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Senator Wayne D. Fontana
Senator Fontana spoke at a press conference on Friday at the Heinz History Center that kicked off the Whiskey Rebellion Trail tour. 
Senator Fontana spoke at a press conference on Friday at the Heinz History Center that kicked off the Whiskey Rebellion Trail tour.  The tour which started in Pittsburgh and encompasses parts of the Mid-Atlantic region, tells the story of the Whiskey Rebellion in the late 1700’s while showcasing today’s craft distilling movement.

PA GI Bill

Governor Wolf signed into law House Bill 1324 (SB 1324)Earlier this month, Governor Wolf signed into law House Bill 1324 (SB 1324), now known as Act 32, the PA GI Bill.  The legislation creates a program that allows spouses and children of Pennsylvania National Guard members to attend college at either no cost or a reduced cost. It is the first program of its kind in the entire country and I was proud to vote for this bill when it came before the Senate in June.

Under this new law, Pennsylvania National Guard members who commit to an additional six years of service can receive five years of higher education benefits for their spouses and children. The program will provide for 10 semesters of tuition-free education for family member(s). The benefit must be used at a Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) approved educational institution, and at the tuition rate set by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). The PA GI bill could benefit up to 8,000 military family members. Currently, Pennsylvania National Guard members are eligible for the Education Assistance Program with their initial service obligation of six years that provides them a non-transferable educational benefit.

Families of the Pennsylvania National Guard and all branches of the military are oftentimes forgotten. This program has the value of providing education benefits to Pennsylvania families who sacrifice their loved ones, sometimes for long deployments, while also strengthening the Guard for the future, and making post-secondary education more affordable for thousands of families.

Did You Know…

Did you know the Pennsylvania National Guard is the third largest National Guard in the nation with nearly 20,000 soldiers and airmen who reside in every county across the commonwealth?

Learn About Medical Marijuana, Get a Flu Shot at Annual Senior Fair

On Thursday, Sept. 5, I will be hosting a FREE Senior Fair at the Dormont Recreation Center, located at 1801 Dormont Avenue.  The Senior Fair will run from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  Light refreshments will be served.

New this year, attendees will have the chance to learn about Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program!

Do you suffer from chronic pain, cancer, PTSD, or one of the other 21 qualifying medical conditions? Do you have questions about medical marijuana or need help obtaining your Pennsylvania medical marijuana card? Join Dr. John Metcalf and pharmacists from Maitri Medicinals at my Senior Fair for on-site medical marijuana card certifications and education. Contact 1-833-667-4665 or shelly@mms4relief.com to ensure you come prepared to the event with the necessary medical information.

American Healthcare Group will once again be on hand to provide flu shots for attendees.  There is no charge for the flu shots to anyone with a Medicare Part B card.  Please bring your card with you.

At the Sept. 5 Senior Fair, attendees can also:

  • Drop off unwanted medications as part of Sheriff Mullen’s Project D.U.M.P.
  • Visit with a pharmacist from Duquesne University’s School of Pharmacy to ask about medications
  • Get blood pressure checked
  • Receive important information from participating organizations on services and resources available to seniors

Anyone with questions can contact my district office at 412-344-2551.  If you need a flu shot, want to learn more about medical marijuana, have unwanted medications you need to dispose of, or want to receive important information from some of our region’s finest organizations and senior advocates, I hope you’ll consider attending this free event.

State System of Higher Education Tuition Freeze

Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE)Last week, the Board of Governors for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) voted to freeze tuition for just the second time in the organization’s 36-year history.

Basic tuition for in-state undergraduate students at the system’s 14 universities will remain at $7,716 for the 2019-20 academic year.

Nearly 100,000 students attend a state system university, making it the largest producer of bachelor’s degrees in the Commonwealth. Nearly 90 percent of the student body resides in Pennsylvania, and 72 percent of graduates find work in the Commonwealth within two years of earning their degree.

Eleven members of the Board of Governors voted unanimously in favor of the tuition freeze. The last time the Board of Governors held the line on tuition was 1998-99.

Next year, as part of its ongoing redesign efforts, the State System will for the first time permit individual universities to set multi-year tuition strategies, subject to Board approval. This unprecedented measure, approve by the Board in April, will result in public universities improving their competitiveness and affordability.

REAL ID Reminder

Real IDI want to remind anyone interested in getting a REAL ID how to go about it.  In March, PennDOT began issuing REAL IDs to customers for the first time.

