Radon Action Encouraged January 16, 2018
January is national Radon Action Month. An estimated 40 percent of Pennsylvania homes have higher levels of radon than national safety standards, due to the state's geology. However, residents can perform a simple test to detect this gas, which is considered the second-leading cause of lung cancer.
Radon is an odorless, colorless radioactive gas that occurs naturally from the breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks and enters homes through cracks in the foundation or other openings. High levels of radon tend to be found in basements, but the gas can be found anywhere in the home.
Winter is a good time to test for radon, because doors and windows are generally closed, providing more accurate results. Simple radon test kits are inexpensive and available at home improvement and hardware stores.
For more information on radon, testing, and daily tips, readers may visit www.dep.pa.gov/Business/RadiationProtection/RadonDivision/Pages/default.aspx.
Commissioners Plan Forum January 11, 2018
Manheim Township commissioners Sam Mecum and Tom O'Brien will participate in a forum on Sunday, Jan. 28, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
The commissioners will be available to listen to questions and comments from Manheim Township residents at Reflections Restaurant, 1390 Oregon Road, Leola.
Marilyn Hershey Receives Honor January 11, 2018
State Sen. Andy Dinniman recently recognized Marilyn Hershey for being named Dairy Woman of the Year at the 51st annual World Dairy Exposition. He presented her with a Senate Citation in recognition of the honor.
Dinniman, who serves on the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, noted that Marilyn exemplifies the heritage, spirit, and values of the industries of dairy farming and agriculture.
Marilyn and her husband, Duane, have been operating Ar-Joy Farms, an 800-cow, 550-acre farm in Cochranville, for more than 30 years. The Hersheys farm and ship their milk to the Land O'Lakes Cooperative.
In addition, Marilyn, who grew up on a farm in Atglen, is an advocate for agriculture and the dairy farming industry. She writes a monthly column for Hoard's Dairyman, serves on the National Dairy and Research Promotion Board, and is vice chair of Dairy Management Inc. Duane is also active in the dairy industry.
In addition to promoting dairy products and dairy agriculture, Marilyn and Duane continue to incorporate innovative and sustainable technology into their farming operations. The most recent addition is a specialized methane digester that converts waste into electrical power.
PennDOT Offers Safety Guidance January 10, 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 think ahead and 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.
Tips For Dealing With Extreme Cold January 10, 2018
The Pennsylvania Department of Health has offered several tips to keep warm this winter. Dangerously cold temperatures can lead to life-threatening health problems like hypothermia and frostbite. Lower-than-normal temperatures and higher wind speeds can cause heat to leave the body more quickly than normal and result in serious health issues.
If venturing outdoors, people should make outdoor trips brief and dress warmly in layers; cover their ears, head, mouth, and face; and never ignore shivering. People should also know the symptoms of hypothermia and frostbite.
Hypothermia causes shivering, exhaustion, confusion, memory loss, slurred speech, or drowsiness in adults and bright red, cold skin and very low energy in babies. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and color in affected areas, and symptoms include a white or grayish-yellow area of skin, numbness or skin that feels unusually firm or waxy.
Infants and older Pennsylvanians are at greater risk of serious cold-related health issues and should be checked frequently to ensure they are warm enough during cold weather. Pet owners are also reminded of a new state law that prohibits animals from being tethered outside for more than 30 minutes in weather colder than 32 degrees.
For more winter weather tips, readers may visit www.ready.pa.gov/BeInformed/Know-The-Threats/Pages/Winter-Weather.aspx#Outdoors.
Retiring Township Supervisors Honored January 10, 2018
State Sen. Andy Dinniman recently recognized Dr. Thomas Egan on his retirement from service to East Bradford Township and Mark Blair on his retirement from service to West Bradford Township.
Egan and Blair both gave 37 years of service to their respective townships, each beginning in 1980 on the municipal planning commissions. They both retired at the end of 2017. Dinniman noted that they were each honored for showcasing civic service, volunteerism, and dedication, and for striving to improve their respective communities.
Egan was elected to the East Bradford Board of Supervisors in 1988. He served five consecutive terms and was chair of the board of supervisors upon his retirement.
Blair was elected to the West Bradford Board of Supervisors in 1992 and was chair of the board of supervisors upon his retirement.
Dinniman presented Egan and Blair each with a Senate Citation in honor of their milestones.
Community Memorializes Individuals January 3, 2018
On the first day of winter, Dec. 21, 2017, Chester County officials, Decade to Doorways personnel and agencies that support people experiencing homelessness in Chester County held a memorial for 16 homeless and formerly homeless individuals who passed away in Chester County during 2017. The community came together in front of the historic Chester County Courthouse in West Chester for the memorial event. Dec. 21 was Homeless Persons Memorial Day.
Lauren Campbell, Decade to Doorways administrator, began the service with opening remarks. The program included a candlelight vigil, a reading of the names of the individuals who passed away and two musical selections by Catherine Friedman, executive director of Friends Association, and local musical artist Alexandra March. Attendees were given the opportunity to share memories about individuals being memorialized.
