Fallen state police trooper to be honored by Burns at July 8 ceremony

(Jun 30, 2016)

EBENSBURG, June 30 – In a July 8 ceremony organized by state Rep. Frank Burns, the family of a state police trooper killed in the line of duty in February 1982 will be recognized at a dedication for the Trooper Herbert A. Wirfel Memorial Bridge, which spans U.S. Route 219 on Tower Road in Croyle Township. The ceremony will take place 11 a.m. Friday, July 8 at New Germany Grove Hall, 1635 New Germany Road, Summerhill. Burns’ H.B. 1371, signed into law in June, was responsible for naming the bridge in honor of Wirfel, who was patrolling U.S. Route 22 in Cambria County when an unidentified vehicle ran through the radar zone at 72 mph. During a pursuit waged in unfavorable weather and road conditions, Wirfel’s vehicle struck a snow drift partially covering the passing lane and skidded off the highway into a frozen snow bank. The 20-year state police veteran was pronounced dead at the scene at age 45, leaving a wife and seven children. The national anthem will be sung by Bridget Anne Wirfel; speakers will include Allan Wirfel, state Sen. John Wozniak and state police Trooper Scott Urban; and a musical tribute will be performed by retired U.S. Navy musician Matthew Wirfel. The Pennsylvania State Police Ceremonial Unit will be on hand to present colors. Read more


Burns helps position SCI-Cresson property for redevelopment

(Jun 28, 2016)

HARRISBURG, June 28 – A 3.3-acre right-of-way needed to spur development of 425 acres of dormant SCI-Cresson property unanimously cleared the state House Monday, prompting state Rep. Frank Burns to urge quick signage into law by the governor. Senate Bill 1182, sponsored by state Sen. John Wozniak with Burns’ full support, would most immediately aid development of 93 acres to accommodate a natural gas-fueled power plant. It would also help transform the remaining 325 acres, which Burns wants to bestow with Keystone Opportunity Zone status to make more attractive. "With yesterday’s House vote, Senator Wozniak and I have done our parts to position the property for meaningful repurposing," Burns said. "Now it’s up to private developers, working with the Cambria County Redevelopment Authority, to carry the ball across the finish line." Burns was at the closed SCI-Cresson site back in May, when the state Department of General Services transferred 93 acres to the redevelopment authority for $1 to aid the electricity generation project developer. "I said at that time that this was the first step toward restoring the 500 good-paying jobs lost when the Corbett administration unceremoniously and without warning closed the prison in 2013," Burns said. "Since then, we’ve taken several more necessary steps to put this project on the path to fruition." With swift Senate and House approvals, the right-of-way Read more


Burns’ bridge-naming bills become law

(Jun 20, 2016)

HARRISBURG, June 20 – Bills naming separate Cambria County bridges after a World War II soldier killed in action and a state trooper who died in the line of duty became law today, said state Rep. Frank Burns, their prime sponsor. Burns, D-Cambria, had introduced H.B. 1260 to rename a bridge on a portion of Cooney Road spanning Route 22 in Munster Township as the PFC Thomas A. Cooney Memorial Bridge. He also had introduced H.B. 1371 to rename a bridge spanning U.S. 219 on Tower Road in Croyle Township as the Trooper Herbert A. Wirfel Memorial Bridge, to honor a Pennsylvania state trooper who lost his life Feb. 7, 1982 while on duty. Burns said the House bills were amended into a Senate bill (S.B. 1153) – a relatively common procedural occurrence – and was signed into law as Act 46 of 2016. "It’s gratifying to see that these two Cambria County heroes will be forever recognized for their selfless and heroic acts," Burns said. "We can do no better than to honor those who died so we can remain free and safe." Cooney was born April 28, 1917, and he and his three brothers were raised on a farm outside Lilly. While serving in the European Theater of Operation on Oct. 20, 1944, Thomas Cooney volunteered for a mine removal mission and continued in the face of enemy observation and direct hostile fire. He and his fellow engineers encountered heavy sniper and machine gun fire as they cleared mines along a strategically important Read more


