Parade of Homes winners announced

The York Builders Association has announced the winners from this year’s Parade of Homes and Chefs on Parade events, which were held in September.
They are:
— Chefs on Parade:
Favorite chef: Chef George from Victor’s Italian Restaurant
Favorite kitchen: Raffy’s Remodeling
— People’s Choice Awards:
Favorite kitchen: Raffy’s Remodeling
Favorite bathroom: RF Hager Construction
Favorite outdoor space: Hively Landscapes
Favorite remodeled home: Kruszon Remodeling
Favorite new home: Aiello’s Custom Homes






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Ribbon-cutting for brewvino, new downtown restaurant, set for Wednesday

Downtown York’s growing restaurant scene has grown a little bigger.
Brewvino, a new gourmet pizza and salad restaurant near Santander Stadium in downtown York, will have a ribbon-cutting on Wednesday at  4 p.m., according to a press release from Downtown Inc.
The restaurant, which is in the space at 251 N. George St. formerly occupied by La Casa de Tapas, already had its soft opening.
Brewvino’s menu lists a wide assortment of hand-crafted or gluten-free pizzas from $10 to $14. They include intriguing selections like the $12 “whistle pig” (slow-cooked pork, goat cheese, roasted garlic sauce, sliced apple and balsamic drizzle) and the $10 “downtown” (ground beef, cheddar cheese, red onion and roasted tomato sauce.)
And there’s beer or wine to wash it all down. Brewvino’s website lists what it says is a changing assortment of beer on tap. The list currently on the website includes Liquid Hero Schweet, Troegs Brewing Co.’s Troegenator and Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA.

Here’s a link to the brewvino website.


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Ribbon-cuttings scheduled for Clay Path Studio, Joy’s Cafe

Downtown Inc. will hold ribbon-cutting ceremonies for two businesses in downtown York on Friday, as part of October’s First Friday festivities.
Mayor Kim Bracey will cut the ribbon at 4 p.m. at Clay Path Studio & Artisan Gift Shop at 33 W. Market St.  Clay Path Studio relocated to Market Street from Central Market in September.
Joy’s Cafe in the Susquehanna Commerce Center, 221 W. Philadelphia St., will be the site of the second ribbon-cutting, at 4:45 p.m.



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M&T remains largest bank in York-Hanover area in latest FDIC report

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. released its annual report on bank market share on Monday.
M&T is again the largest bank in the York-Hanover area, holding more than one-quarter of the $6.56 billion deposited at banks here.
Buffalo, N.Y.-based  M&T held $1.67 billion in deposits in its branches in the York-Hanover area as of June 30. That gave it a 25.4 percent share of the local banking market, up from 24.9 percent as of June 30, 2013.
PeoplesBank, which is based in York Township, was second with $902.8 million in local deposits and a 13.7 percent market share. Lititz-based Susquehanna Bank was third with  $811.1 million in deposits and a 12.3 percent share of the market. Both banks gained market share compared with 2013.

Here’s a list of the area’s 10-largest banks, ranked by local deposits as of June 30, according to the FDIC report:

1. M&T, $1.67 billion, 25.4 percent market share
2. PeoplesBank, $902.8 million,  13.7 percent
3. Susquehanna Bank, $811.1 million, 12.3 percent
4. Fulton Bank, $718.1 million, 10.9 percent
5. Santander Bank, $531.2 million, 8.09 percent
6. Wells Fargo Bank, $441.1 million, 6.7 percent
7. PNC Bank, $405.6 million, 6.18 percent
8. Metro Bank, $404.5 million, 6.16 percent
9. York Traditions Bank, $237.9 million, 3.6 percent
10. Citizens Bank, $177.2 million, 2.7 percent

More on local banking:
Susquehanna Bank names new CEO
Codorus Valley Bancorp to buy Baltimore-area bank in $14.4 million deal










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My Accidental Savings Account

It was recently my birthday, and I got some wonderful gifts from family and friends.

I have to say, though, they couldn’t compete with Bank of America.

