In this Update:
Summer is the Season for Good Times, Ice Cream and County Fairs
The Jefferson County Fair is in full swing this week—and the fare for the Fair—is only $5 per person and includes the rides.
Use some of those savings to enjoy some delicious ice cream at the Dairy ProMotion booth or any number of Fair food vendors.
In the photo above, I am volunteering alongside the Renegade Riders 4H youth at the ice cream and milk shake booth located under the grandstand.
The 25th Senate District always has something going on where you can have a good time with family and friends for little (and sometimes no) cost.
Our people are friendly and community-minded; and it’s always a great time meeting someone new.
Eldred Awarded Nearly $8.5 Million to Cover Critical Water, Sewer Infrastructure Upgrades
Water and sewer line improvements are on their way to Eldred, McKean County, thanks to two Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) grants totaling nearly $8.5 million.
Responsibly funding necessary infrastructure projects must always remain a top priority.
Securing this highly competitive financial assistance to complete significant upgrades in the extremely critical areas of clean drinking water distribution and sanitary sewer collection is a huge win for the hard-working people of Eldred and their local officials who applied for this funding.
A grant of $4.67 million was awarded to the borough of Eldred for replacement of approximately 9,650 feet of existing sanitary sewer collection pipe. Additionally, the Barden Brook and Shields pump stations, last upgraded in 1996 and 2003 respectively, will be replaced.
A grant of $3.79 million was awarded to the Eldred Borough Water Authority for replacement of approximately 9,600 feet of existing distribution waterline with polyvinyl chloride waterline. A dozen fire hydrants are also set to be replaced.
Work on both projects will coincide with the paving of State Route 446 by PennDOT to minimize construction impacts in the community.
With so many families struggling with ever-rising costs and inflation, both grants should cost-effectively expedite this long-overdue infrastructure replacement process.
PENNVEST is not supported by the state’s General Fund budget, which covers the daily operations and services of the Commonwealth. Financing is provided through the use of federal funding and prior bond issues by the state as well as proceeds from the Marcellus Shale Impact Fee legislation (Act 13 of 2012).
Cameron County Satellite Office Hours: Get Your State and Federal Government Questions Answered on July 26
Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-15) and I are pleased to announce our upcoming Cameron County area satellite office hours.
On Wednesday, July 26, team members from both offices will be available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Cameron County Chamber of Commerce, 34 East Fourth Street, Emporium, PA 15834.
My team will be available to assist with any state government-related issues and available legislative services.
These include helping Cameron County area residents deal with issues involving state laws, state government or state agencies; assisting residents with PennDOT paperwork, driver’s license and vehicle registration applications and renewals; handicap placards and dead tags (plates); information and applications for senior citizen benefit programs, including Property Tax/Rent Rebate and PACE/PACENET prescription drug programs; state tax forms; and many others.
Congressman Thompson’s team will be available to help residents who need assistance from federal agencies, such as the Social Security Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the IRS.
No appointments are necessary. For further information, contact my Smethport district office at (814)-734-2785.
Fighting to Support Students in Failing Schools
An estimated 250,000 students in Pennsylvania are trapped in failing schools – many of which have only a small percentage of students performing at grade level in reading or math. The Pennsylvania Award for Student Success (PASS) program would offer scholarships to support new services and learning opportunities for students in the state’s lowest-performing schools so these young people can have a brighter future.
The program would provide new educational options without taking a single penny away from public schools. To provide assistance to students and families who need it most, scholarships would only be available to families earning below 250% of the federal poverty level – about $75,000 for a family of four.
Gov. Josh Shapiro originally voiced his support for PASS scholarships on the campaign trail and included the program in the budget deal he negotiated with Senate Republicans. However, he recently said he would unilaterally remove funding for the program from the state budget.
Senate Republicans will keep fighting to empower parents and give every child access to educational opportunities.
Free Webinars to Help Students and Families Navigate the Financial Aid Process
The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) is holding two free statewide webinars to assist college-bound students and their families with navigating the financial aid process.
Speakers will discuss how students and families can take advantage of PA Forward, which is Pennsylvania’s state-based private student loan option offered by PHEAA.
The first webinar, Deep Dive into Covering the Gap, will be held Tuesday, July 25, at noon. The second, Borrowing for Education – Which Loan is Right for Me?, will be held Thursday, July 27, at 6:30 p.m. Register to attend the one-hour webinars here.
How to Conserve Water During Statewide Drought Watch
The Department of Environmental Protection declared a statewide drought watch and is encouraging residents and businesses to voluntarily conserve water by reducing nonessential water use.
Some ways to limit water use include watering the garden less frequently; sweeping your sidewalk, deck or driveway instead of hosing it off; and running the dishwasher and washing machine only with full loads. Read more water conservation tips here.
The current drought declaration status, by county, can be found here.
Water Assistance Available for Low-Income Families
The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) is a temporary emergency grant program to help low-income families pay overdue water bills. The money does not need to be repaid.
LIHWAP assistance may be available if you have an emergency situation and are in jeopardy of losing your water service. You can receive one crisis grant for your drinking water service and one crisis grant for your wastewater service, up to $2,500 each. Qualifying crisis situations include past-due water bills, termination of utility service and danger of having utility service terminated (received a notice that service will be shut off within the next 60 days).
For more information – including income limits – or to apply for assistance, click here.
Sign Up for PA’s Do Not Call List
Unwanted telemarketing calls can be a nuisance and an intrusion upon your privacy, but there are ways to minimize the calls.
Unfortunately, because of spoofing – a call showing a different name or phone number than is actually associated with the caller – signing up for the Do Not Call list will not stop all unwanted calls.
Beware of Unsolicited Emails Claiming to be from PA Treasury
Online scams are a constant threat. Lately, there have been sophisticated phishing emails imitating the Pennsylvania Treasury Department circulating. The messages include a link to what appears to be Treasury’s website, but instead leads to a fake version that prompts users to enter log-in credentials.
The Pennsylvania Treasury Department will never ask you to share personal information through unsolicited emails or text messages.
If you receive a suspicious message claiming to be from the Pennsylvania Treasury Department or have questions, contact Treasury through its secure website.
Celebrating Independent Retailer Month
July is Independent Retailer Month, a shop local event that encourages consumers to patronize small businesses. It also highlights the positive impact independent retailers have on their communities, through the jobs and economic boost they produce.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there were 1.1 million small businesses in Pennsylvania that employed 2.6 million people in 2022.
To support employers in the commonwealth and the benefits they provide, Senate Republicans passed a state budget that adds tens of millions of new dollars for workforce development, job training, and career and technical education.
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