|Wayne/Pike Farm Bureau Dinner
I was pleased to be the keynote speaker at the Wayne/ Pike Farm Bureau annual dinner, as well as having the honor to recognize Lynita Vail for 50 years of dedication to the promotion of dairy and agriculture in the region.
Pictured with Lynita are Wayne County commissioners Joe Adams, Brian Smith and Wendell Kay; myself; and Farm Bureau members Bonnie Latourette and Karl Eisenhauer.
Susquehanna County Township Officials Convention
There was a great turnout, as usual, at the Susquehanna County Township Officials Convention which was held at the Bible Conference Center in Montrose.
Pictured above are Sen. Lisa Baker, Rep. Tina Pickett and I as we present a citation to Leonard Bartkus in recognition of his 50 years of service as a Gibson Township supervisor.
Wayne County Senior Expo
We had a very successful Senior Expo, which was held at the Salvation Army Ladore Conference Center in Waymart. At the Senior Expo, I hosted a Senior Scam Seminar alongside Dr. Janene Holter from the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General.
Pictured above are Dr. Holter, myself and Wayne County Coroner Edward Howell, and his kind, polite son, Matthias.
New Law to Protect Highway Workers
As a way to help enhance safety within highway construction zones, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 172 – now Act 86 of 2018 – which will better protect construction workers along roadways.
Under the new law, automated speed enforcement cameras will be deployed as part of a five-year pilot program in active work zones along certain federal highways under PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission’s jurisdiction. A separate program is being implemented in Philadelphia for U.S. Route 1 (Roosevelt Boulevard) to reduce pedestrian-related crashes.
Motorists who exceed the speed limit by at least 11 mph when construction workers and these cameras are present will receive a written warning for the first offense, a $75 fine for the second offense and a $150 fine for third and subsequent offenses. Penalties imposed will not be a criminal conviction if paid, will not reflect on an owner’s driving record, and cannot be used for insurance purposes or to authorize imposition of surcharges on motor vehicle insurance coverage. Cameras could start appearing as early as the spring 2019 construction season.
This legislation was modeled after a similar law in Maryland, which saw a substantial reduction in work zone-related crashes.
In 2015, 1,900 crashes were reported within work zones, leading to 23 deaths across Pennsylvania. According to PennDOT, work zone crashes have been increasing at a rate of 5 percent annually since 2012.
For more information about highway safety, click here.
Fighting Back Against Food Stamp Fraud
Legislation was signed into law this week to help prevent food stamp fraud by imposing tougher penalties for the illegal trafficking of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
Act 160 – formerly Senate Bill 1127 – creates a new penalty for the fraudulent trafficking of SNAP benefits in an amount greater than $2,500. Violators will be required to pay restitution of up to three times the amount of fraud they commit. Under current law, the recipient who sells the benefits and the merchant who creates the illegal market for and trafficks in those benefits are treated the same.
The legislation stems from a case uncovered last year by the Office of State Inspector General in which a Harrisburg restaurant traded drugs for electronic benefit transaction (EBT) cards and bought thousands of dollars of supplies from a food wholesale club to be resold for profit. This serious problem across Pennsylvania takes food from our most vulnerable citizens.
Heating Assistance Program to Open Next Week
Residents who are struggling with their home heating bills can apply for assistance from the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) beginning Thursday, Nov. 1.
LIHEAP is a federally funded program that helps individuals and families pay their heating bills through home heating energy assistance grants. It also provides crisis grants to help in the event of an emergency or if a resident is in danger of losing his or her heat due to broken equipment, lack of fuel or termination of utility service.
The income eligibility guidelines for LIHEAP are set at 150 percent of the federal poverty income level. For example, the income limit for an individual is $18,210; for a couple, the limit is $24,690; and for a family of four, it is $37,650.
Residents may apply for LIHEAP online or by contacting the County Assistance Office in their county of residence.
Got Expired Drugs? Dispose of Them Safely on Oct. 27
To help keep prescription medications out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them, the U.S. Department of Justice, working with local law enforcement, will hold a prescription drug take-back event in our area on Saturday, Oct. 27. This event allows residents to drop off unwanted or expired prescription medications free of charge for safe and convenient disposal.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., residents can drop their medications off at local sites. Visit the Diversion Control Division’s website or the Drug Enforcement Agency’s website to locate a site near you. More sites are being added daily.
Since the twice-a-year disposal events began in the fall of 2010, the total amount of prescription drugs collected by DEA has reached 9,964,714 pounds, or 4,982 tons.
Several communities in our area also have permanent collection sites. Click here for those.
Veterans Organizations Can Apply for Trust Fund Grants
The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) is accepting applications for the 2018-19 Veterans’ Trust Fund (VTF) grant cycle. Up to $800,000 in VTF grant funding will be competitively awarded for programs and services benefiting Pennsylvania veterans.
The VTF is funded by Pennsylvanians who voluntarily donate when applying for or renewing driver’s licenses, photo IDs or motor vehicle registrations; purchasing Honoring Our Veterans license plates; or making private donations.
To learn more about the VTF and the grant application process, visit vtf.pa.gov or follow DMVA on Facebook at facebook.com/padmva.
Pennsylvania has the fourth-largest veteran population in the nation, with nearly 800,000 veterans.