June 2016 Newsletter

(Jun 15, 2016)

"No pay for legislators unless state budget passes" and "Burns votes against saddling taxpayers with $1.29 billion in additional state debt" lead off Rep. Burns' June 2016 newsletter. Read more


Burns: DEP to hold June 21 public hearing on natural gas-fired power plant

(Jun 14, 2016)

EBENSBURG, June 14 – Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, is reminding residents that a public hearing on the air quality plan for a proposed natural gas-fueled power plant in Jackson Township will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 21 at the Jackson Township Fire Hall, 176 Adams Ave., Mineral Point. The public hearing will be preceded by a 6 p.m. question-and-answer session. Both events are under the auspices of the state Department of Environmental Protection, which is overseeing the proposal by CPV Fairview, LLC to construct a combined cycle natural gas-fired power station with an approximate generating capacity of 1,040 megawatts. Burns said anyone wishing to make comments should register with DEP Community Relations Coordinator John Poister by emailing jpoister@pa.gov or calling (412) 442-4203 by noon on June 21. Commenters may also register at the door on the evening of the hearing. Those unable to attend the hearing may submit written comments to Devin Tomko, Department of Environmental Protection, 400 Waterfront Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. Persons unable to attend the conference and hearing may submit three copies of a written statement and exhibits within 10 days thereafter to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Air Quality Program, 400 Waterfront Drive, Pittsburgh, PA, 15222. Each written statement must contain the name, address, and telephone number of the person submitting the statement and identification of the proposed plan approval Read more


Property tax rebate deadline extended; my offices offer free application help

(Jun 13, 2016)

The deadline to file a 2015 Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program application has been extended from June 30 to Dec. 31, 2016 and my offices are here to help! The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians 65 or older, widows and widowers 50 or older, and people with disabilities 18 or older. The maximum standard rebate is $650. My offices can help with the applications . Please don’t assume you are not eligible. Half of Social Security income is discounted, and claimants are not disqualified from rebates solely because of Social Security cost-of-living adjustments. The official deadline for applying is always June 30, but, like this year, it is almost always extended through the end of the calendar year. Please be aware that the House last year passed legislation, House Bill 406, which would permanently extend the application deadline to Dec. 31 each year. It also would double the death benefit exemption to $10,000 when calculating income eligibility for the program. Read more


Burns announces $4,000 grant to Cambria County Historial Society

(Jun 08, 2016)

Rep. Burns wrote this letter notifying the Cambria County Historical Society that it's getting a $4,000 state grant to aid with its continued operation. Read more


Time to hike income eligibility for PACENET prescription drug program

(Jun 07, 2016)

It’s been 14 years since the PACENET income eligibility limits have increased, so I’m proud to have supported legislation Monday that would raise them so an additional 32,000 Pennsylvanians could get prescription drug coverage. House Bill 2069 would increase the annual maximum income limits in the PACENET program to $31,000 for a single person and to $41,000 for a married couple, up from $23,500 for a single person and $31,500 for a married couple. Using Pennsylvania Lottery proceeds, the PACE and PACENET programs currently provide low-cost prescription drugs to nearly 282,000 Pennsylvanians 65 or older. I think it’s wise to update the income requirements, so we can ensure access to affordable prescription drugs and help thousands of our friends and family members remain healthy. I hope the state Senate, which is now considering the bill, feels the same way. Read more


Youth fairs featuring anti-drug message to be held in area this summer

(Jun 03, 2016)

Here's WJAC-TV news coverage of the upcoming list of anti-drug Youth Fairs in Cambria County, which I am promoting through my affiliation with the Cambria County Crime Stoppers' "Push out the Pusher" campaign. Read more


Burns reminds municipalities to apply for traffic safety grant funding

(Jun 02, 2016)

