stands at 3,711, Centre at 16,907, and Lycoming at 11,948. Statewide, 406 people are hospitalized with the virus, 93 of whom are in intensive care. To date, vaccine providers have administered 11,456,968 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in Pennsylvania, 6,628,924 of which are first/single doses and 4,828,044 of which are second/full doses. More information here: Department of Health: Over 11.4 Million Vaccinations to Date, 61.9% of Entire Population Received First Dose, 59% of Pennsylvanians Age 18 and Older Fully Vaccinated, PA Ranks 8th Among 50 States for First Dose Vaccinations.

- Area residents have two opportunities to receive a COVID-19 vaccination this Friday, June 25 or Monday, June 28. Lock Haven University, in collaboration with UPMC and Clinton County Government will host the vaccination clinics from 12:00 noon – 4:00 p.m. both days. The clinics are drive-thru, they are free and are open to anyone age 12 and older. They will be held at the LHU Student Recreation Center parking lot, 550 Railroad Street, Lock Haven. No registration is required.

- The 35th Sentimental Journey to Cub Haven Fly-In is back after a year off because of the pandemic. The tribute to the area’s Piper Aviation heritage got underway this morning at Piper Memorial Airport and the Castanea Fire Company Picnic Grounds. On Wednesday, June 23, Sentimental Journey and the Piper Aviation Museum co-host a Partnership “Time Out.” More than 100 people are expected to participate in the networking event, which begins at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Piper Museum. Following a museum tour, Time Out participants are then invited to the Fly-In for food and drink and a chance to walk the flight line and mingle. The Fly-In runs through Saturday. 

- STEP, Inc. has announced its Centers for Health Aging (senior centers) are reopening, with limited hours, beginning tomorrow, June 23. The local Centers, which include the Clinton County Community Center in Lock Haven, the Mill Hall Center at the Mill Hall Fire Company, the Renovo Area Center at the South Renovo Fire Company, and the Jersey Shore Center at Tiadaghton Gardens, will be open Tuesdays through Fridays initially, as they work to fully reopen starting July 6. Between now and July 6, the Mill Hall Center will be open 9:00 a.m.-noon Tuesdays through Fridays, while the other centers will be open from Noon-3:00 p.m. For more information, visit www.stepcorp.org.

- Lock Haven University hosts the first of five in-person new student orientation sessions on campus this Friday, June 25, as the university prepares for a full return to in-person classes when the fall semester begins in August. For more, visit www.lockhaven.edu/admissions. 

- As part of a collaboration with other schools, businesses and workforce development organizations, Keystone Central School District Career & Technology Center this week announced it plans to enhance its Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machinist pre-apprenticeship offering. Click Here for the KCSD news release for details.

- Penn State Extension is offering 25% off enrollment in over 75 online courses if you enroll between now and July 6. VIEW COURSES

- The PA Department of Agriculture and several partners today provided an update on the state of spotted lanternfly in Pennsylvania and the path to beating this invasive species. While no sightings of this pest have been reported in Clinton County, neighboring Cameron County recently was added to the state’s quarantine area. Read more: Managing Spotted Lanternfly in Pennsylvania: A Collective Responsibility, an Opportunity to Capitalize on for PA Businesses.

- PennDOT, along with Geisinger Jersey Shore Hospital, West Branch Drug & Alcohol Abuse Commission and several other partners this week announced a statewide Independence Day impaired driving enforcement campaign that runs through July 4. Learn more: Details (penndot.gov).

6/18/21

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry today released its employment situation report for May. The state’s unemployment rate was down two-tenths of a percentage point over the month, to 6.9% in May. (6.6 percentage points below the unemployment level in May of last year). The U.S. unemployment rate fell three-tenths of a percentage point from April, to 5.8% in May. See more: Pennsylvania’s Unemployment Rate Down To 6.9 Percent in May (pa.gov).

- From the U.S. Department of Labor….in the week ending June 12, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims was 412,000, an increase of 37,000 from the previous week's revised level. The 4-week moving average was 395,000, a decrease of 8,000 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since March 14, 2020 when it was 225,500. Read the full news release.

- The PA Department of Health is not issuing a COVID-19 update today as state agencies are closed in observance of Juneteenth. On Thursday, the Health Department confirmed an additional 277 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,209,725. The data noted 465 people hospitalized with the virus, 114 of whom are in intensive care. As of Thursday, vaccine providers had administered 11,330,117 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, 6,758,049 of which were first/single doses and 4,752,068 of which were second/full doses.

Meanwhile, the Health Department announced the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard is now updated to better reflect the race and ethnicity of Pennsylvanians receiving the vaccine. Read more: Department of Health Updates Vaccine Dashboard to Better Reflect Race, Ethnicity Data in 66 Counties.

- The Health Department shared its monthly update on Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing data. See more here: Department of Health Offers Monthly Update On COVID-19 Investigations, Contact Tracing, Monitoring Efforts.

- Attention restaurants/PLCB-licensed establishments: With the end of the pandemic emergency declaration, so ends the cocktails to-go and expanded premises outdoor seating. According to the PA Restaurant & Lodging Association, if you applied for the temporary expanded premises outdoor seating last year (which meant you didn't pay a fee or get inspected) and you wish to continue, you can apply for a permanent extension at PLCB+. Log in, click on "Other License Changes/Amendments" and select "Extension of Premise" from the drop-down menu. There is a $220 fee and an inspection will be required if you pursue this option. Once you apply and pay the fee, you can continue operating while you wait for inspection and final approval. 

- The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy has announced the availability of a Customizable COVID-19 Vaccine Communication Toolkit for Rural Communities. This toolkit from the FORHP-supported National Rural Health Resource Center helps rural community- and faith-based organizations, businesses, public health, schools, and health care organizations with internal and external COVID-19 vaccine communication materials. Organizations have easy access to customizable communication templates that include print ads, poster, brochure, social media posts, and an online resource guide. 

- The U.S. Department of Labor today announced funding opportunities for more than $21 million in Occupational Safety and Health Administration training grants for non-profit organizations. The first availability will provide $10 million under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021for Workplace Safety and Health Training on Infectious Diseases, including the Coronavirus grants. More here: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/osha/osha20210617.

- The PA Insurance Commission has announced a new program that will encourage the insurance industry to deliver innovative new insurance solutions and products. The Commission says Keystone Smart Launch will help to reduce barriers and speed up the regulatory process so Pennsylvania can offer cutting-edge services to its consumers and industry professionals. More here: Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Announces New Program to Support Innovative Insurance Products (pa.gov).

- The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released a new publicly available digital map that displays key indicators of broadband needs across the country. This is the first interactive, public map that allows users to explore different datasets about where people do not have quality Internet access. See more: NTIA Creates First Interactive Map to Help Public See the Digital Divide Across the Country | U.S. Department of Commerce.

- Clinton County welcomes two national-level events to the area over the next several days: 

  • The Durty Dabbers Motorcycle Club hosts the 2021 PA National Series American Motorcyclists Association-National Observed Trials Championship – AMA-NATC MotoTrials – this weekend in Farrandsville, featuring some of the top riders from across the country. Trials get underway from the Farrandsville Community Park at 9:00 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday, June 19 and 20.
  • The Short Wing Piper Club is hosting its national convention in Lock Haven June 21-25. The event is being held – for the first time – in conjunction with the annual Sentimental Journey to Cub Haven Fly-In June 22-26 at the Castanea Fire Company Picnic Grounds and Piper Memorial Airport.

- Effective Monday, June 21, PennDOT will post a 10-ton Gross Weight limit on a section of Route 1010 – the Jacksonville Road – in Centre County. The weight restriction will be on the section of road from the intersection of State Route 26, in Marion Township, to the Centre/Clinton County line, also in Marion Township. Questions concerning the use of this section of Route 1010 should be addressed to the Department of Transportation Clearfield District Office at (814) 765-0495. 

6/15/21

- Cases of COVID-19 continue to drop statewide, but Clinton County has seen an uptick. The state today provided its weekly COVID-19 statistics report, indicating a seven-day case increase of 2,044 (1,006 fewer cases across the state compared to the previous week) and a statewide percent positivity of 1.9%, compared to 2.9% a week ago. Clinton County’s percent positivity currently stands at 8.2%, a jump from the 4.6% last week and 4.0% the week before that. Centre County’s rate stands at 1.6%, down from 1.8% last week and 3.9% two weeks ago. And Lycoming County currently has a positivity rate of 2.8%, also down from 4.9% last week and 6.0% two weeks ago.

With the increase in positivity rate, Clinton this week moved back into the “moderate” level of community transmission, according to the state (it had been in the “low” level last week). Centre and Lycoming counties continue in the moderate level as well, along with 41 other counties. Only one county, neighboring Potter County, now has what the state terms a “substantial” level of community transmission. In all, 22 counties are now in the low level of transmission, and 44 are in the moderate level. More here: Pennsylvania COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard Update for June 4 – June 10 (pa.gov).

- The PA Health Department today confirmed an additional 453 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,209, 136. There are 512 people hospitalized with the virus, 130 of whom are in intensive care. To date, the state says 11,244,192 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, 6,546,417 of which are first/single doses and 4,697,775 of which are second/full doses. More data here: Department of Health: Over 11.2 Million Vaccinations to Date, 60.9% of Entire Population Received First Dose, 57.5% of Pennsylvanians Age 18 and Older Fully Vaccinated, PA Ranks 9th Among 50 States for First Dose Vaccinations.

- If you haven’t been vaccinated: Lock Haven University, in collaboration with UPMC and Clinton County Government will host two COVID-19 vaccination clinics this month that are free and open to anyone age 12 and older. The drive-thru clinics will be held June 25 and again on June 28 at the LHU Student Recreation Center parking lot, 550 Railroad Street, Lock Haven, from Noon to 4:00 p.m. both days. No registration is required.

- Acting Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson today discussed COVID-19 treatments and vaccine available to Pennsylvanians. Learn more: Department of Health Provides Information on Available COVID-19 Treatments and Vaccines for Pennsylvanians.

- The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released a resource guide to help rural community leaders start and expand employment opportunities and access resources for training, recruiting, and creating a sustainable rural workforce. Click here to download the guide: https://www.rd.usda.gov/sites/default/files/060721-ic-ruralworkforceguide-final508.pdf.

- As Pennsylvania continues to ease pandemic guidelines, Governor Wolf today urged the state Senate to pass legislation allowing the pandemic-driven “cocktails-to-go” measure to remain in place. Read more: Gov. Wolf Urges Senate to Keep Cocktails-to-Go in Place (pa.gov).

- The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission and the State Historical Records Advisory Board are now accepting applications for the Historical & Archival Records Care grant program. Funding is available to historical records repositories, such as: historical societies; libraries; universities; local governments; and school districts for collections care, including surveying; inventorying; preserving; arranging; and describing historical records significant to Pennsylvania, as well as for records reformatting and equipment. The application deadline is August 2. More information here: PHMC and Historical Records Advisory Board Announce Grant Opportunity for Archival Records (pa.gov).

- PA Auditor General Timothy DeFoor today released audits showing the City of Chester owes its pension plans more than $34 million in back payments, while reminding municipalities across Pennsylvania facing similar situations that federal COVID relief funds cannot be used for that purpose. See more: Pennsylvania Department of the Auditor General -Auditor General DeFoor: Audits Show City of Chester Owes More than $34 Million to its Pension Plans; Municipalities Warned Against Using Federal ARP Aid for Past Pension Debts (paauditor.gov).

- The PA Department of Military and Veterans Affairs today warned veterans of people trying to poach their pension, saying Pension Poaching is a financial scam targeting veterans, survivors, and their families who are potentially eligible for VA benefits. Learn more: DMVA Warns Veterans Should be Aware of Pension Poaching Scams (pa.gov).

- PennDOT announced that all driver license and photo centers will be closed this Friday, June 18, in observance of Juneteenth. Customers can still obtain a variety of driver and vehicle products and services online through the Driver & Vehicle Services website, www.dmv.pa.gov. More here: Article (penndot.gov).

- 12th District Congressman Fred Keller’s Washington, D.C. office is currently accepting fall student internship applications. The deadline to submit applications is June 30, 2021. Visit Congressman Keller’s website to learn how to apply: https://keller.house.gov/services/internships.

- Upcoming Webinars: 

  • For employers looking for training support: A virtual employer workshop, Training Funds: WEDnetPA, will be held tomorrow, June 16 at 10:00 a.m. The one-hour, no-cost session is hosted by PA CareerLink, the Lock Haven University Office of Workforce Development, and the Workforce & Economic Development Network. Click Here for the PA CareerLink flyer for details, or contact Dorie Gilmore at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • The SBA hosts a free Government Contracting Workshop on Wednesday, June 16, at 10:00 a.m. The session offers a general overview of what it takes to enter and succeed in the federal marketplace. CLICK AND REGISTER
  • The SCORE Central PA Chapter hosts a free webinar, 21st Century Customer Service, on Thursday, June 17, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Register Now!

6/11/21

- For the first time in 15 months, Pennsylvania is no longer operating under a COVID-19 emergency declaration. Using its newly expanded emergency powers, the state Legislature this week voted to end Governor Tom Wolf’s pandemic disaster declaration. See more: Pa. General Assembly votes to terminate Wolf's COVID-19 emergency declaration | Pennsylvania Capital-Star (penncapital-star.com)

Meanwhile, Governor Wolf today signed legislation that extends the most critical components of the COVID-19 disaster declaration emergency. More here: Gov. Wolf Signs Bills Extending COVID-19 Emergency Regulation Suspensions, Expanding Family Caregiver Supports.

- The PA Health Department today confirmed an additional 380 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,207,875. There are 630 people hospitalized with the virus, 159 of whom are in intensive care. The Health Department reports the state has administered 11,106,526 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, 6,498,244 of which are first/single doses and 4,608,282 of which are second/full doses. More data here: Department of Health: Over 11.1 Million Vaccinations to Date, 60.1% of Entire Population Received First Dose, 56.6% of Pennsylvanians Age 18 and Older Fully Vaccinated, PA Ranks 9th Among 50 States for First Dose Vaccinations.

- Lock Haven University, in collaboration with UPMC and Clinton County Government will host two COVID-19 vaccination clinics later this month that will be free and open to anyone age 12 and older. The drive-thru clinics will be held June 25 and again on June 28 at the LHU Student Recreation Center parking lot, 550 Railroad Street, Lock Haven, from Noon to 4:00 p.m. both days. No registration is required.

- The Wolf Administration and the United Way of Pennsylvania today launched the Local Innovations in Vaccine Equity in Pennsylvania project (LIVE PA) to administer $4 million in mini-grants to local organizations aimed to reduce vaccine hesitancy and ensure an equitable vaccine distribution throughout the state. Learn more: Wolf Administration Partners with United Way of Pennsylvania to Offer Local Grant Opportunities to Reduce Vaccine Hesitancy.

- The Internal Revenue Service today posted two new, separate sets of frequently-asked-questions (FAQs), one to assist small and mid-sized employers in claiming sick and family leave credits, and the other to assist families in claiming child and dependent care tax credits under the American Rescue Plan. Details here: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/new-faqs-available-to-aid-families-and-small-business-under-the-american-rescue-plan.

- The federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration this week issued both an emergency temporary standard to protect healthcare workers from contracting COVID-19, as well as updated guidance for all industries to protect workers who are still not vaccinated. Read more: US Department of Labor’s OSHA issues emergency temporary standard to protect health care workers from the coronavirus (govdelivery.com) and Read the new general industry COVID-19 guidance.

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry today said more than 247,000 people have successfully filed claims on the state’s new Unemployment Compensation system since it was launched on Tuesday, and nearly $115 million in payments have been issued by L&I for those claims. More here: More Than 247,000 Individuals Have Successfully Filed for Benefits Since Launch of New UC System (pa.gov).

As part of the new system, L&I Thursday announced that the new version of the Pennsylvania Teleclaims system (PAT), which allows individuals to file for unemployment benefits by phone, is now online. Details here: L&I Announces Filing for UC Benefits by Phone Now Available (pa.gov).

- According to the U.S. Department of Labor, unemployment claims in the U.S. this past week dropped for the sixth week in a row. In the week ending June 5, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial UC claims was 376,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 385,000. This is the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020 when it was 256,000. Read the full news release.

- From the PA Restaurant & Lodging Association….The restaurant industry added 186,000 jobs in May, according to recently released federal data. One out of every three jobs the economy added in May was in the restaurant industry, according to U.S. Department of Labor data. However, the industry remains 1.5 million workers short of its pre-pandemic highs. 

- A section of Main Street in downtown Lock Haven is open to foot traffic only this weekend, the first downtown “pedestrian mall” of June. Main Street between Jay and Vesper is closed to vehicle traffic from 3:00 p.m. Friday until 10:00 p.m. Saturday, allowing restaurants and retailers to bring their business outside onto the street and sidewalks. The popular pedestrian mall concept was established during the height of the pandemic last summer. This year, street closings will occur the second and fourth weekends during June, July and August, and every weekend during September. Downtown Lock Haven, Inc. oversees the pedestrian mall initiative.

- Some interesting small business statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau:  Based on responses collected May 31 through June 6, the Small Business Pulse Survey estimates that:

  • 10.1% of U.S. small businesses experienced a decrease in the total number of hours worked by paid employees in the last week. For responses collected 5/10/20 – 5/16/20, this statistic was 36.6%
  • 32.1% of U.S. small businesses believe that more than 6 months will pass before their business is back to normal. For responses collected 5/24 – 5/30, this statistic was 33.0%
  • 11.1% of U.S. small businesses experienced production delays at their business in the last week. For responses collected 5/24 – 5/30, this statistic was 12.0%
  • 11.8% of U.S. Accommodation and Food Services small businesses received financial assistance from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund since December 27, 2020
  • 61.4% of U.S. Manufacturing small businesses experienced domestic supplier delays in the last week. The national average for this statistic was 36.3%

 - The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency this week approved nearly $45 million in grants to be used for creating, rehabilitating and supporting affordable housing initiatives in communities across the state. The grants will cover 223 projects impacting all 67 Pennsylvania counties, including 13 regional and five statewide awards. Read more: Pennsylvania Treasury, Stacy Garrity - State Treasurer (patreasury.gov).

- Pennsylvania has extended the deadline for older and disabled Pennsylvanians to apply for rebates on rent and property taxes paid in 2020. The Revenue Department today said the June 30 deadline has been extended until December 31, 2021. More here: Application Deadline Extended to Dec. 31, 2021 for Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program (pa.gov).

- The PA State Police this week announced that troopers made 18,412 driving under the influence arrests in 2020, a 17 percent decrease from the total number of DUI arrests in 2019. More information here: State Police Releases 2020 DUI Arrest Totals (pa.gov).

- The Center for Rural Pennsylvania this week released new research on Suicide Trends and Prevention in rural Pennsylvania counties and schools. The study examined overall trends in suicide across Pennsylvania’s 67 counties from 1990 to 2018, and surveyed counties and school districts to learn more about suicide prevention programs currently being used. Some key findings were: suicide rates in PA increased substantially from 1999 to 218; in 2018, the suicide rate in rural counties was 25 percent higher than in urban counties; and that higher number of handgun sales per 1,000 residents, lower levels of education, lower incomes, larger populations over age 65, and higher levels of unemployment correlated with higher county suicide rates. View the study results here: Suicide Trends and Prevention in Rural Pennsylvania Counties and Schools.

- The PA Game Commission has announced that hunting and furtaker licenses for 2021-22 will go on sale this coming Monday, June 14. The new license year begins July 1. More here: HUNTING LICENSES TO GO ON SALE JUNE 14 (pa.gov).

- Upcoming Webinars:

  • A virtual employer workshop, Training Funds: WEDnetPA, is scheduled for Wednesday, June 16 at 10:00 a.m. The one-hour, no-cost session is hosted by PA CareerLink, the Lock Haven University Office of Workforce Development, and the Workforce & Economic Development Network. Click Here for the PA CareerLink flyer for details, or contact Dorie Gilmore at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • Established, for-profit small businesses hoping to grow through partnering and subcontracting opportunities with large corporations are invited to participate in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Virtual Contracting Conference, Tuesday, June 15, at 10:00 a.m. Register Today!
  • The SBA hosts a free Government Contracting Workshop on Wednesday, June 16, at 10:00 a.m. The session offers a general overview of what it takes to enter and succeed in the federal marketplace. CLICK AND REGISTER
  • The SCORE Central PA Chapter hosts a free webinar, 21st Century Customer Service, on Thursday, June 17, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Register Now!

6/8/21

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry today announced that the state’s new unemployment benefits system is now online and accepting claims at benefits.uc.pa.gov. Read more: New Unemployment System Now Online (pa.gov).

- Two COVID-related local grant programs come to a close over the next week and we encourage businesses to take advantage of these local opportunities: 

  • This Friday, June 11 at 5:00 p.m., is the deadline for small businesses in Clinton County to apply for grant funds from the COVID-Community Development Block Grant program. The county still has about $81,000 available through this program and businesses throughout Clinton County can apply (businesses located in the City of Lock Haven are not eligible, as the city receives separate CDBG funding). If you have COVID-related losses that have not been covered by other grants or loans, we encourage you to apply for this locally-administered grant program. Click here for the program guidelines and FAQ. Click here to register and apply. Note: Make sure you have received verification that your online application has been submitted. People having difficulty with the online application can contact Kari Kepler at the County Planning Department at 570-893-4080, ext. 2. Interested businesses can also pick up a paper application at the Planning Department in the County Piper Building, 2 Piper Way, Lock Haven. 
  • The final phase of the County’s COVID Hospitality Industry Relief Program (CHIRP) – a grant program offering pandemic-related support to local restaurants, hotels, bars and the like – is slated to close as of next Tuesday, June 15. SEDA-COG is administering the program for the County and will accept applications until June 15. Those with questions should contact SEDA-COG Grants Manager Betsy Lockwood at 570-522-7265 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To apply, go to: https://csgiving.org/chirp/.
  • The Clinton County Housing Coalition continues to accept applications for funding through the federal pandemic-related Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). The County received $2.5 million in funding that may be used to support both landlords and tenants to cover rental arrears up to 12 months; prospective rent payments up to three months; utility and home energy arrears; and some other housing related expenses. The Housing Coalition is accepting applications, determining eligibility, and making program payments on behalf of the County. The program will remain in effect until December 31, 2022 or until the funding is exhausted. Click herefor the ERAP Frequently Asked Questions, and Click here for a link to the ERAP online application.

- The statewide COVID statistics continue to improve. Governor Tom Wolf and Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam today released the weekly COVID status update based on the state’s COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System dashboard, highlighting a seven-day case increase of 2,899 (2,108 fewer cases across the state over the past week than compared to the previous week), and a statewide percent-positivity of 2.9% compared to 3.8% last week. Clinton County’s percent positivity was up this week, at 4.6% compared to 4.0% last week but better than 5.8% the week before. Centre County’s rate dropped to 1.8% this week compared to 3.9% last week and 3.7% the week before that. Lycoming County this week has a percent-positivity of 4.9%, a drop from 6.0% last week but higher than the 3.7% reported two weeks ago.

Clinton County this week moved into the “low” level of community transmission along with 12 other counties, while Centre and Lycoming continue to be among 53 counties listed as having “moderate” levels of community transmission. Only McKean county is listed as being in the “substantial” transmission range this week. More information here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/pennsylvania-covid-19-early-warning-monitoring-dashboard-update-for-may-28-june-3/.

- Meanwhile, the Health Department today reported an additional 450 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,206,439. There are 754 people hospitalized with the virus, 173 of whom are in intensive care. Regarding vaccine distribution, as of June 7, vaccine providers have administered 10,925,445 doses, 6,416,126 of which are first/single doses and 4,509,317 of which are second/full doses. More data here: Department of Health: Over 10.9 Million Vaccinations to Date, 59.6% of Entire Population Received First Dose, 55.9% of Pennsylvanians Age 18 and Older Fully Vaccinated, PA Ranks 9th Among 50 States for First Dose Vaccinations.

- The PA Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) and the Health Department announced that the Regional Vaccination Clinic at Penn State’s Bryce Jordan Center will be open every day through June 14 for its final week of operations. Center hours are noon to 8:00 p.m. weekdays and 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, June 12 and 13. Vaccines will be available on a walk-in basis – no appointment is needed, and the clinic is open to anyone regardless of county of residence. Read more: Regional Vaccination Clinic in Centre County Open Daily for Final Week of Operations (pa.gov).

- The Wolf Administration today outlined guidance to keep families safe while children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. More here: Wolf Administration Outlines Guidance for Children Not Yet Eligible to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine and their Families (pa.gov).

- UPMC today issued a COVID-19 update, offering thoughts on the pandemic’s impact on mental health, the vaccine and children, and more. Click Here for the UPMC Update for details.

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

  • Eligible small businesses, nonprofits, sole proprietors and independent contractors can still apply for a COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan through the U.S. Small Business Administration. Learn more about EIDL, the Targeted EIDL Advance and Supplemental Targeted Advance: Learn more.
  • SBA is currently accepting applications for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant. To submit an application, visit sba.gov/svogrant. 
  • The American Rescue Plan extends a number of critical tax benefits, particularly the Employee Retention Credit and Paid Leave Credit, to small businesses. Learn more.
  • SBA and Public Private Strategies Institute are hosting several webinars from June to August to help businesses get back on track:

- Hear about what steps you can take now to learn and take advantage of new and existing programs that are available at the SBA

- Get an update regarding programs and recent policy announcements made by the Biden-Harris Administration

- Have your questions answered by SBA Leadership and small business experts

- Learn how you can become a vaccine leader in your community

- Discover tools and resources you can use to take your business digital

These sessions are open to any small business owner and leader. They are divided geographically by SBA regions and feature guest speakers from the corresponding areas. However, the majority of the information pertains to a national audience, so people register for a webinar outside their location. Register.

  • SBA's new Community Navigator Pilot Program will help connect underserved small businesses with critical resources they need through trusted organizations in their communities. Learn more.

- The Internal Revenue Service has started sending letters to more than 36 million American families who, based on tax returns filed with the agency, may be eligible to receive monthly Child Tax Credit payments starting in July. The expanded and newly-advanceable Child Tax Credit was authorized by March enactment of the American Rescue Plan Act. Read more: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-sending-letters-to-more-than-36-million-families-who-may-qualify-for-monthly-child-tax-credits-payments-start-july-15.

- PennDOT is alerting area drivers that a 10-ton Gross Weight limit will be posted soon on a section of Route 1010, the Jacksonville Road, in Centre County. Effective Monday, June 21, PennDOT will place the weight restriction on Route 1010 from the intersection of Route 26, in Marion Township, to the Centre/Clinton County line, also in Marion Township. Read more: News Details (penndot.gov).

- The PA State System of Higher Education's plan to integrate six state-owned universities into two universities will be the subject of public hearings scheduled for this Thursday and Friday, June 9 and 10. The West Plan (which involves the merger of California, Clarion and Edinboro universities), will be discussed during Thursday 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Zoom sessions, while the public hearings surrounding the Northeast Plan, (Lock Haven, Bloomsburg and Mansfield universities), are slated for 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Friday, June 10. The Zoom link for all four sessions is https://passhe.zoom.us/j/98944636652#success. The public also can view the hearings live through the PASSHE channel on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/statesystem. Public comment can also be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.​​ or sent via U.S. mail to University Integrations Public Comment, Dixon University Center, 2986 N. Second St., Harrisburg, PA 17110. The public comment period is open until June 30.

6/4/21

We offer Congratulations and Best Wishes as more of our local students receive their diplomas this weekend. Bucktail High School graduation is tonight at 7:00, and Central Mountain seniors graduate tomorrow at 11:00 a.m.. Both are outdoor ceremonies, with people needing a ticket to attend. Sugar Valley Rural Charter School graduation ceremonies are scheduled for Wednesday, June 9, and Jersey Shore seniors will graduate next Saturday, June 12.

- Keystone Central School District is reporting no active cases of COVID-19 among staff or students – the first “zero” case report in some time. In her weekly update this afternoon, Superintendent Dr. Jacquelyn Martin said the community spread data within School District territory continues to be in the moderate range. Dr. Martin also congratulated soon-to-graduate seniors, and noted that this will be her final weekly update for the 2021 school year, saying, “I am sure we will all be happy to put this one in the rearview mirror as the pandemic related challenges were extraordinary. I am so proud of our staff and students for their efforts and cooperation in keeping our schools open and as safe as possible.” The last day of school for KCSD students is Tuesday, June 8. Click Here for the KCSD Update for the full report.

- The Clinton County Commissioners have extended the deadline for small businesses in Clinton County to apply for grant funds from the COVID-Community Development Block Grant program. The Commissioners said Thursday that the June 4 application deadline is extended another week, until June 11. The county still has about $81,000 available through this program. Businesses throughout Clinton County can apply, except those located within the City of Lock Haven (the city receives separate CDBG funding). If you have COVID-related losses that have not been covered by other grants or loans, we encourage you to apply for this locally-administered grant program. Following are more details and a link to the online application:

  • CLINTON COUNTY CDBG-CV CASH GRANTS TO SMALL BUSINESSES - The purpose of this grant program is to promote re-hiring, retaining existing jobs, and further stabilizing local businesses of all types. The County has $81,000 remaining in this program, which is funded by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to support local businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic. All businesses with fewer than 100 employees and less than $1,000,000 in annual gross revenue may apply. If you have already been awarded CDBG Covid-Relief funds, or relief funds from any other source, you may still be eligible for this grant if your total losses are higher than the funding received. Program closes on June 11 at 5:00 pm. Click here for the program guidelines and FAQ. Click here to register and apply.

People having difficulty with the online application can pick up a paper application at the Clinton County Planning Department in the County Piper Building, 2 Piper Way, Lock Haven. For questions, contact the Planning Office at 570-893-4080.

- After $800 billion in loans, the federal Paycheck Protection Program, PPP comes to an end. The program stopped accepting applications on Monday but is still processing requests in hand.

- While the deadline to apply for a PPP has passed, there are other loan and grant opportunities. From the U.S. Chamber…. This guide outlines small business loans and alternative funding options, while this one lists more than 30 grants, loans and programs. And, the U.S. Small Business Association offers these seven SBA loan programs, which you may qualify for, as well.

- A couple of other good resources from the U.S. Chamber…. 

  • Check out the COVID-19 vaccine resource centerfor information, tools and templates your business can use during the current phase of the pandemic response, including vaccine messaging that works and state-by-state vaccine guidance.
  • Setting prices for your services is a delicate dance that can determine the success of your business. Price them too high and you’ll get pushback from clients. Price them too low and you’ll curb your cash flow. These four stepswill help you pinpoint the right price for your expertise and services.

- The Restaurant Revitalization Fund continues to be a topic of discussion. More than 360,000 businesses requested $75 billion in funding from the program. The PA Restaurant & Lodging Association and National Restaurant Association are urging policymakers in Washington to replenish the fund.

- The PA Department of Community and Economic Development this week announced that counties, metropolitan cities, and local governments are now able to request their portion of federal Local Fiscal Recovery funding provided by the American Rescue Plan. See more: Wolf Administration: Counties, Cities, Local Governments Should Request American Rescue Plan Local Funding Allocations - PA Department of Community & Economic Development.

- The Internal Revenue Service today said it is sending more than 2.8 million refunds this week to taxpayers who paid taxes on unemployment compensation that new legislation now excludes as income. Read more: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-sending-more-than-2-point-8-million-refunds-to-those-who-already-paid-taxes-on-2020-unemployment-compensation.

- Clinton County Economic Partnership President Mike Flanagan today provided an update on the local employment picture: Initial unemployment claims by Clinton County residents rose during the week ending May 29, but continued claims dropped during the same time period, according to information released Friday by the state Department of Labor & Industry. The initial claims increased from 26 to 66. Of the new claims, 60% were male and 20% were in the construction field. The continued unemployment insurance claims fell 34 to 526 as of May 29. The new figure included 53% who were male, and 18% in manufacturing. Another nine county residents had their unemployment insurance expire during the one week time frame, bringing the total to 501 for 2021.               

The state released April monthly unemployment rates for all 67 counties earlier this week. Clinton County checked in at 6.8%, down from 7.1% in March. Clinton County’s highest unemployment rate during the pandemic was 16.6% in April 2020.

- U.S. employers added 559,000 new jobs in May, and the unemployment rate declined to 5.8% (down from 6.1% in April), the first time the unemployment rate dropped below 6% since the pandemic started. The number of long-term unemployed dropped by 431,000, the biggest monthly decline since 2011. Read more: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/osec/osec20210604. You can also Read the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, and Read Secretary Walsh’s statement.

- The Independent Fiscal Office today issued a new monthly publication that tracks Pennsylvania's labor market. The latest payroll jobs data show that Pennsylvania employment gains have stagnated. 

- Pa.'s unemployment compensation system is currently down. The system went off-line Wednesday night and is expected to be down through Monday, June 7, as the state prepares to roll out its new UC system.

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 703 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,204,802. There are 900 people hospitalized with the virus, 212 of whom are in intensive care. The state reported that vaccine providers have administered 10,763,516 total vaccine doses as of Thursday, 6,350,034 of which are first/single doses and 4,413,482 of which are second/full doses. More information here: Department of Health: Over 10.7 Million Vaccinations to Date, 58.7% of Entire Population Received First Dose, 54.7% of Pennsylvanians Age 18 and Older Fully Vaccinated, PA Ranks 9th Among 50 States for First Dose Vaccinations.

- UPMC today issued a COVID-19 update, highlighting, among other things, the health care system’s efforts to offer COVID-19 vaccinations at this Saturday’s Williamsport Crosscutters baseball game. Click Here for the UPMC COVID Update for more. 

Non-COVID Items of Interest: 

- As part of an executive order to address Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl substances in drinking water, the Wolf Administration today released the complete and final list of results of samples collected from public water systems. The state says the results do not indicate widespread PFAS contamination. Read more: Article Viewer (pa.gov).

- Governor Wolf reminded nongovernmental entities to apply for funding for projects that facilitate the deployment of high-speed broadband service infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas of the state through the Unserved High-Speed Broadband Funding Program. More here: Wolf Administration Reminds Pennsylvanians: $5 Million in Funding Now Available for Broadband Projects (pa.gov).

- Beginning around 9:00 p.m. Sunday, June 6, the PA Treasury’s unclaimed property website will be temporarily unavailable as upgrades are made. The site is scheduled to be back online by June 9. See more: Pennsylvania Treasury, Stacy Garrity - State Treasurer (patreasury.gov).

- Education and outreach staff from the PA Department of Banking and Securities will host and participate in a number of virtual presentations during June to promote financial capability. See more here: June 2021 Consumer Financial Protection Virtual Events Announced (pa.gov). 

Upcoming Webinars: 

  • The PA Restaurant & Lodging Association hosts a June 8 webinar, Covid-19 Vaccinations & Employees: Navigating the Legal ChallengesREGISTER 
  • PRLA also hosts a June 9, 11:00 a.m. webinar on, The impact of PA's new salary threshold, presented by Post & Schell. REGISTER
  • A virtual employer workshop, Training Funds: WEDnetPA, is scheduled for June 16 at 10:00 a.m. The one-hour, no-cost session is hosted by PA CareerLink, the Lock Haven University Office of Workforce Development, and the Workforce & Economic Development Network. Click Here for the PA CareerLink flyer for details, or contact Dorie Gilmore at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

   • The U.S. Small Business Administration presents a virtual “Boots to Business Reboot” entrepreneurship training program for veterans, National Guard and Reserve, and military spouses, June 17 and 18, from 8:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. both days. This no-cost workshop will introduce participants to the skills, knowledge and resources needed to launch a business. REGISTER HERE

  • Advance Central PA hosts a June 25, 9:00 a.m.-Noon webinar, Recovery Friendly Workforce Training, to help businesses understand the science and legal aspects of hiring individuals in recovery from a substance use disorder. Click Here for the flyer for more information and to register.

6/1/21

- Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 restrictions on businesses and gatherings (with the exception of masking) ended yesterday, Memorial Day. Businesses can now operate at full capacity and there are no state-imposed limits on gatherings, including sporting events. The state’s mask order remains in effect, but state officials have said they plan to lift the mask order on June 28 or when 70 percent of the state’s adults are fully vaccinated, whichever comes first. More information here: Wolf Administration: Pennsylvania Businesses, Events, Venues Return to 100% Capacity on Memorial Day; Masking Order Remains Until 70% of Adults Fully Vaccinated or June 28.

- Clinton County’s monthly unemployment scene continued to show slight improvement, according to information released Tuesday by the state Department of Labor & Industry. The April unemployment rate for Clinton County was 6.8%, down from 7.1% in March. The county’s unemployment rate was 16.0% in April 2020, which was the high point during the pandemic. The state estimated that 1,200 county residents were jobless during April, which was the same number as March. A year ago, 2,800 people were estimated to be unemployed. Clinton’s 6.8% for April ranked no. 36 among the Commonwealth’s 67 counties. Montour County had the lowest unemployment rate at 4.1% and Philadelphia County was the highest at 9.9%.

The weekly initial and continued unemployment claims in Clinton County during the month of May were steady or slightly decreasing. For the week ending May 22, 40 people filed for initial unemployment insurance, one of the lowest weekly numbers since the pandemic began. The continued claims were in the 550 to 600 range for May. Almost 500 county residents have had jobless benefits expire during the first five months of 2021.

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry is reminding Unemployment Compensation (UC) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) claimants to file for weekly benefits before 9:00 p.m. tomorrow, June 2, to ensure their claim is processed prior to the system being taken offline on Thursday, June 3. The system will be offline to allow for the conversion to a new, modern and, according to the state, more efficient UC system. The transition actually began Sunday, and the new system is expected to go “live” next Tuesday, June 8. More here: Reminder: Unemployment Compensation Claimants Should File By 9 PM Wednesday Before System is Offline (pa.gov).

- According to 25th District State Senator Cris Dush, the major upgrade to the new UC system will require changes in the way claimants file for benefits. In the Senator’s weekly newsletter, he said: It is critical for claimants to understand the timeline and new process to file for benefits to avoid any interruption in payments. The Unemployment Compensation system will be offline from May 30 through June 7 to allow data to be moved from the old system to the new one. No new claims will be processed during this time, and some services will not be accessible during this time. Beginning on June 8, claimants must file for benefits and initial claims at www.benefits.uc.pa.gov following the same schedule as before. There will no longer be paper forms available; claimants will be required to create a Keystone ID to log into the new UC system. Claimants will still be able to file by phone starting June 10. More information is available on the Department of Labor and Industry’s FAQ page.

- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce hosts a Workforce: A Call to Action Summit tomorrow, June 2, at 3:00 p.m. Part of the Chamber's newly announced America Works Initiative, this special event will bring together leaders from government and industry to discuss how – together – we can close the people-jobs gap, unleash economic opportunity, and fuel America's long-term competitiveness. Click here to register today.

- The PA Chamber last week highlighted the negative impact a workforce shortage is having on the state’s economic recovery. -> Read More

Meanwhile, starting on July 11, the state Department of Labor & Industry will no longer waive the work search requirement for individuals receiving unemployment compensation benefits. The PA Chamber says reestablishing the work search requirement sooner would be better. -> Read More

- Several regulatory reform bills that fall under the umbrella of the PA Chamber’s ‘Bringing PA Back’ policy recommendations have been approved by the Pennsylvania Senate and now await further consideration in the state House. -> Read More

- Governor Tom Wolf and Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam today released a weekly COVID-19 status update based on the state’s Early Warning Monitoring System dashboard, highlighting a seven-day case increase of 4,811 (2,429 fewer new cases across the state compared to the previous week), and a statewide percent positivity of 3.8%, down from 4.5% last week. Clinton County’s percent positivity also continues to drop; currently, it’s at 4.0% compared to 5.8% last week and 6.0% the week before that. Centre County saw a slight increase – to 3.9% this week compared to 3.7% last week. Lycoming County saw a larger increase this week – their percent positivity currently is at 6.0% compared to 3.7% last week. All three counties continue to be in what the state considers a “moderate” level of community transmission, along with 53 other counties. Another 10 counties are in the low level of transmission, while only Wyoming County remains at a substantial level of transmission. More data here: Pennsylvania COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard Update for May 21 – May 27 (pa.gov).

The Health Department today confirmed an additional 684 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,202,863. To date, the state says it has administered 10,581,876 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, 6,273,769 of which are first/single doses and 4,308,107 of which are second/full doses. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 54.2% of Pennsylvanians age 18 and older are fully vaccinated, while 71% have received their first dose. Read more: Department of Health: Over 10.5 Million Vaccinations to Date, 57.8% of Entire Population Received First Dose, 54.2% of Pennsylvanians Age 18 and Older Fully Vaccinated, PA Ranks 9th Among 50 States for First Dose Vaccinations.

- Pennsylvania collected $3.9 billion in General Fund revenue in May, about 65.4% more than anticipated, according to PA Revenue Secretary Dan Hassell. The Secretary said fiscal year-to-date General Fund collections total $36.6 billion, or 8.5 percent above average. See more: Revenue Department Releases May 2021 Collections. 

- From the U.S. Census Bureau: The Bureau’s most recent Small Business Pulse Survey indicates businesses are seeing more positive trends as the nation works to move past the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on responses collected May 17 through May 23, the Small Business Pulse Survey estimates that:

  • 20.1% of U.S. small businesses experienced a decrease in operating revenues/sales/receipts in the last week. For responses collected 4/26/20 – 5/2/20, this statistic was 74.0%
  • 35.0% of U.S. small businesses believe they will have business travel expenditures in the next six months. For responses collected 4/12 – 4/18, this statistic was 31.5%
  • 10.1% of U.S. small businesses experienced an increase in the number of paid employees in the last week. For responses collected 4/12 – 4/18, this statistic was 8.5%
  • 35.8% of U.S. small businesses experienced domestic supplier delays in the last week. For responses collected 4/12 – 4/18, this statistic was 30.9%
  • 31.5% of U.S. Accommodation and Food Services small businesses have requested financial assistance from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund since December 27, 2020
  • 40.0% of U.S. Wholesale Trade small businesses experienced foreign supplier delays. The national average for all sectors for this statistic is 14.5%
  • The Expected Recovery Index, which summarizes the length of the expected recovery of businesses, increased to -0.48, indicating shorter expected recoveries

Explore Data

Non-COVID items of interest….

- PA Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman today urged property owners to consider purchasing flood insurance to protect their homes, businesses, and possessions. For many, she said extreme weather, including flooding caused by hurricanes and severe thunderstorms, can be a common occurrence during the summer months. See more: Insurance Department Urges Pennsylvanians to Consider Purchasing Flood Insurance.

- Ticks are prevalent in the PA Wilds region, and with temperatures warming and people spending more time outdoors, the state today is reminding people to be aware of ticks and to seek treatment if they are bitten by a tick. They also issued tips on how to prevent tick bites. Read more: Wolf Administration Reminds Pennsylvanians to Be Aware of Ticks, Contact Health Care Provider if Showing Symptoms of Tick-Borne Disease (pa.gov).

5/28/21

- Pennsylvania will lift all COVID-19 mitigation orders, with the exception of masking, Effective Monday, Memorial Day, May 31 at 12:01 a.m. Governor Tom Wolf this week said he would not lift the orders sooner, despite efforts by many who requested the orders be lifted at the start of the holiday weekend.

The Governor this week announced that 70 percent of Pennsylvania’s 18 and older population have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination and 52.7 percent of that population is fully vaccinated. The Governor had previously said he would lift the mask mandate when 70 percent of the 18 and older population is fully vaccinated, but the PA Health Department this week announced that the mask order will be lifted by June 28 or when the 70 percent vaccination number is met, whichever comes first. More here: Department of Health: Adult Vaccinations on Track; Mask Order to be Lifted by June 28.

- This week’s COVID-19 statistics continue to show a positive improvement. As stated earlier, Clinton, Centre and Lycoming counties continue to see declining percent positivity rates and Clinton and Centre were joined this week by Lycoming County in the “moderate” status of community transmission along with 55 of the state’s 67 counties. Four counties - Cameron, Forest, Montour and Sullivan - are in the low level of transmission, while only five counties – Potter, Bradford, McKean, Venango and Wyoming – are listed as being in the substantial level of transmission. More data here: Pennsylvania COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard Update for May 14 – May 20 (pa.gov).

- COVID statistics in Keystone Central School District continue to improve. In her weekly update, District Superintendent Dr. Jacquelyn Martin said there currently are no active cases of COVID-19 among staff and only one student case. Click Here for the KCSD update for more.

- Following the requirement being suspended during the pandemic, Pennsylvanians collecting unemployment compensation will once again have to look for work starting in July, state acting Labor & Industry Secretary Jennifer Berrier said during a legislative committee meeting on Monday. The requirement would be "turned on" July 18, Berrier told the House Labor & Industry Committee, which means claimants would have to begin looking for work the previous week of July 11. Berrier said her department timed the re-implementation of the work search requirement so it would not conflict with the new online unemployment compensation system being installed next month. Labor & Industry staff is preparing for "the historic flow of workers who will be looking for services to help find employment," Berrier said. Pennsylvania's unemployment rate rose slightly from 7.3% in March to 7.4% in April as the nation's rate also increased a tenth of a percentage point to 6.1%. There are now 466,000 Pennsylvanians out of work. The Labor & Industry Department reported that the state's number of residents working or looking for work increased by 2,000 as unemployment ticked up. Republicans and business groups have said the work search requirement ban and extended employment benefits are keeping people from reentering the workforce and sending businesses into freefall as they struggle to fill jobs.  Read More

- The U.S. Small Business Administration this week launched a ‘Community Navigator Pilot’ Program, a $100 million grant program enacted through the American Rescue Plan Act, which will provide counseling, networking and the assistance needed during this time of economic recovery to the nation’s smallest businesses. The program will target small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, as well as women and veterans. The SBA will engage with states, local governments, SBA resource partners, and other organizations in targeted outreach efforts. These partners and people in the community are key to this pilot program as they will serve as a two-way information stream, enabling enterprising business owners to receive the help needed from the SBA. The SBA is accepting applications through July 12, with award decisions expected by August. Learn more

- From the U.S. Department of Labor: In the week ending May 22, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims was 406,000, a decrease of 38,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 444,000. This is the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020 when it was 256,000. Read the full news release.

- Clinton County unemployment claim numbers remained essentially the same during the week ending May 22 as compared to the prior week. There were 40 new initial claims made during the time frame; 62% of them were females, and 23% were in the health care/social assistance sector. That number is down slightly from 46 the week before. Continued claims were 560, with 55% of them male and 21%  in the construction field. The new number is up four from the week ending May 15. Seven more Clinton County residents had unemployment insurance benefits expire as of May 22, bringing the yearly total to 492.

The April unemployment rates for all 67 counties should be released June 1. Clinton County’s March figure was 7.2%.

- From the U.S. Centers for Disease Control….

  • With summer approaching, CDC’s Toolkit for Summer Camps provides guidance and planning documents, posters, and other key resources to help camp administrators and parents navigate summer camp. More information
  • The CDC is recommending people delay travel until they are fully vaccinated. If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, take the following steps to protect yourself and others from COVID-19:
  • Get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before your trip. Get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel AND stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel.
  • If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.
  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth, avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet from anyone who is not traveling with you.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Wearing a mask is required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Read More

  • COVID-19 cases, deaths, and hospitalizations are going down, and vaccination rates are climbing. These trends are encouraging. As summer approaches, consider how COVID-19 is spreading in your community when making travel plans and choosing activities. Read more about these trends in the COVID Data Tracker Weekly Review.
  • US states, territories, and District of Columbia have reported 32,947,548 cases of COVID-19 in the United States. CDC provides updated U.S. case information online daily. In addition to cases, deaths, and laboratory testing, CDC’s COVID Data Tracker now has a Vaccinations tab to track distribution of COVID-19 vaccines by state.

 - UPMC and the Williamsport Crosscutters will partner to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to fans at baseball games on Wednesday, June 2 and Saturday, June 5 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Muncy Bank Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field. Fans who receive their shot at the ballpark will receive a coupon for a free hot dog and soft drink to enjoy during the game. Crosscutters fans will be greeted by UPMC’s mobile bus outside the gate. Fans will have the chance to receive the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine or their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine before the game. Those who receive the Pfizer vaccine will be scheduled for their second dose three weeks later at the UPMC vaccination clinic at 2401 Reach Rd., Williamsport. For fans who are still on the fence about the vaccine, UPMC staff will be available and happy to have informed conversations about the benefits of vaccination. Those who decide to get the vaccine during the game will be allowed to exit the ballpark and reenter without issue. To learn more about the vaccine or to schedule an appointment, go to Vaccine.UPMC.com.

