HARMAR, Feb. 3 – State Rep. Frank Dermody said good progress is being made on emergency repairs to the damaged overpass on Pittsburgh Street in Springdale that has forced the rerouting of traffic since Friday. “My office has been working with PennDOT staff, the Springdale mayor and police chief, and NRG to speed this process up and get this main artery open again,” Dermody said. “Everybody pitched in and things are getting done hour by hour. It’s not possible yet to be sure when the road will reopen but we are hopeful for Wednesday.” The span over Pittsburgh Street was struck by a loaded truck Friday. Dermody said PennDOT inspections showed the damage was much more extensive than first thought. “Everyone in the area has been inconvenienced by this situation, but people’s safety has got to be our first concern. State and local officials are working together to get the road open again as soon as possible,” Dermody said. He noted that the emergency repair work on the overpass is a temporary measure. “Sometime later this year it’s likely the road will close again for a short time for more complete repairs, but we’ll be able to give everyone plenty of notice about that before it happens.” Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 3 – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives on Tuesday unanimously passed state Rep. Chris Sainato's bill that would extend the same death benefits to members of the Pennsylvania Civil Air Patrol that are available to other emergency responders. The state's Emergency and Law Enforcement Personnel Death Benefits Act provides $100,000 to families of emergency responders who die while performing their duties. The bill authored by Sainato, who serves as Democratic chairman of the Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, would amend the act to include the Civil Air Patrol. The Civil Air Patrol is a federally supported, nonprofit organization that serves as an official civil auxiliary arm of the United States Air Force. It consists of 2,200 volunteers who support emergency service responders across the country by conducting search-and-rescue operations, providing disaster relief and performing homeland security missions. “These volunteers work alongside of police, firefighters and other emergency responders during dangerous situations,” said Sainato, D-Lawrence. “They deserve to have the same benefits as their peers.” Sainato said the Civil Air Patrol has provided valuable assistance in Pennsylvania and other parts of the country. Members of the organization helped communities in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Delaware recover from Hurricane Sandy. They also Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 3 – State Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, today announced that 18 fire and ambulance companies in his legislative district will receive more than $214,000 in state funding. The grants are from Pennsylvania's Fire Company and Volunteer Ambulance Service Grant Program and were awarded recently. In all, 2,507 grants were awarded statewide, totaling $30 million. The grants are funded from gaming revenue. "Donations are a big funding source for most of these companies, so this state funding is an added bonus," Burns said. "People rely on these companies and the volunteers when seconds count and this money will help them continue to provide these valuable services." Grant recipients and amounts awarded are as follows: Carrolltown Fire Co. -- $12,069 Cresson Area Ambulance Service Inc. -- $14,885 Dauntless Fire Co. -- $14,285 East Taylor Volunteer Fire Co. --$14,008 Ebensburg Area Ambulance Assoc. -- $7,445 Gallitzin Fire Company No. 1 -- $14,008 Jackson Township Volunteer Fire Co. -- $14,285 for the fire company; $7,445 for EMS John Carroll Area Ambulance Service -- $7,445 Loretto Fire Co. -- $12,623 Lower Yoder Township Volunteer Fire Co. -- $11,515 Middle Taylor Township Volunteer Fire Co. -- $14,285 Patton Area Ambulance Association, Inc. -- $7,445 Patton Fire Co. No. 1 -- $14,285 Portage Area Ambulance Assoc. -- $7,445 Portage Volunteer Fire Co. -- $14,285 Reade Township Volunteer Fire Co. Read more
GREENVILLE, Feb. 2 – State Rep. Mark Longietti’s new Greenville office is now open. The office is in the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce Building, 182 Main St. It is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The phone number is 724-588-1005. The fax number is 724-588-1023. Longietti said opening the new office was necessary because the boundaries of the 7th Legislative District were changed during redistricting. The borough of Greenville and West Salem Township were added to Longietti’s district. The cities of Farrell, Hermitage and Sharon; the boroughs of Clark, Sharpsville, West Middlesex and Wheatland; and the townships of Lackawannock, Pymatuning, Shenango and South Pymatuning remain in the district. "The new office will give my constituents in the Greenville area convenient access to assistance with a variety of state programs and services," said Longietti, D-Mercer. Longietti said those programs and services include free help applying to the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program, providing state tax return forms, providing criminal and child abuse clearance forms and delivery of those forms for expedited processing, birth and death certificate applications, and helping constituents with unemployment compensation and workman’s compensation issues. Longietti also said his staff helps secure driver's licenses, non-driver photo IDs and handicapped placards; deals with Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 2 – Pop Warner National Super