Senator Fontana speaks at the South Park Flag Retirement Plaza on Flag Day, June 14th, during the annual Flag Day Retirement Ceremony. This annual ceremony pays homage to the flags of the United States of America that have become worn and unserviceable flying in the service of our great nation. Also pictured is County Executive Rich Fitzgerald who served as the ceremony's emcee.
Senator Fontana took a moment following the ceremony to speak with members of the West Mifflin Area High School Air Force JROTC. Pictured here with members of the Air Force JROTC are (left to right): County Councilman John Palmiere, Senator Fontana, State Representative Dan Miller, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, County Councilman Michael Finnerty, and County Councilwoman Krista Harris.
Child Protection Legislation Passes Committee
In March, I wrote about the importance of my Senate Bill 31 (SB 31), which would toughen child abuse reporting requirements in schools and how I hoped that the Legislature would work quickly to pass this measure. Last week, the Senate Education Committee took the first steps to this bill becoming law and passed SB 31 unanimously.
First introduced in 2005, this legislation would require school district authorities to report possible child abuse to law enforcement within 24 hours. SB 31 would remove the different reporting requirement for school employees and put them on the same level as other mandated reporters. Furthermore, this measure requires that an incident be reported directly to Childline or the police. The bill covers all students, from kindergarten through college.
My legislation was inspired by a distraught mother who called me and said her son had been transported from school to an emergency room. The child had bleeding brush burns, choke marks around his neck and broken blood vessels in his face -- all caused by a teacher. Even though the mother, emergency room doctor and social worker all tried reporting the incident to Childline, they were told that the law prevented investigation because the injuries were not deemed serious enough.
Schools should be a place of learning and sometimes procedures need to be reviewed and changed in order to protect students' health and safety. No parents should ever have to go through what my constituent and her son had to face.
I am heartened and encouraged by the strong bipartisan vote that took place in committee and look forward to the full Senate acting on my bill. I believe my legislation will take significant strides in protecting our children and ensuring their safety in schools. It doesn’t matter who is suspected of abuse. Each case should be handled the same.
PHEAA Job Fair
As I wrote about in last week's edition of my News & Views, I was thrilled to announce on June 7th that the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) is opening a Customer Service Center in Green Tree this fall. PHEAA will be hiring 150 residents to service the Customer Service Center and will host a Recruitment Event on June 25th for anyone interested in applying for a position. The Recruitment Event is scheduled for 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the new facility’s location at 11 Parkway Center on McKinney Road in Green Tree.
If you’re interested in applying for one of these new positions, PHEAA recommends visiting www.pheaa.org/jobs to apply. When on the home page, simply click on the JOIN OUR TEAM box where you will be shown the three different types of positions PHEAA is looking to fill in the new office, which is listed as “Pittsburgh.” You will be able to apply for each type of position online by clicking on the “Apply Now” box.
Natural Gas Conversion Grants
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is accepting applications for the Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant Program (AFIG). An estimated $10 million is available through the AFIG Program for the purchase or conversion of medium- to light-weight natural gas vehicles, the conversion or purchase of electric, propane or other alternative fuel vehicles of any size. Eligible applicants include: municipal authorities; political subdivisions; non-profit organizations; corporations; school districts; and limited liability companies or partnerships incorporated or registered in the state.
Applicants interested in purchasing or converting one or two alternative fuel vehicles will be encouraged to partner with other applicants to satisfy the five vehicle minimum required as part of the application. Applications will also be accepted for innovation in alternative fuel transportation, including non-road vehicles such as natural gas-powered trains or marine vessels.
Applications must be submitted online through the Environmental eGrants system. The deadline to submit an application is July 26th at 4 p.m. and grant awards will be announced in the fall. For more information and to view the guidelines please visit the 2013 AFIG Program page on DEP’s website.
Pennsylvania – Leader in Casino Planning
The American Gaming Association (AGA) recently released their 2013 State of the States survey and found that Pennsylvania’s casino model has become a national model for other states. The annual survey provides national and state-by-state economic impact data like gaming revenues, tax contributions, and employment and wage figures.
Despite only opening its first casino in 2006, Pennsylvania is now the second-highest grossing casino state in the country, trailing only the state of Nevada. Pennsylvania collected $1.5 billion in casino taxes in 2012, almost double the amount collected in Nevada. There are 11 casinos operating across Pennsylvania that generate an average of $4 million per day in tax revenue, which is used for property tax reduction, funding the Commonwealth’s horse racing industry, fire companies, a statewide water and sewer project grant program, and the state’ general fund, as well as establishing a new stream of tax revenue to local governments that host casinos.
To read the entire survey, please visit www.americangaming.org.
Did You Know…
Did you know that Pennsylvania’s casino industry employs
16,242 people, the fourth most of any state in the county?
Hilltop Economic Development Car Cruise
The Hilltop Economic Development Corporation is hosting its 5th Annual Cruisin’ on the Hilltop Street Fair on June 22nd beginning at noon. Cruisin’ on the Hilltop features a variety of family-friendly activities throughout the 100 and 200 blocks of Brownsville Road including a live oldies band, flea market, sidewalk sales, games for children, a petting zoo and a moonbounce. The event will also feature an awards ceremony at the Mt. Oliver Clock Tower where the Hilltop Economic Development Corporation will present a President’s Award and honor two local businesses as its Businesses of the Year. The Hilltop Economic Development Corporation is a non-profit organization founded by a group of community stakeholders to improve the quality of life for residents in Mt. Oliver Borough and the adjacent neighborhood of Knoxville.
Taste of Beechview
On June 22nd, the 2nd Annual Taste of Beechview will be held at the corner of Broadway and Hampshire Avenues in Beechview’s business district from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. This outdoor food festival is being hosted by the Crested Duck Charcuterie and will feature food and beverage samples for purchase from the Crested Duck Charcuterie, Brew on Broadway, Slice on Broadway, Casa Rasta, Tupelo Honey Teas, Chef Adam Manculich, JC’s Barber Shop, Market on Broadway IGA, and Tienda La Jimenez. The event will also feature food trucks and urban and regional farmers with live music throughout the day.
Children’s Festival at Grandview Park
The Friends of Grandview Park are hosting the Grandview Park Children’s Community Festival on June 22nd from noon – 3 p.m. at Grandview Park, located at 499 Bailey Avenue on Mt. Washington. The afternoon will feature many fun activities for kids and families inlcuding the Citiparks’ Art Cart, Trackless Train rides, an inflatable obstacle course, magician, face painting, music and food. For more information please email email@example.com.
Brookline Business Feature
This week’s featured Brookline business is Antonio's Pizzeria, located at 758 Brookline Boulevard, at the intersection of the Boulevard and Flatbush. Antonio’s is open seven days a week and has dine in, carry out, or delivery options available. Antonio’s offers patrons specialty pizzas, a variety of salads and appetizers, numerous pasta dishes, wings, gyros, hoagies, calzones, desserts and much more. For more information, you may visit Antonio’s online at www.antoniospgh.com or by calling 412-388-1000.
Please continue to support local merchants during the Brookline Boulevard Streetscape Project, which is moving along, and remember:
Brookline is open for business!
Suzie McConnell-Serio was named the head women’s basketball coach at the University of Pittsburgh in April after serving in the same capacity at Duquesne University for six years. Suzie was born and raised in the city of Pittsburgh’s Brookline neighborhood and was a star player in high school, leading Seton-La Salle to a state championship during her senior year of high school. Suzie played in two Olympics, winning a gold and bronze medal in 1988 and 1992 respectively and played three seasons in the WNBA before turning to coaching. Best of luck to Suzie in her new position at Pitt!
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