Senator Fontana attended the October 4th Hispanic Heritage Event at the Savoy, where he is pictured with Joe Manich, Director of Mechanical Development for Ansys, and Treasurer of the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Corbett Proposes Marcellus Shale Plan
This past week, Governor Corbett unveiled his plan for an impact fee on Pennsylvania drillers. Essentially, the plan would charge a first-year fee of $40,000 per well, which would gradually be reduced to $10,000 after four years. Counties, not the state, would implement and collect the fee – and could set the rate at any level, setting up, perhaps, 67 different rates across the Commonwealth. The bulk of the revenues, 75%, would remain with the county and local government, with the remaining 25% being returned to the state.
State revenues would be used for road, bridge, rail and other transportation infrastructure maintenance and repair, but only in those counties that host Marcellus natural gas development. A portion of the funds would also be distributed to the PA Emergency Management Association, the State Fire Commissioner, the Department of Health, the Public Utility Commission and to the Department of Environmental Protection – all for specified purposes related to Marcellus Shale.
While the Governor indicates that this is his number one priority, I think that there is a long road to reach an agreement on what this plan should look like and contain. I cannot support the Governor’s proposal for several reasons: One, I do not believe that the counties should be set up to compete against each other for where the drilling is going to occur. The fee and its imposition should be uniform and should be a responsibility of the state. Second, the fees are entirely too low and need to increase to pay for the overall costs relating to this industry – which is far broader than just those counties where there is currently drilling. Third, I believe that a larger portion of the funds should go to transportation infrastructure, and that it should not be limited just to certain counties – the funds should be used to reduce the burden on all taxpayers. Finally, the distribution is complicated and convoluted and does not take into consideration that there may be different needs in a few years and that to change that distribution, once set in legislation, would be a difficult process.
Transportation is clearly an issue that must be addressed, yet is one that the Governor seems reluctant to address. I wrote in a prior e-news that Governor Rendell’s 2006 Transportation Funding & Reform Commission confirmed that our transportation and highway and bridge systems were in crisis. The commission recommended $900 million in additional funding for highway and bridges and $760 million in targeted public transit funding. The work of the Corbett Transportation Funding Advisory Commission recently reiterated that need. Now, because of the flooding in Central and Northern PA, at least nine bridges will require full replacement and there are ongoing inspections of another 2,000 state-owned bridges going on currently. The cost of the damage has been estimated at $150 million to $400 million.
Quite simply, investment in our transportation system and infusion of funds will result in jobs. Every $100 in infrastructure investment returns $350 to our economy. Every $1 billion in highway and bridge improvements supports 30,000 jobs. Every $1 we invest in public transportation generates $4 in new economic activity. These are jobs that are family-sustaining and can make a real impact in our region. It is long past time that we address this issue.
Please be assured that as this proposal moves forward – and if there is any legislation introduced, that I will certainly look for an opportunity to amend it to provide for uniformity in the rate, an increase in the amounts paid by the drilling companies and designated funding for transportation infrastructure needs. The same is true for any other Marcellus Shale impact fee legislation that the General Assembly may consider. Like everything else we do this fall, it should be looked at through a “jobs lens” and I intend to work with my colleagues to ensure that happens.
Local Teacher Honored
Congratulations to Steven Scoville, a science teacher at Pittsburgh’s Brashear High School, for being named a 2011 Milken Educator Award Winner. This distinguished award recognizes school teaches nationwide who are furthering excellence in education. Mr. Scoville is the only teacher to receive the award in Pennsylvania this year. Winners are announced each fall during school assemblies filled with cheering students and colleagues. Mr. Scoville was caught by surprise in the school gym when it was announced last week that he was selected to win the award, also referred to as the “Oscars of Teaching.” Congratulations once again to Mr. Scoville. He is an inspiration to the students at Brashear and the rest of the community, and I couldn’t be more proud of his accomplishments.