If you received your first Pennsylvania driver's license, learner's permit or photo ID card AFTER September 2003, PennDOT may already have your required REAL ID documentation on file.

If you fall into this category and would like PennDOT to verify that your required REAL ID documentation is on file, please click here to begin the REAL ID Online Pre-Verification application process. Once PennDOT has reviewed your record, you will receive an email stating whether your documentation is on file with the department. If you did not provide an email address, once PennDOT has reviewed your record, you will receive a postcard stating whether your documentation is on file with the department. If your documentation is on file with PennDOT, you will be able to order your REAL ID online without visiting a driver's license center at www.dmv.pa.gov and your REAL ID will be sent through the mail.

Individuals who wish to obtain a REAL ID and received their first product BEFORE September 2003 must visit a PennDOT Driver License Center with the required documentation to pre-verify in person. Required documentation includes the following:

  • Proof of Identity (original or certified copy of a birth certificate with a raised seal, issued by an authorized government agency, or a valid U.S. Passport)
  • Social Security card
  • Proof of all legal name changes (marriage certificate, court order or divorce decree)
  • Two proofs of current, physical PA address (examples include a current PA license or ID and no more than a 90-day old bank statement or utility bill with the same name and address)

For additional information about REAL ID in Pennsylvania please visit www.penndot.gov/REALID or  http://www.pasenate.com/RealID/.

Getting a REAL ID is optional for Pennsylvania residents but as a reminder, beginning October 1, 2020, Pennsylvanians will need a REAL ID-compliant driver's license, photo ID card, or another form of federally-acceptable identification (such as a valid passport or military ID) to board a domestic commercial flight or enter a federal building or military installation that requires ID.

Soko Community Market in Hill District

Soko Community Market in Hill DistrictLast week, the Hill CDC announced the SOKO Community Market which will make food more accessible to Hill District residents since the Shop N’Save closed in the Spring. The SOKO Community Market was established by a collective group to create a great interim solution for food accessibility, create vending opportunities for artists and other small businesses, and bring together nourishment for both the body and mind.

The SOKO Community Market will open this Saturday, July 20 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Hill House Main, located at 1835 Centre Avenue. It will be open on the 3rd Saturday of each month.

This market will feature over ten different fresh produce items from the Hill District’s own Ann’s Market. There will also be two dozen different locally grown produce items brought in from Braddock Farms, courtesy of Grow Pittsburgh! The Hill CDC is currently working to secure the necessary license and equipment to accept debit, credit and EBT cards for fresh produce.  They hope to be able to accept it for the first market in July, but if not, will have it in place for August.  Please check with vendors for any individual alternate methods of payments, such as Square, Venmo, and Cashapp.

For more information please visit www.hilldistrict.org/sokomarket.

Children EatingSummer Food Program

Children ages 18 and younger can participate in the Summer Food Service Program which began in mid-June.  This is a federal program providing free meals and fun activities to kids 18 and under during the summer months when school is out of session. Children can receive breakfast and lunch during summer recess at many locations in Allegheny County. 

To learn more please call 412-460-FOOD or click here to search for locations near you.

Breezefest

BreezefestThe 37th annual Brookline Breeze 5K Run and Fitness Walk is scheduled for Saturday, August 10 in Brookline.  Brookline Boulevard will be closed to traffic at 8 a.m. to clear the way for hundreds of runners, joggers and walkers.

Fun begins with the Annual Brookline BreezeFest at 10 a.m. with the reopening of the street.  Stroll the sidewalks of Brookline Boulevard for the 48+ arts & crafts vendors, farmers market, food trucks and merchant specials.  A Children’s area will be located at Tree of Life Church with Bounce Castle, crafts and games.

For more information go on Brookline Together website at www.BrooklineTogether.org.

Fontana Fact

It was on this day in 1790 that the United States Congress voted to make Washington D.C. the country’s permanent capital.  

Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana

Brookline District
1039 Brookline Boulevard
Suite 2
Pittsburgh, PA 15226
Phone: 412-344-2551
Weekdays – 9 am – 5 pm
Harrisburg
543 Main Capitol | Box 203042
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Phone: 717-787-5300
Fax: 717-772-5484
Weekdays – 8:30 am – 5 pm
Kennedy Township
Kenmawr Plaza
524 Pine Hollow Road
Kennedy Twp, PA 15136
Phone: 412-331-1208
Weekdays – 10 am – 4 pm
Beechview Satellite
1660 Broadway Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15216
10 a.m. – 3 p.m. – First Tuesday of each month or by appointment