State Police Tragedy
I wish to express my deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Corporal Bryon K. Dickson II, a seven-year member of the Pennsylvania State Police. Cpl. Dickson was shot and killed in an ambush outside of the Blooming Grove Station in Pike County late Friday night. State Trooper Alex T. Douglass was also shot and is recovering.
The State Police is investigating this crime and is offering a reward of $75,000 for information that leads to the capture of the individual or individuals responsible for this cowardly act.
The preferred tip line is 1-866-326-7256.
Legislative Stars Align for Action on Ridesharing Legislation
(Below is an opinion piece that was penned by Senator Fontana last week)
Legislative stars have started to align behind efforts to swiftly move legislation authorizing ridesharing companies. A bill that I introduced (Senate Bill 1457) would create a new category of transportation providers called Transportation Network Companies (TNC). TNCs use a software platform to allow ridesharing customers to connect with drivers using Smartphone technology.
In Allegheny County, ridesharing companies are now operating with temporary permission of state regulators. A more permanent solution is needed and that’s where lawmakers from both parties and both houses of the General Assembly have stepped to the plate.
Since the introduction of the bill there has been an outpouring of support. From the commissioners of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) to legislators who welcome the new consumer-friendly ridesharing approach, momentum has been building to take legislative action.
Acceptance of ridesharing companies and operations has grown exponentially. Not only are there efforts to bring the concept to other cities in Pennsylvania beyond Pittsburgh but there is significant support on the national level and in other states for establishing ridesharing alternatives. In fact, earlier this month the California Senate overwhelmingly passed a measure to authorize ridesharing.
Here in Pennsylvania, the good news is that a growing number of members of both parties and in both chambers of the General Assembly, PUC commissioners and others have coalesced around the need to recognize this state-of-the-art transportation in statute. Even Gov. Tom Corbett has indicated that he would sign into law a bill that authorizes companies like Uber and Lyft that provide transportation alternatives.
The bad news is that there is a scarcity of legislative days before the end of session to move the measure through both houses of the General Assembly and get it to the Governor for his signature. There are only 10 voting session days scheduled in the Senate before the General Assembly adjourns sine die.
There is little question about the efficacy of my proposal. My legislation would institutionalize safeguards and protect consumers with common-sense provisions while providing the transportation option. It would require that TNCs keep detailed records, operate driver-training programs and implement driver guidelines. They must also have a zero-tolerance for drug and alcohol use. Background checks would be completed on drivers and the companies would have adequate insurance coverage.
There simply has been no good rationale for stalling the authorization of TNCs. Consumers have expressed a desire to have an alternate transportation option and, given the experience and success of Uber and Lyft serving neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, there is clearly a market for this service. The last thing citizens need to hear is more excuses about why the General Assembly can’t act when there is both a will and a way.
I am hopeful that we can use the momentum that has been built and turn it into a legislative tsunami that will wash over any special interest objection to my legislation. TNCs are ready to meet the transportation needs of this century. It’s time to move Senate Bill 1457.
Flu/Pneumonia Shots & Senior Clinic – September 30th
My annual Flu/Pneumonia Shot & Senior Clinic is scheduled for Tuesday, September 30th 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 to bring your card with you.
In addition to receiving a flu or pneumonia vaccination, attendees will have the opportunity to visit with representatives from several organizations and learn about services and resources available to them. The Duquesne University Mylan School of Pharmacy will be in attendance to answer specific questions about medications. The Attorney General’s office will also be represented, providing information to seniors on protecting themselves from abuse and from scams, frauds and identity theft. I am pleased to also have the following organizations in attendance providing important information: Allegheny County Area Agency on Aging; Primary Care Health Services; AARP; Office of the Consumer Advocate; LifeSpan; Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh; PA APPRISE; and Just Harvest.
If you need a flu or pneumonia shot or if you’re interested in visiting with these organizations, I hope you’ll consider attending. Light refreshments will be served. I hope to see you there!
Voting Registration Deadline
Anyone not registered to vote who wishes to vote in the November 4th General Election must complete a voter registration application by October 6th. You can obtain an application at any of my district offices. Applications can also be downloaded by visiting www.votespa.com.
Completed applications can be returned by mail to the Allegheny County Division of Elections and must be postmarked by October 6th in order to be processed prior to the November 4th General Election. You can also register by completing an application in person, no later than October 6th, at the Division of Elections office. The location of the Allegheny County Division of Elections office is listed below. For any questions related to registering to vote, please contact 412-350-4510.
Attn: Voter Registration Services
Allegheny County Division of Elections
542 Forbes Avenue, Room 609
Pittsburgh, PA 15219-2953
Fire Company/Volunteer Ambulance Grants
I want to remind all fire and ambulance companies that the Pennsylvania Office of the State Fire Commissioner (OSFC) has opened the online grant application process for the 2014-15 Fire Company, Volunteer Ambulance Service Grant Program (FCVASGP). The application was made available online on September 3rd and will remain open until October 17th at 4 p.m. No applications will be accepted after October 17th.
