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Senator Wayne D. Fontana

World War II Memorial Unveiled

WWII MemorialLast Friday, December 6th, the recently completed Southwestern Pennsylvania World War II Memorial was dedicated in a ceremony at the Memorial site along the North Shore in the city of Pittsburgh.  The Memorial, which is located along the Allegheny River near Heinz Field, was a project more than 13 years in the making.  I was proud to participate in the dedication ceremony and have the opportunity to personally thank the World War II veterans who were in attendance.

Getting this Memorial funded and built was truly a community effort and many people contributed a significant amount of time and energy towards seeing this project come to fruition.  I was proud to assist with obtaining state funding towards the $4 million Memorial and as Chairman of the Sports and Exhibition Authority was pleased to work with the World War II Veterans of Southwestern Pennsylvania Memorial Committee in providing a home for the Memorial on the North Shore.  Countless others put forth tremendous efforts to turn this vision into a reality.  Many corporate, philanthropic and labor organizations in the region stepped up and made significant contributions towards the Memorial as well as a large number of individual donors and contributors.  The entire region should be commended for coming together for such a worthwhile and meaningful Memorial.

It was appropriate that the World War II Memorial was dedicated one day prior to the anniversary of the attacks at Pearl Harbor, which ultimately led to our country’s military engagement in the war.  Pearl Harbor was one of our nation’s darkest hours, a time when fear and uncertainty were rampant but also served as a rallying cry, an event that bonded and cemented our resolve, stoking determination, dedication and loyalty to our country and what it stands for.  Volunteers lined up to serve this country in World War II.  Our military personnel as well as families on the home front, sacrificed and pulled together, determined to do their part to help defeat the Axis powers.

The World War II Memorial conveys the region’s appreciation, respect and devotion to those who served during this war.  In addition to providing a proper tribute to “the Greatest Generation” this Memorial also serves as an educational opportunity for current and future generations.  Children growing up in our region today know and experience a Pittsburgh that is far different than what it was in the 1940’s.  As the world’s dominant steel producer at the time, this region not only contributed soldiers to the war effort but contributed 95 million tons of steel to Allied forces during the war, equipping our nation’s soldiers with the tools, weapons, ships and planes needed to win the war.  Our city and our region played an instrumental role in this country’s war effort during the 1940’s and this Memorial does a fantastic job illustrating that fact as well.

Congratulations to the Memorial Committee and to everyone who played a part and assisted along the way in getting this Memorial constructed.  As a region, we can be proud of this Memorial, for the appreciation and honor it bestows on our World War II veterans, and the impact this region’s veterans and workers had on the nation’s war effort.  I encourage everyone that can, to visit this Memorial, to pay respect to those who served our nation and to provide an image to our current and future generations the level of sacrifice, commitment and dedication that our “Greatest Generation” gave to our region and our country.  As we move forward, let us keep in our thoughts and prayers these men and women and all veterans who have sacrificed in the past and who are sacrificing today on behalf of their fellow citizens.

Senator Fontana spoke at the ribbon cutting ceremony on November 14thPHEAA Job Fair – Tomorrow!

I want to remind constituents looking for work that the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) is holding a recruitment event tomorrow to continue filling positions at its new Customer Service Center in Green Tree.  The recruitment event is scheduled from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Allegheny County Career Link Center, located on the 22nd floor at 425 6th Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh.  If you are interested in working in this new facility as a call center representative, I encourage you to attend this recruitment event.  You may also visit www.pheaa.org/jobs to learn more about available positions.

PHEAA PHEAA PHEAA expects to train an average of 42 new employees every eight weeks until it reaches the new facility’s 150-person capacity.  Employees receive a paid eight-week training program prior to working directly with student loan borrowers to help them manage their student loan debt successfully.

As Vice-Chair of PHEAA’s Board of Directors I appreciate the long-term investment PHEAA has made in our community.  With the help of skilled workers from our area, the new Customer Service Center in Green Tree will help PHEAA continue to provide the best possible customer service to millions of student loan borrowers throughout the region, the Commonwealth and all across the nation.

Changes to GED Test

Senator DinnimanI want to remind all constituents who are in the process of completing the GED exam that the current version of the exam will expire on December 31st and will be replaced with the new 2014 Series beginning on January 2nd.  As I wrote in the July 2nd edition of my weekly News & Views, with more and more employers requiring job applicants to have received at a minimum a high school diploma or to have passed the GED test, it is important to note the changes that will be taking place to the exam.

