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Senator Wayne D. Fontana

Senator Fontana speaks with Larene Walsh at the Senior Flu/Pneumonia Shot Clinic he hosted on October 24th at Church of the Resurrection in Brookline.

Senator Fontana speaks with Larene Walsh at the Senior Flu/Pneumonia Shot Clinic he hosted on October 24th at Church of the Resurrection in Brookline.  Thanks to American HealthCare Group for providing the flu and pneumonia shots to our seniors.  Special thanks also to Janet Cuneen and Larene Walsh for volunteering their time to assist with the event.  Thanks to all our participating organizations including Concordia- South Hills, AARP, Duquesne University Mylan School of Pharmacy, LifeSpan, Allegheny County Department of Human Services and the PA Office of the Consumer Advocate.

LIHEAP Applications

LIHEAPBeginning November 1st, the PA Department of Public Welfare (DPW) will be accepting applications for this season’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).  The program helps low-income families pay their heating bills.  You can apply and check the status of your application on the state’s COMPASS website.  You can also pick up an application in my district offices, or download one yourself from DPW’s LIHEAP website.  Completed paper applications should be returned to the Allegheny County Assistance Office.

Funding for LIHEAP is provided by the federal government and eligibility is based on Federal Poverty Income Guidelines.  The income limits this season are as follows:

Household Size

Income Limit

1

$16,755

2

$22,695

3

$28,635

4

$34,575

5

$40,515

6

$46,455

7

$52,395

8

$58,335

9

$64,275

10

$70,215

After your application is reviewed, you will receive a written notice explaining your eligibility and the amount of assistance you will receive.  Payments are generally sent directly to a utility company or fuel provider and are credited to your account.  Crisis grants are also available to those who have an emergency situation and are in jeopardy of losing their heat.  Crisis assistance is available 24 hours a day by calling the Allegheny County Department of Human Services at 1-800-851-3838.  For additional home heating assistance, you may also want to contact your utility company.  You may also call the LIHEAP hotline at 1-866-857-7095 with any questions about the program.

Did You Know…

Did you know the LIHEAP program serves over 390,000 Pennsylvania households each year?

Information for Election Day

Election Day!For any questions related to voting, I encourage you to visit www.votespa.com.  This site has information on your rights as a voter, answers to frequently asked questions and allows you to confirm your registration and polling place.  Below is additional information about the November 6th election.  If you need any further assistance or have any additional questions, please call one of my district offices and my staff will gladly assist you.

Deadline to Request Absentee Ballots

Any voter who needs an absentee ballot for the November 6th Election must complete and return the application to the Allegheny County Elections Division by 5 p.m. today.  The Elections Division is located at 601 County Office Building, 542 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.  You can download and print an absentee ballot application here, pick one up at any of my district offices or request one in person at the County Elections Division office.

VoterIdAnyone voting by absentee ballot will be required to provide a PA Driver’s License number, PennDOT ID number, last four digits of Social Security Number, or a copy of an acceptable photo ID when applying.  After submitting your application, an absentee ballot will be mailed to you.  The completed absentee ballot must be returned to the Elections Division no later than 5 p.m. on November 2nd.  For fastest results, you may also visit the Elections Division and complete an application in person.  If properly registered, you will be handed an absentee ballot to vote on the spot.

Voter ID Reminder

With Election Day one week away, I want to take this opportunity to again remind my constituents of the recent developments on the voter ID law.  On October 2nd, Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson stayed the mandatory requirements of the Voter ID law (Act 18) for at least the 2012 general election. This means that the state of the law reverts to what it was during the primary where voters can be educated about a possible requirement for photo ID in the future, but cannot be required to show one in order to vote.

Should voters show up at the polls on Election Day, November 6th, and do not have photo ID, they must still be allowed to vote in the actual voting machine -- not be forced to complete a provisional ballot. The court did not rule on the constitutionality of the concept of voter ID, but instead indicated that it would conduct a full trial on that issue in the near future.

Eventually voters will be required to show a valid ID in order to vote in future elections.  Even though you will not be required to show ID in order to vote in November, if you do not have a valid form of identification, you should begin taking steps now to ensure that your vote counts in future elections.  If you need a photo ID, please contact one of my district offices and my staff and I will gladly assist you in obtaining an acceptable form of ID.