Bowl Championship football team winners from the Germantown area of Northwest Philadelphia were honored on the House floor today, in a ceremony orchestrated by state Reps. Rosita C. Youngblood and Stephen Kinsey, both D-Phila. The Northwest Raiders, winners of the 2014 national Pop Warner title, defeated a team from Connecticut in a game held at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., and televised on ESPN2. Their accomplishment was acknowledged by H.R. 34 , jointly sponsored by Youngblood and Kinsey. "It is a pleasure and honor to recognize a group of young men who, in the truest display of dedication and teamwork, have accomplished such a lofty goal," Youngblood said. "Their success is proof that when you set a goal and put your mind to it, anything is possible. They have put themselves – and their community – on the national stage in an impressively positive way." Kinsey said, "The old adage goes, 'It's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.' We can be proud of the way the Northwest Raiders played the game – and doubly proud of the fact that they emerged victorious. In so doing, they've become role models for countless other youths." Youngblood made particular note of the strong educational component of the Pop Warner title, reiterating that the organization which operates in 42 states requires players to maintain academic standards Read more
State Rep. Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh, announced today that his first piece of legislation has been introduced. House Bill 279 would stiffen penalties for aggravated assaults against public transportation company employees, such as those who work for LANTA. The bill would add this category of employees to the list of victims for which the alleged assailants are subject to an enhanced offense of a first- or second-degree felony. Read more
NANTICOKE, Feb. 2 – State Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Newport Township, congratulated the 29 fire and ambulance companies in his Luzerne County legislative district that will receive more than $353,000 in state grants. "These organizations provide life-saving services, and I’m pleased that the state is helping them carry out their mission,” Mullery said. The funding comes from the Fire Company and Volunteer Ambulance Service Grant Program. The program, which is funded by gaming revenue, was expanded in 2013 through a law Mullery supported. Its annual funding was increased from $25 million to $30 million, and eligibility was extended to 35 municipal fire departments across the state. The law increased the average amount of grants to fire departments from $9,500 to $12,000, with a maximum grant of $15,000, and the average grant to volunteer ambulance companies from $4,500 to $5,600, with a maximum grant of $10,000. Money from the program is used to: Build or repair a fire or ambulance company facility and to purchase or repair fixtures or furnishings needed to maintain or improve fire, ambulance and rescue service; Purchase or repair firefighting, ambulance or rescue equipment; Train and certify members; and Pay down debt that resulted from building or repairing a facility or purchasing or repairing equipment. Organizations in Mullery's district that will receive the grants are: A K Mowery Hose Company No. 3, Read more
LEVITTOWN, Feb. 2 – State Rep. John Galloway, D-Bucks, has announced his Levittown office is a drop-off location for the Operation Helping Hand Food Drive. Galloway and his staff are collecting nonperishable food items through March 10 as part of the United Way of Bucks County’s Operation Helping Hand. Local schools are encouraging their students to bring in canned and dry food items to school on March 11. Items dropped off at Galloway’s office at 8610 New Falls Road, Levittown, will be picked up March 11 and added to the local school donations. “Opening my office for this food drive allows other families, especially those who do not have school-aged children, to participate,” Galloway said. “I know from previous experience, our community always supports those less fortunate and I would like to thank everyone for their help. "Let's work together to fill several boxes with food. All the food collected will be given to local food pantries to help our neighbors.” The food drive is looking for a variety of canned and dry items, such as cereal, pasta, soup, rice, powdered milk, canned fruit, peanut butter and jelly. Galloway said his office also has information about programs to help children and families, including the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, among others. For more information, contact his office at 215-943-7206. ### Read more
State Rep. Tina Davis announced that fire departments, ambulance and rescue squads serving the 141st Legislative District are receiving state grants totaling almost $100,000. Davis also said she is seeking support for her legislation that would ease loan caps for volunteer fire and ambulance squads seeking financing through the state Volunteer Loan Assistance Program. Read more
