Jul. 12, 2019

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Milton and Sunbury Eligible for Housing Rehabilitation Grants
Thanks to the HOME Existing Owner-Occupied Housing Program, the City of Sunbury and Milton Borough may be awarded $500,000 each in housing rehabilitation grants early next year. Of this, homeowners may be eligible to receive up to $65,000 in home improvements.

Eligible repairs include structural, roofing, plumbing, electrical, heating/furnace, window replacement, radon and lead-based paint mitigation, modifications for mobility-impaired residents and energy-related improvements. There is no cost to homeowners who maintain residency over a five-year period from the date of signing.

Qualifications include: own the home or have Life Rights to live in it, meet income qualifications based on household size, be current on local taxes and municipal utility bills, provide proof of homeowner’s insurance and live in the home an additional five years.

Annual gross income limits based on family size: 1 - $35,400; 2 - $40,450; 3 - $45,500; 4 - $50,550; 5 - $54,600; 6 - $58,650; 7 - $62,700; 8 - $66,750.

This program has provided Sunbury with $1.4 million over the last 20 years, rehabilitating 41 homes.

Interested homeowners should contact SEDA-Council of Government's (SEDA-COG) Stacy Anderson at 800-326-9310 to be placed on the wait list.

Local Police Participating in Aggressive Driving Enforcement Initiative
Local law enforcement will join the Pennsylvania State Police and over 2015 municipal agencies to conduct the third target aggressive driving enforcement wave, happening now through Aug. 25, 2019. Area participants include Sunbury, Coal Township and Mount Carmel Township in Northumberland County, and Shamokin Dam Borough in Snyder County.

This initiative aims to reduce the number of aggressive driving-related accidents, injuries and deaths on roadways throughout the state. Any driver found to be driving aggressively will receive a citation. Law enforcement will focus on running red lights, the Steer Clear law, tailgating and heavy trucks. Citations will also be given for those caught speeding, following too closely or otherwise driving aggressively.

The initiative is a part of the Pennsylvania Aggressive Driving Enforcement and Education Project and is funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Click here for more information.

Stocking Muskies in the Susquehanna River

On Wednesday, Sen. John Gordner and I attended a Musky stocking event held by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC). Also present were PFBC Executive Director Tim Schaeffer, PFBC Commissioner Eric Hussar and PFBC Fish Culturist Doug Smoyer.

A total of 275 Muskies were released into the river. In total, 27,000 Muskies will be stocked throughout Pennsylvania this year. Muskies are the alpha-predator of almost any body of water in which they are found. These fish represent a challenge to fishermen as the catch rate is extremely low, and catching a Musky requires a tremendous amount of knowledge, patience, skill and a bit of luck. They are one of the most popular fish to target for Susquehanna River anglers.
Thank you to the PFBC for inviting us to attend the event and learn more about these fish!

PASSHE Freezes Tuition for First Time in 20 Years
Good news for the nearly 100,000 students who attend Bloomsburg University or other state system universities! The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) Board of Governors voted unanimously in favor of freezing state system universities’ tuition. The last time the Board of Governors held the line on tuition was 20 years ago for the 1998-99 school year.

This freeze will keep in-state tuition at about $7,700 for the upcoming academic year and will hopefully draw more students to apply or stay in the state system and pursue their prospective career paths.

Nearly 90 percent of the PASSHE student body resides in Pennsylvania, and 72 percent of graduates find work in the Commonwealth within two years of earning their degree.

Next year, as part of its ongoing redesign efforts, the State System will for the first time permit individual universities to set multi-year tuition strategies, subject to board approval. This unprecedented measure, approved by the board in April, will result in public universities improving their competitiveness and affordability.

Meeting with Herndon Lions Club

On Monday, July 8, I was invited by the Herndon Lions Club to speak at their meeting and picnic. I am pictured here with Herndon Lions Club President Dennis Williard, who presented me with a certificate of appreciation.

