Pa. American Water to purchase Clinton County utility

Mechanicsburg-based Pennsylvania American Water announced that an agreement has been reached for it to acquire Appalachian Utilities Inc., a private, investor-owned system serving approximately 1,450 Clinton County customers in Avis Borough, Pine Creek Township and Dunnstable Township.

This system is near Pennsylvania American Water’s Milton, Nittany and Boggs water systems. Under the transaction terms, an affiliate of Pennsylvania American Water will merge with Appalachian and, subsequently, Appalachian will merge into Pennsylvania American Water.

Pennsylvania American Water plans to invest more than $6.5 million into the system to upgrade aging water infrastructure.

Approval of the acquisition is being sought from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. The transaction is expected to be completed in late 2024.

Pennsylvania American Water will adopt Appalachian’s current rates at closing. Any future rate changes would have to be reviewed and approved by the PUC.

“Appalachian has served our customers proudly since 1995, and we are grateful for our partnership with the community over this time,” Frank Sargent Jr., president of Appalachian, said in a release. “We believe that this transaction with Pennsylvania American Water will ensure that our customers and employees are placed in the hands of another competent, community-minded utility partner going forward.”

Added Justin Ladner, president of Pennsylvania American Water: “We look forward to becoming the water service provider for these customers in Clinton County, and we appreciate that the leadership at Appalachian Utilities Inc. is entrusting us with this privilege. The system upgrades we plan to make will benefit area customers, and the acquisition will further promote regionalization and consolidation of our central Pennsylvania systems.”

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

West Shore Home opens Kansas City branch

Mechanicsburg-based West Shore Home is opening a branch in Missouri. 

The Kansas City branch is located at 444 NW Platte Valley Dr. and is expected to add dozens of jobs to the region. 

“We are committed to providing the fastest, most convenient home remodeling services in the market,” West Shore Home President and CEO B.J. Werzyn said in a statement. “Our Kansas City branch will allow us to serve homeowners in Missouri and Kansas, the heartland of the country, with our professional one-day installations.” 

Specializing in home remodeling services that the company calls fast and convenient, West Shore Home’s marketing messages include “Don’t Blink” and “Fast is Better.” The company said in a press release it prides itself on providing customers with a “five-star experience” from the first phone call to the project design.

West Shore flex building sells for $1.625M, to be company HQ

The 19,920-square-foot flex building at 6375 Basehore Road in Mechanicsburg has been sold for $1.625 million, announced Campbell Commercial Real Estate Inc.

Owned by Green Ridge Leasing LLC, it has been purchased by Basehore Holdings LLC.

After extensive renovations, Refresh LED intends to occupy the vacant space in the Hampden Township building for its new headquarters. Refresh LED is a faith-based company specializing in the manufacturing and installation of LED screens for churches and universities nationwide. The business was represented by Nick Martin, of Landmark Commercial Realty.

The seller was represented by Larry Kostelac and Art Campbell, of Campbell Commercial Real Estate.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Lancaster County tech business acquired by GDC Solutions

Elizabethtown-based CSB Technology Partners has been acquired by GDC IT Solutions of Mechanicsburg, it was announced Monday. 

As CSB delivers IT services to medium and small-sized companies, the acquisition allows GDC to expand into Lancaster County and central Pennsylvania. 

“The addition of CSB Technology Partners strengthens GDC’s presence in Lancaster County, allowing us to foster growth with exceptional service and personalized solutions in the region,” GDC CEO Dan Logan said in a statement.

GDC will maintain an office in Elizabethtown to support CSB clients and expand its presence in the area.

CSB provided end-to-end managed IT services with a focus on network infrastructure, wireless (Wi-Fi), virtualization, PCI compliance, and network security. The company has maintained industry partnerships and affiliations with Barracuda, Cisco Systems, Fortinet, and Ruckus.

Mike Coons, GDC’s chief financial officer and executive vice president of Mergers and Acquisitions, said the strategic move bolsters the company’s portfolio and enhances its ability to provide IT solutions.

