EXTON, May 20 – State Rep. Danielle Friel Otten, D-Chester, will host a discussion on youth mental health and how parents can support their children from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 23 in the Annex Room of the Henrietta Hankin Branch Library, located at 215 Windgate Drive, Chester Springs. The parent-focused discussion will cover five culprits that can interfere with a child’s development and how parents can play a positive role in helping their children overcome these obstacles. Otten, who serves on the House Children and Youth Committee, will also discuss legislation that seeks to promote and protect youth mental health, such as an anti-bullying bill that she is co-sponsoring, the Beyond Safe Schools package and other pending legislation related to mental health. “A child’s mental health is crucial for their development, and it’s important that we empower and inform parents so they can give their children the foundation they need to thrive in today’s world,” Otten said. “I encourage attendees to bring any questions they have about this issue, and I welcome any input my constituents may have on the bills I’ll be discussing.” Staff from Otten’s district office will be available to answer questions about state-related services. To RSVP for the event, call Otten’s district office at 484-200-8259. Read more
HARRISBURG, May 20 – The Apollo-Ridge School District has been awarded a $25,000 state grant to purchase safety and security-related equipment, state Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, announced today. Petrarca said the Safe Schools Targeted grants from the Pennsylvania Department of Education were awarded to 39 school districts which applied – but did not receive – competitive grants from PDE during last fall’s funding cycle. “These vital funds will help our schools invest in equipment and technology to keep our children safe while in school,” Petrarca said. “It will complement the existing safety tools and resources they currently have in place.” The grants can be used to purchase security-related equipment, including: student, staff and visitor identification systems; metal detectors; protective lighting; special communications equipment; electronic locksets; deadbolts and theft control devices; and training in the use of the security-related technology. This funding is in addition to the $47.5 million the state School Safety and Security Committee with the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency announced earlier this month. Targeted grant applications for the 2019-2020 school year are now being accepted. More information can be found at the following link: https://www.education.pa.gov/Schools/safeschools/fundinggrants/Pages/default.aspx Read more
HARRISBURG, May 20 – Grants totaling $49,714 will boost school safety for two school districts in Pennsylvania’s 16 th Legislative District by funding the purchase of security-related equipment, state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, announced today. Matzie said the funding from the state Department of Education – which includes $24,722 to Quaker Valley School District and $24,992 to Aliquippa School District – will allow the districts to expand existing security measures. “Our schools are safest when they employ a variety of different security measures, and to that end, our districts have carefully analyzed what combination of programs, personnel and equipment best meets their specific needs,” Matzie said. “The funding announced today will complement existing safety resources by permitting schools to equip buildings with emergency communications devices, electronic locksets and other security-related technology they’ve determined is needed. “I’m delighted that we were successful in obtaining this funding, which will allow our districts to continue implementing their plans to ensure our students and school employees enjoy the safest environment possible.” Matzie said the funding – part of a statewide package of competitive Safe Schools Targeted grants of up to $25,000 – may be used to purchase student, staff and visitor identification systems; metal detectors; protective lighting; Read more
HARRISBURG, May 17 – State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., today announced her support for Governor Tom Wolf’s School Breakfast initiative. “Since being elected to serve the 195th district, I have been pushing for more access to nutritious meals and school breakfasts to help our students learn,” Bullock said. “Our children should not be worrying about where their next meal will be coming from. We should be doing all we can to make sure they have a healthy learning environment, and this includes having readily available, nutritious breakfasts and lunches.” Governor Wolf’s School Breakfast initiative is providing 151 schools with grants up to $5,000 to help more children start their day with a healthy meal. The $592,000 investment marks the second year of grants that make school breakfast available to all students and expand food options for children. “Students are more focused and in a better position to learn when they start their days with a healthy, nutritious meal,” said Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera. “However, we know that only about 52 percent of the students who receive a free or reduced lunch also receive breakfast. The mini-grants enable schools to address food security issues and help more students by either starting a new breakfast program or by improving an existing one.” For children, eating a breakfast helps to maintain a healthy weight, have better concentration and memory, more Read more
