MIFFLINTOWN - Juniata Business and Industry Inc. held its annual meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Central Juniata EMS community room in Mifflintown.
The dinner meeting was opened by JBI marketing director Dane Walters, who welcomed everyone and turned the microphone to Commissioner Jeff Zimmerman, who spoke on behalf of JBI's nominating committee.
The committee includes Zimmerman, Ron Shearer and Paul Newswanger. Jeff Leonard was nominated as well, and committee member Joe Forney decided not to accept a nomination this year. Zimmerman expressed thanks to Forney for his service and recognized him as an outstanding and dependable member.
Sentinel photo by BRADLEY KREITZER
John Groninger speaks Wednesday during the Juniata Business and Industry annual meeting in Mifflintown.
John Groninger, Chairman of the Board of John E. Groninger Inc., and his son-in-law, Dave Bomberger, presented the group with information regarding government regulations. Groninger, a lifelong resident of Juniata County and founder of many area companies, expressed concerns about the direction the U.S. is taking based on his observations of other economies.
"I've been all over the world, around the world, in many, many countries," he said.
Groninger joined the armed forces in 1943, and later returned to the countries he visited during his service.
"New Zealand was prosperous ... then they had free school and free medical care, and now they're broke," he said, adding that parents with school-age children have to pay the teachers out of their own pockets. Groninger stated that the same thing happened in Ireland.
Groninger said his companies have built or remodeled 38 schools in central Pennsylvania and more than 500 apartment and office buildings. Bomberger, who has worked for Gronginger in land development for many years, exemplified Groninger's concerns by taking the group through the process of building one apartment building from start to finish.
Bomberger said that what once was as simple as buying some land and getting local approval to complete a project has turned into a process that can essentially double the time required. Zoning requirements, water and sewer availability and amenities such as television, Internet and cell phone service must be investigated.
If the site is historic, a plan may be needed to deal with any artifacts recovered, Bomberger continued. Conservation offices require soil conservation plans. Exit and entrance permits must be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to make sure traffic from the building is handled correctly. Building permits and codes inspections also mean development companies spend time waiting instead of building, and spend thousands on the permits alone.
The microphone was given back to Walters, who announced that JBI's recent business expo and job fair at CJEMS was a success. He said in a four-hour period, 300 people visited booths of 28 participating businesses. Another expo will be held in March or April, but a new location is being sought for additional space.
After this announcement, Walters introduced Troy Hess, vice president of Mahantango Enterprises, a family-owned rubber recycling business based in Liverpool.
Mahantango Enterprises was incorporated in 1989 after Roger and Leona Hess came up with a way to recycle rubber from tires. They scoured the United States for a shredder that could handle large truck tires, but in the end, Roger ended up designing his own shredder and built it from an 80-ton part he found in a junkyard.
Now, the company has 20 locations where they drop empty trailers to collect tires. When the trailers are full, they are taken back to Mahantango, where they are unloaded with a specially-designed grapple attached to a skid loader. Each trailer can be unloaded in 10 minutes.
From there, the tires are processed and the rubber is separated from the metal components in the tires. Mahantango makes rubber mulch, which can then be used in flower beds, playgrounds and horse arenas.
If this rubber is then ground to an even finer consistency, the result is crumb rubber, which can be used for molded products and athletic fields.