Since 1990, the National Coalition for the Homeless has sponsored National Homeless Persons Memorial Day annually on the first day of winter. The event, now observed in more than 150 cities and counties across the U.S., aims to memorialize the men, women and children who died on the streets or in emergency shelters each year and recommit to ending homelessness in order to prevent such deaths in the future.
Decade to Doorways is a 10-year initiative that coordinates the efforts of people in Chester County working to combat homelessness, including government entities, service providers, educators, health care professionals, faith communities, funders and businesses, with the end goal of making homelessness rare, brief and non-reoccurring by 2022. To learn more about Decade to Doorways, readers may visit www.decadetodoorways.org.
Ryan Sets "Walk And Talks" December 27, 2017
Rep. Frank Ryan invites residents of the 101st District to participate in his upcoming Legislative Walk and Talks on one of Lebanon's several rail trails.
Residents are welcome to join Ryan for any or all of the following events: Saturday, Jan. 13, at 9 a.m., at the Colebrook Trailhead; Saturday, Feb. 17, at 9 a.m., at the Cornwall Trailhead; Saturday, March 24, at 9 a.m., at the Eighth Street Trailhead; and Saturday, May 12, at 9 a.m., at the Cornwall Trailhead.
These events are also held during the day for folks who might not have the time in their schedule for a traditional town hall, which are typically held in the evenings.
To download a map and flyer, readers may visit www.RepFrankRyan.com and select the "Legislative Walk and Talks" banner.
Supervisor Honored For Service December 26, 2017
Lower Oxford Township supervisor Kenneth Hershey was honored for his 30 years of service at the Dec. 13 township meeting. Hershey declined to run for another term after serving 24 years as township supervisor and an additional six years on the township planning commission prior to that.
He was presented with a plaque and a framed photo collection of some memorable moments during his time in office.
The board of supervisors of Lower Oxford Township, 220 Township Road, Oxford, meets on the second Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m., with the exception of January meetings, which are held on the first Monday following the new year. For the January meeting, the board was scheduled to welcome new supervisor Kevin Martin, who was a member of the township planning commission for 15 years.
For more information, readers may visit www.loweroxfordtownship.com.
Local Township Awarded Grant December 26, 2017
New Garden Township has been awarded $200,000 from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) to further develop New Garden Park. The funding will be used to construct parking areas, a driveway, walkways, a pavilion, and a basketball court and install state-of-the-art playground equipment and landscaping.
The CCPP program is administered by DCNR's Bureau of Recreation and Conservation to provide financial and technical assistance to local governments, river and trail organizations, trusts, and other nonprofits for planning and development of park, recreation, conservation, and greenway projects.
Scholarship News Posted December 26, 2017
High school seniors may apply for a Pennsylvania House of Representatives Scholarship to receive financial assistance to help pay for college. Each year, the program awards four-year scholarships to two students preparing for postsecondary education.
The program is open to graduating high school seniors who are Pennsylvania residents with plans to attend a Pennsylvania college, university or career school as full-time students. Students must have attained a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average in high school in order to be eligible for a scholarship. A student's commitment to community, leadership qualities, extracurricular activities and financial need will also be taken into consideration.
The scholarship is privately funded by individual and corporate donors; no tax or other public funds are used, and it is administered through the Foundation for Enhancing Communities.
The application is available at www.tfec.org. Once on the site, readers may select the Scholarship tab and click on any of the counties listed underneath or the link titled "any other county in the state of Pennsylvania." The application deadline is Thursday, March 1.
Tips For Guarding Against Fraud December 22, 2017
Consumers are encouraged to be vigilant and watch out for scams aimed at taking advantage of their good will. For consumers' protection, the Pennsylvania Department of State's Bureau of Charitable Organizations maintains a publicly accessible online database which contains all legally established charities in Pennsylvania.
Consumers are encouraged to verify the legitimacy of any charity by consulting the database prior to donating at www.charities.pa.gov/EntitySearch.aspx. To learn more about an organization prior to donating or to report suspected fraud, readers may call the bureau's telephone hotline at 800-732-0999.
For additional information about protecting themselves while giving, readers may visit www.dos.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/charities/12444/information_for_consumers/571849.
Veterans ID Details Posted December 22, 2017
Under a federal law passed in 2015, all honorably discharged veterans of every era will be able to receive a photo ID card from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This will allow veterans to prove their service without showing a copy of their official DD 214 discharge documents.
The law, known as the Veterans Identification Card Act 2015, orders the VA to issue a hard-copy photo ID to any honorably discharged veteran who applies. The card must contain the veteran's name, photo and a non-Social Security identification number. Veterans may apply for the free card online. In Pennsylvania, veterans can apply for a specially designated driver's license under Act 176 of 2012.
More information is available at www.dmv.pa.gov by clicking on Veterans Designation.
Dog License Renewal Due December 13, 2017
York County residents can purchase 2018 dog licenses at the York County Treasurer's office. State law requires all dogs three months and older to be licensed by Monday, Jan. 1.
An annual dog license will be discounted if the animal is spayed or neutered. Lifetime licenses are also available for dogs with permanent identifications. Older adults and persons with disabilities may purchase a license at a discounted rate.
The owner's contact information is used by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Dog Law, local police, and shelters to identify lost dogs and get them home safely. Dogs without a license can result in a fine up to $300.
Licenses may be purchased online, by mail, or in person at the Treasurer's Office, which is located on the second floor of the York County Administrative Center, 28 E. Market St., York, or at any one of the 15 satellite sub-agents throughout York County. More information is available at https://yorkcountypa.gov/county-administration/row-officers/treasurer/dog-licenses.html.
If a dog has lost its lifetime license tag, the Treasurer's Office can issue replacement tags. Dog owners should notify the Treasurer's Office if they have a change in their contact information by contacting Ashley Feller at firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-771-9603.
New Travel Tool Posted December 11, 2017
A new travel tool will help drivers with winter preparedness. This winter, Pennsylvania motorists can check online to see when a state-maintained roadway was last plowed. The information will be posted on the Plow Trucks section of www.511pa.com.
PennDOT operates 2,200 plow trucks each winter. More information about PennDOT's winter services and winter-driving resources are available at www.penndot.gov/winter. The site also has a complete winter guide with detailed information about winter services in each of PennDOT's 11 engineering districts.
PennDOT is responsible for maintaining 40,000 miles of roadways, which translates into 96,000 snow-lane miles, enough miles to circle the globe nearly four times. In doing so, PennDOT deploys about 4,800 on-the-road workers, has more than 652,000 tons of salt on hand across the state, and will take salt deliveries throughout the winter.
Program Offers Heat Assistance December 11, 2017
LIHEAP provides assistance for home heating bills to keep low-income Pennsylvanians warm and safe during the winter months. Assistance is available for renters and homeowners. Crisis and regular LIHEAP applications began on Nov. 1 and will end on Friday, April 6, 2018.
Eligibility for the 2017-18 LIHEAP season is set at 150 percent of the federal poverty income guidelines. The maximum income allowed for eligibility is based on household size. For example, the maximum income for a household of one is $18,090, for two is $24,360, for three is $30,630, for four is $36,900, and so on.
Online applications can be completed by visiting www.compass.state.pa.us. Paper applications are available through local county assistance offices or interested applicants can download and print an application from the website above.
For more information on LIHEAP, readers may visit www.dhs.pa.gov. For helpful tips on keeping warm throughout the winter while saving money on utility costs, readers may visit www.energysavers.gov.
SEPTA Cards Available For Seniors December 11, 2017
To ensure seniors can ride free on all SEPTA transit services, Rep. Harry Lewis Jr. is offering people age 65 and up the opportunity to get a free SEPTA Key Senior ID card without traveling to Philadelphia. Instead, they may visit Lewis' office in Downingtown during normal office hours.
Lewis held an event at the Villages of Hillview on Nov. 8 to help residents with their applications to SEPTA. Since more than 170 applications were submitted that day, Lewis will also be providing the service at his office.
The Key card enables seniors to ride free on transit services including bus, Market-Frankford Line, Broad Street Line, trolley and the Norristown High Speed Line. Regional Rail fares for seniors will continue to be $1 for rides within the commonwealth.
While Pennsylvania seniors who possess a valid unexpired driver's license or state-issued ID are automatically eligible to participate in the program, people who do not want to use either form of identification can register and have their picture taken for the SEPTA Key Senior ID card. The SEPTA Key cards will be mailed at a later date.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, readers may call Lewis' office at 610-269-1289.
Phillips-Hill Posts Satellite Office Hours December 6, 2017
Residents of the 93rd Legislative District are invited to attend state Rep. Kristin Phillips-Hill's satellite office hours on Thursday, Dec. 14, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Hopewell Township Building, 3336 Bridgeview Road, Stewartstown, and Thursday, Dec 28, from 9 a.m. to noon at Citizens Volunteer Fire Company, 171 S. Market St., Fawn Grove.
Phillips-Hill's staff will be available to help attendees fill out paperwork and to answer questions related to state government. Anyone who would like to apply for a rebate on 2016 property taxes or rent payments must do so by Sunday, Dec. 31.
For more information, readers may call Phillips-Hill's district office at 717-428-9889 or 877-207-2272.
Rebate Program Deadline Posted December 6, 2017
Seniors are reminded that the deadline to apply for the state's 2016 Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is 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. For complete eligibility guidelines, readers may visit www.revenue.pa.gov.
Applicants should be prepared to provide all the necessary income, property tax, or rental information required to process claims quickly and accurately. Claimants who already applied for their rebates may check the status of claims online at the above website or by calling 888-PATAXES. Applications for the 2017 program are expected to be available in early February.