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Senator Wayne D. Fontana

Impact of Gaming on the Pennsylvania State Lottery

Pennsylvania Lotter PA Lottery Throughout its more than 40 years in existence, the Pennsylvania Lottery has funded approximately 75 percent of the state’s Department of Aging budget through programs that offer low-cost prescription drugs, free and reduced-fare transit, property tax and rent rebates, long-term living services and senior centers.  Today, our Lottery is one of the most profitable in the nation. 

When Pennsylvania legalized slots gaming in 2004 and expanded to table games in 2010, one of the issues the Legislature faced was how the state’s Lottery would be affected by these additions to the gambling industry.  Recognizing the concerns, a provision was included in Act 71 of 2004 that requires the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LB&FC) to issue annual reports to the General Assembly analyzing the impact, if any, of implementing slots gaming on the Pennsylvania State Lottery. 

The latest report that was recently released by the LB&FC shows very good news for our state and our residents.  Despite rapid growth in casino wagering, Lottery sales remained stable during the initial years and have increased significantly during the past two years.  Lottery sales increased by 5.3 percent in 2011 and by 9.9 percent in 2012 indicating that the impact casinos have had on the Lottery have not deterred sales.  Part of this growth is due to substantial expansion of the Lottery retailer network and Pennsylvania’s entry into the multi-state Powerball jackpot game. 

PA Gaming Control BoardThe gaming industry also released figures recently that show how beneficial casinos are for our state’s budget and economy.  In March, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board announced that the state’s 11 casinos generated $67.4 million in gross revenue from table games.  That figure was up 9 percent from March 2012, when the casinos set the previous monthly record of $61.9 million.  Combine this with March’s slot revenue; the total gross revenue from gaming in Pennsylvania was up 1 percent over last March, to $296.7 million.  With an average of 1,041 table games in operation on a daily basis, tax revenue produced in March was over $9 million. 

Just like the state’s Lottery, gaming proceeds go directly back to residents of the state through things like property tax relief, local and county government shares, economic development and the tourism fund.  The horse racing industry and the state budget also receive a share of the gaming funds.

The LB&FC report once again proves that these two programs are thriving and the residents of our state are the ones who are truly reaping the benefits.  Our focus should continue to be on growing these profitable markets rather than trying to dismantle successful assets. 

You may view the LB&FC’s entire report at the LB&FC website.

Pennsylvania Vacation GuideTourism Week in Pennsylvania

Understanding how essential the tourism industry is to the Commonwealth’s economy, I introduced a resolution that was adopted by the Senate this week that recognizes May 5 through 11, 2013, as “National Tourism Week” in Pennsylvania.  Travel and tourism consistently rank as one of the greatest generators of economic activity for our state.  In fact, tourism is the second largest industry in Pennsylvania, contributing approximately $37.2 billion in visitor spending and generating more than $3.8 billion in state and local taxes in 2011. 

Tourism and travel also employs one in every 16 workers which is equivalent to 6.4 percent of the state’s total employment.  In 2011, the Commonwealth hosted nearly 185 million domestic and international travelers for business and leisure, many of them visiting the Pittsburgh region.  I can’t say I blame them.  With our spectacular natural scenery, historic and unique towns, museums, sports teams, entertainment and cultural events to name a few, Pittsburgh has a lot to offer. 

To further explore tourism in Pennsylvania, please visit http://www.visitpa.com/

Brookline Business Feature

As I mentioned in a previous edition of my News & Views, the Brookline neighborhood in the city of Pittsburgh, is undergoing a renovation project.  The Brookline Boulevard Streetscape Project began in late February and is expected to be completed in November.  When finished, the Boulevard will feature new street lights, street trees and planting beds, traffic signal improvements, new pavement, pavement markings, crosswalks, sidewalks, and ADA accommodations.  Living in Brookline, and having one of my district offices along the Boulevard, I know how important this Streetscape Project is to the neighborhood and just how long the community has waited for it to begin. 

