News For Constituents
From Senate Republican Policy Development & Research Office
February 28, 2011
Time to Spring Forward
The biannual ritual of resetting our clocks occurs at 2
a.m. on Sunday, March 13, 2011, according to the
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a full week ahead of
vernal equinox. Among other information, the
U. S. National Observatory webpage can provide interested individuals with a
history of Daylight Saving Time and future dates for the time changes.
Travelers and those doing business with other countries
should be aware of a few anomalies. For example, Hawaii does not observe
Daylight Saving Time and neither does Arizona; although the Navajo Nation, in
northeastern Arizona, does.
Indiana did not observe Daylight Saving Time with the
exception of 10 counties until 2006 when all of Indiana observed DST. However,
the state remains divided in two time zones. Seventy-four counties (including
the state capital Indianapolis) are in the Eastern Time Zone. The 18 remaining
counties are in the Central Time Zone.
Missing Endangered Person Advisory System at Work in PA
The Missing Endangered Person Advisory System, MEPAS, is at
work assisting families in locating missing loved ones with age limitations, or
mental or physical issues, according to the
Pennsylvania State Police (PSP).
MEPAS, created by the Legislature and administered by the
PSP, sends out an emergency alert to broadcasters, law enforcement, and other
agencies with a description of the missing person, their attire, and information
related to the last time the person was seen.
The system issues an alert when the following criteria are
- The circumstances of the incident do not meet the criteria for an Amber Alert;
- The individual is missing under unexplained, involuntary or suspicious
- The person is thought to be in danger because of age, health, mental or physical
disability, environment or weather conditions, or is known to be in the
company of a potentially dangerous person;
- The requesting police agency is conducting an active investigation and has
entered the missing person into the
National Crime Information Center database; and
- Sufficient information is available to help the public identify the person.
Broadcasters in the general area of the incident receive
the information from the State Police. Media outlets will broadcast the
information as a scrolling message on the TV screen, a voice message, or a news
MEPAS is not to be confused with the
Pennsylvania Amber Alert System, which uses emergency alerts to notify the
public about kidnapped children deemed to be in imminent danger.
Missing individuals should be reported by placing a 911
call and having a dispatcher connect the caller with law enforcement for the
specific jurisdiction where a determination is made for issuing a MEPAS or an
We have once again entered the
freeze-thaw cycle of the Commonwealth – the culprit behind those potholes on
Pennsylvania's road surfaces, according to the
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
If you find yourself regularly popping in and out of a
certain pothole during your travels around Pennsylvania, it is time to call
1-800-FIX-ROAD (1-800-349-7623) to report the location of potholes on state
roads. Callers may also report any maintenance concern on state roads such as
deer removal or signage issues.
When calling, be prepared to report the county,
municipality, street name, or preferably the state route (SR) number found on
small, black-and-white signs posted along state roadways. Include a description
of any familiar landmarks to assist PennDOT in locating the pothole or other
Power to Switch Your Power
Would you purchase clothing or appliances without first
shopping for the best deal and the best service? Now you can shop for the best
electric generation including price, green options, and other services that
might be beneficial for your home or business, according to the
Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
Since you can't try it on for size, the PUC offers the
Shop. Switch. Save. and a list of questions for consumers to ask of
- Is the supplier licensed by the Pennsylvania Public
Utility Commission (PUC)?
- What is the price per kilowatt hour (kWh)? Is the price fixed or does it depend on
time of day or usage?
- Are all taxes included in the supplier's price?
- What is the length of the agreement? Can your price change in that time? If so,
when can it change and how will you be notified?
- Is there a cancellation fee or any penalty for switching suppliers?
- Does the supplier offer a choice of energy sources, such as renewable energy?
- Will you receive one bill or two?
- Does the supplier offer a budget billing plan?
- Is there a bonus for signing up?
When searching for an electricity supplier, you may find
the PUC's shopping
worksheet helpful in comparing rates. Before making the decision to switch,
the PUC recommends reviewing the list of
Frequently Asked Questions then
Shop for Electricity.
Mastodon Makes it Mark at State Museum
The Marshall's Creek Mastodon that roamed Monroe County
some 12,000 years ago is on permanent display at the
State Museum of Pennsylvania, according to the PA Historical and Museum
Commission. The Mastodon was discovered on July, 5, 1968 when two employees of
Lakeside Peat Humus Company discovered the mastodon's skull while running a
bucket through a peat bog as part of routine mining operations.
The Mastodon is now the centerpiece in a new gallery, Life
through Time: a New Paleontology Experience. The 3,350-square-foot exhibit
documents changes spanning 296 million years. Also on display are Coelophysis,
Phytosaur, Camarasaurus, Seymouria, Triassic specimens, Parasaurolophus T-Rex
One half of the excavated skeleton was on display until the
Buy-A-Bone campaign brought in $88,000 from corporations, families, and
individuals to round out the state's contribution to the permanent display that
includes the paleontology gallery.
The State Museum of Pennsylvania, located at 300 North
Street, Harrisburg, PA, is open Wednesday through Saturday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm,
and Sunday, 12:00 noon to 5:00 pm. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for children
and senior citizens and includes admission to the popular young children's
Curiosity Connection. Planetarium
shows are $2 per person in addition to general admission. The State Museum
offers FREE general admission on the third Saturday of every month. Consult
VisitPA for other activities, events, and places to stay when visiting the
Free Nicotine Patches in PA
If you want to quit smoking and are looking for a little
Pennsylvania Department of Health is promoting the Quit for Love campaign.
The campaign is making
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) kits available free of charge by calling
the PA Free Quitline at 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669). Callers will talk to
Quit Coaches who will discuss medical conditions, help set a quit date, and
enroll the caller in a series of free counseling sessions, in addition to
providing callers with a free, four-week NRT kit.
Smokers will be directed to additional resources including
Determined To Quit website where they will find guidance in developing a
quit plan, a quit companion and calculator, and video blogs of other
Pennsylvania residents sharing their own stories about quitting tobacco. There
is also information for
friends and family members of smokers who wish to support their loved one in
their attempt to quit.
The NRT kits are paid for by funding from the federal
stimulus program and the Master Settlement Agreement. Under this agreement, 46
states, including Pennsylvania, receive payments from the tobacco industry to
offset smoking-related medical costs and to help reduce the use of tobacco
According to the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, nearly one of every five deaths nationwide is attributed to smoking;
making it the leading cause of preventable death and disease.