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Phillips-Hill Sets Satellite Hours July 18, 2018

Residents of the 93rd Legislative District are invited to take advantage of satellite office hours for state Rep. Kristin Phillips-Hill that are scheduled for July. The satellite office at Citizens Volunteer Fire Company, 171 S. Market St., Fawn Grove, will be open on Thursday, July 26, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Questions may be directed to Phillips-Hill's district office by calling 717-428-9889 or 877-207-2272.

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EMS Organization Purchases Ambulance July 18, 2018

This summer, Good Fellowship Ambulance and EMS Training Institute dedicated a new ambulance, which was purchased with a $184,000 donation from the Lasko Family Foundation. The donation was announced at the dedication ceremony honoring the late Oscar Lasko and all his contributions to the greater West Chester community. State Sen. Andy Dinniman thanked the Lasko family for the donation.

At the ceremony, Vivian Lasko, Oscar's widow, turned the ignition on the ambulance, officially putting it into service. The ambulance is fitted with a plaque that reads, "This ambulance is dedicated in memory of Oscar Lasko for his lifetime commitment of improving our community through his generosity. Time will never erase the work he has accomplished and the lives he has positively impacted."

Oscar Lasko, a West Chester native and lifelong resident, operated Lasko Metal Products. He used his success to give back to his hometown community, including the West Chester YMCA, which bears his name; the Chester County Council of the Boy Scouts of America; Kesher Israel Congregation; and Chester County Hospital. Lasko passed away in April 2017.

Good Fellowship Ambulance, located in West Chester, responds to more than 5,000 emergency service calls per year.

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Precautions For Summer Posted July 18, 2018

Pennsylvania residents and visitors are urged to take precautions to avoid ticks and mosquitoes when spending time outdoors this summer. Spending time outdoors and participating in physical activity is a key part of living a healthy life; however, people need to be aware of ticks and mosquitoes and the serious diseases they carry. As Lyme disease and West Nile virus become more prevalent in Pennsylvania, it is important for people to protect themselves when spending time outdoors.

This year, funding was bolstered to protect Pennsylvanians from Lyme disease, Zika virus, and West Nile virus through increases to improve mosquito and tick surveillance and provide education about the diseases associated with these insects. Through simple means like wearing insect repellent and avoiding peak mosquito activity times, Pennsylvanians can reduce their risks of mosquito bites and possibly being exposed to West Nile Virus.

In 2017, there were 11,900 cases of Lyme disease recorded in Pennsylvania. Throughout the last several years, the state has consistently recorded one of the highest counts of suspected Lyme disease cases in the United States.

Blacklegged ticks, also known as deer ticks, are the most common carrier of Lyme disease. Ticks typically thrive in tall grass, brush, and wooded areas, but deer ticks have been found in every county in the state and can live in any habitat. Ticks can infect humans year-round, but are most likely to do so from late spring through the summer months.

Whether visiting one of Pennsylvania's 121 state parks or hiking through more than 2.2 million acres of state forestland, outdoors enthusiasts must be aware of their surroundings. The first line of defense against Lyme disease and any other tick-borne illness is to avoid tick-infested habitats, such as areas dense with shrubbery or tall grass. Proper use of personal protective measures such as repellents and protective clothing are also essential when enjoying public lands.

Before heading outdoors, it is important to cover exposed skin, wear lightweight and light-colored clothing to aid in insect detection, and use an insect repellent containing 20 percent or more DEET. Once returning home, people should immediately check themselves, children, and pets for ticks. Then, individuals should take a shower to remove any ticks that may be attached to their skin. Clothing and gear should be checked carefully and put in the dryer on high to kill any ticks.

Symptoms of Lyme disease can include a bull's-eye rash, fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes. It is important to know that someone bit by a tick carrying Lyme disease may not always get a bull's-eye rash.

Anyone who believes they have been bitten by a tick should speak to a doctor immediately. Antibiotic treatment during the early stages of Lyme disease can help prevent the onset of more severe symptoms. If not treated promptly, Lyme disease may lead to severe health concerns affecting the heart, joints, and nervous system.