ERIE, Feb. 2 – State Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie, today announced that several fire and ambulance companies in the 3rd Legislative District will receive more than $111,000 in state grants. "Our first responders play a crucial role in keeping our communities safe," Bizzarro said. "I am pleased to see the state supporting their efforts in a way that will allow them to continue their important work." Funding for the grants comes from the Fire Company and Volunteer Ambulance Service Grant Program, funded by gaming revenue. Money from the program can be used to repair, build or renovate facilities, purchase new equipment, train and certify staff, or repay debt related to equipment purchases or facility building and maintenance. Grant recipients in the 3rd Legislative District include: Central Erie County Paramedic Association, Inc., $7,444.80; Edinboro Volunteer Fire Department, $14,284.70; Edinboro Volunteer Fire Department EMS, $7,444.80; Kearsarge Fire Department, $14,284.70; Lake Shore Fire Department, $12,622.62; Lake Shore Fire Department EMS, $7,444.80; McKean Hose Company, $11,791.59; McKean Hose Company EMS, $7,444.80; West Lake Fire Department, $14,007.69; and West Ridge Fire Department, $14,284.70. The grant program was expanded in 2013 to increase its annual funding from $25 million to $30 million and extend eligibility to 35 municipal departments across the state. In addition, the average amount of grants Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 30 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio was on hand Thursday at Benjamin Rush State Park to mark Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s executive order banning oil and natural-gas drilling in all of Pennsylvania’s state parks. The order reverses a policy implemented in 2014 by former Gov. Tom Corbett. “I was honored to be witness to Governor Tom Wolf as he signed an executive order reinstating the moratorium on new leases for oil and gas development in 120 state parks and forests in the commonwealth,” she said. “As our new governor, Tom Wolf believes, as do I, that we have an obligation to leverage this valuable asset for the benefit of our citizens, and that the industry should be tightly regulated with frequent and up-to-date testing and monitoring to ensure the safety of our citizens, land, air and water. “Our parks provide clean air for some of the most populated cities in the world, and a beautiful and exciting escape for millions of tourists each year to enjoy. They also play a vital role in the ecology affecting our agricultural and hunting industries. “As DCNR eloquently points out on its website, ‘a close to 3-million acre system so well-loved and well-used requires real commitment to maintain and improve.’ And we took a great step Thursday in honoring that commitment. “Furthermore, as a state representative and Pennsylvanian, I look forward to preserving the ethos that this Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 30 – State Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, said 28 fire and ambulance companies in the 55th Legislative District will share $329,544 in state grants. The grants are from Pennsylvania's Fire Company and Volunteer Ambulance Service Grant Program and were awarded recently. In all, 2,507 grants were awarded statewide, totaling $30 million. The grants are funded from gaming revenue. "These grants will help these organizations focus on what they do best – protecting lives and property," Petrarca said. Grant recipients and amounts awarded are as follows: Armstrong County Apollo Volunteer Fire Dept. Hose Co. No. 2 -- $12,068 Apollo Volunteer Fire Dept. Hose Co. No. 3 -- $12,068 Leechburg Volunteer Fire Co. -- $11,514 Lower Kiski Ambulance Service Inc. -- $7,444 for EMS; $14,284 for the fire company Parks Township Volunteer Fire Dept. -- $12,068 Indiana County Saltsburg Volunteer Fire Dept. -- $12,622 Westmoreland County Avonmore Volunteer Fire Dept. -- $11,514 Bell Township Volunteer Fire Dept. -- $12,345 Derry Township Volunteer Fire Dept. No. 1 of Bradenville -- $12,622 Freewill Volunteer Hose Co. No. 3 and 4 -- $11,514 George G. McMurtry Fire Dept. Vandergrift No. 1 -- $14,284 Good Friends Hose Co. No. 5 -- $11,514 Goodwill Hose Co. No. 1 -- $11,514 Hook & Ladder Co. 2 Latrobe Volunteer Fire Dept. -- Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 30 – State Rep. Marty Flynn announced over $35,000 in state fire grants have been awarded to two emergency services organizations in the 113 th Legislative District. They are: Chinchilla Hose Co. of South Abington Township for its fire company, $14,284 Chinchilla Hose Co. of South Abington Township for its EMS, $7,444 City of Scranton Bureau of Fire, $14,284 “The vitality of our fire companies and volunteer EMS is important. With this grant, they can properly maintain important equipment and stay up to par with training regulations,” Flynn said. “These grants are much needed and appreciated, and I am very pleased to see emergency responders in my district receiving them.” The Pennsylvania Fire Company and Volunteer Ambulance Service Grant Program awards funding to local organizations to pay for construction or renovation of facilities, equipment or equipment repair, debt reduction, or training expenses. The program is administered by the Pennsylvania Office of the Fire Commissioner within the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 30 – State Rep. Margo Davidson, D-Delaware, and other members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus recently met with the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association and high-ranking law enforcement officials to improve relations between police and the communities they serve. Davidson termed the meeting productive, stating, “This was the first in what I hope will be many meetings with law enforcement officials to improve relations. If we can improve interactions between police and the people they serve, maybe we can prevent additional tragic deaths.” Over the past few months, protests occurred across the country in response to the fatal shootings of black men and children by police officers, including Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.; Eric Garner in New York; and 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland. Davidson said peaceful protests are important and have their place, but the time has come for a meaningful dialogue about what needs to change in our communities. “Citizens and police must work together to keep our communities safe, keep justice fair and preserve lives,” Davidson said. “Police need to be able to go home to their families and citizens, particularly in communities of color, need to know that law enforcement and the criminal justice system works for them as well. We all want the same things – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This was the first time the Read more