Halloween Events to Benefit the Community
Families and children are invited to celebrate Halloween at the Kane Woods Nature Area on Saturday, October 22nd from 1-5 p.m. The Scott Conservancy is hosting a special event featuring seasonal activities for children. Enjoy an afternoon full of games, crafts, a scavenger hunt, prizes and treats. Story time is from 2-3 p.m. and Caricatures by Jack will be available from 1-4 p.m. Children are invited to dress up in their Halloween costumes if they like (costumes are optional).
This family-friendly event will be held at the Scrubgrass Run Trailhead near 1391 Scrubgrass Road in Scott Township. Students from Chartiers Valley High School have generously volunteered their time to help out. A $5 donation per child is encouraged, with proceeds benefiting the Kane Woods trails. For more information or to register, email Jane Sorcan at email@example.com or call 412-276-5820.
If you are up for something a bit scarier, the first-ever Bellevue Haunted House and Spooktacular are being held throughout the month of October. The haunted house is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through the last weekend of October, and is suitable for almost all ages. It is located at 366 Lincoln Avenue in Bellevue. The Spooktacular costume event will be held Monday, October 31st from 7-10 p.m. for those 21 and over only. These community fundraisers will help Enjoy Bellevue fulfill its mission to promote Bellevue as a great place to live, worship and shop. For more information and to purchase tickets online, visit the Enjoy Bellevue website.
MWCDC Benefit Auction and Dinner
The Mount Washington Community Development Corporation (MWCDC) is holding its 3rd Annual Dinner on Wednesday, November 9th at the LeMont Restaurant on Grandview Avenue. Seats are limited. The reception begins at 5:30 p.m. and dinner begins at 7:00 p.m.
The annual dinner is a fundraiser for MWCDC, but also an opportunity to provide a year-in-review of accomplishments and results in the neighborhood. There will also be a silent auction, awards and the unveiling of MWCDC’s new logo. Costs are as follows: $60 per person until October 21st and $75 per person after October 21st. Full table discounts are available. Dinner options include chicken bruschetta, Maryland style crab cakes, filet mignon or vegetarian terrine. To register, contact Chris Beichner with name of parties and dinner selections by calling 412-481-3220 ext. 205, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
SBDC Outreach Day
As a reminder, the next Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Outreach Day is being held next Tuesday, October 18th, allowing small business owners to get professional entrepreneurial assistance. Client Services Liaison John Dobransky will be available at my Kennedy Office (Kenmawr Plaza) between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. You can make an appointment for this or any other SBDC Outreach Day by calling John at 412-624-2290. Appointments are not required, but are encouraged. This is a free service that allows entrepreneurs to ask questions about starting a business or improving an existing business. Two more SBDC Outreach Days are scheduled for 2011 (November 15th and December 13th) in case you can’t make it this month.
Pennsylvania Farm Markets Feature Fresh Apples
Visiting local farm markets is a great way to support the local economy and purchase fresh produce. Apples are now in season and are being featured at farm markets all across the state, along with apple cider, pies, dumplings, sauce and other apple goods. Apples are grown in each of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. Buying locally grown apples, instead of apples imported from other states, leaves a smaller carbon footprint. Another benefit to shopping at a farm market is that you can meet and talk with the people in our communities who grow the food.
You can use the Pennsylvania Apple Marketing Program’s website, www.pennsylvaniaapples.org, as a resource to locate farm markets in Allegheny County and throughout the rest of the state. Smart phone users can now access the website to easily locate a farm market while on the road. The website also features free recipes and tips on selecting, storing and serving apples. There are Teacher Kits available for download on the website for students in kindergarten through sixth grade. The kits contain apple-inspired activities that focus on a variety of subject areas.
Did You Know…
Did you know that apple growers in Pennsylvania produce approximately 440 million pounds of apples each year? The Commonwealth is the fourth largest apple-producing state in the country, with growers producing hundreds of different varieties.
Vietnam Veterans Needed for Book Project
A Pennsylvania historian is looking to conduct interviews with Vietnam War veterans from Pennsylvania for a book project. The historian cannot afford to financially compensate veterans for their stories, but guarantees that their stories will be respectfully told to the benefit of future generations. Males or females from any branch of service are welcome to participate. If you are interested, contact Jason Amico via email at JAmico33@yahoo.com or call 717-448-6878.
