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Pearl Harbor Survivor Flies High Over Indiana
Photo courtesy of the Indiana Gazette
When the Collings Foundation offered me a courtesy ride in a World War II era B-17 bomber that they were bringing to the Indiana County Airport, I appreciated the offer, but I suggested that Joe Krolick of Clymer take the flight in my place.
This was Mr. Krolick’s first time to fly in a B-17, but he was certainly familiar with the aircraft – one he saw many times during his time in the Army during World War II, including service at Pearl Harbor on that fateful day of December 7, 1941.
It was a tremendous honor to give my ticket to Mr. Krolick. We can never pay proper tribute to the men and women of the greatest generation who sacrificed so much in the defense of freedom. Congratulations, Mr. Krolick, on your flight of a lifetime. And thank you for your service!
Transportation Commission Adopts Updated 12-Year Plan
The State Transportation Commission recently adopted an updated 12-Year Transportation Plan. State law requires the commission to review and update the 12-Year Plan every two years. No capital project can move forward unless it is included in the plan.
The updated plan anticipates $61.9 billion being available over the next 12 years for improvements to roads, bridges, transit systems, airports and railroads. That compares with $63.3 billion in the last update in 2014.
Information about the 12-Year program update is available at: www.TalkPATransportation.com.
Honoring Indiana County’s Veterans
It was truly an honor and privilege to join with VFW Post 1989, the Indiana County Veterans Affairs Office and the Indiana County Register and Recorders Office in a very special Veterans Appreciation Day event on August 20. The day included a presentation of the colors and some memorable remarks from our local veterans.
Direct Wine Shipments Now Available for Pennsylvania Residents
Under the new direct wine shipping provisions of Act 39, Pennsylvania residents may receive up to 36 cases (up to nine liters per case) per-year of wine shipped by a wine producer licensed by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) as a direct wine shipper. The 36-case annual limit is per direct wine shipper and it must be for personal use.
A list of licensed shipping outlets is available at:
Planning a Murrysville Playground in Memory of a Firefighter
I was thrilled to meet with Murrysville and Miracle Field officials along with family and friends of Stephen Zubrow to review plans for the future handicap-accessible playground to be constructed within the Miracle Field complex at Murrysville Community Park. The playground will be named in memory of Stephen, a Murrysville resident and longtime volunteer fireman. The project will use both grant and privately donated funds.
Savor the Last Taste of Summer at a Local Fair
Summer may be winding down, but there is still time to spend the day at one of our local fairs, including the Indiana County Fair -- http://www.indianacountyfair.com/ (now through September 3), the Ox Hill Community Fair -- http://www.oxhillfair.com/index.html (September 5-10) and the Cookport Fair -- http://www.cookportfair.com/home.html (September 11-17). I encourage everyone to come on out with your friends and neighbors and enjoy a local fair.
DCED Accepting Neighborhood Assistance Program Applications
The Department of Community and Economic Development is reminding eligible applicants to apply for Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) assistance.
NAP provides tax credits to encourage community organizations to invest in projects that serve distressed areas or support conservation efforts. The application deadline is September 16, 2016.
The 2016-17 budget provides $18 million in NAP funding within the tax code. NAP includes five main components:
Neighborhood Assistance Program includes projects serving distressed areas or that support neighborhood conservation, which fall under one of the following categories: affordable housing programs, community services, crime prevention, education, job training, or neighborhood assistance.
Special Program Priorities targets specific problems and projects which the state has designated as priorities in a distressed area.
Neighborhood Partnership Program is comprised of long-term collaborations (five years or more) of business, government, and community leaders to produce a comprehensive, asset-based and relationship-driven approach to community development.
Charitable Food Program is designed to help regional food banks and emergency food providers. CFP funding is supplied through tax credits given to businesses making contributions to an approved provider.
Enterprise Zone Program is an incentive program that provides tax credits to companies investing in the rehabilitation, expansion, or improvement of buildings or land located within designated enterprise zones.
Visiting the 45th Fort Armstrong Folk Festival
I always look forward to the Fort Armstrong Folk Festival at Riverfront Park in Kittanning and this year’s event – the 45th annual – was outstanding, as always. Over the four-day festival, August 4-7, the area along the Allegheny River was the place to find a hand-crafted artist market, historical and musical entertainment and classic festival food.
PA Unemployment Rate Remains at 5.6 percent in July
Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate in July 2016 was unchanged from June at 5.6 percent, according to statistics recently released by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry. Pennsylvania’s rate remained above that of the United States, which, at 4.9 percent, also stayed at its June level.
Pennsylvania’s civilian labor force was down 15,000 from June to 6,521,000. Resident employment declined by 18,000 while the unemployment count increased by 3,000.
Total nonfarm jobs rose 7,900 to 5,891,100 in July. The largest movement was a gain of 3,100 in education and health services. The largest drop was 1,600 in both financial activities and professional and business services.
Over the year, total nonfarm jobs in Pennsylvania were up 58,000 (up 1 percent). The largest increase from last year was in education and health services (up 28,000), while the largest decline was in mining and logging (down 9,300).
Interactive Map Details Department of Corrections Admissions
The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) recently unveiled an interactive map showing admissions by committing county and year.
The interactive map, which is available on the DOC’s website, www.cor.pa.gov, provides statewide admissions totals for the years 2013, 2014 and 2015, broken down by type of admission, such as new court commitments and parole violators. In addition, individual county information includes gender, race and risk scores.
The risk score is a risk screening tool is used by DOC staff to determine an offender’s general risk to re-offend after his/her release from prison. Individuals are classified as low, medium or high risk for re-offending.
DCNR Survey Seeking Feedback from ATV Enthusiasts
The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is seeking participation of ATV riders and owners in an online survey. The online survey will help better gauge ATV use across Pennsylvania and plan for future riding opportunities in the state.
The survey, which will remain active through September 15, is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2016_PA_DCNR_ATV_USER_SURVEY.
Mark your calendar
The Center for Rural Pennsylvania, Senator Gene Yaw and I will hold a public hearing on Confronting the Heroin Epidemic in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, September 20, 2016, from 9:30 a.m. to noon, at IUP’s Kovalchick Center and Athletic Complex in Indiana.
The hearing is one of a series across the state by the Senate and Center for Rural Pennsylvania intended to help stem the tide of heroin, opioid and prescription drug abuse in the state. The increased use of heroin, which often has roots in the abuse of prescription painkillers like Vicodin and OxyContin, has catapulted Pennsylvania to seventh in the nation for drug-related overdose deaths in recent federal statistics
The public is invited to attend this local hearing on this important issue.
Representatives Dave Reed and Cris Dush and I will co-host a Senior Expo on Thursday, October 20, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the S&T Bank Arena, White Township Recreation Complex, 497 East Pike Road, Indiana.
The expo will provide you with information regarding the following services: Health Care, Insurance, Nutrition and Exercise, Fire Safety, Financial Planning Benefit Programs, Personal Safety, and Health Screenings.
Flu shots will be available. Please note that a Prescription Drug Take Back is being held during the expo. Collection is anonymous. Please remove any personal information from containers. Accepted: Prescription/over the counter dosage medications, liquid medications, creams & ointments, nasal sprays, inhalers and pet meds.
The expo will also a feature a visit from the Veterans Outreach Van to provide information on programs and services available to veterans and their families.
For more information, contact my Indiana County District Office at (724) 357-0151.
286 Main Capitol