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Six predictions for 2017

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If next year is like the last, the business world is in for quite a few surprises. But if any of the six things below happen in 2017, you can say you read them here first.

  1. After completing its takeover of Rite Aid, Walgreens sets its sights on buying Pennsylvania’s state-run liquor stores. The pharmacy chain said it expects future reforms in the commonwealth will allow the sale of wine and beer in drug stores, but it is taking no chances.
  2. Frustrated after their failed merger attempt in 2016, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and PinnacleHealth System post profiles on eHarmony hoping to find their next partners. Their inboxes quickly fill up.
  3. The Retaining Wall Fairy visits Harrisburg and magically clears the mess left behind by the collapse of a retaining wall along Cameron Street. At the rate things are moving, this fantasy remains the most plausible scenario for a cleanup.
  4. Defying the economic odds, coal makes a comeback in Pennsylvania. It is not being used to make electricity, however, but as the backbone of the latest culinary craze: coal-fired ovens for making gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. Three upscale grilled-cheese restaurants open in downtown Lancaster.
  5. In a bid to reform the state pension system and increase revenue from casinos at the same time, state lawmakers pass a law giving retirees vouchers that they can use to play slot machines.
  6. After much debate, state regulators allow use of medical marijuana to cure political gridlock. Within days, Gov. Tom Wolf and the GOP-led General Assembly reach agreement on a budget for the next fiscal year. A week later, Congress and President Donald J. Trump agree to move the U.S. capital back to York. Nine months just wasn’t enough.

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