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Senator Wayne D. Fontana

Senator Fontana speaks at the Gardens at Market Square groundbreaking ceremony in downtown Pittsburgh on August 21st. 

Senator Fontana speaks at the Gardens at Market Square groundbreaking ceremony in downtown Pittsburgh on August 21st.  Millcraft Investments broke ground on the development project which will include a new hotel, 20,000 square feet of retail and a 330-space parking garage.

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

CHIPAs we all know, children are the key to our future.  One way to provide a solid foundation in a child’s life is by keeping them healthy.  Pennsylvania's Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is one of the nation’s oldest and most successful programs and provides insurance coverage to kids whose families earn too much to qualify for Medical Assistance, but who cannot afford to purchase private insurance.  More importantly, no family makes too much money to be ineligible for CHIP. 

In 2006, the CHIP eligibility was expanded under the Cover All Kids initiative which provides all uninsured children and teens up to age 19, with access to affordable, comprehensive healthcare coverage. 

CHIP is provided by private health insurance companies that are licensed and regulated by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department.  Any resident can qualify for CHIP.  Premiums are based on income, but for many families the program is free.  Children in the CHIP program receive regular check-ups, immunizations and well-baby visits, emergency care, hospitalizations, prescriptions, vision care and dental care.  As of August 2013, the current enrollment in CHIP is nearly 188,000 children. 

Although Pennsylvania’s CHIP program has served as a national model for health insurance for kids, since Governor Corbett has taken office, the number of children enrolled in CHIP has slid by about 7,000 with the biggest losses among the group for whom CHIP is free.  The Insurance Department officials have stated they are unable to explain why the number of children who receive this insurance coverage has declined. 

Today, approximately 148,000 young residents, or nearly one in every 18 children in the Commonwealth remains uninsured.  Because I feel that no child should go through life without healthcare coverage, I have signed onto a letter urging Governor Corbett to evaluate seven recommendations that the Senate Democratic Caucus has suggested on ways to improve CHIP enrollment.  To see a copy of this letter, please click here

Some of our recommendations include a referral process for the CHIP program as a part of school registrations, flyers sent out to students' families at the beginning of each school year as well as advertisements placed in areas that are frequently traveled or seen by the community.  

Pennsylvania is a great place to live in and every resident deserves to be healthy and have the means to see a doctor.  The CHIP program has proven to be very successful and I look forward to the Commonwealth continuing this program for years to come.  If you know someone who could benefit from CHIP enrollment or would like more information about the program, please visit www.chipcoverspakids.com.

Did You Know…

Did you know there is no waiting list to enroll in CHIP and there are no exclusions for children with pre-existing conditions?

Offices Closed

All Senate offices will be closed on Monday, September 2nd in observance of Labor Day.  My offices will re-open on Tuesday, September 3rd as scheduled.

FontanaFest 2013 FontanaFest! 11 Days Until FontanaFest!– The 9th Annual FontanaFest will be held on Saturday, September 7th from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. at South Side’s Riverfront Park (bottom of 18th Street at the river).  The community event highlights many of the family-oriented activities that can be done on or near Pittsburgh’s three rivers.  Join us for a FREE day of family fun with activities on the rivers, free food and drink, inflatables, crafts and pony rides. 

Pittsburgh Water Limo Pittsburgh Water Limo Pittsburgh Water Limo will be offering free boat rides during FontanaFest with rides scheduled for 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.  A limited amount of tickets can be picked up at the Welcome Booth as you enter the park.  The PA Fish & Boat Commission will also provide canoes and kayaks for attendees to take out on the Monongahela.  The Citiparks Roving Art Cart, celebrating its 40th year, will also be in attendance during Fish and Boat Commission Fish & Boat Commission the Fest along with other great organizations like the Allegheny County Sheriff’s office, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and the Homeless Children’s Education Fund just to name a few.

Be sure to visit www.fontanafest.com to view a listing of all participating organizations and sponsors. Several organizations will also be present to provide children and families with important educational information and activities.  It’s rain or shine – but I have every confidence we will have another beautiful day, so please come out and enjoy!

Flu/Pneumonia Shots & Senior Clinic

Flu ShotI am hosting a Flu/Pneumonia Shot & Senior Clinic on Friday, September 27th from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. in Quinn Hall at the Church of the Resurrection in Brookline.  American HealthCare Group will be providing the free vaccinations to any senior with the Medicare Part B health insurance card.  Make sure you bring your card with you.

All attendees can also receive a free blood pressure screening and have their blood sugar tested compliments of Primary Care Health Services and will have an opportunity to speak with a pharmacist from Duquesne University’s Mylan School of Pharmacy and “Ask the Pharmacist” questions about medications.  Several other organizations will be in attendance including:  Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh; PA APPRISE; PA Office of the Consumer Advocate; LifeSpan; AARP; and the Allegheny County Department of Human Services – all providing seniors with important information on available services and resources.  Light refreshments will be also provided.  I look forward to seeing you there!