West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes that breed in areas with standing and stagnant water. These areas include urban catch basins, clogged gutters, discarded tires, poorly maintained swimming pools, flower pots, roof gutters, and other containers that hold water.

The Department of Environmental Protection surveys communities affected by West Nile virus each year and monitors cases of the virus in humans, mosquitoes, birds, and horses. In 2017, there were 20 human cases of West Nile virus reported in Pennsylvania. So far in 2018, no positive human cases have been reported.

Symptoms of West Nile virus are often flulike and can include a fever, headache, body aches, rash, and swollen lymph nodes, and typically only last a few days. However, West Nile virus can cause a serious neurological infection, including encephalitis and meningitis. Symptoms of these infections include a severe headache, high fever, muscle weakness, neck stiffness, paralysis, possible confusion and disorientation, tremors, and even a coma.

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CCAP Announces Leadership Program Graduates July 18, 2018

The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) Center for Excellence in County Leadership (CEL), a professional development program, recently graduated six county officials from its two and one half-day intensive training. The 2018 graduates are Alan Hall, Susquehanna County commissioner; Matthew McDermott, Lycoming County director of administration and chief clerk; Robert Postal, Mifflin County commissioner; Ronald Seaman, Berks County chief administrative officer; Jeffrey Snyder, Clinton County commissioner and CCAP second vice president; and, Theodore Tharan, Clarion County commissioner.

CEL training focuses on fostering individual growth through interactive and high-level classroom training aimed at improving participants' communication, management and leadership skills. CEL includes classes in styles of leadership, managerial versatility, interpersonal dynamics, crisis communication, media management, daily communication problem solving, decision making and other areas.

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Consylman Earns Eagle Scout Rank July 17, 2018

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Rebate Program Extends Deadline July 16, 2018

The filing deadline for eligible Pennsylvanians to apply for the Property Tax and Rent Rebate program has been extended to Monday, Dec. 31. Every year, thousands of Pennsylvanians who qualify for assistance through this program never apply. Meanwhile, these funds can go a long way in easing the burden of property taxes for those in need.

The rebate program, funded by the Pennsylvania State Lottery, has helped seniors and adults with disabilities receive $6.1 billion in Property Tax and Rent relief since its inception in 1971. The deadline extension will allow people more time to apply.

Recently, the rebate program was updated with the passage of Act 156 by the state legislature. Income eligibility guidelines for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program have changed, so that income increases due solely to Social Security cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) no longer disqualify claimants from receiving rebates.

In addition, seniors are reminded to be wary of mailings and unsolicited offers that attempt to charge a fee for information about and assistance in applying for Pennsylvania's Property Tax and Rent Rebate Program. Residents are not required to pay a fee to apply for the program. They can apply directly with the government for free. Free applications and assistance are readily available at hundreds of locations throughout the state.

The Pennsylvania Property Tax and Rent Rebate Program provides property tax relief for seniors age 65 and older, widows and widowers over 50 years old, and adults age 18 and up with disabilities. The funds are available for households that make up to $35,000 per year. Applicants may also exempt half of their Social Security when calculating their total income. Supplemental rebates for qualifying homeowners can boost rebates to $975.

This vital program provides a maximum rebate to eligible applicants of up to $650 for renters. The income limit for renters is $15,000.

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.

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Commissioners Will Accept Feedback July 12, 2018

Manheim Township commissioners Al Kling and Sam Mecum will accept questions and comments from residents on Saturday, July 28, at Manheim Township Library, 595 Granite Run Drive, Lancaster.

The commissioners will be present from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in meeting room C.

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PA Child Abuse Hotline Posted July 11, 2018

All schools in Pennsylvania will be required to publicly display a poster containing the statewide toll-free number for reporting suspected child abuse, beginning in the 2018-19 school year. Known as ChildLine, the toll-free hotline number to report suspected child abuse in Pennsylvania is 800-932-0313.