Thank you so much to Mr. Williard and the Herndon Lions Club for inviting me to your picnic and for all you do for the community.”

30th Anniversary of PennDOT Adopt-A-Highway Program

On Tuesday, July 9, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) celebrated the 30th anniversary of its Adopt-A-Highway (AAH) program, where volunteers “adopt” a highway to collect litter. Since 1990, the program has gained over 4,900 participating groups, more than 100,000 volunteers and over 10,000 miles of adopted, state-maintained highways. The savings from this program total over $5 million, which allows PennDOT to redirect money toward highway maintenance and repair instead of trash collection.

Building upon the Adopt-A-Highway program, PennDOT offers volunteers the opportunity to add landscaping to their litter collection efforts by way of the Adopt and Beautify program. Through Adopt and Beautify, volunteers expand upon PennDOT's planting efforts to cultivate approved plantings and conduct litter pick up along our state-maintained roadways under a two-year commitment. In return, PennDOT places a sign recognizing the group for its efforts. Interchange areas and traffic islands are also available for adoption, this is a wonderful way to say, "Welcome to Pennsylvania and our community."

As an enhancement to Adopt and Beautify, PennDOT has developed a Pollinator Habitat Plan that will create naturalized gardens and meadows planted with pollinator-friendly plant species at designated sites in partnership with public and private organizations. The gardens can be planted and maintained at a PennDOT designated pollinator habitat site within the department's right-of-way property, including at county facilities, interstate rest stops, or approved interchange areas or traffic islands. Individuals or groups such as clubs, schools, churches, businesses and families may apply to adopt gardens for two-year timeframes. In return for their participation, PennDOT posts signs near the garden giving the volunteers credit for their efforts.

More information on PennDOT’s roadside beautification efforts can be found on PennDOT’s website

Calling on the FCC to Protect Your Phone from Spoofers
Calls from telemarketers have long been an issue, but the situation becomes dangerous when scammers “spoof” calls. That’s when a call shows a different name or phone number than is actually associated with the caller. All too often it can result in recipients being tricked into sharing their personal information and scammed out of their hard-earned money.

Spoofing needs to be swiftly and aggressively addressed. Despite being illegal, these unwanted robocalls that appear to originate from local, often legitimate, numbers in order to deceive consumers are on the rise.

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously supported a resolution urging Congress to grant additional authority to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to stop unwanted robocalls and spoofing, as well as to educate the public on how to report illegal calls. Spam calls are the most frequent complaint received by the FCC, and it’s time to do something about it.

While we implore the FCC to stop the harassment of Pennsylvanians through their own devices, residents can take action to limit another form of harassment – unwanted calls from telemarketers.

There are two Do Not Call Lists available: The National Do Not Call List and the Pennsylvania Do Not Call List. Register your cell phone and landline numbers with the state list by calling 888-777-3406 and the national list by calling 888-382-1222. Both phone numbers are toll free. You can also register online for the National Do Not Call List here, and the Pennsylvania Do Not Call List here.

Staying Safe in Summer Heat and Humidity
With temperatures predicted to rise into the 90s again next week, the state Department of Health is offering several tips to help stay cool and safe.

Wear lightweight, loose-fitting and light-colored clothing; limit outdoor activities to early morning or evening hours when temperatures are usually cooler; and pace yourself if you do need to be outdoors. When possible, stay indoors in air conditioning on hot days.

Staying hydrated is important, and health experts recommend drinking plenty of water throughout the day, not waiting until you feel thirsty. Avoid consuming caffeinated, alcoholic or sugary beverages, and replace salt lost from perspiration by drinking fruit juice or sports drinks.

Extreme heat is one of the leading causes of weather-related deaths in the United States each year. Infants and young children, people age 65 and older, those with chronic medical conditions and those who must work outdoors are especially at risk for developing a heat-related illness.

Learn more here.
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