Senator Fontana spoke on a wide variety of topics and answered questions from members of the Advocacy and Governmental Affairs Committee for the Golden Triangle Council of the Blind on Saturday, Nov. 17 in downtown Pittsburgh.
Re-Elected to Leadership
|The leadership team of the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Caucus
for the 2019-20 legislative session: seated (left to right) – Sen. Judy Schwank, Vice Chair, Appropriations; Sen. Jay Costa, Leader; Sen. Lisa Boscola, Policy; standing (left to right) – Sen. Anthony Williams, Whip; Sen. John Blake, Administrator; Sen. Larry Farnese, Secretary; Sen. Wayne Fontana, Caucus Chair; Sen. Vincent Hughes, Appropriations.
Last week I was proud to have been unanimously re-elected to serve as Democratic Caucus chairman for the upcoming two-year legislative session. As caucus chair, I have the responsibility of setting the daily caucus agenda and leading the discussion on legislation under consideration on the Senate floor.
I am honored and humbled by the confidence my Senate Democratic colleagues have continued to show in me. In this role I will continue to work on creating more jobs, upgrading Allegheny County’s aging infrastructure, ensuring a quality education for children, curbing property taxes, protecting the state’s environment and working with local leaders to help fund and support area projects and initiatives.
Serving as caucus chairman provides an excellent opportunity to better represent the families, small businesses, veterans, and seniors of this district and I look forward to continuing to serve all my constituents in this new capacity in the upcoming session.
All Senate offices will be closed this Thursday, Nov. 22 and Friday, Nov. 23 in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday. My offices will re-open on Monday, Nov. 26 as scheduled. Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Grants Totaling $952,500 Awarded for Local Environmental/Recreational Projects
Last week, six projects within the 42nd Senatorial District were awarded funding through the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Community Conservation Partnership Program (C2P2). I’m pleased that these state dollars will support local efforts to enhance parks and other recreational facilities. A sound environmental and recreational foundation is an essential part of a community’s appeal.
The state grants are as follows:
- Avalon Borough will receive $77,500 to rehabilitate the Avalon Community Park. Work will include renovating ballfields, dugouts and a track. They will also install pedestrian walkways, a bleacher and scoreboard;
- Castle Shannon Borough will receive $185,000 to rehabilitate and further develop Hamilton Park. Workers will construct pedestrian walkways, an access drive retaining wall and other various landscaping and site improvements;
- Coraopolis Borough will receive $200,000 to rehabilitate and further develop Riverfront Park. Workers will construct a gazebo, pavilion, playground equipment and parking area;
- Pittsburgh will receive $40,000 to prepare a master site development plan for the 13-acre Kennard Park in the Hill District;
- Pittsburgh will also receive $200,000 to rehabilitate and develop Townsend Parklet in Elliott. Workers will repair a pedestrian walkway and basketball court, install play equipment, fencing, lighting and make other site improvements; and
- The Sports and Exhibition Authority of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County will receive $250,000 to develop I-579 Cap Park. Workers will install a pedestrian walkway, event lawn, amphitheater, story wall, arbor, lighting and other utilities.
The C2P2 provides financial and technical assistance to local governments, river and trail organizations, land trusts, and other nonprofit organizations for the planning, acquisition and development of park recreation, conservation and greenways projects. The program is administered by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and is funded by several sources, including the Growing Greener Bond Fund.
Veterans Trust Fund – Deadline Extended!
The PA Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) is accepting applications for the 2018-19 Veterans’ Trust Fund (VTF) grant cycle. Up to $800,000 in VTF grant funding will be competitively awarded for programs and services benefiting Pennsylvania veterans. Grant applications must be received by 3 p.m. EST on Friday, Dec. 14, 2018. The deadline was recently extended from Nov. 30.
Up to $150,000 is available to counties for new, innovative or expanded programs or services operated by county directors of veterans affairs or to the Pennsylvania Association of County Directors of Veterans Affairs. Applicants in this category may request up to $20,000 per county with a priority focus on veterans’ outreach and veterans’ court programs.
Up to $650,000 is available for veterans’ service organizations with 501(c)(19) status and non-profits with 501(c)(3) status under the Internal Revenue Code that have a mission of serving Pennsylvania veterans. Applicants in this category may request up to $50,000 for programs focusing on veteran homelessness, behavioral health initiatives and veterans’ courts.
Eligible applicants from either category may also submit applications for programs addressing newly identified, unmet or emerging needs of veterans and their families.
