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Winner of “Ought to be a Law” Essay Contest Recognized
I was pleased to present a Senate Citation to Brent Johnson honoring him as the 2015 winner of my annual “There Ought to Be a Law” essay competition for local students. Brent is a ninth grade student at Indiana Senior High School and was joined by his teacher Kristy Manning for the citation presentation. In addition to the citation, Brent will visit the State Capitol in the coming weeks as my guest and will be honored by the Senate.
The law Brent proposed was V.A.P.S. which stands for Veterans Association Protective Services. He suggested that returning veterans who qualify mentally and physically have the privilege of protecting the schools in our communities as government officials, keeping their rank from the military and maintaining government employee status.
By keeping their government status, they would be fully funded and insured through the United States government, so as to not burden any taxpayer for a salary through the school district. These employees, under service to the United States government, would have the right to bear arms for the protection and safety of the student body and educators.
This is the 13th year that I have held this essay competition and I am always encouraged by the thoughts and proposals submitted by the students. I’ve read some great suggestions over the years. I am pleased to add Brent to the list of students who have presented excellent proposals for new state laws.
Beware of Fraudulent PENNDOT Citations
I want to warn everyone about a fraud scheme that claims individuals have received a traffic citation from PENNDOT.
The Pennsylvania Criminal Intelligence Center recently issued an alert regarding fraudulent emails claiming to originate from PENNDOT. The subject line of the fraudulent email indicates “Action Required – Fine for Traffic Violations.” The body of the email contains links to an alleged photo capture, but these messages are not affiliated with PENNDOT.
These emails are not being sent by PENNDOT. In fact, fines for citations or traffic tickets issued in Pennsylvania are not paid directly to PENNDOT.
Below is an example of the actual email received as part of this particular scam. There are signs that indicate this is a phishing scam, including poor spelling or grammar within the message. This message not only has “violation” spelled incorrectly, but also lists two different violation dates. Anyone who receives one of these emails should simply delete it.
ACMH Opens Newly Expanded,
I was pleased to join with Representative Jeff Pyle and officials from Armstrong County and ACMH on May 27 for a ribbon cutting for the hospital’s newly expanded and modernized emergency department. This was a major undertaking for the community, well deserving of the $1.5 million in state funding that Representative Pyle and I secured for the project. About 26,000 patients are seen in the ACMH emergency room each year and this new facility will help ensure they receive quality care in a timely manner.
The Pennsylvania State Police investigated a total of 718 crashes, resulting in 247 injuries and 13 fatalities, during the four-day Memorial Day holiday driving period of May 22-25. During last year’s four-day Memorial Day holiday driving period, five people died and 277 others were injured in 709 crashes to which state troopers responded.
This year, troopers made 451 arrests for driving under the influence and issued 13,619 speeding citations during the holiday period. State police also cited 1,264 individuals for not wearing seat belts and issued citations to 306 motorists for not securing children in safety seats. The statistics cover only those crashes investigated by state police and do not include statistics on incidents to which other law-enforcement agencies responded.
It was truly a pleasure to meet with the students from East Pike and Horace Mann elementary schools when they visited the State Capitol on May 11.
More than 350 items are available for public bid during the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Online Heavy Equipment Auction, which ends at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 9.
Included among the more than 350 items up for bid are air compressors, snow plow trucks and snow plows, anti-icing trucks, motor graders, excavators, wheel and backhoe loaders, asphalt equipment, single-, tandem- and tri-axle dump trucks, spreaders, skid steers, generators and more.
Interested bidders can view the entire listing of items on the ADVANCE NOTICE: Commonwealth of PA - PennDOT Heavy Equipment Sale page on www.auctionsbygov.com. In order to bid on all property currently available, you must register online under the “How to Buy” section.
The Pennsylvania Insurance Department urges consumers to make sure they are fully informed on their insurance coverage when preparing to leave for vacation.
Personal property like clothing and electronics are typically covered under a homeowner’s insurance policy, even when you take them on a vacation. While the extent of coverage varies, this could cover the cost of the items if they are lost, stolen, or destroyed during the trip. Consult your policy to make sure you know the maximum amount it will cover before deciding which items to take on a trip.
Consumers should also consult their health insurance policy and be aware of whether there are in-network healthcare options at their destination. Contact your insurance company’s member services hotline, which is often printed on the back of your insurance card, if you have questions regarding your health insurance options when traveling. You may find that coverage ends when you leave the country, in which case a travel insurance policy may help fill network gaps.
With the arrival of summer’s heat and humidity, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) offers a number of tips about how to conserve energy while staying cool.
On hot and humid days, set your thermostat at 78 degrees when you are home and 85 degrees or off when you are away for long periods of time.
If you have window air conditioning units, close off rooms not in use.
Make sure all air conditioner filters are clean and in good shape.
Turn off non-essential appliances and as many lights as possible.
Postpone using appliances that produce heat such as clothes dryers, dishwashers and stoves until after 7 p.m. These appliances also use significant amounts of electricity adding to the demand on an electric infrastructure that is already stressed during peak hours due to heat.
Keep drapes closed and shades drawn. The amount of energy required to cool your home will be considerably less.
Use ceiling fans to circulate the air, keeping rooms and you cooler.
Replace filters monthly for maximum benefit and check air and return vents on a regular basis to keep circulation air paths clear.
Relax in rooms that do not receive direct sunlight.
Consumers can find more tips in the Summer Heat Wave fact sheet on the PUC website, www.puc.pa.gov. Consumers also can follow the Commission on Twitter (@PA_PUC) for tips on how to reduce energy bills despite rising temperatures.
State Representative Tim Krieger and I will co-host a Senior Expo on Wednesday, July 15, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Delmont Volunteer Fire Department Social Hall, 2360 State Route 66, Delmont. Representatives at this free event will provide information on numerous subjects of interest to older residents including health care, health screenings, insurance, nutrition & fitness, fire safety, personal safety, banking and local, state and federal agency information and more. Free refreshments will be provided. For more information, please call my Murrysville District Office at (724) 327-2422 or (724) 834-6400.
286 Main Capitol
Harrisburg, PA 17120
618 Philadelphia Street
Indiana, PA 15701
Toll Free: 866-357-0151
109 South Jefferson Street
Kittanning, PA 16201
Toll Free: 866-366-9448
3950 William Penn Highway
Murrysville, PA 15668
Toll Free: 866-736-9448