Preparing for the Upcoming Election
Although it may seem like many months before the 2016 General Election takes place, now is a good time to remind my constituents of a very important and useful Pennsylvania Department of State web-based educational nonpartisan toolkit. Everyone.votespa.com is designed to provide residents with crucial information about all aspects of voting. For example, at this website you can:
- Register online to vote
- Check voter registration status
- Find your polling place
- Apply for an absentee ballot
- Locate your county election office
- Poll worker training
I would also like to remind residents of some of their voting obligations and rights:
- If you are a first time voter in a precinct, you must show identification. This is the one and only time ID is required. First time voters will need to show a non-photo ID that contains your name and address. Acceptable forms of ID include: driver’s license, U.S. passport, employee ID, Military ID, student ID, firearm permit, current bank statement, utility bill or paycheck, or even your voter registration card.
- A voter whose name is not in the poll book can still vote. Simply ask your local official to call the county board of elections to confirm your registration. If the board of elections cannot find your name in its voter registration database, you are entitled to use a provisional ballot.
- Another little known fact is that when 50 percent or more of the voting machines are not working at your polling place, you have the right to vote by emergency paper ballot. Poll workers should immediately offer the ballot, but if they don’t, please request one instead of leaving without voting.
- Registered voters have the right to assistance at the polling place which includes foreign language or literacy assistance. An individual may select any person to help as long as the person is not your employer, union representative or Judge of Elections. Voters do not need to be designated in the poll books as “assistance permitted” to receive help. A person who wants assistance will be asked to sign an Assistance Declaration at the precinct, unless the poll book already indicates “assistance permitted.” Voters also have the right to refuse assistance.
Most importantly, if you are interested in registering to vote in the upcoming 2016 General Election, you must do so by October 11, 2016. The Pennsylvania General Election this year is on November 8, 2016.
12th Annual FontanaFest
We’re less than three weeks away from the 12th Annual FontanaFest, which is scheduled for Saturday, September 24 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Highmark Stadium, home of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
Once again, parking will be free in the stadium’s West Lot, compliments of Forest City!
The annual community event is perfect for families and children, promoting healthy and active lifestyles by providing many fun activities and crafts. Children will have the chance to play on several inflatables, an obstacle course, and a climbing wall and visit with a face painter and balloon maker. All attendees also are provided with the opportunity to engage with several organizations from around the region, participating in crafts and games, while also receiving important information on available services and programs, nutrition, health care, jobs and jobs training.
I’m thrilled that once again this year, students from Pittsburgh Musical Theatre will join us to perform at 11:15 a.m.! Also new to FontanaFest this year is a Roving Puppet Stage from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. and three puppet shows scheduled for 1 p.m., 1:30 p.m., and 2 p.m. The Pittsburgh Firefighters are also participating in this year’s event for the first time to teach children and families about fire safety.
I’m very pleased the following organizations will be joining us this year: The Home Depot, Allegheny County Sheriff Bill Mullen’s office; Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh; Carnegie Science Center; Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh; Homeless Children’s Education Fund; Pittsburgh International Children’s Theater; WQED-TV; Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy; Calgon Carbon; Penn State Center Pittsburgh; Gateway Health Plan; Comcast; Duquesne Light; PA Parks and Forests Foundation; ALCOSAN; and Life’s Work of Western PA.
Stay tuned for updates on the schedule of events, participants, and more.
Flu/Pneumonia Shot & Senior Clinic
I will be hosting my annual Flu/Pneumonia Shot & Senior Clinic on Friday, September 30 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. in Quinn Hall at the Church of the Resurrection in Brookline. American HealthCare Group will be providing free vaccinations to any senior with the Medicare Part B health insurance card. Make sure to bring your card with you.
I am also pleased that several organizations from around the region will be present to provide seniors with important information on available services and resources. Organizations scheduled to participate thus far include: AARP; Allegheny County Bar Association; Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh; Duquesne University Mylan School of Pharmacy; Office of the Consumer Advocate; Public Utility Commission; the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office; Seton Center; OASIS; and the PA Captioned Telephone Relay Service. I will continue to update you with additional information on this year’s Flu/Pneumonia Shot & Senior Clinic in the coming weeks.
Last week the Homeless Children's Education Fund launched BigBurgh.com, a web-based application that connects the disenfranchised and homeless to a Continuum of Care network of 65 human services agencies in “real time.” This mobile-optimized website pulls together the services that can help those having a tough time, especially the homeless or those at risk of being homeless in the City of Pittsburgh. Only those services that are free, good and welcoming to those without an address are included.
The “app” opens with a “For You” dial, allowing the user to filter results by gender/age or Veteran/family status. If the user wants to see it all, they can go directly to the “Services Dial.” Everyday needs are represented with icons including “Expert Lookup,” a repository for programs and events. Below these dials are two “urgent need” buttons. The left one leads to “Safe Places and Hotlines” and the other is called “Live Street Help.”
I commend Joe Lagana, the founder of Homeless Children’s Education Fund for making this a reality. He along with Maurita Bryant, recently retired Assistant Chief with Pittsburgh Bureau of Police collaborated on this initiative.
To utilize BigBurgh and to learn more about its abilities, please visit www.bigburgh.com.
Did You Know…
Did you know that one in 45 children in the United States are homeless at some point in a year?
