Historical, Cultural Groups Receive Funds March 21, 2018
State Sen. Andy Dinniman recently announced that eight cultural and historic organizations in Chester County were awarded more than $67,784 in state funding from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC).
The funding comes through the PHMC Cultural and Historical Support Grant Program, which provides support for resources and operating expenses to museum and historical organizations according to a formula based on their size and operating budgets.
Seven organizations in Chester County were awarded the grants. Grants include the following: $7,361 for the American Helicopter Museum, $24,975 for the Chester County Historical Society, $8,277 for the Graystone Society, $4,000 for the Green Valleys Association, $4,078 for Historic Sugartown, $10,651 for Historic Yellow Springs, $4,000 for the Mill at Anselma, and $4,442 for the Wharton Esherick Museum.
The grants were approved at the March 16 meeting of the PHMC. In addition, the PHMC approved two new historical markers in Chester County.
One marker celebrates Isaac and Dinah Mendenhall of Chadds Ford, who were Quaker abolitionists active in the Underground Railroad, collaborating with Thomas Garrett and Harriet Tubman. Their home, Oakdale, located on Hillendale Road, was the first stop north of the Delaware line on the Underground Railroad. The Mendenhalls were charter members of the Longwood Progressive Meeting, which hosted abolitionist speakers such as Sojourner Truth and William Lloyd Garrison. Dinah Mendenhall was part of a delegation that met with President Abraham Lincoln to advocate for the abolition of slavery.
Sunset Park in Penn Township also received a historic marker. Sunset Park was a country and bluegrass music venue that operated for more than 50 years. Some of the biggest names in the music business played there, and it became one of the premier venues outside of Nashville. Sunset Park helped spread the popularity of this type of music nationwide. Bluegrass icon Ola Bella Reed was member of the Sunset Park house band.
VTF Grants Will Serve Veterans March 21, 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 or mailed to PA Veterans' Trust Fund, Bldg. 0-47 Fort Indiantown Gap, Annville, PA 17003.
To learn more about the VTF, readers may visit www.vtf.pa.gov or follow DMVA on Facebook at www.facebook.com/padmva.
Farm Loans Available March 20, 2018
The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) servicing Lancaster County has announced that it has funding reserved specifically for use by targeted underserved groups, as well as beginning farmer loans. The loan programs are designed to help farmers purchase and operate family farms.
According to farm loan manager Tiffany Lutz, the loans help to encourage and assist farmers in owning and operating their own farms and ranches, participating in agricultural programs, and becoming integral parts of the agricultural community.
In addition, a portion of funds are reserved for targeted underserved groups, defined by the USDA as women, African Americans, American Indians and Alaskan Natives, Hispanics, and Asians and Pacific Islanders.
Funds may be used to purchase or enlarge a farm; purchase easements or rights of way needed in the farm's operation; construct or improve buildings such as a dwelling or barn; promote soil and water conservation; pay closing costs; purchase livestock, farm and home equipment, feed, seed, fuel, fertilizer, or insurance; fund hired labor; and perform other improvements.
Applicants must meet eligibility requirements. Additional information on applications is available at the local FSA office, 1383 Arcadia Road, Lancaster, or by calling 717-397-6235, ext. 2.
Concealed Carry Seminar Posted March 15, 2018
A concealed carry seminar will take place on Thursday, April 12, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Hoffman Building at the Solanco Fairgrounds, adjacent to Quarryville Memorial Park off Memorial Drive and South Lime Street (Route 472). Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. State Rep. Bryan Cutler will host the event.
Mark D. Fetterman, assistant district attorney with the Lancaster County District Attorney's office, will share information about Pennsylvania's concealed carry laws. Lancaster County Sheriff Christopher R. Leppler and Quarryville Borough Police Chief Clark Bearinger will talk about how to safely interact with the police while carrying a weapon.
There is no charge for the seminar, but space is limited. To make reservations, readers may contact Cutler's district office at 717-284-1965 or visit www.RepCutler.com.
Organization Receives Funding March 14, 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 9th annual "Show Us Your Underwear 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.
Special Public Meeting Posted March 13, 2018
Wrightsville Borough Council will hold a special public meeting on Monday, April 2, at 5:30 p.m. to discuss the upcoming construction project being done on the 300 to 400 blocks of Locust Street.
The meeting will be held in Borough Chambers, 601 Water St., Wrightsville.
Funds To Support Scouting Campus March 7, 2018
The Chester County Council of the Boy Scouts of America is closing the gap on the funds needed for its new Program, Activity, and Resource Campus (PARC).
State Sen. Andy Dinniman recently secured a $250,000 Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grant for the campus, which is planned for a nearly 29-acre parcel of land located on Route 30 in West Whiteland. The RACP funding comes in addition to $45,000 in state funding that Dinniman secured over the summer to support and establish new programs at the campus.
