READING, July 31 – State Rep. Tom Caltagirone, D-Berks, today announced that Saint Margaret School has been awarded a nearly $15,000 grant to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to students during the school day. Saint Margaret School, located in Caltagirone’s legislative district, was one of 200 Pennsylvania elementary schools to receive the grant. To qualify, a school must have a free and reduced meal eligibility of 50 percent or more, and must spend a majority of the grant on purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables. Schools are also then required to offer nutrition education to students. “Proper nutrition is essential to ensuring our students are performing at their highest potential,” said Caltagirone. “By providing students with a solid foundation, we are setting them on a path to success. I look forward to working with school officials to guarantee our students benefit greatly.” Funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, and was first introduced in Pennsylvania in 2004. The program’s mission is to provide healthier food choices in school lunches, to expand school variety of fruits and vegetables and to impact a student’s overall health. Read more
ABINGTON, July 30 – State Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Montgomery, will host a public meeting regarding concerns about per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the region’s water supplies. The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday in Antioch Baptist Church, 200 Logan Ave., Glenside. Aqua, local and federal elected officials, and representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been invited. Late last week, Aqua said that it took one of its wells offline in response to questions over standards of contamination. Aqua has been monitoring local levels, and while the reported levels fall below the EPA’s recommended guidelines, some local water supplies are above the CDC’s recommendations. Aqua test results can be found here . Read more
FOLSOM, July 30 – As part of the House Democratic Caucus’ Plan4PA, state Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware, will host a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on connecting workers to real jobs. The hearing will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, Aug 6 at Neumann University, John J. Mullen Communication Center’s Student Multi-Purpose Hall, 1 Neumann Drive, Aston. Krueger-Braneky requested the hearing to discuss matching workforce development efforts to the jobs Pennsylvania businesses need to fill. She will be joined by state legislators from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. The meeting is one in a series being held across the state on the House Democrats’ Plan4PA that includes putting people first, good jobs, quality schools and fair taxes. Visit www.plan4pa.com for additional information about the Plan4PA and www.pahouse.com/policycommittee for Policy Committee materials. The media and public are invited to attend. Read more
HARRISBURG, July 30 – Grants have been awarded to the Clairton City School District, Duquesne City School District, McKeesport Area School District, South Allegheny School District and the West Mifflin Area School District, in order to provide students with fresh fruits and vegetables during the day, announced state Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny. The 2018-19 grants are funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable program, whose goal is to expand the variety of fruits and vegetables in schools, by increasing consumption among students with the hope of impacting their present and future health. “These grants are extremely important in order to provide our students with fresh and healthy eating options in schools,” Davis said. “Providing better choices will hopefully lead students to have healthier eating habits throughout their adult lives.” Below are a list of schools and the amount they received: Clairton Elementary School $24,253.50 Duquesne Elementary School $20,812.50 Francis McClure Elementary School$40,237.50 Homeville Elementary School $19,425 New Emerson Elementary School $10,378.50 Propel McKeesport $21,534 South Allegheny Early Childhood $13,042.50 Twin Rivers Elementary School$ 43,623 The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable program first started in the commonwealth in 2004 and is now in every state. Schools must have a free and reduced meal Read more
State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, Democratic chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, joined advocates from the Luzerne County SPCA to call for passage of H.B. 1463, legislation that would stabilize the Dog Law Restricted Account and streamline the dog licensing process.“Dog licensing fees go toward a number of valuable services in Pennsylvania, including securing stray dogs, inspecting licensed kennels and investigating dog bites,” Pashinski said. “The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has gone 21 years without raising the fee, but now, with the Dog Law Restricted Account close to operating in the red, it’s time to act to ensure these vital operations can continue to be performed.” Read more