“CSB’s deep industry expertise in wireless, cyber security, LAN/WAN, voice/video, and virtualization aligns with our commitment to delivering quality outcomes and customer service excellence,” said Coons. “Together, we are well positioned to offer our customers an even more comprehensive and robust suite of solutions, reaffirming our dedication to innovation and excellence in the IT landscape.” 

Lebanon VA facility named nation’s best

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Lebanon VA Medical Center (Lebanon VAMC) has again been named the top VA Medical Center in the United States for patient experience. 

It marks the third consecutive year the local Veterans healthcare system has received the prestigious national honor for patient and employee satisfaction. 

“It’s a great day when the actions, culture and outcomes of our staff are recognized and honored at a national level,” Lebanon VAMC CEO and Executive Director, Jeffrey A. Beiler II said in a statement. “The best in VA Overall Experience Award is like the Oscar, Emmy, or Grammy awards. It’s a reaffirmation for years of excellence and demonstrates great achievements are possible with excellent teamwork.”  

The local Veteran’s facility and its five associated community clinics received the award during the VA’s annual Customer Experience Symposium on Sept. 7-8 in Washington DC. The facility achieved the highest overall combined patient experience and employee experience scores of all complexity level 2 facilities in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). 

The facility scored in the top quintile in the Survey of Healthcare Providers (SHEP) Overall Rating of the Provider, SHEP Inpatient Overall Rating of the Hospital, Veterans Signals (V-signals) Trust scores, and the All-Employee Survey (AES) scores for the Best Places to Work. The Veteran Trust score is a record high level. 

One of 170 medical centers in the nation with the sole purpose of providing medical care to America’s veterans, Lebanon VAMC serves a nine-county area in South Central Pennsylvania covering Adams, Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry, Schuylkill, and York counties. Lebanon VAMC also oversees community clinics located in Lancaster, Mechanicsburg, Pottsville, Wyomissing, York, and Fort Indiantown Gap.

Mechanicsburg businesses get grants to spruce up curb appeal

Several downtown Mechanicsburg businesses will jazz up their curb appeal, with the help of About Face! Façade grants.

Rebecca Yearick, community and business development manager/communications manager for the Housing & Redevelopment Authorities of Cumberland County, said the following small businesses were awarded recent grants under the program:

· $2,500 was approved for Melissa Lopez, Creative Grounds, second floor of 36 W. Main St. It will go toward wall, sidewalk and display signage as well as painting the building’s trim. 36 West LLC, where her husband is a partner, owns the building.

· Todd Duffie, S.R. Duffie Consulting, 5 E. Main St., will receive $1,820 to paint the building’s wood trim, windows and doors; he also agreed to allowing organizations to use the display windows to promote events, initiatives, projects, etc.

· Bevrore Photography will receive $1,500 for “iron-look” fencing and signage. At 230 E. Main St., the business is owned by Jillian Morrison.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Railroad Flats to bring housing, retail to downtown Mechanicsburg

A three-building parcel in downtown Mechanicsburg is getting new life with apartments and a restaurant planned by a pair of developers.

The 11 N. Railroad Ave. site, to be known as Railroad Flats, has been under the radar and underutilized for many years, said Rebecca Yearick, community and business development manager for the Housing & Redevelopment Authorities of Cumberland County.

“It will be the most prominent and impactful redevelopment project in downtown Mechanicsburg in decades,” creating new housing and jobs, the authorities said in touting the project.

Current tenants are Revelations Day Spa, which has been there since 2020, and De’Rielle Cosmetology School.

Railroad Flats is being developed by Steve Fleming and Chris Patrick of 36 West LLC. They bought an adjoining property at 36 W. Main St. in March. Now that building has three tenants in place: Denim Coffee, Creative Grounds and a soon-to-open photography business.

Yearick said the upper floors of the three-story buildings at Railroad Flats will be converted into as many as five apartments, with the first floor to remain commercial.

A corner, two-story building is set to become a restaurant and brewery, she said.

Settlement on the parcel is scheduled for Aug. 31. Federal funding of $275,000 that comes into the county through its housing and redevelopment authorities will finance the purchase, along with $60,000 from Mechanicsburg Borough to 36 West LLC.

