The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

April 17, 2013

Thiel grad uses education to ‘give back’ to Greenville

GREENVILLE — The American Scholar Group, which set out in 2010 to provide Asian students with a centralized place to live, study and learn American culture, is branching out into other local business ventures.

Over the past year, the group has created 36 jobs for drivers, housemasters, cooks, teachers and administrative staff as a result of buying buildings and houses in the Greenville area to lodge Asian students from several countries whose  families are supporting them as they attend high schools in the area.

David Ho, founder of ASG and a 1986 graduate of Thiel College, said the revenue and economic growth ASG is bringing to Greenville through its education and other ventures could be substantial.

“Greenville needs our help,” Ho said. “They need somebody to give back to the community and we came to give.”

ASG on Monday closed on the purchase of the building that houses the Greenville Record-Argus. The newspaper will move its offices to another location in town.

Ho plans to open a community activity center in the 19,000 square-foot building at 10 Penn Avenue for both ASG students and their  American friends. It will include space for tutoring services and for students to play games.

Ho said the presence of the group has caused ripples of doubt among some local  residents who may not be familiar with people from other countries.

“A lot of people in Greenville don’t know what the company is doing,” Leslie Hite, vice president of ASG, said. “They are making uneducated guesses.”

Hite thinks the skepticism started when a restaurant going in the former N.N. Moss Co. building failed to open last year in the former furniture store, as they predicted it would.

Jimmy Ho, David’s brother, bought the building at 160 Main St., to house the restaurant, Straits Settlement. Jimmy’s wife, Christina Lim, will be at the helm of  the restaurant which is slated to open in mid-June. It will serve mostly Asian food with some British Colonial, Indian and Persian dishes.

Hite said Lim’s investment visa was held up for five months, which stopped renovation of the building.

In assisting students, his family and prospective new business owners with their visa problems, David Ho said he  recognized a need for someone to guide people from Asia interested in coming to America.

The immigration branch of his business will be located in the former Bessemer building, next to the Straits Settlement. The corporate headquarters of ASG will be stationed there as well.

Ho said Asian entrepreneurs who may locate in the area must invest at least $1 million and hire 10 or more employees.

“We are planning so many things,” he said, adding that he has many business contacts overseas whose owners see opportunity in this region of the United States.

“Owning land (in this area) is incredible,” Ho said, “In Asia there is no space and land is so cheap here with so much space.”

ASG has also scooped up land behind UPMC Horizon Greenville at 15 and 24 Leech Road. Ho said he plans to use those parcels  for a dormitory housing up to 60 students, with a dining hall, bowling alley and cinema.

The foreign student program is also one of the endeavors the group oversees. At present, 42 students reside in the former “Farm” in Adamsville, three houses in Greenville and other private residences in the area.

Kennedy Catholic High School in Hermitage was the first school to welcome ASG students in 2011. Since then, other private schools in Mercer and Mahoning counties have signed on with the group.

Sharpsville High School is jumping on board for the 2013-14 school year.

On Monday, the board unanimously approved an agreement with the group and is  expecting 20 students from Asia next year.

“This is a wonderful opportunity,” Mark Ferrara, Sharpsville school district superintendent, said. “This will be very lucrative (for the school) and students.”

The district will have an extra $200,000 in tuition revenue for budget which Ferrara said will be used to “fund a new media center or to offset other expenses.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Sharon man 'stable' after being shot in his West Hill home

    A Sharon man was in stable condition this morning after being shot by one of several men he had let into his West Hill home, police said.

    July 23, 2014

  • GJR killer not eligible for parole, court rules

    State Superior Court on Tuesday reversed a local judge’s decision that the sentence for one of two men who killed a night supervisor at George Junior Republic, Pine Township, was unconstitutional.

    July 23, 2014

  • Duplicated files, former worker confesses

    A Mercer woman accused of stealing customer lists, billing information and other data from her former employer headed off trial Monday by pleading guilty to a charge of unlawful duplication.

    July 23, 2014

  • Starved house Vandals vent their emotions

    Vandals kept police busy Sunday and Monday nights at a home in Greenville where the Mercer County District Attorney’s office said a boy was starved and beaten by his mom.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Couple, another man charged in thefts

    Pennsylvania State Police have filed charges of burglary, theft, receiving stolen property and criminal mischief against an East Palestine, Ohio, couple and another man in connection with two robberies in rural Mercer County.

    July 22, 2014

  • Taking stock Where’s the beef? Bull’s still missing

    Is it possible that an alien abduction took place in the Mercer area last week? A solid red, 2-year-old Watusi bull with 3-foot-long horns has been missing since July 14 with no trace of its existence left on earth.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Buhl Day honorees

    The Buhl Day committee has chosen for this year’s celebration five honored guests whose volunteer work they feel best showcases the legacy of philanthropic work left behind by Frank and Julia Buhl a century ago.

    July 22, 2014

  • GC pair not hurt in accident injuring 2

    Two drivers were taken to a hospital after an accident at the intersection of state routes 965 and 173 in Worth Township, police said.

    July 21, 2014

  • WaterFire crowds WaterFire doused

    Sharon’s WaterFire wasn’t lacking either of its elements on Saturday. There was steady, day-long rain but the day concluded with the Shenango River ablaze.

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘Starved’ boy released from hospital

    A 7-year-old boy allegedly starved and beaten by his mother is out of the hospital and ordered out of his Greenville home by Mercer County Common Pleas President Judge Thomas R. Dobson.

    July 20, 2014

  • WaterFire walking tour Time traveling

    A group of more 50 people walked between the raindrops Saturday during an historical tour of downtown Sharon during the city’s WaterFire celebration.

    July 20, 2014 6 Photos 1 Story

  • News briefs from July 19, 2014

    Michigan man charged with assaulting girl here

    Sharon man charged with raping woman

    July 19, 2014

  • For sale Realty transfer tax hike headed for ballot

    Sharon voters will be deciding through a referendum whether city council can raise the realty transfer tax. Council gave first reading Thursday to an ordinance that phrases the question that will be printed on the November ballot.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bella recovering Vet: Dog lucky to be alive, should survive

    Although a veterinarian said an underweight dog found Thursday with a gruesome neck wound was lucky to be alive, her prognosis for recovery is good.

    July 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Alleged hit-run driver arrested

    Sharon police said Friday afternoon they had arrested a man believed to have driven a vehicle that struck an 11-year-old boy Thursday and left the scene.

    July 19, 2014