UPPER DARBY, May 17 – State Rep. Margo Davidson will host a Community Health Fair on May 23 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Upper Darby Watkins Senior Center, 326 Watkins Ave., Upper Darby, 19082. “My Community Health Fair is a great way for my neighbors in the 164 th Legislative District to find out what they need to do to get on the right track health wise,” said Davidson, D-Delaware. The event will include: Free health screenings. Giveaways. Health and wellness resources for the whole family. For more information, contact Davidson's office at (610) 259-7016. Read more
CRESSON, May 17 – Realizing the frustration of firefighters and emergency responders, Rep. Frank Burns brought state Fire Commissioner Bruce Trego to Cambria County for a town hall meeting Thursday night. Dozens of volunteer fire and emergency services personnel attended the special meeting in Cresson to hear about proposed changes related to training and recruitment and to have their questions answered, said Burns, D-Cambria. “Statistics show we’ve reached a crisis in Pennsylvania. In the 1970s, there were more than 300,000 volunteer firefighters but today we only have 38,000,” Burns said. “We rely on our volunteer first responders to be there in emergencies, but we need to ensure we’re doing all we can to provide them the support they need.” Many in attendance raised concerns about access to training. Trego said anticipated revenue from new taxes on fireworks will provide funding to make online training more available to fire companies statewide. “We have to do more to recruit volunteers at these departments,” Burns said. “That’s why I have proposed legislation that would provide scholarships to volunteer firefighters.” Burns said a special bipartisan, bicameral commission was created in 2017 to address issues related to volunteer firefighter and emergency service personnel. The Senate Resolution 6 Commission created more than two dozen recommendations to revamping fire and EMS services in Read more
PHILADELPHIA, May 17 – On the same day of the historic Brown V. Board of education decision , state Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., held a news conference Friday afternoon in front of the Franklin S. Edmonds Elementary School to discuss the disparities that still exist in the way Pennsylvania funds public education. Rabb, who used the day to discuss educational inequity and how to end educational apartheid in Pennsylvania, announced his legislation to bring fair funding to Philadelphia schools and public schools across the commonwealth. “I am leading the charge to require all state public school funds be distributed through a fair funding formula to certify our kids have the resources and tools needed to give them the best chance at success,” Rabb said. House Bill 961 would require that 100 percent of state funds for public schools immediately be distributed through the fair funding formula that was developed by the Basic Education Funding Commission in 2015. It also would acknowledge that significantly more funding is required to ensure each school district has enough resources to educate its students. While the Basic Education Funding Commission unanimously agreed in 2015 to provide 100 percent funding to public schools through the fair funding formula it developed, only 9 percent of state funds in 2018-19 is currently being distributed to schools through that formula. Read more
Governor Tom Wolf announced that Dollar General Corporation has established a new cold storage facility in Schuylkill County. At full capacity, the project is expected to support the creation of 100 new jobs. Read more
HARRISBURG, May 16 — State Reps. Danielle Friel Otten and Dan Williams, both D-Chester, announced that the Coatesville Area School District will receive $33,296 in state funds to ensure every student can start his or her day with a wholesome, healthy breakfast. The grants are provided through Gov. Tom Wolf’s School Breakfast Initiative and were rewarded to 151 schools across the commonwealth. Schools may use this grant toward expanding upon its current breakfast program, or to implement new breakfast options such as grab-and-go style breakfasts or breakfast in the classroom. Schools in Williams’ legislative district each received grants worth $4,162: Coatesville Area Senior High School East Fallowfield Elementary School Coatesville Intermediate High School Caln Elementary School Rainbow Elementary School Scott Middle School Schools in Otten’s legislative district each received grants worth $4,162: North Brandywine Middle School Reeceville Elementary School “For too many students, a well-balanced meal may not be available at home. No student should ever be prevented from achieving their highest learning potential because of an empty stomach,” Williams said. “I sincerely thank Governor Wolf for sharing my values and for helping the Coatesville Area School District to provide for students who deserve every chance at success.” "Even in our wealthy county, many Read more
State Rep. Sara Innamorato, D-Lawrenceville, and state Sen. Lindsey Williams, D-West View, today applauded the news that the Shaler Area Middle and High schools were selected by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to receive close to $10,000 to help make school breakfasts available to students. Read more