Posting this critical information in schools will let students know they have somewhere to turn if they need to report abuse or neglect that they have suffered or if they suspect another child is being abused or neglected. The poster is required to be displayed in a high-traffic, public area widely used by students. The poster also would include the address of the Department of Human Services' website that provides information and resources related to child protection.

For more information, readers may visit www.keepkidssafe.pa.gov.

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Museum Holds WWII Weekend July 11, 2018

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Volunteer English Program Receives Donation July 10, 2018

The Chester County commissioners recently presented a check for $7,500 to representatives from the Chester County-based Volunteer English Program (VEP). The funds are part of the county's annual appropriations to organizations and nonprofits. VEP will use the monies to help fund its volunteer tutor training program, which supports English language and cultural instruction for new and long-term residents.

The check was presented by Commissioners Michelle Kichline and Terence Farrell at a recent commissioners' sunshine public meeting. On behalf of VEP, board member and tutor Fred Crotchfelt thanked the commissioners for the funds, noting that 300 volunteer tutors and approximately 300 immigrant students are currently registered with VEP.

For more than 32 years, VEP has provided free, one-to-one tutoring in English language skills, cultural immersion and U.S. citizenship for thousands of immigrants and refugees who live or work in Chester County. VEP provides community-based, nonclassroom instruction from morning through evening, seven days per week. Students working with VEP represent more than 50 different countries.

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Student Raises Funds For Foundation July 3, 2018

State Sen. Andy Dinniman recently recognized Dylan Blair, an eighth-grade student at the Montgomery School who raised more than $1,500 for the Aidan's Heart Foundation.

Dylan chose to focus on sudden cardiac arrest for his final project, and he set a goal to raise money for the foundation, which is committed to providing awareness, education, and support to create heart-safe communities for youths regarding the prevention of and/or response to sudden cardiac arrest.

An athlete and basketball player whose father is head coach of men's basketball at West Chester University, Dylan challenged people via Facebook to donate to the Aidan's Heart Foundation point-for-point for every basket he scored during a weekend tournament. He scored 65 points.

Dylan presented a check to the Aidan's Heart Foundation for $1,558 during the eighth annual 5K for Aidan J on June 17 at Kerr Park in Downingtown.

The foundation was started by Steve and Christy Silva and named for their late son, Aidan, who passed away from sudden cardiac arrest in 2010 at age 7.

In 2014, Dinniman worked with the Silva family to pass "Aidan's Law," Act 35, which helps ensure every school in Pennsylvania has an automated external defibrillator (AED) that is up to date and ready to use. Since then, the Aidan's Heart Foundation has trained more than 4,500 students in performing CPR and the use of AEDs and has placed more than 60 AEDs in schools and locations throughout southeastern Pennsylvania.

From 2011 through 2018, the foundation has also screened more than 1,700 young people between the ages of 5 and 19. Serious cardiac issues have been detected in more than 10 of these children, and critical follow-up care has been recommended for dozens of others.

For more information on the Aidan's Heart Foundation, readers may visit www.aidansheart.org.

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Representative Offers Support June 21, 2018

In light of the deadline to apply for the state's Property Tax/Rent Rebate program being extended until Monday, Dec. 31, Rep. Ron Marsico reminds residents that his staff can assist with filling out the application. Pennsylvanians who are age 65 or older, widows and widowers age 50 or older, and individuals age 18 or older with permanent disabilities are eligible to apply for a rebate of up to $650 based on their rent or property taxes paid in 2017.

Marsico's staff is available to assist constituents with completing the Property Tax/Rent Rebate program application at no cost. An application is available at www.ronmarsico.com or www.revenue.pa.gov. For additional information or assistance, readers may contact Marsico's office at 717-652-3721.

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Representative Offers Assistance June 20, 2018

In light of the deadline to apply for the state's Property Tax/Rent Rebate program being extended until Monday, Dec. 31, Rep. Kate Klunk reminds residents that her staff can assist with filling out the application. Pennsylvanians who are age 65 or older, widows and widowers age 50 or older, and individuals age 18 or older with permanent disabilities are eligible to apply for a rebate of up to $650 based on their rent or property taxes paid in 2017.

Klunk's staff is available to assist constituents with state-related matters, including completing the Property Tax/Rent Rebate program application. An application is available at www.repklunk.com or www.revenue.pa.gov. For additional information or assistance, readers may also contact Klunk's office at 717-630-8942.

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Rebate Program Extends Deadline June 20, 2018

The filing deadline for eligible Pennsylvanians to apply for the Property Tax and Rent Rebate program has been extended to Monday, Dec. 31. Every year, thousands of Pennsylvanians who qualify for assistance through this program never apply. Meanwhile, these funds can go a long way in easing the burden of property taxes for those in need.

The rebate program, funded by the Pennsylvania State Lottery, has helped seniors and adults with disabilities receive $6.1 billion in Property Tax and Rent relief since its inception in 1971. The deadline extension will allow people more time to apply.

Recently, the rebate program was updated with the passage of Act 156 by the state legislature. Income eligibility guidelines for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program have changed, so that income increases due solely to Social Security cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) no longer disqualify claimants from receiving rebates.

In addition, seniors are reminded to be wary of mailings and unsolicited offers that attempt to charge a fee for information about and assistance in applying for Pennsylvania's Property Tax and Rent Rebate Program. Residents are not required to pay a fee to apply for the program. They can apply directly with the government for free. Free applications and assistance are readily available at hundreds of locations throughout the state.

The Pennsylvania Property Tax and Rent Rebate Program provides property tax relief for seniors age 65 and older, widows and widowers over 50 years old, and adults age 18 and up with disabilities. The funds are available for households that make up to $35,000 per year. Applicants may also exempt half of their Social Security when calculating their total income. Supplemental rebates for qualifying homeowners can boost rebates to $975.

This vital program provides a maximum rebate to eligible applicants of up to $650 for renters. The income limit for renters is $15,000.

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.

Every eligible resident of Chester County is encouraged to take advantage of this program. Anyone who thinks they may be eligible may contact the district office of State Sen. Andrew Dinniman at 610-692-2112 or tarkatin@pasenate.com. Staff will answer questions, provide applications, assist residents in completing an application, and help individuals check the status of applications that have already been submitted.

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Church Farm School Celebrates 100 Years June 20, 2018

State Sen. Andy Dinniman recently recognized the Church Farm School on its 100th anniversary. Dinniman visited the school and presented the Head of School, the Rev. Edmund K. "Ned" Sherrill II, with a Senate citation.

Opened on April 1, 1918, with five students, the Church Farm School sustained itself largely as a working farm until the 1980s. Students would work the farm half the day and study the remainder of the day. When the need for phasing out farming operations became a reality, the school made the decision to sell off most of its acreage and create an endowment for the future support of the school.

Today, the Church Farm School serves a student body of 200 young men in grades nine through 12 from the Mid-Atlantic region and around the world. It offers a college preparatory curriculum with average class sizes of seven to 12 students.

For more information, readers may visit www.gocfs.net.

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"Ag In The Schools" Program Held June 20, 2018

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Athletes Receive State Flag June 20, 2018

Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA) athletes received a Pennsylvania state flag from state Sen. Andrew Dinniman of the 19th District at his district office in West Chester on June 7. Members of Team Pennsylvania will carry the flag during the opening ceremonies of the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games on Sunday, July 1, at the University of Washington Husky Stadium in Seattle, Wash.

The USA Games showcase the abilities of athletes with intellectual disabilities and the impact of Special Olympics through world-class competition, inspirational experiences, and a model of inclusion for all. This year's Games will take place in Seattle from July 1 to Friday, July 6, and will feature more than 4,000 athletes and coaches representing 50 state programs and the District of Columbia. Supporting by tens of thousands of volunteers and spectators, the athletes will compete in 14 Olympic-type team and individual sports.