My creditor since 2006, the bank surprised me this September by dumping more than $3,000 into my credit card account, zeroing out my debt and refunding me more than $2,600 in cash.

Turns out, it wasn’t because they wanted to say “Happy Birthday,” but actually because of something their customer service representative called an “interest error correction.”

Which means that really I paid for this gift myself.

I found out about my accidental savings account when I made my monthly payment. A little background, here: I had closed this card around 2010 and made payments on it every month since then—often just minimum monthly payments.

As busy as I was, I always said I’d devote more attention to that credit card the following month. I vaguely suspected that my interest rate was too high, but figured there was probably nothing I could to about it anyway. This was before the Credit Card Reform Act of 2009, when banks would often penalize one late payment with a year-long annual percentage raise increase.

To be fair, I did have my share of fun thanks to B of A’s line of revolving credit. I mean, this card was a big part of my 20s spent working in the motorcycle industry in Southern California. I likely racked up my debt on overpriced drinks, Mexican food and aftermarket motorcycle parts.

At some point I was late on my monthly payment, and sure enough, Bank of America set my APR to right around 23 percent. Apparently, they forgot to drop the APR back to the normal rate.

I’m embarrassed to say, I never noticed.

I see two lessons here.

First, the obvious lesson, the one my mom tried to teach me when I got my first checking account at age 12, but which I had to learn the hard way. Don’t be a distracted consumer. Don’t trust banks or credit card companies to be correct.

Secondly: before you end a relationship with a banking institution, you should carefully examine your account to make sure everything adds up. Because once you pay off a card and close your account, it may become more difficult for the bank to find you.

In my case, I came close to paying this card off a year ago, just because I had the spare cash and liked the idea of one less monthly payment. But I didn’t do it, and I’m glad I didn’t.

After all, how would Bank of America have contacted me? I moved from Pittsburgh to York County this year. I wouldn’t have updated my information with Bank of America, since I would have had no more accounts with them.

Betty Riess, a Bank of America spokeswoman, said that “there are circumstances when we need to locate a customer (for example, dormant deposit accounts) and we will go to great lengths to locate them if there is a need to communicate about an account.”

I don’t doubt that they would try to do so. But then, they got the interest rate wrong in the first place. Who is to say whether they would have been able to get a hold of me?

There are resources for checking in various institutions to make sure they don’t owe you money, but if you’re not careful you could end up on a scam website or one that charges a fee to search for unclaimed money.

I’ve included links to websites that are either official government sites or sites endorsed by the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators. None of the sites charge a fee.

Hopefully some of you out there will discover that you, too, have an accidental savings account courtesy of your creditor.


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Eight York County companies among Pa.’s top 100

Eight businesses based in York County made the 2014 list of the 100 Best Places to Work in Pennsylvania.
The list, released Friday, is sponsored by the Team Pennsylvania Foundation and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. Companies are evaluated using a formula that includes employee surveys and a company’s workplace policies and practices.
“Today we are honoring the Pennsylvania companies who have transformed the workplace into places of opportunity where employees can build a career and a bright future,” Gov. Tom Corbett said in a press release.
The rankings of the companies will be announced at a dinner on Dec. 4 at the Lancaster County Convention Center in Lancaster.
Here are the York County companies on the 2014 list:

Large companies (251 employers or more):
— Aerotek, Hanover
– Glatfelter Insurance Group, York Township
— Wagman Cos., Manchester Township
— PeoplesBank, York Township

Small-medium sized companies (25 employees to 250 employees)
— NTM Engineering, Dillsburg
— McConkey Insurance & Benefits, Springettsbury Township
— Stambaugh Ness PC, Springettsbury Township
LSC Design, York




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A creative job-seeker

Employers prize out-of-the-box thinkers, so you’ve got to hand it to Blake Stough for being creative when it comes to finding a job.
The 41-year-old Spring Grove resident posted on Facebook earlier this week that he’d be at a table upstairs at Central Market between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. today, resume in hand, ready to meet with prospective employers.
“Central Market is a prime location for networking, and I want to use this opportunity to meet as many people as possible,” Stough posted. “Even one new connection will be considered a success.”
He asked his Facebook friends to circulate his post on their Facebook pages.
No prospective employers had shown up yet when I found Stough upstairs at Central Market around noon today.
But Stough, who was laid off from his job as a printer in August, wasn’t discouraged in the least.
“This was more of an attempt to get the word out,” he  said. “It’s still mission accomplished in my book.”
Stough is focusing on finding another job in printing , but he’s open to other fields, including something related to history. Stough is founder of the Preserving York Facebook page, which is dedicated to York County history.
“I’m passionate about whatever I do,” Stough said.
Sounds like that includes his job search.

If you want to reach Stough, his email address is



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Want some free coffee?

Listen up, coffee lovers.
In honor of National Coffee Day on Sept. 29, participating McDonald’s restaurants in central Pennsylvania are offering customers one free, small McCafe coffee a day, each day from Sept. 16 to Sept. 29.
The fast food giant is also running two Twitter contests in Central Pa. The prize for one contest is a year of free, medium-size coffee for you and a friend. Visit @mcdcentralpa on Twitter from Sept. 9 to Sept. 29 and tweet using #likemccafesweeps.
The second contest offers Central Pa. college students a chance to win free, medium coffee for themselves and everyone in their dorm. Tweet using #freecoffeesweeps from Sept. 12 to Sept. 19.


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The pros and cons of buying your own modem

xfinity modem router

a DOCSIS 3.0 modem router gateway

If you have internet service in York County, odds are, Comcast is your provider.

And if you have Comcast, you have a choice: to rent Comcast’s modem and router, or to buy your own.

By default, Comcast gives new internet customers one of their devices: a DOCSIS 3.0 modem with a wifi router built into it. As of August, 2014, Comcast charges customers $8 a month to rent this modem/router.

The other option is to buy your own modem/router, which as of August costs a bit over $100 new at retailers like Walmart, Best Buy or online at sites such as Amazon.

Renting Comcast’s device or buying your own each come with costs and benefits. Eight dollars a month for a rental adds up to $96 a year, $192 for two years and $480 for five years. On the other hand, renting a device leaves users off the hook when things go wrong and on the hook for free upgrades.


Bob Grove, a Comcast spokesman, said that one advantage of renting their modem/router devices is that Comcast will replace and service the devices for free if they go bad.

In addition, Grove said Comcast is better equipped to troubleshoot its own devices.

“Our Care agents have tools that can check the modem’s signal and connection history to see what might be going on, or they can do tests/diagnostics over the phone,” Grove said in an email.

Grove said that Comcast customer service would try to troubleshoot a customer-owned device, but may not be able to diagnose the problem or restore service.

Also, Grove pointed out that Comcast replaces their leased modems every few years so that customers always have the most recent technology.


For those who would rather buy a router, Ben Markey, a sales consultant at Best Buy at 2865 Concord Rd., Springettsbury Township, recommended two devices, both of which are on Comcast’s list of approved DOCSIS devices on their website.

The one device, a Zoom cable modem/router, listed at Bestbuy for $99 as of August, 2014. The other device is a Motorola SURFBoard modem/router, retailing for $135 in August.

Each device comes with a one-year warranty. In addition, Markey said customers can pay $20 to add an additional year of warranty coverage.

Markey said that, currently, “All the gateways are technically the same,” though he said that, when dealing with internet hardware, it’s always a matter of time before any device becomes obsolete.

What about you? Do you rent a modem and router, or did you buy your own? What led you to your decision?

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York Water Co. continues dividend-paying streak


At a time when many investors are looking to dividend-paying stocks to goose up the yield on their portfolios, York Water Co. announced it will pay its 575th consecutive dividend in October.
The company will pay a quarterly dividend of 14.3 cents a share on Oct. 15 to shareholders of record as of Sept. 30.
The investor-owned utility has paid a dividend since 1816, a streak of 199 consecutive years. The company says it believes it has the longest streak of consecutive dividends in the U.S.
Earlier this month, York Water Co. announced that its profit for the second quarter rose 17 percent.



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