|Senator Fontana hosted his annual Senior Fair last Thursday at the Dormont Recreation Center. Thank you to everyone who attended! During the three-hour event, 117 people had their photos taken for their new Senior ConnectCard, 72 attendees got their Flu Shot, more than 90 pounds of unwanted medications were properly disposed of thanks to Allegheny Sheriff’s Project D.U.M.P. and 20 people were certified for a Medical Marijuana Card. Attendees were also able to collect valuable information from Maitri Medicinals, Duquesne University School of Pharmacy, ACCESS, AARP, Allegheny County Dept. of Human Services, OASIS, Office of the Consumer Advocate, Allegheny County Bar Association, Pittsburgh Poison Center, Public Utility Commission, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Wesley Family Services, and PA Health & Wellness. Thanks to all the terrific organizations and agencies for attending and special thanks to Dormont Borough for hosting!
Lead Free PA
Governor Tom Wolf recently announced a statewide initiative to tackle the serious health problem of lead exposure in young children. “Lead Free PA” would establish universal lead testing for children, which would be done through a finger prick, and implement local and regional response teams to develop a plan to care for the children with elevated blood lead levels. The teams would focus on finding the course of lead exposure and creating a response strategy that includes available resources and opportunities for elimination of the source.
The primary source of childhood lead poisoning in Pennsylvania continues to be exposure to lead-based paint, in the form of chips and dust, found in homes with paint from before its 1978 ban according to the state Department of Health. However, at the same time, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 10 to 20 percent of human exposure to lead comes from drinking water. Lead is rarely found in the source of public water, rather, it enters tap water through the corrosion of a home’s plumbing materials.
Unsafe lead levels were brought to light in late 2016 when residents of Flint, Michigan had been exposed to high levels of lead through their drinking water system. With the Centers for Disease Control stating there is no safe level of lead in the blood stream, many Pennsylvanians and officials became increasingly concerned about our own residents’ well being given our state’s aging home inventory and the fact that 71 percent of the commonwealth’s housing and infrastructure was constructed prior to the federal lead paint ban.
The statistics for Pennsylvania are staggering: The commonwealth ranks sixth in the nation for the number of lead-poisoned children and even more alarming is that this is only the number who have been formally diagnosed. Only about 30 percent of children have been tested in the state.
Lead poisoning occurs when lead builds up in the body, often over months or years. Even small amounts of lead can cause serious health problems like cognitive and physical development, hyperactivity and problems focusing. Very high levels of lead poisoning can cause seizures, comas and even death. Children younger than 6 years are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning.
Due to the age of the housing stock in Allegheny County, health officials sought out early prevention by mandating testing which began in January 2018. Children are tested for lead exposure once between 9 to 12 months old and again at age 2. In the first year, 23,057 children were tested. Elevated levels – at least 5 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood – were confirmed in 480 children. For these children, the county Health Department connected the families of these children with help in removing the lead hazards from the home.
Senate Resolution 33 of 2017 called for the Pennsylvania Senate to establish a bipartisan task force on lead that was charged with investigating the scope of the commonwealth’s lead-exposure problem, particularly as it relates to lead in drinking water. As a member of the task force, I am drafting a bill based on one of the recommendations that would establish a statewide rental housing registry of certified lead-free homes. The bill applies to all properties constructed before January 1, 1978, that contain at least one residential dwelling rental unit including subsidized housing in which government-subsidized rental housing vouchers are issued under Federal or State law. Under my legislation, no owner may lease the property to a household with a child under six years of age unless the property has been certified as lead free and lead safe for drinking water. Every 10 years an owner shall submit a statement to the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development by an accredited inspector or risk accessor stating that the property remains lead free or lead safe.
Whenever an owner intends to make repairs or perform maintenance work that will disturb the paint or interior surfaces of the property, the owner shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that all of the persons residing in a dwelling are not present in the area where the work is performed and that all pregnant women and children under six years of age are removed from the property when the work is performed. Procedures are also put into place for the relocation of the tenants if the work is being performed for several weeks.
Finally, as a part of Lead Free PA, the Wolf Administration is working to develop training to get more Pennsylvanians certified in lead remediation. Currently, there are 773 individuals and 124 companies certified by the PA Department of Labor & Industry to do lead remediation work. There are also 13 training providers accredited by the Department. The goal is to identify resources to increase training in this vital area, especially in areas of the state where there is greater need for lead remediation services.
