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Seminars To Discuss Preventing Identity Theft May 23, 2018

State Sen. John DiSanto will host free seminars to provide constituents with tips to safeguard their identities. Participants will learn how to prevent identity theft, how to recognize the signs that their personal information may have been compromised, and the steps to take if they think their identity has been stolen. The free forums will feature Jerry Mitchell, education and outreach specialist with the Office of the Attorney General.

A seminar will be held on Tuesday, June 5, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at Madeline L. Olewine Memorial Library, 2410 N. Third St., Harrisburg. Seminars will take place on Thursday, June 14, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at William H. and Marion C. Alexander Family Library, 200 W. Second St., Hummelstown, and from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at East Shore Area Library, 4501 Ethel St., Harrisburg.

For more details or to register, readers may call DiSanto's office at 717-787-6801. Seating is limited. For anyone unable to attend, a seminar will be recorded and made available at www.senatordisanto.com in late June.

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Car Seat Safety Check Event Set May 22, 2018

Rep. Sheryl Delozier will host her annual car seat safety check on Thursday, May 31, from 4 to 7 p.m. at L.B. Smith Ford Lincoln, 1100 Market St., Lemoyne. Local law enforcement will be on hand to ensure that child safety seats are properly secured in vehicles. Parents and caregivers also will be instructed on the correct installation procedures.

For more information about the car seat safety check, readers may contact Delozier's district office at 717-761-4665 or visit www.RepDelozier.com.

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Parade Honors Armed Forces May 22, 2018

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Urban Centers To Use Grants For Revitalization May 16, 2018

Chester County Commissioners unanimously approved $2.5 million in grants through the county's Community Revitalization Program (CRP) at a recent meeting. One of the goals of Chester County's VISTA 2025 economic development strategy is to invest in growth in its urban centers. These Community Revitalization awards aim to enhance towns, spur additional economic development along main streets, and provide funding for necessary infrastructure to prepare for growth.

The Borough of West Grove will receive a $1.3 million grant to be spent on updated construction costs, prevailing wage increases, and an expansion of the Habitat for Humanity project to construct 36 homes at Willow Street and S. Guernsey Road.

Avondale Borough will receive $535,384 to improve its water system, including an updated filtration system. Honey Brook will use a $184,305 grant to rehabilitate its curbs and sidewalks, making them ADA compliant, as well as storm water improvements and street paving repair.

Downingtown was awarded $47,715 for upgrading lighting in the borough's library and Kerr Park parking lots. Phoenixville will use its award of $415,513 for a waterline replacement project on Starr Street from Washington Avenue to Third Avenue. The water main on Second Avenue from Nutt Road to Gay Street will also be replaced.

Since the Community Revitalization Program began in 2002, Chester County has awarded more than $65 million in Community Revitalization Program and Community Development Block Grant program grants to the 16 urban centers for infrastructure improvements.

To learn more, readers may contact Rebecca Brain at 610-344-6279 or Mark Rupsis at 610-344-6026.

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Women Veterans Invited To Take Survey May 16, 2018

The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) is conducting an online survey to identify issues of concern to Pennsylvania's approximately 60,000 women veterans. Survey topics include benefits and services, access to health care, and veterans' service organizations. The data submitted by respondents will be used by DMVA to recommend policies or procedures that address issues women veterans face as a result of military service.

The survey will be available through Monday, June 18, at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PADMVAWomenVeteransSurvey.

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Paper Shredding Event Planned May 16, 2018

Rep. Harry Lewis Jr. will host a paper shredding event on Saturday, June 2, from 9 a.m. to noon in the parking lot at the borough of South Coatesville Citadel Federal Credit Union, 135 Modena Road, Coatesville.

The event, which will feature an on-site industrial paper shredder provided by a shredding company, will offer the opportunity for households and businesses to shred up to four packing boxes of materials. The boxes will be returned to residents; the company will not keep nor shred boxes.

Only paper will be accepted, and no cardboard will be permitted. Staples and paper clips need not be removed. All shredding will take place on-site.

For more information, contact Lewis' district office in Downingtown at 610-269-1289.

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Veterans Outreach Program Slated May 10, 2018

Pennsylvania veterans and their family members may speak with an accredited veterans service officer from the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs during an outreach event on Thursday, May 24, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will take place at Rep. Bryan Cutler's district office behind Musser's Market, 33-G Friendly Drive, Quarryville.

