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Senator Wayne D. Fontana

Senator Fontana is joined by 4th graders at the Chartiers Valley Intermediate School after speaking with them on May 20th on how a bill becomes a law.

Senator Fontana is joined by 4th graders at the Chartiers Valley Intermediate School after speaking with them on May 20th on how a bill becomes a law. Senator Fontana enjoyed his visit, especially the thoughtful questions the students had for him and the many "thank you" signs he received from the students.

Today is Election Day!

Vote PA Vote PA Vote PA The 2013 Primary Election is taking place today in Pennsylvania.  Polls across the Commonwealth are open from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.  If you have any questions about Election Day or need any information about such things as where to vote, please view last week's edition of my News & Views or go to www.votespa.com.   Don’t forget to vote!

Memorial Day

Memorial DayOriginally named “Decoration Day,” in 1868, General John Logan officially proclaimed what is now known as “Memorial Day” to be held on May 30th every year.  On this day, the General had flowers placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers buried in Arlington National Cemetery to recognize and honor those who had died during the Civil War.  

By the time President Lyndon B. Johnson made Memorial Day an official federal holiday, the day was extended to commemorate all Americans who had fallen in any war.  Memorial Day remained on May 30th until 1971, when it was moved to the last Monday in May as part of the Federal Uniform Monday Holiday Act. 

All across America, Veteran and community groups will stage parades and remembrance activities throughout the weekend for our fallen soldiers.  I encourage you to attend and support these programs and remember those who have lost their lives while defending our country. We should also use this day to thank all of the individuals who are currently serving in the military for the sacrifices they make on the daily basis to make sure our rights are protected and our country is free.

Military Family Relief Assistance

Vote PA MFRAPIn 2005, the Pennsylvania General Assembly created the Military Family Relief Assistance Program (MFRAP) to help Pennsylvanian soldiers and their families who are in need.  This program helps to ensure that military men and women are able to meet a family’s basic needs of food, shelter and utilities through grants of up to $3,500. 

Program assistance is given to members of the Armed Forces living in Pennsylvania if they serve:

  • 30 or more consecutive days of active duty with the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marine Corps.
  • 30 or more consecutive days of active duty or state active duty in the Pennsylvania Army or Air National Guard
  • 30 or more consecutive days of active duty with Army, Air Force, Navy or Marine Corps Reserves.

Residents who are interested in helping assist a soldier’s family can donate by designating all or part of their Pennsylvania Personal Income Tax refund to this program.  Direct contributions, which are tax deductible, can also be made by sending a check to:

Military Family Relief Assistance Program
c/o Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
Fort Indiantown Gap
Annville, PA 17003-5002

If you are a military resident in need or would like to make a contribution, please visit www.dmva.state.pa.us and select DMVA Offices & Programs or click here.

Offices Closed

All Senate offices will be closed on Monday, May 27th in observance of Memorial Day.  My offices will re-open as scheduled on Tuesday, May 28th.

Skills for Success Moves to Mt. Washington

Skills for Success - The Fontana Series Skills for Success: The Fontana Series. Register Online! After a successful run at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) – West End branch, the popular Skills for Success: The Fontana Series moves to CLP-Mt. Washington on Thursday.

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) If you are currently looking for a job, or are interested in boosting your skills that will help you land a desired position, sign up today for one of these free workshops, which will serve as a great resource for you.  I was proud to partner with CLP in 2011, 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, need assistance with searching for positions online, or require help in improving your interviewing skills, there is a place at one of these free workshops for you.

Rachel Masilamani and Richard Brzustowicz are again leading the Skills for Success: The Fontana Series, bringing over 10 years combined experience assisting library visitors with job hunting, online applications and resume writing.  The series features two separate workshops:  one focused on resumes and cover letters, and the other dedicated to interviews and networking.  The series also contains a career lab where attendees can work on online applications and explore library resources that can assist them in the job searching process.

Job seekers today face fierce competition in securing employment.  Take advantage of this free program, Skills for Success: The Fontana Series, and learn the ins and outs of the job searching process that will give you an advantage. Registration is required for workshops; however, walk-ins are welcome for the career labs.  To register for any of the workshops please call 412-281-7141, ext. 2012 or email careerworkshops@carnegielibrary.org.

CLP – Mt. Washington
315 Grandview Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15211
Thursday, May 23 – Resumes & Cover Letters
Thursday, May 30 – Interviewing & Networking 
Thursday, June 6 – Resumes & Cover Letters
Thursday, June 13 – Interviewing & Networking
Workshops: 1-3 p.m., Career Labs: 3-5 p.m.

Table Game Revenue Rising

Table GamesLast week, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board announced that gross revenue from table games play at the state’s casinos increased nine percent in April, compared with April 2012.  Gross revenue from table games last month was over $61.5 million, generating nearly $9 million in tax revenue.