EBENSBURG, June 2 – Municipalities in the 72 nd Legislative District are reminded by state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, to apply by June 30 to be eligible for 2016 Automated Red Light Enforcement grants for traffic safety projects. Burns said fines from red light violations in Philadelphia supply the funding, which an eight-member committee then distributes statewide for relatively low-cost projects that improve safety, enhance mobility and reduce congestion. “These can be improvements to traffic signals, roadways at intersections with traffic signals, or school zones – or such things as guiderails or roadside safety enhancements,” Burns said. “I want to make sure our municipalities are aware of this grant opportunity, and offer them application assistance by contacting any of my constituent service offices.” However, it’s a competitive selection process, with Burns noting $5.5 million was awarded to 18 municipalities for 23 projects in the last round of funding, which garnered 194 applications seeking $41.5 million. More information is available by visiting the traffic signals page under “Travel In PA” at www.penndot.gov , or emailing RA-PDSIGNALFUNDING@pa.gov Online applications can be filled out at: https://www.dot34.state.pa.us/ARLE/Module/PADOT/BOMO_Default.aspx Read more


Youth Fairs with anti-drug message scheduled throughout summer

(Jun 01, 2016)

As a longstanding partner with Cambria County Crimestoppers in its “Push out the Pusher” campaign, I want to inform you that numerous Youth Fairs featuring an anti-drug use message are scheduled throughout the 72 nd Legislative District this summer. The Cambria County Courts and judges, and the county’s Drug Task Force, are important partners in these Youth Fairs, and my office is represented to talk about state programs to deter kids and young adults from drug use. This is an important message to reinforce, so I encourage parents to consider having their children attend these events, all of which run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The schedule is: June Friday the 10 th , Summerhill Fire Hall Tuesday the 14 th , Sankertown, VFW Baseball Field Wednesday the 15 th , Chest Springs Baseball Field Friday the 17 th , Ebensburg, Memorial Field Tuesday the 21 st , Lilly, War Memorial Field Friday the 24 th , Gallitzin, Franklin Street Baseball Field Wednesday the 29 th , Cresson, Veterans Park July Friday the 1 st , Ehrenfeld Park Tuesday the 5 th , Colver Park Pavilion Wednesday the 6 th , Prince Gallitizin State Park, inside the campground/beach Tuesday the 12 th , Patton Park Wednesday the 13 th , Carrolltown, American Legion Park Friday the 15 th , Portage, Crichton McCormick Park August Tuesday the 2 nd , Mundys Corner, Leidy Lane Park Read more


'It smells like something died in my shower': Patton residents steamed over water woes

(May 27, 2016)

Here's more news coverage of my May 26 meeting with Patton Borough residents over their drinking water concerns. It includes the DEP response to my letter asking for confirmation that the water is safe to drink. Read more


Burns discusses Patton water concerns 'game plan'

(May 27, 2016)

Rep. Burns held a meeting May 26 with Patton Borough residents concerned about the quality and safety of their drinking water. He urged them to band together and designate speakers to articulate their position, so they speak with a unified voice. Read more


Burns announces $26,920 traffic signal grant to Ebensburg

(May 26, 2016)

EBENSBURG, May 26 – Ebensburg Borough will receive $26,920 to install pedestrian crossing signals to allow the borough to extend new sidewalks at the intersection of Route 1036 (Rowena Drive) and Route 1001 (Manor Drive), according to state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria. Burns said the state funding is allocated through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s “Green Light-Go” program, which allows municipalities to request up to half of the funding needed for their traffic signal projects. “It’s great to see these state funds coming to Ebensburg, to make this important intersection safer for pedestrians,” Burns said. “These type of investments improve the quality of life for residents of the 72 nd Legislative District.” For the current fiscal year, grants may be used for installing light-emitting diode, or LED, technology; performing operations such as retiming, developing special events plans and monitoring traffic signals; and upgrading traffic signals to the latest technologies. A total of 109 municipalities statewide are sharing in $12 million of state grants under the program. Read more