The veterans service officer will provide information and assistance to veterans and family members. A staff member from Congressman Lloyd Smucker's office will also be available to answer questions. The Lancaster County Recorder of Deeds will process veterans discount cards at the event. The cards offer discounts for goods and services from more than 280 merchants. To receive a discount card, veterans are asked to bring their original DD 214 and photo identification.

For more information, contact Cutler's district office at 717-284-1965.

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Safety Seminar Posted May 10, 2018

The Lower Swatara Volunteer Fire Department, 1350 Fulling Mill Road, Middletown, will be the site of an Active Shooter Safety Seminar on Thursday, May 31, from 6 to 8 p.m. The Derry Township Police Department will give a presentation on survival methods and responses that may be employed during an active shooter scenario.

The event is free and open to residents of the 106th District, but seating is limited and registration is required. To register, readers may contact state Rep. Tom Mehaffie's office at 717-534-1323 by Thursday, May 24. More information is available at www.RepMehaffie.com and www.Facebook.com/RepMehaffie.

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Phillips-Hill Slates Office Hours May 9, 2018

State Rep. Kristin Phillips-Hill invites residents of the 93rd Legislative District to take advantage of satellite office hours scheduled for May. The satellite office at Citizens Volunteer Fire Company, 171 S. Market St., Fawn Grove, will be open on Thursday, May 24.

Questions about this or any legislative issue should be directed to Phillips-Hill's district office by calling 717-428-9889 or 877-207-2272.

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Lyme Disease Information Posted May 9, 2018

With May designated as Lyme Disease Awareness Month in Pennsylvania, Rep. Ron Marsico has posted reminders about staying healthy. Individuals who spend time outdoors should check themselves for ticks and be aware of the symptoms of Lyme disease and other tick-related ailments. The first line of defense against Lyme is to take precautions in the outdoors by using insect repellent with DEET, wearing long-sleeve shirts and long pants, checking for - and promptly and properly removing - any ticks, and showering shortly after exposure.

If bitten, an individual should monitor the area for the next month. Symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, joint pain, a bull's eye rash, and other symptoms that may be mistaken for viral infections, such as influenza or infectious mononucleosis.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health recently launched the "Don't Let a Tick Make You Sick" campaign, aimed at raising Lyme disease awareness. For tips about protecting oneself from Lyme disease, readers may visit www.health.pa.gov and click on Lyme Disease.

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Borough Council Plans Meeting May 2, 2018

The Spring Grove Borough Council will hold a meeting on Monday, May 7, to discuss the future of the borough property at 50 N. East St., Spring Grove. The meeting will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Spring Grove Borough Building, 1 Campus Ave., Spring Grove.

Anyone who would like to speak at the meeting should notify the borough office prior to 4 p.m. on May 7. Anyone who registers to address the council will receive priority. As usual, public comment will be limited to five minutes for each person speaking, and the meeting will be limited to one hour. Input may also be submitted in writing by Tuesday, May 15, by visiting www.springgroveboro.com.

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Video Contest District Semifinalists Named April 27, 2018

The district semifinalists for the "Talk to Your State Senator" statewide video competition in Sen. John DiSanto's district have been announced. Middle and high school students were encouraged to submit video entries with their suggestions to help combat the heroin and opioid crisis, especially among young people. District semifinalists will move on to the statewide competition.

The Harrisburg Christian School team of Anya Burns, Jackie Lehman, Brianna Hoffacker and Ian Spicher won in the High School Division. Susquehanna Township Middle School student Sophia McIntosh won in the Middle School Division. Links to the winning videos are available at www.senatordisanto.com.

Area officials with experience in law enforcement, human services and drug rehabilitation rated each submission on creativity, content and effectiveness of message delivery. Judges for DiSanto's district were Dauphin County Commissioner Mike Pries, Perry County District Attorney Andrew Bender, and Fern Wilcox, executive director of Day Star Recovery in Harrisburg.

"Talk to Your Senator" is open to Pennsylvania students in grades six through 12 and will provide a total of $10,000 in cash prizes to the statewide winners. Prize money, provided by the Drug and Alcohol Service Providers Organization of Pennsylvania (DASPOP), will be awarded through the TAP 529 Account program with the Pennsylvania Department of Treasury and deposited into college savings accounts in the winners' names.

DASPOP is a statewide coalition of drug and alcohol abuse prevention and education programs, student assistance programs, drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs, recovery services, statewide drug and alcohol organizations, and other groups.