ERIE, May 16 – A state grant of $4,350 will help ensure students at Erie Rise Leadership Academy Charter School start their day with a nutritious meal, according to state Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, who said the grant will fund a breakfast program at the school. Merski said the grant, part of Gov. Tom Wolf’s School Breakfast Initiative, should give kids a productive start to the day. “Good nutrition – and a good breakfast in particular – makes a huge difference for students,” Merski said. “It’s linked to greater productivity, better understanding and retention of information, and higher test scores. As a former teacher, I’ve seen firsthand the difference proper nutrition plays in kids’ energy, performance, and confidence. I’m delighted that this grant will help fund a good start to the day for these students.” The School Breakfast Initiative was started two years ago and provides schools funding to implement breakfast programs using alternative serving methods such as “grab-and-go” or breakfast in the classroom. Schools can also expand an existing program to include an alternative serving method. Read more
HARRISBURG, May 16 – U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-PA, and state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, said they are encouraging Korean War veterans in Northwest Pennsylvania to apply for the Korean Ambassador for Peace Medal. The commemorative medal is an expression of appreciation from the Korean government to American servicemen and -women who served in the three-year conflict from 1950 through 1953. “Our nation’s veterans deserve recognition for their bravery here at home and abroad,” Casey said. “While we cannot fully repay the debt of their sacrifices, an honor such as this is an important remembrance of our gratitude. I encourage those who are eligible, or their families, to apply.” Bizzarro, who sits on the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, noted that the nation’s Korean War veterans – including more than 75,000 such veterans in Pennsylvania – are often considered unsung heroes. “Too often, our Korean War veterans have not received the full recognition they deserve for their valor in that conflict, which is sometimes overshadowed by accounts about World War II and the Vietnam War,” Bizzarro said. “In fact, our troops in Korea achieved a monumental task by preventing a North Korean takeover of the south, despite facing incredibly harsh conditions and opposition from thousands of Chinese troops.” To be eligible for the Ambassador for Peace Medal, veterans must have served in Read more
HARRISBURG, May 16 – On Wednesday, state Rep. Tony Deluca’s legislation, which would create a list of criteria for pharmacy technicians in Pennsylvania, passed the state House in overwhelming fashion. DeLuca’s measure, House Bill 770, would provide needed oversight for pharmacy technicians, who play a supportive role to licensed pharmacists and play an even larger role in hospitals, where they are asked to perform complex tasks, like mixing chemicals for chemotherapy treatments. “We’re grateful for the support and assistance provided by pharmacy technicians, but we currently have no oversight in Pennsylvania for a position that has a hand in filling residents’ prescriptions,” said DeLuca, D-Allegheny. “With an increase in prescriptions and a shortage of pharmacists, we need to – at the very least – ensure pharmacy technicians meet the minimal, universal standards, which is what this bill intends to do.” Under H.B. 770, pharmacy technicians would be required to: Register with the Pennsylvania Board of Pharmacy; Submit to a background check; Be at least 17 years old and have a high school diploma or the equivalent; and Go through a training program approved by the Pharmacy Board. Pennsylvania currently is one of four states in the U.S. that does not have any required criteria or oversight for pharmacy technicians, DeLuca added. “Errors cost more than money – they cost lives, Read more
HARRISBURG, May 16 – A total of $10,000 in state grants will help ensure students at St. Michael’s and Conemaugh Valley Junior/Senior High schools will start their day with a good breakfast, thanks to the state’s School Breakfast Initiative, state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, announced today. St. Michael’s School and Conemaugh Valley Junior/Senior High School each will receive $5,000 grants through the program. “It’s no secret that breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day, and growing children need proper nutrition to grow, but also to perform well in the classroom,” Burns said. “This funding will allow our schools to either start or improve an existing breakfast program, so students can focus on their schoolwork, not on their empty stomachs.” The state’s School Breakfast Initiative, which launched two years ago, allows schools to use the grants to implement or expand alternative breakfast options, including grab-and-go breakfasts, or breakfast in the classroom. Schools can also expand an existing breakfast program to include an alternative serving method. Read more
HARRISBURG, May 16 – Students in the Derry Area School District will have access to a healthy breakfast, thanks to a grant through the state’s School Breakfast Initiative, state Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, announced today. Both Derry Area Senior High School and Derry Area Middle School were each awarded a $5,000 grant through the program. “Study after study has shown that breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day for children,” Petrarca said. “We know that nutrition plays a key role in a child’s development, but also in their academic performance. This funding will allow students to focus less on their empty stomachs and more so on their schoolwork.” The state’s School Breakfast Initiative allows schools to use grants to increase and sustain breakfast participation through implementing or expanding alternative breakfast options, including grab-and-go breakfasts, or breakfast in the classroom. Schools can also expand an existing program to include an alternative serving method. “These grants will allow our schools to address food security issues and assist more students in need, either through starting a new breakfast program or improving an existing one,” Petrarca added. Read more
