House Agree Alzheimer’s Should be Public Health Issue
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House Agree Alzheimer’s Should be Public Health Issue

Most of us have a family member or loved one who has suffered from Alzheimer’s disease or a related cognitive condition, and we know how devastating that can be for those individuals and how difficult that can be for their caregivers.

To help bring greater attention to this issue – along with additional state support – the House approved legislation I authored, House Resolution 969, that requests that the Pennsylvania secretary of Health declare Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias as a public health issue.

By making Alzheimer’s disease a public health crisis, we can bring more attention to the issues faced by those living with dementia to the forefront of the Commonwealth’s priorities. We have a great need for more dementia-friendly communities, more assistance for caregivers, more education for first responders and physicians, and earlier diagnoses for the family to prepare for financial and legal decisions.

If you or someone you know is in need of help, please contact the Alzheimer’s 24/7 Helpline at 1-800-272-3900. 
Feds Extend REAL ID Grace Period

Pennsylvania has been granted an extended grace period to comply with REAL ID requirements set by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The grace period was set to expire Oct. 10, 2018, but has now been extended until Aug. 1, 2019. A final federal deadline for all states to comply is Oct. 1, 2020.

This grace period extension means that Pennsylvania residents will not face access issues when entering federal facilities or boarding commercial aircraft through at least Aug. 1, 2019.

REAL ID is voluntary for Pennsylvania residents, but encouraged for those who may need to access certain federal facilities, such as military bases, or fly commercial flights within the United States. Residents also have the option to use other, non-REAL ID forms of enhanced identification. Click here for that list

Residents wishing to obtain REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and photo ID cards can obtain them, beginning in March 2019. In the meantime, customers are encouraged to pre-verify for REAL ID for gathering the required documentation as soon as possible, giving them ample time to prepare.

One of the required documents is a certified copy of a birth certificate, which can take up to several months to process, depending on one’s circumstances. My office can help residents with birth certificate applications. Call or stop by for more information.
More information about REAL ID, including frequently asked questions, can be found at
Happy Retirement!

Last Friday, I was happy to extend Chuck Beck best wishes on his upcoming retirement. Chuck is retiring after 42 years of employment with Milton Borough. He began his career as a mechanic in 1976, then public works director and then onto his role as borough manager, where he has served for the past 16 years. He has been instrumental in the success of several projects, including the completion of the renovations of the borough office and police department. He's also been active with the Milton Area Industrial Development Association. Throughout his career, Chuck has demonstrated remarkable knowledge, ability and integrity in carrying out his many responsibilities. Congratulations on a well-deserved retirement! 

Farmers, Small Businesses Encouraged to Seek Grants to Reduce Pollution and Save Money

Grant funding for energy efficiency and pollution prevention projects for small business owners and farmers are still available from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) through the Small Business Advantage Grant program.

Pennsylvania-based small business owners with 100 or fewer full-time employees are eligible for the grants. Projects must save the business a minimum of $500 and 25 percent annually in energy consumption or pollution related expenses. Natural resource protection projects are exempt from the minimums; however, the projects must be able to quantify sediment and nutrient reductions into nearby waterways.

Businesses can apply for 50 percent matching funds for equipment or materials, up to $9,500, when adopting energy-efficient or pollution prevention equipment or processes. Applications are considered on a first-come, first-served basis, and will be accepted until fiscal year 2018-19 funds are exhausted, or April 12, 2019, whichever occurs first.

The complete grant application package, which includes step-by-step instructions for completing the on-line application as well as all related forms, is available by visiting the DEP Small Business Ombudsman’s Office website. 
Learning More about State Government

Thank you to the members of the AMPES group of the Arc Susquehanna Valley-Sunbury for inviting me to speak with them about state government and my responsibilities as a state legislator. The group is a weekly drop-in program offered through The Arc, Susquehanna Valley and is designed for persons with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (self-advocates). This once-a-week program offers crafts, recreational activities, light snacks, life skills and socialization training. This month’s session involved learning more about state government and the importance of community engagement and participation. 
Helping Parents with Day Care Decisions

Bipartisan legislation designed to help parents with day care decisions was passed by the House this week and sent to the Senate. House Bill 1742 would require all state licensed child care centers to post their Keystone STARS rating in a prominent location and on their websites.

The Keystone STARS program, operated by the state Office of Child Development and Early Learning, sets quality requirements for early childhood educators based on a four-star rating system. All licensed child care centers that meet the state’s health and safety requirements are required to be part of the Keystone STARS system.

The Keystone STARS performance standards are grouped into four levels. The standards address staff qualifications and professional development, early learning programs, partnerships with family and the community, and leadership and management. The goal of the proposal is to help educate parents about day care choices and to encourage low-rated child care centers to improve their programs. 
Fall in Love with PA’s Autumn Colors

Fall leaves are just about to turn across several areas in Pennsylvania, helping to boost tourism activities in many regions. According to the Pennsylvania Tourism Office, Pennsylvania has a longer and more varied fall foliage season than any other state in the nation.

Both in-state and out-of-state visitors can find the best places to view fall foliage and track the locations of the peak colors throughout the state, beginning in late September. The weekly fall foliage report is available here.

Click here to read more about Pennsylvania’s fall tourism activities.  
PennDOT Closures for Columbus Day Weekend

All PennDOT driver license and photo centers, including its full-service center in Harrisburg, will be closed Saturday, Oct. 6, through Monday, Oct. 8, in observance of Columbus Day. Customers may still obtain a variety of driver and vehicle products and services, including all forms, publications and driver-training manuals, online through PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services website,

Please also note that our office will also be closed on Monday, and we will reopen on Tuesday, Oct. 9. 
Commemorating Breast Cancer Awareness Month

To honor those who have fought breast cancer or are fighting it now, the fountain at the Pennsylvania State Capitol’s East Wing was dyed pink on Tuesday for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The pink fountain is also a reminder to all women of the importance of mammograms and early detection. This week, the House also passed House Resolution 1048 recognizing October 2018 as “National Breast Cancer Awareness Month” and Oct. 19, 2018, as “National Mammography Day” in Pennsylvania. The American Cancer Society estimates that 268,670 women and men in the United States will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer this year, and that’s why it is important to continue to educate the public about breast cancer and stress the importance of routine self-breast exams, regularly scheduled doctor visits and yearly mammograms as recommended. 
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