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Congratulations to the AFC Champion Pittsburgh Steelers!


Pittsburgh’s going to the Super Bowl!!!

Youth in Concussion Sports Legislation

I am proud to join my colleagues in co-sponsoring legislation that calls for the management of concussions and head injuries for youth athletes in the Commonwealth. Tomorrow a press conference will be held in the Capitol Rotunda to announce the introduction of Senate Bill 200. The legislation would require that if an athlete is injured during practice or a game, and may be suspected of suffering a concussion or some other type of head injury, the athlete will be removed from play and cannot return until the athlete has written approval from a healthcare professional with training in the management and evaluation of concussions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 3.5 million sports-related concussions happen every year in the United States. The American Academy of Neurology return-to-play guidelines state that 4-in-10 (40%) high school athletes return to play too soon after suffering a concussion. During the 2007-2008 season alone, 1 in 6 (15.8%) football players who sustained a concussion and lost consciousness returned to play the same day. These statistics show that athletes, parents, coaches and schools need to become more aware of the serious nature of concussions in youth athletes.

Returning to play too soon after a brain injury, or concussion, may lead to serious life-threatening complications. Given the potential for catastrophic consequences of returning to play before fully recovered following a concussion, there needs to be improved education and appropriate return to play guidelines in the Commonwealth.

The Market on Broadway Avenue is on Facebook

The Market on Broadway Avenue continues to make progress towards their Spring 2011 Opening. Now you can friend them on Facebook where pictures will be posted as the renovations are done on the grocery store. Check them out now - and become the Market on Broadway Avenue's "friend" in Beechview.


SBDC Outreach Day

Small business owners can get answers to their questions during another Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Outreach Day next Tuesday, February 1. Client Services Liaison John Dobransky will once again be available at my Kennedy Office (Kenmawr Plaza) between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Although not required, appointments are encouraged by calling John at 412-624-2290.

I teamed up with the University of Pittsburgh Small Business Development Center to make it easier for entrepreneurs to get regular assistance, whether it has to do with starting a small business or improving an existing business. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and I encourage entrepreneurs to take advantage of this free service.

Get Help Completing Your FAFSA in Allegheny County

If you are planning to attend college and are interested in qualifying for student aid during the 2011-12 academic year, you may want to take advantage of PHEAA’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Completion Sessions. The FAFSA is required to qualify for federal and most state grants, including the Pennsylvania State Grant Program, as well as scholarships, low-cost student loans, work-study programs and many school-based student aid programs. There is a Completion Session coming up in the 42nd District next week:

Saturday, February 5th
1:30-3:30 p.m.
Point Park University
201 Wood Street, Pittsburgh

This is a free event, but registration is encouraged. Call 412-392-3930 to save your space.

PHEAA’s Higher Education Access Partners and Financial Aid Administrators with the Pennsylvania Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (PASFAA) will offer guidance in completing the FAFSA. If students are filing as a dependent, they and their parents will need the following documents: social security numbers, drivers license numbers, 2010 W-2 forms and 2010 Federal Income Tax returns, alien registration numbers or permanent residence cards (if not U.S. citizens), 2010 untaxed income records, business or farm records, and current bank statements and records of stocks, bonds and other investments.

Grants for Port-Related Projects

Pittsburgh’s waterways are an important community asset and the focus of an entire industry that uses our streams and rivers in a variety of ways. The Port of Pittsburgh Commission (PPC), a resource for shipping businesses and organizations that use the river system, is providing grants to non-profits and local units of government for sustainable port-related projects. Eligible projects must be sustainable and support economic development activities related to our rivers or streams, and may be educational, recreational, environmental or tourist-related. Applications for the PPC small grants program are being accepted until February 15. The PPC will hand out grants of $5,000 to $20,000 for deserving projects. Visit the PPC website for more information and to complete an application.he Port of Pittsburgh Commission (PPC)

The PPC grant program is just one opportunity for organizations or community groups to make use of our waterways. I frequently highlight the importance of our waterways in Western Pennsylvania, and the different ways they benefit the region. Each September for example, FontanaFest is held so that families can gather and celebrate our rivers and riverfront parks. I consider our waterways one of Pittsburgh’s greatest resources, and the economic impact is substantial.

