You are the owner of this page.
A1 A1
DuBois Mall is under new management

DuBOIS — The DuBois Mall is under new management.

Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. or JLL, a commercial real estate firm, has been court-appointed to be the receiver of the DuBois Mall, which was previously owned by an investment group with multiple investors, JLL Acting General Manager Tony Stephens said Tuesday. The new management firm company took over Jan. 18.

“As such, we are going to be leasing the mall and managing the mall,” Stephens said. “It’s important for the community to know the mall is open and we are ready for business.”

JLL is the largest third party manager across malls and shopping centers throughout the country, Stephens said.

“From a leasing standpoint, it helps us look to find the right tenant mix with the mall,” Stephens said. “We are leveraging our relationships to drum up interest in the mall here.”

Over the last couple of weeks, Stephens said he senses from the local community that it supports the mall.

Leasing deals with companies is a “process,” Stephens said.

“They are not done overnight, but we have been in contact with a lot of retailers,” said Stephens, declining to comment on which ones those might be.

Stephens said he has met with current mall tenants.

“We feel communication is very vital. They have to understand what we are and that we are hard at work,” Stephens said. “We are listening to the tenants and their ideas and concerns and working with the tenants to make it work here.”

He urged the community to spend its dollars at the DuBois Mall. In addition, JLL is very strong on community events.

“We are anxious to launch those with the community. We are anxious to hear their thoughts on the mall,” Stephens said. He urged residents to visit with him at the mall.

“Basically, the retail community has to be supported by the citizens at large,” Stephens said. “We’re here, we’re doing business and we plan on keeping doing business.”

Local lawmakers react to Gov. Wolf's proposed budget

HARRISBURG — Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf unveiled his budget plan Tuesday, renewing battles with the Republican-controlled Legislature over imposing a tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas and increasing the minimum wage.

The plan, which is presented in his fourth and final term, proposed boosting spending by about $1 billion, or 3 percent, to $33 billion for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

In his address, he proposed directing the higher spending to public schools, skills training, pension obligations, prison costs and social services for children, the elderly and disabled.

The budget holds the line or delivers small increases for many services and agencies. He also seeks to raise the minimum wage to $12 per hour, keep sales and income taxes as they are, and re-upped his fight for a Marcellus Shale gas tax.

Local lawmakers reactions include:

  • “Proposing no broad-based tax increases is a welcome change of tune for the governor. I applaud him for coming to the realization those votes don’t exist on either side of the aisle in the House,” said Rep. Tommy Sankey (R-Clearfield/Cambria). “The governor once again wants to further tax the natural gas industry, and in turn increase customers’ energy bills. He quickly notes we are the only major gas-producing state that lacks a severance tax, but ignores the fact that our existing impact fee — which is a tax — generates more tax revenue than the combined severance taxes of Arkansas, Colorado, Ohio and West Virginia.”
  • “I agree with the governor that more attention needs to be placed on workforce development and career and technical education — that’s where the jobs are. I am greatly encouraged by people who want to work in technical careers and trades,” Rep. Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion/Armstrong/Forest) said. “But this governor cannot continue to target a growing industry because he thinks there won’t be consequences felt here at home. That’s just not reality in the shale areas.”
  • “It’s also encouraging to see the governor is not calling for any broad-based income or sales tax hikes in this year’s plan. However, looking at the budget from the perspective of the rural communities I represent, I do have some concerns. First, the governor is proposing to increase spending to $33 billion in the next fiscal year, an increase of $1 billion over the current year. We need to do a better job of keeping spending in check and respecting the taxpayers who foot the bill,” said Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint).“As chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, I am concerned by some of the cuts the governor has proposed, particularly the elimination of funding for hardwoods development, which plays an important role in the advancement of our timber industry.” In his statements Causer also supported his disagreement with the Marcellus Shale severance tax and the $25 per person fee for communities who rely solely on state police protection.
  • Rep. Chris Dush (R- Jefferson/Indiana) could not be reached by press time.

Despite their initial reactions, all of the representatives acknowledged that this is a starting point in budget talks and were looking forward to the discussions to be held in the coming months.

Three weeks of budget hearings begin Feb. 20.

Snow to fall over region through afternoon

DuBOIS — Snow that started falling early this morning is set to continue through the afternoon, when it could mix with sleet or rain. By the end of the day, the National Weather Service projects that 5-7 inches of snow will accumulate in DuBois, with an icy glaze forming on top.

Snowfall began after midnight and before sunrise, becoming more intense as the morning went on. National Weather Service Forecaster Craig Evanego said Tuesday that the morning commute would likely be complicated.

“If you have to go out and about during the day,” he said, “take it easy.”

Evanego said he and other Weather Service staff advise travelers to drive slowly and leave plenty of room between vehicles.

Accumulation will be more pronounced to the north, Evanego said, ranging from 6-8 inches in parts of Elk County. The southernmost parts of Clearfield County, he said, could see only 4-6.

Snow should wind down during the afternoon, he said, but flurries or freezing drizzle could persist. With temperatures expected to drop quickly into the night, he noted that any accumulation could freeze overnight.

The storm was brought about by an area of low pressure originating from the Tennessee Valley moving through the region. “It’s not terribly unusual for this time of year,” he said.

Sandy Township exploring selling its water and sewage authority

DuBOIS — Alternatives for Sandy Township wastewater were discussed at Monday’s Municipal Authority meeting.

At the Feb. 6, meeting, township Manager Dave Monella said the supervisors gave him authorization to explore any and all alternatives for the future sewer treatment needs of the township.

“Tonight, I am coming back to you to ask for the board’s approval to reach out to whoever may potentially be interested in purchasing Sandy Township’s water and wastewater,” Monella said.

Monella said he has received an inquiry from a party interested in purchasing the township’s water and wastewater.

“At this time, the reason I am asking for this is to see if there would be any other party interested in purchasing us and the benefits there may be to the users of our system,” Monella said.

In a 5-0 vote, the board gave approval to move forward with this and give any interested parties seven calendar days from Tuesday (today) to provide to the township a letter of interest on purchasing both the water and wastewater system.

In making the motion to give the manager authorization to do this, Supervisor Dave Sylvis said it was for exploratory reasons.

Supervisor Mark Sullivan, who seconded the motion, recommended that Monella contact the City of DuBois and Aqua Pennsylvania Inc. directly since they are the neighbors closest to the township.

Monella noted that he will mail letters both through the United States Postal Service and email.

The supervisors recessed Monday’s municipal authority meeting until 6 p.m. next Thursday, Feb. 15, to review any and all letters of interest.

LEGISLATIVE VOTING: What happens when your state representative is deployed?

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf delivered his election-year budget address Tuesday afternoon, proposing $33 billion in spending and included a Marcellus Shale natural gas tax to put more money into public schools, skills training, opioid-addiction prevention and social services.

Following the address, the Courier Express contacted Scott Little, spokesman of State Rep. Matt Gabler (R-Clearfield/Elk), for a reaction but none came.

Gabler will not be voting on legislative issues or in committee until his return from deployment in the Middle East with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.

“He’s not able to vote due to his proximity,” Little said.

Gabler deployed about one month ago to serve as a medical logistics officer in the 28th Infantry Division. He is expected to be gone most of 2018.

Gabler has served as an officer in the 28th Infantry Division, since 2012. He was commissioned as an Army Reserve Officer in 2006. Two years later, he assumed command of the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment of the 424th Multi-functional Medical Battalion, U.S. Army Reserve, in Newtown Square. Gabler held that position until he transferred to his current position in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. During his military service, Gabler has earned promotion to 1st lieutenant and captain.

“He is in an excuse absence state right now due to his military responsibility,” Little said.

Little added that in the coming months what will come out of Gabler’s office will be information concerning government programs that tax money provides for, such as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). However, Gabler’s office cannot issue any statements regarding anything legislatively.

“I am making certain that during my upcoming deployment, my office will continue to seamlessly serve the people of the 75th District with their state-related issues,” Gabler said in a past interview with the Courier Express. “Whether serving in the Army or the state House, I am honored to do my part to help our country and communities, but I look forward to again taking up the duties of state representative when I return.”