Since the photo ID requirement became law, I have been working with the Corbett Administration in an effort to make the process of obtaining a photo ID simple and more convenient for voters.  I reached out several times to the Administration and asked that they create neighborhood centers and authorize state offices, including elected officials’ offices, to help facilitate the process of obtaining a photo ID.  My requests have been repeatedly denied by the Administration.

Moving forward, if this law is to be fully implemented in the future, I will continue my efforts to make the process of obtaining a photo ID more convenient.  For the November 6th election though, I want my constituents to understand that they do not need to show a photo ID in order to vote.

Polling Place Locator

If you are newly-registered voter, have recently moved, or have not voted in a while, and are unsure where your polling place is, you should visit the Allegheny County Elections Division website.  You will be asked to enter your municipality, house number and street name.  Once that information is entered, the site will inform you of your polling place and provide the address.  You will also be provided an opportunity to enter your name and birth date to determine if you are a registered voter and will also be able to view the ballot you will be presented with at your polling place.  If you are unable to find your polling place on this site or if any of your information is listed incorrectly on the site, please call the Elections Division office at 412-350-4500.

How to Register Election Day Complaints

votepaAny registered voter who wishes to file a complaint about alleged election law violations can do so online by visiting www.votespa.com and clicking on the “Election Complaints” tab.  The voter will be asked to enter their first and last name, address, county of residence, and date of birth, to ensure they are a registered voter.  Once submitted these complaint forms will be directed to the county election board for the county in which the voter making the complaint resides.  Written statements of complaint are available at all polling places and the Allegheny County Board of Elections.  You may also call 1-877-VOTES-PA (1-877-868-3772) to obtain a complaint statement.

Gas PumpGetting What You Pay For at the Pump

It’s a known fact that Americans are paying more for gasoline than ever before. As the price of gasoline continues to climb, consumers should have a guarantee that they are getting what they think they are paying for at the pump.

Senate Bill 341 (SB 341) passed the Pennsylvania General Assembly in late October and has been presented to Governor Corbett for his signature. Under this legislation, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture will now start conducting random, unannounced inspections of octane levels in gasoline throughout our state. Currently, the department is only required to inspect gas pumps once a year to make sure the meters accurately reflect that what you are paying for is the actual amount of gas dispensed.

State law does require that octane ratings be accurately posted at the pumps. However, Pennsylvania is one of only three states (Alaska and Nebraska) that do not have an octane testing program.

Why is the octane rating so important? Because if the amount of octane required to properly run your vehicle’s engine is inaccurate, the result can cause severe problems like overheating a vehicle’s engine. In addition, poor-quality gasoline can lead to failure on the Pennsylvania’s auto-emissions test.  The octane rating of gasoline is a measure of the fuel’s resistance to ignition, meaning the higher the octane rating, more heat and pressure are required to “start the fire.” Premature ignition of the compressed fuel-air mixture in one of the car’s cylinder can result in a “knock” or “pinging” sound which is potentially damaging.

In Pennsylvania, stations offer three octane ratings which include regular (87 octane), mid-grade (89 octane) and premium (92 or 93 octane). An individual’s driver’s manual offers suggestions of which octane level would best fit the needs of the vehicles. Vehicles that benefit from higher octane levels include engines designed and built for higher performance, featuring higher compression ratios or turbochargers and more aggressive fuel ignition. These engines will produce less power, mileage and efficiency when operated on lower-octane gasoline because the engine management system reduces the combustion temperatures by richening the fuel-air mixture or reducing ignition timing.

A 2007 Pennsylvania Auditor General’s report found that no pumps had been checked for octane since 1999 and recommended that the state begin testing octane levels. In addition, AAA has been working on testing of octane levels in our state for more than a decade.

With the current economy and budget cuts and the prices of food and gas rising, people need to have assurance that they are getting what they paid for at the gas pump and that is why I am a co sponsor and voted in support of this legislation. In addition, Senate Bill 341 guarantees that gas companies are held accountable for what they are selling to station owners in our state. Signing this bill into law will protect state motorists from overpaying for improperly labeled octane levels as well as increasing the longevity of a vehicle's performance and efficiency.

Final Fall Skills for Success Workshop

Skills for Success - The Fontana Series Skills for Success: The Fontana Series. Register Online!

The final Skills for Success: The Fontana Series fall workshop is scheduled for Thursday, November 1st at the Carnegie Library-Beechview branch, from 3 – 7 p.m.  If you are currently looking for a job or if you need assistance with any aspect of the job searching process, this free workshop will serve as a great resource for you.
                      
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) As you know, I was proud to partner with CLP last year, providing grant funding for this free series aimed at building skills and creating excellent resumes and applications that aid job seekers in achieving the positions they desire.  Whether you have already built a resume and are looking to fine-tune it, if you are starting from scratch and need help with organizing your work history, if you need assistance with searching for positions online, or if you have never had to sell yourself in a job interview, this workshop will be beneficial. 

To register, please email careerworkshops@carnegielibrary.org or call 412-281-7141, ext. 2012. 

Trick-or-Treating Schedules

Halloween SafetyDue to the remnants of Hurricane Sandy, many municipalities in the region have delayed trick-or-treating festivities that were previously scheduled on Halloween night to this Saturday, November 3rd.  The boroughs of Bellevue, Coraopolis, Crafton, Dormont, Green Tree and Heidelberg and the Township of Robinson have all rescheduled trick-or-treating for Saturday night, from 6 – 8 p.m.  The city of Pittsburgh will now hold trick-or-treating on Saturday from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. and the annual parade in Beechview scheduled for Halloween night has been cancelled.  For the most updated information on Halloween events, please check with your local municipality on whether or not they have changed the date and/or time.

Inspect Home Heating Oil Tanks

DEP As the cold weather season is approaching, the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is urging homeowners who have indoor or outdoor home heating oil tanks to inspect the tanks for potential problems prior to refilling them.  Leaking heating oil could cause indoor air problems and potentially contaminate groundwater and private drinking water wells.  Additionally spill cleanups may cost up to $50,000 and may not be covered by a homeowner’s insurance policy.  Any homeowner who thinks their oil tank may have a problem should immediately contact their oil company for assistance.

DEP has provided the following tips for homeowners who possess indoor or outdoor home heating oil tanks.  For more information, please visit DEP's website or call the agency’s Division of Storage Tanks at 717-772-5599.   

  • For safety reasons, always assume the tank contains at least some oil
  • Routinely inspect the exterior of the tank and all attached equipment
  • Check for signs of rusting on the tank and its structural supports
  • Examine the tank’s fill line and feed line to the furnace for leaks
  • Never tip over or empty a tank on the ground
  • Recognize that wet spots or odors near the tank may signal a problem
  • Enlist a professional to perform maintenance or alterations to a heating oil tank system

New Life Jacket Requirements

Fish and Boat CommissionThe PA Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC)  is reminding boaters that beginning November 1st and lasting through April 30th, all boaters are required to wear a life jacket while underway or at anchor on boats less than 16 feet in length under a new state regulation passed by the PFBC.  This regulation also applies to canoes and kayaks and is applicable to all Pennsylvania waters.

Individuals who plan to fish, boat, or hunt from a boat during the fall and winter months are encouraged to follow these cold water survival safety tips.

  • Always wear a life jacket, even when not required
  • Never leave a boat alone
  • Leave a float plan with family or friends and know the waters you plan to boat
  • Bring a fully charged cell phone with you in case of emergency
  • Wear clothing that insulates when wet, such as fleece, polypropylene or other synthetics
  • If you are about to fall into cold water, cover your mouth and nose with your hands as this will reduce the likelihood of inhaling water
  • If possible, stay with the boat – get back into or climb on top of the boat
  • While in cold water, do not remove your clothing
  • If you can’t get out of the water, get into the Heat Escape Lessening Posture (HELP) – in this position, individuals bring their knees to their chest and hug them with their arms

Help End Child Hunger

Food BankThe Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank is accepting donations as part of their Fall FoodShare Food Drive which runs through November 22nd.  New hunger reports show that more than 20% of kids in southwestern PA don’t get enough to eat to live an active and healthy life.  You can help make sure local kids get enough to eat all year long by purchasing a few most-needed grocery items at participating Giant Eagle stores, making a cash donation at the register, or by donating online through the virtual drive

The Food Bank is also in need of volunteers on weekends to assist in handing out most-needed items, shopping lists and to collect and box food.  If you are interested in volunteering, you can register on the Food Bank’s Volunteer Page on their website, www.pittsburghfoodbank.org.  For more information on the FoodShare Food Drive please call 412-460-3663.

High School Sports Update

Congratulations to the following football teams on qualifying for the W.P.I.A.L. playoffs which begin on Friday:  Montour (Class AAA), Seton-La Salle (Class AA), Sto-Rox (Class A), Brentwood (Class A), and Bishop Canevin (Class A).  Best of luck to all the teams in the playoffs!

Friday, November 2nd – 1st Round
Trinity @ Montour, Class AAA
Greensburg Central Catholic vs. Seton-La Salle, Class AA (@ Chartiers Valley)
Brentwood @ Springdale, Class A
Carmichaels @ Sto-Rox, Class A
Bishop Canevin @ North Catholic, Class A

The following are highlights from the district during Week 9 of the high school football season:

  • Montour defeated Moon 42-21 to finish the regular season with an 8-1 record.  Devin Wilson caught five touchdown passes and for the game caught 11 passes for 168 yards.  Cole Macek opened the scoring with an 11-yard touchdown run.  Montour finished in a first place tie in the Class AAA Parkway Conference with West Allegheny and Central Valley.

  • Sto-Rox finished the regular season with an 8-1 mark after defeating previously unbeaten Rochester 25-0.  Lenny Williams rushed for two scores and Marcus Jackson scored on a 12-yard touchdown run.  Brendan Blair returned a fumble 82 yards for another score.  Sto-Rox finished in a first place tie in the Class A Big Seven Conference with Neshannock and Rochester.

  • Dale Klobuchir rushed for three scores in a 40-7 Keystone Oaks win over Burgettstown.  Ryan Carroll and Jimmy Canello also rushed for scores and Kobi Phillippi hooked up with Cory Sevacko on a 15-yard touchdown pass.

  • Justin Vickless rushed for 169 yards and scored three touchdowns in Brentwood’s 61-19 win over California.  Chris Shortley and Pat Carr also rushed for two touchdowns each and Michael Andrews returned an interception for another score.  Brentwood finished the regular season with a 6-3 mark.

  • Dorian Brown rushed for 182 yards and two touchdowns in Baldwin’s loss to Bethel Park.  Stephon Harris also rushed for a score and Doug Altavilla threw an 83-yard touchdown pass to Luke Smorey.

  • Cody Walter threw two touchdown passes and returned a punt for a touchdown in Northgate’s 25-24 loss to Avonworth in overtime.  Justin Parra returned an interception for a touchdown for another score.  Northgate finished the regular season with a 5-4 mark.

  • Bishop Canevin finished the regular season with a 6-3 record after beating Serra Catholic 42-6.  Tyler Reddy threw a touchdown pass and rushed for two scores.  Mark DeSchon rushed for two touchdowns and Reed Relosky rushed for another.

  • Seton-La Salle defeated South Park to finish the regular season with an 8-1 record.  Nick Sywyj rushed for a touchdown and Luke Burmbaugh rushed for a score and threw for another.

PittFontana Fact

The University of Pittsburgh is celebrating its 225th Anniversary this year.  Pitt was established in 1787 as the Pittsburgh Academy and over its 225 history has transformed into one of the leading public universities in the country.

Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana

  Brookline District
932 Brookline Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15226
Phone: 412-344-2551
Fax: 412-344-3400
Harrisburg
543 Main Capitol
Box 203042
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Phone: 717-787-5300
Fax: 717-772-5484
Kennedy Township
Kenmawr Plz
524 Pine Hollow Rd
Kennedy Twp, PA 15136
Phone: 412-331-1208
Fax: 412-331-2079
Beechview Satellite
1660 Broadway Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15216
Phone: 412-343-2080
Fax: 412-343-2418
NAMI Walks Vote PA Carnegie Science Center PennDOT PITT Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank PA Fish and Boat Commission VotePA LIHEAP