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Senator Wayne D. Fontana

 

Senator Fontana presented flags to the leadership of the Keystone Young Marines at the Young Marines Ball on October 17th.  Senator Fontana greeted Ayesha Austin and Roise Santucci during the Western PA School for the Deaf’s visit to the Capitol on October 15th. 
Senator Fontana presented flags to the leadership of the Keystone Young Marines at the Young Marines Ball on October 17th.  The Young Marines is a youth education and service program for boys and girls, ages 8 through the completion of high school.  The program focuses on character building, leadership, and promotes a healthy, drug-free lifestyle. Senator Fontana greeted Ayesha Austin and Roise Santucci during the Western PA School for the Deaf’s visit to the Capitol on October 15th.  Ayesha and Roise are students at the Western PA School for the Deaf and reside in the 42nd Senatorial District.

Fontana Child Abuse Reporting Bill Passes Senate Unanimously

Last week the Senate reached a very important milestone for the children of Pennsylvania with the passage of my Senate Bill 31 (SB 31).  This legislation will toughen child abuse reporting requirements in schools.  I have worked with many stakeholders over the past eight years and Senate approval of this measure has been long overdue. 

Under the Child Protection Law, current school employees are only required to report child abuse incidents 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 (DPW) that accepts calls from the public which provides information, counseling, and referral services for authorities or victims of abuse. 

Child AbuseSB 31 would remove the different reporting requirement for school employees and put them on the same level as other mandated reporters.  This measure also requires that an incident be reported directly to Childline or the police within 24 hours. It covers all students, from kindergarten through college. 

This legislation was inspired by a distraught mother who called me and said her son had been transported from school to an emergency room. The child had bleeding brush burns, choke marks around his neck and broken blood vessels in his face -- all caused by a teacher.  Even though the mother, emergency room doctor and social worker all tried reporting the incident to Childline, they were told that the law prevented investigation because the injuries were not deemed serious enough. 

Since 2005, I have introduced a bill on this matter because no parent should ever have to go through what my constituent and her son had to face.  After all, schools should be a place of learning and sometimes procedures need to be reviewed and changed in order to protect students’ health and safety. 

SB 31 joins a bipartisan package of bills which provides for sweeping reform by updating Pennsylvania’s child protection laws as recommended by the bicameral Legislative Task Force on Child Protection.  The task force was created by the General Assembly to thoroughly review state laws and procedures governing child protection and the reporting of child abuse.  It issued a report last year that called for numerous changes to Pennsylvania’s laws.

Teachers and schools have more direct contact with students than any other profession and I believe the reporting structure for child abuse should be the same, no matter who the perpetrator.  Furthermore, my legislation alleviates any reporting confusion and fast tracks a child or student receiving the necessary help in a more timely fashion. 

We need to be more vigilant about protecting our kids and I am pleased that SB 31 received unanimous bipartisan support in the Senate.   I am hopeful that heightened public awareness and pressure will help advance many of the child protection bills under consideration in Harrisburg with quick passage in the House. 

Upcoming Policy Committee Meeting

On Wednesday, October 30th, I will host the Senate Democratic Policy Committee for a round table discussion on workforce training and connecting skilled workers with employers. The conversation will include legislators and feature representatives of the business and community college sectors in an effort to highlight the evolving needs and opportunities for workers, students and employers. The event is open to the public and I encourage you to join us for this important event to be held at 10:00 am at the Green Tree Municipal Building.

Development in McKees Rocks

CSXLast week, CSX Corporation (CSX) announced plans to design and build the Pittsburgh Intermodal Terminal in McKees Rocks Borough and Stowe Township after reviewing numerous sites along CSXT mainline tracks.  CSX will be committing up to $50 million for the project which is good news for our economy and good news toward getting people back to work.  The proposed facility will create transportation saving opportunities by allowing for the shift of long-haul freight from highway to rail and will strengthen the region’s transportation infrastructure.  The company anticipates this project will create approximately 360 construction jobs and approximately 40 on-site jobs, 40 drayage jobs and 100 indirect jobs throughout the region.

