Good morning. This evening, officials in Dover Township, York County, are scheduled to debate approval of a $68.5 million solar array slated for construction on roughly 600 acres of farmland in the township. The project was up for consideration last month, but brewing opposition led officials to postpone a hearing and look for a larger venue. They are now meeting at Dover Middle School at 46 W. Canal Road.
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Lawmakers float $10M program for at-home virus testing

Looking for an at-home test kit for Covid-19? How would it work: According to the amendment, the state Department of Health would buy the test kits.
  • Counties would then have 30 days to apply by stating how many tests they need and detailing how they plan to distribute them.
  • People who get test kits from a county would not be allowed to resell them.
  • The amendment adds that the money could come from federal sources.
  • Counties would start getting tests no more than 60 days after the bill becomes law.

Why is this happening: More than 21 months into the pandemic, adequate at-home testing for Covid-19 remains a challenge in the U.S. But as cases mount this winter, it is becoming a bigger priority.

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Quick takes

WHO'S HIRING: Ollie's Bargain Outlet Holdings. Based in Lower Paxton Township, Dauphin County, the deep-discount retailer has hired a new executive to oversee its supply chain, which has been a focus of concern for the company. Mario Sampson, who has worked for Amazon, Macy's and Target, has joined Ollie's as senior vice president of supply chain. He worked most recently as senior vice president of operations for Unique Industries, a distributor of licensed paper and party goods.
  • Sampson replaces Ray Daugherty, who left in August to pursue other interests, according to a press release at the time.
  • Challenges in the supply chain have afflicted most companies over the last few months, whether in the form of higher prices or material shortages.
  • Ollie's blamed supply chain glitches for a decline in sales and profits in its most recent quarterly earnings report.
  • But the company has been working to smooth out operations, including through expansion of its warehouse in York County.

Expand how: The company plans to add 200,000 square feet and 40 jobs to the facility in East Manchester Township, according to Ollie's spokesperson Tom Kuypers.
  • The 600,000 square-foot warehouse currently employs about 250 people, Kuypers said.
  • The expansion project is expected to be completed in or around August, he added.

WHAT'S OPENING: A childcare center in East Hempfield Township, Lancaster County. Slated to open early next year, the Ducklings Early Learning Center is the first Central Pennsylvania franchisee for the Philadelphia-area chain, according to Kim Collier, director of franchise development for Ducklings.
  • The Lancaster franchisee is Lisa Goodfellow, a real estate agent in western Maryland, Collier said. The center's director is Goodfellow's daughter-in-law, Amanda Gesner, she added.
  • The newly built 11,000 square-foot Ducklings center at 3101 Yellow Goose Road will have room for up to 122 children ranging in age from six weeks to pre-kindergarten, as well as a staff of about 40, Collier said,
  • It's slated to open in early 2022 with about six teachers and four aides, as well as Gesner and a co-director, Kelsi Weigle, Collier said. "The two of them have been a team in getting this off the ground."

Isn't there a child care crisis: Yes. But like much of today's economy, the crisis is one of supply rather than demand. Ducklings already has 83 names on its list for enrollment in Lancaster, Collier said. The early education company was founded 27 years ago by her mother, Jody Thompson. 
  • "People are just clamoring for space," Collier said. 
  • While staffing has been an issue for the industry, Collier said Ducklings has seen an influx of nurses and schoolteachers looking for new careers.
  • The chain, which will have 10 locations as of January, fields several inquiries per week into franchise opportunities, Collier said. The upfront fee is $65,000, with ongoing fees set at 7% of monthly revenue.

WHAT SOLD: ShadowStone Village, a community of 188 manufactured homes in Palmyra for people over 55. A Utah-based partnership, Shadowstone MHC Holdings, paid $18.1 million for the development, according to the deed record. The seller was Dwight Wagner Family LP II, headed by Dwight Wagner, the founder and former owner of Lancaster-based U.S. Commercial Realty
  • The property at 50 W. Spruce St. (pictured below) was marketed by Glenn Esterson in the Charlotte office of real estate firm Marcus & Millichap
  • Esterson and other agents from the firm also represented the buyer.
  • ShadowStone's 188 units are tenant-owned and 100% occupied, according to Marcus & Millichap. Twenty additional lots are available for expansion.

WHAT'S SPINNING OUT: The electric motorcycle division of Harley-Davidson Inc. Hoping to capitalize on growing interest in electric vehicles, the motorcycle manufacturer announced Monday that its LiveWire division would become a separate, publicly traded company in a deal valued at $1.77 billion.
  • Harley, which has a plant in York County, would retain a 74% equity stake in the new company.
  • Additional investors include Taiwan-based powersports company KYMCO, as well as two investment firms: AEA Investors and Bridges Fund Management
  • AEA and Bridges created a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, that will merge with LiveWire and take it public.
  • The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2022 and lead to an expansion at Harley's Springettsbury Township plant, according to an investor presentation. However, no additional details were available.

Why is this happening: Harley expects electric motorcycle and bicycle sales to take off in the next decade, particularly among younger people concerned about the environment.
  • The vehicles also boast an international appeal that Harley's traditional bikes have struggled to maintain in recent years.
  • The company's sales in Asia, Europe and Latin America declined for the first nine months of 2021, according to a recent earnings report.


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Compiled and written by Joel Berg

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