Senator Fontana visited the Pittsburgh Musical Theater’s Community Day in the West End on Saturday, Sept. 26. PMT students performed outside for guests as part of the festivities. Congratulations to Colleen Doyno and the staff at PMT for the great work they are doing there with the students and thanks for being such a terrific neighbor in the West End!
As the Vice Chair of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) I want to remind students and families that the agency has expanded its public service. PHEAA is a national provider of student financial aid services, serving millions of students and thousands of schools through its loan guaranty, loan servicing, financial aid processing, outreach, and other student aid programs.
As part of its public service mission, PHEAA has implemented a strategy to ensure that students and their families do not over-borrow. PHEAA has launched phase 2 of the online resource, www.MySmartBorrowing.org. This site helps educate borrowers in matching their anticipated career’s income with anticipated college debt costs, all while building a monthly budget, matching income to expenses, to see if they can afford the college of their choice. In providing this resource, PHEAA partnered with the U.S. Department of Labor and Industry and the U.S. Department of Education to provide data sets with pre-populated anticipated income for the student’s career choice and living expenses based on the geographic region in which the student plans to reside post-college.
My Smart Borrowing is not geared to steer a student to a particular school based on costs. Its purpose is to ensure that students and families are educated about how a student’s anticipated income will match their anticipated living expenses, including student loans. The site also provides a Q&A with a counselor, information on preparing and applying to schools, and self-assessments for students and much more.
I encourage any future or current college students and their families to visit the site, www.MySmartBorrowing.org and utilize the interactive tools available to assist with not over-borrowing. While students may not always know exactly what career they wish to pursue as a teenager, it is important to be cognizant of potential costs and earnings prior to incurring student loan debt.
5 Tips for Smart Borrowing
- Research your expected salary in your future career, find an affordable school, and borrow realistically
- Research your job availability in your chosen field, before selecting your major
- Consider all types of financial aid carefully
- Educate yourself on the many loan options available before borrowing
- Inconsistent or untimely loan repayment could affect your future
This week, Sept. 28 – October 2, is Manufacturing Week in Pennsylvania. This is part of a nationwide celebration designed to change people’s perceptions of manufacturing today, draw attention to the amazing career opportunities available in a variety of sectors, and educate the public on the significant impact manufacturing has on the economy.
Pennsylvania has a deep history and rich legacy in manufacturing as it has long been the foundation for the state’s economy. Today, manufacturing has a $79 billion impact on Pennsylvania’s economy, the 8th largest output in the country. Workers in the manufacturing sector earn an average annual wage of $62,140.
Hundreds of events and tours will be held throughout the week giving Pennsylvanians the opportunity to visit and learn more about local manufacturers. An interactive map and list of events and tours can be found by clicking here.
Did You Know…
Did you know that there are 569,625 Pennsylvanians working in the manufacturing industry?
Flu/Pneumonia Shot & Senior Clinic
Last Friday I hosted my annual Flu/Pneumonia Shot & Senior Clinic in Quinn Hall at the Church of the Resurrection in Brookline. American HealthCare Group provided free vaccinations to seniors and I was thrilled to have over a dozen organizations from around the region in attendance. Thanks to AARP, the Office of the Consumer Advocate, PA APPRISE Health Insurance Counseling Program, Allegheny County Area Agency on Aging, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Seton Center, Allegheny County Bar Association, Duquesne University’s Mylan School of Pharmacy, Public Utility Commission, Just Harvest, and American HealthCare Group for attending. Special thanks also to the staff at the Church of the Resurrection for providing the space and assistance with our event.
Voter Registration Deadline & Absentee Ballots
I want to remind anyone not registered to vote who wishes to vote in the November 3 General Election that you must register by next Monday, October 5. Remember, voter registration can now be done online. Simply visit www.votespa.com to get started. In addition to registering to vote, current registered voters can also use the online system to make updates to their voter record, such as a change of name, address, or party affiliation.
Anyone wishing to register with a paper application can obtain an application from any of my district offices, or by downloading one at www.votespa.com. Completed applications can be returned by mail to the Allegheny County Division of Elections and must be postmarked by October 5 in order to be processed prior to the November 3 General Election. You can also register by completing an application in person, no later than October 5, 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
Additionally, anyone wishing to request an absentee ballot can pick up an application at any of my district offices or download one at www.votespa.com. Please note that all completed absentee ballot applications must be received in the Division of Elections office no later than 5 p.m. on Tuesday, October 27.