Since the VTF’s inception in 2013, 126 grants totaling $2,932,860 have been awarded to organizations providing services to veterans in Pennsylvania. The VTF is funded by generous Pennsylvanians who voluntarily donate when applying for or renewing driver’s licenses, photo IDs, or motor vehicle registrations; purchasing Honoring Our Veterans license plates; or making private donations. State employees can also donate to the VTF during the annual State Employee Combined Appeal (SECA) campaign. Tax-deductible donations can be made online at www.donate.dmva.pa.gov or mailed to: Veterans’ Trust Fund, Bldg. 0-47, Fort Indiantown Gap, Annville, PA 17003-5002.
To learn more about the VTF and the grant application process, visit www.vtf.pa.gov or follow DMVA on Facebook at www.facebook.com/padmva.
Senior Center Grants
I want to remind everyone that the Pennsylvania Department of Aging has a grant funding opportunity for Pennsylvania’s Senior Community Centers (SCCs) of $2 million to be awarded for the 2018-19 fiscal year. The grants are intended to provide funding to enhance Pennsylvania’s SCCs by increasing participation and programming, attract a new generation of older adults, and enable SCCs to provide a safe and healthy environment for participants.
Applications must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. on Nov. 30. More information on this grant program including how to apply can be found by clicking here or visiting www.aging.pa.gov/SeniorCommunityCenterGrants.
Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program
The deadline to submit an application to the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue for the 2017 Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is Dec. 31, 2018. Applications are available at my district offices, online at www.revenue.pa.gov or by calling 1-888-222-9190. As always, my staff would be happy to assist you in preparing your application.
The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters. Please keep in mind, half of Social Security income is excluded.
The program is funded by the Pennsylvania Lottery and revenue from slots gaming.
Did You Know…
Did you know since the program’s 1971 inception, older and disabled adults have received more than $6.7 billion in property tax and rent relief?
Get Stuffed with Love
Rotary Clubs of Bethel-St. Clair and Northern Allegheny, and Holy Assumption of St. Mary Orthodox Church are partnering again this year to cook and assemble Thanksgiving meals to those in need, and Pittsburgh Police officers will deliver food on Thanksgiving Day. Over the last 15 years, this event has grown from feeding 250 people who are homeless, shut-ins, or disabled, to over 3,700 people.
Anyone in need of a Thanksgiving meal can contact their local police zone officer as listed below no later than today:
Zone 1: Officer Sylvester Wright or Officer Darrick Payton, 412-323-7201
Zone 2: Officer Antoine Davis or Officer Eldridge Kimbrough, 412-255-2848
Zone 3: Officer Christine Luffey, 412-488-8425
Zone 4: Officer Victoria Butch, 412-422-6559
Zone 5: Officer Michael Gay or Officer Jeff Crawford, 412-665-3770
Zone 6: Officer Kenneth Stevwing, 412-937-3051
If you don’t need a meal but are interested in donating, please call one of the contacts listed above for more information.
Small Business Saturday
This Saturday, Nov. 24 marks the ninth anniversary of what has become Small Business Saturday across the country. This annual event began in 2010 with the help of American Express and is held each year on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, as an awareness campaign to support small businesses in neighborhoods across America.
Locally, many communities within the 42nd Senatorial District are participating in Small Business Saturday with deals, sales, and other events. There are some great local business districts and terrific local merchants with much to offer to a wide variety of clientele. American Express has established a site, https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small/, where small businesses can register and shoppers can search for small businesses in their area. To find participating small businesses in your area, just click on the “Find Small Businesses Near You” tab and then enter your location to get started.
The OASIS Intergenerational Tutoring Program is hosting two training sessions for older adults interested in volunteering as tutors. OASIS is a non-profit organization that recruits and trains older adults (50+) to tutor children (grades K-4) in Pittsburgh Public Schools and Woodland Hills School District in reading and writing. OASIS has tutors in over 32 schools and serves 200 students yearly.
Training sessions will be held Tuesday, Nov. 27 and Thursday, Nov. 29 from 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. at the OASIS office, located in the Duquesne Light Building, Suite 525 at 411 Seventh Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh. All materials and clearances are provided by OASIS.
For more information on how to become an OASIS tutor, please contact John D. Spehar, Pittsburgh OASIS Tutoring Program Director at 412-393-7648 or firstname.lastname@example.org. OASIS is an affiliate of the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council.
Starting in the 1940s, farmers would gift the President of the United States with some plump birds for roast turkey over the holidays, which the first family would invariably eat. While President John F. Kennedy was the first American president to spare a turkey’s life the annual White House tradition of “pardoning” a turkey officially started with George H.W. Bush in 1989.
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
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1660 Broadway Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15216