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Candidate Forum Planned April 26, 2018

Pequea Township residents are invited to attend a candidate forum on Thursday, May 3, at 7 p.m. at the New Danville Fire Company, 43 Marticville Road, Lancaster. Candidates running for Pequea Township supervisor will participate.

Debate topics will range from the budget, the future of the Southern Regional Police Department, township growth, and township priorities and goals.

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Acres Of Open Space Preserved April 25, 2018

The Chester County commissioners recently announced that an estimated 4,240 acres of open space were protected during 2017 - more than double the number of acres preserved the previous year.

According to commissioners' chair Michelle Kichline, the 2017 total marked one of the largest annual increases in open space since 2009. Overall, a total of 136,020 acres of protected open space, or 28 percent of the county, were preserved as of Dec. 31, 2017, according to the county's Protected Open Space Tracking (POST) system, a web-based database and mapping program.

One of the findings of the annual protected open space report was that in 2017, county-funded Agricultural Conservation Easements accounted for more than 1,300 acres of protected open space. Furthermore, more than 1,000 acres were protected due to the preservation of the Bryn Coed Estate located in West Vincent, West Pikeland, and East Pikeland townships and parts of the Strawbridge property near the Maryland border.

The state parks system expanded its holding by more than 250 acres, and the county park system expanded by more than 210 acres with an addition adjacent to Hibernia Park.

Commissioner Kathi Cozzone noted that the growth goals of the Chester County Strategic Plan and in Landscapes2 have supported the preservation of open space, and she added that this preservation will be a priority for the county's next plan, Landscapes3.

Since 2000, the Chester County Planning Commission has collected information summarizing the amount of open space protected in Chester County each year. This information is gathered from municipalities, land trusts, and other state and county entities, including the Chester County Department of Open Space Preservation and the Agricultural Land Preservation Board. It is then mapped using the county's POST system.

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VTF Grants Will Serve Veterans April 25, 2018

Gov. Tom Wolf announced recently that 13 Pennsylvania counties' Veterans Affairs offices will receive $150,000 in grants and 18 charitable or veteran service organizations will receive $650,000 in grants from the Veterans' Trust Fund (VTF). The fund is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA).

The VTF is funded by generous Pennsylvanians who voluntarily make a $3 donation when applying for or renewing their driver's license or photo ID and also renewing a motor vehicle registration. Additionally, proceeds come from the sale of the Honoring Our Veterans license plate and private donations. Since the grant program began in 2013, a total of $2,832,860 has been awarded to organizations that serve Pennsylvania veterans.

Grantees slated to receive funding identified $520,193 in matching funds pledged toward grant-funded initiatives. Combined with the VTF grants, this will result in more than $1.3 million for veterans' initiatives during the next two years.

Up to a total of $150,000 in grant funding was available for new, innovative, or expanded programs or services provided by county directors of Veterans Affairs or the Pennsylvania Association of County Directors of Veterans Affairs. The two areas of emphasis for grantees in this category were veterans' outreach and veterans' courts.

The grantees are Bedford County Office of Veterans Affairs: $5,767 for veterans' outreach equipment; Cambria County Office of Veterans Affairs: $15,000 to support veterans' court services; Clarion County Office of Veterans Affairs: $8,500 for veterans' outreach equipment; Clinton County Office of Veterans Affairs: $5,000 for veterans' outreach equipment; Fayette County Office of Veterans Affairs: $14,710 to expand veterans' outreach; Franklin County Office of Veterans Affairs: $13,583 to support service dogs for veterans; Juniata County and Mifflin County offices of Veterans Affairs (joint application): $26,000 for veterans' outreach; Lackawanna County Office of Veterans Affairs: $20,000 toward its veterans' court; Lehigh County Office of Veterans Affairs: $10,190 for mental health first aid training; Montgomery County Office of Veterans Affairs: $15,000 for its transportation program; Potter County Office of Veterans Affairs: $11,250 for veterans' outreach events; and Warren County Office of Veterans Affairs: $5,000 for veterans' outreach events.

The VTF grant also identified up to a total of $650,000 in funding available to veteran service organizations and 501(c)(3) charitable organizations with a mission of serving Pennsylvania veterans. Funding priorities for grants in this category were veterans' programs focused on transitional housing/community living, unique veteran health services, or other programs addressing newly identified, unmet, or emerging needs of veterans and their families.