In total, the Chester County Council of the Boy Scouts of America has secured $4.2 of the $5.2 million needed for the project. As organizers close in on the final $1 million of the fundraising campaign, officials said they expected to break ground this spring.
In addition, Scout officials said plenty of sponsorship opportunities at any level remain available for the PARC, which represents the Chester County Boy Scout's first new property program in nearly a century.
The plan for the PARC calls for a seamless combination of indoor and outdoor space, creating an amenity for training and program opportunities for Scouts, adult leaders, and the community. It will include a 22,000-square-foot facility to house state-of-the-art training, meeting, and event spaces. The campus will also offer expansive outdoor activities, including: camping and campfires, fishing, wetlands management, playing fields, fitness activities, hiking and biking trails, ropes and obstacle courses, an observation tower, a climbing wall, open and wooded training areas, and, potentially, a link to the Chester Valley Trail System.
The campus also will also include access to portions of the West Valley Creek, which the Scouts plan to use for fishing, boating, and environmental education programs. The council has already partnered with the Stroud Water Research Center regarding programs on the creek and is in talks with Trout Unlimited about stocking.
The outdoor and indoor resources planned for the PARC will provide opportunities for Scouts to earn more than 40 merit badges and complete STEM projects.
In addition, the PARC is designed to accommodate and support all youths, including those with diverse interests and ideas, at-risk youths, and those with varying physical capabilities.
The Chester County Council of the Boy Scouts of America partners with community organizations that charter 168 Cub Scout Packs, Boy Scout Troops, Explorer Posts, and Venture Crews that serve approximately 6,000 young people. Approximately 2,800 men and women volunteer in a variety of leadership roles with the Scouts. The council is led by a 40-member volunteer board of directors and employs 19 full-time staff, as well as approximately 150 seasonal and part-time employees.
The council has been headquartered in an aging 6,000-square-foot building since 1966. For more information on the Chester County Council, Boy Scouts of America, readers may visit www.ccbsa.org. Those who have questions on PARC may email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 610-696-2900, ext. 121.
Sheriff's Office Holds Wild Game Dinner March 7, 2018
The Chester County Sheriff's Office held its ninth annual Wild Game Dinner on March 3. 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 email@example.com.
5K Fundraising Total Announced March 7, 2018
As part of Chester County's collaborative approach to fighting opioid and heroin addiction, District Attorney Tom Hogan and members of the Chester County Drug Overdose Prevention Task Force provided an update for the county commissioners at the Feb. 28 sunshine meeting work session. The presentation noted the progress made in Chester County's battle against opioid and heroin addiction since the formation of the task force, and it was followed by an announcement by commissioner Michelle Kichline that the November 2017 Chester County Color 5K event raised $38,000.
The 5K's purpose was to raise awareness and money for actions recommended by the Drug Overdose Prevention Task Force. The second Color 5K event brought in 50 percent more money than the previous year's event. More than 900 people took part, and the money will be used to fund the county's new Community Outreach and Prevention Education (COPE) initiative.
The COPE program's purpose is to better ensure opioid overdose survivors being treated in local emergency departments are personally encouraged to enter treatment. An on-call engagement team that includes a project coordinator and certified recovery specialist will provide one-to-one support in the hospital emergency department and after emergency department discharge for opiate overdose survivors and their family or friends. COPE will also provide overdose prevention information and outreach to first responders, hospital staff, and the survivors' family and friends. It will begin as a pilot in Brandywine Hospital and Chester County Hospital later this year.
Chester County's Overdose Prevention Task Force includes representatives from the commissioners' and district attorney's offices, as well as the county's Health Department and Department of Drug and Alcohol Services, law enforcement and community organizations. The task force approach includes arresting and prosecuting drug dealers, diverting addicts into treatment and counseling through Drug Court, educating children and their parents through the Narcotics Overdose Prevention and Education (NOPE) program, taking drugs off the streets through the drop box initiative, working with doctors and health care providers on opioid prescribing practices, and operating the COPE program.
Hogan announced that more than five tons of drugs were deposited in the drug drop boxes located in Chester County police stations during 2017. He also noted that, for the first time in the last 20 years, the number of opioid prescriptions is down nationwide, and the number of pills per prescription has decreased.
Phillips-Hill Posts Satellite Office Hours February 28, 2018
Rep. Kristin Phillips-Hill invites residents of the 93rd legislative district to attend her satellite office hours on Thursday, March 8, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Hopewell Township Building, 3336 Bridgeview Road, Stewartstown, and on Thursday, March 22, from 9 a.m. to noon at Citizens Volunteer Fire Company, 171 S. Market St., Fawn Grove.
For more information, readers may call Phillips-Hill's district office at 717-428-9889 or 877-207-2272.
Dinniman Recognizes New Pastors February 20, 2018
State Sen. Andy Dinniman recently recognized the Rev. Andy Salgado and his wife, Melisa Salgado, upon their installation as pastors of the Saint Matthew Assembly of God Spanish Church in West Chester.
The Salgados were elected to serve as pastors of the church in June 2017 and began their new role in August. They succeeded the Rev. Dr. Cesar Roman and his wife, the Rev. Modesta Roman, who founded Saint Matthew Assembly of God Spanish Church in 1979 and together served the congregation for nearly 40 years.
Dinniman welcomed the Salgados to the community and noted that the Saint Matthew Assembly of God Spanish Church is the oldest Spanish Church in Chester County.
The Salgados previously led The House of Healing Church in Harrisburg, where they focused on community outreach, including serving meals to the homeless, visiting elderly and ailing residents in nursing homes and senior living communities, and promoting their ministry as a multicultural community resource.
Andy Salgado said he plans to bring that same approach to Saint Matthew Assembly of God Spanish Church, with an emphasis on continuing to advance this church as an institution without walls. He practices bilingual preaching.
Concealed Carry Seminars Posted February 15, 2018
Three concealed carry seminars will be offered to the public to allow gun owners to learn exactly what their rights are under Pennsylvania law. These free events will be conducted by attorney Matt Mendes of York County, an expert on Pennsylvania's gun laws, and are sponsored by Rep. Sue Helm.
The seminars will be held on Thursday, March 1, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Pennsylvania Game Commission Headquarters, 2001 Elmerton Ave., Harrisburg; on Thursday, March 22, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Ono Fire Company, 10805 Jonestown Road, Ono; and on Thursday, April 5, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Halifax Area Ambulance and Rescue Association Building, 31 Bunker Hill Road, Halifax.
Seating at these events is limited. Participants are asked to make a reservation by contacting one of Helm's district offices. Readers may call the Susquehanna Township office at 717-651-0100 for the Harrisburg and Ono events and the Millersburg office at 717-692-0833 for the Halifax seminar. Registration is also available at www.suehelm.net.
Fishing And Boating Seminar Posted February 15, 2018
A free fishing and boating seminar will take place on Thursday, March 1, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Derry Township Municipal Building, 600 Clearwater Road, Hershey, in the board room. Representatives from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission will discuss a number of topics to get local anglers and boaters ready for the upcoming fishing and boating seasons. The purpose of the program is to inform area residents about the many state programs designed to promote fishing and boating activities.
The seminar is free, and boating or fishing licenses are not required in order to attend. Seating is limited, and advance registration is required.
To register and for more details, readers may call state Rep. Tom Mehaffie's office at 717-534-1323 by Friday, Feb. 23. Information is also available at www.RepMehaffie.com, www.Facebook.com/RepMehaffie.
Rebate Forms Are Available February 8, 2018
Forms for the state's 2017 property tax/rent rebate program are now available for download from the Department of Revenue's website. Paper forms were to be available in the weeks following Jan. 22.
Eligible participants may receive a rebate of up to $650 based on their rent or property taxes paid in 2017. The program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians who are 65 years or older, widows and widowers age 50 or older, and people age 18 or older with disabilities. The income limit is $35,000 per year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded.
Residents do not need to pay a private entity for assistance in filing the forms. Copies of the forms, as well as assistance with filing them, are available at no cost at state Rep. Marisco's district offices; however, applicants should be prepared to provide all the necessary income, property tax or rental information required to process claims quickly and accurately.
Applications are due by Saturday, June 30. For more information, readers may visit www.revenue.pa.gov/GeneralTaxInformation/PropertyTaxRentRebateProgram/Pages/default.aspx.
PennDOT Offers Safety Guidance February 7, 2018
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) urges motorists to prepare their vehicles and take time to familiarize themselves with winter safety laws. It is important for drivers to take a few simple steps before they travel to be prepared for winter driving as the season continues.
Drivers should prepare their vehicles by having a trusted mechanic check the cooling system, battery, hoses, drive belts, tires, and wiper blades to ensure they are in good condition and functioning properly. Drivers should also frequently check all fluid levels, lights, and wiper blades. In addition, tires should also be examined often for the correct level of air pressure and adequate tire-tread depth to perform on ice and snow.
Finally, the traveling public should also prepare or restock a vehicle emergency kit. The kit should contain items such as nonperishable food, water, first aid supplies, warm clothes, a blanket, cell phone charger, and a small snow shovel. Motorists should tailor their kits to any specific needs that they or their families have such as baby supplies, extra medication, and pet supplies.