- First Lady Frances Wolf and Acting Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson this week led a discussion about the COVID-19 vaccines and reproductive health during a Facebook Live event hosted by the Pennsylvania Commission for Women. The event, entitled Vax Facts for Pregnancy and Reproductive Health, is the second in a series aimed at providing relevant and accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines. Learn more: Wolf Administration, Medical Professionals Hold Discussion on COVID-19 Vaccinations and Reproductive Health (pa.gov).

- The Department of Health has amended the skilled nursing facilities COVID-19 case and death data reporting order transitioning from daily reporting requirements to weekly. More here: Department of Health Updates Nursing Home Data Reporting Order to Support Facilities, Improve COVID-19 Data Integrity.

- PennDOT has announced that a recently enacted state law, Act 131 of 2020, extends the validity period of a commercial learner’s permit and helps address the issue of human trafficking through severe penalties levied on commercial drivers or those who wish to obtain a commercial driver’s license. Click Here for the “New Law” file for details.

- The threat of inclement weather has prompted Downtown Lock Haven, Inc. to cancel this weekend’s downtown pedestrian mall, which means Main Street will remain open to vehicle traffic this weekend. The next street closure is slated for the weekend of June 11 & 12. For June, July and August, the pedestrian mall street closures will be held the second and fourth weekends of the month. Come September, the closures are planned for every weekend.

- The PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources says Pennsylvania state parks and forests are open for the unofficial start of the summer season; and reminded Pennsylvanians of the guidelines in place so that all visitors have a safe and enjoyable experience. More here: DCNR Announces State Parks, Forests Expect High Visitation for the Summer Season.

And while the weather and temperatures might not be cooperating, DCNR also notes that state park swimming pools and beaches are open this holiday weekend. Read more: DCNR Preparing for Start of Swimming Season on Memorial Day Weekend.

- The PA Fish & Boat Commission hosts its first of two 2021 “Fish-for-Free” days this Sunday, May 30. No fishing license is needed to fish that day on public waterways across the state. The second Fish-for-Free day will be Sunday, July 4. More here: SUNDAY, MAY 30 IS A "FISH-FOR-FREE DAY" IN PENNSYLVANIA (pa.gov).

5/24/21

- Pennsylvania will resume work search requirements in July for people receiving unemployment compensation, a top Wolf administration official said Monday. According to a report this afternoon on PennLive, acting Labor & Industry Secretary Jennifer Berrier told a state House of Representatives committee hearing that the requirement will resume July 18, meaning that people claiming jobless benefits will have to search for work during the previous week. She also said that a work registration requirement will resume in September. The requirements have been waived by Wolf under his emergency disaster authority invoked during COVID-19 pandemic. Read more: https://www.pennlive.com/news/2021/05/pennsylvania-to-resume-work-search-rule-for-unemployment-benefits.html. (Source: PennLive)

- Businesses are telling state government leaders that PA’s unemployment policies must change, to incentivize people to return to the workforce. As if “help wanted” signs around every turn are not enough proof, a recent National Federation of Independent Business jobs report indicates a record 44 percent of all small business owners report having job openings they could not fill in April, the third consecutive month with a record-high reading of unfilled job openings.  Click Here for the “State Encouraged” file for more details.

- The PA Chamber is seeking input from employers on the challenges businesses are facing when it comes to finding employees. Click here to -> Read More and  Click here to access the Chamber’s online input form. 

- As students explore their options for the next school year, the PA Department of Education is encouraging them to consider pursuing a career and technical education. Learn more: Department of Education Encourages Students to Consider a Career and Technical Education.

- Last week, Pennsylvania became the first state to put limits on gubernatorial emergency powers in order to restore checks and balances between the branches of government. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, state legislatures across the country have been considering restricting the scope and reach of gubernatorial powers during states of emergency. -> Read More

- With voters shifting major new responsibilities to them, Pennsylvania’s state lawmakers are now tasked with deciding whether hundreds of state government regulations waived during the COVID-19 pandemic should be reinstated. This massive review is fueled by Tuesday’s referendum in which voters became the first in the nation to curb their governor’s emergency powers, approving constitutional amendments that will give lawmakers much more power over disaster declarations. On Thursday, Governor Wolf renewed the disaster declaration, his fifth straight in response to the coronavirus. If the provisions of the constitutional amendments approved Tuesday apply to it, Wolf’s new disaster declaration will expire in three weeks. Before Tuesday, an emergency declaration by a governor could last for up to 90 days and be extended without limit. That could leave lawmakers in charge of deciding whether to extend the whole declaration past its expiration on June 9. “The decision that we face now is, ‘do we extend and renew the disaster declaration in whole, in part or not at all,’” said Jason Gottesman, a spokesperson for House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre. Wolf on Wednesday spoke with the Legislature’s top Republicans and Democrats on how to chart a way forward with the Legislature’s new powers over disaster declarations. Even though Wolf opposed the constitutional amendment, he pledged to work together with lawmakers. Lawmakers were still getting information Thursday from state agencies about which regulations were waived and why. Read More (Source: PennLive)

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

  • The SBA will soon launch the Community Navigator Pilot Program, a $100 million grant program enacted through the American Rescue Plan Act, which will provide counseling, networking and the assistance needed during this time of economic recovery to the nation’s smallest businesses. The program will target small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, as well as women and veterans. The SBA will engage with states, local governments, SBA resource partners, Community Financial Institutions (CFIs), and other organizations in directed outreach efforts. These partners and people in the community are key to this pilot program as they will serve as a two-way information stream, enabling enterprising business owners to receive the help needed from the SBA. Learn more
  • Eligible eating establishments have until 8:00 p.m. tonight (May 24) to submit an application to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. Learn more
  • The SBA is currently offering PPP loans originated only by participating community financial institutions including Certified Development Companies (CDCs), SBA Microlenders, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) until May 31, or until remaining funds are exhausted. Note that not all community financial institutions are participating in PPP. Learn more
  • SBA recently posted FAQs about funds returned by banks for Targeted EIDL Advance and Supplemental Targeted Advance. When a bank returns Targeted EIDL Advance or Supplemental Targeted Advance funds to SBA, the funds cannot be immediately re-disbursed. SBA is working to mitigate this issue. Read the FAQs
  •   A reminder: The SBA continues to accept applications for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant. To submit an application, visit sba.gov/svogrant.

   • The SBA hosts, Learn E-Commerce Basics and Create Your Own Online Shop, a free Lunch & Learn virtual session via Zoom tomorrow, Tuesday, May 25, at noon. Takeaways include: How the SBA Helps in Your Neighborhood, Why small businesses should consider E-commerce, Domain Names, User-friendly sites discussion, Building Pages, and How to draw and retain customers. Click and Register.

- The statewide – and local – percent positivity rates for COVID-19 continue to decline. The PA Department of Health today reports the latest percent positivity, covering the week of May 14-20, stood at 4.5%. That’s a drop from the previous week’s 5.3%, 6.6% the week before that, and 7.6% a week before that. Clinton, Centre and Lycoming counties also continue to see improved rates, with Clinton currently at 5.8% positivity compared to 6.0% last week, and Centre and Lycoming counties both currently at 3.7% positivity (compared to 5.6% and 7.3% the previous week, respectively).

The Department of Health also confirmed an additional 693 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,196,562. There are 1,261 people hospitalized with the virus, 293 of whom are in intensive care. To date, 10,212,401 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Pennsylvania, 6,096,952 of which are first/single doses, and 4,115,449 of which are second/full doses. More here: Department of Health: Over 10.2 Million Vaccinations to Date, 56.7% of Entire Population Received First Dose, 51.8% of Pennsylvanians Age 18 and Older Fully Vaccinated, PA Ranks 9th Among 50 States for First Dose Vaccinations.

- UPMC today issued a COVID update newsletter, covering topics such as: what activities are safe after being vaccinated, the possibility of a COVID booster shot, and how to talk to those who are hesitant about getting a vaccination. Click Here for the UPMC file for more.

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry will hold three virtual workshops this week to help Pennsylvanians prepare for next month’s transition to a new Unemployment Compensation system. That transition is expected to begin May 30. This week’s workshops are scheduled for:

A full list of scheduled workshops and the links to connect to them are available here. Workshops are also available to watch on-demand any time. More here: Three Virtual Workshops This Week to Help Pennsylvanians Prepare for June 8 Launch of New Unemployment Compensation System.

- Starting today, May 24 through June 22, those living or working in Clinton and seven other local counties have the opportunity to comment on a draft plan that prioritizes transportation investments in the region from now until 2045. The SEDA-COG Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) has created the draft 2021-2045 Long-Range Transportation Plan on behalf of its eight member counties: Clinton, Columbia, Juniata, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, and Union. Through SEDA-COG, counties and municipalities in central Pennsylvania have a voice in the state’s transportation plans. Working together with SEDA-COG, groups and individuals representing local government (in Clinton County, the County Planning Department), the business community (the Partnership’s Transportation Committee), and non-profit organizations help to establish the region’s transportation priorities. Click Here for the SEDA-COG news release.

- Meanwhile, residents can use a PennDOT telephone town hall scheduled for tomorrow, May 25, beginning at 6:00 p.m., to voice their opinion on PennDOT’s efforts to explore sustainable transportation funding options, including plans to toll bridges on Pennsylvania interstate highways. To join the town hall, register here to receive a phone call to join at the start of the meeting or call (855) 756-7520, Entry Code Extension 73539#. In addition to the telephone town hall, citizens can comment:

  • Online at: www.penndot.gov/funding. (The public comment period for this virtual meeting closes on June 1.)
  • Via email at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • By phone at: 717-325-6129

- The U.S. Chamber’s May 27, noontime, CO— Roadmap for Rebuilding webinar, in partnership with Dell Technologies, will cover using technology to automate business processes. A panel of small business leaders will share lessons learned on digitizing a small business, and then take live Q&A. Register now to learn new strategies.

- Geisinger will host a June 8, 11:00 a.m.-12:00 Noon virtual town hall to highlight its recently completed 2021 Community Health Needs Assessment. The health care provider will share key research findings related to some of the region’s most pressing needs, and Geisinger’s plans for engaging with residents and community partners over the next three years to improve health and wellbeing. Please register here

 

- PennDOT announced today that all driver license and photo centers will be closed this Saturday, May 29, through Monday, May 31, in observance of Memorial Day. Customers can still obtain driver and vehicle products and services online through PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services website, www.dmv.pa.gov. More here: Details (penndot.gov).

5/21/21

- Clinton County Economic Partnership President Mike Flanagan this afternoon offered a weekly update on the local employment picture, noting that Clinton County’s unemployment claims numbers continued to show improvement in the first half of May, according to information released Friday by the state Department of Labor & Industry. The initial claim figure for the week ending May 12 was 46, which is believed to be the lowest number since the pandemic began in March 2020. The 46 included 52% who are female, and 22% who are in retail trade. The continued claim number for unemployment insurance was 556, down about 30 from the week before. Males constituted 51% of the continued claims, and 20% were in construction. Another eight county residents had benefits expire during the timeframe, bringing the yearly 2021 total to 485 county residents who have had benefits exhausted.               

The April unemployment rates for all of the Commonwealth’s 67 counties should be released on June 1. Clinton County’s March figure was 7.2%.

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry today released its employment situation report for April 2021, noting that the statewide unemployment rate was up one-tenth of a percentage point over the month, to 7.4% in April. That rate, however, was still 8.8 percentage points below its April 2020 level, and the national rate was down 8.7 points over the year. More here: Pennsylvania’s Unemployment Rate at 7.4 Percent in April (pa.gov).

- And this update from the U.S. Department of Labor & Industry: In the week ending May 15, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims was 444,000, a decrease of 34,000 from the previous week's revised level. This is the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020 when it was 256,000. Read the full news release.

- Governor Tom Wolf Thursday extended the COVID-19 disaster declaration. The previous declaration expired May 20. The governor announced the renewal Thursday afternoon, just two days after voters approved two measures to curb his powers in disasters. The earliest the Legislature could begin the process of ending Wolf's disaster declaration is after the primary election results are certified, which is not expected to happen until June 7. “COVID-19 vaccinations have increased dramatically in recent weeks and we are making significant progress in the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said the Governor in a statement. “As previously announced, we are lifting all mitigation measures on Memorial Day, but we need just a little more time under this current disaster declaration to ensure that we do not risk valuable resources that will help Pennsylvania recover from the pandemic. “The disaster declaration allows more medical professionals to administer vaccines, ensures families harmed financially by the pandemic have access to healthy food through SNAP benefits and ensures Pennsylvania counties and businesses remain eligible for federal disaster recovery dollars.” Read more on the renewal of the disaster declaration: Gov. Wolf Signs Renewal of COVID-19 Disaster Declaration to Aid in Recovery (pa.gov).

- To date, the state has administered 10,066,220 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, 6,031,816 of which are first/single doses and 4,034,404 of which are second doses. In addition, the PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 1,823 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,193,355. According to the data, Clinton County reported four new cases, bringing the countywide total to 3,659. Centre County saw 11 new cases, bringing their total to 16,747, and Lycoming County reported 16 new cases, bringing their total to 11,755. Statewide, 1,309 people are hospitalized with the virus, 310 of whom are in intensive care. More data here: Department of Health: Over 10 Million Vaccinations to Date, 55.7% of Entire Population Received First Dose, 50.5% of Pennsylvanians Age 18 and Older Fully Vaccinated, PA Ranks 9th Among 50 States for First Dose Vaccinations.

- The second round of $5,000 grants to local small businesses opened today, May 21. The federal pandemic relief monies channeled through Clinton County government are designed to promote re-hiring, retaining existing jobs, and further stabilizing for local businesses of all types (Note: the grant program is for businesses throughout Clinton County with the exception of those in the city of Lock Haven, because the city has separate funding). Eligible businesses include those with fewer than 100 employees and less than $1 million in annual gross revenue. Businesses are encouraged to apply now as the program closes on June 4. Click here for the program guidelines and FAQ, and Click here to register and apply 

 - Clinton County, via the Clinton County Housing Coalition, continues to accept applications for funding through the federal pandemic-related Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). The County received $2.5 million in funding that may be used to support both landlords and tenants to cover rental arrears up to 12 months; prospective rent payments up to three months; utility and home energy arrears; and some other housing related expenses. The Clinton County Housing Coalition is the agency accepting applications, determining eligibility, and making program payments on behalf of the Commissioners. The program will remain in effect until December 31, 2022 or until the funding is exhausted. Click here for the full program announcement; Click here for the ERAP Frequently Asked Questions; and Click here for a link to the ERAP online application.

- The final phase of the County’s COVID Hospitality Industry Relief Program (CHIRP) – a grant program to offer pandemic-related support to local restaurants, hotels, bars and the like – has about $20,000 remaining in funds. SEDA-COG is administering the program for the County and will accept applications until June 15 or until funds are exhausted. Those with questions should contact SEDA-COG Grants Manager Betsy Lockwood at 570-522-7265 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To apply, go to: https://csgiving.org/chirp/.

- Keystone Central School District this week reports just two active cases of the virus among students at two different schools. In her weekly update, Superintendent Dr. Jacquelyn Martin said there currently are no active cases among staff. She did note that the district, as per the PA Departments of Education and Health, will continue to require masking and enforce social distancing through the remainder of the school year. Click Here for the KCSD file for Dr. Martin’s full update.

- Lock Haven University recently completed an eight-week study to observe mask use on campus as part of the CDC’s Mask Adherence Surveillance at Colleges and Universities Project (MASCUP). More than 50 colleges and universities across the country participated in the study during the spring semester. Click Here for the LHU news release for more information.

- In the latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) collected data on vaccine doses administered across the rural-urban continuum and found that coverage was lower overall, among all age groups, and among men and women in rural compared with urban counties. What does this mean? Residents of rural communities are at increased risk for severe COVID-19-associated morbidity and mortality. Read more: Disparities in COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage Between Urban and Rural Counties — United States, December 14, 2020–April 10, 2021 | MMWR (cdc.gov).

- Today, May 21, is GetVax Digital Day of Action -- one of the efforts from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services We Can Do This campaign. The public education campaign is focused on increasing vaccine confidence and helping communities get access to the COVID-19 vaccines. View the Social Media Toolkit.

- Pennsylvania is due to receive the largest influx of federal dollars it has ever received through the American Rescue Plan and the state’s fiscal watchdog doesn’t want to see any of it become the subject of waste, fraud or abuse. Auditor General Timothy DeFoor is urging the PA General Assembly to give him authority to hire private accounting firms that are accustomed to performing government audits to help keep tabs on the $13.5 billion that state and local governments will be receiving. Read more: Pennsylvania Department of the Auditor General -Auditor General DeFoor Calls for State-Level Safeguards to Prevent Fraud or Abuse of Federal COVID Relief Funding (paauditor.gov).

- Governor Wolf has announced that $5 million is available for projects that expand high-speed broadband service infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas through the Unserved High-Speed Broadband Funding Program (UHSB). The application period opens June 1. See more: Wolf Administration: $5 Million Available to Expand Broadband in Unserved and Underserved Communities.

- Governor Wolf also announced more than $7 million through the HOME Investment Partnerships Program to support affordable housing in 13 PA counties, including Clinton. Locally, the City of Lock Haven was awarded $500,000 to rehabilitate nine owner-occupied homes, with the program to be administered by third-party provider SEDA-COG. More here: Wolf Administration Announces More Than $7 Million for Affordable Housing in 13 Counties (pa.gov).

- The PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources announced that its Wild Resource Conservation Program is accepting applications for grants to protect the state’s native biodiversity. Grant applications will be accepted through July 16 in three areas: species surveys, conservation, and management. Click here for more on the Wild Resource Conservation Program.

- The U.S. Small Business Administration and the non-profit Public Private Strategies Institute announced today they will launch a new regional webinar series, “Getting Back on Track: Help is Here,” to provide Main Street entrepreneurs with the information and resources they need to continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The educational webinars will feature speakers from The White House, the SBA, Members of Congress, and small business leaders, and will provide updates on the American Rescue Plan. The regional webinar for Pennsylvania businesses is scheduled for August 5, at 2:00 p.m. Register at Getting Back on Track: Help is Here! Read more: SBA Launches “Getting Back on Track: Help Is Here” Webinar Series to Help America’s Small Business Owners & Entrepreneurs.

- It’s perfect weather for the start tonight of Lock Haven’s Pedestrian Mall – the opening of a two-block section of Main Street to pedestrian-only traffic. Main Street, between Jay and Vesper Streets, and a section of Grove Street, was closed to vehicles as of 3:00 p.m. today and will remain closed until 10:00 p.m. Saturday, allowing restaurants and retailers to bring their activities outdoors onto the sidewalks and streets. The Pedestrian Mall was extremely popular last season and was a shot in the arm during a time when indoor activities were extremely limited due to the pandemic. While restrictions have eased somewhat, there are still limitations, and, many simply enjoy outdoor eating and browsing. The street closure is also to take place next weekend for the Memorial Holiday weekend, then every second and fourth weekend during June, July and August, followed by every weekend closures in September. Downtown Lock Haven, Inc. is coordinating this year’s Pedestrian Mall initiative, with support from the City.  

5/19/21

- Just in….Pennsylvania voters passed the constitutional amendments that limit the governor's emergency powers, according to information just released from the PA Restaurant & Lodging Association. The Allentown Morning Call is reporting that Governor Wolf is now ready to talk to Republicans about the COVID-19 disaster declaration. PRLA says, please note: Even though the referendums passed, it doesn't mean the emergency declaration/mitigation is over. Business owners should continue to operate under the current guidelines and mitigation. 

- Stating that business owners can have a huge impact and influence on others who may be hesitant about getting their COVID-19 vaccine, the PA Department of Community & Economic Development today released information businesses can use to inform others about the vaccine. The newly published Vaccine Outreach Toolkit includes key messages, best practices for approaching vaccine conversations, and a round-up of print and digital marketing materials, including:

 All print materials can be ordered free of charge through DCED’s COVID Resources Order Form (printed and shipped at no cost to you). Updates and new materials are added frequently to DCED’s Community Resources page, so check back often. For questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, see DCED’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) or call the PA Health Hotline at 1-877-724-3258.

- Despite the lows of the pandemic, there’s a lot of positive effort locally to promote the area and our business community. One recent example….with the help of the Partnership and CCEP members the PA Wilds Center, Downtown Lock Haven, Inc., retailer Momoyo Otsu, the Clinton County Arts Council and the Clinton County Planning Office, online magazine Keystone Edge, this week published an upbeat story on Lock Haven and all that’s happening locally. Read the article here: On the banks of the Susquehanna, Lock Haven rides a tide of optimism - Keystone Edge - What's Next & Best in Pennsylvania - Growth, Innovation, and Community News.

Meanwhile, the City of Lock Haven and Downtown Lock Haven, Inc. this week end kick off the summertime downtown Lock Haven Pedestrian Mall initiative – which sees the closure of Main Street between Jay and Vesper Streets – starting Friday at 3:00 p.m. through Saturday at 10:00 p.m., allowing restaurants and retailers to bring their business out into the streets and sidewalks. Established in 2020 in response to pandemic-associated limits on indoor activities, the pedestrian mall was a popular destination last summer.

- SEDA-COG announced today that Clinton County has just over $21,000 still available in the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Grant Program (CHIRP). Applications will be accepted until June 15, or until funds are exhausted. Click Here for the SEDA-COG news release for details.

- Last Call for RRF funds: The U.S. Small Business Administration is making a final push for Restaurant Revitalization Fund applications. Eligible eating establishments have until this coming Monday, May 24, at 8:00 p.m., to submit applications to the RRF. Read more: Last Call: Administrator Guzman Announces Final Push for Restaurant Revitalization Fund Applications (sba.gov)

- The following COVID-19 updates come from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • If you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did before the pandemic without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations. That includes local business and workplace guidance. You will still be required to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States, and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. You should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others. More information
  • The CDC is recommending schools continue to use the COVID-19 prevention strategies outlined in the current version of the CDC’s Operational Strategy for K-12 students for at least the remainder of this school year. The CDC says students will not be fully vaccinated by the end of the school year; children under 12 are not yet eligible for vaccination, while youth ages 12-15 became eligible on May 12. Because people are not fully vaccinated until two weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, students in this age group will not be fully vaccinated before the end of the current school year. The CDC says it will update its guidance in the coming weeks, and that guidance can inform school planning for the 2021-22 school year. Read More

- Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 statistics continue to improve. Governor Tom Wolf and Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam this week updated the state’s COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System dashboard, highlighting a statewide percent positivity of 5.3%, compared to 6.6% last week and 7.6% two weeks ago. Clinton, Centre and Lycoming counties all saw improved positivity rates: Clinton County currently is at 6.0%, compared to 6.9% the week before. Centre County is at 5.6% this week, compared to 6.8% last week; and Lycoming County is at 7.3%, slightly better than last week’s 7.4%. Clinton and Centre counties continue to be among 41 counties in the moderate level of transmission, while Lycoming continues to be among 22 counties in the substantial level of community transmission. Four counties – Cameron, Forest, Fulton and Sullivan – are in what the state considers a low level of transmission. More data here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/pennsylvania-covid-19-early-warning-monitoring-dashboard-update-for-may-7-may-13/.

The number of new cases of the virus also continues to decline. As of May 13, the state had seen a seven-day case increase of 9,522 cases, indicating 4,878 fewer cases across the state over the previous week. Clinton County today reported 5 new cases, bringing the countywide total to 3,652. Centre County saw 4 new cases, for a total of 16,730; and Lycoming County reported 8 new cases, bringing their total to 11,719. The state today reported 1,257 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,190,102. There are 1,427 people hospitalized with the virus, 320 of whom are in intensive care.

The PA Department of Health today reported 9,876,905 COVID-19 vaccinations have been administered to date, 5,938,355 of which are first/single doses and 3,938,550 of which are full doses. The report noted that 55% of the state’s entire population has received a first dose, and 49.4% of Pennsylvanians age 18 and older are fully vaccinated. According to the state, 2,553 people in Clinton County have received a partial vaccination, while 10,667 are fully vaccinated. In Centre County, 15,188 are partially vaccinated and 64,077 are fully vaccinated. In Lycoming County, 10,141 people are partially vaccinated, while 36,361 are fully vaccinated. More details here: Department of Health: Over 9.8 Million Vaccinations to Date, 55% of Entire Population Received First Dose, 49.4% of Pennsylvanians Age 18 and Older Fully Vaccinated, PA Ranks 9th Among 50 States for First Dose Vaccinations.

- UPMC says it has vaccinated more than 550,000 people to date. In a COVID newsletter issued today, the health care system offered updates on its vaccination efforts, new masking guidelines, vaccines and children, and more. Click Here for the UPMC file for more.

- The Department of Health today shared an update on Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing data, and they encouraged people to download the COVID Alert PA app. Details here: Department of Health Offers Biweekly Update On COVID-19 Investigations, Contact Tracing, Monitoring Efforts.

- The PA Restaurant & Lodging Association has provided several updates: 

  • The National Restaurant Association this week released the newly revised COVID-19 Operating Guidance. New to this update: the CDC's newest guidance for vaccinated people. OSHA, however, still requires that employers protect employees from the risk of virus transmission.
  • The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center is hosting a webinar on Monday, May 24 at noon on marketing and social media for restaurant operators. REGISTER
  • The U.S. Department of Labor's Pennsylvania Bureau of Labor Law Compliance will be holding a webinar on May 27 at 9 a.m. to review federal and state regulations regarding youth employment. If you are planning on hiring teens this summer to fill some of your open positions, this webinar is recommended. Topics covered include work permits, recordkeeping requirements, hours/occupations standards for 14 & 15-year-olds, and the Hazardous Occupation Orders. REGISTER

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry reminds people that the Unemployment Compensation program and its extensions, the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and the Extended Benefits programs, will transition to a new system on June 8. The current system is scheduled to go offline to users on May 30 through June 7, to allow for data migration from the old system to the new one. The new system is anticipated to be “live” June 8. Read more: Reminder: L&I Transitioning to New Unemployment Compensation System June 8 (pa.gov).

- Nearly 75 alumni from the Lock Haven University Class of 2020, who were unable to enjoy their traditional in-person commencement last year because of COVID-19, returned to Hubert Jack Stadium on Saturday (May 15) to celebrate their graduation. The Class of 2020 was able to experience a virtual commencement last year, but for many of the attending graduates, Saturday marked their first return to The Haven since students were asked to leave campus and shift to remote learning in March of 2020, following the outbreak of COVID-19.

- PPL Corporation says it continues to deliver electricity and gas safely and reliably during the COVID-19 pandemic. That statement was among the key messages to investors Tuesday during the company’s annual meeting. Click Here for the PPL file for more information. 

- The PA Department of Human Services today encouraged older youth previously served through the foster care system to contact their county child welfare agency for help accessing aftercare services, including an option for some youth to re-enter foster care, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. See more: Department of Human Services Highlights COVID-19 Law Giving Older Youth Option to Re-Enter Foster Care, Access Aftercare Services.

- The PA Department of Corrections announced today that in-person inmate visitation will be phased in at select DOC facilities in the coming days, with remaining facilities to follow. On-site visits were suspended on March 13 of last year in response to the pandemic. More here: In-Person Visitation to Resume at State Correctional Institutions (pa.gov).

- Non-COVID Items of Interest…. 

  • A City of Lock Haven road paving job at the lower end of Water Street, between Jay Street and Clarks Barn Road, is expected to be completed tomorrow, Thursday, May 20. The work began Monday and was slated to wrap up today, but was delayed a day due to a problem at the plant supplying the asphalt for the job.
  • The PA Department of Health this week highlighted the state’s medical marijuana program following the quarterly meeting of the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board. To date, more than 582,000 patients and caregivers are registered for PA’s medical marijuana program; there are 119 dispensaries open and dispensing products to patients; and there are 30 grower/processors – including Terrapin Pennsylvania’s recently-expanded facility in Pine Creek Township (at the Henry Street Partnership site in South Avis) – who are operational, with 25 of them shipping medical marijuana product to dispensaries. Read more: Department of Health Highlights Medical Marijuana Program Following Quarterly Board Meeting.
  • The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central & Northern PA this week announced their “Big Idea” Contest. The $50,000 Big Idea Contest is looking for tech entrepreneurs or small manufacturers who are developing innovative, new products, processes or software applications. You are eligible to apply if:

In addition, other prizes available are:

  • A free consult on accessing federal R&D grant money from the Innovation Partnership (IPART)
  • Free passes to seminars offered by Ben Franklin’s eMarketing Learning Center
  • Priority access to a seat in Ben Franklin’s Startup Boot Camp or the Harrisburg LaunchBox’s Idea TestLab
  • A $2,500 “Peoples’ Choice” Award

Apply

  • The PA Treasury today announced it has started processing payments for the annual Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. Eligible Pennsylvanians can still apply through June 30, 2021, to receive a rebate this year. Direct deposit payments are scheduled to be sent to recipients on July 1, while check payments are scheduled to be mailed on June 30. The program benefits about 550,000 Pennsylvanians each year with approximately $250 million in rebate payments. See more: Pennsylvania Treasury, Stacy Garrity - State Treasurer (patreasury.gov).
  • The PA Department of Agriculture has developed the Spotted Lanternfly Business Toolkit to help businesses understand the threats of the Spotted Lanternfly, and to help slow its spread in the commonwealth. As Spotted Lanternfly season approaches, the department says it is critical that businesses know their responsibilities when it comes to the quarantine and permitting. Visit the Department of Agriculture's website at this linkfor more information.

- Upcoming Webinars: 

  • The U.S. Small Business Administration offers a free Zoom Lunch & Learn session on E-Commerce Basics and Creating Your Own Online Shop, Tuesday, May 25 from 12:00-1:00 p.m. Click and Register
  • The Penn State Small Business Development Center in June begins a three-month series, R3: Strategic Design and Planning for Small Business (R3 stands for reevaluate, redefine, and remodel). Small businesses are invited to spend 90 days on a strategic design journey for their business. The R3 program is designed to give small business owners insight into strategic planning by identifying business capabilities and designing a road map to launch future initiatives. Learn more about the R3 program here: https://pasbdc.ecenterdirect.com/events/28167.

5/17/21

- Beginning today, the Wolf administration has amended its COVID-19 mitigation orders for events and gatherings to increase capacity limits from 25 to 50 percent for indoor events and from 50 to 75 percent for outdoor events. -> Read More (Source: PA Chamber) 

- UPMC today announced it is now offering COVID-19 vaccines to children ages 12-15. Last week, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration announced authorization of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for that age group. UPMC said it welcomes this update and is accepting appointments for this age group at its existing COVID-19 vaccination clinics, including the local clinic at the Fire Hall in Dunnstown. “Pfizer’s clinical trial of more than 2,000 adolescents found that the vaccine was 100% effective in protecting children from COVID-19,” said Heather Stafford, clinical director of Infection Prevention and Control for UPMC in the North Central PA region. “The studies that have been conducted show that the vaccine is extremely safe for this population.” Vaccine side effects may still occur, but they have mirrored those reported in clinical trial participants 16 years of age and older. They could include fever, chills, injection-site soreness, and other flu-like symptoms. To schedule an appointment for someone under the age of 18, call 844-UPMCVAC (844-876-2822) between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., seven days a week. A parent or legal guardian will need to accompany the minor to their vaccine appointment and sign a consent form allowing the child to be vaccinated.

- From 12th District Congressman Fred Keller’s weekly newsletter:  All U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs facilities and clinics that administer COVID-19 vaccines are accepting walk-ins for eligible Veterans, spouses and caregivers. “VA encourages those who wish to get their COVID-19 vaccine without an appointment to check the walk-in hours and requirements at their local facility,” said Acting VA Under Secretary for Health Richard Stone, M.D. “ Individuals taking advantage of walk-in vaccinations may need to wait for the vaccine to be prepared and will be screened when entering the facility.” For more information about COVID-19 vaccinations at VA, click here.

- PA Governor Tom Wolf today received his second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a health center in York. He took the opportunity to thank health care professionals throughout Pennsylvania who have been on the frontline through the pandemic and continue to serve their communities by administering vaccines. He also urged anyone considering getting a vaccine to make an appointment. People can use the state’s Vaccine Finder to find a vaccine provider nearest them.

- According to the PA Department of Health, to date, more than 9 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Pennsylvania. The state ranks 9th among all 50 states for first doses administered. Overall, vaccine providers have administered 9,723,128 doses, 5,868,348 of which are first/single doses and 3,854,780 of which are second/full doses.

Meanwhile, the Health Department today confirmed an additional 872 cases of COVID-19, one of the lowest totals in recent memory. According to the data, Clinton County reported 3 new cases, bringing the countywide total to 3,638. Centre County was up only 2 cases, to 16,689; and Lycoming County reported only 1 new case, bringing their countywide total to 11,683. The statewide total of COVID-19 cases now stands at 1,187,115. Statewide, there are 1,499 people hospitalized with the virus, 330 of whom are in intensive care. More information here: Department of Health: Over 9.7 Million Vaccinations to Date, 54.6% of Entire Population Received First Dose, 48.8% of Pennsylvanians Age 18 and Older Fully Vaccinated, PA Ranks 9th Among 50 States for First Dose Vaccinations. 

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry will host more virtual workshops this week to help employers, individuals and third-party administrators prepare for next month’s transition to a new Unemployment Compensation computer system. The transition is expected to begin May 30. A list of scheduled workshops and the links to connect to them is available here. Questions about the new UC system can be submitted here, and L&I will address the most frequently asked questions in future workshops. For more, including helpful resources, video tutorials, and user guides, click here: Four Virtual Workshops This Week to Prepare Pennsylvanians for Transition to New Unemployment Compensation System. 

- 25th District State Senator Cris Dush is requesting feedback on issues people may encounter when the state converts to the new Unemployment Compensation system next month. The PA Department of Labor and Industry’s UC system is scheduled to transition to a new system May 30-June 7, with the new system going “live” June 8. In his weekly newsletter, Senator Dush said, “If any of you have issues with the new system once the roll-out takes place, as always, please reach out to my offices and let us know what you are experiencing. We expect there to be bugs that have to be worked out and if you let us know quickly it is my hope they can be worked out quickly.” The Senator’s Wellsboro district office at 570-724-5231, can accept calls regarding UC issues. 

- Federal Unemployment Compensation assistance is increasingly coming under scrutiny as more and more employers report challenges in filling open positions. According to the PA Chamber, as states across the country begin the process of fully re-opening their economies, employers are encountering serious workforce shortages. Recent news coverage has highlighted the challenges employers are facing with having available jobs go unfilled, and the consequences this has for their businesses. In a bid to attract job applicants, many companies have increased starting wages and instituted signing bonuses, while others – particularly in the hard-hit hospitality industry – have been forced to reduce operating hours while they work to fill open positions. Many are pointing to the expansion of federal unemployment benefits – which include an additional $300 in weekly federal benefit payments – as exacerbating the problem, since many claimants are making as much or more in benefits as they were in wages. As noted in this Associated Press article, 12 states have now announced their intentions to stop paying the additional federal UC benefit and will also end their participation in two federal benefit programs that extended the length of time individuals can receive unemployment benefits; and also provided benefits for gig workers and the self-employed. In Pennsylvania, legislation is being introduced by House Labor and Industry Committee Chair Jim Cox, R-Berks, for the Commonwealth to join the ranks of those states scaling back participation in the federal programs in an effort to get more individuals back to work. 

- The Federal Reserve Board today issued their annual report, Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2020. According to the report, in the fourth quarter of 2020, nearly one-fourth of adults said that they were worse off financially compared to a year earlier, reflecting the economic fallout and distress resulting from the global COVID-19 pandemic. Read more: https://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/pressreleases/other20210517a.htm.

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

  • If you received a first-round Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan to cover payroll, mortgage interests, rent payments, and utility payments, you can now also tax deduct the corresponding expenses.Learn more
  • The Restaurant Revitalization Fund has received more than 147,000 applications from women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged business owners, requesting a total of $29 billion in relief funds. To date, a total of $2.7 billion of relief funds have been distributed to 21,000 restaurants since the Restaurant Revitalization Fund opened on May 3.

In addition to a $5 billion set-aside established by Congress for applicants with gross receipts not more than $500,000, two additional funding allocations were created to ensure the smallest of the small restaurants and other eating establishments such as food trucks and carts get the aid needed: 1) $500 million for applicants with 2019 gross receipts less than $50,000; and 2) $4 billion for applicants with 2019 gross receipts between $500,000 and $1,500,000. In the first days of the RRF program, SBA has received:

  • 13,114 applications from businesses with under $50,000 in pre-pandemic revenue requesting $330 million in funds
  • 100,410 applications from businesses with under $500,000 in annual pre-pandemic revenue requesting $8.14 billion in funds
  • 61,535 applicants from businesses with $500,000 - $1,500,000 in annual pre-pandemic revenue requesting $15.1 billion in funds

Because SBA still has potential funding available for eligible establishments with 2019 annual revenue of not more than $50,000, the application portal will remain open. Eligible establishments that meet this revenue standard are encouraged to apply through SBA-recognized point-of-sale vendors or directly via the SBA online application portalLearn more

  • The SBA is currently accepting applications for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant. To submit an application, visit sba.gov/svogrant.
  • With the launch of programs such as the RRF and the SVOG program, the SBA reminds businesses that bad actors may take this opportunity to impersonate lenders or government officials in emails, robocalls, social media accounts and phony websites. Their goal is to attract victims and commit fraud, scams and schemes. The result is financial or personally identifiable information (PII) loss for the victims. As a reminderthe SBA directly communicates from email addresses ending in @sba.gov.

If you applied for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant and emailed the SVOG Support Center, you may receive an email back from a zendesk.com account. This is an authorized SBA contractor.

If you are being contacted by someone claiming to be from the SBA who is not using an official SBA email address, you should suspect fraud. To report potential fraud, visit sba.gov/covidfraudalert.

  • May is World Trade Month and the SBA has teamed up with partnering organizations to offer webinars all month to help small business owners gain valuable insights on strategies for international sales success. All webinars begin at 2:00 p.m. EDT.
  • May 18 | Going Global with Trade Agreements | Register here
  • May 20 | Utilizing eCommerce Tools to Drive Global Sales | Register here
  • May 25 | Business Beyond Borders: Commemorating World Trade Month | Register here
  • May 27 | Logistics of Growing Global eCommerce | Register here

- In its April 2021 report, the PA Department of Health notes that nursing home surveyors conducted 427 inspections, including 281 complaint investigations, of 307 separate nursing homes. Of those, 90 were COVID-19-specific investigations. There were eight new sanctions finalized against nursing care facilities in the past month resulting in a total of $37,200 in fines. See more: Department of Health Highlights April 2021 Nursing Home Inspection, Sanction Information Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic.

- Last week the Senate unanimously passed S.B. 147. This PA Chamber-supported legislation aims to encourage employers to educate their workforce on the serious and life-threatening ramifications of opioid addiction. Under this proposal, employers who have a certified safety committee as part of their workers’ compensation program would be required to include information about the risks associated with opioid use.

- Congratulations to Central Mountain Middle School student Mason Frantz, who was the top finisher in Pennsylvania Regional Stock Market Challenge middle school division competition. An 8th grader, Frantz competed under the leadership of Middle School teacher Michael Fry. Partnership member Woodlands Bank sponsored the regional challenge, which is organized through nonprofit PennCFL (Pennsylvania Council on Financial Literacy). PennCFL makes its world-class, web-based stock simulation platform and curriculum available to all Pennsylvania students in grades K-12. Students can learn how to trade all year long by using curriculum, lessons and assignments and then are able to compete in the cutting-edge, real-time Stock Market Challenge.

- Tomorrow, Tuesday, May 18 is primary election day and we encourage you to exercise your right to vote. Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. If you are voting with a mail or absentee ballot, it must be returned to the Clinton County Piper Building by 8:00 p.m. May 18 (there is a curb-side ballot return box at the building). In the primary election in Pennsylvania, you can only vote for the candidates in the same political party you have named in your voter registration. However, all voters, regardless of affiliation, will be able to cast their vote on the four questions that appear on the ballot. You can see county election results on the Clinton County Government Facebook page or on the county website, www.clintoncountypa.com.

The PA Department of State also reminded Pennsylvanians that the state’s election night returns website offers up-to-the-minute results. See more: Election Returns Website Will Provide First Look at Tuesday’s Primary Election Results (pa.gov).

- With Memorial Day weekend and the summer travel season approaching, PennDOT and the PA State Police are urging drivers to keep traffic safety top of mind when behind the wheel. The agencies today said they will work with municipal police departments and other safety partners across the commonwealth to participate in the national "Click It or Ticket" seat belt education and enforcement initiative from May 17 through June 6, 2021. More here: Article (penndot.gov).

5/14/21

- Clinton County restaurants, bars, hotels and other for-profit businesses in the hospitality industry have until this Monday, May 17, to apply for grant funding through the COVID Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP). SEDA-COG is administering the program for the county and recently announced that third-round funding for the grant program closes May 17. Currently, $170,160 remains in Clinton County’s overall $437,560 allocation; to date, 10 businesses have received grants, with $185,000 being awarded in the first round and another $70,000 in the second round. Funding must be completed by July 15, so if your business is considering applying for a CHIRP grant, do so now. Go to https://csgiving.org/chirp/ to apply for a grant. For more information, contact Betsy Lockwood at SEDA-COG at 570-522-7265 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  NOTE: There is one more funding round scheduled, which will run until June 15 if there is still funding available after Round 3 grants are awarded.

Meanwhile, Governor Tom Wolf today encouraged businesses to apply for the CHIRP hospitality industry recovery funding, saying the state has already announced $50 million in CHIRP grants, including $1.2 million in Lycoming County (to 56 businesses) and $1.8 million in Centre County (to 86 businesses). Both of those counties have exhausted their funding allocation from the state’s overall $145 million allocated among all 67 counties. Read more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/wolf-administration-awards-millions-of-dollars-in-pandemic-relief-to-restaurants-and-hospitality-industry/.

- The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell last week to 473,000, a new pandemic low, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Labor and the latest evidence that fewer employers are cutting jobs as consumers ramp up spending and more businesses reopen. Thursday’s report showed that applications declined 34,000 from a revised 507,000 a week earlier. The number of weekly jobless claims — a rough measure of the pace of layoffs — has fallen significantly from a peak of 900,000 in January. Instead of cutting jobs, many employers are struggling to attract enough applicants for open positions.

- The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry today announced that the state’s unemployment rate has fallen low enough to automatically conclude the Extended Benefits (EB) program effective the claim week ending Saturday, May 15. Individuals on the EB program will be moved to the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, which will be in place until the week ending September 4. See more: Unemployment Rate Drop Triggers Off Extended Benefits; Individuals Can Continue Filing on Federal PEUC Program (pa.gov).

- At the Clinton County level, Partnership President Mike Flanagan today offered his weekly update on the local employment picture:  Clinton County residents showed an increase in initial and continued unemployment claims for the week ending May 8, according to information released Thursday by the state Department of Labor & Industry. Initial claims were 84, up from the 68 filings for the week ending May 1. A majority of the new filers were male, and 18% were in the construction field. The continued claims were 589, up slightly from a week ago. Males accounted for 52% of the continued claims, and 18% were in the construction field. The most recent claim numbers are still well below figures from early April. The state reports that eight county residents had jobless benefits expire as of May 8. That brings the yearly total to 477 people who have exhausted their benefits.

April unemployment rates listed by county should be available around June 1. Clinton County had a 7.2% unemployment rate in March.

- The Internal Revenue Service said today it will begin issuing refunds this week to eligible taxpayers who paid taxes on 2020 unemployment compensation that the recently-enacted American Rescue Plan later excluded from taxable income. Read more: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-begins-correcting-tax-returns-for-unemployment-compensation-income-exclusion-periodic-payments-to-be-made-may-through-summer.

- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday that fully vaccinated people can resume activities they did prior to the pandemic (When does the CDC consider someone fully vaccinated? Two weeks after receiving the full vaccine). The CDC update highlights what people can start doing as well as what they should keep doing. For example, the guidance says fully vaccinated individuals can resume activities without wearing a mask or staying six feet apart, except where required by federal, state and local laws, including local business and workplace guidance. Read more here: When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated | CDC.

Meanwhile, in an article from The Associated Press, Zeke Miller and Michael Balsamo from the AP said the easing guidance is likely to open the door to confusion since there is no surefire way for businesses or others to distinguish between those fully vaccinated and those who are not.

- Pennsylvania is following the CDC’s latest guidance: PA Health Acting Secretary Alison Beam has amended the commonwealth’s mask order to reflect yesterday’s CDC announcement. That means the CDC guidelines automatically go into effect in Pennsylvania. But remember, masking requirements are still in place for unvaccinated individuals until 70 percent of Pennsylvanians age 18 and older are fully vaccinated. Read more: Department of Health Mask Order Reflects Latest CDC Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Individuals.

- The PA Department of Health today reiterated that fully vaccinated individuals may choose note to wear a mask, unless a business or organization, such as a school, requires that added layer of protection. More here: Department of Health: Businesses Continue to Maintain Option to Require Individuals to Wear Masks.

The PA Restaurant & Lodging Association today also offered clarification, saying the updated masking guidelines do not prevent any individual business from requiring employees or guests, even those who are fully vaccinated, to wear a mask. Additionally, PRLA says, it is not the business’s responsibility to enforce the guidelines; individual businesses must make the best decision for their operation. PRLA has prepared a simple sign reflecting these new guidelines that businesses can post on their door to replace the sign from the original mask mandate.

- The River Valley Regional YMCA is among the first organizations locally to react to the new masking guidance. In an announcement today, RVR said it now allows fully vaccinated members to not wear a mask if they choose. Those that have not yet received the vaccine will still be required to wear their masks in RVR’s YMCAs, including the Lock Haven Branch YMCA. The announcement reminds Y users that fully vaccinated is defined as 2 weeks after receiving the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or 2 weeks after receiving the single dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

- The Health Department today confirmed an additional 1,643 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,182,922. According to the data, Clinton County reported 7 new cases, bringing the countywide total to 3,626. Centre County reported 11 new cases, bringing their total to 16,666, and Lycoming County saw 21 new cases, bringing their total to 11,656. Statewide, there are 1,652 people hospitalized with the virus, 390 of whom are in intensive care.

To date, the state has administered 9,534,664 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, 5,781,561 of which are first/single doses and 3,753,103 of which are second/full doses. In Clinton County, 2,527 people have received their first dose of the vaccine so far, while 10,499 are fully vaccinated. In Centre County, 16,591 have received a first dose and 60,748 a full dose, and in Lycoming County, 10,270 people have received a single dose while 35,479 are fully vaccinated. Read more: Department of Health: Over 9.5 Million Vaccinations to Date, 53.6% of Entire Population Received First Dose, 47.3% of Pennsylvanians Age 18 and Older Fully Vaccinated, PA Ranks 9th Among 50 States for First Dose Vaccinations.

- In an effort to get employees back to work and keep them at work, some companies are hosting their own COVID-19 shot clinics. An article from Inc. Magazine notes that doing so isn’t simple, or even possible for many businesses. Read more to learn how to launch an in-office vaccine clinic for your company.

- The Partnership congratulates the 18-member class of Leadership Clinton County following their graduation Thursday evening from the nine-month leadership development program. This was the 21st graduating class, and, because of the pandemic, the group (successfully) faced challenges like no other in the program’s 21-year history. More than 280 people have now completed the Partnership-hosted program. LCC is accepting applicants for the 2021-22 class, which will get underway in September. To learn more about Leadership Clinton County, visit the Partnership’s website at www.ClintonCountyInfo.com or contact LCC coordinator April Bittner at 570-748-5782 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

- Keystone Central School District Superintendent Dr. Jacquelyn Martin today issued her weekly update, noting only two active cases of Covid-19 among staff and two among students across three different schools within the District. Dr. Martin also noted that children 12 and older are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination and listed four vaccination clinics in Lock Haven and Williamsport currently being offered by UPMC. Click Here for the KSDC Update for details. 

- The PA Department of Health is now encouraging all COVID-19 vaccine providers to start vaccinating anyone age 12 and over with the Pfizer vaccine. Read more: Department of Health: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Fully Approved for Use in 12- to 15-Year-Olds.

- PA First Lady Frances Wolf, alongside Acting Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson, Thursday led a discussion about the COVID-19 vaccine and its effect on children during a Facebook Live event hosted by the Pennsylvania Commission for Women. The event, entitled Vax Facts for Parents and Guardians, is the first in a series aimed at providing Pennsylvania communities with relevant and accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines and addressing the questions of concerned citizens. The full event is available at www.facebook.com/PACommissionforWomen. You can read the full state news release here: Wolf Administration, Medical Professionals Share Important Updates on COVID-19 Vaccinations for Children (pa.gov).

- Lock Haven University today announced an extension of its test-optional admission policy for students applying to the university through the fall of 2022. First-year applicants to the university will not be required to submit either a Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or the American College Testing (ACT) score to complete an application for admission. The policy was originally implemented for fall 2020 to accommodate students who were impacted by test date cancellations because of COVID-19. Click here for the LHU news release for more.  