EXTON, May 16 – State Rep. Danielle Friel Otten will host a community power summit featuring various environmental and community organizations from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, May 18 at Lionville Middle School, located at 550 W Uwchlan Ave, Exton, PA 19341. The summit will include interactive activities such as a virtual reality presentation about oil and gas pollution, several fun, kid-friendly activity stations and a panel discussion about climate change and air pollution issues in Pennsylvania. This summit also seeks to provide constituents with an opportunity to learn more about climate policies and practices that protect Pennsylvania’s environment and public health. Otten will share information on proposed environmental legislation in the House, including the following bills: H.B. 531: Legislation that seeks to create a community solar initiative in Pennsylvania to provide residents, businesses, farms and other community members the ability to acquire solar energy via a communal solar project. H.B. 1314: Legislation that seeks to expand the usage, accessibility and affordability of solar power throughout Pennsylvania by working with utility companies. H.B. 1425: Legislation that would put Pennsylvania on track to use 100% carbon-free, energy-efficient, renewable energy by 2050. Otten will also discuss her bill seeking to promote organic waste composting, which is a part of the Zero Waste PA package recently introduced by House Read more
HARRISBURG, May 16 – The House Local Government Committee unanimously approved legislation authored by Rep. Robert Freeman that would allow communities to extend their participation in the state’s Main Street program from five years to 10 years. Read more
LATROBE, May 16 – State Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, announced Shannon Cypher has joined his district office staff as a legislative assistant and will be working daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Latrobe office, located in the Latrobe Municipal Building at Jefferson Street. Petrarca said Cypher, who has experience in state government, is well-versed in handling a variety of issues and concerns for constituents. “It’s vital that as elected officials, we be accessible to the people we serve,” Petrarca said. “Shannon is excited to help constituents with various PennDOT and Department of Revenue forms, as well as any questions about state services, programs and notary services.” The Latrobe office can be reached at (724) 539-7560. Petrarca also has district offices located at 620 N. Chestnut St. in Derry and 239 Longfellow St. in Vandergrift. Read more
HARRISBURG, May 16 – Bethlehem-Center and Carmichaels school district students will have access to a healthy breakfast, thanks to a grant through the state’s School Breakfast Initiative, announced state Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington. The Bethlehem-Center School District was awarded $15,000 through the program, with Carmichaels Area School District awarded $8,247. “Breakfast is one the most important meals of the day, especially for students,” Snyder said. “We know that nutrition plays a key role in a child’s development, but also in their academic performance. This funding will allow students to focus less on their empty stomachs and more so on their schoolwork.” The state’s School Breakfast Initiative, which launched two years ago, allows schools to use grants to increase and sustain breakfast participation by implementing or expanding alternative breakfast options, including grab-and-go breakfasts, or breakfast in the classroom. Schools can also expand an existing program to include an alternative serving method. “The state’s Department of Education notes that only half of students who receive a free or reduced lunch also receive breakfast,” Snyder said. “These grants will enable schools to address food security issues, while at the same time, also help more students in need, either through starting a new breakfast program or improving an existing Read more
HARRISBURG, May 16 – State grants totaling $19,161 will fund breakfast programs for four schools in the 7 th Legislative District, state Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, announced. Longietti said the funding – part of the governor’s School Breakfast Initiative – should boost student performance. “There’s a clear link between nutrition and academic achievement, and that’s especially true when it comes to breakfast,” Longietti said. “Studies have shown that kids who eat breakfast before class are two times more likely to perform well on tests than those who don’t. I’m especially pleased that we were able to help secure this funding, which will go a long way toward ensuring our kids perform at their best.” Longietti said the following Mercer County schools will receive grants: Case Avenue Elementary School – $4,860 Sharon Senior High School – $4,958 West Hill Elementary School – $4,976 C.M. Musser Elementary School – $4,367 Launched two years ago, the School Breakfast Initiative provides schools funding to implement breakfast programs using alternative serving methods such as “grab-and-go” or breakfast in the classroom. Schools can also expand an existing program to include an alternative serving method. Read more
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