“Twelve Days of Christmas” costs 1 percent more in 2014


Geese don’t come cheap, it turns out.
Pittsburgh-based PNC Wealth Management is out with the 2014 edition of its annual Christmas Price Index, which calculates how much it would cost to buy the all of the items in the song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”
For 2014, PNC figures the cost at $27,673, up 1 percent, or $280 more than in 2013.
Those six geese-a-laying are a lot pricier than they were in 2013. They’re up 71.4 percent, to $360.
The price of a partridge, the one in the pear tree, also increased. It rose 33.3 percent, to $20.
If you purchased all the items mentioned in “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” as often as they are repeated in all of the song’s verses, it would cost you $116,273, an increase of 1.4 percent from 2013, PNC said.

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Author pens book on long-gone Pomeroy’s department store chain

SUBMITTED -- The cover of Michael Lisicky's new book, "Shop Pomeroy's First," published in October by History Press

SUBMITTED — The cover of Michael Lisicky’s new book, “Shop Pomeroy’s First,” published in October by History Press

Michael Lisicky has a fascination with long-gone urban department stores, the lost giants of retailing’s gilded age whose tea rooms, book departments and prime downtown locations gave way to suburban shopping malls, big-box retailers and online shopping.
Lisicky, who grew up in Cherry Hill, N.J. outside Philadelphia,  has penned books on Philadelphia’s Wanamaker’s,  Baltimore’s Hutzler’s and New York’s Gimbels among other defunct retailers.
With his seventh and latest book, “Shop Pomeroy’s First” (History Press, paperback, $19.99), the Baltimore-based department store expert turns his attention to a beloved southcentral Pennsylvania department store chain that helped turn Bon-Ton Stores into the national retailer it is today.
Pomeroy’s roster of stores included locations in Camp Hill, Harrisburg and Lebanon at the time Bon-Ton Stores bought the chain from Allied Stores in 1987.
Pomeroy’s  Harrisburg location boasted a large book department and a restaurant on the mezzanine level that offered local favorites like cinammon sticks and cheese omelets with grape jelly.
Bon-Ton’s purchase of Pomeroy’s, led by Bon-Ton’s Tim Grumbacher, not only increased the retailer’s presence in Pennsylvania but also launched a series of acquisitions that took Bon-Ton from a regional chain to a national retailer.
“Bon-Ton never could have learned how to expand without its acquisition of Pomeroy’s,” Lisicky said in a phone interview.
Lisicky, whose day job is playing oboe in the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, interviewed Grumbacher for the book. He also snagged another retail veteran — Boscov’s Chairman and CEO Albert Boscov — to pen the book’s foreward.
Bon-Ton gave Lisicky access to the archives at the company’s Springettsbury Township headquarters. There, Lisicky found items relating to Pomeroy’s, including the painting of a Pomeroy’s store that graces the cover of Lisicky’s book.




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PCC workers, on strike since Sept. 3, are joined by other unions

On October 13, striking workers at Precision Custom Components got a visit from other regional labor unions, according to a union news release.

Members from USW local 7687, AFSME teachers Union, IBEW, UAW, Teamsters and other IAM locals showed up at the picket line, as well as members of PAAFL-CIO.

Rick Bloomingdale (President), Frank Snyder (Secretary-Treasurer), and Zach Hause (Central PA Area Director), and members of the York Area Labor Management Council (YALMC) also were present.

Judging from the photo they submitted, Rosie the Riveter also made an appearance:

for public2


Precision Custom Components employees have been on strike since September 3. They claim that the company-proposed health insurance package would be too costly for employees and their families, according to Earl Shue, the president of the union at the company.


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York and Adams County realtors get “Happy” in promotional video

It’s not too often you see real estate agents just goofing around and having fun.

It’s perhaps even less often that you see Berkshire Hathaway, RE/MAX, Howard Hanna and other competing real estate companies together in one video.

This video, organized by Realtors Association of York and Adams Counties, highlights some of the region’s real estate companies, dancing along to “Happy,” the chart-topping Pharell Williams song.

RAYAC hired a production company to film the video, which was shown at their annual meeting.

Self-producing videos to “Happy” has become a worldwide phenomenon, with universities, corporations and even the city of Abu Dhabi busting moves to the maddeningly catchy and irresistibly positive song.

You can check out RAYAC’s video here, and see how it compares to other “Happy” videos out there.


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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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