New Law to Protect Highway Workers
10/26/2018
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New Law to Protect Highway Workers

As a way to help enhance safety within highway construction zones, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 172 – now Act 86 of 2018 – which will better protect construction workers along roadways.

Under the new law, automated speed enforcement cameras will be deployed as part of a five-year pilot program in active work zones along certain federal highways under PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission’s jurisdiction. A separate program is being implemented in Philadelphia for U.S. Route 1 (Roosevelt Boulevard) to reduce pedestrian-related crashes.

Motorists who exceed the speed limit by at least 11 mph when construction workers and these cameras are present will receive a written warning for the first offense, a $75 fine for the second offense and a $150 fine for third and subsequent offenses. Penalties imposed will not be a criminal conviction if paid, will not reflect on an owner’s driving record, and cannot be used for insurance purposes or to authorize imposition of surcharges on motor vehicle insurance coverage. Cameras could start appearing as early as the spring 2019 construction season.

This legislation was modeled after a similar law in Maryland, which saw a substantial reduction in work zone-related crashes.

In 2015, 1,900 crashes were reported within work zones, leading to 23 deaths across Pennsylvania. According to PennDOT, work zone crashes have been increasing at a rate of 5 percent annually since 2012. For more information about highway safety, click here
 
 
Fighting Back Against Food Stamp Fraud

Legislation was signed into law on Wednesday that will help prevent food stamp fraud by imposing tougher penalties for the illegal trafficking of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

Senate Bill 1127 – now Act 160 of 2018 – creates a new penalty for the fraudulent trafficking of SNAP benefits in an amount greater than $2,500. Violators will be required to pay restitution of up to three times the amount of fraud they committed. Under previous state law, the recipient who sells the benefits and the merchant who creates the illegal market for and trafficks in those benefits were treated the same.

The legislation stems from a case uncovered last year by the Office of State Inspector General in which a Harrisburg restaurant traded drugs for electronic benefit transaction (EBT) cards and bought thousands of dollars of supplies from a food wholesale club to be resold for profit. This serious problem across Pennsylvania takes food from our most vulnerable citizens. 
 
 
Heating Assistance Program to Open Next Week

Residents who are struggling with their home heating bills can apply for assistance from the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) beginning Thursday, Nov. 1.

LIHEAP is a federally funded program that helps individuals and families pay their heating bills through home heating energy assistance grants. It also provides crisis grants to help in the event of an emergency or if a resident is in danger of losing his or her heat due to broken equipment, lack of fuel or termination of utility service.

The income eligibility guidelines for LIHEAP are set at 150 percent of the federal poverty income level. For example, the income limit for an individual is $18,210; for a couple, the limit is $24,690; and for a family of four, it is $37,650.

Residents may apply for LIHEAP online or by contacting the County Assistance Office in their county of residence
 
 
Got Expired Drugs? Dispose of Them Safely on Oct. 27

To help keep prescription medications out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them, the U.S. Department of Justice, working with local law enforcement, will hold a prescription drug take-back event in our area on Saturday, Oct. 27. This event allows residents to drop off unwanted or expired prescription medications free of charge for safe and convenient disposal.

 

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., residents can drop their medications off at the following local sites operated by area law enforcement: 

  • Milton Police Department, 1 Filbert St., Milton.
  • Northumberland County Sheriff’s Office, Northumberland County Courthouse, 201 Market St., Sunbury.
  • Shamokin Police Department, 511 N. Franklin St., Shamokin.
  • Watsontown Police Department, 318 Main St., Watsontown.

 Since the twice-a-year disposal events began in the fall of 2010, the total amount of prescription drugs collected by DEA has reached 9,964,714 pounds, or 4,982 tons.

 

Several communities in our area also have permanent collection sites. Click here for those.  
 

 
Veterans Organizations Can Apply for Trust Fund Grants

The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) is accepting applications for the 2018-19 Veterans’ Trust Fund (VTF) grant cycle. Up to $800,000 in VTF grant funding will be competitively awarded for programs and services benefiting Pennsylvania veterans.

The VTF is funded by Pennsylvanians who voluntarily donate when applying for or renewing driver’s licenses, photo IDs or motor vehicle registrations; purchasing Honoring Our Veterans license plates; or making private donations.

To learn more about the VTF and the grant application process, visit www.vtf.pa.gov or follow DMVA on Facebook at www.facebook.com/padmva.
Pennsylvania has the fourth-largest veteran population in the nation, with nearly 800,000 veterans. 
 
 
Small Businesses Can Compete for New Grant Award

Sunbury’s Revitalization Inc.’s Business and Economic Development Committee is seeking to support and encourage all small businesses in Sunbury. As a result, the committee has created the new Small Business Assistance Award, designed to assist start-up, new or existing small businesses within Sunbury.

Small businesses may be awarded up to $1,000 in monetary contribution and/or in-kind services for the project/program for which they are applying. Applications are evaluated based on the businesses needs for further growth, improvement, economic impact and alignment with Sunbury’s Revitalization, Inc. mission and values. Emphasis will be placed on the significant impact the program/project will have on the small business.

Applications must be submitted by Dec. 30, for internal review by a panel of committee members from Sunbury’s Revitalization Inc.’s Business and Economic Development Committee. Winners will be announced at an official awards ceremony early next year (dates and times to be determined).

For more information, click here
 
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106 Arch Street, Sunbury, PA 17801 | (570) 286-5885 | 1-800-924-9060 | Fax: (570) 988-1627
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