Business


POTTSTOWN PA – If you’re among the more than 8 percent of greater Pottstown area residents now without a job, here are opportunities to get back into the hunt.

Montgomery County Community College will hold career fairs this spring at both its West Campus in Pottstown PA and its Central Campus in Blue Bell PA. The fairs are free, open to the public and will feature up to 20 area businesses and organizations looking to recruit for part-time, full-time, temporary and seasonal employment, as well as for internships.

Career fairs at the Pottstown campus are scheduled over three consecutive months, on Feb. 2, March 2 and April 6, all from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the main lobby of South Hall, 101 College Drive, Pottstown.

At the Blue Bell campus, similar fairs will be held Feb. 2, Feb. 3, March 1 and March 7, also from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., in the atrium of the Advanced Technology Center, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. In addition, the college’s annual Spring Employment and Internship Expo, featuring up to 50 employers, will be held April 20 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in its Physical Education Center at Blue Bell.

Businesses and organizations that wish to participate in the career fairs should call Cindy Murphy in the college’s Office of Career Services, 610-718-1802, or e-mail her.

Photo from Google Images

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The Sanatoga interchange at U.S. Route 422.

LIMERICK PA – Adoption of an official road map for neighboring Limerick (PA) Township, being considered next week by the Limerick Board of Supervisors, may have an impact on future real estate development in Lower Pottsgrove.

The Limerick board, in an advertisement published Tuesday (Jan. 11, 2011) in The (Pottstown PA) Mercury newspaper, said it would conduct a public hearing and then consider a resolution to accept an official township road map during its Jan. 18 meeting at 7 p.m. in the municipal building, 646 W. Ridge Pike, Limerick PA. The meeting is open to the public.

The map, created by Limerick’s engineering firm, Pennoni Associates Inc., designates and reserves “areas for future streets, and other municipal facilities,” according to the published legal notice, and indicates “future street locations (and) intersection improvements within the Township.” It’s intended to give developers and land owners guidance by showing where and how Limerick looks to place roads and public utilities in coming years.

Likely to be included in the map are features affecting the development of properties on the Limerick side of the Sanatoga interchange at U.S. Route 422. Parts of the interchange are divided by the border line that separates Limerick and Lower Pottsgrove.

The two townships have collaborated since last year on creating a mutually acceptable, coordinated plan for real estate development at and around the interchange. Back in June (2010), both hired Norristown PA-based landscape architects Simone Collins to create detailed maps that show how road and other improvements on each side of the townships’ line would match up to enhance traffic flow and land use.

Consequently, the guidance offered by Limerick’s official map – if adopted as expected – for its western edge are known to and probably will be embraced by Lower Pottsgrove leaders. For future developers in Limerick, it locks much of that guidance into local law, as allowed under the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code. Even so, the proposed road map ordinance gives supervisors the flexibility to change the design when a need arises.

Copies of the map and accompanying ordinance are available for public review, according to the legal notice, at Limerick’s municipal building, as well as at the offices of The Mercury, Hanover and King Streets, Pottstown PA; and at the Montgomery County Law Library, located in the lower level of the county courthouse in Norristown.

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LIMERICK PA – You know it’s January when college football bowl games continue endlessly on television, when weathermen and women predict the next storm could be a “snowicane,” and when Jim King returns with his crystal ball for businesses.

Speaker Jim King.

King, president and chief investment officer of National Penn Investors Trust Company, this Thursday (Jan. 13, 2011) makes what has become his annual foray to the TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce Economic Forecast Breakfast to offer is thoughts on what lies ahead for the local, state and national economies, as well as a review of notable market and economic events during 2010.

Networking at the breakfast begins at 7 a.m. in the Copperfield Inn at Lakeside, 594 W. Ridge Pike, Limerick PA; the meal will be served at 7:30 a.m., followed by King’s remarks. Chamber members who have heard him speak several times, by the way, report he’s been accurate more often than not.

King is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University and the Central Atlantic School of Trust. Locally, he is a director of the Inter-Faith Housing Alliance. Professionally, King also is a member of both the CFA Institute and Bond Club of Philadelphia, as well as an affiliate member of the Financial Analysts of Philadelphia.

The breakfast is sponsored by National Penn and National Penn Investors Trust. Tickets for the event are still available, according to chamber President Eileen Dautrich, priced at $25 for members, $30 for members who must be invoiced, and $50 for non-members. To buy tickets or for more information, call the chamber office at 610-326-5158.

By Michael Jacobson
Penn State Cooperative Extension

LIMERICK PA – With winter here, with temperatures dropping into the ’20s as they have so far this week across Limerick and  Lower Pottsgrove PA townships and the borough of Pottstown, and with more snow on the way, the demand is getting stronger for firewood to stoke the home hearth. In fact, the firewood market is fairly robust these days.

The definition of "coziness."

Just open the newspaper and you’ll see lots of firewood ads. Supplying firewood is an industry that provides part-time work and extra cash for families this time of the year. Many land owners also enjoy cutting firewood for their own use. It involves very little expense – to buy a chainsaw, safety equipment, wedges, a splitting maul – and use of a small pick-up truck or trailer.

Burning firewood for heat is environmentally friendly and offers good value for the money. Unlike coal, oil and gas, which are non-renewable fossil fuels that contribute greenhouse gas emissions, wood (if sustainably harvested) is a local and renewable energy resource.

How does a consumer decide what firewood to buy and where to buy it? There are three main considerations: price, quantity, and quality.

Pricing firewood

Firewood prices differ across regions and generally are higher in urban areas, more distant from the woods. Normally, prices are for wood delivered to a house, but check to see if there is an additional transportation cost, whether it is stacked or just dumped in a pile, and if the wood is split and cut to length to fit your heating appliance.

If you heat with oil, wood can save you money. If you use coal, wood won’t be as cost-efficient, but it’s a close second. Penn State Cooperative Extension draws these conclusions by measuring heating efficiency; it looks at equivalent prices per heating unit for alternative fuels.

For example, to get the same amount of heat produced by a $150 cord of firewood, in equivalent heating units you’d pay about $1.20 a gallon for heating oil or 90 cents a therm for natural gas. Of course, current prices for oil and gas are now much higher; heating oil sells for about $3 a gallon, and gas is more than $1 a therm. Compared to them at today’s costs, wood is a bargain.

A word of caution: if you buy or gather firewood, stay local. Much of Pennsylvania is under quarantine for the emerald ash borer, an insect that threatens ash trees. Another insect, although not currently found in the state, is the Asian long-horned beetle. If it gets here, could cause major damage to many of our tree species. Burning wood close to its source, therefore, makes sense and protects forests.

Firewood quantity

Tightly stacked wood makes for a good cord.

Wood is often sold by the cord. By state law, a cord is 128 cubic feet (4’x4’x8′), but can be sold in portions and must be accompanied by a statement or invoice certifying the amount sold and presented to the buyer at the time of delivery or billing. The law also says “firewood may not be advertised or sold by the truck load, the pile, the piece or any other method other than by the cord” or a fraction thereof.

The problem with the term “a truck load” is that it can refer to anything from a pick-up truck (a fifth- or a half-cord) to a pulpwood truck (carrying four or more cords).

How do you know you are getting a cord? You have to stack it. A 4’x4’x8′ pile of wood has lots of air spaces between individual sticks. The solid wood volume will vary by the diameter and length of sticks in the stack. Generally it will contain 80 to 100 cubic of wood. Haphazardly stacked wood will obviously have a lower wood-to-volume ratio than a tight and uniform stack. By insisting on having your wood neatly stacked, you get a better idea of whether it is a true cord.

Firewood quality

Here’s good news: Pennsylvania has high-density hardwood species, which are among the best burning firewood available.

Denser woods weigh up to 3 tons per cord, while lighter woods have about 1-1/2 to 2 tons per cord. Beech, birch, some maples, hickory, and oak are among the most common species in Pennsylvania and also among the densest. Many consumers prefer hardwood species for firewood because they offer more heat per volume and, when dry, are less likely to result in creosote build-up problems.

Firewood is best for burning when it has 20-percent or less moisture content, which takes a year or more of drying under roof and off the ground.

The moisture content for wood varies: green (wet) wood can have 50- to more than 100-percent moisture content; yes, wet wood actually can contain more weight in water than it does weight in wood, depending on the species. Air-seasoned wood is 20- to 25-percent moisture, and wood for furniture is about 4 to 6 percent. Burning unseasoned wood wastes energy, because the moisture has to be driven off before combustion can occur. Split wood dries out faster.

Wood can make for a happier and warmer winter. Before you make a purchase, though, check to ensure you are getting a cord worth of wood, make sure it is dry, is good quality hardwood cut to your needs, and is stacked upon delivery.

Ashley Pompei, assistant marketing manager for the malls.

KING OF PRUSSIA PA – Separate shuttle buses for employees and customers at the King of Prussia PA Mall will make their final runs around the vast shopping complex this Sunday (Dec. 26, 2010), the day after Christmas. Until then, though, the shuttles are reducing aggravation endured by package-burdened buyers, and saving a little of the planet, too.

The Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association (GVFTMA), which operates offices in Pottstown, partnered with mall management to operate the complimentary shuttles. Now running in their third consecutive year, they circulate the connected centers on a regular schedule to continuously help shoppers get from store to store without returning to their cars. They also move workers from employee parking lots to their destinations.

It’s convenient for all, and helps to reduce traffic congestion and carbon emissions, according to GVFTMA.

TRAPPE PA – Teens age 15-18 interested in learning more about what it takes to become a veterinarian can find out during a 4-H Teen Veterinary Science course, to be held on consecutive Thursdays from Feb. 3 (2010) to March 3 from 6:30-8 p.m. each session in the Animal Medical Center, 25 W. Third Ave., Trappe PA.

“We plan to address how to prepare for a career, look at schooling needs, and help participants experience some of the daily duties of a veterinarian or vet technician. We are very pleased to have the staff of the Animal Medical Center … again volunteering to be our instructors,” Montgomery County (PA) 4-H Coordinator Nancy Kadwill said.

Other topics to be covered include office visits and determining animal health, animal handling and safety, acupuncture, lab radiology, and parasite control. Participants may also have an opportunity to view a surgery procedure. A certificate will be presented to all who complete the course.

Advance registration is required. Enrollment is limited to 18 teens. A $25 donation per person is requested to help cover the cost of materials and program support. For more information or to register, call 610-489-4315.

Photo from Clipart.com

Maybe there's a job waiting here ...

LIMERICK PA – Mary M. Tiernan, a program analyst in the Philadelphia District Office of the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, will be the featured speaker Dec. 7 (2010; Thursday) during a Disability Awareness Job Fair that opens at 7:45 a.m. in the Limerick (PA) Township Municipal Building, 646 W. Ridge Pike, Limerick PA.

The event is open to the public, and is presented by Gateway Employment Resources, 342 W. Ridge Pike, Limerick, and Pennsylvania CareerLink. Registration for the session will be held from 7:45-8:15 a.m., followed by a talk and question-and-answer session led by Tiernan. The job fair itself, at which potential employment candidates with either special skills or needs can meet with would-be employers, will be held from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

The project is being made possible through a grant to the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.

For more information, call 610-495-6432.

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