The opening ceremony will include traditions such as the Parade of Athletes, during which the Pennsylvania flag will be displayed, and the lighting of the Special Olympics Flame of Hope. Actor-singer Taye Diggs will serve as the master of ceremonies, and the event will feature performances by Charlie Puth, Marshmello, Allen Stone, Ann Wilson of Heart, Seattle hip-hop crew Massive Monkees and more. A 2,018-member choir will also serve as a living backdrop to the show.

A total of 50 athletes and 16 coaches, staff and unified partners make up Team Pennsylvania. SOPA athletes competed in a series of state, local and sectional competitions in order to be eligible to compete at the national level.

Prior to the Games, a sendoff and celebratory breakfast will be held for Team Pennsylvania on Saturday, June 30, from 8:30 to 10 a.m. at Xfinity Live in Philadelphia. Employees of an area business will be on-site to cheer the athletes on and help to lead the athletes to their buses. The Philadelphia Police Department will provide a highway escort to the airport.

For more information about Team PA, readers may visit http://specialolympicspa.org/sports-competitions/competitions/usa-games.

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Ford Completes Certificate Program June 19, 2018

John B. Ford, a supervisor for West Earl Township, recently graduated from the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS) Municipal Government Academy (PMGA), a leadership and municipal education program of PSATS. The inaugural class of PMGA graduates received diplomas and certificates of completion during the association's annual Educational Conference in Hershey in April.

PMGA participants earn primary, secondary, and elective credits by attending classroom workshops and webinars and other PSATS educational opportunities, such as the annual Educational Conference, Human Resources and Labor Management Institute, Boot Camp for Township Officials, and Grassroots Advocacy Day. In the inaugural graduating class, eight individuals completed the diploma program by earning 60 credits from across the four technical tracks of administration, planning, public safety, and public works. Seven individuals, including Ford, completed the certificate program by earning 30 credits in the administration track.

For more information about the PSATS Municipal Government Academy, readers may visit www.pmga.psats.org.

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Township, Police Memorialize Schuler June 14, 2018

West Lampeter Township and The Friends of the West Lampeter Township Police Department (WLTPD) recently dedicated a white dogwood tree and a plaque to honor the memory of Detective Jere "Bip" Schuler at the West Lampeter Township Municipal Building. Schuler, a longtime detective with the WLTPD, passed away on Sept. 30, 2017.

Schuler was hired as a West Lampeter Township police officer in 1986 and was promoted to detective in 1992. He was a member of the Lancaster County major crime unit, where he assisted in several high-profile cases. He attended various investigator trainings and was considered an expert interviewer.

Schuler received many awards during his 31 years of dedicated service, including the WLTPD's Officer of the Year Award in 2009. Because of his work in the community, Schuler was awarded the Lancaster County Human Relations Commission Award.

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Council Holds Public Meeting June 13, 2018

Spring Grove Borough Council held a public meeting on May 7 to discuss the future of the community building located at 50 N. East St. Roughly 60 individuals were in attendance. Participants voiced their concerns while providing discussion regarding the borough's ongoing maintenance and growing concerns regarding the property.

After reviewing the input, the borough council decided to execute a proposal from CORE Design to conduct a feasibility study of the building. The study will provide an analysis of the existing building by assessing the structural condition, utility and mechanical systems, and Americans with Disabilities Act compliance. The study will also include a market-use analysis and exploration of options for future use. In addition, a rendering of potential future uses, along with a preliminary estimate of probable costs, will be provided.

The borough council hopes the information will allow it to better understand and address the condition of the structure while comprehending the financial impacts involved, both seen and unforeseen, and attempting to best preserve a community resource. The findings of the feasibility study will be made public after the study's completion, and the borough council will seek more input from residents at that time.

The leases of current organizations and tenants occupying the building will be renewed for 2019. The renewal of leases was an important concern highlighted at the public meeting.

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