Motorists should also be aware that all vehicles should be fully clear of ice and snow before winter travel. If snow or ice is dislodged or falls from a moving vehicle and strikes another vehicle or pedestrian causing death or serious bodily injury, the operator of that vehicle could receive a $200 to $1,000 fine.
When winter weather does occur, PennDOT asks drivers to be extra cautious around operating snow-removal equipment. When encountering a plow truck, drivers should stay at least six car lengths behind an operating plow truck and remember that the main plow is wider than the truck. In addition, drivers should be alert, since plow trucks generally travel much more slowly than other traffic.
When a plow truck is traveling toward a car, the driver should move as far away from the center of the road as is safely possible and remember that snow can obscure the actual snow plow width. Drivers should never try to pass or get between several trucks plowing side by side in a plow train. The weight of the snow thrown from the plow can quickly cause smaller vehicles to lose control, creating a hazard for nearby vehicles.
Drivers should never travel next to a plow truck, since there are blind spots where the operator cannot see. Also, plow trucks can occasionally be moved sideways when hitting drifts or heavy snowpack.
Drivers should keep their lights on to help the plow truck operator better see their vehicle. Also, drivers should remember that, under Pennsylvania state law, vehicle lights must be on every time a vehicle's wipers are on due to inclement weather.
In addition to driving safely around plows, motorists are urged to drive according to conditions. If motorists encounter snow or ice-covered roads, they should slow down, increase their following distance, and avoid distractions. Last winter in Pennsylvania, preliminary data shows that there were 252 crashes resulting in 129 injuries on snowy, slushy, or ice-covered roadways where aggressive driving behaviors such as speeding or making careless lane changes were factors.
To help make decisions as to whether to travel during winter weather, motorists are encouraged to "Know Before You Go" by checking conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles, including color-coded winter conditions on 2,900 miles, by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information, and access to more than 850 traffic cameras. Users can also see plow truck statuses and travel alerts along a specific route using the Check My Route tool. 511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.
PennDOT has created a Winter Safety media center, including social media sized graphics highlighting winter driving preparations and operations at www.penndot.gov in the Media Center under the Connect With Us footer.
For more information on safe winter travel, an emergency kit checklist, and information on PennDOT's winter operations, including a video, readers may visit www.PennDOT.gov/winter. Additional winter driving and other highway safety information is available at www.PennDOT.gov/safety.
Individuals may follow the conversation by using #PAWinter on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PennDOTNews and like the department on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PennsylvaniaDepartmentofTransportation.
Representatives Posts Satellite Office Hours January 31, 2018
State Rep. Kristin Phillips-Hill invites residents of the 93rd legislative district to attend her satellite office hours on Thursday, Feb. 8, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Hopewell Township Building, 3336 Bridgeview Road, Stewartstown, and on Thursday, Feb. 22, from 9 a.m. to noon at Citizens Volunteer Fire Company, 171 S. Market St., Fawn Grove. Staff members will be available to assist attendees.
For more information, readers may call Phillips-Hill's district office at 717-428-9889 or 877-207-2272.
County Pledges 5 Billion Steps January 31, 2018
Chester County commissioners, along with health department director Jeanne Casner, recently announced this year's WalkWorks ChesCo! goals and challenged all county residents to increase the number of steps collectively taken from 1 billion to 5 billion by the end of the year.
In addition to upping the step count, a new goal has been set for a minimum of 5,000 registrations on the WalkWorks ChesCo! website to track and tally the steps taken toward the 5 billion goal. As of Jan. 29, the county had cumulatively taken nearly 1.7 billion steps and 2,900 people had registered, according to Casner.
WalkWorks ChesCo! is a program that aims to promote, educate and empower county residents to adopt a healthier lifestyle by creating more places for walking, supporting and promoting walking groups, coordinating walking challenges and creating a website that allows everyone to track and tally their steps. It is the county's response to the national Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge, a two-year competition that aims to empower cities and counties across the nation to create a positive health impact. At the end of 2016, the county was selected out of 400 applications as one of 50 members of the HealthCommunity 50 and received $10,000 in community seed funds to establish WalkWorks ChesCo!
The success of the first year of WalkWorks ChesCo! led the Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge judging panel to award Chester County an interim Spotlight Award, which includes an additional $10,000 to support and promote the program for year two.
Commissioner Terence Farrell first brought the national challenge to the attention of his fellow commissioners.
One of the key components of the WalkWorks ChesCo! program is a specially designed website that tallies all steps taken by residents who register to participate. The website syncs with most devices and mobile apps that already track steps, and it also allows users to convert other physical exercise into steps to be manually added.
If judged the most successful Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge program, Chester County will receive $500,000 to be used to further enhance health programs for all county residents. The Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge is a partnership established between the Aetna Foundation, the American Public Health Association and the National Association of Counties.
More information about the program and how to register is available at www.chesco.org/walkworks.