Veterans can get free dental care June 25

(May 25, 2016)

As an elected official, I feel obligated to let my constituents who have served our country protecting our freedoms know of programs from which they might benefit. Most times, those programs for veterans are state-related and my office plays a direct role in providing information, helping fill out applications and cutting through red tape. Other times, my office plays an intermediary role, notifying veterans of services that others are providing , such as the free dental care for veterans that will be available Saturday, June 25 at numerous locations through Pennsylvania, including Johnstown. During your half-hour appointment, you can receive a free cleaning, filling, extraction or denture repair – whichever is of greatest need – and you’ll get a referral to an area dental provider for any additional procedures. Area veterans interested in learning more or scheduling the required appointment for this free dental care should call 1-844-Aspen-HMM . They can also contact my offices for help with this or any other veteran-related matter. I believe no veteran should go without needed oral health care, or any other health-related service. Please spread the word on this free dental service if you know a veteran who might benefit. Read more


Greater Johnstown student honored for saving father's life

(May 25, 2016)

I recently presented a House citation to Kristopher Mulevhill, who used the Heimlich maneuver he learned at Camp Cadet of Cambria County to save his father's life. Kristopher also was selected the camp's top male cadet in 2014. It is a pleasure to recognize such a fine young man. Read more


Rep. Burns' letter to Gov. Tom Wolf urging caution in accepting Syrian refugees

(May 24, 2016)

Rep. Burns sent this letter to Gov. Tom Wolf on Nov. 19, 2015, urging the governor to reconsider his position to accept Syrian refugees until proper screenings can be carried out. Read more


WTAJ-TV: "A victim speaks"

(May 19, 2016)

Rep. Burns is quoted at 2:50 on the video portion of this follow-up story on child sex abuse in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese. He pledged to continue to fight for justice for the victims. Read more


Burns schedules May 26 meeting for Patton water update

(May 19, 2016)

PATTON, May 19 – Responding to continued concerns from Patton Borough residents over drinking water quality, state Rep. Frank Burns will conduct a combination open house/game plan update from 6 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. Thursday, May 26 at the Patton Senior Center, 405 Park Ave. The 45-minute update portion will begin at 6:30 p.m., immediately after a 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. open house at Burns’ Patton office, located in the same building. Burns has been peppered with constituent complaints ever since residents began getting water from three newly drilled wells mandated by the state Department of Environmental Protection. To help allay those fears, Burns has written a letter to DEP Secretary John Quigley, asking for confirmation in writing that the drinking water is safe. He will discuss that letter, as well as a recent meeting between Patton Borough officials and DEP safe drinking water experts, at next Thursday’s meeting. A copy of Rep. Burns’ letter to Secretary Quigley is available HERE . Read more


Burns attends panel presentation on statutes of limitations reform

(May 18, 2016)

HARRISBURG, May 18 – Following up on his commitment to better protect children from sexual abuse in the wake of the grand jury report that implicated the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese in a massive cover-up, state Rep. Frank Burns today attended an afternoon panel discussion on reforming Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations law. Burns, D-Cambria, wanted to learn more about the severity of the issue, in Pennsylvania and nationwide. His knowledge became broader after hearing from Phil Saviano, the whistleblower who exposed the Boston clergy’s child sex abuse scandal and whose story was part of the Academy Award-winning “Spotlight” movie, and others with intimate knowledge of the issue. “We learned a great deal about what enables these types of institutional cover-ups to occur over decades, including how intricate webs of pedophile protection are woven within institutions by those with secrets to keep,” Burns said. “It was highly enlightening – and I hope it spurs the state Senate to pass the statute of limitations reform bill for child sex abuse that’s already cleared the House.” The panel discussion, held in a Senate hearing room, also featured insights from: George Foster, the Altoona businessman who helped expose decades of child sex abuse in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese; moderator Marci Hamilton, a statute of limitations reform expert; Patty Dailey Lewis, executive director of the Beau Biden Foundation Read more