According to an analysis released by the Pittsburgh World Environment Day Partnership, the region has more than 3,000 firms providing components, products and service that account for more than $5 billion in direct economic activity. Our waterways support many fields, including energy, supply and treatment, transportation, tourism, water security, and more. In addition to the economic benefits, our rivers and streams are used for education, research, and leisure activities. Our waterways are vital to the region because of many uses they provide. It’s also one of the reasons why they are so special.

Miracle League Registration Open

Registration is now open for baseball players that want to take part in the Miracle League of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s 2011 baseball season. The Miracle League of Southwestern PA is a charitable organization that provides children and adults with special needs the opportunity to play organized baseball. The League, now in its third season, has three divisions open to players of different ages and ability. Registration is open to any special needs child or adult in Southwestern Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. The spring season begins in May.

Volunteers and “buddies” are a big part of the League’s success. Volunteers are needed to help out in a variety of areas, including manager, coach, team parent, announcer and umpire. Buddies are also needed to assist players in the field and at bat during the game. To register as either a player or volunteer, visit the Miracle League of Southwestern PA’s website.

50th Anniversary of the John F. Kennedy Presidency

“Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths and encourage the arts and commerce.” President John F. Kennedy spoke those words during his Inaugural Address in January of 1961. The legacy of JFK lives on 50 years later. He encouraged an entire generation to pursue careers and lives guided by public service.

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is dedicated to the memory of our nation’s thirty-fifth president. The Library and Museum’s website is a great resource to learn more about the life and presidency of JFK. Comcast digital video subscribers can also watch some of his most famous speeches and newsreels for free On Demand. The On Demand content will be available through February 25th. Now is a great time for all generations to renew President Kennedy’s call to service.

Around the District

This past week, I had the opportunity to sit down with the Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Action Against Rape to talk about their program and services. Something I didn’t know about the organization – they are the 2nd oldest such center in the country.

Work on the legislation prohibiting private transfer fees continues with the coalition that is supporting this effort. I remain on track to re-introduce the bill before the end of the month and have already begun talking with my colleagues about moving the legislation quickly through the Senate.

As I noted earlier this month, I have been appointed to the RAAC Board and had the ability to sit down this week with staff from the board to talk about the operations and goals of the organization and my role on the board. I look forward to getting to work!

Last week, I had the opportunity to congratulate McKees Rocks Borough Manager, Bill Beck, on his retirement and to wish him the best in his pursuits now. My thanks to Paul Bingham from my staff who formally presented the Senate citation to Bill at the borough meeting.

On Friday, I met with a number of elected and appointed officials, along with 113 Industries, to talk about plans to make the former Seagate building an advanced materials center for the region. The plans are exciting and having everyone on the same page, working together towards a common goal makes our success even more certain. Once again, this effort shows the benefits to putting aside our personal and political differences and working together as a team to assist our region – and I thank my colleagues for their cooperation.

Yesterday and today were filled with additional meetings in Harrisburg to talk about plans for the region, issues on the state level that we need to address, updates from some of the gaming entities in the Commonwealth, and briefings on new legislation and policy issues. I look forward to working with these companies (GenOn, The Meadows and Direct Energy) to continue to improve our region and am thankful for the cooperative efforts on the issues before us as a state (PA adultBasic and school vouchers).

Fontana Fact

Magee-Womens Hospital Did you know that Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year? The hospital was originally named the Elizabeth Steel Magee Hospital when it opened on January 19, 1911. Today Magee is a leader in gynecologic care and delivers nearly 10,000 babies a year. I was proud to offer a resolution on the Senate floor celebrating the hospital’s 100th anniversary. You can click here to read Senate Resolution 11 for yourself and to learn more about the hospital’s evolution.

Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana