In this update:
Meeting with Superintendents from Schuylkill, Carbon, and Luzerne Counties
I recently met with the superintendents and other leaders of 20 school districts in Schuylkill, Carbon, and Luzerne Counties at my Mahanoy City office to discuss my new role as Chair of the Senate Education Committee.
We discussed a variety of issues including the value of face-to-face instruction, the teacher shortage, and ensuring the safety of students.
It’s important to have all interested parties at the table when considering how to better our education system – school administrators, teachers, students, AND parents. I look forward to working with everyone to improve our education system and properly prepare our children for the realities of the 21st century workplace.
I was joined at the meeting by Rep. Dane Watro, Rep. Jamie Barton, Rep. Doyle Heffley, Rep. Tim Twardzik, and Rep. JoAnne Stehr.
Resources Available to Help Pennsylvanians with Rising Energy Costs
As energy costs continue to rise, please be aware that resources are available to minimize the financial burden and to assist with payments already owed.
Ratepayers can immediately lower their energy bills by switching to a competing electric and natural gas supplier using PAPowerSwitch.com and PAGasSwitch.com. Read all terms thoroughly to understand if the contract includes a fixed or variable rate before making a decision.
Those who are having difficulty paying bills currently should call the utility company to work out a payment plan to avoid additional fees associated with the reconnection of service. Financial assistance is also available for many ratepayers through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). New applicants can apply for the program at www.compass.state.pa.us.
Of course, the most effective way for Pennsylvania to combat rising energy costs is for lawmakers to unleash our state’s energy potential, which is why the Senate is prioritizing the advancement of policies that create greater energy independence.
Continuing the Further Revitalization of White Haven, Jim Thorpe, and Beyond
Photo by Warren Ruda, Staff Photographer for the Republican Herald
Reading & Northern Railroad will soon begin operating a new regular passenger train service every weekend from Pittston to Jim Thorpe starting May 27th. The excursions will last a full day, including stops at Penobscot and White Haven.
The impact these train rides can have on breathing new life into older towns can be very significant – you can see it in Jim Thorpe throughout the year. White Haven has seen some positive impact due to the D & L Trail. This new train stop will be the latest boost to their efforts.
Arrow Studio & Events Opens in Downtown Pottsville
This week we celebrated a major new business in downtown Pottsville and one less large, formerly vacant building! Pottsville. Arrow Studio & Events celebrated the opening of their doors Thursday at their location on Centre Street. Congrats to two young entrepreneurs, Jared and Allie Doran!
Today’s event is further proof that good, well-planned, community revitalization efforts are indeed, VERY contagious! With Pottsville CollegeTowne now open to students, the new 60 market rate apartments under development in the Schuylkill Trust Company building at Centre and Market, and the new businesses opening their doors, it’s hard to miss the progress in downtown Pottsville.
Recognition is also due to PADCO, the Pottsville Business Association, Mayor Clews and the Pottsville City government, and the NEPA Alliance – this was a true public-private partnership.
Should Pennsylvania Abolish the Death Penalty?
Governor Josh Shapiro announced yesterday that he will continue Governor Wolf’s moratorium on the death penalty in Pennsylvania. He also called on the Senate and the House to pass legislation that would abolish it for good. Both governors have now issued temporary reprieves delaying the executions of 8 convicted murderers.
I want to hear from you. Take my legislative survey and share your thoughts with me on whether the death penalty should continue to be used in Pennsylvania.
Scam Warning: “Final Demand for Payment” Letters
The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue has issued a warning about scams designed to trick people into turning over sensitive data and personal information.
One recurring scam involves phony letters sent to taxpayers through the mail. The “Final Demand for Payment” letters threaten wage garnishment and the seizure of property or assets unless the recipient calls a phone number to satisfy a lien.
If you are concerned about a potentially fraudulent notice, visit the department’s webpage for verified contact information. This will help you ensure that you are speaking with a legitimate representative of the department.
And if you believe you are a victim of tax fraud or tax-related identity theft, contact the department’s Bureau of Fraud Detection and Analysis by emailing Raemail@example.com or calling 717-772-9297.
National Cancer Prevention Month: Information on Risk and Research
Every family will be touched by cancer at some point. National Cancer Prevention Month is a good time to consider information that could help prevent heartache.
The National Cancer Institute has comprehensive information on cancer prevention, risk factors, the role of genetics, and the latest research into causes and prevention.
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