PHILADELPHIA, July 30 – State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., will host a Community Day from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 11 at the Overbrook Beacon Community Empowerment Center, 5621 Lancaster Ave., 19131. “I am very excited to have an opportunity to meet with residents in my district at the community center. It serves as a great opportunity to interact one-on-one and answer any state-related questions they may have,” Brown said. The event will feature information on a variety of state programs such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, and the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. “This should be a great event for families to enjoy time together with food, fun, a moon bounce and giveaways,” Brown said. “As legislators, the best part of our job is when we get to inform our local communities about the issues we are fighting for on their behalf.” For more information about this event, call Brown’s constituent service office at (215) 879-6615. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, July 30 – State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., announced she will be providing free produce vouchers for eligible low-income seniors in her legislative district . The vouchers will be distributed Friday, Aug. 10 at Brown’s district office at 1435 N. 52nd St., 19131. Registrations begin at 9 a.m. with the distribution of vouchers starting at 10 a.m. Brown said the vouchers are being provided through the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging on behalf of Pennsylvania’s Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, which provides low-income seniors with fresh, locally grown fruits, vegetables and herbs from approved farmers in the commonwealth. “This program is especially important for seniors because as we age, it is vital to be health and nutrition conscious,” Brown said. “These vouchers will allow seniors who may not normally be able to afford fresh produce the opportunity to benefit from the nutrition that fresh fruits and vegetables provide while also supporting local farmers.” Brown added that, to be eligible for the vouchers, seniors must be 60 or older by Dec. 31 with a household income of less than $22,459 for singles and less than $30,451 for married couples. Residents interested in obtaining the produce vouchers must bring identification. To RSVP, residents must call Brown’s office at (215) 879-6615. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, July 30 – State Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Phila., is seeking volunteers to join him and the Philadelphia Streets Department to collect improperly disposed tires throughout the 180th Legislative District. The Tire Roundup will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 25. People who are interested will meet at Cruz’s district office at 3503 North B St., Unit 7, 19134. For more information, call Cruz’s office at (215) 291-5643. “Tires that are lying around our neighborhoods are not only an eyesore, but they are a potential health hazard. They collect water and become breeding grounds for insects that can cause West Nile virus and other illnesses,” Cruz said. “I urge everyone to join me in making our community look better and healthier by collecting tires so they can be disposed of properly.” Cruz added they are looking for residents who have a truck to help canvass neighborhoods to remove these illegally dumped tires. The Philadelphia Streets Department’s Sanitation Division developed the tire roundup program in 1995 to address the serious problem of illegally discarded tires throughout the city. Read more
HARRISBURG, July 27 – In an effort to help district residents protect their personal information from theft, state Rep. Frank Dermody, D-Allegheny/Westmoreland, is hosting a free document shredding event. Residents are invited to the Cheswick Shopping Center on Freeport Road from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Aug. 4, where they can shred documents that contain their Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and other sensitive information. All shredded paper will be recycled by district office staff. “Identity theft is a real threat, and I want to empower people to take the proper steps to protect themselves,” Dermody said. “Lots of our personal documents contain sensitive information, so it’s important we dispose of them safely.” Additional information on identify theft, credit reports, and the Do Not Call list also will be available for those who attend. Individuals with questions about the event should contact Dermody’s office at (724) 274-4770. Read more
HARRISBURG, July 27 – State Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre, will co-host a Senior Expo with STEP Office of Aging from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 2, at the Clinton County Community Center, 124 E. Walnut St., Lock Haven. Local, state and national agencies and organizations will be on hand to provide information on senior issues. A light lunch will be available to purchase. River Valley Transit provides services to the Senior Center as part of its route. Hanna said the purpose of the event is to connect seniors to the variety of services available to them. “I am proud to partner with STEP, our local office of aging, for this event to help seniors enhance their quality of life,” Hanna said. STEP Office of Aging works to advance the well-being of Pennsylvania’s senior adults who reside in Lycoming and Clinton counties. If you have any inquiries about the event, please contact Hanna’s Lock Haven office at 570-748-5840. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, July 27 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., applauded the progress of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, just over two years after S.B.3, known as Act 16 of 2016, was passed and signed into law. DeLissio recently updated constituents on the program at her 75 th Town Hall meeting with special guest Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine. The discussion focused on an update on the rollout of medical marijuana and the efforts that the commonwealth has undertaken to combat the opioid crisis. "Medical marijuana is an important treatment option for citizens, and my office is committed to helping any constituent who needs assistance navigating the medical marijuana process,” DeLissio said. DeLissio said that if someone thinks that they have a condition that qualifies them for medical marijuana, they should consult with their physician and go online to www.medicalmarijuana.pa.gov to view the list of qualifying conditions. Originally there were 17 qualifying conditions, and four have been added recently. On the website is a list of doctors who are approved to recommend medical marijuana. DeLissio said that the list is not comprehensive, as some physicians may choose not to be listed in the online registry. Eligible patients are required to register, and this process also can be completed online at the same website. Currently there are 84 physicians in Montgomery County and 133 in Read more
NEWTOWN, July 27 – State Rep. Helen Tai, D-Bucks, will host a Senior Fair from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 14 at the New Hope Eagle Fire Co., 46 N. Sugan Road in New Hope. Constituents will find information about health care, the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program, local theaters, legal assistance and much more. The event also will feature refreshments, health care screenings, giveaways and door prizes. There will be a senior group fitness class at 2 p.m. led by Cornerstone Health and Fitness. The New Hope Eagle Fire Co. also will give free tours of their Fire Museum. “ I’m proud to host this event, so deserving seniors can learn more about the state programs that are designed to help them lead active inspired lives well into their older, wiser years,” Tai said. Read more
AMBLER, July 26 – Ambler-area seniors who need their photo taken for a SEPTA Key senior ID can have their picture taken and applications filed during a free application Day at Ambler Senior Adult Activities Center from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 10. SAAC is located at 45 Forest Ave. Cards will be delivered by mail. State Rep. Mary Jo Daley, D-Montgomery, and her staff will be on hand during the event to help seniors with state programs and other services. Applicants must bring a photo ID to apply – preferably either a driver’s license or state issued ID. Seniors will no longer be able to use paper Pennsylvania Senior Citizen Transit ID Cards for SEPTA travel starting on Sept. 1, and SEPTA no longer accepts Medicare cards. A SEPTA Key Senior photo ID will be needed to take advantage of free rides on Transit and $1 Regional Rail fares. Read more
EBENSBURG, July 26 – Peppered with complaints from seniors upset that shared ride bus routes were cut to several popular spots July 1, state Rep. Frank Burns has moved front and center to lobby for restoration of those services. Burns, D-Cambria, has written the Cambria County Transportation Authority, which made the decision, and the Cambria County commissioners, urging reversal of the locally made decision. “It has come to my attention that CamTran has drastically cut bus services for seniors by limiting the shared ride program’s destinations. I am requesting that CamTran fully restore these bus services for seniors immediately,” Burns wrote in both letters. “By eliminating travel to and from several very popular locations that seniors have enjoyed visiting – such as the Flight 93 National Memorial – you are hampering the quality of life for seniors in Cambria County.” Burns also penned an open letter to his 72 nd Legislative District constituents, explaining the situation and advising them to direct their complaints to the local decision-makers, CamTran at 814-471-6601 or the county commissioners at 814-472-1600. “Please be advised that neither my office nor the state Department of Transportation was involved in this decision,” Burns wrote. “Although CamTran receives state funding to defray the cost of this shared ride program, my office confirmed with PennDOT that CamTran made the decision on its Read more
CARMICHAELS, July 26 – Washington Greene County Job Training Agency Inc. is getting a $411,400 grant to help people who’ve received treatment for opioid use return to the workforce, state Rep. Pam Snyder announced today. Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington, said Pennsylvania was one of six states awarded the National Health Emergency Dislocated Worker Demonstration Grant, which will be administered by the state Department of Labor and Industry to provide job training and employment support. “In addition to helping people receive the treatment they need to overcome addiction, a much-needed second step of the recovery process should be assisting them in finding employment,” Snyder said. “The ultimate goal should be helping people become productive members of society, and there’s no better way to fuel one’s self-esteem than by having a job.” Snyder said the funds will be used to: Connect Pennsylvania CareerLink employment services to Pennsylvania Centers of Excellence. Develop a mobile app to link people to workforce and support resources. Increase the number of certified recovery specialists and provide additional training to retain existing specialists. Engage employers in recovery friendly workplace initiatives. Snyder said these efforts will include such things as encouraging employers to hire and work with people who are in recovery, helping guide those individuals to support or employment services they Read more
HARRISBURG, July 26 – State Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre, is encouraging local residents to participate in his concealed carry seminar on Thursday, Aug. 9. The free seminar runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Beech Creek/Blanchard Fire Hall, 38 Locust St., in Beech Creek. Pre-registration is required. Hanna said this educational seminar will teach responsible gun owners how to apply for and receive a concealed carry permit. “Everyone should learn the facts about Pennsylvania’s concealed carry laws,” Hanna said. Attendees will hear from a number of guest speakers, including: Clinton County Sheriff Kerry Stover, who will talk about concealed carry permits and the difference between open vs. concealed carry; Clinton County District Attorney Dave Strouse, who will discuss the state’s current concealed carry laws and Pennsylvania’s Castle Doctrine, which allows homeowners to use deadly force if threatened by an intruder; representatives with the Pennsylvania State Police, who will talk about armed civilians safely interacting with law enforcement; and a representative from the Pennsylvania Game Commission, who will discuss gaming laws vs. using concealed carry pistols while hunting. Last year, Hanna held concealed carry seminars in Clinton and Centre counties, both of which brought out more than 100 residents. Residents may register online at www.pahouse.com/hanna , by calling his Lock Haven office at 570-748-5480, or the Read more
PHILADELPHIA, July 26 – State Rep. W. Curtis Thomas, D-Phila., recently honored 24 students from schools in the 181st Legislative District at his 28th annual State Representative Awards program. Twenty-four students from public, charter, parochial and private schools in the 181st Legislative District were honored for academic excellence and contributions to their school and community. "These students have achieved academic excellence, which is all the more impressive because some of them have had to deal with violence, economic deprivation, homelessness or drugs in their community," Thomas said. The State Representative Awards program has become a tradition in Thomas’ district, helping over 900 students over the years. He established the awards 28 years ago to recognize the achievements of young people who live and go to school in the 181st District and achieve academic excellence despite difficult odds. Recipients are selected by teachers, administrators and parents from each of the public, charter, private and parochial schools in the 181st District. Students were provided the award, a financial scholarship and a laptop computer to assist them with their continuing education. Several local businesses provided the laptop computer and the scholarship. Thomas said he wanted to thank Rev. Mary Moore from I Can Ministry, Inc. for their coordination of corporate sponsorships. Also, Thomas said he wanted to thank nearly 100 past recipients for Read more
ALLENTOWN, July 25 – The House Democratic Policy Committee today heard from insurance and medical-related officials on a bill ( H.B. 2552 ) introduced by state Rep Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh, that would stop health insurers doing business in Pennsylvania from denying coverage based on a pre-existing condition. “I requested this hearing in an effort to protect people from having their health insurance terminated because of a pre-existing medical condition,” Schweyer said. “If the federal Department of Justice persists in refusing to defend a provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, many of people across Pennsylvania may be left without health insurance or face expensive health insurance premiums.” Schweyer co-chaired the hearing with state Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, who serves as Democratic House Policy Committee chairman. “It is imperative to the people of Pennsylvania that we discuss this topic in order to pass a state law that would preserve the pre-existing condition protection if the ACA is proved to be invalidated by the courts,” Sturla said Schweyer’s legislation is a companion bill to ( S.B 958 ), introduced by state Sen. Vincent Hughes, D-Phila. Those testifying at the hearing included: Allison Beam, chief of staff, Pennsylvania Insurance Department; Ken Bertka, family physician and vice president of clinical integration, St. Luke’s Care Network; Doug Furness, senior director of Read more
HARRISBURG, July 25 – Pointing to the success similar programs are having in other states, Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, said he plans to introduce legislation which would legalize the sale of marijuana in Pennsylvania. “States from coast to coast have embraced legalization and those states are reaping the economic and criminal justice benefits,” Wheatley said. “It is time Pennsylvania joins with those states in leaving behind the ugly stigma of marijuana.” A recent report by state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale estimated that legalizing marijuana could generate more than $580 million in annual tax revenue for Pennsylvania. Nine other states and Washington, D.C. have legalized marijuana for adult use, generating hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue while reducing spending and criminal justice costs. “This is why it comes as no surprise that recent polling shows that a majority of Pennsylvanians support legalization,” Wheatley said. “This is an idea whose time has come.” Wheatley’s legislation would further establish a retail market for marijuana and expunge criminal records for any marijuana-related conviction that would be considered lawful under the act. Wheatley said marijuana legalization is the natural path forward given Pennsylvania’s successful medical marijuana program, for which more than 52,000 patients have registered. Passed in 2016, the state’s medical marijuana law Read more
PHILADELPHIA, July 25 – State Rep. Jared Solomon, D-Phila., and the 2nd District of the Philadelphia Police Department today announced a partnership to enforce a new law to combat litter in northeast Philadelphia. “With the passage of Act 62 in Harrisburg, we have another tool to tackle the pervasive problem of litter in northeast Philadelphia,” Solomon said. “But laws without enforcement are not effective. That is why I am glad that we have a police captain willing to use all the tools at his disposal to make our streets and neighborhoods clean.” Act 62 of 2018, which Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law in June, will make those who dump rubbish responsible for picking it up. The new law sets fines for a first offense at $50 to $300. Offenders will also be required to pick up litter or illegally dumped trash for five to 30 hours within six months. Repeat offenders will pay a $300 to $1,000 fine and will be required to pick up for up to 100 hours over a year. Businesses will pay triple fines. Interim 2nd Police District Capt. Robert Zaffino said: “I am committed to working in partnership with Rep. Solomon to address littering, by having officers issue citations when they see violations. I want to keep our streets clean, safe, and free from unsightly trash, debris, and rubbish. To all members of the Northeast Philadelphia community: use proper receptacles to dispose of your trash, take pride in your neighborhoods, and keep your streets Read more
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