PA Limited Distilleries and Direct Wine Shipping
I, and my colleagues in the General Assembly, continue to work on liquor issues in an effort to help consumers by providing for greater access while encouraging the creation of businesses. This week, the Senate continued to move forward on changes to the Liquor Code that would create a Limited Distillery License. House Bill 242 (HB 242), which was voted out of the Senate Appropriations Committee, would allow distilleries producing under 100,000 gallons of spirits to sell distilled spirits to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (LCB), other licensees and the general public. Additionally, HB 242 allows beer distributors to expand their Sunday hours from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (currently distributors are only allowed to operate on Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.) and allows licensees that offer meals to begin serving alcohol at 9 a.m. on Sundays (currently a licensee may only offer alcohol on Sundays beginning at 11 a.m.).
While work continues on this and other Liquor Code bills, the LCB has taken notice and is responding to consumer requests with the start of a new pilot program that allows consumers to purchase select wine and spirits over the Internet and have the products delivered to their homes or businesses. Consumers can visit the LCB’s retail website, www.finewineandgoodspirits.com, to browse a listing of wines and spirits that are available for delivery. Most of the wines and spirits available for home delivery are not available in LCB Wine & Spirits stores. Certain Chairman Selection products that are available in premium LCB Wine & Spirits stores are made available for home delivery as an added convenience for consumers who do not live near a premium store.
The decision by the LCB to begin this home delivery pilot program was made after the agency determined the necessary infrastructure was in place to meet the needs of consumers. Additionally, the LCB implemented safeguards to ensure minors could not gain access to delivered wine and spirits. The LCB has partnered with United Parcel Service on home and business deliveries. Shipments delivered to homes or businesses require the receiver to provide a valid ID proving that the person is of legal drinking age and requires an adult signature upon receipt.
The goal of the LCB is to provide an added convenience for consumers at the lowest possible cost. Customers ordering between one and three bottles of wine or spirits for home delivery are charged a shipping fee of $14 and for every additional bottle a $1 charge is added. These shipping fees cover the LCB’s costs of service and do not provide a profit. For more information on home delivery service, please visit www.finewineandgoodspirits.com or call 1-800-332-PLCB (1-800-332-7252).
The home delivery pilot program is independent of direct wine shipping which is currently being considered by the Senate. Senate Bill 790 (SB 790) was voted out of the Law and Justice Committee on November 15th and is now before the full Senate. SB 790 provides for greater consumer choice by allowing direct wine shipment to a resident’s home by ordering on the Internet, by telephone or by mail. After receiving a direct wine shipper license, a wine producer could deliver up to 18 liters per month to a consumer, provided that he or she is at least 21 years of age and that the wine is for the resident’s personal use and not for re-sale.
I have received many emails from constituents on the issue of allowing hunting on Sundays, both from those in favor of Sunday hunting and those opposed. Under current law, hunting in Pennsylvania is prohibited on Sundays. House Bill 1760 (HB 1760) would give the Game Commission the authority to permit hunting on Sundays.
HB 1760 is before the House of Representatives’ Game and Fisheries Committee. Before it reaches the Senate, it will have to be voted on and passed by that committee before being voted on by the entire House of Representatives. At that point, the bill would then be referred to a Senate committee before it would be considered by the full Senate.
I always welcome hearing from my constituents on issues of importance to them, including this one. In this case, if you wish to express your feelings over whether or not hunting should be legal on Sundays, you may also wish to contact your state representative as the House of Representatives will have a chance to vote on the bill before I do.
Some Student Loan Grace Periods Ending
As Vice Chairman of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA), I want to remind spring college graduates that their federal student loan six-month grace period is coming to an end with the close of 2011. This means repayment of loan debt will begin. Graduates typically take advantage of the six-month grace period to get their finances in order and find employment (click here to view the latest edition of my News & Views Special Edition: Jobs).
Did You Know…
Did you know that most people who complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) receive aid of some sort, regardless of credit history? The FAFSA qualifies students for federal aid programs, state aid programs, and school aid programs.
There are usually several loan repayment options for borrowers to choose from and PHEAA customer service representatives can help graduates determine which plan is best for them. For more information on contacting a representative, visit PHEAA's website. Borrowers who are having a hard time finding employment or who have recently lost a job should contact their loan servicer to determine if they are eligible for an economic hardship or unemployment deferment or forbearance. It is best to contact your loan servicer sooner rather than later. For more information on repayment plans, visit MyFedLoan.org or aesSuccess.org.
WWII Memorial Calendar Fundraiser
The Southwestern Pennsylvania World War II Memorial organization is selling 2012 calendars to benefit the construction of the memorial on Pittsburgh’s North Shore. The calendars feature photos of local men and women who served in WWII.
The organization has raised $3.4 million of the $4.5 million needed to complete the project. The yearly calendar drive has been a big part of the organization’s fundraising efforts. I was happy to secure a substantial amount of state funding for the project and have followed along as the organization gets closer towards its fundraising goal.
The World War II Memorial will remind generations of the sacrifices made by American soldiers during the war. This memorial is meant to symbolize duty, honor, and love of country, while honoring the men and women of Southwestern Pennsylvania who served their country during the war. For more information on obtaining a calendar or making a separate donation, visit the memorial website.
SBDC Outreach Day
As a reminder, next Tuesday, December 13th is this year’s last Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Outreach Day. This is a free service that allows entrepreneurs to get help starting a small business or improving an existing business. SBDC Client Services Liaison John Dobransky will once again be at my Kennedy Office (Kenmawr Plaza) to provide assistance between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. You may schedule an appointment with John by calling 412-624-2290. Appointments are not required but are encouraged. This is the last opportunity in 2011 to get free assistance at my Kennedy Office. New and returning clients are welcome.
Share Your Old Riverfront Photos
If you have old photos depicting what Pittsburgh’s riverfronts used to look like, Riverlife would like to see them. The organization could archive them and put them on the website or in their e-newsletter for all to see how the city has changed through the decades. Riverlife asks that you scan your photo(s) into a digital format with a print resolution of 300 dpi and post them on the organization’s Flickr page. You will have to give Riverlife permission to reuse or reprint your photo(s) for noncommercial purposes. If you need assistance, visit the Riverlife website for more information.
PirateFest Around the Corner
The Pittsburgh Pirates are hosting their 22nd annual PirateFest, December 16-18 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. PirateFest is open to the general public on Saturday, December 17th and Sunday December 18th. Doors are open Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 5:00 p.m. Friday’s festivities are for season ticket holders only.
PirateFest is an opportunity for fans of all ages to meet current and former Pirates. The team will host autograph sessions with current and former players and Q & A sessions with team President Frank Coonelly, General Manager Neal Huntington and Manager Clint Hurdle. The event also features youth baseball clinics, a Kids Fun Zone, inflatable rides, batting cages, carnival games and more.
Tickets for PirateFest are $12 for adults and $4 for kids 14 and under. For more information please visit, www.pirateball.com.
Carnegie Brass Free Concert
The Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall and the Carnegie Brass will celebrate the sounds of the season with A Carnegie Christmas on Sunday, December 18th at 2:00 p.m. in the Music Hall.
This Christmas, The Carnegie Brass gives a musical Christmas gift to the music hall and the town that shares their name. "A Carnegie Christmas" will feature the ensemble’s unforgettable music as they perform seasonal favorites. Scenes of historic Pittsburgh will serve as a backdrop for this festive and fun family concert.
This concert is free and open to the public. For more information, please call Lynne Cochran at 412-276-3456, extension 7 or visit the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall’s website for a calendar of events.
|Matt Freed /Post-Gazette
|Montour's Mathew Christiansen celebrates a sack Friday night against Grove City quarterback Tyler Dagres near the end of the game.
Montour Advances to State Semifinals
Congratulations to Montour who advanced to the PIAA Class AAA State Semifinals with a come from behind 25-21 win over Grove City. Montour trailed 21-0 in the 2nd quarter but rallied with 25 unanswered points to earn the victory. Trailing 21-0, Montour quarterback Dillon Buechel connected with Darren Massey on a 57-yard touchdown pass and then hit Aaron Reed on a 4-yard score to cut Grove City’s lead to 21-13 at halftime. In the 3rd quarter, Buechel connected with Devin Wilson on a 7-yard touchdown pass to close the gap to 21-19. Buechel capped the comeback with a four-yard touchdown run in the 4th quarter. Buechel threw for 224 yards and running back Julian Durden rushed for 88 yards in the win.
Montour will face Bishop McDevitt in the Semifinals on Friday, December 9th in Altoona at Mansion Park Stadium. Best of luck to the Spartans!
Girls Basketball – Players to Watch
As December is upon us, the high school winter sports season is underway. Last week, the Post-Gazette featured a number of local girls’ basketball players as “Players to Watch” during the upcoming season. The following players were recognized as “Players to Watch” this season:
- Mariah Wells, a junior guard at Chartiers Valley looks to lead the Colts to the WPIAL playoffs for the 10th consecutive season. Chartiers Valley is ranked 2nd by the Post-Gazette among WPIAL Class AAA teams.
- Naje Gibson, a sophomore center at Seton-LaSalle averaged 14.5 points per game as a freshman last season. Seton-LaSalle is the defending WPIAL Class AA champion and looks to appear in the title game for the 4th consecutive season.
- Natalya Smarra, a senior guard at Sto-Rox, was an all-section performer last season.
- Erin Waskowiak, a junior guard at Bishop Canevin, was the WPIAL Class AA Player of the Year last season. The Post-Gazette ranks Bishop Canevin #1 in Class AA as they return all five starters.
- Alexa Xenakis, a senior guard at Keystone Oaks, averaged over 17 points per game as a junior last season.
Best of luck to all the girls basketball teams in the upcoming season!
The area now known as Coraopolis Borough was once a grant of land given to early settlers as a gift. The community officially became a borough in 1886, and celebrated its 125th anniversary this past spring!
Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana