Senator Fontana addresses the crowd at the 4th Annual Run Your Rox Off on August 31st. Over 165 runners participated in the race and hundreds gathered afterwards for a community celebration at the Miles Bryan School Building. All proceeds from the event benefited the McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation and its mission to continue the revitalization of McKees Rocks and Stowe. Below, the Sto-Rox High School Marching Band and cheerleading team perform for the crowd as part of a pep rally during the event.
Time to Strengthen Child Protection Laws
Last week, the Allegheny County district attorney announced that his office was investigating whether Pittsburgh Public School officials properly handled accusations that a school police officer had sexually assaulted a former student more than a decade ago. Even more disturbing is that officials suspect that there are additional victims that have not come forward yet about abuse they endured by the same individual.
In May 1999, the district conducted an internal investigation of the alleged incident and by June that year, the chief of school police recommended the termination of this school police officer. However, various officials within the school at that time told the chief of school police that no issues needed to be forwarded to law enforcement and no grounds existed to fire the accused police officer of the crime. The school police officer returned to work shortly after the internal investigation was finished and has been working with children since.
Under the Child Protection Law, current school employees are required to report abuse to their supervisors who then may decide whether it rises to a level of reporting it to ChildLine or to law enforcement. ChildLine is a program within the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare that accepts calls from the public which provides information, counseling, and referral services for authorities or victims of abuse.
This situation is another example of school officials following the state law when it comes to reporting abuse and how Pennsylvania needs to move legislation now to strengthen the Child Protection Law. In fact, in 2011, there were only eight reports of abuse by a school employee. This number is down from the 15 reports of abuse in 2010. These low numbers illustrate the lack of strict reporting standards.
Early in 2011, I introduced Senate Bill 549 (SB 549) that would require school employees to report suspected abuse to both school authorities and law enforcement immediately so that the discretion of the school is removed. My legislation has over 35 co sponsors and clearly shows bipartisan support, yet SB 549 has been stuck in the Senate Appropriations Committee since June 2011.
SB 549 is nothing new. I have introduced a form of this bill since 2005 and over the past few years, I have tweaked the legislation as I continue to work with stakeholders to improve the measure to meet their suggestions and recommendations.
Last week, I sent letters to the Senate leadership and the Appropriations Committee Chairpersons urging them to move my legislation. I also attached the article about the investigation taking place in the Pittsburgh Public School District right now. Although this incident happened in a school in my district, I believe the entire state should be made aware of it because the time is now to better protect children from abuse and end the practice of not reporting to law enforcement. Action on SB 549 has long been overdue and as we are reminded here, everyday that my measure isn’t law is another day more children are at risk.
Assistance for Job Seekers
I am pleased to announce that Skills for Success: The Fontana Series is returning this fall. As many of you know, last year, I was proud to partner with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) to provide grant funding for a free series aimed at building skills and creating excellent resumes and applications that aid job seekers in achieving the positions they desire.
The third installment of this series will begin in September and has been expanded. Rachel Masilamani and Richard Brzustowicz will lead the Skills for Success: The Fontana Series, bringing over 10 years combined experience assisting library visitors with job hunting, online applications and resume writing. This series will feature two separate workshops: one focused on resumes and cover letters, and the other dedicated to interviews and networking. This series will also contain a career lab where attendees can work on online applications and explore library resources. Here, individuals will receive assistance with resumes, interview skills and online application forms. Due to limited space, registration is required for workshops however walk-ins are welcome for the career labs.
In an effort to get more individuals into these workshops and career labs, Skills for Success: The Fontana Series will visit a library branch on four consecutive dates before moving on to a different CLP branch. The fall schedule, featuring the first three branches, is listed below. To register for one of these free workshops, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 412-281-7141, ext. 2012. CLP representatives will be on hand at FontanaFest, Saturday, September 15th with information on the Skills for Success: The Fontana Series and attendees will have a chance to register there.
CLP – Allegheny branch
1230 Federal Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Thursday, Sept. 13 – Resumes & Cover Letters
Friday, Sept. 14 – Interviewing & Networking
Thursday, Sept. 20 – Interviewing & Networking
Friday, Sept. 21 – Resumes & Cover Letters
Workshops – 10 a.m. – noon, Career Labs – noon – 2 p.m.
CLP – Knoxville branch
400 Brownsville Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15210
Thursday, Sept. 27 – Interviewing & Networking
Friday, Sept. 28 – Resumes & Cover Letters
Thursday, Oct. 4 – Resumes & Cover Letters
Friday, Oct. 5 – Interviewing & Networking
Workshops – noon – 2 p.m., Career Labs – 2 – 4 p.m.
CLP – Beechview branch
1910 Broadway Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15216
Thursday, Oct. 11 – Resumes & Cover Letters
Thursday, Oct. 18 – Interviewing & Networking
Thursday, Oct. 25 – Resumes & Cover Letters
Thursday, Nov. 1 – Interviewing & Networking
Workshops – 3 – 5 p.m., Career Labs – 5 – 7 p.m.
Countdown to FontanaFest!
It’s hard to believe, but, FontanaFest will be here in just 11 days!
Join me on Saturday, September 15th from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at South Side’s Riverfront Park (bottom of 18th Street at the river) for a FREE day of family fun! Enjoy FREE food and drink, entertainment, door prizes, numerous booth sponsors, and games for kids. The Pittsburgh Water Limo will be offering rides on our rivers between 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. and the PA Fish & Boat Commission will be providing canoes and kayaks so families can enjoy a smooth ride on the Monongahela. Kids will have the opportunity to visit with their favorite mascot as the Pittsburgh Pirate Parrot, Steely McBeam from the Steelers, Iceburgh from the Penguins, Freddy the Flame from Equitable Gas, and Smiley from Eat ‘n Park are all scheduled to attend. Over 30 participating organizations will be on hand providing activities for people of all ages. To learn more about the day’s events and for a listing of participating organizations, please visit www.fontanafest.com. I hope to see you there!
Did You Know…
Did you know sales at state liquor stores that ended June 30th of this year, reached nearly $2.1 billion — more than 5 percent over last year — and generated $494 million in profit and tax revenue for the state treasury to help finance other state services?
ALCOSAN Wet Weather Plan
In 2008, ALCOSAN became party to a Consent Decree issued by the Federal Court in Pittsburgh on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD). The purpose of the Consent Decree is to improve water quality in receiving waters and protect designated waterway uses. The primary requirements for meeting compliance are to eliminate Sanitary Sewer Overflows and control the amount of Combined Sewer Overflows being discharged into our rivers.
On July 31st, ALCOSAN released a draft of their Wet Weather Plan as a result of this Consent Decree. They will be holding public meetings to provide information on the $2 billion plan and solicit public comments. All meetings are free and open to the public. Comments on the Wet Weather Plan will be accepted both in writing and/or verbally. The public comment period for the Plan runs until October 19th. To read more about the Plan, please visit ALCOSAN's Wet Weather Page and if you wish to comment online, you can do so at Comment Form Page on ALCOSAN’s website, www.alcosan.org. The full schedule of public meetings is also available at www.alcosan.org.
Mt Washington Center Visit
Thanks to Marcya and the staff the Mt. Washington Senior Center for providing me the opportunity to spend time with seniors at the Center on August 30th. It was great to see so many friendly and familiar faces and I was happy to answer questions and provide information on the new Voter ID law. I also want to commend the staff and volunteers at the Mt. Washington Senior Center on their efforts to provide a safe and comfortable place where our neighborhoods’ seniors can enjoy themselves.
On August 27th I had an opportunity to visit the Rosedale Technical Institute in Kennedy Township. President Dennis Wilke provided a tour of their facility and spoke with me about their Automotive, Diesel, Electrical, and HVAC programs. Thank you to Dennis and the staff at Rosedale Technical Institute for welcoming me to their school.
Factory Direct: Pittsburgh
The Andy Warhol Museum is currently presenting Factory Direct: Pittsburgh. This art exhibit showcases the work of 14 established contemporary artists invited to conduct artist residencies in Pittsburgh-based factories. These artists worked closely with the management teams and factory workers within their host facilities to plan and execute a new work of art based on the factory’s history, technologies, materials, and/or processes. One of the artists selected to participate was Fabrizio Gerbino, a Stowe Township native.
Pittsburgh has an incredibly rich history in the realm of industry and was the dominant power in steel, bronze, tin, coal, aluminum, food and glass production from the late 19th-century through the mid-20th-century. From Andrew Carnegie’s Carnegie Steel Company to H. J. Heinz’s world-famous ketchup, Pittsburgh was the home-base for many of the major industrial giants of America. In Factory Direct: Pittsburgh, artists have been given the unique opportunity to examine the legacy of these industrial giants and work in the many factories that still call Pittsburgh home. In this second decade of the 21st-century, modern-day Pittsburgh’s industry ranges from major robotics institutes and health care systems to cutting-edge technology facilities and green building initiatives. Also present are a number of small to medium-sized family-owned businesses with light manufacturing facilities. The exhibition also celebrates the region’s work force and their commitment to industry and innovation.
Factory Direct: Pittsburgh runs through September 9th at Guardian Self-Storage located at 2839 Liberty Avenue in the Strip District. Admission is free but donations are welcomed. For more information please visit www.warhol.org.
High School Sports Update
The high school football season is underway. Below are some of the highlights from the district during week 1:
- Montour’s Devin Wilson caught five passes for 180 yards and scored three touchdowns in the Spartans’ 34-8 win over Hopewell.
- Justin Vickless rushed for 140 yards and scored four touchdowns in Brentwood’s 48-0 win over Serra Catholic.
- Northgate shutout Riverview 25-0.
- Bishop Canevin’s Jim Tursek scored three touchdowns in a 21-6 win over Imani Christian.
- Russell Page threw for three scores and rushed for another in Brashear’s 32-26 loss to Slippery Rock.
- Seton-La Salle’s Lou Rotunda scored two touchdowns in a 35-0 win over South Allegheny.
- Baldwin’s Dorian Brown rushed for 126 yards in Baldwin’s loss to Peters Township.
Get a glimpse of the Montour High School football team this Thursday night as they take on Central Valley. The game will be featured on ROOT Sports as their high school football game of the week.
Below is this week’s high school football schedule. All games are Friday unless noted.
Week 2 High School Football Schedule
Montour @ Central Valley, 7 p.m. (Thursday)
Plum @ Baldwin, 7:30 p.m.
Hopewell @ Chartiers Valley, 7 p.m.
Seton-LaSalle @ McGuffey, 7:30 p.m.
South Fayette @ Keystone Oaks, 7 p.m.
South Side Beaver @ Sto-Rox, 7 p.m.
Clairton @ Carlynton, 7:30 p.m.
Monessen @ Brentwood, 7:30 p.m.
West Shamokin @ Northgate, 7:30 p.m.
Char-Houston @ Bishop Canevin, 7 p.m. (Saturday)
On Sunday, September 9th, the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is hosting Grandparents Day! Create memories with your grandkids that will last a lifetime. Grandparents will receive free admission when accompanied by their grandchildren, plus one free ride all day tram bracelet, and one complimentary coffee or tea. For more information on Grandparents Day and other events taking place this fall, please visit the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium's website.
According to Pittsburgh Today the number of unemployed in the Pittsburgh region declined by 1.2 percent in July 2012 compared to July 2011. The total labor force figure of 1,254,110 is the highest labor force figure for the region ever.
Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana