PAXINOS - Nikki Krize, a WNEP-TV reporter born and raised in Berks County, admitted to members of Brush Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce that she knew nothing about the Shamokin area when she joined the Scranton-based news station last November. After covering the central Pennsylvania beat, including Northumberland County, for the past year, Krize told members she encountered several people who bring optimism to Brush Valley.

Those comments were made at the chamber's annual dinner Thursday evening at Indian Hills Golf and Tennis Club, where Krize served as guest speaker to a room filled with area business leaders, guests and representatives of PPL, who sponsored the dinner.

"What I found is that the positive stories outweigh the negative stories," Krize said of the area. "What stands out is the people. You have really great people."

She referenced the annual Coal Drop on New Year's Eve, a new community center in the basement of the American Legion building and a new mural on Eighth Street in Shamokin as examples of positive stories that have come out of the area in 2012.

Chamber news

Outgoing chamber president Joe Daniels-D'Andrea said the strength of the chamber is contingent on its members who have the opportunity to assist Brush Valley through challenging economic times.

"You can certainly tell the chamber is strong and growing," Daniels-D'Andrea said. "We will continue to be strong and grow."

Director Sandy Winhofer said the chamber is looking to expand with partnerships, although she did not elaborate who they will be with. She said chamber workshops, ribbon cuttings and luncheons, which she described as informative and inspiring, continue to push the chamber into the future.

New members

The membership gave final approval Thursday night to the appointment of four new board members. Appointments are effective Jan. 1.

They include Marc Varano, representing LIFE Geisinger, Kulpmont; Mike Begis from KPI Technology, Elysburg; Mark Porter, The News-Item, Shamokin; and the Rev. Bob Peiffer, St. John's United Church of Christ, Shamokin. Varano, Begis and Porter were elected to three-year terms and Peiffer to a two-year term.

They replace outgoing board members who have served the maximum of two three-year terms, including Rita Rovito, Union National Bank, Mount Carmel; Dave Fidler, Primerica Financial Services, Shamokin; and Andy Heintzelman, The News-Item. The fourth board spot being filled was vacant.

The new members join other current board members, including new officers Pamela Burns, First National Bank, Shamokin, president; Steve Minker, community member, vice president; Ed Christiano, Northumberland County Housing Authority, secretary; and Chris Venna, Shamokin Area Middle/High School, treasurer. Joe Daniels D'Andrea, Clear Channel radio, is the immediate past president.

Other board members are Warren Altomare, Mount Carmel regional vice president; William Richie, First Columbia Bank and Trust, Elysburg regional vice president; Harry Morgan, Pennsylvania CareerLink, Shamokin regional vice president; Gino Sinopoli, GiGi's Gifts, Coal Township; Thomas Harlow, Geisinger-Shamokin Area Community Hospital; Steve Cook, Central Susquehanna Opportunities; Bruce Kimball, Mountain View: A Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Coal Township; Rob Slaby, Coal Township government; and Jodi Berry, M&T Bank.