Grants are being awarded to American Legion Post 210, Doylestown (Bucks County): $7,500 for veteran outreach events; Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, Harrisburg (Dauphin County): $50,000 for its MilitaryShare program; Community Hope, d/b/a Hope for Veterans, Allentown (Lehigh County): $50,000 to provide low-income veterans and their families with financial assistance; David's Drive 831, Coatesville (Chester County): $15,000 for financial assistance to veterans in need; Dog T.A.G.S., Mechanicsburg (Cumberland County): $49,325 for service dogs to veterans; Meghan Shortt Wilent Foundation, North Wales (Montgomery County): $11,175 for therapeutic services to veterans with post-traumatic stress and/or traumatic brain injuries; Military Assistance Project, Philadelphia (Philadelphia County): $20,000 to provide free legal services to veterans; Operation Touch of Home, Brodheadsville (Monroe County): $25,000 for essential care packages and emergency financial assistance to veterans in need; Pennsylvania Wounded Warriors, Camp Hill (Cumberland County): $45,000 for emergency financial assistance to veterans in need; Safe Harbor Easton, Easton (Northampton County): $40,000 to provide housing services to homeless female veterans; Second Harvest Food Bank, Erie (Erie County): $50,000 for its MilitaryShare program; Travelers Aid Society, Pittsburgh (Allegheny County): $50,000 to provide transportation assistance to veterans; Veteran Community Initiatives, Johnstown (Cambria County): $50,000 for its Operation Family Caregiver Program, supporting post-9/11 service members and their families; Veterans Leadership Program of Western PA, Pittsburgh (Allegheny County): $50,000 for its Heroes Matter program, providing emergency assistance to homeless veterans; Veterans Multi-Service Center, Philadelphia (Philadelphia County): $25,000 for its women veterans' program; Veteran's Helping Hand, York (York County): $32,000 to provide emergency assistance to veterans in need; Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 364, Johnstown (Cambria County): $30,000 to assist and educate veterans on mental health issues; and Volunteers of America of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg (Dauphin County): $50,000 to support homeless veterans' reintegration back into society. All grant awards are contingent upon the completion of a fully executed grant agreement.

The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs is authorized to solicit and accept donations to the VTF on behalf of the Commonwealth. Tax-deductible donations can be made at www.donate.dmva.pa.gov.

To learn more about the VTF, readers may visit www.vtf.pa.gov or follow DMVA on Facebook at www.facebook.com/padmva.

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Outreach Days For Vets Posted April 12, 2018

Rep. Kate Klunk will host Veterans Outreach Days twice a month at her district office, located at 118 Carlisle St., Suite 300, Hanover. Veterans' outreach assistance with a representative from the American Legion will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second Tuesday and from 2 to 6 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month.

Some of the services available to veterans and their dependents include assistance with compensation, pension claims, death benefits, education, and health care, as well as any issues pertaining to veterans' benefits. All veterans and their spouses are encouraged to sit down with a veteran service officer to understand what services may be available for them.

Appointments must be made in advance by contacting Klunk's office at 717-630-8942.

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Sheriff's Office Holds Wild Game Dinner April 4, 2018

The Chester County Sheriff's Office recently held its ninth annual Wild Game Dinner. Nearly 300 people gathered at the Ballroom at the Westside in West Chester for the event. Guests dined family style on a multi-course feast that included alligator bites, wild boar sausage soup, bear sausage-stuffed mushrooms, venison braciole and stuffed quail.

Proceeds will support a variety of initiatives designed to help ensure the safety of both human and canine deputies, as well as members of the public. Projects made possible by the dinner have included the purchase of a trio of motorcycles used for police escorts and the acquisition and training of members of the K-9 Unit, which now includes 10 teams.

Chester County Sheriff Carolyn Bunny Welsh was unable to attend the event because she has been recuperating from double knee-replacement surgery. Welsh, who had never missed the event, did deliver a short video message live from rehab. In it, she expressed thanks to the hundreds of people who made the event possible, including donors, longtime attendees, and more than 100 volunteers.

Lt. Harry McKinney, the lead organizer of the fundraiser, echoed those sentiments in person, explaining that the fundraiser relies on community support. He said a variety of sources, including local hunters and businesses, donated the ingredients for the meal and items for the gift baskets in the silent auction. Other prizes included a chocolate Labrador puppy, won by Tim and Cindy Dumont of Westtown Township, and a handmade quilt, won by Debbie Abel, a longtime supporter of the event.

The Dumonts had been invited to attend the Wild Game Dinner by Craig Felice. They did not intend to return home with a new family member, but their plans changed when they saw Cinnamon, a puppy from Cedar Creek Farm in Nottingham. And once they texted a photo to their daughter Morgan, who attends West Chester University, there was no turning back. In fact, Morgan was so excited that she dropped what she was doing and headed to Westside to welcome the new family member.