- Millbrook Playhouse this week announced plans for a 2021 season starting in June. The barn theatre in Mill Hall was unable to open last year due to the pandemic. Instead of the traditional June through August schedule, the Playhouse this year will host performances through December. The shows, ranging from musicals, to comedies and drama, are all planned in the larger, Ryan Main Stage theater. There are also several children’s performances on tap at the Playhouse’s Courtyard stage, as well as youth theatre camps that are scheduled for August. Click Here for the Millbrook flyer for the season line-up and visit www.millbrookplayhouse.org for more information.

- PennDOT issued an update today on a Route 220 project in Castanea Township, part of a larger project to improve the ride quality and extend the useful life of approximately 43 miles of roadway on 12 different routes in Clinton and Centre counties. PennDOT advises motorists to anticipate traffic stoppages when merging on or off Route 220 at the Salona interchange early next week. The stoppages are tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, May 18, and Wednesday, May 19. They will not exceed 15 minutes at a time, and flaggers in the roadway will direct traffic. 

Additionally, PennDOT advises motorists the contractor will continue implementing short-term closures of the left (passing) and right (travel) lanes throughout the entire work zone, which encompasses Route 220 northbound and southbound between Salona and McElhattan. The contractor lifts the closures at the end of each workday. Read more: News Details (penndot.gov).

- PennDOT today also announced the start next week of another project in both Clinton and Centre counties. In Clinton, the project involves milling, guiderail replacement and more along Route 4001, the Kettle Creek Road. More here: News Details (penndot.gov).

- The Center for Rural Development this week released the May/June issue of its newsletter, Rural Perspectives. The latest issue includes data from a study on the pandemic’s impact on crime and education, a look at youth employment, and more. Read the newsletter online at www.rural.pa.gov.

- The PA Department of Agriculture this week announced an investment of $500,000 in developing the future workforce of the state’s $132.5 billion agriculture industry by funding 57 grants for ag education. Keystone Central School District’s Career & Technology Center is listed as receiving a $7,500 award for an aquaponics project. See more: Wolf Administration Invests $500,000 in Future of Agriculture, Funds 57 Ag Education Grant Projects (pa.gov).

Upcoming Webinars: 

- The U.S. Chamber Foundation hosts three COVID-19-related webinars next week as part of its “Path Forward: Ask Me Anything” series. Each half-hour session begins at 2pm and features expert panelists who will answer your questions on:

  • Contact Tracing: Johns Hopkins University’s Dr. Emily Gurley will answer questions about contract tracing and its role in fighting COVID-19 on Wednesday, May 19.
  • COVID-19 Vaccines: Northwell Health’s Dr. Eric Cioe-Pena will address questions and the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccines, vaccination efforts, and more on Thursday, May 20.
  • Public Health: Former CDC Director and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Dr. Richard Besser, will answer your biggest questions about public health, what to expect in the next 4-6 months, and the long-term impacts of the pandemic on Friday, May 21. 

- The SCORE Central PA Chapter hosts a no-cost webinar, More Profitable Prices for You – in just 80 Minutes, on Thursday, May 20 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The webinar focuses on how to increase profits and/or donations through strategic pricing. Register Now!

5/12/21

- Pennsylvania’s statistics in the battle against the Coronavirus continue to improve. The state Tuesday provided a weekly status update, based on the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System dashboard, highlighting a seven-day case increase of 14,053, which is 4,320 fewer new cases compared to the previous week, and a statewide percent positivity of 6.6%, compared to 7.6% last week. There was not much change in our region: Clinton County’s percent positivity increased slightly to 6.9%, compared to 6.8% last week; Centre County is at 6.8%, compared to 6.9% last week; and Lycoming County maintained a 7.4% positivity rate. Clinton and Centre counties have both improved and are now listed as being in the moderate transmission level along with 23 other counties. Lycoming County continues to be in the substantial level of transmission along with 39 other counties. Two counties, Cameron and Forest, are listed as being in the low level of transmission. Read more: Pennsylvania COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard Update for April 30 – May 6 (pa.gov).

Meanwhile, the PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 2,179 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,179,251. According to the data, Clinton reported 3 new cases, bringing the countywide total to 3,609. Centre County saw 12 new cases, bringing their total to 16,627, and Lycoming County reported 22 new cases, bringing their total to 11,612. The number of COVID-related hospitalizations statewide continues to trend under 2,000. There currently are 1,751 people hospitalized with the virus, 406 of whom are in intensive care.

To date, the state has administered 9,381,098 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, 5,713,828 of which are first doses and 3,667,270 are second doses. According to the state’s vaccine dashboard, 2,595 people in Clinton County have received their first dose, while 10,278 are fully vaccinated. In Centre County, 17,449 have received a first dose, while 58,805 are fully vaccinated; and in Lycoming County, 10,479 people have received their first shot, while 34,936 people are fully vaccinated. More data here: Department of Health: Over 9.3 Million Vaccinations to Date, 53.1% of Entire Population Received First Dose, 46.2% of Pennsylvanians Age 18 and Older Fully Vaccinated, PA Ranks 10th Among 50 States for First Dose Vaccinations.

- From the U.S. Chamber: Encouraging employees to get the COVID-19 vaccination can be a delicate dance. And some businesses are offering employees meaningful incentives for getting their doses, including cash and paid time off. Read more: Vaccination incentives: a win-win situation.

- Pennsylvanians accessing the new Unemployment Compensation (UC) system the state plans to launch in June will use Keystone ID, the state’s secure login. The Department of Labor & Industry is preparing users to transition from the 40-year-old current system to the new computer system and says the new system will enable quicker and easier filing of UC claims. L&I is offering weekly workshops to prepare users for the new UC system and the new login process using Keystone ID is among the key topics covered. Details here: Keystone ID Part of Transfer to New, Improved Unemployment Compensation System.

- The U.S. Small Business Administration today announced the latest application data results for the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund. The RRF has received more than 147,000 applications from women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged business owners, requesting a total of $29 billion in relief funds. To date, a total of $2.7 billion has been distributed to 21,000 restaurants since the Restaurant Revitalization Fund opened on May 3, 2021. Read the entire news release here: https://www.sba.gov/article/2021/may/12/recovery-smallest-restaurants-bars-administrator-guzman-announces-latest-application-data-results, and for more information about the Restaurant Revitalization Program, visit https://sba.gov/restaurants.

- In case you missed it, the Wolf Administration announced Tuesday that event and gathering maximum occupancy limits will be increased to 50% for indoor events/gatherings and 75% for outdoor events/gatherings, effective this coming Monday, May 17 at 12:01 a.m. Event and gathering limits – along with all other COVID-19 mitigation measures except for masking – will be completely lifted on Monday, May 31 at 12:01 a.m. 

- The U.S. Treasury Department this week announced the launch of the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, established by the American Rescue Plan to provide $350 billion in emergency funding for state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments. The department has also released final amounts to be delivered to state, counties, and municipal governments and guidance on how those funds can be used. Click Here for the Coronavirus State & Local Recover Funds news release as well as a fact sheet on the initiative.

- As part of an Integration Update, Lock Haven University today highlighted activities to-date and the process timeline. The update also includes a link to the integration plan and information on how to comment on the proposal. Click Here for the LHU file for more.  

 - The PA Department of Environmental Protection says a new report released today shows tremendous potential for clean energy workforce development opportunities that can bolster Pennsylvania’s economy. The 2021 Pennsylvania Clean Energy Industry Workforce Development Needs Assessment and Gap Analysis Report identifies how to best support continued job growth in the state’s clean energy technology sectors. More information here: DEP Report Finds Clean Energy Workforce Development Will Boost Job Creation, Economy (pa.gov).

- The Departments of Human Services, Labor & Industry, and Education today announced the availability of the federal Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB), a program that will assist eligible households in paying for internet service and certain electronic devices. Learn more: Wolf Administration Encourages Pennsylvanians to Apply for Assistance with Internet Bills, Electronic Devices (pa.gov).

- The Departments of Human Services and Education today announced the Wolf Administration has begun distribution of Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) federally funded benefits to the families of nearly one million Pennsylvania children who have attended school remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic and who otherwise would have had access to free-and-reduced-price meals during the 2020-21 school year. More here: Wolf Administration Begins Distribution of $1 Billion in Pandemic EBT Benefits to Families of Eligible School-Age Children.

- Over 50 projects were highlighted today as PennDOT announced work that will take place across District 2’s nine-county region during the 2021 construction season. Overall highlights for District 2 (Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Juniata, McKean, Mifflin, and Potter counties) include:

  • approximately 68 miles of paving;
       • approximately 46 bridges repaired or replaced; and
       • approximately 432 miles of roadway seal coated.

Notable projects expected to begin this year include the Route 477 bridge replacement over Fishing Creek in Loganton Borough, a $1.6 million project. Notable projects that will continue this year include: the I-99 highway restoration including patching and overlay, guiderail and drainage in Bellefonte area ($4.6 million), and the I-80/A18 construction for the new local interchange just east of the Bellefonte 161 interchange ($52 million), both in Centre County. Read more: News Details (penndot.gov)

- Governor Tom Wolf announced today that PennDOT will invest $10 million in state grant funds benefitting 12 Pennsylvania airports. The Williamsport Regional Airport is listed to receive $322,500 for site work and $761,500 for construction of a 12,000 square foot hangar complex. Click Here for the PennDOT file for more information.  

- SEDA-COG is seeking general contractors for work on housing rehab projects in the region. Click Here for the SEDA-COG news release for details.

- The Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corporation (CPWDC), the local Workforce Development Board for a nine-county Central Pennsylvania region including Clinton, Centre and Lycoming counties, has announced it has rebranded to Advance Central PA, saying the name change reflects a positive, forward-thinking organization that expresses how the local Workforce Development Board works tirelessly to move the Central Pennsylvania region forward. See the attached CPWDC announcement for more information.

5/11/21

- The state today announced further relaxing of occupancy limits for indoor and outdoor events and gatherings, effective this coming Monday, May 17. Occupancy limits will be increased to 50 percent for indoor events and gatherings, and 75 percent for outdoor events and gatherings, effective 12:01 a.m. May 17. Currently, maximum occupancy is 25 percent for indoor and 50 percent for outdoor events and gatherings. More information here: Wolf Administration to Increase Indoor and Outdoor Events and Gatherings Maximum Capacity on May 17.

- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Monday expanded the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine to include adolescents 12 through 15 years of age. Shots could begin as soon as a federal vaccine advisory committee issues recommendations for using the two-dose vaccine in 12- to 15-year-olds. See more: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/coronavirus-covid-19-update-fda-authorizes-pfizer-biontech-covid-19-vaccine-emergency-use.

- The PA Department of Health today applauded the FDA for taking the next step to make Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine available to 12- to 15-year-olds, and said the state will be ready to begin vaccinating that age group once the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices reviews the data and makes an official recommendation to use the vaccine for this age group. That committee is slated to discuss the recommendation tomorrow, May 12. The state estimates about 750,000 more Pennsylvanians will be able to get vaccinated once the 12- to 15-year-old age group is eligible. They would join the more than 5.7 million Pennsylvanians who have received at least one dose of the vaccine so far. Read more: Department of Health Notes One More Step Required Before Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine Approved for Use in 12-15 Year Olds.

- UPMC today issued their COVID update, which highlights vaccine effectiveness and more. Click Here for the UPMC file.

5/10/21

- Starting this week, PA Department of Labor and Industry is hosting instructional workshops to help claimants and employers prepare for the June launch of Pennsylvania’s new Unemployment Compensation system.  The workshops begin this week and run through the week of June 14. They’ll cover information such as how to LogIn, payment information, status updates, appeals, fact-finding, Frequently Asked Questions, and more. Additional information can be found on the Department’s website.

L&I announced preparations for the transition to the “new, faster, and easier-to-use” UC benefits system are going well, with minimal or no disruption in benefits anticipated for most unemployment payment recipients. The UC system will be offline for several days during next month’s transition, but the planned timeline has been positioned to allow most individuals to file their bi-weekly claims as scheduled.

The transition from the old to the new system will take place May 30-June 7, with the new system anticipated to be “live” on June 8.

  • From Thursday, June 3, to  Monday, June 7, individuals with ongoing claims will be unable to file biweekly certifications.
  • Individuals scheduled to file their biweekly certification during the week of May 30 to June 5 will be able to file their biweekly claims between Sunday, May 30, and Wednesday, June 2. L&I will process all claims and issue payments through the Pennsylvania Treasury after the old system is taken offline but before the transition begins.
  • When the new system comes online, everyone will change to a weekly filing pattern.
  • During the week of June 6 to 12, individuals will be able to file on time after the new system comes online on June 8.
  • Individuals filing for unemployment for the first time will be unable to file a new claim from May 31 to June 7. These individuals will still receive on-time payments if they file when the new system comes online on June 8.
  • The ability to file a claim by phone will be offline from June 3 to 9. These individuals can either file using the new online system when it comes online, or they can file on Thursday, June 10, or Friday, June 11.

More details here: L&I to Transition to New, Faster, Easier-to-Use Unemployment Compensation System with Minimal Disruption Anticipated.

And, L&I said about 230 new customer service representatives began answering incoming calls to the UC Service Center today, while existing, trained staff members have been shifted to exclusively work on resolving outstanding claim issues. See more on that change here: Starting Today: Additional Customer Service Improvements for Unemployment Compensation (pa.gov).

- Nearly half of Pennsylvania’s state senators are urging Gov. Tom Wolf to lift his COVID-19 mitigation orders on businesses before Memorial Day. In a letter to the governor, they asked for the restrictions to be lifted on Friday, May 28 - the Friday before Memorial Day. Currently, Wolf plans to remove the restrictions on Memorial Day, May 31. Lawmakers argue removing the restrictions three days earlier would help the hospitality and tourism industries, which have been hurt badly by the pandemic.

- The U.S. Small Business Administration announced today it will begin delivering economic relief from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund to more than 16,000 approved applicants. This first round of funding represents over $2 billion of relief awarded since last Monday’s successful program launch. Restaurants and other food and beverage businesses across the nation will begin to see funds in bank accounts as early as Tuesday, May 11.

Under RRF, restaurants are eligible for funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue losses, capped at $10 million per business and $5 million per location. The SBA will continue to fund approved applications until all funds have been exhausted. SBA has prioritized a customer-centric approach to the delivery of economic aid, eliminating cumbersome application requirements, streamlining the application process, and by partnering with point-of-sale (POS) vendors to provide seamless ways to apply to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

Following the 21-day priority period, all eligible applications will be funded in the order in which they have been received. While the SBA will continue accepting applications from any eligible establishment until funds are exhausted, the number of applications received so far could exhaust the funds authorized to fund the RRF. Interested onsite food establishments may still apply through SBA-recognized POS vendors or directly via the SBA online application portal: https://restaurants.sba.gov.

- The Pennsylvania Department of Health is reporting that a number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 has shown a recent decline. In their update today, DOH said 1,924 people are currently hospitalized with the virus, with 427 of those in intensive care. The Department today reported 1,023 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,174,687. According to the data, Clinton County reported 1 new case, bringing the countywide total to 3,597. Centre County saw 8 new cases, bringing their total to 16,586, and Lycoming County reported 6 new cases, bringing their total to 11,558.

The state says 9,232,573 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to date; 5,658,647 of those are first/single doses, while 3,573,926 are full/second doses. In Clinton County, 2,520 people have been partially vaccinated, while 10,178 are fully vaccinated. In Centre County, 18,642 people have received a single dose of the vaccine while 57,098 are fully vaccinated. In Lycoming County, 10,053 people have received their first dose, while 34,491 people are fully vaccinated. Read more: Department of Health: Over 9.2 Million Vaccinations to Date, 52.6% of Entire Population Received First Dose, 45.3% of Pennsylvanians Age 18 and Older Fully Vaccinated, PA Ranks 10th Among 50 States for First Dose Vaccinations.

- According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, there have been 32,543,257 cases of COVID-19 reported in the United States to date. And, following a rapid rise in COVID-19 vaccination rates, U.S. vaccination progress is beginning to slow. The CDC says that while more than 8 in 10 people ages 65 and older have received at least one dose of vaccine, only about 1 in 3 people ages 18 to 29 have. Everyone 16 and older is currently eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine and the CDC is encouraging people to get vaccinated as soon as they can.

- Lock Haven University this past weekend celebrated the achievements of nearly 400 graduates during the 143rd spring commencement ceremonies, which were held in-person Friday and Saturday. Click Here for the LHU news release.

- With the deadline to file 2020 Pennsylvania person income tax returns and make final 2020 income tax payments only a week away (May 17), the PA Department of Revenue is reminding people there is a free online option available for filing state returns and making payments. More here: Pennsylvanians Have Free Online Filing Option for PA Income Tax Returns, Payments.

- Several Updates from the PA Chamber:

  • A series of regulatory reform bills that fall under the policy umbrella of the PA Chamber’s “Bringing PA Back” initiative have been approved by the state House of Representatives. These reforms would bring much needed transparency and greater efficiency to the state’s regulatory review and permitting process. -> Read More
  • Last week, two PA Chamber-supported unemployment compensation bills moved forward in the legislative process. -> Read More
  • The state Senate is in session this week. There are a number of items of interest to the business community scheduled to be considered in committee or before the full chamber. -> Read More

5/7/21

- Clinton County Economic Partnership President Mike Flanagan today issued the following update on the local employment picture: Clinton County’s unemployment claims numbers continued to show improvement for the week ending May 1, 2021, according to information released Friday by the state Department of Labor & Industry. Initial weekly claims were 68, down from the 81 registered for the week ending April 24. The new claims included 56% who were male, and 24% were in the construction field. The continued unemployment insurance claims were down almost 100, to 550. That number included 57% men, and 23% in the construction sector. The state also reported that seven Clinton County residents had unemployment benefits end during the seven day period ending May 1 (since the beginning of 2021, a total of 469 county residents have had benefits expire).

The April monthly unemployment rates for all 67 counties should be released by the state on or around June 1. Clinton County’s March unemployment rate was 7.2%.

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry also announced today that the next phase of a customer service improvement initiative for unemployment compensation begins Monday, May 10, when about 230 new customer service representatives will answer incoming calls to the UC Service Center. L&I said existing staff will shift to exclusively work on resolving outstanding claim issues. The change is part of a larger effort to improve customer service and prepare for the transition, slated for next month, from the state’s 40-year-old mainframe system to an easier-to-use modern computer system. More here: Additional Unemployment Compensation Customer Service Improvements Start Monday (pa.gov).

- According to the federal Department of Labor, the U.S. economy added 266,000 jobs in April, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 6.1%. Labor force participation was at its highest point since August 2020, and hesitancy about returning to work due to the coronavirus was at its lowest point since the pandemic began. Click on the following links for more details: Read the Bureau of Labor Statistics report; Read Secretary Walsh’s statement; and Read Chief Economist Janelle Jones’ blog post.

- Meanwhile, according to the Department of Labor….In the week ending May 1, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 498,000, a decrease of 92,000 from the previous week's revised level. This is the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020 when it was 256,000. Read the full news release here: https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/OPA/newsreleases/ui-claims/20210839.pdf.

- The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) ran out of funding for most small businesses on Tuesday, nearly four weeks early, but about $8 billion is still available through community financial institutions, which lend to underserved groups such as women and minorities. For more, go to the PPP page on the Small Business Administration’s website at: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/covid-19-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program.

- The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment & Training Administration this week issued an Unemployment Insurance Program Letter that provides states with guidance on addressing unemployment insurance benefit overpayments established by states for programs authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. An overpayment occurs when a state finds an individual received a payment or payments to which they are not entitled. Read more: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/eta/eta20210505.

- The U.S. Small Business Administration on Thursday announced the initial results of the successful May 3 launch of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, showing more than 186,000 applications. The $28.6 billion program, signed into law by President Joe Biden as part of the American Rescue Plan, provides economic aid to restaurants and other establishments struggling to make ends meet as a result of the pandemic. In the first two days of the RRF application window, the SBA received: 186,200 applications from restaurants, bars, and other eligible businesses in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and five U.S. Territories….97,600 applications of which came from restaurants, bars, and other eligible businesses owned and controlled by women (46,400), veterans (4,200), socially and economically disadvantaged individuals (30,800), or some combination of the three (16,200). 61,700 applications from businesses with under $500,000 in annual pre-pandemic revenue, representing some of the smallest restaurants and bars in America. Read more: https://www.sba.gov/article/2021/may/05/administrator-isabella-casillas-guzman-announces-initial-results-restaurant-revitalization-fund.

- On a related note, the National Restaurant Association has prepared an FAQ document and step-by-step guide to help operators interested in applying for a Restaurant Revitalization Fund grant.

- A couple of updates for the restaurant and hotel industry from the PA Restaurant & Lodging Association: 

  • The National Restaurant Association today released its updated COVID-19 Operating Guidance, which incorporates information from the CDC, FDA, EPA, OSHA, as well as critical training recommendations for your employees.
  • The U.S. Labor Department released the April jobs report this morning, showing that the U.S. economy brought back far fewer jobs than estimated. While the overall gains were far below anticipated, the leisure and hospitality sector saw employment trend higher in April. According to the National Restaurant Association, restaurants added a net 187,000 jobs in April.
  • Skift.com is reporting that hotels added 54,000 jobs in April – the biggest monthly gain since last September – and hotel unemployment dropped to 13.8% from 19.9%  seen in March. While hotels have run well above the national unemployment rate average for the duration of the pandemic, this is the narrowest gap between the two figures since the start of the crisis.

- Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 statistics, as well as our region’s stats, continue to improve. The State, in its weekly updated based on the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System dashboard, highlighted a seven-day case increase of 17,774. The previous seven-day increase was 21,823, indicating 4,049 fewer new cases across the state as of April 29, compared to the previous week. The state’s current percent positivity rate is 7.6%, compared to 8.6% last week and 9.6% the week before that. There are now 12 counties that have a positivity rate lower than 5%, and no counties reporting over a 20% rate.

Clinton, Centre and Lycoming counties all saw drops in their percent positivity rates over the past week. Clinton County currently is at 6.8% - now the lowest of the three counties. Centre County is at 6.9%, and Lycoming County has a percent positivity of 7.4% (compared to 14.1%, 8.8% and 9.2% a week ago, respectively). However, all three counties, as well as 41 others, remain in what the state terms a substantial level of transmission. Only Cameron, Forest and Fulton counties are considered to be in the low level of transmission. Another 20 counties are in the moderate level of transmission. More here: Pennsylvania COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard Update for April 23 – 29 (pa.gov).

- Keystone Central School District Superintendent Dr. Jacquelyn Martin heralded the improved percent positivity numbers today in her weekly update. Dr. Martin said the District currently has three active cases of COVID-19 among staff and four among students across four different schools. She also said the state’s recent decision to lift mitigation orders (except for masking) on Memorial Day will allow for more people to attend graduation ceremonies. Click Here for the KCSD Update.

Meanwhile, Dr. Martin also announced plans for a month-long educational summer camp for students. Click Here for the flyer.

- The Wolf Administration announced today that thousands of students and families will continue to receive nutritious meals during the pandemic. The Biden Administration is extending or providing flexibilities to the National School Lunch Program Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT). Learn more: Wolf Administration: Pandemic Food Aid to Continue for Students and Families in Need.

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 2,986 cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,169,678, with 2,047 people hospitalized with the virus. To date, the state has administered 9,041,237 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine: 5,578,109 Pennsylvanians have received first doses, while second doses have been administered to 3,463,128 people. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Pennsylvania has administered first doses of vaccine to 51.6% of its entire population, and the state ranks 10th among the 50 states for vaccine administration. More here: Department of Health: Over 8.9 Million Vaccinations to Date, 51.6% of Entire Population Received First Dose, 43.4% of Pennsylvanians Age 18 and Older Fully Vaccinated, PA Ranks 10th Among 50 States for First Dose Vaccinations.

- UPMC calls the COVID-19 vaccine “vital” in its latest update, encouraging people to get a vaccine and noting that the health system has distributed more than 515,000 doses of the vaccine across its service regions, which include Lock Haven, Coudersport, Williamsport and Wellsboro. Click Here for the UPMC file.

Regarding UPMC Vaccination Clinics locally:  UPMC will host a vaccination clinic in Renovo on Tuesday, May 11, at the Renovo Fire Company, 230 11th Street, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00p.m. In addition to scheduled appointments, they are encouraging walk-ins. At this point, due to lack of appointments, there is no UPMC clinic scheduled for next week at the Dunnstown Fire Hall (clinics have been held there on Wednesdays for the past several weeks), and the clinic on May 19 could be the last there as requests for vaccinations have slowed considerably.

- There are 10 other locations in the Clinton County area that continue to have vaccines available, and the PA Health Department announced it has transitioned to using Vaccines.gov as the mapping source to help individuals find a location where they can get vaccinated. According to that map, COVID-19 vaccines are available at Keller & Munro Pharmacy, CVS Pharmacy, Weis Pharmacy, Pleasant Valley Family Medicine in Lock Haven; Mill Hall Pharmacy, Weis Pharmacy, Walmart, and Family Practice Center in Mill Hall; and Geisinger Jersey Shore Hospital and the Weis Pharmacy in Jersey Shore. See more: Department of Health Transitions to New Vaccine Map to Enhance Access to COVID-19 Vaccine.

- Since the onset of the pandemic, the Penn State Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has provided more than 1,000 collective hours of business advising to small business owners experiencing supply chain disruptions, staffing challenges, a decrease in revenue, and/or closure because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the 347 entrepreneurs who have sough pandemic-related support, 38 have worked with the SBDC to access a combined $4.5 million in capital through local, state and federal emergency funding initiatives. Read More

The Small Business Development Center at Penn State also offers no-cost pandemic-related consulting. Pandemic support specialist Elizabeth Hay stands ready to support small business owners in Clinton as well as Centre, Lycoming and Mifflin counties navigate the emergency loan application process and more. Consulting services are confidential and no-cost. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

- Lane shifts, traffic stoppages and nighttime work are all in the mix next week as work continues on the Local Interchange/Route 26 project in Centre County. The work zone is located along I-80 near the Bellefonte/161 interchange and work to build the local interchange can affect traffic flow on Interstate 80. Read more: News Details (penndot.gov).

Upcoming Webinars:

- The First Step to Small Business Success, Tuesday, May 11 at 9:00 a.m. The Small Business Development Center at Penn State hosts this session to help entrepreneurs learn about the process of starting a business. Register Here

- The SBDC hosts weekly Quick Connect Coaching: Leveraging SBDC Services, Tuesdays at 1:00 pm. No-cost consulting, educational training, and resources. See how the SBDC can help your small business start, grow and prosper. Register Here

- ADP hosts a May 11, 3:00 p.m. webinar, Understanding & maximizing tax credits for your restaurant. REGISTER

- The Penn State SBDC hosts, R3: Strategic Design and Planning for Small Business, monthly, June – September. This 90-day journey gives small business owners insight into strategic planning by identifying business capabilities and designing a road map to future state initiatives. Register by May 21. Register Here

- The SBDC also offers a PASBDC Grow with Google Series, May 11 and May 26. The PA SBDC network has partnered with Grow with Google and Google Trainer Randi F. Penfil to host a series of 6 webinars. This month they will host "Using YouTube to Grow Your Business" on May 11 from 11:00 a.m. – Noon, and "Make Better Business Decisions with Analytics" on May 26 from 10:00-11: a.m. Visit the links above for additional program information and Register for the 5/11 Event Here.

- You can also use the following link to check out All Upcoming SBDC Events.

The following lists of several upcoming SBDC-partnered events. Local businesses are also welcome to participate in these sessions:

5/5/21

- In case you missed it, the Wolf administration, in coordination with the COVID-19 Vaccine Joint Task Force, announced Tuesday that COVID-19 mitigation orders except masking will be lifted on Memorial Day, Monday, May 31. Details here: Wolf Administration to Lift Mitigation Orders on Memorial Day, Masking Order Once 70% of Pennsylvania Adults Fully Vaccinated (pa.gov).

- Governor Tom Wolf today visited Penn State University to discuss COVID-19 vaccine efforts and encourage students to get vaccinated before summer break. The governor was joined by Penn State football coach James Franklin, student athlete Theo Johnson, PSU president Eric Barron, and the Nittany Lion mascot. See more: Gov. Wolf Visits Happy Valley; Meets with PSU Coach Franklin and President Barron to Encourage Vaccinations (pa.gov).

- The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and Department of Health announced that the Regional Vaccination Clinic at Penn State’s Bryce Jordan Center will resume operations this Thursday, May 6, offering both the two-dose Moderna vaccine and the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. May 6 – 10 will be the final week the clinic offers the first dose of the two-dose Moderna vaccine. Starting May 13, the clinic will only offer the second dose of Moderna, and the single dose J&J vaccine. Read more: Regional Vaccination Clinic in Centre County to Resume Scheduled Operations Thursday (pa.gov).

- The Department of Health today confirmed an additional 2,597 cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,164,216. According to the data, Clinton County reported four new cases, bringing the countywide total to 3,577. Centre County saw 40 new positive cases, bringing their total to 16,472, and Lycoming County was up 14 cases, to 11,428. Statewide, 2,172 people are hospitalized with the virus, 480 of whom are in intensive care.

To date, 8,840,842 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Pennsylvania; 5,494,037of those are first/single doses, while another 3,346,805 are second/full doses. In Clinton County, 2,884 people have received their first dose of the vaccine, while 9,630 have received a full dose. In Centre County, 19,637 people have received their first dose, while 53,609 people are fully vaccinated. And in Lycoming County, 10,345 people are partially vaccinated and 33,134 are fully vaccinated. More here: Department of Health: Over 8.8 Million Vaccinations to Date, 50.9% of Entire Population Received First Dose, 42.2% of Pennsylvanians Age 18 and Older Fully Vaccinated, PA Ranks 10th Among 50 States for First Dose Vaccinations.

- The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency this week discussed how flexible disaster emergency declarations allow emergency officials to maintain response and recovery operations for the extent of long-duration disaster incidents. Read more: Wolf Administration Discusses Need for Flexible Disaster Emergency Declarations for Long-Duration Disaster Incidents (pa.gov).

- The PA Department of Education this week is celebrating teachers across the state for their dedication following more than a year of overcoming challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more: Department of Education Thanks Educators for an Extraordinary Year.

- The state is reminding registered voters that they have until this coming Tuesday, May 11, to apply for a mail ballot to vote in the May 18 primary election. More here: Pennsylvanians Have One Week Left to Apply for a Mail Ballot for the May 18 Primary Election (pa.gov).

- With the personal income tax filing deadline approaching on May 17, the PA Department of Revenue is reminding low-income Pennsylvanians they may be eligible for a refund or reduction of their PA personal income taxes through the commonwealth’s Tax Forgiveness program. See more: Low-Income Pennsylvanians Can Benefit from Tax Forgiveness Program (pa.gov).

- First Commonwealth Bank hosts two employer webinars tomorrow, with a focus on health care and employee retention. The 1:30-2:15 p.m. session is for employers with 40+ employees, while the 3:30-4:15 p.m. session is for employers with 2 – 40 employees. For more information and to register, visit www.fcbanking.com/SBW.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

MAY 4, 2021 

Wolf Administration to Lift Mitigation Orders on Memorial Day, Masking Order Once 70% of Pennsylvania Adults Fully Vaccinated 

Pennsylvanians ages 16 and older who want a vaccine are urged to get one 

Harrisburg, PA – The Wolf administration, in coordination with the COVID-19 Vaccine Joint Task Force, announced today that mitigation orders except masking will be lifted on Memorial Day, Monday, May 31 at 12:01 AM. 

The current order requiring Pennsylvanians to wear masks will be lifted when 70% of Pennsylvanians age 18 and older are fully vaccinated. Face coverings are required to be worn indoors and outdoors if you are away from your home. In accordance with the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, fully vaccinated Pennsylvanians are not required to wear a mask during certain activities.  

“We continue to make significant progress in the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19 and as more Pennsylvania adults get vaccinated and guidance from the CDC evolves, we can continue to move forward with our reopening efforts,” ​Department of Health Acting Secretary Alison Beam said. “I encourage Pennsylvanians to take the critical steps needed to put this pandemic behind us by getting vaccinated, follow through with both doses if you receive the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, and continue to take steps like masking, frequent hand washing and sanitizing and social distancing.”

Requirements such as testing and reporting ​new cases will remain in place for hospitals and long-term care facilities. Maintaining requirements for hospitals and long-term care facilities wi​ll allow Pennsylvania to continue to closely monitor COVID-19 spread while lifting other restrictions.

The Department of Health recommends that Pennsylvanians refer to CDC guidance and recommendations regarding ongoing COVID-19 safety measures and procedures.

These updates will not prevent municipalities and school districts from ​continuing and implementing stricter mitigation efforts. 

“With millions of Pennsylvanians getting vaccinated, it’s time to plan the transition back to normal,” said Sen. Art Haywood. Hospitalizations and deaths are down. This action today is a key step forward.”

“While the restrictions that were put in place at the outset of the pandemic have been a major source of frustration for many Pennsylvanians and businesses, it is the collaborative work of this bipartisan Task Force that is allowing us to finally roll back the restrictions and get back to normal life,” said Sen. Ryan Aument.

“I’m thrilled after more than a year that we are able to lift these restrictions so that we can move to more normal life,” said Rep. Tim O’Neal. “This will help grow our economy and assist our small businesses that have sacrificed so much due to COVID-19. Thank you to Pennsylvanians who have chosen to be vaccinated. Your efforts have helped us arrive at today.”

“I am proud of the progress we have made with vaccinations throughout Pennsylvania,” said Rep. Bridget Kosierowski. “Lifting mitigation orders on Memorial Day and announcing that masking orders will be lifted once 70 percent of Pennsylvania’s adults are fully vaccinated are all benefits from following the scientific medical research and data. Many sacrifices had been made over the past year while we waited for help. The help is now here in the form of a vaccine and we must do everything we can to encourage everyone to receive their vaccination so we can overcome this pandemic. Let’s follow the science, because it’s the path to us all returning to normalcy.”

The governor’s Proclamation of Disaster Emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic remains in place. 

All Pennsylvanians ages 16 and older are eligible to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine. The provider map is available on the Department of Health’s website. Pennsylvanians with questions about the vaccination process can call the Department of Health hotline at 1-877-724-3258. 

More information is available on the COVID-19 Data Dashboard

MEDIA CONTACT:  Barry Ciccocioppo, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

4/3/21

- The Restaurant Revitalization Fund site is now live as of today, Monday, May 3, and the application portal will remain open to any eligible establishment until all funds are exhausted. The U.S. Small Business Administration is overseeing the $28.6 billion RRF. As expected, the site has received a high volume of traffic leading the SBA to tweet this afternoon that if you received the following message: "Your application failed the Knowledge Based Authentication (KBA) Validation," your place in line is reserved and you will be able to complete your application shortly. 

The National Restaurant Association is cautioning operators that the number of applications will exceed available funds and is urging interested eligible businesses – including restaurants, food stands, food trucks, caterers, bars, saloons, lounges and taverns, bakeries, breweries, brewpubs, taprooms, wineries and distilleries – to submit a grant application as early as possible, even if they do not qualify for the 21-day priority period. The NRA updated several resources for restaurant owners completing grant applications for the RRF:

- On a related note, the PA Restaurant & Lodging Association today said the state House Liquor Control Committee Tuesday is scheduled to consider House Bill 1154, which would make mixed drinks to-go permanent.

Separately this week, the PA House Labor & Industry Committee is scheduled to consider HB 406, which would reinstate the work-search requirement to continue receiving unemployment compensation benefits.  

- The SBA is also currently accepting applications for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant. To submit an application, visit sba.gov/svogrant. 

- The PA Department of Revenue announced today that the state collected $4.0 billion in General Fund revenue in April, about 0.7 percent more than anticipated. Fiscal year-to-date General Fund collections total $32.7 billion, or 4.2 percent above estimate. More here: Revenue Department Releases April 2021 Collections.

- The Internal Revenue Service reminds workers in the gig economy and those who claimed unemployment compensation in 2020 of their options and where to find information on meeting their tax obligations. Read more: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-has-options-for-gig-economy-workers-and-those-with-unemployment-benefits.

- From the U.S. Department of Labor: In the week ending April 24, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims was 553,000, a decrease of 13,000 from the previous week's revised level. Read the full news release.

- Wages and benefits grew quickly for U.S. workers in the first three months of the year, a sign that businesses are starting to offer higher pay to fill newly-opened jobs. U.S. workers’ total compensation rose 0.9% in the January-March quarter, the largest gain in more than 13 years, the Labor Department said Friday. That’s up from 0.7% in the final three months of last year. The solid gain comes after weaker increases during the pandemic, when the unemployment rate initially shot to nearly 15% before declining steadily to 6% in March. As a result, workers’ pay and benefits rose just 2.6% in the year ending in March, down from 2.8% a year earlier. The data comes from the Labor Department’s Employment Cost Index, which measures pay changes for workers that keep their jobs. Unlike some other measures of Americans’ paychecks, it isn’t directly affected by mass layoffs such as the pandemic job losses that occurred last spring. The figures suggest that as the economy rapidly reopens, businesses are already providing higher pay and benefits to pull workers back into the job market. Many businesses have complained that they can’t find people to take jobs, despite still-high unemployment. Some Americans are reluctant to take jobs in industries like restaurants, hotels and bars for fear of contracting the coronavirus. Others, particularly women, are constrained by child care obligations. And a generous federal supplement to unemployment benefits of $300 a week may also be keeping some unemployed on the sidelines. That benefit ends September 6. Read More (Source: The Associated Press)

- As part of her most recent constituent update, 76th District State Representative Stephanie Borowicz noted that the House Majority Policy Committee has released the results of its COVID-19 Economic Recovery Business Survey conducted earlier this year. Rep. Borowicz said, “The overriding message was that government needs to get out of the way of the Commonwealth’s businesses to help them lead the way toward our post-pandemic economic recovery. Nearly one-third of survey respondents said outright that the biggest challenge facing their business is Gov. Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 mitigation orders. Another 21% indicated financial issues and hardships were their greatest challenges, no doubt exacerbated by the various business restrictions that have been in place for more than a year. Similarly, nearly one-third of respondents said the best way to kickstart the economy was simply allowing them to be open for business again.” Rep. Borowicz added, “But pandemic restrictions aren’t the only thing getting in the way, according to the survey results. High business taxes and overregulation are also a hindrance to the state’s businesses.” Read the full report here.

- Pennsylvania put on ice hundreds of regulations during the pandemic, but policymakers are starting to weigh whether any of the suspended or revised rules should be jettisoned for good. They are also examining whether it’s time to reinstate some of the suspended rules on a list that runs 139 pages, covering everything from training and inspections to the rights and living standards of people in group homes and children in foster care. House Republicans issued a set of letters to Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf a month ago that identified dozens of suspended regulations that they want more information about, including whether some are still needed and whether others can be put back in force. “The governor’s been making these decisions for a year, on his own, without consulting with the Legislature,” said Rep. Martin Causer, R-McKean, chairman of a House committee that will gather details about suspended regulations. “We all have a focus on safety and want to make sure we’re focused on safety in dealing with these regulations. But it will require cooperation between the executive and legislative branch.” Mr. Wolf issued an order April 7 directing agencies to see which ones may be “unnecessary or counterproductive.”  As vaccines have become widely available and people are looking for a return to pre-pandemic lives, several other states have moved to make permanent some of the regulatory changes that COVID-19 brought. South Carolina’s governor suspended legal prohibitions against home delivery of beer and wine and restaurants including alcohol with meals outside their buildings. The results were so popular that bills permanently removing the laws have easily passed the South Carolina House. (Source: The Associated Press)

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 1,728 cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,158,486. According to the data, Clinton County reported seven new cases, bringing the countywide total to 3,561. Centre County saw 10 new cases, bringing their total to 16,411, and Lycoming County was up 16 cases, to 11,395. Statewide, 2,161 people are hospitalized with the virus, 479 of whom are in intensive care. In all, 26,276 deaths have been attributed to the virus, 62 in Clinton County.

According to the state, Pennsylvania has administered 8,684,480 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine – 5,427,753 first/single doses and 3,548,102 second/full doses. In Clinton County, 2,940 people have received their first shot, while 9,486 are fully vaccinated. In Centre County, 20,042 people are partially vaccinated and 52,538 are fully vaccinated. In Lycoming County, 10,473 are partially vaccinated and 32,644 are fully vaccinated. More information here: Department of Health: Over 8.6 Million Vaccinations to Date, First Doses of Vaccine to 50.3% of Population, PA Ranks 10th Among 50 States for First Dose Vaccinations.

- Governor Tom Wolf today visited the Philadelphia Flyers to discuss COVID-19 vaccination efforts. The Flyers recently launched a COVID-19 vaccine campaign, ‘Take Your Shot’, encouraging Pennsylvanians to get vaccinated. See more: Gov. Wolf Joins Philadelphia Flyers Organization to Encourage Pennsylvanians to ‘Take Your Shot’ (pa.gov).

Meanwhile, PA Department of Health Acting Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson today visited the Bryce Jordan Center vaccination site at Penn State to address vaccine hesitancy and encourage college students to get vaccinated before the semester ends. More here: Acting Physician General Visits Bryce Jordan Center Vaccination Site, Encourages College Students to Get Vaccinated (pa.gov).

- Today, May 3, is the last day to register to vote in the upcoming May 18 primary election. The Clinton County Voter Registration Office closed at 5:00 p.m., but people can register online until 11:59 this evening. Applications for a mail-in or absentee ballot must be received by the Clinton County Voter Registration Office by 5:00 p.m. next Tuesday, May 11. During the County Commissioners’ work session this morning, Voter Registration’s Maria Boileau said about 1,300 registered voters have requested mail-in and absentee ballots in the county. Boileau added that the county is “ready to go” for the May 18 election, with a full slate of poll workers in every precinct. Statewide, some 741,500 people have applied for mail ballots for the May 18 election. See more: Mail Ballot Applications for the May 18 Primary Near 750,000 Milestone (pa.gov).

- The U.S. Real ID deadline has been pushed back to May 2023 because of COVID-19. 

- Keystone Central School District continues in-class learning. In her weekly update, District Superintendent Dr. Jacquelyn Martin Friday reported one active case of Covid-19 among staff and seven among students across three different schools. Click Here for the KCSD Update.

- Little League Baseball today announced that the Baseball and Softball World Series events will be held this August, as scheduled in Williamsport and Greenville, North Carolina, respectively, but this years series will feature teams solely from the United States. There was no World Series last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. See today’s announcement: 2021 Little League® World Series and Regional Tournament update - Little League.

- The PA Department of Human Services reminded people that while the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) season has ended, assistance with utility bills remains available through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) to individuals and families who live in rental properties, as well as to landlords. A total of $847 million has been distributed among the state’s 67 counties for the ERAP program, which launched in March. Read more: At End of LIHEAP Season, Department of Human Services Encourages Pennsylvania Renters to Apply for Utility Assistance Through the New Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

- Motorists traveling Route 220 between Salona and McElhattan this week should expect to encounter moving operations alternating between the right (travel) and left (passing) lane in the northbound and southbound direction. PennDOT urges motorists to stay alert for slow-moving or stopped vehicles throughout the work zone.

Additionally, motorists should expect to encounter short-term closures of the left (passing) lane in the northbound and southbound lanes. The contractor will lift these closures at the end of each workday. Read more: https://www.penndot.gov/regionaloffices/district-2/pages/details.aspx?newsid=1944.

- PennDOT is hosting an on-demand virtual public meeting and comment period for a Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) study exploring sustainable transportation funding options. The public meeting is accessible online at all hours of the day through June 1, at www.penndot.gov/funding. Click Here for the PennDOT news release.

- Governor Wolf today announced that the PA Department of Military and Veterans Affairs is seeking veterans to apply for three member-at-large positions on the State Veterans Commission, including one position reserved for a woman veteran. Learn more: Wolf Administration Seeks Applicants to Fill State Veterans Commission Member-At-Large Positions (pa.gov).

- The Small Business Development Center at Penn State hosts a free webinar, Small Business Financing Opportunities: An Expert Panel Discussion, Tuesday, May 4, from 9:00-10:30 am. Are you looking for capital to start, run, or expand your business? Funding opportunities are available during this period of pandemic recovery, which makes it a great time to secure capital with low interest rates in addition to pursuing disaster loans and grants. The session will provide business owners with quick and simple updates on changes to pandemic funding and details on options available at the federal, state, and local levels, plus commercial lending tips and insider grant and loan information, as well as special financing for specific industries. The panel includes Sonia Smith of the Small Business Administration, Mat Caddell of M&T Bank, John Reichard of SEDA-COG, and Bill Hall from Ben Franklin Technology Partners. Register in advance to receive session log-in information. 

- Education and outreach staff from the PA Department of Banking and Securities will host and participate in a number of virtual presentations in May that promote financial capability. Details here: May 2021 Consumer Financial Protection Virtual Events Announced (pa.gov).

- In recognition of May’s Military Appreciation Month, member organizations of the PA Military Finance Alliance will offer free, financial capability webinars focusing on the unique financial challenges facing members of the military, veterans and their families. More information here: Virtual “Making $ense of Finance” Events in May to Educate and Protect Members of Military, Veterans (pa.gov).

- The National Deer Association, in conjunction with the PA Game Commission and the Wildlife Futures Program, will host a series of virtual informational programs on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) and CWD management this month. The meetings will be held from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. The program for the Northcentral Region is scheduled for this Thursday, May 6, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Click Here to register. You can also visit the Game Commission’s Chronic Wasting Disease webpage to learn more about this disease and its management. 

- Penn State Extension offers a free webinar series on ticks as part of May’s National Lyme Disease Awareness Month.  For more, visit www.extension.psu.edu and see the Tick Series under Featured Webinars.

4/28/21

- Clinton County’s employment situation improved slightly in March, registering a 7.2% monthly unemployment rate, down from February’s 7.5% reading. According to information released Tuesday by the state Department of Labor & Industry, Clinton County had an estimated 1,300 people unemployed, and 16,200 people employed for a total estimated workforce of 17,500. The estimates were basically the same in February, with 100 less people employed.

The March rate for the county was good for no. 35 out of the state’s 67 counties. In February, Clinton checked in at no. 38. Centre County’s March unemployment rate was 5.5%, and a no. 9 ranking. Montour County had the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 4.6% and Philadelphia County was last at 10.8%. The Pennsylvania jobless rate was 7.3% in March. While the rate showed a small improvement in the county, state records show that 457 county residents have had unemployment benefits expire since the beginning of 2021.

“We are always pleased to see county employment improvements, albeit the small increases,” said Clinton County Economic Partnership President Mike Flanagan. “But we are still almost two full points above what the rate was before the pandemic hit more than a year ago. The good news is that there are plenty of employment opportunities out there for anyone that wants one.”

- SEDA-COG today announced the opening of the third funding round for the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Relief Program (CHIRP) grant, saying Clinton County still has slightly more than $179,000 remaining in the program fund. CHIRP offers grants of up to $50,000 for eligible hospitality-related businesses and will be available through July 15 or until funds are exhausted. Click here to apply: https://csgiving.org/chirp/, and for more information, contact Betsy Lockwood at SEDA-COG at 570-522-7265 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Of the various counties SEDA-COG is overseeing, CHIRP funds are now exhausted in Centre, Lycoming and Union counties. Click Here for the SEDA-COG file.

- Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education's governing board today gave the go-ahead to proceed with gathering public input and developing final implementation plans to consolidate six of its 14 universities – including Lock Haven University – into two. The plan calls for the integration of LHU with Bloomsburg and Mansfield at the northeastern end of the system, and California, Clarion and Edinboro universities in the west. A 60-day public comment period is now in effect to gather public input on the integration proposal, and two virtual public hearings are scheduled for June 9 and 10. To read the integration plan, click here. To submit public comment, go to details​. Read more: Press Releases | PA State System of Higher Education (passhe.edu).

In response to the PASSHE board’s action, Dr. Bashar Hanna, Interim President at Lock Haven University, this afternoon issued a brief statement to the campus community, saying, “As always, our commitment to our students and their success will remain the center of our ongoing integration discussions.” He encouraged people to review the integration plan and offer their thoughts and feedback during the comment period, and he thanked those who have participated in working groups with regard to the integration process. In closing, Dr. Hanna thanked the campus community for their “continued dedication to our students and their success.”

- In its race to get Americans vaccinated against COVID-19, the Biden administration recently announced a tax credit for businesses that give employees time off to get vaccinated. Click here for more information, including access a recent webinar that highlights which businesses are eligible for this tax credit, how they can use the credit and more.

- Registration for the new Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) will begin this Friday, April 30 at 9 a.m. and U.S. Small Business Administration will begin accepting applications via the application portal on Monday, May 3 at 12 p.m. The application portal will remain open to any eligible establishment until all funds are exhausted. For more, read the press release here.

To prepare, eligible applicants are encouraged to:

  • Register for an account in advance at restaurants.sba.gov starting Friday, April 30 at 9 a.m. If you are working with point-of-sale vendors Square or Toast, you do not need to register beforehand on the application portal.
  • Review the sample application, program guide and cross-program eligibility chart on SBA COVID-19 relief options. 
  • Attend a webinar training session: Restaurant Revitalization Fund Information Session - Thursday, April 29 at 9:00 AM – U.S. Small Business Administration representatives share details regarding RRF eligibility, allowable use of funds, application process and timeline, impact on other SBA relief program funding, required documentation, and additional resources for assistance. Register Here. Training sessions will be recorded and later posted on SBA's YouTube channel.

For more information, visit sba.gov/restaurants. 

- The Wolf Administration has received approval from the Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to expend Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) benefit eligibility to families of PA SNAP eligible children who are child care aged. This federally-funded program helps families cover the cost of breakfasts and lunches for their children and is designed to bridge the gap left by child care centers closing and to help families who may have strained resources due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More here: Wolf Administration Receives $224 Million in Food Assistance for Pennsylvania Families with Young Children (pa.gov).

- The CDC Tuesday updated its guidelines for individuals who are fully vaccinated. The PA Department of Health followed suit and announced it has updated its mask guidance to reflect the CAC announcement, which says people who are fully vaccinated can spend time outdoors, in some situations, without wearing a mask. Details here: Department of Health Updates Mask Guidance Following CDC Announcement.

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 3,686 cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,143,076. Clinton County reported 12 new cases, bringing the countywide total to 3,508. Centre County was up 48 new cases, bringing their total to 16,230, and Lycoming County reported 22 new cases, bringing their total to 11,529. More information here: Department of Health: Over 8.2 Million Vaccinations to Date, First Doses of Vaccine to 48.1% of Population, PA Ranks 10th Among 50 States for First Dose Vaccinations.

- The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) and Department of Health today announced that the Regional Vaccination Clinic at Penn State’s Bryce Jordan Center will resume operations as scheduled tomorrow, Thursday, April 29, offering both the two-dose Moderna vaccine and the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Learn more: Regional Vaccination Clinic in Centre County to Resume Scheduled Operations Thursday (pa.gov).

- The Department of State’s Bureau of Enforcement & Investigation today released data related to COVID-19 enforcement actions from April 18-25, as they relate to regulated boards and commissions. During that period, BEI performed 460 total inspections and opened 11 investigations during which COVID-19-specific compliance was a focus. This week, the Bureau distributed four warning letters and one compliance letter relating to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. More here: Department of State Releases COVID-19 Enforcement Actions, April 18-25.

- PennDOT is reminding motorists that Pennsylvania’s Move Over Law is now in effect. See more: Details (penndot.gov).

- Meanwhile, PennDOT today launched a survey designed to gain an understanding of Pennsylvanians’ perceptions and knowledge of automated vehicles. The survey is available at the following link. Learn more: Article (penndot.gov).

- The Wolf Administration has released a new economic impact report for Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry. See more: Governor Wolf: New Report Reveals $132.5 Billion Economic Impact for Pennsylvania Agriculture, Outlines Strategic Growth Opportunities.

- The PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced this week that twelve counties in DEP’s Northcentral Region – including Clinton County – have taken the first significant step to improving the health of local waterways. The counties, with DEP assistance, are creating Countywide Action Plans (CAP) to identify projects that will reduce nutrient and sediment pollution in the Susquehanna River and its tributaries and are looking for local groups to get involved. Read more: DEP Announces Twelve Northcentral Counties Begin Countywide Action Plans to Improve Water Quality in Communities.

- Lock Haven was among six River Towns across the Susquehanna Greenway to organize clean-up activities in celebration of Earth Day last week. Saturday’s clean-up, organized by Downtown Lock Haven, Inc. and the City of Lock Haven, drew more than 40 volunteers who collected some 200 pounds of litter from along streets and in recreation areas. Volunteers included the Lock Haven University ROTC Bald Eagle Battalion, two local Boy Scout Troops and their families, and individuals from the community who stepped up to do their part in keeping the city beautiful. Other River Town communities to stage clean-ups last week included Williamsport, Lewisburg, Bloomsburg, Danville and Sunbury.

- Upcoming Webinars:

  • Small Business Financing Opportunities: An Expert Panel Discussion - Tuesday, May 4 at 9:00 am – A panel of experts from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central & Northern PA, M&T Bank, and SEDA-COG will provide business owners with updates on pandemic funding and details on options available at the federal, state, and local levels. Additionally, they will provide commercial lending tips and insider grant and loan information and address special financing for specific industries. Register Here
  • PA CareerLink hosts a May 5, 10:00 a.m. employer seminar via Zoom on Pennsylvania's Shared-Work Program. Shared-Work allows a business to retain its workforce during a temporary slowdown and then quickly ramp up operations without the expense of recruiting, hiring and training new employees. Shared-Work also helps to protect your employees from the financial hardship of a full layoff. Register for the workshop at: https://forms.gle/vFfCkgKJYcAN7KWQ6.

4/26/21

- Some positive news today from the state regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Tom Wolf and Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam, in their weekly status report, noted a decrease in reported cases and a lower statewide percent positivity, which they called encouraging. Based on data from the state’s COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System dashboard, the state reported a seven-day case increase of 21,167 cases – 4,172 fewer new cases than the previous week. The statewide percent-positivity deceased to 8.6%, from 9.6% last week. There are now six counties with a positivity rate lower than five percent, and no counties reporting a rate of more than 20 percent.

According to the data, our area is also seeing a decrease in the percent-positivity rate. Clinton County’s percent-positivity is 14.1%, compared to 16.0% last week. Centre County’s rate this week is 8.8%, compared to 8.9% a week ago, and Lycoming County’s positivity rate this week is 9.2% compared to 9.3% last week. Currently, 53 of the state’s 67 counties – including Clinton, Centre and Lycoming – are in what the state considers the “substantial” level of transmission (compared to 55 counties last week). Another 11 counties are in the moderate level, and Cameron, Forest and Fulton counties are in the low level of transmission. Read more: Pennsylvania COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard Update for April 16 – 22 (pa.gov)

- The PA Health Department today confirmed an additional 1,881 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,136,057. According to the state, Clinton County reported one new case, bringing the countywide total to 3,482. Centre County saw 9 new cases, bringing their total to 16,139, and Lycoming County reported 7 new cases, bringing their total to 11,202. Statewide, 2,561 people are hospitalized with the virus, 544 of whom are in intensive care.

The state has administered 8,043,744 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as of today, 5,115,217 of which are first/single doses, while 2,928,52 are second/full doses. According to the data, 3,194 people in Clinton County have received their first/single dose, while 8,412 are fully vaccinated. Based on population, 25.1% of the county’s residents are now fully vaccinated. In Centre County, 20,915 people are partially vaccinated, while 47,647 people are fully vaccinated, meaning 32.6% of the population are now fully vaccinated. And in Lycoming County, 10,940 people are partially vaccinated, while 113,299 are fully vaccinated (30.2% of Lycoming’s population now fully vaccinated). For more information, click here: Department of Health: Over 8 Million Vaccinations to Date, First Doses of Vaccine to 47.3% of Population, PA Ranks 10th Among 50 States for First Dose Vaccinations.

To see the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Provider map, click here: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/programs/immunizations/Pages/COVID-19-Vaccine-Providers.aspx.

- The Department of Health Friday notified all COVID-19 vaccine providers that the pause in administering doses of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine has been lifted, as per guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration. Read more: Department of Health: Resume Use of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Following FDA/CDC Recommendation.

For more from the CDD regarding the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, click here: CDC Recommends Use of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine Resume | CDC.

- As Pennsylvania continues its accelerated COVID-19 vaccination plan, Governor Wolf today discussed how the state and its partners are using various means to reach people not able to leave home to be vaccinated against COVID-19.  Read more: Gov. Wolf, Health Agencies, Community Partners Helping Pennsylvanians Who Cannot Leave Home Receive COVID-19 Vaccine.

- And the Department of Health today reminded people of the importance of all vaccinations, including the COVID-19 vaccine, to protect against a number of serious illnesses including measles, mumps, whooping cough, and hepatitis. Learn more: Department of Health: COVID-19 Vaccine One of Many Important Vaccines for Pennsylvanians.

- The U.S. Small Business Administration last week launched a new round of Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) assistance – called Supplemental Targeted Advances – that will provide $5 billion in additional assistance to 1 million small businesses and nonprofit organizations that have been most severely affected by the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Effective April 22, the SBA modified the Targeted EIDL Advance application process to determine if businesses also qualify for the additional $5,000 Supplemental Targeted Advance. SBA will contact eligible business entities to apply and applications will be processed on a first-comefirst-served basis. To qualify for the Supplemental Targeted Advance, an eligible business entity must be in a low-income community, suffered greater than 50 percent economic loss, and have 10 or fewer employees. Learn more

- The SBA has announced key details on application requirements, eligibility, and a program guide for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). Also announced was a new initiative that will allow restaurants and other related businesses to apply for the RRF through point-of-sale service providers such as Clover ®, NCR Corporation, Square, and Toast.

- The U.S. Small Business Administration today reopened the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant application portal. Potential applicants should register on the portal, and the SBA has also added the following updated resources:

  • A checklist to make sure applicants have everything they need to complete an application.
  • Additional resources include an applicant user guide and FAQ.
  • There is a Call Center for Shuttered Venue Operators Grant application portal technical assistance such as a password reset, browser suggestions, or how to use the multi-factor authentication with an app and the QR code. Applicants can call 1-800-659-2955 and follow the prompts to SVOG assistance.

For additional information, visit www.sba.gov/svogrant.

- The PA State System of Higher Education board of directors this week are expected to move forward a proposal to integrate 6 of the systems 14 universities, a move that would integrate Lock Haven University with Bloomsburg and Mansfield universities in what’s being called the proposed Northeast Integration Plan. If the proposal is approved Wednesday, the process then calls for a 60-day public comment period before a final determination is made on the integration. A 200-page Northeast Proposed Integration Plan Report, dated Friday, April 23, can be accessed here: https://www.passhe.edu/SystemRedesign/Documents/Northeast Integration Plan 4.23.21.pdf#search=Integration information.

- CORRECTION: The graduation ceremony for Central Mountain High School’s class of 2021 is currently scheduled to take place at 11:00 a.m. on June 5. On Friday, we incorrectly said the ceremony was scheduled for 7pm. We apologize for our misprint.

- The CDC has updated guidance for operating youth and summer camps during COVID-19. See more here: Guidance for Operating Youth and Summer Camps During COVID-19 (cdc.gov).

- Pennsylvania is among seven states poised to lose a congressional seat. The U.S. Census Bureau today announced that the 2020 Census shows the resident population of the United States on April 1, 2020, was 331,449,281. The U.S. resident population represents the total number of people living in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The resident population increased by 22,703,743 or 7.4% from 308,745,538 in 2010. However, based on 2020 Census apportionment population counts, 7 House seats will shift among 13 states. One state will gain two seats (Texas), and 5 states will gain one seat (Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon). Seven states will lose one seat (California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia). For more on the 2020 Census population and apportionment data released today, click here: America Counts.

- Both the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and the PA Game Commission today announced the start of gypsy moth suppression spraying on state lands. DCNR has listed a spraying schedule for state forests and parks, including Hyner View State Park in Clinton County. See more: DCNR to Begin Spraying Forests in Gypsy Moth Suppression Effort (pa.gov).

The Game Commission, meanwhile, plans to spray more than 50,000 acres of state game lands this spring, including a number of game lands in the Northcentral Region, which includes Clinton, Potter, Centre, Lycoming, Cameron, Clearfield and Tioga counties. Details here: GAME COMMISSION ANNOUNCES GYPSY MOTH SPRAYING PLANS (pa.gov).

- The Game Commission has appointed David Carlini as the new Northcentral Region director, based out of the Commission’s regional office in Antes Fort, replacing David Mitchell, who recently took over as director of the Commission’s Southeast Region Office. Both began their new assignments about a week ago. Learn more: GAME COMMISSION APPOINTS REGION DIRECTORS (pa.gov).

4/23/21

- The Biden Administration is encouraging businesses to offer paid time off for their employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and small businesses who offer this benefit could have their costs offset with a tax credit. Participate in a U.S. Chamber-sponsored free webinar on Monday, April 26 at 2pm to learn which businesses qualify for the tax credits and how and when employers should apply for the program. To register, click here.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has announced a national effort to help community partners promote COVID-19 vaccine confidence. Click on the following link for more information: We Can Do This: COVID-19 Public Education Campaign.

- All Pennsylvanians 16 and older are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and UPMC is encouraging people to schedule their shot today. You can Click here to schedule your vaccine using UPMC’s online registration/scheduling process. If you have limited access to online services, or need assistance scheduling your vaccine appointment over the phone, call 844-UPMCVAC (844-876-2822) between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., seven days a week.

- Partnership President Mike Flanagan today offered his weekly update on the local employment picture: Unemployment insurance claims by Clinton County residents inched up during the week ending April 17. According to information released Thursday by the state Department of Labor & Industry, initial unemployment insurance claims and continued claims were up slightly from the numbers released on April 10. Initial claims increased nine, to 78. Of the 78, 54% were male and 22% were in the construction field. The continued claims figure went from 647 to 677 as of April 17. Males accounted for 60% of the ongoing claims, and 24% were in the construction field. Another 17 residents had unemployment benefits expire, bringing the 2021 to-date total to 457 people who have exhausted their unemployment benefits.

The March monthly unemployment rate for all 67 counties should be released on April 27. The Clinton County unemployment figure in February was 7.7%.

- At the federal level, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that in the week ending April 17, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial unemployment benefit claims was 547,000, a decrease of 39,000 from the previous week's revised level. This is the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020 when it was 256,000. Read more: News Release (dol.gov).

- Today, Friday, April 23, is the deadline for for-profit businesses in Lock Haven’s central business district to apply for a Neighborhood Assistance Program grant of up to $500. Downtown Lock Haven, Inc. is offering the grant and more than 20 businesses have so far applied for funding. Click Here for the DLH file for guidelines, eligibility criteria and the application. NOTE: Downtown Manager Marie Vilello is working out of the office today, so grant applicants are asked to email their application to her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or bring their application to the 205 East Main St., Lock Haven office on Monday. People with questions can contact Marie at 570-263-0602.

- The SBA has released a program guide for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), a federal grant program that will be available to restaurants, bars and other similar businesses. The recently passed American Rescue Plan dedicated $28.6 billion in funds for the RRF, to help businesses offset revenue losses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. View the program guide here: https://www.sba.gov/document/support-restaurant-revitalization-funding-program-guide.

Meanwhile, the PA Restaurant & Lodging Association and the National Restaurant Association are co-hosting a webinar with the SBA today (April 23) at Noon to discuss the RRF. The SBA will review the application process and what operators should do to prepare prior to the fund opening. REGISTER 

- The U.S. Small Business Administration announced that it plans to reopen the application portal for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) tomorrow, Saturday, April 24. The portal crashed in the first attempt a couple weeks ago and was shut down, but the SBA says it has completed rigorous testing and is now prepared to reopen the portal. The SVOG represents pandemic support for businesses such as performance venues, museums and movie theatres. Interested applicants should register for an account in advance through the portal. The SBA says it will provide updated documents and guidance later today.

- The SBA this week released its latest Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) report. Pennsylvania received more than 126,000 loans totaling more than $8.8 billion in funds.

- The U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service are providing safe harbor for small businesses to claim deductions relating to first-round Paycheck Protection Program loans. See more: Treasury Department and IRS provide safe harbor for small businesses to claim deductions relating to first-round Paycheck Protection Program loans | Internal Revenue Service.

- PA Governor Tom Wolf Thursday signed House Bill 766 into law, aligning the annual state corporate tax deadline with the federal tax deadline of May 17, 2021, and giving the PA departments of Revenue and Community & Economic Development the ability to deal with state taxation while the COVID-19 disaster declaration is in effect. The state personal income tax deadline automatically aligns the federal deadline of May 17. See more: Gov. Wolf Signs Bill to Align State Tax Deadline with May 17 Federal Deadline for Corporate Taxes, Other Provisions (pa.gov).

- Lock Haven University this week announced plans to hold in-person commencement ceremonies in May. The ceremony for graduate students is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Friday, May 7, while undergraduate ceremonies for the class of 2021 will be held at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 8 in an effort to reduce the gathering size. In addition, a May 15, 11:00 a.m. graduation celebration is also planned for the Class of 2020, which was unable to graduate in person last year due to the pandemic. Click Here for LHU Graduation file.

- Local high school graduation ceremony dates are also set and are planned as in-person events:

  • May 28 - Walnut Street Christian School Graduation – 7pm - Walnut Street Christian School, 201 West Highland St., Avis. www.wsbcm.org
  • June 9 - Sugar Valley Rural Charter School Graduation – 7pm - Charter School parking lot area, 236 East Main St., Loganton. www.svrcs.org

- The PA Department of Education has launched the next phase of an initiative that helps school leaders and educators address students’ learning loss caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The new toolkit and professional learning series, “Accelerated Learning through an Integrated System of Support”, provides a voluntary process and research for school leaders to consider in preparing for the upcoming school year that addresses the academic and emotional well-being of students. Read more: Department of Education Launches Program to Help Schools Address Learning Loss Due to the Pandemic.

- United Airlines has announced a new feature to help flyers prepare to travel as safely as possible amid the pandemic. Customers who need to take a COVID-19 test before boarding the plane for their destination can now easily schedule a test through its digital platform call Travel-Ready Center. 

- The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) celebrated Earth Day and the 50th anniversary of the state Environmental Rights Amendment Thursday by announcing the availability of $22.5 million to schools, local governments, and nonprofit organizations for projects to improve water quality in their communities or watersheds or statewide. More information here: Article Viewer (pa.gov).

- Governor Wolf marked Earth Day by joining the Chesapeake Conservancy to announce a new collaborative environmental initiative for the state to restore the health of 30 agriculturally-impaired streams by 2030. The Governor also recognized two Department of Environmental Protection employees, including Marcus Kohl, Regional Director for DEP’s Northcentral Region (which includes Clinton County) based in Williamsport. Kohl and DEP employee Jason Fellon both received “Champion of the Chesapeake” awards. The Chesapeake Conservancy awards celebrate conservation leadership in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Learn more: Gov. Wolf, Chesapeake Conservancy & Partners Announce Initiative to Restore 30 Agriculturally Impaired Streams by 2030.

- Brodart, Co., the Lycoming/Clinton county-based provider of books, furniture and library services and supplies, is hosting an on-site job fair Thursday, April 29 from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at its 280 North Road, McElhattan facility. There are also plans for a May 6 job fair at their Arch Street, Williamsport operation. Click Here for the Brodart flyer or contact Dorie Gilmore at PA CareerLink Clinton County at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

- Events start to swing into high gear this weekend in Clinton County:

  • Clinton County’s largest trail race is slated for tomorrow, April 24. The 15th annual Hyner View Trail Challenge on Saturday has an 8:00 a.m. start for the 50K race and a 9:00 a.m. start for the 25K course. The race, which typically draws some 1,300 participants, is among several organized by the PA Trail Dogs running group. www.patraildogs.com
  • As part of Earth Week, Downtown Lock Haven, Inc. and the City of Lock Haven host a city-wide litter pick-up Saturday, April 24. The litter pick-up is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., with participants meeting at Triangle Park in the downtown, then fanning out to clean up streets and park and recreation areas. www.lockhaven.org
  • And the Clinton County Speedway at the Fairgrounds in Mackeyville kicks off its 2021 racing season Saturday evening. Gates at the oval dirt track open at 5:30, with hot laps at 7:00 and racing at 7:30 p.m. www.clintoncountyspeedway.com

Click Here for the weekly “What’s Happening in Clinton County” events flyer for more information on local activities.

- Pennsylvania’s spring turkey season kicks off this Saturday, April 24, with a one-day youth hunt, followed by the statewide season opener next Saturday, May 1. More here: SPRING TURKEY SEASON ABOUT TO TAKE FLIGHT (pa.gov).

- The PA Game Commission and Fish & Boat Commission lauded the introduction Thursday of the federal Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, saying the legislation could rank among the most meaningful initiatives for fish and wildlife in history. Learn more: PENNSYLVANIA PUSHES FOR DEDICATED FISH AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION FUNDING (pa.gov)

- Upcoming Webinars:

  • Restaurant Revitalization Fund Information Session - Thursday, April 29 at 9:00 AM

    During this one-hour information session, SBA Eastern Pennsylvania District Office representatives Sonia Smith and Shannon Degiglio will share details regarding Restaurant Revitalization Fund eligibility, allowable use of funds, application process and timeline, impact on other SBA relief program funding, required documentation, and additional resources for assistance. Register Here

  • Small Business Financing Opportunities: An Expert Panel Discussion - Tuesday, May 4 at 9:00 am  

    A panel of experts from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central & Northern PA, M&T Bank, and SEDA-COG will provide business owners with updates on pandemic funding and details on options available at the federal, state, and local levels. Additionally, they will provide commercial lending tips and insider grant and loan information and address special financing for specific industries. Register Here

  • PA CareerLink hosts a May 5, 10:00 a.m. employer seminar via Zoom on Pennsylvania's Shared-Work Program. Shared-Work allows a business to retain its workforce during a temporary slowdown and then quickly ramp up operations without the expense of recruiting, hiring and training new employees. Shared-Work also helps to protect your employees from the financial hardship of a full layoff. Click Here for the PA CareerLink flyer and register for the workshop at: https://forms.gle/vFfCkgKJYcAN7KWQ6.

  • If you missed Thursday’s webinar with employment and labor attorney Katharine Batista titled, "COVID-19 Vaccines for Your Employees: Issues & Options," you can access it on-demand here

4/21/21

- The Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department today announced further details of tax credits available under the American Rescue Plan to help small businesses, including providing paid leave for employees receiving COVID-19 vaccinations. The additional details, provided in a fact sheet released today, spell out some basic facts about the employers eligible for the tax credits. It also provides information on how these employers may claim the credit for leave paid to employees related to COVID-19 vaccinations. View the fact sheet here: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/employer-tax-credits-for-employee-paid-leave-due-to-covid-19, and see the full news release here: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/american-rescue-plan-tax-credits-available-to-small-employers-to-provide-paid-leave-to-employees-receiving-covid-19-vaccines-new-fact-sheet-outlines-details.

- The PA House Republican Majority Policy Committee Tuesday released a report from a 2021 survey of small business owners in Pennsylvania. The purpose was to identify how businesses across the Commonwealth were impacted by the pandemic and what business owners need to recover. View the full Report on Economic Recovery

- The U.S. Department of State said this week it will be updating its travel advisories to better reflect travel guidance from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. The update will result in about 80% of countries worldwide being under a Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, the U.S.-Canada border closure was extended to at least May 21.

- Cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania continue to be high. According to Governor Tom Wolf’s weekly status update on the state’s mitigation efforts, based on the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System dashboard, Pennsylvania saw a slight increase in the percent positivity rate, which this week stands at 9.6%, compared to 9.5% last week and 9.4% the week before that. Both Clinton and Lycoming counties saw a rise in their percent positivity rates, with Clinton this week at 16.0% (compared to 11.0% last week) and Lycoming at 9.3% (compared to 8.9% last week). Centre County saw a decline in their percent positivity rate, to 8.9% this week compared to 9.6% last week.

Currently, 55 of the state’s 67 counties – including Clinton, Centre and Lycoming – are in what the state considers a “substantial” level of transmission. Nine other counties are in the moderate level, and only three counties – Cameron, Potter and Forest – are in the low level of transmission. Read more: Pennsylvania COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard Update for April 9 – 15 (pa.gov).

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 4,602 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,118,470. According to the data, Clinton County reported 16 new cases today, bringing the countywide total to 3,411. Centre County saw 65 new cases, bringing their total to 15,844, and Lycoming County was up 35 new cases, to 11,029.

As of today, 7,752,500 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered across the state – 4,793,970 first/single doses and 2,616,383 second/full doses. According to the state, 2,508 people in Clinton County have received their first dose of the vaccine, while 7,411 are fully vaccinated. In Centre County, 19,772 have received their first dose and 43,671 are fully vaccinated, and in Lycoming County, 8,934 people have received their first dose of the vaccine while 25,405 people are fully vaccinated. Read more: Department of Health: Over 7.4 Million Vaccinations to Date, First Doses of Vaccine to 43.9% of Population, PA Ranks 11th Among 50 States for First Dose Vaccinations.

- UPMC is encouraging area residents to schedule an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine, as the health care system has available time slots at its weekly vaccine clinic at the Dunnstown Fire Hall. Those wanting an appointment can call the Lock Haven Family Medicine office at 570-748-1260 or the UPMC McElhattan office at 570-769-1300.

In its latest COVID-19 update, UPMC discusses the side effects of the vaccine. Click Here for the UPMC COVID Update.

- Governor Wolf today visited the Guthrie Health vaccine clinic in Sayre, Bradford County to tour a facility that’s providing vaccines to a large population of rural residents and to talk about progress in vaccinating Pennsylvanians. See more: Gov. Wolf Visits the Guthrie Clinic to Talk Vaccine Progress, Hesitancy and Rural Reach (pa.gov).

- The Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association hosts a webinar this Thursday, April 22, at 10:30 a.m. covering COVID-19 Vaccines for Your Employees: Issues & OptionsREGISTER

- The Department of State’s Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation released data related to COVID-19 enforcement actions from April 11-18 as it relates to regulated boards and commissions. During that period, the Bureau performed 457 total inspections and opened four investigations during which COVID-19-specific compliance was a focus. This week, the Bureau distributed eight warning letters and one compliance letter relating to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. See more: Department of State Releases COVID-19 Enforcement Actions, April 11-18.

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry’s Bureau of Labor Law Compliance released data related to COVID-19 enforcement actions for April 12-16 as it relates to businesses not covered by other state agencies, boards or bureaus. To date, the Bureau has assigned 437 cases to its investigators. During the latest period, the department completed two investigations that were sent to the Department of Health. More here: Department of Labor & Industry Releases COVID-19 Enforcement Actions, April 12 – April 16.

- The Lycoming-Clinton Counties Commission for Community Action (STEP), Inc. is asking for participation in their community needs assessment as they seek peoples’ knowledge and perceptions of the needs facing our community. Go to www.stepcorp.org/CNA to complete the survey before May 1.

- Two Keystone Central Career & Technology Center students, sophomore Charles Harter and senior Skylar Lininger, took first- and third-place honors, respectively, in the recent Skills USA Statewide Competition. Harter earned first place in the CNC Milling Specialist state competition, while Lininger took third place in the Early Childhood Education state competition. Click Here for the KCSD news release for more on their accomplishments.

4/19/21

- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Saturday announced key details for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RFF). Part of the recently signed American Rescue Plan, the RRF is providing $28.6 billion aimed at helping bring jobs back and revive one of the industries hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ahead of the application launch and over the next two weeks, the SBA will establish a seven-day pilot period for the RRF application portal and conduct extensive outreach and training. The pilot period will be used to address technical issues ahead of the public launch. Participants in this pilot will be randomly selected from existing PPP borrowers in priority groups for RRF and will not receive funds until the application portal is open. 

Following the pilot, the application portal will be opened to the public. The official application launch date has yet to be announced, but for the first 21 days the program is open, the SBA will prioritize reviewing applications from small businesses owned by women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. Following the 21-day period, all eligible applicants are encouraged to submit applications.

Details on application requirements, eligibility, and a program guide are now available at www.sba.gov/restaurants.

- Several additional updates from the SBA: 

  • The current round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is reaching smaller borrowers (small businesses), with 94% of all loans going to businesses with 20 or fewer employees. The SBA is currently offering PPP loans until May 31, 2021. Businesses are able to apply for a first or second draw PPP loan and loan forgiveness. Learn more.
  • The SBA has announced that businesses that were denied a Targeted EIDL Advance can now send a request for reevaluation of their declined application to the following email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Applicants should use the subject line “Reevaluation Request for (insert your 10-digit application number)”, and in the body of the email, include identifying information for the application such as the application number, business name, business address, business owner name(s) and phone number. Also important to include is an explanation and any documentation that addresses the reason for the decline, if available. The SBA says it will contact applicants if additional documentation is required to complete the review.
  • The SBA tech team and software vendors are in the process of testing the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant application portal, with hopes the portal will be reopened by the end of this week. The SBA announcement said, “After our vendors fixed the root cause of the initial tech issues, more in-depth risk analysis and stress tests identified other issues that impact application performance. The vendors are quickly addressing and mitigating them and working tirelessly with our team so the application portal can reopen ASAP and we can deliver this critical aid.” For more information about the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program, visit sba.gov/svogrant.
  • Are you currently hiring? Consider a candidate who may qualify you for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. The WOTC is a Federal tax credit available to employers for hiring individuals from certain targeted groups who have consistently faced significant barriers to employment. Learn more.
  • The SBA continues to caution businesses regarding fraudsters: The SBA directly communicates from email addresses ending in @sba.gov. The SBA also communicates via email updates/notifications using an email marketing platform. Those emails end in @updates.sba.gov. If you are being contacted by someone claiming to be from the SBA who is not using an official SBA email address, you should suspect fraud. Learn more.

 - From the PA Chamber: The state House and Senate are both in session this week. There are a number of items of interest to the business community scheduled to be considered in committee or before the full legislative chambers. -> Read More. 

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed 1,914 additional positive cases of COVID-19, as well as 3,761 cases Sunday and 5,114 case reports on Saturday, bringing the statewide total to 1,109,291. According to the state, Clinton County reported 8 new cases today, bringing the countywide total to 3,378. Centre County saw 36 new cases, bringing their total to 15,744, and Lycoming County was up 66 new cases, to 10,952. Statewide, 2,638 people are hospitalized with the virus, 551 of whom are in intensive care. 

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of today, Pennsylvania had administered first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to 43.2% of its eligible population. The PA Health Department reports 7,141,842 doses administered through today – 4,638,111 of the first/single dose and 2,503,731 of the second/full dose. Here in the region, 2,653 people in Clinton County have received the first dose of the vaccine, while 7,123 have received the full dose. In Centre County, 19,078 people have received the first shot, while 42,959 have received the full dose. And in Lycoming County, 9,279 people have received a first shot and 24,501 the full dose of the vaccine. Read more: Department of Health: Over 7.1 Million Vaccinations to Date, First Doses of Vaccine to 43.2% of Population, PA Ranks 10th Among 50 States for First Dose Vaccinations.

- More than $150,000 in support was generated for LHU students during Lock Haven University’s recent All In Day of Giving. The money raised during the 24-hour fundraiser, held last Thursday into Friday, will support academic and athletic scholarships for LHU students. While gifts continue to come in, as of today, April 19, 642 donations from alumni, supporters, fans and sponsors, resulted in nearly $154,000 raised. Click Here for the LHU All In news release for more.

- Downtown Lock Haven, Inc. and the City of Lock Haven host a city-wide litter pick-up this Saturday, April 24, in celebration of Earth Day. Volunteers will focus on the downtown area as well as city parks and recreation areas. For more information, contact Downtown Lock Haven, Inc. at 570-748-1576.

Statewide, spring litter pickups are underway. People interested in organizing their own event can register and learn more at Pick Up Pennsylvania.

- The PA Department of State today reminded eligible Pennsylvanians that the deadline to register to vote in the May 18 primary election is just two weeks away. Read more: Deadline to Register to Vote in May 18 Primary Fast Approaching (pa.gov).

Meanwhile, Clinton County has put out a call for poll workers for the upcoming election. Click Here for information from the County Voter Registration office.

- The PA Department of Agriculture today announced an outdoor Spring Food Fest will be held next month at the PA Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg. The May 7-9 event follows a successful Fall Food Fest this past November and is designed to provide an opportunity for people to get their PA Farm Show food fix. See more: Secretary of Agriculture Announces PA Farm Show Spring Food Fest.

4/16/21

- Clinton County Economic Partnership President Mike Flanagan today provided his weekly update on the local employment picture: Clinton County’s first-time and continued unemployment numbers showed improvement during the week ending April 10, according to information released Friday by the state Department of Labor & Industry. There were 69 first-time filers for the week, down from 77 the week before. The new filers included 58% who are males, 17% in the construction field, and more than 27% were in the age bracket 55 to 64 years of age. The continued unemployment insurance claim number was 647, down more than 50 from the week ending April 3. The new continued number is lowest weekly claim figure in the county since February 15, 2020, just prior to the pandemic. Males accounted for 63% of the ongoing continued claims, and 23% were in the construction field. The age bracket of 25 to 34 accounted for 23% of the continued claims. Another 16 county residents had benefits expire during the week, bringing the 2021 total to 443 people who have exhausted unemployment benefits.

At the federal level, the U.S. Department of Labor says the number of seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims was 576,000, a decrease of 193,000 from the previous week and the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020 when it was 256,000. Read the full news release.

- Meanwhile, PA Labor & Industry today released statewide unemployment figures, saying the March unemployment rate was 7.3 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from February. The U.S. rate declined two-tenths of a percent from February, to 6.0 percent in March. See more: Pennsylvania’s March Unemployment Rate Down to 7.3% (pa.gov)

Clinton County’s February unemployment rate was 7.7%. The March county numbers should be released on April 27.

- Pennsylvania officials are considering reinstating work search requirements for those individuals collecting unemployment benefits, according to recent testimony from acting secretary for the Department of Labor & Industry Jennifer Berrier. Normally, individuals filing for jobless benefits must prove they have applied for or searched for a new job in order to maintain unemployment compensation. State officials temporarily suspended that requirement last spring amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the department is starting conversations about reimplementing those requirements, Berrier said at a public hearing with the Pennsylvania House Labor and Industry Committee Wednesday. "Our staff has been hard at work identifying what questions need answers and what technical and programmatic requirements we will need to reimplement these provisions and help claimants find work and get back on their feet," Berrier said, adding the department made the decision to start these conversations because it saw a decrease in unemployment claims in recent weeks. It anticipates the decline to continue as the availability of COVID-19 vaccinations continues to ramp up and state officials continue to lift health and safety restrictions on businesses. (Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

- SEDA-COG this week reminded hospitality-related businesses that the second phase of a new COVID-19 relief grant is now open for eligible hospitality industry businesses, and the Clinton County Commissioners are urging more businesses to apply. During the now-closed first phase of the Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP), seven businesses in the county were awarded $185,000. This leaves $252,560 to be allocated for Clinton County-based businesses before the program closes by June 15. Click Here for the SEDA-COG news release for more.

- Employment in the hospitality and the arts and entertainment industries is down 30-40% in the year since the COVID-19 pandemic prompted statewide restrictions on indoor dining and crowd gatherings, the head of the state’s Independent Fiscal Office told lawmakers Tuesday. The number of people employed across the entire economy in the state is only down about 7% from the pre-pandemic numbers, said Matthew Knittel, director of the IFO, saying there is a “disconnect” between the way the shutdowns hammered the hospitality and arts and entertainment industries and the way it impacted other employers. “I knew it would be bad, I didn’t think it would be this bad,” said Mario Scavello, R-Monroe County, the chairman of the Senate majority policy committee, which was holding a hearing on the pandemic’s impact on the tourism and hospitality industries. There were 115,000 fewer people working in hotels and restaurants in February than there were 12 months earlier, Knittel said. The arts and entertainment industry -- which includes bowling alleys, theaters and casinos -- lost 30,000 jobs over the same period, he said. The only major exception was fast-food restaurants, which were able to continue operating with drive-thru and takeout service, he said. Employment in full-service restaurants was down 30% but employment in fast-food restaurants was only down 7%, he said. Fritz Smith, President and CEO of the Happy Valley Visitors Bureau told the panel that Centre County hotel room revenue was down “a staggering 71.6% over the past year, reflecting a revenue loss of nearly $60 million.”  Read More (Source: The Daily Item)

- Other recent statistics indicate more positive trends for restaurants: U.S. restaurants generated $61.2 billion in sales this March, up 13.4% from February according to U.S. Census data released Thursday. Sales are still below where they were pre-pandemic but the surge in sales was across all restaurant types and driven by two things: 1) stimulus and 2) consumers' pandemic fatigue.

On a related note, the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association hosts an April 22, 10:30 a.m. webinar with an employment and labor attorney to address the legal issues and concerns with mandatory vaccination programs and other related topics. Register for this free webinar.

- New cases of the virus continue to run high. The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 5,650 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,098,502. According to the state, Clinton County reported 20 new cases today, bringing the countywide total to 3,344. Centre County saw 63 new cases, bringing their total to 15,591, and Lycoming County was up 47 new cases, to 10.864. Statewide, 2,577 people are hospitalized with the virus, 572 of whom are in intensive care. There were 50 new deaths identified across the state, bringing to 25,622, the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 (60 in Clinton County).

To date, the Health Department reports 6,855,169 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered statewide, 4,514,929 of which are first/single doses and 2,370,240 second/full doses. Read more: Department of Health: Over 6.8 Million Vaccinations to Date, First Doses of Vaccine to 41.3% of Population, PA Ranks 10th Among 50 States for First Dose Vaccinations.

- Pa. Department of Health vaccination guidance says individuals who are fully vaccinated and exposed to someone with COVID-19 do not need to quarantine after exposure if they received their second dose of a two-dose series or their first dose of a single shot vaccine 2 or more weeks ago AND they have remained asymptomatic since their current exposure.

- The Regional Vaccination Clinic at Penn State’s Bryce Jordan Center is back open and has pivoted to providing the two-dose Moderna vaccine instead of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which continues to be reviewed by federal health agencies. The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) and Department of Health announced the Clinic’s reopening Thursday. It will operate Thursdays through Mondays, from noon to 8:00 p.m. on weekdays and from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekends. The clinic is open to any eligible Pennsylvanian, regardless of county of residence. People interested in using the Bryce Jordan Center clinic can make an appointment online or by calling 1-844-545-3450. See more: Regional vaccination clinic in Centre County to resume scheduled operations Thursday - pennlive.com.

The Health Department today also said the pause in administering doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be extended until April 24 or until updated guidance is provided from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration. More here: Department of Health Extends Pause on Johnson & Johnson Vaccinations Following FDA/CDC Recommendation.

- During a visit today to the Penn State Health vaccination clinic in Hershey, PA Governor Tom Wolf discussed vaccine progress and encouraged Pennsylvanians to get vaccinated. See more: Gov. Wolf Visits Penn State Health Vaccination Clinic, Discusses Vaccine Rollout Progress, Encourages Everyone to Get Vaccinated (pa.gov).

- The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has announced a national effort to help community partners promote COVID-19 vaccine confidence. Click the following link to learn more: We Can Do This: COVID-19 Public Education Campaign. 

- The PA Department of Aging continues to encourage older adults seeking a COVID-19 vaccine appointment to contact their local Area Agency on Aging for any assistance they may need in scheduling an appointment. In Clinton and Lycoming counties, STEP, Inc. oversees the Agency on Aging. Their number is 570-326-0587. The AAA number in Centre County is 814-355-6716. Read more: Department of Aging Encourages Older Adults to Reach Out if COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment Assistance is Needed, Provides Resources Regarding Vaccines.

- In a COVID-19 update issued today, UPMC noted it has administered more than 400,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to date. Click Here for the UPMC Update.

- Mill Hall Elementary School students were on remote learning status today as the school was on a one-day closure in accordance with state COVID mitigation guidelines, but the school expects to reopen come Monday. In her weekly update today, Keystone Central School District Superintendent Dr. Jacquelyn Martin said in addition to the three positive and one presumed positive cases at Mill Hall, there is one active staff case and 10 active cases among students in four different schools. Dr. Martin also encouraged school families to participate in the school’s 2021 Comprehensive Plan Survey. Click Here for the KCSD Update.

- The Board of Governors for Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education, which includes Lock Haven and 13 other state system universities, this week announced a freeze in basic in-state tuition for a third consecutive year, calling it a commitment to keeping public higher education affordable for students during the ongoing pandemic. Click Here for the State University System file for more information.

- The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment & Training Administration this week announced the issuance of an Unemployment Insurance Program Letter that provides new guidance to states on identity verification for unemployment insurance claims. The guidance follows unprecedented increases in UI claims amid the pandemic and related surges in fraudulent filings in states’ systems by sophisticated criminal rings using stolen or “synthetic” identities – false identities composed of real and fake information. Read more: US Department of Labor issues guidance to states on identity verification, eligibility for unemployment insurance claims, protecting identity theft victims | U.S. Department of Labor (dol.gov).

- The U.S. Department of Labor has also announced new guidance for plan sponsors, plan fiduciaries, record keepers and plan participants on best practices for maintaining cybersecurity, including tips on how to protect the retirement benefits of America’s workers. This is the first time the department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration has issued cybersecurity guidance. This guidance is directed at plan sponsors and fiduciaries regulated by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, and plan participants and beneficiaries. Learn more: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/ebsa/ebsa20210414.

- Passing along info from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission…a Q&A on what employers should know about COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act and other EEO laws. Read more: What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws | U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (eeoc.gov).

- With the May 18 Municipal Primary Election a month away, Clinton County is looking for a few good poll workers. In an election update today, Clinton County Voter Registration Director Maria Boileau said people interested in ‘working the polls’ on election day should complete a poll worker interest form at www.votesPA.com/getinvolved or contact her office at 570-893-4019 to express their interest. Boileau also noted that sample ballots for the May election are now available on the county website at https://www.clintoncountypa.com/departments/voter-registration. Click Here for the Election Update file for the latest election information.

- An election reminder from 25th District State Senator Cris Dush: There is still time for Pennsylvanians to share their experience from last year’s election with the Senate Special Committee on Election Integrity and Reform. Election surveys for Pennsylvanians who voted by mail or in person will be accepted through April 30. The committee is expected to use the survey responses and testimony gathered during its series of public hearings to produce a report with recommendations that will be presented to the General Assembly.

- There may be nothing more nerve-wracking for a member of Congress than redistricting, when the once-a-decade redrawing of district boundaries injects a dose of uncertainty into their political careers. In Pennsylvania, redrawing the districts to correspond with population shifts identified by the 2020 census will have a particularly unpredictable effect on congressional districts, since the state is expected to lose a district. That means there will be 17 districts for 18 incumbent U.S. House members from Pennsylvania when next year’s elections roll around, raising the question of whose district will disappear and whose political career could be upended. “I think the first question that everybody asks is, ‘Is anybody retiring?’” said Ryan Costello, a former two-term congressman from Chester County. By the end of April, the U.S. Census Bureau is releasing the first numbers from the 2020 census, including the state population count that determines how many congressional seats and Electoral College votes each state gets. If that confirms projections that Pennsylvania will lose a seat, it will be the 10th consecutive decade that the Keystone State has lost clout in Congress and presidential contests as its population growth continues to lag behind the nation’s. A new map of districts must win approval from the Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, and the districts they draw could have a dramatic effect on the political careers of the state’s 18 U.S. House members. If each of the 18 wants to run for another term in Congress, two of them will have to run against each other.  Read More (Source: The Associated Press)

 

- The PA Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs today announced that $2.7 million in funding is available for entities to deliver employment support services to individuals in recovery from substance use disorder seeking to enter the workforce. Learn more: Wolf Administration Announces Grant Opportunities to Provide Employment Support Services for Individuals with Substance Use Disorder (pa.gov).

- The PA Department of Human Services today began to issue emergency allotments for households that currently receive the maximum monthly Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit. The funds are the first part of a $1712 million distribution of federal food assistance for about 700,000 households that either received less than half their monthly SNAP payment in additional assistance or have not received extra SNAP assistance since the pandemic began. Details here: Human Services Secretary: Emergency SNAP Allotments Beginning for Households Receiving Monthly Maximum Benefit.

- Governor Wolf today announced that 43 highway, bridge, rail, and bike and pedestrian projects in 21 counties were selected for $45.9 million in funding through PennDOT’s Multimodal Transportation Fund. In the region, Toftrees Development, LLC will receive $2.44 million to construct the Masters Blvd./Waddle Rd. Extension Project in Patton Township. Read more: Governor Wolf Announces Investments in 43 Multimodal Projects to Improve Safety, Mobility, Local Economies (pa.gov).

- The PA Department of Environmental Protection began its 2021 Black Fly Suppression Program this week. The program involves aerial and backpack spraying on roughly 1,700 stream miles in 35 counties of the commonwealth. More here: Article Viewer (pa.gov).

- In its March 2021 report, the PA Department of Health said nursing home surveyors conducted 570 inspections – 244 of which were COVID-19-specific – of 396 separate nursing homes. There were 15 new sanctions finalized, resulting in $122,000 in fines. Read more: Department of Health Highlights March 2021 Nursing Home Inspection, Sanction Information Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic.

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 599 licensed liquor establishments over the past two weeks (April 5-15), issuing 26 notices of violation and 85 warnings associated with COVID-19 mitigation efforts. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 39 licensee checks during the period, issuing no notices of violation and one warning related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. More information here: State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement April 5-15: 599 Compliance Checks; 26 Notices of Violation (pa.gov).

- Meanwhile, PA State Police today announced that troopers confiscated more than $17.7 million in illegal drugs during the first three months of this year. See more: State Police Seizes More Than $17.7 Million in Illegal Drugs During the First Quarter of 2021 (pa.gov).

- PPL Corporation this week published its annual Sustainability Report, highlighting the company's progress and approach on a wide range of environmental, social and governance initiatives, including climate strategy, electrification goals, COVID-19 response and diversity, equity and inclusion commitments. The report also includes a comprehensive record of PPL's 2020 performance in advancing a transition to a cleaner energy future; supporting communities; attracting and retaining a diverse, talented workforce; and providing long-term value to customers and shareowners. View the report online at www.pplsustainability.com.

- PA CareerLink hosts a May 5, 10:00 a.m. employer seminar via Zoom on Pennsylvania's Shared-Work Program. Shared-Work allows a business to retain its workforce during a temporary slowdown and then quickly ramp up operations without the expense of recruiting, hiring and training new employees. Shared-Work also helps to protect your employees from the financial hardship of a full layoff. Click Here for the PA CareerLink flyer for details and register for the workshop at: https://forms.gle/vFfCkgKJYcAN7KWQ6.

4/14/21

OF NOTE: First Quality Hygienic, one of the First Quality operations in the Sweeney Clinton County Industrial Park in Wayne Township, announced today it will shut down its Hygienic operations later this summer as a result of tough conditions in the feminine hygiene products market. The closure impacts about 150 employees, all of whom will be offered positions at the company’s other McElhattan and Lock Haven/Castanea Township operations. Partnership President Mike Flanagan said First Quality officials emphasized that the company remains committed to its other business operations. First Quality is Clinton County’s leading manufacturer, with some 1,700 employees locally.

- With all Pennsylvanians now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination, Clinton County Government is encouraging those who live and work in Clinton County to schedule and get the vaccination, saying that getting vaccinated is essential as we strive to return to normalcy. To that end, the County provided a COVID-19 vaccination information, which lists contact information for six local vaccine providers.  Click Here

Note that the six local provider sites are administering the two-shot Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The PA Department of Health Tuesday notified vaccine providers to pause administering doses of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) single-dose vaccine until at least April 20 following the recommendation of both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Federal Drug Administration. This is a precaution until the CDC and FDA have time to review six incidents of rare blood clots that occurred within two weeks of people receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. See more: Department of Health: Pause on Johnson & Johnson Vaccinations in Pennsylvania, FDA/CDC Announcement Highlights Vaccine Evaluation Process is Working.

- On a related note, Inc. magazine this week featured an opinion piece that speaks to why small businesses – the ones that have the most to lose when mitigation efforts are in place – should be leading efforts to encourage people to get vaccinated. Click Here for the ‘Small Business and the Vaccine’ file for that editorial.

- Cases of COVID-19 continue to rise across Pennsylvania, and the statewide percent positivity rate this week rose slightly to 9.5%, compared to 9.4% last week. However, the percent positivity rates in both Clinton and Centre counties dropped this week. Clinton’s rate, according to the state, is 11.0%, compared to 15.7% last week and 12.0% the week before that. Centre County’s percent positivity is 9.6% this week, compared to 10.3% last week. Lycoming County’s percent positivity increased to 8.9% this week, compared to 8.2% last week.

The number of counties the state considers as being in “substantial” level of community transmission increased this week to 50 of the state’s 67 counties, including Clinton, Centre and Lycoming counties. Cameron, Forest and Fulton counties are in the low level of transmission, while another 14 counties are in the moderate level transmission status. There is one county reporting over a 20% positivity rate, while seven counties have a positivity rate lower than 5%. Read more: Pennsylvania COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard Update for April 2 – 8 (pa.gov).

