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Local Students Serve as “Senators for a Day”
More than 110 students and advisors from 12 secondary schools across the 21st Senatorial District had the opportunity to get a first-hand look at legislative and state government operations during a student government seminar that I hosted on March 12 at Clarion University.
During the morning, the students divided into Senate committees to discuss bills, take positions on legislation and draft laws. The students came together after lunch to convene as the full Senate to consider the bills crafted by the committees.
Students had an opportunity to see how state government works and the way that legislators work on public policy issues. The attendees interacted with students from other high schools, elected officials and people in government relations while developing and voting on legislation as they served as members of the General Assembly.
Program Allows for the Safe Disposal of Prescription Drugs
A recent national study showed that approximately one in five high school students has abused prescription drugs. The theft and abuse of prescription drugs is a growing problem not only in Pennsylvania, but also across the nation. Disposing of unused prescriptions promptly and efficiently is the best way to ensure these substances do not fall into the wrong hands.
The state offers a free program that allows for the disposal of prescription and over-the-counter medicines safely and anonymously at locations throughout our region and across the state. For a complete list of take back locations, by county, click here.
Below are collection locations in Butler, Clarion, Venango and Warren counties. Times of operations vary by location, so it’s best to call ahead of time.
Presque Isle, Moraine State Parks up for National Honor
You can help three western Pennsylvania state parks earn national honors as family-friendly fishing and boating spots.
Moraine State Park in Butler County, Presque Isle State Park in Erie County and Keystone State Park in Westmoreland County are among 276 parks from across the country vying in the 2015 America’s Top Family Fishing and Boating Spots Sweepstakes, sponsored by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation’s (RBFF) Take Me Fishing™ campaign.
Other Pennsylvania competitors are Lackawanna State Park in Lackawanna County, Little Buffalo State Park in Perry County, Nockamixon State Park in Bucks County, and the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum, Philadelphia and Delaware counties.
Entrants can vote daily for the three parks they feel offer the best experience based on family amenities, location and the likeliness to catch a fish or enjoy a day on the water. The contest runs through April 12.
At the end, the parks with the most votes will be placed on the list of 2015 America’s Top 100 Family Fishing and Boating Spots, which RBFF will use to entice families and newcomers to visit during National Fishing and Boating Week in June, as well as throughout summer.
Those who enter the sweepstakes will have a chance to win a weekly prize: a Get Started Fishing Kit, including two South Bend® Spinning Combos, an Eagle Claw® Tackle Kit, as well as a Take Me Fishing hat, tumbler, backpack and luggage tag. One lucky grand prize winner will receive their own memory-making experience from Take Me Fishing: a 3-night, 4-day stay for 4 at the Walt Disney World® Resort, including a Guided Fishing Excursion. Full prize information can be found in the Official Rules.
To learn more about the sweepstakes and to vote for our local parks, visit America’s Top Family Fishing and Boating Spots Sweepstakes.
Mentored Youth Trout Day, Trout Season Opening Nearing
With warmer weather finally arriving, local anglers are gearing up for the opening day of trout season and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s (PFBC) popular Mentored Youth Trout Day.
The statewide opening day of trout season is April 18.
The Mentored Youth Trout Day, which has been expanded this year to include all PFBC-stocked trout waters, will be held on April 11 from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Anglers and their mentors can each keep a combined species total of two trout, at least seven inches in length. To participate, adult anglers (16 years and older) must have a valid fishing license and trout/salmon permit and be accompanied by a youth.
Youth anglers must obtain a free PFBC-issued permit or a voluntary youth fishing license (only $2.70 including all fees) and be accompanied by a licensed adult. Both licenses and permits are available at www.GoneFishingPA.com or at any of the more than 900 licensing agents across the state.
The PFBC plans to stock more than 3.2 million trout in at least 820 Pennsylvania lakes and streams this year. The stocking includes approximately 2.01 million rainbow trout, 641,000 brown trout and 525,000 brook trout.
The 2015 trout stocking schedule and complete fishing license information is available online at www.fish.state.pa.us. Stocking schedules are also available in my district offices.
Attorney General's Office Launches UPMC/Highmark Helpline
The state Attorney General’s Office recently launched a toll-free helpline and will act as an intermediary between consumers and UPMC and Highmark. Consumers who call the helpline, (844) 743-2015, will speak with a specialist who will listen to their complaint and assist with processing their information. The helpline will operate on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
In order to expedite the process, consumers should provide basic information about themselves, and be prepared to: describe in as much detail as possible the conflict they experienced with either UPMC or Highmark; provide any correspondence they may have received from either company; provide insurance coverage information because of the variety of plans that exist.
For more information about the UPMC/Highmark transition plan, consent decree or frequently asked questions, visit www.stayinformed.pa.gov.
Insurance Department Urges Property Owners to Consider Flood Insurance
Since spring flooding is common throughout Pennsylvania, the state Insurance Department is urging property owners to consider purchasing flood insurance to protect their homes, businesses, and possessions.
Federal Emergency Management Agency statistics show residents in 66 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties filed nearly 18,000 flood insurance claims in the nine years from 2006 through 2014, and received more than $551 million in payments.
Information on coverage and how to obtain flood insurance can be found at www.floodsmart.org, the official site of the National Flood Insurance Program, a federally funded resource for flood victims.
Property owners can take a number of steps to minimize flood damage:
Additional information on emergency preparations are available online at www.ReadyPa.org.
Pennsylvania Tourism Office Releases 2015 Vacation Guide
The Pennsylvania Tourism Office recently released the 2015 Vacation Guide, which highlights the commonwealth’s unique travel destinations and experiences as well as must-see attractions and events.
The guide encourages visitors to explore Pennsylvania’s fan favorites, flavors and landscapes through stories featuring game-changing experiences for sports enthusiasts, showcasing Pennsylvania’s most famous foods and highlighting the changing colors of the commonwealth’s dynamic backdrops.
The 2015 Vacation Guide is now available online at visitpa.com/pa-vacation-guide or by calling 1-800-VISIT-PA. The guide can also be found at Welcome Centers across the state beginning in April.
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Senate Box 203021
170 Main Capitol
Harrisburg, PA 17120
FAX: (717) 787-6088
TTY: (877) 659-4483
22045 Route 6
Warren, PA 16365-7952
FAX: (814) 728-2102
110 East Diamond Street
Butler, PA 16001
FAX: (724) 282-6852
302 Seneca Street
Oil City, PA 16301
FAX: (814) 677-6331