The current GED test (2002 Series) is composed of five parts and a GED learner can bank passage from one or more parts of the exam until all five parts are completed.  However, the new GED exam (2014 Series) will take effect on January 2nd and anyone who has not completed all five parts of the current test by December 31st will be required to restart in 2014 with the new GED test in order to receive their high school credential.  Partial scores from the current exam will not be able to be carried over to the new 2014 test.  The new 2014 test will contain only four parts and will be available only in a computer-based format.

If you are currently in the midst of completing the current exam and wish to finish testing prior to the new exam being implemented, please visit www.finishtheGED.com to locate a testing center near you where you will be able to complete the current exam before the end of 2013.  For information on the new 2014 GED exam, please visit www.gedtestingservice.com.

Free Flu Shot Clinics

Flu ShotThis week is National Influenza Vaccination Week and the PA Department of Health is informing Pennsylvanians that it is not too late to receive the flu vaccine.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone six months of age and older, especially those who may be at higher risk.  Individuals age 65 and over, children under the age of five, pregnant women, people with chronic medical conditions and healthcare workers are among those potentially deemed to be at higher risk of contracting influenza.

As part of National Influenza Vaccination Week, the Department and public and private partners will be offering free flu clinics throughout the Commonwealth.  To find a clinic locally, please call 1-877-PA-HEALTH.

Did You Know…

Did you know that during the 2012-2013 flu season, which typically runs from October – May, more than 40,000 cases of influenza were reported in Pennsylvania?

2014 Dog Licenses Now Available

Dog TagI want to remind all dog owners that state law requires you to purchase an annual dog license for any dog three months or older.  Licenses for 2014 are now available and can be purchased through the Allegheny County Treasurer's office.  An annual dog license is $8.45 and a lifetime license is $51.45.  If your dog is spayed or neutered, the annual fee is $6.45 and the lifetime fee is $31.45.  Discounts are also available to older adults and people with disabilities.

License fees support the work of the Dog Law Enforcement Office, which is responsible for ensuring the welfare of dogs, regulating dangerous dogs and overseeing annual licensing and rabies vaccinations.  To download an annual or lifetime dog license application, please visit the Dog License Department in the Allegheny County Treasurer's Office.  If you suspect a dog is being mistreated and would like to register a complaint or a tip, please visit the Dog Law Enforcement Office page at www.agriculture.state.pa.us and complete the online complaint form.  You may also contact the Dog Law Enforcement Office by phone at 717-787-3062.

Volunteers Needed

Allegheny CleanWays is accepting volunteers as they begin work this winter to remove litter and debris along the Edgebrook Avenue dump site in Brookline.  Through their DumpBusters program, Allegheny CleanWays will be coordinating crews to remove the furniture, refrigerators, remodeling debris, and tires that have accumulated at this site over the years.

Alleheny CleanWaysDumpBusters is a year-round program of Allegheny CleanWays aimed at eliminating illegal dumping throughout Allegheny County.  The DumpBusters crews consist of small groups of specially-trained volunteers led by coordinator Joe Divack.  They tackle illegal dump sites of all sizes and remove an average of 900-1,200 pounds of debris daily.  Since the program began in 2010, DumpBusters has grown to include two crews and has removed close to 500 tons of debris from the city of Pittsburgh and surrounding areas.

If you are interested in volunteering to clean up the Edgebrook Avenue site or other illegal dumping sites or wish to learn more about Allegheny CleanWays programs, please contact Hannah Geiser at 412-381-1301 or Hannah.geiser@alleghenycleanways.org.

Betz Auto WorksBrookline Business Feature

This week’s featured Brookline business is Betz Auto Works, located at 614 Brookline Boulevard.  Betz Auto Works is a family-owned business, owned and managed by Steve Betz and has been in business for 50 years.  They offer customers a wide array of auto body work including the repairing of dents, custom painting and full collision.  Betz Auto Works is open seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. For more information on their services or to schedule an appointment you may contact Betz Auto Works at 412-561-1666.  Please remember to support local merchants during the Brookline Boulevard Streetscape Project and remember:

Brookline is open for business!

Fontana Fact

Toys for Tots Toys for Tots The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program collects new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year and distributes those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in communities all across America.  It is through this program that the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve spreads a message of hope to less fortunate children that helps them to become responsible, productive and patriotic citizens.  Toys for Tots began in 1947 when Major Bill Hendricks and a group of Marine Reservists in Los Angeles collected and distributed toys to 5,000 children.  By 1995, the Toys for Tots Program was approved by the Secretary of Defense as an official activity of the U.S. Marine Corps and an official mission of the Marine Corps Reserve.  Since its beginning, the Marine Toys for Tots Program has distributed over 469 million toys to over 216 million less fortunate children.

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
Allegheny CleanWays Betz Auto Works