The quilt materialized because Veronica Hoadley, a longtime attendee, said that she and her husband had enjoyed the event for many years and wanted to give back. So she sought assistance from two friends, Denise Greenhalgh and Linda Lakitsky, and the three created an America-themed masterwork with an eagle centerpiece.

At the recent event, McKinney delivered the news that in 2019 the fundraiser will move to the Mendenhall Inn, which can accommodate more diners. Plans for the 10th annual Wild Game Dinner, including the exact date, have not yet been finalized. Anyone interested in adding their names to the waiting list for the dinner may contact Kathy Brady Shea at 610-344-6860 or kbradyshea@chesco.org.

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Grove Will Host Citizens' Forums April 4, 2018

State Rep. Seth Grove will hold Citizens' Forum events in the region. Grove will give updates on state legislative issues, including the budget. Residents are encouraged to ask questions and join in the dialogue during the forum. Reservations are not necessary.

A Citizens' Forum will be held at the West Manchester Township Building, 380 E. Berlin Road, on Thursday, April 19. A Citizen's Forum will also be held on Thursday, May 3, at Dover Borough Building, 46 Butter Road, Dover. Both forums will run from 6 to 8 p.m.

The 196th District includes Dover, Paradise, Jackson, North Codorus, and West Manchester townships, as well as Spring Grove, Dover, and New Salem boroughs.

Residents, who are unable to attend the forum, but have a question, concern or idea to discuss, may call Grove's district office during normal business hours at 717-767-3947. Citizens also are invited to contact Grove at www.repgrove.com.

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Organization Receives Funding April 2, 2018

David's Drive 831 (DD831), a local nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting homeless and hospitalized veterans, will receive $15,000 in state funding through the Pennsylvania Veterans' Trust Fund (VTF).

The program, which is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA), is funded by Pennsylvania residents who voluntarily make a donation when applying for or renewing their driver's license or photo ID and also through renewing a motor vehicle registration. Additionally, proceeds come from the sale of the Honoring Our Veterans license plate and private donations.

David Turner Sr., who with his family founded DD831 in memory of his late son, said the funds will support the organization's annual Christmas Gift Wrapping Extravaganza, during which volunteers wrap 1,000 gifts containing socks, snacks, puzzle books, and personal care items for homeless and hospitalized veterans.

Turner Sr. also thanked the many patrons, volunteers, and donors who have supported the organization's efforts over the years.

Turner and his family started DD831 following the sudden passing of David Turner Jr. from a suspected cardiac arrhythmia in December 2009. Turner Jr. worked at the Coatesville Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

That May, the Turner family held a cookout at their home to celebrate what would have been David's 21st birthday. Guests were invited to bring new packages of socks, underwear, and T-shirts - the items most in demand by veterans at the Coatesville VA. That day, the Turner family collected thousands of items and was nearly overwhelmed by the outpouring of generosity. From there, DD831 was born.

This year, DD831 will hold its annual collection drive on Sunday, May 20, at noon. Anyone who donates new men's or women's socks, underwear, or T-shirts will receive a free catered lunch.

Turner Sr. also discussed the group's effort to expand and assist veterans in Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties who are transitioning to independent living through the Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program.

DD831 works closely with case managers and social workers to identify veterans through this program and provide them with a "starter kit" that contains living essentials like a bed, bedding, personal care products, housewares, small appliances like a vacuum and microwave, and other necessities for the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen.

Earlier this year, in recognition of their work, Turner and DD831 received the George Washington Award at the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge 2018 Local Hero Gala.

DD831 was one of 18 charitable and veterans services organizations statewide to receive $650,000 in total funding through the Pennsylvania VTF this year. Funding priorities for grants in this category were veterans' programs focused on transitional housing/community living, unique veteran health services or other programs addressing newly identified, unmet or emerging needs of veterans and their families.

Since the VTF grant program began in 2013, a total of $2,832,860 has been awarded to organizations that serve Pennsylvania veterans.

For more information on David's Drive 831, readers may visit www.davidsdrive831.org.

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Commissioners Forum Planned March 28, 2018

Manheim Township commissioners Sam Mecum and Tom O'Brien will participate in a forum on Saturday, April 14, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.

The forum will be held at Grandview Methodist Church, 888 Grandview Blvd., Lancaster, and the commissioners will be available to listen to questions and comments from Manheim Township residents.

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