Shredding Event

Together with Representatives Dan Miller and Dan Deasy, we are hosting a Shredding Event on Saturday, September 28th from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Green Tree Park’s lower parking lot, located at 895 Greentree Road.  With consumer fraud and identity theft becoming an epidemic in our communities, we are hosting this event not only to raise awareness and promote prevention but also to provide individuals the opportunity to have unneeded, confidential documents destroyed, free of charge.  You may bring documents that contain personal information such as social security numbers, credit cards numbers and bank account numbers.  We will also accept CD’s, credit cards, video tapes and floppy disks.

Small Business Grants

DEPThe Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is accepting applications for their Small Business Advantage Grant through September 6th.  The grant program provides 50 percent matching funds up to $9,500 for projects that adopt or acquire energy efficient or pollution prevention equipment or procedures.  Applicants must be a for-profit corporation, limited liability corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship or other legal entity with 100 or fewer full-time employees.  Projects must be located in Pennsylvania, be owned by the applicant, and save the business at least 25 percent plus $500 in annual energy consumption or in pollution handling or prevention related expenses.

Eligible projects include HVAC and boiler upgrades, high-efficiency lighting, solvent recovery systems, waste recycling systems and auxiliary power units deployed as anti-idling technology for trucks.  Applications must be mailed to the DEP’s Grant Center at:

            P.O. Box 8776
            Harrisburg, PA  17105-8776

For more information on the Small Business Advantage Grant and to view the application package, instructions and application form, please visit www.dep.state.pa.us and click on the “Small Business Advantage Grant” tab.  For additional questions, please contact the Small Business Ombudsman’s Office at 717-772-8909 or epadvantagegrant@pa.gov

Revenue from Table Games Increases

Table GamesAccording to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board revenue from table games play at the 12 Pennsylvania casinos was $59.9 million in July.  That figure represents a 6.1% increase in revenue from table games during July compared to July 2012.  In July, $8.6 million in tax revenue was generated from table games alone.  Overall gross revenue generated from table games and slot machines in July was over $264 million.

There are 12 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.

Local  Group Raises Money for Wounded Warriors

Tough MudderA group of young Brookline, Crafton and Ingram residents participated in the Pittsburgh Tough Mudder challenge that took place last weekend.  Tough Mudder events are hardcore obstacle courses, 10 – 12 miles in length that test all-around strength, stamina, mental grit and camaraderie.  To date, Tough Mudder events have raised over $5 million for the Wounded Warrior Project.  The group participating from Brookline did so for their friend, Keith Watson, a Brookline native who was wounded in the line of duty while serving in Iraq.  Keith participated with his friends in the challenge, as part of the Watson’s Warriors team.  Only 78% of participants successfully complete each challenge and all members of Watson’s Warriors completed the course.  Congratulations to Watson’s Warriors for participating and raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project!

7th Annual NAMI Walk

Nami Walks

Join the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Southwestern Pennsylvania for the 7th Annual NAMI Walk on Sunday, October 13th at SouthSide Works.  This family-friendly event features complimentary refreshments, music, activities for children, entertainment, and a 5K walk along the scenic Three Rivers Heritage Trail. 

Festivities begin at 9 a.m. and the walk starts promptly at 10 a.m.  There is no fee to register but fundraising is encouraged.  All funds raised support NAMI Southwestern Pennsylvania in its mission to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness through recovery focused support, education, and advocacy.  For more information or to register, please visit www.namiwalks.org/SouthwesternPennsylvania or call 412-366-3788.

Rox Off Run Your Rox Off Run (or Walk) Your Rox Off!

It’s still not too late to register for the 5th Annual Run Your Rox Off 5K and 1 Mile Run/Walk scheduled for this Friday.  This event provides an evening of fun and festivities and a chance to give back to the community.  All proceeds from the event benefit the McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation and its mission to continue the revitalization of McKees Rocks and Stowe.

The race begins at 6:30 p.m.at the Miles Bryan School, located at 1125 Wayne Avenue in McKees Rocks.  Following the race, awards will be given to top finishers followed by a free concert in the park.  Parking is available in the parking lots at Pat Catans and the Bottom Dollar with shuttles available from each lot beginning at 5 p.m.  For more information please visit http://mckeesrocks.com/blog/

Brookline Business Feature

Hair by ConroyThis week’s featured Brookline business is Hair by Conroy, located at 906 Brookline Boulevard.  Hair by Conroy is a full-service hair salon that has been in business since 1980 and has been located along the Boulevard for five years.  They specialize in color and color correction, offers cut and style services for women and men and offers waxing services.  Hair by Conroy sells and uses Redken products.  They are typically open from Tuesday – Saturday each week and selected Sundays.  To learn more about Hair by Conroy or to make an appointment please call 412-381-8595.  Please continue to support local merchants during the Brookline Boulevard Streetscape project and remember:

Brookline is open for business!

Labor DayFontana Fact

Labor Day is celebrated nationwide on the first Monday in September and was first recognized as a federal holiday in 1894.  This holiday is yearly national tribute that honors the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

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
CHIP National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Southwestern Pennsylvania Tough Mudder DEP