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
  • CIRT team in Jackson Center Man arrested after shooting standoff

    One Jackson Center man is recovering from a bullet wound, and the borough resident accused of shooting him sits in jail after a long night of drinking that state police say turned into a case of attempted homicide.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sharon Speedway location City on track for new Speedway store

    Speedway is lining up its administrative and bureaucratic cones on plans for the gas station and convenience store chain to zoom into downtown Sharon.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Guards, county OK deal

    County officials and guards at the Mercer County Jail have reached a tentative contract agreement that, if approved, halts the idea of privatizing operations at the facility.

    July 31, 2014

  • Doss: Public has right to know

    A major part of Farrell council’s work session Monday was spent deciding whether or not to inform the audience about an unofficial police proposal from the City of Sharon.

    July 30, 2014

  • Budget falling short despite tax hike

    Farrell residents may have seen an income tax increase this year, but the city isn’t seeing the extra dollars City Manager Michael Ceci budgeted for.

    July 30, 2014

  • oakwood graves 1 Resting together

    Visitors to Oakwood Cemetery would see many  familiar local names if they looked down the hillside to the left just inside the gate on Sharon’s North Oakland Avenue.

    July 30, 2014 3 Photos

  • Police: Kids in car were OK

    The mother of two young children was drunk and passed out when police found them all in a car parked along a city street, Sharon police said.

    July 29, 2014

  • To talk – or not – about police

    The mysterious agenda item, “No. 10,” at Farrell’s council meeting Monday became the center of a heated workshop and business session.

    July 29, 2014

  • Community thanks its first-responders

    Sharpsville honored its emergency responders Sunday at an event that included Mertz Towers residents as special guests.

    July 28, 2014

  • Drilling boom challenges state inspectors

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the last century.

    July 28, 2014

  • Kidds Mill Covered Bridge A span of time

    Four generations of the Cadman family have enjoyed the Kidds Mill Covered Bridge, which is in Pymatuning Township near where the family’s ancestral farm is located.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • Intruder hurts woman, takes $5

    A home invasion in Hermitage Friday night sent an elderly woman to the hospital and netted the robber $5.

    July 27, 2014

  • national night out March against crime set for Aug. 5

    At the last Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Commission meeting, Chief Riley Smoot Jr. presented the number of incidents for each of the four communities in May.

    Farrell topped out at 819.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • high street trail Peaceful pathways

    History buffs and picnickers in the Shenango Valley won’t have to drive to Sharpsville to hang out at the old Erie Canal extension lock. They’ll soon have the option to walk or roll in on bicycles and even powered chairs to visit Canal Park near the outflow of Shenango Dam.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • balloonquest1 Balloon Quest celebrates 25 years

    Today is the final day of the 25th annual Western Pennsylvania Balloon Quest at Scotland Meadows Park.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo