Thumbs up: Breathe easier -- but don't get complacent.

After three consecutive years listed among the 25 places in the nation with the worst air quality, York County's air has finally improved enough to avoid that wheezing distinction.

The York-Hanover-Gettysburg metro area dropped from 24th last year to 45th for long-term particle pollution in the American Lung Association's 2012 State of the Air report -- the largest improvement of the three metro areas in the south-central Pennsylvania region.

The 13th annual scorecard ranks air quality based on a color-coded index developed by the EPA to alert the public of unhealthy air conditions. Grades are given to counties for ozone levels, year-round particle pollution and short-term particle pollution levels.

For bad ozone days, the York-Hanover-Gettysburg metro stayed at 45th worst, the same ranking it earned last year. York received an "F" for its number of bad ozone days.

York had a lower number of bad air days in terms of short-term particle pollution, but its national rank still went from 60th worst to 53rd.

Thumbs up: To all of those new Harley riders out there driving up sales of the Milwaukee-based company and possibly contributing to new jobs at its Springettsbury Township plant.

Harley-Davidson Inc. executives partially credit the company's restructuring as cause for first-quarter sales jumping up 25.5 percent from a year ago. But CEO Keith Wandell also attributed the growth to the recovering U.S. economy and outreach to "new generations and diverse groups of riders."


More than a third of new Harley sales in the U.S. last year were to riders new to the brand, according to company records. Last year, Harley-Davidson was the U.S. leader among young adults, women, African-American and Hispanic riders, the company reported.

While the manufacturer continues to ship more bikes this year than in 2011, it will "dial back" production efforts heading into fall and winter.

But at the end of the year, "as we get closer to the spring selling season, we will ramp up production again," said Bob Klein, spokesman.

That increased production might lead to more jobs at the Springettsbury facility, where more than 1,100 employees build the company's Softail, Touring and Trike motorcycles.