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Meeting Franklin Regional’s Robotics Team
I recently had the pleasure of visiting with a few of the members of the Franklin Regional High School Robotics Teams for a demonstration of their program. The team is competing in their fourth competition in which they have 45 days to design and build a competitive robot that performs tasks cooperatively with other robots. I was thoroughly impressed with the students’ keen technical knowledge, the overall process of robotics, and the teamwork displayed by these fine young people. I wish them all the best in their upcoming competition
Honoring Our Poetry Out Loud Winner
It was an honor for me to present Kate Bradshaw with a plaque recognizing her as the winner of the ArtsPath regional Poetry Out Loud recitation competition. Pictures are Dale Kirsch, Indiana Area School District Superintendent, Natalie Mears, teacher and Poetry Out Loud coordinator for POL at Indiana Area High School, Kate Bradshaw, Jeff Wacker, Arts-in-Education Services Coordinator at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Julie Steve, English teacher, and Wade McElheny, Indiana Area High School Principal. Thanks to Hank Knerr, Executive Director for the Lively Arts at IUP for providing the photo.
Senate to Review Governor’s FY 2015-16 Budget
Beginning with Governor Tom Wolf’s budget address on March 3, the Senate begins the extensive process leading to the finalization of a state budget for the 2015-16 Fiscal Year, which runs from July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016.
The Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a three-week series of budget hearings beginning on March 16. The hearings provide an opportunity for the Appropriations Committee to hear Administration officials detail their plans for the upcoming fiscal year.
All hearings will be held in Hearing Room 1 of the Capitol North Office Building. Live coverage of the hearings will be available online at www.pasenategop.com. The hearing schedule, which is subject to change, is as follows:
MONDAY, MARCH 16
9:30 a.m. - Governor's Office – Budget Secretary
TUESDAY, MARCH 17
9:30 a.m. - Attorney General
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 18
9:30 a.m. - Judiciary
THURSDAY, MARCH 19
9:30 a.m. - Gaming Control Board
MONDAY, MARCH 23
9:30 a.m. - PUC
TUESDAY, MARCH 24
9:30 a.m. - Department of Insurance
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25
9:30 a.m. - Department of Environmental Protection
THURSDAY, MARCH 26
9:30 a.m. - Department of Human Services
MONDAY, MARCH 30
9:30 a.m. - Department of Education
TUESDAY, MARCH 31
9:30 a.m. - Department of Revenue/Lottery
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1
9:30 a.m. - PEMA
Attorney General Office Establishes Office of Military and Veterans Affairs
The State Attorney General’s Office recently established an Office of Military and Veterans Affairs. The office's primary focus is consumer outreach and education, but it also has the authority to investigate and prosecute certain offenses against veterans. Resources are available at www.attorneygeneral.gov and include consumer guides related to specific military and veterans' issues, such as pension poaching and ID theft, and a transition guide for education and civilian employment.
The Office of Attorney General is also a member of the Pennsylvania Military Finance Alliance, which conducts workshops and training sessions for service members, veterans and their families on financial security and planning. Veterans and service members who need assistance can contact the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs at (717) 783-1944 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
State System Universities Offer Programs for Veterans
Virtually all of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education universities, including Indiana University of Pennsylvania, provide a variety of services to military members, veterans and their families. Many have dedicated student veterans’ centers that serve as “one-stop shops” for those making the transition from military to college life.
Eleven state system universities were named “Military Friendly Schools” this year by Victory Media, a designation awarded annually to only the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools in the country in recognition of their efforts to ensure the academic success of military service members, veterans and spouses. Several of the universities have qualified for this select honor roll for multiple years in a row.
The Military Friendly Schools are Bloomsburg, California, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Millersville, Slippery Rock and West Chester.
Five State System universities (East Stroudsburg, Indiana, Kutztown, Mansfield and West Chester) participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that allows colleges to voluntarily enter into an agreement with the Veterans Administration to provide special tuition assistance to military veterans.
All 14 state system universities provide military veterans with preference in course scheduling, in accordance with recently passed legislation. The universities also are working to meet the July 1 date for offering in-state tuition rates to qualified veterans and their dependents regardless of state residency status under the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act.
Locally, IUP’s Veterans Affairs Office assists student veterans and dependents of veterans with their educational benefits. The university also opened its Military Resource Center in January 2014.
The center, which is funded through the president’s Strategic Initiative program, includes a conference room, a lounge and an area for one-on-one counseling and assistance in completing required paperwork for receiving military benefits.
IUP, which will commission its 2,000th cadet in May, recently was recognized by the publication Military Advanced Education as an “MAE 2015 Top School” for exhibiting best practices in military and veteran education. Schools were evaluated based on categories including military culture, financial aid, flexibility, on-campus support and online support services.
The university’s ROTC program features a unique partnership with the Journalism Department, in which undergraduate journalism students “embed” as reporters with the ROTC cadets at field training exercises at Camp Dawson, W.Va.
Mark Your Calendar
Two upcoming classes will give Armstrong and Indiana County residents and employees an opportunity to learn about Pennsylvania’s Small games of Chance Law. The Indiana County session is set for 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Thursday, March 12, at the Rustic Lodge. The Armstrong County session is set for 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Thursday, March 19, at the Belmont Complex. The classes are free and dinner is included. Training is provided by Lieutenant James Jones, Western Section Commander, Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement. Registration is limited to 100 people per training, so pre-registration is required. Register by calling (724) 354-2746.
I am pleased to join with State Representatives Dave Reed, Jeff Pyle and Cris
Dush, as well as the Indiana County Commissioners; the Indiana County Chamber of
Commerce; and the PA CareerLink® Indiana County in announcing that Job Fair
2015 will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 16, at
the S&T Bank Arena at White Township Recreation Complex in Indiana. The Job Fair
is free and open to the public. Candidates of all ages, experience levels, and
industries are encouraged to attend.
286 Main Capitol