Fall High School Sports Weekly Wrap-Up
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette this week included a feature story about Brashear junior Dan MacNeil and his effort to repeat as the City League’s Individual Golf Champion.
Heading into Week 6, several district football players ranked among WPIAL leaders in several categories:
Josh Beverly, Sto-Rox – Ranks 5th with 895 rushing yards
Julian Durden, Montour – Ranks 8th with 836 rushing yards
Dorian Brown, Baldwin – Ranks 13th with 732 rushing yards
Dale Klobichur, Keystone Oaks – Ranks 18th with 648 rushing yards
Julian Durden, Montour – Ranks 3rd in scoring with 96 points
Kevin Hart, Seton La-Salle – Tied for 6th in scoring with 84 points
Matt Buckley, Keystone Oaks – Ranks 6th with 874 passing yards
Kevin Mechas, Bishop Canevin – Ranks 9th with 780 passing yards
Jon Girvin, Northgate – Ranks 11th with 772 passing yards
Dillon Buechel, Montour – Ranks 12th with 761 passing yards
Lenny Williams, Sto-Rox – Ranks 13th with 760 passing yards
Week 6 High School Football Highlights
- Kevin Hart rushed for three touchdowns and Luke Brumbaugh passed for 154 yards and a touchdown, and also rushed for a score, in Seton La-Salle’s 38-14 win over South Allegheny.
- Zach Chapman caught a 74-yard touchdown pass from Wayne Capers in Chartiers Valley’s loss to Thomas Jefferson. Capers also rushed for a score.
- Montour’s Dillon Buechel threw touchdown passes to Aaron Reed and Devin Wilson in a loss to Central Valley.
- Lenny Williams threw five touchdown passes, two to Deaysean Rippy, and rushed for another in a 62-14 Sto-Rox win over South Side Beaver. Jordan Latimer, Dontez Ford and Kevin Hooper also caught touchdown passes.
- Chris Shortley threw three touchdown passes and ran for the game-winning score in overtime, leading Brentwood to a 27-24 win over Chartiers-Houston.
- Trevor George threw three touchdown passes in Carlynton’s 47-6 win over Avella. Shaquille Wilson returned an interception for a touchdown and caught a touchdown pass.
- Jon Girvin threw three touchdown passes in Northgate’s 35-0 win over Leechburg. Jake Abernethy caught two touchdown passes and Justin Parra returned an interception for a touchdown.
- Shawn Owens threw a touchdown pass and ran for two scores in Cornell’s 32-7 win over Shenango. B.J. Lipke scored two touchdowns and Joe Seaburn returned an interception for a touchdown.
- Casey McCaffrey rushed for three touchdowns and Mike Dunn returned an interception for a touchdown in Bishop Canevin’s 41-6 win over Wilkinsburg.
(From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
For anyone interested in supporting their local teams in person, here is a schedule for Week 7:
Thursday, October 13
Friday, October 14
- Langley @ Carrick, 7pm
- Peters Township @ Baldwin, 7:30pm
- Chartiers Valley @ McGuffey, 7:30pm
- Blackhawk @ Montour, 7:10pm
- Burgettstown @ Seton La-Salle, 7pm
- Keystone Oaks @ Steel Valley, 7pm
- Rochester @ Cornell, 7pm
- Western Beaver @ Sto-Rox, 7pm
- Brentwood @ Clairton, 7:30pm
- Carlynton @ Chartiers-Houston, 7:30pm
- Bishop Canevin @ Leechburg, 7:30pm
- Riverview @ Northgate, 7:30pm
The Borough of Bellevue name was suggested by a local resident named J.J. East, a French scholar and linguist. The name means “beautiful view.” Mr. East, whose home was located on a terrace at Lincoln and Florence Avenues, was also one of two Inspectors for Bellevue’s first ever election in September of 1867.
Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana