Senator Fontana speaks to students at St. Sylvester School in Brentwood on October 10th. The Bridge Educational Foundation and RBC Capital Markets donated $15,000 of scholarship funds to families in Allegheny County through the EITC Program.
Voter ID Law
I want to take this opportunity to again remind my constituents of the recent developments on the voter ID law. On October 2nd, Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson stayed the mandatory requirements of the Voter ID law (Act 18) for at least the 2012 general election. This means that the state of the law reverts to what it was during the primary where voters can be educated about a possible requirement for photo ID in the future, but cannot be required to show one in order to vote.
Should voters show up at the polls on Election Day, November 6th, and do not have photo ID, they must still be allowed to vote in the actual voting machine -- not be forced to complete a provisional ballot. The court did not rule on the constitutionality of the concept of voter ID, but instead indicated that it would conduct a full trial on that issue in the near future.
Eventually voters will be required to show a valid ID in order to vote in future elections. Even though you will not be required to show ID in order to vote in November, if you do not have a valid form of identification, you should begin taking steps now to ensure that your vote counts in future elections. If you need a photo ID, please contact one of my district offices and my staff and I will gladly assist you in obtaining an acceptable form of ID.
Since the photo ID requirement became law, I have been working with the Corbett Administration in an effort to make the process of obtaining a photo ID simple and more convenient for voters. I reached out several times to the Administration and asked that they create neighborhood centers and authorize state offices, including elected officials’ offices, to help facilitate the process of obtaining a photo ID. My requests have been repeatedly denied by the Administration.
Moving forward, if this law is to be fully implemented in the future, I will continue my efforts to make the process of obtaining a photo ID more convenient. For the November 6th election though, I want my constituents to understand that they do not need to show a photo ID in order to vote.
I want to remind my constituents of an upcoming Flu/Pneumonia Shot & Health Clinic I am hosting on Wednesday, October 24th from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. in Quinn Hall at the Church of the Resurrection in Brookline. American HealthCare Group will be providing the free vaccinations to any senior with a Medicare Part B health insurance card. Make sure you bring your card with you.
All attendees can also receive a free blood pressure screening compliments of Concordia South Hills and will have an opportunity to speak with a pharmacist from Duquesne University’s Mylan School of Pharmacy and “Ask the Pharmacist” questions about medications. The PA Office of the Consumer Advocate, LifeSpan and the Allegheny County Department of Human Services are among the organizations that will be in attendance providing attendees with important information.
If you’ve already received a flu or pneumonia vaccination, you can still stop by and visit with the organizations in attendance. Light refreshments will be provided.
Young Adults Flocking to Pittsburgh
A recent report, the Young Adults Report 2012, issued by the University of Pittsburgh's University Center for Social and Urban Research and PittsburghTODAY shows that over past five years Pittsburgh has seen a 7% influx of residents aged 20-34. This turnaround contradicts, with data, the impression that still exists in some circles that Pittsburgh is losing its young population. In fact, this report forecasts that population will grow an additional 8% by 2020.
The Young Adults Report 2012 also shows that Pittsburgh ranks fifth in the nation for workers aged 25-34 who have earned a bachelor’s degree and the city is only one of three regions where more than 20% of young workers hold advanced degrees. Additionally, the city’s population of 18-to-24 year-olds rose 17% from 2000 to 2010 and 50 city neighborhoods saw in increase in this segment of the population.
To continue this trend, as a Commonwealth, we must make the necessary investments in education, transportation and economic development, which will provide for sustainable growth. Our region has much to offer – a low cost of living and a high quality of life – which are attractive to younger people. Keeping younger people in the region for the long term requires the Commonwealth to provide adequate funding to public schools, solve our mass transit funding crisis once and for all, and strategically invest public resources with private dollars to spur continued economic development, which creates jobs in our region.
In my role as the Democratic Chair to the Senate’s Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee I will continue advocating for policies and funding streams that leverage public dollars for private investments into projects that create jobs. These public-private partnerships are not just taking place downtown. I was proud to secure significant funding for a grocery store in Beechview and have since witnessed new businesses move into the area as a result, creating a “buzz” in the neighborhood’s business district. Because of this activity, we have seen an increase of young people moving to Beechview. In McKees Rocks, I was able to secure significant funding for a project that will convert the former Pennsylvania & Lake Erie Railroad into a mixed use, light industrial complex, which has the potential to create 1,200 jobs.
In light of this report, it is more important than ever that we invest back into our communities so young people not only relocate to our region, but stay here for the long term.
You can read the entire report by clicking here.
Did You Know…
Did you know, according to the Young Adults Report 2012, that in 2011, 3,740 more people moved into the region than moved out, continuing a trend that began in 2009?
Free Assistance with Securing a Job!
The third installment of Skills for Success: The Fontana Series is currently taking place at the Carnegie Library-Beechview branch. Workshops started last Thursday and will continue each of the next three Thursdays through November 1st. If you are currently looking for a job or if you need assistance with any aspect of the job searching process, these free workshops will serve as a great resource for you.
I was proud to partner with CLP last year, providing grant funding for this free series aimed at building skills and creating excellent resumes and applications that aid job seekers in achieving the positions they desire. While the September national jobs numbers showed a 44-month low in the unemployment rate (7.8% nationally), competition for jobs today is still fierce. This program offers job seekers a potential advantage in the job searching process. Whether you have already built a resume and are looking to fine-tune it, if you are starting from scratch and need help with organizing your work history, if you need assistance with searching for positions online, or if you have never had to sell yourself in a job interview, these workshops will be beneficial. I have heard directly from attendees of past sessions who have been able to find full-time work after putting to practice many of the lessons learned at the workshop.
This series provides those tools by featuring two separate workshops: one focused on resumes and cover letters, and the other dedicated to interviews and networking. This series also contains a career lab where attendees can work on online applications and explore library resources. Due to limited space, registration is required for workshops however walk-ins are welcome for the career labs.
The remaining schedule for Beechview is listed below. To register for one of these free workshops, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 412-281-7141, ext. 2012.
CLP – Beechview branch
1910 Broadway Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15216
Thursday, Oct. 18 – Interviewing & Networking
Thursday, Oct. 25 – Resumes & Cover Letters
Thursday, Nov. 1 – Interviewing & Networking
Workshops – 3 – 5 p.m., Career Labs – 5 – 7 p.m.
Hiring Our Heroes
In conjunction with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Legion, RecruitMilitary is hosting the Hiring Our Heroes Expo on October 18th from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Heinz Field. This event offers veterans and military spouses the opportunity to meet with businesses looking to hire. To register for this hiring event please visit RecruitMilitary's registration page.
If you are a veteran of the U.S. military, National Guard or Reserves, or are a spouse of veteran, you may also register on the RecruitMilitary Job Board. This job board allows you to search for over 400,000 jobs with over 3,700 companies looking to hire veterans.
The Eastside Neighborhood Employment Center is hosting an information session for individuals interested in apprenticeship programs and jobs in the construction industry on October 18th at 1 p.m. The information session will take place at the Grey Box Theater, 3595 Butler Street in Pittsburgh. Representatives from the Tri-Green Pre-Apprenticeship Program and the Builders Guild of Western PA will be on hand to speak about the construction industry, opportunities for hands-on experience in painting, drywall finishing, glazing and weatherization, and provide overviews of apprenticeship programs in the building trades. For more information and to register for this event, please call 412-362-8580.
LGC Associates, a Mt. Lebanon-based temp agency, is hosting a recruitment session at the Eastside Neighborhood Employment Center on October 24th at 10 a.m. Attendees can meet with LGC representatives to learn about full- and part-time positions available, be interviewed by recruiters, and fill out employment applications. You can register by calling 412-362-8580 and there is no charge to attend. The Eastside Neighborhood Employment Center is located at 5321 Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh.
Table Games Revenue Continues to Rise
The PA Gaming Control Board recently reported that gross revenue from table games in Pennsylvania increased 15.4% this September compared with the same month in 2011. Tax revenue from Pennsylvania’s table games during September 2012 was $8.6 million. Combined gross revenue from table games and slot machines during September was nearly $260 million, a 3.3% increase over the same month last year. Combined tax revenue from table games and slot machines during September 2012 was nearly $117 million.
Locally, revenue from table games at the Rivers Casino on the North Shore increased approximately 20% from September 2012 to September 2011. The Rivers grossed $6,533,142 from table games during September 2012.
National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. One in four women will be the victim of domestic abuse in their lifetime and domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women ages 15-44 in the United States. The PA Coalition Against Domestic Violence is a non-profit organization promoting safety and justice for domestic violence victims in Pennsylvania and across the country. Their statewide network is comprised of 61 community-based domestic violence programs providing life-saving direct services to over 100,000 victims of domestic violence annually.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence or is in an abusive relationship and needs help, you may contact the 24-hour National Domestic Violence hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) to be directly connected to a local domestic violence program. In Allegheny County, you may directly contact one of the following to receive help.
I was recently featured in the fall edition of the PA Restaurant & Lodging Matters magazine. This is the official statewide magazine of the PA Restaurant & Lodging Association (PRLA). The magazine is published quarterly and provides news and information targeted towards the restaurant and lodging industries in Pennsylvania. You can view this edition by clicking here. The PRLA was formed in July 2012, the result of a joint venture agreement between the PA Restaurant Association and PA Tourism & Lodging Association. Their mission is to promote, protect, and improve the hospitality industry throughout the Commonwealth. To learn more about the PRLA, please visit their website at www.patourism.org.
Calories Count Vending Program
The American Beverage Association (ABA) last week announced a new program that will be made available to vending customers nationwide in 2013, the Calories Count Vending Program. This program will provide clear calorie information on vending machines, encourage lower-calorie beverage choices and remind consumers that “calories count” in all the choices they make.
Under the Calories Count Vending Program, The Coca-Cola Company, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group and PepsiCo will be working to increase availability of lower-calorie beverages in vending machines, display a “Calories Count” vending stripe on the front of beverage vending machines reminding customers to consider calories in their beverage choices, and add calorie labels to the selection buttons on machines to show calorie counts per beverage container.
To learn more about the Calories Count Vending Program, please visit www.deliveringchoices.org.
Student Poster Contest
The PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is encouraging all students, ages 9-14, to enter a national poster contest designed to help raise awareness about the dangers of radon. Kansas State University’s National Radon Program Services sponsors the poster contest which is open to all students enrolled in a public, private, Department of Defense, or home school. Students involved with a sponsoring art, computer, science, or 4-H club may also participate in the contest.
Judging will be based on content accuracy, visual communication of topic, reproducibility, and originality. National winners will receive award plaques and gift cards in the amount of $1,000 for first place, $600 for second, $400 for third and $400 for special online voting recognition. These winners will also be recognized locally and the posters will be reproduced and distributed nationally to promote radon awareness.
Radon exposure causes nearly 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year, and nearly half of homes in Pennsylvania have elevated radon levels. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas produced by the breakdown of uranium in rocks and soil. It enters homes through tiny cracks in basements and foundations, but home mitigation systems can quickly and significantly reduce radon levels.
For more information about the contest and for entry submission forms, please visit the Bureau of Radiation Protection’s Radon homepage at www.dep.state.pa.us. Information about radon testing and mitigation can also be found on that page or by calling 1-800-23-RADON.
Allegheny Land Trust Hiking Event
The Allegheny Land Trust (ALT) is hosting a unique fall hike through Audubon Greenway on October 21st at 4 p.m. Professional photographer Bryan Reid will be on hand to teach attendees the process of taking beautiful iconic images of western Pennsylvania’s fall landscape. All you need are hiking shoes and a camera. The group will be meeting at the Audubon Greenway at the intersection of Audubon Road and Magee Road in Sewickley Heights. For more information on this free event, please contact Emille Cooper at email@example.com or 412-741-2750.
High School Sports Update
The following are highlights from the district during Week 7 of the high school football season:
- Montour improved to 7-0 with a 40-35 win over Blackhawk. Devin Wilson rushed for 143 yards, caught eight passes for 132 yards and scored four touchdowns for Montour. Ryan Mihelcic threw three touchdown passes including one to Justin Hill in the 4th quarter which put Montour ahead for good.
- Luke Brumbaugh threw touchdown passes to Tyler Slagie and Lou Rotunda in Seton-La Salle’s 35-6 win over Quaker Valley. Tom Rizza and Nick Sywyj each rushed for a score and DeQuay Broadwater returned an interception 74 yards for a touchdown.
- Sto-Rox defeated Western Beaver 53-0 to improve to 6-1. Brendan Blair rushed for 121 yards and scored three touchdowns. Lenny Williams threw four touchdown passes and rushed for another. Javelle Kirkland caught two touchdown passes and Wendell Miller and Rob Wilson each scored a touchdown.
- Justin Vickless rushed for two touchdowns and Chris Shortley threw two touchdown passes to Justin Bauer and Michael Kish leading Brentwood to a 35-0 win over Carlynton. Bauer also rushed for a score.
- Cody Walter scored three touchdowns and rushed for 181 yards in Northgate’s 20-19 loss to Apollo-Ridge.
- Dorian Brown rushed for 139 yards and scored two touchdowns in Baldwin’s 27-20 come from behind victory at Fox Chapel. Nicholas Barca scored the winning touchdown with under three minutes to play.
Week 8 High School Football Schedule (All games Friday unless noted)
Allderdice @ Brashear, 3:30 p.m.
Bishop Canevin @ Brentwood, 7:30 p.m.
West Allegheny @ Montour, 7:10 p.m.
Keystone Oaks @ McGuffey, 7:30 p.m.
Laurel @ Sto-Rox, 7 p.m.
Carlynton @ California, 7:30 p.m.
Northgate @ Springdale, 7:30 p.m.
Baldwin @ Canon-McMillan, 7 p.m.
Chartiers Valley @ Blackhawk, 7:30 p.m.
Seton-La Salle @ Mohawk, 7 p.m.
Duquesne University produces 85% of its own electricity with its own clean-burning natural gas turbine, which is used to light, heat and cool the campus. The University purchases the additional 15% of power through renewable wind energy credits allowing the campus to rely upon 100% clean energy. Princeton Review lists Duquesne as one of America’s most environmentally responsible universities.
Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana
| Brookline District
932 Brookline Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15226
543 Main Capitol
Harrisburg, PA 17120
524 Pine Hollow Rd
| Beechview Satellite
1660 Broadway Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15216