All fire companies, volunteer ambulance services, and volunteer rescue squads are eligible to apply for grant funding. Organizations may apply for grant funding for a combination of up to two projects. These projects must be for the following: construction and/or renovation of the fire company’s or ambulance service’s facility; the purchase or repair of fixtures and furnishings necessary to maintain or improve the capability of the company to provide services; the purchase or repair of firefighting, ambulance or rescue equipment; debt reduction associated with the facility or equipment; or the training and certification of members.
Grant applications are available online by clicking here. For organizations that submitted a grant application last year, you must create a new User ID and Password in order to access the 2014-15 grant application.
County Health Department Public Meetings
The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) is hosting a series of public meetings this fall, in each of the 13 County Council districts, to engage the public in a community discussion about health issues. The ACHD will present the findings of their first major Community Health Assessment and hear from residents about health issues and problems in each community and discuss the best ways to improve health for County residents.
Residents are encouraged to attend the meeting in their County Council District, but are welcome to attend any of the other meetings. The first meeting is scheduled for September 22nd at Allegheny General Hospital, in District 13. For a complete listing of scheduled meetings, please visit www.achd.net/~communitymeeting. On the website, residents can find the district in which they reside. For more information on ACHD’s public meetings, please contact Casey Monroe at 412-578-8364 or email@example.com.
ALCOSAN Open House
ALCOSAN is hosting their annual free Open House on this Saturday, September 20th from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at their 56-acre campus, located at 3300 Preble Avenue on the North Side. The region’s largest environmental and water protection festival features hands-on environmental activities and exhibits, microbiology and watershed life presentations, guided tours of the ALCOSAN Treatment Plant and Laboratory, and games, food and fun for all ages.
For more information please visit www.alcosan.org or call their Open House hotline at 412-732-8002.
The Borough of Heidelberg is hosting their 4th Annual Oktoberfest celebration to honor the town’s German heritage on Saturday, September 27th. The event is held at Heidelberg Park from 1 – 8 p.m. Festivities during the day include a raffle, live music and dancing, German and American foods, beers and crafters, children’s activities and a Zambelli fireworks show. More information on specific activities and musical performances can be found by visiting www.HeidelbergBorough.com.
The Jewish Healthcare Foundation is looking for grandmothers to join the new Pittsburgh chapter of Grandmother Power! This initiative is part of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation’s campaign to vaccinate children and young adults against the human papillomavirus (HPV) which can cause a host of cancers. There is a safe, effective three-dose vaccine that can prevent the HPV types that cause these cancers, but vaccination rates are very low. The Centers for Disease Control recommends all boys and girls ages 11-12 get vaccinated.
Grandmother Power is conducting a grassroots effort to get children vaccinated against HPV and protected from HPV-related cancers. Their first meeting is scheduled for this Friday, September 19th at Rodef Shalom Congregation, located at 4905 Fifth Avenue in Oakland. For more information about this effort or to RSVP for the first meeting, please contact Sue Steele with the Jewish Health Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did You Know…
Did you know that according to the Center for Disease Control’s 2013 National Immunization Survey, less than 38 percent of girls between the ages of 13-17 and just 14 percent of boys between the ages of 11-12 receive the three recommended doses of the HPV vaccine?
Intellectual Disability Care Training
The NHS Allegheny Valley School will be hosting a two-day training for those providing care to people with intellectual disabilities who are also experiencing Alzheimer’s/Dementia (A/D). The training is geared towards health and human service personnel, care providers and family caregivers who care for aging individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities and dementia. The training program is being done in conjunction with the National Task Group on Intellectual Disabilities and Dementia Practices of the American Association of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry.
The two-day training is scheduled for September 30th and October 1st, from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at the Forest Grove Volunteer Fire Department. Space is limited and there is a registration fee. For more information or to register online please visit www.aadmd.org/NTG. You may also contact Dorothy Gordon, Chief Development Officer at NHS Allegheny Valley School at 412-299-2228 or email@example.com.
Prostate Cancer Awareness
September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men and is a leading cause of cancer death in men, second only to lung cancer. Prostate cancer is also very treatable and when diagnosed at an early stage, the survival rate is near 100 percent.
The Prostate Cancer Foundation offers a wealth of information about the disease on their website, www.pcf.org, including information on symptoms, risk factors, treatment options, when and how to be screened, and much more. Also, Zero: The Project to End Prostate Cancer often conducts free screenings. You can visit them on online at www.zerocancer.org to learn more.
This past Sunday, September 14th, marked the 50th anniversary of The Beatles only trip to Pittsburgh where they played at the Civic Arena before a crowd of 12,603. The first official North American Tour in 1964 saw the Beatles play 32 shows in 24 cities over 33 days.
Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana
|| Brookline District
932 Brookline Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15226
543 Main Capitol
Harrisburg, PA 17120
524 Pine Hollow Rd
| Beechview Satellite
1660 Broadway Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15216