When the construction is over, everyone wants a strong business district to remain so it is more important than ever to support the local merchants in the community during the construction.  While the project is ongoing, parking spaces have been temporarily lost, but plenty of parking remains across the Boulevard from the current construction zones and a public garage is available near Mazza Pavilion.  Walkways exist alongside the construction zones that allow people to move up and down the Boulevard.

Throughout the Streetscape Project, I will be featuring a local business each week in my News & Views. 

This week, I’m happy to feature Kribel's Bakery, located at 546 Brookline Boulevard. Kribel’s has been family owned and operated for over 60 years, producing top quality baked goods.  During the construction, you may stop into the store to see their daily specials and take advantage of their free delivery, Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.  You can learn more about their baked goods by calling 412-531-1944 or 412-531-1942, visiting them online at www.kribelsbakeryofpittsburgh.com, or stopping in between 6 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday-Friday, 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturdays and 6 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Sundays. 

Brookline is open for business!

Register Today - Skills for Success!

Skills for Success - The Fontana Series Skills for Success: The Fontana Series. Register Online! Skills for Success: The Fontana Series begins today at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP), West End branch with a second workshop scheduled for tomorrow.  CLP-West End is located at 47 Wabash Avenue.  After four workshops in West End, the series continues at CLP-Mt. Washington.  The complete schedule is listed below.

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 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, The 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 remaining workshops please call 412-281-7141, ext. 2012 or email careerworkshops@carnegielibrary.org.

CLP – West End
47 Wabash Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15220
Tuesday, May 7 – Resumes & Cover Letters
Wednesday, May 8 – Interviewing & Networking
Tuesday, May 14 – Interviewing & Networking
Wednesday, May 15 – Resumes & Cover Letters
Workshops: Noon-2 p.m., Career Labs: 2-4 p.m.
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.

Absentee Ballot Deadline Reminder

Vote PA Vote PA Vote PA The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot for the May 21st Primary Election is May 14th.  All completed absentee ballot applications must be received by the Allegheny County Elections Division Office no later than 5 p.m.  The Elections Office is located in the County Office Building:

542 Forbes Ave, Room 601
Pittsburgh, PA  15219

You may apply for an absentee ballot in person at the above address.  When applying in person, as long as you are properly registered, you will be given an absentee ballot on the spot and you will be able to cast your vote right there.  You may also visit any of my district offices to receive an absentee ballot application or go to the Resource Center page at www.votespa.com to download one.

If you have already applied for and received your absentee ballot, please know all voted absentee ballots must be received in the Elections Division Office no later than 5 p.m., May 17th in order to be counted.  If you have any questions or need any additional information, please visit the Absentee Ballot page on the Allegheny County website or call 412-350-4520.

Business Scam Alert

DCED DCED DCED Last week, the PA Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED) issued an alert to businesses across the Commonwealth.  There have been reports from businesses receiving phone calls from individuals falsely claiming to be from the Department of Community & Economic Development or the PA Department of Business Development.  These callers have been very persistent in trying to obtain personal and classified information.  These claims are currently being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission.  If anyone has received a call like this, please contact the DCED.

PA Breast Cancer Coalition

PA Breast Cancer CoalitionThe PA Breast Cancer Coalition celebrated 20 years of education, advocacy and outreach earlier today with a program at the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg.  67 Women, 67 Counties: Facing Breast Cancer in Pennsylvania is a traveling photo exhibit that celebrates the life, courage, hope and dignity of women and families who have battled breast cancer.  The tribute, which is being displayed at the Capitol through May 17th, showcases at least one woman from each of the 67 counties across the Commonwealth and serves as a unique reminder of the emotional and physical toll breast cancer takes on each woman and her family.  The photo exhibit also encourages women to learn about and practice early detection through yearly mammograms, monthly breast self-exams, and annual clinical exams.

Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer among women in the United States and currently, more than 103,000 women are living with breast cancer in Pennsylvania.  The PA Breast Cancer Coalition is a great resource to find help whether it’s connecting with support groups, talking with a patient advocate, being inspired by survivors, or inquiring about free treatments.  To read more, please visit www.pabreastcancer.org.  

Did You Know…

Did you know there are more than 2.9 million breast cancer survivors in the United States?  Also, death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1989, with larger decreases in women younger than 50.  These decreases are believed to be the result of earlier detection through screening and increased awareness and improved treatment.

McKees Rocks FEASTIVAL!

McKees Rocks FEASTIVAL! The McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation is planning the first ever McKees Rocks FEASTIVAL on Saturday, May 11th.  The FEASTIVAL will celebrate the community and show what it has to offer, in part creating a “Pop Up” Restaurant District in downtown McKees Rocks.  Local businesses are being invited to participate with sidewalk sales and discount features.  Please visit www.mckeesrocks.com for more information and for a listing of participating vendors.  Details are still emerging but the McKees Rocks CDC is putting together a fun, entertaining day for the community to enjoy.  If you’re interested in participating, contact the CDC at 412-331-9900. 

CarCruising on Broadway

Landmarks Housing Resource Center (LHRC) Landmarks Housing Resource Center (LHRC) The Beechview Merchants Association is hosting the 3rd Annual Car Cruise, “Cruising on Broadway,” Saturday, May 11th from 1 – 6 p.m.  The Car Cruise will take place along Broadway Avenue in Beechview’s business district and merchants will be out and about offering special event prices on their unique delicacies.  If you’re interested in putting your car in the Cruise, you can register here.  For more information please visit www.beechviewmerchants.org.

Walking for Focus on Renewal

Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community

Landmarks Housing Resource Center (LHRC) Landmarks Housing Resource Center (LHRC) The 2013 Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community is scheduled for Saturday, May 18th at Stage AE on the North Shore with the 5K walk beginning at 9 a.m. and the one-mile fun walk starting at 9:15 a.m.  The event is a way for participating organizations to raise money for their individual missions.  If you’re planning on walking you can raise funds for an organization of your choice, including Focus on Renewal, who is one of 68 organizations participating to raise money for their organization. 

You can view Focus on Renewal’s Fundraising Page by clicking here.  Online registration is available until noon on May 17th.  For more information on Focus on Renewal’s fundraising efforts please contact Chris Crytzer at 412-771-6460, ext. 305 or ccrytzer@forstorox.org.  For more information on the race, ways to support organizations and a listing of organizations participating, please visit the Walk for a Healthy Community site.

Seton Center Celebration

Landmarks Housing Resource Center (LHRC) Landmarks Housing Resource Center (LHRC) In celebration of Older Americans Month, the Seton Center (located at 1900 Pioneer Avenue in Brookline) is hosting a Western-themed evening on May 15th.  The evening will feature western style food, fun and entertainment including a raffle, Chinese auction and mystery envelopes.  Dinner begins at 6 p.m.  Non-members who sign up at the event will receive a discount on dinner.  You may RSVP through May 10th by calling 412-561-8400.

Fontana Fact

point state parkPoint State Park is located at the confluence of the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio Rivers, at the tip of Pittsburgh’s “Golden Triangle.” It commemorates and preserves the strategic and historic heritage of the area during the French and Indian War (1754 - 1763).  The area was once a busy industrial area but had deteriorated into a commercial slum by the 1940’s.  The development of a state park was authorized in 1945 and the first parcel of the 36-acre property was purchased in 1946.  The Park was completed and dedicated in 1974.  It is now one of the nation’s outstanding historical parks and tourist attractions and has been designated as a National Historic Landmark.  In 2009, the Park’s fountain was turned off for a reconstruction project which is concluding next month and will culminate with the fountain being officially turned back on in a ceremony on June 7th.

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
PA Breast Cancer Coalition PA Gaming Control Board PA Vacation Guide