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 5,730 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,087,792. The Department did note that a new lab began submitting data to the department on Tuesday and that 1,101 positive test results that were collected more than three days ago and ranging back to mid-January, were uploaded (85% of the newly-identified cases were in Allegheny County). According to the state data, Clinton reported seven new cases, bringing the countywide total to 3,294. Centre County saw 50 new cases, bringing their total to 15,431, and Lycoming County was up 30 cases, to 10,766. Statewide, 2,541 people are hospitalized with the virus, 530 of whom are in intensive care.

As of today, Pennsylvania has administered 6,660,130 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, 4,351,950 are first/single doses, while 2,488,948 are second/full doses. Read more: Department of Health: Over 6.6 Million Vaccinations to Date, First Doses of Vaccine to 40.1% of Population, PA Ranks 10th Among 50 States for First Dose Vaccinations.

- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 cases in the United States have also been steadily increasing. The CDC says this increase could be driven by more contagious variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. B.1.1.7, the most common variant in the United States, has been reported in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Learn more about these variants in CDC’s COVID Data Tracker Weekly Review: http://bit.ly/CDTweeklyreview

Meanwhile, the CDC is also offering information on post-COVID conditions, saying that although most people with COVID-19 get better within weeks to months of the illness, some do not. CDC and experts around the world are working to learn more about the short- and long-term health effects associated with COVID-19, who gets them, and why. CDC uses the term post-COVID conditions to describe health issues that persist more than four weeks after first being infected. Click here to: Learn more .

- The office of the President at Lock Haven University today issued an update on the proposed integration of Lock Haven, Bloomsburg and Mansfield universities. Click Here for the LHU Integration file for more information.

- The PA Departments of Health and Education today encouraged all students at Pennsylvania colleges and universities to receive their COVID-19 vaccination before the semester ends. They’re encouraging all institutions of higher education to work with local providers to ensure vaccination opportunities are available before students leave for the summer. Read more: Wolf Administration Encourages All College Students to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine Before the Semester Ends (pa.gov).

- Downtown Lock Haven, Inc. is offering business grants of up to $500 on a first-come, first-served basis to for-profit businesses within the City’s central business district. Click Here for the DLH file for guidelines, eligibility criteria and the application. Applications must be submitted to Downtown Lock Haven, Inc., 205 East Main St., Lock Haven, by next Friday, April 23.

- In a weekly update to constituents, 76th District State Representative Stephanie Borowicz, this week provided the following update on House Bill 290, which is aimed at supporting fundraising opportunities for nonprofits: Legislation to improve pandemic fundraising options for fire and ambulance companies, as well as other nonprofit organizations that support community initiatives such as scholarships, youth sports and Scouting, has been approved by the state House. House Bill 290 would specifically authorize Small Games of Chance (SGOC) licensees to conduct online raffles and drawings and use a mobile payment service (not credit cards) for payment. Participants would have to be verified as residing within the Commonwealth and be at least 18 years of age. The bill also would increase individual prize limits to $4,000 and weekly prize limits to $50,000 to further aid fundraising efforts. The changes would expire with the end of the COVID-19 disaster emergency or May 1, 2022, whichever is later. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

- The White House Tuesday released state-by-state fact sheets that highlight the urgent need in every state across the country for the investments proposed by President Biden in the American Jobs Plan. View Pennsylvania Fact Sheet.

- Governor Wolf Tuesday highlighted the achievements of the Wolf Administration to support small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic during the opening session of the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers’ Growth Conference. Learn more: Gov. Wolf Highlights Support of Small Businesses During COVID-19 at PA Small Business Development Centers Conference.

- The Department of State’s Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation today released data related to COVID-19 enforcement actions from April 4-11 as it relates to regulated boards and commissions. During that period, the Bureau performed 459 inspections and opened 13 investigations during which COVID-19-specific compliance was a focus. This week, the Bureau distributed 11 warning letters and one compliance letter relating to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. See more: Department of State Releases COVID-19 Enforcement Actions, April 4-11.

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry’s Bureau of Labor Law Compliance today released data related to COVID-19 enforcement actions for April 5-9, as they relate to businesses not covered by other state agencies, boards or bureaus. To date, the Bureau has assigned 437 cases to its investigators. In the most recent reporting period, the department completed eight investigations that were sent to the Department of Health. More here: Department of Labor & Industry Releases COVID-19 Enforcement Actions, April 5 – April 9.

- The U.S. government’s budget deficit surged to an all-time high of $1.7 trillion for the first six months of this budget year, nearly double the previous record, as another round of economic-support checks added billions of dollars to spending last month. In its monthly budget report, the Treasury Department said Monday that the deficit for the first half of the budget year — from October through March — was up from a shortfall of $743.5 billion for the same period a year ago. The deficit has been driven higher by trillions of dollars in support Congress has passed in successive economic rescue packages since the pandemic struck in March 2020. The latest round came in a $1.9 trillion measure that President Joe Biden pushed through Congress last month. Biden’s package included individual support payments of up to $1,400 and the administration rushed to make those payments as soon Biden signed the measure into law. The Treasury statement showed that the payments in March totaled $339 billion. The budget report showed that the deficit for just March totaled $659.6 billion, the third-highest monthly deficit. For the six month period, the $1.7 trillion deficit total surpassed the previous record of an $829 billion deficit run up for the six month’s ending in March 2011, a period when the government was spending to deal with the adverse effects of the recession caused by the 2008 financial crisis.  Read More (Source: The Associated Press)

- Meanwhile, the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Bureau of the Fiscal Service today announced they are disbursing nearly 2 million payments in the fifth batch of Economic Impact Payments from the American Rescue Plan. More here: IRS, Treasury disburse 2 million more Economic Impact Payments under the American Rescue Plan; VA beneficiaries bring total to approximately 159 million as payments continue | Internal Revenue Service

- The U.S. Chamber Foundation hosts a webinar tomorrow, April 15, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. titled Practical Lessons from Employers Who’ve Been Vaccinating Their Workers for Months as part of its Path Forward series. Worksite vaccine clinics make it easy for employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Join this webinar for a conversation with one of the few companies that has already vaccinated its workforce, and important insights from the leader of a senior-living facility who helped overcome high levels of vaccine hesitancy among her workers when doses first became available in December 2019.

Last week, the Path Forward series featured an “Ask Me Anything” panel of five experts answering audience questions on legal issues, COVID-19 testing, personal and public health, and mass vaccination sites. If you missed it, you can check out the full session videos and transcripts below.

- The PA Fish & Boat Commission took a number of actions during its quarterly meeting this week, including proposing new trout fishing and ice fishing regulations, and awarding grants for boating facilities. Locally, Howard Borough is listed as a boat facility grant recipient for a project at F.J. Sayers Lake. Susquehanna Greenway Partnership is also listed as receiving a grant for a Susquehanna River Water Trail Wayfinding Program. Learn more: PFBC AWARDS GRANTS FOR BOATING FACILITY AND ERIE ACCESS IMPROVEMENT PROGRAMS, PROPOSES NEW TROUT FISHING AND ICE FISHING REGULATIONS, AND ENCOURAGES BOATING SAFETY DURING QUARTERLY MEETING (pa.gov).

4/12/21

- The state is accelerating the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. Governor Tom Wolf and the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force today announced that effective tomorrow, April 13, all Pennsylvania adults will be eligible to schedule an appointment for a vaccine. Today, the state entered Phase 1C of the vaccine rollout, but the next phase to include all Pennsylvanians hadn’t been scheduled until next Monday. In announcing the change, Governor Wolf said, “We need to maintain acceleration of the vaccine rollout, especially as case counts and hospitalization rates have increased.” Learn more: Gov. Wolf and COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force Announce that All Adults in Pennsylvania are Eligible Tomorrow to Schedule COVID-19 Vaccination Appointments (pa.gov).

As of today, according to the state, 2,961 people in Clinton County have received a first/partial dose of the vaccine and 6,114 have receive the full, two-shot dose. In Centre, 19,879 people have received a partial and 36,615 a full dose; and in Lycoming County, 9,949 have received a partial and 22,200 a full dose of the vaccine. For information on COVID-19 Vaccine Providers, click here.

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed 3,088 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,075,424. According to the state, Clinton County reported 7 new cases, bringing the countywide total to 3,263. Centre County saw 31 new cases, bringing their total to 15,317, and Lycoming County reported 10 new cases, bringing their total to 10,683. Statewide, 2,460 people are hospitalized with the virus, 516 of whom are in intensive care. To date, 25,406 deaths have been attributed to the virus, 60 of them in Clinton County.

Meanwhile, as of this morning, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reported that Pennsylvania had administered first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to 38.9% of its eligible population. To date, Pennsylvania has administered 6,411,940 doses – 4,234,191 first/single doses and 2,177,749 second doses – of the vaccine. More here: Department of Health: Over 6.4 Million Vaccinations to Date, First Doses of Vaccine to 38.9% of Population, PA Ranks 11th Among 50 States for First Dose Vaccinations.

- The Health Department today also announced a partnership with Latino Connection and Highmark Blue Shield to launch the first statewide COVID-19 Mobile Vaccination Clinic tour to provide vaccinations and education targeting minority and underserved communities. Learn more: Department of Health Partners with Community Groups for Mobile Response on COVID-19 Vaccinations, Education to Minority and Underserved Communities.

- The PA Department of Human Services today announced that the state will partner with Walgreens to administer COVID-19 vaccinations to staff and residents of congregate care settings licensed by DHS that were not part of the federal Pharmacy Partnership Program. More information here: Pennsylvania Partners with Walgreens to Finalize Vaccination Efforts to Priority Populations in Congregate Care Settings.

- As part of its emphasis on supporting businesses during the pandemic, Downtown Lock Haven, Inc. has announced it is offering one-time Neighborhood Assistance Grants to assist businesses. Through the program, DLH has a total of $12,500 and is providing grants of up to $500 each for businesses in the City’s central business district. The funds must be used for marketing fees, website fees, social media support or signage. Information on the program and grant applications are available at the Downtown Lock Haven, Inc. office at 205 East Main Street or by contacting Manager Marie Vilello at 570-748-1576 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Information is also available on the Downtown Lock Haven Inc. Facebook page. Grant applications must be submitted by April 23 and the funds must be used by June 30, 2021.

- The U.S. Small Business Administration has raised the loan limit for COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) to up to 24 months of economic injury with a maximum loan amount of $500,000. Borrowers were sent an email about the new loan limit. Some borrowers are experiencing a technical issue when clicking on the email address to request a COVID-19 EIDL increase. When submitting the request, make sure to remove any additional characters that may appear in front of the email address so that your request can be delivered. For questions about your application, please contact the SBA Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

- The SBA continues to work through system issues with the application portal for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program, which is currently unable to accept applications. The portal was launched April 8, but there were technical issues, so the SBA temporarily suspended the portal and says it will re-open it as soon as possible. The SBA has confirmed they did not accept any applications or distribute any funding prior to having to shut down the portal. Applicants can still register in the portal and the SBA will share updates as they are available, including a specific time and date for the re-opening of the portal. For a list of tools and resources to help applicants prepare once the SVOG application portal re-opens, visit www.sba.gov/svogrant.

- The PA Department of Agriculture has announced the opening of a $1 million Farm Vitality Grant program, aimed at enhancing the long-term health and vitality of Pennsylvania’s farms. More here: Secretary of Agriculture Announces $1 Million Farm Vitality Grant Program, Secures Strong Future for Pennsylvania Agriculture (pa.gov).

- The PA Treasury and the Department of Labor & Industry today announced the two agencies have recaptured nearly $800 million of unemployment benefits targeted by fraudsters. See more: Pennsylvania Treasury, Stacy Garrity - State Treasurer (patreasury.gov).

- Updates from the PA Chamber…. 

  • A top PA Chamber priority – critical COVID-19 liability protections – was passed by the House last week. The legislation now goes to the Senate for consideration. -> Read More.
  • The Senate Appropriations Committee’s budget hearing with the Department of Labor & Industry last week covered a number of workforce related issues – including challenges the state’s unemployment compensation system is facing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and getting people back to work. -> Read More.
  • Last week, the House unanimously passed H.B. 766, legislation that would change the date of Pennsylvania corporate tax returns from 30 days after due date of the federal return to the 15th day of the month following the due date of the federal return. The PA Chamber supported this proposal – which now awaits Senate consideration – because it will help eliminate confusion regarding state tax due dates for the Commonwealth’s corporate taxpayers.

- The PA Department of State today announced that more than 587,000 voters already have applied for mail-in ballots for the May 18 municipal primary election, and more than 18,000 voters have applied for absentee ballots. Read more: More Than 600K Pennsylvania Voters Apply for Mail Ballots Ahead of May 18 Municipal Primary.

The Clinton County Voter Registration office has so far received a total of 1,149 mail-in/absentee ballot requests (1,130 mail-in ballot requests; 17 absentee ballot requests; and two requests for overseas voters).

- State Senator Cris Dush, in his weekly update to constituents, today encouraged people to learn about several questions that will appear on the May 18 ballot. Click Here for the Senator Dush file for more information.

Meanwhile, the Senator says a bipartisan Senate Special Committee on Election Integrity and Reform is inviting Pennsylvania voters to share their experiences from the 2020 election by taking an election survey. The information will be reviewed by the committee and will be considered as part of future election reform measures. The panel held a pair of hearings last month to gather input from local and state election officials, as well as county commissioners on the administration of the 2020 election, and to review best practices in other states that allow mail-in voting. Video and testimony from both hearings is available at https://pasenelectioncommittee.com/.

- Senator Dush is also reminding constituents that revisions to the state’s “Move Over” law go into effect on April 27. The state approved legislation last October to strengthen the law, designed to protect first responders, tow truck operators and other motorists near the scene of an emergency. The new law – which includes greater public awareness efforts and steeper penalties for violations – requires motorists approaching an emergency response area to merge into a lane further away, or to slow down to 20 miles per hour under the posted speed limit if they cannot safely merge. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission reports 46 emergency responders were struck and killed in the U.S. in 2020, and 10 more have lost their lives so far in 2021.

- The PA Board of Game Commissioners Saturday gave final approval to hunting and trapping seasons and bag limits for the 2021-22 license year. Details here: FINAL 2021-22 HUNTING/TRAPPING SEASONS APPROVED (pa.gov).

- 12th District Congressman Fred Keller’s office is encouraging local high school students to participate in the annual Artistic Discovery Contest, a nation-wide art competition sponsored by the U.S. House of Representatives. The winning artwork is displayed for one year at the U.S. Capitol. Submissions are due to Representative Keller’s Williamsport District Office by April 23. Learn more here.

4/9/21

- Partnership President Mike Flanagan today provided his weekly update on the local employment picture: First time and continued unemployment claims were down slightly in Clinton County during the seven day period ending April 3, according to information released Friday by the state Department of Labor & Industry. The initial unemployment insurance claim number was 77, down from 93 the week prior. Females accounted for 51% of the new filings, and the construction field had 22% file for first time claims. In the continued claim category, there were 736 county residents listed, down from 757. Of the new continued claim number, 65% were males, and 24% were in the construction field.      

During the week ending April 3, the state reported that another 24 county residents had unemployment benefits expire. The number of county residents who have exhausted benefits since January 1 now totals 424.

Clinton County’s February monthly unemployment rate was 7.7%. The March figure is expected to be released by the state at the end of April.

-  Nationwide, the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose last week to 744,000, an increase of about 16,000 from the previous week, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Read more: News Release (dol.gov).

- Labor & Industry this week announced that the department’s new Unemployment Compensation system is now slated to launch in June, replacing a 40-year-old system with an easy-to-use system that will streamline the unemployment claim filing process. Programs that will transition to the new system are: Unemployment Compensation (UC); Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC); Extended Benefits (EB); Shared Work or Short-Time Compensation (STC); and Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA). Learn more: L&I Will Transition to New Unemployment Compensation System in June (pa.gov).

- With only 42 student days left in the current school year, Keystone Central School District continues in-the-classroom learning. In her weekly update, Superintendent Dr. Jacquelyn Martin said there currently are three active cases of COVID-19 among staff and two among students in two different schools. Click Here for the KCSD Update.

- Geisinger this week announced it is partnering with nine local chambers of commerce – including the Clinton County Economic Partnership - to give back to restaurants in the community that have been hit hard by the pandemic. Click Here for the news release regarding the ‘Meals in Spring’ initiative, which will support Partnership member eating establishments.

- The U.S. Small Business Administration Thursday officially opened the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) application portal, but then closed it back down due to system issues. The SBA says the suspension of the application portal is temporary and that it will re-open as soon as possible. The SVOG is a pandemic relief grant program for operators of live venues, live performing arts organizations, museums and movie theatres, as well as live venue promoters, theatrical producers and talent representatives.

- SEDA-COG continues to accept applications for the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Relief Program (CHIRP) that provides pandemic relief for restaurants, bars and hotel businesses. It is our understanding that some grant awards have been made from the first funding round (March 15-28). The current, second window of opportunity runs until April 29. Click on the following link to get to the grant website: https://csgiving.org/chirp/.

- The Clinton County Housing Coalition has received more than 90 applications so far under the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, a grant program to support landlords and tenants in covering rent and utility expenses for households impacted by the pandemic. Some initial grant awards have been made, and applications continue to be accepted and reviewed/processed. Applications can be made through www.compass.state.pa.us, and for more information on the program, go to the Housing Coalition’s website at www.cchousingcoalition.org.

- A few weeks ago, Congress passed the Paycheck Protection Program Extension Act which moved the PPP application deadline to May 31, 2021. If you're looking to take advantage of this program, click here to read up on what this means for you and your business. Review the latest PPP information.

- The National Restaurant Association today released a new Restaurant Revitalization Fund FAQ with updated information about applications, eligibility, and figuring out grant amounts. The RRF is funding that was approved as part of the recently-signed American Rescue Plan.

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 5,048 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,064,092. According to the state, Clinton County reported 13 new cases, bringing the countywide total to 3,216. Centre County saw 77 new cases, bringing their total to 15,136, and Lycoming County was up 35 new cases, to 10,591. Statewide, there are 2,451 people hospitalized with the virus, 517 of whom are in intensive care.

As of today, the state had administered first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to 35.6% of its eligible population. To date, 6,055,844 doses – 4,017,045 first/single doses and 2,038,799 second doses – have been administered. More here: Department of Health: Over 6 Million Vaccinations to Date, First Doses of Vaccine to 35.6% of Population, PA Ranks 19th Among 50 States for First Dose Vaccinations

- Health Department Acting Secretary Alison Beam today urged all Pennsylvanians to remember to both attend a scheduled COVID-19 vaccine appointment and cancel any unneeded appointments so that all vaccine doses get into the arms of people. See more: Department of Health: Cancel Duplicate Appointments to Help Ensure Vaccine is Available for All.

- The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) and Department of Health this week announced the opening of a Regional Vaccination Clinic at Penn State’s Bryce Jordan Center. Read more: Wolf Administration Announces Opening of Regional Vaccination Clinic in Centre County (pa.gov).

- Phase 1C of the state’s vaccine rollout begins this coming Monday, April 12. Essential workers in that sector include: food service; federal, state, county and local government workers, including county election workers, elected officials and members of the judiciary and their staff; transportation and logistics; water and wastewater; housing construction; finance, including bank tellers; information technology; communications; energy; legal services; media; public safety; and public health workers. On April 19, everyone not in a previous group will be eligible For more on the vaccine rollout plan, go to: Distribution (pa.gov).

- Worksite vaccine clinics make it easy for employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Employers are invited to join the U.S. Chamber Foundation for an April 15, 2:00 p.m. webinar that includes a representative from a company that has already vaccinated its workforce, as well as a senior-living facility rep who helped overcome high levels of vaccine hesitancy among workers. Another speaker will talk about the role employers can have in vaccinating their own employees, and best practices from companies across the country. Learn more and register here: Path Forward: Practical Lessons from Employers Who've Been Vaccinating their Workers for Months (uschamberfoundation.org).

- Several updates from the Internal Revenue Service:

  • The IRS is reminding businesses, corporations, self-employed individuals, retirees, investors and others who pay their taxes quarterly that the payment for the first quarter of 2021 is due Thursday, April 15, 2021. The extension to May 17, 2021 for individuals to file their 2020 federal income taxes does not apply to estimated tax payments. The 2021 Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals, can help taxpayers estimate their first quarterly tax payment. See more: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-reminds-taxpayers-to-make-april-15-estimated-tax-payment.
  • The IRS and U.S. Treasury are providing guidance on tax relief for deductions for food or beverages from restaurants, stating that businesses can temporarily deduct 100 percent beginning January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2022. Details here: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/treasury-irs-provide-guidance-on-tax-relief-for-deductions-for-food-or-beverages-from-restaurants. (A point of clarification from the PA Restaurant & Lodging Association: The term "restaurant" means a business that prepares and sells food or beverages to retail customers for immediate consumption, regardless of whether the food or beverages are consumed on the business' premises).

- The PA Department of Education and the Keystone Initiative for Network Based Education and Research today announced an initiative to improve access to broadband services in and beyond libraries across the commonwealth’s underserved and unserved communities. More here: Pennsylvania’s Office of Commonwealth Libraries Announces Project to Provide Broadband Internet Access to Underserved Communities (pa.gov).

- The U.S. Department of Labor has issued guidance implementing the American Rescue Plan’s Continuation of Health Coverage premium assistance provisions to provide full COBRA premium assistance to certain individuals who have experienced a reduction in hours or involuntary termination of employment. Read more: US Department of Labor issues guidance, model notices implementing American Rescue Plan’s COBRA premium assistance provisions | U.S. Department of Labor (dol.gov).

- PennDOT today provided an update on its Local Interchange/Route 26 project in Centre County. The work zone is located along Interstate 80 near the Bellefonte/161 interchange and project activity can affect traffic flow on I-80. More here: News Details (penndot.gov).

- The New Love Center invites people to an Open House Saturday, April 10, at their recently-renovated space at 263 Henry Street, Jersey Shore (South Avis). TNLC operates a weekly food distribution from their pantry there, as well as several other food programs for those in need. Saturday’s Open House runs from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., with small group, 30-minute tours scheduled every half hour. Those interested are asked to sign up for a tour time by going to bit.ly/tnlctours.

- Each year, the U.S. Chamber recognizes the very best in American small business. Through the Dream Big Awards program, they honor achievements and select winners in eight achievement award areas, plus the Small Business of the Year who'll win a $25,000 prize. Read more about the program here and submit your business here.


- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, hosts an April 15, noontime webinar on Sales Strategy, as part of their Roadmap for Rebuilding series. Small business experts will cover strategies for turning leads into sales and transitioning to online sales, plus Q&A. Register now.

4/7/21

- Clinton County’s unemployment rate increased for the second consecutive month, according to information released Tuesday by the state Department of Labor & Industry. The February rate for the county was 7.7%, up from the 7.1% reading in January. After eight months of decreases from a pandemic high of 16.6% in April 2020, the rate has increased more than one point over the last two months. The February numbers show an estimated 1,400 people out of work, compared to 1,200 in January. One year ago in February 2020, the unemployment rate was 5.9% and 1,100 were estimated to be out of work in Clinton County.

Clinton County’s February rate of 7.7%  was no. 38 out of the Commonwealth’s 67 counties. Adams, Chester and Montour counties tied for the best rate at 5.1%, while Centre was fifth at 5.6%. Lycoming tied for no. 33 at 7.6%. Philadelphia County’s 11.2% was the highest of the 67 counties. The statewide unemployment rate for February was 7.3%.

In recent weekly information distributed by the state, Clinton County had 93 residents file for unemployment insurance for the week ending March 27, up about 20 from the week before. The continued case number fell more than 100 to 757. Since the beginning of the year, 404 county residents have had unemployment benefits expire.               

“The increased numbers are a bit concerning, but some of the increase is likely due to seasonal layoffs,” said Clinton County Economic Partnership President Mike Flanagan. “We seem to have more than our fair share of open positions at many businesses, so hopefully they can find employees soon, and the unemployment numbers will go down.”

- 25th District State Senator Cris Dush’s office this week issued a Scam Alert related to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Click Here for the PUA Scam Alert for more information.

- The state this week noted the continued upward trend in COVID-19 cases, reporting a statewide percent positivity rate of 9.4%, up from last week’s 7.6%. Clinton County also saw a jump in the percent positivity rate, to 15.7%, compared to 12.0% last week, 8.6% the week before, and 6.0 the week before that. Centre County’s percent positivity rate this week stands at 10.3%, compared to 9.2% last week, and Lycoming County’s current rate is 8.2%, compared to 6.9% the week before. For the week ending April 2, there were five counties – Cameron, Potter, Forest, Fulton and Sullivan – in what the state considers the “low” level of transmission; 17 counties in the moderate level; and 45 counties, including Clinton, Centre and Lycoming, in the substantial level of transmission. 

Meanwhile the PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 4,643 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,054,298. There are 2,384 people hospitalized with the virus, 446 of whom are in intensive care. To date, 25,285 deaths have been attributed to COVID-19, 59 in Clinton County. County-specific information is available on the state’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard.

As of this morning, April 7, the Centers for Disease Control reported that Pennsylvania has administered first doses of COVID-19 vaccine to 35.4 percent of its eligible population and the state ranks 11th among all 50 states for first doses administered by percentage of population. Through this Saturday, April 10, a total of 6,580,640 doses of the vaccine have been allocated in Pennsylvania, and, as of today, April 7, a total of 5,797,589 doses – 3,869,275 first/single doses and 1,928,314 second doses - have been administered. According to the state data, as of today, 2,606 people in Clinton County have received a partial/single vaccine dose, while 5,831 have received the full, two-shot dose. In Centre County, 18,966 have received a partial and 30,394 a full dose, while in Lycoming County, 10,677 have received a partial and 19,911 a full dose of the vaccine. More information here: Department of Health: Over 5.7 Million Vaccinations to Date, First Doses of Vaccine to 35.4% of Population, PA Ranks 11th Among 50 States for First Dose Vaccinations.

- Governor Tom Wolf on Tuesday visited a Weis Market in Cumberland County to recognize what he called “heroic efforts” of PA’s grocery store workers, who are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Read more: Gov. Wolf Recognizes Grocery Store Workers, Now Vaccine Eligible, for Heroic Work (pa.gov).

- Pennsylvania is receiving more than $115 million in federal aid to expand the COVID-19 vaccine rollout across the commonwealth. President Joe Biden and Congress approved the money as part of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that also delivered stimulus checks to millions of Americans. As part of the package, Pennsylvania is getting $101.3 million from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to bolster local vaccine distribution programs. Philadelphia is also receiving an additional $14.3 million to support the city’s vaccination efforts. The state’s largest city is handling its own distribution of vaccines and gets its own supply through the federal government. Last week, Gov. Tom Wolf expanded the vaccine rollout to key front-line workers, including law enforcement, grocery workers and food and agricultural employees. On Monday, the state opened up eligibility to all of those in Phase 1B, which includes mass transit employees, manufacturing workers, postal employees and clergy. On April 12, those in Phase 1C can begin scheduling appointments. Phase 1C covers more critical workers including those in the energy sector, legal services, housing construction, federal, state and local government workers, financial services and information technology workers. Beginning April 19, everyone in Pennsylvania will be eligible for the vaccine, Wolf said last week. Earlier Tuesday, Biden said all Americans nationwide will be eligible to get the vaccine April 19. Read More (Source: Harrisburg Patriot News)

- The PA Health Department Tuesday provided an update on the 12-week pop-up COVID-19 testing initiative completed last month, highlighting the total number of patients tested. Clinton County’s testing site occurred in the second week of the program, with people able to drive through the Castanea Fire Company Picnic Grounds for a free test. During that week, 1,150 people received a test. More details here: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19 Testing Across Commonwealth.

- The Health Department Tuesday also shared a weekly update on the state’s COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing data. More information here: Department of Health Offers Update On COVID-19 Investigations, Contact Tracing, Monitoring Efforts.

- Nearly 80 percent of Pre-K-12 teachers, school staff, and childcare workers received at least their first shot of COVID-19 vaccine by the end of March, according to the CDC’s latest estimates and survey data. Read more: Nearly 80 percent of teachers, school staff, and childcare workers receive at least one shot of COVID-19 vaccine | CDC Online Newsroom | CDC.

- The PA Departments of Health and Education have announced modifications to their instructional model recommendations for Pre-K to 12 schools in response to updated guidance recently issued by the CDC. More here: Departments of Health, Education Update Instructional Model Recommendations for Schools.

- The Department of State’s Bureau of Enforcement & Investigation Tuesday released data related to COVID-19 enforcement actions from March 28-April 4, as they relate to regulated boards and commissions. During that period, BEI performed 528 inspections and opened five investigations during which COVID-19-specific compliance was a focus. This week, the Bureau distributed nine warning letters and three compliance letters relating to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. More here: Department of State Releases COVID-19 Enforcement Actions, March 28-April 4.

- Education and outreach staff from the PA Department of Banking and Securities are hosting and participating in a number of virtual presentations for various groups and the general public this month. Learn more: April 2021 Consumer Financial Protection Virtual Events Announced (pa.gov).

- Keystone Central School District this week announced how students and teachers plan to utilize a $50,000 Farm to School Planning Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Click Here for the news release for details.

- The PA State Police announced that the Pennsylvania Instant Check System set a record for activity in the first quarter of 2021. It was the third straight quarter to experience record-breaking volume. The department also released the number of firearms purchase denials, subsequent investigations, and arrests resulting from such investigations for the first-quarter. More here: Pennsylvania's Firearm Background Check System Experiences Record Volume for Third Consecutive Quarter (pa.gov).

- PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro has announced his office has entered into an agreement that will result in the cancellation of about $2.6 million in private PA student loans held by 1,300 students who attended schools operated by the now-defunct Education Corporation of America. See more: AG Shapiro Ensures Cancellation of Debt for PA Student Loan Borrowers – PA Office of Attorney General.

- PennDOT’s Office of Public-Private Partnerships today announced it is accepting proposals for transportation projects from the private sector through April 30. More here: Article (penndot.gov).

- The PA Chapter of the American Planning Association is accepting nominations for its annual “Great Places” program, which recognizes great public spaces, greenways, trails and streets. Click Here for all the details. The deadline for submissions is May 7. (Note: Lock Haven’s Susquehanna Riverfront was recognized by this program in 2018).

- The state is urging people to guard against increased dangers of spring wildfires in Pennsylvania’s 17 million acres of forestlands, a good many of them in Clinton County. Read more: Wolf Administration Warns of Heightened Spring Wildfire Dangers (pa.gov).

- A statewide, 14-day concurrent antlered and antlerless firearms season will be among the most contentious changes in hunting regulations the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners will consider for final approval this Saturday, April 10. Read more: Concurrent deer season among changes facing Pennsylvania game commissioner approval - pennlive.com (Source: PennLive)

- The PA Fish & Boat Commission will hold its quarterly business meeting on Monday, April 12 at 9:30 a.m. The online session can be live-streamed by visiting https://www.facebook.com/PaFishandBoat. Read more: PFBC QUARTERLY MEETING TO BE HELD VIRTUALLY ON APRIL 12 (pa.gov).

- Upcoming webinars….

 

  • PA CareerLink hosts a virtual employer workshop, Disaster Preparation for Your Business, tomorrow, Thursday, April 8, from 9:00- 11:00 a.m. For more information and to register, go to https://forms.gle/mrgQi5y8naNHQsqw8 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • The SCORE Central PA Chapter hosts a no-cost, online webinar on Creating a Business Plan – The Traditional Approach, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. next Thursday, April 15. Register Now!

4/5/21

- As of today, Pennsylvanians in Phase 1B of the state’s vaccination plan – including manufacturing workers; education and postal service workers; people in congregate settings not otherwise specified as long-term care facilities and persons receiving home and community-based services; clergy and other essential support for houses of worship; and public transit workers – are now eligible to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment. Learn more: Pennsylvanians in Phase 1B Now Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccine (pa.gov)

- As the vaccination plan rollout continues, next Monday, April 12, eligibility to schedule a vaccine appointment will expand to those in Phase 1C, and all Pennsylvania residents age 16 and older will be able to schedule appointments to receive a COVID-19 vaccine starting on April 19, according to the state Department of Health.  The news came last week as part of a larger announcement that the administration is also accelerating its vaccination strategy for workers in targeted industries in Phases 1B, 1C and 2. The broadening of vaccine eligibility began on March 31 with law enforcement, firefighters, grocery store workers and food and agriculture workers. A complete overview of each phase is available on the PA Chamber’s Bringing PA Back website. Although the state’s vaccine timetable has been accelerated, Department of Health officials asked for patience when attempting to schedule a vaccination appointment. “It is important to remember that eligibility does not guarantee an immediate vaccination appointment,” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said in a statement. “Vaccine providers are ready and eager to get a shot in the arm of every person who wants one while we continue to aggressively advocate for more vaccine.” Additional details about the Department of Health’s announcement can be found here. (Source: PA Chamber)

- The PA Health Department today reported that, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Pennsylvania has administered first doses of the vaccine to 34.8 percent of its eligible population, ranking the state 12th among all 50 states. Pennsylvania ranked 5th among all 50 states for total doses administered. According to the Health Department data, vaccine providers have administered 5,632,986 total vaccine doses as of today, including 3,755,602 first/single doses and 1,877,384 second/full doses.

According to the state’s vaccine website, as of today, 2,537 people in Clinton County have received a partial/single dose of the vaccine, while 5,728 people have received the full dose; 19,553 people in Centre County have received a partial/single dose, while 28,413 have received a full dose; and in Lycoming County, 11,710 people have received a single dose and 18,360 a full dose of the vaccine.

- Positive cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in Pennsylvania. While the state’s weekly report is not yet available, news sources are reporting the state’s percent positivity rate currently stands at 9.4 percent…up from 7.5 percent last week and 6.5 percent the week before that. PennLIVE this afternoon reports that 45 of the state’s 67 counties are in the substantial level of transmission status, an increase from 35 counties reported last week.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health today confirmed an additional 2,718 positive cases of COVID-19, in addition to 3,933 new cases reported Sunday, for a two-day total of 6,651 cases, bringing the statewide total to 1,045,400. According to the state, Clinton County reported nine new cases today, bringing the countywide total to 3,174. Centre County reported 25 new cases, bringing their total to 14,873, and Lycoming County saw 34 new cases, bringing their total to 10,435. More data is available on the state’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard. See more: Department of Health: Over 5.6 Million Vaccinations to Date, First Doses of Vaccine to 34.8% of Population, PA Ranks 12th Among 50 States for First Dose Vaccinations.

- The state today said it’s special initiative to vaccinate Pre-K through 12 teachers and school staff was a success and has been completed ahead of schedule, resulting in the vaccination of more than 112,500 teachers and school staff in about three weeks. More here: Gov. Wolf: Successful Teacher and School Staff Vaccination Initiative is Completed Ahead of Schedule (pa.gov).

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry today encouraged employers to take advantage of the services of PA CareerLink® to find potential employees who are matches for job openings. The PA CareerLink Site Administrator for both Clinton and Lycoming counties is Rachael Ulmer, who can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 570-893-4022 in Clinton and 570-601-5465 in Lycoming County. The Centre County CareerLink Site Administrator is Judy Fitzgerald, who can be reached at 814-548-7587 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. See more: Businesses Encouraged to Use Free PA CareerLink® Services to Find Qualified Workers for Job Openings.

- Updates from the U.S. Small Business Administration….

  • The SBA is increasing the maximum amount small businesses and non-profit organizations can borrow through its COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Starting this week, the SBA is raising the loan limit for the COVID-19 EIDL program from 6-months of economic injury with a maximum loan amount of $150,000 to up to 24-months of economic injury with a maximum loan amount of $500,000. Learn more
  • On March 30, President Joe Biden signed the PPP Extension Act of 2021 into law, extending the Paycheck Protection Program an additional two months to May 31, 2021, and then providing an additional 30-day period for the SBA to process applications that are still pending. Learn more. 
  • Do you need help with cybersecurity for your small business? The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) created Cyber Essentials, a set of easy to adopt and easy to understand cybersecurity practices. They are designed specifically to be used by leaders of small businesses without any cybersecurity expertise or technical background. Moreover, they can be adapted to a wide range of business types and industries. Click on the following link to start making your people, property and profits more secure online. Download the Cyber Essentials Starter Kit.
  • The SBA begins accepting applications this Thursday, April 8, for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant. If you missed the recent informational webinar highlighting the application process for potential eligible entities, you can view it here. For more information about the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, visit www.sba.gov/svogrant.

- The Internal Revenue Service Friday issued guidance for employers claiming the Employee Retention Credit under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) modified by the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020 (Relief Act).

Notice 2021-23 explains the changes to the Employee Retention Credit for the first two calendar quarters of 2021. See more: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-provides-guidance-for-employers-claiming-the-employee-retention-credit-for-first-two-quarters-of-2021.

- Statewide COVID-19 restrictions were loosened as of Sunday, April 4. Click here to see PA Restaurant Industry Guidance and here for Department of Health FAQs.

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 341 licensed liquor establishments over the holiday weekend (April 1-4). Effective Easter Sunday, restaurants were permitted to resume bar service and the sale of alcohol without the purchase of food. Additionally, establishments are now permitted to operate at 75 percent of capacity, if they have self-certified and agree to comply with the state’s health and safety guidelines. Targeted restrictions such as mask-wearing and social distancing between patrons remain in effect and will continue to be enforced. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 20 licensee checks during the latest period, issuing no notices of violation and four warnings related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. See more: State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement April 1-4: 341 Compliance Checks; 15 Notices of Violation (pa.gov).

- The hospitality and leisure industry has been the most impacted by the pandemic, accounting for about 37% of jobs lost. But the March jobs report from the U.S. Department of Labor showed it gained 280,000 jobs – a step in the right direction.

- The state House is in session this week. The Senate will return to session the week of April 19. In the following report, the PA Chamber says there are a number of items of interest to the business community scheduled for the week. -> Read More

- In response to needs driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, the PA Department of Agriculture today announced it has purchase an additional $12.9 million worth of U.S. Department of Agriculture Foods through The Emergency Food Assistance Program. What amounts to close to eight million pounds of food will be delivered between June and December of this year to provide critical support and food to food banks in all of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. Read more: Department of Agriculture to Distribute 7.9 Million Pounds of Emergency Food to Pennsylvania Food Banks.

- Two questions prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic will be among four questions to appear on the ballot in the upcoming May 18 primary election. Voters will be asked to vote on four ballot questions, including three proposed amendments to the state Constitution and one referendum regarding funding for first responders. The first two questions propose constitutional amendments to address the state’s handling of future disaster declarations. Specifically, they propose limiting emergency declarations by a governor to a maximum of 21 days without legislative approval and clarifying that a concurrent resolution terminating or extending a disaster emergency declaration need not be presented to the governor for his signature.

The third question also proposes to amend the Constitution to ensure a person’s rights cannot be denied based on race or ethnicity. The fourth question is a referendum seeking approval to provide loans to paid (rather than volunteer) municipal fire departments and emergency medical services companies to improve those operations.

Learn more about the ballot questions at: www.pahousegop.com/voiceofthepeople. (Source: 76th District State Representative Stephanie Borowicz)

- The PA Department of State today reminded eligible Pennsylvanians that May 3 is the deadline to register to vote in the upcoming election. More here: Pennsylvanians Reminded to Register to Vote by May 3 for Primary Election (pa.gov).

- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday announced that fully vaccinated Americans can resume domestic and overseas travel as long as they wear masks in public. Read more: https://www.politico.com/news/2021/04/02/cdc-vaccinated-americans-can-now-travel-478928.

- PPL Corporation today announced that Gregory Dudkin, PPL Electric Utilities president since 2012, has been elected executive vice president and chief operating officer of PPL. Stephanie Raymond, vice president of Distribution Operations, will succeed him as president of PPL Electric Utilities, PPL's Pennsylvania electric utility subsidiary. The changes are effective April 12. Read more: PPL Corporation Promotes Gregory N. Dudkin to Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer; Stephanie R. Raymond Named PPL Electric Utilities President - Apr 5, 2021 (mediaroom.com).

- The PA Game Commission says the most recent deer season was a good one. The 2020-21 season bettered the previous year by about 12 percent. Clinton County harvests included 7,500 antlered and 6,800 antlerless deer taken in Wildlife Management Unit 2G, which covers the upper two-thirds of the county, and 9,100 antlered and 12,300 antlerless deer taken in WMU 4D in the southern part of the county. Read more: GAME COMMISSION RELEASES DEER HARVEST REPORT (pa.gov). 

- Webinars this Week….

 

  • The SCORE Central PA Chapter hosts a no-cost webinar, First Steps to Starting a Nonprofit, this Wednesday, April 7, at 3:00 p.m. The two-hour session leads participants through the steps required to plan, create and formalize a new nonprofit organization. Register Now!
  • PA CareerLink hosts a virtual employer workshop, Disaster Preparation for Your Business, this Thursday, April 8, from 9:00- 11:00 a.m. For more information and to register, go to https://forms.gle/mrgQi5y8naNHQsqw8 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

4/1/21

- Wolf Administration today announced updated guidance for the business community, saying that all Pennsylvanians should take continued steps to ensure a safe workspace for employees and customers alike. The updated mitigation measures take effect overnight Saturday into Sunday (April 4) and lift some of the targeted restrictions on restaurants and other businesses:

See more: Wolf Administration Reminds Businesses to Ensure a Safe Workspace for Employees and Customers Alike - PA Department of Community & Economic Development.

- PA Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman today announced the approval of a loss-cost reduction for workers’ comp insurance, which she said should lead to lower premiums for many businesses. Learn more: Insurance Commissioner Approves Loss-Cost Reduction for Workers’ Comp Insurance, Cutting Costs for Many Businesses (pa.gov).

- The PA Revenue Department today announced it collected $4.8 billion in General Fund revenue in March, about 8.5 percent more than anticipated. Fiscal year-to-date, the state’s General Fund collections total $28.7 billion, or 4.7 percent above estimate. More here: Revenue Department Releases March 2021 Collections.

- The PA Department of Aging said today that the partnership between COVID-19 vaccine providers and Area Agencies on Aging is resulting in more senior citizens securing appointments to receive vaccine shots. Read more: PA Department of Aging: Partnership Between COVID-19 Vaccine Providers, Area Agencies on Aging Helps More Seniors Secure Vaccine Appointments.

Meanwhile, the Department of Aging’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Wednesday announced dates and topics for upcoming Virtual Family Council meetings in April. The VFC is an online forum for families that haven’t been able to have in-person visits with loved ones living in long-term care facilities. It was established last May in response to restrictions on visits because of the pandemic. Details here: Department of Aging: Office of Long-Term Care Ombudsman Announces April Dates for Virtual Family Council Meetings.

- The PA Department of Human Services today provided an update on February 2021 public assistance enrollment numbers and reminded Pennsylvanians that safety-net programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), cash assistance, Medical Assistance (MA), and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) are available to individuals and families struggling to afford food, cover basic expenses, access health care, and pay for home heating bills. DHS Secretary Teresa Miller also announced that the current LIHEAP season is being extended and will now accept applications through April 30, 2021.

As part of the update, Secretary Miller noted that enrollment statewide for MA has increased by 388,615 people since February of last year, for a total enrollment of 3,220,178 in February 2021, a 13.7 percent increase. Additionally, Enrollment for SNAP has increased by 71,440 people since February 2020, to about 1,808,899 in February of this year…a 4.1 percent increase. Learn more: Department of Human Services Provides Update on Latest Medical Assistance, SNAP Enrollment Data, Announces Extension of 2020-21 LIHEAP Season.

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 3,893 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,028,750. According to the data, Clinton County reported 14 new cases, bringing the countywide total to 3,111. Centre County reported 24 new cases, bringing their total to 14,621, and Lycoming County saw 39 new cases, bringing their total to 10,252. There are 2,075 people hospitalized with the virus, 420 of whom are in intensive care. Twenty-seven new deaths were reported, bringing to 25,120, the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19. See more: Department of Health: Over 5.3 Million Vaccinations to Date, First Doses of Vaccine to 32% of Population.

- In response to the unveiling Wednesday of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan, U.S. Chamber executive vice president/chief policy officer Neil Bradley released a statement, which can be viewed by clicking here. Additionally, the U.S. Chamber issued the following initial reactions to the president’s proposal:

  • This is the beginning of the process not the end. The administration has made clear publicly and privately that they are willing to negotiate with stakeholders and with Republicans and Democrats in Congress. The Chamber expects and demands nothing less.  We cannot afford to let initial differences prevent real negotiations.
  • The proposed tax increases are economically harmful, and we will oppose them. There are better ways to pay for infrastructure. The proposed tax increases on employers would make the U.S. tax code less competitive than it was under President Obama. It would harm economic growth and put U.S. companies at a competitive disadvantage. This runs directly contrary to the goals of an infrastructure package and could offset the entire economic benefit.  The Chamber will work with lawmakers on a responsible package of pay-fors that are user-based and reflect the long-term nature of infrastructure investments by offsetting the costs over 30 years.
  • The scope of the final bill is likely to be broader than many on the right prefer and less broad than many on the left desire. And that it is appropriate. Our nation’s infrastructure needs do go beyond just roads and bridges, but we must prioritize our investments based economic impact and ability to finance. We fully expect priorities and funding to shift during negotiations.
  • The administration’s plan appears to incorporate other Chamber priorities, including workforce training, energy and climate R&D, and permit streamlining. We will work to ensure those are included in the final bill.
  • The administration’s plan includes support for the PRO Act, which the Chamber opposes and will work to ensure does not become law.

- Both the departments of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) are accepting applications for paid internship positions. Click Here for available intern positions and deadlines for applying.

- As we enter the spring – a time of year when the threat of wildfires is high – the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources posts daily statewide Wildlife Danger maps to help educate the public to the potential danger from wildfires. There are two maps -- the Observed Wildfire Danger Map which shows wildfire danger today and the Wildfire Danger Forecast Map which shows the expected wildfire danger tomorrow. Both maps currently show a low threat for wildfires in Clinton County due to the recent wet weather. Click Here for the DCNR article for more information.

- In the “Glad to see it” category….

  • The Piper Aviation Museum in Lock Haven is back in business from its winter break. The museum reopened today, April 1, and is open seven days a week for visitors, although they will be closed this Easter Sunday. For more information, visit www.pipermuseum.com.
  • The Roxy Theatre in Lock Haven reopens for business starting Friday, April 2. Movie-goers have their choice of three recently-released movies, with shows at 7:00 p.m. daily, plus matinees at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. For more, visit www.roxymovies.com.
  • And for golfers, both Belles Springs Golf Course in Mackeyville and the Clinton Country Club Golf Course in Mill Hall are open for the season. The 9-hole course at the Ponderosa Lodge outside of Lock Haven is slated to open on Monday, April 5.

3/31/21

- President Joe Biden Tuesday signed the PPP Extension Act of 2021 into law, extending the Paycheck Protection Program an additional two months to May 31, 2021, and then providing an additional 30-day period for the U.S. Small Business Administration to process applications that are still pending.

- President Biden today issued a fact sheet on what the White House is calling the American Jobs Plan. Click Here for President Biden’s file for that summary.

Meanwhile, PA Governor Tom Wolf joined President Biden in Pittsburgh today and called the measure a “bold infrastructure plan.” Read the Governor’s statement here: Gov. Wolf Praises Biden Administration’s Bold Infrastructure Plan (pa.gov)

- The Internal Revenue Service this week issued several updates…. 

  • The IRS this week announced that individuals have until May 17, 2021 to meet certain deadlines that would normally fall on April 15, such as making IRA contributions and filing certain claims for refund. This follows a previous IRS announcement on March 17, that the federal income tax filing due date for individuals for the 2020 tax year was extended from April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021. Notice 2021-21 provides details on the additional tax deadlines which have been postponed until May 17. See more: IRS extends additional tax deadlines for individuals to May 17 | Internal Revenue Service.

- In its latest update, UPMC says it has provided more than 300,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to health care workers, residents of long-term care facilities, and community members who are 65 and older or at high risk of severe illness and complications from COVID-19. Click Here for the UPMC update for more.

- PennDOT today reminded customers to exercise caution while renewing their driver’s license or vehicle registration online, and to make sure that they’re on PennDOT’s official Driver and Vehicle Services website, www.dmv.pa.gov, for making those transactions. Additionally, the Department said PennDOT will never ask for, nor accept, any identity documents over the internet or over text messages. Learn more: Article (penndot.gov).

- The PA Department of Agriculture today released data related to COVID-19 restaurant enforcement actions from March 22-28. During that time, Bureau of Food Safety personnel performed 720 inspections, 22 of which were complaint-driven. Nine complaints were related to COVID-19 mitigation measures. The department received 51 food facility COVID-19-related complaints, 20 of which were referred to local and county health jurisdictions. No restaurants were closed this week for violating COVID-19 mitigation orders. According to the report, there were three inspections in Clinton County during the period, with no issues reported. Read more: Department of Agriculture Releases COVID-19 Restaurant Enforcement Actions, March 22 – 28, 2021.

- The PA Department of State’s Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation Tuesday released data related to COVID-19 enforcement actions from March 21-28 as they relate to regulated boards and commissions. BEI performed 516 inspections during that period and opened 10 investigations during which COVID-19-specific compliance was a focus. The Bureau this week distributed seven warning letters and two compliance letters relating to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. See more: Department of State Releases COVID-19 Enforcement Actions, March 21-28.

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry’s Bureau of Labor Law Compliance today released data related to COVID-19 enforcement actions from March 22-26 relating to businesses that are not covered by other state agencies, boards or bureaus. To date, the Bureau has assigned 437 cases to its investigators. During the most recent reporting period, the department completed seven investigations that were sent to the Department of Health. More here: Department of Labor & Industry Releases COVID-19 Enforcement Actions, March 22 – March 26.

- The State Museum of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation invite artists and craftspeople to submit an application to exhibit their work in the annual Art of the State exhibit. Potential entries are being accepted through May 28, and the exhibit is slated to open to the public on-site at The State Museum on September 26. Details here: State Museum Invites Artists to Enter Art of the State Juried Exhibition (pa.gov).

3/29/21

- State officials 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 17,811 (3,179 additional new cases across the state compared to the previous week), and a statewide percent positivity of 7.5%, an increase from last week’s 6.5%. The state also noted an upward trend – to 35, compared to 24 last week – in the number of counties with what the state considers substantial transmission status. Clinton, Centre and Lycoming counties remain among those in the substantial category. There are six counties classified in the low level of transmission – Cameron, Potter, Forest, Fulton, Sullivan and Venango. Another 26 counties are in the moderate level of transmission.

As was the case last week, Clinton, Centre and Lycoming counties continue to see a jump in percent positivity rates: Clinton was reported today at 12.0% compared to 8.6% last week and 6.0% the week before; Centre is currently at 9.2%, compared to 7.0% last week and 4.4% the week before that; and Lycoming County currently is at 6.9% positivity, compared to 6.1% last week and 5.2% the week before. There are now 17 counties that have a positivity rate lower than five percent, and no counties are reporting a positivity rate over 20 percent.

- Department of Health officials today reported a three-day total of 10,101 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,015,268. The state reported technical issues with the case counts over the weekend but today said there were 7,178 new cases reported over Saturday and Sunday combined, plus 2,923 cases reported today. Clinton County’s case counts currently total 3,064; Centre 16,719, and Lycoming 11,412. According to the DOH, 1,856 people are hospitalized with the virus, 366 of whom are in intensive care. The state says the trend in the 14-day moving average number of hospitalized patients per day is about 4,500 lower than it was at the peak in December of last year, however the moving average of number of hospitalized patients has started to increase. The state also reported 62 new deaths over the weekend, bringing to 25,015, the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19, 58 of which were in Clinton County. Meanwhile, the Health Department tomorrow begins operation of a long-term, free indoor walk-in COVID-19 testing site in Centre County. Read more on that here: Department of Health Announces Free COVID-19 Testing Site in Centre County, Stresses Need for Continued Testing

The Health Department said that as of today, vaccine providers have administered 4,956,257 doses of the vaccine in the state. First/single doses total 3,323,540, and second/full doses total 1,632,714. In Clinton County, 2,214 people have received a partial/single dose, while 5,279 have been fully vaccinated. In Centre County, 16,719 have received a single and 26,068 a full dose, and in Lycoming County, 11,412 have received a partial and 16,589 a full dose of the vaccine. The state today also reported that, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pennsylvania currently ranks 12th in the country in terms of percentage of population that has received at least one dose of the vaccine. Learn more: Department of Health: Nearly 5 Million Vaccinations to Date, PA Ranks 12th in the Country for First Doses.

- Governor Tom Wolf today announced that Pennsylvania is expected to receive $4.9 billion in federal relief funds to help Pre-K to 12 schools return students to classroom learning and equitably expand opportunity for students who need it more. At least 90 percent, or $4.5 billion, of the funds will flow to traditional public school districts and charter schools. According to the state’s allocation list, Keystone Central School District is slated to receive $10,677,162; Sugar Valley Rural Charter School, $939,777; and Jersey Shore School District $3,680,456. Details here: Gov. Wolf Announces Nearly $5 Billion in Federal COVID-19 Relief for Pre-K-12 Schools (pa.gov).

- The PA Department of Community and Economic Development today announced that the Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) is now accepting applications for community revitalization projects across the commonwealth. NAP promotes community participation and collaborations among nonprofits, businesses, and residents while producing outcomes that assist a distressed area or the low-income population in a neighborhood. Applications must be received by May 28. Read more: Support for Pennsylvania Communities Now Available Through Neighborhood Assistance Program - PA Department of Community & Economic Development.

- PA Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller today joined Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman and northcentral PA officials to encourage individuals and families who pay rent and are at risk of eviction or loss of utility service to apply for help through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). A total of $847 million has been distributed among Pennsylvania’s 67 counties to help families maintain their housing and utility services. Owners of rental properties can also apply for assistance on behalf of tenants. NOTE: About two-thirds of Pennsylvania counties – including Clinton, Centre and Lycoming counties – have partnered with DHS to make applications available online at www.compass.state.pa.us. The Clinton County Housing Coalition is administering the program locally. For more information, go to www.cchousingcoalition.org. More here: Human Services Department, Sen. Corman Urge Families, Landlords in Northcentral Pennsylvania to Apply for Rental and Utility Assistance.

- The U.S. Small Business Administration hosts a 2:30-4:00 p.m. webinar tomorrow, March 30, to provide information and answer questions about the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program, which is slated to begin taking applications next week. The seminar will highlight the application process for the grant program and what documentation eligible entities will need in order to apply. Register

The SBA last week launched a splash page for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) application portal in anticipation of opening applications for the economic relief program next Thursday, April 8. Over $16 billion has been allocated for the program, to be administered by the SBA. Shuttered venues include live venue operators or promoters, theatrical producers, live performing arts organization operators, relevant museum operators, motion picture theater operations, and talent representatives.

- Updates from the PA Chamber…. 

  • A measure to extend the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to the end of May is now awaiting the signature of President Biden. The program was originally set to close on March 31. -> Read More
  • PA Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin answered several questions of importance to the state’s business community during a budget hearing last week with the Senate Appropriations Committee. -> Read More
  • Bipartisan dissatisfaction with the Wolf administration’s rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in the Commonwealth led to the State House’s passage of legislation that seeks to address these concerns. -> Read More
  • Pennsylvania employers are being asked to participate in a survey that will provide insight on an issue that is central to post-pandemic economic recovery efforts – the impact of childcare on business and the workforce. -> Read More
  • The PA House Finance Committee advanced a bill last week that would help bring greater predictability and stability to Commonwealth businesses. House Bill 766 would change the due date of Pennsylvania corporate tax returns from 30 days after the due date of the federal return, to the 15th day of the month following the due date of the federal return. The PA Chamber supports this measure as one that will help to eliminate confusion regarding state tax due dates for the state’s corporate taxpayers.

- 12th District U.S. Congressman Fred Keller is hosting his latest Telephone Town Hall tomorrow and is inviting people to participate. The live session will be Tuesday, March 30, at 5:00 p.m. People can dial-in at 866-641-6837 or listen live at www.keller.house.gov/live. Rep. Keller says the town halls are a way for him to communicate directly with constituents and hear about issues important to the community. No pre-registration is necessary.

On a separate note, Congressman Keller is currently accepting summer internship applications for his Washington, D.C. office. Those interested need to apply by this Wednesday, March 31. Visit https://keller.house.gov/services/internships to learn more. 

- PennDOT is reminding people that expiration dates for commercial driver licenses and commercial learner’s permits will end after the current extension expires this Wednesday, March 31, and that there are no plans to implement additional extensions at this time. Details here: Article (penndot.gov).

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officials visited 391 licensed liquor establishments over the weekend (March 26-28), issuing 17 notices of violation and 31 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted seven licensee checks during the period, issuing two warnings and one notice of violation related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Read more: State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement March 26-28: 391 Compliance Checks; 17 Notices of Violation (pa.gov).

- Businesses in Clinton and 10 other counties in the region have the opportunity to complete a COVID-19 impact survey whose results will help SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG) further respond to the needs of businesses during this time. The brief survey has been developed to gauge the impact of the pandemic on overall business operations, as well as if and how businesses have successfully adjusted. Click on the following link to complete the survey before April 15: http://bit.ly/37K4vII.

- A sure sign of spring! The Clinton Country Club golf course in Mill Hall opens for the season tomorrow, March 30 at Noon. For more information, call 570-748-6061 or visit www.clintoncountryclub.com.

3/26/21

- Partnership President Mike Flanagan today provided an update on the local employment picture: Clinton County’s initial unemployment claims inched up slightly and the continued claims saw a slight decrease for the seven-day period ending March 20, according to information released Friday by the state Department of Labor & Industry. The initial unemployment insurance claims by county residents was 71, up from 56 for the week ending March 13. The continued claims fell from 994 to 937 as of March 20. In both categories, construction workers accounted for about 23% of the claims,  and over 60% were males. Another 24 residents had unemployment benefits expire as of March 20. A total of 364 county residents have had benefits expire in 2021.

Clinton County’s unemployment rate for January was 7.3%, the first monthly increase in eight months. County data for February should be released by the state on or around April 6.     

- PA Labor & Industry today released its employment situation report for February 2021. Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate was unchanged over the month, remaining at 7.3 percent in February. The U.S. rate declined a tenth of a percentage point from January, t0 6.2 percent. Read more: Pennsylvania’s February Unemployment Rate Unchanged at 7.3 Percent (pa.gov).

- The U.S. Senate this week passed a bill that extends the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) application deadline by two months, to May 31, 2021. The PPP had been set to expire next week (March 31). The extension bill also provides an additional 30 days, after May 31, for the U.S. Small Business Administration to process pending applications. The extension bill now goes to President Biden for his signature.

- In a U.S. Senate Small Business Committee hearing this week, the SBA said it expects a "phased launch" of the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Grant program to begin in April. This is the first timeline provided by the SBA, which expects to receive hundreds of thousands of grants. 

- Keystone Central School District students continue in-person learning, with the next two weeks shortened somewhat due to the Easter holiday (no school Good Friday, April 2, or Easter Monday, April 5). In her weekly update, Superintendent Dr. Jacquelyn Martin said the district currently has three confirmed, active cases of COVID-19 among staff and six among students in three different schools. She commended everyone across the district for doing what she called an “excellent job following the (safety) protocols and allowing us to keep our schools open.” For more, click here for the KCSD Update.  

- The state says efforts to vaccinate Pre-K to 12 educators and school staff with the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine are ahead of schedule and nearly complete. As of this morning, 104,331 teachers, school staff and contractors from across the state have received the vaccine. Learn more: Vaccinations of Teachers and School Staff Remains Ahead of Schedule (pa.gov).

- The PA Department of Human Services today highlighted the state’s ongoing work to facilitate COVID-19 vaccinations for child care providers. See more: Human Services Secretary Highlights Work of Child Care Providers During the Pandemic, Availability of COVID-19 Vaccines for Child Care Professionals.

- Stressing the need for continued COVID-19 testing even as vaccinations accelerate, the Department of Health today announced that beginning Tuesday, March 30, a long-term, free indoor walk-in COVID-19 testing site will open for the general public in Centre County. According to the Department of Health’s map of testing sites in PA, the only testing site in Clinton County continues to be at the Geisinger Jersey Shore Medical Associates facility in Avis. Read more: Department of Health Announces Free COVID-19 Testing Site in Centre County, Stresses Need for Continued Testing.

- Cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania this week topped the one million mark, and the daily case counts have started to trend upward. The Department of Health today confirmed an additional 4,927 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,005,167. Clinton County cases reported today were up by 14, bringing the countywide total to 3,031. Centre County reported 89 new cases today, bringing their total to 14,225, and Lycoming County reported 44 new cases, bringing their total to 9,997. More information here: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19: More Than 4.7 Million Vaccinations to Date.

- PA Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman is reassuring Pennsylvanians that receiving the COVID-19 vaccine will not impact their ability to purchase life insurance, or their ability to collect on a policy. In response to contacts from concerned consumers, the Department and the Insurance Federation of Pennsylvania are urging consumers to be wary of misinformation circulating the internet. See more: Insurance Department, Insurance Industry Reassure Pennsylvanians COVID-19 Vaccine Does Not Impact Life Insurance.

- The Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) this week pledged its continued commitment to investigating COVID-19 fraud. Read more: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-criminal-investigation-ci-pledges-continued-commitment-to-investigating-covid-19-fraud-as-cares-act-reaches-one-year-anniversary.

- Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam Thursday signed an amended order indicating that certain vaccine providers must work with local Area Agencies on Aging and Medical Assistance Managed Care Organizations to specifically schedule adults eligible in Phase 1A of the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan. Learn more: COVID-19 Vaccine Providers to Partner with Area Agencies on Aging, MCOs to Help Seniors Secure Vaccine Appointments.

- The PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources today announced an upcoming return of outdoors programming at state parks and expansion of occupancy limits within park and state forest buildings, effective next Sunday, April 4. Details here: DCNR Announces Operational Changes at State Parks, Forests

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 630 licensed liquor establishments this week (March 22-25), issuing five notices of violation and 19 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which includes Clinton County, conducted 36 licensee checks during the period, issuing two warnings and one notice of violation related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Read more: State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement March 22-25: 630 Compliance Checks; Five Notices of Violation (pa.gov).

- UPMC this week issued a COVID-19 update that covers topics such as COVID reinfections, after vaccination guidelines and more. Click Here for the UPMC COVID Update.

- Work has begun on finding new ways to raise more money for road and bridge projects and allow Pennsylvania to phase out its gas tax. The Transportation Revenue Options Commission, or T-ROC as it is called, held its inaugural meeting on Thursday to launch its efforts to identify alternative funding sources. Governor Tom Wolf appointed the panel, which is made up of nearly four dozen government officials and representatives from the business, transportation and other sectors. He gave the commission until August 1 to produce a report with its recommendations. Read More (Source: Harrisburg Patriot News)

- More than a dozen participating retailers are inviting shoppers to downtown Lock Haven this weekend for a special, pre-Easter “Shop Hop” event. Specially-filled Easter eggs are located in the various stores containing special discounts and prizes and shoppers have the chance to be entered into a grand prize drawing that will be held next weekend.

- Pennsylvania’s statewide Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Day is tomorrow, March 27, a week in advance of the statewide opening day of the 2021 Trout Season. The Mentored Youth Day begins at 8:00 a.m. and is designed to give young anglers a chance to fish and learn fishing skills from their adult mentors ahead of the opening day. Learn more: STATEWIDE MENTORED YOUTH TROUT FISHING DAY IS THIS SATURDAY, MARCH 27! (pa.gov).

3/24/21

- New unemployment information recently released by the state shows some improvement in the Clinton County unemployment numbers. According to the PA Department of Labor & Industry, Clinton County had 56 people file for initial unemployment insurance benefits for the week ending March 13. That number is down from 69 listed for the prior week. Two-thirds of the new filers were male, and 27% of them were in the construction field. Continued claims dropped by approximately 250 to 994. A majority were males, and the construction sector accounted for 23% of the continued claims.        

The county continued to see a rise in residents who have had their benefits expire. In the week ending March 13, 28 residents exhausted benefits. Since the beginning of the year, 344 county residents have had their benefits expire.

Clinton County’s unemployment rate for January was 7.3%, the first time in eight months that the rate increased. The pandemic high was 16.6% in April 2020.

- The U.S. Small Business Administration today announced it is increasing the maximum amount small businesses and nonprofits can borrow through its COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (EIDL), effective April 6. Click Here for the SBA news release for details.

- The SBA has also announced extended deferment periods for all disaster loans, including the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, until 2022.

  • All SBA disaster loans made in calendar year 2020, including COVID-19 EIDL, will have a first payment due date extended from 12-months to 24-months from the date of the note.
  • All SBA disaster loans made in calendar year 2021, including COVID-19 EIDL, will have a first payment due date extended from 12-months to 18-months from the date of the note.

Existing SBA disaster loans approved prior to 2020 in regular servicing status as of March 1, 2020, received an automatic deferment of principal and interest payments through December 31, 2020. This initial deferment period was subsequently extended through March 31, 2021. An additional 12-month deferment of principal and interest payments will be automatically granted to these borrowers. Borrowers will resume their regular payment schedule with the payment immediately preceding March 31, 2022, unless the borrower voluntarily continues to make payments while on deferment. It is important to note that the interest will continue to accrue on the outstanding balance of the loan throughout the duration of the deferment. Learn more

- For-profit hospitality business hoping to get in under the first window of opportunity for a grant through the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Relief Program (CHIRP) need to apply by this Sunday, March 28. SEDA-COG of Lewisburg is administering the grant program for Clinton and several other counties in the region and says applications are being received in four “windows” (March 15-28; March 29-April 18; April 19-May 16; and May 17-June 4). Following is the link to the grant website, https://csgiving.org/chirp/, as well as a link to help determine if your business is eligible, https://www.naics.com/search/.

- The Clinton County Housing Coalition continues to accept applications from both landlords and tenants for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program to help cover rent and utility expenses for households impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Clinton County received $2.5 million for the program. Apply through www.compass.state.pa.us and get more information on the program through program administrator the Clinton County Housing Coalition’s website, www.cchousingcoalition.org.

- Applications for the $16 billion in Shuttered Venue Operator (SVO) grants will open on April 8. These fund are earmarked for eligible businesses including movie theaters, performing arts organizations, museums and concert spaces. Read more on this new, targeted grant program here: Relief for shuttered venues.

- Private organizations, colleges and universities, private sector firms, nonprofit organizations and state, local or tribal governmental agencies across Pennsylvania, Delaware, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Northern California, and Nevada are eligible to apply for funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration to provide training and counseling to aspiring and existing veteran small business owners as a Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC). Read more: https://www.sba.gov/article/2021/mar/19/sba-announces-veterans-business-outreach-center-funding-opportunity.

- Pennsylvania’s share of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan will equate to billions of dollars in federal money that can be spent for various purposes – a reality that will obviously play a central role in budget negotiations not only this year, but over the next few years as well. -> Read More (Source: PA Chamber)

- Wanting to know what aid is still available for small businesses at the federal level? CO-, an arm of the U.S. Chamber, has established a guide to walk businesses through the various aid programs established during the pandemic, including forgivable PPP loans, new tax credits, grants and more. Click here: An overview of federal small business aid programs.

- The PA Department of Environmental Protection announced it has revamped the Green Energy Loan Fund to make it easier for commercial property owners to get low-interest loans for large-scale, high-impact energy efficiency projects. Approximately $1.8 million is currently available in funding. Local governments, businesses, school districts, hospitals, and nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply for this low-interest loan program. New equipment must reduce energy use at least 25 percent, and whole building projects must reduce energy use more than 10 percent over current building energy code. For more information, visit the Green Energy Loan Fund webpage.

- Tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians have or will reach the end of their state unemployment benefits this month and next, as they approach their one-year anniversaries of the date they first lost work as a result of the pandemic and the government shutdown. Initially, in mid-March, the state said this would mean hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians would need to file new claims to continue receiving benefits. Now, it says only people who worked and earned over a certain amount last year, based on their equation, have to reapply because the amount of benefits has likely changed. Those whose claims expire do not qualify for further state benefits, and will get federal extension benefits without refiling, state officials said. It is unclear how large the wave of new claims will be, how it will delay or impact benefits for claimants, and how it will test the state’s capacity to handle more cases. Read More (Source: Spotlight PA)

- PA Department of Labor and Industry Secretary for Workforce Development Sheila Ireland today announced applications are open for $7 million in grants for the "Near Completer" program and encouraged Local Workforce Development Boards across the state to apply for funding to assist Pennsylvanians with partially completed degrees or credentials in gaining the skills or training they need to get good jobs. Read more: L&I Highlights Need for ‘Back to Work PA,’ Encourages Workforce Development Boards to Apply for ‘Near Completer’ Grants.

- The U.S. Department of Labor this week launched a new website for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, and how and where to report stolen benefits if they are victims. Read more: US Department of Labor launches website for victims of unemployment fraud | U.S. Department of Labor (dol.gov).

- Governor Tom Wolf today announced that a month after ordering providers to administer 80 percent of vaccine doses within seven days of receipt, Pennsylvania is now ranked 17th in the nation for the percent of people who have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose. The state ranked 30th a month ago. Read more: Gov. Wolf Credits Feb. 24 order to providers for move from 30th to 17th in nation for first dose vaccinations (pa.gov).

Yesterday, the Governor said the special initiative to vaccinate teachers and school staff reached another milestone, with 100,000 educator vaccinations through last weekend. As of Tuesday, 102,161 educators have been vaccinated through 28 Intermediate Units. More on that: Gov. Wolf: 100,000 Milestone Reached for Teacher and School Staff Vaccinations (pa.gov).

- State officials this week noted some concern as they released weekly data updating the state’s mitigation efforts based on the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System dashboard. Governor Tom Wolf and Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam said the information shows a seven-day case increase of 14,182 (1,380 additional new cases of COVID compared to the previous week), and a statewide percent positivity of 6.5%, an increase from last week’s 5.7%. Clinton, Centre and Lycoming counties all saw rises in the percent positivity rates, with Clinton currently at 8.6% (compared to 6.0% last week); Centre at 7.0% (compared to 4.4% last week), and Lycoming at 6.1% (compared to 5.2% a week ago). All three counties are currently classified in what the state considers a substantial level of transmission, along with 21 other counties. Five counties – Cameron, Potter, Forest, Fulton and Sullivan – are in the low level of transmission, while 37 counties are in the moderate level. No counties are reporting over 20 percent positivity rate, and 21 counties have a positivity rate lower than five percent. More information here: Pennsylvania COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard Update for March 12-18: Case Increases at 14,182; Percent Positivity at 6.5% and 25 Counties with Substantial Transmission (pa.gov).

- Secretary Beam this week amended the existing Universal Face Coverings order, issued last November, to align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People. Details here: Department of Health Amends Universal Face Coverings Order to Align with CDC Guidance.

- Additional COVID updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…

  • COVID-19 vaccination helps protect people from getting COVID-19. The CDC says vaccination may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection: Possible Side Effects
  • It’s been over a year since the start of the pandemic and the United States has experienced more than 29 million cases and 530,000 deaths from COVID-19. To date, more than one in five (20%) Americans have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. COVID Data Tracker

- In their most recent report, PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 330 licensed liquor establishments this past weekend (March 19-21), issuing 24 notices of violation and 29 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 17 licensee checks during the period, issuing no notices of violation and six warnings related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Read more: State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement March 19-21: 330 Compliance Checks; 24 Notices of Violation (pa.gov).

- The PA Department of State’s Bureau of Enforcement & Investigation today released data related to COVID-19 enforcement actions from March 14-21 as they relate to regulated boards and commissions. During that period, BEI performed 514 inspections and opened 14 investigations during which COVID-19-specific compliance was a focus. This week, the Bureau distributed three warning letters and two compliance letters relating to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. More here: Department of State Releases COVID-19 Enforcement Actions, March 14-21.

- PA House Speaker Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, and Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre, have officially announced the appointees to the Legislative Reapportionment Commission that convenes once every 10 years, after the U.S. Census is conducted, to redraw the maps for every legislative district in the state – accounting for population changes and shifts. The commission will consist of the four legislative leaders – Senator Kim Ward, R-Westmoreland; Senator Jay Costa, D-Allegheny; Representative Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre; and Representative Joanna McClinton, D-Philadelphia – as well as a fifth member who is to be selected by the commission members to serve as chair. Their work could be slightly delayed this year, as a result of the pandemic and the U.S. Census Bureau’s recent announcement that their final numbers may not be available until the fall. (Source: PA Chamber)

- Meanwhile, the U.S. Census Bureau this week launched a new online map ahead of the 2020 Census apportionment results release. The “Historical Apportionment Data Map” currently displays apportionment results for each census from 1910 to 2010. 2020 Census apportionment results will be added to the map as they become available.

- People in Clinton County now have the option to text 9-1-1 if making a phone call is not a good option. The Clinton County Department of Emergency Services this week issued the flyer (click here) on the expanded emergency service.

- PPL invites interested local businesses to participate in a Supplier Diversity Conference on April 23 from 8:30-10:30 a.m. via Zoom. Diverse suppliers include those that are woman, minority, veteran, LGBTQ+, disabled, service disabled owned as well as disadvantaged and HUD zone businesses. Examples of services PPL could utilize include: Leasing and Servicing of Printers, Conduit, Wood Poles, Switches, Lighting, Janitorial Supplies, Safety equipment, Rubber goods program, Tools and Equipment, Miscellaneous electrical items, AL cable, CU cable, Fiber, Roof Solar Panel Installation, Elevator Maintenance, and Snow Removal and Lawn Maintenance Services. Click Here for the PPL flyer for more information and register by April 15 at www.surveymonkey.com/r/PPLDiversityConference.

- FirstEnergy is now offering scholarships to underrepresented candidates interested in careers as lineworkers and substation electricians with FirstEnergy. Click Here for the FirstEnergy flyer for more information, or call 1-800-829-6801 or visit www.firstenergycorp.com/psi.

- State officials this week commended Pennsylvania’s charitable food network for what they said have been heroic efforts to help Pennsylvanians keep food on the table in the year since COVID-19 was first identified in Pennsylvania. They also took the opportunity to remind people that help continues to be available. See more: Wolf Administration, Anti-Hunger Advocates Recognize Heroic Work of Charitable Food Networks in Last Year, Encourage Pennsylvanians in Need to Use Local Food Resources (pa.gov).

- A scammer claiming to be the CEO called a McDonald's in Centre County last week and directed the manager to buy gift cards from the nearby Sheetz and Rutter's stores, then read the PIN on the back of the cards to the person. Police are reminding people to be aware of this scam and avoid providing someone with a gift card PIN over the phone. 

- Pennsylvania’s Fine Wine & Good Spirits this week announced a spring clearance sale with 20-50 percent savings on more than 3,700 luxury wines, spirits, and accessories. The sale items are available for purchase in stores or online at FWGS.com. More here: Fine Wine & Good Spirits Announces Spring Luxury Clearance Sale with 20-50% Savings on Thousands of Products In-Store and Online (pa.gov).

- The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission (PHMC) today announced that it will begin welcoming visitors to state-owned historic sites and museums on Friday, April 30, with reduced hours of operation and limited capacity.  Read more: PHMC’s Historic Sites and Museums to Reopen April 30 (pa.gov).

- In celebration of Women's History Month, join the U.S. Small Business Administration for a panel discussion at 1:00 p.m. tomorrow, March 25 with women business owners as they share their small business stories and how they pivoted during the pandemic and utilized SBA’s critical financial lifelines. Register

3/19/21

- Clinton County’s unemployment rate increased during the month of January, according to information released Friday by the state Department of Labor & Industry. The January rate rose to 7.3%, up from the 6.6% reading in December. According to the state, January had an estimated 1,300 county residents without a job, about 100 more than the December number. The increase is the first one for the county since a pandemic high of 16.6% in April 2020. The rate had gone down for eight straight months.    

Clinton County’s January rate of 7.3% was no. 23 out of the state’s 67 counties. Chester County was no. 1 at 5% and Philadelphia was no. 67 at 11.1%. Other regional unemployment rates included Cameron County 9.2%, Centre County 5.7%, Lycoming County 7.6%, Potter County 7.5%, Tioga County 7.7%, Clearfield County 8.0%, and Union County 5.8%. The overall Pennsylvania unemployment rate for January was 7.3%.

“To have an increase in January is not unusual, but the Clinton County  unemployment rate for January 2020 was almost two points lower than the number recorded in January 2021,” said Clinton County Economic Partnership President Mike Flanagan. “We have more than a handful of businesses seeking employees, but we also have the extended benefits in play. The increase from December to January is not surprising since our weekly continued unemployment claims continued to increase during January and into February. We will have to see how things play out once we get into the spring and summer.”

- NFL pro football standout Robbie Gould, kicker for the San Francisco 49ers was our guest for the Partnership’s virtual membership meeting Wednesday. The Clinton County native took the opportunity to announce a $200,000 commitment to the Chestnut Grove Recreation Park project in Castanea. Construction of the youth sports complex and recreation area is ready to get underway. If you missed it, you can view a recording of the meeting by going to the home page of the Partnership’s website, www.ClintonCountyInfo.com. Robbie’s remarks and the Q&A that followed are first on the agenda. To join Robbie in supporting the Chestnut Grove project, go to https://chestnutgrove.eventlify.com to make a donation.

- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) this week announced extended deferment periods for all disaster loans, including the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, until 2022. Details here: SBA Extends Deferment Period for all COVID-19 EIDL and Other Disaster Loans until 2022.

- Congress is expected to extend Paycheck Protection Program lending by two months under a bill that Senate Majority Leader Schumer has vowed to move quickly. Without the extension, the PPP will officially expire on March 31. READ MORE

- The U.S. Small Business Administration today announced it is launching a splash page for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) application portal in anticipation of opening applications for the program on Thursday, April 8. The SVOG program is aimed at supporting live performance venues, museums, movie theaters and more. Click Here for the SBA file for details.

- The U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service has announced that the federal income tax filing due date for individuals for the 2020 tax year will be automatically extended from April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021. Individual taxpayers can also postpone federal income tax payments for the 2020 tax year due on April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed. This postponement applies to individual taxpayers, including individuals who pay self-employment tax. The IRS will be providing formal guidance in the coming days. Read more: Tax Day for individuals extended to May 17: Treasury, IRS extend filing and payment deadline | Internal Revenue Service.

- Following the federal tax day extension, the PA Department of Revenue announced the deadline for taxpayers to file their 2020 Pennsylvania personal income tax returns and make final 2020 income tax payments is extended to May 17, 2021, also giving taxpayers an additional month to file from the original deadline of April 15. More here: Pennsylvania Extends Personal Income Tax Filing Deadline to May 17, 2021 (pa.gov).

- Meanwhile, the IRS is updating rules which will likely result in a federal tax break for workers who received unemployment benefits in 2020. Read more: Tax-break alert: If you received unemployment compensation in 2020, it might not be taxable after all - pennlive.com. (Source: Penn-LIVE)

- The IRS, Treasury and the Bureau of the Fiscal Service this week announced they disbursed approximately 90 million Economic Impact Payments from the American Rescue Plan. As announced last week, Economic Impact Payments are rolling out in tranches to millions of Americans in the coming weeks. The first batch of payments were mostly sent by direct deposit, which some recipients started receiving this past weekend. See more information here: IRS, Treasury disbursed 90 million Economic Impact Payments from the American Rescue Plan | Internal Revenue Service.

- PA Governor Tom Wolf and Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam today detailed what they called the “tremendous” progress Pennsylvania has made in rolling out the COVID-19 vaccination process. Read more: Pennsylvania COVID-19 Vaccination Update for March 19: Pace Accelerating, More Than 4 Million Vaccinations Administered, More Than 1.4 Million People Fully Vaccinated.

According to the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard, as of today, 1,848 people in Clinton County have received a partial dose (one shot) of the vaccine, while 4,693 have received the full dose (two shots). In Centre County, 13,614 have received a partial and 21,965 the full dose, and in Lycoming County, 10,009 have received a partial and 14,729 a full dose of the vaccine.

- The Governor says nearly 84,000 people have so far received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, which has been earmarked for Pre-K to grade 12 educators and school staff. More here: Gov. Wolf: Teacher and School Staff Vaccinations are Ahead of Schedule (pa.gov).

- In her weekly update today, Keystone Central School District Superintendent Dr. Jacquelyn Martin noted that students have now reached their tenth consecutive week of in-school learning. Currently, the District is reporting zero confirmed cases of COVID-1 among staff and only three cases among students in two different schools. Dr. Martin noted a four-day school week next week, with no school on Friday, March 26, due to a planned in-service day for faculty and staff. Click Here for the KCSD update.

- Geisinger this week announced it has opened a waitlist for those eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as part of the state’s Phase 1A groups. Phase 1A-eligible community members interested in joining the waitlist can do so at geisinger.org/COVIDVax, on myGeisinger or by calling 570-284-3657. As appointments become available, Geisinger will contact those on the list to schedule an appointment. See more: https://www.geisinger.org/about-geisinger/news-and-media/news-releases/2021/03/18/14/25/geisinger-announces-covid-19-vaccine-waitlist.

Meanwhile, according to news reports, Geisinger plans to open its new medical complex on Spring Street in Lock Haven next week. The 40,000 square foot medical clinic, a collaborative venture between Geisinger and Highmark Health, will offer a wide range of services.

- Health Secretary Beam yesterday issued a new order requiring skilled nursing facilities to complete a COVID-19 Vaccine Needs Assessment Survey as a way to report essential information regarding vaccination uptake and needs in their facility. More information here: Department of Health Issues New Order Requiring Skilled Nursing Facilities to Complete COVID-19 Vaccine Needs Survey.

- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), this week announced it plans to provide financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020. While still working out details on how people will apply for the assistance, FEMA said it begins to start making such reimbursements as soon as next month. Read more: https://www.fema.gov/disasters/coronavirus/economic/funeral-assistance.

- PA State System of Higher Education Chancellor Dan Greenstein delivered an “either – or” message this week during budget hearings before the PA Senate Appropriations Committee: either reorganize (including a proposal that would integrate Lock Haven, Bloomsburg and Mansfield universities) or dissolve the entire state system….a message that was not well received by legislators. Read more in this PennLive article covering the Senate hearing: Leader of Pa. state universities delivers blunt message: Reorganize or ‘dissolve the system’ - pennlive.com

- PennDOT this week issued a courtesy reminder that expiration dates for commercial driver licenses and commercial learner's permits will end after the current extension expires on March 31.

- 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 or later are now valid through June 30, 2021. The previous extension was set to expire on March 31. Read more: Wolf Administration Grants Sixth Extension to License to Carry Firearm Permits (pa.gov).

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry’s Bureau of Labor Law Compliance has released data related to COVID-19 enforcement actions for March 8-12, as it relates to businesses not covered by other state agencies, boards or bureaus. To date, the Bureau has assigned 427 cases to its investigators. During the most recent period, the department completed five investigations that were sent to the Department of Health. See more: Department of Labor & Industry Releases COVID-19 Enforcement Actions, March 8 – March 12.

- PennDOT is alerting area drivers that work on its Route 144 bridge job near Snow Shoe will resume on Monday, March 22. The bridge spans Interstate 80 about a mile east of Snow Shoe. Crews began working last June to replace the bridge. With work set to resume Monday, temporary signals will return to enforce an alternating traffic pattern. The $2,35 million project is expected to be completed by the end of July. More here: News Details (penndot.gov).

- The Tri-M Group, LLC, based in Kennett Square, PA with local operations in Lock Haven (McElhattan), has received national recognition from an industry group. Tri-M was ranked 44 on Associated Builders and Contractors’ 2021 Top 200 Performers list, 20 on the Top Trade Contractors list, and 14 on the Top Electrical Contractors list, which recognizes ABC member contractors’ achievements in safety, quality, diversity, project excellence and special designations, ranked by work hours. Click Here for the news release for details.

- PPL Corporation announced yesterday it has entered into agreements to sell its U.K. utility business, Western Power Distribution, to National Grid plc, and in a separate transaction, to acquire National Grid’s Rhode Island utility business, The Narragansett Electric Company. The company said the strategic repositioning will transform PPL into a high-growth, purely U.S.-focused energy company. Learn more: https://pplweb.mediaroom.com/2021-03-18-PPL-Corporation-to-sell-U-K-utility-business-to-National-Grid-and-acquire-National-Grids-Rhode-Island-utility-strategically-repositioning-PPL-as-a-high-growth-U-S-focused-energy-company.

- Some welcome news for golfers….Belles Springs Golf Course has announced it will begin scheduling tee times this Monday, March 22, with the season’s opening day slated for Thursday, March 25, at 8:00 a.m. The announcement reminds golfers there will be COVID protocols in place. For more, visit www.bellessprings.com.

- Pennsylvania’s National Archery in the Schools Program continues to help keep student archers safely shooting their bows through the 2020-21 school year, despite all of the changes the pandemic has required. The program, managed by the Game Commission, will now host a virtual state tournament through the end of March, allowing students to compete for awards and scholarships. Read more: PENNSYLVANIA NASP PROGRAM STAYS ON TARGET DURING PANDEMIC.

- During March’s Women’s History Month, the U.S. Small Business Administration offers the following no-cost webinars:

  • How Businesses Survive & Thrive – March 25, 6:00-7:30 p.m. – Learn how to survive and thrive during the pandemic and beyond. The webinar is targeted for small business owners, sole proprietors, and those looking to start a business. Register here: Survive & Thrive Webinar 
  • Women-Owned Certification: What, Why & How – March 30, 2:00-3:00 p.m. – A webinar for those interested in becoming certified as a women-owned business. Register here: Women-Owned Business Certification

3/17/21

- Clinton County native and pro football great Robbie Gould was our guest this afternoon for the Partnership’s quarterly membership meeting, the first-ever virtual membership meeting. The San Francisco 49ers kicker brought things close to home when he announced a $200,000 commitment to the Chestnut Grove Recreation Authority’s plans to build an athletic complex just off Route 220 in Castanea. Robbie also talked about the recent football season and the challenges he and his teammates faced (and overcame) due to the pandemic, and he fielded questions from those participating in the Zoom meeting. The Partnership recorded the session and hopes to make it available to our members in the near future.

Also at today’s meeting, Partnership President Mike Flanagan updated participants on several economic prospects, including a proposed natural gas petro-chemical operation, as well as a solar panel field project, both planned in the Keating area; the Renovo Energy Center project, for which planning continues to move forward; and potential interest in the former BJ Services complex at the Lamar Township Business Park. Flanagan said First Quality plans to add two more paper machines, one at the company’s Anderson, South Carolina facility, and another at an as-yet determined location. He said the Partnership is hopeful the second machine would be located at the company’s Castanea Township complex. Flanagan reported Terrapin Care Station recently completed a large expansion at the South Avis facility and now employs about 100 people. And he said the Partnership continues to keep abreast of the proposed integration of Lock Haven University with Bloomsburg and Mansfield universities and the potential impact to the local community.

Chamber/Tourism Director Julie Brennan spoke of a promotional campaign the Visitors Bureau has undertaken on social media. Paid Facebook advertisements targeted to people in several eastern cities are encouraging people to explore Clinton County’s wide open spaces. April Bittner also updated the group on the current Leadership Clinton County program, which is the largest class in the program’s history.

- There’s continued improvement in Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 statistics. PA Governor Tom Wolf and Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam today released the state’s weekly status update on mitigation efforts based on the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System dashboard, highlighting a seven-day case increase of 12,483, which is 1,059 fewer cases than the previous week. While the statewide percent positivity of 5.7% remained the same as last week, there are now 29 counties with a percent positivity rate lower than 5 percent, and no counties reporting over a 20 percent positivity rate. Clinton County continues to see a decline in the percent positivity rate, this week showing 6.0% compared to 8.4% last week and 11.5% the week before that. Centre County is at 4.4% positivity, also down from last week’s 5.6%, and Lycoming County is reporting a 5.2% positivity this week, compared to 7.0% last week.

According to today’s data, five counties – Cameron, Potter, Forest, Fulton and Sullivan – are in what the state considers the low level of transmission. Clinton County is listed as being in the moderate level of transmission along with 40 other counties, and 21 counties – including Centre and Lycoming – are classified as being in the substantial level of community transmission, the highest level. See more here: Pennsylvania COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard Update for March 5-11: Case Increases at 12,483; Percent Positivity at 5.7% and 21 Counties with Substantial Transmission (pa.gov).

- Secretary Beam has signed an updated order making March 31 the date by which all vaccine providers should have Phase 1A-eligible Pennsylvanians’ vaccine appointments scheduled. More here: Department of Health Updates Order to Connect Everyone Currently Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccine to Appointments.

Meanwhile, the Governor and Secretary Beam today detailed the state’s vaccination rollout progress as the process accelerates. Read more: Pennsylvania COVID-19 Vaccination Update for March 17: Pace Accelerating, More Than 1.3 Million People Fully Vaccinated.

- The PA Department of Human Services has announced that the state will expand its partnership with Rite Aid Pharmacy to vaccinate 9,000 individuals with physical disabilities and older Pennsylvanians participating in the Department’s home and community-based long-term services and supports program during vaccination clinics through March and April. Read more: Wolf Administration Expands Partnership with Rite Aid Pharmacy to Vaccinate Pennsylvanians Enrolled in Long-Term Services and Supports Programs

- In its February 2021 report, the PA Department of Health notes that nursing home surveyors conducted 497 inspections, including 283 complaint investigations, of 377 separate nursing homes. Of these, 162 were COVID-19-specific investigations. There also were three new sanctions finalized against nursing care facilities in the past month resulting in a total of $31,762 in fines. Read more: Department of Health Highlights February 2021 Nursing Home Inspection, Sanction Information Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic.

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry announced today $2.6 million in Schools-to-Work program grants is available to support new partnerships between schools, employers, organizations, or associations to create employment and training career paths for students. Grant applications are due by April 14, and the 2021 Schools-to-Work program will run June 1 of this year through the end of 2023. More details here: L&I Announces $2.6 Million Available to Prepare Students for Good Jobs in the Post-Pandemic Economy.

- With the recent passage of the American Rescue Plan, the PA Insurance Commission today stressed the opportunity to expand health insurance coverage due to the increased protections for the uninsured, underinsured and individuals who have lost their employment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. See more: Insurance Department Highlights Increased Health Care Protections within the American Rescue Plan.

- The Wolf Administration has received approval from the Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to issue more than $1 billion in federally-funded benefits to the families of nearly one million Pennsylvania children who have attended school remotely due to the pandemic and who otherwise would have had access to free-and-reduced-price meals during the 2020-21 school year. The program, known as Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT), will help families cover the cost of breakfasts and lunches their children would have been eligible to receive for free or at reduced price through the National School Lunch Program. Learn more: Wolf Administration Receives Approval for Plan to Provide Food Assistance to Families of Nearly 1 Million Pennsylvania Children (pa.gov).

- The PA Department of State’s Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation today released data related to COVID-19 enforcement actions from March 7-14 as it relates to regulated boards and commissions. During that time, BEU performed 540 inspections and opened seven investigations during which COVID-19-specific compliance was a focus. This week, the Bureau distributed 15 warning letters and 10 compliance letters relating to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Read more: Department of State Releases COVID-19 Enforcement Actions, March 7-14.

- Baker Tilly hosts a webinar next Thursday, March 25, at 11:00 a.m. to talk about the Employee Retention Tax Credit. New and important guidance on the employee retention credit continues to be released regularly. Join Baker Tilly's Pennsylvania leaders for an informal discussion covering the changes to ERC and what this could mean for your business. A portion of time will be dedicated to answering questions from participants.

(Next week’s event is a follow-up Q&A session to the ERC updates webinar hosted on March 4. In case you missed it, watch on-demand now).

- The PA Department of Transportation is alerting area motorists that work will resume next week on its Local Interchange/Route 26 project in neighboring Centre County. The work zone is located along I-80 near the Bellefonte/161 interchange and work to build the local interchange can affect traffic flow on Interstate 80. Details here: https://www.penndot.gov/regionaloffices/district-2/pages/details.aspx?newsid=1920.

- PennDOT today announced the release of the Pennsylvania State Transportation Innovation Council 2020 STIC Year-End Report, which details innovation deployment successes that benefit the traveling public. More information here: Article (penndot.gov).

- The Pennsylvania Capitol Building is slated to reopen to the public this Monday, March 22, with enhanced security protocols. The Capitol has been closed since early December due to the surge in COVID-19 cases at the time. Read more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/DGS_details.aspx?newsid=153.

- The PA Game Commission today announced it will hold its second virtual meeting of the year on Saturday, April 10. The online-only session will include the final adoption of hunting and trapping seasons for the 2021-22 license year. More information here: GAME COMMISSION MEETING TO BE HELD VIRTUALLY (pa.gov).

- The Game Commission’s virtual wildlife education program, Wildlife on WiFi (WoW), has been named the recipient of the 2021 Outstanding Environmental Education Program Award by the PA Association of Environmental Educators. The virtual learning program was launched last April during the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders and state school closures. It’s available online at www.pgc.pa.gov/education/virtuallearning. See more: ‘WILDLIFE ON WIFI’ RECEIVES OUTSTANDING ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION PROGRAM AWARD (pa.gov).

- The PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources this week announced the release of Pennsylvania’s new Land and Water Trail Network Strategic Plan (PDF), extending through 2024. DCNR says the plan’s vision is to develop a statewide land and water trail network to facilitate recreation, transportation, and health lifestyles for all. Read more: Wolf Administration Releases Land and Water Trail Network Plan to Ensure Access for All Pennsylvanians (pa.gov).

3/15/21

- Important news for the hospitality industry and event organizers/venues: PA Governor Tom Wolf today announced the lifting of some targeted restrictions on restaurants and other businesses, as well as increased gathering limits and increased limits for indoor and outdoor events, effective April 4. More details here: Gov. Wolf: Effective April 4, More Options for Restaurants and Other Businesses, Mass Gathering Maximums Increase (pa.gov).

- Applications are now being accepted for funding through the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Relief Program (CHIRP), aimed at supporting eligible for-profit hospitality industry businesses. SEDA-COG of Lewisburg is administering the grant program for Clinton and several other counties in the region and is encouraging businesses to apply as soon as possible. Click Here for the SEDA-COG news release for details, including the link to the grant website, https://csgiving.org/chirp/, and a link to help determine if your business is eligible, https://www.naics.com/search/.

- The 2021 round of Volunteer Fire Assistance Grants to aid rural areas or communities with populations under 10,000 people opened today, March 15, with applications due by May 13. The program, administered through the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is geared to organizing, training and equipping local forces to prevent, control and suppress fires which threaten human life, livestock, wildlife, crops, pastures, orchards, woodlands and farmsteads. The maximum grant for 2021 is $10,000. To learn more about how to apply for the grant, click here.  Applications will be made through the DCNR Grant portal here. And, read the state’s news release on the program here: Wolf Administration Announces Funding Available for Volunteer Fire Companies to Increase Protection from Wildfires in Rural Areas.

- The Clinton County Housing Coalition is currently accepting applications from both landlords and tenants for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program to help cover rent and utility expenses for households impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Clinton County received $2.5 million for the program. Click Here for the Clinton Emergency Rental Assistance file for program details and how to apply.

- The PA Public Utility Commission (PUC) has approved a plan that establishes an array of extended payment plan options to help small business and residential utility customers stay connected to service while gradually paying-down past-due balances. More information here: PUC Creates Added 2021 Safeguards to Help Households and Small Businesses Address Past-Due Utility Bills | PA PUC.

- For businesses seeking new employees: The Penn State Career Services office is hosting a virtual career fair next Tuesday, March 23, to help match-up small and start-up businesses with Penn State students looking for jobs. The fair will run from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. March 23, and due to the challenges businesses have been facing because of the pandemic, Penn State this year is waiving the registration fee…so the career fair is free, but you must register before the end of this week to participate. For more information and to register, go to: https://studentaffairs.psu.edu/career/fairs/businesstart.

- From the U.S. Small Business Administration:

  • President Biden last week signed the American Rescue Plan Act into law, which provides additional relief for the nation’s small businesses and hard-hit industries for programs the SBA is currently administering and adds new efforts. Specifically, the new law includes:
  • $7.25 billion additional for the Paycheck Protection Program, including to expand eligibility to additional nonprofits and digital news services
  • Additional funds are allocated for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program, and now allows businesses to apply for both a PPP loan after December 27, 2020, and the SVOG
  • $15 billion additional for Targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance (EIDL) payments, including (NEW) $5 billion for Supplemental Targeted EIDL Advance payments for those hardest hit
  • NEW: $28.6 billion for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund for industry-focused grants
  • NEW: $100 million to establish a Community Navigator pilot program; grants will go to eligible organizations supporting efforts to improve access to COVID–19 pandemic assistance programs and resources

Learn more 

- Following are several updates from the U.S. Chamber:

  • During a Small Business Update on Friday, representatives from the U.S. Chamber and the National Restaurant Association provided a lot of great information on the new Restaurant Revitalization Fund (part of the recently-passed American Rescue Plan), the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program, the Employee Retention Tax Credit and more. If you missed it, you can view the recording here. It’s worth a watch.
  • Get your PPP loan questions answered: U.S. Chamber partner, Oracle NetSuite, outlines what business leaders need to know about the second round of PPP loans in this recent blog post. A significant change this round includes the authorization to spend 40% of the loan on items that facilitate business operations including software, cloud computing service, and more.
  • Learn more about available assistance: The U.S. Chamber, as part of its Save Small Business Initiative, has put together this comprehensive list of guides, resources, and tips available for your small business during the pandemic. Explore here to see how you can get the help you need.

- 76th District State Representative Stephanie Borowicz today lauded testimony given at a state House committee hearing regarding an energy project proposed for Clinton County. Click Here for the attached news release from Rep. Borowicz.

- The Internal Revenue Service Monday announced it will accept applications through April 16 for an 18-month Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) matching grant from all qualified organizations. Clinton and Lycoming counties are part of what the federal government says are the geographic underserved areas in need of LITC services. Read more: Low Income Taxpayer Clinic 2021 supplemental application period now open | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov).

- The IRS announced Friday that the third round of Economic Impact Payments could begin reaching Americans as early as this week. Read more: IRS begins delivering third round of Economic Impact Payments to Americans | Internal Revenue Service.

- Criminals have taken advantage of the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program by using stolen information to get loans in someone else’s name, or in the name of that person’s company. If you or your business is billed for an SBA EIDL you don’t owe, the SBA has new guidance about reporting the fraud, and the FTC has tips to help you clear up any credit problems it may cause. Learn more.

- The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has announced it is enhancing COVID-19 worker protections by conducting a COVID-19 national emphasis program focused on high-risk industries and employers that retaliate against employees who complain about workplace hazards.

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 407 licensed liquor establishments over the weekend (March 12-14), issuing 27 notices of violation and 30 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 23 licensee checks during the period, issuing three warnings and two notices of violation related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Read more: State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement March 12-14: 407 Compliance Checks; 27 Notices of Violation (pa.gov).

- PA Treasurer Stacy Garrity encouraged Pennsylvania residents to explore the Transparency Portal on Treasury’s website during Sunshine Week, an annual event designed to educate the public about the importance of open government initiatives. More here: Pennsylvania Treasury, Stacy Garrity - State Treasurer (patreasury.gov).

- STEP, Inc., the community action agency serving Clinton and Lycoming counties, is asking people to participate in their Community Needs Assessment survey, which helps define areas of opportunity within the community. Click here to take the survey by April 1: https://www.stepcorp.org/cna/.

- PA CareerLink will host a virtual employer webinar, Disaster Preparation for Your Business, on April 8, from 9:00-11:00 a.m. Click Here for the CareerLink flyer for details and to pre-register.

3/12/21

- One year after the nation was brought to a near-standstill by the coronavirus, President Joe Biden pledged in his first prime-time address Thursday night to make all adults eligible for vaccines by May 1 and raised the possibility of beginning to “mark our independence from this virus” by the Fourth of July. The speech came just hours after Biden signed into law a $1.9 trillion relief package that he said will help defeat the virus, nurse the economy back to health and deliver direct aid to Americans struggling to make ends meet.  Read More (Source: PennLive)

- PA Governor Tom Wolf and members of the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force today announced another bi-partisan effort to complete COVID phase 1A vaccinations, set up mass vaccination clinics with regionally supplied plans to inform allocations, and vaccinate frontline workers. Read more: Gov. Wolf and COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force Announce Targeted Vaccination Strategies (pa.gov).

Meanwhile, the Vaccine Task Force today announced subcommittees that are to focus on what the state called “key audiences and issues.” The subcommittees include Business/Workforce; Aging; Education; and Racial Equity. See more: COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force Announces Subcommittees Focused on Key Audiences and Issues (pa.gov).

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry today released its employment situation report for January 2021. The state’s unemployment rate rose 0.2 percentage points from December to 7.3 percent in January and was 2.5 percentage points above the rate a year ago. More here: Pennsylvania’s Unemployment Rate at 7.3 Percent in January (pa.gov).

- Labor & Industry is reminding Pennsylvanians who applied for Unemployment Compensation on or after March 15, 2020, that they may need to reapply and have their financial determination renewed if they are still receiving benefits. See more: L&I Provides Next Steps for Individuals Reaching “Benefit Year End” for Unemployment Programs (pa.gov).

- Keystone Central School District is slated to continue in-person classes next week and has established dates for graduation ceremonies for both Bucktail (June 4) and Central Mountain (June 5) high schools. In her weekly update today, District Superintendent Dr. Jacquelyn Martin said to keep those graduation dates firm, students will use remote learning if there are any more school cancellations due to poor weather. The update also noted there are no confirmed active cases of COVID-19 among staff and only three cases among students in two different schools. Click Here for the KCSD update for more information.

- The PA Department of Education and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency today provided an update on the special initiative to provide the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine for Pre-K-12 teachers, child care workers and other school staff. Learn more: Wolf Administration Provides Update on COVID-19 Vaccine for Teachers, Child Care Workers, School Staff (pa.gov).

- A COVID relief grant program for hospitality related businesses such as restaurants, hotels and bars in Clinton County will begin accepting applications on Monday, March 15. SEDA-COG out of Lewisburg, a certified regional economic development organization, is administering the CHIRP, the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Relief Program, for Clinton, Centre, Lycoming and seven other counties in the region. CHIRP is designed to provide grants of between $5,000 and $50,000 to eligible businesses. Access program guidelines at: https://csgiving.org/chirp/.

- The PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources is currently accepting applications through its C2P2 grant program, designed to assist communities with development of parks, recreation and conservation projects. Applications are due by April 14. See more information here: https://www.dcnr.pa.gov/Communities/Grants/Pages/default.aspx.

- The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts is accepting applications for folk and traditional arts apprenticeships grants, with applications due by April 19. Access program guidelines here 2021-2022 Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Guidelines (PDF), and the application here 2021-2022 Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Application (PDF).

- The PA Fish and Boat Commission is again accepting applications for grants to support the development and delivery of education programs that contribute to the Commission’s efforts to increase the number of anglers and boaters in Pennsylvania. More details here: PFBC SEEKS APPLICANTS FOR EDUCATION GRANT PROGRAM (pa.gov).

- The PA Departments of Health and Human Services today highlighted the updated nursing home visitation guidance issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and are strongly encouraging all long-term care facilities in Pennsylvania to implement the new guidance immediately. Read more here: Wolf Administration Strongly Encourages Long-Term Care Facilities to Implement Updated Visitation Guidance in Pennsylvania (pa.gov).

- The PA Attorney General’s office today highlighted that the office, during the past year, has saved $293 million for Pennsylvanians related to loans and credit cards, and $1.65 million from resolved COVID-related complaints back into consumers’ pockets during the pandemic. Details here: One Year Later: AG Shapiro Continues to Fight for Pennsylvanians During COVID-19 Pandemic – PA Office of Attorney General.

- Governor Wolf today reiterated his commitment to phase out the state’s gas tax, which he said is becoming an unreliable source for funding Pennsylvania’s vast transportation network. The Governor also signed an executive order establishing the Transportation Revenue Options Commission, which is tasked with developing comprehensive funding recommendations for Pennsylvania’s large and aging infrastructure. Read more: Governor Wolf Commits to Phasing Out Gas Tax, Announces Commission to Develop Funding Solutions (pa.gov).

- The PA State Police today announced the cancellation of upcoming youth camps due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including the Camp Cadet program which has been a popular summertime experience for young boys and girls in Clinton County for many years. More here: State Police Spring and Summer Youth Camps Cancelled for Second Consecutive Year (pa.gov).

- State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 872 licensed liquor establishments this week (March 8-11), issuing 20 notices of violation and 28 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 35 licensee checks this week, issuing no warnings or notices of violation related to COVID-19 mitigation issues. See more: State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement March 8-11: 872 Compliance Checks; 20 Notices of Violation (pa.gov).

3/11/21

- Landlords and tenants are now able to tap into a new grant program, the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) to help cover rent and utility expenses for households impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Clinton County Commissioners today announced the county has received $2.5 million for the ERAP. The program, which is now open and accepting applications, is being administered locally through the Clinton County Housing Coalition. Click Here for the Clinton Emergency Rental Assistance file for program details and how to apply.

The State Treasury this week announced that $552.7 million has been distributed to counties across Pennsylvania to provide funds for the ERAP. More here: Pennsylvania Treasury, Stacy Garrity - State Treasurer (patreasury.gov).

- A reminder that the Clinton County CHIRP grant program (COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Relief Program) for businesses such as restaurants, hotels and bars will begin accepting applications this Monday, March 15. SEDA-COG is the regional economic development organization that is administering the program for Clinton, Centre, Lycoming and seven other counties in the region. Access program guidelines at: https://csgiving.org/chirp/.

- The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday voted to pass the American Rescue Plan, which is now expected to be signed into law by President Biden. The $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill includes targeted aid dedicated specifically to the restaurant industry, new provisions for small businesses across other industries, and more money for the Paycheck Protection Program.

Businesses are invited to join the U.S. Chamber Friday, March 12, at noon for the next Small Business Update to learn more about the American Rescue Plan and what it means for small businesses and restaurants. Click here to register now for this free session.

Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Bob Casey this week offered highlights on the Plan. We have compiled that information into one document, Click Here. Topics include information for small business and farmers, vaccines and health care, essential community services and more.

- Clinton County Economic Partnership President Mike Flanagan today offered his weekly update on the local employment picture:  Continued unemployment insurance claims by Clinton County residents showed a considerable increase for the seven-day period ending March 6, 2021, according to information released Thursday by the state Department of Labor and Industry. For the week ending February 27, there were just under 1,000 continued claims. A week later, that number registered 1,257. Males accounted for 68% of the claims, and 22% were in the construction field. Initial claims decreased slightly, from 75 to 69 for the period ending March 6. More than two-thirds of the new cases were filed by males, and 28% of them were in the construction sector.

The state also reported that 19 county residents had their unemployment insurance benefits expire during the same time frame. Since the beginning of the year, 316 county residents have had their benefits expire, according to the Department of Labor and Industry.

Unemployment rates for all 67 counties for the month of January should be released in the next week. Clinton County’s December unemployment  rate was 6.6%.

- PA Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam today marked the one-year anniversary of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, as declared by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020, and recognized the Department of Health’s work in preparing for and responding to the pandemic over the last year. See more: Department of Health Observes One-Year Anniversary of COVID-19 Pandemic; Continues Work to Protect Pennsylvanians.

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry is taking action to make it easier for Pennsylvanians with questions or issues to reach the department. L&I says at least 500 new customer service representatives will be added to the UC call center and experienced existing staff will transition to resolving claims full time. More here: L&I Takes Additional Action to Improve Unemployment Compensation Customer Service (pa.gov).

- In a positive step forward, Lock Haven University has announced plans to fully return to face-to-face instruction this fall. Click Here for the LHU news release for details.

- From the U.S. Chamber:

  • New vaccine resources: The Best Ways for Employers to Promote COVID-19 Vaccines:Click here to view a one-pager with helpful tips and tactics for employers to communicate effectively about vaccines. Additional vaccine communication guides can be found in the COVID Vaccines Digital Resources Center.
  • Mask Guides: Recommendations for Wearing and Selecting:Click here to view a comprehensive guide with information about why mask wearing is still critical in reducing the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, and what you should look for and avoid when selecting a mask based on the CDC's latest guidance. The information in the guide about selecting a mask is also available as a standalone graphic here.

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry’s Bureau of Labor Law Compliance has released data on COVID-19 enforcement actions for March 1 – 5. To date, the Bureau has assigned 427 cases to its investigators. Between March 1 and 5, the department completed three investigations that were sent to the Department of Health. More here: Department of Labor & Industry Releases COVID-19 Enforcement Actions, March 1 – March 5.

- The Department of State continues to compliance enforcement as it relates to the regulated boards and commissions. From February 28 through March 7, BEI performed 549 inspections and opened 17 investigations during which COVID-19-specific compliance was a focus. This week, the Bureau distributed 10 warning letters and two compliance letters relating to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. See more: Department of State Releases COVID-19 Enforcement Actions, Feb. 28-March 7.

- The PA Department of Agriculture also released data related to COVID-19 restaurant enforcement actions from March 1-7. During that period, the department’s Bureau of Food Safety performed 762 inspections. According to the data, five inspections were conducted in Clinton County last week, with no findings. Read more: Department of Agriculture Releases COVID-19 Restaurant Enforcement Actions, March 1 – March 7, 2021.

- The PA Department of Human Services announced Pennsylvanians can now apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) over the phone by calling 1-866-550-4355. The department said the enhancement will benefit the growing number of people participating in the program during times of economic challenges, like the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more: Department of Human Services Introduces Option for Pennsylvanians to Apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by Phone.

- In advance of the April 3 start of the state’s 2021 trout season, the PA Fish and Boat Commission has announced the availability of a new, discounted fishing license for non-residents students attending Pennsylvania universities. Read more: PFBC OFFERS DISCOUNTED FISHING LICENSE TO NON-RESIDENT STUDENTS ATTENDING PENNSYLVANIA UNIVERSITIES (pa.gov).

Upcoming Webinars/Events:

  • Clinton County native and professional football great Robbie Gould will be our guest this coming Wednesday, March 17, for the Clinton County Economic Partnership’s quarterly (virtual) membership meeting. Robbie will kick-off (pun intended) the 2:30 p.m. Zoom session. The San Francisco 49ers kicker is among the most accurate in the NFL and we look forward to hearing from him. All Partnership members are invited to participate and must pre-register by contacting the CCEP office at 570-748-5782 or emailing April Bittner at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Registered participants will receive the link to join the Zoom session. 
  • The Small Business Development Center at Penn State offers weekly Quick Connect Coaching: All About Business Plans, Tuesdays at Noon. Join each week during March (March 16, 23 and 30) as experts share who needs a business plan, how to use it, and the tools available to assist small businesses. Register Here
  • The Penn State SBDC also hosts a virtual webinar, So You Want to Build a Website, March 17 at 1:00 pm. This session breaks down the process of developing a personal or small business website and walks participants through a demo of Wix, the web development tool. Register Here
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, as part of their Path Forward Series, hosts Disease X: Are We Prepared for the Next Pandemic?, March 17 at 2:00 p.m. Click here to learn more and to register.
  •  The SCORE Central PA Chapter hosts a no-cost webinar, So…You Want to Open a Restaurant, on Thursday, March 18, from 5:30-7:30pm. The session is designed by restaurant veterans to give participants real insights into the issues and opportunities of opening a restaurant, catering business or food specialty business. Register Now!
  • The Pennsylvania National Guard Associations (PNGAS) out of Fort Indiantown Gap hosts a Statewide Virtual Job Fair on March 24 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. In addition to job seekers, employers are able to participate. Click Here for the PNGAS flyer or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

3/8/21

-A COVID relief grant program for hospitality related businesses such as restaurants, hotels and bars in Clinton County will kick off next Monday, March 15. SEDA-COG, the regional economic development organization that is administering the program for Clinton, Centre, Lycoming and seven other counties in the region, today released information about the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Relief Program (CHIRP), which is designed to provide grants of between $5,000 and $50,000 to eligible businesses. Click Here for the CHIRP information for details or access the program guidelines directly at: https://csgiving.org/chirp/.

- The Emergency Rental Assistance Program funds that are coming to Clinton County to support households that have experienced financial hardship and may be at risk of homelessness and/or are behind on utility costs due to COVID-19, was discussed at today’s Clinton County Commissioners work session. Some $2.5 million has been allocated to Clinton County and the commissioners at their Thursday meeting are expected to formally enter into an agreement with the Clinton County Housing Coalition to administer that program. Coalition representative Jeff Rich said application information for the program will be available soon. Information can be found on the Department of Human Services website at www.compass.state.pa.us/compass.web/RAP/application. The program application is expected to be available in the next day or so and will also be available on that site, as well as through the Clinton Housing Coalition website, www.cchousingcoalition.org. In addition, a paper copy of the application will be available at the Life Center in Lock Haven.

- A reminder that the exclusive window that allows only small mom and pop businesses to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan closes Tuesday, March 9. The program then reopens to all eligible applicants, through the end of the month. Go to www.sba.gov/ppp for more information on the PPP.

- A $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill - the third stimulus bill passed since the pandemic took hold in the U.S. last March - passed the U.S. Senate in a party-line vote over the weekend, and now heads to the U.S. House for a concurrence vote before landing on the desk of President Joe Biden. -> Read More (Source: PA Chamber)

- PA Department of Labor & Industry Acting Secretary Jennifer Berrier today highlighted the role Governor Tom Wolf’s Back to Work PA initiative will have in preparing the state’s workforce for a post-pandemic economy. Berrier also announced L&I’s new “Near Completers” program that will assist Pennsylvanians with partially completed degrees or credentials in gaining the skills or training they need to get jobs that pay family sustaining wages. Read more: L&I Highlights Benefits of ‘Back to Work PA’ and Job Training Program for “Near Completers” Unemployed Due to COVID-19.

- In what’s being called a first step to a return to everyday life, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today issued its first set of recommendations on activities that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can safely resume. The new guidance includes recommendation for how and when a fully vaccinated person can visit with other people who are fully vaccinated and with those who are not vaccinated. See more: CDC Issues First Set of Guidelines on How Fully Vaccinated People Can Visit Safely with Others | CDC Online Newsroom | CDC. And view the latest CDC updates here: //m.emailupdates.cdc.gov/rest/head/mirrorPage/@vrNuHRNApYgyYtRDZWm_7P6K7DCvi6S4I5z1A94-hRcMpJEgGzVd-bmkdv9QRDmiW1WJRunjwZ9bXFs51qWtL9cV7FQ_qkywI_ZFmOFHB3PDWikm.html">https://m.emailupdates.cdc.gov/rest/head/mirrorPage/@vrNuHRNApYgyYtRDZWm_7P6K7DCvi6S4I5z1A94-hRcMpJEgGzVd-bmkdv9QRDmiW1WJRunjwZ9bXFs51qWtL9cV7FQ_qkywI_ZFmOFHB3PDWikm.html.

- Governor Wolf and Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam today released the state’s weekly COVID-19 status update detailing mitigation efforts based on the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System dashboard, highlighting a seven-day case increase of 13,275 (19 fewer cases than the previous week), and a statewide percent positivity of 5.7% (down from 6.5% last week). According to the date, 29 counties – including Clinton, Centre and Lycoming – have what the state considers substantial transmission status. However, all three local counties did see improvement this week over last: Clinton today has an 8.4% positivity rate, compared to 11.5 last week; Centre is at 5.6% compared to 7.6% last week; and Lycoming County is at 7.0%, compared to 7.2% last week. Five counties – nearby Cameron as well as Forest, Fulton, Potter and Sullivan – are in the low level of transmission, which 33 counties are in what the state considers the moderate level of transmission. More information here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/pennsylvania-covid-19-early-warning-monitoring-dashboard-update-for-feb-26-march-4-case-increases-at-13275-percent-positivity-at-5-7-and-29-counties-with-substantial-transmission/.

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 1,658 positive cases of COVID-19 (the lowest case count in some time), bringing the statewide total to 950,161. According to the data, Clinton County reported three new cases today, bringing the countywide total to 2,863. Both Centre and Lycoming counties reported 17 new cases, bringing their totals to 13,173 and 9,493, respectively. Statewide, 1,587 people are hospitalized with the virus, 314 of whom are in intensive care.

The state noted that 4,179,220 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will have been allocated as of this Saturday, March 13. Of that number, 2,981,190 doses have been administered as of Sunday, March 7 – 2,029,732 of which were first doses and 951,458 of which were second doses. To date, 2,274 people in Clinton County have received a partial (single) dose vaccine while 3,100 have received full (two) doses. In Centre County, 12,997 have received partial and 15,804 full doses. And, 9,060 people in Lycoming County have received partial doses while 10,202 have received full doses. More here: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19: Nearly 3 Million Vaccinations to Date.

- According to the Health Department’s vaccine website, https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Vaccine/Pages/Vaccine.aspx, there continues to be eight locations listed as vaccine providers in Clinton County and in nearby Jersey Shore. In addition, UPMC continues to offer weekly vaccinations – by appointment only – for eligible people age 65 and older via a clinic at the Dunnstown Fire Hall (by appointment only).

- The State Board of Medicine today released a statement encouraging Pennsylvanians to stay informed and get vaccinated against COVID-19 when they are eligible. Read more: State Board of Medicine Releases Statement to Pennsylvanians in Support of COVID-19 Vaccination (pa.gov).

- Governor Wolf today announced he has nominated Dr. Denise Johnson to serve as Pennsylvania’s physician general. Dr. Johnson will succeed Dr. Wendy Braund, who, in addition to her role as COVID-19 response director, served as interim physician general following the departure of Dr. Rachel Levine. Dr. Johnson will serve in as acting physician general until she is confirmed by the Senate. Learn more: Governor Wolf Nominates Dr. Denise A. Johnson to Serve as Physician General (pa.gov)

- PA Insurance Commission today announced that the department has issued guidance on health insurance-related services to protect consumers, and to call for clarity in insurers’ telehealth policies during the ongoing pandemic. A notice in the March 6 Pennsylvania Bulletin outlines expectations regarding coverage by insurers of testing and vaccine administration in PA, and urges continued telehealth flexibility to make both COVID-related and non-COVID-related services available to consumers. See more: Insurance Department Issues Guidance to Insurers for Consumer Protection, Calls for Clarity in Telehealth Policies.

- Leaders for Lock Haven, Bloomsburg and Mansfield universities Friday shared an update on planning for the proposed integration of the three schools. Click Here for the LHU Integration Update for details.

- Lock Haven University has been selected as one of 55 colleges and universities to partner with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the PA Department of Health for the MASCUP! Mask Adherence at Colleges and Universities Project, a research initiative on mask use at colleges and universities. Click Here for the LHU news release for details.

- Keystone Central School District continues in-class learning this week at all schools. In an update Friday to the District and community, Superintendent Dr. Jacquelyn Martin said there currently were six active cases of COVID-19 among staff and six among students in four different schools. Click Here for the KCSD Update for more information.

- The economy added 379,000 jobs in February, and the unemployment rate was little changed. At 6.2%, it is still 2.7 percentage points higher than it was in February 2020. See more from the U. S. Department of Labor: https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf.

- From the U.S. Small Business Administration:

  • The SBA conducted a series of small business seminars to help businesses better understand key changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). In case you weren’t able to participate, the recordings of the sessions are available here.
  • The SBA enacted changes as announced in February that expand eligibility and further promote equitable relief for America’s mom-and-pop businesses. For example, Schedule C filers can now use gross income rather than net income when calculating the PPP loan amount. This change cannot be retroactive. Visit www.sba.gov/ppp or talk to your lender for more.
  • Are you looking to determine if your business is potentially eligible for a Targeted EIDL Advance? A new mapping tool is available to help you determine if your business is in a low-income community, which is a requirement to qualify for a Targeted EIDL Advance. Check the tool to see if your business address meets the low-income community eligibility requirement before applying. As a reminder, the SBA is reaching out to potential applicants to determine eligibility, so no action is needed on your part until you receive an email from the SBA. Learn more here and visit the FAQfor more information. 
  • SBA has added the following new materials on the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant website.

As a reminder, those looking to apply for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant will need to be registered in the U.S. government’s System for Award Management, SAM.gov. Learn more and get registered.

 The SBA only communicates from email addresses ending in @sba.gov. If you are being contacted by someone claiming to be from the SBA who is not using an official SBA email address, you should suspect fraud. Learn more.

 More than 1,000 businesses have been certified to participate in the Woman Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program through http://beta.certify.sba.gov. Find out if your small business is eligible for the program and learn how to get certified.

- 12th District U.S. Congressman Fred Keller, as part of his weekly newsletter, reminded constituents that his office has access to federal tax forms. Locally, you can call the Congressman’s District Office in Williamsport at 570-322-3961 to receive a tax form by mail.

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 368 licensed liquor establishments over the weekend (March 5-7), issuing 32 notices of violation and 40 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 22 licensee checks during the period, issuing four warnings and 3 notices of violation related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Read more: State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement March 5-7: 368 Compliance Checks; 32 Notices of Violation (pa.gov).

- Comcast today announced plans to equip seven different local locations – two in Clinton County and another five in Lycoming County – with WiFi-connected “Lift Zones” over the next few months…part of the company’s ongoing commitment to help connect low-income families to the Internet. Click Here for the Comcast file for details.

- The PA Department of Aging’s Office of Long-term Care Ombudsman today announced dates and topics for upcoming Virtual Family Council meetings, with the first session set for Tuesday, March 9. The VFC began these online forums last year in response to restrictions on visits in long-term care facilities due to the pandemic. Read more: Department of Aging: Office of Long-Term Care Ombudsman Announces March Dates for Virtual Family Council Meetings.

- The PA Department of Banking and Securities will host and participate in numerous virtual presentations for groups of senior citizens, service providers and the public during March to promote financial capability. See a schedule of events here: March 2021 Consumer Financial Protection Virtual Events Announced (pa.gov).

- Hunters and members of waterfowl organizations are invited to virtually attend the PA Game Commission’s annual Waterfowl Briefing this Wednesday, March 10 at 1:00 p.m., during which the proposed 2021-22 waterfowl hunting seasons, proposed regulations and waterfowl hunter survey results will be discussed. The session will be live streamed and will also be recorded for those who want to view the meeting at a later time. More here: GAME COMMISSION TO HOST ANNUAL WATERFOWL BRIEFING ON FACEBOOK LIVE (pa.gov).

- PA CareerLink will host a virtual employer webinar, Disaster Preparation for Your Business, on April 8, from 9:00-11:00 a.m. Click Here for the CareerLink flyer for details and to pre-register.

3/5/21

- Beginning Monday, March 8, the Clinton County Economic Partnership will change the daily COVID update we have been emailing members for the past year now. Our plan is to move to a two-days-per-week format instead of daily, allowing our small CCEP team more time to focus on other business. We will continue to communicate information of a pressing nature as it becomes available, but the daily email format will be changed to twice-weekly. We’ll continue to post all updates on our www.ClintonCountyInfo website for your reference, and we encourage members to continue to ask questions and reach out to us for information.

- Partnership President Mike Flanagan today offered his weekly employment update: Clinton County’s job picture continues to improve slightly, according to unemployment claim information released Friday by the state Department of Labor & Industry. The initial unemployment insurance claims for the week ending February 27 were 75, down from 79 listed for the previous week. The construction sector accounted for 28% of the new claims, and 64% were males.  The continued claims fell to 966, down from the 1,010 listed for the week ending February 20. The recent number shows 24% in the construction field, and 64% are male. The 966 number is one of the few times the continued claims have been under 1,000 since the pandemic began. The high mark was 3,219 continued claims in the first week of May 2020.

The state also reported that 49 county residents had their unemployment benefits expire during the week ending February 27. Since the beginning of the year, 297 people have had benefits expire. The February monthly unemployment rates for all 67 counties should be released soon. The January rate in Clinton County was 6.6%.

- The PA Treasurer’s office today warned Pennsylvanians that fraudsters are actively working to steal personal information by creating fake websites that mimic official government unemployment benefit websites. Learn more: Pennsylvania Treasury, Stacy Garrity - State Treasurer (patreasury.gov).

- Clinton County Government today announced that a walk-up window is now available on the outside of the Piper Building in Lock Haven for people who want to do business with the County Treasurer’s office without having to enter the building. Click Here for the Clinton County news release for details.

- The U.S. Small Business Administration continues to host webinars on the Paycheck Protection Program is it relates to small businesses….and they’ve added two sessions for small business owners in general that will be held today and tomorrow (March 5 and 6). Here’s what the sessions cover:

  • What steps you can take now to take advantage of this special opportunity, which closes at 5:00 p.m., Tuesday, March 9;
  • Additional changes and recent policy announcements made by the Biden-Harris Administration; and
  • Have your questions answered by SBA Leadership

Here’s the webinar Schedule:

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 2,757 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 944,196. According to the data, Clinton County reported 22 new cases today, bringing the countywide total to 2,853. Centre County was up 43 cases, to 13,093, and Lycoming County saw 29 new cases, bringing their total to 9,430. Statewide, 1,628 people are hospitalized with the virus, 350 of whom are in intensive care. More here: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19: More Than 2.7 Million Vaccinations to Date.

Meanwhile, the Health Department today announced that beginning Tuesday, March 9, a long-term drive-thru COVID-19 testing site will open in Delaware County…the first of five counties that have requested a long-term testing site. Read more: Department of Health Announces Long-Term COVID-19 Testing Site in Delaware County.

- The PA House Republican Policy Committee is conducting a COVID-19 Economic Recovery Business Survey with a goal of gathering feedback for use by their Economic Recovery Task Force as it works to develop and implement policies to restore the state’s struggling economy. The survey is open to employers in all sectors and businesses of all sizes. It seeks information about your business or industry and invites feedback about the challenges you are facing, the type of assistance that would be most beneficial, the one most impactful thing state government could do to support your future success, and any other ideas to kickstart the Commonwealth’s economic recovery. Click here to take the survey. before next Friday, March 19.

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 962 licensed liquor establishments this week (March 1-4), issuing 11 notices of violation and 36 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 32 licensee checks during the period, issuing no warnings or notices of violation. Read more: State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement March 1-4: 962 Compliance Checks; 11 Notices of Violation (pa.gov).

- The Pennsylvania National Guard Associations will host three virtual job fairs in the coming months to help connect veterans and other job-seekers with employment opportunities in their area. The first event will be held March 24 from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., with additional events scheduled on May 26 and July 28. Interested individuals can register to participate here.

- The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) also recently announced a new online portal to help National Guard members and their families access education benefits, allowing applications for the Military Family Education Program and the Education Assistance Program to be completed online. More details on benefits are available on PHEAA’s website.

- The Penn State PA Technical Assistance Program will host two programs in March to reduce operating costs for businesses of different types:

  • March 18 - PennTAP will hold a webinar from 11:00 to Noon for food processing industries to become more efficient in using energy and water and reduce waste. Click Here to register or for more information.
  • March 25 - PennTAP will host a Northcentral PA Energy Efficiency Roundtable from 11:00 to Noon to help businesses reduce energy costs. This is the first of three free Roundtable virtual events to provide a forum for non-residential energy users to share information and learn from experts on various energy topics, from energy efficiency technologies to energy management strategies.

For more information on assistance available to businesses, visit the Penn State PA Technical Assistance Program website.

- The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission will celebrate the commonwealth’s 340th birthday on Charter Day, this Sunday, March 7, with a virtual display of William Penn’s original 1681 charter and other programming from the Pennsylvania State Archives, State Museum of Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Trails of History. Learn more: PA Historical & Museum Commission Celebrates Pennsylvania’s 340th Birthday on Charter Day, Sunday, March 7.

3/4/21

- The PA Departments of Health and Education joined the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency today to provide additional information on the COVID-19 vaccine for Pre-K through grade 12 teachers and other school staff following the state announcement yesterday that that group will be vaccinated using the new Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine. The state is working with Intermediate Units and others to equitably vaccinate teachers and staff quickly. Pennsylvania expects to receive an initial allocation of 94,600 doses of the vaccine this week. Read more: Wolf Administration Provides Additional Information on COVID-19 Vaccine for Teachers, Child Care Workers, School Staff (pa.gov).

- The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association this week released their spring sports guidelines to include the most recent guidelines on safe gathering limits released Monday by the Department of Health. The PIAA said spring sports can begin practice Monday, March 8, and teams will need 10 days of practice before being allowed to start competition. The 24-page document covers baseball and softball, boys and girls lacrosse, tennis, track & field, and volleyball. View the guidelines here: Return_to_Competition_Spring_Final.pdf (piaa.org).

- The PA Health Department today confirmed an additional 3,028 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 941,439. According to the data, Clinton County reported seven new cases today, bringing the countywide total to 2,831. Centre County saw 50 new cases, bringing their total to 13,050 and Lycoming County reported 21 new cases, bringing their total to 9,40. Statewide, 1,648 people are hospitalized with the virus, 357 of whom are in intensive care. More information here: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19: More Than 2.6 Million Vaccinations to Date.

The Health Department today also noted that flu activity continues to be low across the state and the nation. Acting Secretary Alison Beam said last season was higher than usual with more than 11,000 cases of flu this time of year, compared to below 3,000 cases currently, something she attributed in part to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Details here: Department of Health Provides Update on Flu Season, Low Activity Statewide and Nationally.

- Gina M. Raimondo Wednesday was sworn in as the 40th U.S. Secretary of Commerce. “Growing economic opportunity for American businesses and workers is the mission that has driven my career, and as we face overlapping crises that have hurt our economy and robbed too many families of their sense of financial security, that mission is more critical than ever. The Commerce Department will work relentlessly to create good-paying jobs, level the playing field for our workers and businesses, and build an economy that does not leave any communities behind,” said Raimondo, who most recently served as governor of Rhode Island. Read more: Gina M. Raimondo Sworn in as 40th U.S. Secretary of Commerce | U.S. Department of Commerce.

- The PA Department of Banking & Securities is partnering with the Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association to provide voluntary training for convenience and grocery store employees to help identify and prevent seniors from being victims of gift card scams, a common scam that has grown in frequency. More here: Wolf Administration Expands Elder Financial Exploitation Prevention Efforts.

- The PA Agriculture Department today announced the opening of the 2020-21 Farm to School Grant Program, aimed at improving access to healthy, local foods and increasing ag education opportunities for children in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. Any school district, charter school or private school is eligible to apply for a grant of up to $15,000. Learn more: Wolf Administration Announces $500,000 Available to Improve Childhood Access to Healthy, Local Foods (pa.gov).

- The PA Liquor Control Board today announced the return of more than $1.5 million in licensing fees to 687 municipalities in which licensees are located. Two times a year, the PLCB returns liquor license fees paid by PLCB-approved licensees to the municipalities that are home to those licensees. Read more: Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board Returns More Than $1.5 Million in Licensing Fees to Local Communities (pa.gov).

- The Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board is scheduled to hold a virtual meeting March 16 to consider a final regulation increasing NPDES water quality permit application and annual fees. The agenda also includes a report on the adequacy of fees supporting the Water and Wastewater System Operators Certification Program, and the Board may also hear an update on DEP’s review of a 2019  rulemaking petition that would create a cap-and-trade program to reduce carbon pollution from all major sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the state. Click Here to register to join the 9:00 a.m. meeting via WebEx or join via conference call 415-655-0003 Access Code: 132 798 7106. For more information, visit the Environmental Quality Board webpage.

- The PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources offers a comprehensive guide that lists funding opportunities, resources, announcements, training activities, and more. Click Here for this nearly 60-page document.

- First Lady Frances Wolf today hosted a virtual conversation on Facebook discussing how tourism and outdoor industries have been impacted during COVID-19, the fifth conversation in a series called, “The Bigger Picture.” The series is an extension of the One Lens initiative that focuses on the various aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic. See more here: First Lady Frances Wolf Discusses Pennsylvania Tourism and Increase in Outdoor Activities During COVID-19 (pa.gov).

- The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center, in conjunction with UPMC, will host a March 30 webinar to educate business owners on how they can become an approved UPMC vendor. UPMC is currently seeking vendors from all industries to secure unfulfilled contracts. Click Here for the UPMC -SBDC news release or click the following link to participate in the 9:00-10:30 a.m. session: https://entrepreneur.pitt.edu/events/upmc-essentials-pa-am/, or here to participate in the 1:00-2:30 p.m. session: https://entrepreneur.pitt.edu/events/upmc-essentials-pa-pm/.

- The Small Business Development Center at Penn State offers training on a variety of topics in March:

  • The First Step to Small Business Success, March 9 at 5:00 pm. Learn about the process of starting a business. Register Here
  • Quick Connect Coaching: All About Business Plans, Weekly, Tuesdays at Noon. Join each week in March as experts share who needs a business plan, how to use it, and the tools available to assist small businesses. Register Here
  • So You Want to Build a Website, March 17 at 1:00 pm. This session breaks down the process of developing a personal or small business website and walks participants through a demo of Wix, the web development tool. Register Here
  • Going Green: Energy Efficiency in Agriculture, March 18 at 2:00 pm. Attend this event to learn about energy audits and pollution reduction for agriculture businesses. Register Here
  • Check out: All Upcoming SBDC Events

Meanwhile, SBDC’s across the country celebrate the fifth annual SBDC Day on Wednesday, March 17, noting the impact America’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) have on the success of small businesses. Learn More. According to a recent newsletter, the SBDC at Penn State – which serves new and existing small businesses in Clinton, Centre, Lycoming and Mifflin counties – last year supported 1,254 clients and 51 business start-ups, representing an overall capital investment of $12.5 million.

3/3/21

- PA Governor Tom Wolf and the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force today announced that Pennsylvania will use the Johnson & Johnson single-dose COVID-19 vaccine for PreK-12 teachers and other school staff. Details here: Gov. Wolf and COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force Announce Plan to Vaccinate Teachers, Other School Staff (pa.gov).

Meanwhile, the Governor today signed legislation that permits the Pennsylvania National Guard to administer the vaccine. Read more: Gov. Wolf Signs Bill Preparing National Guard to Assist with Vaccination Efforts.

- UPMC plans to include more people as the health care system continues to offer COVID-19 vaccinations locally, by appointment only. Plans this week call for the age of eligible vaccine recipients to be lowered to those 65 and older, down from age 75. Click Here for the UPMC Update for information on scheduling an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccination.   

- Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam today announced the launch of a new initiative called PA Project Firstline, a project designed to promote foundational knowledge on infection prevention and control for all types of frontline healthcare workers. Learn more: Department of Health Launches PA Project Firstline to Provide Easy, Accessible Infection Prevention and Control Knowledge to Frontline Healthcare Workers.

- The Health Department today confirmed an additional 2,577 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 938,411. According to the state data, Clinton County reported 12 new cases today, bringing the countywide total to 2,824. Centre and Lycoming counties both reported 26 new cases, bringing their countywide totals to 12,992 and 9,381, respectively. Statewide, 1,670 people are hospitalized with the virus, 354 of whom are in intensive care.

According to the state data, by this Saturday, March 6, nearly 3.7 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will have been allocated across Pennsylvania. As of Tuesday, March 2, 1,761,703 first doses and 791,815 second doses had been administered. More information here: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19: More Than 2.5 Million Vaccinations to Date.

- The Wolf Administration today announced an extension of the Regional Congregate Care Assistance Teams to support long-term care facilities as they continue to face COVID-19 and the challenges it creates for congregate care settings. More here: Wolf Administration Extends Regional Congregate Care Assistance Teams to Continue Support to Long-Term Care Facilities Facing COVID-19, Highlights Progress Vaccinating Long-Term Care Residents and Staff (pa.gov).

- Updates from the U.S. Census Bureau:

  • Most of the nation’s small businesses do not require employees to get COVID-19 vaccines or tests to return to work, according to the first results of Phase 4 of the U.S. Census Bureau’s recently-released Small Business Pulse Survey (SBPS).

SBPS was launched February 15, to measure the effect of changing business conditions during the coronavirus pandemic on small businesses. Read More

  • A Census Bureau Small Business Pulse Survey shows a shift in expectations from Spring to Winter: the Survey shows a majority of businesses face long-term challenges while others experienced little or no effect from the pandemic. Learn More

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry’s Bureau of Labor Law Compliance today released data related to COVID-19 enforcement actions for February 22-26 as it relates to businesses that are not covered by other state agencies, boards or bureaus. To date, the Bureau has assigned 421 cases to its investigators. During the most recent period, the department completed six investigations that were sent to the Department of Health. More here: Department of Labor & Industry Releases COVID-19 Enforcement Actions, Feb. 22 – Feb. 26.

- The PA Department of Agriculture today released data related to COVID-19 restaurant enforcement actions from February 22-28. During that period, the Bureau of Food Safety performed 605 inspections, 33 of which were complaint-driven. Thirty complaints were related to COVID-19 mitigation measures. The department received 225 food facility COVID-19 related complaints, 47 of which were referred to local and county health jurisdictions. And, inspectors closed five restaurants for violating the state’s COVID-19 mitigation orders. According to the data, there were five inspections conducted in Clinton County during the period, with no issues reported. See more: Department of Agriculture Releases COVID-19 Restaurant Enforcement Actions, February 22 – 28, 2021.

- PA Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans today presented the agency’s annual report to the General Assembly and delivered testimony before the House Game and Fisheries Committee. Burhans said COVID-19 placed increased demands on the Game Commission, noting that more people wanted to hunt and trap, visit state game lands, and purchase Commission products. He said he felt the Commission met those challenges head-on. Read more: GAME COMMISSION DELIVERS ANNUAL REPORT TO LEGISLATURE (pa.gov).

- PA CareerLink will host a virtual employer workshop, UC Suitable Work and Separation Issues, tomorrow, March 4, from 10:00 a.m. until Noon. UC Workforce Development representative  Nancy Smithbauer will address the process the UC Service Center follows when investigating and issuing benefit determinations relating to employees who voluntarily quit or have been discharged from a job. Pre-register at https://forms.gle/bNxbtpTxVWGNKJSC6 or contact Dorie Gilmore at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

- The U.S. Small Business Administration hosts a free webinar, Contract Bonds & Surety Bond Guarantees, on March 17 at 10:00 a.m.. Small business owners needing bonding to bid on contracts are encouraged to participate. What you’ll learn is

  • What is the Surety Bond Guarantee (SBG) Program ?
  • What does the SBG guarantee?
  • Who qualifies for SBA bonding?
  • What are the current bonding limits?

Click here to join the meeting or dial 1-202-765-1264 and use conference code: 666256945#

3/2/21

- The U.S. Small Business Administration has announced some key changes to the Paycheck Protection Program which will be available for a limited amount of time to ensure America’s smallest businesses get exclusive access. If you are a small business owner with 20 employees or less, or are self-employed, there is new information for you. Small businesses are invited to participate in a series of webinars hosted by the SBA, Public Private Strategies Institute, & other stakeholders to hear about:

  • What steps you can take now to take advantage of this special opportunity (the exclusive window for small businesses closes at 5:00 p.m., Tuesday, March 9).
  • Additional changes and recent policy announcements made by Biden-Harris Administration.
  • Have your questions answered by SBA Leadership.

The webinar schedule is as follows:

            - March 3, 12:30 p.m. – Women Business Owners, Click here to register.

            - March 4, 3:00 p.m. – Asian-American + Pacific Islander, Native American + Tribal Small Business Owners, Click here to register.

            - March 5, 1:00 p.m. – Black + African-American Small Business Owners, Click here to register.

            - March 5, 3:00 p.m. – Hispanic Small Business Owners, Click here to register.

            - March 6, 2:00 p.m. – Veterans, Self-Employed Business Owners, Click here to register.

            - March 8, 3:00 pm. – LGTBQ Business Owners, Youth Entrepreneurs, Restaurant Owners, Click here to register.

- PA Governor Tom Wolf today announced that the hospitality industry will soon be able to apply for relief through the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP), a new grant program established by the state to support local businesses in the hospitality industry that were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The state is making $145 million available, with each county receiving a portion of the funding as a block grant based on population. Clinton County has received $437,000 and has designated SEDA-COG, a Certified Economic Development Organization in the region, to administer the program for the county. As per state guidelines, grant administrators must begin accepting applications from businesses by March 15. See more: Gov. Wolf Announces $145 Million in Relief Available for Hospitality Industry by March 15 (pa.gov).

- Governor Wolf today announced allocation plans for more than $303 million in federal funds received to support child care providers. The funding will be issued beginning April 20, and will be divided to support child care providers through multiple channels. Click here for more information: Wolf Administration Announces Plans for $303 million to Support Child Care Providers Across Pennsylvania (pa.gov).

- PA’s Departments of Human Services and Education today submitted for federal approval, the Wolf Administration’s plan to issue more than $1 billion in federally-funded benefits to the families of Pennsylvania children who have attended school remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic and who otherwise would have had access to free-and-reduced-price meals during the 2020-21 school year. The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program will help families cover the cost of breakfasts and lunches their children would have been eligible to receive for free or at reduced price through the National School Lunch Program. If the plan submitted to the federal government is approved, Pennsylvania will distribute the equivalent of about $84 million per month to the families of about 928,000 children – for a total distribution of about $1 billion. Read more: Wolf Administration Submits Pandemic EBT Plan to Help Pennsylvania Families Cover the Cost of Missed School Meals.

- Regarding the announcement Monday from Governor Wolf that the state is slightly relaxing its limitations for indoor and outdoor gatherings, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association says it will discuss the changes at its board of directors March 3 meeting. In a news release from the PIAA, Executive Director, Dr. Robert Lombardi, stated, “PIAA is very appreciative of these changes and will attempt to provide as much in-person attendance at PIAA winter sports’ postseason contests as possible while complying with the new restrictions.” PIAA will review their upcoming winter sports’ post-season events and capacities with site administrators and make all best efforts to accommodate schools’ and their families. These revised restrictions may allow some public sale of tickets based upon occupancy and social distancing restrictions.

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 2,564 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 935,834. According to the state, Clinton County reported 9 new cases today, bringing the countywide total to 2,812. Centre County saw 22 new cases, bringing their total to 12,966, and Lycoming County was up 40 cases, bringing their total to 9,355. Statewide, there are 1,715 people hospitalized with the virus, 366 of whom are in intensive care. More information here: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19: Nearly 2.5 Million Vaccinations to Date.

- The PA Department of Community and Economic Development has announced the Manufacturing PA Training-to-Career Grant Program, which supports new and innovative training programs focusing on developing the skillsets of entry-level workers to better meet the needs of manufacturers with job openings. DCED is currently accepting grant applications for the program. Nonprofits including workforce development boards, manufacturing associations, business education coalitions and economic development organizations, and training partners such as school districts, technical or trade schools, and post-secondary academic institutions can apply, requesting up to $200,000 to support the creation of short-term work readiness or job placement programs in manufacturing. For program guidelines and to apply, go to the DCED website.

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

- The IRS on Monday issued guidance for employers claiming the Employee Retention Tax Credit under the CARES Act for 2020, including eligibility rules for Paycheck Protection Program borrowers. Read more: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-provides-guidance-for-employers-claiming-the-employee-retention-credit-for-2020-including-eligibility-rules-for-ppp-borrowers.

- And, the IRS reminds first-time filers and those who usually don’t have a federal filing requirement to consider filing a 2020 tax return. They may be eligible to claim the  Recovery Rebate Credit, a new refundable credit, authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the COVID-related Tax Relief Act. More here: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-time-guide-didnt-get-economic-impact-payments-check-eligibility-for-recovery-rebate-credit.

- The Department of State’s Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation today released data related to COVID-19 enforcement actions from February 21-28, as it relates to regulated boards and commissions. During that period, BEI performed 459 inspections and opened 12 investigations during which COVID-19-specific compliance was a focus. This week, the Bureau distributed nine warning letters and two compliance letters relating to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Learn more: Department of State Releases COVID-19 Enforcement Actions, Feb. 21-28.

- A reminder: PA Health Care enrollment through Pennie.com has reopened until May 15.

- The PA Insurance Department today said is reclaimed close to $22 million in 2020 for more than 27,000 consumers who had funds stolen, payments improperly processed, or other forms of restitution or credit due to them as a result of company errors or unethical conduct. More here: Insurance Department Reclaims Over $22 Million in 2020 Restitution Payments for Pennsylvania Consumers.

- The Office of State Inspector General today announced it has filed welfare fraud charges against 44 people during January 2020. The restitution owed the Commonwealth in the cases totals $143,372, and additional cost savings will be realized as the defendants will be temporarily disqualified from receiving public benefits in the programs they allegedly defrauded. More information here: State Inspector General Charges 44 With Welfare Fraud in January 2020 (pa.gov).

- The PA Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and the PA Higher Education Assistance Agency have collaborated to create a portal that automates the education benefits application process for Pennsylvania National Guard members and their families. See more: DMVA, PHEAA Launch Portal for Guard Members, Families Applying for Higher Education Benefits (pa.gov).

- PennDOT has announced that Pennsylvanians can view ratings of the state's efforts in transportation safety, mobility, system preservation, and accountability in the PennDOT 2021 Transportation Performance Report (TPR), viewable at TalkPATransportation.com. Read more: Article (penndot.gov).

- A reminder that the SCORE Central Pennsylvania Chapter hosts a no-cost webinar on Nonprofit Strategic Planning tomorrow, March 3, from 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. Register HERE!

3/1/21

- PA Governor Tom Wolf today announced the state has revised mitigation restrictions on gatherings and has lifted travel restrictions, effective today. The revised restrictions include a slight increase in the maximum occupancy limits to allow for 15% of maximum occupancy for indoor events and 20 percent of maximum occupancy limits for outdoor events, regardless of venue size, and the elimination of out-of-state travel restrictions. The revised restrictions on gatherings continue to require social distancing and masking. Read more: Gov. Wolf Revises Mitigation Order on Gatherings and Lifts Out-of-State Travel Restrictions (pa.gov).

- In keeping with state mitigation orders, the Lock Haven University Admissions office will host a drive-through decision event next Thursday, March 11 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. If students have already applied online and bring proper paperwork, admissions counselors will review application information and make an on-the-spot admissions decision, without the student having to leave their vehicle. Click Here for the LHU news release for details.

- Governor Wolf and Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam 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 12,967 (2,221 fewer cases than the previous week) and a statewide percent positivity of 6.3% (down from 6.5% last week). While the statewide numbers continue to fall, the news was not as good in Clinton and Centre counties, both of whom saw increased precent positivity rates over the past week. Clinton County’s current positivity is 11.5%, compared to 8.2% last week. Centre County’s rate is 7.6%, up from 4.5% last week. Lycoming County saw a decrease in their percent positivity, which currently is at 7.2%, down from 9.3% the week before. Four counties are in what the state considers a low level of transmission; 37 counties are in the moderate level; and 26 counties, including Clinton, Centre and Lycoming, are in the substantial level of transmission. See more: Pennsylvania COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard Update for Feb. 19-25: Case Increases at 12,967; Percent Positivity at 6.3% and 26 Counties with Substantial Transmission (pa.gov).

- The Health Department today confirmed an additional 1,628 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 933,270. According to the data, Clinton County reported five new cases today, bringing the countywide total to 2,803. Centre County saw six new cases, bringing their total to 12,944, and Lycoming County reported 16 new cases, bringing their total to 9,315. Statewide, 1,720 people are hospitalized with the virus, 374 of whom are in intensive care. With five new deaths reported today, a total of 24,026 deaths in PA have been attributed to COVID-19, 55 in Clinton County. More information here: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19: More Than 2.4 Million Vaccinations to Date.

- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for the third vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19. The authorization allows the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine – a single-dose vaccine from Janssen Biotech, Inc., a company of Johnson & Johnson - to be distributed in the U.S. for use in individuals 18 years of age and older. Read more: FDA Issues Emergency Use Authorization for Third COVID-19 Vaccine | FDA.

- The PA Department of Revenue today announced the state collected $2.7 billion in General Fund revenue in February, 28.4 percent more than anticipated. Fiscal year-to-date, General Fund collections total $23.9 billion, or 3.9 percent above estimate. Read more: Revenue Department Releases February 2021 Collections.

- PennDOT today announced it has committed $452.7 million in liquid fuels payments to help certified municipalities maintain their roads and bridges. This year’s allocation is approximately 7 percent less than last year’s, due to reduced gas tax revenues as a result of COVID-19. According to the DOT Allocations Report, the 29 townships and boroughs and the City of Lock Haven in Clinton County will receive a gross allocation of some $1.7 million in liquid fuels funds. More here: Article (penndot.gov), and to see the municipal allocations report (Clinton County municipalities fall under County Code 18), click here: https://www.penndot.gov/Doing-Business/LocalGovernment/LiquidFuels/MunicipalLiquidFuelsProgram/Documents/2021%20MLF%20Allocation.pdf.

- Businesses in the 11-county SEDA-COG service region – which includes Clinton County – are being asked to complete a COVID-19 impact survey whose results will help SEDA-COG further respond to the needs of businesses during this time. The survey has been developed to gauge the impact of the pandemic on overall business operations, as well as if and how businesses have successfully adjusted. Click Here for the SEDA-COG file for more, and complete the survey by April 15 by clicking on the following link: http://bit.ly/37K4vII.

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 455 licensed liquor establishments over the weekend (February 26-28), issuing 26 notices of violation and 18 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 15 licensee checks during the period, issuing one warning and one notice of violation related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. See more here: State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement February 26-28: 455 Compliance Checks; 26 Notices of Violation (pa.gov)

- Updates from the PA Chamber:

  • Over the weekend, the U.S. House approved a $1.9 trillion stimulus package, marking a significant first step in what would be the Biden administration’s first major piece of legislation. -> Read More
  • PA Chamber Government Affairs Director Alex Halper outlined employers’ grave concerns with the impact of proposed legislation on their economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The House Labor and Industry Committee convened the hearing last week to discuss H.B. 262, which would allow employees or job applicants to refuse to comply with employer policies related to vaccination and testing, among other provisions. -> Read More
  • The strain on Pennsylvania’s unemployment compensation system due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the employer community was highlighted in testimony by PA Chamber Government Affairs Director Alex Halper during a public hearing of the House Labor and Industry Committee last week. -> Read More
  • PA Chamber Government Affairs Director Kevin Sunday testified last week about the positive impact the energy sector has brought to Pennsylvania’s business climate throughout the year-long COVID-19 pandemic and the indispensable role that energy plays in helping with the state and nation’s economic resurgence. -> Read More
  • Business closure orders put in place by the Wolf administration last year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic were a hot topic of discussion during the second week of House Appropriations Committee budget hearings. -> Read More
  • While in session last week, the state Senate Labor & Industry Committee advanced three PA Chamber-supported bills. Two of the bills would serve the dual purpose of helping address workforce challenges while combatting the cycle of addiction associated with the current drug abuse epidemic. -> Read More

- Updates and reminders from the U.S. Small Business Administration:

  • Small, mom and pop-type businesses have an exclusive window to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan. The U.S. Small Business Administration established a 14-day, exclusive PPP loan application period for businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 20 employee that ends on March 9, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. Borrowers can apply for the Paycheck Protection Program by downloading the First Draw PPP loan application or Second Draw PPP loan application and working with a participating PPP lender through the SBA Lender Match toolLearn more.
  • Are you looking to determine if your business is potentially eligible for a Targeted EIDL Advance? A new mapping tool is available to help you determine if your business is in a low-income community, which is a requirement to qualify for a Targeted EIDL Advance. Check the tool to see if your business address meets the low-income community eligibility requirement before applying. As a reminder, the SBA is reaching out to potential applicants to determine eligibility, so no action is needed on your part until you receive an email from the SBA. Learn more here and visit the updated FAQfor more information. 
  • Those looking to apply for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant will need to be registered in the U.S. government’s System for Award Management, SAM.gov. SBA has created a video tutorial that guides people through the process, and you can find it on the SVOG’s website at www.sba.gov/svogrant. Learn more and get registered.
  • The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has announced its fiscal year 2021 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I topics. This program encourages domestic small businesses to engage in federal research and development that has the potential for commercialization with funding of up to $100,000 per project. Funding is available in areas such as measurement, advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity and privacy, advanced communications, infrastructure and resilience. The deadline to apply is April 14. Learn more.
  • The SBA's Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business Development (IATF) and Advisory Committee on Veterans Business Affairs (ACVBA) will hold virtual public meetings on March 3 and 4. The advisory committees are dedicated to addressing the challenges faced by the military and veteran small business community, especially as businesses work to recover and rebuild in the wake of the pandemic. Learn more.
  • Registration is open through March 12 at beta.SAM.gov for the virtual Mission and Installation Contracting Command Advance Planning Briefing for Industry taking place March 22-26. MICC officials announced in November the virtual APBI event as their single, command-wide effort for 2021 to reach small business and large industry representatives and forecast 2021, 2022 and 2023 contract requirements in support of varied Army mission partners. Learn more.

- The PPL Foundation is accepting applications for the Foundation’s Sustaining Grants, which support a variety of nonprofit organizations in the communities PPL serves in 29 counties of North and Central Pennsylvania, including Clinton. Grants are used to fund organizations and programs focused on:

  • educational programs – such as STEM, college and career readiness, summer learning and literacy;
  • diversity, equity and inclusion – such as racial and social justice programs; minority-led organizations driving change; and empowerment programs for people of color, women, the disabled, LGBTQ and veterans; and
  • sustainable communities – such as access to services such as housing and food access; environmental conservation programs and neighborhood improvement.

Sustaining grants range between $1,000 and $25,000, with the average awarded grant being around $5,000. These competitive grants are awarded to assist organizations with ongoing operational and program expenses for projects that align with the Foundation’s mission. Interested organizations can learn more and apply at www.pplcares.com (click on Sustaining Grants) through March 15.

- The U.S. Economic Development Administration is accepting applications for the Build to Scale program, a $38 million funding opportunity that fuels tech-based economic development in regional economies. The Build to Scale program is comprised of two competitions for grants –– the Venture Challenge and the Capital Challenge. The deadline to apply is April 29. For more information, visit www.eda.gov/oie/BuildToScale

- The U.S. Chamber’s CO- group, as part of their Roadmap for Rebuilding series for small businesses, hosts a virtual webinar, Planning Your Financial Future, this Thursday, March 4 at noon. Register here: https://events.uschamber.com/planningyourfinancialfuture/991972?ref=3.1&c_923903%5B0%5D=4166609&utm_medium=Email&utm_source=SFMC&utm_campaign=&utm_content=.

- The PA Department of Banking and Securities in March will host and participate in virtual presentations to help consumers understand their rights and make well-informed decisions about money. Click here for more information, including a list of program offerings: Free Virtual Events to Promote Financial Capability Among Consumers.

- The PA Department of Human Services today announced the launch of myCOMPASS PA 5.0, the latest update to the myCOMPASS mobile app. More here: Department of Human Services Announces Updates, Additional Features for the myCOMPASS PA Mobile App.

- AP Auditor General Timothy DeFoor today announced several key staff appointments, including the hiring of Gorden Denlinger, a CPA, former state representative and most recently state director for the National Federation of Independent Businesses, as Deputy Auditor General. More here: Pennsylvania Department of the Auditor General -Auditor General DeFoor Appoints New Deputy Auditors General (paauditor.gov).

- The PA departments of Drug and Alcohol Programs, PA Lottery, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, and the Council on Compulsive Gambling today kicked off March as National Problem Gambling Awareness Month. Read more: Wolf Administration Kicks off Problem Gambling Awareness Month by Highlighting Available Resources and Help (pa.gov).

- The State Library of Pennsylvania invites schools, families and communities to participate in “Read Across America Day” tomorrow, March 2. The annual day serves as an opportunity to spread the joy of reading, celebrate literacy, and recognize the power of diverse and inclusive books. Learn more: State Library Encourages Readers of All Ages to Celebrate Literacy, Participate in Read Across America Day.

2/26/21

- A reminder: Eligible small businesses with fewer than 20 employees right now have an exclusive window of opportunity to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan. That window closes March 10 and the program then reopens to all eligible businesses through March 31, which is when this latest (and likely last) round of the PPP is slated to end. In a highly-informative one-hour Small Business Update Thursday, U.S. Chamber representatives and the White House’s national economic council deputy director talked about this exclusive window for small businesses, some important PPP enhancements for sole proprietors/self-employed/independent contractors that likely will be finalized next week, and more, including responding to a number of questions about PPP and other federal loan and grant programs. Definitely worth a watch. Click here to see that presentation: Replay yesterday's Small Business Update.

- PA Treasurer Stacy Garrity today announced that the Pennsylvania Treasury has made available the $145 million earmarked for the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP) to help small businesses in the hospitality industry recover from the effects of the pandemic. The funding, authorized by Act 1 of 2021, has been sent to all 67 counties as block grants. Clinton County’s allocation is some $437,000. Grant guidelines and the application process are being finalized by SEDA-COG, a certified economic development organization that will administer the grant program. According to state guidelines, the application process is to begin by March 15. Read more: Pennsylvania Treasury, Stacy Garrity - State Treasurer (patreasury.gov).

- Local nonprofits and municipalities have until 5:00 p.m. this Monday, March 1, to submit an application for a grant through the Clinton County Tourism/Recreation Grant Program. The purpose of the grant program is to support the development and expansion of tourist and recreational assets and events that promote Clinton County and increase tourism and overnight stays within the county. For program guidelines and the online grant application, visit: https://www.clintoncountypa.com/departments/funding-opportunities.

- Students throughout Keystone Central School District are expected to continue in-class learning next week. In her weekly update, District Superintendent Dr. Jacquelyn Martin encouraged families to use extra caution and follow safety guidelines, as positive COVID-19 cases were up over the previous week. Dr. Martin noted that planning is underway for graduation ceremonies at both Central Mountain and Bucktail High Schools. Unless there are more snow days, the last day of school is now expected to be June 8. Click Here to see the KCSD Update.

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 3,346 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 926,336. According to the data, Clinton County reported 19 new cases today, bringing the countywide total to 2,765. Centre County saw 39 new cases, bringing their total to 12,825, and Lycoming County reported 36 new cases, bringing their total to 9,207. Statewide, 1,962 people are hospitalized with the virus, 421 of whom are in intensive care. More information is available on the state’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard. Read the full report here: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19: More Than 2.2 Million Vaccinations to Date.

- The Health Department today announced that beginning Monday, March 1, regional drive-thru, outdoor walk-up and indoor walk-in COVID-19 testing clinics will be held in Lycoming (at the Old Lycoming Twp. Volunteer Fire Company in Williamsport), Fayette, Forest, Perry and Susquehanna counties. This is the last of a 12-week testing initiative to offer free COVID-19 pop-up testing sites across the state. More here: Department of Health Announces Week-Twelve of Regional COVID-19 Testing Extension Across the Commonwealth.

- The Health Department also announced today that it has aligned its COVID-19 quarantine guidance for fully vaccinated individuals with that of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. See more: Department of Health Aligns Quarantine Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Individuals with CDC COVID-19 Recommendations.

- The PA Senate Wednesday approved legislation allowing members of the Pa. National Guard to aid in the distribution of the coronavirus vaccine. The bill expands the Guard's authority in distributing and administering the vaccine. Pennsylvania currently ranks 46th in the nation in terms of the percentage of distributed vaccines that have been administered. The state House passed the measure earlier and the bill now goes to the Governor for his signature. 

- Meanwhile, according to a report from the PA Chamber, vaccine manufacturers this week told Congress that they will be able to increase vaccine production next month. Already, Pfizer and Moderna have churned out more than 200 million doses for the U.S. government – although only 75 million have been shipped. The number of available vaccines is expected to grow even more once the one-dose Johnson & Johnson version is approved by regulators.

 - From Partnership President Mike Flanagan, a weekly update of Clinton County’s employment picture: Clinton County’s unemployment situation showed some improvement during the seven-day period ending February 20, with lower initial and continued unemployment claims, according to information released Friday by the state Department of Labor and Industry. For the week ending February 13, there were 98 initial unemployment insurance claims. One week later, the initial claims fell to 79, with construction related workers accounting for 28 percent of the new number. The continued claims fell by more than 100 to 1,010, with 26 percent of those listed as being in the construction sector.

The state also reported that 248 county residents have had their unemployment benefits expire since January 1.

The January monthly unemployment rates for the Commonwealth’s 67 counties should be released next week. Clinton County had a 6.6% unemployment rate in December.

- The U.S. Senate parliamentarian has determined that a measure to hike the minimum wage cannot be included in a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill currently making its way through Congress. Read More (Source: The Associated Press)

- In response to a directive from President Biden, the U.S. Department of Labor Thursday issued guidance to state unemployment insurance agencies that expands the number of instances in which workers may be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. Read more here: US Department of Labor guidance to state UI programs expands eligibility for workers who declined work due to pandemic safety concerns | U.S. Department of Labor (dol.gov).

- The Internal Revenue Service today reminded businesses of their responsibility to file Form 8300, Report of Cash Payments Over $10,000, and encouraged e-filing to help them file accurate, complete forms. See more: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-reminds-businesses-to-report-large-cash-transactions-e-file-encouraged.

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 1,026 licensed liquor establishments this week (February 22-25), issuing 15 notices of violation and 24 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 37 licensee checks during the period, issuing two warnings and no notices of violation related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. More here: State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement February 22-25: 1,026 Compliance Checks; 15 Notices of Violation (pa.gov).

- Governor Wolf today unveiled a charter school accountability plan that he says would protect all students and taxpayers and hold low-performing charter schools accountable to improve educational quality. Read more: Gov. Wolf Unveils Bipartisan Charter School Accountability Plan.


- The U.S. Chamber’s next episode of Roadmap for Rebuilding, will focus on planning your small business’s financial future, and will be held Thursday, March 4 at noon. Small business experts will cover financial planning for your team, tracking financial trends that matter, and leveraging your relationships. Register to plan your financial future.

2/25/21

- The Clinton County Commissioners today entered into a professional services agreement with SEDA-COG, the regional development organization that will be administering the state’s COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP). The grant program is scheduled to become available March 15 (applications are not yet being accepted), allowing eligible hotels, bars, restaurants and others in the hospitality industry – among the hardest hit during the pandemic – to apply for grants of $5,000 up to $50,000 in pandemic relief. According to the state guidelines, applicants must have no more than 300 employees and a net worth of less than $15 million. Priority will go to businesses that haven’t yet received state or federal aid, had to close as a result of the state’s coronavirus mitigation orders, or can show a 50% loss of income after March 2020. Grant guidelines are being developed and SEDA-COG is expected to announce information as it becomes available.

- The Penn State Small Business Development Center has a pandemic support specialist. Elizabeth Hay stands ready to support small businesses in the SBDC’s coverage area, which includes Clinton, Centre, Lycoming and Mifflin counties. SBDC consulting services are confidential and free of charge.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The SBDC also has a comprehensive list of pandemic resources for entrepreneurs. For information on emergency capital programs, funding opportunities, and pandemic relief resources, visit their COVID-19 Resources page, which is updated regularly.

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 2,356 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 922,990. According to the state, Clinton County reported 12 new cases today, bringing the countywide total to 2,746. Centre County saw 33 new cases, bringing their total to 12,786, and Lycoming County was up 36 cases, bringing their total to 9,171. Statewide, 1,972 people are hospitalized with the virus, 433 of whom are in intensive care. See more: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19: More Than 2.1 Million Vaccinations to Date.

- The PA Department of Labor & Industry’s Bureau of Labor Law Compliance today released data related to COVID-19 enforcement actions for February 15-19, as they relate to businesses that are not covered by other state agencies, boards or bureaus. To date, the Bureau has assigned 420 cases to its investigators. Between February 15-19, the department completed 11 investigations that were sent to the Department of Health. More here: Department of Labor & Industry Releases COVID-19 Enforcement Actions, Feb. 15 – Feb. 19.

- The PA Department of Human Services today detailed January 2021 public assistance enrollment numbers and reminded Pennsylvanians that safety-net programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid are available to individuals and families who are struggling to afford food or access health care. DHS also reminded people of home energy assistance available through the LIHEAP program. In January, enrollment statewide for Medicaid saw nearly a 13 percent increase and enrollment for SNAP statewide saw a 4.7 percent increase. More information here: Department of Human Services Provides Update on Latest Medicaid, SNAP Enrollment Data.

- The foreclosure protections for federal home loans have been extended to June 30th. The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Department of Agriculture have announced a coordinated extension and expansion of foreclosure and forbearance relief programs. Read more: COVID19 Information and Guidance (pa.gov).

- PA CareerLink will host a virtual employer workshop, UC Suitable Work and Separation Issues, next Thursday, March 4, from 10:00 a.m. until Noon (earlier this week, we incorrectly listed this as a four-hour session). UC Workforce Development representative  Nancy Smithbauer will address the process the UC Service Center follows when investigating and issuing benefit determinations relating to employees who voluntarily quit or have been discharged from a job. Pre-register at https://forms.gle/bNxbtpTxVWGNKJSC6 or contact Dorie Gilmore at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

- SEDA-COG’s Metropolitan Planning Organization is preparing an update to the region’s long-range transportation plan and is seeking public input. People are asked to complete a survey that will be available through Wednesday, March 3. Click here for the survey: https://lrtp-seda-cog.hub.arcgis.com/.  

2/24/21

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 2,786 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 920,634. According to the state, Clinton County reported 18 new cases today, bringing the countywide total to 2,734. Centre County was up 43 cases, bringing their total to 12,753, and Lycoming County reported 35 new cases, bringing their total to 9,135. Statewide, 1,963 people are hospitalized with the virus, 418 of whom are in intensive care.

Regarding vaccine distribution, Clinton County data as of February 24 shows 3,287 people have received a partial dose and 1,380 have been fully vaccinated. In Centre County, 16,454 people have received a partial and 6,190 have received a full dose. In Lycoming County, 8,978 have received a partial dose while 5,897 have received the full dose. The state reports that by Saturday, February 27, 3,172,900 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will have been allocated. As of February 23, 2,083,277 of those doses had been administered (1,498,265 were first doses and 585,012 were second doses). Learn more: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19: More Than 2 Million Vaccinations to Date.

- UPMC today issued a COVID Update newsletter, which outlines their vaccination registration process and other COVID-related information. Click Here for the UPMC file for more.

- Pennsylvania System of State Assessments and Keystone Exams will be administered this year but state officials say they are looking to allow schools to delay them to as late as September. In a draft letter to the U.S Department of Education that is open for public comment, state Acting Education Secretary Noe Ortega indicated the idea behind extending the testing window to the fall, when schools are expecting to offer in-person instruction five days a week, is that it will ensure a larger number of students will take the Pennsylvania System of School Assessments and Keystone Exams. Read More (Source: Harrisburg Patriot News)

- The 2021 FedEx Small Business Grant Contest is now underway. With a FedEx account, businesses can enter to win up to $50,000. The deadline is March 9. Learn more at: How could a $50K grant better your business?

- The PA Department of Agriculture today released data related to COVID-19 restaurant enforcement actions from February 15-21. The Department’s Bureau of Food Safety performed 486 inspections, 28 of which were complaint-driven. Twenty-one complaints were related to COVID-19 mitigation measures. The Department received 502 food facility COVID-19-related complaints, 76 of which were referred to local and county health jurisdictions. Inspectors also closed four restaurants for violating COVID-19 mitigation orders. In Clinton County, there was only one Bureau inspection during the period, which resulted in no issues. More information here: Department of Agriculture Releases COVID-19 Restaurant Enforcement Actions, February 15 – 21, 2021.

- A new study finds that consumers are becoming less stressed about getting food in stores and restaurants during the pandemic. More than half of those surveyed admitted that while they avoided in-store pick-ups at the start of the pandemic, they feel comfortable doing so now. READ MORE

- First Lady Frances Wolf – in a virtual conversation hosted on Facebook – highlighted supports that exist for Pennsylvania’s small businesses, actions the administration has taken to support them, and small businesses that have gotten creative to keep their business moving and their employees and communities safe during COVID-19. See more: First Lady Frances Wolf Discusses Resiliency of PA Small Business Community and Highlights Resources for Support.

- PA Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today notified farmland owners in 25 Pennsylvania counties that they are eligible to receive disaster relief assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture due to losses caused by drought that occurred during the 2020 crop year. Upon USDA review of Loss Assessment Reports, six PA counties – including Clinton, Centre, Clearfield, Elk, Jefferson and Cumberland – were designated as primary natural disaster areas while several other counties were considered as contiguous areas. Read more: Secretary of Agriculture Announces Disaster Relief Funding Available for 25 PA Counties, Encourages Risk Management.

- The PA Game Commission today announced 27 new game wardens have been assigned to districts in Pennsylvania, graduating February 13 after 45 weeks of intensive training. One of the graduates is Shawn Seeley of Lock Haven, who has been assigned to northern Centre County. Seeley was distinguished among the class, receiving an emergency vehicle operator course driving award. See more here: NEW GAME WARDENS ADDED TO THE RANKS (pa.gov).

- Student internship opportunity: Penn State and The American Chestnut Foundation are now accepting applications for spring and summer interns. Interns (age 18+ with a valid driver’s license) with a variety of skills are needed. Applications are due March 5. Click Here for a copy of the announcement.

- Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful kicks off the Pick Up Pennsylvania litter cleanup and beautification program March 1. This annual community improvement initiative, which will run through mid-May, offers registered participants free trash bags, gloves, and safety vests provided by support from the Department of Environmental Protection, PennDOT and Keep America Beautiful, as supplies last. Events can include litter cleanups, illegal dump cleanups, community greening and beautification, special collections and public education events. Events must be registered at Pick Up Pennsylvania to receive free cleanup supplies. For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful website.

Upcoming Webinars:

  • Join the U.S. Chamber Thursday, February 25 at 12 Noon for a live discussion on the newly announced changes to PPP loans, which predominately affect businesses with fewer than 20 employees and minority-owned small businesses. Get your questions answered. RSVP here.
  • The SCORE Central PA Chapter hosts a no-cost webinar, “Strategic Planning for Nonprofits,” next Wednesday, March 3, from 3:00-5:00 p.m. The online seminar is an opportunity to learn how to create an effective, usable nonprofit strategic plan. Register HERE!

2/23/21

- The Biden Administration and the U.S. Small Business Administration announced they are taking steps with the Paycheck Protection Program to further promote equitable relief for America’s smallest businesses. Starting tomorrow, February 24, and running for two weeks (until March 10), companies with fewer than 20 employees will be the only businesses allowed to apply for PPP funding. SBA Prioritizes Smallest of Small Businesses in the Paycheck Protection Program.

- The Biden administration’s most recent changes to the PPP – and other changes that could impact small business’ access to pandemic relief – will be the subject of a U.S. Chamber “Small Business Update” this Thursday, February 25 at noon. Click here to register.

- The Clinton County Commissioners are expected to enter into an agreement with SEDA-COG out of Lewisburg to administer CHIRP, the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program. Clinton County is slated to receive some $437,500 for this hospitality industry grant program, but will serve only as the pass-through entity as the state mandates county’s contract with certified economic development organizations, such as SEDA-COG, to administer the program. At their Monday work session, the Commissioners said SEDA-COG currently is developing an agreement for counties it will be working with and putting together program application procedures and guidelines. According to state guidelines, administrating organizations such as SEDA-COG must begin accepting applications from businesses by March 15. Clinton County Planning Director Katie de Silva said SEDA-COG will be announcing information on the grant application process. We will continue to keep everyone up-to-date as we learn more.

- Clinton County also will be the pass-through entity for pandemic-related funds that will come from the federal government through the state in the form of an Emergency Federal Rental Assistance program for landlords and tenants. Procedures and guidelines are still being developed for this new grant program. The PA Department of Human Services will be responsible for program oversight, and the county will designate the Clinton County Housing Coalition to administer the funds. We will continue to provide more information as it becomes available. In the meantime, Click Here for a DHS summary of the Act that establishes this program.

- SEDA-COG today announced that the SBA 504 loan program that helps small businesses is providing further relief by waiving fees and the first several months of payments on certain loans. Click Here for the SEDA-COG file for details.

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 2,830 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 917,848. According to the data, Clinton County reported 6 new cases today, bringing the countywide total to 2,716. Centre County saw 68 new cases, bringing their total to 12,710, and Lycoming County added 43 new cases, bringing their total to 9,100. Statewide, 1,963 people are hospitalized with the virus, 418 of whom are in the intensive care unit. More here: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19: More Than 2 Million Vaccinations to Date.

The Health Department also shared its weekly update on Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing data. Details here: Department of Health Feb. 7-13 Update On COVID-19 Investigations, Contact Tracing, Monitoring Efforts: Pennsylvanians Urged To ‘Answer the Call,’ Complete the Connect & Protect Form, and Download the COVID App.

- Governor Tom Wolf today marked a milestone in the implementation of the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan with the announcement that more than 600 skilled nursing facilities have received first and second doses of the vaccine, and in total more than 315,000 doses of vaccine have been administered among all long-term care facilities being vaccinated by CVS and Walgreens. See more: Gov. Wolf: Pennsylvania has Reached a Milestone in Its Plan to Vaccinate Seniors in Care (pa.gov).

- UPMC now has a website and phone line for people to sign up to be notified when they can make an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine. You can access the site here: COVID-19 Vaccine Registration Form (Phase 1a) | UPMC. If you have limited access to online services or technology, or need assistance in registering, you can call 844-UPMCVAC (844-876-2822) between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., seven days a week.

- The Department of State’s Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation today released data related to COVID-19 enforcement actions from February 14-21, as they relate to regulated boards and commissions. BEU personnel performed 294 inspections and opened nine investigations during which COVID-19-specific compliance was a focus. This week, the Bureau distributed nine warning letters and four compliance letters relating to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. See more: Department of State Releases COVID-19 Enforcement Actions, Feb. 14-21.

- During this tax season when many people are trying to stay safe at home, the Internal Revenue Service reminds taxpayers about ways to do their taxes for free online or with help from volunteers. Read more: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-time-guide-how-to-do-taxes-for-free-and-get-refunds-fast.

- PA Treasurer Stacy Garrity today announced the PA 529 Investment Plan, a program designed to help families save for education in a tax advantaged way, has reached a new milestone of $4 billion in assets. Learn more: Pennsylvania Treasury, Stacy Garrity - State Treasurer (patreasury.gov).

- According to an update from the PA Chamber,  Governor Tom Wolf’s controversial business closures and waiver program was a big topic of conversation during Monday’s budget hearing for the state’s Department of Community and Economic Development. DCED Secretary Dennis Davin said he takes full ownership of those business closure and waiver decisions, acknowledging they were made with imperfect information at a time when people were dying around the world from what was still a mostly unknown COVID-19 virus. Mr. Davin claimed there was ample communication with affected industries, but his answers during the hearing suggested much of that discourse occurred after the initial business closures were announced, with multiple revisions to that list taking place in response to what they heard from the business community and the legislature, as well as the creation of a waiver process that generated even more complaints and concerns from those affected by the closures. “Those discussions took place day and night, there were a number of folks that were involved in those. Again, there were so many different people that we talked to and discussed this with, and it was a time that we were trying to the right thing,” said Mr. Davin. “You might not agree with it, but the reality is we reviewed 42,000 applications in two weeks and we gave 22,000 businesses the ability to continue to remain open.” But several Republican members of the state House of Representatives’ Appropriations Committee countered that while he admitted to his department’s lead role in those decisions, he didn’t seem to be interested in acknowledging that serious mistakes were made that could have been avoided if only there had been communication by him and his department with other agencies along with the legislature and the private sector before the decisions were made, not after the fact.

- North Central Sight Services, Inc., which serves people in Clinton and Lycoming counties, has released a short video that highlights the organizations services, including readying people with sight disabilities for the workforce. Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyXRKIogaZM.

- The New Love Center has a tremendous impact on those in need in Clinton and Lycoming counties. Click Here for their February update and highlights nearly 2,000 meals served in January, more than 650 households impacted, and more than a ton of food donated. For more information, visit www.thenewlovecenter.com.

- Lock Haven University today highlighted the institution’s year-long celebration of its 150th anniversary, saying that despite the global pandemic, LHU still found ways to honor and celebrate its sesquicentennial anniversary year. Click Here for the LHU news release for more.

- The PA Association of Conservation Districts recently awarded 38 Nonpoint Source Pollution Prevention Mini-Grants totaling $60,000 to conservation districts across the state. The Clinton County Conservation District is among the grant recipients and will receive a $1,980 grant to conduct two virtual rain barrel workshops (not yet scheduled) to educate county residents on nonpoint source pollution and stormwater management. According to the grant information, 64 rain barrels will be purchased and constructed before the workshops, with workshop participants being able to take a rail barrel home. Click Here for a list of grants awarded and for more information, visit the PA Association of Conservation Districts website.

- A reminder that PA CareerLink will host a virtual employer workshop, UC Suitable Work and Separation Issues, next Thursday, March 4, from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. UC Workforce Development representative  Nancy Smithbauer will address the process the UC Service Center follows when investigating and issuing benefit determinations relating to employees who voluntarily quit or have been discharged from a job. Pre-register at https://forms.gle/bNxbtpTxVWGNKJSC6 or contact Dorie Gilmore at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

2/22/21

- PennDOT Update: As of 2:00 p.m. Monday, PennDOT restored normal speed limits to previously restricted roads in the north central region as the winter weather moved out of the area. Along with restoring speed limits, the PennDOT update said commercial vehicles could again use the left lane and are not restricted to right lane only.

- Meanwhile, PennDOT today announced that expiration dates for commercial driver licenses and commercial learner’s permits will be extended for PA residents in response to statewide COVID-19 mitigation efforts. The press release notes the extension – through March 31 – will be the final extension for permits scheduled to expire from March 16 through March 31. Read more here: Article (penndot.gov).

 - The PA Public Utility Commission today urged consumers or businesses that may be struggling with larger winter utility bills or overdue balances to call their public utilities today to explore all available assistance options – and to take advantage of enhanced winter options before those programs may change or end. Click Here for the PUC file for more information.

- U.S. Senator Bob Casey’s Constituent Services Team is partnering with the IRS and AARP to host two virtual presentations about the 2021 IRS Filing Season. The first of two identical presentations is today, February 22, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. and Wednesday, February 24 from noon-1:00 p.m. People must pre-register in advance. Click here for the flyer or to register for today’s event at 5:30, click here: https://sen.gov/O3NW and for Wednesday’s noontime event, use this link: https://sen.gov/P3OJ.

- Lock Haven University today announced that 12 different athletic teams are set to return to competition during the 2021 spring semester, however, no spectators will be permitted at home events. Click Here for the LHU news release.

- There continues to be improvement in the statewide – and local - COVID-19 statistics. Governor Tom Wolf and Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam 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 14,886 (5,461 fewer cases than the past week); a statewide percent positivity of 6.5% (down from 8.0% last week); and 40 counties with substantial transmission status, but no counties reporting over 20 percent positivity rate. According to the data, Clinton, Centre and Lycoming county’s percent positivity rates all declined this week. Clinton County’s percent positivity is 8.2%, compared to 8.8% last week; Centre County is at 4.5%, compared to 9.2% a week ago; and Lycoming County is at 9.3%, compared to 11.6% the previous week. Read more: Pennsylvania COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard Update for Feb. 12-18: Case Increases at 14,886; Percent Positivity at 6.5% and 40 Counties with Substantial Transmission (pa.gov).

- The Health Department today confirmed an additional 1,521 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 915,018. According to the state, Clinton County today reported 9 new cases, bringing the countywide total to 2,710. Centre County saw 13 new cases, bringing their total to 12,642, and Lycoming County reported 18 new cases, bringing their countywide total to 9,058. Statewide, 1,959 people are hospitalized with the virus, 421 of whom are in intensive care. More here: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19: Nearly 2 Million Vaccinations to Date.

- Saying the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected Pennsylvania workers, businesses and communities, Governor Wolf today unveiled his “Back to Work PA” plan, which he says will bolster economic recovery efforts and position Pennsylvania for economic growth. See more: Governor Wolf Unveils Workforce and Economic Development Plan to Get Pennsylvania Back to Work (pa.gov)

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 480 licensed liquor establishments over the weekend (February 19-21), issuing 28 notices of violation and 18 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. The Williamsport Enforcement Office, which covers Clinton County, conducted 16 licensee checks during the period, issuing one warning and no notices of violation related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. More here: State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement February 19-21: 480 Compliance Checks; 28 Notices of Violation (pa.gov).

- The U.S. Small Business Administration offers several updates:

  • The SBA has announced a new, targeted EIDL Advance mapping tool. The Targeted EIDL Advance provides businesses located in low-income communities (some portions of Clinton County fall within this guideline) with additional funds to ensure small business continuity, adaptation, and resiliency. Applicants do not need to take any action at this time. SBA will reach out to those who qualify. To help applicants determine if they are located in a low-income community as defined in section 45D(e) of the Internal Revenue Code, a lookup tool is now available at https://sbaeidl.policymap.com/app. Note that the business address must be located in a low-income community in order to qualify, so SBA encourages potential applicants to check the map to see if they meet the low-income community eligibility requirement before you apply.
  • The SBA has now provided more than 3.7 million small businesses, collectively employing more than 20 million people, with $200 billion through the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Eligible small businesses can apply for an EIDL until December 31, 2021. Learn more and how to apply.
  • While the SBA is not yet accepting applications, those looking to apply for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant will need to be registered in the U.S. government’s System for Award Management, SAM.gov. SBA has created a video tutorial that guides people through the process, and you can find it on the SVOG’s website at www.sba.gov/svogrant. Learn more and get registered.
  • Bad actors are using government logos in phishing emails in an attempt to steal account information. Email image links lead to websites impersonating federal agencies. Any email from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will come from accounts ending in sba.gov. Learn more.
  • The federal government has a goal to award at least 23% of contract dollars to small businesses. Explore the SBA’s contracting guide to learn how your business can compete for and win government contracts. Learn more.

- Updates from the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business & Industry:

  • House Appropriations Committee lawmakers focused on the impact that several aspects of Governor Wolf’s 2021-22 budget proposal would have on taxpayers and employers during the first week of budget hearings – particularly with respect to minimum wage increase and Personal Income Tax increase proposals. -> Read More
  • Budget hearings continue this week at the state Capitol, with House Appropriations Committee lawmakers headed into their second week of hearings and the Senate entering their first week with the heads of state agencies, row offices and other entities slated to receive state funding the 2021-22 fiscal year. -> Read More
  • Business owners statewide are being asked to tell state House Republicans what they need to recover from the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic. The caucus’s legislative leadership last week unveiled the “COVID-19 Economic Recovery Business Survey.” Responses will be reviewed by the Policy Committee and Economic Recovery Task Force as they work to develop initiatives to expedite the state’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and related mitigation orders. The survey is available at www.PAHouseGOP.com through March 19. 
  • Last week, a PA-Chamber led coalition of business advocacy groups issued letters to the Governor and the General Assembly, urging them to reject placing punitive new taxes on the natural gas industry to pay for more state spending. -> Read More
  • The PA Chamber has joined more than 300 organizations nationwide in signing on to a U.S. Chamber-led letter that calls on Congressional lawmakers to enact a comprehensive, bipartisan infrastructure funding package before July 4, 2021. -> Read More

- The PA Department of Environmental Protection’s Climate Change Advisory Committee is scheduled to hold a virtual meeting tomorrow, February 23, to hear a presentation on and discuss the final draft of the 2021 Climate Impacts Assessment and an updated draft of the 2021 PA Climate Action Plan. Key findings of the assessment indicate that flooding is currently the highest-risk hazard facing Pennsylvania, and flood risks are projected to increase with impacts to infrastructure, human health, and agriculture, with ripple effects throughout the economy. At the same time, risks from increasing average temperatures (affecting nearly every aspect of life, from infrastructure design to energy costs, recreational opportunities, agricultural practices and the natural environment) and heat waves (creating particular health and economic risks for vulnerable populations, including low-income populations, the elderly, pregnant women, people with certain mental illnesses, outdoor workers, and those with cardiovascular conditions) could rise to be as high as flooding is today by mid-century. Click here for more information: http://paenvironmentdaily.blogspot.com/2021/02/dep-climate-advisory-committee-meets.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+PaEnvironmentDaily+%28PA+Environment+Daily+Blog%29.

- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today said it is now working to set new premiums for flood insurance to more accurately reflect the risk of today’s climate. Click Here for the FEMA file for details.

- 12th District Congressman Fred Keller, in his weekly newsletter, notes that a Social Security Statement is one of the most valuable tools a person can use to learn about their earnings and future Social Security benefits. A convenient way to access the Statement is by using my social security, where you can find a variety of useful tools and information, including new fact sheets. The fact sheets cover:

  • Retirement planning for four different age groups (Ages 18-48, 49-60, 61-69 and 70+).
  • Benefit information for: Workers with non-covered earnings who may be subject to the Windfall Elimination Provision/Government Pension Offset; Workers who are not fully insured; Workers with an intermittent work history; and New workers.
  • Medicare planning.

You can find all of the new fact sheets here.

- As part of American Saves Week, the U.S. Department of Labor is offering a free webcast, Helping Small Business Owners and their Employees Save for Retirement, this Wednesday, February 24, at 2:00 p.m. A retirement plan is a tax efficient way to improve your financial security. And as an employer, offering a retirement plan helps your employees improve their financial wellbeing – and can be a recruitment tool as you continue to grow and expand your business. Starting a retirement savings plan can be easier than you think. This webinar is for small businesses and their CPAs. Register today.

- The PA Fish and Boat Commission today announced it is recruiting the 24th class of Waterways Conservation Officer (WCO) Trainees at hits H.R. Stackhouse School of Fishery Conservation and Watercraft Safety. More information here: PENNSYLVANIA FISH AND BOAT COMMISSION TO RECRUIT NEW CLASS OF WATERWAYS CONSERVATION OFFICER TRAINEES (pa.gov)

2/19/21

- Clinton County Economic Partnership President Mike Flanagan provided a weekly update on the local employment picture: Initial unemployment insurance claims by Clinton County residents decreased during the one-week period ending February 13, but continued claims rose by more than 100, according to information released Thursday by the state Department of Labor & Industry.

The initial claims were 98, with 75% of them male and 30% in the construction field. For the week ending February 6, 232 residents filed for the first time. Meanwhile, there were 1,132 continued claims during the week ending February 13, up from 1,028. The continued claims included 58% who are male, and 22% are in the construction sector.

The state also reported that 30 residents exhausted their unemployment benefits as of February 13. Since the beginning of the year, 232 have had their benefits expire.

Clinton County’s December unemployment rate was 6.6%. The monthly unemployment report for January should be available in early March.

- Keystone Central School District will continue to attempt to bring all students to school next week (those efforts were hampered this week by the weather). Superintendent Dr. Jacquelyn Martin, in her weekly update (Click Here) reminded families there is no school Monday, February 22 because of a scheduled staff development day. Weather -permitting, elementary, middle and high school students are slated to report to school Tuesday for in-person learning. Dr. Martin said there currently are three confirmed, active cases of COVID-19 among staff and two among students in four different schools.

- PA Governor Tom Wolf today signed a fourth 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. Read more: Governor Wolf Signs Fourth Renewal of COVID-19 Disaster Declaration to Aid in Response and Recovery (pa.gov).

- The PA Department of Health today confirmed an additional 2,778 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 908,773. According to the data, Clinton County reported 10 new cases, bringing the countywide case count to 2,681. Centre County saw 50 new case reports, bringing their total to 12,519, and Lycoming County reported 41 new cases, bringing their count to 8,977. Statewide, 2,124 people are hospitalized with the virus, 467 of whom are in intensive care. There were 67 new deaths reported, bringing to 23,480 the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19, including 55 deaths in Clinton County. See more: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19: Nearly 1.9 Million Vaccinations to Date.

- The Health Department say it’s been alerted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that recent winter storms across the country will delay deliveries of both the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines. For Pennsylvanians, the Department says those delays could impact their appointments for the vaccine. Read more: Department of Health Provides Update on Adverse Weather Impacting Vaccine Distribution and Administration, Assures Pennsylvanians will Be Vaccinated as Distribution Resumes.

- The Wolf Administration today provided an update on the state’s progress in administering COVID-19 vaccines to residents and staff of long-term and congregate care facilities eligible in Phase 1A of the vaccine distribution schedule. Learn more: Wolf Administration Provides Vaccine Update for Long-Term Care Facilities, Expands Rite Aid Partnership to Residential Drug and Alcohol Treatment Facilities.

- PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 903 licensed liquor establishments this week (February 15-18), issuing 11 notices of violation and 31 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 one warning and no notices of violation related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. More here: State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement February 15-18: 903 Compliance Checks; 11 Notices of Violation (pa.gov).

- A Special Enrollment Period for the federal Health Insurance Marketplace will run through Saturday, May 15. Explore options at https://HealthCare.gov.

- The PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced its latest actions to help expand electric vehicle use statewide: more than $936,000 in grant funding for projects to install 16 more fast chargers in high-traffic areas, the start of a draft rulemaking to make electric vehicles more readily available to consumers, and the release of a booklet on the benefits and basics of these zero emission vehicles. See more: Article Viewer (pa.gov).

- The PA Department of General Services announced the state’s first auction of 2021 will feature 270 vehicles that will be available for purchase. The auction will be held this Tuesday, February 23, at Manheim Keystone Pennsylvania auction house in Grantville, with limited in-person attendance. More here: Pennsylvania's First Vehicle Auction of 2021 to Feature 270 Vehicles for Public Purchase on February 23 (pa.gov).

- STEP, Inc., the community action agency serving Clinton and Lycoming counties, has published its Winter 2021 newsletter, which can be viewed by clicking the following link: https://www.stepcorp.org/news-events/newsletters.html.

- The PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources warns that sustained cold temperatures and a string of snowstorms have left many state forestry roads impassable and is urging motorists to stay off forest roads until conditions improve. See more: DCNR Warns of Hazardous Conditions on State Forest Roads (pa.gov).

- About 200 runners will take to Bald Eagle Mountain in Clinton County Saturday morning for the 2021 Frozen Snot trail race. Wintery conditions will require that participants wear traction cleats as they maneuver the 13.5- and 8.3-mile courses. This is the first of more than a dozen trail challenges planned for the area this year.

2/18/21

- The PA House Republican Caucus this week launched a COVID-19 Economic Recovery Business Survey, seeking input from Pennsylvania business owners on what relief and assistance are needed to recover from the devastation of the pandemic. READ MORE.

- The PA Health Department is regrouping to clear up a supply misstep with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. The state is now saying up to 60,000 people could have to reschedule vaccine appointments, and up to 55,000 others might be delayed in getting their initial doses. The problem involves only the Moderna COIVD-19 vaccine – people  receiving the Pfizer vaccine won’t be affected. According to the state, patients who have appointments to get the Moderna vaccine will be contacted by the pharmacy or medical practice providing their shot if they need to be rescheduled. Patients who don’t hear from their providers should go in as scheduled for their second dose. Read more: Here's what you need to know about Pa.'s shortage of Moderna vaccines | Pennsylvania Capital-Star (penncapital-star.com).

- The Health Department today confirmed an additional 3,345 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 905,995. According to the data, Clinton County reported 11 new cases, bringing the countywide total to 2,671. Centre County saw 73 new cases, bringing their total to 12,469, and Lycoming County was up 19 new cases, bringing their total to 8,936. Statewide, 2,174 people are hospitalized with the virus, 465 of whom are in intensive care. To date, 23,413 deaths have been attributed to COVID-19 across the state, 55 in Clinton County. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1301

- The Internal Revenue Service today provided greater flexibility, due to the pandemic, to employee benefit plans offering health flexible spending arrangements (FSAs) or dependent care assistance programs. Under the COVID-related Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020, these plans now have additional discretion in 2021 and 2022 to adjust their programs to help employees better meet the unanticipated consequences of the public health emergency. See more: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/new-law-provides-additional-flexibility-for-health-fsas-and-dependent-care-assistance-programs.

- PA Department of Health nursing home surveyors last month conducted 712 inspections, including 351 complaint investigations, of 472 separate nursing homes, according to a January report. Of those, 222 were COVID-19-specific investigations. According to the report, there were no new sanctions finalized against a nursing care facility in January. See more: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=1300.

- The PA Department of Agriculture today released data related to COVID-19 restaurant enforcement actions from February 8-14. The Department’s Bureau of Food Safety performed 691 inspections, 36 of which were complaint-driven. Twenty-eight complaints were related to COVID-19 mitigation measures. The Department received 188 food facility COVID-19-related complaints, 10 of which were referred to local and county health jurisdictions. During the period, inspectors closed three restaurants for violating COVID-19 mitigation orders. More here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Agriculture_details.aspx?newsid=1041.

- Local nonprofits and municipalities have until March 1 to submit an application for a grant through the Clinton County Tourism/Recreation Grant Program. The purpose of the grant program is to support the development and expansion of tourist and recreational assets and events that promote Clinton County and increase tourism and overnight stays within the county. For program guidelines and the online grant application, visit: https://www.clintoncountypa.com/departments/funding-opportunities.

- The Wildlife Leadership Academy, a nonprofit whose mission is “to engage and empower high school age youth to become Conservation Ambassadors to ensure a sustained wildlife, fisheries and natural resource legacy for future generations,” is seeking a qualified candidate for a seasonal (7 month) Field School Operations Coordinator at their Lock Haven office. The Coordinator position would be responsible for the administrative and logistical operations of the Academy’s summer field schools. Applications are requested by March 1. Click Here for all the details.  

- The PA Fish and Boat Commission invites the public to participate in its 2021 Virtual Fisheries Summit this Saturday, February 20. The event – which can be seen on the PFBC Facebook page – will feature narrated presentations on the wealth of diverse fishing opportunities in PA and discuss the status of various warm-water, cool-water, and cold-water fisheries. See more here: https://www.media.pa.gov/pages/fish-and-boat-commission-details.aspx?newsid=367.

- PA First Lady Frances Wolf addressed mental health, trauma, and equity during COVID-19 in a virtual conversation hosted on Facebook. Learn more: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/first-lady-frances-wolf-hosts-virtual-conversation-addressing-mental-health-trauma-and-equity-during-covid-19/

2/17/21

- The PA Department of Health and the newly-formed joint task force with the state legislature today addressed issues with COVID-19 vaccine distribution that have been uncovered as the task force takes a look at the state’s distribution efforts. Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam said the state discovered some vaccine providers have inadvertently administered the Moderna vaccine as second doses, instead of as first doses as they were intended. Beam said the state is committed to ensuring that adequate second doses will be available. Read more: Department of Health and Legislative Joint Task Force Take A