Fire Company/Volunteer Ambulance Grants
I want to remind all volunteer fire companies and ambulance services organizations that the Pennsylvania Office of the State Fire Commissioner (OSFC) has opened the online grant application process for the 2015-16 Fire Company and Volunteer Ambulance Service Grant Program (FCVASGP). The application became available on September 8 and will remain open through October 22 at 4 p.m. No applications will be accepted after October 22.
All fire companies, volunteer ambulance services, and volunteer rescue squads are eligible to apply for grant funding. Eligible projects include: construction and/or renovation of the fire company’s or ambulance service’s facility; the purchase or repair of firefighting, ambulance or rescue equipment; the purchase or repair of fixtures and furnishings necessary to maintain or improve the capability of the company to provide services; debt reduction associated with the facility or equipment; or the training and certification of members.
Grant applications are available online by clicking here. For any organization that submitted a grant application last year, you still must create a new User ID and Password in order to access the 2015-16 grant application.
Carnegie Science Center Honored
The Carnegie Science Center was honored last week with the 2015 Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Award for Business Practice from the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC), an international organization of more than 600 science centers and museums dedicated to encouraging public engagement with science among diverse audiences.
The award recognized the Carnegie STEM Excellence Pathway, a process developed by the Science Center by which school districts or individual schools can improve their science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education practices. The Pathway’s goal is to help all schools strengthen their STEM efforts with a plan specifically tailored to their individualized STEM education needs and resources, including compliance with Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards as well as career awareness.
In just one year since the Pathway was developed, 169 schools and districts in 11 states and the District of Columbia have become Pathway Partners, reaching more than 3,000 schools and 2.6 million students.
Congratulations to the Carnegie Science Center on receiving this well-deserved recognition and for all their efforts on behalf of students and their work with schools to help prepare our kids for future jobs.
First Night Pittsburgh
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust announced last week that The Wailers will perform as the headline act for the 22nd annual Highmark First Night Pittsburgh. The announcement was made on Sept. 23 which was the 35th anniversary of reggae legend Bob Marley’s last concert at the Benedum Center for Performing Arts, formerly the Stanley Theater. Marley’s former band, The Wailers, epitomize this year’s Highmark First Night Pittsburgh theme, Around the World-Around the ‘Burgh.
Highmark First Night Pittsburgh, a production of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, is an arts-focused and family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration in downtown Pittsburgh’s Cultural District. It is the largest single-day celebration in the region offering around 150 events at nearly 50 indoor and outdoor locations within the 14-block Cultural District.
For more information on this year’s First Night Pittsburgh including admission information, volunteer opportunities, events, and more, please visit www.firstnightpgh.org.
Sept. 18 marked the beginning of RADical Days, the annual event sponsored by the Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD) and its funded assets to thank the public for the sales tax funds that support our region’s parks, libraries, sports and civic facilities, and arts and culture organizations. RADical Days runs through October 11 and will feature more than 60 of the region’s favorite cultural assets opening their doors or entertaining the public at no charge.
Assets are not offering free admission every day. You may visit the RADical Days page at http://radworkshere.org/pages/radical-days-2015 to view a full schedule and listing of participating venues. Admissions are first-come, first-served and don’t offer rain checks. Some events may require advance reservations or may have space limitations and parking fees may be charged at venue lots. RADical Days events are open to all and accessible.
The Nina and Pinta were not the actual names of two of Christopher Columbus’ three ships. In 15th-century Spain, ships were traditionally named after saints. Salty sailors, however, bestowed less-than-sacred nicknames upon their vessels. Mariners dubbed one of the three ships on Columbus’ 1492 voyage the Pinta, Spanish for “the painted one” or “prostitute.” The Santa Clara, meanwhile, was nicknamed the Nina in honor of its owner, Juan Nino. Although the Santa Maria is called by its official name, its nickname was La Gallega, after the province of Galicia in which it was built
Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana
|| Brookline District
932 Brookline Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15226
Weekdays – 9 am – 5 pm
543 Main Capitol
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Weekdays – 8:30 am – 5 pm
524 Pine Hollow Road
Weekdays – 10 am – 4 pm
|| Beechview Satellite
1660 Broadway Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15216
Tuesdays – 10 am – 4 pm
|Strip District (Mobile Office)
Pittsburgh Public Market
2401 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Thursdays – 10 am – 4 pm
|Northside (Mobile Office)
1230 Federal Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Wednesdays – 10 am – 4 pm