Reminder - School Bus Safety
As the school year has begun, I want to remind parents and students to visit www.justdrivepa.org to view tips offered by the PA Department of Transportation (PennDOT) for kids to stay safe while riding the bus. I also would like to remind motorists of the state’s School Bus Stopping Law and that anyone convicted of violating the School Bus Stopping Law can face penalties including a $250 fine, five points on your driving record, and a 60-day license suspension. Below are important items to remember when driving. If you are driving in areas with a high concentration of students waiting for the bus, please slow down and be careful.
- Motorists must stop when meeting a school bus with red signal lights flashing and stop arm extended.
- Motorists must stop at least 10 feet away from school buses.
- Motorists must wait until the red lights have stopped flashing and the stop arm has been withdrawn before moving.
- Do not proceed until all children have reached a place of safety.
- Motorists approaching an intersection where a school bus is stopped with red signal lights flashing and stop arm extended must stop whether on the same street or the cross street.
- Motorists do not have to stop on a highway with clearly defined dividing sections or physical barriers providing separate roadways. This only applies when the school bus is on the opposite side of the road.
Coordinating Medicare & Medicaid Benefits – Lunch and Learn Event
The Allegheny County APPRISE/Allegheny Link program is hosting a series of lunch and learns with the next one scheduled for Sept. 15. APPRISE is the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) for Pennsylvania’s Medicare beneficiaries. The Pennsylvania Department of Aging created APPRISE to help citizens with Medicare understand their health insurance options so they can make informed decisions about which plan is best for them.
The Sept. 15 event will feature a presentation on coordinating Medicare and Medicaid benefits and the upcoming changes in Medicare coverage for duel eligible beneficiaries in 2017. Some people are eligible for Medicare and Medicaid at the same time, which is known as being duel eligible. This presentation will examine the special characteristics of duel eligibility under the Medicare and Medicaid systems, how each system coordinates with each other, and the unique problems that duel eligibility generates. Attendees can also learn at significant and far reaching changes that begin in 2017 for the access and utilization of health care by duel eligible individuals in Pennsylvania, the Community Health Choices (CHC) initiative.
The program starts at 11:30 a.m. with lunch with the presentation beginning at noon and running until 3 p.m. and will take place at the Allegheny County Human Service Building, located at One Smithfield Street in downtown Pittsburgh.
For more information about this program or to R.S.V.P., please contact Bill McKendree at 412-661-1670, ext. 645 or email@example.com.
Stroll the Strip – THIS FRIDAY
Eat, drink and stroll your way through the Strip District this Friday, Sept. 9 from 5 – 8 p.m.! Strip District Neighbors is hosting the annual Stroll the Strip, highlighting the amazing businesses and flavors that make the Strip District a culinary treasure.
Stroll stops include Pittsburgh Winery, Wigle Whiskey Distillery, Society of Contemporary Craft, Lidia’s Pittsburgh, Harp and Fiddle, Maggie’s Farm Distillery, Beer Hive/Pittsburgh Pickle Co., Savoy, In the Kitchen, Stamboolis Brothers Company, Osteria2350, Thin Man Sandwich, Cavo, Allegheny Coffee & Tea Exchange and more!
For more information and to purchase advance tickets please visit www.strollthestrip.com. All proceeds from Stroll the Strip benefit the Strip District Neighbors, a 501c3 organization with the mission of promoting economic development and a high quality of life in Pittsburgh’s Strip District while preserving the personality, integrity, and character of the Strip.
Taste of Beechview – THIS SATURDAY
The 4th annual Taste of Beechview is scheduled this Saturday, Sept. 10 from 2 – 5 p.m. The festival will take place in the Pittsburgh Parking Authority’s lot at Beechview and Broadway Avenues and along the sidewalks of the 1500 and 1600 blocks of Broadway. Attendees will have the chance to sample some of Beechview’s best restaurants and caterers reflecting the neighborhood’s rich diversity and culture. There also will be live music, prizes from local businesses, and the chance to take a photo with the two-dimensional re-creation of the historic Beechview trolley. Following the Taste of Beechview will be a happy hour from 5 – 7 p.m. featuring specials from The Alpine, BREW on Broadway, and Moose Lodge 609.
Mobile Veterans Outreach Van
Anyone attending the Pittsburgh Riverhounds game on Sept. 14 at Highmark Stadium will have the chance to stop by the Mobile Veterans Outreach Van to learn more about benefits available to state veterans and family members. Beginning at 5:30 p.m. prior to the Riverhounds game vs. Cincinnati, accredited veterans services officers will be on hand to provide information and assistance to veterans and family members who may be eligible for benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Mobile Veterans Outreach Van will be located just outside the main gate to Highmark Stadium. Game tickets for military and veterans can be purchased at a discounted price of $5 at www.ticketmaster.com, using the code FIVE. For more information, please visit www.riverhounds.com.
Dormont Seeking Crossing Guards
Dormont Borough is currently accepting applications for the position of School Crossing Guard. Anyone interested can apply at the Dormont Borough Office. For more information, please contact Marie Smith in the Dormont Police Department at 412-561-8900, ext. 304.
One of the oldest rivalries in the country resumes this weekend in Pittsburgh when Pitt and Penn State play at Heinz Field, their 97th meeting and first since the year 2000, a 12-0 Pitt win. While one of the oldest in the country there are actually two teams in Pennsylvania who have played each other more. Lehigh and Lafayette have played each other 151 times dating back to 1884, the most games played by two schools in the country.
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
|Northside (Mobile Office)
1230 Federal Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Wednesdays – 10 am – 4 pm
|Lawrenceville (Mobile Office)
279 Fisk Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15201
Thursdays - 11 am - 4 pm