The next phase, costing an estimated $1.3 million, will involve the demolition of a rear section and sheds, the design and construction of the apartments and vanilla-boxing the corner building for a restaurant/brewery tenant – including adding windows along West Strawberry Alley.

Yearick said the developers’ approach “melds well with what we want to do,” including making the downtown “a more walkable area.”

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Harrisburg-area developer charged in Jan. 6 Capitol breach

Camp Hill-based developer Lowell Gates was arrested Monday in Harrisburg and charged with multiple felonies and misdemeanors, including assaulting law enforcement with a deadly or dangerous weapon, related to his conduct during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Gates, 63, of Mechanicsburg, will appear in court before the Middle District of Pennsylvania, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

His actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the 2020 presidential election, in which Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump. In the 31 months since Jan. 6, 2021, the release said, more than 1,106 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the Capitol riots, including more than 350 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.

In a criminal complaint filed in D.C., Gates, who is president and CEO of Linlo Properties, is charged with the felony offenses of assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers using a dangerous weapon and obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder. He is also charged with misdemeanors, including entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly conduct in a Capitol building or grounds, and violent conduct in a Capitol building or grounds.

According to court documents, Gates traveled to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021, with a group of friends and attended a rally at the Ellipse. He then walked toward the Capitol building and approached the restricted grounds of the West Plaza. Video footage taken from that shows Gates appearing to use a cellphone to photograph and or video the riot while standing near the scaffolding on the side of the West Plaza.

“Court documents say that at approximately 2:29 p.m., Gates can be seen on body-worn camera footage throwing an object at a group of law enforcement officers before assaulting them with a flagpole. Video footage shows Gates using the flagpole in a spear-like motion to lunge at the officers, striking at them at least three times,” the release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Gates did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

He started Linlo Properties wife his wife, Linda, more than 25 years ago, according to its website. The company now has over 40 employees and its own full-time construction crew.

The business leases and manages commercial office space in the Greater Harrisburg area, including Camp Hill, Lemoyne, Mechanicsburg, Harrisburg, Lower Paxton Township, Lower Allen Township, Upper Allen Township, Silver Spring Township and Susquehanna Township, as well as in Lebanon County, the website said.

A recent project is Shepherdstown Crossing in Upper Allen Township, a mixed-use development that will have 54 apartments; restaurants; convenience stores; and other retail.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Cumberland County businesses receive CAEDC funding

Three Cumberland County businesses have received funding for expansion and job growth. 

The Cumberland Area Economic Development Corporation (CAEDC) is awarding nearly $152,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to Ark Fitness in Mechanicsburg, Athena Mobility & Strength in Carlisle, and Lebo’s Plumbing, also in Carlisle. 

Each business was approved by CAEDC’s Finance Committee and met the program requirements, including creating jobs and providing an equity-match. 

“This is what CAEDC does really well,” Janet Anderson, executive director of CAEDC, said in a statement. “We love helping home grown businesses expand and provide jobs to local residents; adding to the quality of life in Cumberland County.” 

Ark Fitness, a wellness and fitness gym that opened in August 2022, received $45,000 in CDBG funds to purchase new equipment and machinery for expansion and growth of the facility. CAEDC is working with Ark Fitness on additional projects.  

Ark Fitness owner Noah Snyder said his business is much more than just a gym. 

“Since we opened, we have built a fitness community full of individuals all trying to improve their daily lives,” Snyder said. “We believe that we have an obligation to be good stewards of our members’ dollars and continue to reinvest in our facility and our community. Receiving a grant from Cumberland Area Economic Development Corp. is allowing us to significantly grow our impact, and further our mission to improve the lives of our members.” 

Relocating its operation in Carlisle, Athena Mobility & Strength received $55,000 in CDBG funds to purchase new equipment and machinery for the new location.   

A family-owned and operated business since 1960, Lebo’s Plumbing is transferring ownership to the next generation. Lebo’s is receiving $51,933 in CDBG funds for the acquisition of the business, including the building, machinery, and equipment. Lebo’s received an additional $88,067 in loans from CAEDC.  

The three projects fulfill CAEDC’s final remaining CCDBG funding from COVID-19 relief grants.