There are 11 casinos operating across the Commonwealth, offering both table games and slot machines, and employing over 16,000 people.  These casinos, collectively, generate an average of $4 million per day in tax revenue, which is used for property tax reduction, funding the Commonwealth’s horse racing industry, fire companies, a statewide water and sewer project grant program, and the state’s General Fund, as well as establishing a new stream of tax revenue to local governments that host casinos, for community projects.  You can read more about gaming in Pennsylvania by visiting the Gaming Control Board's website.

National Boating Safety Week

Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC)This week is National Safe Boating Week and the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC) is reminding all boaters to practice safe and responsible boating by always wearing a life jacket and by being alert on the water.  Each year, on average, 700 people die in boating-related accidents in the United States and 80 percent of the victims were not wearing a life jacket.  Last year in Pennsylvania, 11 boaters died as a result of recreational boating accidents and only three were wearing a life jacket when the accident happened.

All boats must have a U.S. Coast Guard approved wearable life jacket on board for each person and children 12 years of age or younger must wear their life jackets while underway on any boat 20 feet or less in length and on all canoes and kayaks.

Boaters interested in demonstrating their personal commitment to wearing a life jacket can visit the PFBC website to submit an online “Wear It in Pennsylvania!” pledge card.  The pledge card and a special video by PFBC Executive Director John Arway speaking on the importance of life jackets can be found here.  For more information on boating safety please visit www.fishandboat.com.

Farmers’ Markets

Voter BoothFarmers’ Markets across the region started opening last week including five Citiparks Farmers' Markets within the city of Pittsburgh.  The Market Square Farmers' Market & Lunchtime Concert Series also returns this year.  Each Thursday through October 31st, approximately 25 vendors will be on hand at Market Square offering some of the region’s finest produce, meats and cheeses from 10 am. – 2p.m. with local musicians performing as well.

Many neighborhoods across Allegheny County also host Farmers’ Markets through the summer months, including Green Tree and Dormont Boroughs.  The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently published a comprehensive listing of Farmers’ Markets throughout the region.  You can view the Post-Gazette’s listing along with a schedule and locations by clicking on this link.

Did You Know…

Did you know, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the number of Farmers' Markets operating in the U.S. has grown from 1,755 in 1994 to 7,864 last year?

Cannon CoffeeBrookline Business Feature

This week’s featured Brookline business is Cannon Coffee, located at 802 Brookline Boulevard.  Open daily since 2010, Cannon Coffee offers some of the best tasting coffee in the area, but is more than a coffeehouse, selling local arts and crafts, providing used books and often features an open mic night for patrons.  You can view Cannon Coffee on Facebook or call 412-563-0202 for more information.

Please continue to support local merchants during the Brookline Boulevard Streetscape Project and remember:

Brookline is open for business!

Parking Meters

Pittsburgh Parking AuthorityOver the next few weeks, Brookline will be the latest city neighborhood to have new Pay-By-License-Plate multi-space meters installed, replacing traditional parking meters. This initiative is being overseen by the Pittsburgh Parking Authority.  The multi-space meters allow customers to pay with quarters, or a debit/credit card.  If you have questions about the new meters or want to familiarize yourself on how to use them, please visit www.pittsburghparking.com.  You may also click on this link to view an instructional video on how to use the meters and view a frequently asked questions document.

Castle Shannon Community Day

Castle Shannon Community Day

Castle Shannon Borough is hosting its annual Community Day to kick off the summer on Sunday, May 26th.  The all-day celebration starts at 2 p.m. at Hamilton Park and features over 20 vendors, activities, food, free concerts, fireworks and family fun. 

Children’s activities throughout the day include bounce houses, face painting, free games and performers.  Featured music includes the Joe Lagnese Swingtet Eight, The Stickers, Joel Lindsey and Johnny Angel and the Halos with a fireworks display capping off the day at 9:30 p.m.  Free shuttle service is available from the Castle Shannon Volunteer Fire Department lot to the park.  For more information on Castle Shannon’s Community Day, please visit the Borough's website.

PA No SmokeTobacco Free

Approximately 20,000 Pennsylvania adults die annually from smoking-related causes and tobacco-related personal health care costs in Pennsylvania total about $4.7 billion each year.  In Allegheny County, nearly 18 percent of adults are current smokers with that number rising to 27 percent for adults ages 18-24. 

If you are a tobacco user looking to quit and need help, Tobacco Free Allegheny can assist.  Visit their website at www.tobaccofreeallegheny.org or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

Fontana Fact

Primary elections in Pennsylvania are held on the third Tuesday of May in all years except Presidential election years, when it is held on the fourth Tuesday of April.

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
Fish and Boat Commission Pittsburgh Parking Authority Castle Shannon Community Day Military Family Relief Assistance Program (MFRAP)