Technical problems have forced the state Department of Revenue to suspend a Feb. 1 reporting deadline for clubs with proceeds from small games of chance last year of $20,000 or more. Read more
State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, announced today that 14 fire and ambulance companies in his legislative district will receive more than $180,000 in state grants. Read more
PORTAGE, Jan. 29 – State Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, announced that he has opened an office in Portage to provide services to the residents in the relocated 72nd Legislative District. Residents can visit the office between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at 112-A Munster Road, Portage 15946 or call either 814-736-7339 or 814-736-6452. “This office allows me and my staff to better serve the people recently added to the 72nd District as part of the legislative redistricting process,” Burns said. “It will provide the same high quality level of service that is offered in both my Johnstown and Ebensburg offices.” Burns said Maureen College, who has been his director of community relations for the past three years, will be working in the Portage office. “Maureen is a professional who is extremely dedicated to her career,” Burns said. “It won’t take long for people to notice her impact on the district.” Burns adds there will be an open house for the Portage office from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 20. Burns invites Cambria County residents to visit his newly designed webpage, www.pahouse.com/Burns for the latest on news happening within the district and information about constituent services. Residents can also visit either his Lower Yoder Township office at 535 Fairfield Ave., Johnstown, or call 814-536-8400, or his Ebensburg office located at 119 S. Center St. or call 814-472-8021. Read more
State Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, released the following statement in response to Gov. Tom Wolf placing a moratorium on drilling in state parks and forests today: Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 29 – State Reps. Rosita C. Youngblood and Stephen Kinsey, both D-Phila., will join members of the state House of Representatives at 1 p.m. Monday, Feb. 2 in the House chamber to honor the Northwest Raiders football team for winning the 2014 Pop Warner National Super Bowl Championship. Youngblood and Kinsey jointly sponsored H.R. 34 , which would recognize the Northwest Raiders’ accomplishment of capturing their first ever Pop Warner Super Bowl Championship since the program began back in 1971. The Super Bowl was held at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., and was nationally televised live on ESPN2 sports network. The Raiders, who hail from the Germantown area of Northwest Philadelphia, defeated Connecticut’s New Britain Raiders by a score of 26-6. “Pop Warner Little Scholars Inc. is a nonprofit organization that provides youth football and cheer and dance programs in 42 states across the country, and is the only youth football program that requires participants to maintain academic standards in order to play,” Youngblood said. “I am looking forward to recognizing these young men who not only have proven themselves on the football field, but also as students and positive members of our community.” “It is fitting to honor Philadelphia’s Northwest Raiders,” Kinsey added. “Not only for their significant athletic accomplishment in winning the 2014 Pop Warner Super Bowl, but Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 28 – State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., will soon hold his first town hall meeting of 2015 for residents of the 182nd Legislative District. The meeting will be held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 12 in the Bonnell Large Auditorium, Community College of Philadelphia, 1700 Spring Garden St. The auditorium is located on 16th Street between Callowhill and Spring Garden streets. "This is an opportunity to ask me about issues that matter to you so I can better represent you in Harrisburg," Sims said. The 182nd District includes Rittenhouse, Fitler and Logan Squares, the Gayborhood and parts of Washington Square West, Bella Vista, Hawthorne, Graduate Hospital and Queen Village. Sims said, "In addition to seeking to restore vital school funding, addressing the $2 billion deficit Governor Corbett left, and reversing the drastic decline in Pennsylvania's job-creation record, I will continue working with allies from both parties to reintroduce and co-sponsor legislation on other important issues," such as: LGBT equality, including equal protections in the workplace and a ban on harmful "conversion therapy" for minors; sustainable development and manufacturing; merit selection of judges; fair compensation for people harmed by a local government's action or inaction – like Philadelphians who only got 19 cents on the dollar for electrical and water damage done to their homes by a Read more
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