New Senior Citizen ConnectCards
The Port Authority of Allegheny County is in the process of issuing new Senior Citizen Connect Cards and my office can assist. The new cards will replace the current blue or yellow PA Senior Transit ID cards and will have a photo of the cardholder on the card. These new cards will enable the user to ride Port Authority and other public transit vehicles for free across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Both my Brookline and Kennedy Township offices are equipped to help seniors get their new cards. Simply visit either office and bring with you ONE valid document that shows proof-of-age. This includes a driver’s license or state-issued photo ID card, birth certificate, PACE ID card, or passport to name a few. My staff will enter your information into Port Authority’s system and upload your photo and a copy of your proof-of-age document.
Upon receiving the information from my office, the Port Authority will produce a new Senior Citizen ConnectCard and then mail the card to my office where you can return to pick up the card. New cards should take a couple weeks to arrive at my office from the time Port Authority receives the information. When you return to get your new card, please bring with you your current senior bus pass so we can exchange it for your new ConnectCard.
Anyone age 65 or over is eligible to receive this new card and ride Port Authority and other public transit vehicles for free.
National Preparedness Month – Prepared, Not Scared
With September being National Preparedness Month, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) is sponsoring a campaign to help all Pennsylvanians be better prepared for emergencies and disasters.
By visiting www.ready.pa.gov you can sign up to receive Ready PA National Preparedness Month resources via email. Once at the site, simply click on the link that reads “SIGN UP” to get Ready PA National Preparedness Month resources emailed to you. Then enter your email address, first and last name, select the County you reside in and click on the consent box.
Once registered, you will receive an email with tips and tools each week. At the end of the month, you will receive a very short survey to help PEMA learn the tips that were most helpful to you. When you submit your survey, you will receive a customized ReadyPA team printable certificate and will be entered into their random drawing for a wind up/radio/flashlight/phone charger.
Did You Know…
Did you know the 2017 American Housing Survey found that 52.9% of U.S. homes have a prepared emergency evacuation kit and 58.6% have an emergency water supply?
REAL ID Reminder
I 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.
Fight Addiction Dinner/Dance
The second annual fundraiser to fight addiction is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 5 in the Cathedral Room of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, located at 419 South Dithridge Street in Oakland. Tickets can be purchased at www.eventbrite.com.
This event is held to honor those who have lost their battle to addiction and those who still suffer from this disease. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Light of Life Rescue Mission and Addiction Recovery Ministry, two organizations dedicated to helping the addicted and their families.
Former news anchor Sally Wiggin will serve as the emcee for the evening and Come Together, a Beatles tribute band will perform. Dinner and entertainment are included in the ticket price. There will be a cash bar, 50/50 raffle, silent auction, gift cards, and theme gift basket raffles.
Anyone wishing to share photos of loved ones for the memorial wall can contact Julie Truver at email@example.com or Julie Truver, 135 Grienbrier Drive, Carnegie, PA 15106.
Carnegie Open Streets
Carnegie Borough will host Open Streets Carnegie this Saturday from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. on East and West Main Streets in the Borough. Attendees can enjoy biking, skateboarding, walking and more and there will be plenty of free, fun activities for the entire family. These activities include a climbing wall, bike safety course with free helmets, skateboarding demonstrations, and extreme pogo sticking with XPogo. There will also be Top Golf activities and other sports challenges, free therapeutic massage and cupping, health screenings and PT assessments, yoga, dance, and fitness classes, fireman's obstacle course, demonstrations by Pittsburgh Sword Fighters, children's games, an awesome scavenger hunt, and much more.
For more information, please visit www.carnegieborough.com.
Stowe Township Rib Fest
The Stowe Township Police Association is hosting their 4th annual Rib Fest this Saturday at 1 p.m. The event will take place at the Kennedy Township Fireman’s Hall, located at 1796 Pine Hollow Road and is being catered by Mission BBQ. In addition to ribs, the event features raffles, prizes, games and more. Proceeds benefit the Stowe Police Association Fallen/Injured Officer Fund and charities supported by the association.
Recycling Car Seats
With September being National Baby Safety Month, Target and Walmart are both holding in-store trade-in events where shoppers can exchange an old car seat for coupons and select baby gear.
Target’s event runs through this Friday and Walmart’s runs from Sept. 16 – 30.
Click here to find participating Target stores and click here to find participating Walmart stores.
September is National Yoga Month. Today, nearly 36 million people in the U.S. practice yoga and roughly 300 million people worldwide. Between 2012 and 2016 the number of Americans doing yoga increased by 50% and over the last four years, the number of people over 50 years of age practicing yoga has tripled.
Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana
| Brookline District
1039 Brookline Boulevard
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
10 a.m. – 3 p.m. – First Tuesday of each month or by appointment