In recent years there has been growing interest in McKees Rocks and surrounding areas from developers.  In 2012, Trinity Development announced plans to redevelop the former P&LE Railroad Yard brownfield by constructing an industrial business park that will accommodate light-industrial, office, technology and distribution businesses, in part with state grants and loans that I helped obtain for the project.

I am very pleased CSX is making this investment into McKees Rocks, especially after so many of us worked hard to help bring the industrial business park project to the neighborhood.  The CSX project is part of a public-private endeavor and illustrates the great things that can be accomplished when business, the community, and government work together.  I’m proud of the positive and encouraging developments that continue to take place in McKees Rocks.  The community will benefit from both of these projects as property values near these developments should rise and new business opportunities can continue to emerge in McKees Rocks, Stowe and throughout the region.

Absentee Ballot Deadlines

Vote PA Vote PA Vote PA Any voter who needs an absentee ballot for the November 5th Election must complete and return the application to the Allegheny County Elections Division by October 29th at 5 p.m.  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 by clicking here, visiting any of my district offices or request one in person at the County Elections Division Office at the above mentioned location.

Anyone 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 1st.  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.  For more information on requesting an absentee ballot, please call the Elections Division at 412-350-4520.

Medicare Open Enrollment

HealthcareThe Medicare Open Enrollment period began last week, on October 15th, and runs through December 7th.  All Medicare beneficiaries can make changes to their drug and/or Medicare Advantage plan coverage during this open enrollment period.  Any changes made during this time will be effective on January 1, 2014.  Information about 2014 Medicare plan options can be viewed by visiting www.medicare.gov.  If you are currently on Medicare and need assistance during the open enrollment period in determining if your plan will continue to meet your needs, you may contact PA APPRISE at 1-800-783-7067.  PA APPRISE is a free health insurance counseling program offered through the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, designed to assist older Pennsylvanians with Medicare.

Pittsburgh Food Bank – Fall FoodShare

Food BankThe Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank is kicking off their 14th Annual Fall FoodShare beginning October 26th.  FoodShare is the Food Bank’s largest food and fund drive of the fall and is supported by Giant Eagle, the Girl Scouts, Arrow Uniform, and Citizens Bank among others, and runs through November 27th.  Over the years, the FoodShare has helped hundreds of thousands of people from southwestern Pennsylvania receive needed food items.  Individuals can participate by stopping by one of nearly 60 participating Giant Eagle locations to donate food items or to make a donation at the register.

The Food Bank is also seeking volunteers to assist in this endeavor.  If you are interested in volunteering, you may register online and select a time that fits your schedule.  For more information on the FoodShare program or for questions on volunteering, you may also call the Food Bank at 412-460-3663.

Urban League State of Black Pittsburgh Conference & Youth Summit

UrbanThe Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh is presenting the State of Black Pittsburgh Conference and Youth Summit 2013 on October 26th at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh.  This is a family-friendly event, free and open to the public with workshops and activities available for individuals of all ages.  Workshops for adults will include a job and resource fair, building wealth, how to access health care coverage and more.  Young adults will have the opportunity to participate in youth summits that discuss combating injustice, civic engagement and developing leadership skills.  These activities will run from 8 a.m. – noon and will be followed by the 95th anniversary luncheon featuring Esther Bush, Pittsburgh Urban League President & CEO and Marc Morial, National Urban League President & CEO. 

To pre-register for the luncheon or for more information on the event, please call 412-227-4229 or email development@ulpgh.org.  All activities are free but registration is preferred for workshops and required for the keynote luncheon.

HalloweenHalloween Schedules

While the official date of Halloween is October 31st, some communities celebrate the holiday at different times with trick-or-treat schedules varying by neighborhood and various parades and other celebrations taking place in the days leading up to the official holiday.  Please be mindful of this if you’re driving through neighborhoods where children are out trick-or-treating and watch your speed. 

The following is a listing of trick-or-treating schedules and other Halloween events taking place throughout the 42nd Senatorial District:

Baldwin Township
Trick-or-treat – Oct. 31st, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Parade – Oct. 27th, 1 p.m.

Bellevue Borough
Trick-or-treat – Oct. 31st, 6 – 8 p.m.

Brentwood Borough
Trick-or-treat – Oct. 31st, 6 – 8 p.m.

Carnegie Borough
Trick-or-treat – Oct. 31st, 6 – 8 p.m.
Promenade – Oct. 26th, noon

Castle Shannon Borough
Trick-or-treat – Oct. 31st, 6 – 8 p.m.
Parade – Oct. 27th, 2 p.m.

Coraopolis Borough
Trick-or-treat – Oct. 31st, 6 – 8 p.m.

Crafton Borough
Trick-or-treat – Oct. 31st, 6 – 8 p.m.

Dormont Borough
Trick-or-treat – Oct. 31st, 6 – 8 p.m.  

Green Tree Borough
Trick-or-treat – Oct. 31st, 6 – 8 p.m.
Parade – Oct. 27th, 1 p.m.

Heidelberg Borough
Trick-or-treat – Oct. 31st, 6 – 8 p.m.
Parade – Oct. 27th, 1 p.m.

Ingram Borough
Trick-or-treat – Oct. 26th, following parade
Parade – Oct. 26th, 1 p.m.

Kennedy Township
Trick-or-treat – Oct. 31st, 6 – 8 p.m.

McKees Rocks Borough
Trick-or-treat – Oct. 31st, 6 – 8 p.m.

Neville Township
Trick-or-treat – Oct. 31st, 6 – 8 p.m.

Borough of Pennsbury Village
Trick-or-treat – Oct. 31st, 6 – 8 p.m.

Robinson Township
Trick-or-treat – Oct. 31st, 6 – 8 p.m.
Parade – Oct. 26th, noon

Rosslyn Farms Borough
Trick-or-treat – Oct. 31st, 6 – 8 p.m.

Scott Township
Trick-or-treat – Oct. 31st, 6 – 8 p.m.

Stowe Township
Trick-or-treat – Oct. 31st, 6 – 8 p.m.

The city of Pittsburgh will be holding official trick-or-treat hours on October 31st from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.  Various neighborhoods throughout the city will be holding parades and other events.  Below is a listing of some of the activities.  For more information about city neighborhood events please call 412-255-4772.

Brookline
Parade – Oct. 26th, 2 p.m.

Brighton Heights
Parade – Oct. 26th, 1 p.m.

Beechview
Parade - Oct. 31st, 8 p.m.

 

 

Did You Know…

Did you know that in 2012 total spending in the United States in conjunction with Halloween topped $8 billion and that number is expected to reach $6.9 billion this year?

Hollywood TheaterDormont Theater Halloween Party

The Dormont Hollywood Theater is hosting a Halloween costume party on October 26th, beginning at 6 p.m.  The Theater will pay tribute to Pittsburgh’s classic television program Chiller Theater that will feature an appearance by Bill “Chilly Billy” Cardille.  The evening will also feature classic footage from Chiller Theater, a special screening of the 1954 movie Creature from the Black Lagoon, scary snacks, beverages for adults and children, and much more.  Doors open at 6 p.m. with the program starting at 7 p.m.  You may purchase tickets here or by visiting www.thehollywooddormont.org.  For more information, please contact the Theater at 412-563-0368.

Brookline Business Feature

Alterations by RinaThis week’s featured Brookline business is Alterations by Rina, located at 712 Brookline Boulevard.  Alterations by Rina is owned and operated by Rina Constantine and has been open along the Boulevard for six years.  She performs alternations on a wide variety of clothing, specializing in alterations for bridal and formal wear.  Alterations by Rina is open from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, noon – 7 p.m. on Thursday, and 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday.  For more information on Alterations by Rina please stop in or call her at 412-344-1113.  Please continue to support local merchants during the Brookline Boulevard Streetscape Project and remember:

Brookline is open for business!

PittsburghFontana Fact

In the last 30 years, the number of residents living in downtown Pittsburgh has more than doubled.  Today, nearly 8,700 people reside downtown compared to around 3,500 that lived downtown in 1983.

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
Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh