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Students Learn About Legislature June 22, 2017

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Representative To Hold Meeting June 21, 2017

Residents of the 169th legislative district are invited to a "Coffee with Kate" meeting on Tuesday, July 11, from 9:30 to 10 a.m. at state Rep. Kate Klunk's satellite office, located in the Shrewsbury Township building, 11505 Susquehanna Trail South.

The meeting is part of Klunk's "Where in the District is Kate?" series of outreach events. Refreshments will be available.

Klunk's Shrewsbury Township satellite office is normally open from 9 a.m. to noon on the first Tuesday of each month. Since Independence Day falls on Tuesday, July 4, this year, office hours were moved to July 11. Normal office hours will resume on Tuesday, Aug. 1.

"Coffee with Kate" is free to attend, but residents are asked to make reservations by calling Klunk's Hanover district office at 717-630-8942. Space is very limited.

Dates and locations of other upcoming meeting are listed at www.RepKlunk.com.

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Swim Team Receives Recognition June 21, 2017

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Rebate Program Deadline Extended June 21, 2017

The deadline to apply for the state's 2016 Property Tax/Rent Rebate program has been extended to Sunday, Dec. 31. Eligible participants can receive a rebate of up to $650 based on their rent or property taxes paid in 2016. The program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians who are age 65 or older, widows and widowers age 50 or older, and individuals age 18 or older with disabilities.

Complete eligibility information is available by visiting www.revenue.pa.gov and clicking on Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program under Popular Services. Residents are reminded that they do not need to pay a private entity for assistance in filing the forms. Claimants who already applied for rebates may check the status of claims online at the above website or by calling 888-PATAXES.

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2017 Fair Guide Now Available June 21, 2017

The "2017 Pennsylvania Fair Guide" published by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is available at www.agriculture.pa.gov/Promote/Markets/Agricultural%20Marketing/pafairfund/Documents/FairGuide.pdf.

The guide lists the dates, locations, and contact persons for more than 100 agriculture fairs and events scheduled during the summer and fall in Pennsylvania. The guide also highlights 16 fairs that offer live harness racing as part of one of the nation's leading fair-racing programs.

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Repairs Create Street Closure June 21, 2017

South Bonsall Road, between West Kings Highway and Neal Road, is closed to through traffic. The change went into effect on June 26 to allow for repairs to the South Bonsall School Bridge. Bridge repairs are expected to be completed by the end of September.

Drivers are asked to be aware of this closure and use alternate routes through the area. Any questions may be directed to the West Caln Township office at 610-384-5643.

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New Website For Vets Posted June 14, 2017

A new website geared toward veterans gives men and women who are serving or have served our country a central location for information about federal, state, and local services. The simple-to-use, free website serves as a tool for veterans returning from overseas. Veterans and veteran organizations are encouraged to access the site.

Network of Care allows users to find out information on employment opportunities in their area, as well as housing, medical services, addiction services, assistive devices, and more. There is also an easy-to-use link for contacting state and federal representatives about any piece of legislation. In addition, users can create a protected profile where they can store items such as service health records, discharge papers, and other service-related documents.

To access the website, readers may visit www.networkofcare.org, select Pennsylvania, and choose a county of residence. Veterans can also contact their state legislator with any questions on how to use the website.

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Food Bank Receives Donation June 14, 2017

Chester County Food Bank representatives recently received a $25,000 donation from the Chester County commissioners. The funds are part of the county's annual appropriations to organizations and nonprofits.

The check was presented at Pete's Produce Farm in Westtown Township to Chester County Food Bank executive director Larry Welsh and director of development Norm Horn. The food bank grows food on approximately four acres of Pete's Produce farmland that owner Pete Flynn, who is also a food bank board member, allocates to the Chester County Food Bank Agricultural Program. With the help of more than 1,000 volunteers each season, more than 200,000 pounds of produce is anticipated to be harvested from farm partners Pete's Produce and also Springton Manor Farm.

Chester County government actively supports the work of the Chester County Food Bank and in particular the farm and garden programs, growing vegetables and fruit at local farms as well as at the Chester County Youth Center and Chester County Prison.

Nearly $300,000 of state and federal funding channels through Chester County government for the Chester County Food Bank annually, and in addition to the commissioners' annual appropriation, county employees donate food and toiletry items to the food bank. In 2016, 2.5 million pounds of food was distributed, including more than 800,000 pounds of fresh produce.

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Mortgage Service Guidance Posted June 13, 2017

With consumers across the country reporting problems with mortgage servicing, the Wolf administration has issued guidance for Pennsylvania homeowners to stay well-informed of their rights and responsibilities regarding mortgage servicers. Because homeowners are not given the opportunity to choose their mortgage servicer, it is especially important that consumers know and understand what information they are entitled to from their mortgage servicer. Following a few simple guidelines with a mortgage servicer can help a homeowner understand their rights and responsibilities, as well as avoid any potential issues that arise.

A mortgage servicer is a company that processes mortgage loan payments, responds to homeowner inquiries, manages the mortgage escrow account for taxes and insurance, and can initiate foreclosure proceedings if a homeowner defaults on the mortgage. The servicer may be the same or a different company than the mortgage lender, the financial institution chosen by the consumer to be their lender.

There are several tips to keep in mind when dealing with a mortgage servicer. Consumers should know what information a mortgage servicer is required to provide to clients. The servicer must provide a statement that clearly itemizes the estimated taxes, insurance premiums, and other anticipated amounts within 45 days of establishing an escrow account for a mortgage. The servicer is also required to provide a free annual, detailed statement of the activity for an escrow account.

Consumers should look out for transfer notices. If the original lender transfers a loan to another servicer, consumers will typically get a notice from their current mortgage servicer and their new servicer. The new servicer must notify consumers within 15 days after the effective date of the transfer. Likewise, if ownership of a loan is transferred, the new owner must provide notice within 30 days of taking possession of the loan.

Consumers should read and maintain all correspondence and statements from their servicer. If a mortgage servicer asks for a copy of a property insurance policy, respond promptly. Consumers should check their billing statements carefully to make sure any fees that have been charged are legitimate, and consumers should fully understand what any fees are for. If not, a written inquiry should be sent asking for itemization and explanation.

If someone defaults on their mortgage, they should keep the lines of communication open. If someone fails to make payments on their mortgage loan and find themselves in default, they should stay in touch with their mortgage servicer. Servicers have different policies regarding when they will order default-related services. Consumers should communicate with services if they are still living in the home, keeping it well-maintained, and want to work with them to resolve the default on their account and avoid foreclosure.

Consumers should know how to handle inquiries and disputes. Under federal law, a mortgage servicer must respond promptly to "qualified written requests." If there is an issue with a loan, consumers should contact their servicer in writing. The servicer must send written acknowledgement within 20 business days and must either correct the account or determine its accuracy within 60 days.

The Department of Banking and Securities maintains an online library of resources to help consumers learn more about their rights and responsibilities in the financial marketplace, including several publications for homebuyers and homeowners. "Shopping for a Mortgage," "Home Ownership in Tough Times," and "Understanding Reverse Mortgages" are available at www.dobs.pa.gov under Publications and Reports and then scroll down to a list of Publications.

Readers with questions regarding mortgages, mortgage lending, or mortgage servicing may contact the Department of Banking and Securities at 800-PA-BANKS.

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Emergency Groups Receive Funds June 7, 2017

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