In this Update:
Indiana County Ribbon Cutting
I was thrilled to join Indiana Area School District, Ben Franklin Elementary staff, students and many other community officials to celebrate the grand opening of the BF Outdoor Learning Space.
This project emerged from the constraints teachers and students experienced during the pandemic.
Ideas quickly flowed and the vision evolved into creating a fun and engaging space for students to learn and grow.
The project was completed with significant funding from the Indiana PA Kiwanis Club, a grant from Walmart and donations from numerous individuals and organizations. Well done!
Telephone Town Hall on Monday, June 5
Community residents are invited to participate in a live telephone town hall meeting on Monday, June 5 from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. Individuals from Armstrong, Indiana, Jefferson and Westmoreland counties can register to participate in the tele-town hall by clicking here. This link can also be used for audio streaming, which will be available immediately prior to the event.
I look forward to this time to contact with constituents to share what is currently happening in Harrisburg and to discuss important local needs. I appreciate the opportunity to hear the perspective of area residents, and to engage in a thoughtful discussion of issues facing Pennsylvania and communities across the 41st Senatorial District.
Punxsutawney American Legion Post 62 Memorial Day Parade & Ceremony
Thank you to Punxsutawney American Legion Post 62 for inviting me to take part in their Memorial Day parade & ceremony on Monday. Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Ken Burkett delivered a moving speech honoring those who gave their lives while serving our great country. Our independence was hard-fought and defended by all who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Let us never forget what they did in the name of freedom. You can read more about this meaningful event in this article by the Courier Express.
Providing Critical Information in Emergencies
Pennsylvania offers two free voluntary programs to save the lives of residents in emergency situations: the Yellow Dot program and the Emergency Contact Information program.
PennDOT’s Yellow Dot program allows participants to fill out the program form with emergency contact, medical contact and medical information, insert it in the program’s folder and then place it in their vehicle’s glove compartment. A yellow dot sticker affixed to the rear window alerts emergency responders to the availability of information to help them provide better care to crash victims.
The Emergency Contact Information program offers Pennsylvania driver’s license and PennDOT-issued ID holders the opportunity to log into a secure database and list two emergency contacts. Participants can update their records as needed, but only law enforcement officials can view the information in the system. In an emergency, law enforcement can use a participant’s ID to find his or her emergency contact information.
The Yellow Dot program is used only in vehicle crashes, but the Emergency Contact Information program can be used in other emergencies as well as crashes.
Helping Communities Fight Illegal Dumps
To limit public health hazards that negatively impact property values, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection have launched the Illegal Dump Free PA Program. It will help communities curb illegal dumping by exposing those who commit this crime.
To avoid costly cleanups that average $3,000 per site, grant recipients will receive, as a temporary loan, three cameras to capture evidence of illegal dumping. Equipment includes wireless technology to capture photos of vehicle license plates and illegal dumpers, even at night. One camera uses wireless technology to email pictures when triggered, providing almost instant results.
Grants Available for Emergency Service Training Centers
Because of legislation passed by the Senate last November, emergency services training centers, community colleges, county-owned facilities, municipal or fire department-owned facilities and nonprofit countywide associations can apply for grants ranging from $25,000 to $100,000.
Through the Emergency Service Training Center Capital Grant Program, funds can be used to establish or modernize facilities that house firefighting equipment, ambulances or rescue vehicles and to repair or purchase firefighting, ambulance or rescue equipment.
The application period runs from June 1-30. Learn more or apply for a grant here.
DELAYED: Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program Vouchers
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture reports that, due to vendor issues, the mailing of Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program and Farmers Market Nutrition Program vouchers will be delayed until the end of June. Vouchers are good until Nov. 30.
Eligible participants will receive five $10 vouchers and a list of participating farmers and farmers’ markets where vouchers can be used to purchase Pennsylvania grown fruits and vegetables. Call your County Aging office to find out when and where it will distribute the vouchers. Learn more here.
Download PA’s Happy Traveler Guide for Summer Fun
Pennsylvania has thousands of places for summer fun, and the state’s official travel guide, the Happy Traveler Guide, is available for downloading here.
Categorized by region, the guide includes nearly 100 pages of attractions, lodging options, dining and many other recreational activities all across the state. Things to see and do are grouped by area, taking the work out of planning a vacation.
Tourism is one of the state’s largest industries. In 2021, Pennsylvania welcomed 180 million travelers, which generated more than $66 billion and supported nearly half a million jobs.
Celebrating the Health Benefits of Dairy
Every June, National Dairy Month highlights the importance of consuming nutrient-rich dairy foods and beverages. Dairy products, like milk, contain nine essential nutrients which may help to better manage weight and reduce the risk of high blood pressure, osteoporosis and certain cancers.
Dairy plays no small part in the state’s top industry: agriculture. The Senate has a few legislative measures to help our hard-working farmers who provide for our dairy needs.
Senate Bill 153 would ensure that milk haulers can travel on highways during a declaration of disaster emergency so the perishable product isn’t lost. Senate Bill 297 would allow whole milk in schools. Senate Resolution 48 urges the United States Department of Agriculture to allow 2% and whole milk in schools.
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